My Perfect Morning

The alarm only gets to blare for a second before my hand reflexively reaches out to shut it off. Even in my half-asleep state I know I only have a minute to decide if I’m going to set the snooze or blink the sleep out of my eyes before slipping back into sweet sleep.

I decide on the blinking. It’s Monday and I’m refreshed from the weekend. The world is still dark, but my eyes adjust quickly and I work up the gumption to pull back the covers so I can change. My limbs have that jelly feeling from not having moved in a full eight hours so it’s time to get the blood flowing through them again.

I pull on my gym gear with sleepy fingers, grab my headphones and head out. It’s a full body circuit today. Sprints, weights, jumps, repeat. Before I know it, I’m flushed, sweaty, fully awake, and in the shower. A cold shower. My body hasn’t had the time to cool off from it’s early activity so I force the issue. 

Upon exiting, it’s all creams, lotions, sunscreen, and makeup until I feel silky and glamorous enough to take on another day. My body has moved, now time to make my mind move for a few minutes. I open my notebook to practice a few minutes of Greek and a few of Mandarin. If I don’t practice my languages I’ll lose them. But now I’ve worked up an appetite. 

I set the kettle on for french press coffee, and prep the rest of my meal. Avocado, egg, and goat cheese on sourdough toast with some salt, pepper, and spice to taste. My coffee is cool enough to drink now so I pick up the book I’m in the middle of at the moment and read for a little while. If an idea strikes me, I may do some writing as well. 

I set everything down and give myself a few moments of complete peace while I only focus on finishing my coffee. I watch other people get their commute started outside my window. Breathe in the smell of dark roast a few more times, and steel myself to face the world. 

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This is what an ideal weekday morning looks like for me right now. I keep a pretty strict routine, usually waking up around 5 and heading straight to the gym to get started and then finding time to get in a few self-improvement hobbies (reading, language) while I’m preparing and eating my breakfast. I hit this routine usually four out of five weekday mornings, so I’ve been pretty consistent. Sometimes I adjust to do an early call or to do a workout later in the day, but for the most part, this is my morning routine.

It may seem strict, but that’s only because I’m prioritizing the activities that are important for me. I know I need to workout, practice language, read, and write to get to who I want to be so I make sure I have time to do those things, and the only uninterrupted time I can guarantee in a day is the time before anyone else is awake. So if I get all this done in the morning, I can go to work with a clear head, and I can leave my evenings free for things that come up throughout the day or for social plans. This arrangement means I rarely have days where I don’t get to check everything off my to-do list and that feeling is worth the early wake-up calls. 

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Lake Michigan at 5:30am – courtesy of one of my early morning runs

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Swipe Left: Thoughts on Dating App Culture

I feel like I’ve been talking about dating apps with a lot of my friends recently, more specifically about how unsatisfying they are. While there are a whole slew of problems with these apps that contribute to this feeling, today I’m only going to focus on one and how I specifically combat it by using, or rather, not using the apps. 

The chief problem with these apps as I see it, is that they allow us to fall into the belief system that we can actually find a PERFECT partner for ourselves. Because we have access to a seemingly endless amount of potential matches, we allow ourselves to think that eventually, we must be able to discover the PERFECT one if we just swipe long enough. You may not think you do this – but I encourage you to be more self-critical. Have you ever swiped left on someone because they weren’t tall enough? Swiped left because their job wasn’t ambitious enough? Swiped left because they misspelled a word in the profile description? I definitely have. We think that because we have infinite choices, we can be infinitely discerning as well. We disguise these limitations as having ‘standards’, but more often than not the standards by which we are evaluating potential matches are society’s standards, not our own. Because the means by which we are normally able to evaluate matches – actual interaction – isn’t available. 

Because here’s the thing – people are SO different in real life. I think about it this way – for me personally, out of the seven* guys I’ve gone on more than two dates with, I met six of them in person. And I wouldn’t have swiped right on ANY of those six had I spied their profile on a dating app. Not because they weren’t attractive, but because they totally aren’t the type that translates well on a dating app. They’re the type to post cheesy photos and simple profile descriptions if any so they just wouldn’t stand out on an app to me – but in person, I clicked really well with them. In person, I was able to evaluate by the standards that matter to me. Do they make me feel wanted? Do they make me feel safe? Do they make me laugh? Do they turn me on? And so on and so forth. Notice all of those questions have to do with how they make me FEEL which is impossible to tell on an app. The most you can do on a dating app is maybe send some flirty texts back and forth but until you meet in person you can’t know if you have that x-factor with someone because it’s just too detached. 

I’m not saying you should give up on apps completely but they should definitely be taking a backseat to your other interactions – if you use them too frequently, you’ll just drive yourself crazy. So first and foremost, do you. Kill it at work, practice your hobbies or pick up a new one, watch Good Omens like you’ve been meaning to, read, workout, travel, spend time with your friends and your family. Fill your life to the brim with the things that already bring you joy and accomplishment. This will do two things – it reduces the time you have to merely swipe out of distraction, but it also makes your life fuller so that when you do meet someone you have that much more to bring to the table because you’ve actually been living a life instead of swiping it away. 

Secondly, when you do use the apps, I only have two tips for you – prioritize the people that made an effort to talk to you first rather than just match, and then endeavor to meet up with whoever you take a liking to as soon as you can. As I mentioned before, it’s so hard to tell if you really click with someone unless you meet them. This also weeds out anyone who is just in it for the distraction as well as preventing the black hole of texting in circles. 

Lastly, focus on meeting new people in person whenever possible. Whether it’s a work or networking event, or a friend’s party, you never know how far your circle truly expands and who might be able to introduce you to someone amazing.

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PC: Kiki Moussetis

*No I am not currently dating the 1 that I did meet on an app – that was a short six month relationship awhile ago.

Little Secrets

We all live, walk, and breathe while carrying secrets. 

Some are big, but most are small. The secret of saying you’re fine when you’re not, of saying you can when you can’t. 

We tell ourselves that these secrets are ok to keep, in fact they must be kept so as not to burden those around us. After all, these are small secrets. Who wants to hear about small things? The fact is, we just don’t feel we have time for others’ secrets as well as our own. 

You see it when your friend’s eyes glaze over as you’re telling her how you’re frustrated with your love life. You see it when your partner’s eyes dart over your shoulder when you just can’t put your finger on why you’re feeling unfulfilled at work. You don’t even realize it but you learn to stop. You learn that people pretend to listen so that you’ll pretend to listen later. In one ear and out the other. 

So you keep your secrets, you dwell on them. Small ones pile on top of tiny ones and before you know it, your entire being is composed of secrets that you no longer have the ability to define nor share. 

But then someone will ask you about them. They’ll look you in the eye when they ask but you won’t believe it. The first time they ask you’ll gloss over one little secret with a laugh. That usually works. But they ask again, intently. This isn’t fair, you think. Why would you ask for my secrets when I know you won’t care? Why make me go through the pain of defending them when you don’t really want to hear them? 

But they look at you and ask again. This time, you allow your suspicion to show and you ask them if they’re sure they know what they’re asking. If they’re sure they want to see a part of you that’s insecure, lonely, or sad. If they want to see a part of you that while soul-defining is not charming, or positive, or attractive. 

They say they’re sure. Steady, attentive, waiting. You’re going to tell them now, but you feel tears prick the backs of your eyes out of fear. What if they don’t think of you the same after this? What if your delicate balance of keeping secrets has been ruined? Or worse, what if they betray their indifference? 

It’s too terrifying to tell your secrets and tolerate their eyes staring so directly at you so your gaze rises to the ceiling, falls to the floor, lingers just past their shoulder as you talk so you don’t feel the full force of their unwavering observation all at once, you’re not trained to take such concentration.

But you take the risk and you tell them. And when their attention doesn’t flicker and their eyes fill with sympathy rather than indifference, the sense of relief you feel is powerful enough to forget all the other people who didn’t listen.

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PC: Kiki Moussetis

 

Summer Vibes

When I think of summer, I think of Greece. 

Because Greece is the only place that seems to shine in the summer as it slows down.

Summer in Chicago, or Calgary, or Los Angeles means more – more drinking, more activity, more festivals, more plans. 

But in Greece, summer means more of doing less. Summers here are simpler, slower more sensual. 

The air gets hot. But it’s ok because the hottest parts of the day are spent napping, with cicadas buzzing in the background. Everything gets so quiet in the afternoon that you actually feel like the world has stopped for a second to let you breath.

Near the water everything smells fresh despite the heat. The sea breeze is the top note, with middle notes of burning sand, and finally the fig and citrus trees overladen with fruit releasing a brightness through the palette. 

It’s of course too hot to eat heavy food so instead we eat thoroughly red tomatoes that taste like candy, and cucumbers that taste like gulps of ice cold water. We eat fish fresh from the ocean drenched in plive oil and lemon. We eat bright fruits, and juicy watermelon for dessert. And because it’s summer maybe you have a frappe or a gelato too, because why not?

It finally starts to cool off a bit when the sun goes down, but not so much that you would ever need a jacket, just enough that you stop sweating. It’s perfect weather to sit with people outside and talk, drink, laugh, and eat for hours. You could go dancing, I suppose, but I would want to be outside and as close to the sea as possible.

Summer is my favorite season, but the way of life in a Greek summer by the water clears my skin, and brings me peace so that’s the version summer I’ve chosen to love the most. 

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Crete. A typical Greek summer lunch.

My Blood Ran Hot

I see you as you walk into the room and I feel my blood run hot. All long limbs, smooth skin, and a quick voice. 

Now’s not the time, I think to myself. But I can’t help it. I watch you as you speak to everyone else but me. I watch your lips curl into a laugh. I watch the tendons in your wrist flex as you write. 

I’m getting distracted. Every movement you make this morning I see in my memory of last night. 

When I tell the story I can pretend that I was reluctant. I can pretend that I was naive, but we both know I wasn’t. I wanted you. I wanted your skin, your mouth, your hands. 

And you wanted me. You ran every one of your fingertips across every inch of my skin and devoured my body. 

My desire was powerful but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to be perfect. Certain ideas prevail no matter the partner, but I didn’t care about those. I needed your nuances, your secrets. I needed to know what I could do so that I could permeate your mind and make myself irresistible to you.

But there’s no way I could’ve known those things. You don’t tell your secrets to someone you just met…yet it seemed like you knew the secrets of my body without ever having to hear me say them and that terrified me. 

It terrified me because I hadn’t known I was out of my element. But it became apparent quickly that you seemed to know exactly how to touch me and I had no idea how to touch you. Everything I did from that point on became laced with doubt.

In the moment when I realized your actions betrayed nothing but confidence, my mind abandoned me. My want dissolved into anxiety. What if I was doing something wrong? What if my body looked unattractive from this angle? What if everyone you’d been with before was better?

My mind took my lack of knowledge of you and transmuted it into insecurity, which in turn, suffocated my passion. My mind never considered the possibility that you wanted to impress me as well. It wasn’t about my want anymore, it was only about your want. 

I wanted to be wanted more than I wanted to satiate my own want. If I couldn’t satisfy you, what good was I? 

So when you walked in the room, my blood ran hot, not from lust, but from embarrassment. I was embarrassed that I had let everything in my world tell me that my own pleasure wasn’t as important as yours. 

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This piece was inspired by some of my thoughts that have pervaded my mind over the years in my sexual encounters. I feel like from my earliest memories of these types of situations, I remember wanting to feel wanted more than any other feeling. I wanted to be so mesmerizing and irresistible to someone else, more than I, myself, wanted to feel good. And while there is a peculiar kind of power in becoming that seductive to someone, it’s also difficult to achieve, and certainly not lasting. It has taken me, and is still taking me, a long time to consistently put my energy into feeling good instead of worrying about what my partner is thinking of me the entire time. Honestly, it’s kind of embarrassing for me to release it now when I’ve always been such a strong advocate for women owning their own sexuality. Because I still fall into the trap of wanting to please my partner so badly that I will compromise my own pleasure to do so, and that’s not ok. It ends up being hugely frustrating for everyone involved and it’s something I continue to be aware of in my interactions.

 

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PC: Kiki Moussetis on location somewhere in Greece

She’s Not Me

I want you to be happy, I said. And I meant it. But then I see a picture of you with her and I feel those words in the back of my throat like bile. I’m stopped dead in my tracks as my truth becomes a lie.

Because she’s beautiful. I know nothing else about her but I know she’s not me. And knowing just that much is enough for me to create her entire being in my mind. I tell myself that she’s my opposite, because that’s what I had to tell myself you wanted when you told me you didn’t want me anymore. 

She’s light where I’m dark, soft where I’m hard – it’s easy to hate what’s not me.

But it’s easy to hate what you don’t know. And though I don’t know her, I know you. I know you couldn’t be with my opposite no matter how hard you tried, not when you loved me so fiercely.

My hate pauses for a moment as I realize she’s probably the kind of person I would have been friends with. I shake the thought away.

I must hate her. And I must hate her without hating myself so I decide instead that any similarities to me that she possesses are mere shadows of the traits that I used to love you. I now disdain the very idea of her. I repeat this over and over and convince myself that I was simply too much rather than not right at all.

I must hate her. I have to believe that she is lesser than because if she’s more, then the end of us wasn’t about you, it was about me, and my failures.

She’s yours, and I’m not. She’s your present, and I’m your past. I take a deep breath as I reconcile my lie. Turns out, I did mean it when I said I wanted you to be happy. I just forgot the part where I meant not quite as happy as you were with me.

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I know what you’re thinking but surprisingly, this piece isn’t directly about my most recent breakup, merely inspired by it, and by the rupi kaur poem below. This piece is an amalgamation of all the feelings of I’ve ever had when I find out the other person is moving on. No matter how far along in the healing process I am, there’s an ever-present need to convince myself that I’m still better than whoever their new person is so that I can cope and protect my own confidence. I’m not proud of thinking this way because logically I know that the end of a relationship has rarely been only about me, or only about the other person, its end almost always has to do with the way we fit together. Eventually, I do move past this phase but my gut reaction is always negative and I wanted to capture that. 

This piece started out a lot differently. I had written a kind of repetitive poem pitting myself against this imaginary girl that represented all of the things I was insecure about in my relationships. But then I called my sister to run it by her and she ripped it to shreds. It stung a bit but she was right. The original piece was petty and superficial and honestly didn’t capture the depth of these feelings the way the piece above does. 

Last week I got a ton of good feedback and I’d really appreciate it if you could leave your thoughts on this one somewhere as well! Did you like this week’s or last week’s better? I’m really trying to get better at this type of writing so please let me know what you think!

Hit me up on any of the platforms below!

Instagram: melinamoussetis

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Or comment here!

the woman who comes after me will be a bootleg version of who i am. she will try and write poems for you to erase the ones i’ve left memorized on your lips but her lines could never punch you in the stomach the way mine did. she will then try to make love to your body. but she will never lick, caress, or such like me. she will be a sad replacement of the woman you let slip. nothing she does will excite you and this will break her. when she is tired of falling apart for a man that doesn’t give back what he takes she will recognize me in your eyelids staring at her with pity and it’ll hit her. how can she love a man who is busy loving someone he can never get his hands on again. 

– rupi kaur, milk and honey

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PC: The inimitable Clara Yu

 

One Tiny Thing

I rolled over because it was too hot. Having your arms around me was comforting and I loved it but I couldn’t take the heat radiating off your body surrounding me in addition to the summer air.

You were already asleep but when I moved you shifted on to your back. I rolled back over onto my other side so I could look at you. You always fell asleep before me. What a gift! To fall asleep as soon as you went horizontal. I was always plagued by at least a few minutes of anxieties before being able to rest, but you were just so peaceful. Your right hand was above your head, and your left rested on your chest and I already missed you.

I know I was the one that rolled over and moved away, and that it had only been a few seconds since we were last touching, but I missed you. I didn’t want to disturb you, but I couldn’t be so far apart from you and still fall asleep, so I unraveled my legs and slowly moved my right foot to find your left one. Gently. Carefully. Your peace was precious to me. Your feet were splayed out, so they were easy to find. I softly tapped the tops of my toes against the bottom of your foot. I was calm again. You were right here again. I settled my head on my pillow and closed my eyes, all my anxieties were quelled with the smallest of touches.

And then, I felt your toes curl over my foot just briefly, drawing me just a little closer, and I knew you had missed me too. Even from beyond consciousness, you wanted me close, and at that moment, I believed I had everything.

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Who is this about? You get one guess. But I wanted to write it as a sort of small personal catharsis piece because a couple weeks ago I was trying to go to bed and this scene just all of a sudden came flooding back to me and I had a full-on emotional breakdown over it. I had been relatively ok for months since the breakup but then this small thing hit me and I was just destroyed. Even now I can’t write or edit the above paragraph without my eyes getting glassy.

It simultaneously represents everything I want in a relationship, but also everything I lost.  Every relationship has different tiny things like this, that you discover together and a lot of them can’t really be forced or talked about, they just have to be there. My previous relationship had a lot that made for amazing chemistry, and now…pretty devastating loss.

Additionally, I am trying to play around with different styles of writing and writing things other than straightforward, advice type articles. So if the above passage made you feel something, anything, I’d love to know.

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PC: Clara Yu

Define Your Own Experiences

I’m a huge food person and one of my favorite things to do is try new restaurants and new types of food. I’m up for anything, and I mean ANYTHING. Strange animal parts, flavor combinations, texture foods, you name it, and I’ll try it at least once.

Every so often, a friend will take me to a place I haven’t been to but they have. I’ll find something that sounds interesting on the menu and they might say something like “Oh that’s not very good, it’s overhyped.”

A simple response might be to just change what I was going to order or ask what they recommend, but whenever I find myself in a situation like this I treat it like a crucial juncture – am I going to let this person define my experience for me?

 

I haven’t tried this dish, maybe I read online that it is really good and I’m super interested. Should I just defer to my friend because they offered their opinion?

My answer? No, I shouldn’t. It was something I’ve been wanting to try and I don’t care if they didn’t like it, I still want to try it so I can form my OWN opinions.

This is a simple restaurant example, but the idea can be extrapolated to much larger and more formative experiences. If you travel to another country with someone and you’re excited to visit museums and cultural sites but all they want to do is go out all night and sleep away the day, one of you is going to end up defining the experience in a negative way for the other and that’s not fair to either of you.

An even bigger example from my own life was when I moved to Calgary. Because I immediately moved in with a boyfriend who was actually from that city, nearly all of my experiences were defined by him. He showed me how to navigate the city. He drove us to the mountains. He taught me how to ski and how to mountain bike. He showed me his favorite restaurants and bars and his friend’s favorite spots.

At first, this was great! A built-in tour guide. A person I can ask questions to and who will gladly take me to spots they already know are good.

Unfortunately, I realized too late that this is not a sustainable way of moving to a new place. I had failed to define my own experience of Calgary. I spent almost a year there before I really started pushing for trying things that were new to the both of us and by then it was too late. I felt that I had no agency over the city. I didn’t have anything that I had discovered and defined for myself and it really messed with my perception of that city and how successful I could be there.

Maybe some of you already know this, but for me, it was a huge lesson in self-ownership. Partners, friends, family, co-workers will hand you their unsolicited opinions and advice all the time, sometimes to your benefit. But I’ve discovered it’s important to realize when your entire experience is being defined by thoughts from another rather than your own exploration and decision.

Own yourself, and own your experiences, because if you don’t, other people will do it for you.

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Miyajima Island, Japan. A trip I took alone and although I met people along the way, was defined by my own experience.

An Interview with My Mother

Usually, I write a post praising my mom every year to commemorate Mother’s Day, but this year I found myself struggling for inspiration so I decided to go straight to the source of life herself and annoy her into giving me content. Below is an interview with my mom about what being a mom has been like for her, maybe next year I’ll take submissions for questions!

Note: I’ve written this in interview format so ME is, of course, me, and MO stands for Mom. Anything in brackets or parentheses is a note added by me.

ME: Let’s start with the beginning. How did you decide you wanted to become a mom?

MO: I just felt like it was time. We [she and my dad] had talked about it before we got married, so we both knew we wanted kids. The only decision part was to wait to start trying until after we got married.

ME: How did you know when you wanted kids? How did you know you were ready?

MO: I just knew.*

*We laughed here because this was so unhelpful so I pressed her for more

MO: It was just a feeling of readiness. We knew there was no ‘best’ time and we wanted them so we had them. Maybe part of it was your dad’s age, because he knew he wanted kids soon so he wouldn’t be too old of a father. [Note: my dad is 8 years older than my mom]

ME: What was your pregnancy with me like? Leave Kiki out of it haha

MO: Um…no morning sickness. I got horrible acne. For the first part, I felt kinda lousy because you hear about the pregnancy glow, and mine was more like the pregnancy plague. I still worked full time, but I was grumpy and bitchy and even got in trouble at work due to my attitude. I didn’t work out really, aside from walking [Note: She did train for a half marathon after I was born though]. However, once the first trimester passed, I was just waiting for you to get out. I just got bigger and watched my toes disappear from view. Couldn’t even have shoes with laces.

ME: How was childbirth itself?

MO: Take the drugs. That’s all I have to say.

ME: What was the scariest part about being new parents?

MO: Well we were so excited when I was pregnant. It was so cool when we could feel you move. We were excited all the way until you came out and then we brought you home and we looked at you and said: “what do we do with her now?”. Everything was easy when you were still inside, but now it was real and it was scary. Knowing that we were ultimately responsible for shaping this person, this baby, into a real person that’s going to be out there in the world was terrifying.

ME: Ok, well thanks for freaking me out. What was the best part once you brought me home?

MO: Hmmm…making you giggle. Watching you smile. Watching you discover things. Your fat rolls!

ME: Yes I was fat, look how far I’ve come. Are there any choices you made in your parenting when I was little that you were convinced were the right choices at the time?

MO: No. You’re never sure if you’ve made the right choice until much later. You can never truly know if what you did was right until your child is presented with a situation that requires that lesson later and they choose the best option or not.

ME: Well that is not comforting at all. Let’s fast forward a little bit, how did you approach puberty for me?

MO: I think we bought you a book right?

ME: Several actually.

MO: Yeah that’s right. We wanted to make sure you had literature about everything going on and we wanted to make sure you knew you could ask us any question you wanted and that we would be honest with you. And above all else, we wanted to make sure you were getting information from us rather than friends or others.

ME: How did you make sure I knew I could come to you?

MO: Just by repeating it, making sure you were aware at every step. But we also never pressed you to tell us anything. And the thing is, this worked for you because you had no problem asking us point blank questions no matter how uncomfortable, but for your sister it was different.

ME: How did you approach the situation when I wanted to start dating and hanging out with boys?

MO: Well we knew it was coming. And once you were old enough to drive we knew we had less control over the situations so we wanted to make sure there were rules in place. There had to be a structure surrounding it, no point in having you out till all hours for no good reason, leaving more room for trouble. I was thankful that you would talk to me about it though, and that you would listen to me when I would give advice. I was also thankful that you were taking responsibility for making sure that you were safe, and that you felt important and comfortable in your relationships.

ME: So do you think you were successful in raising me? Why?

MO: Well yeah…I mean…you lived (laughs), but you did everything right. You heeded advice, you made good decisions, you made bad decisions but learned from your mistakes. You help others when they ask for it. You’re adventurous.

ME: How did you decide to have another kid?

MO: We always knew we wanted more than one. We originally thought we were going to have four but once we found out how hard one kid was, we reevaluated pretty quick (laughs). But we also always thought it was a good idea for a kid to have at least one sibling so we made sure we did that.

ME: Ok what’s the best thing about being a mom?

MO: Loving and being loved unconditionally. I liked the process of teaching another human how to be a human. For as many tears that were cried, there were so many more smiles.

ME: Awwwwww, ok what’s the worst thing about being a mom?

MO: It’s just so much pressure. And not even from the kid, but from other adults that judge you and tell you you’re doing it wrong or make you second guess yourself. And puke. Puke is also terrible.

ME: What did you learn from your mom that was invaluable in your mothering technique?

MO: Patience, so much patience.

ME: There are so many questions I could ask. One that’s super important to me though is how was it traveling with two kids? Especially two small kids?

MO: It was scary in the sense that you’re going into an environment where there are so many other people and new things and you don’t know how your kid is going to react. You don’t want to be that parent with that kid. You want to be prepared for everything so you end up being a pack mule and it’s freaking exhausting to actually get to the destination, much less enjoy yourself.

ME: Ok, let’s wrap it up since you want to go to sleep so bad! How do you think your role has changed now that I’m an adult?

MO: Well you’re pretty much self-sufficient so I’m just here for the occasional question now. I don’t need to really teach you anything anymore, I just have to trust that I have imparted as much knowledge as I could before now. Obviously, we’re still here as a safety net, but you’re doing everything you need to be doing. You respect what we taught you and you use it in your life now. Now I’m just here for questions like “how long does previously frozen chicken last in the fridge?” haha

ME: What about from when I was in college as compared to now that I’m completely independent?

MO: Well we’re not your bank anymore…that really means you’re fully independent now. There’s nothing we could hold over you if necessary. It’s like we’re more equal than before. We have adult conversations but ultimately when you make your decision it’s your decision because I can’t make you do anything now. So I feel I’m more to bounce ideas off of and provide comfort than to actually give direction.

ME: It’s interesting you view us as more equal. Do you think my role within the family changed?

MO: Of course. All the things I used to do for you, you now do yourself. Making appointments, cooking, laundry. And as much as I’m glad that it’s less work for me, it was also hard letting go of those things because it means I’m not needed as much and it’s all part of you breaking away from us to become your own person.

And that’s it! Anything you wish I would’ve asked? Maybe I’ll write a little appendix if I get enough extra questions!

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Me and my mom sweating our faces off at the Grand Canyon PC: Kiki Moussetis

 

 

How to Keep Friends Around the World

Because I travel so much, and move states, cities, and countries so often, I now have friends pretty much everywhere, but I don’t have a home base anywhere. Most of my friends don’t really know each other or hang out together apart from little groups of two’s and three’s here and there.

One the one hand, this type of set up really works for me. I thrive off of one on one time far more than groups anyways so having to always hang out with single friends for the most part is actually preferable than trying to get a group together every time.

However, this gets a little difficult because it becomes impossible for me to actually see these friends as often as I’d like. There are people in LA, New York, Chicago, Virginia, Calgary, Milan, San Francisco, and Athens that I’d love to see all the time, but that’s just impossible.

Even so, the friends I have in these places are invaluable to me, and I refuse to let the relationships just die because they bring me so much joy. But, it can be really difficult to maintain them when we aren’t interacting with similar places or people and thus have less in common than when we were sharing an actual geographical location.

So how do I stay in touch with so many people that are so far away, you ask?

This is how –

  1. Figure out what method of communication works best in every relationship. Some friends I can go six months without talking to but then we get on the phone and talk for three hours. Some friends text me forty messages at a time and then we converse from there. I send FB messages as long as letters every few months to some friends. I send voice messages with other friends, and some friends I call on my commute to anywhere. Sometimes I just DM people when something on Instagram reminds me of them. Everybody has their best way of keeping in touch, and once you figure out a way that keeps you connected, keep on using it.
  2. Make plans to stay in touch as if you were making plans to see them in person. If I’m busy but I tell someone I’ll call them right back, I call them right back. If I schedule a skype call with someone on the weekend, then I treat it as if I was going to lunch with a friend. Carving time out of your day for this may seem less important than actual physical contact, but it can be just as meaningful if you make the effort.
  3. Visit each other as often as you can. I realize that traveling is not in everyone’s budget, but make the most of it when you can. For example, last summer I had a trip to Greece planned with my family but one of my best friends was living in Milan so I got to Greece a couple days early and flew to Milan to see him for just two days since I was already in Europe. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities like that and hopefully, you can always find ways to meet in the middle.

Obviously, this is not sustainable for a lot of friends, but I’ve made some super close ones over the years and there’s no reason that distance should change that.  I won’t lie though, this is hard, and many people are discouraged because they feel like they don’t have anything in common with their far away friends, or at least not enough to reach out. While this may or may not be true, I’ve found that a good way to circumvent it is to be genuinely, super interested in your friend’s lives. Even though my friend in Milan goes to a school I’ve never been to and hangs out with people I’ve never met, I still ask him to tell me about all of it because then I can use it to keep us connected later. Staying in touch may seem overwhelming at times, but all it takes is a tiny bit of planning, and a tiny bit of effort and before you know it, you can stay in touch with anyone, anywhere.

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PC: Kiki Moussetis. Location: Crete, Greece.