Graduation Revisited: a Letter to 2013 Me

So I’m totally “Back to the Future”-ing this: I present to you the letter of advice I would give my past self upon my graduation from college one year ago today. Feel free to add in the comments the advice you would give your past self at graduation–because why not? 

Dear May 4, 2013 Kelsy,

First off, writing letters to yourself is super weird. Let’s power through this and never, ever do it again.

Here are things you should know a year after graduating college:

  • You are still kind of sad you never TRULY got to make a “May the 4th be with you joke” during graduation. Some wounds never heal.
  • Friendships, man. It’s so funny to see who sticks in your life and who doesn’t. Get ready to become really close to some friends who were just acquaintances before & be prepared for awkward bouts of silences that eventually fade into total white noise with other friends. Relationships are cyclical. Just love the best you can & don’t get offended at the drop of the hat when a friendship season ends. Sometimes it just does!
  • Get ready to find “post grad inspiration” from the weirdest sources…like “The Hobbit”? What?
  • Your self-worth is based on so much more than what people can see about you.
  • So, you know how you were so mad you weren’t asked to speak at graduation? It literally does not mean anything to you ever again past May 6, 2013. Like, I’m totally side-eyeing you right now for being so weirdly fixated on the stupidest stuff.

May 4, 2014 me judging you a little.

  • Also, literally EVERYTHING you said you “would never in a million years ever do” has happened to you. Yeah, you now live in Pennsylvania and work with your parents.
  • You break your foot. It kind of sucks/devastates your life for a really, really long time and in fact, current May 4, 2014 me is still not quite sure why it happened, but it weirdly becomes a very defining life event post-graduating. (Just be careful around stairs, okay?)
  • Real life is really, truly difficult. Those indie folk singers were right all along, as it turns out. But literally everyone is going through the same thing–you aren’t alone in the struggle. Community reveals itself in the most unusual ways.
  • Contrary to advice I was given by a professor.YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT IN THE NEXT 3 YEARS POST-GRADUATION. That is a big fat lie.There’s no timeline of “supposed to.” Give yourself grace.
  • Connections are awesome, but you don’t have to say yes to everything…or say yes in order to be nice.
  • Keep reading, keep searching, keep learning. As Walt Whitman wrote, “I tramp the perpetual journey.” (So do you!)

XOXO May 4, 2014 Kelsy

The Dark Side of Wanderlust

Wanderlust BlogAs a kid, were you ever asked what country you would love to visit one day? My answer was always a sanguine “All of them!” For as long as I can remember, wanderlust (hereby defined as “the strong desire to travel”) has been my lifelong companion.

I wasn’t born with the strong urge to travel—I don’t think anyone is actually. I just happened to be born into a family of rolling stones. We moved around many times growing up (I always joke that moving is my parent’s favorite hobby) and as a result, I’ve lived in six states by the ripe old age of 22.5. Wanderlust assuaged the usual pangs of losing friends or a sense of security, because unlike the memories of places left behind, wanderlust is never wan. Its siren call beckons to the colorful, volatile world of the future (allowing you to easily ignore the pain of now.)

However, there are many dark, dangerous side effects to wanderlust, such as discontentment and fear of commitment. If not properly maintained, wanderlust is consuming & unquenchable and will most certainly rob you of the joy of now. Unless you know how to properly handle the effects of wanderlust, you’ll probably turn into one of the many dyspeptic discontented who will never know happiness outside of a plane ticket.

I’m 99% sure that the main message of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” has been vastly misinterpreted. I cannot tell you how many tweets I saw from people who saw the movie and gushed all about how they now want to travel to exotic places. (Not going to lie, after I saw it, I totally added Iceland to my list of places to visit.)  But I don’t think travelling to all those places was the point at all though. (SPOILER ALERT) The increasingly plucky Walter Mitty learns that his main mission behind all his travel was a seemingly ordinary picture of him working at his ordinary job in his ordinary home city. The “Quintessence of Life” was found (literally) when Walter Mitty became content with himself.

I hate reading articles or books that glibly state “This is a problem, you’re messed up, blah blah blah” but fail to provide solutions–they leave an acidulous taste in my mouth. I won’t do that to you:

I’ve found that the only way to cure the negative side effects of wanderlust is (wait for it…) by being present.

  • Don’t let laziness or prejudice dictate your sense of wonder. Some of my biggest regrets are not exploring the towns that I lived in to their fullest capacity. When I lived in Dallas, I explored only a few areas of the massive downtown. When I lived in Chattanooga, I barely tried any of the cool outdoorsy activities. Even when I was in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, I didn’t do nearly enough as I would’ve liked. I guess what I’m trying to say is that your town might seem terribly dull, but give it a shot. Be a tourist in your own backyard and you’ll be surprised all the fun you’ll have. Make the most of where you are now or even when you live in super awesome places, you probably won’t make the most of it there either.
  • Be thankful. If you’re discontent, write down a list every night of the little things throughout your day that really blessed you. It could be as simple as wearing an outfit you felt awesome in or having a gorgeous lunch, but focus on filling up a page with things you’re glad happened.  How can God trust you with big things when you aren’t even thankful for the little things in your life?
  • Just Do It.  Don’t just pin it, post it, or tweet about it. Go travel. I’m tired of seeing people live online rather than in the real world. If you want something, work hard and attain it. It’s that easy. If you want to travel, save your money & go. It might take a while, but it’s better to work for a goal than just talk about it.

One final thought, now that we’re on voluble terms: There is a HUGE difference between adventure & wanderlust. Wanderlust is only satisfied with the exotic, while adventure is happy anywhere & anytime. You can have wanderlust but be unadventurous (in fact, I was! Remember how I never explored the cities I lived in? Prime example.) Adventure is the search for excitement, understanding, and self-awareness; wanderlust is the search for the next plane ride. See the difference there? First you must develop a sense of adventure—let it be your compass to fulfill your strong desire to travel & you’ll be amazed where you end up.

Dating Deal Breakers of Lee University

A little over a thousand days ago, I was a freshman. Now, I am not, but as a former peer leader, the great responsibility of sharing my vast and extensive research on Lee deal breakers is heavy upon my heart. Freshman girls, these pearls of wisdom will hopefully guard your heart from the same deal breakers as everyone else.

Deal Breakers:

Colossians 3:23 y’all

  1. He doesn’t text you during chapel. OMG, he’s actually listening to the message and worshipping? What is wrong with him!? Everyone knows that chapel is the time to play Temple Run or flirtily text. Duh.


  1. He’s not a ministry major.Move over Spanish and French, Koine Greek is obviously the language of love here at Lee. If your crush doesn’t know an alpha from an omega (insert obligatory corny Greek joke about not knowing an iota), you need to drop him like it’s hot.

    Dr. Bowdle knows.

  2. He doesn’t own a hammock. Hammocks are status symbols and often belong to the social elite & top of Lee’s social hierarchy. If he doesn’t own a hammock, most likely he’s actually hanging out with people indoors or even worse, studying. It’s a slippery slope to being associated with someone lame, my friend.

    This is your man…with a hammock.

  3. He doesn’t want to be in a Greek club.  You’ve really got to pray about this one. How will he ever be able to finish his 80 hours of service without being in a Greek service club, the only clubs truly committed to service on campus? It’s literally impossible. Just ask any member of TKO (…Oh wait, you can’t.)
  4. And now for a real one: He longboards.  I’m sorry, long boarders, but wake up from your dream world. Everyone is judging you. Long boards are inefficient means of travel & most likely means that you live in Medlin, arguably the shortest distance to classes.