The Time Is Now

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Now that I’ve had my revelation that the kind of life I lead is entirely up to me, (as written about here: https://abbeygallagher.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/a-best-friend-as-inspiration/) I had another revelation in succession.

I can start making changes right now to live the life I want. I don’t need to wait until I “grow up” to start making serious decisions for myself. I am alive now. I could start today. I could start this very minute. But just like all my great insights, it’s nice that I had it—but what was I going to do about it?

Once I realized believed that I could begin making changes right now to begin leading the life I’ve dreamed of, I started doing just that.

I quit my stupid job at the accessory store. Yes, I need the money, but after a few especially sour shifts within the last few days I said enough was enough. The work I really want to—and need to– be doing—my writing—wasn’t getting done the way I wanted and since I don’t plan on becoming the manager of a retail accessory store in any future—near or distant–I figured I had to prioritize.

Now I have structured time to get writing done. Because I’m no longer just writing for this here blog. Aside from my journal, I’m currently working on pieces to submit to literary journals and websites. The moment I send my first story out, you’ll be the first to know. I want you to go on this journey with me. Because it’s about time I start practicing what I preach. Enough of me encouraging my readers to reach for their dreams and never settle while I muddle through at a school I don’t feel stimulated at and a town where everyone seems to move in slow motion. It’s time I started taking my own advice.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the many rejections I’m looking forward to receiving as well. Because like my professor at NYU said, rejection is a part of being a writer. We can’t let it get us down. We have to keep writing and sending our work out there. If it gets rejected, that means it’s out in the world. And if it’s out in the world, you never know whose hands it may get into. And they may just love it.

Without my retail job, I also have time to get myself ready to move back to New Paltz for the fall. Which mainly involves buying extra pairs of underwear. I’m not looking forward to moving back, but now that I know I will only be there for one semester, it feels manageable. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And that light is the glowing city skyline of New York.

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I Never Thought Anyone Could Get Me To Like This Song…

I may be a year late in posting this for all of you, but if you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat! Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was a hit in the U.S. all last summer. You couldn’t turn the radio on without hearing it. Personally, I find the original song rather annoying. But when one of my best friends, Kaitlyn (written about here: https://abbeygallagher.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/meet-cha-cha/) showed this cover to me I couldn’t help but fall in love. Ben Howard’s voice + cello+ awesome new arrangement = awesome! Give a listen! 

A Best Friend As Inspiration

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(Michelle and I in 2009)

While I was in New Paltz earlier this week, I met up with my oldest friend, Michelle. We’ve grown up together since kindergarten and stayed best friends even when she moved away to North Carolina during middle school. We clung to each other in those years mainly because we saw a lot of ourselves in the other. We were both bright girls, living with single mothers who both had/have mental health issues, and were extremely close to our grandparents. We believed in staying on the “straight and narrow” and fantasized about the day when we would be old enough to live on our own and leave behind a childhood tainted with painful memories.

As time went on, we went down our separate paths. Michelle moved back to New York, but went to a different school and made new friends. Ones that were nothing like mine. But no matter how different we became—Michelle with her color coordinated closet, superior interior decorating skills, and name brand purses; Me with my thrift shop clothes, messy and disorganized bedroom, and more books than fit on the shelves—we always stayed in touch. Always made time to see each other every few months to catch up and reconnect.

So when I saw her this week, it was no different. She brought the newest addition to her family, Willow, her eleven-week-old puppy and we found an outdoor patio to sit and have lunch. As she told me about the positive changes she’s made in her life recently, I couldn’t help but feel extremely proud of her. And the more I listened, the more inspired I became.

She has a job that has provided her with enough money to put the down payment on her first apartment. She’s heading back to school with a clear focus on what she wants to pursue. She’s switched her lifestyle to become healthier and I can tell that all it’s done is made her happier.

It didn’t hit me till I was thinking later that night, but she is living the dream that we had fantasized about when we were younger. She’s entirely independent. She doesn’t have any ties to the unhealthy influences from her childhood. And all because she took the initiative to create the life she wants to live. It was her decision. Her choice.

And so as I thought about it, I became even more sure of my plan to move into the city in January. Studying at New Paltz was a great way for me to transition from living with my grandparents’ and moving on from the loss of my father. It was a small school, relatively close to home, in a small, quaint village, with a slow pace of life that helped me adjust to “college life.”

But now that I’ve dealt with the loss of my father and know how to navigate my way through college, I’m ready to live the life I’ve dreamed of. And as much as I wish it included New Paltz, right now it doesn’t. I not only know that I have the ability to choose my path in life. I believe it. No matter how grand or wild it may seem. I don’t need anyone’s permission. It is my decision. My choice. My life. And I can’t tell you how liberating that finally feels.

How I Met My Wife: Walter Whitmore

Guys, I am SO sorry I didn’t post yesterday. You know I rarely skip a day without a post telling why but yesterday turned into a bit of a nightmare with a family emergency. But don’t worry, everything is okay now. So here’s the video I was going to post. Today’s post will be up in a few minutes as well! 

Last Thursday I posted a video of my grandmother telling me about how she met her husband, my grandfather. (As seen here:  https://abbeygallagher.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/how-i-met-my-husband/)  This week I decided to get my grandfather to tell his side of the story. Enjoy!

New Paltz vs. New York

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Monday afternoon I decided to take a spur of the moment trip to my apartment where I go to school during the year. My roommate is moving out and I’ll be living all alone for the very first time in my life come fall. The idea of living on my very own is a scary one for sure, but it’s also very exciting. I love the idea of choosing exactly how the place will look and feel. Being able to do exactly what I want, when I want, without having to worry about disturbing a roommate. Everything is already furnished and set up from last year and my half of our bedroom is already decorated. I just need a few odds and ends like a vacuum cleaner and a toaster oven. But although I’d like to decorate some more and really settle in, I’m hesitant to.

Mainly because I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be living there. (Plot twist!)

After spending a month living in Manhattan, and enjoying the fast-pace of life, the abundance of opportunities, and creative minds around every corner (or at least that’s what I think of everyone there), I’m considering transferring schools. Ideally, I’d love to go to NYU since my summer writing program was so amazing. I’ve talked to professors and students alike and feel confident that their writing program would better suit me than the one I am currently a part of. And there’s no better place to pursue art than the city.

It’s a really big decision of course, mainly because my cost of living would drastically increase. And unfortunately, I’ve still yet to inherit the big bucks from my dad. (Spoiler alert! There were no big bucks.) But I’m not complaining. I’d rather work hard for what I have than have it handed to me. That way I can be proud of what I have.

Which is probably the main reason I’m busting my hump this summer. I’m teaching violin lessons, which is a fast and super enjoyable way to make money. My student is so enthusiastic to learn and I couldn’t be happier with her progress. I’m also volunteering at a children’s hospital and am grateful and amazed with the kids I get to be with. I’m also working at the same retail shop I did last summer, and although it has its moments where it’s enjoyable and fun, I’m not very happy to be back. It’s an accessory store so I’m required to wear all black and AT LEAST six colored accessories each time I clock in. (Seriously, who actually wears SIX accessories at once in the real world?!) It wouldn’t be too bad if I actually liked dressing up, but unfortunately for me, I hate it. Give me a pair of jeans and a t-shirt any day and I’m more than happy. But a job means money. And I need to save as much as I can if I want to make such a drastic move after the semester is over in December.

I imagine that if I’m accepted to NYU and am offered a manageable financial aid package, by January I’ll move into a place in the city to finally settle down. Moving into my own apartment upstate will be great, but the idea of actually finding a space in the city–even though it will be small and I’ll most likely have to share with people–sounds even better because I know that once I’m there, I won’t be leaving anytime soon. I won’t want to. Because I’ll be in exactly the place I’m meant to be.

And now that I have over a year of college and living away from home under my belt, I think I’m finally ready to take this next step in my life to follow my dream of living in the city to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. (Killing two dreams with one move?) Because although I love the school I attend now, the same opportunities just don’t exist where it is located. It’s beautiful; don’t get me wrong.

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(Both photographs taken from the bike path by my apartment)

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But I’d hate to graduate in two years and wonder what if I had spent these last two years in the city? How different could my life be? 

I don’t want to live a life of what ifs.

The Sun Is A Light, 32 Miles Across

Hey guys! Sorry I’m posting so late today–I took a trip to my apartment upstate and didn’t have an internet connection–but today’s video is super cool. One of my friends from NYU made the music video for this song, “The Sun is a Light, 32 Miles Across” by 2F. I’d love for you to watch and share with your friends! 

Steal Like An Artist*

I’ve been home for about a month now after being part of the creative writing program at NYU and I have to admit, I feel I’ve hit a creative slump. It probably seems ironic that after being part of such an amazing writing experience, I would come home and feel my inspiration and work ethic had dried up. But after thinking about it for a while, I don’t think it’s ironic at all.

Because while I was at NYU, I was living in a fast-paced environment, surrounded by others who were working hard just like me to achieve their dreams. I was supported by a group of fellow writers and I watched them succeed. But now that I’m home, I feel I’m in the doldrums.

I no longer see and speak with my writing support group every day. I no longer have the opportunity to attend literary events that were so common in the city. And I’ve had too much time on my hands to think about projects I’d like to do. So much time that I think too much about them and instead of getting them started, think about how overwhelming the possibilities are.

But not creating work has been bringing me down. I need to get back into the swing of things. So instead of sitting on my butt one more day, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.

A few weeks ago, I was given the book “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon as a gift from a fellow writer.

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What better way to get out of my creative slump than to read someone’s advice about getting out of your creative slump?

I won’t list the ten secrets here because I really want you to read it for yourself, but I will share a few key things that I got out of it that I know will help me kick my butt into gear in order to get work done.

  1. Study one writer that you love inside and out and then study the writers that influenced him/her. This is your creativity family tree. Look to them for advice. Even if they’re dead.
  2. Write down your favorite passages from books, print out your favorite photographs, paintings, and headshots of your favorite authors and put them in a notebook or hang them on your wall so when you need motivation all you have to do is flip the pages or look around your room.
  3. Write down your ideas when you have them. That way, if you are ever sitting at your desk unsure of what to write, you can look through the book and start working on one of those ideas.
  4. Don’t forget to use your hands to create! Computers are extremely useful when it’s time to finalize a project, but when starting out it can be too easy to erase and edit before you’ve even got your idea down.
  5. When you run out of ideas, do something boring like folding laundry so your mind can wander.
  6. Don’t be afraid to create stuff that isn’t “good.” Now is the time to experiment. Enjoy it.

There’s so much more that this small book has to offer, so I highly recommend checking it out for yourself. I think each of us can take something different away from it. So for those of us in a creative slump, let’s get some art made!

*I stole the title from Mr. Kleon himself!