Take it from a twenty-something: Life is what you make it

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I’m alive! I’ve been taking full advantage of my evenings and weekends and consequently haven’t left much time for blogging. It turns out raising a puppy while trying to manage some form of a social life might be a little easier said than done (who knew?) But, I’m glad to be returning from my blogging hiatus to introduce a new series for this blog: Take it from a Twenty-Something.

When I started this blog one of the first posts I began drafting was a post summarizing all of the lessons I’ve learned thus far in my twenties. I kept editing it and adding/deleting things, waiting for the perfect time to post it, but then I realized that one post on the topic wouldn’t ever be enough. As a twenty-something, I am constantly changing and learning new things daily. So, I decided to break it down and post about one life lesson I’ve learned per week, in hopes that someone will stumble across this blog and enjoy hearing what I have to say.

In college, I couldn’t wait until my twenties. It was going to be my decade of opportunity: a “big girl” job, living on my own, a closet full of fabulous clothes, you get the picture. Truthfully, I expected my twenties would be simple and easy but I learned quickly that wasn’t the case. Big girl job? Not that easy to find one in this economy. Living on my own? Sounded like a great idea until I had to start coming up with rent money. And about that closet full of fabulous clothes…it goes hand in hand with something called credit card debt.

I ended up working full time at a job that had absolutely nothing to do with my college major and decided that this whole twenty-something era wasn’t all I had cracked it up to be. I’d become accustomed to college life and things generally came pretty easy to me. Sure, I was in an apartment style dorm, but I got a rent check every month as part of my student loan so the concept of saving money was still a bit foreign to me. Then I graduated and was thrust into the world of adulthood, a transition I talk about often on the blog because I’m still transitioning now.

After college, I just kept expecting things to happen with little effort on my part. I expected that photography jobs would eventually come my way, expected that I’d eventually get a raise at work, and expected that eventually my boyfriend John and I would figure out a way to take the distance out of our long distance relationship. Our relationship was what eventually made this lesson click for me. I was always looking into the future and expecting a solution to everything to just “happen,” but after many months of traveling to and from Florida to see John we ended up doing something about it. I quit my job with nothing lined up in Florida, packed my bags and moved 1,000 miles. Like most of you already know, I chalk this up to being the best decision I’ve ever made in my life so far.

After doing a lot of reflecting, I’ve realized that life really is what you make it. If you’re always saying no, or you’re always afraid to take risks and try something new, then you’re not reaching your full potential. So what if you try something new and fail? At least you gave it a shot. As twenty-somethings, we’re blessed with our youth. Now is the perfect time to try new things, experiment with our careers, discover new interests and hobbies, because we’re still so young and have all the time in the world to become grown-ups. While I’m still sorting out my own path in life and figuring out who I want to be, trying and possibly failing is a risk I’m willing to take.

How are you living life to the fullest?
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34 thoughts on “Take it from a twenty-something: Life is what you make it

  1. rachaelmtp

    Hi Stephanie,

    I love the beginning of this new series! This post especially resonated with me because I’m currently going through the long distance relationship thing. And trying to figure everything else out after just graduating from college. Everything you wrote is so true – thanks for the advice. Love reading your blog. 🙂

    Rachael
    rachaelmtp.com

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Hi Rachel, first off thanks so much for reading! I’m so glad you enjoy my blog and like the new series. Long distance is definitely hard, John and I did it for a year before I decided to move. If you ever have any questions or just need someone to vent about it to, you can always email me to chat. 🙂 I’m still trying to figure everything out and I’ve been out of college a few years! But this is the perfect time in our lives to experiment and try new things to discover what path we want to take.

      Reply
  2. jennacwest

    Yay! Welcome back, this post was so well written I had done a couple lessons learned posts and if such a good way to get things off your chest and even help others who are in the same situation. I am glad you are back, hang in there with the puppy they are a handful but well worth it!

    Jenna

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Totally agree Jenna! It’s a good way to vent while hopefully being helpful by offering up advice to those who may be going through something similar. The pup is definitely a handful! She doesn’t have any bad behaviors, but just soaks up a lot of John and I’s time. She’s a pitbull pup so she’s very high energy and requires lots of playtime. Luckily we’ve settled into a great routine and I can start blogging again!

      Reply
  3. Leah

    Welcome back, Stephanie! I’ve missed you – I’ve honestly come to your blog to see if I might’ve missed one of your posts in my reader. I was hoping everything was okay!

    Ahhh, I can only imagine life with a puppy on top of everything else right now! Life is chaotic enough just with the holidays! I hope you’re finding some time to relax. 🙂

    Great “carpe diem” themed post. I loved every word of it! Good for you for making the big decision to move to FL – It seems like it’s really paid off! Like you, I’m still really young and not exactly where I’d like to be in my career so this was extremely motivational!

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Aw, I have missed you too Leah!!! I haven’t even had the time to read my favorite blogs so expect me to be comment attacking your blog within the next few days. The holidays are definitely a crazy time and the puppy takes up a lot of my time. Not in a bad way, I totally LOVE spending time with her, but I just have to figure out how to work blogging back into my schedule. I am definitely glad I moved to FL…I moved in March to be with John and I am happier than I’ve ever been. It was a HUGE change in my life but has been such a fun journey for me. It’s inspired me to be more of a risk taker 🙂 Glad my words were motivational!

      Reply
  4. fizzandfrosting

    So glad you’re back! I missed stopping by your blog, but I’m glad you’ve been enjoying life with friends and raising your new furbaby.
    I also had really glamorous notions about my twenties. Not saying that it’s all bad, but it’s definitely different than what I expected! I can be a little resistant to change, but luckily I have a husband who pushes me occasionally, and of course I reciprocate when he’s been an ole fuddy duddy. 🙂

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      I’ve missed blogging (and reading my fav blogs), but sometimes you just have to slow down in life and relax a little, which is what I’ve been doing the past few weeks. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thought my twenties would be glamorous…it sounds like we had similar expectations and both were surprised to find they aren’t like we imagined. That’s great that your husband gives you the little push you need, John is the exact same way with me. We’re both lucky to have such supportive men in our lives! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Rachel

    So glad to see you back to blogging! Good thing I checked up on you last week otherwise I might have thought something worse! haha love the idea of the new series- I even have a few suggestions in case you run out!

    This post hits home. I don’t work at my dream job and still live at home because of money. I am in a long-distance relationship, too (which sucks) but honestly I’m just waiting for the right moment. Things haven’t worked out the best for me in terms of jobs and things out of my control, but I work my ass off to try to make it happen 🙂

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      It took long enough, right?! I’ve missed it. Thanks again for emailing me to check in, that was super sweet and I really appreciated it. I might shoot you an email about your suggestions – I’m thinking it would be fun to get some other bloggers in on this series for some alternate viewpoints from my own. Watch out for an email from me!

      I know this is totally cliche sounding, but eventually hard work DOES pay off. It’s hard to see so many people succeed by “half assing” things when you know you are working your bum off and not getting anything in return…but your time will definitely come. Careers are never easy unfortunately, and we’re both still just at the beginning of ours! Obviously I’m not doing my dream job either, but I’m hoping to change that for myself soon. I’ve realized that I’ve just got to suck it up and give it a try instead of being afraid. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Jenn

    I was glad to see your name pop up in my reader tonight! Welcome back! Being in your 20’s can be a lot of work! I was just talking to some women in my office who were saying how much they love their 30’s just because of all of the lessons they learned in their 20’s!
    Can’t wait to hear more of your lessons!

    Reply
  7. champydreamsboxedwinebudget

    What a beautiful and well-written post. I think we all had high expectations when it came to life after college and we found out it wasn’t like the movies… at all. But you truly have to take risks and make your own opportunities! I think I’m going to love this series! xo

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      So true! I think the hardest things for me so far HAS been the whole taking risks and making opportunities part. After I graduated college I realized I was truly on my own and it was such a shift from what I was used to. It’s easy to think that great things will eventually just come your way, and maybe they will, but I’ve learned that I can speed up the process by doing a little bit more work and making things happen for myself. It’s much more enjoyable that way, even if it’s more difficult!

      Reply
  8. albucco10

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I’m so glad you’re back! Even though we’ve chatted, I’ve missed popping over to see what amazing post you come up with! And I love this new series you have happening…I’m pretty sure any twenty-something out there (myself included) is going through what you are, and it only makes it a bit easier to hear that you’re not in it alone! I’m still waiting for my “grown up” life to start, even though the piece are in place. I worked my rear end off to land a job a love (and try to remind myself constantly that yes, I do love it, when I’m on hour 12 at the office haha) and I know your on the brink of something great. Your hard work will absolutely pay off and I love nothing more than seeing amazing people get the breaks they deserve. I’m pretty sure I’ll be on a year-long waiting list to hire you as the photog for my wedding some day 😉 Missed you, lady! xo

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Thanks girl!! That means so much. I need to catch up on your blog ASAP, I’ve missed it. And I totally know what you mean about the whole remind yourself you love what you do…I LOVE when I get the opportunity to do professional photo work but have to remind myself I love it when I’m faced with editing hundreds of images for clients. And don’t worry…you won’t be on a waiting list ever. I will prioritize your wedding!! Thanks for the kind words. I’m finally feeling super motivated to make things happen so hopefully within the next year (I need to save large sums of money to make this thang happen) I’ll be doing photography professionally 🙂

      Reply
  9. mitch

    Welcome Back! I totally relate what you’re pointing out, had the same notion back when i was in College. Glad you made a good write-up about it. 🙂

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Thank you so much! I think the transition from college to adult life is one we all struggled with. Things are just SO different…but I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  10. AJ

    This is a fantastic post! I wish I had your courage, but you are right, you need to make yourself happy! Sounds like you have a wonderful boyfriend and puppy. You will find your place 🙂

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      AJ, Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my blog! I’m hopping over to yours now to check it out. And trust me, the whole courage thing hasn’t been an easy journey 🙂 My move to FL was kind of a no brainer, but the idea of actually pursuing a career in what I love has been much scarier and has taken a lot of time. I’ve been afraid of failing for a long time, but sooner or later you just have to suck it up and give it a shot. The worst that could happen is it doesn’t work out, in which case I have my whole life ahead of me to find a new path!

      Reply
  11. xo Michelle

    I am SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU BACK!! I’ll be honest, I’ve been checking your blog often in hopes to see you back in the blog world & make sure everything was okay! Welcome back! I love this new series. Great idea! This post really hits home for me too because (as we’ve discovered before) we have like the same life. I’ve been working full time for 2 years for a great company but I too have been working in something that is not what I majored in and have a degree in. Someday, my dream job may come but you’re right-life is exactly what you make of it. Things have always come pretty easy for me and I’m beginning to really realize that once you hit your twenties and upward, you have to go out there and get what you want & change what you need to change to be happy. As you know–I moved across the country to get rid of the long distance in my relationship w/my boyfriend too and although I love being able to see him everyday I am beyond homesick and missing Chicago like crazy. My new goal–convince my boyfriend to find a job up North because I don’t know how much longer I can be happy living where we are. Can’t wait to see what else you write about in this series! Again, welcome back lady!!

    xo Michelle

    Fierce & Fashionable

    Reply
    1. twenty-something Post author

      Thanks Michelle, that is so sweet! I just got so busy with everything and blogging fell to the backburner. I’m definitely happy to be back. 🙂 It really is crazy how similar our lives are…but it sounds like we’re both on the same path now. Things always came pretty easy for me too so now I’m realizing that I’m at that age where I just have to make things happen for myself. I know my hard work will definitely pay off with a great career in the end.

      Reply
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