Onward to Bigger and Brighter Things

Yesterday was my last day at the Sparks Tribune. It was bittersweet, laying out my last news pages in InDesign while getting harassed (in the best way) by my co-worker, Garrett. I left the office and walked to the bus station later that afternoon, thinking about my experience with the newspaper and my future with my writing career. I went back and forth in my head for only a brief moment, wondering if I made the right decision, leaving this opportunity. But then, I put my ear buds in and cranked up my iPod, knowing that I made the correct choice- I’m moving on to bigger and brighter things.

Whether you leave a job, go through a break-up, end a friendship, whatever- I think the best thing is to look forward and never, even for a moment, glance back. Every now and then, it’s okay to reflect on what you learned from each person and/or past experience but then cut your losses and keep on pushing onward. Those new things could be a better career option, a new lover, a bigger city, even something not tangible- like finally knowing what you really want in your life. Moving onward is about being optimistic for your future and knowing that you’re going to do great things and be perfectly alright. Moving onward is about letting go of that comfort and embracing the unknown. Moving on is often the best thing you can do, the only thing you can do, the right thing to do- for others but most importantly, for yourself.

Here’s to the past, dear reader. But remember to keep calm and move on.

 

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Today is International Happiness Day

“I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite!” -Buddy the elf (from the motion picture, Elf)

Happiness is in the air- okay, maybe that flourish is the start of Spring. But really, I have a lot to be happy about lately. So far, 28 is shaping up to be an awesome year- it’s been about two weeks since my birthday and a lot of positive change has happened: I was offered a full-time position with a local arts organization. The employees are kind; I believe in their mission and I’ll eventually get health benefits! With a heavy heart, I turned my two-weeks notice at the newspaper. I was upset that I won’t be writing at the journalistic level but some friends reminded that I can still freelance- good idea! I decided to one-up their suggestion and start pitching to national magazines (I’m working on a portfolio for “Afar,” a travel magazine based in San Francisco). I found someone to replace my roommate when she moves out this summer (I’m sad to see her go but am excited for my friend to move in). I’m dating this incredible guy who makes me feel like the prettiest girl in the world. School is going great- who would have thunk that I would have an “A” in a class that I stressed so hard over even before the semester started? Life is good- and I am pretty damn happy.

Today is International Happiness Day. While, I think that every day should be a “Happiness Day,” I know that some days just suck. Happiness is a fleeting emotion- I certainly have my ups and downs. But I feel better when I’m overjoyed. I was emailing a friend a few days ago, as him about what makes him happy. He didn’t have a clear answer for me. I found that heartbreaking.

I hope that you, dear reader, know what makes you happy. If not, I stress that you find that one thing that brings you joy. Is it music? Is it riding your bike? Is it enjoying the company of your kids? Is it simply just playing video games all day? I’m happiest when I’m being silly (and dancing). As simple as that sounds, learning what truly makes me happy took a long time. I had to sit down and figure out where my values lie- I think that a key factor for your source of happiness. I taught myself that my happiness isn’t necessarily someone else’s happiness and that you shouldn’t base your happiness on other people. It’s best when it ring purely your heart. Happiness is in there somewhere- sometime you just have to dig it out. Force a smile on your face until that smile is real and legit.

I think about my early 20s when I was plagued with depression and major anxiety- I thought I would never be happy at all in my life. But the biggest lesson that I learned is that happiness is there. If you don’t feel it now, I promise that you will soon- have that faith (I have it for you). Happy Happy Day, dear reader.

(And if you need an instant dose of happiness… Clap along.)

Happy 28th Birthday

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I turn 28 within the next few hours and I’m terrified.  I’m scared that I’m not living the life I’m supposed to be living. I’m scared that I will be alone, without a loving partnership, for a very long time. I’m scared that the dream I’m working so hard for will never come true. I’m scared that I’m never going to be happy. I’m scared of being older.

I treated myself to a book as an early birthday present, combing Amazon’s webpages for it. I read the first few pages of “The Best Advice I Ever Got” in a Chicago airport last year as I waited for my flight back to Nevada. In the book, actors, politicians, journalists and authors contributed their best pieces of advice given to them by their families, coaches, and random strangers. I couldn’t get the book out of my head for a full year- it offers some very touching and wise words that I constantly need to hear; words such as “If we see ourselves as others see us, we begin to appreciate our kaleidoscope dimensions” (said by Queen Rania Al Abdullah). Or “Fatigue, discomfort and discouragement are merely symptoms of effort” (words written by Morgan Freeman). Or this quote, by Maria Shriver, “Anxiety is a glimpse of your own daring.”

Or this one (okay, it wasn’t in the book but it was wisely spoken by Lupita Nyong’o at the Academy Awards this past Sunday)…

I know that I’m beyond afraid of the future. But despite all this, I do remain hopeful. This is what these pieces of advice taught me. I’m going to be okay. Better than okay. I’m going to be AWESOME! My faith in the future, with all its goodness, positivity and success, is the only thing I can depend on. Sure, I know that bad things will happen (they always do- that’s life) but my buoyant faith will continue to pierce the despair in my heart. I need to keep believing that one day, I’m going to meet the love of my life and we’re adopt two million children (okay, maybe not that many. I stop at six). I need to start believing that I will land a huge writing job one day (hopefully, as an editor for something at Conde Nast). I need to stop putting so much emphasis and faith into other people like my friends and the organizations I’m involved with and redirect that faith into myself. My friend, Barbie, sent me this quote a few weeks ago: “She decided to start living the life she imagined.” And that, I will do- working hard for a head full of dreams to come true.

March 5th, tomorrow, marks my 28th year on the planet. I will spend the day thinking about how fabulous my life is going to be. I heard a rumor that 28 is the best year of your 20s. I believe so.

Happy, and a truly happy one at that, birthday to me.

Happy birthday, dear Andrea (emphasis on the 'HAPPY')

Happy birthday, dear Andrea (emphasis on the ‘HAPPY’)