The Biggest Year of Our Lives

Over the past few weeks, I began to realize that I am currently smack dab in the center of the biggest year of my life. This year, I am graduating from a Big 10 University. I am getting married to the love of my life. My apartment became home to an adorable little puppy. I am solidifying lifelong friendships, making healthier decisions, and discovering more about myself than I ever knew before.

Today, I decided to dim down my web presence. I’ve read that having too many social media pages (or, at least, spending too much time on those pages) can increase the symptoms of anxiety. I like to keep life simple. So, this evening, I decided to delete my Twitter and Tumblr accounts. I’m also working on getting my reputation back from a years-old client who took my information and began publishing horrible content under my name. All in all, I’m doing pretty well. By focusing on my blogs, my official online portfolio, LinkedIn, and Facebook, I’m maintaining a fair (but private) presence. I’m proud of that and I’m excited to see where it leads.

I also have several incredible new writing opportunities. I wish I could go into detail, but all three are still under wraps until my interviews, trial periods, and initial articles are completed. Once they are, I’ll be able to share information about some of the biggest clients I’ve ever attempted to tackle.

Now that Austin is working an impressive new job, I’m able to look for clients that I really love. It takes time, patience, and no small amount of sweat to find those clients – something I’ll be outlining in my next post on The Realistic Freelancer.

It would seem, from an outside angle, that everything is going right. Unfortunately, a year packed with this many changes is far from simple. New jobs take time to pay out, and we’re coming off of three months with a much smaller income. Summertime is expensive, and there are obligations to consider. Wedding payments aren’t cheap. Peanut will be spending more time at Puppy Daycare and Puppy Kindergarten in the coming months. The guinea pigs need far more bedding now that we’ve moved them into two 13-square-foot cages.

Finances alone are possible to overcome, but that’s nothing compared to day-to-day responsibilities. Five pets, full-time school, a full-time career, two blogs, family commitments, household chores, errand running, and wedding planning take time. Austin is starting to feel the strain too, now that he’s working forty hours a week.

I keep reminding myself, though, that this is it. After this year, we’ll be married. I’ll have graduated. Austin will only be a semester away. Come 2018, our careers will be our biggest commitments. Well, that and saving as much money as possible for the future. This is a big year, but we have even bigger plans.

Life has a way of attacking you. I’ve been struggling with anxiety attacks lately, trying to find a way to overcome my fear that something has to give. Last week, I was something to see. Between too few clients and the constant worry that nothing new would come my way, I was certain we’d end up digging a hole in our emergency funds to get through May. But, as always, everything came together. Clients came around in the nick of time. I don’t know why. But they haven’t failed me yet, even when things seem tight.

Maybe that’s a sign that I made the right career choice.

I guess what I’m trying to say, to myself and to my followers, is enjoy each day you’re given. No matter how busy you are, no matter how much is on your plate, throw yourself into your life and your work. I’ve found, the more I can do that, the more I love what I do – and the happier I am.


A General Update on Life, Liberty, and Puppies

This is a post specifically meant for my followers; those of you who continue to read this blog to follow along with my life and the consistent misadventures that come along with it.

I have quite a few updates to share with you.

We brought home Peanut the Puppy last Saturday. She is almost nine weeks old at the time of this post.

Separating her from her siblings was incredibly difficult. We were nervous about bringing her home. We’d heard plenty of horror stories about the problems associated with raising a puppy in an apartment.

We got extremely lucky. Not only is Peanut well-behaved and generally quiet, but she practically came housetrained. No newspaper, no crate cleaning, no big issues. As long as we take her out on time, she’s golden.

Peanut is also sweet. She sleeps most of the day. When she’s playful, though, she’s playful. The only issues we’ve faced so far are a knack for biting human flesh with sharp puppy teeth, crying (schnauzer speaking) when we don’t give her our full attention, and chewing up magazines when we aren’t looking. All of these are normal puppy problems – and nothing that’s going to get us kicked out by the neighbors.

It’s really wonderful to know that we can juggle a puppy, four guinea pigs, an apartment, two school careers, and two full-time jobs without losing our minds.

This was Austin’s first full week at his new job. I’m going to attempt to explain it, to the best of my ability.

Austin is an IT Specialist and is in charge of Master Data at Witron in West Lansing. Witron specializes in distribution and warehouse optimization services for a number of large department stores (Kroger, Target, Meijer, etc). In this particular distribution center, Meijer goods are handled.

At first, Austin was asked to be a Machine Operator (although, we thought the term Machine Technician was more on-par with the job description). The next time he spoke with a manager, he was “promoted” to IT Specialist. On his first day, he was “promoted” again to handle Master Data (a position that only 2 in the roughly 100 person staff can claim).  The most recent promotion means Austin will be going to Austria for a week to visit one of the largest Witron facilities in the world. I’ll have him take plenty of pictures so I can share more a bit later.

My career is going really well – even though I don’t get promoted half as much. I have several stable clients and I’m slowly building. It’s difficult being home alone so often, but I have a puppy to enjoy and four guinea pigs to spoil.

I also have a new workspace. I’ll share pictures when we’re done, but Austin and I have been working on the back patio area of our apartment. We got permission from our complex to plant flowers underneath our windows. We also placed solar lights and bought a bench, cushions, outdoor pillows, and a table. I’ve attached a photo of the progress thus far.

Fitting the bench into our four-door sedan was plenty of fun. First, we tried shoving it in the trunk as onlookers watched and shook their heads. Then, we attempted to shove it through the side door upward – to no avail.

Finally, Austin pushed the bench into our backseat upside-down.

I’m just going to say the onlookers were impressed. I’ve added a photo of the tight squeeze. I was pretty amazed myself.

That’s most of the misadventures going on around here. I just started making dinner, Austin is doing homework, the patio is mostly done, and it’s time to settle in for Sunday night. Time to prepare for another crazy week. In the cards for my next update? I’m thinking easy meal ideas for apartment-goers and young adults (ya know, outside of ramen and pizza).

Talk soon!


An Open Letter To My Mother


I’ve been thinking about writing this letter for a long time. I just wasn’t sure, until now, what to say.

I want to thank you for always being the person who stands up for me – even if you don’t understand why I’m upset. I want to thank you for always finding a way to support my decisions, even if they scare you at first.

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember looking up to you. As I aged, you seemed to get younger. It became easier and easier to reach you, to be like you, to understand you. Now, I can safely say that you are one of my very best friends.

I don’t think many people can say that about their mom.

As a millennial, I often hear other college students complaining about visiting their parents or meeting their mom for lunch. But meeting you for dinner and a movie is often the highlight of my month. We laugh. We talk. Half of the people we see think we’re sisters.

You are my person, in so many ways. You understand the anxiety, the frustrations, the heartaches. You always have a calm, understanding word of wisdom. And, more often than not, you’re right.

So many friendships end today because people can’t be honest with each other. But us? We tell it like it is.

I love that you vent to me about your problems. I love that you think I’m old enough, mature enough, maybe even wise enough to help or offer a helping hand.

I love that you support me, no matter what I do. And, somehow, you not only come to peace with my decisions, but you throw yourself into them wholeheartedly.

I love that you aren’t afraid to ask me for a favor. Not because I’m your daughter and I owe you my life (which I do). But because you trust me as an adult. As an equal.

I love that our relationship has always been give and take. I love that I look forward to talking to you after work or watching scary movies.

I love your taste in fashion and style. I love that, as each year passes, more and more people say that you’re not old enough to have a daughter my age.

It might sound funny, but it reminds me that you are more than just my mother. You are my friend.

I used to be afraid that, as I got older, we’d drift apart. I used to think that moving out, getting married, or graduating from college would put distance between us. But it hasn’t. And now, I’m starting to realize nothing can.

You are special, Mom. And our relationship is one-of-a-kind.

Maybe I’m jumping the gun on Mother’s Day. But who cares?

You deserve it.


Your Daughter