I'm A Recovering "Joiner"

I'm A Recovering "Joiner"

Managing my commitments has enabled me to enjoy them, rather than feel overwhelmed.
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In high school, I was in a lot of clubs. When I say that, I mean so many that I sometimes lost count. Although I only joined things I was truly interested in, I had a tendency to over-join, and stretch myself a little too thin. Even the clubs I loved most were too much at times. When this was the case, I would have so many things on my plate that it became extremely overwhelming, and I only ended up being able to do things to a fraction of my true abilities.

Running between three clubs meetings on one day never resulted in me being able to fully participate, but instead only participating for a sliver of time until I had to run to my next meeting. More time was spent traveling between clubs than actually in the meetings. Clubs in which I held leadership positions always took precedence, and I was careful never to shirk those responsibilities. However, these commitments took up much of my time, leading to lots of late nights working on various projects.

When I came to college, I decided I would quit my old "joiner" ways, and instead focus on a few clubs and organizations. Sure, when I went to the activities fair I definitely put my email on far too many lists, yet this is merely a habit. I have a lot of diverse interests, which often leads me to want to pursue all of them. Instead, I have found it to be much more effective if I simply focus on the things I deem most valuable.

So, I now believe I am a recovering "joiner." Obviously, I haven't cut off my involvement altogether, and would probably never be able to do so. Instead, I've committed myself to asking, "Do I really want to do that?" Now, I'm making sure I select only a few things I'm truly passionate about and committed to, and it's made all the difference.

Clubs and activities are meant to be fun, not overwhelming. Although I always have found joy in my involvements, I've found this to be much easier when something is purely pleasure, rather than excessive. By managing my commitments, I've been able to find joy in them again rather than a sense of obligation.

I'll always be a "joiner," but I've now found the true value of joining only the things I love most.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Scheuring

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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I Have No Label

Labels aren't for everyone, and I'm one of them.

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There's a huge pressure from society for people to know things about themselves—what they want to do with their life, what career they want to be tethered to, where they plan on being five years from now—that we really shouldn't add more pressure by requiring people to know their sexual orientation and gender identity.

I've always been pretty comfortable with my gender, but my sexuality? I'm still figuring that one out. I grew up in a fairly conservative home, so I was never exposed to the LGBT+ community or anything similar to it. Straight was the only way to go, and I grew up completely fine with that. It's only now that I know I'm not, that I'm realizing some of the things I did, probably should have told me I wasn't sooner.

Thankfully, it was never a huge source of stress for me because I was OK with being straight. I was fine with the idea of only being into men because I mostly still am. It's just that "mostly" bit that has me thrown off.

If I'm not fully into just guys, does that make me bisexual? What's the full difference between them, anyway? What does "bi" really imply, anyway? Two? Which two? Does the "bi" aspect of the word "bisexual" even really matter?

Do people identify as "pansexual" because the distinction of "bi" is misleading since there are more than just two genders?

Speaking of genders, would I date someone whose gender identity doesn't conform to the binary? How about a transgender person? How can I really know this for a fact without dating someone like that?

All of these thoughts gave me countless headaches, and they still do if I think too hard about it. Since I'm still discovering myself, I'm not fully comfortable labeling my sexuality as anything other than "not straight."

That should be totally fine.

If anything, I think this should be encouraged. It puts way less stress on people who are already stressed beyond belief. It shouldn't be something that a person has to know immediately, and they shouldn't have to ever label themselves if they aren't comfortable with it.

Let people explore their sexuality and gender. If they find a label early, let them. They may change it later. They may not. As long as they're happy with it, what does it matter? Why tell them "no?" Even if you're their parent or caregiver, you should at least be fine with them exploring their own identity and figuring their life out.

It's healthy, and ultimately, it will make them a happier person to know they had support for the whole wild ride.

Respect people if they find nothing and choose to stay label-less.

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