The beginning of the end (or me starting to freak out and get nostalgic because I graduate in 12 days!)

Fun fact: I just wrote an entire blog post. Then it disappeared. What?! Where did it go? Sometimes I love the internet and sometimes I hate it. I keep checking, like, maybe it will have magically reappeared, but no. Ok, cool. Hopefully this isn’t indicative of how my week will go. Now for recreating said post…

Today I picked up my graduation regalia. It does not seem real that this cap and gown and sash and tassel are really mine. I haven’t been here long enough. This can’t be right. I only graduated high school… last year? Right? There’s no way it could’ve been four years ago. I’ve gone back to school every fall for the last 16 years. This year, I won’t.

I’m currently sitting by the Millersville pond, my favorite spot on campus. It’s a morning like a thousand other mornings I’ve had over the last four years. I’m pretending to read a book for my Drama class tonight, but I’m secretly letting myself be distracted by the swans, the ducks, and the squirrels (and the “TURTLES,” which the annoying girl down the bank from me keeps screaming every time she supposedly sees one).

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The Pond, complete with the school swans, Miller and S’Ville

As I sat here, reading my book, I realized this book of Eugene O’Neill plays is the last book I need to read before graduation. This is the final one. What?! Since I began my studies, I’ve read many books similar to this one. (And sometimes Shmooped or Sparknoted many books similar to this one.) They’re books that are interesting and literary and “part of the canon,” but also books I’d just as soon trade for a book of my own choosing. Too many times to count, I have whined, “Plays are meant to be watched, not read.” Today, I don’t want this book to end. I want time to move just a little bit slower so I don’t have to think about this season of my life being over.

I’m reading the book for my last Drama class, with my favorite professor, Dr. Carballo. Tonight is the last night that I’ll just get to sit, occasionally add some input, listen to him lecture, and be blown away by how intelligent he is, and how he seems to have 90% of the books in this world stashed away in the library that is his brain.

I was absolutely terrified to take a class with Dr. Carballo in the second semester of my sophomore year. He was the gatekeeper. You have to take Comparative Literature to get into the upper level literature courses, and at that point, he was the only professor teaching that class. I’d only heard bad stories about Carballo… throwing students out of class for going to the restroom, yelling at people for sneaking a snack during class, even supposedly losing his temper at someone for reaching for a paper rather than letting him hand it to her. Sadly, I never got to see these supposed displays of anger.

I did get to see a professor who expected much from his students, and gave them knowledge, and insight in return. I got to see a professor who demanded respect, and gave respect in return. I got to know Carballo on a personal level, and I love him. In fact, his friendship is probably the most important friendship I’ve acquired here at Millersville. Carballo complimenting me on a paper I wrote, or giving me an A on an essay exam, or writing me a letter of recommendation means more to me than any other professor or peer doing the same thing.

Dr. Carballo is retiring after this semester. I feel so sorry for future Millersville English majors, who will miss out on his wit and wisdom, but it also feels right that his retirement and my graduation coincide. I am glad he won’t be here teaching if I won’t be here to listen to him.

Tonight is my last class with my favorite professor. It’s my first “last class” of the semester. The beginning of the end. This is my last week of classes. Next week is my very last finals week.

I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m nostalgic, I’m excited, I’m stressed, I’m emotional, and I’m so ready to see what comes next (in essence, ALL THE FEELS). Here’s to the beginning of the end, and to embracing the future!

What I’m listening to today:

xoxo,

Carrie

Be There.

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.

I love it, because it keeps me connected to the world, current events, and my social circles. It allows me to do things like send this blog post out into the inter-webs.

I hate it, because when I sat down to write this post, I didn’t just start writing. First, I watched about 5 minutes of Snapchat stories that I’d somehow missed over the last 24 hours. Then I checked Instagram. Then I wrote the first two sentences of this post. Then I replied to some Snapchats my cousin sent me. Then I started writing.

This past Friday night, my friend Nikki and I went to see a play called Dead Man’s Cellphone at Millersville University, where I go to school. (For 3 more short weeks!!!!)

Dead Man’s Cellphone is a… strange play. Let’s just say I was glad I’d asked another English major to go with me because some of my friends may have wanted to leave at the intermission. (If you want to go see it for yourself, it’s playing until the 24th. You can find tickets here.)

It starts out with Jean, the protagonist of the play, sitting in a cafe. A man is sitting at a table a few feet away. They’re the only customers. The café seems to be employee-free, too. Soon, the man’s cellphone starts ringing. And keeps ringing.

Then, when it finally stops ringing, it rings again.

Jean starts to get (understandably) annoyed, and after questioning him and receiving no response or acknowledgement, she goes over and picks up the phone, answering it. She takes a message for the man, and it’s not until she puts the phone back down that she realizes… the man is dead. Jean calls 911 on his phone, and waits with him until the ambulance arrives.

This is when things start to get a little absurd. Instead of leaving the phone with the man, Jean takes it with her. And she keeps answering the dead man’s cellphone. Throughout the play, she gets mixed up with all the important people in the dead man’s life. She is convinced he’s good, and she makes it her mission to fix the mess he left behind. She makes peace with his mistress, his wife, his mother, his brother… She even becomes mixed up in the business he ran, which happened to be trafficking human organs.

What really stood out to me about the play, and about Jean, the main character, is how the cellphone takes over her life. At the start of the play, she doesn’t own a cellphone, but by the end, her whole life has been changed because she picked up the dead man’s cellphone.

At one point Jean says,

“You know I never had a cellphone? I didn’t want to always be there. You know, it’s like, if your phone is on, you’re supposed to be there. Sometimes I like to disappear. When everyone’s phone is on, no one’s really there. We’re all disappearing the more we’re there.”

I think that’s my biggest issue with cellphones, too, Jean. Whenever it’s near you, you’re expected to be there. You’re expected to reply to emails, to answer when it rings, to check your Facebook notifications, to Snapchat back if you open your friend’s Snap.

But when I think about it, who is telling me I have to do that besides myself? Most of my friends won’t think I’m ignoring them if I don’t reply to the text they send me a few minutes before midnight. Am I still awake? Probably. But office hours are closed.

At times, having a cellphone, and more specifically a smart phone, makes me less present. More preoccupied. I’m with people, but I forget to really be there because I’m thinking about the photo I’m going to post on Instagram later. Rather than enjoying the moment, I think about sharing the most aesthetic version of the moment with the world.

Even though I try not to look at my phone when I’m eating dinner with my family or having coffee with a friend, sometimes I fail.

My recent social media drug of choice has been Snapchat, which is ironic because I put off downloading it for a long time, thinking I would never use it.

I love the messaging features of Snapchat. The app helps me to stay more connected with friends I don’t see often and relatives who live on the other side of the country. I also like that I can be goofy and lame on Snapchat in ways I don’t feel comfortable being on Facebook or Instagram. Not only do the snaps disappear after 24 hours, but fewer people see my snaps than any of my other social media posts. I also love sharing weird and random parts of my day with my friends and in turn, I like to see little snippets of their days. But there’s a time to snap, and a time to just live, and that’s honestly a line I’m still learning not to cross.

I used to read in bed.

Now, I get into bed with a book, but if I don’t watch myself, I look at social media or even read some news article online until I fall asleep, the book lying forgotten at my side.

Another issue with unplugging? My phone is my alarm clock, calendar, camera… At times it’s even my Bible, my books (thank you, Audible), and my newspaper (thank you Dad’s Wall Street Journal subscription). So much of me is found on my phone that I can’t even turn it off without disrupting my life. It’s hard to feel like disconnecting my phone won’t mean disconnecting myself from the world.

The other night, I knew I was going to be able to sleep in the next morning. So I did something wild. I went to bed early, and I turned my phone OFF. Instead of scrolling through Instagram or even watching a movie on Netflix, I read a book of my choosing for a few hours, totally undisrupted, until I fell asleep. This is something I used to do every single night, and it was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things I’ve done in a long time. Knowing no one could reach me for a night was peaceful and freeing.

A few years ago I read an article from The Atlantic called “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The article looks at the way we Google things rather than thinking about things. We all have hundreds of thousands of facts in our brains, but too often we don’t even try to recall them because Googling them and then forgetting them 5 minutes later is easier. Sometimes I’ll be in a group of people and someone will ask a question that five years ago, we probably could’ve riddled out. Now? It’s straight to Google. Rather than stretching our minds, we tend to go for the easy answer. As much as technology benefits us, it also makes us lazy.

I love technology. I’m not going to be the trite blogger who says technology is evil while clinging to my laptop. I’m just saying, remember to take a break every now and again. Remember to let your brain have some screen-free time. Remember that you don’t owe anyone an instantaneous response. Something I’m going to try over the next week or so is not checking or replying to messages between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. That’s not something that would have been considered so crazy even a few years agobut I know even that will be a stretch for me.

Most of us have had that experience where you’re out with a friend and they’re more absorbed in their phone than in your conversation.

Maybe that means you’re boring.

Maybe that means they’re rude.

Maybe you are that friend.

Setting boundaries for yourself is important in most areas of life. Technology use is one of those areas, because it can be a distraction from living your real life and because it can suck all your valuable time away. We’re all busy. None of us need that.

If you feel like your proximity to technology is keeping you from being present in areas of your life that are  important to you, it’s as simple as hitting the “off” button or deleting that one app you know you open too many times a day.

I want to learn to keep just the good parts of technology without disappearing into my smart phone.

 

jim

 

What I’m listening to this week:

Ophelia – The Lumineers

The Lumineers’ whole new album is rad, but “Ophelia” is one of my faves. Have a listen.

 

XOXO,

Carrie

Hi again, Internet!

Oh, hey. Remember when I used to blog?

You can check out my old blog if you need a refresher. Just know this one is going to be different, because almost a year has passed, and I am different, and I’m also not living on the other side of the world anymore. (There are also various other past attempts at blogging, but we won’t bother linking to those.)

I have some regrets involving my last go at blogging.
I wish I’d put myself into it fully. I should’ve been more consistent.
I wish I’d put more work into setting it up.
I didn’t, and so, my interest in blogging faded, as my interest in so many things tends to fade. (I’m a dabbler and I have a short attention span. What can I say?)

New and revived blog = no more .blogspot.com. Praise Jesus! But setting up the website I imagine in my head is a process, and my current life involves running from work, to school, to coffee shops to listen/talk with friends, to The Living Room, to my internship at Music For Everyone, to family time, and then just trying to find time to write and rest in my Father (and occasionally squeezing in a couple episodes of Friends on Netflix). So, this site isn’t quite what I want, yet.

“You may as well just start,” I told myself. “It’s never going to be quite what you imagined. It’s always going to need work. At this rate, you’ll be 90 years old, working on starting a blog, and your kids aren’t even going to know what a blog is.”

I had a rough time picking a name. Obviously, I chose carriewagler.com. The main reason: if I’m going to purchase a domain name, it may as well be something that I will want for professional use down the road. If carriedaway.com was available, I would probably have gone with that. But it wasn’t. So, c’est la vie. The logic behind “carried away”, is there’s a big chance of this blog focusing heavily on my travels, which will hopefully begin again after I graduate. If you followed along on my study abroad journey, you probably remember #carriedawaytoscotland. Good times. Also, I have a tendency of getting carried away, especially when I have a pen in my hand or my fingers on a keyboard. And then there’s the NAME THING. But whatever. It’s in the header.

I’ve laid down my journal and inserted myself back behind my laptop screen, because honestly, I can’t post 5 paragraphs of my random ramblings with EVERY Instagram post. And let’s be real: God’s glory and love and DAILY impact in my life CANNOT be contained in less than 5 paragraphs.

So. Let’s get a little Carried Away…

Hi. I’m Carrie.

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If you don’t know me, or if you do know me but have yet to crack through those exterior layers (ha), you can learn a little more by checking out my About section.

“Prone to Wander” was my theme for my last blog. It’s always been a phrase I’ve connected with, and “Come Thou Fount” has been one of my favorite hymns for as long as I can remember.

“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

Contentment has been a hard thing for me to find. It’s always been hard for me to stay in one place. I come from a family of movers and shakers – a family who isn’t afraid to move to a new place and start over. It is hard for me to stop moving and find contentment in just being still. When my life was pretty much nonstop travel, “prone to wander” was a phrase I embraced. But now?

I don’t want to wander anymore.

God has done some pretty rad binding in my life lately. The funny thing is, I asked Him to. I am trying my best to welcome it. Only a few years ago, giving up control was the last thing on my mind. I’ve spent so much of my life being independent and strong. And alone. In the past year, my relationship with Jesus has become a relationship unlike anything I could’ve hoped for. My connection with the Holy Spirit has become a living, breathing connection that I didn’t realize I could find. He’s taken me deeper, and He’s asking more of me.

And I’m the weakest I’ve EVER been.

But holy cow, how He’s come through for me. He’s shown me contentment in being here, in Lancaster County – of all places! I’m not saying I’ll live here forever, I’m just saying, for now, for this season of my life, this is where He’s placed me. And… I’m… okay with it? I always planned to move away. I always planned to live in a big city and live some kind of sophisticated movie life that I imagined. I always planned…

But His plans are bigger, and better, and crazier than I ever could’ve imagined.

I searched all around the world, to find my way back here, living in the house where I grew up, going to a church three minutes (1 minute 40 seconds if I hit a green light) from that house, and I’m about to start working for my family business. And I’m happy.

In essence, I’m content with being rooted in a place I never, in a million years, saw for myself. While I’m freaked out/confused by how much my desires have changed, I am also awed at how good He is, and how gently He has guided my heart.

1 Corinthians 12 says,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Oh man.

His power is made perfect in weakness. His power is made perfect when I really NEED Him. I am learning that, as I surrender my will again (and again), every single day. His grace is sufficient for me, no. matter. what.

I’m still getting to a place where I can “boast” of my weakness. It’s not being self-deprecating. It’s embracing the fact that where I am weak, My God Is Strong. It’s resting in Him. It’s realizing that the most powerful Being in the universe dwells in me. In my weakness, I am pliable, and I am bound to Him, and He can use me for whatever He wants. Even if it’s “just” being here in Lancaster.

 

What I’m Listening To This Week:

 

xoxo,

Carrie