Tag Archives: Relationships

Digital Detoxing

It’s been a little more than a week since I’ve been back from vacation. I was fortunate enough to go to Mexico with my childhood besties. I intentionally didn’t set up my cell service because I knew I needed a break.

Thankfully, nothing burned down and no one died while I was gone. I had anxious moments where I thought something terrible happened and no one told me. Clearly, my family knows me better and would have texted one of my friends.  

I feel like everywhere you turn today, there’s research that shows the importance of shutting down. It’s one of those things you don’t realize you need until you do it. Now I want to integrate it into my everyday. Here are the four big takeaways from my digital detox. 

  1. Better connections: My friends and I were together most of the time and no one really used their phones. This meant we talked a lot, about different topics we don’t always get to at brunch when we’re home. It was nice to connect with them on another level. I also know I’m a big talker so I had to read my friends and know when enough word vomit was enough.
  2. Mind, body, soul is real: If one of these areas is out of whack, then they’re all out of whack. When we got there, I had a really bad headache and couldn’t even appreciate that I was on a gorgeous beach in the middle of Mexico. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are all important and connected. It was a good reminder to pay attention to each. 
  3. Be a kid again: Thankfully my friends can be silly and fun without any prompting.cliff jumping We laughed more times than I could count! We also went down water slides and jumped off fake cliff (picture to the right proves it). It doesn’t matter how old you are, go outside and play every now and again. It feels SO good! 
  4. Non-attachment: I don’t need to be glued to my phone. The social media world kept spinning without me. Not every last thing I do needs to be on social media. Logically in my brain, I know this. But it was so freeing to not be conditioned by email or texts or other notifications. I’m *trying* to bottle up this digital freedom feeling and remind myself to not be so connected all the time. 

Have you quit the technology for a period of time? Helpful? Horrible? Please share! 

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A Reminder for all my Single Ladies

It’s February 11th, which means we’re three short days away from Valentine’s Day. On this day, single women (maybe men too) pretend to hate the holiday, claim their independence and wear black. They tell themselves and the world that they don’t need anyone to take care of them. They celebrate with their girlfriends and refuse to entertain the idea of happily ever after. I’ve been guilty of this behavior but how is acting like this serving us?

For starters, I know I am making several generalizations. I am basing all of this off of my personal experiences and am not trying to bash fiercely independent single ladies, especially since I am one. You go and own that independence and keep doing you. My point is more about Valentine’s Day and love, which some cynical singles denounce. Do we really think that’s worth it? Probably not. If you believe in the theory that by putting good out there, you’ll receive goodness, then bashing men and relationships is pointless. Take your armor off girl and be vulnerable. All men are not created equally.

There are good men in the world. The sample of the population you’ve dated or dealt with is only a small portion of the whole. You’re also not allowed to base your attitude towards men on your relationships with any male relatives. I promise if you look outside of those populations, you’ll find good, strong, happy men. I work with several of them – colleagues I’ve had the pleasure of working with that are good men. Smart, vulnerable, funny, respectful men. They do exist I swear.

Case in point, my friend Alicia’s fiancé Andrew. I’ve only met Andrew once but based on my friend’s overall happiness, I can tell he’s a good man. And there’s proof! Check out the video below that shows how Andrew proposed to Alicia: with awarding winning photographers capturing several different shots that Andrew made into a stop motion video. Also pay attention to how Andrew starts the video…more evidence that when a spark of magic occurs, people show up differently.

 

So my single ladies (or any cynics out there), I challenge you to think differently about relationships, love and the upcoming holiday. Be open, put the positive vibes out there and you might be surprised at what you get in return.

Since I’m putting the ask out there for others, I should be practicing what I’m preaching. I created an online dating profile today. I’ve considered it in the past but now I’m really doing it!

Time to Transition

We’ve all felt them; that pang of guilt, fear, what have you as we shift from young adulthood to full-blown adulthood. While it may not happen all at once, the transition to fully responsible for yourself and your happiness is a rough journey for most. Growing pains seep into all areas of our life: our family, our interpersonal relationships and our professional life.

It seems that creating boundaries with family is typically harder when you’re closer with your family OR when they are more involved in your life. Some of this may be on them for wanting to know every detail or on us for sharing every detail. As I begin the process of moving out, these boundaries with my family are necessary for my survival. Their drama, insecurities and issues are not mine to take on. Everyone repeat after me: the problems of my parents, siblings and extended family are not mine to fix. I will always love my family, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

20 somethingLooking at interpersonal relationships is probably where the sharpest growing pains are felt for the majority of transitioning adults. You have your group of friends from all parts of your life: childhood, high school, college and beyond. You believe this group of friends will be with you forever. But then life happens and people mature and experience life phases at different speeds. Some friends are married right after college while others go off to graduate school. Just because everyone is at a different phase doesn’t mean friendships have to end. It means everyone needs to keep in perspective that we are experiencing things differently. It is not always easy but is absolutely worth it. Significant others are a whole other ballgame. Bottom line is you need to find someone who will grow with you, who loves you for all you are today and everything you will become tomorrow.

In the workplace, growing pains are felt in a completely different way. For me, almost all of my colleagues are older than me so they’ve experienced this transition already. Some are sympathetic and remember what it felt like to find their first apartment. Others can’t be bothered. In this time of change, it’s important to remain confident (not cocky) at work. You may not have it all figured out (no one does), but you must be willing to learn. Age is just a number; don’t let it or others intimidate you.

Everyone goes through the transition from recent college graduate to adult at different times and at different speeds. The fact remains that this is the time to be selfish, live your life for you and no one else. Find what makes you happy and do it as often as possible. Book that trip, run that 5K, but whatever it is, do it for you and no one else. As always, a Beyonce song is all too appropriate for this phase of our lives. While “Grown Woman” gives off a cocky vibe, the meaning behind the song is a good reminder for all of us struggling with this transition. We are adults and can do whatever we want. Have a listen below and share your thoughts with me!

Family Fridays: No Matter What

“Cousins are usually the first friends we have as children. No one will understand your crazy family like your cousins do. No matter how long it’s been, cousins can pick up where you left off. They are your heart, your soul and understand you better than anyone.” 

All of my cousins have a special place in my heart. Cousins can offer an outside perspective that parents and siblings often can’t. I am fortunate enough to have the greatest cousins ever, in particular an older cousin who has become my big sister over the last 13 years.

AmandaAt 10 and 13, neither of us were sure of anything. We were young and impressionable, without any care in the world. We spent the majority of our weekends together, took vacations together and grew up side by side, there for each other whenever necessary. Now at almost 23 and newly 26, life certainly has changed, I’d like to think for the better.

As kids, we were too mature for our age, over-thought things and were hypersensitive. As adults, those qualities are still there but we’ve grown up and learned to manage ourselves, each other and our families. I’ve seen Amanda grow up, be successful (the girl is already getting her second Master’s degree!), fall in love and genuinely be happy, a foreign concept for us at 18. She works hard and has earned the right to be happy and to live her own life; that’s kind of difficult with our family. I am constantly inspired by my cousin, her ability to fight for the things she wants and the way she lives every day to the fullest.

As we grew up, things that we couldn’t control changed. Our once seemingly perfect family has changed It has been a challenge to stay sane and keep our relationship grounded. But, from a young age, we stood by the ‘no matter what’ principal. No matter who said what, no matter what happened, we trusted one another. Today, that hasn’t changed. It’s something we believe in and will follow forever.

There are so many songs that have turned into anthems for Amanda and I. The list is long and continues to grow. However, one song consistently reminds me of my cousin and of everything she’s taught me. There have been so many lessons learned but most importantly, Amanda has taught me to live everyday, to make myself happy first and to not waste 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: The Sunshine of My Life

Nine years ago today, a little boy with the sweetest smile was born. He stole my heart from the minute he wrapped his little finger around mine. Now, as a boy not a baby, he still is the most loving little man I’ve ever met.

Antonio1Maybe I’m biased, but how could you not fall in the love with the face you see to the left. That is Antonio, with his wild child hair and larger than life smile. He was about three in that picture but is still the same. Ask anyone who has met him even for a second and they will tell you how sweet and lovable he is. It’s true he’s a bit rougher than when he was younger. But, I still get hugs and cuddle time. He promises me that he will always hug and kiss me, even when he’s a “big boy.” I hope to the high heavens he will.

By now it’s clear how much I love my siblings. But, I’m not sure it’s clear how much they love me. Antonio loves me when I’m with him, when I’m gone, when I’m unhappy and even when I’m mad. He loves because I’m his big sister, not because I have a great job, or because I’m a good listener. He loves me just because. There isn’t any pressure to show up, to act a certain way or to be anyone but me. Spending time with him is the best stress reliever and lets me be a kid all over again.

I can’t believe my little man is nine years old today. Time certainly flies just a bit too fast. But, I have such an amazing relationship with Antonio that I kind of comfortable with him growing up. Whenever I need a laugh or want to shoot some hoops, I can count on Antonio. He truly is the sunshine of my life. Happy Birthday baby boy!

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Calling All College Seniors!

Colleges around the country officially ended their semesters this week. My alma mater, Temple University, finished classes for the spring 2013 semester on Monday. Most students are now locked in the library preparing for finals. For college seniors, this is both an exciting and terrifying time.

temple graduationIt feels like yesterday that I graduated from Temple University. It will be officially a year on Friday and don’t worry, there will be a reflections blog post all about that. This post is dedicated to college seniors who have graduation quickly creeping up on them. The week(s) before graduation were the best and most stressful time of my life. I wish someone would have given me a few pointers beforehand. So college seniors, here’s my advice for your final days as a student.

DON’T: 

1. Slack Off:  You will absolutely regret not studying for that last final. If you worked hard in the class all year, blowing the final will cause all that hard work to go to waste. Finish strong so you’re proud of all of your accomplishments, including the last semester.

2. Burn Bridges: While you might not like all your professors, some will be very helpful during college and beyond. Foster those relationships with professors, colleagues and other professionals during college and continue them after you graduate. Talk with these people and get their contact information so you can keep in touch. I’ve done this with multiple people from college. They have proven to be good sounding boards and helped me land my first job.

DO: 

1. Plan Ahead: You should probably start applying for jobs over spring break. If you didn’t, that’s not a problem but you should get on that. Attend professional networking events and hold informational interviews during your final semester. It is okay to graduate without a job (most of us do!) but be as proactive as possible during your senior year.

2. Enjoy it: The month and week before I graduated was the best time of my life. My friends and I

One of our awesome Rockstar caps. Photo credit my friend Lauren

My two best friends and I made Rockstar caps for graduation. Note the “L.A.N.” at the bottom! Photo credit to Lauren.

worked hard but also remembered to enjoy our final days as undergraduates. Go to all the senior events on campus, celebrate every milestone and make your graduation about you. It’s true there are people who helped you: your parents, relatives, friends and professors. But, at the end of the day, it is about YOU and your college career. Embrace it and enjoy every single moment!

I hope these tips will guide all college seniors through their final days. It is scary but don’t forget to see the big picture. Congratulations! You made it through all four years! Now your life really begins!

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