Spend A Day On Your Own

I grew up being very shy and dependent. I was probably in my late teens before I could even order my own meal at a restaurant, I would always whisper it in my mom’s ear first. I didn’t think I could do anything new on my own, I was terrified at the thought.

The first time I ate alone was when I was a freshman in college, I went to the cafeteria by myself because no one was answering their phones and I was getting so frustrated with making friends. I sat by myself and a couple of kids asked me to eat with them, they ended up being kind of creepy, and I didn’t feel empowered at all. I just felt like a loser.

But not being able to do things on your own is such a debilitating fear. I missed out on plenty of things I wanted to do just because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.

So I started forcing my hand. I would buy two tickets to a concert or one airplane ticket for a weekend trip, I left it up to fate if someone would end up going with me. And I wasn’t afraid to do it on my own. Why waste time and experiences by being dependent on someone else?

This weekend, I spent the day in Philadelphia – a place I’ve been to many times before. I went with my boyfriend, but he had plans that I wasn’t really interested in. So while he was busy, I went off on my own. I ate lunch by myself and then saw a movie by myself. I took a walk by myself and just reveled in doing something by myself that wasn’t laying in bed and watching Netflix.

If you own it, it’s eye opening and empowering to do the things you enjoy by yourself. The key to your happiness shouldn’t be in someone else’s pocket and you need to learn how to unlock it yourself before depending on other people. I encourage you to spend a day on your own, learn about yourself, and just have fun.

hc
Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisschoenbohm/

Dazed and Confused at 22

Your 20’s are so damn confusing that it’s even hard to explain why it’s so confusing.

Things started getting pretty complicated in the teen years. You are experiencing new things, new feelings, and growing up. You feel too young, but sometimes you feel too old. How you are at age 13 majorly differs from how you are at age 19. But nothing is really expected from you. Yeah, you need to figure out what you’re doing after high school and you have to maybe get a part time job and maybe go to college.

But when you turn 20, you’re already well into college and figuring everything out. Your path finally seems clear and you’ve settled into something.

Then you turn 21 and all of a sudden you can go to all of these bars and buy your own alcohol. But you’re also inching closer to graduation. Things start to get a little blurry.

Then you turn 22 and you need to decide EVERYTHING. Are you getting your masters? Are you moving home? Do you have a job? Do you have any money? Literally WHAT are you going to do?????

Even if you get all of that figured out, you’re put into this little waiting room of life. Your first job is just a stepping stone and your current home is just temporary. Everything has the potential to change in front of you at any time. You just kind of have to decide when that time is right. But you can’t really start what you want to do until you get experience. So you’re stuck waiting and waiting and waiting…

And on top of all that you have to juggle all of your friends who don’t live anywhere near you anymore. You’re also trying to figure out your love life since you dismissed the idea of relationships in college. You now realize relationships matter and you’re way behind on the dating game.

By the end of your 20’s, most people expect you to have a steady career. They expect you to be looking into buying a house, they expect you to be married. Maybe you’ll even have a kid on the way.

It’s the expectations that make this point in your life so confusing. Your own expectations, the expectations of those around you, and society’s expectations. It’s fun to break the rules and get a little lost. But it’s also completely terrifying. Being in your 20’s is like being on a high thrill roller coaster.  It’s totally exciting but also really scary and you’re not sure if you’re crying because you’re happy or crying because you’re sad.

hc
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lacyjaneful/

Who You Were Before You Lost Your Innocence

Losing your innocence is just a side effect of growing up. There’s no one certain thing that causes it. It doesn’t automatically go away when you turn 13 or when you lose your virginity or when you get dumped for the first time. It all varies from person to person, from age to age, from experience to experience. And it fades out slowly.

When I was around 11 years old I asked my mom why everyone had cancer all of a sudden. She told me cancer has always been around, I was just realizing it now.

That’s a very specific moment when I can remember something changing inside of my brain.

Looking back now, can you really pinpoint the moment you stopped being naive and started getting real? Probably not. You have to reach the point in your life when you look back and realize you’ve changed. Because change isn’t something you see until you’re so different you don’t recognize yourself anymore. Your old memories barely belong to you.

I’m not the girl that was kissed on the forehead on my front porch. Nor am I the girl who loved someone very intensely for more than three years. I’m not the girl who became heartless and cold towards the people who tried to love her in order to regain strength. I lost bits and pieces of innocence with each of those experiences and the experiences in between.

It’s not bad to change, it’s not bad to grow and recognize what real life is now. But hold on to the little pieces of innocence you have tucked away in your subconscious. They’re what keep you sane, what keep you looking at some things with rose colored glasses, they’re what keep you warm when things are unbearably cold.

You might have lost most of your innocence, but you’re still yourself. Just different.

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photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/meeechmars/

An Open Letter To My High School Self

Dear high school me,

High school is a scary time. Everyone is going through incredible changes, yourself included. New things are introduced and new interests gain importance. There are so many people who are older than you and know more than you. And you’re in this little building with them, there to learn from them in the classroom and stand next to them in the hallways.

Keep your eyes open always. Because change isn’t always a good thing, new experiences aren’t always good experiences. The things they taught you about drugs, alcohol, and sex – that stuff happens in real life and it’s happening right in front of you. But don’t get sucked up into it. Make a list of priorities and keep looking back at it.

True friends are hard to find, but when you find them hold on tight. Your family doesn’t understand you right now and you don’t understand them – but one day you will. One day it will all make sense again. Keep them by your side.

Trust yourself more than you ever trust anyone else. There will always be people with false motives. There will always be things you desperately want and people will take advantage of that. Don’t lose sight of yourself, even if you see everyone around you getting lost. Even if everyone around you seems to know what they’re doing. Put yourself first in the times you need to.

Never put a boy first. It’s so easy to in a time where you feel like an ugly duckling, or you don’t feel cool enough, smart enough, skinny enough, brave enough. The people who look out for you are people you will always need. And that may be a boy for some time, but you can’t forget about anyone else. Because if there’s an end, it will be just you standing alone.

Lastly, know it gets better. If you don’t who you are right now then you’ll get there eventually. If your friends don’t care enough about you, soon you will find people who will. Cling to the things that are being taught to you – by teachers or otherwise. The insight you will gain in high school is so important. Whether your experience is amazing or straight up shitty, there is always something you can take away from it.

Look for it and learn from it.

Love always,

22 year old me

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77353192@N06/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77353192@N06/

You Could Have Met Your Future Spouse Before You Even Turned 16

I once read that 82% of people meet their future spouse before they even turn 16.

I tried doing my research on this one to find out where it came from and everything was unconfirmed.  This is basically a made up statistic. Yet, it resonated with me and sticks with me to this day – you may have met the person you’re supposed to marry already, but you have no idea.

I think a majority of people meet their future spouse in college. It seems that in the four years there, everyone is in the same state of mind to settle down before or right after they graduate. So that debunks the statistic right there.

Then there are the people who stay with their high school sweethearts and end up marrying them. It’s not uncommon at all to see people who started holding hands in 8th grade end up kissing each other at the alter 10 years later.

But what about the people who moved back home after college. The ones who dumped their high school sweetheart (or got dumped, like me lol) and the ones who didn’t want to make the commitment while they were living it up in college.

There’s always the chance to meet new people at the gym, or at work, or when you’re out with your friends at the bar. But a lot of people from your high school also moved home after college. They’re all back in the same place and all the single ones are in the same situation as you.

I’ve heard of a lot of relationships blooming after college between two people who knew each other in high school, but were not necessarily friends. I can’t imagine myself ever dating someone I knew before I was 16. First of all, I was a completely different person back then. Like I was pretty weird and friendless. Secondly, I feel like it must be pretty awkward to just pick up where you left off 8 years ago.

But who knows, maybe I’m part of that imaginary 82%. Maybe most of us do meet who we are going to marry before we’re 16, we just have to keep an open mind.

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/

A Rejected Postgrad

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It kind of seems like people have been telling my generation our whole lives that the job market sucks.  It has been a topic of conversation ever since we were in middle school and didn’t even have ability to stare 5 years into our future and think about what we wanted to major in when we got to college.

When forced to start thinking about it as we emerged into our teen years, we all threw out some ideas that seemed like good careers that would make us happy. We wanted to be teachers, nurses, artists, and psychologists. We wanted to teach people, help people, create, and cause change.

But teachers don’t make money – we were told.  Everyone wants to be a nurse, it’s too competitive – we were told. An artist isn’t a career – we were told.  You aren’t going to go anywhere with that unless you want to be in school for the rest of your life – we were told.

I always wanted to do something with English and creative writing, I even listed it as my major when I made my first scary steps into college. But questions flooded me – what are you going to do with that? Do you think you’ll make any money? You consider that a career?

I guess it wasn’t practical, to do what I wanted to do. So I chose to major in advertising, a field that is always growing.  I chose to minor in journalism, because I did like to write.  I chose to concentrate in new media, because it was artistic and taught me about the new world of media and social media.

Yet here I am, starting my search for a career and consistently coming up empty. For every 40 jobs I apply to, I will maybe hear back from 3.  And maybe get an interview from one of them. I spend my days on online job boards clicking apply, submitting my resume, refilling out information that is already on my resume, then confirming that I am a white female that is not disabled and is not a protected veteran. Over and over and over again.

These online job boards send you “no-reply” emails, so you have no chance of ever contacting the person you want to work for. You’re lucky if someone even sends you an email to deny you, they’ll most likely ignore you.

I was fortunate enough to land a great internship for the summer.  I have experience, but entry level jobs now apparently require at least 3 years experience.  And any entry level job that doesn’t, will probably have you sitting at a desk making pesky phone calls or going door to door for sales.

So thanks for warning me about the failing job market, I guess I just thought it would get better or changing my career path would help me out. For now, I’ll be receiving dozens of confirmation emails and waiting around until someone decides to make me an accepted postgrad, instead of a rejected one.