Tag Archives: adulthood

Take it from a twenty-something: You’re allowed to take a time out

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Regardless of my job or stress levels or personal workload, one thing I’ve always prioritized is my time away. As much as I enjoy working hard at things I love, I equally enjoy the restorative feeling of going to a new place, getting out of my comfort zone and forgetting about the things that worry me – even if only for a day or two. This thinking got me on a flight to Belize with 6 amazing women in my family, and it also got me to Siesta Key with my mom and boyfriend, John, for a few days over a holiday weekend.

Sitting on the beach at Siesta Key, sunset over the water and drink at hand, my worries were a world away. It reminded me of the importance of taking mini time-outs (for me, that means from work) to simply be.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to hustle my way through my twenties simply because they feel uncertain and uncomfortable. I don’t like the feeling of not knowing where I’m going or if I’m doing the right thing. But taking the time away from all of that always reminds me that it is ok to just CHILL OUT and enjoy life for a minute.

Taking a time-out forces you to snap back into the here and now. It makes you realize that yes, while it is important to worry a little bit and push yourself, the world won’t stop turning if you want to press pause for a minute. Guess what? You’re allowed to say “I’ll be right back,” head to the nearest beach, grab a cocktail and forget the worry and comparison and oh-my-god-what-am-I-supposed-to-do-with-my-life feelings.

In fact, my experience tells me that taking a time-out is often the first step to working out those feelings anyway. When you give yourself permission to relax and loosen the reins, the answers often appear on their own. You can probably think of a million excuses not to take that breather (there’s too much to do, work is too busy right now, I’ll think about this crap later) but sooner or later it always catches up with you.

As cliche as it sounds, you really are only this young once and it’s up to you to make the most of it and make a commitment to spending time with yourself, figuring out what you like and learning about what truly makes you happy. If you need to take a break and travel the world to find that, or simply spend a weekend at home thinking and writing, it’s up to you to make that time and grant yourself permission to take it.

At 26, I know how it feels to think about where my life is headed far more than where it’s been (or is) and concentrate maybe a bit too hard about hustling my way through life when it comes to my finances, job and relationships. But sometimes slowing down and taking a break from it all is the best way to enjoy this very short decade of our lives. If you feel you need a time-out from it all for a day, a month, a year or more – take it – you’re allowed.

If you take one thing away from this – remember that nobody is keeping score. We are all in this together. Even if it seems like everyone’s life is perfect and running according to schedule, don’t forget we’re all also master editors of our own lives when it comes to what we show everyone else. Getting through your twenties is not a race and if you treat it like one, you’ll always feel behind no matter what level of happiness and greatness you achieve. So slow down, chill the heck out, and enjoy it.

Dorothy, we’re not in college anymore

roadtripIt was 2 1/2 years ago that my college years ended and my adult life began. I had to bid farewell to spring break (and fall break, and winter break, and summer break too), say goodbye to the local bar around the corner where I’d vent to friends about how stressful class was over cheap beer and cranberry vodka cocktails, and say hello to the thing I so very dreaded: figuring out how to grow up and be an adult. In those first few months after graduation when the bliss of realizing I never had to do any homework again in my life faded out and the reality of adulthood started creeping in, I couldn’t help but wish I was back in school slaving over the same essays and projects I’d just been complaining about months before. It’s days like today where I remember those feelings of uncertainty and fear (mixed with a bit of excitement) and wish I could go have a conversation with my 18 year old college graduate self to tell her to suck it up because there are a lot of awesome things in her future.

2 1/2 years ago, I never would have been able to foresee where I am now. I may not be working my dream career, but I’m working to get there, and along the way I’ve developed countless skills and even got a promotion to my first full time salaried position at work (yay!) I’ve already lived in 3 states yet it is in Florida with John that I finally feel I’ve found “home” (mom, if you’re reading, you know Columbus will always be my #1 home). Even better, I’ve finally found the courage to give my photography business a try and I’ve surprised myself with all of the confidence I’ve gained in myself as a result.

As I reflect on all of my major life accomplishments in the past 2 1/2 years alone, I realize how much time I wasted being upset and anxious about the future. And I think that’s one of our biggest struggles as twenty-somethings: somewhere along the way we get so caught up in the transition to adulthood that we forget what our twenties are for. They’re a time for growth, learning and personal development, yet we put tremendous pressure on ourselves to have things all figured out as soon as we get out of college. Instead of taking life day by day and celebrating the small stuff we accomplish along the way, we fixate on the future and get frustrated because we aren’t there yet.

So, I’m making a vow to myself to celebrate the small stuff from now on. As far as I’m concerned, baking a batch of cupcakes without burning them is just as much of a cause for celebration as that great promotion at work.

I want to hear your thoughts:
Have you ever found yourself frustrated or feeling like you aren’t where you want to be in life?
How do you deal with it and remind yourself to appreciate the small stuff?
What was your own transition from college grad to adult like?
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Image found here.

Take it from a twenty-something: Your parents are more like you than you think

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About a week ago, a friend posted on my Facebook page with a blog post idea. She pointed out how interesting it is to see how our relationship with our parents changes as we get older. Truthfully, this is a post I’ve been thinking of writing for a while because it is one of the biggest changes that has taken place in my transition to adulthood. Although I have always been close with my family, the dynamics of our relationship has changed so much as I’ve started growing up.

When I was in middle school I wanted nothing to do with my parents. We all went through that phase…teenage rebellion, despising our parents, wanting to be out of the house 24/7…but what I have realized as I’ve gotten older is just how much my parents are like me. They have finances to manage, jobs to maintain, relationships to work at, and on top of that they have my sister and I, their kids, to take care of. In truth, my parents and I have a lot more in common than I thought. I think for a lot of us this realization is hard to admit, because there was a point in all of our lives where we thought our parents couldn’t possibly understand us.

The truth is, our parents were twenty-somethings once too. They graduated college, had to find jobs, had relationship troubles and financial struggles too. Everything we’re going through now, our parents have been there done that. As I’ve gotten older and started to understand this, I’ve found that I look at my parents as peers and friends much more than I look at them as mom and dad. And that’s what is so great to me about having a strong relationship with my parents – I get all the benefits of “mom” and “dad” but I have some amazing friends, too.

Mom isn’t just “mom” anymore, she’s also my best friend. I’ve confided in her hundreds of times, and she’s always been there to listen to me. Now, it’s my turn to return the favor. She’s listened to my triumphs and problems my whole life, so of course I owe it to her to give back what she has so graciously offered me. I’ve found it has only made our relationship with each other stronger and more wholesome. What’s even more important is that I’m glad to be that person she can really open up to. I am more open with both of my parents now than I ever have been in my life, and in return they treat me with the same level of openness.

So I leave you with this: not only is it important to make the transition and realize your parents can in fact be your friends, but it’s also vital to focus on forming and maintaining a positive relationship with them. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten has been from my own parents, and hey, they have been through all this twenty-something nonsense after all, so who better to confide in than someone who’s been there before?

What are your views on this? Forever “mom” and “dad,” or are you developing adult friendships with your parents too?
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Take it from a twenty-something: You don’t have to have it all figured out

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I’m going to let you all in on a little secret – I’m in my mid twenties and I still don’t know 100% what direction I want my life to go in. Is that a nod I’m hearing? If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in my twenties, it’s that it is perfectly ok to not have life all figured out as soon as you enter the real world.

The transition from college to adult life was hard, and from previous posts I’ve written on the topic I know that I’m not alone in that feeling. As if choosing a major (aka lifelong career commitment) wasn’t hard enough in high school – try making it all a reality post graduation. But careers are only one piece of the puzzle. What about relationships? Isn’t it easy to feel as though the clock is really ticking once you’ve moved past college flings and realized it’s time to start investing your time in people who are truly worth it? Add to that being surrounded by friends who are suddenly getting married and having babies and you have a serious recipe for some self reflection.

As a twenty something, these are all things that I’ve faced in the mere 3 years I’ve been in my twenties, and I know I still have so many important decisions to make during the next 7 years. And while I’ve tackled some things (like finding a seriously amazing man), I know I still have a lot ahead of me. As a direct result of all of these changes happening around me, and the pressure to make so many important decisions all at once, it’s no surprise that I’ve occasionally wondered if I’m where I should be at age 23. But the more self reflection I do, the more I realize how silly it is to put a time constraint on any of my life’s milestones that I haven’t reached yet.

I finally understand that it is totally OK to have a little mystery in life. Part of the fun of the future is not knowing where it’s going to take you, right? And there’s no sense comparing your life to other’s your age driving yourself crazy thinking you aren’t in the right place, because you are in the right place. No two people are alike, and that’s what makes us all so unique! So here’s to doing things your way, on your time, because in my opinion there’s no time limit on finding what makes you happiest in life.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you struggled with feeling like you have to complete certain life milestones by a certain age? Let’s chat about this – leave your thoughts in a comment below!
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Take it from a twenty-something: Careers don’t happen overnight

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In my introduction to this series, I mentioned how the reality of my twenties didn’t quite match up to my glamorized expectations. After a lifetime of going from year to year with little responsibilities outside of a part time job, keeping my living space sanitary and turning in my assignments on time, I guess you could say adulthood was a bit of a shocker. I did the life after college scramble, frantically trying to figure out how I was going to afford the lifestyle I was living without the blessing of my monthly student loan check (which, I might add, immediately turned to a curse post-college). Most importantly, I needed to find a job.

Most of you who have been reading this blog since it first started know that my passion in life is photography. You also know that I’ve come clean on the fact that I haven’t yet pursued it as my career and have instead been bouncing from corporate job to corporate job. For a long time, I thought this meant that I was a failure. I felt like I had let down a lot of the people in my life that supported my pursuit of art because I wasn’t actively working in the field. It turns out I was looking at everything backwards and that’s something I wish I had learned sooner.

I’ve always had a problem being stuck in the “big picture” instead of being able to break things down into small steps. I expected to graduate college and jump right into my field with a full time photography position. Instead I ended up taking a full time corporate job in merchandising which paid the bills but definitely didn’t make me happy. I now understand how valuable that job really was. Everyday I came to work with an inbox overflowing with emails, yet I was able to complete my mile long to do list everyday because from that position I learned time management. I gained experience leading a team, and working as part of one, which is something I may or may not have been able to learn as a photographer running my own business. When I moved to Florida I obtained a position in Marketing (which I am still at now) and through this job I have learned how to market small businesses through a variety of platforms. Because of this job, I now have an incredible skill set that will enable me to market myself.

I remember a conversation with my grandma not too long ago in which she described a career as a process. As a result of the time spent not making a living off of my photography, I have actually gained important skills that will assist me in running a much more successful photography business. Sure, those jobs may not have anything to do with photography, but they have all taught me something that I can bring into my own business.

It’s finally clicked for me that big things, like careers, simply don’t happen overnight. A successful career takes a lot of time, dedication, and patience and we may have to go through several jobs that we don’t like to end up with one we love. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, taking jobs that don’t relate to your field don’t make you a failure. There’s something to be learned at even the most mundane office job.

How have the jobs you’ve had since college helped you work towards your ultimate career goals?
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