34th Street Magazine is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor 08.31.2021

On breakups, breaking bad habits, and self–renewal

creating change-01.png
Photo: Isabel Liang

I learned what moldavite was exactly one week before I took a sledgehammer to my pandemic–proofed life. I ended a circumstantial friendship, went back to therapy, and broke up with the first man I ever felt comfortable enough with to write about. At the time, none of it felt intentional, and, honestly, most of it felt very self–destructive. But that’s the thing about breaking routines, especially unhealthy ones. Until you form better habits, all you feel is the pang of lack. 

When we think about renewal, we think about the end of the process. The word connotes images of butterflies breaking from chrysalises, shelves organized with the flourish of spring cleaning–induced mania, and soothing skin care commercials for products that will probably make your acne worse. In reality, renewal—like all growth—is uncomfortable and nonlinear before it is calming and route. 

Despite all this talk of this being the summer of hot girls and coconut girls and gaslighting girls, the past three months were really the summer of the work–in–progress girl—at least for me. Sure, I spent plenty of time mastering the markers of functionality until I stopped needing to remind myself of them. I clean my room. I go to the gym sometimes. I make to–do lists and plans, and I follow–up on most of them. But I also spent an equal amount of time crying in bed with the seventh hour of a Netflix binge droning on in the background, wondering if this new amount of healthy busyness was really so much better than the quiet angst of before. (Spoiler alert: It most definitely is.)

In other words, I feel renewed. But I also feel fucking exhausted, and the new version of me wants myself (and everyone else) to know that’s perfectly normal. Doing the better thing is tiring, mostly because you don’t know it’s the better thing until you’ve done it. But it’s also deeply rewarding, even if the reward you want most is likely a nap. 

This semester, many of us are stepping foot onto a college campus for the first time, and with that comes the anxiety of self–renewal, of remaking yourself into a person you’re proud of. That pressure can be a good thing, but only if you remember that growth doesn’t happen after a couple of trips down Locust Walk and your first frat party. It happens when you most feel like regressing.

Our first issue of this academic year is about renewal and all the messiness that comes with it. We tackle the never–ending process of overcoming the male gaze and society’s fixture on nonstop productivity, but—don’t worry—we also talk about some lighter fare, like coffee shops fit for breezy introspection and dance parties where you can sweat out your worries.


Most Read