Joseph, The Vogue, Feb. 16, 2020

Have you ever been in a relatively small space where everyone knows you’re favorite songs? The wooden floor shakes to the rhythm of the drums and the guitar coming through the speakers just a little too loudly—everyone’s feet pounding in unison. The heat of the room is bearable. Everyone scoots in a little closer to each other to hear the songs that you normally listen over speakers, either on your drive home form work or while you’re curling your hair in the bathroom. These songs lift the crowd up into the atmosphere, beyond the disco ball and stage lights, somewhere beyond the known. Music can do that to you.

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What gives you hope?

January has stretched its days out far and wide. The new year feels like ages ago. None the less, when I look over the last few weeks, I have been been able to find hope in goodness. Here are just a few good things that have graced this month for me: Gloriously painted skies, coffee get-togethers with friends despite busy schedules, late nights baking even when the following morning is an early one, books that hold sacred words, museum visits, a Friday night swing dancing, picking up family who arrived safely from the airport.

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So this is twenty three

This past week was my golden birthday — I turned twenty-three on the twenty-third. 

I spent the day with my mom because, low and behold, it was her birthday too. We have always spent our birthday together. It’s been that way for the past twenty-two years and, even with a job and a full to-do list, this year was no different.

For our day, we went out to brunch at a local restaurant named Milktooth, which was dubbed one of the top 207 restaurants to eat at around the globe according to Conde Nast. I’d heard about the restaurant so often while I was an intern at Indianapolis Monthly this past spring, so I was so happy to finally try out their menu.

Both my mom, my brother, and I ended up ordering the same thing: Brochedi Donuts with bacon and eggs. Needless to say, it was delicious.

While driving this afternoon, I thought about how twenty-two was a good year. It was a year of learning, of surviving my last year of college, of figuring out what it was I wanted and didn’t want. A year of healing and finding patience in the unknown. Thinking about this next year, I can’t tell you where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing or how I will get to wherever ‘there’ is. I think that’s okay sometimes, not knowing your next step but trusting your gut, where the universe unfolds and leads you.

So far, twenty-three has looked like adding more business professional clothes to my wardrobe, going on a cleanse, and writing. Lots of writing.

Regardless of what I know or don’t know about this upcoming year, there are a few intentions that I know I want to move through. Here are a few:

  • Listen: to myself, to God’s soft whisper, to the voice of my mom and brother, to my friends, and my body. 
  • Read full books, finish them, stick with them, contemplate over them. Not rushing myself, but taking it slow. 
  • Focus on creating vs consuming. Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, passively streaming a show, getting lost down the rabbit hole of YouTube. I spend way to much time with these consuming activities. It’s time to turn the table and start creating instead of constantly consuming media. 
  • Be mindful: about what I eat, about the quality of my breath, about listening to people, about each moment I find myself in, about what I’m working on and what I’m creating. 
  • Prioritize my health and the food I eat. Cook at home and bring lunches to work. Continuing my yoga practices. Be aware of what I eat and put on my skin. College was a good ride but I focused more on grades while my health was neglected. It’s time to change that. 
  • Have a heart of gratitude. 

No matter where I end up or what I do, I know that this next year is going to be a good one. A one of thriving, learning, seeking… and maybe hitting up Milktooth again.

Here’s to twenty-three. 

Growth

Right before this photos was taken, I took a different photo.

It was of a cityscape where sucess is stacked in concrete scrapers that reach upwards, waiting for the dreamers.

But this photo has my feet planted on the ground.

There is nothing spectacular about this photo, it’s just me and the parking lot.

This is where I stand.

The future can be a scary thing, but right now, I am here.

Of Misilanious Thoughts

I’ve got a job in the middle of the city for the next four months. I never thought I’d call these buildings — the heartbeat of Indy — a place I’d dream of working, I never even thought it was possible for me. But this thing call life is unpredictable, even in the best of ways.

A few days ago, I woke up early to beat the traffic and take extra care driving since this January has been a slick one. It ended up being that I arrived downtown an hour early — exactly fourty minutes to spare before I head into work.

I don’t know what it is with me and parking garages, but they seem to be my place to think. Nobody hardly parks on top of the garages; it’s quiet, except for the noises that come from off the streets below; the view is almost always a spectacular one –whether it’s a distant view of a cityscape or you’re in the midst of the massive concrete structures that tower around you.

With this extra time in my hands, I spent it taking photos, writing about my first few days of work, and then riding down ten floors in an elevator, walking out into the city streets, finding myself some coffee. There is always time for coffee.

Work was slow that day but the whole experience of being in my dream office — with windows overlooking the heart of the city — knowing that I made it here, was all I could ever ask for. I made it, after all the hard work and people who told me I could never become a writer, I made it. I get to spend my days typing away and walking down the city streets because I got there early, is just something I will never cease to be thankful for. Even if it is only for four months.

I’m not really sure where I was going with this topic, or if I can’t fully elaborate on it yet, because I’m smack dab in the middle of it — but I will keep coming back to these moments of city and work and writing and figuring out myself and coffee (always coffee)… and maybe, eventually, I will have enough words to fulfill the thoughts and experiences I am living.