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MY 20-SOMETHING GRATITUDE LIST

4 Dec

Yes I know Thanksgiving has come and gone and we’re apparently in full-blown Christmas mode. So consistent with the rest of my life now, I’m a bit behind in writing this post! But better late than never, right? Plus, Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only day of the year when we think about what we’re grateful for.

Christine Hassler (Gen Y life coach, author, writer for Huffington Post) recently published the article “Gorging on Gratitude” which inspired me to create a list of what I’m thankful for. And since I’ve been in high stress mode lately, I wanted to take some time out for self-reflection to help re-prioritize and re-establish what I love!

According to the article there are obvious things we are thankful for. These are easy to identify and extend gratitude toward. But there are also hardships and uncertainties in our lives, and we should show appreciation for these situations too. Hassler explains that once you value everything you’re going through (the good, the bad and the ugly), it softens everything you’re going through – something I really took to heart in my list below.

 

Check out Christine’s supplemental video above or take a peek at her article – it’s a quick read. And then I urge you to think about your own gratitude list. Even if it’s only one or two items long. Commit to adding to your list once a week (I’m doing this too!). Sooner or later you’ll be focusing on what’s good in your life, and turning those unsettling situations into learning experiences and growth.

So here it goes, my 20-something gratitude list:

  • I am grateful for my parents that were able and willing to let me move back into their home while I figure out my budget and what my next living situation will be.
  • I am grateful for my boyfriend who has the amazing ability to help me worry less, appreciate the little things in life and just go with the flow
  • I am grateful for the therapy yoga and other exercise provide for my mind and body.
  • I am grateful for my grad school program and the amazing people in it that I get to interact with.
  • I am grateful for my job and how it has allowed me to explore several functions of the marketing and communications industry, ultimately helping me to discover and shape my passions.
  • I am grateful for tea and delicious seasonal drinks at coffee shops. They make studying and getting through the workday that much easier – although my bank account has its own opinion.

This list will surely be added to, but it’s a start. I look forward to reading your gratitude lists in the comment section below. Happy holidays everyone!

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GREAT EXPECTATIONS, BROKEN

16 Nov

Play

LISTEN | Educated And Jobless: What’s Next For Millennials? | NPR NEWS

Lately it seems not a day goes by that I don’t encounter something relevant in the news about 20-somethings. It may be that since launching this blog I’m paying more attention to the subject matter, or that this is just a very timely topic. Probably both. But as the one writer for this one little site, I can only cover and share my perspectives on so much (see BALANCE post from last week).

Busy-ness aside, I could not let another day pass without sharing this story from NPR’s All Things Considered which aired last Saturday. Whatever your generational cohort, I wholeheartedly urge you to listen to the podcast. In my opinion the story is spot on in uncovering today’s 20-somethings experience – as uneasy as it may be. It resonated with me so deeply that the entire time I was listening I could hear the little voice in my head saying “yes, yes, YES!” I was so happy this story was being told.

So here are some of my key takeaways in a nutshell (but seriously, please listen for yourself):

  • Millennials were brought up receiving high praises from mom, dad, teacher etc. which translated into great expectations about what we could do with our lives. Essentially if we we worked hard and got a college degree, the world would be our oyster. Unfortunately the days of “I can do anything I put my mind to” are over.
  • Undergraduates haven’t traditionally chosen their major based on job availability. The most popular paths are degrees in English, Sociology, Communications and the like because they are viewed to allow for more flexibility when the time to think career comes around. I knew I should have applied for that degree in Bowling Industry Management. ;-)
  • 25% of people ages 25-34 live with their parents.

  • 20-somethings like myself who didn’t meticulously plan out their first jobs during college years – and choose their majors accordingly – are struggling to hold down jobs that really only give us mediocre satisfaction, and at times, feelings of under-appreciation and  low self worth. We want to climb the corporate ladder but when the opportunity isn’t there (mainly due to the current job market and economy), our expectations are broken. Yes I know everybody has to pay their dues. But with really no sign of things getting better in the near term, it looks like we’re apparently going to burn out by 30 (women especially).
  • That “perfect job” can be seen on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – you name it. The digital closeness of someone doing something “cooler than you” fuels the false perception that the ideal career does still exist. And we’re still looking. Our expectations have simply not caught up to the times.
  • 20-somethings may be at the forefront of redefining a satisfying existence. Find joy in other facets of life beyond career. At 9 minutes and 50 seconds in, psychologist Barry Schwartz puts it quite nicely.
I’d love to hear your takeaways and thoughts after listing to the story. So please share them by commenting below. Enjoy!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

7 Nov

Tomorrow I’ll be turning 27 years old. Yes sill a 20-something, but certainly on the latter end of this life stage. When I was a younger I thought by now I’d have it all figured out. I’d be completely through school, at a job that paid well within my chosen career path, possibly married and on the way to owning a home. Boy are things different than I had imagined!

This is the American Dream we millennials were taught growing up:

If you worked hard and pursued something you were passionate about, everything else would fall into place.

Am I right? But then college graduation comes around and you have to get a real job. You can’t just spend all day writing poetry [for example] and expect someone will pay you for it just because “it’s your passion.” Unfortunately the so-called “American Dream” of a successful career, a long and loving marriage and a house with a white picket fence doesn’t just fall into place anymore.

But is that the dream anymore?

Each year around my birthday I like to reflect back on the things I’ve accomplished in the past year. For instance this year the highlights were getting accepted into grad school, riding the STP (Seattle to Portland bike race) and competing in my first triathlon. But year after year I’ve found myself getting more discouraged because I believe I haven’t accomplished “everything that I ought to” for my age. This could be because I’m one to constantly compare myself to others my age to judge where I should be and what I should be doing. I’ve also always held myself to high expectations across all facets of life, which often is a recipe for self-imposed failure.

As I approach the final few years of being a 20-something, I’ve felt a mad rush to complete a million things before I’m 30. And I’m not alone. Several of my friends have actually created “30 before 30 lists” – a set of 30 goals they want to complete before that pinnacle age. I’ve thought about creating one myself but realized it would be too hard to narrow the list down to only 30 items. So instead I’ve set a broader single goal to reach before I’m 30: to feel like a true adult. Of course that lofty goal is often not realized by many adults ever in their lifetimes. And the definition of adulthood is different for everyone. So I must define what being an adult means to me.

As I mentioned earlier I used to think adulthood meant the realization of those key pieces of the American Dream: career, marriage, home ownership. However now I’m not so sure. I think being an adult actually has a lot more to do with a mindset and how you handle yourself in various settings [with professional colleagues, family, friends etc.] rather than checking off “adult-y” things. According to my old definition I would be at 0% adulthood since I still have a long way to go in my career, am not married and recently moved home with my family. But if I think about adulthood according to my new outlook – the mindset – I feel like I’m about 75% there.

So readers, what does adulthood mean to you?

I came across this blog post and this CBS news report poking around the internet doing research for this post and encourage you to read them as you think about this question. This is obviously a personal opinion for all so I’m very interested to read what others think about this subject.

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

SO WHAT’S A BOOMERANG ANYWAY?

25 Sep

They call us millennials, gen y’ers, boomerangers, kidults and twixters. Whatever the term, we are 20-somethings. Within the past decade this new life stage of emerging adulthood – a term coined by psychologist Jeffrey Jensen Arnett – has become acknowledged by academics and society, yet there is still a debate that persists.

There are those who believe that people in their 20s have a “failure to launch” syndrome, subconsciously prolonging their adolescence by reaping the benefits of decades of American prosperity provided by their boomer parents. And there are those who think this cultural shift is really something to take note of – and true support of this new life stage by society and our institutions may actually produce better, more productive citizens in the end. A “let them explore and experiment while they still can” kind of attitude.

To provide a bit more background on the 20-something situation, here are some striking facts that an article in the New York Times article presented last year:

  • 1/3 of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year.
  • 40% of people in their 20s move back home with their parents at least once.
  • People in their 20s go through an average of seven jobs.
  • 2/3 of people in their 20s spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married.
  • And marriage occurs later than ever. In 1970 the average age to marry was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it climbed to 26 and 28 respectively.

So why this blog?

As a 20-something who just began grad school, holds a full-time job in marketing/communications, and oh ya, also just moved back in with my parents, I am experiencing the emerging adulthood trend first hand.

Through personal accounts, listening to the perspectives of others and a bit or research –

I want to inspire others to share their 20-something stories.

Whether it be about moving home to save, landing that first desk job, or opinions on when the right time is to get married.

It’s clear this decade is a defining one, as we 20-somethings are laying the groundwork for what the rest of our lives will hold. So I hope this blog will bring the realities of today’s 20-something life to light and help overcome the stigmas associated with my age group.

Sources:

Henig, Robin Marantz. “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” The New York Times. 18 Aug. 2010. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.

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