Quarterlife+


My last post

Posted in Aging,Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on July 4, 2016
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Okay, well this is my last post. This is my last post here anyway (kinda). I started this blog when I was at the peak of not having a clue as to what I was doing with my life. I didn’t know what I wanted and I didn’t know myself. Talk about a being a warm body of confusion, huh?

At the ripe old age of 31 now, I am happy to say that I do have a few more things figured out. I am most proud to say that I have grown a great deal. One of my cousins once told me that being in my 30s would be so much better than my 20s. I think I’m starting to see what she means. In my 20s, I was trying to see how and where I fit in. Now, I’m more focused on trying to see what makes me happy and how I can make that a constant.

With that shift in mindset, I feel like this blog doesn’t quite fit where I’m at anymore. For this reason, I’m starting a new one that more closely reflects where I’m at right now and where I see myself going. The timing just seems right. Everything was turned upside down in my life thanks to that March flood where my family pretty much lost everything. (And yes, we do have flood insurance at our new place.) I’m also into a few new things (that I will discuss as soon as I can, I promise).

So, for those of you who have been following my journey, thank you. I ask that you please stay with me as I enter this next phase of my life. My new blog will be as follows:

ashleyfranklinwrites.wordpress.com

When everything is up and running, I will post there (and cross-post here for a bit).

 

Making a GoFundMe Account was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Posted in Family,Life,Life changes,Random Experiences by Ashley Franklin on March 14, 2016
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Let me say this: I don’t come from a lot. In regards to a conversation I had with my grandma one day about our family not having much, her response was this: “Much? All most of us have is our blackness!”

Obviously, my grandma is a tiny comedian. This basically means that working hard and doing what we need to do to get things done is a lesson that we learn early. It’s not a lesson that was lost on me. I’m someone that stretches every penny to make it go further. I stalk sales and coupon codes. I don’t believe in paying full price for anything.

Last week, my home was flooded and we had to evacuate. The flood water wasn’t just around our home. It was coming in, so we had to get out. We got out with a plastic bin, a suitcase, and a couple of trashbags of assorted things.

When you live from “check to check and a half,” as I say, missing days of work are few and far between. When the breadwinner of your household can’t get to work for a spell, that puts a major wrench in things.

I don’t like asking for help. I’m one of those “If I’m supposed to have it, I’ll work for it until I can eventually get it” types of people. You’d be surprised how quickly you go through money after staying at a hotel, buying essentials, and buying food to support a family of four (w/ 2 kids under the age of 5) without depleting all of your host’s resources. My mother-in-law has been wonderful, but this is all still unexpected.

I’d had several people suggest that I make a GoFundMe, and I didn’t like the idea of seeming like a beggar. Is that pride? I’m not sure. I don’t consider myself to be a proud person. I am blessed that I am still able to do a little online work, but reality set in that this is bigger than me. There’s that old saying that “Into every life a little rain must fall.” I just got a lot of rain at once.

 

 

The year I got off my butt

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 29, 2015
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You know what’s funny about wanting to be a writer, you have to actually write to do it. Mind blown, huh?

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, but this was the first year I actually put forth the effort to reach that goal. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know that the journey would be this intensely hard, but it is.

I don’t do well with no, and I don’t do well with things that take forever. (I’m pretty sure I was pregnant for like 3 years!) Still, I am sticking to it. That’s a major accomplishment for me, and I hope expect to do even better in the new year–especially when it comes to actively writing and being a part of writing communities.

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list of 2015 successes:

  1. I completed PiBoIdMo with more than 30 ideas.
  2. I received a mention in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday contest. ( I won a book!)
  3. I put myself out there and joined a critique group.
  4. I applied for things! (mentorships, scholarships, etc.)
  5. I made some new writer friends who are super encouraging.

I don’t think that’s too shabby for my first year. Besides, the year isn’t over yet. The next couple of days could still be filled with goodies.

Facebook Rations/ Writing Surplus?

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on November 20, 2015
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So, I realized that I incessantly check Facebook from my phone. I imagine that I waste a huge amount of time doing that, so I’m going to take the app off my phone. I’m probably too lazy to actually type in the url.

If I do just so happen to overcome that hurtle, I’ve decided that I’m going to put myself on a Facebook fast. I’m only going to check it once a day.

I want to see if I am more productive. I can find a million reasons as to why I don’t have enough time to write. This will be one less excuse.

I’m battling my inner procrastinator and excuse-maker.

Why don’t I just stop checking Facebook altogether? Well, I can’t really do that since I’ve joined a few writing groups. I’m not into self-sabotage. I’ve recently realized the importance of being a part of a writing community.

Writing isn’t so lonely after all. In fact, it’s comforting being a part of a group, sharing the same dream. Go figure.

 

 

 

I finally decided on a topic!

Posted in Family,Writing by Ashley Franklin on October 26, 2015
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To know me is to know that I am horribly indecisive. I ended up with two solid contenders for NaNoWriMo. I had one outlined and another in a pretty solid concept stage. Yeah…I”m not going with either of them. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to dive right into them, but one requires a bit of word building that I don’t want to rush. I keep changing my mind about the point of view that I want to use for the other one.

So, what’s my final decision? I”m actually going to write a parenting book. Shocker! Speaking of parenting, I hear the sound of someone trying to force himself awake. He must sense that it’s been quiet in the house for too long. On that note, more on this parenting book later!

Why it was easy for me to stop going to church (Part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on July 17, 2015
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There is actually a crazy long reason as to why I so easily stopped going to church despite it being all I had ever known. Let’s be real. Ain’t nobody got time for all that! So, I offer them up to you, one at a time. Here goes:

Reason #1: I was only going out of habit (i.e. obligation).

I”m not sure about some of these kids nowadays, but when I was coming up, you went where your parents went by default when it came to religion. There weren’t options! Growing up, I went to church with my grandma because I lived with her. When I lived with my mom as a teen, I went to church with her and my stepdad. Why? I lived there and it was their church.

While some habits are hard to break, this wasn’t one of them. When you’re doing something that you’d rather not be doing for numerous years, it’s rather easy to stop and never look back. This is especially true if you know that you’re not having the same experience as those around you, which leads me to my next reason.

Reason #2: I was emotionally invested but not spiritually connected.

There’s nothing like good church music! With just a few notes, you can feel good about everything in your life or feel bad about everything in your life. It was joyous seeing people excited, praising, and worshiping at every service. It was depressing seeing (or sometimes being) the person at the altar snotty, wailing, and broken. How can I say that I was emotionally connected but not spiritually connected? I was always in the moment. After the moment passed, I didn’t feel a thing. I didn’t feel like my life was headed in a new direction. I didn’t feel burdens being shed. I felt like I’d had an experience for a few hours and that experience was now over.

I might as well have gone to the movies.

(I’ll leave it at this for now. What made me decide to talk about this now? I’m trying to write about other things, and this is taking up mental space. Besides, a little reflection never hurt anybody. I highly suggest it if you don’t do it already. I think it helps to know why you do and don’t do things. How about you?)

Life after fireworks: Living in the lackluster

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on July 5, 2015
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Ah, fireworks! I’m sure that many of you can still see their vivid colors and feel the sound of their explosions if you close your eyes and steady yourselves. I didn’t watch any fireworks yesterday. They leave me with a weird feeling–an emptiness if you will. Fireworks displays are so over-the-top. They’re captivating. They engulf you. They command the stillness that comes with undivided attention yet set emotions free to run wild.

Then they’re over. Just like that, they’re over. The sky is still. Nightlife is given back its voice. You are an individual again and not a part of a collective. You’re no longer experiencing the same sense of awe.

For me, that’s how life works. We have these milestones-birth, graduation, birthdays, marriage, etc.–and then we have all of the days of everyday living in between.

Just recently, I’ve had to remind myself of the importance of the in between days. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those fireworks days, and I was starting to feel kind of cruddy. I have realized that it’s the in between days that have allowed me to have the fireworks. Instead of thinking of these days as low points or lackluster, I should be thinking of them as days of character building. So, I will. How about you?

Dear Albright College

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on June 28, 2015
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Dear Albright College,

Yes, I know it has been quite some time since I’ve strolled through your campus. Still, you’ve been on my mind quite a bit lately. That tends to happen when you’re seeking employment. Am I unemployed? No. Am I underemployed? Perhaps, but that’s neither here nor there. What I want to talk about is us.

As with any past relationship, I cannot discredit the benefit of hindsight. My thoughts of you from when I attended at the tender age of 17 until now are vastly different. To be honest, I feel different about you now than I did even a year ago. Has being 30 given me a new perspective? It has on a few things, actually. You indoctrinated me with the concept of possessing a different way of thinking. That is the path that you set me on, and I have yet to diverge.

Having changed my degree focus an ungodly amount of times, I quickly realized there was no way I could afford to stay in our relationship beyond the time we’d mutually agreed upon. It would have been unhealthy, unwise, and under no circumstances economically possible. To the surprise of many, even myself, I cranked out enough credits for an English degree and nearly a minor in Women’s Studies (pure happenstance).

I thought that you would like to know that I’ve been okay since our breakup. I’ve heard about you, and I know that you’ve been flourishing. You’re not the only one who has grown. You see, I did learn a great deal from you. I received my M.A. and believed that I was headed on to a Ph.D. Imagine, I would one day be a colleague of the fine professors who helped me grow as an academic and a person. This was thrilling to me until I reached the final months of my 2-year Master’s program and realized I couldn’t care less. That different way of thinking came back to bite me in the butt. I suddenly had no desire to turn into my peers-rapidly approaching 30 having no life experience outside of cranking out papers and grades. I at least wanted to have one real non-academic job under my belt.

You gave me the courage to walk away despite hearing that “We need more Black academics.” We also need more people who don’t hate what they’re doing everyday.

What did I do? I really thought out of the box. I started working at a daycare. I wasn’t even sure if I liked kids! There I met some of the nicest people. They were adults who had lived outside of academia. They were real life. They were what I was missing. I miss them, though I am still in contact with a couple of them. Did I apply to Ph.D. programs? Yes–in another field. Did I get in? Yes. Did I go? No. Another lesson that I learned from you was a financial one: Don’t do things you can’t afford.

As much as I love you for training me to be a critical thinker, oh how I wish someone had helped me to think critically when I took out $30,000 in loans from Sallie Mae. When I sat in the Student Accounts Office, desperate not to abandon my academic journey, why didn’t someone say that I was making a huge mistake? Why didn’t someone tell me that just because I could take out those loans without a co-signer didn’t mean that I should? Why didn’t someone level with me once I did stay with a major in the humanities and tell me that I could get an English degree anywhere? Instead of the shock that I had been approved, why not tell me to immediately give those funds back and make a smarter decision that would benefit me later in life. It would’ve hurt to hear, but it wouldn’t have hurt nearly as bad as my current monthly payments to Sallie Mae–I’m sorry, Navient.

The irony is that if I don’t somehow make it big as a writer, I’ll go to my grave with these debts. Do I blame you? No. While you did have a part in it, as we were in this together, I was the one who signed on the dotted line. I was young and in love with the idea of all that you could offer.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to think my way into a better economic situation. It’s funny. That’s actually the mindset of most people nowadays. Many of us yearn for economic stability. Time will tell how many of us actually achieve it. That’s why I’m counting on you, Albright education, to help me to stand out from the pack. That is what you do owe me.

Love Always,

Ashley

5 things I’ve learned from my baby&toddler

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on May 25, 2015
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5. Jumping up and down on a bed never gets old.

4. My toddler is the grand interpreter of all the baby’s needs.

3. To a toddler, sharing means letting you play with whatever he doesn’t want at the moment.

2. The child equivalent of walk it off is run faster like it never happened.

1. Fight or flight occurs whenever they get a whiff of any time of sleep or rest.

At the ages of 10 months and 3 years, my boys keep me busy. Keeping these moments of truth in my back pocket helps to keep me sane.

What child truths have you stumbled upon in this crazy journey called parenting?

The Big Day for Sexy

Posted in Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on February 14, 2012
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As V-Day approached, I found the commercials increasingly annoying. Now it’s here. At 30 some weeks pregnant, how much sexy can I possibly pull off? I haven’t seen any Motherhood commercials sporting a giant bellied Momma all dolled up for this national day of love. Why is that? Well, obviously, the sexy has already happened! You try striking a few sexy poses with someone jabbing and kicking at you from the inside. Let’s see just how long that sexy pose lasts.

With random headaches, unpredictable sleepiness, and swelling that springs up at its leisure, the sexiest thing I might pull off today is doing the dishes and cooking dinner. How’s that for titillating?

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