• no rain, no flowers •

It’s my birthday.

I’ve been breathing for 18 years.

In the eyes of the law, I am now an adult and will be held accountable for my actions; because up until today, all my bad choices could have only been marked down to immaturity. Obviously. So if anyone needs a crime committed before I’m an adult, let me know yesterday.

But law and life are two different things.

• Education •

I’m expected to have a plan for the next 40 – 50 years of my life. And there’s been a lot of pressure because I don’t.

I’m often jealous of my friends. They don’t have the pressure like I do. Their parents don’t pressure them to go to college; they’re chill; they’re open to other options. If the kid wants to take a year off, that’s totally fine. But I’m expected to have it all planned out with a college picked and scholarships lined up while staying on top of school and, oh, I should get a job too.• no rain, no flowers •

It’s stressful + it’s painful mostly because I’ve always been expected and told to go to college all my life; make lots of money, support myself… but I don’t think that’s what I’m called to do. Not right now. All these things are fine, but it’s so shallow and not satisfying to me. I don’t mean I don’t want to go to college, so I say “I’m not called to do it” as an easy way out. I like school; I want to go to college. But I just don’t think it’s what I’m supposed to do.

• Friendship •

I’ve been learning lately that I’m looking for love in the wrong places. I want the things I don’t/can’t have. I want a friendship like that. I want to be so individualized like that. I want to stand out like that. But if I am like that, then I am not who I was created to be which is not that. It’s this. Maybe I’m not supposed to have those things at all or maybe I’m not supposed to have them until I’ve learned that I can’t be truly happy as I am if I’m only half myself without that.

I wasn’t created for partiality. I was created to be whole + when you’re supposed to be full, it’s lonely to be only halfway there.

• no rain, no flowers •

All this context to say that I believe that my life will ultimately be a garden. Trial results in rewards if we handle it the right way. I have faith and I have hope that this struggle now will be useful to me later. I give it to God, the One who loves me more than I can love back, the One who doesn’t pressure, doesn’t confuse, doesn’t go on vacation, doesn’t get too busy, doesn’t leave empty.

As an 18-year-old, I strive to grow in that love, not love to be loved, not even hope for love/friendship. I strive to let go of the things that don’t matter to me + to be okay with disappointing others if it’s what I’m supposed to do. I strive to learn, grow, and make my soul a garden.

I wasn’t created to follow the path laid out for me by those who do not know God’s plan; neither were you. Let’s be okay with that. Let’s be okay with letting others down because, ultimately, we weren’t created to please them, were we?

I strive to love God more than anything else; I pray for the strength + grace to allow no human ties to separate me from Him. I pray for the grace to rid my heart of fear.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

– 1 John 4:18 –

Peace + blessings,

Rana || xoxo

P.S.

I can now reply to comments! Comment away, friends! I look forward to meeting you all. ^_^

• my tricks to (actually) get stuff done •

Hello, loves!

I have a few tricks for you today on (actually) getting stuff done. As a basically-college-student-in-high-school-with-a-massive-disorder  t e n d e n c y-towards-procrastination, getting stuff done is a pretty big thing. In fact, it’s to the point where, if I get one thing on my list done in a timely manner without procrastinating (or, at least, a minimal amount of it because, let’s be honest, procrastination is just a part of who I am now //thanks, high school//), I feel like I’ve earned some procrastinating time.

Yes. I’m that low. *hides face in shame, lives in an abandoned cave, adopts new life as a hermit*

But lately (the past two days +/- three and a half years), I’ve come to realize that there are a few things I can do that will guilt-trip motivate me into (actually) getting stuff done.

Note: I’m not using parentheses around my (actually’s) to kind of wink a ‘this-doesn’t-really-work-give-up-now’. I’m just trying to convey the point that… I’m (actually) getting stuff done.

Let’s get to it, shall we? My face will be assisting us.

• Trick #1: Find Yourself a Planner •

• how I trick myself into (actually) getting stuff done •

• I was chatting with the frabjous Mirriam Neal and she gave me advice we’d do well to remember: when filling out applications, you really need to sell yourself like an educational harlot // this mindset is the bomb diggity •

Not so I can plan all the stuff I want to do, but will never get done, and cry myself to sleep over because I can physically see what I should have but never accomplished and dream about said life as a hermit. No.

Why it works:

  • It organizes your brain.
  • You remember stuff before you forget. Mom told you to do the laundry? Write it down. Check your planner after two hours of scrolling through Pinterest and bam! I just saved your life/honor/cow’s honor/dignity/social life.
  • You get a sense of accomplishment when you check something off.
  • It creates a sense of urgency.

How to do it:

  • Either at night, or in the morning before you start your day, run through the list of things you need to get done and write them down.
  • You can also write down the things you need to get done for the week and just divvy it up by day.
  • When you remember something that needs doing, write it down.
  • Check your planner often – at least two or three times a day.
  • Don’t forget to check things off! It really feels good; plus, you can get creative with it too.

• Trick #2: Get the Hardest Thing Done First •

• get the hardest crap done first w/ help from noodles + chopsticks // it totally works •

• get the hardest crap done first with help from noodles + chopsticks + determination if you have it// this totally works//100% recommend •

Or the biggest task. Whichever you fancy.

Why it works:

  • The rest of the day feels a bit freed up. You got the biggest thing done; now the rest is a breeze.
  • If you get nothing else done, you did accomplish something big.

How to do it:

  • Prioritize!
  • And then get to do it.

• Trick #3: Know Thyself •

• say what •

• say what? // you serious? // yup. // 100% •

Get to know your energy cycle. Are you more of a morning-person (if you are, I’m shooting you a hard glare because you are not okay //but I still love you)? Get your tasks done then! More of a night owl (we can be better friends)? Make sure you get your stuff done at night. Afternoon kind-of-person? Start when you know it’s time!

Why it works:

  • You won’t be dragging at a time you’d rather be sleeping. Get stuff done when you’ve got energy.

How to do it:

  • Avoid distracting areas/people. Find an area that’s conducive to your studying (or whatever else you’re doing) vibe if you can. Then get your tasks done there!

• Trick #4: Headphones •

• I promise I wasn't trying to make a duck face. I was in a hallway at the college and it was awkward enough + my hair was on-point so •

• I promise I wasn’t trying to make a duck face. I was in a hallway at the college and posing for a picture with my planner + a computer on my lap was awkward enough; + my hair was on-point (as usual, I must confess) •

…are a blessing and a curse. They can help you zone in or give you more ways of procrastinating (stop clicking those Stephen Colbert show and K-Pop/J-Rock music video links//I’ll do it for the both of us).

Why it works:

  • You’re noise-distraction-free. You’re in your zone. Hooray!

How to do it:

  • Find a study playlist. Spotify has great options (//bless you, Spotify). Listen to it and only it. I’m just as interested in new music as you are; but we are stronger than our feelings (*channels some mentally strong book/film character and listens to only lyric-less music*).

I would tell you to ask someone to hold you accountable, but I don’t do that. I’m a very private person and don’t like anyone up in my business. But if that’s your style, go for it!

I hope this helps!

Love always,

Rana

P.S.

I wish the happiest of birthdays to my favorite cousin on her 13th birthday. You will do amazing things in your life if you only strive to become better than who you were yesterday. You will do amazing things if you trust in God and align your will to His. His plan is perfect. // Life’s not easy. It never will be. But we can get through it. We are warriors, you and I. And we will fight to be our best selves. You’re the strongest person I know. One of the funniest. And you are my cousin. What a thought… ❤

• mini cake •

• Sorry the cake didn’t turn out well; it was pretty though! •

Effort + Prayer = Success

Hello, love!

I’m pleased to let you all know that my new year started off just phenomenally. My birthday is January 6 and I love that day, honestly. It looks rather whimsical on paper; plus, I’m able to start off the new year with a new age. Unfortunately, I dislike celebrating my birthday. And just birthdays in general.

Which is part of the reason I decided to spend the 17th anniversary of my existence on this planet in South Carolina at a speech and debate tournament. What a nerd, right? It was a really nice day. People I didn’t expect to know or care, did and showed it. My club surprised me with a cookie cake and sang “Happy Birthday.”

(Kids, I still don’t know what to do while people sing that without being a jerk or looking like an idiot. Sorry to disappoint. If you’ve figured this out, you must understand life. Please share your secrets.)

This year, I decided that I’m going to take more risks, set more goals, and put forth the effort to excel. A few months ago, I was afraid to write a speech and perform it. What if I didn’t break (move on to the next level)? What if it wasn’t funny (like it’s supposed to be)? What if people hated it?

Well, I made it to Regionals with my speech, received many laughs, and was ranked number one in my room a couple of times. In debate, I placed 6th at the tournament (I believe there were 56ish students doing the same style as me). And heck, it took me long enough to get 6th. I’ve been debating for about 5 years now (?). I think the difference is simply that, before, I didn’t put in enough effort. This year, I did. And it feels good.

All of this said, the credit goes to God. I was praying like crazy to move on and I did. Lesson learned: effort and prayer pay off. 😉

(I would share pictures, but the ones I’m in make me look like I’m just a bus ride, two skips, and a hop away from Zombieville. Which I kind of was/am. And you would be too if you had to get up early, go to bed late, give a speech twice, and debate 4 times in one day. 😉 )

Hopefully, the rest of this year will go just as well.

I hope your 2015 has fared as nicely as (if not better than) mine has thus far.

God bless!

Rana