An almost graduate’s advice to surviving college

As I approach my last few weeks as a student at TCU, I have realized that sadly college is coming to an end and so will my antics here at this wonderful place I’ve called home for the past four years. So, to bid y’all adieu from my collegiate-self I’ve decided to create a list (gasp) of things you should and shouldn’t do at TCU and/or college in general I guess. Nostalgia has taken over my mind and therefore I must purge my words.

Do:

  1. Take all the free food and t-shirts you can get.
  2. Join a sorority. Kappa Alpha Theta is the best. I say this from a non-biased standpoint, I swear.
  3. Don’t be afraid to sign up for potluck roommates. Finding your future roommates through Facebook is overrated.
  4. Go to the free events hosted by your school. TCU has SPORTS, concerts, free food, 5ks, comedians, speakers and even petting zoos. Don’t be afraid to look for things to do on campus.
  5. Speaking of sports, go to every sport your school offers at least once. Obviously the must see sports are football, basketball and baseball. Try to see a couple tennis matches, volleyball games, soccer games and more. And as always, Go Frogs!
  6. Wear your school apparel everywhere, especially when you travel. You will literally meet so many cool people from all over the world. Trust me, people love to talk about their alma mater.
  7. Go completely out of your comfort zone. Do something spontaneous, like be in a random music video or road trip with new friends that you may barely know. The best stories come from trusting your gut and exploring with adventurous people on a whim.
  8. Go to class.
  9. Skip class, sometimes.
  10. Go to parties. When you graduate you won’t remember the nights you stayed in and studied, but you’ll remember the nights you got to celebrate college and being young with your best friends.
  11. Learn how to study. Whether it be writing notes, using quizlet or talking it out with a study group. D’s may get degrees, but A’s will get you the job you want.
  12. Get summer internships. Trust me, it will be so much easier to get a job after you graduate. Something I should have taken note of earlier.
  13. Journal. Sometimes there are things you don’t want to talk about with people. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about at all. Write it down. Read it. Leave it alone. Come back to it. See if you can work it out yourself or if you need to talk with a friend or mentor.
  14. Suck up to your teachers. Whatever, be a teacher’s pet. More times than not your professor will give you the benefit of the doubt. Borderline grades are usually decided based on a students’ attendance and effort in the class. Make sure your profs know your education is important to you.
  15. Ask for letters of recommendation early. Oops.
  16. Take classes with friends. Double the notes and double the fun. Plus, shameless competition is always interesting.
  17. Say yes to dates. Dinner dates. Mixer/Party dates. Even if it is with someone you don’t know. What is the worst that could happen?
  18. Call your parents. Actually, call your whole fam. Give them an update on life and tell them you love them.
  19. Kiss the random hot guy at a party.
  20. Go out to dinner and happy hour with your squad.
  21. Have occasional wine nights with the girls. Who needs house parties and bars when you have vino, movies and PJs.
  22. Find a friend with a dog. Life hack: you don’t have to pick up the poop, give them baths or pay for their food. You can still get your puppy fix whenever you want.
  23. Go to Vegas for your 21st birthday.
  24. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
  25. Go to church!
  26. Sign up for intramurals with your friends. You may tear your ACL for the third time, but at least you have a story to tell.
  27. Find time to be alone. I have yet to actually succeed in this because I am a social creature and I hate being alone, but it is important so do it.
  28. Make college bucket lists with your friends!!!

 

Do NOT!!!:

  1. Ignore your health. I guarantee you will get sick your first two weeks at school. Chug airborne and try to get enough sleep. Stress can lower your immune system so make sure you know how to alleviate stress and see a doctor when you need to. Don’t ignore your mental health either. College is the first time we are sent away from our parents for an extended period of time. Our late teens and early twenties are a prime time for mental illnesses to become present. Do not be afraid to seek for help. You are not alone.
  2. Pull multiple all-nighters to finish one season of Friday Night Lights in two days. Also, don’t watch scary movies before you go to bed.
  3. Do your laundry on Sundays. Everyone does their laundry on Sundays. You will not find washers or dryers in the dorms. You may also find that your roommates are better at doing their laundry in a timely fashion and will beat you to the chase.
  4. Forget what time your night class is. You may miss your first test by an hour, like I did.
  5. Post pictures to social media that you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see.
  6. Forget to plan all your spring breaks and never make it to Cabo.
  7. Buy random expensive clothes you’re only going to wear once. Get creative.
  8. Ignore the friends that are always there for you. Popularity isn’t a contest in college.
  9. Let dumb boys dictate your happiness. And don’t compare yourself to other girls. After all, they say that comparison is the thief of joy.
  10. Sit back and let the four years roll by without putting in the effort to make it all worth it.

My lists aren’t extensive and will be added to later (maybe). Feel free to share with friends or high schoolers. I just wanted to relive all my good and bad experiences by jotting them down to share with others. It has truly been a blessing being here at TCU. I will never forget the exciting people I’ve met on my path to adulthood. Even though I am completely terrified of the real world, I know my experience here has prepared me both emotionally and academically. Today, I ordered my diploma and cap n’ gown. What a whirlwind it’s been. From the carefree freshman to the sophomore slump. From the junior academic to the inevitable senioritis. Thank you TCU for all the mems and friends.

TCU Tuition: $$$

TCU Diploma: Priceless

Peace out world,

T

Peace out 2014. It’s been real.

Here, I sit with a bun on my head and an appalling amount of green clay I’ve globbed onto my face. I call it a “mask.” Here, I sit basking in the light of my beautifully decorated Christmas tree, soaking it in while reminiscing on the past year. Tis the very end of year number 20, for moi. And as usual, I like to recap all the things I’ve experienced, both good and bad. The year 2014 started off hopeful, with the knowledge that nothing could be worse than 2013. And that has held true so far. When 2013 turned the corner and I saw 2014 as the light at the end of the tunnel I knew things would be far better than I could have hoped for…and I can’t say that I was wrong. Although 2014 brought its own new challenges, like living off campus, finding a place to park, actually working my butt off to get good grades, and trying to find a place to fit in…. I found that 2014 also brought its own new blessings, like learning how to get creative when I know I’m about to be late for class, and discovering how to position things in my room to block out the light of zooming cars out my window and the beeps, caused from less intelligent people driving on the wrong side of my one way street. The year brought much greater blessings than these, and the ones I’ve ignored are much too good to even try to put into words. You’ll just have to take my word for it. It was a splendid, lovely year. Now that I’m (partially) done bragging I have to review my bucket list and see if I actually did the things I told myself I would. Fingers crossed that I accomplished all (or at least most) of that list.

Voila! I’ve found it.

  1. Find a Hike: FAIL. To be completely honest, I don’t even think I tried.
  2. Accumulate vintage items: SEMI-ACCOMPLISHED. I bought an old Polaroid camera, that worked for only about a total of 4 pictures, the rest was just wasted and incredibly expensive film. I also got an old ring from my Nana, which is gorgeous and much more practical then a crappy camera, no offense. I’m stilling praying it will eventually work again.
  3. Bookstore: ACCOMPLISHED. I found a few, actually. Apparently Words on Wheels was a hit for me.
  4. Favorite book: ACCOMPLISHED. Jesus Calling. I read it everyday and so far no book has been better.
  5. Musication: SEMI-ACOMMPLISHED. I love having random songs sent to me, and I’ve received an assortment of music from an eclectic range of people. The most memorable songs of the year, for me, are: Dollhouse by Melanie Martinez, Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton, Who Do We Think We Are by John Legend, and more that I’ll have to share in another post. Warning these songs are not really normal.
  6. Write a song: FAIL. I write them in my head… Does that count?
  7. Drive in theater: FAIL: Still waiting for someone to take me on a date to Coyote Drive In….
  8. Attend a concert: ACCOMPLISHED! Thanks to my great friend Lesli who won free Justin Timberlake concert tickets. Love ya, Les. And also Stagecoach, and of course Stagecoach again next year is already booked.
  9. Dress up: ACCOMPLISHED. I stuck to it. Rarely ever dressed poorly (or at least what I considered poorly, don’t ask my roommates if they agree), partially because I stopped working out the past 3 months because I was sick and kept pushing it off and I knew even if I put on work out clothes I wouldn’t make it to the gym. Next year I have to dress business casual EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  10. Get a job: ACCOMPLISHED… let me repeat. I have to dress business casual EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. At least I get my own binder and my own business cards. I have to brush up on my persuasion skills because as a new TCU Student Media Account Executive, I have to sell ads like there’s no tomorrow.

And so, I’d like to think I had a very well rounded year. Stayed in the grey area for the most part. I guess I finally realized that not everything is black or white. And while that may be kind of boring, it was exactly what I needed before entering my next year, my 21st. Cheers!

Preview For Next Blog Post: I plan on doing a short year recap with a couple pictures and ending with a list of tips I’ve learned throughout the past year. For readers who are actively paying attention, let me know if there is anything else I should (or shouldn’t…) post. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

Words of Encouragement

I am feeling very thankful today. I notice that sometimes my ego blinds me from seeing everything that is good in life. Often, I forget how amazingly wonderful my friends are. Sorry, friends! The past few days have been kind of hard for me. Seeing that my entire Instagram feed is full with pictures from amazing adventures around the world, especially Europe… especially Paris. I am jealous. Very jealous. As this weekend was my first “free weekend” I thought it was going to be absolutely wonderful. Nope. It wasn’t. It was nice, but not wonderful. I’m so jealous of everyone else’s escapades that I forget to plan my own. Lately, (the past two days) I have been feeling kind of lonely. I wait for a text, for a call, for the doorbell to ring or a knock on the door. Nope. Nothing. Nada. But then I realized, I did get those texts, calls, and knocks on the door…  it just wasn’t to hang out, it was better.

“How are you doing?” “I miss you!” “Where did you get that maple bacon donut?”

and my favorite one from my little: “I hope you had a fun day at the fair and that it was your perfect fair day that you have always wanted.” Oh yeah, I went to the fair with my best friend… and even though we complained together the entire time… I mean we were at the fair so I wouldn’t necessarily say that life was that bad.

another favorite from a good friend: “You know I am a big Tara McQueen fan (blogger, person, advice giver, good friend.)

 

Thank you, friends! I know there were plenty more that I didn’t stop and think wow thank you. I regret not appreciating these little notes and I am making a pact with myself to notice the small things. You’ve heard the little things are the ones that matter most or how bout stop and smell the roses, right? How cliché am I? I just want to give a shout out to all my friends who continuously make my day. Thank you for always being there for me. I’m always here for anyone. If you are feeling down or just need someone to talk to please don’t hesitate. I am here for you. If you are too shy or embarrassed you can always use my tumblr account to stay anonymous. 

Look up Philippians 4:8 if you are in need of some extra faith. 

Stay lovely,

Tara

Dear Abby,

DEAR ABBY – THE PURGED WORD

http://thepurgedword.tumblr.com/ask

Hey guys. This is awesome. Thanks to everyone who posted questions to the link above. The first day went really well. Below are the Dear Abby questions and responses. Let me know what you think. Keep continuing to post on my ask page. Y’all are awesome.

***If you feel like you want to view a more immediate response, please check this page http://thepurgedword.tumblr.com (its the same page but without the /ask). I will try to respond as quickly as I can. At the end of each week I will take all the questions and responses and pile them together and post it here! Thanks for being patient.***  


September 4, 2014 — The new batch of questions slowly trickle in.

 

Dear Abby,

How can I approach someone with whom I share a literal distance barrier? How can I effectively bridge the gap and present myself?

Dear DistanceDistressed,

If you are attempting to capture the attention of a potential significant other, the challenge can be more difficult when you are unable to have face-to-face conversation. However, that is not to say it cannot be done. First, you should probably find some type of bond or similar interest you have in common with that person and attempt to expand off of that. For instance, maybe you have the same major and were curious how they got that intern… that you heard about from a friend, of course. Just to give a basic scenario. Whatever the case is, you must be the one to start the effort if you feel inclined to let them know how you feel. After the initial connection, take a step further and keeping talking and showing off your true personality and more getting to know them and then eventually try to occasionally meet with your “crush” for lack of a better word; if the opportunity arises. Until then make sure you are always on their radar. I am sure you can use your imagination and be creative enough to figure out small ways to do that. Just remember, don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zones. If you want to make something happen… go out and work for it.

Good Luck!

Love, Abby

June 13, 2014 –I apologize. Most of these posts are from early May to recent. I caught up on my tumblr, but I just now got to adding them to this wordpress. Enjoy. Don’t be scared to ask more! 

Dear Abby,

I am a freshman in college and have a boyfriend that I adore and love very much. I am nervous if I am not “supposed” to have a boyfriend right now at this point in college. People have influenced me to think that I should not have a boyfriend and that I should see what else if out there because I am so young. What do you think…

Dear CollegeCutie,

College is a time to explore and go crazy, but that doesn’t mean you have to be single. Yeah, it’d be fun to keep your options open and see what’s out there, but if you like how things are don’t let someone persuade you into thinking that’s not okay. Just remember college is the place to make new friends and new memories… Find bridesmaids! So let yourself have the freedom to do that. Don’t be attached at the hip with your boy, but if you love him you don’t have to break up with him. It’s your life; don’t let others tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Enjoy your college years cutie. Live it up!

Love, Abby

Dear Abby,

I’ve only taken one final but I am already over studying. How do I stay on track and focused for the rest of the week? Sincerely, expert in procrastination.

Dear Expert in Procrastination, 

You just have to take one day at a time. Designate 30 minutes of hard work on one subject and alternate to keep your brain alert. Don’t jumble it up too much though. DO NOT FORGET TO EXERCISE. I know it feels like there is no time to get in a work out when you are cramming for finals, but leave the book at home and hit the gym for 30 mins… Or even better run or walk outside to get some fresh air. One other tip I find very helpful is finding a new place to study, but not somewhere that will distract you. If you are from Fort Worth I would recommend Brewed… It’s my favorite place to study. And lastly, turn off your electronics for AT LEAST an hour worth of studying. GOOD LUCK!

Love, Abby

Dear Abby,

I am not the biggest of my friend’s boyfriend. I fear that he is subconsciously making her do things she does not want to do. How can I help her without losing her more to her boyfriend?

Dear BoyfriendBan,

Instead of calling her out for complying with her boyfriend’s wants. Ask her what her wants are without her boyfriend’s opinion. You have to help her see the problem herself without directly telling her to look at it from your view. In the meantime, invite her to do fun things with you all the time and she will cherish those moments and it may even open up her eyes to help her use her OWN choices on what she wants to do. Try not to attack the bad boyfriend, attack the problem. Good luck!

Love, Abby
P.S. If this didn’t make sense ask again in a week. Finals are kicking my butt and Abby isn’t at her prime currently.

Dear Abby,

When is the honeymoon stage in a relationship over?

 Dear Honeymooner,

The honeymoon phase is over after the first 3 big fights. Just kidding! I think it’s something you and your partner will figure out as time goes on. I can’t say when it will be in your relationship or anyone else’s either; but give your relationship the time to have it’s ups and downs and I think you’ll have a better understanding of what I’m trying to say. Happy honeymooning ;)!
Love, Abby


April 19, 2014

Dear Abby,

How long should you wait to say I love you in a relationship?

Dear LostLover,

The big three words are rarely ever planned. In most cases “i love you’ naturally slips out, whether it means to or not. Make sure than when you do say it that you mean it and that it is not forced. Don’t be caught up in the honeymoon-dating phase and jump the gun. Wait long enough to see if it is love versus infatuation. Infatuation is finding your lover to be flawless while love is knowing your lover is flawed and loving him/her anyway. Choose wisely, not timely.

Love, Abby 


 

April 17, 2014

Dear Abby,

Last night my boyfriend and I had plans to hang out, but around 11 he told me he was too tired to hang out. He always does this. What can I do? I don’t want to sound like a needy girlfriend. Please help!

Dear LonelyGirlfriend

It is hard to not seem clingy when all you want is to hang out with your boyfriend whenever you have free time. Sometimes boys don’t get that you just want their undivided attention for a while. Remind your boyfriend that you need some TLC, but give him space to do his own thing every once in a while. Make it clear that he doesn’t always have to say yes when you ask him to hang out and that will make him seem less flakey. You don’t want to be waiting all night for him to come over if he is going to keep pushing it off and then bail last minute. Manage your own time and don’t depend on his word if you think he is going to flake out. I hope this helps.

Love, Abby.


 

Dear Abby,

is eating a bowl of ice cream before bed every night beneficial to ones health?

Dear IceCreamFiend,

As long as it makes you happy. Being happy is always good for your health. However if you want a professional medical opinion I would ask somewhere else.

Love, Abby


Dear Abby,

What are your views on homosexuality and Christianity?

Dear CuriousChristian,

My opinion is exclusive to my faith and I am not here to advocate my reasoning. From a traditional Christian standpoint homosexuality is frowned upon. Interpret this how you will. I don’t have a particular opinion about how I feel, but this is what I believe to be what I know so far. Stay curious and ask questions before boasting about your opinion.

Love, Abby


Dear Abby,

I’m stuck in a rut. I long for “best-friend-like” friendships as well as I’m longing for guy friends. Help!

Dear FindingFriends,

Some of my very best friends are guys. I feel more comfortable telling them my secrets more so than I do tell my girl friends sometimes. To make a friend you have to be a friend. Make a long lasting relationship by committing to being the best friend you can possibly be and more than likely that friendship will succeed. Find the best of both worlds! I hope that helps!

Love, Abby


 

Dear Abby,

I long to be loved, but I am comfortable living in a simple life. Do I need to push myself out of my comfort zone to “find someone” or should I wait for “Mr. Perfect” to come to me?

Dear Mrs.Perfect,

It is always a good idea to branch out of your comfort zone and meet new people. However, don’t push yourself into a relationship that you’re not ready for. Remember though, you have many Mr. Wrongs to go through before you meet Mr. Right. As for now search for love from your friends and family and don’t be afraid to add some flavor to your life by meeting new people. Goodluck!

Love, Abby


 

Dear Abby,

What if you are trying to respect the boundaries of your married kids and never show up unannounced or uninvited (and rarely do invites come) but when they do, you show up gladly and then 5 years later they say they feel ingnored???

Dear UnrequitedInvitations,

Patience is a virtue. With time, good souls will find their way back to home and love will be returned. Don’t dwell on the could haves, you’ve done your best. If you feel like asking for invites is crossing a boundary, instead offer the invitation on your premises more frequently and the invitation will eventually become reciprocated. I know it is hard to be walking on eggshells, especially when you are trying to express love that feels unrequited. More often than not, claiming to be “ignored” is a way to seek for attention. Give it the attention it needs and be patient as things will find themselves being pieced back together. Stay strong and optimistic.

Love, Abby

Home Sweet Home

Today was the first time I called my room in my TCU dormitory home. I don’t exactly remember the sentence it was used in, but I do remember stopping and thinking wow it feels nice to be back into a place I can call home. TCU has been such a lovely place to me in the past few weeks and I have always felt that this atmosphere was exceedingly inviting and lovely in a close-knit family (or just my sorority family, love you big) type of way. I always thought of TCU as my home during my freshman year. I thought it would be the same sophomore year. But as I returned to school uninterested in what I would title it, I realized that adjusting back into a routine and undecorated room was unfulfilling. I was lacking in some aspect and I couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly that missing puzzle piece was.Image

I was extremely close to God at that time as I was searching for some comfort and stability in which I found in Him. I am grateful that I had a permanent reminder of his presence infused into my own skin. I seek out to Him in fear, hope, praise, and gratitude. He responds slowly by offering up a token that has been incomplete in prior weeks. First, He granted me with the gift of gratefulness. I am utterly pleased with the classes I am in and the stimulating and challenges professors I have the opportunity to learn from. Thank you, baby Jesus. You rock.

Next, I was granted with the blessing of faithful friends. It bothers me to say that I wasn’t initially content with the way things were going with my friends for the first week and half of school. I love them and I just did not feel that the love was reciprocated. Well, I was not surprisingly wrong. I was quick to judge and wrongly assume that the way we express fondness and affection can be drastically different. Unexpectedly, this was the hardest blow for me to overcome. I was jealous of the tight bond I once was a part of and upon my return I felt left out, like I didn’t belong. That only caused me to retreat. Luckily, I was finding that backtracking and neglecting the problem were not going to make things better. From there on out we decided to allow each other to openly express our feelings in an all-understanding way. I appreciate that communication and I now find myself in a comfortable and harmonious relationship with the friends I can confidently call family.

So far my finalizing gift is the ability to overcome extreme worry.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22 NIV

Exactly what I needed to hear and I feel responsible for sharing it with others, aka you readers. Do not worry for He is always present and always guiding your path. Recently while just starting to read Eat Pray Love, I discovered a quote I found interesting and maybe a little abstract.

But why must everything always have a practical application? I’d been such a diligent soldier for years—working, producing, never missing a deadline, taking care of my loved ones, my gums and my credit record, voting, etc. Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty? In this dark period of loss, did I need any justification for learning Italian other than that it was the only thing I could imagine bringing me any pleasure right now?

This popped out at me. I am not quite sure why yet, but I feel like there is more to it than what’s on the print and paper. Sometimes when you are feeling lost it is necessary to be your own devil’s advocate. Find yourself, ground yourself, and assure yourself. Life is made for you; you are not made to conform to societal pressures. You are capable of finding what makes you happy, what makes your mind climb higher than its limits, to let your words flow freely. Life is what you make of it. So incredibly cliché it almost makes me cringe. I can’t portray that in a more straightforward way. We mustn’t worry so much about what others think or what we are and are not capable of. We are capable of anything and stressing about it can only hold us back. My challenge for the week (maybe year, maybe lifetime) is to let go of the worry and let God guide me to my given path. Easier said than done, but always worth a try.

To tie things together I examine what I am blessed with here at TCU and what I look forward to receive throughout my time here. I smiled at myself when I heard the word “home” slip out of my lips today. I am content. I am finally home.

Forgive me for my 2am thoughts…

Today I sat down to write a piece on “letting go.” I started by realizing my expectations are unrealistic. Expectation is the root of all heartache.

And by that I mean that I fantasize the past and as other people grow out of phases I realize I am still stuck in one. And I can’t let go of the past. I still expect the love and attention from people that have come and gone in my life. And I tell myself to lower my expectations, but the memory kills any chance I have at that. So as I sat down and grabbed my laptop I found myself struggling with major writer’s block. I couldn’t even form complete thoughts in my head. My brain was scattered, trying to remember all the good times and bad times from every “phase” of my life. I held on to that past forever, and I still do. And I realize that can’t be healthy. I can’t live in the past. I can’t blame who I am on who I used to be. And that didn’t sink in until this evening.

I sat down by the fireplace with two of my best friends as we casually chatted about life. Heart to hearts were inevitable, as most girls know. Well, as I started talking about all of the important or life changing people in my life, I realized I hold on to all the baggage. As much time as I spend reminiscing about the good times, I also carry a heavy burden in my heart that holds on to all the not so good times. And I couldn’t be snapped back into reality. My friend literally said, “Tara, you need to get over it. Let it go. Let all of that go and move on.” Surprisingly, that hit hard. I have never had anyone tell me that before and it was like a slap in the face (in a good way, of course). I noticed that as my friends sat at that cozy fireplace they both talked about the present and the future and all I had was the past. I am so afraid of letting go of my past that I can’t even face the present. I am in love with the idea of things going back to the way it used to be and I won’t let go of the idea or the expectations. I am stuck in the past and find myself struggling to escape this nostalgia and euphoric vision of my past. It is time for me to let go of the pain that stabs me in the heart continuously, threatening to destroy realistic relationships.

As I write this at 2am, I am grateful that my friend was real with me. I am now aware that not only do I constantly think about the past, but I let it dictate the future. I am reluctant to believe that tomorrow is a clean slate. So thank you friend, for the deep talks and the harsh love. I appreciate you showing me the reality of life. I need you.

#blessed

Image

My happy place. My jetty.

As The Little English Girl reminds us how technology continuously distracts us from the life we ought to be living, I am truly inspired to experience life without the constant nagging of my beeping iPhone. I fall into the trap of FOMO countless times during the day. I feel bad about myself for not being invited and constantly intruding and invading the things in life that the older generation would consider “personal.” Why must we share every detail of our day? I don’t have enough reasons to qualify why it could really be that important. I am blinded by the constant adoration of sunsets I missed and jealousy of activities my friends get to do without me. Instead of going out to my favorite place on that sweet little jetty I sit on, feeling the cool wind in my hair and the saltwater mist splashing on my face, I spend that free time opening every possible social media outlet and torture myself into overthinking. So thankfully my eyes are opening, without the glare of my iPhone staring back at me, and showing me how truly blessed I am. As a common trend in social media #blessed is a constant reminder. For me it reminds me of how grateful I am to have a loving family. A family I can count on at any and all times of the day. A family that will laugh at my awful jokes and pretend to laugh at the constant Tumblr text posts I find hilarious. A family who seeks out ways to comfort me in times of doubt. A family who brings me peace when my world cannot. And a family who consistently brings me closer to God and shares my faith with me. I am also extremely thankful for my crazy friends. My friends who tolerate hearing my stories even if they’ve already heard it a hundred times.  My friends who patiently wait for me to stutter out the words my mind thinks but my voice can’t quite express. My friends who will stick with me through my highs and lows. My friends who trust me and my friends who I trust back. I am so blessed by the beautiful places I live in that I constantly take for granted. I remember how I used to say I’d never miss a sunset that I had time to see. Living right on the sea I sometimes convince myself that I don’t need to go sit on that jetty alone and watch the sunset, that I have done it enough times. However, during this beautiful winter season of sunsets I am reminded that each time I watch a sunset a small hole in my heart is refilled with peace and happiness. It is not an effort to go see these sunsets, but a blessing. We are not guaranteed a supportive family, we are blessed with one. We are not given life long friends, they are a blessing to us. So I thank God for the constant blessings in my life that I get to experience daily. I have not thanked Him enough and I am forever grateful for His blessings.