what they don’t tell you about life after high school


High school is over. My life in this suburban town is over. Everything I’ve ever known is now completely flipped on its head. Am I excited or worried? Yes. The answer is yes.

While in high school, the one question I had floating around my mind was, “what do they not tell you about graduating and entering the adult world?” Well, I wanted to outline that.

First of all, if you think college is “the adult world,” then you’re gonna have a rude awakening when you leave college. To be honest, a residence where someone stands by to answer all your questions and help you through life, where you’re surrounded by people your age with your interests? That’s not adulting. That’s a sheltered, extended camp. However, there are some things you have to take care of.

We’ll start with something that I don’t personally have an issue with: if you don’t already, you have to get used to doing your own laundry. And it’s probably not in the convenience of your own living space – if it is, good for you. Welcome to the real world.

Next, you get to take care of all your own nutrition. Yay? Maybe. If you have a hard time remembering to eat (like me) or if you don’t make super balanced food choices, this can be tough. Try to write out a meal plan for the week. Usually colleges have some sort of menu, if you’re on a dining plan. If you’re buying your own groceries, plan your grocery list based on the meals you’re going to cook that week. Trust me, it’ll make your meal habits healthier.

Here’s a tough thing about leaving high school. You can’t necessarily keep all of your friends. 😦 I know that sounds tough. But listen, it’s going to get really difficult to communicate with and check on each and every acquaintance you had in high school. People you swear you’ll stay in touch with will probably fade out of your life. Know that it’s okay, and that is something that happens with time. Prioritize the people you value and really want in your life.

Also, there’s a lot more to do than you think. In general. In fact, getting older just adds more and more responsibilities to your plate than you ever thought possible. However, just because someone added a responsibility doesn’t mean you have to claim it. You usually can and should say no to things that don’t align with your purpose.

But that doesn’t translate to skipping out on anything and everything that sounds hard or unfamiliar. Trying new things that are out of your comfort zone is another huge part of adulting. I honestly think that might be the most important part. If you don’t try scary new things, then are you even doing life right?

You might do things a little differently than you thought you would when you were younger. I used to think I’d stay up all night when I was a “big kid.” Nope. I want to go to bed at ten o’clock and wake up at five sometimes. I also thought bacon was a food group as a kid. Now I don’t eat meat. It’s a funny world we live in.

Reinventing yourself might be necessary. Maybe you like how you are, and you don’t want to change a thing. That’s great! Keep on going, love. But if you think you’d like to switch up your style or hair, or even change a personality trait for the better, then get workin! Right before you enter a new world, so to speak, is a perfect time to change some things up. We’re all going through changes, but big ones are hard to make when we don’t feel like it’s the “right time.” Spoiler alert: it’s never the right time. Just go for it.

Realizing that you’re actually cool and you can be your own best friend is the best feeling in the world. No, I mean it. Not in a cheesy way or in a way that’s pathetic and lonely. When you can turn on your favorite song, dance around your room in your favorite outfit, read books you like, take yourself out, go on walks alone, build yourself a fort, take care of yourself mentally, physically, spiritually… You can become your own best friend. And it’s amazing.

You can build a beautiful life by simply deciding to have one. You have jurisdiction over your whole life, so take advantage. What time do you want to get up and go to bed? What habits do you want ingrained? Fill in the blank: I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who ___________. Now, how can you get to that kind of person? Pretend you’re that person right now. What does that person do, believe, say? Be them. Keep going.

Something else they don’t tell you – you don’t know exactly what to expect. If you’re a high school student, just know that. You might be hunting for all the answers, but there may not be any until you get to where you’re going. Life was meant to be a series of questions you answer after you ask them, not before. Just know that you never have to do anything alone.

Have a wonderful week.

-ellynn ❤

got the blues?


we’ve all felt down at some point in our lives. more than ever, the world needs to hear this message: you are not alone.

I know life has been really difficult. I find myself going between boredom, sadness/loneliness, peacefulness, joy, and then the whole cycle again. sometimes I feel nothing. I just want you all to know that no matter what you’re feeling or not feeling, it’s okay.

you’re not going crazy. in fact, it’s completely natural to have all of the above and more reactions to everything covid-19 has brought us. it has caused so much loss for an immeasurable amount of people — whether that loss be in the form of life, events, relationships, opportunities, finances, or anything else.

what are natural reactions to loss? denial. anger. bargaining. depression. acceptance. the five stages of grief.

have I felt all of these? absolutely! I go between the stages constantly. today, I’m at the acceptance phase. a few days ago, I was in the anger/depression stages. a week ago, I was bargaining.

it’s okay to feel how you feel. sometimes we need to hear that from someone outside of our immediate family or friends. it’s okay. your feelings and emotions are valid.

the important thing isn’t that you “feel better,” although if you can find a way to do that, great! I’m proud of you! but the important thing is to acknowledge that you have these feelings. if you don’t know what is bothering you, you can’t start to tame those emotions.

look inside yourself. are you sad about not being able to go out, or by what you’re seeing on the news? are you angry because being with your family is difficult? are you in denial, perhaps because you think this whole thing is going to be over, so you’re going out anyway? all of these feelings are perfectly normal, healthy things to feel. but look at yourself and decipher how you’re reacting to the current state of the world.

now. take those findings and think of a way to help with the emotions. for being sad about not going out and seeing the news, schedule a zoom night with some good friends/family and don’t look at the news for a day. watch cute cat videos instead. in fact, maybe it’s a good idea for all of us to get off the internet for a while.

for those who are having a hard time with their families, taking a long walk in the sunshine or simply sitting on the porch steps with some music on might be just the escape you need.

if you find you’re in denial, perhaps doing some reading on the current state of the world and look up what’s been released by WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). if might be a bit of a shock to see what’s going on, and it may bring up other emotions, but it’s good to be informed and stay safe.

I know this isn’t easy, but taking care of ourselves mentally/emotionally during this time is crucial. I love you all. stay home, wash your hands, and watch lots of Netflix!

-ellynn ❤

18 lessons at 18


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Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

I’ve just turned 18! Happy birthday toooooo meeeee… A few notes, though, before I get into the post:

  • I’m sure you’ve noticed that my website looks a little different. Yes, I’ve scored a sweet new domain name! Say hello to rachelellynnm.com. I’ve come a long way in the years I’ve had this website. I’m also writing to you from my shiny new MacBook Air — this is a nod in the direction of Jeff. Thanks, Jeff. 🙂
  • You may begin seeing affiliate links in the next few posts so I can keep this domain open and start saving a bit for college. Just be aware! I do receive a commission for some links, but that’s only if you choose to make purchases based on my recommendations. You are never obligated to make any purchases, and I would never put up an affiliate link if it wasn’t something I didn’t truly like or want on my site.
  • Also, goodbye WordPress ads and hellloooo WordAds! Yep, I took the plunge. I’m a big kid blogger now.
  • And two more housekeeping things before we get to the post: 1. I will now be uploading twice a week – Wednesday and Saturday. Yay! And 2. I am working on an option for a subscription to support the blog. It would involve motivational Mondays, personalized poems, and sneak peeks of my current writing (with each one layering, depending on which subscription you have). This is very exciting for me, and I hope you are excited to go on this journey with me.

Alright, without further ado: 18 things I learned at 18.

  1. Your happiness depends on you. There are so many people around you who love and support you, but if you rely on them to create your happiness, that joy will be cut short. Depending on another person may feel good in the moment, but it is not sustainable.
  2. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Seriously. Not everyone is your friend. It’s not mean, it’s just the truth! Do you want that much commitment, anyway? No, probably not. Relationships take energy and effort, so commit to the ones that matter and leave the rest alone.
  3. Get organized. When you need to find that important paper or photo or password or book or item of clothing, you’ll thank me.
  4. Hold onto the important stuff. I didn’t want to mention the virus in this post, but I have to because it’s had such a tremendous effect on our world. Everything you know could disappear in an instant, so hang on to it while you can.
  5. Forgive, forgive, and then forget. People do deserve second and third and fourth chances. People do change, and they do make mistakes, and you would want someone to do the same for you. However: if someone hurts you over and over with no remorse or realization, do not waste time. Let them go.
  6. You’re never going to be ready. That thing you just thought about? Yeah, you’re not prepared for it. But it’s going to happen, and you’re going to have to do it, or you will never ever succeed.
  7. It’s not all about you. Yeah, yeah. Life might be crappy for a bit. But everyone has their own shit, and yours isn’t more pitiful than anyone else’s.
  8. Your environment matters. Your home. Your car. Your office. Make it comfortable. Make the places you live livable.
  9. Music makes everything different. Feeling like crap? There’s a playlist that can turn it around. Music is medicine, love.
  10. Success isn’t money. Enough is all you need.
  11. You don’t have to be productive 24/7. Society has major expectations for how much work you should be doing and how much you should be achieving, but you don’t have to appease society. Take breaks.
  12. But you do have to keep working at things you love. No one, and I mean no one is going to do the passion work for you. Writing novels has taught me this. Put in the time before you don’t have any time.
  13. Inspiration and motivation won’t keep you going. You have to have the habits, too. Brendon Burchard’s book saved me on this one.
  14. You can change right now. Sure, you can wait until New Year’s Day or your next birthday or your next promotion or when you move to L.A. to change up your life. Or you could start now, be happier now, and get inspired now.
  15. But you don’t have to change. Again, society really likes to tell us that we need the next big thing! We need to achieve x, y, z! But NO! You don’t.
  16. Stop holding back what you have to say. What is in your mind matters. Speak your truth.
  17. Drink more water. Seriously. This water bottle helps you stay on track.
  18. Breathe. The world waits for you, dear. Don’t speed up.

-ellynn ❤

take care of yourself.


Hey there. Yeah, it’s me, sneaking into your inbox or your WordPress Reader or wherever you find me. I hope you’re alright.

I’m eating breakfast right now, before I have a 12 1/2 hour day at school. Of course I’m stressed, and I know I’ll be tired later, but instead of sleeping in, I took the extra time to shower and make myself breakfast. Why?

Because I’m taking care of myself.

We don’t always need what sounds easy to us. I could have easily slept another hour. But I chose to give my body what it needed, and today, it needed a nice morning to prepare for the day ahead.

I have to treat myself like a toddler sometimes. When a toddler doesn’t want to eat or bathe or sleep, you have to show them to do it anyway. Because they need it, even if they don’t know any better.

But wait a minute, we do know better. You’re right! So why don’t we do better? One simple answer: it’s no easier to do what’s right for ourselves as adults than it is when we’re kids. That’s just the truth.

I understand that it’s better to go to bed early, but I will still stay up later than I should because in the now, I want to watch Netflix.

Self care isn’t always easy! It’s definitely not that face mask, bath bomb, candle stuff the world wants us to think it is. It’s going to school even if you’re sick because otherwise, you’d have to catch up.

Self care is taking two seconds to take a break from something you really love because you’ve been staring at a screen too long. You do need to look away from the screen every once in a while. Right?

We know better. But do we?

Let’s make a pledge: do better, not just know better. You deserve it.

-ellynn

6 years on wordpress.


When did this happen? Have I really been here this long? Did I seriously open this account as an 11 year old?

When I was seven, I decided I would be a writer. Ten years later, here I am. Poetry published in six places, three other books in the works, planning for college.

Did little me know this was where I was headed? Do the people around me know how much it means to be living in a dream? There are people who have followed this blog for as long as I’ve been posting. Wow!

I get people asking me why I don’t care that I’m not monetized, or why I don’t get sponsorships or reviews. I get questions about why, being so young, I waste my time writing. It’s not a waste.

I get to engage with a community of writers who care about what I have to say. It’s rare that young, LGBTQ+ women are listened to on any platform. It means so much to see responses and engagements on this website. It’s amazing.

Six years of just learning who I am. Two years of sharing what I love. Three months of being a published author. I know what I want to be when I grow up: a writer. I can’t wait to keep growing and sharing my world with you lovely people. Thanks for sticking around.

-ellynn

i’m writing a novel. again.


Hello, my lovely readers! I wanted to reach out and post something, as I haven’t for a while. Many of you know I’m a high school student, so blogging isn’t always my first priority (although I wish it could be!). You may be familiar with what we writers call “NaNoWriMo,” or National Novel Writing Month. Yeah, I’m doing that again.

Last year, I made 35,000 words of headway on my novel, “Guilty.” This year, my plan is to win. Winning means 50,000 words of pure writing! This means I’m doing lots of character work, and I’m trying all sorts of prep tactics so I don’t fall behind.

My novel plot this year is about a young boy named Kasey who disappears after celebrating a successful Pinewood Derby race with a buddy. His older sister and parents are forced to move on because the police and the town both stop searching for him. It gets to be a year or so, and his older sister decides to suck it up and sift through all the boxes in the shed where they used to hang out. She finds her great-grandmother’s Book of Shadows and becomes a witch.

I think it’s a very strong plot, and I’m hoping that one day, you all will get to (or want to) read it! I’ve never written horror/supernatural before. There’s a first time for everything. 🙂

So how am I prepping? I’m listening to “How to Win NaNo” and “Write-Minded,” two excellent podcasts I found on Spotify. Spotify, might I say, is an excellent place to find podcasts…they’re free, you can download them, and you can set them to nighttime mode so they only play for a certain amount of time. I don’t have Spotify premium. Totally recommend these two podcasts (and Kalyn’s Coffee Talk if you aren’t into writing).

I’m also going through NaNoWriMo’s free prep book on their website. It’s helping me with world-building (although it’s set in upstate New York), character building, motivation, plot holes…the whole nine yards. NaNo’s website also holds a bunch of forums and exciting community things to keep you motivated and working all November long.

I’m pre-writing a little of my novel. My plan is to have the first 5,000 words done before November. I realize this is cheating, which is why I labeled myself as a NaNo Rebel on my account. Which, by the way, if you’d like to add me as a NaNo buddy, my username is @rachelellynnm! I also have a new author instagram called @rachelellynnmauthor. Follow me everywhere. 🙂

While you’re here, check out this link to get 4 months free on WordPress Engine’s annual shared web hosting plans!

anyway, that’s my quick update. comment below if you’re NaNo-ing too!