Rituals, Direction, and How to Not Kick Your Cat While Doing Yoga

daily rituals

 

A couple months ago, I read Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, a book that many bloggers have been chatting about recently.  Man did this collection make me feel better about myself as an artist. He has collected the daily routines of famous and historic writers, artists, scientists, and other great minds throughout history.  By breaking down how each person spent their day, it is A.) a fantastic read for someone with a short attention span like me and B.) incredibly humbling and inspiring.

The most eye-opening part?  They were all regular people, who ate meals and did chores, had crazy sleeping schedules, and errands to run.  They’re like you and me!!  Doing people things!  So I tackled the whole “if they can do it, I can give it a go” mantra and broke it down.

These are some of the themes I spotted (The quotes are all pulled from Mason Currey’s Blog, also listed above.)

1. Consistency, even when life takes a turn: On Joseph Campbell: “So during the years of the Depression I had arranged a schedule for myself. When you don’t have a job or anyone to tell you what to do, you’ve got to fix one for yourself. ”

2. Drugs, drugs, drugs: On Paul Erdos: “Erdös first did mathematics at the age of three, but for the last twenty-five years of his life, since the death of his mother, he put in nineteen-hour days, keeping himself fortified with 10 to 20 milligrams of Benzedrine or Ritalin, strong espresso, and caffeine tablets. “A mathematician,” Erdos was fond of saying, “is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.”

2. Guilt: On Alaa Al Aswany: “I have a very firm schedule. I must wake up at six a.m. or I feel very guilty. I write from 6:30 to 10:30 six days a week, like a soldier—no interruptions.”

4. Above all, doing whatever the hell works for you: On Gary Panter: “Get up at 7:30 in the morning — feed cats, drive daughter to school, read the NY Times and drink chocolate milk.”

5. A wonderful amount of interestingly-timed whiskey.: On Winston Churchill: “At 11:00 a.m., he arose, bathed, and perhaps took a walk around the garden, and took a weak whisky and soda to his study.”

There wasn’t a single artist that was the same, thus disproving any self-help/success guru that claims there is one way to do things.  But looking at this list, obviously there are some things I can do without.  I need to go to work, so an 8 hour regimen is not possible yet.  If I stayed home all day, I would probably start to go crazy.  Drugs aren’t up my alley.  I get nervous when I take too much Tylenol.  So scratch that.  Guilt?  I was raised Catholic, so I am not in short supply of guilt.  Consistency!  Heeeey, there’s something I’ve never been great at, that may do!  And whiskey.  I can keep that part.  I would be up for making Moscow Mules a brunch staple.

Literal Sun Salutation…

Taken on the Camino!

Taken on the Camino!

For the past four weeks (at least on weekdays, all bets are off on weekends), I have gotten up a little earlier than usual to write and do about 5 minutes of yoga before hopping in the shower and going to work.  At first I thought:

This isn’t going to last, it will be like one of those Pinterest Yoga challenges I desert for sleeping in by day 4.

Or…

It’s so dark out in the morning, this is depressing, I am in my dark living room doing yoga with my cat chirping at me.

But it’s wild: the more I did it, the more I couldn’t imagine not doing it before work.  It’s still slow, I am not about to join a 6am yoga class or anything, but I have found that I am no longer an evil anxious human being while getting ready.

And what’s even more fascinating: without planning or following some sort of guide, my yoga and writing have been going a bit longer each morning.  Thanks to my cat who wakes me up for food at 5:45am, I have a natural alarm clock.

The other wonderful thing about writing and yoga at this specific hour is watching the days get longer through the winter.  When I first started, it was still dark by the time I headed off to the shower.  Now, the sun is rising as I start yoga.  I am so much more aware that Spring is on its way, no matter what this little asshole says next week.

The Cat Part of the Blog Post

Strangely enough, I didn’t expect the ritual to grow into something far more important than exercise and journaling.  Of course this makes sense, if you do the same thing every day, you’re going to feel more comfortable with it.  Right?  But I honestly didn’t assume that 20 minutes out of my day would make much of a difference.

I recognized I had made a yogic breakthrough when I no longer wanted to smack my very loving cat the moment I rolled out my mat (Hey I rhymed!).  Whenever I stretch down to floor level in a sun salutation, here comes Tiber, our overfed dog-like cat rolling, cooing, and running back and forth under my downward dog like I’m a playground bridge structure.

tiber

At the end of my practice, I meditate for a few minutes while Tiber purrs and occasionally makes his signature “chirping” noise that translates into, “Hhhey….Heeeey….Hey youuu.”  With each chirp, he pats my knee with his claws half extended.  It’s great.  After many days of shooing him away, lightning struck.  All of my Buddhism instruction talks about remaining in the moment while meditating, not closing your eyes and drifting off into philosophical la-la land, a common misconception. So Buddha Tiber (he has the belly for it) is the present moment saying, “Heeey…stop thinking about cleaning the floors.  Hey, yes we still have cereal…heeeeeeeeeey, HEY.”

When I thought of this, I chuckled, gave him a pat, and he stopped chirping.  He purred, which was way more calming than my spastic thoughts.

Cats: Better than Overpriced Yoga Props

viola

Since I have learned to work with my furry yoga partner, I have been noticing other helpful things about his distractions.  He is often standing exactly where I was about to put my foot, causing me to have to look where I am placing it.  This was often mentioned in yoga classes I took anyway, but I never really understood its importance.  When I look before I place, much like spotting in dance, I see where I am headed and have less of a chance of flailing around like a drunk person.

not yoga

For example.

I am more present, because I don’t want to kick Tiber, and I feel more in control of the movements.

Thanks cat!

What does any of this have to do with a book about rituals?

What I loved most about the routine book is that each artist built upon their work, slowly but surely through some consistency.  And because of this, they found a direction, however abstract.  It’s hard to have direction as an artist when so much is out of your control.  You can build it, but you don’t actually know if they will come.  So I find setting a goal is tricky, and they often sound too abstract to act on.  Building on the smaller things is actually in my control, and they just take time.  I feel I have made some progress at the end of the day, however little, and this is invaluable.

Writing and exercising each morning is something I can act and build on, and I have already started to learn from it.  So I tip my hat to you, Mason Currey.  Thank you for showing me that accomplished artists live regular lives like the rest of us in the same world we know.  It’s not on some magical wealthy creative cloud that we can’t reach, but usually in their living room, with dirty dishes in the sink, and maybe some whiskey.

Adorable Little Lions

First of all: I’m excited to say I finally have another blog post in the works.  Often when I get an idea like this, it’s important to let it brew for a while.  But I want to wait until it develops into a post that I myself would want to read, otherwise, why ask you to read it??  So please stay tuned!  Another post is in the works!

New blog post soon?!  Hooray!

New blog post soon?! Hooray!

In the meantime…

I was inspired by an incredible Humans of New York post this week that raised, or as I’m writing this HAS raised over $530k for a struggling school in Brownsville, New York.  If you don’t know about Humans of New York or this incredible fundraiser, check it out, and feel all the wonderful feelings about society: https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/let-s-send-kids-to-harvard.

Little Lions Need Our Love!

Over the past several years, I have had the joy of working in fundraising, and I am always reminded of the power of a community to support one another: with their time, their money, their enthusiasm.  This HONY post was a reminder that a community of “strangers” is just as powerful.  As cheesy as it sounds, we crazy group of internet strangers ARE one another’s community.  We read each other’s posts, like each other’s cat pictures, and sometimes, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars so kids can have a summer program and a trip to Harvard.  Go us!!

In the spirit of this belief in our incredible internet world, I am sharing the story of a group of Boston Public Middle Schoolers who are currently rehearsing, and completely self-funding, a production of The Lion King.  A dear friend of mind is their teacher.  She was once my director as well, and I know she’s something special to these children.  They have held community fundraisers as well, but as all of you theatre people out there know, theatre is EXPENSIVE and they are doing all they can on a dime.  I would love to tell them that we are their community too!

lion king

Let’s Support The Lion King!

http://www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/the-lion-king-and-beyond-/286629#.VKoZMpA8QNs.facebook

And what does that really do?  It sends the message to students (or whoever the fundraiser is for) that human beings are out there are thinking of you.   It is a reminder that we notice what you are doing, and you matter.  Donating or sharing a link may not seem like anything against the world’s many problems.  But a teacher can go back to group of adorable children learning “The Circle of Life” in a Boston Public School and announce that the world sees what they are working towards and they applaud you.

So if donating money isn’t an option (I get it, I am very often counting my pennies), and sharing the link is also not really your jam, please send them good thoughts and happy warm-fuzzy wishes for a good show.

Thank you for reading, and happy Saturday!

Now let’s feel super happy about our morning by watching a bunch of Australian actors sing The Lion King on an airplane because it is FABULOUS.

 

Here Comes the Sun Doo Doo Doo Doo

I started out having a pretty negative week.  On Wednesday, I had one of those “Me against the world” days.  A former job was a week late in paying me, my parent’s insurance company had a “computer glitch” and therefore couldn’t cover me (you read that correctly), another job that pays me in cash wasn’t able to, and the I generally was feeling pretty angry at the world.   Essentially, until Thursday morning, I was broke.  Broke broke.  So yeah, not a great mood.

I am very thankful that Wednesday night things turned around a bit, as they tend to do before I write a blog post.  After getting screwed over by the insurance company, I moped home and bought a scratch off ticket in protest of my bad mood.  And what would you know?  I won enough money to go to my dance class I couldn’t afford.  If you need an affordable dance class at a WONDERFUL studio, trek out to Astoria to Astoria School of Fine Arts.  On Wednesday and Thursday night, Roy teaches, and you don’t want to miss it.  This man could make Eeyore cheer up and dance

IntenSati

The next day, Christina encouraged me to go to an IntenSati class.  What is IntenSati you ask?  Oh!  Well, it is basically a mixture of zumba and the yelling of self-affirmations.  You scream chants about how awesome you are while you punch the air and do pretty intense aerobic moves.  At first, I felt pretty odd.  I couldn’t get Richard Simmons out of my head.  But not even ten minutes into it I was a self-cheerleader kicking and yelling away with everyone else.  By the end, my week had turned around and the whole way home, I couldn’t help but look for the signs of hope around me.  And not just in my own life, but everywhere.  So I did some research…

 

Proof things are getting better…

The IntenSati class was so inspiring that I have made it my goal for the past 24 hours to find as many signs as possible that the attitude of society on the whole is getting better; and by better, I mean more positive, more compassionate, and more balanced.  It’s very easy to find the negative, especially in a harsh city like New York.  It’s also easy to only find negative and discouraging signs on the news and internet.  When I googled different topics about the overall health of Americans, I mainly came across articles about the increase in obesity and depression.  Which is interesting, because with a little digging, there are studies saying the exact opposite, they just get buried by the negative ones.  My opinion may seem naive.  I am not saying to ignore the obvious problems today, just to combat them with hope.

The Gallup Study:

Gallup is a worldwide research and analysis company which, among many other things, has been surveying a selection of people in the US, UK, and Germany for the past several years on their optimism and mood.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/154892/Americans-City-Optimism-Reaches-Four-Year-High.aspx

This article is particularly interesting because the studies show that since the economic crash in 2008, the Optimism levels with each person’s local area has surpassed what it was before the crash.  If you go to the site, check out the many other articles and studies, they’re very fascinating.  What’s my point?  Perhaps even when there are so many unsettling things in the world as a whole, there are many shifts nowadays toward a healthier lifestyle and more supportive community. 

Another one of my favorite articles is from Learnvest.com, a site geared toward women managing their personal finances.  The article summarizes that a generally positive attitude in your community actually improves your local economy.  Just like we chanted while stomping around in IntenSati, believing that things will get back can actually make things better in reality.

http://www.learnvest.com/2011/10/find-your-happy-place-how-optimism-affects-the-economy/

 

 

Signs of Awesome:

I started writing this blog post with the idea of having tons of great statistics backing up that the world is great.  As positive as I am feeling, I didn’t have the best luck.  It’s slightly too big of a topic to google (i.e. “Is the world getting better?”).  So I went on my lunch break (temping today) and contemplated how to go about this.  I keep coming back to the small things.  What directly affects our day-to-day life are the common things we interact with.  So perhaps the above articles can be explained by those.  Below is a list of my “signs of awesome” or things that reinforce my happy hypothesis:

1. FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!

We live in a time of food celebration!  With the development of the “foodie” community, a better awareness of international food trends, and an encouragement for healthy choices, I am very thankful to be eating in today’s world.  Turn on the food channel: both men and woman are chefs.  It is now an art to eat in a healthy way with interesting and unfamiliar ingredients.  I know obesity is still a major problem, but I have hope we are moving in the right direction.  These are simple examples.  But you get my drift.  Keep your eye out.  Vegetarians are taking over:)

I am also thankful for places like Trader Joe’s, where I can buy organic dairy free ice cream at 10pm at night for $3.  Why?  Because I’ve never eaten it.  And it’s yummy. And then I can chat with the cashiers who are happy as clams because they get full benefits for working part-time hours (we chat a lot).   I also can eat at places like Pret A Manger, who donate all of their food to the homeless at the end of the night and promote eco-awareness.  I also can go down to the 30th avenue farmers market in Astoria and get a slew of produce I don’t even recognize for under $5.  My point is that it’s becoming “cool” to not eat endless amount of processed junk.

2. Kid Music.  And kids in general.

I keep a Pandora station on in my art class on Thursday afternoons called “Tweens.”  Everyone knows the words to everything.  I started to notice that the general themes of songs geared towards teenagers are very positive these days.  And trust me, a room full of 12 nine-year old girls singing “Firework” is pretty exciting.  I also had the chance to hear Lady Gaga’s mother speak at an event I attended several months ago.  They have started the Born This Way Foundation, a group empowering youth and fighting against bullying.

I also did a project with them at the end of last semester asking if they could invent one toy that would help another human being, what would it be?  I got this idea from a TED talk.  The class of 1st and 2nd graders were ecstatic.  Many people created inventions that helped the blind and deaf (apparently this is the first thing that comes to mind when you’re 9 and you think someone needs help.  Fair enough.)  I also got ideas for toys that instantly cheer you up if you’re sad, magical transporters that connect you with the people you love, and food machines for the hungry.

And so, I have hope in the next generation, even those on the Upper East Side.

Social media.  Yes, social media.

No matter what the older generations say, I am thrilled that we are a society that can communicate so easily with one another.  All the options may not solve things like loneliness or feeling alienated, but there are benefits on the surface if viewed positively.  I worked with students from all over the world, primarily from countries that are dealing with a slew of serious problems.  And to see every now and then on Facebook that all is well with them is something that I am very thankful for.

Because of Facebook, I know that when I end a show or a job, it doesn’t have to be the last time I hear from that person.  I know when they are in a show, getting married, or visiting NYC.  I disconnected myself a little bit  from Facebook after the stress it caused in college, so I have to say, a balance is very necessary. 

THIS BLOG!  This blog has been one of the most supportive factors in my artistic growth.  A year ago, I was mortified the first time I posted something.  I only told about 10 people this even existed.  The knowledge that people are now willing to take the time to read my writing, give me feedback, and even hit the “like” button on Facebook, sends me to the moon.  I am now writing a play and a book about the camino.  So my advice for those who feel uncomfortable about starting to write: people are overwhelmingly supportive if you give them something of yours to support.  What you need to say may be what someone needs to hear.  So write it.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE if we kept a conversation going about what positive things give you hope.  Something big or something that seems small.  Either way, I do feel that if we all even make the smallest effort to believe things are getting better, it will continue to grow in that direction.

Here’s to hope for more happiness!

Epic Fail: Gym Class

G Train of INSPIRATION

I was riding back on the G train today from Park Slope reading Whole Living magazine, sipping iced coffee and soy milk from a hipster coffee shop, and carrying a bag full of craft supplies for art class next week. We’re making kites and learning about wind, the earth, and enjoying the outdoors. It will probably involve a lot of talking about self-affirmations and running in circles enjoying the wind. This is my life, I’ve become a hippie teacher.

I came across the section called “10 Thoughts” which includes little philosophical and feel-good phrases. I usually put it up in my kitchen for when I’m feeling funky and taking out my mood on the cat. But today, the 9th one really spoke to me. It said “The upside to grand failures: THEY MAKE GREAT STORIES.” Immediately I was struck with the urge to write so started scanning my brain for something I considered a “grand failure” in my life. Note: this is an incredibly depressing exercise so I wouldn’t recommend it for a writing class if you plan on teaching one.

So I steered away from the heavy things and instead thought about grades. Did I ever actually fail a class? Failed a whole bunch of tests (I think I got a 4 on a chemistry exam once), but never a class itself. The closest I ever came was a D…in 6th grade gym. How does one get a D in 6th grade gym you ask? By not bringing your gym clothes, and therefore not taking the class at all. Really thinking about it though, there was much more to the gym class saga than me being forgetful.

The Beginning of the Gym Class Curse

St. Michael’s, my elementary school in Cranford

Sixth grade was my first year in Vernon, and therefore, in Public school. Though living in Vernon was heaven compared to Plainfield, before this I was never particularly bothered by what I just thought as a bizarre class. The most I remember was an angry teacher who clearly hated his job from my elementary school that we called Kram to piss him off (his first name, Mark, backwards). My sister’s class got the record for most people kicked off the court by intentionally swinging their field hockey sticks over their heads at the same time. So before 6th grade, gym class seemed pretty silly to me.

Public school changed things a bit. First off, sixth grade was the year I discovered I had legs. Not in a “oh boys are looking at me” kind of way, but literally in a “I have two limbs coming out of the bottom of my torso and I don’t know what to do with them” kind of way. I was supposed to shave them, walk with them, and apparently try to play an odd myriad of sports with them against my classmates. I was lucky if they even moved in the direction I asked them to go. So gym class seemed like the last place for me. Maybe forgetting my gym clothes was intentional somewhere in my subconscious or maybe I had other things on my mind, either way, I know I hated it.

My teacher at the time would rip me to shreds each time I forgot them and tell me my GPA would be shot if I didn’t take gym. But I was 11, so didn’t quite know what a GPA was. And anyway, I was going to be an actor, so what do I need with gym grades? She threatened to fail me so I cried all the way home and my mom talked her into D. I think I at least muddled through the class from then on.

I don’t know who this poor girl is, but that’s basically me.

The following gym years of hell would include getting hit in the face with every piece of gym equipment which wasn’t fastened to the ground. These included: baseballs, volleyballs, shoes, a golf club, and most memorably…a hula hoop. The hula hoop incident was traumatic. I survived whatever humiliating high school game which involved the hula hoop just to have some meat head whip the thing across the gym…into my nose. I basically got a black eye. My gym teacher and boyfriend at the time thought it was hysterical and I was the talk of the nurses’ office.

 

How to Torture 16 years olds: Make Them Square Dance

I’ve never been quite sure why my high school was so dedicated to an entire marking period of square dancing, but they were. I went to school in North Jersey, that though very pretty, sometimes acts like it wants to be in a different part of the country. Square dancing is what I assumed was their answer to the creative part of gym class. I hear of schools nowadays teaching yoga, pilates, or even modern dance. Nope, we did square dancing. At the beginning of class we were told to “sqaure off.” This involved scrambling (if you were an oddball like me) to find a group to be a part of. If you were an odd one out, you had the pleasure of wandering around the gym between dances and tapping someone out. This usually involved breaking up a social group that wanted to dance together, therefore making you EVEN COOLER. If as a theatre kid, you lucked out and managed to be in class with another group of theatre kids, we’d stick together and try to stay strong. Otherwise, you’d end up dancing with either the terrifying crowd that self-declared themselves as popular, the poor kid who was going through a severe adolescent sweaty phase, or even worse…the boy you were madly in love with…

Which brings me to running around the track…

“D” for Effort

If it wasn’t rhythmically choreographed to music (other than square dancing), physical exertion and I didn’t really get along until the end of college. So running in endless circles for a grade always confused me. Running for me usually made my double over and start wheezing, so yeah, wasn’t my jam. Track days were always something like “A= 6 laps, B=5 laps…” and so on. I knew five or six wasn’t going to happen so I decided walking with my girlfriends and discussing the woes of being a teenager was much more important. I had a teacher tell me my grade were slipping because I was “hanging around the wrong girls.” (10 points for great teaching skills!) What she didn’t know was that the things we talked about not only helped me mentally survive high school, but also taught me a lot of what I knew about dating, boys, and surviving crazy family catastrophes. Thanks Allie, if you’re reading this, you taught me a lot and made wandering in circles much more productive and educational:)

So though gym never particularly involved any “physical education,” it was a character building activity. I knew one day I’d look back, maybe while walking across Spain, and I’d think “that bitter gym teacher was wrong, I’m NOT lazy.” I am also no longer afraid of my legs, or square dancing if the opportunity presented itself. To come full circle, I’ve even become a teacher, one who will never make a kid do something that makes them feel even more physically uncomfortable that you already do at that age.

So take that gym class, I win.

 

Slow Down Graduates!

Spotted on my walk. Seems appropriate.

Having the flu (or the mysterious 2012 bug) on and off for three weeks sure can slow you down. After taking another day off on Monday because I had a wave this odd sickness, I ventured out to the pharmacy on foot for a prescription. I figured the exercise might break me out of my mental rut, if not boost my immune system a little bit before work tonight. Lucky for me, the weather held a beautiful equilibrium all day: that place between a thunderstorm and a cool spring day with just enough warm wind to make you want to stay outside even if it starts raining. Also lucky for me, mid-afternoon on a Tuesday in Astoria is the perfect place to be when you can’t walk very quickly. Most people out and about are over the age of 70 and don’t want to be hurried either. I wasn’t moving any faster than they were because of health.

Astoria Residents on Tuesday Afternoon

Walking this slowly was such a blessing. First of all, my slow pace made me notice a lot of other people who were taking their time. For example, I saw two old men on lawn chairs sitting near a large bump in the road yelling “Ohhhhhh” every time a car went by and bottomed out. Gotta have a pastime. They reminded me a lot of the two old men from the Muppets.

I also suddenly noticed this incredible nostalgia connected to the time of year.. This inaccessible area of Astoria (at least by public transportation) has enough trees to make it appear as a peaceful suburb. The trees recently went from bare to fully dressed in green practically overnight, without the chance for anyone to notice. One day, BAM, spring. “Did you see us do that? No! we are very very sneaky.” These are the trees speaking. In my head, in a French accent. Not sure why.

Trees with French Accents

It was noticing the trees that made me realize where this nostalgia was coming from. This time of year reminds me of graduating from Drew three years ago. I’ve seen a lot of people over the last few days posting on Facebook that they are done with college. One of which was my prospective student when I was a senior. So when this class leaves, I no longer went to school with anyone at Drew. It’s nice to notice that this freaks me out less and less with every year, as I think it should be. But it didn’t keep me from realizing how long it took me to fully slow down for a minute since college.

I also noticed with extreme pride how far not only I have come, but also the people who graduated around my time. The day I graduated, the thing that upset me most was the idea that I would lose contact with all of the people I loved. Everything seemed so final and uncertain at the same time. And three years later, here I am in NYC with almost all of the people I was scared of losing either a subway, short car ride, or Bolt Bus trip away. I have watched friends from college travel the world, traveled with some of these people myself, design on Broadway, go through grad school, get married, move across the country, or redefine themselves. I’ve rebuilt relationships that were a disaster at the end of 2009. I’m even dating and living with a Drew Alum. Granted, we met in a bar and never at Drew, but a lot of Drew alums helped that happen. So Drew will not leave you, whether you like it or not. It’s pretty wild actually. And it’s only been three years.

Now on to my advice for graduates:

1. Take a Nap!

If I can say anything to the graduates from Drew or elsewhere of this year: it’s that things can slow down. I promise. My out of school panic originated from not knowing what to do with all my energy. Since elementary school there has been the immediate expectation to “keep up.” Yes, we want to continue pursuing our goals, but now it is essentially in your hands, without anyone telling you that something is due other than yourself. So really, let yourself decompress. Even if you’re off to grad school soon. The day of graduation, I face planted on my bed at home and woke up the next morning in the same clothes next to my stuffed lamb, jazz lamb, and to many texts from nostalgic friends.

2. Travel, even a little

If you find yourself in a position with some money from graduation gifts or awards, and are at all on the fence about whether to save or travel, come chat with me. I may not give you practical advice, but I strongly believe in taking advantage of the desire to get moving when you can. The beauty of having no career yet is you have no excuse to stick around.

3. Read

How many years has it been since you’ve had time to read for pleasure? Especially if you have to relocate immediately after college, getting a library card in your new town can not only make you feel at home, but also give you a free beautiful distraction. You can study whatever you want! With no grades!

4. Learn to Cook

There is no greater sense of accomplishment than making something edible for the first time. Buy your favorite ingredients, throw them in a pan with oil, take a picture, post on facebook, eat, and feel proud. If you’re broke or scared of cooking, three words: Rice and Beans.

5. Write

They say it takes 7 years after an experience to fully process and write it down, so if you have a lot of funky feelings about college you aren’t ready to tackle yet, write about something else. This helped me immensely, and still does. First off, it helped fulfill me creatively when I wasn’t cast in anything for a long time. Also, it filled that over-achieving student in me that enjoyed filling an empty word document with words.

So though I could go on and on (even more) about how everything is going to be okay after college, I won’t. But my door is always open. Instead, please just trust that though leaving the bubble of college is heartbreaking, the bubble of the “real world” is even more wonderful. There is so much to look forward to. And I hope you can look back in a few years and have the great realization I’ve had.