Little Lessons That Have Served Me

I am 26 years old which is a remarkably young age and an incredibly silly time to be telling anyone anything. But you weirdos seem to enjoy reading along and since we’re having such a good time doing life together, I thought I would share my best Fortune Cookie Advice. This article is one of my favorites, and I search for it and reference it constantly. Here is what I have learned about the world and what I might write in the card I’ll mail you on your birthday.


Being funny is the second fastest way to connect with someone. Being sincere is the first.

You won’t land your dream job at 22 after college graduation. It’s not that you don’t deserve it, it’s that you wouldn’t recognize it if you saw it then anyway.

You can do almost anything if you’re confident enough- like wearing shoes that don’t match the rest of your outfit or starting your own business.

If it doesn’t feel right, you won’t enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, it won’t feel right.

You have something someone else wants. You want something someone else has. This is the way of things. There’s no getting around it unless you live in a hole, in which case, someone else will be wishing they could live in a hole like you do.

Laughing at yourself is disarming. Laughing at someone else is the most efficient way to get shut out.

It’s okay to be a secretary, an assistant director, a landscape designer, and a grant writer all in 5-years. I can’t tell you where you might go from there, but I can tell you that it’s okay to have gone wherever you have been.

Things you should apologize for: making a tasteless joke, taking the cheap shot, breaking an unwritten rule (even if your relationship can weather it.)

Things you should not apologize for: leaving a job when it’s stopped being useful in your life (challenging, enjoyable, financially rewarding), saying “No”, changing your mind.

Your relationships will track in some interesting ways. If you’re both willing to stop short when headed down the wrong path, be appropriately bashful, and laugh about it later, you two will probably be okay.

Knowing the difference between a crisis and a transition is incredibly freeing. Losing your job, cancelling the contract on a new home, saying goodbye to good friends- these can all be profound disappointments but manageable when your family is safe.

Performing a kindness for another person is the currency of life. Casseroles are universally legal tender.

Ode to a White Shirt

I’m wearing my white shirt again today. I wore it on Wednesday too. And I’ll probably wear it once this weekend. I’m becoming a lot like this woman. If you’re trying on minimalism, there’s a lot of power in a white shirt.

FullSizeRender (7)

White shirts go with everything. I don’t worry about my hair when I wear a white shirt. I don’t fuss with my makeup when I wear a white shirt. A good white shirt puts a polish on whatever it is about you that already shines.

However, an interesting thing happens when you combine the principles of a capsule wardrobe with the ideals of KonMari. This morning as I was dressing and thinking about how much I love my white shirt (which is this one, for reference) (yes, I know, it’s freaking steal) I said to myself, I’m a mess. I’m going to ruin this white shirt some day. And I love this particular one. I should stock up so I always have one on hand. Whoa partner.

Marie Kondo tells a story in her book about a woman who loved a shirt so much she bought two. She wore the first one to threads, but the second one sat untouched. It didn’t spark joy anymore.

This particular shirt fits me well and even more importantly, it fills my need for a white shirt right now. I love a sense of abundance as much as the next girl, but when we “stock up” we attempt to anticipate our future needs based on our current situation.

First of all, it seems unlikely that J.Crew is going to stop selling white button-down shirts. Should I be presented with a situation where I need a new one, there will certainly be one available to me for purchase. And don’t we all prefer the “new” anyway? Even if I kept my extra white shirts in plastic bags and tissue paper, they would become “old” just by virtue of being in my closet.

More importantly, I hope in six months (though let’s be honest, I’ll wreck this shirt well before then) that my needs have changed. I hope that my consciousness has continued to expand and that what serves me today will propel me to new experiences and that replicating just won’t do. Isn’t this the beauty of minimalism? That there is growth in maintenance?

In practicing minimalism, my hope is that my interior life reflects that same chicness as any exterior life. That I cultivate and invest in quality, not just in leather and denim and silk, but in my words, and my time, and my energy. It is so easy to slip into our standard patterns (I’ve already double booked myself since my last post on making time so old habits die hard), but a little intentionality goes a long way.

How to Say No (Or rather, Why We Say Yes)

Can I see a show of hands from my Yes Gals? (Don’t worry, I won’t sign you up for anything!)

GIRLS. (And guys.) Is it just me or are we really seeing each other lately? We are speaking our truths and holding safe space for one another and good stuff is happening. (Tangentially, I love to write for the “me-too-moments”. Thanks for speaking up and saying “Me too!” It gives me so much joy.)

I think my last post hit a few of you in the feels. I’m not surprised because high tide rises all ships and I’m in constant awe of the amazing folks around me. We’re an unstoppable group. But maybe it’s not what we are doing, but why we do it that’s left some of us with a long list of to-dos and a short list of joys.

You are speaking out to me and saying “My relationships are not benefiting from the way I spend my time.” (MINE EITHER).
You are saying, “I have goals I can’t get to because I’m too busy with residual commitments.” (ME TOO).
You are saying, “Why aren’t I spending more time drinking on my patio?” (I DON’T KNOW.)

I have been in countless meetings, pen in hand, eyes averted, repeating to myself “Do not sign up. Do not sign up. Do not sign up.” It works about 40% of the time. I wrote about making space back in February and candidly, I’ve been struggling with it for a long time. How can we learn to deal?

0cb7b24f25c051fdb8e12a0fc68bfefd

I think it might pay us to ask ourselves, why do we say “yes” so often anyway?

I don’t presume to speak for us all, Yes Gals, but here are my sneaking suspicions:

1. We want to be liked. I prefer to be seen as a reliable, interesting, well-rounded woman. With clever ideas. And a delicious brownie recipe. Who always wears nice shoes. The more I commit to, the more opportunity I have to impress. If I impress you, then you’ll like me. Right?

I suspect my Yes Gals are often grown up Teacher’s Pets. The “people pleaser” gene is dominant in our DNA and approval translates to acceptance. I’m not accusing us of all being insecure, but we are probably all a little bit insecure.

2. We’re arrogant. Somehow, alongside our insecurities, lives our arrogance. Yes Gals are a proud tribe. Put quite simply, we live by the mantra that “If you want something done right, just put it down right now and let me handle it, please.” We love to be seen as altruistic and there’s no question that we are generous, affectionate, and passionate. But curiously enough, we’re also certain that we are unique in our abilities to conduct a business meeting, host a reception, or plan a fundraising campaign.

There’s something unnerving about the idea of letting someone else have the reins. When the “Is anyone available for this” call is put out, we simultaneously imagine how successful it will be under our direction and what a mess it could become if someone else speaks up first.

3. We ignore the dataWe’ve planned an awful lot of parties in our day, haven’t we Yes Gals? We’re good planners because we’re creative. Creative folks have the perfect birthday banner tucked away and an idea for a cake that is going to just blow the lid off. We dream in showers and perfectly executed meeting agendas and awards banquets. We spend less time evaluating the facts.

We forget that everything takes longer than we think it will. We forget that we’ve never decorated a 6-tiered cake before. We pretend that we are obligated to follow through on a task that we didn’t have to commit to in the first place. We ignore our husbands (and wives) saying, “Wait a minute… Didn’t you just LEAVE a committee? Why are you chairing a new one?!” Mercy.


Here’s who benefits from our whacked out priorities: No one. Not our committee members who can tell we silently resent every volunteer meeting we sit through. Not our spouses who would love to get in some couch time with us. Not our personal goals that gather dust as another season passes. Not our spirits that deserve more tender treatment. We are only robbing from ourselves.

I don’t presume to know the best way to say more No and less Yes. But I think we need to be honest with ourselves, Yes Gals: We get high off the praise, we’re addicted to the attention, and we crave the acceptance. It might come in a pretty wrapper, but in my case, the day planner has some dirty little secrets to tell.

I, for one, deserve better. And you, reader and friend, do too. And so do your communities (your partners, families, friends). I pledge to commit only to that which sparks joy and to follow through for the right reasons. Our generosity should not be born of guilt and our gifts should not be given from obligation.

Yes Gals- welcome to the year of Thanks for Thinking of Me, but No.

The Ripple Effects of Minimalism

If you’ve committed to a capsule wardrobe, you might have done so with the subconscious (or conscious!) realization that your closet is hardly the only place in your home that’s been neglected by excessive materialism. After reading Marie Kondo’s book, I noticed that nearly every nook and cranny in my apartment was the resting place for something that I didn’t love, or find useful, or believe to be beautiful. (Which is a really pretty way of saying I have a bunch of CRAP.)

It’s suffocating.

Brett and I have committed to KonMari our entire apartment. We’ve taken a day off work in June to do a full court press. (BECAUSE WE’RE LIKE THAT). We’ve started in on Clothes and Books, and we’ll spend our long weekend addressing Papers, Komono, and Mementos.

Simply by starting a capsule wardrobe and cleaning up our bookshelves, we are already enjoying the first benefits of minimalism. We have noticeably less laundry. (PRAISE BE UNTO HIM) Packing for a trip is simple. Getting dressed is easy. We’ve decided to sell our book collection and already pocketed $20! (Which we will add to our travel fund, a true source of joy for the Mosers). (Traveling. Not squirreling away money. No one LIKES saving money.)

Marie Kondo recommends handling each item in your home and accessing it individually. Track your reaction- does it spark joy? And don’t stop at your house.

That committee you are in- “Pick” it up, does it spark joy? That invitation to a weekend trip- when you examine it, how does it make you feel? Your cable subscription, your collection of old Cosmo magazines, your bookshelf full of dusty shot glasses- does it bring you joy to simply own them? Even if you never use them?

In a recent conversation with Brett, I stated- “I want to count my commitments on one hand.”

1. My personal life. (Brett, my friends, drinking on the patio, grilling hot dogs, helping plan my best friend’s wedding)
2. My work. (Which is a joy, a challenge, a pleasure.)
3. My education. (I’m going back to school in August!)
4. My service. (Which I’ve scaled back to include a committee in my young professionals group and a position on the Chamber of Commerce board.)
5. A rotating position for time delineated events. If I’m hosting a birthday party this month, then I’m sorry, I can’t help plan a community service event.

There’s a good chance this sounds silly to you. (Actually, for your sake, I hope it does.) But as a “yes” gal from way-back, it’s transformative for me to declare, My time is the most important. 

Call it a toast to selfishness, but if you need me this summer, I’ll be drinking on my patio, grilling hot dogs and planning my best friend’s wedding. I hope you’re making time to do exactly the things you want to do as well!

My Spring 2015 Capsule

This capsule wardrobe is a real thing huh? I love hearing about your own journeys with this. I think a bunch of us are SO THERE. Spring is a season of growth. Ideas are percolating and we are establishing roots to weather the coming seasons. We are coming out of hibernation and when the sun beams into our windows,  we want the light to shine on the best of our homes, our relationships, and our intentions.

I haven’t been feeling very good lately. I’ve been really sensitive and quite emotional and to be candid, downright glum some days. The truth is, I’m a really happy person so I’m sitting with a lot of discomfort. My preference is to be cheerful and I struggle on days that are difficult to choose joy. These ideas about minimalism feel like a gift, however, because I see a path to reduce distraction and useless clutter. I see a path to recognizing that I am and that I have enough. I hope your journeys are taking you to the destination you need to reach as well. I recently finished “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo (and shared it with Brett!) If, like me, you want to practice the principles of minimalism beyond the boundaries of your closet, I strongly recommend you give it a read.

As promised, this is my post about the spring capsule I carved out for myself from my closet. Admittedly, I think a LOT about that “type” of person I want to be, so the “style” dialogue was not as hard for me as I think it’s been for some of you. (Here’s a post about how to start that conversation.) I added a few pieces in and pulled a whole lot out- this is what’s left.

My capsule is 32 pieces: 18 tops, 10 bottoms, 2 dresses, and 2 jackets. (Here’s a post about what I decided to include and why.)

Tops: 5 button downs, 3 long sleeve shirts, 2 sweatshirts, 4 silky tops, and 4 tee shirts/tanks. 
FullSizeRenderBottoms: 1 grey maxi skirt, 2 pencil skirts, 1 midi skirt, 1 mini skirt, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of black skinnies, 1 pair of black skimmers, and 1 pair of navy khakis. FullSizeRender-2Dresses: 1 maxi dress, 1 cotton shift dress

FullSizeRender-4Jackets: 1 denim jacket, 1 lightweight jacket FullSizeRender-3Extras*: 1 black purse, 1 brown purse, 1 dress clutch, 1 casual clutch, 4 scarves, 1 black belt, 1 brown belt
*(I didn’t include accessories in my overall capsule count, but I did reduce them pretty dramatically.)

FullSizeRender-5As you can see, it’s startlingly blue. And I hope, quite versatile. There are only a few pieces that I couldn’t wear to work (Slytherin sweatshirt, I’m looking at you) and only a few that I wouldn’t wear at home (those skimmers just scream business casual…)

The real work starts now- in being creative and joyful when dressing, deliberately choosing to love what I own, and saying no to clothes shopping until it’s time to build my summer capsule for July. Brett and I plan to implement the KonMari method to our entire apartment, so my focus in the coming weeks is discarding.

I hope you are staying encouraged and finding ways to implement practices that are meaningful to you. If you need a cheerleader- you know where to find me!

Style Insights

I can’t tell you anything about sustaining a wardrobe capsule yet. I’m sorry. I just started this project last weekend. HOWEVER. I can tell you a lot about getting started. Because I just did that. Get started that is. Last weekend.

I think a barrier to wardrobe capsules is the need to lean heavily on a cultivated sense of style. Everyone gets dressed, but only a few have “style” and those few are lifestyle bloggers who are paid to get dressed and have someone take their photo in an alley behind their apartment (Is it their husbands? Boyfriends? Why are they all dating photographers? How did they talk them into this idea? Don’t they have jobs? When do they take these photos? This doesn’t seem like a realistic model to me.)

If you’re someone who just gets dressed, it seems like a bad idea to whittle down your options to a handful of tops and bottoms and one pair of very trendy ankle boots. It seems like the potential for showing up to work naked one day is getting more real all the time. And while the idea of “style” sounds somewhat intriguing, it might also sound entirely exhausting.

I totally get that, but I also think you’re probably wrong.

Are you on Pinterest? (Yes, you are.) Do you have a fashion board? (Yes, you do.) This is where your “style” lives and breathes. If you’re lucky, your style might periodically camp out in your closet, but most of the time, it’s writing rent checks to Pinterest because that is where it lives. Your fashion board represents your perfect closet. If you had unlimited resources to devote to “style”- this is how you would dress.

And if you are me- there are a dozen outfits that include a navy striped t-shirt. And 10 with chambray button downs. And 15 with cotton maxi skirts. What I’m telling you is that a pattern will emerge. All you have to do is find it.

And when you find it, appreciate it. What are the commonalities? What drew you to those outfits? What do you already own that reflects that pattern? (Hopefully quite a bit.) What do you own that doesn’t? (Hopefully less.)

I spent about an hour reviewing my “Style File” board. There are over 150 pins and I’ve been saving ideas for a few years now. I want to share my “style” insights with you, so that you can do the same and take the plunge towards a happy minimalist closet.

  • It should be mostly black, mostly white, or mostly denim. Mostly. Except when it’s navy.
  • Pair something flowy with something structured. Or something structured with something structured. Never all flowy.
  • Stripes are good. In fact, stripes are a neutral. Geometric patterns are also nice. Florals are pretty in theory but not in purchase.
  • More cognac leather.
  • Comfort is king.
  • Statement necklaces should be worn with sweaters. In the fall. When it’s cold. Delicate jewelry goes with everything else.
  • Variations on a theme:
    White, Grey, Black
    Navy, Chambray, Denim
    Pink, Coral, Red
  • Layers = a jacket . Maybe a scarf. Maybe.
  • Skirts are a safe place.
  • Winning combinations = Black + Brown; White + Denim
  • Buy a black moto jacket this fall.

My ideal style is preppy, classic, and urban (rather than boho, earthy, or trendy, for example.) If you stood in front of your closet today and picked an outfit that made you feel stylish, put together, comfortable, and happy- I bet it would mirror so many of those pins on your style boards.

I think this is a good risk-free first step and I think you’ll surprise yourself. Long live style! In closing, here’s my ideal outfit:

2223125bd76d4ef475ee8c27fd794438
Black, chambray and the leather jacket of my dreams.

Wardrobe Capsule Phase One

I did two things almost immediately after sitting on this minimalism thing for a while.

1. Unsubscribe to every single promotional email that might tempt me.
2. Make a work plan. Call it my work culture, but I just can’t get worked up about a goal if there’s no methodology to back it up.

It is important to me to affect real change in my habits. Every 3 months or so, I make a sweep of my closet and donate clothes I don’t love or that don’t fit anymore. Doesn’t that sound great? It does, but it begs the question- why do I have to keep making passes and why have I acquired so much that I don’t love since my last pass?

Danger Will Robinson.

So while I loved the idea of a wardrobe capsule, it feels very much like the first step of a long journey. I call our action plan the “Moser Family Power Plan” which is the shortened title of the “Minimize Our Space In Order To Live In Our Power Plan.” I’ve talked to you about living in my power right? Well, I think for the Mosers living in our power means hosting friends for dinner on the patio and making playlists and singing together and travelling and laughing laughing laughing. Living in our power doesn’t reflect any material accumulation.

Our plan has five steps: Basic Clean Up, Wardrobe Capsule, Total Elimination, Upgrades, and Sustainability. Sustainability matters the most to me, but the wardrobe capsule is the most fun, so I’ll share more about that here.

You probably saw this photo I shared on Facebook. Pulling everything from my closet was a bit of a reality check and if I had any suspicion that I might not need this, I was quickly galvanized. I sorted everything and started 3 piles: Into My Capsule, Out of Season, and Get Out Of My House. I used Un-Fancy as a guide and kept her rule in mind: “Would I pick this over my favorite item of clothing in my closet?” If this answer was “no”, it went in the donate/sell pile. If the answer was “maybe” or “not in this weather”, I set it aside for storage. What remained were my favorites: basic, versatile, and good quality.

Here’s what didn’t make the cut for spring, but I’m hanging on to for future capsules. If I decide not to include items in any capsule by the end of the year, I’ll donate those “maybe” items that eventually revealed themselves as duds. (Yes, that’s a cat Christmas sweater. Winter Capsule!)

unnamed

Here’s what is headed out the door. It includes two pairs of ankle boots that while cute, I would never pick over my $6 Chelseas from Gap (pictured above), two bright colored belts, some J.Crew tank tops that are too short, khaki shorts (I don’t belong to the country club, so I don’t know why I dress like I do), several skirts, and a brightly colored tunic I purchased after our trip to Mexico under the false impression that what looks great at a resort looks great at home. (It doesn’t.)

FullSizeRenderAnd here’s what stayed! IMG_9604I’ll do a full Spring Capsule post later, but I want to share some of my “rules”. My biggest piece of advice for getting started? Keep an open mind and let your wardrobe do the talking.

  • Right off, I decided to stick with 1 capsule. While I don’t have the luxury of working from home, I pride myself on buying very versatile pieces that fit my business casual work style and (what I liked to think of) as my polished, classic causal style. I didn’t want to manage two separate wardrobes, but I really let my existing wardrobe make this decision for me. When I laid it all out, two capsules wasn’t necessary.
  • I haven’t settled on a number of pieces yet, but I think it will be around 35. I shopped for a handful of key pieces this weekend (J.Crew Factory for the win) and I want to bring those in and see what I end up with.
  • I didn’t include: accessories, jewelry, workout clothes, underthings, party dresses, or shoes. But I did pare these items down and I did set aside scarves for the season. I don’t own many shoes and I tend to shop for function over form in that department. I do intend, however, to keep a watchful eye on what I do and don’t wear so I can toss extras out at the end of the season. Right now I have a pair of white Converse, three pairs of flats- black, camel, and pink, black sandals, brown sandals, a pair of Sperrys, and a pair of Minnetonkas on regular rotation.
  • Versatility is key. I gravitate towards a few basic staples in primary colors- black, white, grey, navy, red. Nearly every piece works with every other and this brought the panic level way down. If you pull everything and don’t see a pattern, it’s probably worth doing some thought exercises to hone in on “your style.” You’re probably more predictable then you realize.
  • I considered this a late start on a Spring Capsule, which will take me through May and June. My summer capsule will be July, August, and September.

My overall goal is to increase quality and decrease quantity. No more bargain shopping, no more flash sales. Any purchases should add value to my wardrobe. Finally, this is what I wore to work today.. Wardrobe Capsule Day One. And the truth is, I would have picked this out from the rubble anyway. IMG_9607

Do You Believe That You’re Enough?

I’m noticing a thread that runs through my life. It reveals itself in my fears, my worries.

I don’t believe that I’m enough.

You might have seen this post on Facebook last night. I loved it, but when I explored Un-Fancy, the blogger who inspired her closet re-do, I was captivated. Minimalism.

Brett and I were drinking coffee in the living room this morning and I asked if he thought we could live as minimalists. I asked, If there were a fire in this room, is there anything here that you would save before running out? (EXCLUDING THE CAT. PEOPLE, I’M NOT A MONSTER). (Stella was asleep upstairs. She’s not part of the thought experiment. I’m not a bad pet parent, she just doesn’t have a meaningful role in this scenario.) Both of us admitted, NOPE. In spite of the fact that we’ve talked about this concept over and over, we haven’t acted on any of it.

Caroline, who writes Un-Fancy, shares this lesson: When things aren’t adding up, start subtracting” 

I started to think about why I’m such a shopaholic. Why I fill my house with things I could set fire to. Why I don’t save more/spend less. Where I put energy, resources, time.

This year Brett and I are travelling to some amazing places to see some beautiful people- experiences I will remember the rest of my life. Doesn’t investing in those moments serve me more richly? Doesn’t that hold more value than a scarf I will eventually leave in the backseat of a cab? (Rhetorical questions because OF COURSE IT DOES.)

Or more importantly, if I took away all the material trappings – Is my life enough? Are my relationships enough? Am I enough? 

It might seem a stretch to tie this back to my body issues but the truth is, I fight with myself because I don’t believe I’m enough. I don’t trust my body. Naked, I have no value. I need black flats and leather bags and blog posts and work-out-weight-loss challenges to cloth me in worthiness.

I’m starting to challenge this notion and I’m deciding where to go with it. My gut instinct when I want to try something new is to “gear up.” Literally. But what if I let go instead? What if instead of buying a new yoga mat I went on more walks wearing shoes I already own? What if I made literal space by getting rid of those floral skirts I haven’t worn since I was 22? What if I stopped shopping for a new piece of artwork for my bedroom and loved on my husband a bit more? What if I was already capable of taking care of myself? What if I’m already just the way I ought to be?

This is heavy stuff y’all. This is a chat over coffee and a talk at lunch and a pow wow with a glass of wine. It’s a lot. It really is. Thank you for being my community as I work through some of these weird things. Isn’t be 26 (or 36 or 66 or 96) the strangest thing?

We had a bad morning.

I say this in case for some reason you have been caught up in our #mosersonparade world and are under the false impression that Brett and I are living in an Instagram filter all day.

We are not.

I love to share the fun stuff because it makes me happy. It helps me remember. It reminds me what’s good and what my gifts are. But there are a lot of things that aren’t fun too. A lot of that is private and really personal. But it’s important too. And talking about it helps Fight Perfection. Presenting authenticity is part of my Why. I love doing life with y’all and I want you to trust me and to know me well.

Today Brett and I got in a fight about a poop joke. I wish I was being silly, but I’m just not.

(I thought about writing this post without going into details. But I just couldn’t. It didn’t seem right. I’m sorry.)

It was like this: Brett made some off the cuff remark about me hitting up the bathroom twice this morning (IS THIS MY BAD KARMA COMING BACK AT ME?!) and I made some snarky joke back and the next thing you know, he’s sulking and I’m calling him out and he’s hollering and I am like WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO I SHOULD HAVE MOVED TO SPAIN AND NEVER GOTTEN MARRIED.

I’m going to share something I’m not proud of: I go for the low blow 100% of the time. If the shot is available to me, I take it.

Brett: “I just feel like no one ever takes me seriously.”
Amanda: “No one takes you seriously because you whine like a little bitch all the time.”

I am, truly, a garbage person.

But it gets better. We get to work, hop on Google Chat, and KEEP FIGHTING.

Brett calls me a bully. (He’s right) I call him a coward. We are both being just the worst. We finally back down and get tired and realize that things have gotten a fuzz out of hand. We’re both mad at each other for not letting it go and giving the other person a pass. Sometimes we are okay at this. Other times, we really drop the ball.

It’s tough to live with your best friend. Knowing everything about them often means you have all the ammunition to kick them when they’re down. My standard relationship advice is “Be patient and be kind,” and I was neither of those things this morning and it sucked. Nothing is at once more terrible and more satisfying than hurting the ones we love.

We tend to be extra gentle after a round of emotional boxing and we bought lunch and ate at a park and talked about Airplane! and our very favorite Little Debbie’s snacks (Oatmeal Cream Pies-Amanda, Cosmic Brownies-Brett). We bought a plant for my office. We probably won’t fight again for weeks. We will say Hey I love you a lot and go to the movies and send each other cards and hold hands on the couch. The good stuff. The #mosersonparade stuff.

I want to give you this story because I want to tell you that you are not horrible. You and your partner aren’t fighting more than any other couple in the history of the world ever has. You are not missing out on happily ever after because you’re single. Life is hard work and the maintenance is unbelievable. I love to share about the real stuff in person with my friends when I can because we are all just learning together, but in case we can’t sit on the patio with a glass of wine, I wanted to tell you. The Mosers are painfully human.

I hope the sun is shining when you read this because that’s a gift to everybody. So is being honest and broken but looking for moments of redemption. I love you. Happy Friday.

I’m not a grown up, but I’m starting to learn some things about growing up. When I was younger (and maybe you can relate), I was pretty certain that I would mature as I accomplished milestones. Brett and I refer to this as “checking things off the list.”

Go to college- Check
Get married- Check
Buy a house- Check
Have a baby- Check
(In that order…)

I was under the impression that the hallmark experience of aging was moving through this checklist. I would feel more like an adult at each stage. I would be more mature once I owned a home than I was when I was renting. The pinnacle of self-actualization was giving birth, and so on.

You may have come to realize this is patently untrue. If you haven’t, allow me to say- catch up.

The true universal experience of getting older? In my opinion (and let’s be honest, that’s what you’re here for), is the slow, sweet fading of caring even a little bit what other people think. (Or, in the language of my generation- having no fucks to give.)

I think this process starts in your early 20s, a fraught and judgmental time, when you slowly step out of the fog of being a monster (teenager) and start thinking the most important thing in life is defining yourself. As you turn the lens inward, you are at once ceasing to turn it outward and your concern about how your friends are spending their evenings or your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend who is a ballet dancer or some shit just stop mattering. I might refer to this as “Not My Business Syndrome.” If you knew you a friend’s partner was cheating on them, and you hesitated for even a moment about telling them… then you know what I’m referring to. It’s a keen sense of “I’d Rather Not Get Involved-itis.” As you obsess about the minutia about what having bangs says about you to the world (trendy, fussy, unconcerned about having a sweaty forehead), you allow less space for things that used to really matter. It was at this point I stopped disagreeing with my friends all the time and realized that maybe they weren’t actually my friends to begin with.

Your mid-20s are a time when the scatter map of your peers is widespread and disorienting. You are both jealous of the Christmas Card family and disgusted. You pity your single friends and their Tinder disasters but envious of the freedom, the stories, the unwritten endings. This is the time of getting fired for tweeting about your boss. This is the time of losing your job at a start-up that went under. This is the time of moving to Portland. This is the time of realizing that “defining yourself” is thinly veiled narcissism.

And, if you’re me, and in this scenario you are, you approach a milestone and in some cases succeed (Brett Moser) and in other cases fail spectacularly (have you heard the story about us trying to buy a house?) and uncover that what happens inside a decision rarely looks the same from outside a decision. You arrive at the conclusion that life is intensely personal. Everything is a Monet. You may be lucky enough to find a person to share that mess with, but you slowly stop worrying about cleaning it up for the comfort of others.

As a people pleaser, this has been a bit of a revelation for me. In unpacking some complexities that live within me, I have felt less obligated to present my feelings up in such a way that is easily digestible for everyone else, because, bluntly, I don’t owe that to anyone. I love to communicate and I love to connect and share. This is an inherent piece of me. But whether my story resonates with you says very little about me and much more about you and as I age, I worry less and less about editing it so that it will. (Allow me to pause here to kindly say, I love you. You matter to me. I want to hold space for you. All these things can be true at the same time.)

It’s this sense of “You do you” or rather “I do me” that feels a bit like a universal truth. Not everyone owns a home. Some people don’t want to be parents. But the best of us, gradually and sincerely, recognize our own power, stop renting space to the opinions of strangers, and free ourselves up to learn the lessons of the next decade.