Tag Archives: twentysomething

Things We Need To Start Complimenting Each Other On In Our Twenties

That parallel parking job you did was so expert! The whole time you were googling the restaurant before we left to see if they had a lot and then when you found out it was only street parking, you tried to casually suggest somewhere else for brunch, but regardless, when we arrived, you pulled between two large oddly-spaced vehicles with such ease, never losing your cool. You even kept the in-car conversation going, pretending as if you weren’t internally panicking about accidentally backing up 3 centimeters too far and totally embarrassing yourself! You’ll surely be able to get out of that spot, too, without having to walk home. Kudos!

Way to go on your salad! We all saw you chomping down on several green leaves of lettuce at lunch and could actually manage to still make out the colors of the vegetables present, instead of only seeing a pool of ranch dressing. We hope this isn’t too forward, but are you going all organic? Are you participating in a clean eating challenge on social media? Regardless, your choice in lunchtime wellness is truly an inspiring choice to us all. Get yourself a pizza for dinner, you health guru, you.

You put on actual pants today! I know you had the option to walk out of your house in pajama material or stay home and disregard them altogether for some terrible Lifetime made-for-tv movie that somehow sucks you in every time, but you, by an act of your own selflessness and determination, truly took it to the next level and wore actual fabric with a zipper attached out into the world. Your extra effort to clothe yourself will never go in vain. We are all proud of how you pulled it together and put on a professional front…and back, technically.

Your email response time was impeccable! You may be a pro at avoiding long work message-chains that require a thought-out and spellchecked response, but you tackled this one with sincerity, speed and aplomb, instead of letting it hang over your head all afternoon. I don’t want to presume anything, but are you going to check your voicemails next, too? An overachiever like you is hard to find, so keep up the perfect pace.

Congrats on not bringing up your past failed relationships! I know that it was really tempting to harp on your ex that you can’t forget or share your breakup stories again at a volume that the whole rest of the coffee shop could hear, but you managed to politely continue the conversation without resurrecting your emotional baggage! Even when those friends you were with brought up engagement rings and babies, you kept smiling like the token “cool girl” from a movie that doesn’t have insecurities, and remained somewhat calm in your own single skin. Hip, hip, hooray for you and your heart!

How about that fancy drink you just consumed?! We may still be young, but you truly pulled a sophistication card by ordering something other than PBR, bottom-shelf wine, and “just whatever is the well liquor”. Did you just ask for a cocktail that didn’t have “bomb” in the name and decide to also sip on a water at a bar that has some actual lighting instead of only neon signs? Adulthood looks good on you.

Let’s hear it for you NOT bailing on plans! First pants, now this- wow! Fighting the temptation to stay in and watch another season of the ever-addictive Game Of Thrones (because, dragons) is a tough task, but you actually followed through with the invitation to be outside your house- in public!– and faced the fear of not knowing enough people where you were going or being over or underdressed, and you did it in style. Think of the memories you made tonight, think of the Instagram-worthy moments that happened, and think about how even if you still watched an episode of Game Of Thrones when you got home, you still maintained a friendship or two just by showing up. Good job, pro.

You made a thing! You put effort and time and your own talents into making a business plan, a painting, a screenplay, a big event, a comic book, an album, a poem, a casserole, a thesis, a fun youtube video, the first draft of a novel, a cheap bookshelf for your apartment, a killer resume, a handmade gift, an important speech, or just a great outfit, and you made that thing with your own two hands. You might have had help, you might have failed once or twice (or forty times) getting it there, but you actually created in a world that tells you that our generation doesn’t create anymore. It doesn’t matter how small an accomplishment, because you crafted and labored and put actual thought into something beyond yourself, and for that, the best compliment I can give is, Fantastic! Splendid! Delightful! Delicious! Crazy-Good! Life-Changing!

Now, go do it all again.

Decorating Your TwentySomething Apartment

You did it! You made it to your twenties! Some days you feel gross and unaccomplished, like the hair clogging your own bathtub drain, but some days you feel like an Instagram photo that got over 15 likes- you know, accomplished to be here, even if the accomplishment is a little lame in and of itself.

Nevertheless, you have to live somewhere, and whether that means with your “landlords” (the name you gave your parents so that you sound more adult) or in an old “charming” (a nice word that means broken-down) house with 5 other roommates, fresh decor is key in transitioning into the put-together-person that every TwentySomething article online tells you that you are becoming.

So, let’s get started on revamping your space!

1. Get a plant!
Plants are great, because plants let you pretend to take care of something! Kittens and puppies are cute and all, but even a baby cactus looks adorable in the right light, and watering it from your “vintage” (rusty) sink is a lot cheaper than buying pet food. Not to mention, plants never have to go to the vet, you don’t have to walk a plant, and if you get at least 3 pieces of foliage, your space will look just bohemian enough, as if you shop regularly at Free People, even though you may only be able to afford half a shirt there! Plus, people say plants bring in fresh air and good energy, and since your starter job probably doesn’t provide health insurance, you better soak up all those chlorophyll vibes!

2. Display your Accomplishments
Just because you are young and maybe you’ve never had to actually pay many bills until now does not mean you haven’t done anything! Think about what small moments have given your life some meaning, and make sure to give them some wall space. You can hang your college diploma on the wall and pledge allegiance to it every morning, promising that you’ll try to do something with your education other than googling solutions to tech issues that your coworkers are having, organizing the office, and testing all the fonts in Microsoft Word. Put up a photo of a great romantic dinner that you enjoyed, so that when you’re eating peanut butter sandwiches and considering downloading Tinder because dating seems bleak, you’ll remember that one time you ate something with fresh vegetables and flirted like a grownup instead of only through texts! Lastly, put up your First Dollar from your First Adult Paycheck like restaurants do when they open and make a sale, and then promise yourself you won’t take it down and spend it. (Well, unless it’s an emergency.)

(No, a Doritos Locos Taco is not an emergency.)

3. Jars and Pallets FOREVER
I have yet to meet a person my age, me included, who is not at least a little bit excited about mason jars and shipping pallets. Call it the rise of Pinterest, but mason jars can literally be used for anything in the eyes of our generation, and finding a pallet on the side of the road is akin to Columbus bumping into America all those years ago. Drinking everything from iced coffee to wine to water out of a mason jar seems quaint enough, like you cared about style but also just decided to recycle what you had, but you can also use them for storage, lighting, and if you happen to have any duty in your friends’ weddings in the next 10 years, just volunteer for something involving mason jars and you’ll be set. Pallets are usually free, and for those of us who want to have the novelty of a “dumpster-diving” story without actually chipping our manicure, they can be acquired pretty easily. In fact, even as I write this I am picturing these pallet beds that I still have yet to make and thinking how chic I would feel laying on them, like my own version of a Martha Stewart catalog.
(Added bonus: the cheap pasta sauce you live on for a week probably comes in a ‘cool’ jar that can be reused! Broke and fabulous!)

4. Forget your cares with Christmas Lights
You know what’s cheaper than a really great lamp that gives you reading light? Off-season Christmas light prices. You know what looks way more hip in a photo than overhead lighting? The glow of dim Christmas lights. You know what might automatically make you seem like you probably rent a place and don’t own it and might still be stuck in college in your mind? Christmas lights as your main source of brightness.

5. Ugly things are still things and you need them
I think having some not-so-cute pieces in your home or space when you’re young is important, and maybe it’s just me, but it adds a story. Keeping the stuff you thought was cool when you were a few years younger cause it still works or cause you can’t afford anything nicer is truthful, sometimes painfully. But that rickety chair, those mismatched colored hangers that seemed like standard-issue in dorm rooms across America, that old pile of pillows on the ground or wimpy air mattress or beat-up futon with overwashed sheets that you do all your dreaming on reminds you that you’re still working, still aiming for more, and still building a home while you build yourself and your resume.

One day we’ll all look back on our terrible style and bad furniture and just be thankful that we had personality and had somewhere to sit. (Assuming that we still can sit because of all the damage that we did to our spines with beanbag chairs, lumpy discount beds, and couches we found on the side of the road, and while we’re writing another check to our Chiropractor when we make it to our 40s, complaining about our neck hurting from staring at our laptops and thumb pain from decades of texting.)

However, the future still looks pretty bright for us. (Just not too bright, because we’re trying to save on our electric bill this month so we can use the money to go to that music festival, so please only turn on the light if you absolutely need it.)

You’re Gonna Hear Me Roar (Eventually)

We’re gonna get real.

We’re gonna talk about Katy Perry, being sicker than you’ve ever been, long-distance relationships, hospitals, loneliness, and pumpkin s’more donut muffins.

And if that sounds difficult to follow, you may need to get off the ride now.

But if you’re up for it, before you read below, please press “play”-

I knew I was going to love the Katy Perry song, “Roar” before I even heard it. The title was too telling of the content- which I knew would involve some sort of lion or big-cat imagery, which clearly, having donned myself “The Lion-Haired Girl”, I was going to adore- and I wasn’t wrong. From the first notes, I knew I was going to get wrapped up in the overly-produced pop sound and the sweetness and simplicity of the lyrics. I was even more onboard when I realized that she had taken the word “roar” and turned it into “ro-o-o-o-OH-OH-OH-O-ar” during the chorus, which I could easily sing along to at any and all times.

The song came out August 10th, which shouldn’t be overly special to note, but it was.

5 days later, August 15th, my longtime boyfriend moved allllll the way across the United States, (literally, hi Seattle) to live his dream. To “roar” in another state, if you will. (And yes, he will hate this analogy so much because it’s Katy Perry instead of The National, but still). He rode away into the sunset and I remained just about as calm toward the situtation as any early-twenties-millenial-with-too-many-feelings can, which is to say that I ate a lot of deep fried things covered in cheese, made 18 playlists of coping music, texted him nonstop for hours about pointless things, and made impulse purchases of studded leather vests and combat boots because I assumed they would heal my heart (which, let’s be real, they definitely helped).

So, flashforward with me. I’m almost to the end of August and I still can’t get this song out of my head. I’m attempting not to dwell on every question of, “How are you going to make long distance work?” and I’m really doing a good job at taking care of myself. At some point in every day, I still find myself singing or humming the melody and succumbing to the pop masterpiece of “Roar”. I’m wishing I had boxing gloves like Katy had during her VMA performance and by now I’ve learned all the words and harmonies and have even started checking eBay for a knockoff of KP’s tiger satin jacket.

Image

(try not to be impressed by my photoshop skills)

If I was more of a believer in Long Island Medium or the ‘great timing of the universe’, I’d say listening to “Roar” on repeat was supposed to prepare me for September, but it didn’t. In between counting down the days til Katy’s album release in October and working a job with ridiculous hours of 4AM to noon (I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but, stay with me) I got mono.

Yep, that’s right – I get “the kissing disease” after my longtime boyfriend moves away. The jokes just write themselves!

But I don’t just get regular mono. I get mono coupled with a nasty Upper Respiratory Infection and complete with a super fun trip to the ER, which as it turns out, was the first time I had ever been in a hospital for myself and not just to bring flowers to a family member, and as it turns out, filled me with more anxiety than most anything I have encountered on the earth thus far.

(i added some doodles to make this photo of my hospital bracelet less depressing. hooray!)

(i added some doodles to make this photo of my hospital bracelet less depressing. hooray!)

The ER results in everything being okay, just a little scary (thanks a lot, liver levels!). So I take off work for a few days. My sweet roommate and friends rally around me and even my rockstar Mama flies in from Texas to make me soup and take care of me. I go back to work with the instruction that there is no “cure” for mono- I am just supposed to rest and drink fluids for about month and eventually it will go away…and then the defeat sets in. With my job hours already, I go to sleep at 7:30 PM most nights, and so add on being exhausted all the time from mono and I shrink into a cocoon. Not wanting to get anyone contagious, much less have to explain, “Hey, ask me about my mono!” to people, (which, by the way, no one will not freak out after hearing) I don’t see pretty much anyone during the entire month of September, and I certainly don’t listen to “Roar”. I hardly even talk to my roommates. Any calls I make to Seattle to be a supportive girlfriend just end in me whining. Mostly I just fall half asleep and lay in bed and feel sorry for myself. I pout and complain and everything I do becomes an event of “yay me!” or “I’m the worst”. Basically, I’m unbearable.

Now, I don’t say all of this to try and generate a feeling of sorry. People get sick all the time, but September unpolitely reminded me I just clearly am not as strong or independent as I thought I was. I try to talk this big game of being a girl who moved away from all she knew to chase her dreams in Nashville, even if they broke her heart, but all it takes is alone time to feel like I have no clue what I’m doing and to see just how needy I am. The social butterfly inside of me crumbled hard and I began to question what I was even doing anymore.

“But I listen to ‘Roar’ all the time, and every day I wear a lot cat-eye winged eyeliner because I am confident, and I make loud jokes and smile at strangers,” I kept thinking. ” I should be able to handle this! I’m an extrovert and I can tackle anything!” was an attitude I’d adopted forever, but now I was just looking forward to crawling in bed, doctor’s orders or not.

I gave up, in a way. I just kinda was a miserable person to be around and threw one hell of a pity party.

But eventually, about the second week in October, I started to feel better and began to feel like I could stay awake without it feeling like a challenge. I could be around people again and began to actually try and participate in activities that weren’t solely watching bad reality tv and moping. I could spend time with healthy human beings without bringing up how sad I had been and I could make some killer pumpkin s’more doughnut muffins with friends.

However, surprisingly, I didn’t have the immediate “lesson-learned’ feeling afterwards.

As a writer, I want to glamorize things. I want to tell sweeping stories of how life has changed me. I want to hear about your experiences and put them into words that jump off the page or screen and capture the heart.

But I haven’t had that moment. I know September was a lame month, but I didn’t get a big story resolution out of it. It taught me just how weak and spoiled I am, and not having anyone to talk to makes me cranky, but it didn’t give me this deep knowledge about solitude that I felt I could share, so I avoided writing it down. I avoided telling people or I just joked about it (“Remember when I had mono?”) but I still couldn’t shake it, so here I am.

I want you to know, whoever you are reading this, that I’m listening to “Roar” a lot again. I’m probably missing out on “better” and more scholarly music, but I can’t get rid of it, because in some small way, it helps.

Why do we put so much faith in the little things? Because it’s easy, I think. I rely on medicine I purchased at the store with a coupon to heal me, so why can’t a 99-cent single on iTunes do the same?

I’m not 100%. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% satisfied with everything, but I know that I can listen to “Roar” now and not feel like I’m the worst. I can hear it as a fun pop song and get a little bit of empowerment about it, even if I feel like it’s not the dramatic show-stopping song that usually accompanies a huge moment in my life. I can promise myself that just because my life isn’t a movie and that I don’t get to have a “getting better montage,” I am still getting better. I can still bounce back. I can still, well, roar.

So I dedicate “Roar” to mono. I dedicate it to bad days. I dedicate it to thinking you’re depressed when really you’re just young and stupid and have cold feet. I dedicate it to timezones that keep me away from the person who has challenged me for the better and loved me stupidly well the past year. I dedicate it to insecurity. I dedicate it to not learning the lesson immediately, because sometimes it’s okay to say that you’re only 23 and you don’t have it figured out yet and that just because you have a blog does not mean you have to act like you have all the answers.

Regardless of confidence levels, you’re gonna hear me roar. In sickness and in health, you’re gonna hear me roar. Even if it means I have to accept some things as not finished yet, you’re gonna hear me roar. From Seattle to Nashville to New York, you’re gonna hear me ro-o-o-o-OH-OH-OH-ar.

And frankly, if you’re not okay with me roaring, I kinda hope that you get mono.

Stay Hungry (I Think)

I think by now the salespeople at Anthropologie just know.

It’s so nice of them to ask me if they can help me or if I need a shopping bag, but when I’m scouring the sales racks for markdowns in my band shirt, thrift-store moccasins, and denim cutoffs that are fraying to no end, I simply think they have to be aware that I will not be purchasing anything priced above $20, so, in that case, my selection is narrowed to maybe 1 salt and pepper shaker and/or a pair of damaged earrings.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to still look at and try on all the pretty dresses, smell every single heaven-scented $75 candle, and caress the handcrafted kitchen collections as if I were Martha Stewart.

So that’s…something?

Every single book I read or blog I bookmark or movie I watch about people in their twenties seems so romantically tragic. Everyone’s broke-as-a-joke but still looks so put together, living in a rundown apartment with “charm” and quirks, working jobs that make no sense with their skillset or seem to “kill their dreams”, but through it all, writing their screenplays or songs or memoirs in hopes that one day they’ll be discovered and successful and their lives will come together and crescendo like a good last song on a decent indie record.

So that’s…real life?

Unfortunately, no one ever actually managed to print the manual on making it through life when you feel like a kid and an adult at once and every single person over the age of 30 that I seem to inquire about their twenties always takes a deep breath or lets out a nervous laugh and says, “oh, you could never pay me to be 22 again.”

So that’s…hopeful?

I wish I could stop writing about my twenties. I wish I could have more useful knowledge than the cheapest parking downtown or the best songs to put on a playlist, but I’m just not there yet. I’m not a Norman Rockwell painting of life experience, but I am, in fact, hungry.

And aren’t I supposed to “stay hungry”?

Staying hungry was always an expression that evaded me. It seemed dumb and worn out and lame- as if hungering would do anything useful. It seemed to sit right next to “starving artist” and I had no patience for that, considering I actually enjoy food and eating, and everyone that I knew that considered themselves “artists” seemed to spend more time complaining about world poverty while ordering overpriced coffee than making actual art.

But I think I’m supposed to be very hungry at 22 right now – whether it’s the hunger for a better job, hunger for figuring out who the heck I’m supposed to be or simply hungering for better plans on a Saturday night. I think the constant dissatisfaction that my twentysomething generation seems to ramble on about, whether it be privileged upper-middle-class bloggers (oh hi!) or blue-collar beer-drinking barstool rants, can be put to good use. Sure, dissatisfaction can breed apathy, but what if it bred “do better” instead? Or at the very least, what if it bred just a little bit of action?

Staying hungry can drive you to something, right? Staying hungry can mean waking up in the middle of the night and sacrificing sleep to write down some semblance of a great idea that actually sounds put together, right? Staying hungry can mean staying late, even at a job you’re not in love with yet to go above and beyond, right? Staying hungry can mean investing your time in real face-to-face relationships instead of online videos and shopping bags, right? Staying hungry can mean having an overwhelming sense of confidence in yourself and your life, even when you’re working for tips or an unpaid internship, right? Staying hungry can literally mean spending too much of your paycheck on concert tickets because you want to work in music and adore it and subsequently convincing yourself the next week that Ramen and toast and coffee is an acceptable diet, right?

And on a totally related note and story that I wish I was making up – my macbook charger literally just died completely while writing this post. So don’t worry, I’ll go ahead and prioritize technology and kiss the rest of my bank account goodbye when I swipe my debit card at the Apple store in the next few days.

But hey, at least I’ll be…hungry?

Skills I Don’t Know If I Should List On My Resume

I am really good at identifying S Club 7 songs

I can complicate any “simple” order at a fast food restaurant and often do

I am really good at making other people do math for me because it gives me anxiety

I know the E! Channel’s afternoon programming lineup very well

I can paint with all the colors of the wind

I know how to twirl spaghetti on my spoon all fancy

I can carry up to 12 Venti beverages from Starbucks by myself and walk 5 blocks with them without spilling a drop

I know all the words to “It’s Raining Men”

I am excellent at driving around with my low gas light on for as long as possible before filling up again

I  know all 4 of the Beatles’ birthdays, Bob Dylan’s birth name, and the kind of guitar Bruce Springsteen has used exclusively for most of his career

I am experienced at using “five more minutes” as an excuse frequently

I can waste several hours crafting the perfect playlist for the smallest seemingly-insignificant event or afternoon

I frequently create great life mottos like, “Someday I will use this in my screenplay” and “The cure for anything is more sleep or more coffee”

I am great at exhausting all my energy when adorable animals are around and trying to make them love me and cooing at them and singing songs to them and doing baby voices to speak to them

I am wonderful at living vicariously through the instagram feeds of Mayer Hawthorne and Oprah Winfrey

I identify colors I see with titles from the old Crayola box, including, but not limited to: Tickle-Me-Pink, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, Robin’s Egg Blue, Lazer Lemon, Macaroni And Cheese, Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean, etc.

I am a pro at taking naps, like, give me a few hours and a warm spot and I will NAP IT OUT

I am slowly learning how to sustain a real relationship on lengthy text messages, airport-terminal-embraces, skype calls til we both fall asleep, iced coffee dates, short visits, long goodbyes, and so so much borrowed time

I am skilled at actually wanting a job and not wanting to be a complaining twentysomething statistic like everything else I seem to read

I am always prepared to dance like crazy until my feet hurt and sing until I’m hoarse to good, loud, heartfelt rock and roll and never apologize for it