Dry January has come to an end and that is grounds for celebration and a second blog in the same week. Although I thought I would feel some sort of enlightenment or divine intervention, I feel relatively the same. I'm still as tired as I was before I gave up drinking for 31 days, but I am down almost eight pounds and I haven't changed my diet or have given in to the gym, so I guess that's a win. As fun as it was to do things without drinking, I am ready to hit the bars tomorrow. I think dry January has lessened my want to drink, but maybe not for a whole month again. More like a weekend here and there. I am not excited to see my bar tab after this weekend, but I am excited to get back to Sona because the bartenders probably think we've blackballed them, especially since we forgot to mail their Christmas card.
One thing I have noticed in the 31 days of sobriety is that if I am going to try and find the man lucky enough to be my future husband, I definitely won't do that from my couch. We spent four long weekend nights binge watching Netflix and murder documentaries but we haven't been able to put ourselves out there, except for on dating apps. (To which I will add that going on dates sober is weird and I did not participate in that. Especially after Henry....). February is already blooming into a fun month, and I can't wait to let that first drop of alcohol drip into my veins.
I'll keep this one short and sweet. I just wanted to celebrate (and document) 31 days sober. We did it, unlike so many who try. We sat in on weekends and played board games and hung out together. We went to trampoline parks and watched football and shopped and got to make the most of our Sunday's without a hangover. We made it to the finish line and are ready to celebrate with one of the many bottles of champagne we have accumulated over the course of the month. Celebrate with us tomorrow at Sona, or raise a glass from the comfort of your own house. Cheers bitches, we made it 🎉
I've struggled the past two weeks to come up with a decent blog topic because nothing eventful has happened in my life. Dry January has really been hard on my creativity because I don't get the fun stories from going out. I've literally done nothing in two weeks except go snowboarding and buy an Instant Pot, and neither of those would be fun to read about. (Except I do think everyone should own an IP, but that's another story). I guess the most exciting thing that has happened to me was paying off almost $4,500 in credit card debt, which I'm very excited and proud of. My debt was always fairly managed, but I was never good at keeping money in a savings. I had a pretty decent nest egg when I had my first job, and then I spent it all when I fell in love with Hudson at the pet shop. Then, I rebuilt it back up to a comfortable level and my friends persuaded me to go to Mexico (for the second time). Last year, I had a decent savings.. and then I got fired. My financial situation has always been a struggle, but I finally have it (back) under control. And this time for good.
I would never wish credit card debt on my worst enemy. There is literally nothing worse than trying to pay off thousands of dollars while getting hit with 25% interest charges each month. The second I paid off all (four) of my cards last week I closed out three of the accounts and kept one as an emergency card. I found it funny that when I tried to cancel my cards they offered me incentives to stay, like a lower interest rate or $25 back on my next statement. It was like they were encouraging me to go back to being in debt. I shut that down. I feel like at 26, I have finally developed a working budget and plan for all of my finances. I invest in the Acorns app, I opened a second bank account and direct deposit my second job paychecks right into there with no debit card to take it out, and I've learned to live off of my first job income only. All of this along with about six cash back apps that I use for everyday purchases. I am finally doing good.
This is the time when we should be saving. I'm 26, living on my own, with no kids. My only dependent is my dog, and his financial needs are quite small. I love Hudson and I would never change having him for the world, but if I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't have used my savings account to buy a dog. I wouldn't have used my savings account to go on vacation, and I definitely wouldn't have racked up so many unnecessary charges when I was unemployed. Having a second job that I never see the paychecks of is great because then I don't even have the temptation of spending it. It can sit in that account and build up and act as my savings for the long-term goals I have, like buying my dream car or buying a house someday.
I said at the start of January that 2019 was going to be my year, and this is how it starts. I encourage everyone to create a budget that works for you. I took the advice of my roommate, Alex, and budget based on my paycheck. Now I don't have to hit the last week of the month and worry that my entire paycheck has to be spent on rent and how I can afford groceries that week. Now, I divide all of my bills by my weekly paychecks, and then move that money to a separate account to have the bills paid out. I get to live off of the extra each week. Now I can know exactly how much I have to splurge on a night out or if I can really afford those cute shoes at the mall. I finally have it under control. A budget doesn't need to be a complex thing, Excel has templates that you just plug in your own numbers with. A budget can be in the notes section of your phone or on your computer. As long as you have a budget in some form, you are already more financially successful than a lot of people. We are already drowning in student loans, don't make it worse by paying off credit card debt. Get rid of the cards. Pay them off and cut them up. Credit cards are toxic. Find a way that works for you, stick to it, and pay off that debt!
I've had a diary for as long as I remember. My childhood diary sits in my nightstand and dates back to 1998. I've always had a passion for writing and I try really hard to document the important things and the life-changing things and the things that affect my life. There are some years and months that were skipped, mainly in my older years because I forget to write. Ever since I started this blog, the diary entries have dwindled because now I share (most) of what happens on here. I love writing, I love being open and honest and putting my thoughts and emotions onto a page. My diary is now two diaries, my adolescent one and my adult one, but they are both very much the same. Pages and pages filled with love stories, heartbreak, death, sadness, happiness. It's an emotional roller coaster. Last night I wrote for the first time since August 2018. I try really hard to document more often, but it's hard to remember or find the time. I read back through the pages in the beginning, from 2010, and could vividly remember the details I was reading. That's why I document these things so that I can remember someday when the small details are fuzzy. The whole book is filled with small details that I would've never remembered without my diary. Everything is in these books. My first kiss, my first crush, every detail of the first time someone asked me to be their girlfriend, my "first" time.. every single monumental event. I will forever cherish the pages, even though some of them are just embarrassing.
I should have gone through and counted every boy I ever mentioned. Page after page of "I'm in love again, this time with _______". I'm a hopeless romantic, I wear my heart on my sleeve and it definitely shows. I've been this way my whole life, meeting someone new and thinking about them constantly until nothing comes of it. I've now been single for SIX years and I'm almost to the point where I'm so comfortable alone. I'm used to my life the way it is, but I am beyond ready to meet my person and move on with my life. Six years single I know who I am, I know what I want, I have life goals, I have career goals, I've worked on myself a lot to get to this point, so I am ready to work someone else into my equation. My whole life I've heard the phrase "when you know you know" and to be honest I feel like that is some crap. Even though I am rooting for romance, I just don't know if I believe in knowing when you know. Is that a mutually agreed upon thing? Like what if one person knows but the other is a little slow to catch on? It's a dilemma. I've wondered if I "knew" for the past three crushes, and then turned out to be wrong on all of them. So my opinion is, it's a load of crap.
Dating today is not like it once was. It is hard, like really hard. Once upon a time, my senior year of high school, I was named class flirt. My mom was probably embarrassed when my name was called to go on stage for that award, but I'm telling you that girl does not exist anymore. I wish she did, but now I'm just awkward. I clam up when I'm in a flirty situation, unless I'm a few drinks in (which Dry January is not helping in this department). The process for dating doesn't go like it used to. Now theres all these levels of "talking" and other non-committal terms that millennials use to define an undefinable situation. It's annoying and it sucks. I'm all for the age of women making initial moves of striking up a conversation, but it can be terrifying and no one knows where to start. Do we slide into your DMs, send you the first snap, how do we say "hey I'm interested" without using those words at the risk of being too forward? Reading people to determine if they're interested is a challenge and being rejected is the absolute worst.
So for now, I will continue to write in my diary about all the boys I've loved and keep on loving until I can finally write the final male name in my book. And what a lucky man he will be.
Since I started college, I can honestly say that I'm not confident that I have gone longer than a week without consuming alcohol in some form. Even before I was of drinking age, I drank.. often. I drank with the cheerleaders and LVC. And when I left LVC and transferred to Bloom, I drank even more. I'm a social butterfly and I thrive in a social environment, and alcohol just enhances that. However, starting on New Year's Day, my roommates and I embarked on "Dry January". Six days in and we are going strong. We have replaced our weekly trips to the bars with fun experiences instead. Yesterday, we dominated some six year olds at trampoline dodgeball. Next weekend we have a tournament of board games, followed by a weekend of skiing, and wrapping up the month with a 'treat yo' self' day of massages.
This first week hasn't been so rough for me (considering we consumed our entire body weight in alcohol on our NYE mountain trip). Tomorrow, however, is the premiere of The Bachelor (to which I am still salty I didn't get cast btw *@abc*..) and it will be hard to watch a three hour premiere with no wine. But don't you worry readers, I have a nice bottle of sparkling apple juice chilling to replace the craving. When (not if) we make it through the month, we also have a nice bottle of Prosecco calling our names that we forgot (probably because we were drunk) to pop at midnight to kick off this new year. So although we may miss out this time, we will have a not-so-dry February coming right around the corner.
Statistics say that people coming out of a dry month can go one of two ways: either you cut back on your intake entirely, or you drink double the amount to make up for the lack of in your blood stream. I am curious to see which path we take. The purpose of the dry month for me was primarily cost. Even with three part-time jobs, I don't have the funds to keep up with my bar habit. Honestly, God bless the bartenders at Sona who cut us a deal every once in a while.. they're probably missing us this month. My main goal in cutting back on drinking was using that money for experiences instead. So far, I am satisfied.
I've said it before but I'll say it again, I truly lucked out finding my roommates on Craigslist. I am excited to finish out the month sober and celebrate with a nice glass of bubbly. The money I save on drinking this month will surely help me in my travel plans for 2019. But out of all of these benefits, the biggest has to be waking up without a hangover. Nothing is worse than a day long hangover that keeps you in bed. Waking up early and having an entire day to do fun things has been eye-opening and amazing. Definitely not saying that I won't have a drink in my hand in February, because I definitely will. But definitely just saying that sometimes all we need is a month break from the craziness that is the bar scene and just enjoy the people around you. Enjoy making memories without the alcohol and take care of your body while being able to make good decisions with a clear head. And that is how you get to see the bigger picture. Stay sober, xoxoxo.
New year, new me. That's the most common phrase people can tell themselves on January 1st to prepare for a better year. After all, our choices are mentally driven and telling yourself you're going to have a great year is the start to making it happen. I say it every year myself, and this year I plan to stick to it. At the end of 2018, I explained my mini epiphany of really giving back and a big announcement to share. Throughout the last year, I saw every type of life around me. I experienced my own financial roller coaster, but it wasn't until I was exposed to the students of Philly schools that I really opened my eyes to the world around me. I experienced hunger and pain, exhaustion and strain of these young children and all I ever wanted was to make a difference in their lives. But one thing I've come to learn is that American children, Philly children, are entitled, ungrateful, not accepting of help, rigid, and it was hard to make these kids realize their own potential. It is because of the exhausting days in schools getting beaten with rulers and markers and cursed out that I decided my real idea of giving back. It's because of a classroom assistant that shared her own experiences of these children behaving so poorly that led me to this huge announcement that I'm going to share with you today.
Starting from today, January 1st, I plan to continue my path as a substitute but to extend my teaching beyond the classroom. To reach out to kids who will appreciate me, my story, my journey, and of course to prepare myself and my future. This summer, I want to truly give back, I want to spend my time giving back to the world that we live in. And that is why I decided to give two short weeks of my summer teaching children in Africa. Travel has always been a passion of mine and this year I want to spend some time volunteering my time to children who will appreciate the gift of life and make some memories that make me value my own life. We are privileged. Regardless of my own financial situation, it still is no where near as bad as those living in the town of Muizenberg. I want to take my own precious time and give some of it back to those that live a lifestyle completely different then ours.
This will be the first time I go on a trip that is not a leisure trip of my own. I found a great volunteer program that has destinations all over the world and I'm hoping this trip will be one of many volunteer opportunities I embark on. While I am gracious enough to give back on my own, volunteering still requires me paying to give my time. There are program fees, registration fees, airfare, daily bottled water allowances, and other expenses that will add to my already-too-high personal debt. I am hoping to gain some support of my family, friends, and my current blog readers to help make this possible with as little dent to my own debt as possible. I could spend my year paying off my own debt, maybe take a vacation to an island, or continue treating myself (as I often do), but instead I want to spend some time disconnected from reality in a place that needs some of my ample love and attention. My heart is so big and I want to give back just a portion of that to children who want to learn from me, who want to learn daily skills, and who appreciate me more than the children I spend my days with now. If you are reading and you would like to support this wild ride with me, I would appreciate it in any form. I have started a fundraising page here: www.gofundme.com/yncnk9-volunteering-in-africa-2019 and I will also be looking to take supplies and a small bag of items for the children with me. Things like clothes, small toys, and other things you may have lying around your house that would make a child's whole year. Thank you in advance to those who support me and I can't wait to update you in both my journey to Africa and my own continued wild adventures of 2019. Happy New Year and let's make this year count.
Author - mallory
I've always lived a wild life, so here I am to document it for the world... be ready for some fun adventures, xoxo.