25 Lessons in 25 Years

So, I recently turned 25 and, whilst having another casual quarter-life crisis, I’ve been reflecting back on decisions I’ve made and experiences I’ve had.

Here are 25 lessons (of varying importance & in no particular order) that I’ve learned in my 25 years:

  1. Most things don’t go as you originally planned, but Plans B, C, D or even E usually aren’t so bad. They might even be better.
  2. High school sucks and it feels like it will last forever, but it doesn’t. In fact, you’ll be able to laugh with friends later about how much it sucked.
  3. Mental health issues are always hard to deal with, but they’re made much easier when you let people help you.
  4. Punctuality might not be something that everyone can master.
  5. The job you think is “the actual worst” is most likely not. Things can almost always be more terrible.
  6. Having awful jobs will help you appreciate the better ones.
  7. Who you work with is just as important as what you’re doing.
  8. Finding and keeping at least one hobby that centers you and chills you out is super-duper important.
  9. You can, at any point, return to a hobby you had given up.
  10. Old friends are hard to beat, but you’re not required to keep all of them around just because you’ve known them for years. You’ll realize which friends you’ll always have room for.
  11. Recognizing that someone isn’t good for you, and acting accordingly, doesn’t make you a bad person.
  12. Not everyone is going to like you. This is sometimes hard to accept, but you’ll become more okay with it the older you get.
  13. You don’t always have to be agreeable and “nice.” Some things are worth getting angry and passionate and frustrated over.
  14. Trust your gut, it’s usually right.
  15. Being organized is important, and it does not come naturally to some of us. But it’s always worth improving on.
  16. Literally everyone is dealing with difficult stuff. Some people are just better at hiding it.
  17. College can be great, but thinking they’re the absolute “best years of your life” can make you feel stressed about appreciating it. The years after are different but can be just as great.
  18. Keeping up with college friends is so important, and sometimes all it takes is the occasional text or call.
  19. Starting in college, coffee will probably become one of your best friends.
  20. Even when experiences with dating turn out to be terrible, they’ll help you figure out your deal-breakers.
  21. Being single is usually really nice, despite what society tells you. You don’t need anyone to validate you.
  22. Most people don’t know what they’re doing, it’s not just you.
  23. It’s important to take risks because you will definitely regret things you didn’t do more than things you did.
  24. Sometimes all you need is a good book.
  25. Being able to laugh at yourself will make everything easier.

xx bits of prose and whimsy

This Grass is Kind of Dead, Let’s Go Over There

WOW, a lot has changed over the past 12 months. I’ve now had 3 different jobs, made some awesome new friends, attempted to clean my room at least a dozen times, and had multiple quarter life crises.

My new job is a somewhat “legit” job, one that could eventually offer promotions and raises and whatever. But when I mention my new job to people, sometimes they say, “That’s great, is this a permanent job?” And then my mind starts screaming, “OH GOD NO DON’T SAY THAT.” Because it’s not what I want to be doing longterm…

However, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I don’t even fake it that I have my shit together unless I absolutely have to. Sometimes it feels like I’ve mostly been accumulating a long list of things I DON’T want to do/have/be. It has also been a lengthy process of figuring out what I prefer to be stressed out about and what I would rather not experience on a daily basis.

I guess I could be considered a fickle person. Not exactly a “grass is always greener” person, but “This grass is kind of dead so I might as well wander over there at some point, maybe sooner rather than later.”

I am also somewhat idealistic, still hoping that one day I’ll find a career that is (mostly) fulfilling.

New jobs blah blah I know, it’s probably not that interesting.

My new goal—one that I’m going to try my hardest to accomplish—is to post once a week on here. I genuinely enjoy posting, and I’ve been reading (a reasonable amount) and drawing (pretty often) so I’m feeling somewhat creative. (And maybe marathoning It’s Always Sunny for the first time isn’t the only thing I should be doing on my computer.)

If you read this whole thing, thanks a bunch! Let me know if you can relate at all to these thoughts, it’ll make me feel less crazy. 🙂

Oh, hello! A look back at 2015.

So, my whole blog-more-in-2015 goal didn’t happen at all… (unless you count my tumblr, which we won’t.) I’ll definitely be blogging more consistently in the months to come!

A huge part of my year was figuring out what my post-grad life was going to look like. It’s a major shift after graduating college and getting out into the work force. I was intimidated and confused about what exactly to do. Finding jobs and working inevitably became a major part of my personal growth.

A few months into the year, I got a retail job at the mall. This experience taught me a few things:

  1. People can be wonderful, coworkers and customers alike.
  2. Management can be really, really terrible and make everyone hate coming to work.
  3. Retail is exhausting, especially for introverts. But it does get easier!
  4. Liking who you work with is super duper important.
  5. Being overqualified for a job will eventually become frustrating.
  6. It’s pretty awesome to meet and make friends with people you never would have met otherwise.
  7. Some customers will be rude no matter what you do. Just be as friendly as necessary, then vent to your coworkers and laugh off the experience.

In August, I quit my retail job and began working for an early literacy program in elementary schools. It definitely has its ups and downs, but at least it feels rewarding the majority of the time. I’ve learned a lot from this job as well:

  1. There are a lot of kind people out there who will brighten your day.
  2. Listening and talking through people’s concerns is really important.
  3. Helping kids learn to read can sometimes be frustrating, but it’s exciting and rewarding to see their progress.
  4. Some days kids will be crazy, but most days they’re really sweet. They’re also hilarious.
  5. It’s crucial to be verbally recognized for your strengths and accomplishments. Feeling under-appreciated will only make you bitter and frustrated.
  6. Your coworkers can become some of your closest friends.
  7. There isn’t a direct career path. Some meandering is healthy and valuable.
  8. Planning for the future will likely make you more content in the present.

This year has been a transitional one, and it’s definitely had its high and low points, but through them I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want. ‘Adulting’ will continue to be a process, but that’s okay. Every young adult that I know feels the same way about adulthood, but I think we’re all still having some fun despite it all. It’s a wild ride, but I’m pretty happy with all the changes that I’ve made this year.

Thanks for reading my bits of prose and whimsy! x

Look for my next post, which will be about my top books of the year! 🙂

(I’m terrible at) Taking Risks

Risks are sort of terrifying.

A few nights ago, I went out for drinks with a college friend who is about to jet off to Argentina to teach English for 8 months. She’s the type who’s traveled all over–by herself! She absolutely loves to travel, having already gone to South America several times. It’s stuff like this that makes me envious of people and their risk-taking ways.

My friend and I have very similar personalities. We’re both emotional and somewhat reserved, but are generally in good spirits. I mentioned to her that I wish I was better at taking risks. This is one of my greatest weaknesses, and it always has been.

Then she told me that when she travels for long periods of time, the transition is difficult. She always cries and has a period of adjustment. It’s easy to assume, at least for me, that the people who are out there doing the cool stuff and racking up these awesome life experiences are able to breeze through these decisions and through every step of the process. That they easily go with the flow of everything that comes their way. And perhaps this is sometimes true. But it’s important to remember that everyone has reservations about new experiences, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our hardest to make them happen.

Adulthood is all about taking risks, and I really ought to take more of them.

Movies to Watch: when you’re feeling lost

As a young adult who has (essentially) no idea what she’s doing with her life, I am very partial to movies about people who don’t quite have their, um, shit together. Ones with characters who feel lost and out of place. Maybe some of you guys will like this sort of thing. Here are some recommendations of films about people who feel lost that perhaps you can relate to.

Giant-Mechanical-Man-DVD-F1. The Giant Mechanical Man (2012) 

I’m a huge fan of The Office (US version), so I wanted to watch this simply because Jenna Fischer (Pam) stars in it. She and Chris Medina are both wonderful in their roles as Janice and Tim, 30-somethings whose lives haven’t quite worked out the way they’d hoped. Both are at a standstill. The story really tugs on those feelings that most (if not all?) of us have: that we’re behind and need to catch up, that we’re just aimlessly floating through life, that we are missing meaningful connections with people. It’s a film that really speaks to me, and I think it will speak to anyone who is lost, intimidated by adulthood, and doesn’t know what to do next.

Lost_in_Translation_poster2. Lost in Translation (2003)

I mean, the word ‘lost’ is right in the title. It’s about questioning how you’ve ended up where you are, wondering if you’ve made the right choices, and feeling disconnected from what, and who, is around you. It features fantastic performances by Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, who portray characters in very different stages of their lives, but who connect through their being lonely and having lost their way. It is quiet, understated, and visually stunning.

MV5BMjc5MDE0NjkxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzA0NTkyMw@@._V1_SY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_3. Garden State (2004)

This classic romantic comedy/drama stars Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. Main character Andrew (Braff) is a depressed and detached 20-something who returns home after his mother’s death. He meets an eccentric girl named Sam (Portman), and they find solace in each other. The film confronts the difficulty of moving on from the past and opening up to people. It also has a wonderful soundtrack featuring The Shins and Frou Frou. I’m a sucker for movies with great soundtracks.

MV5BMTI3MzYxMTA4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE4ODg3Mg@@._V1_SY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_4. Up in the Air (2009)

This is a thoughtful film about human connections, questioning your priorities, and reevaluating your direction in life. It stars George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick. Clooney plays 40-something Ryan who is a professional corporate ‘downsizer,’ meaning he fires people for a living. He travels all the time and has few real attachments, following his philosophy that it is best to have as few burdens as possible in the form of things and relationships. Spending time with Natalie (Kendrick) and Alex (Farmiga) makes him reassess the trajectory of his life. This film is certainly one to reflect on.

I hope you guys enjoy this list! Let me know if you’ve seen any of these or whether you have any recommendations for me.

Settling into Change

“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This quote is especially relevant when you reach your early 20s. It’s a time of instability. It’s a time of moving and growing and giving in and letting go. It’s a time when it’s not just you who’s doing this. All of your friends are, too. The people you went to college with are discovering what makes them happy and, hopefully, are getting out there and doing what they love.

It’s easy to feel sad about all these changes. I’d say that I’m naturally resistant to change. I enjoy the idea of it, but not the actual process. When the moment of change approaches, panic and fear set in. I cling onto what is familiar until I have to let go. It isn’t all at once, though. Pieces of my life change until it feels so much different than before.

But it’s just something everyone has to deal with, and I’d better get used to it.

Post-graduate Life

No one really prepares you for the weirdness of finally leaving the world of academia. I’m sure it will feel even weirder once the spring semester starts at my alma mater. When I see pictures of people who are still there, I don’t know how I’ll feel. I might miss it. I’ll miss parts of it, there’s no doubt about that. But the constant feeling of being behind? Having a long list of assignments hanging over my head? Not so much.

I’ve spent almost my entire life in school. And now I’m done. Not forever, but for a while… Probably a couple of years. (Let’s be real. Most humanities kids know that their bachelors degrees don’t amount to much in the real world.) But I’m so used to the never-ending process of balancing all the different parts of college life. I never even came close to mastering that, by the way. (And I don’t trust people who claim they have.) It’s just so strange to finally be on the other side of something that at times felt impossible. College is great for so many reasons, but I finally feel like maybe it was time to move on.

I had dinner with two of my high school friends last week. It was winter break for both of them, since one’s in grad school and the other is in med school. And there I was, out of school and pretty clueless about what I’m going to do. We talked about how when we’re out of school, time won’t feel as… concrete? So, I was in the class of 2014, and I always thought of 2014 as this huge defining year. It represented all that I was working toward. There was this palpable chunk of time that all led up to this big moment, and then… it’s just life. I’m not working toward a degree anymore, and that’s literally all I’ve ever known. Now there aren’t any grades to be earned or major achievements on the horizon.

Maybe that’s what I need, though. Goals. I’ve always been really terrible at setting and keeping goals, but maybe they would help to define my time. To really get a sense of what I’m doing and where I’m going. To figure out what I truly want to accomplish.

Here’s to coming up with some legitimate goals for this weird post-grad life.