20 Before 20 (Post-20 Reflection)

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Happy Christmas, friends! Since I’m in college, I never really get into the holidays until Finals are over. Luckily, they are over for me, which I’m ecstatic about. I’m working on a few projects over break, but luckily, my courses themselves are over (and I even maintained a decent GPA during my busiest semester yet, so hurrah!).

Today, I wanted to take a look at that 20 before 20 list that I’d created earlier this year. I’ve been 20 for over a month now, but it’s fun to reflect on what I’ve done this past year. Not to be mysterious and all that, but 20, so far, has been full of new adventures, and I’m extremely excited for the year ahead.

Let’s take a look at this list:

1. Head to Politics & Prose in DC. I am really lame. Still haven’t gone, and I want to!
2. Explore a city I’ve never been to. NYC in May.
3. Find an internship. Finished an 8 month internship at Washington Performing Arts in DC last month!
4. Touch up on/learn another language. I’ve taken two semesters in French this year. I’m still not fluent, but I love the language!
5. Break my nonfiction trend and experiment with creative fiction. I took creative writing in the spring, and did a creative nonfiction tutorial this fall!
6. Go to _____________. To be honest, I put this space here for going overseas, which didn’t happen. But I went so many other places and did so many different things that I’m not too upset about not specifically completing this one!
7. Publish something. Oui! In my school’s nonfiction journal.
8. Post more often on this blog. hahhhhaaaaa. I… tried?
9. Read & watch a performance of a Shakespeare play I haven’t read. I saw my first performances of The Winter’s Tale (have read) and As You Like It (haven’t read) this year, which was really exciting!
10. Do something incredibly spontaneous. Done. 
11. Meet another online friend in person. Done! Amelia came to visit me this summer!
12. Explore a few local hiking spots in DC. Didn’t get the chance to do this, alas. I like to imagine that I’ll have time to hike and exercise, but that’s really just a pipe dream.
13. Shoot a fashion portrait sessionNot specifically fashion, but I have a few portrait sessions that I’m really proud of!
14. Roadtrip somewhere with friendsDone, a few times, actually. NYC (if you count a train as road-tripping), and a few VA trips this fall. 
15. Do something brave. Maybe? I think I’ll dedicate a post or two to this.
16. Go internet-free for a weekend (or two). On at least one of said roadtrips. 
17. Visit the rest of the Smithsonian museums. Definitely not, because when I go to museums I always to the NGA, regardless of what I tell myself I should do. I love that place.
18. Write more letters. I wrote… papers with… letters? 
19. Binge-watch Sherlock or Elementary for a weekend. Obsessively. I’ve done that, for sure. At least once. Maybe more. 
20. Take an unnecessary class for fun. Atlantic World Slavery in the spring, which was fantastic! My French classes are also technically unnecessary, but they’re important for graduate school, etc, so I don’t label them as such. 

I’m still debating on whether I should do a 21 before 21 list – more to come on that later! In the meantime, I’ll be sitting over here, enjoying snuggling with puppies, reading, and relaxing from the semester.

Reflections on the Fall Semester

The last post that I published on this blog was a devotional/reflection on “busyness”. This is certainly ironic, since I’m about to plead the fifth (*coughbusynesscough*) and apologize for my absence. I have quite a few excuses – don’t we all? But I’m posting here this evening to reflect a bit on the last couple of months in my life, so if you’d like to know what I’ve been up to, do read on!

It is 10:30pm here, and I’m running on just four hours of sleep. Exhausted, but happy. I turned in my English senior seminar thesis today, and presented on it in class. I think I was one of the presenters who used their full 10 minutes of time, because by the last slide, my professor was motioning for me to finish up. Regardless of my occasionally-rushed, incoherent speech, I’d like to think that people still walked away with an interest in my topic.

What did you write it on, Amanda? In normal circumstances, I’d be happy to tell you more than the title, but currently, I’m under self-imposed silence about everything having to do with Sherlock Holmes & politics. (That is, however, my thesis topic, and one day, I’ll tell you all about my Holmesian academic pursuits…)

There’s still a lot to do before school ends next week – enough that it’s slightly overwhelming, but it’s a lovely feeling to have such a big project off of my to-do list. It’s also a lovely feeling to know that after next week, I can refocus on Woolf, and take a bit of time to relax sans-academia and deadlines.

This semester (in bullet points!):

  • Wrote a thesis on Sherlock Holmes
  • Completed an 8 month marketing & communications internship in DC (best internship ever)
  • Had the opportunity to teach/assist on Woolf with part of an adaptations class
  • Was accepted into next year’s PCA conference (New Orleans, baby!)
  • Turned 20 years old (eekk! two decades already?)
  • Attempted and didn’t miserably fail having a social and extracurricular schedule.

On a personal note, this semester brought a few dear friends into my life, and I’m so thankful for them. They keep me sane (so do books, but books don’t drink coffee with you).

I’ve been published… several places, in fact. In Bedlam. In Grafted. I’ve severely neglected my camera, but I’ve had the chance to shoot some incredibly gorgeous friends of mind.

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Friends. This semester has been insanity, and sometimes, I didn’t think I’d make it. But it has also been incredibly fantastic, and I’ve grown so much this year.

I’m so excited to be around for a while, and I can’t wait to get into blogging again! Feel free to leave a bit of love in the comments section!

Reflecting on Busy

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**Originally posted through St. Mary’s here**

“How are you?” We tend to hear this question often from friends, family, and even complete strangers. How are you? As we rush about our lives, we tend to form almost automatic responses to this question: “good” or “okay” seem common. One word to convey our feelings – our current experience. Personally, the word that seems to slip out most often is “busy”.

Busy. We rush through our lives being busy, always doing something. Because perhaps being “busy” makes us feel like we’re accomplishing something – that we’re successful. I think the root of this lies in our fear of not being enough. We’ve heard this sermon many times: “you are enough because you are saved by the Living Christ”. And while these words ring true, they don’t necessarily calm that fear that we’re somehow inadequate – that we’re not doing enough or being enough.

This morning’s readings from Romans, I think, directly confronts this notion of inadequacy that we so often struggle with. Paul writes that the “Lord is able to make them stand”. God’s welcome transcends the daily quarrels that we have with one another. God is sufficient.

As I’m writing this, the song currently playing in the background reminds that “Your love is extravagant / Your friendship is intimate”. Not only is God sufficient, but his relationship with us is intimate. Extravagant, even. When we enter into a relationship with the Living God, our inadequacy becomes intimacy, and our self-loathing becomes extravagant love.

It is through this relationship that we can shake off our chains to anxiety. As Mother Anne discussed in the sermon – instead of just more time to spread ourselves thinner and thinner until we become nothing, we receive complete forgiveness from a loving God. A God who desires an intimate, extravagant relationship with us.

This, my friends, is so much better than “busy”.

 

**Originally posted through St. Mary’s at this page. Occasionally, I reprint pieces of mine that have been posted in a variety of places on the internet, and I’m so thrilled to share this one with you.**

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