Being a 20-Something: Part IV

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I’ve decided to do a real talk-life series here on my blog since this is my space to write whatever I please. I’ve done similar things before but I want this to be a little different, a little more honest. As I have said, I am a 20-something fresh off the college mill so I’ve decided to write about those experiences as they come, whenever that may be.

Twenty Something

Dynamics – a pattern or process of change, growth, or activity.

Time is always changing things. Whether that’s making the transition from a mimosa to a mid afternoon cocktail or the transition of living at home to moving out, time causes change. Time causing changes also causes a change in dynamics. Every major decision in your life is going to alter the dynamics of the relationships around you. As you grow older your thought process changes, your opinions change, your beliefs change. You as a human being change, hopefully for the better.

Relationships have always been the number one priority in my life, almost to a fault. I’ve chosen people and relationships over other things in my life that have affected my decisions; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But even when it’s for the worse, I always choose my relationship over whatever other card is on the table. My view is that if you don’t have strong relationships with the people who you love, what’s the point of anything? At the end of the day, life is about the people around you and if you don’t sustain your relationships with them, what else can you say you do you have?

Recently I’ve had a realization that the dynamics in some of my relationships have changed drastically in the past few months. Graduating college is a big change that affects not only me, but many of the people around me. The term “college grad” almost becomes synonymous with getting a job. The first dynamic this affected was the one with my family. They want me to be happy with a job I love (which I am so grateful for) but at the same time I need to make money to continue to survive. Every time I think about that, the scale tips back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Our generation, the Gen Y generation, was raised with not settling for less than you’re worth. We grew up being told you can do anything you want, be anything you want to be. Partly because there are countless new types of jobs opening up with all of the new technology and media evolving around us everyday. “The possibilities are endless.”

My fellow college grads and I are all pretty much on the same starting level: college degree and a few semesters of internships. Enter: The Employer. He/she comes around with a job (yay job!) and you want to say yes because duh, it’s a job. But there’s a part of you that wants to say no. Why do you want to say no? Better yet, why is your gut telling you to say no? You want to say no because you know you’re better than what they’re offering you, you know you’re capable of doing something bigger and better even at just the start of your career life, you know this isn’t what you’re meant to do. Enter: The Dilemma. Do you take the job because you need the money or do you hold out because you know you’re worth more than what the job is? I still don’t know the right answer to that one. The scale tips back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

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The other major dynamic I’ve been struggling with is my relationship with myself. I’m a 20-something and I want to act my age just like most 20-somethings. But most of the time I feel older than I actually am. I feel like I’m 21 going on 28 with the way I go about making decisions about my future and the way I have to talk to people in a “professional environment ” But the reality is, all I really want to do is eat mac & cheese and jump around in a bounce house and eat fruit popsicles. The world has a few stigmas of what a 20-something should act like. So should I go with stigma #1 and be enjoying my youth and going out and meeting new people? Or should I go with stigma #2 and be focusing on my career and staying in? Is there a happy medium that makes everyone happy? Should I care about making everyone happy?

I re-read that last sentence and start laughing because I know for a fact you can’t make everyone happy. I’ve already tried doing that for a good portion of my life and it’s a huge waste of time. So that’s not going to happen anymore. I made that promise to myself a while ago.

Dynamics used to be a fun thing to play with when I was younger. Even as a kid, I was able to notice how the energy in a room shifted when someone new entered the room, how the current people in the room shifted for said new person depending on who they were. Now it’s different. Now, dynamics are a part of a much more delicate tower and if you pick the wrong block to remove or change, the whole thing could come tumbling down. Kids can rebuild and restructure their towers in no time because they love making new friends, it’s their job to socialize. But as people get older, they are less and less inclined to rebuild their tower with you.

They key is to find the people who wouldn’t mind rebuilding their tower with you, even if you mess it up a few times. Maybe they even let you repaint it too.

-S

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Being A 20-Something: Part III

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I’ve decided to do a real talk-life series here on my blog since this is my space to write whatever I please. I’ve done similar things before but I want this to be a little different, a little more honest. As I have said, I am a 20-something fresh off the college mill so I’ve decided to write about those experiences as they come, whenever that may be.

Twenty Something

I’ve been frequently referred to as a “hot mess” in my young life and it’s something I embrace rather than brush off. It’s not my job to “have it together” at this point in my life so stop telling me it is.

Frankly, I don’t think anyone at any age should be required to “have it together.” It is 100% a personal choice and I support a no judgement environment. For just a minute, close your eyes and imagine how fun it would be if we all just let go of the stress of trying to “have it together” and just lived. Do you see pretty colors streaming across your eyelids? Because that’s what I imagine it would look like. The world would be a much happier place.

Let’s talk about what it even means to “have it together” shall we? By society’s standards having it together means: having a career and a significant other/family at the same time, not being stressed yet being organized at the same time, having time to have hobbies but also being busy enough to not be considered a bum and last but not least, never breaking a sweat no matter what you’re doing.

I’m laughing just trying to imagine someone doing all of the above and not being a complete robot who is incapable of love. I don’t think it’s possible. (“Nope” I say out loud as I pop my “p” sound.)

“Having it together” is overrated. If you “have it together” you’re never going to have any fun in this life. Everything you do will be meticulously calculated down to the day by day, the hour by hour. Spontaneity to a person who “has it together” would be like throwing salt on a bucket of snails. Fun to watch but deadly.

I used to think I “had it together” in high school,17-year-old Sarah was very good at thinking she knew things. What I didn’t realize in my little Sarah bubble was that high school is so far off from reality it’s not even on the same map. In high school you still have a pretty decent level of stability if for nothing else but the hours in the day being predictable. Home, school, after school activities, home, repeat. And if you’re lucky you have someone reminding you to never deter from the schedule.

Then you go off to college or a job or what have you and it all goes to shit.

Being responsible for yourself is the single hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Finding motivation to do absolutely anything becomes a daily battle. Don’t even try to get my brain fluids going before 11am because I won’t be very receptive. Those of you who I talk to on the phone in the morning sometimes (hi mom) know that I am not the most pleasant person before I’ve had my caffeine kick in.

I can’t speak for what it’s going to feel like in another 7 years because I obviously haven’t lived it yet, but I kind of hope I don’t have it completely together. Knowing myself fairly well, I probably won’t so I don’t have to really worry about it. By the time you “have it together” what else do you have to explore about yourself? Wouldn’t you basically be done living and learning at that point? I don’t ever want to be done living or learning. The day I die I want to learn something new. Hopefully it’s how to wink without looking like a creep because I still can’t manage to do that.

To the 20-somethings who spend many hours of the day trying to appear like they have it together, just stop. Instead, take those hours and do something you love. Maybe it’s reading a book or dancing around your room with flailing limbs or sitting on the couch with an extra large glass of wine. Whatever it is, do it and enjoy every second. We’re not required to “have it together,” not now and not ever.

-S

Being A 20-Something: Part II

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The second installment of Being A 20-Something. This time discussing the feelings and reflections of leaving behind an era of your life.

Twenty Something

An era is defined as

  • a : a fixed point in time from which a series of years is reckoned
  • b : a memorable or important date or event; especially : one that begins a new period in the history of a person or thing

Era is such a daunting and regal term. As the definition above implies, an era is a fixed amount of significant years in one’s lifetime. We only usually use era to define a time period that was important or memorable but I think you can separate your life into many distinct eras that all begin and end right next to each other.

I was in Orange County this past weekend walking the Chapman campus as an alumna for the first time when I finally realized that I have reached the end of an era. The end of my Chapman Years.

This marked the first time I walked around Chapman and didn’t have somewhere to go. I didn’t have to walk up the Argyros Forum staircase and pretend to not be out of breath on the 2nd floor, I didn’t have to go to the library between classes to work on a paper I should have finished the night before and I didn’t have to go to Jazzmans looking like a zombie to get my mid afternoon coffee. I just walked around and admired the fountains as President Doti intended.

Eventually in my life I would like to write a book. Most of my best writing comes from things I’ve experienced so I’m guessing most of the book would be about real events. Along with that idea, I often wonder how I would explain things to someone I’ve never met before. So I was thinking to myself, if someone asks me “how would you describe your Chapman Years?” what would I say?

You can’t just say “Oh I had a great time in college. I graduated early, made great friends and loved my time there” because college is so much more than that. Summing up four years in two sentences is like saying that Oprah had a “good” talk show; it’s offensive and rude. There is so much more to delve into. So many minor details that make up why the bigger picture is so significant.

The Chapman Years were when I first started to find my voice. The first time when I found things I was really passionate about and wasn’t afraid to voice them. Things like music, writing and being sassy. I wasn’t afraid to say what was on my mind, tell a slightly inappropriate/offensive joke or speak up for myself. I had a very hard time with that last one in high school.

Those four years of my life will be defined as the time when I really began to figure out and envision who I wanted to be. I came in as a young 18-year-old who was so ready to be on her own. So ready to take care of herself. So ready to be an adult (whatever that means).

18-year-old Sarah thought she knew exactly what she wanted. 18-year-old Sarah thought she had it all figured out and everything was going to go according to her master plan of life that she had mapped out the year before as 17-year-old Sarah. Fool proof. Her plan was absolutely fool proof (and terrifyingly detailed).

Only problem with the plan was that 18-year-old Sarah thought she could plan for the future. Hilarious right? Why didn’t someone tell 18-year-old Sarah that making plans like that is only for someone with That’s So Raven-like powers? I would have saved a lot of time and embarrassing Google searches.

I’ll forever be able to say I lived in Orange County for a decent portion of my life and during that time, I morphed into a half-adult. I say half because I’m not ready to accept the harsh reality of the situation. No one ACTUALLY wants to be an adult. We just want to be old enough to do cool things but not have to accept all responsibility. That’s why everyone loves college. It’s the Hannah Montana portion of your life. The best of both worlds.

Unfortunately for all of us, Hannah Montana only lasted 4 seasons just like college only lasts 4 years. A weird but eerily accurate metaphor.

To wrap up this word vomit, the Chapman Years were a defining four years of my life that are bittersweet to leave behind. I will always be proud of the young half-adult I grew into during the Chapman Years. Not many people can say they grew into their half-adult selves in such a close proximity to both Laguna Beach and Disneyland. Talk about being spoiled.

This was a very long reflection that came from a very short moment of walking along a marble bench while pretending I could fly amongst the flags of the world. Thanks for nothing everything college. Half-adult 20-something year old Sarah thanks you.

Chapman Fountain