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St. Swithin’s Day

15 Jul


A letter to myself one year ago.

Because it’s St. Swithin’s day and I’m one of those people who does things “just because it’s in a book.”

And because Oprah once wrote a letter to her 19-year-old self and talked about her boyfriend Bubba.

And because sometimes (often) I don’t give myself credit for the progress I make in a year.


Dear 24-year-old Jill,

You are living at your parents’ house right now, working an online transcription job that doesn’t nearly pay the bills and waiting for school to start in California.  You are kind of excited, kind of terrified, and certainly wondering what you’re doing quitting your life.

Good news!  In a year from now you aren’t living at home anymore.

Bad news!  In a year from now you still have the transcription job.  That one may be with you for some time.  You chose writing and every wonderful and horrible thing that goes with it.

Your next year is a good year.

You will fall in love with Malibu and have the most comfortable bed of your life.

You will meet Rob, who will coin your bed “The Marshmallow” and who will invite you to Cape Cod.

You will say yes, obviously.

You will meet Caitlin and very quickly learn that she, one person, will be the greatest single gift you’ve been given in the last year.

You will remember that people who love you as you are will always be the greatest gifts you are given.

You will take up walking.  This is a very good thing.

You will try to make curry.  This is a very bad thing.

You will start a blog.

You will finish that story you’ve been talking about forever and ever.

You will see your name for the first time as a writer on a big website and it will completely floor you and you will keep clicking and clicking and clicking to make sure it’s real.

You will, once again, only have one boy that really counts this year. Isn’t there only one boy who really counts most years?

You will have some new things to say about him, but largely old things to say about him, and mainly, more than anything you are learning that sometimes your closure is that there is no closure.

And that happiness thing, it’s still as finicky as ever. Maybe it will always be that way.  I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and about December 29th.  I would give you advice, but it would ruin it, and as much as you hate not knowing your future, there are some surprises that are worth not knowing.  Some moments where your breath catches in your chest and you realize that this, right here, this changes your world and you never expected it and thank heavens you didn’t.

So just know it’s one of those nights.

Also, you really don’t need to bring those just-in-case sweaters to Arizona.  Really, really, really.

Love and positive vibes and best of luck to both of our futures,


Pencil #3

1 Mar

photo-103 photo-100 photo-95 photo-94

The only word I have for it is majestic.

For more on my year of pencils, read this post.

Bouquets of Sharpened Pencils

28 Jan


This year for my birthday my friend Amy gave me two things:

1. The When Harry Met Sally screenplay (Nora!)
2. A bouquet of sharpened pencils (Nora times two!)

There are a few conclusions you could come to about this. Like perhaps that I’m obsessed with Nora Ephron (truth). Or that Amy is extremely thoughtful (truth times two). But the main conclusion from this is that I’m ridiculously sentimental. You see, the pencils came along with this instruction:

Any time this year you have a moment, a moment of happiness, a moment of writing, leave a pencil there to mark the moment.

There were some additional instructions and meaningful insights, but that’s the gist. I was given 18 pencils and the instruction to mark my happiest moments of my 25th year of life with them.

Amy thinks of these types of things and I only-too-happily fulfill them. I was MADE for these types of things. I WIN these types of things. I told her by the end of the year not only would I have given all the pencils out, I’d probably write a book about the emotional journey of the pencils.  I can see the bestseller now:

On Point: How One Girl Changed Her Life With Only The Help Of 18 Pencils

(I am now accepting any and all title suggestions…)

This week I had a pencil moment, pencil moment number six to be precise. It was unexpected as all my pencil moments have been so far.  I love that.  I love not knowing when my life is going to surprise me with 100% happiness.

It was just me and my camera and the Malibu Pier. It was blustery, I was wearing my “writing sweater” and the sky was perfect. I took a bajillion pictures and felt so unbelievably lucky to live where I do.

That’s the magic of the pencils. It makes me realize when I’m really, truly at peace. It helps me learn about myself and my priorities.  It reminds me how simple my happiness can be if I let it.

Bouquets of sharpened pencils for everyone!

New Year, New Word

22 Jan


Yes, I do own and wear a Star Wars shirt.

If you’ve watched any television show with me EVER, I have:

1) Assigned you a character from the show

2) Assigned myself a character from the show

3) Assigned a character from the show to every important person in my life, complete with well-thought-out reasoning and personality analyses

You could say I like assigning things.

I thought this was normal until I was talking to a friend one day who had never done this. Like ever.

“Wait, so who is your Friends character?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.”


I’ve been told before that this need to categorize is annoying. “Just watch the show! Not every character has to relate to your life!” I can’t help it. I love putting words to things. And just so you know, I’m a Ross.

In Eat, Pray, Love, The Great Elizabeth Gilbert does something similar–she assigns words to cities. She says:

Every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there. If you could read people’s thoughts as they were passing you on the streets of any given place, you would discover that most of them are thinking the same thought. Whatever that majority thought might be – that is the word of the city.

I adore this concept for a million reasons, but mainly because ever since I read Eat, Pray, Love I’ve been assigning words like crazy–to cities, events, people. And then at the end of the year, I assign a word to the year.

2012 my word was healing.

I didn’t know that at the time. I was just living life, trying to make it through, but at the end I could see it. I started 2012 broken and ended it…not.

What will my 2013 word be? I wish I knew in advance. I wish that someone would just say, “Hey Jill, your 2013 word will be mortgage!” or “Heads up, 2013 will be the year of the perfect hair.” Then I could plan for the sudden financial windfall that will enable me to buy a home or hang my life’s hopes on a haircut. How delightful would that be? Alas, I will have to wait and experience it as it happens. I’m bad at that.

I want my 2013 word to be “writer.” Can I say that? I’m always so embarrassed to admit that, but I’m getting better at owning up to it.

What was your word for 2012?