28 Things about me I’ve accepted after 28 years of being me

Five years ago I wrote about the lessons I had learned after 22 years of life. I remember feeling like I had turned a curve of adulthood at 23 and everything seemed to make sense. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that two months later I quit my job, moved home, and realized 23 is actually the worst year of life.

Now at 28, I know my life is one big disaster in thinking I can do it on my own. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I’m confident in who my Creator designed me to be. It doesn’t mean I’m not still insecure at times. I’m still me, after all. It just means I can take an honest appraisal of myself and accept all the strange and unavoidable facts about me, like:

  • I have a weird hairline

In eighth grade a boy asked me if I had a receding hairline. After this, I took a vow to the gods of old to never show my forehead again. Despite having a luxurious head of hair, what lies beneath my bangs and at the base of my skull is a weird terrain of baby hair and awkward patterns. These days I’m slightly more confident about letting it all hang out, but understand that bangs simply frame my face better.

  • My palette is unrefined

To be clear, I’m not someone who orders chicken tenders at every restaurant. I’m not a barbarian. I can appreciate good and exotic food with the best of them. I’m just not good at discerning between flavors. My favorites are all basic dishes because my mouth can wrap its tasty brain around the classics. Don’t ask me to tell you what flavors are in something, either. Unless I’m eating a strawberry, I won’t be able to tell you it’s strawberry flavored.

  • I can’t really tell if something is good

Similar to my poor palette is my inability to really judge and compare things like food, books and movies. With age, I’ve gotten better at admitting what I liked best and offering my opinion, but I still worry immensely no one will agree with me.

  • I am not good at finding things

Have you ever seen the GIF of John Travolta in his character from Pulp Fiction opening his arms and looking around puzzled? That’s basically me. Whether it’s an Easter basket hidden the house, a file on a computer, or something on a table you’re pointing out to me, I probably won’t find it. I promise I try. I really do.

  • I’m a really poor communicator

As a writer and communications professional, this is a little embarrassing. For most of my life, I would explain or say something and be misunderstood. I’ve often found myself explaining things several times. Until a few years ago, I thought it was everyone else’s problem and I was the superior being. Nope. Turns out I have a lot of words but no clear understanding of how to use them to explain a point properly.

  • I don’t have any exciting hobbies

When people ask what you like to do for fun, I’ve always wanted to say something interesting like climb mountains or learn Mandarin Chinese. Sometimes I say travel because it is something I enjoy, but I don’t view it as a hobby. At the end of the day, I like reading and taking walks. And learning. I love gaining new knowledge and then sharing it when anyone will listen. I’m a huge nerd, but we can’t all be thrill seekers.

  • I will never have a large group of best friends

I remember going to college and assuming I would meet all these people with similar interests and we would all be best friends. Movies and television taught me that you need these large friend groups to get through every phase of life. Sure, I had a lot of friends in high school, but it was different.

Being only two years shy of 30, it seems unlikely that I’ll ever have a monster group, but I left college with something even better. My heterosexual life partner, Samantha. No offense to all my other friends because I like you guys too, but if I was faced with choosing between losing her and having other friends or only having her, she would win without a moment’s hesitation.

  • I am a great aunt

Not like a great aunt like a great grandma. That would be weird. Nothing makes me happier than my nieces wanting to cuddle with me.

  • I am weak when it comes to my mouth

I am the epitome of a big mouth, although mercifully it’s been shrinking as I’ve matured. It seems like my mouth and my heart are always after two different things and even when I know I shouldn’t say something, my mouth barges forward because it knows the reaction it will get.

  • I will always prefer sweatpants

I wish I was someone who changed into jeans after she takes off her work clothes, but that ain’t me. If I’m going somewhere after work, maybe. If I’m just home, heck no. I am in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, no bra. Sometimes I just skip right to pajamas. I have this great balance between looking good and enjoying the reward of looking like a bum at the end of the day.

  • I am responsible

There was a phase in my life where I somehow lost sight of the old woman I truly am and assumed I wasn’t a responsible adult. I let this idea grow until it became how everyone viewed me. But 28-year-old Chelsea is here to set the record straight. I’m responsible AF, y’all.

  • I am opinionated

If you don’t want to know how I feel about something, just don’t speak in my presence. I have feelings about basically everything and usually have zero issues with sharing.

  • I’m not political

There are things in this world I care about (people mostly). My politics come down to loving people no matter where they are or what situation of life they’re in. I don’t care about parties or policies. Nothing else in this world matters to me except for loving people.

  • I’m hairy

Remember when I talked about my weird hairline? Yeah, turns out I’m hairy all over. I used to be super self-conscious and think about shaving my arms but now I’m like nah. It’s cool that my hair grows down my neck. I have a cute little ‘stache that creeps in now and again.

  • I’m not super fashionable

I’m not saying this like I don’t care how I like or I look like a bum. I’m aware that 90% of the time in public I look nice. Usually my look is more classic instead of in style. Sam, for example, is always wearing things that are trendy. I used to pin looks on Pinterest and decide now was the time I would buy more fashionable clothing. Occasionally I stumble into something on the cutting edge, but usually I’m just low key me.

  • I have nice hair

This isn’t one I’m going to go on and on about. It’s just a blessing I’m aware of. So many people complain about their hair not styling or holding, and mine does both. I don’t need to use products and it will look good all day. It’s a nice balance between of thickness and softness and the color isn’t bad either. This has gone on too long.

  • I hate classification labels

Virgo, ENFJ, INFJ, 4, Introvert, Extrovert

These are all ways you can describe me and there are levels of truth in all of them; however, I HATE how people think they can understand you just by asking what your Enneagram is or if you’re an extrovert.

Now that I’m thinking about it, my frustration comes down to our quick intimacy culture. We’re obsessed with knowing how you’re classified because it helps us immediately understand someone. We think it gives us a deeper access into who they are. Just like how we present ourselves on social media. I want someone to learn about me not because they know my Myers Briggs rankings, but because they just know me.

Despite these labels, they can never fully capture the uniqueness of a human. I am Chelsea. A child of God. Lover not a fighter. Hufflepuff. These are the only classifications I like.

  • I’m bad at doors

I just don’t get locks and handles. I never turn, push or pull the right way. In defeat I usually walk away and have someone help me. It’s a major weakness I can’t overcome.

  • I’m a really lazy go-getter

People meet me and listen to me and assume I’m like the crazy proactive person. This is sometimes true. Because I am frequently a ball of energy that is literally bursting with enthusiasm (probably because I’m a Virgo, jk), I go through phases of intense activity and profound laziness. I have yet to find a way to balance the energy with the relaxation, but I’m always optimistic.

  • I’m an unshakeable optimist

If you ever hear me unsure if something will work out (outside of professional work opinions), it’s usually because being an eternal optimist can drive people crazy. I believe in seeing the best in people and believing in what will happen. Sometimes I hide this to commiserate with people so they like me more. I wish I didn’t do this.

  • I’m super obsessive

I literally have to limit myself on Netflix because I can binge like nobody’s business. I become emotionally invested in shows and feel out of sorts in my real life thinking about plot lines in a show. It happens with books sometimes, too. Usually I can walk away and give myself space. Usually.

  • I am not polished

Don’t watch me try to eat or get out of a car in a skirt. Isn’t there a saying about putting lipstick on a pig? I feel like that. I can look carefully assembled, but really I’m just a slob.

  • I am goofy

What can I say? I’m a silly billy. Prone to dance and sing in public, it’s likely I’ll embarrass you at some point when we’re together. I also make a lot of weird jokes that people miss and think I’m serious. As I mentioned, I’m a poor communicator.

  • I am smart

I was raised by a mother who never let me think I was smart so to this day I’m still surprised when sometimes tells me I’m smart. Let’s be clear – I’m not Harvard smart. I stopped at Organic Chemistry because it got too complicated. My main skills are information retention. If you know me and read this and think I’m an idiot, you’re not wrong. Brains can’t help with my lack of common sense or strangeness.

Upon re-reading I want to point out my mom was careful so I didn’t become a precocious know-it-all and drive everyone crazy. Thanks to her diligence, I wasn’t a complete know-it-all.

  • I’m an oversharer

Few things bring me more joy than when people ask about me, especially after clarifying they’re not trying to be too intrusive. I don’t think I have anything in my life I will not freely discuss in any situation. I thrive on sharing too much. Be careful what you ask for.

  • I’m a good arguer

So yes, I hate to fight and will likely end up in tears myself, but usually I’m too stubborn to give up. It used to drive my mom crazy how I could basically win an argument because I could wear the other person down. Twice I won debates in high school with minimal research on my end just because of my passion. Seriously.

  • I’m always trying to do my best

This site is called Seemingly Good Ideas because I make a lot of stupid choices, but at the end of the day it’s because I’m trying to do the best I can. I’m just a human, that’s all.

  • I’m a work in progress

I’m not going to accomplish everything I want overnight and this path has shown that the self improvement and progress is worth it. I hope until the day I die I consider myself a work in progress because there’s always room to grow.

#Dedicate28

This annoying habit of theming my birthdays began three birthdays ago at age 25, after a trip to Ireland woke me up. At the time, I thought I had it all figured out. Now I know that was just the beginning of my transformation.

#QuarterLifeChelsea began with a full month of celebrations and a dedication to living as  God called me. Also just living my life in general instead of hiding from it out of fear. I initially believed 25 would be about stability. I lived in a duplex and had a car payment, steady job, and a dog. It seemed like I had my life in order.

Following God, I’ll remind you, usually means we don’t actually have it figured out. Soon it became apparent I needed to leave my job and the perfect opportunity opened up to take me to Buffalo with my family. Then a month after that my dog was killed and I was living with my parents. #Ridiculous26 began with pink hair, a nose piercing, and a new tattoo. I took the lessons I learned from Ireland and my growing trust in God and just really went for it.

I left my comfortable full-time job to work at Sephora. More than the economic hardships I obviously endured, the bigger struggle was dealing with my family constantly telling me I had made a mistake. I didn’t know where my path was going, but I knew it wasn’t wrong.

It was during this time I had my come to Jesus moment.

Well, maybe not come to Jesus because I’d been saved for almost 15 years at that point. No, it was the moment when I realized I couldn’t keep living with the world and growing my faith. The two parts couldn’t meet up – I was still chained to the person I thought I had to be while lightly grooming the one I had to be. Even though I’d been going to church my entire life, I’d never felt that desire to be different. I didn’t think it was possible.

Fortunately, this changed when I got really drunk at a boat party, someone shared pictures and then I went to church and served hungover.

It was here a dear friend spoke into my life because she saw my duplicity, but more importantly she saw my potential. Suddenly, I knew I could be different. I wanted to change. This began a whirlwind. My first decision was to stop drinking and it’s one I intend to keep for the rest of my life.

By the time 27 rolled around, I went with #27thHeaven because I didn’t really know what else I was going for. My life was still in such an upheaval and I remained directionless. I forced myself to do the usual parade of September activities assuming it would help me feel like me again.

This is where I’m going to fast forward because honestly there’s so much and I don’t want this post to lose focus. This is what happened in nutshell: it’s like suddenly I reached the end of this dark uphill tunnel and I saw a glimpse of what God had for me. All of the work I’d been doing in my life made sense and suddenly I was new.

Everything in between are stories for another day. The end result is #Dedicate28. All of those years were about me, but I want that to change. This September wasn’t filled with endless activities. I want my life to be a reflection of Jesus and everything I do to point to Him. I want His greatness to shine, and I know I can’t do this if I keep putting myself at the center.

It’s not going to be an easy year. I mean, living without social media is challenge enough, not to mention everything else going on. But I’m confident in what God is doing. He’s shown me His faithfulness time and time again and I don’t want to lose sight of that glory for my own.

A year of being unsocial

For almost half of my life, I’ve been active on social media. I remember getting a MySpace at age 15 and carefully taking my profile picture to show off how deep and mature I was. In case you’re wondering, I set a digital camera self-timer and sat across the room with my bangs across my face and the classic look of being misunderstood. Naturally I was wearing a Harry Potter t-shirt.

Considering it was my first journey into social media, I’m not sure how I knew that was the norm. It was before MySpace the Movie exposed the concept of using angles to make yourself look better and I certainly wasn’t a scene kid committed to that lifestyle.

In a time where your parents frequently received CDs in the mail with trials of America Online, I was just beginning my web experience. My dad had Internet before most people, meaning I was on AOL Messenger before it became the sensation of AOL Instant Messenger. ChellyBelly911, hit me up.

What did we do in the early days before social media? It’s hard to remember, honestly. For awhile I played Bingo online and did the A/S/L game with strangers. Thankfully, things weren’t as dangerous back then. GorgeousGeekyGuys.com just *understood* my obsession with the cast of Lord of the Rings and I printed pictures of all my favorite hotties.

Yes, that’s what we did. Printed pictures of hot guys to hang on our walls. What a time.

The social side of the Internet continued to blossom with sites like Xanga and LiveJournal (I had both), but it hit its stride with MySpace. I spent so much dial-up time blocking phone calls so I could pick the perfect background and song for my page. Cultivating your Top 8 was crucial and being able to add more was revolutionary.

At age 17 I made my Facebook account. My sister was in college and guaranteed me it was the site all the cool college kids preferred. Twitter came at 19 with Instagram following shortly after. I guess YouTube happened somewhere too along with a million other sites that tried but couldn’t compete with the big guns (looking at you, Google+). And yeah I know there are more popular sites like Tumblr and Pinterest but I’ve got to get the point of this post soon.

Now as an almost-28-year-old, it’s interesting to look at the evolution of social media use. For some kids, Facebook has always been around. They can get tagged in baby pictures and have their own account. They missed the years where it was cool to poke people and the question wasn’t ‘what’s on your mind?’


It began as a simple way to stay connected and share funny images. Writing on Walls to say you missed someone’s face was the norm. Is it even still called a wall? I wrote that instinctively. No, now it’s a Timeline. I lived through the crises of our generation when the layouts would change and everyone would like pages that served as petitions to bring the old way back. Surprisingly, this never worked.

You posted a status to actually update someone. When I look back and see everything I shared, it’s frankly embarrassing. I would update like five times a day and most of the time no one even liked my statuses. This is when my life with social media starts to take a turn.

At some point, those likes began to mean something to me. Maybe it was learning more about the platforms through my public relations major that made me want to perform better online, but I think it was a cultural shift.

Here social media went from a simple way of staying connected to being unique and heard. Slowly, we began to cultivate our images online. Not everyone, mind you. Some people probably share things today and don’t care about likes. Even writing that I think, then what’s the point of sharing?

And that is my problem.

My family is very smart and funny and fortunately I have received a fraction of both these features. As a result, social media became a good outlet for me. It took time, but eventually I found a way to combine my talents with a way of entertaining people online.

Listen, I don’t write that because I think I’m so amazing and everyone loves me. Then again, Jimmy Fallon did say my name several times on television because I am so creative and funny so you be the judge.

It really started with Twitter. I barely passed 500 followers and didn’t get a lot of retweets, but got told just enough I was funny that I kept tweeting. I began to share less on Facebook and focus my updates on things I could make funny. When Instagram launched the Stories feature, it was over for me.

By this time I was deeply invested, committed and reliant upon social media. It felt like as long as people liked me there, I was good enough. I wanted to keep pleasing people. When a post didn’t perform well, it would make me second guess everything about myself.

If I’m being honest, it felt like my social media persona was a version of myself I could control. My entire life I’ve known that I’m kind of a divisive person. I’m overall likable (she said modestly), but I’m also a lot. I’m intense and not really great at keeping my opinions to myself. In real life, you never know what I’m going to say. I never know what I’m going to say. With social media, I could select the best parts of me and give them to the world. It made me feel liked and good.

Naturally, it also made me feel more insecure.

When you present a controlled version of yourself, you can’t help but worry about all the untamed areas someone might encounter. The way friendship works in this online world only made it worse.


Fasting social media isn’t a new concept for me, but this year it held more weight. As my relationship with Jesus continued to grow, I made decisions focused around following wholeheartedly and several times I knew this meant distance from online communities. It was then I realized so much of my online communities are my real communities.

People told me they missed seeing me online. Others said I seemed like I was disconnected. This online version of me had become a substitute for real relationships. Sure, I saw my friends IRL, but so much more of our communicating was done online. People didn’t miss hanging out with me, they missed seeing what I shared online. I was disconnected because I wasn’t engaging online.

To be clear, I’m not saying this as a slight to my friends. In fact, their words were an eye opener for my relationship with social media. What their words told me was without social media, I didn’t really know how to stay connected.

Even worse, my actions have led social media to be a part of my identity.

Around Easter of this year, I decided to take an extended hiatus. This is where I learned about my problems with community, but I also learned something incredibly valuable. Social media does not have to be a part of my life. Even of people expect it or say it’s sad that I’m going, it doesn’t mean I can’t leave it behind. It doesn’t define me.

Eventually, I came back to it slowly, but as the weeks rolled by, I found myself becoming more and more dependent again. I unfollowed a lot of accounts that brought nothing to my life, but spent more time watching Instagram Stories as a distraction. I’ll scroll Facebook for hours, even if most of my time is just spent unfollowing video and meme accounts that I don’t want to see.

When I was away from social media, I read a lot. Now, I can’t keep my attention long enough and always find myself picking up my phone to distract myself. All I want is to be distracted, to see if my photo received more likes, to see if I’ve received any messages. I’m so tired of it.

I just need to limit myself, you say, and I get the suggestion. For many people who can casually browse and don’t live for the applause, it’s great advice. In my case, it doesn’t matter. I start with a spade and say I’m only going to move the dirt a little and soon enough I’ve dug my own grave where my phone has again become my most important relationship.

Since I turned 25, I’ve themed every year of my life, and 28 will be no different (in a sense). Following the transformation I’ve experienced over the last year, this year is Dedicate 28. It’s about not living for myself, but always pursuing Someone Higher. I quickly realized I needed to use this year to leave social media altogether.*

*so altogether means personally because I’m in digital marketing so obviously I have to use it for my job

In the days leading up to it, it feels like more people have reached out to me saying I’m funny and they love my stories and I’m just like GET BEHIND THEE SATAN! Jk, but really. I keep going back and forth wondering if this is the right choice and then I realize how tightly I’m holding onto something that I only really use to glorify myself. Sure, I share about God, but I know those likes aren’t for Him. I only want them for me.

Then I think about this site and the platform I’d like to have. It seems foolish to abandon social media if you want to grow something in 2018. First, I have social accounts for my blog and never use them. Second, if God wants this to go somewhere, He doesn’t need a Facebook account.

So I’m doing it. September 10, 2018, will be my last day until September 11, 2019. Usually I just quietly take a break, but I wanted to give people a warning in case they try to reach me. If you want to be my friend and continue our relationship, we have to do it the old fashioned way, meaning we’ll text each other about hanging out but never actually have time to do it. If you tag me in things, I won’t see it. If you send me a message on social media, I won’t see it.

You can text me screenshots, though. I do love some of the funny things that can be found online.

With this, though, I’m also challenging myself to be a better friend. Instead of relying on seeing your updates, I want to actually engage with you.

This is going to be a challenging year and prayers are obviously appreciated. I know God is going to use this time to help me refocus and continuing pursuing Him more without the distractions of glorifying myself.

See you next year, friends.

Except not if you read my blog. I’m going to keep doing this.

I am in the 92% of those who fail at their resolutions

I almost started this by saying ‘like most people, I make New Years resolutions,’ but it turns out most people actually don’t make them. In fact, some statistics I found on the Internet claim that while 41 percent of us always make them, 42 percent NEVER do. NEVER?

It’s hard for me to imagine that almost half of people don’t resolve to change their life, lose weight or make better financial decisions. What is New Years for if not the fresh start?

But maybe it’s because of the crazier (but not unbelievable) statistic. Only 8 percent actually keep their resolutions.

Maybe these non-resolution makers are the ones who realize you don’t a new year or even a Monday to change your life. Maybe they’re the ones who wake up on a Thursday and decide today’s the day and actually make it happen. Perhaps they don’t want to set themselves up for failure and instead pretend there’s nothing they wish to improve.

Either way, I am not in the 42 percent. I am part of the 41.

I can’t make a good life decision if I’ve already had a day of bad ones. If I decide to stop using my credit cards, I live it up until the next day when the ban officially begins. If I realize it’s time to eat less, I eat everything I can today so I can ‘start fresh’ tomorrow. Although tomorrow turns into Monday, and Monday into next week, and next week into next year, and I’m still here wondering why my life hasn’t changed.

I am part of the 92 percent who fail every year.

While cleaning my room last week, I found a misplaced notebook filled with my resolutions for 2017. Excitedly I scanned the list to see what I had actually completed, but then my enthusiasm waned almost as quickly as it began.

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I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any yoga last year. I managed to rack up a lot more credit card debt instead of paying it off. Lol still a lazy a sloth and still have a lot of room to grow as an employee.

I did move out from parents’ so that’s probably a win.

Surely I’m done, you think. Maybe this is the year I just accept life as it comes and try to be the best version of myself as life happens instead of overthinking everything. I’ll switch teams and join the 42 percent who don’t play the resolution game.

Nah.

This year feels different, not because I’m so full of hope, but because I feel so defeated. I’ve pushed myself into this place where if I don’t make the necessary changes, I’ll drown. This is God working in me – instead of the pride that carried me for years, I’m accepting my way sucks. It SUCKS. And I’m ready to rebuild my life and finally address my problems.

So because I’m sure you’re overwhelmed with curiosity, here are my resolutions for 2018.

 

  • Grow my faith

 

This looks like reading the Bible in its entirety for the second year in a row and fasting one thing every month. I already have a prepared list because too often I think I should fast something and then I never know what to do. I’m trying to take away every opportunity I have to make excuses.

 

  • Take care of myself

 

Basically this starts with counseling. I can’t keep denying I have real issues that I need to address, and I’m going to struggle in a lot of areas if I don’t take care of them. I usually say I want to lose weight or be healthier, but I really want to care less about my weight and more about why I am overeating and being lazy.

This is also about saying no and accepting my limitations. I often say because that person can do it, I can too, but that’s not a healthy way to live. I need to go only as far as I can and not be afraid to admit when I need to stop.

Maybe I’ll try to do more yoga.

 

  • Spend money on ONLY what I need

 

I have a real spending problem. I’m in an embarrassing amount of debt and I keep pushing myself down further into the whole. For a number of reasons, I’m sick of it. I should be clear when I say what I need is like a First World need, not the basics of food, water and shelter. More on that later.

 

  • Write one thing a month

 

Last year I wanted to write a book proposal. This year I thought about a themed series each month. For where I’m at now, that’s way too aspirational. If I can consistently write one thing a month, I’m already a success.

 

  • Read 50 books

 

Before a world of texting, Instagram and Netflix, I used to read. A lot. And I still do, but only sometimes. My goal is roughly one a week because I feel like the old me would scoff at that because she could read like 50 in a month, but I’m out of practice.

So here they are. Five resolutions. Two days in and I’m doing great, so we’ll see how the rest of year goes. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a fresh start, simply the end of my pretending I don’t need to change my life. They’re different, I promise.

Maybe 2016 wasn’t so bad

Like most, I went to bed last New Year’s excited for 2016. Sure, you can make a fresh start any second of any day, but something about a new year feels like the real deal. You leave behind the pain and drama and failure of the past and have 365 days to find a brighter path. New year, new you, new opportunities, right?
Wrong, according to 2016.


I’m not sure when we all began to realize this wasn’t going to be our year. More memes began to pop up blaming 2016 for all the horrible things happening and collectively we agreed 2016 was to blame. My favorite memes involve children in the future asking about 2016 and parents grabbing alcohol before discussing the clustercuss we all experienced.

For some, it was the never ending string of celebrity deaths. Alan Rickman. David Bowie. Prince. George Michael. Carrie Fisher. Debbie Reynolds. All the others I don’t feel like Googling because it will just remind me how bad it actually was.

Maybe it was the fact that our country is clearly divided and not ok with our president-elect, Donald “I don’t actually know how to be president” Trump. Like more than 50 percent of the country, I did not vote for him, but in a year of constant misfortune, I don’t know why I’m surprised he actually won. Perhaps you’re still amazed that we learned Russia hacked our election and people aren’t really talking about it – you know, not like it’s a big deal or anything.

Ok, I’m done being political.

For too many, 2016 hit us personally. I lost two of my grandparents. With my grandfather, we didn’t want to say goodbye but we knew it was time. My grandmother, his wife, was a total shock to our family, and one we’re still feeling more than month later. My beloved Gomer, the alien dog who brought me so much joy, died the day I returned from a business trip.

Realistically I know 2016 isn’t to blame. It was simply a bad year and 2016 is our scapegoat. We can’t explain why so many tragedies occurred, so we attack the common denominator in every situation.

But was it all bad?

Being perhaps an overly reflective person, this is the question I’ve been asking myself as we finally approach the end. Surely there were bright spots we’ve lost in all the darkness. Inspired by my best friend sharing her favorite memories of the year, I decided to write down some of mine and realized maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.


As you can see, I have a lot to celebrate, from late nights to good movies to musicals to everything in between. I made new friends, said goodbye to old friends and continue to grow into who I really am. Two of the biggest reasons I still think 2016 was a success comes down to my relationships and the changes happening in my professional life, as weird as that sounds.

Relationally

“No man is a failure who has friends” and my relationships are a great reminder of this (thanks It’s a Wonderful Life). My life has kind of been all over the place this year, literally and figuratively if you consider my move and all the places I’ve traveled. Throughout everything, my friends and family kept me sane.

Moving to a new state is challenging, even when your family is close. I left a lot of great people in Pittsburgh and spent a few months thinking I would never find people in Buffalo. Little by little, I built a great roster of new friends who continue to add so much to my life. Thank you, Buffalonians, for welcoming me and loving me and being awesome.

My family’s glee that I moved to the Buffalo abruptly turned to horror as I started to make some questionable (in their eyes) decisions. Yes, I quit my full time job and a profession I had a master’s degree in to pursue ????? I put the question marks because I’m still unsure. Now I work at Sephora and I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT – from my coworkers to the company to my discount. But I still know there’s more to come, I just don’t know what it is yet. I understand their concern and belief that maybe I should’ve stayed at my well-paying job until I figured everything out, but where’s the fun in that. Don’t worry guys, 2017 is going to be lit professionally for me.

Finally of course, we have the great support system I left in Pittsburgh, most notably my best fran and favorite human bean Samantha. I think it’s rare to have someone like her in your life, and if you are lucky to have one, don’t ever lose her. She stood by me through every step, from the tiniest step to largest jump, asking the hard questions and calling me out when I needed a reality check.

As long as I continue to surround myself with better people than myself, I think every year is good.

Professionally

I just mentioned it, but I kind of threw everything away this year. I spent two years at my last job in Pittsburgh, and I felt a restlessness I then attributed to needing a new job with different challenges. When I received the job that allowed me to move to Buffalo, I was elated. I knew it would be a lot of work and I was ready.

Looking through my planner, you can see my excitement wane over the months as my entries become less and less detailed to the point I’m basically begging myself to do work. I decided to fast, feeling my problem was a lack of focus. I prayed for God to calm my restlessness and allow me to see this work was necessary and I could find fulfillment in other areas. The result? It just made me more restless.

When I realized what the solution was, I didn’t want to tell my family. You see, to them I am flighty, chasing something I will never find because I need to find it where I am. Maybe they’re right, but all I know is I have to try so in 20 years I’m not in the same place because I convinced myself I had to stay.

My original plan was to ease away from everything. Get a second job to help pay off my debt (Sephora) and continue looking for what I should actually be doing in my life. After deciding this, the gnawing didn’t go away. This is the hard part of faith. No one else knows what God is doing in your life and it’s likely it won’t make sense to you either. All you know is you have to follow, so I did.

Without a job, I knew I had to quit mine. I called Sephora, even though I still didn’t know if I was hired, to let them know my availability changed from evenings to open. I sent my two weeks’ notice via email and silently panicked and begged my friend Sarah to meet me for dinner (and likely a drink or two). While I was on my way, I received a call – Sephora offering me a job. Not quite full time, but better than part time with guaranteed hours and benefits. I tried to remain calm and cool on the phone, but as soon as the call ended I screamed with joy and praise to my God who never lets me fall. I immediately called Sam and then my dinner with Sarah turned to one of celebration. Still afraid to face my family, I sent them a text the next day.

There is a bigger thing at play here as well. I have felt for years God calling me into ministry. I remember being at a youth camp and when asked to go to a separate room if we felt the call, I inexplicably stood up and went. I’ve always told God no, I wasn’t anything special, my life had to be simple and safe. I’ve tried my hardest, but God continues to call me into the unknown.

2017 remains more of what I cannot fully grasp. I know I need to make more money. I know I need to find my next step. I know I need to break ties. But I don’t know what any of that looks like. So I will keep praying and trusting.

If you’re reading this, you’ve done it! You’ve basically survived 2016. I know the new fear is what if 2017 isn’t any better? Like the DC Cinematic Universe, the trailers look so good but the movie disappoints. What if we’re so excited for next year we’re ultimately let down?

Here’s what I will tell you – more people we love and cherish will die, whether we know them personally or adore their work. You will have bad times in 2017 and it will seem like things are just going to get worse. If you keep thinking this way, you’ll inevitably be right. Life is as bad as we let it seem.

Next year, believe in the best instead of expect the worst. Even when the world seems to be falling apart, remember it’s always darkest before the dawn. In life, we choose to find triumph in tragedy and joy in misfortunes. Having a life that hits the notes you want isn’t the key to happiness, but remembering you have the power to find the good.

My prayer and wish is that we all believe in the best for 2017 and keep seeking what is good. Love your neighbors fiercely and never stop fighting for what is right.

Happy New Year!

God’s plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day

Feelings of the moment are complicated things. It’s easy when you’re cold to believe you will probably never be warm again. Sickness can make you forget what it’s like to feel healthy. We get so caught up in our current circumstances we can’t see past how we feel right now.

I think braces really illustrate this point. If you’ve had braces, you’ll understand. They are two years of pulling and tugging and sores and food restrictions. Anbesol becomes your best friend because it numbs the agony coming from every spot where your mouth had the audacity to rub the sharp metal glued to your teeth. Eventually, you forget what it’s like to simply bite into an apple. To live without fear of destroying the thousands of dollars connecting your teeth. To not have Christmas colored bands two months after the holiday season.

Then something magical happens.

One day, after what feels like years of being lied to by your orthodontist, your braces are actually ready to come off. You’re a new person with straight teeth. Most importantly, as soon as you see the results, the pain and struggle of two plus years slowly melts away. I can describe to you what it’s like having braces, but I don’t remember the daily agony. The end justifies the pain it takes us to get there or something like that.

Often, we let how we feel now dictate our moods and thoughts toward our lives. We lose hope in our future because one bad day knocks us down. We moodily imagine this is the best it will get and it sucks but it’s my life. It’s like we forget all the good that got us where we are now. Becoming an adult is like the process of conception – dangerous, hostile and the chances aren’t great you’re going to succeed at first. It takes the miracle of everything lining up for life – or a job – to happen.

I’m typically very optimistic, but I fall into this tendency. Been in a new situation for five minutes and it feels terrible? Probably means my life is ruined. Instead of saying, ‘God this is weird now, but I trust Your plan,’ I panic and assume everything will be terrible forever.

That was me today. My morning wasn’t terrible and then something happens and suddenly I feel trapped and sad and like I’m never going to be good enough. I basically had an existential crisis and sought out Facebook for comfort during this stressful period. A few posts down I noticed a quote someone had shared:

‘God’s plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day.’  – Louie Giglio

I’m looking at my life right now in this moment, and I’m defeated. I feel like I won’t achieve anything else. But God wanted to remind me that His plans are way bigger than what I’m experiencing now. My human brain gets trapped in the now while God is fighting giants in my path to prepare something truly great.

When I think I’m not good enough, God is there to remind me to hold unswervingly to the hope I profess because He is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). He tells me He will sustain, rescue and carry me. (Isaiah 46:4). The trivial things I experience now are nothing when I rely on the strength of my God, knowing He works for the good of those who love Him.

Being a human is fraught with stress and struggle (although we really can’t complain because we brought everything on ourselves). It’s in our very nature to yearn for something higher but rely on ourselves. When we do this, we miss the extraordinary peace offered.

I can have joy at work when my design isn’t as welcomed as I imagined because I have someone greater than the world on my side. I can get through the trying and annoying situations because God has my back. I can get beyond the circumstances of my day because I know God’s plan kicks butt.

In 20 years, I probably won’t remember how I felt this afternoon, but I will remember trusting in God’s wisdom for my life and believing Him when he tells me He is doing something too wonderful for me to imagine (Job 42:3). I will reflect on His plan and passion for my life, rejoicing in how He loves me even though I definitely don’t deserve it.

Just like braces, the pain will be a distant memory for the paradise to come.

[Deep analogies are kind of my specialty]

#QuarterLifeChelsea

I’ve never been the person who hates growing up. Like Nick Miller, I feel I’m turning into the person I was always knew I would become and at almost 25, my behaviors and attitudes are finally acceptable. When you get upset at a fellow 7-year-old for not understanding cursive yet, you know you have a problem.

I mean sure, it’s hard to read a John Green book and not wish you could go back and understand what a gift your teenage years are, but overall I like where I am. Plus I see pictures of high school Chelsea and I’m fine to be away from the time before eyebrows.

 (My friend Allie has always been annoyingly attractive)

Right before the change occurs, I think about my experiences throughout the year and part of me wishes I could relive that age over and over again, particularly my early 20s. Sure they leaned toward the sad and dramatic, but it was also my first taste of adulthood and living my life as I pleased (despite that being a disaster).

The only exception is 23. Leaving 23 was like saying farewell to the crush you wouldn’t let die. It continually let you down and you continually hoped it would get better, until finally you realize it will never change and you must move on.

Entering my mid-20s last year was a whirlwind of adulthood. I went from moving from place to place in Pittsburgh to having a stable apartment. I was more involved at my church and had so many new and great friends. Soon I got a dog and then a new car to replace my darling LeBronda aka my faithful workhorse who pushed herself too hard for her master.

There’s something magical about 24, I think. It’s your first step into your mid-20s but it still feels young and fun. You’re in this space where you’re expected to be an adult but there’s a leeway given with youth. More is expected because you’re two years out of college, but with that comes a better understanding of what it means to grow up. I am going to miss 24.

In the tradition of kids today, I (with the help of my BFF Sam) dubbed my 25th year of life as #QuarterLifeChelsea. This serves as the general theme for September (I have a lot of celebrations planned) as well as how I want to live during year 25. Luckily, I don’t plan to dye my hair any bizarre colors or up and quit my job (been there, done that), but I do plan to live a little recklessly.

As I’ve grown up, God has taken me from the scared person I was to who I am now and shown me I can do great things because I have Him. Rather than live in my safety bubble away from the world, I can now fully embrace wherever life takes me because I know it will work out exactly the way it’s supposed to, for better or worse. At 25, I want to live as God calls me, not as I see fit.

I can reflect on the follies of my youth and look at my decisions and wish I had been smarter or listened to my mother more, but ultimately that past brought me to where I am as an almost 25-year-old. I can break down the birthday celebrations and let downs and the years where I could’ve done more with my life, but questioning that is doubting the plan for my life. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and I plan to embrace every second of that.

Hopefully you’re my friend and will help me celebrate #QuarterLifeChelsea from now until I forget to use the hashtag. And if we’re not friends, that’s silly.

22 things I’ve learned so far

Twenty-three blessed years ago, I entered this world a screaming monster. No joke. My own mother didn’t even like me because of my excessive neediness and crying. Unfortunately, not much has changed.

As I enter real adulthood, not that post college haze of learning to live and struggle on my own, I think of the 22 lessons I’ve learned that brought me to where I am.

22. Netflix is a gift from God

It’s a bold statement, but excessive Netflixing occasionally saves me from making bad choices, helps me feel less sad and allows me to watch episodes of One Tree Hill over and over again. It’s like my own personal Guardian Angel that I get for less than $8 a month.

21. It’s okay to be a loner sometimes

For some reason, people are obsessed with constantly hanging out with people. While I enjoy the company of others, sometimes it’s really nice to be by myself. Not even just at home. I love seeing movies by myself and taking time to learn that I don’t need anyone else to be happy. My personality’s excessive enough.

20. Being a brat is unattractive 100 percent of time

I’m both the baby of the family and a middle child (my family is dysfunctional), which means I was literally born to be a nuisance. I used to lie, pout and throw tantrums when I didn’t get my way. A lot of the time I wouldn’t help anyone out because I was a giant baby. I still can be this way, but I’m learning it’s not cute.

19. Eating too much fast food is kind of bad for you

This probably seems obvious, but it was a big surprise to my weight and bank account.

18. Sometimes the people you love hurt you.

We all learn this lesson in time, and it’s never easy. When the person forgets they’re supposed to love you unconditionally and instead publicly shames you, it’s hard to get over. The lesson is to forgive them even when they don’t deserve it and focus on the people who are still there. I’m not saying I’m so good at the forgiving part, but I’m trying.

17. Hiding your feelings only makes it worse

So this is a giant piggyback on number 18, but you can’t gain anything by stifling what you’re going through in an attempt to be strong for yourself and others. There’s no shame in talking about it.

16. Drinking water is super important

I have this weird issue where I forget to drink water. And then I get really sick. Here’s hoping that 23 will be a dehydrating free year.

15. Spending a lot of money on gas to go home isn’t a waste

Ever. As a recent graduate working in retail, I’m certainly not rolling in the dough. That being said, I’ve never regretted the money spent to see my family. When life gets tough, sometimes watching Chopped with my family and holding my niece while she sleeps is enough to let me know that I’m going to be okay.

14. Shutting down emotionally is dumb

Sometimes I turn into an emo teenage girl and refuse to talk to anyone. My best friend even calls me out on it when she knows I’m upset and I don’t open my text messages from her. I’m not sure why I go through the “no one understands me” days, but they’re really stupid. I’m only making it worse for me.

13. Saving a friendship is way better than fighting

I like to win. Arguing with me can be annoying and exhausting because even when I know I’m wrong, I don’t give up. It’s amazing that I recognized this and continued to behave so poorly. When I get into these situations now, I try to take a step back and think even if I have a point to argue, is it worth it? No. I don’t want to hurt any of my relationships and my points tend to be petty and selfish.

12. Being dishonest about what you want only hurts you more

I tend to try to be all things to all people to please them. And sometimes that segues into relationships when I sacrifice what I’m looking for and keep to the other person’s terms. No bueno. Which leads to 13.

11. Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now

Pretty much every aspect in every area of my life taught me this. I’m a child, and I want things now, even if it hurts when I really want. You can’t grow if you keep making excuses.

10. Dyeing your hair red is NEVER a good idea

Especially two weeks before your sister’s wedding. Your hair (and mother and sister) will hate you for a long time.

9. Growing up doesn’t mean changing who you are

I went through this obnoxious phase where I thought becoming an adult meant becoming a different person. Not the case. If you haven’t noticed, I tend to make some ill advised choices.

8. Alcohol is a little overrated

I’m not going to lie, sometimes a cold Bud Light sounds phenomenal. And sometimes I indulge. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in moderation; however, when everything you do involves drinking, that’s too much. For about a month my social life was going to the bar or drinking by the fire. It was exhausting.

7. I can’t be the person God intended me to be if I keep trying to be someone else

Referencing multiple points from above, I went through an identity crisis. I tried to define myself by the world’s standards and not mine or God’s. I became intoxicated by the fact that everyone liked this new, more fun version of Chelsea. The problem? I didn’t like her. I missed who I was, but I couldn’t give up the feeling of acceptance. That is until three of the people I hung out with were surprised I was a Christian. In one week I realized how foolish I had been and decided to make a change. So here I am, trying to be who God wants me to be and to no one’s surprise, I’m starting to like me again.

6. Imagination is key to everything

I received a lot of great gifts and traits from my mother, but my favorite may be my ability to imagine. I’m not necessarily talking about making up fake worlds, more being able to see a different life and strive for it. My mom read and grew her brain and dreams and instilled that notion in me and my sister. Because of that, I saw a life in Pittsburgh and a dream to try something new and here I am, on my way to something better.

5. It’s hard to understand unconditional love until you see your niece being born

My sister allowed me and my mother to be in the delivery room when my beloved Weezy entered the world. I assumed it would be gross, but I had to watch. The first time I saw my niece’s face, I cried. I was so filled with love it was overwhelming. And she’s not even my child. Even when she cries and pouts, I still love and cherish her and want to make her happy. I don’t think my human brain will ever comprehend the depth of God’s love, but knowing he loves me more than I love that little girl is ridiculous and unfathomable. When I lose myself and practically spit in the image of who He wants me to be, He still welcomes me back into His arms when I realize how wrong I am. And He never gives up on me. That’s insane.

4. Step family is a great gift (when you get the right ones)

And I did. My stepdad is so much more than the man my mother married. He’s been there for me most of my life, loving and helping me like I was actually his child. It’s hard to imagine but all he’s done for me is longer than this blog post. But I didn’t just get a great dad, God always gave me amazing step siblings, a stepsister-in-law and a whole brood of nieces plus a nephew.

3. Once you find your heterosexual life mate, nothing else matters

Sam Scribner is the light of my life. Sometimes I think about we’ve only been friends for three years and my mind is blown. She’s the person I can tell all my deep, dark thoughts and know she’ll still love me. I can tell her about how I ate an entire cake and she’ll be impressed and repulsed for my calorie count. Making other friends never seems that important because I have her, and not much else matters. I wouldn’t be where I am without her. She challenges me to better in every area of my life. Even when we fight, I realize after about two minutes that I miss her in my life. Lesbihonest, I know how this sounds, and it’s probably because it’s true, friend love. PS I noticed after the first readthrough I put the wrong last name but I’m not changing it.

I’m also blessed to have my sister and Tanner, too. You guys are special in a different kind of way and honestly if I wanted to write an honest post for all of you I’d break the Internet. You all complete me and without you guys I’d be a troll under a bridge.

2. My mother is always right

Julie Thompson is a saint. Often times in my youth I was upset with her rules and guidelines, but now I see they were all out of love. Every time she gives me advice and I don’t listen, things go bad. She’s literally been right about everything and I refuse to listen. My resolution for 23 is to stop being stubborn and listen.

1. My plan sucks.

I’m a control freak and a lot of time I’m like, don’t worry God, I got this. Ugh. Everything I think I can do alone is an epic fail. Truly, all I do is lose on my own. Because God is so good, every time I give something to Him it’s resolved and life is better again. So why can’t I learn? Because I’m a puny human. But I’m getting better.

So there it is. I bet if you actually read all of this you think wow, this girl is a childish brat. And that’s pretty true. Remember these are lessons I’ve learned/am learning. It’s not easy becoming an adult, but hopefully I’m doing my best.

Also one of my lessons probably should’ve been to edit things like this. Still learning that.

This moment will just be another story someday

Life is full of challenges. Every day we wake up and face new obstacles, triumphs, heartbreaks and miracles. Our expectations rarely match what reality throws at us.

Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything that’s happening now and forget that some day things will be different. And by sometimes, I mean all the time. It takes a wiser person than me to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t try.

Where I’m at right now is nothing life how I envisioned my life. Yes, I’m employed, but not in the field I went to school for. Yes, I technically have a place to sleep but it’s not mine which kind of makes me homeless. Yes, I’m technically an adult but I still feel like a child stumbling through life.

But this won’t last forever.

I think Steven Chbosky said it best in his amazing book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

“This moment will just be another story someday.”

Everything we go through becomes a memory, a story to share with a new friend or your children or a stranger at a bar. Whether it breaks your heart or changes your life in the most magnificent manner, the result is the same. It’s just an occurrence that we reflect on as we get older and occasionally reminisce about.

By that logic, we should live each situation of our lives without fear or regret because everything that happens has a purpose. I shouldn’t panic about where I am because some day, I won’t be here. I’ll be laughing about that time where I didn’t know where I was going to live and I was working in retail.

So that’s my strategy. Whenever the doubt creeps in, threatening my very being, I remind myself that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and when I’m older I’ll have great stories to share.

I’m not a tragedy. My life is not out of control. I’m ok.

Enjoy being young

We’ve all experienced it and we’ve all said it. Unless you’re one of those nauseating people that finds the love of their life in high school.

I HATE BEING SINGLE. I WANT A BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND. PEOPLE IN A RELATIONSHIP ARE STUPID. MY EX-BOYFRIEND IS GAY.

Well maybe that last one is Chelsea-specific, but we’ve all been at that point where we give up and start looking for cats at the humane society. We begin to think that we’ll never find that special someone because we haven’t yet and we’re impatient.

Nonsense, children. The best thing about life is it has a master Writer who is taking care of everything. We can force situations and try to make things happen but it probably won’t work out. Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Love finds you when its supposed to. Not a second earlier or later. All we can do is enjoy life and youth and being single. Now I’m going to share some insight.

If your marriage/serious relationship/longterm FWB works out, you’ll be committed to someone more than half of your life. Which means most of your life will be shared with someone else.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing. It will be great to have a partner in life, but at the same time, I love me. I love doing what I want to do. I love not worrying about someone else. I love not having in-laws.

For example, my twice married mother has been a wife collectively for 23 years (today is actually her anniversary with my wonderful stepdad). And she’s only 47 (she’ll be 48 in six days). In total, she was not-married single for 24 years. That’s not counting engagements or serious boyfriends.

We only have one chance to be our own person. Someday it will be great to have someone else, but right now I’m enjoying my youth.

And I hope, for your sake, that you are too.