Life’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

It’s definitely been a year filled with a multitude of changes, highs and lows, and unexpected opportunities. I guess I haven’t been able to write in a few months because I was short of inspiration, or maybe I was just tired of talking about the same topics and sounding like a broken record. But I think it all really boils down to me beginning to care about how others viewed me; for reasons varying from not climbing the career ladder to living at home to even not having a boyfriend. However, the past few weeks have changed my perspective and silenced these external pressures because what I’ve realized is that no matter what I’m doing, or how much money I’m making, or where I’m living or living with, my family and real friends won’t judge me, they’ll support me, and that is a powerful feeling to embrace.

All of these external pressures of finding a full-time job, finding a boyfriend, moving out, having a plan, etc.– they’re always going to be there because life is constantly changing and that’s pretty exciting. As I talked about in a previous post, life is full of setbacks in which we cannot prepare for, it’s all about how we choose to handle them. I don’t necessarily want to know what the rest of my life holds right now, I just want to take it day by day. I’m not insinuating it’s wrong to have a plan, but it’s also okay not have one as well, but sometimes it’s hard to live in a society that constantly criticizes, instills ideas of conventional-ism and expects you to have your shit together the second you graduate college.

There have been plenty of things that have knocked me down since graduating, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has faced a plethora of obstacles, and maybe I take some comfort in knowing I’m not the only one, sorry if that makes me selfish but your 20s are all about being selfish apparently.

My resilience has been a great asset to me, particularly in recent months. Between unsuccessful job searching, relationships, frustrations of living at home, financial struggles, it felt like the skies were never going to clear and I was always going to be walking with a rain cloud above my head. Then I stopped feeling sorry for myself  and everything changed; the happiness I’ve found is something I can’t explain, but I found it through different things which I’ll explain in a future post.

Some questions that I really cannot stand and get farther under my skin than possible, are those of “So, what are you doing now?” and “Why aren’t you dating?”. First of all, do not ask me what I’m up to when there’s a 90% chance you follow me along social media and probably know the answer to your own question- just ask how I’m doing, and if I choose to elaborate further then great, but chances are if I don’t see you very often, you probably don’t care that much so stop using that as a filler for small talk.

The dating question primarily comes from family members and since I haven’t dated in a while, they probably all think I’m a secret lesbian, but that is in fact, NOT the case. I have different reasons for being single, but primarily I just haven’t met anyone worth the time yet and I’m content with that because right now is all about me and I want to love myself before I love anyone else.

I think what I’ve really learned this year, virtually through social media postings, is that everyone is on a different path, some are overcoming larger obstacles or taking more significant steps, but that’s just how it is. Half of my generation are getting engaged, married, starting families and buying houses, while the other half is getting blacked out every weekend and soaking up their 20s; I’m happy to say I fall into the second half of that sentence. Whatever your path is right now or how far along you are in this marathon of life, be proud of it because it’s your life and your life is something you should always take pride in.

I was asked in an interview a few weeks ago, ‘What do I define success as?’, and my answer was as simple as this: Being successful, for me, means being completely confident both personally and professionally. When I finally stop second-guessing myself or my work that is when I know I’ve been successful. In addition, the qualities I’ve found that are fundamental to possess in your 20s include, but are not limited to,  perseverance, resilience, strength, confidence, and ultimately, being true to yourself.

                 Remember that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so go at your own pace, you’ll arrive where you’re supposed to be when it’s time, so enjoy the run.

Stay tuned for next week when I discuss the books that have aided me through the frustrations of post-grad life!

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!