10 Years Whaaaat

When I thought about an entry to write to resurrect the Tent, I weighed many options.  Scathing deconstruction of pop culture?  Iron-fisted political commentary?  Reiterate my enduring love for 80s soft rock?

Then I realized that my first entry ever was just shy of ten years ago.  Ten!  Years!  I was a 27 year old in my very first year working in education, discovering my love for the field and making absolutely zero money.  I had no idea what the next ten years would bring.  Do we ever?

So, what would I have said to myself ten years ago?  Please note that this isn’t one of those “now that I know everything” manifestos.  I mean, I am 36 years old and today I spilled sunscreen AND chia seeds all over my purse, sooooo.  Yeah.

It’s been ten years, so how about ten things I’d tell that 27 year old who wrote her first shiny new blog entry?  You know, aside from “check the tops of your sunscreen AND chia seed containers.”

1.  It’s not a race.  Let other people inspire you (or the opposite), but don’t let their lives be a barometer for what you should do with your own.

2.  Similarly, hold back on judgment.  The only person’s life that you have any idea about is your own, and even that is a constant learning process.  You don’t know everything.  I know!  It’s shocking.

3.  If you love someone, say it.  Life is short.  No, like, REALLY short.

4.  Be nicer than you think you should be.  The person who cut you off in traffic might have an emergency.  Even if they don’t, tell yourself that they do.  Stress and needless anger just make you old and angry.  Some things are worth your anxiety, but not strangers, traffic, or SERIOUSLY HOW DO YOU GET THE SMELL OF SUNSCREEN OUT OF A MICHAEL KORS BAG THAT I PAID FULL PRICE FOR TWO YEARS AGO JUST SAYING.

5.  Let go of the things and people that don’t make you feel good.  Give yourself permission to walk away the same way that you would stop reading a book that isn’t doing it for you despite multiple attempts (I’m looking at you, Anna Karenina).  It doesn’t mean anything about them, just that they weren’t a good fit for you.  People make you feel good or they don’t.  Sometimes it’s that simple.  (Less poetic version:  Get rid of the assholes in your life.  For serious.  You know who they are.)

6.  That said, work to keep the people that you love close.  Not that it’s WORK, but family/jobs/life/etc. can make it difficult to connect.  Do it anyway.  Once your kids go to college you’ll all be back to drinking wine together on a couch in your jammies anyway, and it’s best if you don’t have 10 zillion things to catch up on when that time comes.

7.  I can’t remember where I read this, which means it was probably Pinterest Dostoyevsky:  Find something you are passionate about, something that you are good at, and something that you can make a living doing.  If you’re missing one of the three, it might not be right yet.  Do whatever you can to make it right.  We spend way too much time at work for it to not be inspiring and a vehicle for bettering ourselves.  Surround yourselves with people who understand that the lessons from work are also lessons about life and personal growth. Don’t just have a desk job.  Don’t just put in your eight hours to pay your bills.  Getting outside your comfort zone is unbelievably exciting and scary and wonderful.  You won’t be fully ready for it, because no one ever is.  It sounds SUPER CHEESY, I know.  But trust me.  (Having said all that, leave work at work! If you’re doing it right you’ve already given it enough of your time. Go out to dinner. Seriously. Right now. And order wine.)

8.  Travel.  It doesn’t matter how far you go.  Go everywhere you can.  Write everything down.  Take a million pictures.  Talk to people and listen to what they have to say.  (tedmosby) Everyone that you encounter is a part of your journey in some way, and is there to teach you something or make you think about something differently. (/tedmosby)

9.  If you wouldn’t be proud to have a son or daughter like them, don’t be in a relationship with them.

10.  A lot happened because of this blog.  I met my friend Kate, who read everything I wrote before I met her in person.  I met countless other friends who are still a part of my life, people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, because they are in DC, Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan.  They became people whose lives and joys and struggles I now hear and talk about daily (what did we do before Twitter? Wait, if you’re reading this, 27 year old me, INVENT TWITTER).

But also, start the blog, Red.  It will make your life better.  And so will all the people and things and opportunities coming into it over the next ten years.


5 Responses to “10 Years Whaaaat”

  1. 1 stefanie July 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    That last paragraph is so true, even if I did abandon my blog years ago. It was probably ten years ago I started mine, too! Sheesh. Time flies. I’m so glad the Internet brought you into my life, though!

  2. 2 badger reader July 16, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    For so long Internet friends felt so compartmentalized, but now they feel like super awesome friends I simply haven’t had the pleasure of sharing a drink in person with (YET.) I love that you share your passions (and sunscreen mishaps) with us.

  3. 3 jaekido July 17, 2014 at 5:54 am

    This makes me happy. I still remember clicking the “random” button repeatedly on the old Blogger site trying to find something, anything, worth reading when suddenly there appeared before me a small, red and white striped tent, like the kind you used to see in the old Mickey Mouse cartoons on the beach. I walked into the tent and there was only a small table with a single, red cupcake on it. A simple, hand lettered sign said, “eat this, it’s pretty good if I do say so myself”

    And you know what, it’s still one if the best damn cupcakes I’ve ever had.

    Congratulations on 10 years. I can hardly believe it’s been this many years (how have we STILL not met in person?)

  4. 4 Erin @ She's a big star July 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    You know that I’m thrilled that you’re back! Blog away… but I’m not sure anything can ever, ever compare to your ’50 Cent’ post… hahaha, I still laugh about that to this day!

  5. 5 Red December 30, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Thank you for these kind words, friends! I’m thankful for all of you.

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