My Farewell Letter To Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights is leaving Netflix and no one is okay with it. If you didn’t know this heartbreaking (not fake) news, then I am sorry you had to find out this way. *Moment of silence for those in mourning*

I feel as though we can’t just let this happen and not acknowledge what FNL has meant to us. I am writing this letter to give the show, football team, Dillon, Texas and Coach Taylor the farewell they all deserve.

Dear Friday Night Lights,

How are you doing? No, don’t answer that. I think we all know. And we are with you. As your streaming comes to a heartbreaking end, we (I) would like say a few words to let you know what you meant to us over the years.

Goodby to Dillon, Texas, the quaint town where we all wished we lived. From the flat drives to Coach’s house and Buddy Garrity’s Dealership to the Alamo Freeze and Dillon High School, you made us feel like we were home. You gave us a home team to cheer for, and a small part of Texas we never knew we needed. Texas forever. 

To Tim Riggins, thank you for your hair. Your loyalty to your family and Dillon, Texas carried this show. A lone survivor in so many ways. 

To QB1 Jason Street, you really pushed through your setbacks, no pun intended. From getting paralyzed, to selling cars and losing Lyla to your best friend, you showed us what resilience means. 

Oh Smash, you son of a gun. I am a fan of you because I was a fan of your mom. She is and was a great lady. Thanks for all your humbling moments and attitude adjustments. 

And sweet Tami, our coach’s wife and #1 guidance counselor.  Talk about GOALS. You knew how to put Coach in his place, counsel high school teenagers and raise a family with class and grit. You helped Tyra get accepted into college and helped me through five years of it. Shoutout to victory laps! I’ll never be able to say thank you enough for all the times I procrastinated studying to spend quality time with you and your family. 

Did you think I would  forget Buddy Garrity? He was persistent as they come. You had to watch the whole series to learn how to love Buddy through the hard times. He showed us tried and true loyalty, what it meant to never give up on a team or a coach, the true #1 fan of the Dillon Panthers. We all need those kind of (wallets) people on our side and in our Booster Clubs. 

Saving the best for last with our dear Coach Taylor. This may be the hardest goodbye. You have a special place in my heart. So special that my mom has to remind me that you’re a fictional character on a television show. The lessons you taught QB2 Matt Saracen and the rest of your team, you taught us as well. Perseverance, believing in ourselves, resiliency. I am not sure who loves you more, me or Matt’s grandmother. She gets it. You are a true builder of men. There are not a lot like you, although Mark Richt and Dabo Swinney may be in the running.

I could go on about Landry/Lance, Tim’s brother, Tyra, Applebee’s, Lyla, Julie, and all the characters from Seasons 5 & 6. We don’t forget about you, we just are having a hard time processing the words to really let every single person know how we feel about this loss. You are our Texas forevers. 

Gone from Netflix, but never forgotten. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.

(Edit: It is now available on Amazon Prime. God is good.)

 

if there was a millennial olympics

You already know where this is going. Stay with me.

Since I am a part of the participation trophy generation, I believe there are every day millennial activities that could be successful in the form of a Hunger Games/Olympics situation. Like the sport of curling, there will be a lot of confused adults watching us do the very least to win a medal. No millennial left behind.

Here are a few of the sports categories in consideration with no official Olympics committee.

AVOCADO TOAST MAKING COMPETITION- It might seem like you’re “just putting mashed up fruit on a piece of bread” but IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT, MOM.

GETTING YOUR MAKEUP TO LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THE MAKEUP ARTIST’S TUTORIAL- Honestly, shoutout to anyone who has ever accomplished this. We applaud you for your smokey eye. This is truly a practice makes perfect sport.

ANY KIND OF GROUP EXERCISE CLASS- Millennials LOVE group exercise classes. Something about never doing anything alone and the brunch that is always promised afterwards. Finally, we can see some real sweat and tears in these games because, hot yoga. This is a co-ed sport. The guys are there because lululemon leggings and the girls are there because well, lululemon leggings and brunch.

INSTAGRAM LIVE TEACHING PARENTS NEW WORDS/PHRASES MEAN- This one is a lot like Winter Olympic sports. You’re frustrated because no one knows what anything is and you spend more time researching the meaning on Google than actually watching the competition.

I think I am on to something here. Where do I submit my application for Tokyo 2021?

this is my twenties- trying to understand politics

This post is less about politics and more about how I have gone about trying to understand the complexity of our nation’s political climate during my young adult years.

I have always thought staying up to date with current events is an important part of growing up. I saw as my parents read the newspaper every morning, watched the nightly news and instilled in us the importance of voting once we turned 18.

My senior year of high school we were supposed to take a trip to Washington D.C. and considering my twin sister and four of our friends were the only ones who signed up for the trip, they cancelled it and I still haven’t been. I will forever hold this against the North Forsyth Class of 2010. In college, I majored in communications and multimedia journalism. All this to say, I genuinely enjoy keeping up with the news and politics as best I can and would 100% cry visiting our nation’s capital.

At the age of 25, I am really trying my best to keep up with what is happening in the political world, and I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems to be getting harder to understand the older I get and I feel like it should be the opposite. Maybe it is just the times we live in or I just need to try a little harder? Probably a little bit of both.

Here is the cycle of how I usually stay in the know these days: Presidential election season is happening, I care, I read and follow candidates on Twitter because how else am I supposed to get to know them? I watch the debates on TV and pretend like foreign policy is easy peezy stuff. Election day comes and I stand in the voting line feeling like more of a U.S. citizen than ever. I post a selfie with my “I voted” sticker so it counts, then I watch the fate of our nation unfold that night with the rest of America…while also constantly refreshing Twitter. Election night + Twitter = pure gold, my friends.

After election night, my interest usually lasts until about the 100 day mark. Up until then, I am listening to podcasts and NPR to help me understand what changes might happen under the new administration and try to understand how they would effect me. This is when I typically start to realize that this stuff is going to continue to change or stay unresolved for a while and I don’t know how much longer I can keep up. Once I start to understand one policy change it leaves the news cycle, moving on to the next headline as quickly as the last one came through.

By now, I am unfollowing political accounts on Twitter because I need a dang break from it all. I resort to watching any political show on Netflix to try and make sense of what actually happens, only to realize that at the end of every episode all the things are resolved. I might not understand tax reform, but I do know that there’s no way Olivia Pope is actually fixing all our nation’s issues and ending each night like me with a glass of wine and popcorn for dinner.

And you might be reading this shaking your head and thinking, “Oh boy, just another millennial we have to entrust our future to and all she does is talk about Twitter.” I will promise you this, if it will help you sleep better at night knowing that I will always strive to ask questions when I don’t understand. I will try my best to see views from both sides. I will read more than 140 character tweets and I will, one day, visit Washington D.C..

This is my twenties. Trying my best to do the adult things such as keeping up with current political issues and topics. But please, for the sake of my sanity, do not try and make me understand how the stock market works.

this is my twenties.

‘Sup everybody…

Am I allowed to start a post off saying, “Sup”? Probably not, but this isn’t the New York Times so I think it is fine.

I turned 25 last year and realized I am halfway done with this decade of my life (very good with numbers, obviously). Your twenties are a rollercoaster, man. People might give you a heads up about how much your life will change during this decade, but no one is telling you how it will make you FEEL. Spoiler alert, you feel like you have literally no idea what you’re doing. But I don’t think any of us do. AM I RIGHT? Please tell me I am kinda right. Winging it is how I assume we all go through life and mask it by telling people we are “living our best life” but really we just bought frozen pizza for dinner at Rite Aid using all quarters. Shoutout to college me! You go girl.

I feel like I have hit that sweet spot at 25 where I can look back at this point in my life and know how that one experience affected me, or how that particular relationship grew me. Our twenties are filled with growing up, being on our own, and figuring it out for ourselves. That is our twenties. And our thirties and every decade after that, probably. Some of these years are, all jokes aside, hard as hell. Everyone told us we would have to grow up sometime, but no one tells you how.

Shoot. That got deep real fast, Nicole.

On a lighter note, we also brush up against things that are unexpectedly the best parts of our lives, and we will eventually be able to look back and have the experiences from this time to thank for those. The forever friends you met, when you learned how to cook not using a microwave..still working on that one, the trips you were able to take because you don’t have kids yet, or the trips you can take because you’re single and DON’T NEED NO MAN/WOMAN. It’s all about perspective, really.

I do feel like I have grown up a little and learned a few things along the way- like how to not buy a house, why music festivals aren’t as cool as they seem on Instagram, and that the only way I really afford new clothes is a result of how much Plato’s Closet will pay me for my old ones, which is enough to buy half a headband from lululemon, apparently.

I wanna share these experiences with you. These are my perspectives. These are my twenties. I hope you find yourself unexpectedly enjoying them as much as I do.

Sincerely,

Someone who will never know how to properly sign off here. Do I say “XO”? Ew, I hate that. Do I sign my name? No, this isn’t a cover letter. I don’t know. Byyyyyye buddy.

we need the listeners too.

It is an understatement to say that we live in a world where we all feel strongly (very strongly) about the climate of our nation. It’s also an understatement to say that there is just a lot going on. That’s how I feel. There is always so much going on. All news is breaking news, it seems like.

Social media is a blessing and a curse when it comes to breaking social and political issues right now. It really is amazing to live in a time where we have these platforms to freely express our opinions. We have taken freedom of speech to a new, engaging level.

And while some people feel the need to speak out on their views, beliefs and opinions, there is also another crowd of us. One that isn’t as outspoken, but is still here. The listeners. At least, that’s where I am and maybe it’s just a party of one. This probably makes sense because I am a processor. I might not know exactly where I stand on gun rights, complex social and political issues, standing vs. kneeling, or our president but I am still here listening, reading and trying my best to understand.

I think we need the listeners just as much as we need the people brave enough to speak up. Us listeners we read and process, ask good questions, and remain quietly curious.

I skim through articles and listen to podcasts to expand my view on what’s going on in the world but that’s just where I would like to stay, for now. Sometimes it is all too much. For example, I just temporarily unfollowed all political accounts on Twitter because I just needed some silence and a quiet  place to filter the noise. In the 24-hour news cycle constantly updating our feeds, I felt the need to step away and listen to something else for a while. Meaning I see a lot of college football updates and as a UGA fan that could always go wrong.

As a millennial, I look up to those of us who feel strongly about our generation standing up for what we believe in. We can be discounted for a lot of things, but speaking up is not something we lack. Our voice in this world matters and so does our posture. I pray that when we do speak up, it comes from a place of love and grace. We have so much to learn from those ahead of us and those being raised after us. We will always need the courageous outspoken, just as much as we need the cautious and curious listeners. My hope is that I am, and we are, always listening to all sides with a posture of love, grace and humility.

heart of gratitude.

I don’t know if I ever really set aside an appropriate time to have a heart of gratitude towards a season life until it has already passed.

I get caught up in the when ________ happens then I will be _________ cycle of thinking. I rarely find myself remaining aware of the present circumstances  in my life.  Even when I’m eating breakfast I’m wondering what I will have for lunch. Which is definitely important, don’t get me wrong.

How do I practice slowing down when I am so accustomed to living in a world always on the go? We know how to keep up not how to slow down and focus on what is good in our lives.

A few years ago a mentor of mine challenged me to take some time every day to write down three things that bring me joy. Three years later, I still do this practice. It’s starts my day…

So, how do I do it? How do I be present? There is so much goodness in my life right now. First year of marriage, in the second year of a job I love, creating community with young, married friends, appreciating family more than ever, living in our second one-bedroom apartment. These are some of the best times. The times when life stages seem so new. I don’t want to miss it while wishing I was on the other side of it. I never want to go through the day-to-day just getting through until the next stage comes. I want to appreciate what is right in front of me. I want to embrace figuring it out. I want to trust the process when it seems like I have no idea what I’m even doing. No one writes a manuscript for your twenties. I have nothing to go off of except for my own experiences and those around me.

I hope that when I look back on where I am in life right now that I am able to say, with confidence, even though I had no idea the right answer or what was to come, that I had a heart of joyful gratitude embracing it.

not fake news: why and how I got a library card.

Well for one, they are free. I used to spend who knows how much money on books at Barnes and Noble just to read it once and put it on a shelf never to read again. Millennials love free things, which is why I am not sure how more of us aren’t flocking to local libraries. However, I understand why you aren’t because reading and brunch is a thing you all seem to care about passionately.

But for the rest of us (me) and in order to save the tens of dollars to my name, I thought a library card would be a good fit for my wallet and help improve the amount of time it takes me to read a book. It used to be *give or take* a couple months, but library books have due dates apparently so I am doing myself a lot of favors here.

All libraries still look the same. It’s that building on the corner that hasn’t been updated in 20 years and wonder why there are still always cars in the parking lot. (Hint: free wi-fi and vending machines, I think). I walked in and was suddenly overcome with nostalgia. The inside of a local library has not changed in over 20 years, which was comforting on a lot of levels but also not because I was the only twenty-something within the walls of plastic covered books and free wifi users.

I walked up to the desk stating loudly, “I would like to get a library card,” because that seemed like a good start. It wasn’t long after I was denied because I didn’t have proof of residence. I was starting to second guess this nostalgic and frugal endeavor. Also I didn’t realize that a walk of shame coming out of a library AND back into a library in the same day was a feeling I would ever become familiar with but there I was. To prove to the librarian that I totally knew what I was doing, I checked out three books that day. Three. I haven’t read three books back-to-back since cramming for finals in college and even that’s a stretch.

Fast forward to the first due date of all three books, I returned them each in great condition and right on time. I remember this because I didn’t crack one of them open. The only good part about this story so far is that I have yet to collect any library fines. Take that, Barnes and Noble.

Since acquiring my new shiny library card, I have read and returned (sans library dues) two books. I still have a really, really hard time trying to find any books I go in looking for. Do public libraries even carry Mindy Kaling? I have yet to find her or Amy Poehler’s books and I am pretty sure the librarian is offended I consider it a piece of literature but I am going to keep asking for it.

This library card has taught me a lot like, how to read books in a realistic amount of time, why it’s important to educate librarians on classics of my generation (Bossypants by Tina Fey obviously) and having a library card can be just as satisfying as that hot yoga class you’re paying too much money for. I mentioned library cards are FREE, right?

 

 

writing is intimidating.

I have put off this post a million times. If you’re reading this you probably notice that the site is different, the name has changed and the person writing this post hasn’t followed through on something she promised herself she would do- start a blog. Yeah okay, I started a blog. I have started a lot of blogs. But I haven’t kept up with them. And I guess I feel the need to explain why, more for myself than for whoever is reading but yeah, really for me.

When I start any blog (including this one), I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it look really pretty with the best fonts, most professional backgrounds and convince myself that once it all looks perfect then it will be good enough to publish. I also do this with writing. I think about something I should write about, but by the time I actually sit down at my computer to get it out of my head I convince myself that it’s already been said. Someone else with another prettier blog has already said the same thing I was going to say, and their font is a lot trendier than mine, so I’m out. I shut it down, call it quits and convince myself that the internet doesn’t need another me. I realize there’s a lot of things wrong with that mindset, which is why I am here.

First of all, everything I just said before all comes back to why I started (and failed at) all the blogs in the past. I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was doing it to get the readers and the likes. While that’s nice, that’s not really why I like to write. Maybe it is silly to try to do this thing all over again. Maybe I lost whatever credibility I had before. But after every blog ended (and by ended I mean, the credit card expired on the subscription), I still had this thing inside of me. That thing being the words and the desire to put my thoughts out there, for me. Not for the likes, not for the readers, for me.

While I was in between another blog expiring and this one starting, I read a book that solidified all those desires that were still there. Deep down somewhere I knew that I had to write again. This book helped me get back to the blank page and go for it one more time.

“Gifts Are Bridges,” she writes, “I think God gives us each a gift or two so that we have something special to offer to others. But sometimes we make the mistake of assuming that the things we’re good at are common to everyone. We don’t recognize that our gifts are unique and therefore worth offering.” I mean, I have thought about these words almost everyday since I have read them. Because she is describing me. I think God has given me the gift, or at least the desire to write, but every time I sit down to do it I convince myself that my writing is common, not needed, not special. But it is, because it is mine. It’s my thoughts and my personality and my view of life. My writing is a gift to me and to God simply because it is mine.

Excuse me for wanting to just type out the whole chapter for you, but she goes on to write, “I think sometimes we get confused and believe that our gift must bring us money or success or fame. Sometimes those things do happen, but not usually. The only thing a gift needs to do is bring you joy. You must find the thing that brings you joy in the doing of that thing, and not worry about the outcome.” So, that’s what I am going to do here. This post, getting this out of my head and onto the page, it brings me joy to do so. This new start may be the beginning of a bridge into someone else’s life or it may just be for me. Either way, I am okay with that. I am okay that I don’t have the most professional blog out there, or the most readers or even own a nice camera to take good pictures for this. It’s just me and my writing and I am good. Nah, I feel great.