Cheers to 23 Years

Exactly 1 year ago today I was in Myrtle Beach, SC blowing up for Spring Break, and it just so happened to be my 22nd birthday. This year, I’m sober and getting ready for bed at 9 p.m. to wake up in the morning and adult. Bittersweet.

The timing of me being offered and accepting my first full-time job was like a birthday gift in itself. Finally stepping into adulthood and trading in my free time for a real paycheck. No more sleeping in on Tuesday mornings, Sunday Fundays, or binge watching in the middle of an afternoon weekday. However, I know that once I get into the groove of my new job and adjust, it’ll be well worth it.

Celebrating my birthday this past weekend was incredible, and I feel so humbled to have the friends that I have. Even though it was a regular night out, I had a great Saturday night in Mannyunk. Aside from having a good night out in lieu of my 23rd birthday, today I’ve thought of so many reasons to cheers to 23 years!

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Like I already said, the full time job was an incredible gift alone and something to feel fortunate about. Although it’s within an industry I’m unfamiliar with, I’m determined to stay optimistic. Every thing from here on out is a stepping stone towards one day landing my dream job, whether it’s through connections, good work ethic, grad school, or just being lucky, it all starts with my first real job.

To my very dearest friends, thank you for always wanting to celebrate and coming out! Over the years, I’ve always had a good celebration, even when I turned 21 and 6 of my closest friends were out of state or out of the country!

To the simple gifts that are the best gifts. The best gifts I’ve ever received were either homemade, thoughtful, or sincere. This year, I got a little of everything. A homemade memoir of our summer in sea isle, touching cards, and a book so perfectly and beautifully picked out for me.

To my family, who always celebrates in the most traditional sense. A homemade dinner at the birthday persons request, followed by homemade cake, that usually has a potluck of arranged candles, usually only amounting to no more than 2 or 3… But it’s always quaint, nice, and humbling.

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Maybe as we get older, birthdays become more simple and less stressful. This birthday was very laid back, but it may have been on of my best yet. I appreciated the day and weekend more because there was no expectation and hype that usually comes with it. I understand that both me and most of my friends are on a budget, so spending like crazy just for one person’s birthday isn’t an option, or a considerate idea. I never want someone to feel obligated to spend money they don’t have just for my birthday.

All of this being said, I think 23 year is going to be the best one yet, full of new experiences, opportunities and open doors, and lot of surprises. Looking forward!

 

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I don’t know how to do my taxes, but I can tell you when Michelangelo died

At the end  of a recent post, I started questioning why our college educators waste their time teaching us irrelevant subjects that have no relation to our focus of study, like philosophy and history. And I’m not insinuating that I didn’t enjoy these courses, because most of the time, they landed at the more vibrant end of the spectrum after putting my course load into perspective. However, they serve no purpose to me, especially when it comes to getting a job, starting my career, and making important decisions that effect me long-term. My concern here is mostly that these irrelevant classes that make up our “core curriculum”, could have been replaced by more useful and insightful tips for everyday life. (And also that most classes like these require you to buy a custom made textbook from your hippie and homeless looking professor that your school store never buys back).

For most of us, we graduate from school and are faced with decisions regarding our loan payments like how many years we wish to make payments for, where to consolidate them, fixed or variable interest rates, etc. Now for us business majors, we were fortunate to have finance classes included in our curriculum, so we know a thing or to about that language of rates and numbers that’s almost incomprehensible. But for those of you who were in either a School of Liberal Arts or School of Nursing, God help you and pray that you’re blessed with parents who can help with these hefty decisions.

As it’s now February, it’s accountants favorite time of the year- tax season! And as a lot of my friends are slaving away day in and day out crunching numbers, my other friends are probably clueless on how to even begin filing their taxes. Even as business major, I don’t think I could do it alone. Why weren’t we taught something useful like this? Tax season is something that is inevitable for the rest of our lives as long as you hold a job. And since all us tax payers are all looking for the same end goal, to receive the biggest return, it’d be nice to have an idea on achieving that.

Other useful things that might not be relevant to us now, but will be in the future, are expenses and responsibilities like mortgages, home owners insurance, life insurance, drawing up wills, etc. I’ll stop there because I hope that most people reading this are no where near dying, but still, it would be nice to have common knowledge on these concerns when the time comes.

Truth be told, when I’m faced with any practical life decisions, I don’t think knowing about Dolly Madison, Aristotle, when the Sistine Chapel was painted, how to cite a research paper, or how to determine how train X made it from point A to B, will prove useful. Sure, some of this might be interesting knowledge to possess, prove helpful during a round of Quizzo, or serve as random fun facts, but I don’t find them as being worth the amount they cost in tuition dollars. But again, I guess we’re not paying for what we actually learn, just the proof that we put our time in and got that expensive piece of paper at the end.

Will Life Always Be A Series of Likes? 

Driving in my car the other day, I heard a statistic on the radio that surprised me, or more so, startled me. The statistic read that ‘social media is currently more utilized and active within adults ages 35-49, as opposed to the assumed adult group of ages 20-34.’ After graduating college and entering the adult world, I thought I was exiting the realm of constant and endless refreshing, irrelevant posts, and giving a like for a like. But maybe, it seems, I’m just entering.

As much as we don’t want to admit it, we spend an unhealthy amount of time on various social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. It could be classified as a hobby for some of us if you want get technical because by definition, a hobby is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. You know what they say, if the shoe fits. And as much as I personally try to devote less time to scrolling through Instagram and looking at the same set of pictures I just saw 5 seconds ago, or watching my friend’s snap chat stories (usually not even paying attention to what I’m watching but just clicking it so it clears from my stories list), I fall victim into black hole of social media.

Perhaps hobby wasn’t even the right word for describing what kind of activity social media is for some people, but maybe it’s a habit. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve thought to myself “Okay, time to get up and get stuff done, stop looking at your phone” and then without even thinking, I’m right back to scrolling through Twitter or watching a Tasty video on Facebook that I’ll never attempt to try.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with social media- I’m an avid Tweeter, Gramer, Chatter, and Booker, but after this statistic it’s alarming to think that maybe we won’t grow out of this phase and life doesn’t get more exciting as we get older.

My friend, Dee, sent me a screen shot of a tweet she came across that read, “Sooo do I just randomly decide to be an adult one day and delete Twitter or am I gonna be 40 tweeting about my annoying daughter or what”. This woman’s thoughts on the correlation between age and social media hinders why I’m questioning the same topic.

In recent years, Facebook has become more than just a social media site and evolved into more of a foundation on how to keep updated on people’s lives, but more precisely, meaningful things happening in people’s lives like marriages, babies, graduations, and even deaths, unfortunately. This social media site in particular is also probably more often utilized by adults 40 and over, who may not have the time to catch up with everyone of their friends and family on a daily basis, and it provides a good way to stay informed about happenings within the lives of those people you’ve grown apart from, but still care about. So, Facebook, you get a free pass.

On the contrary, Snap Chat is most definitely primarily a younger market, and serves absolutely no purpose. I definitely indulge in using my snap chat story way too often, but when will I stop? At what age does it become too immature and redundant? How many meals can we post on our stories until we realize that no one actually cares, or when will we stop posting ten second long videos of us and our friends that, other than the people involved, no one else has any idea what’s happening. Or when will we realize that we all have cameras on our phones that can take pictures that last longer than 24 hours? (And probably provide better quality, especially if you have an Android).

Instagram is probably my favorite social media site to use right now, because I like looking at really cool pictures of different people’s vacations or artsy photos or just pictures when people look to be their best selves. And of course the memes! But something that I do notice that I ‘m tired of seeing is girls posting selfies with an irrelevant caption,  “throwbacks” from 2 months ago, and degrading or uneducated posts, usually regarding politics, because I think that’s meant for Twitter.

Twitter is useful for different things like promotions, businesses, politics, news, and much more. I think it’s something I’ll probably always use, but when do we stop tweeting things about our own life? When’s that cut off between using it to obtain information about things other than our friends, and use it as a mature adult trying to stay informed about things happening around the world?

Like I said, I don’t think social media is a bad thing, I just think it takes up too much of our time, and how our time could be used towards so much more. I also don’t know when it changes for us. When will it not be all about how many likes you get on a post? When will it not be all about how many favorites or re-tweets it gets? When will we start liking pictures because we actually like them, and not just because we feel obligated? When will we unfriend or unfollow people we added while drunk at a party one night and play absolutely any relevance in our lives?

Social media is definitely important, I especially know that from having my degree in Marketing, but when will our lives stop revolving around it?

Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men

As the holidays are coming to an end and a new year approaches, I’m realizing how I have so much to be thankful for between friends and family, even if I still haven’t found that full time job yet and am drowning in a sea of debt! (On a bittersweet note, to touch on my last post about hiring managers, a few companies did finally reach out to me, letting me know I will not be moving up in the hiring process. If you read my last post, you’ll know why I feel that’s bittersweet).

Driving home from babysitting the night before Christmas Eve, I found myself realizing how different the holidays are as we get older- Perhaps how much more appreciative we are as we get older- and how my reasons for loving Christmas has changed.

When I was younger, even in high school, and if I’m being completely honest, most of college, I used to look so forward to what I was opening on Christmas morning, how much money I would have after the holiday, and what the plans were for Christmas Eve and Day shenanigans.  And I think that when we’re young it’s okay to have our main concern aimed at what we’re getting for Christmas, it’s almost as if it’s our unwritten right to be selfish as kids this time of year. However, this year was different; I didn’t give much thought to what was going to be underneath the tree Christmas morning, but more so how the time would be spent leading up to December 25th.

Reflecting on this, I also realize that there aren’t many materialistic things I want or even concrete things that my parents could wrap up and put under the tree. Unrealistically, I would like my student loans to disappear, to be anxiety free, and a JOB. Santa??

Anyway, my sister who’s been in England since August returned home to celebrate the holidays with us which was a priceless gift for everyone in our family, one in which I know we’re all happy about. Knowing that we’re all in good health is also a gift to be appreciative of, as well as having a nice roof over our heads. Cliché and a bit cheesy, but you all know it’s true. These are things I know I should be unconditionally grateful for year round, but the holidays really highlight how special certain things can be, even the simplest factors of very day life.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poet from Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote a very thoughtful and meaningful poem in 1863 during the Civil War, which is now composed into many renditions of one of my favorite Christmas songs, Christmas Bells. Specifically the rendition done by John Gorka. It’s beautiful, meaningful, and instils in you the true meaning of Christmas- a time to be joyous, thankful, and selfless.

Recently I read an article written in 1990 titled, Why I Hate Christmas, and as scrooge sounding as it was, everything the man wrote was true! Although I agree with some of the things he talked about were true, he did not sway my opinion to hate Christmas. Think about how strongly the holidays effect our economy between the extravagant gifts, abundant amount of gifts, money spent on holiday parties-both food and alcohol costs- decorations, lights, cards, wrapping paper, travel costs, etc. It’s scary to think about most department stores make two fifths of their profit in the few short weeks of the Christmas season. And although this results positively for our country’s economy,  all of that excess spending could be put to better use, especially around the holidays, for the kids who get nothing instead of buying another gift for someone who had everything- for example, donating to charities. Furthermore, instead of spending in a charitable way, we could even donate time to volunteer services.

Maybe if we thought less about the materialistic aspects of the holiday, more people would appreciate the Christmas season itself, resulting in less stress and pressure on parents, loved ones, and friends to find the “perfect” gift, and everyone’s gift to each other could just be the time spent together.

Spending time with my family and friends this past week has been great, but I still have the post-grad scaries that creep up on me in the quiet of the crowd. Being aware of the fact that my student loans most definitely kick in in two months from now is enough to make my heart stop, so the job search is in full force as I enter 2017. Although there are many things happening that stress me out and make me sick, the things I do have to be grateful for and enjoy, definitely outweigh them! So, for now I’m going to relax, enjoy myself, and pray that this will actually be the best year yet.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New  Year!

 

 

 

F is for Friends That Do Stuff Together

Being a friend is one of the greatest and most rewarding title we’ll ever receive and experience in our lives. And I don’t mean the kind of friend that you talk to occasionally or just catch up when you randomly run into them or someone you only know every detail of their life because of social media accounts. I’m talking about the friends that you call to vent about your nagging and persistent parents, pick up and walk aimlessly around target to kill time and chat, share the excitement of a new crush, and the ones that you ask ‘what are we doing tonight?’ not ‘what are you doing tonight?’.

In grade school, and even high school sometimes, everyone is your ‘friend’. And although I think it’s possible to have several acquaintances and close allies, a friend is more than just someone you drink with on the weekends, swap gossip stories with, and only catch up with them when it’s convenient for one or the other. This of course happens in college too, but towards the end of your four year journey, you slowly begin to realize who’s always been there for you and always will. Sometime it’s a gut feeling, sometimes it’s an incident of trust, and sometimes it’s just as clear as day.

I would rather have a few good friends that I can count on one hand than a bunch of fake friends who would drop me faster than a hot potato. I want someone that’s going to bail my ass out of jail if I ever get that reckless, call me a cab when I’m too drunk, will let me tell them the same story over and over again because it makes me feel better, and will be there for me through all the good and the bad.

Some people judge how popular a person is or how many friends they have based on how many likes they get, or how many birthday wishes they receive, but in my eyes what really matters is who is in the pictures next to someone, sharing in their lives, and who was there to celebrate their birthday.

Unfortunately throughout our lives we’re going to lose friends who we thought were lifers, and sometimes it may be our fault, and other times it’ll be theirs, or it may just be because two people grew apart and went separate ways. And that’s okay. It’s upsetting to lose a friend, but if they’re not in your life anymore, I’m sure there’s a good reason why. It’s hard to accept this sometimes, but the reality is that you might be better off without them. Some people aren’t always meant to be in your life forever, and if they are, they’ll come back one day.

Don’t abuse a friendship or take it for granted or only appreciate it at your convenience, because it’s too important to treat in such a selfish way. And if you abuse it too many times or ask for too many second chances, the door to that person will close and when you may need it the most, it won’t be there anymore.

Maybe the best things in life really are free. I know money can sure as hell bring a lot of happiness, but so can friendship, family, and love. And when times are tough, you need friends to help get you by. Having someone to share in your happiness, successes, failures, stresses, and everything in between is a gift and I am blessed to welcome this gift everyday.

So who makes you laugh the most? Who’s company do you genuinely enjoy? Who’s someone you trust with every ounce of your being? Who’s been there for you time and time again? If you have people that come to mind when thinking about this, don’t ever let them go, you just won the jackpot.

Thank you to my good friends reading this, you know who you are!

 

Cross That Bridge When You Get To It

When me, my cousins, and younger sister were little, we used to play pretend with lots of different things such as “play” house, “play” doctor, etc.- you get the point. But the one thing that we used to do often in the Spring and Summer was draw a huge chalk road way around my  driveway. Along this road way included a bridge where you would have to pay, with fake money, to cross. (We each took turns being the toll booth attendant, which today is probably America’s number one most dreaded, mundane jobs out there).

Anyway, we loved doing this and crossing the bridge on our bikes seemed so fun and getting to the other side was something to look forward to because the road way was much larger and bendier than the prior side.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently because now I’m realizing that I have crossed so many bridges in my life since then, both physically and symbolically. Some scary, some exciting, and some confusing.

When we graduated eighth grade we crossed the bridge into high school where everything changed. We had to pay a small toll to cross this bridge which basically consisted of passing every class and not being such a devil child that you would get kicked out before your eight years were up. Surprisingly this actually happened to someone in my eight grade class. However, on the other side of the bridge we were granted more freedom, exposed to different and more opportunities, we were introduced to new peers other than the kids you spent the last eight years with, and it was collectively just a new world for all of us.

After our time there was done, we crossed the bridge into college. Unfortunately the toll to cross this bridge was a little more hefty not only did you have to pass all your classes, you were expected to do exceedingly well if you wanted to enroll in a respectable and/or prestigious college or university. In addition, you had to have some extracurricular activities, and you had to score somewhat well on the godforsaken, nearly impossible, makes you want to kill yourself, SAT. aka Satan Attacking Teens. In any case, everyone crossed some bridge whether it did lead to college or to another job, but again, we crossed that bridge, and for most of us, it was into college.

The next four years we had a good idea of what to expect- 5 classes per semester, becoming an alcoholic, and a professional Netflix binge watcher, while still somehow being able to work towards a  Bachelor’s degree which was ultimately supposed to get you a career. Summer’s off, 1 month off for Christmas break, and these generous (money hungry) institutions were even nice enough to provide a week long break during both the fall and spring semesters. Life looked great for the next four years. Of course you were also expected to complete some sort of internship over this duration, but we would all cross that bridge when we got there.

Then it came- Graduation Day. The finish line that seemed almost impossible and nonexistent as a freshmen. Here we are at yet again at another bridge. Except this time, we have no idea what was lying on the other end. Except the toll was pretty extensive- a GPA worthy enough to put on a resume, 120 credits of classroom time, internships, extracurricular, and EXPERIENCE. The most dreaded criterion listed in a job posting (unfortunately your master skills in organizing an entire beer Olympics for all your friends isn’t appropriate to include on your resume).And most of us are still crossing the bridge trying to make out what’s waiting for us on the other side. And that’s okay, because all we need to know right now is that there is another side. And I know there is because bridges don’t just stop mid-point; if they did we’d all be dead and that’s not an option since there’s so much left for all of us to do and see. We still have so many more bridges to cross! i.e. marriage, kids, travel, grad school, volunteer work, etc.

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We may not know what’s on the other side of our post-grad bridge, but for now just enjoy the views as you’re crossing over because as you’re so desperately trying to reach the other side, you might make it there too soon, and wish you were back into the unknown we call post-grad life.

Cheers!

 

That moment when $100 only feels like 100 pennies..

Every birthday since I was born, it was somewhat of a precedent that I was given $100 dollars from my grandparents, as does every other of their grand kids, and they all had for all their previous birthdays. I guess it became a tradition. This little chunk of change was also dispersed to each grand kid at Christmas too.

I remember being about 6 or 7 and every year I would look so forward to my birthday, not because of cake and having a day that was primarily all about me me me, but because I was allowed to take that huge $100 bill straight to Toys-R-Us and buy whatever I wanted.

It was the best thing ever. Just getting a hundred dollars to do whatever you wanted with and not having to worry about feeling guilty or dealing with the repercussions of needing it for something else. It was completely blissful.

The more recent years, however, the money wasn’t as blissful as it was a necessity. During college, my birthday always fell on spring break (early March), which was coincidentally always around the same time I started needing money again.

So instead of blowing that $100 on frivolous items like clothes accessories, it would go right into my checking account to support my degenerate habits (i.e. alcohol, uber fare, food, miscellaneous items). Somehow I would basically blow the hundred in about a week, but I wasn’t spending it all in one place, technically.

Still, I always looked forward to that hundred every march, but each year it played a different part in my life and was usually spent differently after I stopped buying toys.

Well, now that I’m out of college, I don’t get that money for my birthday anymore, we now get scratch offs, which is still really cool- thanks grandma!

But now, that hundred dollars would barely help me. $100 at this age is basically equivalent to $1. Womp womp.

Receiving a hundred dollars today and the though process that goes with it goes somewhat like this…

$25 can go towards this credit card,

I owe so and so $17,

My parents need $25 for my phone in 2 weeks,

I’m running low on gas, so I’ll set aside $15 for that,

& the remaining $18 can be put towards dinner tonight with my friends.

It still feels pretty awesome to make $100 in a shift or getting it as a gift, but it disappears within days! There’s so much more to pay for now that your only priority isn’t what toy to buy with your birthday money.

I know I’m not the only one who has these same thoughts about money either. Girls especially. Sometimes my thought processes are so ridiculous when it comes too my expenses..

“I really want my nails done, but I also shouldn’t spend my money on that, but if I just get the regular manicure it’s only $8 as opposed to the $13 gel manicure I’m making myself sick over thinking about..”

“Do I get Natty because it’s only $17 or do I splurge for the $20 case of Bud Light?”

*looks through abundant amount of clothes* “I really need to get a shirt for going out tonight, maybe I can find something for $20”

“My credit card bill is due September 21st, which means I have 7-10 business days to pay it, so I won’t mail it until the 11th, therefore the $25 won’t come out of my account for another few days.”

So, yea. Expenses and finances are pretty annoying at this age, but just remember you’re not the only one who thinks these things or cries over their bank statement.

It won’t always be like this, remember that. One day $100 will only feel like 100 pennies, oh and in the best way possible. 🙂