It is now hour 18 of being 23. So far… so good. The 16th of February always feels more like the start of a new year than Jan 1 ever will. It denotes a chapter break in my story, an asterisk on the mile long to-do list. So often I feel like birthday celebrations are weirdly misguided. 23 years ago, I was forcefully removed from my cozy womb because I refused to leave. That’s not an accomplishment, that’s the epitome of laziness. We should be celebrating the wonderful people who gave me life (shout out to mama and papa Albers)! They are the true stars of February 16th, not me.
I really like that my birthday falls on a Tuesday this year. Is there anything less sexy than a Tuesday? Absolutely not. Thus, I did a lot of solo celebrating. An extra birthday mile at the gym. Sprinkles on my pancakes. Palak paneer from my favorite Indian place down the street. Sparkle koozie constantly deployed. Today illustrates how much my world has changed in the past year. I now live 12 hours from my amazing parents, 1,412 miles from my best friend, and for the first time in six years, I am single. That’s right folks, you heard it here first! I am a hip single lady killin’ the birthday game.
For those reasons, I am learning new things about myself at an alarming rate. I love shopping at the fancy co-op 45 minutes from my house. Leg day is my ultimate frenemy. Pistachios are an incredible amount of work and happen to be a delicious snack. Going to the movies alone is way better than people say.
And maybe that is the first real lesson for all recent graduates: How to “Do You” 101. At 23, we get to be completely selfish with our time, our careers, and our expendable income¹. As a generation, we are just beginning to figure out who we are meant to be. The coming years will be filled with huge milestones, and not just the heteronormative ones like marriage and having babies! I am talking about real life biggies like getting your own HBO GO account instead of stealing someone else’s. Hosting a dinner party just to use the matching dishes you bought. Donating to a charity because you have EXTRA MONEY². As Lin-Manuel Miranda [insert praying hands emoji here] wrote “look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.” And we are. We are so so lucky.
Tonight I will drink lots of mediocre red wine and do a Google Hangout with some spectacular humans. Would I prefer to have them sitting on my couch IRL? Of course. But, for now, I am just enjoying my life as a twenty-something. Still me, still single, still really into the Hamilton soundtrack.
¹I don’t have vacation money but I have beer money. That is an accomplishment in my book.
²To do: allocate some beer money to help people in need.
Since my parents signed on the dotted line and initialed the bottom of every page, I guess I should finally say goodbye. My last morning with you sticks with me like a faded Polaroid- everything slightly out of focus and discolored. Pulling away from the driveway I felt like thirteen-year-old me, unsure and fiercely emotional, was sitting in the passenger seat. How I wish I could go back one last time to see your empty shell, to kiss all of your door frames. For all intents and purposes, you are the place that raised me. You watched my big milestones unfold behind your sturdy walls; you listened to my late night calls and kept all of my important secrets. (For the love of JESUS let’s keep those between us, ok?)
You are more than just a house to us. You are our forever home. You kept us warm, dry, and relatively happy for ten spectacular years. You made our decade inside your walls better than we could ever have imagined. It’s so painful to say goodbye to you but then I remember that you still exist, despite my absence, and it eases the pain.
I’ve heard that your new residents are a family of three, just like us. Take care of them, ok? Be sure the little one spends his days playing in the cul-de-sac. Make sure he becomes a Bulldog and wears the Orange and Black with pride. See to it that he studies hard and fills your rooms with so much life. Introduce the parents to all the neighbors so they feel just as welcome as we did. Keep them warm. Keep them dry. Keep them relatively happy.
It is so hard to let you go, but I remind myself everyday how lucky I am to have lived in the best house, in the best subdivision, in the best town, in the best state, in the best country in the world. You helped me become me…and for that I am eternally thankful.
Love you forever and always,
One year ago, I performed my one woman show, Relocation Is a Euphemism, for the people I love most. I remain in awe of the wonderful people who made that show possible. They had patience during the embarrassingly clunky first read when I wanted to cry. They loved me despite my neuroses and crippling self loathing. They tied the loose ends of my unraveled self into perfect red bows and I still can’t find the words to express my gratitude. I kissed that week of hell goodbye with a silent slice of stasis.
The entire process was a grueling lesson in following my passions, of which I have many. I am passionate about honest theatre and women’s rights. Melted chocolate and luke warm coffee. Milky stationary and Sarah Marie Menke. My favorite cheese is smoked gouda. My favorite Christmas movie is The Santa Clause. My favorite cookie is the French Macaroon and I will pay $12 for one if they ask me.
They are colorful and papery and sugar perfection so you can imagine my hesitation to put them on my 25 Days of Baking calendar. I am proud to say that I made my very own French Macaroons- the hardest cookie in the book and they even had FEET! (Feet is the fancy people word for the bumps at the bottom of the cookie.) I filled my pillows of heaven with peppermint buttercream and I have officially decided I am never eating anything else.
It’s probably silly, but I had so much anxiety that they wouldn’t turn out the way they are supposed to. I followed the recipe word for word and obsessed over all the rules for a perfect macaroon. When they finally made it to the oven, I sat with my face pressed against the warm glass. Full disclosure… some of them cracked so I HAD to eat the rejects first. This is a recipe that I anticipate making for birthdays and holidays until I am 90. The simple satisfaction of completing something I am passionate about made my week so bright.
“What is your passion?” -Minor Myers, Illinois Wesleyan University
All the recipes I use can be found on my Pintrest board. Happy pinning!
Check out my Instagram for daily bakery updates. Today is Red Velvet Cream Cheese Cookies! Can’t wait to get started …YUM!
There are 15 days until Christmas. GAH!
December 1. It has been nearly seven months since my last post. Considered deleting everything and starting fresh, but that felt like lying to myself, something I desperately try to avoid. Rereading the early posts is like peeking into someone else’s journal. I can hardly read the furious scribbles and half finished embarrassing sentences.
My senior year, for so many reasons and none at all, was the hardest of my life. I now realize that I only got through it with the help of a few very special humans-smooches to you all for holding me together. Day by day things are improving and I find solace in the shiny little moments that make up my quiet life.
Waking up early this morning for A Christmas Carol with the snow falling and the coffee brewing brought me so much joy. How lucky I am to spend
The Master Schedule
my days playing pretend? I go to work to tell the most beautiful story about redemption during my favorite time of the year. I especially love sharing it with young people- student matinees make for wonderful talk backs. Today, a little one in the back row asked us if being an actor is fun… yes, my love, it is.
To further the merriment of the season, I am going to be completing “25 Days of Baking” and I couldn’t be more excited to share. Each week I will be posting pictures and favorite recipes. Stay tuned for much more to come. I hope this brings you all as much cheer as it does for me!
Laying in bed, the night before gradation, I feel something remarkably familiar. My heart is being weighed down by the white hot pain of goodbyes and I want to zip zip back to December. I would capture every moment with the 35mm of my subconscious. Catalogued and perfect, my memories would fill the gaps of my broken sense of self.
Laying in bed, the night before graduation, I feel immense gratitude that I have been loved so fully.
“How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared.” The Opposite of Loneliness
Last weekend I heard Anne Bogart speak at Humana Festival. It was basically a rock concert for theatre people and in her hour long tour de inspiration, she hit us with a few perfect one-liners.
Revelations in small rooms make bigger rooms possible.
Try finishing your sentences and you will find how powerful it is to do that.
You need three things- technique, passion, and something to say.
Perhaps the most influential moment is when she charged us all to “be articulate in the face of insecurity”. Well Anne- here I am. From now on, I refuse to use weak words to describe what I do- I am too smart to be lazy. I refuse to waste my education by being lukewarm. One month from today I will put on my ill-fitting green trash bag, sit in the hot sun for three hours, and try not to trip on the long walk to the diploma hander-outer man. BOOM. I will have an actual, real life degree in theatre.
With no plan, no boyfriend, and no fears, I am going to make this happen. I am going to become a theatre artist.
seniors…? Hello? Are you out there?
Time is moving quicker than usual, right? Where is my TOL group?
Remember BombPop | Slip&Slide
summers? Let’s just go back to that– dollar cones. pizza parties.
round bellies wrapped in Tankinis.
Now when I inhale I try to rapidly suck in the world around me. I breathe in you, and you,
and YOU. 69 days.
Inhale. Slow the clock. Figure it out. Inhale. Inhale.
Prairie street. Slumpy couch. Let’s just stay [warm].
No gramm, I don’t have a plan. Yeah, I feel crazy. It’s the feeling that makes you want to
shave your head or get a tattoo of a
just to be sure of something.
we are so old. so old. so so young.