Declining Opportunities is Okay

Thanksgiving feast

Well, hi, December. Where did you come from?

November blurred by in an unusual way this year. Every day felt like I was riding a roller coaster and couldn’t figure out how to get off. There were highs and there were definite lows. And you might think that’s just how life always is. You’d be right, but this was different.

This was a month punctuated by wonderful weekends with friends, but overcast with stress and worry and dropping every normal priority. Writing went out the window (BYE NaNoWriMo, #fail), along with reading and all momentum with DBK Photography. Because while I had a beautiful birthday weekend, a beautiful last weekend of true warmth shooting mini sessions, a beautiful weekend in Denver, and, at last, a perfect Thanksgiving weekend, much of the month my thoughts were occupied by The Big News.

The Big News. The news that Ryan received a job offer in Iowa, to start quite nearly immediately. As in right after Thanksgiving. As in before Christmas. As in, life as I knew it was potentially about to completely change, and right around the holidays, at that. And I just didn’t know what to do with that.

We started planning. Ryan would take the job. It seemed like a good opportunity. I wanted to be supportive. We scoured Craigslist for apartments. We Googled the weather. We started gathering things we’d need. I bought plane tickets to fly him home for Christmas and fly me back and forth. I started to wonder how long we could live in two separate cities while he determined how he liked the job and I got ready to give notice to my employer. I didn’t want to leave my job, and for that reason I hoped we could maybe last a few months. Then I remembered the familiar ache of long distance and felt like cowering under the covers and forgetting everything altogether.

In the end, the day before Thanksgiving, we decided to decline the opportunity and stay. And I couldn’t explain to you the type of relief that went through me. I hadn’t realized until that moment how much I did not want to leave my home, my job, here. I had worried that we would feel a missed opportunity if we didn’t go. I had thought maybe this was a chance for adventure, for Ryan’s career to take off, for me to set real time aside for my writing and photography. But in that moment, I realized how great we have it here. I realized I have all I need right here.

And let me tell you, that realization was a sweet one for Thanksgiving. I made a list of all I had to be thankful for regarding Ryan, family, friends, jobs, and this place we live in, and it seemed to have no end. The long weekend spent here at home was that much sweeter when I thought about the idea that we could have been spending the time packing up the car and driving the 17 hours to Iowa. What else made it sweeter was hearing our friends and my parents tell us how glad they are we’re staying–just after they’d been voicing their wholehearted support for our decision, something I couldn’t have lived without when thinking of moving. What good people I have in my life.

That’s all. That’s the update. I can breathe freely again. And plan for another cozy holiday here in our little apartment, the two of us, right near family, just like I’d been hoping for before.

Any big news in your life lately? Any happy holiday plans?

love always, Delia

Remembering My Wedding Day (Getting Ready)

I’ve mentioned a couple times here that I had gotten the amazing chance to photograph my first wedding for a long-time friend of mine. Well, the big day has finally come and gone! Last Friday consisted of me taking the day off work, sleeping in, not being able to sit still for the next three hours after waking up, and finally making my way into the mountains to the wedding venue with Ryan, my trusted second shooter. Guys, I can see why husband and wife teams seem to have the most fun together. I’m so glad he was able and willing to help me.

The whole experience brought me right back to our own wedding day. As we watched the chaos last weekend of wedding party and family arriving hours before the ceremony, trying to help set up and get ready for photos, I remembered our own frantic gathering of picture frames and table numbers and seating charts and guest books and all of my outfit accessories. And when the next morning I began going through the photos I took, I found myself also going back through the photos taken of my wedding, by the amazing Sweet William Photography. (And I’ve decided, after now having done a wedding myself, that Will is probably a wizard. He is so. good.) The memories just kept pouring in.

Getting ready.

I woke up long before I wanted to on my wedding day. As much as I tried to will myself back to sleep for another couple of hours, it was not going to happen. I dragged myself out of bed and made my way to the kitchen, my stomach a knot of nerves. To-dos were still streaming through my head. After my mom took the time to make eggs for breakfast, and we had the chance to sit around the table and eat with our family staying with us, we all got to work on throwing the rest of the wedding together. My mom made my wedding cake, so she had tending to that to do, while everyone else began getting the arch decorated with flowers and I set forth on printing out our seating charts and getting photos in their frames. I hit panic mode when I couldn’t find the prints for a good several minutes, and when it reached 12:30 and I told my maid of honor I hadn’t even had the opportunity to shower yet, she was a doll and ordered me to do so.

Getting ready.

After that, the house entered a state of greater chaos as more family and my bridal party began to arrive little bits at a time, though every one of them was as helpful as could be. One of my bridesmaids, Madison, called me as she was heading over and asked if I wanted her to pick me up something to eat on her way. “I’m not really hungry,” I told her. “I had eggs earlier.” Apparently, I can’t eat when I’m nervous. But that Madison, she kept prying until I conceded to having a mini mac and cheese. Good thing I have friends who know what’s best for me when I can’t think.

Getting ready.

This luck became even more apparent when it came time for us to make our way to the wedding venue. It was greatly disorienting leaving the house not carrying a thing, while my beloved bridesmaids all made sure to pack up all of the decorations along with my dress and veil. And my shoes, which I totally would have forgotten if it weren’t for my maid of honor. Point two for her. Point three goes to her, too, for calling me on our way to make sure I’d remembered to bring my birth control. I hadn’t.

As seems to be the theme for weddings everywhere, we were running late getting to the venue and starting the photos. At one point, I had two people working on my hair and one person doing my makeup, as I sat there trembling that we wouldn’t have time to get all the photos in, or that one of our vendors wouldn’t show up (which is a whole other story I may get to in some other post), or that the rest of the family would for some reason or another not arrive in time for photos beforehand. Yes, I think I’d classify myself as a worrier.

Getting ready.

We did, in fact, start the ceremony late, but it was no fault of our own, and frankly by that point I wasn’t even remotely keeping track of the time.

You know what’s funny? If I didn’t have the memories associated with the craziness of this day, I’d look at these photos and think everything looked so put together. So Pinterest worthy. I guess that’s the beauty of a great wedding photographer. They capture the best, the beautiful. Thank you always to the amazing Sweet William Photography!

The story of our wedding is to be continued (as I tend to babble on a bit)…

love always, Delia

5 Ways to Make Progress Towards Your Goals

5 ways to make progress on your goals

I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert on life or even achieving your dreams. While I’ve read and heard the opinions of the masses regarding finding happiness and success in life, and I’ve seen a lot of inspirational quotes on Pinterest, the truth is that I’m only 23, and I have a lot to learn before I can deem myself a successful adult or become any sort of expert on anything.

That said, in the past few weeks I have made a few personal discoveries that have demonstrated to be beneficial to my achievement of my goals. I often find myself overwhelmed by all of the things I want to do and hope to accomplish. I want to keep up with this blog, but also keep up with my creative writing. I want to grow my photography business, but also remain invested in my day job now. I want to live a healthy lifestyle complete with a well-balanced diet and a regular exercise regimen, but I also want to bake all the sweets in the world. I want to try new recipes, keep a clean house, and still have time to watch TV with my husband. I want to host parties and go out with friends, but I also want to stay home and veg after a long week. I want to travel the world, but also save money to invest in a home.

It’s enough to make you just want to bury your head in your pillow and never come out of bed. And I know I’m not alone in this dilemma. But over the weekend I came to a sort of sense of peace. I realized in which ways I can change to make myself more productive towards achieving my goals, and I also realized that it’s okay to not be able to work towards them all at once—because, well, that would just be impossible.

Thus, the five things I, the total non-expert, suggest for anyone who hopes to strengthen their progress to their own goals:

  1. Ask for what you want. If you don’t let your desires be known, then no one will have any reason to grant them to you. I have always had a hard time with this. I am a naturally quiet, people-pleasing person. I don’t like to raise a fuss. But I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone on this a few times lately. When I found out there would be an editorial position at the press opening, I went straight to our editor-in-chief and asked him what he’d suggest I do to best be considered for it. I turned down another opportunity at the press in hopes that the editorial job would pan out, and it did. If I had just sat around and taken what was first offered to me, I would not be in the job I’m in now. Similarly, I would not be shooting my first wedding in a couple weeks if I had not reached out to my friend who was searching for a photographer. Putting myself out there with my desires known was terrifying, but it has paid off time and time again.
  2. Start the day off right. Sometimes, my favorite thing to do on a Saturday or Sunday morning is to park myself right in front of the TV for a lazy couple of hours. While there is nothing wrong with that, it can get me started on a lazy streak throughout the rest of the day. Last Saturday, I woke up at 9, got myself a bowl of cereal and some coffee, and delved into my writing project all morning. Starting off the day with doing something productive actually made me feel ready to tackle the other things on my to-do list, like doing the dishes and adding to my photography website. Then I got some relaxing time in later, and felt better about taking it.
  3. Balance your time between your tasks and pursuits. If you have several things you NEED to get done during the week, don’t overestimate your time and energy and expect to get them all done at once. I get much less stressed if I divide each day during the week by tasks. For example: Monday I’ll catch up on blogging; Tuesday I’ll take care of photography business; etc. This doesn’t always work out, especially since there are other things that do have to be every day, but it helps me feel better when I reach the end of a day and realize I had no time for blogging after I worked, went to the grocery store, worked out, made dinner, and did creative writing for half an hour.
  4. Come up with realistic short-term and long-term goals. Strive for something you know you could achieve in the short term, if you put your mind to it. And keep all your short-term goals in mind when you think of your big, long-term goal. It’s okay if it seems unattainable at first. It’s not going to happen overnight. You’re going to have to go through a lot of short-term goals before you’ll reach your long-term one. It’s okay. Your goals will keep you focused.
  5. Pray and/or meditate. Whether you’re religious or not, taking five minutes out of your day to recount your blessings, ask for your wants, and free your mind of all preoccupations has such an effect on your zen. It’s freeing.

Happy pursuits, my friends. Did I miss anything on my list? What do you do to increase your productivity?

love always, Delia

Currently…

Currently (latte art)

Writing a fiction story I began working on at the Taos Summer Writers’ Workshop, which I hope to turn into a novel. We’ll see how that goes, though, because I tend to be distracted in my writing with too many ideas. I’ve also got about five other stories rolling around in my head, and have begun to dabble in starting a personal memoir. Not to mention blogging ;)

Such is the writer’s life!

Anticipating shooting an old friend’s wedding in just over two weeks! I am so excited for this awesome opportunity. I’ve always loved wedding photography, and a great wedding photographer was my top priority when planning my own wedding, so I am frankly honored that my friend Jeremy and his fiancé Michelle have entrusted me with this job. I have been spending the last few weeks preparing in all ways possible—researching, getting new gear, and finally taking the leap and starting up an official website!

Wearing shorts, while I still can! What’s funny is that I honestly had forgotten about my many pairs of cute lil short shorts in my bottom drawer until about a month ago. I guess I’d just gotten used to wearing all my work appropriate attire most of the week, so my shorts never really crossed my mind. It’s nice to get reacquainted :)

Craving a Seattle latte with beautiful foam art.

Also craving: being able to make such beautiful caffeinated art myself.

Missing being on vacation. Amiright?

Linking up with Dearest Love and Anne in Residence! What’s currently occurring in your life?

love always, Delia

Reasons to Go to Cabo on Your Honeymoon

A little over a year ago, I was unwinding by the side of a pool and the Pacific Ocean, simultaneously, during what was arguably the best week of my life (aside from my actual wedding week.) Lately, I’ve been pining pretty heavily to go back there.

Cabo Arc

I knew that a tropical honeymoon was going to be a top priority expense when we began planning our wedding. It went: photography, honeymoon, and then everything else. I know that may not be prioritization for everyone, but for us, it made the most sense, and I am so glad we were able to recognize that.

See, Ryan and I love to travel together. We love getting to explore new places and share new experiences. And, until our honeymoon, we’d actually never truly been on a trip where it was just the two of us. We’d made trips with family and friends, or traveled alone together to stay primarily with family and friends, but we’d never gone more than a day and a half in our own hotel room together, with no one’s itinerary for the day but our own. I couldn’t wait.

It took a while to settle on the actual location for our honeymoon. I wanted somewhere tropical because I wanted nothing more than to lounge on the beach to my heart’s content. I didn’t want to go somewhere where I’d want to go out and see a ton of things because I wanted our honeymoon to be a time of rejuvenation after the stress of the wedding, and a time of relaxed bonding during our first days of marriage. And, Ryan seemed pretty okay with wherever I wanted to go.

Cabo rocks

Eventually, we decided on Cabo, partially because it was one of the cheapest of all the places I was looking to travel to, and partially because it just seemed so charming. And I could not be happier with our choice. Thus, I bring you the list:

1) When you arrive at your hotel and mention that you are on your honeymoon, you just might be upgraded to the larger, fancier, more expensive sister resort, at no extra charge.

2) Your room may just have the perfect view of fancy hotel pools and the ocean. It also may rival the fanciest of hotel rooms you have stayed in.

ocean view from La Playa Grande room

3) You will fully embrace the lack of ability for anyone to contact you, sans phone service.

4) You’ll get to have the absolute best view for brunch, ever. Also, brunch is buffet-style, and contains all the greats. Chilaquiles and black beans and chocolate conchas and Mexican coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice (and I could keep going.) They will all grace your taste buds.

brunch at La Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas

brunch at La Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas

The best view for brunch.

5) Everywhere you go, the locals will all ask you if you are on your honeymoon. “Honeymooners!” they will say. “Do you know how I know you’re honeymooners? She looks very happy, and he looks tired.” This is apparently the standard greeting around the markets, but it makes it no less charming when you are actually basking in the fact you are on your honeymoon.

6) Your hotel may host nightly fiestas with prime entertainment and even better Mexican food.

7) You’ll be able to lounge by the pool and get your tan on like it’s your job. And when you get hungry or thirsty, someone will gladly bring you a margarita and some tacos. All included.

Poolside service in Cabo.

The hard life.

8) You’ll get to walk into town and go on adventures in a glass-bottom boat, or snorkeling, or swimming with dolphins.

Life jackets

snorkeling in Cabo
9) You might become involved in a dance competition on your snorkel expedition boat.

10) You’ll get to watch your new husband haggle prices in Spanish. (Or maybe that one might just be reserved for me.)

11) You’ll get to buy matching fedoras, and be super adorable like that.

Honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas

12) Finally, your elevator might be very informative and have a British accent.

There you have it. So, see you there tomorrow?

*I feel that I should add a couple of notes (because I clearly haven’t gone on long enough): keep in mind that if you want to swim in the ocean water, you have to do it on the bay side, not the Pacific side. “Lover’s Beach” is where many people enjoy to swim. Also, if you are running along the hot sand at Lover’s Beach, beware of sharp rocks of sandstone hiding below, or else you’ll end up like my husband, with a gash on the bottom of his foot that was bleeding so much I thought our honeymoon would turn into a Mexican hospital adventure. Finally, in case you’re curious, we stayed at La Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas.

love always, Delia

One Year of Marriage: In Review

first year of marriage - photos

Well, Saturday Ryan and I celebrated our one year anniversary. I have been struggling a bit to keep up with big updates such as this, but what can you do sometimes?

We didn’t do anything crazy to celebrate. We slept in, I made French toast, we took Wally to the dog park, went to the mall and got my ring cleaned, had a nice, fancy dinner, and a movie in with our wedding cake, which my mom expertly wrapped and kept in the freezer the past 12 months.

I like things that way. Sometimes leaving the day somewhat up to chance makes it that much sweeter. Plus, doing that left me with some more time to think about this first year as husband and wife, and all the things we have done together. And isn’t that kind of the point?

Here’s a little summary of our first year that we came up with as we munched on cinnamon French toast:

summary of first year marriage

Oh, and then of course there’s the hundreds of photos and good times with friends. We are so blessed. A little taste above :)

love always, Delia

How Having Had a Long Distance Relationship Affects Our Marriage

signing marriage license

As you may or may not know, Ryan and I met when we were fourteen and fifteen years old, began officially dating when we were sixteen years old, and embarked on a three and a half year long distance relationship when I left for college at eighteen.

My memory of the night I told him I’d be going to college in California remains fresh. We were sitting side by side at a booth at Mimi’s Café. When I told him I’d sent in my acceptance letter, I began to cry, and he hugged me and assured me we would figure it all out. Our waiter seemed oblivious to the severity of our embraced conversation.

The memory of saying goodbye at the end of the summer remains even fresher. It does not seem five years ago that I left him alone in his driveway, about to venture alone into on the great unknown of college in Los Angeles. And yet, those years, and plenty more hellos and goodbyes, passed, and here we are, together under one roof and bound together in matrimony.

Ryan's airplane selfie

We have gone weeks at a time without being able to see each other. We have spent many Valentine’s Days, Halloweens, and birthdays apart. We have gone out with friends in our own separate cities, agonizingly aware of the missing company of one another. We have spent countless hours on Skype and phone calls. We have had extended conversations over text, and we have had miscommunications over text. We have argued over not getting to talk enough. We have each pondered whether it was all worth it.

And it was. The loneliness, frustration, and miscommunication faded away when we were able to be together again, even if only for a weekend. Our time apart was a challenge, but our time together was precious and easy. It kept us going through the darker times.

We’ve had countless people comment on how amazing it is that we were able to stay together for the three and a half years of our long distance relationship. While I can appreciate what they’re saying, knowing first-hand just how much it sucks not being in the same city as my significant other, I feel that most of these people don’t fully take into consideration how much growing and strengthening our relationship underwent because of the long distance.

Three things you’ll learn (or at least, I did) when my relationship became long distance:

  • The first thing you learn when in a long distance relationship is that communication is the most important element in a relationship. Miscommunication can lead to stupid fights, and stupid fights can feel like the end of the world when you’re not able to resolve them in person. Your words mean everything when you can’t physically be there for someone. You must use them wisely.
  • The next thing you learn is that quality time becomes your top priority. When you have an opportunity to spend time with your significant other at last, that is all that matters. You’re going to want to soak up every possible hour of every day you have to spend with them, because you know that this is not permanent.
  • Another thing that is a really, really big deal is trust. I’ve known many people try a long distance relationship and drive themselves crazy with mistrust. Those horrible thoughts will always fleet through your mind: “He’s not texting me back. What if he’s ignoring me?” or “She went out to a party with her friends last night. What if there was another guy?” You have to learn to push these thoughts from your mind and place all your faith in the person you love.

I could go on, but this post is getting long as it is.

Communication, quality time, and trust. Sounds like good preparation for marriage, no? We will carry these values for the rest of our lives together. Now, we have time and physical touch back on our side, but the lessons from the past years have not faded. I often find myself in deep awe that this life we live now is really real; we share the same bed, the same closet, the same food, the same weekend plans—how incredible is that? And how incredible that it feels so incredible? Sometimes I even feel myself still stuck in the long distance mentality that makes me greedy for time with Ryan. It is as if there will never be enough time together to make up for our lost time. That is something for me to work on, but at the same time, missing my husband by the end of my work day isn’t such a bad thing.

I always tell people to give a long distance relationship a chance. If it’s not going to work out, then it’s not going to work out. But why cut something off for a silly thing like distance, especially in this age of texting and Skype and unlimited minutes, when it could be something really great? I take pride in our accomplishment of staying together through the distance. What started out as a possible reason to break up at the end of high school ended up becoming one of the strongest bonds to unite us in our marriage, and while I would love the opportunity to re-live those years in the same city, I wouldn’t want to give up the stronger people we’ve become, together and individually.

Crossroads

holding the final pieces of the puzzle in our hands

It seems that time is winding closer and closer to the anniversary of one particularly important day in my life. And no, I don’t mean the anniversary of being hired as an official employee at the Press, though that is another mile marker I’ve recently passed.

My one year anniversary of being married to Ryan is just two short weeks away, and I find myself quite often musing about that life I was living in the time leading up to our wedding day. The monsoons have arrived in Albuquerque, and I am brought back to the memories of packing up my room and moving my things across town in the rain and into our apartment a week before the wedding. As the thunder booms and the giant rain droplets pound down for just a few minutes at a time, I’m reminded of when it did the exact same one year ago, as I stood in an empty apartment kitchen and unpacked the brand new dishes and appliances my mom bought for us. I think of my parents losing power for four days that weekend before the wedding, and each day praying for, at the very least, clear skies between 4 and 7 pm on August 2.

Now I have no such worries. The skies are free to rain any time and any day of the week, and I will welcome the drenching with open arms. I still have other worries for the future, as I always will, but I smile thinking of the monumental crossroads I stood at one year ago in comparison to the new, yet just as important, ones that I stand at today.

While at this time last year I was in the midst of starting a new job, finding an apartment, finalizing the last possible details of my wedding, and preparing for a life together with Ryan, these days I find myself in the midst of beginning yet another new chapter in my publishing career, anticipating Ryan’s official completion of his college career (as of this Thursday!), waiting to see where he’ll end up getting a job, making moves with my photography, and becoming newly inspired in my writing, thanks to the creative writing workshop I had the opportunity to attend this past weekend (but more on that in another post.)

It’s comforting to know that everything and still nothing has changed. Life was, is, and always will be busy, and it has turned out beautifully alright since last year’s crossroads; I’m soothed by the notion that the same will be true yet another year from now.

love always, Delia

Occupational Hazards of a Life Planner

picking peaches

I am a major planner. I planned my entire college course load at the beginning of freshman year in order to be able to finish early, and I did indeed graduate a semester ahead of the rest of my class. I planned internships in publishing for myself throughout college to give me the necessary experiences to more easily get a job after graduation, and I in fact attained a position at a university press within months of graduation. I have gone so far as to plan my life ten years ahead—all tentatively, of course. I know that life often gets in the way of our best laid plans, and God often has alternative plans for us. But it’s just something I can’t turn off in my head. I partially blame my mom—she’s made certain family vacations happen that sound like total fantasy when she concocts them, and she made my wedding happen with fairly little outside help. What can I say, I learned from the best.

But this need is hard to turn off, which makes it really stressful when life gets entirely unpredictable. And my life is about to enter the stage of entirely unpredictable.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like having a little spontaneity and variety. But I need stability, and the fact that I have a full time job with a consistent schedule, salary, and vacation time seems to bode pretty well for me. So, the notion that this lifestyle which has become so normal to me in the past year could very quickly completely change is kind of really throwing my planning brain for a loop.

I should explain. Ryan is a month away from finally completing his college career, and is attempting to foray into the real-life engineering world. We don’t know when his efforts will pay off and he’ll receive a job offer. We don’t know where the offer will come from. We could be looking at relocating to a different city, or we could be looking into buying a house here. But we don’t know.

That scares the crap out of me. How am I supposed to plan for the next steps in my career when I don’t know what city I may live in within the next few months? How am I supposed to decide whether we should renew our lease next month, or for how long? How am I supposed to know what kind of vacations I can plan for next year? How can I shop for patio furniture if I don’t even know whether the goal of earning a yard and patio within the next year will be feasible?

So many unknowns. It all turns my brain into overdrive when I begin thinking about it. That’s when I have to remind myself to find joy in the journey, and trust that soon enough, these unknowns will become known, and soon enough, I may find myself nostalgic for this time of great change and potential. If I can’t plan anything right now, why not enjoy this time as if it’s time off?

marcelpagnol

via

I love this quote because it is so true, and a good reminder of how to appreciate life for what it is, and find happiness with what you have. By the way, did anyone associate the photo of peaches above as metaphorical for looking up at something just out of reach? Just me? I tried.

 How does the unknown frustrate you? Are you as terrible dealing with it as I am?

love always, Delia

A Letter to Myself Graduating High School

Dear Delia,

You’re graduating high school very soon, and I’ve been thinking about you a lot.

graduating high school sweethearts

You’re about to go through more changes in your life than you ever imagined. Over the next five years, you’re going to enter adulthood, but trust me when I say, you’re never really going to feel like an adult. I’m not even sure adulthood is a real thing. We’re all just big pretenders, so don’t worry if you constantly just feel like you’re faking it. You’re not alone.

The world is a scary place, college is a big deal, and you’re right to worry about it all. You’re going to learn what it’s like to live states away from your parents, your best friends, your boyfriend, your dog, your cat, and your green chile. You’re going to face living in a new place with all new people. You’re going to get your first (and last) C on a paper, and it’s going to feel like your high school grades were all a lie.

You’re going to cry a lot the first few months that you’re gone. It’s going to feel like your whole world has lost its color and begun to implode. You’re going to wonder if your relationship will survive the distance. You’re going to fight with your best friend because everything is changing and you won’t understand why. You’re going to try and socialize, but it’s going to be hard because everyone wants to socialize with alcohol, and not only do you not want to partake, but you’re also just socially introverted and awkward. And in time, you’ll come to embrace that.

awkward selfie

But the next five years are going to go by faster than you think they are right now. You’re going to blink and find yourself at your first high school reunion, surrounded by your former classmates who all still look the same, but older, and with a bit more life experience written in their faces and voices. And you’re going to realize that that’s how you are now, too: basically the same, but older—and, yes, wiser.

You’re still going to love Friends and One Tree Hill as much as you do right now. In fact, at times, bingeing on those DVDs is going to feel like it’s saving your life. You’re still going to have the same best friends you have right now, and those best friends are all going to stand beside you at your wedding, just like you’d always hoped. You’re also going to make new friends, and find the best dance and creative writing communities you’ll ever experience.

Hyper Xpressions dance crew

Yes, the three and a half years of long distance through college are going to suck. But they’re going to be worth it, because they’re going to teach you about true communication, they’re going to teach you that you can survive by yourself if you have to, and they’re going to prove to you that surviving the distance can be done. So don’t believe what anyone else tries to tell you.

Ryan surprising me with proposal at LACMA

I’ll let you in on a little secret: that painful distance is going to end with a surprise proposal that will make you think you’re living in a fairy tale, and less than a year later you’re going to be the wife to your very best friend. If that’s not worth everything, I don’t know what is.

winning--just married.

And as for that world beyond college you constantly dream about? It is everything and nothing like you’d imagine. It is expensive and complicated and weird and unpredictable and freeing, and like with college, you’ll be ready for it, even though it won’t feel like you will.

Enjoy the ride.

Love,

Yourself in 5 years