Tag Archives: Perspective

Hello Mid-Twenties!

I am less than a month from my 26th birthday. You probably just rolled your eyes. For whatever reason, being in my mid-20’s sounds so…grown up. Don’t get me wrong, life is fabulous, I couldn’t ask for more. But things feel real now. Does that make sense? If not, oh well, that’s not the point.

As I normally do around my birthday, I reflect on the past year…the good, the bad, the in between. As I was reflecting on this past year, I started thinking of the highlights from the first half of my twenties. Some are all about having fun and others are valuable life lessons. Of course, it’s going to look different for everyone but here are my favorites:

  • Move out: Obviously, only do this if the timing is right for you. There is something so liberating about living on your own and making your own decisions. You also learn real fast how to budget and deal with other human beings that aren’t your family aka your roommate(s).
  • Know where your money is going: Understand interest rates on credit cards, what you’re being charged for rent, how long 401K vesting takes at your company, etc. It’s super important to understand your money so you can create a realistic budget. Companies such as Personal Capital have great, free financial software that can help you manage your finances and even plan for retirement.
  • Explore the world: There is nothing better than traveling and experiencing new cultures. It gives perspective on how people around the world live. I also find traveling to be a great source of renewal.
  • Go to the doctor: All of them, including your dentist and eye doctor. We tend to fling our health around in our twenties only to be disappointed when we suddenly have high blood pressure by 30. Be proactive and see your doctors regularly. Figure out your own health insurance too!
  • Dance it out: Grey’s Anatomy reference here. But some of the best nights were spent dancing with my girlfriends and screaming the Beyonce lyrics. You need those carefree, anything goes nights to remember who you are.
  • Date: This one is hard for me. But, go on dates, meet new people who make you laugh. Relationships can be worthwhile adventures. Don’t be too jaded; we all have those failed attempts from college and our early twenties. Also, don’t knock the online dating websites until you’ve tried them. Even if you’re in a serious relationship, make time for date nights that don’t involve leftovers.
  • Find a hobby outside of work: When you’re starting your career, work quickly becomes a big part of your life. Nothing wrong with this but everyone needs balance. Find something you love to do (volunteer, exercise, knit, doesn’t matter) and dedicate time to it. You’ll appreciate the balance you’ve achieved as you get older.
  • Make peace with your family: Everyone has family drama, but yours is unique to your family. Remember not all drama is your drama and you can love someone while also creating some space from them. Also, spend time with your grandparents/elders, you will miss them more than you know when they’re gone.

S&TC.jpgBottom line: Do whatever is going to work best for you. I’ve spend too much time trying to please people and live a life that isn’t mine. Your happiness comes first, everything else is secondary. Sharing one of my favorite Sex in the City quotes too as a reminder for all of us.

Let me know what you would add to list in the comments section below!

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

In my last post, I wrote about the power of storytelling. Stories help convey our values, purpose and brand. But what happens when that oh so powerful story is a lie we repeat to ourselves often?

Much like fairy tales, our personal narratives were constructed at an early age, whether we believe it or not. The people closest to us helped to develop these stories, both positive and negative, that we end up carrying with us through life. So, if you were told you weren’t good enough your entire childhood, chances are you’ve carried that baggage with you through adulthood.

Another thought is that we may have perceived situations as children and translated them into negative stories about ourselves. The mother who was tough on her kids was merely preparing them for life’s challenges versus how a teenager might have perceived this tough love. Either way, the stories we tell ourselves can both help and harm us in the long run.

For me, the stories I create in my head are absolutely dramatizations of reality. I’m still trying to figure out why this is. I’m assuming it has something to do with my personal triggers. Triggers are scenarios that prompt an emotional response. Note: this emotional response can be extremely positive or extremely negative. Triggers, much like personal stories, are deeply rooting in your past experiences.

I tend to obsess about certain situations, then create a false story in my head that in turn solicits an emotional response. See what kind of chain reaction I have going on here? It’s not healthy or sustainable. I’m working on it but am finding it’s really hard for me stop the whirling in my head. The good news is I’m starting to recognize when I’m giving in to this behavior, so that’s step one. Here’s what I’ve been attempting to do when I know I’m obsessing, lying and reacting.

  • Recognize that I’m obsessing and creating a false story about a particular situation
  • Take a deep breath to calm myself down and pull myself out of the emotional reaction I’m having
  • Think about what actually happened versus what I perceived
  • Put myself in the other person’s shoes: could something have triggered them that then caused a chain reaction?
  • Ask myself: will this matter tomorrow, next month or next year? This one is especially helpful in keeping things in perspective.

I am certainly a work in progress, but have found these steps helpful. What kinds of stories do you tell yourself? Do any illicit an emotional response and how do you manage that? Share with me!

Our Obsession with 20-Somethings

Everywhere you look on social media, there are articles about the 20-somethings. From Thought Catalog to Elite Daily, there are lists of fun activities to do in your twenties and others filled with thought-provoking lists of goals to never give up on during your twenties. I, along with every other 20-something, retweets, prints and highlights these articles. My question is why?

twentiesYour twenties is the decade where you do the most soul-searching. Typically, you’re just starting your career, haven’t found that special someone yet and certainly do not have kids. The responsibility of adulthoood is overwhelming and you’re barely breathing some days. How could you ever be responsible for another life?! But that’s how I see my twenties; it doesn’t mean the rest of the world does or should view it like me.

The millennial generation, myself included, is obsessed with defining the 20-something. We read, post and beg for a definition, a plan for each of us to follow. I don’t know if it’s insecurity or uncertainty but there is something there. For me, I am unsure of the future, what exactly I want and how it’s all going to play out. I read these articles across every social media forum searching for the exact answer on how to proceed confidently into the future.

Well guess what? No one, no article or Twitter account can provide me with the right way to take my journey. Sure, reading them is harmless enough as long as you don’t define your life by them. It is perfectlylife ahead fine to be 30, single with a kick-ass career. In the same breath, it’s great to be 24, married and wanting nothing more than to raise babies. Bottom line: It’s your life, own it and make choices based on your happiness, no one else’s.

The 20-somethings are an interesting group whose perspectives are constantly evolving. We have a lot to say about the world and our place in it. So if you’re a 20-something, own your twenties in whichever way you want. If you’re not, have a conversation with one and share your knowledge with them. They will appreciate it!

Balancing The Growing Pains

“Growing up is never easy. You hold onto things that were; you wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be – other days, new days, days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older; we just had to forgive ourselves for growing up.” – The Wonder Years

Like many, I spend this past weekend relaxing and enjoying my Monday off. I headed down the shore with my two of my best friends to dance the night away. We watched the sun come up, slept for a couple of hours then ventured to the beach. Some would say we took it a little too far, but I call it making memories. However, we paid for our fun yesterday at work.

The last year has been filled with so many changes that haven’t been experienced by everyone in my group of friends. A handful of us are employed, commute to work and spend 8+ hours a day in front of a computer. Others are in graduate school; some are living on their own and others are still in school. All of our lives are different. At times, it doesn’t feel like all we do is work and yearn for the good old college days.

havefunOne thing I’ve learned in working during the last six months is that everyone deserves a work-life balance. Too often, you hear that term used with working parents and not with newly employed young adults. One way I’ve gotten a handle on this real-world thing is by making sure I balance everything in my life. The work-life balance is important for young adults because it:

  • Prevents burnout: As new faces in the workplace, most of us are eager to prove ourselves and will take on multiple assignments in order to do so. While this is admirable, it isn’t always realistic. 
  • Helps our friendships: See the quote above! My friends and I had a year of adjustments with misunderstandings about schedules, budgets and attitudes. We are all working so hard we tend to forget about our friendships…and that each of us is struggling with the adjustment. The frustration of opposite schedules and long-distance relationships often proves to be a challenge. BUT, we all are learning to balance and keep one another in check.
  • Improves the quality of our work: This speaks for itself. Working on a project at the 20th hour isn’t good for anyone involved and certainly won’t be your best work.
  • Puts the focus on our well-being: Work is important but so is our health. In college, your health is typically thrown out the window. Being conscious of the work-life balance allows for focusing on balance in all forms like what you’re eating and how often you’re working out.
  • Shows our parents we can do: Mom and Dad need to realize the work-life balance is a real thing now that their babies are adults. They’ll have to adjust too!

The team members I work with often help me achieve a better work-life balance. My friends and family also keep everything in perspective too. This weekend showed me that it is perfectly fine to take a much-needed break and enjoy time with my friends. I plan to focus more on the work-life balance and hope you do too!

Family Fridays: Reverse Mentoring

Within the last week, I’ve spoken with some of my younger friends who were seeking advice. The schoolinspire year has ended and many of them were contemplating next steps to take during the summer. I enjoyed our conversations and they generated some mentoring concepts that inspired today’s post.

Sometimes mentoring can seem like such a formal process. In my opinion, mentoring is a fluid process, a mutually beneficial relationship where both individuals, who are proactive in bettering themselves and each other. Taking this into account, anyone can be a mentor. It is true that someone older than you might be of more help. But everyone has different experiences to share. Case in point, my almost sixteen year old cousin, ToniAnn.

TonToniAnn’s Sweet 16 is tomorrow night and I know she is extremely excited. So I am! ToniAnn and I have a great relationship: we trust each other and can talk about almost anything. I pride myself in having this type of relationship with all my younger cousins. Within the last several months, ToniAnn has lost forty pounds and looks incredible. She has inspired me to get healthy and it never give up no matter how hard life gets. While seven years younger than me, my amazing little cousin has mentored me and called me to take action in my own life.

Sometimes we don’t look to younger people for advice because we don’t think they’ve had the necessary life experience to understand our situation. This could be true in specific situations like I’ve never been married so I can’t give my married friend specific advice on her marriage. But I can listen, which can be almost just as helpful as providing advice. If we restrict ourselves to only using older people as mentors, we will limit the guidance we receive. We need to be open to all perspectives including ones of those younger than us. ToniAnn has proved that age is just a number; anyone can inspire.

Family Fridays: Heaven Must Have Sent You

April is an action-packed month meaning there’s a bunch of very important birthdays. If you stopped by the blog yesterday, you heard about my friendship with Trish who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Today is another very important Aries’ birthday…

There’s no one quite like my mom. If you’ve been lucky enough to have met her, you’ll completely understand what I’m saying. She has these little whit-isms, snippets of advice, if you will that make total sense but also make you crack up. For example:

“Some days you’re the bat. Some days you’re the ball.”

momThink about it. It makes complete sense but you absolutely smiled while reading it. There’s more than just these pieces of advice too. She’s an NYU graduate, put herself through college while working, raised  two kids and is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. She makes jokes about everyone, including herself. She raised me on 70’s Disco, The Beatles, Mariah Carey’s 1’s CD and TLC, among many others. She works very hard but also knows how to enjoy life. She listens to all my crazy stories, gives sound advice and is the best cook I’ve ever met. She’s my mom so you’d assume I’m a little biased, right?

Ok, I probably am biased. But not entirely. My mom is tough in every sense of the word. Tough meaning her expectations for everyone including herself are exceptionally high. Tough meaning she’s good at hiding how she really feels. Tough meaning she can take on the world but demands we all do the same. At a point in time, I didn’t see any of this or understand it. It took years,  going away to college and several screaming matches for me to realize I’m lucky to have the mom I do.

We never used to get along the way we do now. Trust me, there’s still moments when I wonder what inmom2 the name of all things holy is she thinking. Guaranteed she thinks the same thing about me. We figured it  out despite our differences. Our personalities are not exactly alike though there are some similarities: how we cook and host parties, the music we like, how hard we work and how passionate we are. There’s a bunch of differences too: I’m more OCD, she’s more focused, I’m more emotional and she’s better with money and numbers. We’re certainly not the same person, but the important traits have stuck. When I say I got it from my mama, I’m not lying.

In 22.5 years, my relationship with my mom has grown and changed over and over again. She is my role model, the reason why I believe I can do both, the career and the family. We don’t get it right every day or even every other day. But, we try to learn from each other. I’m so lucky to have her as my mom  and can’t wait to celebrate her birthday tonight! The song that inspired this post’s title is below.

To The Moon & Back

Today’s post has two purposes: celebrate my very first college friend’s birthday and continue on with the 30 Days of Truth Challenge. Let me first take you back five years ago to August 2008. I happened to get lucky and land the single room at the end of the 4th floor short side hallway in Peabody Residence Hall. The single was nice but the hall itself wasn’t. Yet, I created the absolute best memories there and made a lifelong friend in the process.

trishbdPoor Trish was the girl who lived next to me freshman year. I honestly think we became friends because I was so loud and she heard all of my conversations through the super thin Peabody walls. Thank God for those walls. She was my first real friend at Temple and five years later, she is one of my best friends and the most level-headed person I know. I often wonder how someone who is so calm and laid back could be a friend with someone as high-strung and insane as me. But she is and for that, I am very grateful. This leads me to the next Truth Challenge prompts:

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Part one: While Trish and I have pretty much been friends for our entire college careers, there was a time when our relationship wasn’t as strong as it is today. This was due to a lot of things that have subsequently changed for a variety of reasons. That being said, I don’t ever want our friendship to go back to that place. I know I couldn’t live without Trish, her perspective on life that helps to keep me calm and grounded. In broader terms, I know I couldn’t live without my friends – maybe not the exact same people but an inner circle that I rely on for support and advice. My friends keep me going; without them, I don’t make sense.

Part two: There’s a laundry list of things (even people) I could live without. However, one thing I know I could live without is drama. That is one of the many things my friendship with Trish has taught me. The drama is just not worth it. Life is simply too short, as cliché as that sounds. Trish has the patience of a saint and is happy just being with people. She’s not high maintenance and reminds me that friendships (or any relationship really) shouldn’t be. There’s no need for drama; talk it and hug it out and things will be just fine.

moonMy life has changed more than ever since I started college. The one constant has been my friendship with Trish. She has consistently and happily shown up during the last five years. There’s no way I could ever express how grateful I am for that. I know I say that about all my friends but in reality, she has been the only there, on the ground with me at Temple for the entire time. The memories we have are priceless and hysterical. I know the future only holds more great things for us. Happy Birthday Trish!

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