Your Horoscope (yes, you)

Weekly Horoscope (January 14, 2016)

Good morning to you. This is my weekly horoscope for people born between January 1 and December 31. 

You rolled out of bed this morning with sleep in your eyes or an ache in your lower back. Don’t worry. As the day progresses, someone will do or say a kindness. Acknowledge this kindness and try to pay it forward: to a coworker, a loved one, or a stranger. 

Health is important to you in the new year. Don’t let January slip by without taking time to prepare real food at home, sign up for a yoga class, or speed up the pace for your weekly walk. Your body and mind will thank you. 

Learn the values of saying “yes” and saying “no”. Think about your response to an upcoming social outing or yet another weeknight activity. Am I saying no because I’m afraid of failure? Am I saying yes to distract myself from a lingering problem? Do not fall into the paralysis of routine. 

This week, a book title will catch your eye. Don’t forget to search for it at your library or find a copy in a local bookstore. Reading good writing is an important part of your spiritual growth this mid-January.

You did not win the Powerball. This sadness will pass. You will come into unexpected wealth. Maybe.

Horoscopes

 

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The Question Every Traveler, Millennial, and Retiree Is Asking

I spent last weekend on the Jersey Shore with three wonderful people, a final trip before my European excursion. Each day was filled with good food, naps on the beach and pure relaxation. On Saturday evening, I left my clothes on the sand and waded into the ocean alone. I ventured deep into the blackness until the warm salty water covered my arms and neck. Up above, starlight shone through holes cut in the construction paper sky and covered the world in a soft glow. I looked east—I’ll be crossing you soon, dear Atlantic Ocean— and out over the incoming tide. Here, in this liquid wonderland, the future felt limitless.

Many of my peers are struggling to make sense of their seemingly limitless future, a time  I affectionately call the Two Year Itch.  It’s been two years since college graduation and the collective plunge into the outside world. The newlywed phase of increased freedom and responsibility has been replaced with a less positive feeling. These young talented minds, taught to speak in tweets and think like CEOs, are currently  treading water wondering why the perfect job, career path or soul mate hasn’t floated by. Many are quitting/changing their jobs, moving to new cities or pursuing medical, law or graduate school. Some are married, more are in relationships and most are divided as to whether “being single” is the best or worst part of their young adult lives. I watch my friends and former classmates lift their heads above the water and gaze back toward shore, internally questioning their initial sense of direction and motivation. Under the dark blue sky, we ask ourselves the same question.

Where should I go from here?Map

This is not a question unique to the Millennial generation in 2014. This is a question for all of us: for every passionate activist, retired employee, single parent and widowed spouse. This question spurs doubt in our choices and fear of the unknown. We question our decisions or refuse to make them at all. Cracking the binding of a blank passport, we have no plane ticket, no itinerary and no planned destination. Time is of the essence and we have everywhere and nowhere to go.

Let’s take one step back and focus on the why. Why are we going? Where do we hope the going is going to get us? Sara Horowitz, founder of Freelancers Union, defines the “what” as meaningful independence:

“the ability to pursue your passions and your dreams, secure in the knowledge that

you’re connected to people, groups, and institutions that have your back.”

To me, this goal rings true. I must identify my passions and dreams so I may pursue them. I must surround myself with the people who can make these ideas happen in a supportive environment. The ocean is vast and the stars are bright.

Katelyn’s Five (of many) Goals and Dreams:

  • Backpack through Europe.
  • Live in New York City.
  • Carve writing into my daily routine.
  • Visit Hawaii. 
  • Work at a company with motivated and inspirational people.

Now make your list. Are the jobs, people and activities in your life working toward meaningful independence? If not, it might be time to make a change. Until then, just keep swimming.

A Blue Crumbles Christmas

The Pandora station is set to Let It Snow, online gift sales have skyrocketed and Hershey’s kisses in red and green are flying off the shelves. Finals weeks is in full swing and stress levels are high. Starbucks’ gingerbread lattes are back, the boys next door are sitting around a fire wearing Santa hats and my calendar is on its very last page. Christmas time is here. 

On Thursday, members of the Bucknell Dance Company went to a local senior citizen home to perform for some of the residents.  We arrived a little before 2pm and the room had already been prepared, an amphitheatre of wheelchairs and Velcro sneakers. I pushed play on the CD player and the dancers began. This is what the holidays are about, I thought as feet jumped and bodies spun in time to the music, sharing our joy with others. At the end of the performance, we passed around small cards with pictures of snowmen or candy canes, the words Happy Holidays scribbled in blue pen. It was a small gesture to be sure but I couldn’t think of a better way to spent two hours on a bright crisp December afternoon.

 Late last month, my friends from freshmen year created our very own pre-Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate friendship and attempt recipes our moms had painstakingly explained over the phone. There were logistical issues–foldout tables, number of chairs, size of the turkey–but by 6pm, the food had arrived and everyone had a place at the table. Plates were filled with turkey, salad, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, fresh-baked bread, roasted vegetables, cheesy potatoes, pies, cupcakes and wine. We gave thanks to long-lasting relationships and great food while asserting our independence. All too soon we would be conducting our own orchestras, harmonizing the casseroles dishes with the turkey pan and number of placements required for a Thanksgiving meal. It was a glorified game of playing house and by the end of the meal, the men were going back for second helpings of pie while the women took to the kitchen, complaining about the lack of counter space and missing Tupperware lids. 

Our house, fondly named Blue Crumbles for its historically weak building foundation, recently geared up for the holiday season. Tonight we will be hosting A Blue Crumbles Christmas complete with festive chocolates, cheese dip and my mulled wine recipe from Denmark. The tree is decorated, the lights are up and the stockings are hung with care. Although none of us can believe the fall semester of our senior year will be over in a few short days, we are celebrating in the only way we know how. Hot chocolate, friends and a little bit of peppermint schnapps.

My life is still very much that of a college student. I attend class, do homework and see friends without the added worries about a mortgage, enough vacation time or reconnecting to loved ones. No matter how many people get accepted to graduate school, get job offers or finish Teach For America placement tests, the words grown-up and mature remain distant spots in the horizon. But these are not fixed destinations for we are always growing and maturing, experiencing new “firsts” and meeting new people. The holiday season is the chance to examine the beauty in your life in the same way one examines a snowglobe amidst flakes of white.

But for now, let’s be thankful for good food, great friends and families who love us. While fear of the future– fear of the unknown–will never completely subside, we should all snuggle up with a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate knowing the figurings in the swirling white snow are just where they belong.

Happy Holidays. 

Senior in College

It’s raining today in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. A slow and steady rain that knocks against the leaves outside my bedroom window. The weather is still warm and muggy and I’m reminded of the Philippines weather during rainy season. My summer experience feels so far away.

Being back at college for my final year is wonderful. My five girlfriends and I have moved into our new house, nicknamed Blue Crumbles, and are slowly learning to cook dinner, take out the trash and wait in line for the single shower. My room is the biggest room I’ve ever had and I feel like I’m coming home every time I climb the stairs and open the first door on the left. There is a sense of freedom gained from living off campus, a sense that life is slowing down and waiting for you to catch your breath. And that’s the catch. Life isn’t waiting, isn’t looking behind with an outstretched hand. Life is sprinting full speed ahead and you close your eyes hoping you’re moving in the right direction.

I could write about my first desperate attempt to cook dinner which resulted in the blandest eggplant dish known to mankind. I could detail the hours of sorority practice and conversations for recruitment in order to snag the best pledge (we did). Or the last Dance Company auditions I would watch, multiple attempts to begin my thesis and grabbing lunch with friends I haven’t seen since sophomore year. My last two weeks have been great but the words end and last continue to creep into my brain, a shadow of self-doubt about the future that lies ahead.

I took my senior pictures last week and got through most of the fake half-smiles before realizing the reason for the pictures. Wearing a cap and gown and posing with the tasselled hat against my chest I felt strange and confused. Later in the week I sat in my first 3-hour LSAT prep class and thought about the step after the preparation, after taking the test. Law school. Do I want to be an attorney? I can’t even decide what I want to make for dinner let alone the next three years. And considering I signed up 3 days after the deadline and have to drive 40 minutes to the test site I would say I have long-term planning issues.

So my blog is not going to turn into senior year quibbles but I needed a chance to say my future is fuzzy. And how that can be daunting at times, the way the night sky looks when the blackness extends outward into space. But I can only live one day at a time and today was a pretty good day.