Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Happy Birthday to me!

After yesterday's reflection on 25 wonderful things I did last year, I spent this morning dreaming up 26 things I'd like to try and accomplish before January 31, 2013. Some are career goals, some are financial,  some personal, and others are maybe just dreams, but I'm rather excited to give this list my best shot...

26 Things I  Want to do at 26:

1. Research and apply to graduate schools.
2. Take a grant writing class.
3. Apply for a Fulbright grant.
4. Learn how to write copy.
5. Publish some articles / build up my writing portfolio.
6. Make trips to visit friends in DC, Philly, NYC, Austin, and Seattle.
7. Vacation in the Outer Banks for the first time in three years.
8. Finish watching the Harry Potter movies.
9. Come up with a business plan/proposal for an arts-integration focused teacher professional development program in Richmond.
10. Teach a Shakespeare class.
11. Audition at Richmond Shakespeare. Maybe even get cast in something.
12. Create an original performance piece with a group of at-risk teens.
13. Start writing that play I've always wanted to write about Flannery O' Connor.
14. Guest lecture in a theatre education class at JMU.
15. Direct professional actors in a reading of a great new script.
16. Visit at least one national park I haven't been to yet.
17. Learn to play the Ukelele.
18. Get Richmond hipsters into square dancing. If it works in Seattle/Portland, it can work here.
19. Bring story drama to some local elementary schools/ libraries.
20. Fall in love. If not with someone, with something or someplace.
21. Have enough regular income to actually make a budget & save some money.
22. Move out of my parents house and settle into a place of my own.
23. Go camping with my brothers in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
24. Start a RVA chapter of my Seattle YA book club: The Homecoming Court Literary Consortium.
25. Find and get involved in a healthy church.
26. Stop worrying about what comes next and enjoy what comes now.

Monday, January 30, 2012


I didn't do a lot of reflecting at the start of 2012. After a cross-country move in October, the passing of my grandfather in November, and then the emotional whirlwind of getting re-acclimated to Virginia while spending a complete set of holidays in my parents' house, something I hadn't done since college, my mind was too out-of focus for reflection this New Year's.

But tomorrow I turn 26. And my mind feels sharp. For the first time in a long time, I'm at peace with the uncertainty and inexplicability of my weird, artistic, out-of-the mold life. Something I've learned lately is that imposing structure on my thought process usually helps me make some sense of things. So instead of rambling on about 25 and all the abstract things I learned and understood about life this year, I made a list of 25 concrete things that I'm thankful I did this year.

 It's so easy for me to beat myself up every year for the things I wanted to do but didn't or couldn't that I think I miss out on seeing the wonderful blessings of life as it is. Tomorrow I'll post a list of 26 things I want to do when I'm 26.. but for now, I'm thanking God for all of the blessings that 25 brought:

1. Had my first professional (aka paid)  gig as an actor.
2. Directed my first full-length play. Starring 40 elementary school actors.
3. Picked up some sweet square dancing moves. Sort of.
4. Dated someone for longer than two weeks.
5. Taught the most challenging and eye-opening drama class of my life at a men's homeless shelter.
6. Somehow managed to pay all my bills while working no fewer than 10 part-time jobs/short- term independent contracts.
7. Filed taxes on my own (mostly) for the first time.
8. Saw The Avett Brothers, Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, Ingrid Michaelson, Hall and Oates, and a slew of other  new and old favorites play wonderful live shows.
9. Got invited to 10 weddings. Attended 2. And was genuinely happy/excited for all 10 couples. And totally content with my singleness. Really.
10. Made my very first trip to California. Then went back. Twice.
11. Spoke a blessing over one of my very best friends in the whole world at her wedding.
12. Said goodbye to Seattle.
13. Drove the Pacific Coast Highway all the way from Oregon to San Francisco to Los Angeles. All by myself.
14. Hugged some redwoods.
15. Attended my first Cirque Du Soleil show in Vegas.
16. Saw the Grand Canyon at sunset.
17. Got to spend time with my grandfather two weeks before he passed away.
18. Let go of past hurts and started a real, grown-up friendship with my brother
19. Finally read and/or listened to all 7 of the Harry Potter books.
20. Spent BOTH Thanksgiving AND Christmas with my family.
21.  Survived a holiday retail job. And picked up some great pencil skirts and a few new friends in the process.
22. Found myself really starting to like this city I never wanted to live in. Who knew?
23. Got offered a teaching fellowship and had the maturity to turn it down, recognizing that four years in an inner city school, albeit an admirable endeavor, isn't the right thing for me right now.
24. Learned that I don't need a job title to use my gifts. Or to be content with my life.
25. Realized that grace really is sufficient.