For Sarah, For All of Us

04 . 14 . 13

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Dear Sarah,

I saw your comment come through last week on my lunch break and I haven’t stopped thinking about you since. When asked, you  shared that you intend stand in your truth this year by holding fast to the understanding that you don’t need to have your whole life after college completely planned out, that you can just take it step by step. Oh Sarah, I wish I could stand sideline giving high-fives and waving my pom-pom’s about to cheer you on through this phase and in this truth. A year ago I stood in some version of your shoes, looking ahead to the future with confidence and eagerness and a whole lot of WHOA, WHAT NOW swirling in my belly. As you begin to close this big chapter of your life, here is what I want you to know… you’re not alone. This month and every month henceforth there will be women graduating college, giving birth to their first children, changing jobs, moving to different countries, suffering great loss, celebrating small victories, and will be, in sum, simultaneously in the process of discovering the person they are meant to become, the work they are here to do on this planet, and what in the heck it’s all going to look like.

The truth is, plan or not, the next year of your life, and life after college at large, will look nothing and everything like you could possibly imagine. I had trouble sleeping the night before we started our trek in Patagonia last month so I got out of bed before dawn and sat on the floor in the powder-blue tiled bathroom of Maria’s Hostel, cutting my nails, counting and reflecting upon the memories and mistakes of the past year. I leaned against the door and stared at the fluorescent light overhead and wondered what God was thinking in that moment. Silence. Taped next to the sink a printed sign “no lave la ropa – do not wash the clothes.” I had to laugh. If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be sitting on the floor of a bathroom in Chile in the kind of mental, physical, spiritual state I found myself experiencing, I would have thought they were out of their freaking mind. This is to say, the next year will be more outrageously beautiful and thrilling and fulfilling than you could hope. It will also challenge you to dig in to the deepest, most sacred parts of your soul to stay true to who you are and to fight through all sorts of exhaustion, loneliness, and missed turns.

You will meet many teachers. Some of them will come to you carrying the light. They are the universe’s way of telling you that you are powerful and beautiful and full of so much potential. They will hold you up like buoys when you get tired during the big swim. They will usher and encourage you to see and take paths that will help you stretch and grow and develop into the woman you’re meant to become. Some teachers will come into your life throwing big punches, they are, what an old friend used to call “the darkies.” They will make you wrestle with your idea of right and wrong and good and bad and test you, persistently, to hold on to yourself. You will duck and miss the blows most days but sometimes you’ll forget about the hook shot and you’ll be on your back seeing stars. It’s okay. This is all part of it. The toughest teachers will be the ones that look like they’re carrying the light, but are carrying something else. They will present you with some pretty sweet sounding opportunities and lifestyles. There will be a split-second lightning bolt feeling you’ll get in your chest when you first meet these teachers that sets you at dis-ease. Latch on to that! Remember this feeling. It is your intuition whispering to stay centered, stay true. Dig into those deep reserves of strength and surround yourself with those who love you unconditionally. They’ll remind you to not take the bait.

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Try new things. Put yourself in environments and situations that push on the tender spots of your heart. Look hard. Listen hard. Watch the way people live and love. Be an observer of everything around you and all that you feel. When you are paying attention, the right paths and the “plan” for which you were put here to charge will be revealed to you. Try to block out the noise of “shoulds” that society or your tribe has prescribed for you. It’s your journey. Write it in YOUR pretty colors. As for a career, you very well may find yourself graduating with a degree in International Politics or Advanced Mathematics and taking a job at a grocery store stuffing tortellini in plastic cups for ten bucks an hour. It’s okay. That phase will be part of your becoming. In those places you will learn the dignity of hard work, the true meaning of community, and expand the breadth of your compassion for all people and all things.

You will laugh a lot. There will be days when all it takes for the wind to blow across your face a certain way and you will be moved to tears with gratitude for all that is. You will cry a lot. There will be nights where the questions and the confusion and the unknown will completely swallow you whole. You will make great choices, you will make really shitty choices. They all matter. When you find yourself in situations or relationships or places that in your gut you know to be pulling you away from who you are, find the courage to leave them. When you find yourself in situations or relationships or places that you know in your gut to be right and whole, find the courage to stay. Even if you’re scared to death. Joan Didion says, “we have to choose the places we don’t walk away from.” Sometimes it will be easier to run than it is to stay. It’s up to you.

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If you want to see the world, do it. Nothing is stopping you. Go out and hear the bells ring on steps of Spanish Cathedrals, meditate in a Shinto temple, offer flowers and your secrets to the River Ganges, ride a bike in the rain through the farms of central Vietnam. If you feel called to go then go. You must. Remember too, though, that you don’t need to fling yourself across the globe to shift your perspective. A new place doesn’t change your life. You change your life. You will, at every moment of the next year, have the extraordinary gift of choice to redirect your sails. I will not look back on the past year and see our pilgrimage to Patagonia as the catalyst for closing chapters and starting new ones. I will see a girl sitting in the shower, weeks before mountains and rivers and glaciars with no tears left to cry, letting the water rush over her shoulders and taking the responsibility, FINALLY holding herself accountable, and deciding that she wanted things to be different in her life. Once I truly believed myself capable, a million answers to the million questions I had asked for months on end seemed to appear on the tub ledge, mine for the taking and making. Patagonia didn’t give me that. I gave me that. And you can, and will, too.

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I quit my grocery store gig when I got back from Chile, almost a year after leaving San Diego and playing my first hand. I am grateful for what was, but time that I set intentions in my heart and to the people I love to be a better partner, better friend, and to set free alllll the lessons and teachers and triumphs and setbacks to make space for new ones. My truth, today, is different than it was last year and I know it will be different in six months, a year, and every year for the rest of my life but like you, I know that I can take it all step by step. Today if I meet someone at a coffee shop or the lobby of the DMV and they ask me what I “do” I will say I am a writer. I have no idea what that means, really, at least in the tangible sense, but I know just saying it out loud will help manifest my truth. I know that when you are brave and you are honoring of yourself and others, the world gets all sneaky and wonderful on you, wrapping you up in it’s arms to celebrate and support you to keep on. Hold on to those moments. Lap them up. Roll around in them and know that YOUR plan, and the kind of earnestness and passion it will take to discover, is perfect.

Go get ‘em Sarah. You’re right, you don’t need your life planned out after college. Stand in your truth and know that I am here, we are ALL here, doing cartwheels for you and the journey ahead.

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Roasted Spring Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Serves 4-6

  • 1 ½ cups quinoa (dry)
  • 6 small beets
  • 6 radish bulbs
  • 1 large head fennel, fronds reserved
  • 1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup minced chives
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 plump lemons
  • ½ cup + 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

 

Bring 3 cups and a few extra tablespoons of water to a boil. Cook quinoa over medium heat for 15-18 minutes or until water is absorbed and the seed has germinated. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400.’ Rigorously wash the beets and radishes, as you will not be peeling them before roasting. Remove grimy tops and cut beets and radishes into fourths, then sixths or 8ths. You want large-ish, yet bit sized wedges. Cut fennel bulb in a similar fashion, top to bottom. Toss wedges of radish, beets, and fennel together with olive oil and salt in a parchment lined sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning veggies over to brown and soften on all sides.

In a large mixing bowl, combine chopped parsley, chives, diced red onion with cooled quinoa. In a small jar prepare the dressing by combining ½ cup olive oil, juice of 3 whole lemons, salt, pepper, and minced garlic cloves. Shake to combine.

Add roasted vegetables to the quinoa mixture. Stir in dressing to coat. Garnish with sprinkling of fennel fronds to finish.

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To my complete amazement, Happyolks has been selected this year as a finalist in Saveur Magazine’s Food Blog Awards in the Best Cooking Blog category. It is humbling, thrilling, and outrageously affirming to stand next to friends and mentors in this. Truly. If you like an underdog story, head over and cast your vote for us by Friday, April 19.

  • This is one of those posts where I’m thinking — this was meant for me. I know that a few dozen more women will feel this way, too. What an inspiration you are! Thank you for sharing this and Sarah’s thoughts, too. There is truth in these sentiments and then some. As a woman who has now entered her thirties I can say with conviction that nothing is ever how you imagined it would be, let alone how you planned it. I have had the most wonderful experiences and jobs from making serious mistakes, big risks, making good friends and bad ones and just throwing myself head-first into the world. But the funny thing is I still worry about what I should be planning for and thinking of next for my future! It’s good to be reminded of everything you’ve said. So this post has been a blessing. Thanks x

  • this post took my breath away…

    thank you for these real words…

  • Sarah

    This is slightly terrifying and beautiful all at once. My name’s Sarah, too. I wrote a post last week but was too hesitant and afraid of the ‘submit’ button. I’m a sophomore at CU Boulder and followed you through the boughs of life this past year. You’ve been my anchor. I honestly get a fluttering, thrilled feeling in my heart when I get to read a post of yours. These words. This advice. It’s so real. It’s applicable. My eyes swell with tears and my little heart grows an inch of understanding just knowing that I’m not in it alone. I’m on the brink of twenty and recently lost my mother. You put into words what so many of us feel but run in circles going mad trying to decipher. You’re saving all of us, Kels. Just by speaking those true words in your heart and your existence. Thank you, thank you, thank you. A million times over.

  • Beautifully written, Kelsey, as always.

  • Yes! Sometimes I feel like my great regret in life thus far is that it has been too planned out and I’ve never had the chance to experience that freedom of making the hard choices. Thank you for these words.

  • Sarah

    Wow! Thank you so much for this post! This is what I needed to hear this morning with four weeks left in my college career. Thank you.

  • I graduated from college 5 years ago and did what I felt I was supposed to do: take a job in the field I studied in and make lots of money.

    but after a few years it became clear to me my heart was not in it, and I was not happy. so last summer my Husband took a 2 year contract teaching at a school in Taiwan and we moved here with no job for me and no plans for what comes next.

    it’s never too late to start living the life you want to live. thank you for your beautiful words.

  • These beautiful words are so heartening. I’m getting ready to take a big leap, and this post crystallizes so many of the reasons I’m doing it. You remind us all so nicely that even if we lose our way, we can always come back to ourselves, whoever we’ve become. Three cheers for the nomination, and this elegant salad.

  • This is beautiful and so thoughtfully shared. Definitely good for all of us to hear.

  • Beautiful post!

  • yes yes yes yes yes.

  • Ageless timeless wisdom – beautiful.

  • A standing ovation for this post my dear. Bravo.

  • Kelsey, your post makes me want to cry and laugh at the same time. Just like life does a lot of the time. I remember so well the terror and wonder of that first year after college, feeling like I had lost myself more than anything in college and now I had the opportunity to find myself. And that year was tough, and I cried a lot, but it was also epically fun. And I thought I learned some things. But, then the next year was just as hard, and wonderful, and I had to learn the same lesson again, in a different way. And the next year, and the next. I used to think I would learn and it would get easier. Instead I learn and forget and relearn and reforget and majorly f- things up, and then try again. And that’s been going on for 8 years now. Sheesh. Step by step is really the only way you can do it, I guess. Live into the questions, and fight constantly against the idea that your life *should* be anything. Your life is. I have the hardest time actually believing that on a daily basis though, sigh. Anyways, you ARE a writer! You’re wonderful. Keep at it and keep going step by step!

  • This post spoke right to my heart, Kelsey. I’m two years out and I still feel like I’m blundering around, confused, tangled and less confident than I was even a few weeks ago. I’ve made so many decisions – big ones that made me gasp for breath when they were let go – but I still feel indecisive and restless. But the journey will go on, with rough rocky climbs and grassy mountain meadows and everything in between – and as you say, they’re all outrageously beautiful, in their own way. Though the forward movement – the endless ticking off of days I won’t get back (am I spending them right? To me, this is it – I just have this life to be, to live) – does freak me out on a regular basis.

  • I needed this today. However, it has left me kind of speechless. So I will simply say, thank you!

  • Oh my goodness, YES. Yes x 1000. Rooting for all the Sarahs out there. :)

  • Heather

    Thank you, Kelsey, this is wonderful. I have been living by a similar mantra lately that enables me to embrace all the change swirling around me over the past year or so — find peace in uncertainty. I feel that when I am able to hug change, the world seems to hug me back just when I need it most. Keep writing, keep exploring, keep sharing.

  • This salad is gorgeous!! So colourful too :)

  • Congrats on the nomination, and lovely post! And also… those feelings and uncertainty about what you’re doing or are supposed to be doing never really go away… not 1 year after college, not as you’re nearing 30. :)

  • I am at anything but a crossroads at this very moment, but oh my gosh did I need to read this. Thank you. I cannot thank you enough for being a writer. And a fabulous cook, too. That salad looks spectacular :)

  • Corbyn

    Thank you Kelsey for your friendship and for your commitment to living your life and pursuing others. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

  • Sadie

    I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago but neglected to bookmark it. This morning out of the blue, I thought of you and felt like I needed to find your website again. As I began to read this post there was a twinge of butterflies in my stomach and tears welled up in my eyes. I was overwhelmed by the simplicity and truth with which you write and the way I connected with this piece. You’ve truly inspired me and re-engaged my excitement for the path I am taking. Thank you.

  • Hang on let me wipe the tears out of my eyes, wow what a post. Full of truth, thank you for putting your voice out there.

  • I so wish the younger version of me could have read this, but I’m so happy that this older one could too. And congratulations again on the nomination.

  • I only came to your site through a pin on Pinterest. I don’t normally read through a blog that I am not already familiar with, usually just skipping to the recipe. But I am so grateful that I read through this post. You spoke directly to me. Thank you for your works. I am sending this to many others!

  • Lili

    Oh God, I love this post. I love the words and the message, and that I read them. You are a beautiful writer and I will continue to be your reader. With respect for your courageousness and gratitude for helping me to fortify my own path,

    Lili

  • Katy

    To echo those who have already commented, this is a beautiful post. Im a sophomore at the University of Washington, and Ive been in the midst of changing my direction. I came into college with this idea that if others told me the path I was on was right and good, it would be, but, as you have written, others cant tell you what will fulfill you and make you happy. So this year has been an overwhelming mix of sadness, confusion, joy, and revelations trying to figure out what I do want to pursue in life. It is so comforting to know that I’m not alone, that its okay to not be certain of who I am or what I want. Thank you for sharing. I really needed this.

  • Molly

    Thank you for such a beautiful post. I too, will graduate college in the next few weeks and am without a plan . I have never been so unsure of what is next for me, as I am now. Your words provide a needed comfort and an unfamiliar feeling of peace for which I have been longing. So often it seems we are afraid to admit we don’t have a plan, but perhaps the unknowing it what makes life beautiful. Thank you.

  • Beautiful words Kelsey. Gosh I don’t how many years I wandered around not sure who I was and what I was going to do with my life after school. It wasn’t really until I had my daughter 3 years ago that these ‘lost’ feelings disappeared, literally overnight. Because now I am a Mother, and a partner, and that is a very full and important role. But it is the experience over the years to come to this place that have shaped me and led me to do what I love. Yes, it is scary but so worth it.

  • Laurie

    one year = immeasurable learnings. Rich!

  • wow. your writing sincerely cuts to the core of me every time. congrats on this exciting, courageous time in your life. we are all behind you.

  • 'lisabeth

    Kelsey, you are so so so correct you are a ‘writer.’ A writer of wisdom, with such clarity and emotional eloquence. A writer of soul and truth. You are a force of realness and genuine positivity and I truly believe you will continue to have a powerful impact on this world as you live your truth and write. I came here initially because of a link to a recipe. I come back because of the spirit shattering honesty of your posts; to bear witness to your journey and in gratitude for having found this site – including the recipes and stunning photography!

  • I was abroad last summer stuck in an awful mental state when I realized that, contrary to my previous beliefs, there is nothing magical about mountains or the sea or the Italian country side that will heal you when you’re hurting. There is no fairy dust in the air of another country that will “change you” and “open your eyes” JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE THERE. Though, travel does allow for that “escape” and allows us to reflect upon ourselves and our lives in a way that isn’t always possible when we are weighed down by work and school and all sorts of problems at home. It’s just what we need sometimes as a passage. That why people travel, I guess. What I’m trying to say is – Yeah, I agree with you. It all starts from within.

    I am graduating from University next year (after a five year degree, ha!) and I’ve been unconventional. I’ve telling myself that I will figure it out because I believe in myself and I can do whatever I dedicate myself to and that I have nothing to worry about. The words “what are your plans after you graduate?” no longer give me anxiety, ha. If we are lucky and ambitious, we will all figure it out, and end up where we’re meant to be.

    This salad looks rightfully fresh. Infinite congrats on the nomination, although I must to say that this space is SO much more than a cooking blog. Peace and love, Kelsey!

  • Wow. I am sitting here, at my desk, reading this post with tears in my eyes. At a job I know I should feel grateful to have, with enough money to support myself and do things and eat well. But, it’s a job I have to talk myself into each morning. It is something I am doing that I know isn’t right, or sustainable, but something that I am afraid to walk away from right now. Your words are so inspiring, I feel like I need to read them over again, to try to imagine what it will be like on the day when I finally work up the courage to change my path, live in my truth, and hopefully find a more fulfilling way to spend my time. Thank you for writing this, and so many other posts that have left me feeling better than I did when I came to this space.
    Also, congrats on your nomination! I think you have something seriously special going on here.

  • So happy to have found you. This was so moving, that right now, all I can say is…gorgeous. Thank you.

  • Megan

    I stuffed some of that tortellini into a plastic cup this afternoon…

    You are wise beyond your years. And as much as I miss your smiling face, I applaud you for following your heart. Some birds just aren’t meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright.

  • Andrea

    It is as if you wrote my thoughts and feelings I’ve experienced post-graduation as well, yet have struggled to articulate. Although we “know” others struggle to stand in their truth, it is so easy to feel alone in these feelings. Thank you for your beautiful summation of all of this, a gorgeous reminder.

  • Dear Kelsey,
    I love this. It is so enjoyable to read and watch your journey while living my own. In addition to the feeling of what you described as “a split-second lightning bolt feeling you’ll get in your chest” to avoid the bait, there is another tool I recently learned to use, as well. It is the feeling of expansive love, which is again my intuition whispering to go down that route. For a long time, I thought that this overflowing feeling of love was only captured when falling in love with someone. Typically yes, but not only – I now often recognize the feeling also when being in nature, talking to someone, reading lines that teach me right, etc. It is my ultimate guiding tool to move forward in a certain direction where I need to be, or have confidence in a certain teaching because it is good for me.
    Hugs from Hungary!

  • “A new place doesn’t change your life. You change your life.” Everyone’s scared of taking that first step forward. But after you make that sorta-painful-shy move, the second step isn’t so bad, is it?

    Thanks for a beautiful read. I’ll try to be braver.

  • Judith

    You captured exactly the fears and hopes that are struggling inside me at the moment. I’ll also graduate this summer. I’m hesitant to wrap things up, due to the fear of what might come after graduation and the fear of taking probably life changing decisions. I also get some pressure of the people around me, who expect me to have a plan. which I just don’t have.
    Anyway, your words are very comforting and it is really soothing that this seems to be a common struggle.
    Thank you.

  • Natalie

    Thank you for speaking the truth and wisdom that all of us have within but are afraid to release. Be proud in your ownership of Writer, your heart is (quite obviously) happy within it.

  • Thank you, always, for your beautiful words of truth and inspiration.

  • Petry

    Like many of the women who have left comments on this post, I felt like this was speaking directly to me. I finally graduated college in December at age 28, and let me tell you, I have completely surrounded myself with self-doubt and fear and anxiety; I keep thinking that what comes next needs to be my forever. But it doesn’t. And really it shouldn’t be. Thank you for reminding me of this seemingly simple, but oh so difficult to believe, truth.

  • Kelsey, lately I read this space and feel like you are tearing the feelings right out of me. I truly appreciate this. Keep it up. You are a true inspiration.

  • Even before I started writing recipes, and wanting to publish more of them, the book I wanted to write was for the 20ish year old lady. I feel like there isn’t enough conversation happening about how challenging this decade of our lives is – all the searching, expectations, hopes, ironies within everything we think we want. I want it to be a book of chapters written by women I really respect and have a voice on this phase in particular and I am volunteering you to participate in the project that will happen one day because this was spot on beautiful and perfect and made me hold a hand to my chest (a motion of tenderness for me). So many times I read things you write and feel like our universes were meant to cross- that we share so many of the same struggles and harbor more emotion that we ever thought one could possess. I am so grateful you share your heart here.

  • I feel like I make this comment often here, but this could not have come at a better time. I think you have the wonderful gift of being able to express in words what others are feeling and struggling with. This post hits very close to home at a time when I am struggling with a transition. One in which I will leave a field that I have studied and worked in for several years, to one that has always been my passion but I thought was too silly or impractical to pursue. It will be difficult, and I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of tears and exhaustion involved, but your strength gives me strength to do what I need to do. Thank you Kelsey :)

    p.s. I’m totally buying the ingredients for this salad at the farmer’s market this weekend because it looks amazing!

  • I feel such a mix of emotions reading this post. Lately I have fantasized a lot about being able to walk away from my current life and just travel. I think about how wonderful life would be if only I didn’t have to go to work everyday, pay bills, do homework, etc. I remind myself that “the grass is always greener” and that those things aren’t a panacea, but the feeling still lingers. This post makes me happy because it reminds me I don’t have to do those things be happy in life, and they won’t necessarily make me happy. *I* am what can make myself happy. How I choose to spend my days, how I react to the world around me…these are things I am responsible for no matter where I live or what I do, and ultimately, they are what make life what it is. No excuses.

    But I think mostly, this post makes me feel how bittersweet life can be sometimes. I mean that in a truly good way. Life can make you cry when things are hard and laugh when things are good. Our lives are full of questions, insecurities, worries, sadness, but also full of answers, affirmations, gratitude, and pure joy. It’s wishful thinking to hope that our lives will be the specific, perfect way we picture. We should remind ourselves that life is also about challenges and tough stuff, and that overcoming those things is an integral part of life, no matter how hard it is. I want to feel it all–the joys and the challenges. I just need to remind myself of that sometimes.

    I’m sorry for rambling. This post has just made me FEEL so much all at once. Thank you for your words.

  • Jujuhu

    Welcome back! You are a writer, for God’s sake! You move people with type. Believe in what is pulling you. It’s pulling you foe a reason. You are amazing. I love this blog. Thank you

  • Congratulations on your Saveur nomination. Your writing is so powerful. It has brought me to tears on many up -late-at-night-thinking-too-much occasions. It has also made me smile huge and realize I’m never alone in my struggles… and my joys. Thank you for living and writing with gusto.

  • First of all that is awesome about Saveur – well deserved!!

    I turned 30 this year & feel everything you wrote still applies to me & has applied throughout my time on this earth. I keep hoping I’ll find that balance that comes with contentment & not the lazy kind of content, but the type that tells itself to keep moving forward, to stop questioning – start listening and STOP trying to control everything! But it truly is a daily thing – living in this world, really living in it. Somedays i wake up & I feel full for the now & what’s to come. Other days I wake up & feel invisible, and tired of expecting anything to be something.

    I have done fearless things in my life that have brought me great joy but it doesn’t feel enough yet & as with time, those “fearless things” drift further away & you forget how they made you feel. Anyways…I’m rambling, but what you wrote was uplifting, and honest. It was a good reminder for myself & what I’ve been through & what is still to come.

  • Kelsey ( and Sarah),
    Reading this post brought back so many feeling and memories of what life was like in my early twenties. I had so much hope and excitement about “adulthood.” Then I realized that early adulthood was really really hard – not the dreamy 20′s I had always imagined. That said, I did have some great adventures, plenty of love, and good food. But it was not until my late 30s that I finally got my stride and now just after 40, I feel grounded in a way I never did before. I guess my point in all of this is that I think life just gets better and better, and the older you get, the more comfortable you become in your own skin – maybe that’s why it’s better.
    xoxo
    Erin

  • Although I am long past that magical year after college I can’t help feeling all the chords this post has struck. I am way down the road, but still thinking about choices, and truths, and realness. It’s never too late I hope…You are an amazing writer and and a “light” for those who read you.

  • Thank you so much for this, Kelsey.
    This was exactly, exactly what I needed to hear.

  • Not only was this piece of writing just beautiful, it reminded me of all of the trials and tribulations that 20 somethings go through. I’ve been telling my 19 year old daughter (freshman in college) that she is too mature for her own age and that life will fit her better and better as she gets older. It’s so true. All of the lovely comments above assure me that I am not along in that thinking. Life just gets better and better after the early 20 something years.

  • your words are so beautifully articulated. i wish i would have read them years ago before i attended college. i think that is one of the many great myths of life – that you must have everything figured out during and after your college years. it took me YEARS after college graduation to finally figure out what i really wanted to do with my life. i’m still working out the tweaks and life is nothing but a beautiful tail of trial and error but i slowly feel like i’m getting to where i’d like to be. we live to learn. xx

  • Thank you for writing this. I’ve been out of college for a year now, and am still figuring things out. I wish someone had told me all this last year so I shared it with all my friends who are graduating this year. Again, thank you. This letter is very inspiring.

  • Jill

    Simply beautiful post! Thank you for the lovely gift. XO

    “Put yourself in environments and situations that push on the tender spots of your heart.” Sigh…

  • Sarah

    Though I’m a Sarah I’m not the Sarah of note in this story, but I feel like I could be. I needed this. Thank you.

  • Katherine

    Thank you. I am constantly trying to plan my life after graduation which has led to unwanted stress and plenty of tear-filled nights. But you’re completely right when you say that the correct path will reveal itself in time once the planning stops. That’s probably the most important thing I’ve learned, and I am grateful to you for reminding me. Thank you for taking the time to write this beautiful, supportive, and influential post. As so many other people have said, we needed this.

  • Zackary Overstreet

    Awesome blog! Loving it!

  • This. This is so beautiful and true and precisely what I needed right now. Thank you for these words. A million times.

  • Kelsey,

    Thank you so much to take the time to write this for all the Sarah’s out here. As a person, we go through many stages in our lives that we feel scared and frustrated and unsure. I graduated from college just over a year ago and just recently came to terms with the idea that it’s ok if you don’t have everything figured out all the time. I am discovering that that small step towards acceptance can have a drastic change (for the better) on how I view things and my attitude.

    The encouragement and support you mentioned would not have resonated with me a few months ago. But once I allowed myself to stop wallowing in self pity and recognize all my blessings and accomplishments I was able to gain some perspective. I came to the conclusion that it’s ok to feel down and upset and lost. When you are ready to be happy and see the good in things, you will. I’m not exactly at the point where I’m thankful for the hard times I went through, but I do know that they have helped me get to where I am now. I’m not yet where I want to be, but I am really really close. And that is exciting and makes me happy.

    So thanks for your words. It’s always nice to know that there’s kindred out there that has your back, even in spirit.

    Chrissy

  • Kim

    I never thought a food blog would fill both my eyes and heart like yours has today, but here we are. My name is Kim but I’m a Sarah too, and I just felt compelled to say thank you. You’re almost as young as me and while I’ve had a remarkably easy go at it on the decision making front, I’m bookmarking this post for when I’m not. It can be so scary to think of the cold beds and still nights and hot tears–or worse–that almost certainly lie ahead, but just the right words can make them feel less like monsters and more like mentors, so again, thank you.

  • Barbara

    Wooow….this was for me….it’s crazy how that all works out….coming to work this morning…someone asking you randomly about how to make rice milk….me googling it and then ending up on this blog!!!!! Isn’t it crazy and absolutely wonderful at the same time?? I’m a Sarah too…after spending 2 years in a different country which turned out to be everything else than what I though it’s gonna be I’m now about to return to my home country because of my visa running out….and I’M SCARED!!! But reading this was just beautiful!! Thank you! In deep gratitude….everyone trust your calls and senses!! We all know it even though we think we don’t!!

  • Kelsie

    Wow. This is so unlike me to a.) comment on a blog and b.) relate SO MUCH. It is so ironic that I stumbled upon your blog tonight and this is the page I was introduced to.

    I am graduating college this year and this has been on my mind like mad. The future, what am I going to do next? What should I be doing to be a successful graduate? All this stressful stuff!

    I was just having a conversation with an old friend of mine who didn’t do the college route and just picked up his things and moved to Colorado, out of the blue, just did it, because he wanted to. That concept boggled my mind! So wait, you just packed up and moved out there? Yep, I wanted a change and I’m happier than ever. He said it so calmly like it was a piece of cake. It got me thinking, could I do that? Stop all this planning, worrying, an future tripping and just DO SOMETHING! haha He’s been there for a year now, working at a hotel, making 10 an hour like you said you made in the grocery store and on his free time hiking, running, mountain biking and he is so happy. I say this because talking to him made me think, wow I am so caught up in what am I I going to do next? Big girl job, graduate school….all the things I am programmed to supposed to do. But so much of me wants to do what he did and screw the “supposed to do” track and do what I want to do. That is, live simply and be happy. To hell with the big girl job right out of the gates right? haha

    Your blog is inspiring and this article is also. Taking that first big step to a new chapter is always the hardest but this article has really helped! So thank you.

  • Aubrey

    I just wanted to let you know that your words touched me. I am about to turn 23, have just graduated college and have been fighting the current for a long time. There are many people suited for what I have understood as a more traditional path and trying to find my place has sometimes been painful and confusing, but mostly unnerving. Following my instinct and being my truest self has transformed me in the last year and I so look forward to the future. This post explains the trial and error (mostly error, in my case) so beautifully! I am not a person who has aggressive conviction and I’ve always thought that’s what I wanted. In truth, I just want it to be a peaceful and steadfast. Thank you for sharing your words and your journey.

  • Dear Kelsey,

    I just found your blog. I’m amazed by your voice and the fact that we are the same age.

    I wanted to thank you for this line:

    “When you find yourself in situations or relationships or places that you know in your gut to be right and whole, find the courage to stay. Even if you’re scared to death.”

    When I read it, I burst into tears. I can’t even say why, exactly. It’s complicated. This is a very rocky time of life. Thank you for writing about it here. You give me the courage to trust my own inner voice.

    Love,
    ~Megan

  • Kelsey, I loved this post. I’ve only just discovered your site, and there is so much truth in what you write. I’m moving to an apartment with my bf this weekend, and it’s a big move, at least for us. And while I’m excited and happy there’s a part of me that’s also terrified, but as with everything, I’ve learnt that if something doesn’t push you out of your comfort zone, if it doesn’t make you change you perspectives and turn new stones, it isn’t a change worth it. Reading this post , especially this line ( “When you find yourself in situations or relationships or places that you know in your gut to be right and whole, find the courage to stay. Even if you’re scared to death.”) is just the right thing to hear right now.

    thanks so much,
    love from Buenos Aires,
    felicia

  • I wanted to thank you for that post. It’s a gift from which I’ve benefited. I’ve recently started a challenge, what I dub “21 Days of Compassion.” And while there are many components, one of them is that I take the time, each day, to say thank you and show my appreciation and gratitude for a new person I love. And while it’s a little bit premature to be tossing around the word love (I only discovered this blog yesterday!) I did want to thank you for choosing to express yourself to the world and share your thoughts, experiences and even moments of vulnerability. I’m sincerely grateful because writers like yourself have been instrumental to my own discovery and life long journey of self-reflection.

    All the best,
    Bijal

  • andrea

    Wow thank you so much. This post is exactly what I needed to read after spending the day really depressed because I found out I didn’t get the dream job I had been interviewing for. I graduated with a doctorate in pharmacy but instead of getting a job right after college I wanted to take time off so I packed up my life and drove across the country to live in California for a year. Now that I’m looking for jobs in my field and not exactly succeeding it’s making me doubt myself and feel like I made a mistake taking time off but this post reminded me that I have nothing to regret. It’s so true what you said about the first year after college being nothing like you expect it, I never thought that after getting my doctorate I would end up living out of my car in LA but I also never knew what true freedom and happiness felt like. So I just want to say thank you for this incredible reminder that I so desperately needed.

  • I was going to read your list of favorite posts, but I think I’m going to step away after this one – Bawling. Thank you for knowing your talent, for claiming it, and for using it to fill hearts with love and truth. Looking forward to reading more.

  • This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thank you. You are an amazing writer, your gratitude and love shines through every word. Keep it up. You are a light.

    Thank you for making me feel better today.

Trackbacks

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Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.