When Was The Last Time You Lived Without A Plan?

This weekend I walked through Paris in the rain. It wasn’t much more than a slow drizzle, but it was enough to scatter haphazard puddles of varying depths. It was enough to make frazzled tourists jump into the nearest cab or hide under the awning of a café. It was enough to darken the sky at only 5 p.m. and create a blanket of fog over the very top of the Eiffel Tower.

But my friends and I didn’t sit at the nearest restaurant to wait it out. We didn’t order an Uber to go back to our apartment. We didn’t duck inside the nearest museum to wander aimlessly until the weather cleared. We walked down the very center of a muddy dirt path that, in the sunlight, houses a charming garden overlooking the Louvre on one end and the Champs Élysées on the other.

In the rain, it was little more than a sodden trail in the fog. But no one seemed to care. Parisian couples casually walked hand-in-hand, sharing an umbrella, stopping occasionally to kiss one another or to marvel at Paris in the rain. We walked alongside the nonchalant, dampened couples and admired the way the lights from the street lamps reflected in the water pooling at our feet.

We walked through the rain for about an hour, pausing only once to warm up with a steaming hot cup of coffee. We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t have GPS. We spoke in broken French, laughed and followed the golden lights of the Eiffel Tower back to our apartment.

There was no plan, no rush, no commitments. We talked, walked and admired a foreign city in its natural beauty. Our phones had died, so there were no photo-ops or Snapchat videos to document the moment. We documented each feeling, sight or sound in our minds only, and it made the experience even more beautiful.

But when was the last time I’d done this? Aimlessly walked? Felt such powerful emotions and seen such beauty without capturing it on camera? Slowed down? Didn’t worry about where I was going or how I’d end up getting there? Lived, just for the hell of it?

When was the last time you did?

I’m Concerned About My Privacy, And You Should Be Too.

I read an article on Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Snapchat feature today that presented a girl who gave up her iPhone for a flip phone.

My first reaction was astonishment. I was amazed that someone from my generation was able to experience the convenience of an iPhone and willingly give it and all of its features up for a simple flip phone.

A flip phone doesn’t have the Facebook app signed in and waiting to be used while waiting in line for coffee. It doesn’t have the Snapchat app to send hysterical pictures to friends throughout the day. It doesn’t have group messaging to coordinate who’s eating lunch in the dining hall at 11:30 so you don’t have to eat alone.

My second reaction was embarrassment – not for this girl, but for myself. How have I let a piece of technology control my daily habits so much that I couldn’t imagine life without it? I’ve become unable to stand in a line for coffee without clutching it as a safety net to avoid talking to strangers. I can’t even read 10 pages of a homework assignment without checking Instagram at least once.

My iPhone is the first thing I see when I wake up every morning because it’s my alarm. That puts the phone in my hand. It doesn’t leave my hand until after I’ve checked my notifications and I’m forced to put it down to get dressed.

My iPhone is the last thing I see before I close my eyes for the night and the last thing I hold. I have more physical contact with my iPhone than I do with other human beings.

And I know I’m not alone. Surely not everyone is as attached to their phone as I am, which I partly blame on being a journalism major and habitually checking my email for appointments.

Surely I’m not the only one that doesn’t even remember their passwords for said social media accounts because I stay permanently logged in on my phone.

And when those who aren’t millennials see our obsession with what has become similar to an external organ, they wonder why. Why can’t we put our phones down? Why aren’t we more concerned about our privacy? Why do we let an object control our emotions, thoughts and actions?

Between photos we’ve posted on Facebook and tweets we wrote in the last 5 years that are rumored to be recorded by the government, I don’t feel as though I own the right to my privacy anymore and it’s too late to get it back.

So maybe the girl with the flip phone has the right idea – maybe if we all stepped back instead of obsessing over advancing technology further, we’d regain control of our lives and our privacy.

But when children are growing up playing Candy Crush on mommy’s iPhone instead of playing with Legos, I don’t know how feasible going back in time would be.

Technology expands each day, and many of us worry that if we don’t adapt to the advances, we’ll fall behind.

I don’t know which is worse – being a step behind everyone else, or someone having knowledge of every step you take.

Dating is Antiquated and It’s Sad

Dating – what a silly concept in modern society. I can’t say that I’ve ever been out on a “true” date – the kind where the guy picks you up at your door instead of texting you saying “I’m outside.”

The kind where the guy takes you to a restaurant and asks you questions about your family instead of asking you to “Netflix and chill” while meeting your mother via Snapchat selfies.

The kind where you get nervous when he walks you to your door because you’re not sure if he’s going to kiss you, instead of remembering that you made out with him drunk at a party last weekend.

Proper dating has become an anomaly. There are so many levels to dating now that I’m not even sure how to do it anymore. People are either “seeing each other” or “talking” or “just hanging out.”

I’m not saying I want a guy to ask me to “go steady” or ask my father for his permission to take me out. I think that part of dating is kind of antiquated.

All I want is for a man to ask me out to dinner, not meet me at a bar and ask me what I want to drink.

The man isn’t the only person to blame in this situation – women are just guilty.  Continue reading

How to be a Heartbreaker

This week, my thumb finally healed.

Three weeks ago I sliced it against the jagged edge of a metal can, trying to cook dinner.

For two hours it bled uncontrollably onto a Band-Aid, distracting me from everyday activities.

I wore the Band-Aid consistently for the next two weeks and it consistently got in my way.

I’d try to wash my hair in the shower and I’d feel it. I thought about it every time I picked up my pen. It prevented me from texting with both hands, decreasing my communication.

It was in the back of my mind for three weeks, disturbing me.

Routinely, I woke up each morning and changed the Band-Aid, cleaning the wound in the process.

Eventually, one day I woke up and it didn’t hurt anymore. The skin grew over the cut, the blood had dried and all that remained was a   scar – a subtle reminder to be more careful.

Three weeks ago, I broke my own heart.

I sliced it with the sharp edge of my words.

For two hours it bled uncontrollably, distracting me from everyday activities.

Eventually one day I woke up and it didn’t hurt anymore. All that remained was a metaphorical scar – a subtle reminder to be more careful.

48 Things I Wish I Knew as a Teenage Girl

  1. Your mother is always right, no matter how much you don’t want to admit it.
  2. You should learn how to cook at least one meal.
  3. Those 5 or 6 Oreos won’t kill you – eat them while you still can.
  4. Being a nerd is more attractive than purposely acting stupid.
  5. You won’t miss the party of the year just because you decide to stay in one weekend.
  6. Most people drink in college, but it’s okay if you don’t.
  7. In moderation, alcohol isn’t poison.
  8. A man that doesn’t respect your decision not to have sex is not worth your time.
  9. Sexism still exists – never stop fighting for what you want.
  10. You won’t automatically gain the freshman 15 just from drinking a couple of beers and binging on pizza every now and then.
  11. Running sucks, and there are so many other ways to stay healthy and exercise.
  12. Brussel sprouts don’t suck as much as they did when your mother made you eat them before you left the dinner table.
  13. Bubble baths are not just for babies.
  14. No one will remember or care what clothes you wore to school.
  15. College is nothing like your high school english teacher says it is.
  16. You shouldn’t have sex in high school – not for a religious or moral reason, but because it’s inexperienced. Men don’t understand how to make it a pleasant experience until you’re older.
  17. Your number doesn’t mean shit.
  18. Every person who enters the women’s bathroom gets their period. You don’t have to try and muffle the sound of your tampon wrapper.
  19. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a practice for an after-school sport.
  20. College is so much better than high school.
  21. Most of the friends you have freshman year of college won’t be your friends by senior year and that’s ok.
  22. You don’t have to be friends with everyone and it’s ok if you’re not loved by everyone.
  23. Bars are not the place to meet quality men.
  24. Your mom’s cooking really isn’t that bad, especially compared to dining hall food.
  25. Making money during the summer is a lot more important than taking days off to work on your tan.
  26. A tan isn’t worth the risk of getting cancer and using a tanning bed wastes a lot of money.
  27. Being an undeclared major is almost smarter than coming into college declared – most people change their major anyway.
  28. It’s ok to quit a club because you don’t like it anymore, even if you hold a position of leadership or authority.
  29. Taking a personal day every now and then won’t ruin your GPA.
  30. Ben & Jerry’s can heal all wounds.
  31. Wine has the same power.
  32. If your friends don’t like your boyfriend, they’re probably right about him.
  33. Everyone gets zits.
  34. Remembering to wear your retainer every night may be a pain in the ass but you’ll be thankful when your teeth stay straight.
  35. Coffee is not bad for you, it is not disgusting and it is 100% worth the risk of stained teeth. That’s what Crest white strips are for.
  36. Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but sometimes it’s not doable. Keep snacks in your car.
  37. Sleepovers suck. Don’t be angry when your mom says you can’t go.
  38. Your siblings will be your biggest allies in the future – don’t burn bridges.
  39. Always have an umbrella handy and dress in layers.
  40. Bagels don’t cure hangovers – iced coffee does.
  41. Sit near the door in class if you’re hungover.
  42. Never leave the house for an extended period of time without a phone charger.
  43. You have your entire life to make your own rules so abide by your curfew. Staying out past 10 isn’t worth the consequences.
  44. Never go shopping when you’re hungry.
  45. You don’t have to be nice to everyone – stand up for yourself.
  46. Don’t buy every “required” textbook for a class.
  47. Don’t get caught up in all the crap life hands you, because in 5 or 10 years it won’t be relevant. Live a little and enjoy the time you have.
  48. Nothing will make you happier than doing what you love.

What Does Being a Bonnie Really Mean?

The age-old question at St. Bonaventure University is, to put it bluntly, what the fuck is a Bonnie? If I know one thing, it sure as hell is not a wolf.

Like many other prospective students, I was fed the “it’s a wolf” answer and immediately googled it. I searched, but to no avail.

After going to Bona’s for at least a year, students start to put together what being a Bonnie really means.

The problem is, there isn’t one definition of a Bonnie.

To one student, it means being part of a team. To another, it means pulling fellow underage Bonnies through the window at the Burton. It could mean holding the door for an outrageous period of time, waiting in line for a Hickey omelet, spotting one of the Dev bats, midnight breakfast, wasting all your money on drunk Mangias, or chuckling about the fact that we’re too under-enrolled to keep Francis open.

But what about those Bonnies who don’t drink? Or the ones who don’t play sports? Or the ones that never lived in Dev, or never went to midnight breakfast, or never ate a Hickey omelet?

And what about the Bonnies that went here before us?

Continue reading