Raise A Glass For The College Grads. 

Three years ago, I walked across the same stage where I saw Paul McCartney perform and was filled with exhaustion, nerves and excitement. Three years ago, I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and took a moment to watch the fireworks initiate the end of a long ass chapter and the start of a shaky new one.


That’s a big, scary word to some, and a light at the end of the tunnel for others. In life, we are programmed to look forward to the end goal, and graduation is a big one. The moment where you’re stuck between life portals and are unsure which one you want to live in. For some it’s a sure answer, knowing the next step, but for others it’s some scary shit stepping out of that comfort zone you’ve known far too well.

Graduation, whether from high school or college, is a milestone. It’s a stepping block you remember forever, sure. But all the hard work, all that the time and effort, only gets one weekend out of 12+ years to gather and accumulate all the feelings you’ve had? All the plans you’re already supposed to know? All the life experience you’re supposed to have?

Geez, talk about pressure. 

All these things are thrown at us with plenty of warning, but in the moment we are unaware of what is to come. So, after it sets in for a second, here are a few things no one told you about graduation…better yet, some things that no one told you about life after graduation. Because, that’s when life actually begins.

Take a moment for you.

At the actual ceremony, it’s going to be hectic. There’s going to be a lot of food, family and friends. They’re there because they love you. Remember that. If it helps, remember that food loves you too. But also remember that this moment is for YOU. They might have helped you get there, but you worked your ass off. All this being said, there will be times where you might want a break. Take one! Even if it’s just a moment in the bathroom to go over some affirmations…

I will not trip or fall.

I am so proud of you.

This is your moment, you got this!  

After the actual event, take some time for you. Even if it’s just a weekend getaway. Go celebrate with a friend on a trip somewhere or give yourself a nice stay-cation. But whatever you decide, take time to just relax.

Something else people don’t tell you that happens after graduation…

You’re probably going to be extremely exhausted for an entire year. This is because you just got out of a 12+ year relationship with school. Coming home to sleep and watching Netflix all day, is totally normal. You might not want to pick up a book for leisure (lol, what’s that like?) or hang out with people right away, and I’m here to tell you that is okay. You’ll come back— you’ll want to read again, hang out with friends again, but you will be exhausted for a while. And the timing for that is different for everyone. Just listen to your mind, body and soul—one of the three will tell you when the time is right, sooner than later.

But remember, it’s okay to take a break!

You don’t have to have it all figured out.

After your break, you may have a job lined up or you might be moving back in with mom and dad. Whatever the case may be, remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out. I’ll let you in on a secret…you never will and you never do. So, stop trying to. It’s great to have goals whether they are personal or professional, but you might not always know how to achieve them right away, and that is perfectly fine!

Part of the journey after college is trying and failing, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and remembering to take a step back to look at all the progress you’ve made! Even if the victories are small ones, they still count as victories. So enjoy the season and moment you are in now.

Sometimes it will feel like nothing is happening—take that time to rest and do what makes you happy. Odds are, the universe will put you back in the right direction. Just be willing to listen and see the signs laid out for you.

Be open and trust the process.

The first job you get won’t always be the best job.

Some of your friends might be over the moon about landing their dream job right out of college. Let them celebrate their accomplishment in their own way. But know this—most of them might rethink their dream job in five years and feel extremely different. Why? Because you will constantly change and evolve over time. Nothing is permanent. That is a good thing. 

Remember that it doesn’t matter where you start, it matters where you end up. And sometimes the journey there takes longer than we’ve hoped it would. Sometimes we end up working in a place we never thought we would, or taking a temporary set back, but the journey is part of the ride. Don’t compare yourself to what other people out there are doing. Focus on you! Because your journey will be an amazing adventure. Sometimes your journey will be one that not everyone will understand, but you have your whole life ahead of you with a brain filled with an education you worked hard for.

Don’t underestimate yourself! Good things will come to you in time.

Life does get harder, but you’ll get better at it.

Yes, it’s true, life is harder as an adult, but it’s also more fun. Responsibilities change, sometimes you will still be broke, but college prepared you for even that part too! Sometimes you get lonely or don’t know what to do with all the free time you now have. The free time sneaks up on you, but you’ll figure it out eventually. 

It might be harder to make friends, but this is an opportunity for you to start getting into some hobbies again. This will lead you to new environments and experiences, new people, and will get you that companionship you seek. Making friends at work? Also a great idea and a good thing. Most of your adult friends will come from this funnel.

You’re going to be okay. You will survive this, just like you’ve survived anything else in your life. You’ll get the hang of things faster as you get older, just be patient with yourself.

Life can be beautiful if you just give it a chance.

You made it.

At the end of the day, that’s what matters. You stuck with it, set a goal, accomplished it. That is what is enough. You did it—YOU. And you will have many goals and accomplishments lined up, waiting for you to be discovered and achieved. What comes next may not be easy, but it will be an adventure—the next chapter in your beautiful story. So just enjoy it!

Lovelee Lesson:

You accomplished one of the hardest, most proudest goals for yourself. YOU DID IT! Milestones in life can be scary—they’re a sign that a season in life is coming to an end, but if we get stuck in that book, we might never see what amazing things lie ahead. So, jump through that portal into adult life, you’ll be okay. You just graduated and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you!

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Every goal from now on might come slower some days, or quicker on others. Enjoy each accomplishment and moment of growth. Every step is getting you one step closer to where you’re meant to be.

You have a beautiful mind with a lovely life ahead of you.

Congrats! You. Did. It. And you’ll do it again and again.

Photo by: My brother, duh. 

Feel the heal.

You know those things you keep bottled up inside? Stored away for safe keeping because you don’t want to process, understand, or deal with any sort of emotion? Well, I hate to break it to you, but that bottle is getting full, and it’s about to do a Diet Coke and Mentos experiment on your ass.

It’s time to slowly take small sips. It’s time to process and understand what you’re feeling…why you’re feeling. It’s time to water the grow and heal with the feel fertilizer.

It’s time to feel the heal.

When we decide to say yes to life, sometimes we get caught up in the yes and not in the moment. We tend to forget to feel and process why we are saying yes. When I first started my year of yes, I wasn’t sure what exactly I was getting myself into.

Was I expecting to have a ton of fun? Yes.

Was I expecting to unravel everything I had suppressed from my past to start the healing process? Hell no! I was just supposed to be saying yes and having fun.

But as I started saying yes, I ventured into a web of healing. Healing that I thought was done, not even knowing that I still hadn’t healed everything I thought I had, back when all that healing was supposed to be relevant.

Turns out, all the feelings I had suppressed, as I skipped my way through the scavenger hunt, collecting the next clue, moving on to the next piece of the puzzle—I had forgotten about dealing with the aftermath. I had forgotten that through all the growing and the fun I was having, I was supposed to be saying yes to feeling too. I was supposed to be feeling everything I was subconsciously trying to heal.

But sometimes we don’t want to feel. Anything. So we shut that door. Until we start to open our hearts and minds to new experiences, and the universe sets a path of breadcrumbs for us to follow. A path for us to unveil and discover through the healing.

And as I was trying to have the growth and healing catch up with the feeling, I forgot about what healing was. It was a process I had forgotten crept up on you, if you didn’t give it the proper time it needed to finally find peace.

The week of “I can’t win.”

Six months ago, I had a roller coaster of emotions kind of week. It was the end of 2016 and I was so desperately trying to grab every piece of myself that I could in this journey of yes I had agreed to take part in. While it felt like a ticking time bomb until the new year, I was making sure I kept going strong in the home stretch. But like all things, the roller coaster of emotions was starting to catch up to me.

The week before Christmas, a lot happened to me. I look back at it now and see that it was bold and brave until the very end. I was put in situations I didn’t think I could handle and yet I survived. I was challenged, doubted, lost, afraid, but I was still alive. 

Some of my I can’t win moments:

  • My dog decided to perform a magic trick of sorts that ended up scaring the living shit out of me while emptying out my wallet right before the holiday.
  • I was literally burned by one of my favorite beverages and have a huge scar to remember its betrayal.
  • On the day before Christmas Eve, I got in a fight with my brother where we both said some mean things.
  • When I thought everything was over, I was quite literally hit in the face by a flying machine that ended up giving me a ceremonial unicorn bump on my head.

These are all true stories.

I was done to say the least. But then I realized why all these things were happening to me. There was one more thing I said yes to in my year of yes.

I realized I had also said yes to being brave.

And sometimes, life doesn’t like it when you’re brave. It senses an imbalance in the force, and decides to knock you around a bit. Too make sure you’re paying attention of course, but in my case, this was quite literally.

But at the end of the year, I had said yes to being brave.

I had decided to follow my gut and pour my heart out. I took that bravery and grabbed courage. I agreed to meet with a spiritual counselor that God had so graciously made me stumble into the week before. Another unplanned breadcrumb in this journey of yes, where I finally got a chance to tell the story of the past 10 years of my life and my struggle with faith. I had reached out. I had been brave to choose to continue the journey. To heal and find the answers unveiled before me.

And after 10 years, someone finally looked at me, and instead of assigning a feeling or assuming anything about me, they said four beautiful words:

So, what’s your story?”

After all those years, I had realized that was the breadcrumb I needed—that’s all I really wanted. Someone to just ask me those four simple words.

To look at me, ready to listen, more than willing to take the time to understand me and hear about the journey that had brought me there—a nervous wreak, ready to unbottle and unveil. Ready to finally feel the heal. After all those years of fighting what had happened and ignoring the feelings, I told my story and had finally felt free.

Healing takes time.

I think at the end of the day, when you are trying to grow, feel and heal at the same time, you tend to forget about some of the things that come with those steps. But you have to remember that you need to take time to feel the heal. You need to unveil and marinate in the progress.

Healing takes time, sometimes years. And that is okay. You are on your journey to healing. But if you want to cut down on the time, start feeling. Feeling speeds up the process. Feeling helps you heal. Healing helps you live. And you my friend have a lovely life worth living.

It’s okay to be brave, it’s okay to pour your heart out. That is part of the healing. If you’re afraid that healing will leave you vulnerable and lonely, you are wrong. Healing, while the process is scary at first, will leave you stronger, wiser and lovelier.

More. Human.

There is absolutely no shame in asking for help, or asking a friend to lend an ear. You might be surprised to find that the person you ask for help from, might actually be going through the same thing you are. But you’ll never know, unless you decide for once in your life, to be brave and feel something that is going to help you heal.

Lovelee Lesson:

It’s okay to feel things. It’s okay to reflect on the pain you’ve endured and open up old wounds to feel the healing, but don’t dwell in them. Turn the healing into growth but remember to feel it, face it. Or else, it will never really leave you. It will stay inside you. It will sneak up on you and be triggered by things that you have yet to resolve.

Don’t hold back from closure, it’s okay to feel the growth you’ve healed. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. Call your friend, your mom, tell the next person you sit next to on a plane, anyone. Tell your story, feel free.

You deserve to feel your heal. 

You are ready to heal.