Thoughtful Rambles

Hellooo. It’s me….

Brittan, Emma and I cuddling

Me, Emma, and Brittan cuddling on the air mattress while we were all at Christmas in Nashville. (Pic courtesy of Brittan.)

Hello and welcome to the return of Alora’s blogging.

It’s only been two months since I posted. Although, a lot has happened in the world that you probably already know about and if you don’t this blog isn’t for news anyway. Well, sometimes I share important news-related things, but this is not one of those times. This blog is going to be a what’s on my mind / how I’ve been doing blog through and through.

First up, happy holidays. I had a wonderful family Christmas will the nuclear fam and the gf. It is the first Christmas I’ve ever had with pretty much all my favorite people in one place. (Not including my extended family. I love you all too.) It was a small Christmas, but I really enjoyed it. It was really wonderful to be able to interact with my parents and siblings and also Emma (the gf). The fam has only had a little bit of time to get to know Emma in the past, so I think this weekend was good for all of them even if it was more than a little stressful at times.

Brittan, Emma, and I drove up to Nashville on Thursday and then back again on Monday, so it was four and a half days of seven people in a two bedroom apartment. The spirit of Christmas kept things fun though. I had fun anyway. I got to cuddle all my peoples and we hung out and watched some movies and played some games. I cuddled my puppy. It was a solid weekend of family fun and insanity.

This week is a three day work week because we had Monday off and also Friday off, for New Year’s Eve. Most of the office is out on PTO, so it is just a handful of us in this week and the work itself has been quite slow. You’d think there would be less distractions with fewer people, but actually it just means the people here have less reason to be quiet. It’s been kinda great though. I really do love all the people in my office and working with them is just a blast.

On a grander scale of things, since my last blog, I have attempted NaNoWriMo, gotten a car, spent Thanksgiving in Virginia Beach with Emma’s family, and seriously, seriously considered getting a dog. I’ve also missed writing these blogs and just itching to put more words out to the internet. I think I’m going to spend some time this week to put together a set of actionable New Year’s resolutions that I can potentionally succeed at relatively easily. You can bet that one of them will be to blog more. (I also want to make this blog better on the backend, but we’ll see if that happens.)

In actual news, Carrie Fisher died yesterday and I am quiet sad about it. I wasn’t going to mention it because it’s not actually a part of my life, but I want this blog to be more useful to future me, when looking back at who I was at the tail end of 2016. So this is me, sad about celebrity death for a woman I never will meet, but who positively affected my life in many ways. She definitely will continue to affect my life, especially after I get around to purchasing and reading her book. That’s another thing I want to do in 2016: read more books.

Final tidbit I shall leave you with is that I have been listening to John and Hank Green’s podcast, Dear Hank and John, recently and I quite enjoy it. I seriously recommend you check it out. I also watched a wonderful video by Rowan Ellis earlier today about ethical consumerism and how to continue the push for that when it comes to human slavery as well as animal testing. It’s only ten minutes long, and you should really take the time to watch it. She put together a wonderfully compelling and informative video. I just found her channel today and I’m very excited to check out what else she has and will post.

Alright, I will stop rambling for now. Thank you for reading, share this around if you want and please comment below with your favorite christmas gift from this year!

Till next week,

-Alora

19 Things in 19 Years

My friends and I at me and Brittan's 5th birthday party.

Hello friends,

Today is my birthday! Many years ago I had a birthday party with cupcakes, specifically baked for smooshing into my friends faces. That’s what happened in the picture. It was definitely, the best birthday party, I’ve ever had.

I, along with my twin sister Brittan, turned 19 today. I thought it would be fun to follow the trend and make a list article of nineteen things I’ve learned in the years leading up to this moment.

  1. It’s okay to not be friends with people that are making you unhappy or you don’t like hanging out with. You are not required to be friends with everyone.
  2. Never get your hair thinned. It only makes the frizzing worse.
  3. It’s okay to change your mind about something even if you were very adamant about your original opinion.
  4. Reading a book will make you feel better.
  5. There is actually a way to clip your toenails without giving yourself ingrown nails.
  6. I am not good at cleaning up after myself.
  7. High heels are amazing.
  8. Apparently, my boobs are not done growing yet.
  9. There is no reason not to take a risk when it comes to hairstyles because it always grows back.
  10. Everyone around including your siblings, parents, friends and extended family are all their own person living their own life that is just as complex and important as yours.
  11. Wolves are some of the coolest animals in the world.
  12. All of your opinions are colored by you privileges and experiences.
  13. Living alone is difficult, but doable. So long as you go outside almost every day.
  14. Onsies never go out of style.
  15. You don’t really need that random trinket from when you were seven that has little to no significance.
  16. You can write fifty thousand words in a month while working full time (Still not sure how I managed this for Camp NaNoWriMo 2013).
  17. Good content should be determined by how proud you are of it, not how many clicks it gets.
  18. The newest Vlogbrothers video may be long or heavy, but it’s still worth a watch.
  19. Journaling usually makes you feel better, especially if you can keep up with it for an extended period of time.

Some important life lessons. Some silly facts about me. All of it adds up to me: a person who is has now been on this world for 19 years. How wild is that?

Until next time,

– Alora

Learning How to Juggle Life

Hey guys,

If you did not know season one of Supergirl was recently added on Netflix. I’ve watched a couple episodes of it so far. I’m currently on episode seven which means I recently watched the one where Kara watches Cat Grant’s son: “How Does She Do It?” (episode 5). All of them are amazing, but this one in particular has a theme that really stuck with me. At the end of the episode, Kara asks Cat Grant, her wonderful #GirlBoss who has it all, how she does it, how she maintains her life. To which she responds “How do you juggle it all? You learn. That’s how.”

Since hearing that, that idea has been rolling around my head, pounding on my skull and all around clambering for me to think about it. Learning how to juggle it all: the career I want to have, the family I’d like to have eventually, posting here, posting on my YouTube channel, maintaining a social life, devoting plenty of time to my girlfriend. I have been in Atlanta for nearly three months now and if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s how to live here. I’m figuring out how to juggle this ball. I’ve got a schedule worked out. I pay my bills and rent on time every month. I keep my fridge stocked well enough that I don’t starve. I’m writing, reading, posting videos, and blogs. All while still working from 8:30 to 5:30 everyday.

Up until quite recently I was very sad because I felt like I couldn’t lead the life I wanted to lead. I even wrote a blog post detailing the kind of schedule I would like to have and now I have that schedule. I’m learning how to juggle my life. I’ve got work handled. Now I’m adding back in writing after not regularly writing for three weeks. I’m handling my YouTube videos and I still make time to call my family.

It’s okay if I drop the ball every now and then on one of these things because I’m still learning how to juggle them all. That’s what Cat Grant has taught me. Well with those words anyways. I’m kind of in love with her. She’s a boss.

This realization may seem small, but it’s more than a little life changing for me. It lets off the pressure. I don’t have to be perfect all the time in what I’m trying to do because I’m still learning how to do it. TV, guys, it has a huge impact.

In related news, Supergirl is amazing and you should go watch it.

That’s all from me this week. 😀

Lots of love,

– Alora

My Life Right Now

Hey guys,

Today we’re going to talk about what my weekdays look like. Those days take up most of your life, so it’s basically a “Day in the Life” blog. However, this blog has a twist. I’ve been really sad for about the whole month of September and so I have two typical days: the day I usually have and the day I always want to have. The day I usually have is the one that happens when I’m sad and the other most often happens when I’m not sad. The goal of this blog post is to nail down a schedule for the not sad day, so I can have a template to follow when trying to achieve a not sad day while actually sad. I have had not sad days like this before. I’m not just coming up with some random, unobtainable standard. This is achievable.

A Typical Day when Sad

Time Action
7:00 AM My alarm goes off.
7:10-7:30 AM I actually get out of bed.
7:30-8:15ish AM Get ready: dressed, fed, make lunch.
8:10-8:20 AM Leave for work
8:35 AM-5:45 PM At work (A.K.A the best part of my day)
5:45-9:00 PM Eat something (not always something healthy) and play around on the internet (usually Netflix or YouTube.)
9:00 – 11:00 PM Actually work on something or clean. Maybe shower. Or just watch Grey’s Anatomy until eleven.
11:00 PM Bedtime. (Usually. Sometimes it’s later.)

A Typical Day when NOT Sad

Time Action
7:00 AM My alarm goes off.
7:00-7:10 AM I actually get out of bed.
7:10-8:00 AM Get ready: dressed, fed, make lunch.
8:00 AM Leave for work
8:15 AM-5:45 PM At work (A.K.A the best part of my day)
5:45-6:30 PM Make dinner and play around online for a bit
6:30 – 8:00 PM Clean / take care of life stuff, like bills / make content
8:00 – 10:00 PM Work on Ahlam
10:00 – 11:00 PM Read and get ready for bed

These days may not look very different in tabular form, but they feel quite different and they usually coincide with my emotional state. The second day is the one I’d like to get in the habit of doing whether or not I am sad. I’m just not quite sure how to do it. The second day helps me keep from being sad by writing and reading, but it also allows me time to keep up with my passions (writing, YouTube, and blogging) while still allocating time for reality. It is quite a magical day, but not one I have been able to have in a while.

If you all have any tips for getting into a productive schedule while sad, or anything else that might be useful, please send them my way.

As for me, I will talk to you guys next week. This post is more meta and less wordy.

-Alora

September Writing Update: I’M SO BEHIND!

Me about to start a writing session a couple weeks ago.

Hello friends!

Remember how I excitedly posted this blog a while back about my timeline for Ahlam? Well that time line proposed a finished first draft by October 1st and I haven’t written in a solid week. Yikes.

I was doing really well and then this last week, I’ve just gotten real sad. I’ve been focusing on feeding myself and keeping my apartment livable, while also trying to keep myself from getting too sad to go to work. Those things are going well. I washed my sheets tonight. I’ve been eating in my bed a lot, so that was long overdue. Also, this weekend, I’m going to the grocery store to stock up on healthy options. I’ve eaten way too much candy and crap this week because I’m running low / am out of yummy healthy food. I’ve mainly been subsisting on noodles and peanut butter, besides the candy.

I went home last weekend though! I spent four days (Thursday through Sunday) back in Nashville chilling with the fam. It was amazing. This weekend, I’ve made plans to go thrift shopping with Mimi and we’re going to go to Ikea and pick out a couch for my apartment. I’m dying without one. Basically, I’m slowly getting my life back on track after it crashed and burned emotionally for many, many days. That said, I am hoping to get back on track with my writing quickly and finish my draft by Mid-October. At the very least, I would like to finish my first draft by November, so I can do NaNoWriMo on a new project. I have never won real NaNoWriMo, only Camp NaNoWriMo. Also, the theme for this year is space and I need an excuse to buy myself space swag.

The writing itself, when I manage to do it, is getting a lot harder. I’ve passed the easy exposition, setting up the plot stuff and now I’m plowing into large emotion filled scenes and rising action. It’s been really difficult to write because Ahlam, herself is going through a lot. Her brother is missing, she’s at a new job, and she feels really isolated. In order to write the scenes well, I have to tap into angst of years past and / or imagine if my little brother suddenly ran away from home and we couldn’t find him. As you can imagine, that makes writing at a swift pace very difficult.

Nearly every scene is emotionally taxing and requires a lot more thought and time than the first 30 thousand words of the book. The scenes aren’t bad though. They take a long time to write, but I think this book is turning out really well. I know it’s a rough draft and I have a lot of changes and real research that I need to do before I can finish it. However, I am quite proud of it so far.

I’ve gotten back into the swing of my content creation this week. After no videos last week and only a blog, I’ve written this blog, posted my WogsVlogs video and already filmed my alorabora video for tomorrow. I just need to edit it. Things are back on the up an up, so I expect lots more writing in my future.

How are your writing / creative projects going? Hit any snags?

Talk to you soon,

-Alora

P.S. If you want updates on my writing, while I write, I always tweet about my writing sessions.

Trust in the Age of the Internet

Hello friends.

Today we’re going to talk about some heavy stuff. I live my life online. I’m constantly tweeting. I post on here and I make videos. I love it. It is, quite literally, my life. I love being “plugged in.” It allows me to stay connected with people. Today I was thinking about what that means about my trust of the internet. I would like to pose the question “What is trust in the age of the internet?”

I’m going to answer that question as well as I can in this post, but there is no way I can cover every facet. I don’t doubt you have your own ideas about trust, so please share them with me. Post them in the comments.Tweet them at me. I don’t care how. I just want to know your thoughts.

So, I have been posting things about my life on the internet for most of my life. For at least the past ten years, maybe more, maybe a little less, I’m not quite sure, there has been some kind of information about me on the internet. There is my genealogy page and I had an original blog on here too that I have since scrapped, but I still have all the old posts. I got a YouTube in 2008 and a Twitter in 2009. I don’t remember when I got a Facebook, but it was early. I didn’t get a tumblr until 2012, but otherwise, I’ve been relatively present on the main social media websites as they’ve grown and matured. The whole point of this paragraph is to let you know just how much information there is about me on the internet. Someone could probably write a biography about me without ever talking directly to me. That’s how much of my life is on the internet.

Now, what does this mean about my trust? I would consider myself a relatively trusting person for people I meet IRL. Most of that trust extends to people I meet on the internet. This is especially true if I meet them on Twitter or tumblr. I love meeting people on Twitter. It’s one of my favorite past times. I treat all of these people just as I would treat my IRL friends and acquaintances.

Of those rules I learned about internet safety I learned in school, only some of them still apply. I’ve adapted my trust of people and websites as I’ve grown and learned more about the internet and as the internet itself has changed.

I don’t think I have become more trusting as I’ve grown older. My trust levels have stayed the same. Instead, I think society has realized that the internet is full of other people just like me: trying to make connections. There are people on the internet that will use you for your money and whatnot, but those people exist in meatspace too. The trick is being able to spot them, which online is actually easier than in meatspace. You can’t Google a stranger you just met if you are still talking to them. That would be rude. On the internet however, they’ll never know if you stalk their social media while you chat with them.

Do I live in a nice, happy corner of the internet? Oh definitely. I surround myself with people I like. I fill my feeds with nice people who’s content and presence I enjoy. But that is exactly what I do in real life as well.

There is so much similarity between the “real world” and the internet because they are inherently linked. There is no going back to a time before the internet because it has changed the way our society functions. However, I don’t think it has changed the way we trust people. Trust in the age of the internet is just the same as trust before the internet. Only now, you can easily find all kinds of information on people like me, who live on social media and that’s not a bad thing.

Trust levels vary by person. So does the way people use social media. People with huge followings and large fanbases cannot always use social media the way I do. The internet is a different place when a million people are looking at you then when only a hundred are looking at you.

I quite honestly, would love to find out what it’s like to have a large following on the internet. They way you trust people has to change when you are “internet-famous.”

What do you think? I’m truly curious.

Until next week,

-Alora

The Struggles of Living Alone

Alternate title: The Struggle of Cleaning Your Own Apartment

Alternate Alternate title: The Joys of Paying your Own Bills

Hello friends!

So, I have been moved out for over a month now, (The video above chronicles my move to my apartment, if you want to watch it.) and it’s about time for a blog complaining and rejoicing my experience so far with living alone. To be fair, I have lived alone before. I spent two separate semesters without a roommate in college, but I always had a friend across the hall. Not so much anymore.

My feelings about living alone are constantly going up and down. Late a night, I usually don’t like it so much. I get tired and sometimes lonely. Whodda thought that living alone was lonely?? Hehe.

Anyways, I usually really like it. After living with five other people not including pets for most of my life, it’s nice to have some peace and quiet. The best part of living alone is being able to keep whatever schedule I want. I don’t even mean staying up late. I mean being able to come home and make dinner and then spend the entire night writing or reading. I don’t have to hang out with anyone. I do miss the constant hanging out sometimes, but it’s nice to have some quiet.

Having to clean everything myself though. That is a struggle. If you ever visited my room at school, you know I wasn’t the best at keeping it clean. It’s even harder, yet more necessary, to keep my apartment clean. The worst is the dishes. I’m not very good at washing my dishes immediately, but I don’t have enough to let them sit around either. I am constantly making new dirty dishes and having to wash the old ones, so I have something to eat off of/with. The spoons get the worst of it. I only have a few of them. I know this sounds silly, but I never realized how many dishes I make before. At home, we switch off chores, so I’m not usually stuck doing the dishes of six people for more than a month. Now, I’m doing the dishes of myself while also having to clean the floor, make dinner, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, work full time and pay the bills. It’s a bit nerve wracking.

Speaking of bills, I paid my first internet bill tonight. I’ve been paying my own phone bill since March, but now I have to pay all of my other bills too and the rent. It gets really stressful really quickly. I no longer just have a job to have a job. I have a job to pay the bills and the rent and to buy food. I have to plan ahead with my money, so I know I’ll have enough at the end of the month when the major bills roll around. It’s stressful, but also kinda nice. Sometimes, I actually enjoy making my own decisions. Since moving out, I have a lot more power over my life. My independence is at once a joy and a source of stress. Although, I guess that’s what being an adult is about.

When I titled this blog, and when I started writing it, I was planning on doing a lot of complaining. I guess I have, but I don’t feel like complaining so much anymore. This is what other adults do too, so I know I can do it. I only have me to worry about. I don’t have to feed a kid or a pet. I may have lots of new worries and stressors, but only for me. Someday, I’ll have my own family, but right now, I think I should relish the silence of living alone. Or at least try a little harder to relish it.

How are your living situtations doing? Does anyone feel my pain on keeping the dishes together?

Until next week,

-Alora

Decorations.

Panorama picture of my art wall

Hello my good friends.

Today we are going to talk about decorations. I have lived in my apartment for almost a month now, but it is only recently starting to feel like home. One of the reasons why is because I finally hung up my decorations. Now, this may not be true for everyone, but for me, I need decorations. My room in my parents house and at college was always chock full of stuff and well decorated. I do not leave patches of wall lying around. I put things on them!

I have some paintings. Nothing framed because that’s expensive. But I do have watercolor paintings of mine that I did during watercolor class a few years back. I have hung my favorites of those up. I also have some paintings that Brittan did which I’ve hung up and I have some other paintings as well. I really like my paintings because they soften the sharp lines and bright colors of my posters, since most of them are watercolors.

I have been collecting posters since forever. I have about ten which may not sound like a lot, but they can fill up an apartment nicely. My posters are where most of my nerdy attributes are plastered. I have a Star Trek poster that I just got from Mom and Dad. I also have a Doctor Who one, a Minecraft one, Jurassic World, etc. You get the picture. I have lots of nerdy posters.

The biggest piece of my decorations is my art wall. This consists of art prints, postcards, colored pages, a piece of embroidery. Anything that is art, that it smallish, and I can hang up goes on the art wall. My current art wall set up is above/behind my desk. It is the picture at the top of this blog. I am very proud of this art wall set up and looking at it makes me so happy. All of the art that my friends have done and postcards from my trip to London are quite inspiring to look at.

The last section of my decor is just miscellaneous stuff. I have some plaques and medals. I have a pennant from school. By far the best thing in this category is my key chains. I have been collecting key chains from the places I go since elementary school, I think. I have traveled a lot, so there are a lot of them. For years my key chains were all on a single lanyard hung on the wall. You couldn’t really see any of them or look at them, but they were all together and hung up. Junior year, I finally improved this system and hung my key chains on a length of embroidery floss. Now, they all hang spread out over the big windows in my family room.

If you ask any of my friends, they will all agree that I am very materialistic. I like my things. One of my things that I like is my decorations. After I hung up my posters and paintings and art wall and key chains, my apartment finally felt like mine and not just some place holding my things where I slept at night. Moving out is really weird. Sometimes I really enjoy the privacy and the quiet. Other times those same things are just lonely and sad. Putting up all of my decorations has decreased the lonely and sad parts of moving out. This is my home now. This apartment is where I live with my things and my family and friends come to visit or I can visit them.

It’s weird to think about having a home where my parents and siblings don’t live, but I am slowly accepting it as my apartment feels more and more like my own.

That’s all for this week!

If you want to see more of me, I will be posting a video on my YouTube channel tomorrow and Brittan and I have revived WogsVlogs. She is doing VEDA (Vlog Every Day in August) while she travels Europe.

Thanks for reading. 😀

Much love,

-Alora

So, I graduated from college.

My friends and I walking down the steps by our old dorm in our graduation robes.

Hey guys,

I’ve been busy the past couple weeks with graduation and then coming home. But I am here today and that is what counts. I am currently supposed to be job hunting, but I figured while I was being productive, I’d write a blog post. Graduation was super fun. Well, in the fact that I got my diploma. The ceremony itself was way too religious, cold, mildly rainy, and equipped with the worst commencement speaker I have ever heard.

The poor woman tried to cram every bit of advice she had ever heard into one speech while also trying to sell us her hand-painted wine glasses. At one point she tried to make a joke about Mary Baldwin women having nice legs and it really flopped. Nobody laughed. I felt a little bad for her. After her speech she was walking around talking to people and I don’t think she realized how much she messed up. If she did, she did a wonderful job of hiding it. None of my friends or family liked her speech. It was painful to listen to.

Brittan and I both in our graduation robes. Together at MBC.

When her speech finally ended, everyone got their diplomas. Mary Baldwin is a pretty small school, so we don’t have any fancy tech for getting everyone in order. Instead we have class marshals. One of which was me. I got to sit at the front of the line instead of at the back with the rest of the W’s, but I also got to help the graduates get their diplomas. While the dean called everyone’s names I checked with the next person in line to see if they were in the right order and then had to nod to the dean if someone was absent at which point she would add in absentia after their name. It was a tad nervewracking, but mainly, I was just cold. I spent a good portion of the 200-some graduates shivering as I directed them. It wasn’t bad though because I got to hug my friends before they got their diplomas and I didn’t have to sit and wait at the end of the ceremony because the class marshals walk out first. Also, I got to wear a gold epaulet on my shoulder to signify my office. It went well with my Omicron Delta Epsilon economics honors society cords and my Lavender graduation pin. I also got to wear a gold tassel because I was a Global Honors Scholar.

The graduation ceremony was long, but at the end I got to walk across the terrace and get my roll of paper from Dr. Fox. (We picked up our diplomas elsewhere.) This being right after the dean called my name with the highest Latin GPA honors. I really enjoyed all of commencement weekend. It was nice to be honored by the college I’ve been attending for four years. I worked hard and they honored me nicely. Also, unlike other schools, MBC has a bunch of different events to honor different subsets of graduates. I went to Lavender Graduation, the VWIL Change of Command Parade, and the PEG Reception. It was fun.

The squad pushing Brittan away because she left us.

I’m really going to miss Mary Baldwin. For all its faults, I really enjoyed my time there and all of the friends that I made. I look forward to the next chapter, but I’m going to miss the last one. I’ve been feeling down these past couple of weeks since graduation. Moving on from a four year chapter of your life is hard, but I’m moving on to bigger and better things. I got this. 😀

Squad pose

I hope you all are doing well.

Much love,

-Alora

Growing Up is Weird

So this post is inspired by Carrie Fletcher’s video “My Past Selves.” It’s embedded above and I recommend you watch it before reading this, but this should still make sense without it if you don’t wanna.

In Carrie’s video she talks about how she tries to live for her past selves and she talks about suddenly realizing that you have grown up. (Technically Dodie talked about that in her video which inspired Carrie’s, but Carrie mentions it. This is a bit of a crazy chain of content.) Suddenly, you realize one day that you aren’t the person you used to be. I don’t think about my past selves in the way that either Dodie or Carrie do. I, honestly, don’t think about my past selves much. My memories make me as a person, but I don’t think about past me as a different person.

Because I skipped high school, I’ve been thrown four years into the future and now I’m at a similar life stage to Carrie and Dodie, but I am not their age at all. I’m still a self-centered teenager. I’m only 17 and I still am wracked by crazy teenage hormones that are increasingly frustrating. I will be 22 at some point (I’m pretty sure Carrie and Dodie are either 21 or 22 , but I’m not sure. Sorry, girls, if I’m wrong), but I’m still 17 right now and I don’t have the same perspective as them, but I do have my own unique one. 😛

As you know, if you’ve been keeping up with me lately, I spent this past weekend at the beach with my family. I’m home now, but I got to spend a nice weekend with my family. My grandmother, bless her, said, before we left, that I’d “grown up while she wasn’t looking.” I didn’t want her to cry, or I’d cry, so I was a bit rude, well cheeky is probably a better word. If it makes her feel any better, I, myself, grew up without noticing either. I’m not totally grown up and I never will be, but I’m still pretty big. I can’t hide under the kitchen sink anymore. I can always reach the top shelf. I’m no longer completely and utterly terrified by the idea of sex. That was a big deal in middle school. I have boobs that don’t hurt a shitton when I run into something. I’m probably done growing, sadly. I’m stuck in the darkness of teenagerness, but I have to worry about adult things like going to work and applying to grad school. I have to pay for gas and I have an income. I’ve paid taxes three years in a row now. It’s scary. I suddenly stopped being a little kid that didn’t know not to do the monkey bars in gloves and now I’m graduating from college in the spring, at eighteen.

After that, I can do whatever I want. I’ll be an adult, with a bachelor’s degree and ready to conquer the world. I’ve been feeling a bit lost lately because of the massive number of opportunities I can choose from. It’s hard to prioritize the entire world. I know that I can do literally anything I want and honestly that’s making it hard to choose. However, I’ve realized that I don’t have to choose right now.

Instead of looking up at the huge number of stars in the sky, I need to focus on the rungs of my ladder. I can easily choose which ladder to climb: the one that makes me the happiest. I’m not just going to hope this takes me to the star I want, but I can’t focus on the stars right now. I need to focus on making it through each day. I can look forward later. Hopefully, this doesn’t backfire. I’m only 17. I’ve got time.

Maybe that’s what growing up is. Climbing the ladder one rung at a time. Hoping the entire time that when you look up, you’ll be somewhere good. Looking up or looking down for too long is dangerous, but if you keep on climbing, maybe you’ll make it. Somewhere. That sounds entirely too nerve wracking. Carrie, Dodie, how did you do it?

I guess climbing the ladder is what I’ve been doing these past seventeen years and I only just noticed it was there. The title of this blog is something Carrie says in her video and I agree. Growing up is weird. It something that happens incrementally until you realize it happened. Or you watch successful YouTubers realize it happened to them (I’m looking at you Carrie and Dodie) and then wonder when it will happen to you. I know roughly when that day will come. Probably a little over four years from now in 2019. That’s when I’ll be about their age. But then again. I don’t know. I could grow up faster then them.

Growing up is weird and scary, but it’s nice to see people who seem to have made it. Not just my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, but strangers who I’m half friends with because I watch their videos and read their great books about the “Teen Age.” Thanks for that one Carrie. If you’re reading this, thank you for everything you’ve produced so far and will continue to produce. I can say without a doubt, that you are helping me through my “Teen Age.”

I only have two and a half years before I turn twenty and I’m out of this crazy time, hopefully. That seems like forever and the blink of an eye at the same time. I don’t know how to exist as not a teenager. I don’t know how to do this thing you call being an adult. I’d like to stay a teenager forever. (Here’s a good video explaining why this is a bad idea.) I know I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t, but all those stars are scary. I guess I just have to remember to keep my eyes on the rungs.

I’ll watch the rungs and hope that if I just hold tight enough, I’ll make it out of here alive.

– Alora