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 ❤

music on my mind


I’m a firm believer that music has the capability to change us fundamentally — if not forever, then for the short time that it plays. If this is true, then we must be very aware of the music we’re choosing to put in our ears. I’ve made a list of songs that set my soul on fire.

  1. Slam — AWOLNATION: I had to start off with a song from my favorite band’s latest album, Angel Miners and the Lightning Riders. Every song is excellent, but this one is probably my favorite. It just gives off this epic, bad-ass vibe that we all crave in a song.
  2. Great American Novel — Max Jury: This song makes you feel like you’re in a movie.
  3. Follow the Sun — Xavier Rudd: I heard this one while on an adventure with a friend. It just reminds me of good times.
  4. Ambivalence — Hanz, emawk: Imagine you’re on a city bus, on your way home from a long day. You’re going to rest for a while. It’s drizzling.
  5. Wolf Like Me — TV On The Radio: I can’t explain it, but this song makes me want to run a marathon?
  6. Dead of Night — Orville Peck: One of the most beautiful tunes I’ve ever heard.
  7. Honeybee — Steam Powered Giraffe: Going with the beautiful theme, this song has some of the most gorgeous vocals… and the layering, the lyrics… it’s golden.
  8. Doomed — Moses Sumney: His music might be a bit different than your average alternative/indie sound, but it’s still darn magical.
  9. Take Me Out — Young Summer: I’m a sucker for slow covers of well-known songs, and this one just works so well. Although I adore the original, this sad singer-songwriter feel just twists your heart. Ugh.
  10. Born In The Slumber — flora cash, Death Stranding: Timefall: Heard this one live at the online Buzz Beach Batll. Beautiful.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for now… but I’m sure I’ll have more later. Enjoy!

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 ❤

some things happen for a reason.


ripple effects.

you decide to go get coffee and sit for awhile at a coffee shop you’ve never been to. you’re nervous to go, but you do it, and you find yourself pleasantly surprised by a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.

you go online to find a book you really want to read and come across a better one that’s cheaper and it’s by an author you’re going to meet in three months.

you speak french and love political journalistic writing and go to a university reception to do those things. you meet a student whose three majors are french, journalism, and politics.

i’m not saying life is perfect, and i’m not saying everything is meant to work out in your favor. i’m saying we, on this beautiful planet, are all interconnected. there’s not necessarily a reason for you to step in the mud, but there might be if the person to help you get your foot unstuck is the love of your life.

we may not have destinies or fates or grand plans, but we definitely find ourselves in situations that simply could not have happened had we not made a decision that led to that point. what things have happened to you that you felt were meant to happen? how would your life be different if they hadn’t happened?

so many pieces of the past make up the lives we have now. the language, the upbringing, the culture, the education, the access to knowledge… life is insanely cumulative. i believe that’s why some people don’t think they can change their lives.

they may be taught, from a young age, that they always fail at everything. the more they’re told so, the more they believe it. then, when they go to do something world-alteringly important, they may chicken out because their fear of failure has been encouraged from a young age. it’s just like water erosion. just a few drops, yes? but enough time passes, and rock disappears forever.

that’s why, too, we think life sucks. a family member passes, and we ask, “why does _____ matter if this happened?” insert god, living, love, passion, growth, trying… whatever the matter seems to be. it’s not the fault of god, life, love, passion, growth, effort, or any other scapegoat you might come up with. because life is cumulative. and if you’re going to tell you that god made all this happen to you, then you’re telling me that this isn’t your life. you’re telling me you’ve made no decisions, chosen no paths, and done absolutely nothing.

we aren’t passive creatures. we have emotions, convictions, desires, fears… we do not go gently into that good night. i’m not saying that your decisions killed your grandparent, but i’m saying the world happens and is going to continue to happen for as long as it does. we don’t even know how long that is.

so because the world is going to continue to happen for an undetermined amount of time, i’m offering up this solution: live. live every day, and never stop living until you’re dead. and then fertilize the earth with your corpse and let the next people live. it’s kinda crappy, that it works this way, but it does, so live a life of living life.

nobody and nothing made this awful thing happen to you, the thing you’re thinking about. it’s not your fault, it’s not god’s, it’s not the person you want to point fingers at… it’s the fact that life goes on. you’ve only got a little bit left, though, so move on from what’s hurting you and let yourself live the rest in peace.

let yourself have peace. ❤

-ellynn

my reading list.


Let’s keep the intro short for this one. My 2020 reading list!

  1. Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight: Honestly, I thought this was a great one to kick off the new year.
  2. The Dark Half by Stephen King: A little horror recommendation by a family member. I watch a lot of horror movies, but I haven’t read any books yet!
  3. People You May Know by Topher Kearby: One of my favorite writers.
  4. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs: I started this series last summer, but for some reason, I didn’t continue…
  5. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs: The next book in that series. I know there are two more after this, but I’m going to cut it to the second and third.
  6. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green: The only John Green book I haven’t read yet.
  7. Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen: A gift from a family member! I’m super excited.
  8. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald just speaks for himself, doesn’t he?
  9. The Collective by Don Lee: Racism is very much still an issue, and it’s important to read books where the characters don’t look like us and experience different things from us.
  10. The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo: This one was a signed copy that was sent to me!
  11. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli: I’ve been meaning to get around to it ever since Simon vs. The Homosapien Agenda.
  12. Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout: Been seeing this one all over my Instagram feed.
  13. The Day is Ready for You by Alison Malee: It’s so important, as a poet, to keep reading other poetry and supporting other authors like myself!
  14. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I love Adichie’s writings, and she is just so freaking cool. Also, she wears the most wicked Nigerian fashion. So much love for this woman.
  15. You Are A Bad*** by Jen Sincero: What is it with these profanity-titled self-help books? I want to understand the hype.
  16. The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey: I’ll be honest, the title just sounds cool.
  17. Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman: A friend of mine was really into this one.
  18. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg: Always good to read some queer fiction.
  19. My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni: I was made aware of this one through a book talk. Let’s give it a shot!
  20. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: Again, another one where the title is cool. Maybe afterward, I’ll watch the movie, but probably not.
  21. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I’m not one for historical books, but I simply can’t not read this one, not with all the raving reviews.
  22. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland is MY FAVORITE FANTASY WORLD. WHY HAVE I NOT READ THIS YET? AGH!
  23. The Boys Who Woke Up Early by A.D. Hopkins: This is a very old and powerful story that I believe needs to be in my mind.
  24. Catcher by Kalyn Nicholson: My favorite YouTuber! I cannot wait to meet the characters and see what it’s all about.
  25. The College Vegan Cookbook: 145 Affordable, Healthy & Delicious Plant-Based Recipes by Heather Nichols: This one’s obvious, but I’m going vegan in college, so I need some ideas.
  26. Whatever my English class reading is! Last semester, it was The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

There you have it! At this rate, I’ll need to read one book every two weeks. For updates, be sure to keep up with my Instagram!

-ellynn