Why I’m Grateful To Be A TwentySomething

I talk in this blog a lot about the trials and lessons of being a twentysomething. It is, after all, that uncharted, turbulent time when technically everyone calls you an adult, but you still feel like you’re growing up. That means there are a lot of nights of anxiety, and a lot of decisions that feel like the equivalent to jumping off a cliff, or holding your breath far beyond when your vision starts to blur.

Or at least, I have these moments.

But it’s not always like that, and in the midst of everything, I am so grateful I have this time in my life to just sort of stumble around blindly.

Why? Well, frankly, I look at the people in their 30’s and 40’s around me and see two groups: those who have their lives “together” and those who are either starting over, or still figuring out what they want. Both are okay, but neither is where I want to be right now. Of course some day, like many–if not most–other people I know, I want to be in that first group of people, where “together” means a happy combination of career and family. And, of course, I know that if I’m in that second group, that’s fine, too, because “together” doesn’t always have to mean career and family. But once you have those two things, there isn’t a whole lot of room to be selfish or focus on yourself. You have kids and a spouse to think about, bills and responsibilities, people who are depending on you to be a stable, reliable resource. Which means putting off things like chores, or taking time off from work to focus your energy on a side project isn’t really a possibility for most people at that stage in life. So if you ever feel down about not knowing the love of your life, not working your dream job, and not living in a mansion somewhere near a beach, just remember that your low-profile and freedom now gives you the opportunity to do these things:

1) Travel on a whim, for long periods of time, to random places “just because.”

Sure you’re poor and paying the rent is your biggest concern right now, but think about it this way: You don’t have that many possessions. You’re bank account already practically qualifies you for welfare, what’s there to lose if you move your stuff back into your parent’s basement for a few months, save up a couple thousand, and hike across Europe? You have no one waiting for you back home, and given your salary if you even had a full time job, it probably wasn’t something you’d like to stick with long term, anyways. If you’re ready for a change and want to spend some time discovering more about yourself while you meet awesome people and learn more about the world, traveling in your twenties is the perfect time to do it. You’ll never get a chance like this again.

2) Be a student.

Okay, so now that I’ve been out of college for a little over a year, I don’t recommend going to grad school without giving yourself at least a year in between. Obviously, I can’ t speak for the experience of those who do go straight to grad school, and granted, it was definitely something I deeply considered my senior year of college, but I’ve learned so much being in the real world this last year that I wouldn’t have been exposed to if I had stayed in the nice warm shelter of school. One of the things I’ve learned is that for the line of work I’m trying to do, having a master’s degree in Creative Writing–or really, any kind of degree in any subject–isn’t going to really give me a leg up. It’s just going to put me in more debt, and delay my entering the real world by a year or two.

Still, getting my masters in Creative Writing is a dream in the back of my mind, if for no other reason than giving me an excuse to spend a year or two living in some cool new place, focusing entirely on building up my arsenal of original work. And, working at a University is my fall back dream career, so there’s that, too. And no matter when you do grad school, if you do grad school, it’s definitely easier to get through when you don’t have a family to support. I would also assume that it’s an easier feat when the knowledge you picked up in your undergraduate classes is fresher in your mind.

3) Try out different “fun” jobs.

There is no better time or excuse for jumping from job to job than when you are first starting out in the world and trying to figure out what you enjoy and where you would like to fit into the bigger picture of society. I did this with internships, by working in marketing, publishing, and film development, discovering that while all three were exciting in their own right, none were exactly right or exciting for me. Still, there are a variety of dreamy odd-jobs on my list that I would only be unashamed to try because I have zero responsibilities beyond paying my bills right now. These include the following:

-Working as a Disney Princess at Disneyland.

-Working as a park attendant of some sort in the Wonderful World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios LA when it opens next Spring.

-Working as a Studio page and/or tour guide at any of the film studios around LA.

-Working as an extra for films and tv shows.

-Working as a house sitter/dog sitter for wealthy clients.

-Working as a personal assistant to a celebrity.

-Working for Buzzfeed.

-Working as a travel guide and/or a travel agent.

-Using an etsy shop and being an Uber driver as my primary source of income.

etc, etc.

4) Spending irresponsible amounts of money on take out, exploring new restaurants and bars, and being a semi-permanent ‘tourist’.

Granted, this might be a little more feasible for someone living in LA than in Kansas, where everything is a chain restaurant and being a ‘tourist’ consists of spending the day at the Renaissance Fair, eating giant Turkey legs, but still. Being in your twenties is the best time to find what will become “the best place to eat brunch,” “the best movie theater deal in town,” “the diviest bar, ever,” “the greatest hangover cure,” among you and your friends, because once you start working longer hours, have a spouse and/or kids to come home too, and a mortgage bill to pay, putting off chores or responsibilities no longer makes you “fun,” it just makes you immature. So do it now while you’re not tied down.

5) Consume all there is to know about whatever interests you.

This doesn’t mean you have to have your nose in a textbook. If you’re really interested in script writing, maybe this means regularly binging on Netflix (at least, that’s the excuse I use!). But it could also mean taking a day to learn new techniques on sewing, knitting, hunting, gardening, photography, whatever! Now is the time to learn and develop a hobby, because when you start involving one, two, three or more people in your life (aka have a family) you’ll find that any free time you have will be spent doing laundry and watching Sesame Street. This, at least, is what I’ve gathered from observing my siblings.

I could probably go on and on about things to do, and things to be grateful you can do while you’re in your twenties, but this post is already long enough. And if it isn’t obvious, this is a start to another thing you should incorporate into your life–no matter what age you are: Be a little more positive. When I start to feel down about where I am in life, I just think about all of these experiences that I’m able to have and then I act on them, because there is no better time than now. Take charge of your life, and enjoy being a twentysomething.

-tlc

 

Learning To Be An Adult In The Not-So-Great-Ways

I’m a perfectionist. It’s a quality that comes with both good and bad aspects. On the one hand, I do my job and I do it well, no matter what. On the other hand, anytime I fall behind for reasons out of my control, I beat myself up for it. I can be moody, on the inside of course–because being anything other than personable to everyone is unacceptable–and being moody on the inside sucks. Because as much as you hate people who shove their emotions and bad attitudes on you (otherwise known as “bitchy” people), let’s face it: if you don’t get those feelings out, they don’t go away, they just make you crazy.

So being a perfectionist makes me a little crazy, and the worse part is that the only way to deal with being a little less crazy is by becoming more of a perfectionist and figuring out ways to solve whatever issue is making you crazy. Double-edged sword, Hamster Wheel, Bottomless Pit of Hell–whatever you want to call it, being a perfectionist makes for a rough life.

So now that you know this about me, I’m sure you can understand how crazy it makes me that I can’t seem to hear what people are saying when they call me on my phone at work. It’s starting to make me doubt my hearing. Should I go to a doctor? Is it my phone? Is it a little bit of both? If yes to the first question and last question, then where should I go for an appointment? A Primary Care Doc? An Audiologist? I don’t even have a doctor out here in LA yet. Where should I go for that?  And if it’s not me, how do I fix my phone? Or, how do I make sure to get people’s names right without asking them a thousand times, or spending five minutes having them spell their name for me? Guys, I just want to be a writer. Can’t we all go home now, and I’ll e-mail you later?

There’s a lot of great and exciting things that come with being an adult out of college. You finally get your own apartment (probably with roommates, but hey, at least you can buy alcohol and have friends over now).  You get a paycheck that (hopefully!) amounts to more than covering the cost of a weekend of Taco Bell dinners. You get to call more of the shots on what you do with your life, and when you do it. It’s amazing.

But then your body starts getting old, even though you’re only in your 20’s and you start wondering what the hell is wrong? And pretty soon you have to find a dentist, and a doctor, and you’re paying a monthly gym membership fee because you realize that pizza and wine for dinner every night of the week probably has something to do with why you feel like crap all the time and you have to buy bigger pairs of jeans. You guys, adulthood is not fun. Adulthood is a freaking nightmare.

Adulthood is forcing yourself to do all of those things you avoided as a kid, like calling strangers, doing the dishes, going to the doctor, doing your laundry, planning trips, and making your bed, because it’s something that has to be done, and no one else is going to do it. Adulthood is being bored and being too tired to do anything about it. Adulthood is knowing there are all these problems in the world, and knowing how small you are because you’ll never be able to fix all of them.

Maybe the reason we call it “Adulthood” is because being an adult is almost as tough as living in the “hood”–metaphorically speaking. Or maybe that’s way too much of a stretch. I don’t know, but either way, all I want to do is take a nap.

-tlc

Reasons Why I Will Never Grow Up

I’m currently 23 years old. At this point in my life, I’ve permanently (well, fingers crossed) moved out of my parents’ home, graduated from college, and am living off of the sporadic income that I’m making for myself by attempting to find grown-up work. Life is both miserable and exciting on rotation. But, try as I might to pretend that I am a full-grown adult with the maturity of someone who is independent and living on her own away from her family, everyday I am reminded why I am still, and will always be, that five year-old little girl:

1) I am still an obsessive fan of Disney. To this day, I can sing more Disney songs by heart than recognize music on the radio.

2) Even though I live a thousand miles away from them, I still talk to my parents everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. I know a lot of people talk to their parents regularly, but somedays I call my mother and think, wow, I’m 23 years old and I talk to my mom more than I’ve ever talked to a single guy I’ve dated. This may be a problem, I’m not sure. Therapists please feel free to weigh-in in the comments.*

*I welcome all professional advice, but just know that I will not pay you.

3) Applesauce is still the greatest invention of mankind.

4) I really like sparkly things.

5) Bawling your eyes out when life is even just a little bit hard is the adult version of throwing a tantrum.

6) I still like to be the center of attention.

7) I am ALWAYS right. No, I don’t care what you say, I just am. Because it’s the rules.

8) I ALWAYS win. ALWAYS. No, you don’t get to win because I said so, and it’s the rules.

9) I need a bedtime. If I’m too tired, the world starts to fall apart. It’s not pretty. You might be thinking, “I’ve seen you groggy, it’s not so bad.” But you haven’t seen me sleep deprived. Oh-oh-oh, sir, you have not seen me sleep deprived.

10) I still think that everything I do is more work than anything else anyone anywhere could be doing. My life is hard, what can I say? Feel bad for me.

This list could go on and on, but I think you get my point. I used to think that eventually I would grow out of these things, and start being a mature, independent adult. I used to assume this would come when I finally settled into a long-term, consistent big-kid job with health and benefits. Slowly, however, I am realizing that job or not, this is who I am, and I am never growing up. I’m not sure about this, but I think Peter Pan would think I was pretty cool.

This is Happening, People.

Hi there. This is my blog. Welcome.

I’ve always been terrible at transitions, so I’m just going to hop right in:

You know how you find a piece of really, REALLY good music, and it just speaks to you?  On a depth more than emotional–almost spiritual?  No? Is that just me?  Well it happens, people. It’s like finding your tunnel song (Perks of Being a Wallflower, anyone?), or hearing that swelling orchestration that just tips you over in a really emotional (spoiler if you’re not up to date on Doctor Who) theatrical scene.

Still no?  Well I’m going to make my point anyways.

See, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those dramatically orchestrated scenes in films and television–I don’t know if it’s because I can be a bit of a drama queen myself, or if it is just because I enjoy music and stories so much that I really appreciate when they come together at such perfect moments (I’m one of those that would prefer to listen to a film score over any other type of album).  I’ve always wished that I could experience the world around me and the moments in my life with as much emotional depth as I experience those moments in film and television, and frankly, I’m a little sad people don’t just have their entire lives orchestrated.

This might sound a little weird and quite random, but the idea of experiencing life in more depth has been on my mind a lot, lately. I think it’s mainly because in four months’ time I will jump off the academic diving board and enter the world of working oblivion.  Basically, I’m scared out of my mind, just like I imagine most of my friends are as well.  Honestly, how does everyone keep it together so well?  I want to tear my face off right now and just cry.

See? Just a teensy bit of drama queen.

But something I’ve also learned from emotionally-stirring orchestrated theatrical scenes is that they don’t abruptly end after the climax of the scene is over.  No, just like the falling action of a beautifully conceived piece of literary work, these songs have a resolution. And if it isn’t a completely happy one, it is at least a satisfying one.

And that’s what my graduating in four months’ time is really like. Well, here’s to hoping, at least.

But really, job searching and my future after graduation has been on my mind for quite a while now, and so I’ve been doing a bit of research, looking into the lives of people I consider to be successful and my role models, and finding out what the path of their lives has been like after college.  And you know what?  It’s helped relieve a lot of stress (though there is still plenty more to be had!) in thinking about my future.  Why? Because many-if not most-of these people started from the bottom, from scratch, nothing to loose, hardly anything to gain (at first), just like me.  Many of them didn’t have jobs waiting for them straight out of college, and lots of them still have not found a career that they have solidly settled into.  Instead, they became path-makers instead of path-takers, and have been much happier, in my opinion, for it.  Why?  Because even though they may not have a 100% steady income, or a back-up plan or job to use as a crutch, they are doing things they love.

Who are these people, you ask?  Well three that I can think of right off the top of my head are J.K. Rowling, Tina Fey, and Youtuber, Jenna Marbles.  Rowling, as is probably common knowledge at this point, was living below the poverty line while attempting to support her young daughter and herself while writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. And it took her five years to complete the first manuscript.  But she persevered, because she loved writing, and wanted to tell her story.  According to her autobiography, Bossypants, Tina Fey spent her two years after college working at a local gym, something that had nothing to do with her interests, before earning a starter position with one of the traveling improv groups that Second City in Chicago sends out all across America and working her way up through SNL and launching her career in both writing and acting.  And Jenna Marbles, as you can watch in her draw my life video, here, just seems to have drifted into all sorts of interesting things before realizing her passion in making video blogs, and hey! it paid off, so go her.

My point is, I’m really freaking out here, but I’m consoling myself in the lives of people I aspire to be like, and I hope you do the same thing.  And if not, then you can at least follow me on this journey because I’m going to be documenting it along the way, not only to hold myself accountable, but also prove to myself and others that this frightening transition period in one’s life is completely survivable, and probably not the scariest thing you will ever deal with in you entire life (unfortunately).

So meet me back here every Monday for the next (only God knows) how many months, as I try to keep things cheerful and funny, and let you in on all the little awkward moments that happen to me as I stumble through this last semester of my college life and attempt to jump gracefully into the real world.  And please excuse the giant, imaginary friends who will probably be holding my hand along the way. I promise I don’t have schizophrenia, I just really like television, and stories in general, and like to pretend that fictional characters and celebrities are my friends.

That’s normal, right?

Well, anyways, here’s to hoping.  See you next Monday.

Yours truly,

tlc