Driving Lessons & Resolutions

It’s been a long time since I’ve come up with concrete resolutions. Last spring, I chose to focus on two words for 2015: push and trust. Even though I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to last year (which is fine — not everything is in my control), I think I ended the year more confidently than I began it.

The biggest change? I’m a licensed driver now! Living in New York, I felt like I had so much freedom — I could hop on the bus or subway and basically go anywhere. I lost that when I moved to Philadelphia; the public transit here is not up to par, especially in the neighborhood where I live. Driving is an unfortunate necessity, and a skill I never learned. In high school, I was in two minor car accidents (one in which a driver ran a red light and hit our car in an intersection, the other in which I hit a mailbox when trying to pull into a driveway). Afterwards, I took drivers’ ed, but if anything that made more scared of driving. 2015 was the year I was finally ready to change that. I signed up for one-on-one driving lessons (not cheap, but worth it) and was ready to take the test. I was practicing on the actual morning of my drivers test when I totaled Nick’s carliterally outside the testing center. Everyone was okay, thankfully, but the car was not.

Why am I writing about this lowlight on the Internet? Well, instead of curling up in a ball and being scared to go near a car, I knew I had to start practicing again immediately. Granted, I had more issues to work on (both mental and technical — the accident happened because I didn’t break fast enough), but I knew I had to get to work. After having a learner’s permit for 9 years (that’s 2006!), I finally passed my driving test, parallel parking and all. It wasn’t easy, and I’m still learning a lot even though I drive to the subway everyday, but I had to trust my ability and push myself to actually get it done.

If learning to drive was the only thing I accomplished in 2015, I’d be happy. But other awesome stuff happened too!

(Also, I’m really glad I blog, because I couldn’t remember all of those off the top of my head!)

That being said, I think it’s time I get back to more concrete goals. After some reflection, this is what I’ve come up with for this year:

2016 Resolutions | Shades of Sarah

I think these are all pretty self-explanatory, but I’m actually excited about them! I also think they’re generally pretty doable — sure, “spending less lunches at my desk” might be vague, but it’s something I want to work on. Care to share any of yours? Or do you go for mantras instead?

~ Sarah

Virginia

Credit

I had another post planned for today, but with the news out of Virginia this morning, it didn’t seem appropriate. It’s a tragedy, the way Charleston was a tragedy, and Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine before that. That’s not even close to a comprehensive list, which is so, so twisted. I try to keep this blog a happy place, and not as heavy on the feelings as it has this week, but man. This particular shooting hit me harder than some others (again, the fact that there are “others” — sick), and it’s not just the manner itself. I know a good amount of people working in journalism, broadcast journalism included. The thought that any of my acquaintances or friends could be hurt while doing their job, (not even covering a dangerous situation, but a story on local tourism) makes me feel like someone kicked me in my stomach.

Recently, I was thinking about next year’s elections, and I realized that the youngest voters will have been born in 1998. They don’t really know a pre-9/11 world, or a pre-Columbine world — they know the “war on terror” and mass shootings at schools and movie theaters and churches and shopping malls. One of my first memories of television was the Oklahoma City bombings. I was four years old. This is wrong.

It might seem flippant to associate this whole event with a trivial thing like Star Wars quote, but it was the first thing I thought of when I read that today’s gunman was “motivated” by the Charleston gunman, who had been angered by the way George Zimmerman was treated. What kind of cycle is that? I’ll leave the arguments about gun control and mental health to other (hopefully smarter) people, but can’t we just collectively as a society stop with the hate? There is no reason why we should fear each other for being different, or continue to perpetuate anger against our fellow man. It only leads to suffering.

Rest in peace, Allison and Adam.

~ Sarah

More Than Your Seflie

Selfies — they’re everywhere right? A modern phenomenon. And whether we want to admit it or not, whether we take them to be goofy, show off our makeup or just because we’re bored (that’s me), we all take (and share) them now and then. And every Instagram like serves as a mini-confidence booster — but is that healthy?

In support of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 23-March 1), Her Campus has been hosting a #LovingMe project, encouraging people (but young women especially) to share what they love most about themselves (excluding anything physical) on social media. I think it’s a great initiative to remind us we should be sharing more than our pretty faces.

What do I love about myself? I’m loyal (almost to a fault, but we’re focusing on positives here). I’m a good storyteller and good with words. I’m practical-minded with a creative streak. I’m good with my money. I’m nice. And you know what? There’s even more stuff that I love about myself  — I’m more than my body parts, whether I like them or not.

Which is why it’s so disappointing to see what the TODAY show has been doing this week with their “Love Your Selfie” series. The show’s intentions seem to be in the right place, as their blog explains:

Every day too many of us wake up unhappy with the way we look. TODAY wants to change that! With the “Love Your Selfie” series, kicking off Saturday, Feb. 22, TODAY will examine the obsession with body image and how we can join together to feel more positive about ourselves. TODAY’s anchors will take an honest and revealing look at how they feel about their own body image.

It sounds kind of great, right? I have to take issue though with how the emphasis is still placed on outward appearance. I much rather hear about what personality traits celebrities feature about themselves rather than listen to what they and the anchors are self-conscious about. There’s a time and place for that, and it takes guts to admit what your “imperfections” are, but NEDA Week is not that time — especially if it’s not balanced out with discussions on “inner beauty” and the like.

Ultimately, it feels like a missed opportunity, especially when the statistics TODAY shared about body image are so eye-opening: Read more