Dating In A Technology-Saturated World

Love is difficult enough on its own, but when you add our little black screens to the mix, things become just that much more complicated. First, let’s talk casually dating. There are a million different apps and websites you can use to meet people. Making a choice — or three — of what you want to use can dictate the kind of people you will meet. There is a dating app for everyone, whether you are looking for a farmer, a fellow vegetarian, or someone who loves Disney just as much as you do. This is great because it takes searching high and low out of the equation and sets you up with a partner who has at least some of the same interests that you do. Even using the more standard dating websites makes finding a partner a little easier because there are usually questions to answer that calculate what percent of a match you are with someone, which saves the smalltalk and goes straight for some of the biggest deal breakers like religion, smoking, or even what kind of family someone wants.

The dating culture now is different than it ever has been before because we have endless options. It is so easy to go out with a person, see a flaw you don’t like, and think, “Well, on to the next one!” when you have access to thousands of profiles online. Odds are there’s someone who fits the bill of exactly what you want, right? The problem with this rationale is that there is no such thing as a perfect person. We live in a time where if something is broken, we don’t fix it — we just get rid of it and upgrade. It isn’t worth the effort of learning how to jump over a hurdle or adapt to a new way of using something; it is far easier to just throw away a broken object than it is to put the time and effort into making ours work again. The same goes in the dating world. Far too often, as soon as someone learns about an issue, they decide to move on to find a different person without said problem. This turns into a vicious cycle in embarking on the search for perfection which, in this world, does not exist.

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Now let’s touch on solid relationships. The little black box certainly doesn’t make finding a partner easy, but once you’ve gotten one they work their little plastic butts off to make everything a little more complicated, despite their initial intention of making life easier for us. Instead of reaching to hold their partners in the morning, people reach for their phones. Rather than sitting together at the dinner table they sit on the couch in front of a television. Hours upon hours each week are spent on Facebook and scrolling mindlessly through Instagram. This whole new age of technology has greatly changed the course of our lives — for better and for worse.

At the end of the day, despite what it sometimes seems, we own technology — it does not own us. We can make our own decisions on how to use it to better our lives and enrich our relationships instead of harming them. I like using my little silver laptop to type words onto a screen and share them on here with you all. I like playing Super Smash Bros and Fortnite with my husband, and I like that I can shop no matter how I’m feeling and that there are people who will drive to my house with a piping hot pizza if I use my phone to order one. Technology is great as long as you know when to use it and how to continue to connect with your loved ones in person. This is why I harp so much on the importance of quality time spent with loved ones, rather than just time. It can be so easy to think you are pouring into others when you spend so much time with them, but if that time isn’t spent wisely it won’t really make an impact on their heart.

I still haven’t finished making my resolutions for the year, but one of them is that I am going to be more cognizant of how often I am using my phone and to put it away more when I am with my loved ones. I am going to invest more time in journaling and having heart-to-heart conversations, and be more productive about reaching my goals for this year. What are your resolutions for 2019?

Opinions on The Internet

I’m kind of terrified to write about anything that could be remotely considered an opinion these days. The Internet is an amazing, but scary place. You can find information on any given topic and no matter how rare you feel like something about you is, 99% of the time you see person after person who has that in common with you. The computer is a fantastic place to connect people with one another, to rally around each other for causes or through hardships, and feel less alone in this big world. It’s a great way to gain knowledge and learn how to be more empathetic, and can be an incredible tool to help others.

I think most people are good and mean well. We all want to make the world a better place, we just sometimes have different ways of getting there. The biggest thing I see people fight about online is politics, but I’ve seen vicious arguments about something as trivial as whether Chips Ahoy or Oreo cookies are better. I see Republicans and Democrats fighting right and left (No pun intended), name-calling and bashing each other for having different solutions on getting to a similar end goal. Each and every one of them thinks their plan is the best way to bring peace on Earth and end great amounts of suffering in the world — they just disagree on the practical steps it takes to get there. Instead of realizing that they are, in fact, on the same team, people yell at each other and resort to name-calling. Rather than wondering why someone might feel there is a different solution, people remain stubborn and set in their ways, and neglect to open their mind to other ideas. It’s really dangerous when we stop critical thinking and forget how to communicate effectively with others. 

Politics is the easiest example to give, but I clearly am not going to be starting a blog talking about current political events, so why should I feel worried about being attacked on here?

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I am afraid to write about my opinions because people on the Internet can be so darn mean about nothing. I see celebrities bullied on a daily basis just for sharing their lives with their fans, and I see well-intentioned posts by girls in Facebook groups get attacked because someone was offended by the way something was worded. Everyone wants to be a social justice warrior so damn badly that they forget the people they are tearing down are human beings with hearts and feelings too. It’s so ironic. In my mind, these people just have one type of person they feel compassion and empathy toward — those who think the exact same way that they do.

One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr is,

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Another great one is,

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

If you want to talk about tolerance and love, the first step is to be tolerant and loving. This means loving even those who are wrong.

MLK Jr is someone who truly understands what it’s like to be treated poorly, but chooses kindness anyway. He was a pioneer who changed life drastically for people who were not being treated well. He isn’t known for being offensive, rude, or condescending — rather, he is known for being kind and compassionate, even when he had every right not to be. He was the King of peaceful protests, and fought seamlessly for what was right while remaining calm and respectful. I think we could learn a lot from the way he handled conflict and injustice.

The truth of it is, we live in one of the most unforgiving times ever. A tweet from an angsty teenage version of someone ten years ago can completely destroy a career, a “like” on Instagram can lead to death threats, and voicing your opinion can be one of the scariest and bravest things you possibly do, especially if it is unpopular.

If the world keeps moving this way I think we’re going to miss out on so many creative minds. A world like this doesn’t promote creative thinking, rather it screams that you need to fit into a certain mold to be accepted and loved. I believe bullying is one of the worst things human beings are capable of doing, and I think there are so many online bullies who have absolutely no idea that they’re actually the ones who are being cruel. I’d love to see people ask more questions and find out why someone perceives the world differently than they do. Instead of trying to cram ideas down someone’s throat, find out why they believe what they do and have a civil conversation about it. Agreeing to disagree is what makes America such a great nation, and I hate seeing this notion getting flushed down the toilet with the age of the Internet. Great things will start happening when we learn to work with each other, rather than choosing to focus on and fight about our differences.

My Resolution To Be Fearless

We are over 4 months into the new year and I decided to reevaluate how I am doing on my resolution to fear less in my everyday life. I wouldn’t quite say I am failing, but I’d give myself a “C” on this front, and I am not okay with that.

Having a lifestyle blog for anyone in the world to read is a little nerve-wracking, but the fact that any of my friends, family, and acquaintances can read about some of my deepest feelings and thoughts is a whole lot scarier than strangers following along my journey. My best friends know what kind of beautiful, fearful, and thoughtful desires are in my heart, but putting it on paper for those who don’t know me very well makes everything feel a whole lot more intimidating. Ink is permanent and words are sometimes interpreted by readers differently than the writer intends.

I know people like to talk about what others are up to sometimes. I do think about 99% of my readers are kindhearted amazing people who genuinely want what’s best for me, so despite having a good number of readers on this little online space, I believe it’s safe to share my heart with you all. I also know how easy it is to make snap judgments about others on social media, though. This blog showcases a small piece of my life, despite my best efforts to share meaningful things with y’all, and it can be difficult when friends make an assumption based on one, three, or a dozen little posts from a couple days of life. Feelings can be long and drawn out or incredibly fleeting, and I write a lot about both. 

After thinking about it a lot, I’m not going to say I’m done with being afraid — because I’m totally not, and there will be times I won’t share a lot of what’s going on in my life — but I am going to use the next few months to put a lot out there and cross off some of my goals without worrying so much about what other people might think. I will continue to work to “fear less” every day so that one day I might be able to call myself “fearless” in pursuing my dreams.

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From Girlfriend To Fiancée

Wow, the past few months have been crazy in the best way.

Robert and I got engaged in November and I had plenty of time to breathe and enjoy our new titles as “fiancée” and “fiancé” (Side note: did you know that the word differs in spelling for a man and a woman? Two “e’s” mean the word is for a female, and just one makes it male). Now that I’m in month five of being engaged I want to tell you all how everything has been and what kind of advice I have for people when they first get engaged too.

First, one thing I did that I would absolutely do over and over again is that I kept the engagement off social media for a little over a week. It was so special having this little secret with Robert and all my loved ones, and it made that time so memorable and easier to live in the moment. Rather than getting hundreds of calls, texts, and well wishes online, we were able to hold hands and be quietly excited at the thought of getting to marry each other one day in the near future. It felt a lot more intimate and all of the new changes had time to sink in before announcing our new status to the world.

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Second, I recommend actually searching for venues after taking a few weeks to let everything sink in. My initial response to the dozens of “Have you set a date?!” question was, “I am just taking some time to enjoy being engaged.” While that is all fine and dandy, I knew I wanted to get married in the fall. We got engaged in the winter, and wanted a fall wedding. Had I started right away I would have had about a year to plan, whereas I knocked off about a third of that to just sit back and relax. Luckily, everything on that front has worked itself out and I’m really happy with the way our plans are materializing, but the Washington DC area is super competitive, even in the wedding industry. If you want to get married on a certain date or time of year, you should keep that in mind while figuring out how long you are going to be engaged and when to start planning.

Third, there is no right or wrong timeline. Some engagements are short, others are long, and there are a million in between. Figure out what you think is right, then just go for it! Planning such a big event is definitely a new and unique challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun once you stop dipping your toes in the water and just jump into planning. Luckily, all of the research I’ve done in college and assignments I had at Seventeen are really paying off, because it takes a lot of work to find the right vendors to create a big event like this.

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Finally, enjoy second of being engaged and make sure to still go on date nights and do things outside of planning your wedding. Time goes by so fast, and before you know it you’ll be a husband or wife instead of just a fiancé(e)!

Single And So Ready To Settle Down

Do you feel lonely this winter? Are you sick and tired of being single and seeing a-million-and-one proposals, weddings, and budding new relationships all over social media?

You are not alone.

I know it feels like it sometimes, but something I think is so important to remember is that the people who are super-single, frustrated with dating, or ready for marriage and a family but still looking for their partner in crime are not posting on Facebook about this. They are actually likely the majority on your friend list, but they’re a silent majority.

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If you feel frustrated for being single, don’t beat yourself up. Just because your heart wants companionship doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. We are built to love and be loved. That desire is so, so normal. Sure, there are people who never get married and still feel fulfilled, but the reality of it is most people eventually find love with a romantic partner and decide to tie the knot at one time or another. It’s not wrong to dream about having a life with someone you haven’t met yet, and it actually is okay to be actively seeking a relationship, as long as it’s not taking over your entire life.

Did you know that this is the first time in American history that more women are having children in their thirties than in their twenties? Yup — and that’s not just me trying to be comforting — check out the facts right here. The mean age of women going through their first pregnancy is now 28, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is largely in part because they are also settling down later in life than they have in the past.

So if you’re reading this and in your late twenties or thirties and feel a little left out in the love department, remember that you are not running late, and you are not the minority. Often it’s the loudest people we notice the most, and that can craft an image in our heads of what we should be doing in our lives or what the majority looks like. Our perception becomes skewed based on the people who are making announcements, and we forget about those who are sitting in silence. People who are staying still or even struggling are far less likely to speak up about it. Those who haven’t yet found their special person just aren’t rambling about that on every Facebook and Instagram post.

I do think it’s important to keep up activities that you enjoy other than dating while you’re “shopping around” for the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and it’s crucial to keep things as lighthearted and fun as possible in order to protect your heart until you know someone well enough to give them it one little piece at a time. You know how everyone always gives the annoyingly cliched advice that you’ll find the right person when you aren’t looking for them? This is often true — as I think opportunities pop up that we would never had dreamed up for ourselves — but I also think it’s great to keep putting a conscious effort into going after what we want, even if that’s a relationship. So go create a dating profile or sit next to the guy you’ve been crushing on from afar. Even though things often start happening when you stop worrying, it can never hurt to put yourself out there and be the very best version of you to prepare for the adventure of a lifetime with someone one day. Until then, though, remember that you’re never alone, and that there are so many people who can empathize with any struggles or frustrations that you have. Despite every human being incredibly unique from the next, our struggles are surprisingly so very similar.

The Greatest Part About Love in Our Twenties

Something that makes me really, really happy about being in my mid-twenties is all of the love that I see around me. I’ve been to so many weddings this year alone, and there hasn’t been one I haven’t cried at yet. I think my heart is just so filled with joy that it uses tears as an outlet so I won’t explode.

As you can tell from reading just one page of my writing, I am a hopeless romantic. Honestly, even the people I never really knew well in high school getting hitched makes me giddy, as I just feel so excited for what their future holds.

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Love in our twenties doesn’t start and end with weddings and marriage, though. Just because some of my friends are single doesn’t mean I am not equally as happy for the love they have in their lives. I see people who are in love with travel, in love with their job, and in love with sweet puppy dogs. There is love in family reunions, in blossoming relationships, and love for tiny little babies.

We are all in such different stages of life at this time. I predict by the time we’re all in our mid-to-late thirties things will have changed and we’ll all be a little closer to one another again for a short while, however ever since high school has been thrown behind us our lives have all continued to change more and more drastically.

Just because you are on a different page of your story than your friends doesn’t mean your life and experiences aren’t as beautiful or important. Your time will come with a romantic connection, and just because you don’t have your dream job now doesn’t mean there aren’t greater things to look forward to in the future. Keep pushing forward and enjoying the life you were given right now. Not everyone is lucky enough to make it to their twenties. It is hard trying to figure out how to be an adult and adjusting to so many changes, but I think it’s a lot easier when we realize that none of us are truly alone. We all struggle in one way or another, and even if life looks perfect for someone from an outsider’s perspective I promise you they’ve had something that has been a challenge for them. None of us are exempt from pain or suffering, but the great thing about life is that none of us are exempt from love if we welcome it into our life.

Instead of worrying so much about what you don’t have, I challenge you to make a list of the things you are thankful for. On days I am in more pain than usual I make myself create a list of 5 things I am thankful for, and that often creates a snowball effect and I see just how many blessings God has given me.

Dear Men, Take More Pictures.

I think a lot of us saw the post that went viral last year from the mom who said that men need to take more pictures of their wives.

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Photo Credit: ShaiLynn Photo and Film

Truth is, my Facebook feed is filled with photos of dads, boyfriends, children, and dogs, but we often don’t see the women behind the camera. As the post states, if girls don’t ask, the photo isn’t getting taken. You could argue that females might be a little more likely to update their Facebook feeds, but I also think it rings true that men are generally less likely to preserve the little moments of everyday life that many women enjoy having.

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I’ve never been very good at taking pictures. I always felt too “in the moment” to capture my life on camera — that is, until the deployment. Before Robert was deployed I took pictures of him cooking, playing games with me, driving, and on dinner dates. I took videos so I could hear his voice while he was gone, and I tried my best to get some photos of us together so I could remember everything. In all honesty, I don’t know what I would have done without those tiny pieces of him while he was overseas. My heart hurt every night he was away, but when insomnia struck I was able to pull up a picture or video that reminded me of the fun times we had together. I had funny moments, sweet moments, and even a few sad moments of us together on my phone.

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This was after the best weekend with Robert right before he flew overseas. Looking at this picture still makes me tear up, as it was the most heartbreaking “goodbye” I’ve said in my life.

If you look at my Instagram you’ll see photos I’ve captured of Robert in everyday life since. I took pictures of him while he was painting his new home, filling up his truck with gas on a road trip, and of how nice he looked when he got home from work. My iPhone is filled with pictures of dogs, my family, food — primarily dessert (Sorry Instagram) — and Robert. These are the most special things in my life, and I want to be able to look back on them 50 years from now and remember the little details my own memory might forget.

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This is one of my favorite pictures of Robert. In the first few months of dating I got Junior Mints to take to the movies. We accidentally spilled them in Robert’s seat, and he noticed them plastered to his butt before he went home. I’ll never forget moments like this, but I love having a picture that I can giggle at along with the story.

I am a hundred percent my own worst enemy when it comes to having my photo taken, though. Instead of embracing it, I blush and wonder why I need to be alone in a photo. I say “No thank you” when someone asks to take a picture of me, and my reflexes have gotten great at pushing a lens out of my face. From now on I am going to try my best to move past my own insecurities and ask to have my picture taken too. With dogs, by myself, and even when I’m tired and not wearing any makeup.

Instead of feeling like it will make me seem vain or be offputting, I am going to realize that having my photo taken too is just another piece of the puzzle for documenting a memory. That way when I get older and have kids of my own, I’ll be able to show the candid moments of myself as well as my loved ones, and will be included in all of the adventures, too. In all honesty I’m actually really nervous about committing to this, but I’m going to try to be a good sport and will start sharing the more candid, less than perfect photos on here too.

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Here’s to creating lots of beautiful memories with loved ones — and capturing a few in the process.

Behind The Scenes Vs. Highlight Reels

One of my last posts was all about comparison when it comes to body image, but today I want to talk about comparing your love life to others’. Valentine’s Day was just a few days ago, and I absolutely loved seeing all the posts with pretty things, sweet words, and romantic gestures. I also always look forward to the single posts about treating yourself or having friends as Valentines. It has been my favorite holiday since exchanging little notes and mini candy bars in grade school, and I prepare for the holiday the same way many do for Christmas.

This year Valentine’s Day fell on a really bad day for me. I had a bunch of doctor’s appointments, including an evening one that went until 7:30, and I didn’t have much of an idea of when I would be finished beforehand. Since I knew I would be absolutely exhausted, I told Robert I wanted to keep things low key and that we’d just have to play things by ear the evening of and do something for Valentine’s the following weekend.

As the day went on, though, and I kept seeing how people were celebrating I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Ahhhh, no, I thought. Am I really starting to compare my day to what I am seeing on social media? I’ve always been pretty level-headed when it comes to taking everything I see with a grain of salt, but I guess my deep love for Valentine’s Day was beginning to get to me. It didn’t help that I had gotten bad news in the middle of the day (I have to protect the privacy of the person involved so will not be talking about it), so I was kind of cranky.

Poor Robert, I thought as I realized there wasn’t much of a chance he’d win the day.

I regretted my decision to not celebrate on Tuesday, and although I was genuinely happy for my friends who were going on super-fun dates that night, I wished that would be me too. I wished I would have canceled one of my appointments, and I wished I would’ve just chosen to have a normal day of celebrating, rather than feeling sick after my physical therapy appointment. I had become the girl we all giggle at — the one who says not to worry about doing anything, but doesn’t really mean it. Yes, I had meant it at the time, but who would have thought my mind would change so fast?! Oh, that’s right. Anyone who has been in this situation before would have known. Now I know what that “crazy” girl feels like and why people always advise guys to ignore whatever they say. There was a hilarious episode of The Kane Show on Valentine’s Day about guys who listened to their girlfriends about not wanting to celebrate this year, and then regretted it because the girls all of a sudden flipped a switch and wanted to do something. Apparently I was not the only one.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about this because my Valentine’s Day post got over 100 likes (Which is a decent amount for my social media accounts), and everyone knows I have a boyfriend and am not celebrating alone this year. From an outsiders perspective, I have it all going for me, and I was one of the people who had the “perfect Valentine’s Day.”

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The problem with our generation and social media is that we are comparing our own “behind the scenes” moments — hardships included — to other people’s highlight reels.

We have these expectations of life that are completely unrealistic because we are so used to seeing perfection in the online world around us. Life is not perfect, nor is love. They are both beautiful, but a big part of that is learning to love one another through the imperfections and rough patches.

Now, just to be clear, Robert did take me out to dinner and did give me a very sweet Valentine’s Day present. One thing I do really love about him is that he treats me so well every day of the year, so I do think he’s hard to beat for a special occasion. This post isn’t at all bashing the evening we had together, rather I am trying to make a point that you absolutely cannot compare your own very real life to the lives you see crafted online.

Today’s lesson: I said it in my last post, and I’ll say it again. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (–Theodore Roosevelt). The more you can live in the present and focus on yourself, the more you will learn to feel content with what you have, rather than longing for things you do not have.

Facebook Is Actually The Bomb.com

Breakups are hard enough on their own, but when you keep seeing your ex everywhere you go it makes things a lot more difficult. That’s why social media can be tough. Regardless of whether or not you are seeing your ex at work or school, you definitely don’t need him in your house or at the gym with you too!

One thing that can be really dangerous these days, though, is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of those pesky sites can make forgetting about your ex and moving forward with your life a real pain in the butt.

Somehow I’ve never really had a big problem with this when dealing with breakups, though, so wanted to share some of my insight and advice.

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First, block your ex on everything you can possibly think of. Block him from texting and calling you, block him on Facebook (don’t just unfriend — block. Blocking is better because you will not see him on any of your mutual friends’ pages and you won’t be able to send each other messages). Block on Instagram, Twitter, whatever else is out there. As I mentioned in a Facebook status awhile ago, you may need to do it on strange sites you wouldn’t even think of like Spotify and Venmo.

Second, get a bestie to come over and clean up all of your social media that might have things with him left over. For example, I had my best friend save a bunch of sweet voicemails from him “just in case, [we got back together].” I realized pretty shortly after that I wouldn’t need them back, but at the time it is a little easier deleting things when you can get them back again if you want them. Then she “unfollowed” a lot of his close friends and family on my Facebook for me, and untagged our most recent pictures together so I wouldn’t accidentally see any of them pop up anytime soon.

Third, box up all of his stuff, then shove it in the attic! If you’re not fortunate enough to have a tucked away attic you can get creative and use a closet, a cabinet, or whatever else you won’t be seeing at all in your everyday life. For me, this was the guest room. Do not contact your ex asking if they want any of their stuff back — this is just opening a door you do not need and offering another opportunity for both of you to get hurt. You gave him things, just as he gave you some — the only item you are ever really obligated to give back is an engagement ring. If you don’t have that, just call it even and move on.

Lastly, have an accountability buddy you can text whenever you feel like texting him. This has never a big problem for me, as I like to quit things cold-turkey. I do know, though, that even I would get reminders that would be hard or hurt, and enjoyed having a best friend to lean on when times were tough. She was someone I could cry to if I missed my ex, or just rely on her to have a little conversation about why it was good we broke up. Having someone to text instead of him is so important so that you don’t slip up! Real friends will understand this struggle and be more than happy to help — after all, they might need you for the exact same thing one day and will be grateful to you for listening.

Overall the best thing to do in a breakup is be kind and gentle with yourself, even if you do backslide. Ending any sort of relationship is hard, and good for you for deciding you didn’t want to settle for someone who isn’t right for you. Even if you were the one who got dumped, being strong and realizing that there was likely a pretty good reason for the breakup is a great start.

No, You’re Schmoopie!

Sometimes I feel like I’m pulling a “Schmoopie” when I write about my dating life

Sadly I have realized not everyone in my generation has seen Seinfeld, so here’s a clip if you have no clue what I’m talking about:

It definitely takes a lot for me to share such intimate parts of my life on this blog sometimes. I know I’m taking a risk at putting my heart on my sleeve in front of all my friends (including my new blogger friends!), and I know not all of my relationships — romantic or otherwise — that I write about will last. I do, however, always want my blog to be an honest account of my life. I want to be transparent with y’all through the bad times and through the good, which just happens to be the beginning honeymoon phase of a new relationship, the comfortable parts of a longer-term relationship, and the vulnerable parts about putting your heart in the hands of another human being.

I love love in every form, whether it’s in a friendship or a romantic relationship. As I have mentioned before, I think I’m one of the few people who gets giddy with excitement when I see even a distant Facebook friend get engaged or have a sappy status. I love seeing new jobs, dreams come true, and celebrating in the victories of friends — no matter how great or small.

Sometimes it gets a little annoying when people proclaim their love to one another constantly on Facebook — can you not say “I love you” via text? For the most part, though, I hope my friends will keep posting a million wedding pictures and sharing in their excitement with me and everyone else. After all, that is by far the best part about social media, and the more love we put out in the world the less room we have for hate. That is the best lesson we can learn, especially during this crazy time in America where the country — and even Facebook — feels so divided and confused.

So I would like to encourage you to keep sharing photos of your GNOs, engagement photoshoots, and selfies that make you feel fierce. If people don’t like seeing the happy parts of your life, the “unfollow” button is really easy to find. Spread happiness, joy, and beautiful friendships on social media, even if they don’t rack up as many “likes” as you’d want… After all, your social media pages are yours for a reason!

Today’s lesson: I have found that being open and vulnerable has enriched my life in so many ways. Not only do I have so many friends to share excitement with, but I also have an army of support when life gets tough, and have been able to learn from people who have very different lives than my own. So here’s to being authentic and spreading love and positivity in the world.