After a night full of sharing Italian bread, pasta, wine and ice cream to celebrate my 21st birthday, my roommates and I walked around the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden – our last stop before heading home. The sky was the shade of a Midnight Milky Way bar; and a few stars had managed to break through the cityscape haze, making it a picture perfect sight.
Most people would groan if their alarm went off at 4:20 a.m. on a weekend. I however, sprung out of bed and splashed some water into my eyes with a smile on my face. I was tired, but I was going to have a good day. Why?
This weekend, another dream came true for me. On top of working for a magazine company during the week (dream come true number one), I started working weekends at The Salty Tart Bakery. Between doing interviews and writing stories in Minneapolis, I was already on cloud nine. And now, this part-time job puts the icing on the cake.
I have the pleasure of working with people who are passionate about what they do, not just in the editorial business, but now, in the bakery business, too. It’s inspiring to work alongside people who care about creating quality products, and who value human interaction. It’s part of why I look forward to my work — because it’s life-giving.
My fellow editors, writers, bakers, and I are able to thrive at our jobs because we value what do.
Personally, I wish everyone had the opportunity to work in the fields they are passionate about. I am blessed that for now I’m able to, because I know it doesn’t always work out that way. In fact, I know several people who detest their jobs but have no other option. The only reason they clock in is for a steady paycheck.
My hope is that every one of us can find ways to integrate life-giving activities into our lives.
If not at work, then elsewhere. Whether it’s a volunteer opportunity, or a hobby or engaging in art and creativity, sport, recreation, or whatever, these are the things that give us the energy and the motivation to keep moving and stay positive.
And if you don’t know what’s life-giving for you, think about what you enjoy doing. Do you feel energized after a walk, or a conversation, or a good read? Do you feel energized by serving or helping others? What creates a spark?
I could go on about why I think this kind of self-discovery is important, but I want to hear from you. What areas of your life do you feel blessed to experience?
“You want to do what?!” My best friend, Devon, shouted via Skype. In a moment, her eyes had widened to the size of plump grapes. You’d think she had just witnessed a car crash; she was in complete shock.
“Lauren, honestly, this just doesn’t sound like you. If you can tell me that five years after the fact you’ll still be happy with your decision, then I will let this go. But if not, you need to really think this through,” she said.
Before Devon knew about my plan (the topic is irrelevant to this post), I was certain I was making the right decision. I hadn’t really thought it through, but it made sense at the time, so I went with it. However, in hearing my best friend’s aconcern face-to-face, I knew she was right about my hasty decision.
I’d fallen victim to impulse. And since I hadn’t taken time to mull things over, I was killing any chance of considering another path. I was settling for second best because it seemed like the right and simple thing to do.
Relying solely on instinct to make major life decisions is dangerous.
I’m so glad I had the nerve to talk to Devon about this situation. And now, I understand how important it is to get several different opinions before choosing any life-altering course of action. I think talking with others is sometimes the only way to make sense of what you really want.Read More
I looked up from my book, startled by the loud noise of a door opening in our community house.
Thank goodness! Someone is home! I thought.
A few minutes passed and still, there were no roommates in sight. Walking over to where the noise originated, I found the door blown open by the wind. No one was coming home. I was still
I don’t get lonely very often; and when I do, I usually self-medicate by reading, whipping up a new recipe, going for a drive, or writing. But tonight was different. Being alone wasn’t something I could push away — it was my reality. Friends sent me pictures of their nights out on the town. My dad sent me pictures of the whole family at a wedding. My grandmother Facebooked “Everyone was out at the house today, except for Lauren.” All in succession.
I wrote about making friends last week, but as I said before, that’s a process … not something you can force. Knowing that I had no one in the area to call who was available, I threw the blanket off my legs, put my book down, rose from the couch and went for a walk.
A few blocks into my journey, I saw a birthday party of inflatables taking place at a corner house. Children were laughing. Some parents were hugging other parents goodbye as they drop their kids off. Others stayed to watch the little ones have a good time.
Their community and experiences gave me joy.
At one point or another in life, we will all be outsiders. There will be loneliness. Hearts will ache for home. And you can click your heels all you want, but a pair of red shoes won’t magically take you there.
In these moments, there are two options: wallow in the loneliness, or, take a walk. Receive joy from the world around you by looking for beauty and community where you originally saw desolate darkness. At the end of our loneliest nights is the dawn of a new day.
The wonderful thing about ordering Thai take-out is that you can get delicious, ethnic food prepared and delivered in just a few minutes.
There’s no fuss. No mess. Just happy noses, and full bellies.
While you might make a mess (who am I kidding, I always make a mess) with this recipe, you, too, can whip up an order of chicken curry in quite a hurry. Don’t be intimidated by the fact you are cooking something you would normally order at a specialized restaurant. You can cook something that will taste just as good — and for half the price!Read More
I pushed the thought out of my head as quickly as it had entered. But the lie had already been expressed: None of it mattered.
Through the airplane’s windows I could see faces — the smiles of the friends I had come to cherish over the course of a few months. I couldn’t have survived my summer in Seattle without them. I was ready to move on, but felt so wrong for having been only a momentary blip in my new friend’s lives.
I felt so insignificant. So ungrounded.
In high school, many of us had consistent friend groups: people we played sports, went to church, ate lunch, or hung out with on a regular basis. On any given day, we’d be reconnected with these relationships. Our whole world could fit within the county lines of our town.
Some stay within those county lines. Then there are those who venture out into the world, where, even though there are plenty of people around, it can become a pretty lonely and fruitless place. There is a sense of uprootedness experienced in this.
So what do we do when we feel like a wandering soul? And how are new friends made in the first place?
Regardless of the amount of time spent with a certain person, friendships matter. None of us could get by without them. The people we come in contact with are inarguably irreplaceable, unique, and deserving of our full attention. But friendship is a process. Relationships are not instantaneous — they are lifelong and involve active engagement.
Sunday marks week two of my Minneapolis affair. It’s taken a bit of time, but, instead of just passing through this part of my life, I’m trying to see each new friendship as a valued opportunity to learn more about the world and my place in it. What I’ve found is that the more people I meet and talk to, the more beautiful and big life gets. Read More