During COVID, my plan was to get back into blogging. Instead, I spent my time playing music (thank you to my amazing long-time guitar teacher, Steve Marchena, for teaching me all those folklore and evermore songs!). I also reconnected with my awesome former voice teacher, Laura Vecchione. In addition, I took two grant writing courses, earning a Certificate in Grant Writing. I also embarked on a job hunt. During COVID, I also recognized the importance of exercise for my overall health during this time (that will be for another blog post), so unfortunately, I had to put blogging on the backburner.
One of the biggest updates since last December…I got married three weeks ago! A lot of work goes into wedding planning, which is another reason I was absent from the blogging world. Despite the pre-wedding craziness, It was such an awesome day! After postponing a year due to COVID, I feel so lucky that I found my partner, Nick, and that we got to celebrate with those closest to us.
As you may know, I am a huge Taylor Swift fan, and she re-released her Red (Taylor’s Version) album this past Friday. Taylor and I are the same age, so I feel like we have grown up together, as crazy as that sounds (we’re besties, she just doesn’t know it!). The original Red release date was October 2012, during my last semester of college (I graduated mid-year), so almost ten years ago. I was in such a different place then, and have such a different perspective on life now. So, I have to say, the majority of this album is a complete juxtaposition to how I feel now. The thing is, the “highs” in life (like marrying Nick) wouldn’t feel so high without the lows. And that applies to all areas of life.
Watching the 10-minute “All Too Well” short film brought me back to where I was in my life in 2012, allowing me to reflect on what I have learned since the album’s original release. So, in honor of “Red (Taylor’s Version)”, here are life lessons that I have learned, signifying the nine years between the original release of Red and Red (Taylor’s Version):
- Have an outlet for when life gets messy: Whether it is religion (I started going back to church), or an inspirational person (I am looking at you, Cody Rigsby), it is so important to have something that provides you comfort and allows you to think about your circumstances differently.
- Live in the moment: Taylor’s song “22” from Red particularly reminds me of college, “we’re happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way. It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah.” Looking back, I wish I had lived in the moment more back then, because the reality is that adulting is hard and you’ll soon be buried in responsibilities.
- It’s okay to not have a life plan sometimes: Uncertainty feels very anxiety-provoking in the moment, but the truth is that nobody knows exactly what the future holds. It is ok to slow down, and take some time for yourself before figuring out your next step.
- You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea: Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok. It is okay for people not to like you; that is why we are all different. So don’t let one person’s opinion of you get into your head and make you feel down.
- You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, either: Similarly, you aren’t going to like everyone, and that’s okay, too. You should still treat people with respect and kindness, but you don’t have to be their best friend.
- On a related note, stand up for yourself: Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Be confident in what you bring to the table, and don’t let anyone treat you poorly or manipulate you. Be assertive. This can look like asking someone not to speak to you in a certain manner. If a relationship no longer serves you, perhaps you don’t need it in your life at all. Looking back in some of my romantic relationships and friendships, there is some behavior I am not even sure why I put up with. I recently listened to my friend Amanda Brabec’s “Build with Brabec” podcast, and she said the same thing. Like, what were we thinking giving some of these guys our time!?!?
- Work is important, but it’s not your whole life: Is it important to have a career you enjoy, and work hard? Absolutely, but you also deserve friends, hobbies and fun.
- We are all busy, but it is important to stay in touch with people: Staying in touch is something that gets harder as life gets busier, but if both people aren’t putting time and energy into a relationship, then it just won’t work. All relationships are a two-way street and take work.
- Treat yourself with kindness: So often we talk to ourselves in self-deprecating ways that we would never talk to a friend! Treat yourself as your best friend, appreciate your alone time and practice regular self-care.
What lessons have you learned since 2012?