Sara is recovering from one of the biggest seasons of change in her life. She recently split from her boyfriend of three years, graduated from college and moved across the country to live with her mother.
In the very first interview for the new Happy, Free, Confused & Lonely segment of the blog, Sara spills all about change, growing up and what’s next.
Age: 23, Location: Oxford, Pennsylvania
Most surprising/unexpected thing about being in your 20s?
Ending up living in Pennsylvania. Also ending a three year relationship, which no one really expects to do but I guess it happens all the time. Both were crazy.
The best and the hardest thing about being in your 20s?
I think the best thing is realizing that most of the other people that you know and hang out with are also in their twenties. And so, you’re kind of going through this disastrous like, “Oh, what do I do? My life is all up in the air. I have no job. I have no place to live. I’m crashing with my parents or I’m trying to finish college, whatever.” But then it’s like, “Okay I’m not the only one. I’m not a disaster. I’m just normal.”
The worst thing is kind of the same thing, realizing that you have no idea what you’re doing and that that’s normal, but you don’t want that to be normal because you want to figure out what is going on. You wanna just figure your life out before you’re thirty, which sounds old right now but it’s not.
Something you wish someone had told you about being in your 20s?
That it’s a mess and embrace it because trying to fix it isn’t gonna work. It’s easier to kind of just lean into the skid and see where it takes you.
Biggest thing you’ve learned being in your 20s?
I guess probably that it’s okay to take a breather. It’s okay to let yourself take some time for you and to not always be like going, going, going because eventually that’s just gonna burn you out and you’re not actually gonna get where you want to go. You’re probably just going to die.
Advice you would give to your teenage self?
Just calm down. Don’t be worried about where life is going and who you’re gonna be dating and who you’re gonna be living with or where you’re gonna be living or who your friends are gonna be or what your job is gonna be like. Because honestly none of it is how I imagined it being and that’s a really really good thing because if it was all the way I imagined it, I would be bored out of my freakin’ mind.
Best advice you have ever received?
I feel like I’ve heard from various people to figure out a way to trust yourself and believe that what you want to do with your life is something that you can accomplish. I guess just not to get too down on yourself when you’re not where you want to be right now because you still have plenty of time to get there.
How would you describe where you’re at now versus how you were as a kid and/or a teenager? How have you changed?
I’m blonde now. That’s different. I kind of know what I want to do with my life. I’ve fully embraced myself as an artist and not tried to make myself fit into this mold of who everybody else is. When I was in high school I had a lot of friends who were like super academic and they were really book smart… not being one of those “normal” things was really really hard for me as a teenager. I was never good at math. I was never good at science and I wasn’t interested in it. I didn’t care. And so through the process of going through college and meeting new people and you know, turning 20, turning 21, 22, 23, I’ve really learned to just embrace the fact that I’m different than them and that’s fine. Because there are people that are like me. I have lots of artists friends now. We’re lots of fun.
First Job? Current job?
That’s kind of funny because my first job and my current job are almost the same job. My first job was at APU [Azusa Pacific University] on campus. I worked in the Cougar’s Den and I made pizza and french fries and burgers and I served really grumpy sleep deprived college students at like 11 at night and it was ridiculous but it got me through my sophomore year of college. Fortunately for me, I was then able to get a better APU job working for media services which was amazing being a camera operator. But my current job is at a pizza shop in Oxford Pennsylvania. Also I work at a winery, as well, which is a little different. I’m a server but not like a waitress cuz we have counter service. I basically hand people pizza and ask them for money. At the other place, I hand them alcohol and ask them for money, which normally goes over a little better.
Where do you see yourself by 30?
That is something that I’m scared to think about most of the time because I think a lot about like, “Oh, when I was 16, when I was 17, and that doesn’t feel like that long ago but it actually was like seven years ago and in seven years from right now, I will be 30. That’s kind of terrifying. But I hope when I’m 30 to be living back in California and to be doing something that I actually like even if it means embracing the starving artist lifestyle. I mean, I also obviously like most people, would like to be in some sort of committed relationship but who knows at this point, really?
Tell me more about the move to and from Azusa Pacific University:
The move to APU was not, or would not, have been that dramatic because I grew up about an hour away from where APU is located, but at the time that I was getting ready to move, my parents were also getting divorced. My mom moved across country, which kind of made it into this big dramatic transition in my life because otherwise it would have been like high school part 2…. So that made it really kind of difficult being away from my family, having my family change so much in such a short amount of time and trying to figure out how to navigate that along with how to go to college and be like responsible for myself which is always kind of an interesting transition, I feel like.
And then, after five years (not four, five) of APU, picking up and moving across the country was crazy. And it was one of those transitions where I kind of, well I completely, forced it upon myself even though I wasn’t necessarily happy about it. It kind of got down to being one of my only options. And after living somewhere for five years where you can text your friend and be like “Meet me in five minutes” or “Hey, I’m at your door right now. Let’s hang out” to I know nobody except people that I’m related to and there’s actually nobody my age in this town. Everyone’s either in high school or in their 40s. It was definitely a really interesting thing. Luckily I have a lot of friends back home who helped make that a little smoother for me because they kind of been there to hear all of my ridiculous like “Why did I move to Pennsylvania? I’m such a freakin’ idiot. This is the worst place ever!” rants that happen on like a daily basis.
What inspires you?
I feel like all of the people that I know who are living in the LA area right now who have gotten their degrees who are kind of navigating the freelance world or the profession world, all of those people are really inspiring to me because those who are the people that I went to school with and I kept up with them. I was making films with them and doing my part and seeing them being able to do that kind of inspires me to try it. Hey, if they can do it, why can’t I? I probably could.
Songs really inspire me in a way, kind of motivates me more I guess than inspires to you know, get it together. You know, angry Eminem being like “My life sucked in Detroit and now I’m a famous rapper.” And I’m like, “Yeah you are Eminem! Yeah, you are! I can do it too! Not rapping, but you know.” Eminem, Taylor Swift, you know, whatever. That’s not a weird combination, right?
Is there a motto or quote you try to live your life by?
No, I don’t. [laughs] I just kind of try to survive my day to day life…. A lot of people have that motto or little phrase that really like keeps them going, gets them through the day. I think I do that more with like songs. I’ll be like, “Oh there’s this song that’s really inspiring to me or motivating me right now” and I just listen to it over and over and over and over.
I know that since you moved to PA you have been writing more, especially on your blog. Can you talk about inspired you to get into writing?
Well, the isolation definitely was one of the biggest things that kind of inspired me to start doing that. Especially with a three hour time difference, I can’t text my friends at 6:30 in the morning and be like, “These are all the things I’m thinking about. Respond to them please!” And also nobody should put that on their friends… I just write it down and then if they wanna read it, they can. And if they don’t, then that’s cool too. At least it’s out of my brain.
That and then also the breakup back in September was a really big thing that I kind of needed to kind of work through on my own… I had to process everything that I was feeling from sadness about it not working to anger at him for whatever. All of the range of emotions that someone feels when something ends. And so that was a really big thing that kind of kept me writing and then once I had sort of gotten out most of those emotions, I was just like “There’s all of these other things that are happening right now. I’m still kind of upset about this move and I still don’t really know what to do and I’m trying to like find my own.” There’s all this self-reflection that I’m doing and all of the time that I spend by myself and I don’t want it to go to waste. I need to write it down.
Who makes up your support system and/or do you feel like that part of your life is lacking?
I only feel like that part of my life is lacking because 99% of the people I would consider a part of my support system are 3 thousand miles away from me or more. But I mean my basic support system for my every day, like day to day “I had a crappy day or work was awesome today” kind of thing is like you, obviously; my best friend Ashley, who I’ve been friends with since junior year of high school; my friend Joy, who I’ve been friends with since I’ve been six; my friend Hannah, we’ve been friends for a couple years now and my friend Jacob, we’ve been friends for like a year now. Those are my kind of like day to day go-to people that when something happens, I’m like “Oh my gosh, I have to tell you.” And then my older brother who lives down the street from me.
Something you can’t live without
Coffee, my cell phone, sleep, french fries
A fun fact about you?
I used to run marathons in high school and I am trying to do that again. In six months I’m running a half marathon.
The ones I use the most are the heart eyed smile and the regular heart. I also enjoy the thumbs up.
Taylor Swift used the four words “happy, free, confused and lonely” to describe being in your early 20s. What are four words that you would use to describe where you’re at?
Crazy, exciting, frustrating, awesome
Hopefully a move back to LA. In many ways, this little season of my life has been really good for me, but I’ve realized that there’s not really anything here for me as far as production, using my degree, doing what I want to do with my life; friends, the people that I’ve spent the last five years with or eight years with or sixteen years with, they all live in California. So getting back to that, getting back to them, really like refocusing and trying to do what I actually want to do instead of just doing what it takes to survive. That’s what I’m envisioning as my next step.