Tag Archives: work

20/30: Life Choices In Your 20s vs Life Choices In Your 30s

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“I would love to hang out, but I can’t. I’m getting my carpet cleaned.”

Money

20s: Every concert, every festival, every road trip is worth spending every dollar you have… even if that means you MAY end up being a month behind on rent.

30s: $150 To see Beyonce in the nosebleed section?
I got you Bey.
On Spotify.
And I can listen to that ish while eating cold pizza on my kitchen floor.
It doesn’t get more legit than that.

Music

20s: I need  bass. I need ALL the bass.

30s: Why does every song have to have so much bass??!! I can’t understand a word they’re saying! How can I sing along if I can’t understand a word they are saying?!

Food

*While grocery shopping*

20s:
Lays. Check.
Hot Cheetos. Check.
Taquitos. Check.
Hot Pockets. Check.
Bud Light. Check.
Coke. Well… I really should try to be healthier. Diet Coke. Check.

30s:
Wine. Check.
Pepcid. Check.
Those yummy FiberOne brownie bars. Check.
Pork roast for the crockpot recipe I saw on Pinterest. Check.
Proudly admire the contents of your shopping  cart, and how they confirm that you are in fact an adult. Check.

Love

20s: You’re hot. I’m hot. Let’s be hot together. DONE AND DONE.

30s: You’re hot. I’m hot. When was the last time you got tested? Also, I won’t be able to spend the night because I plan to get my car in for an oil change in the morning…. And the earlier I get it in the better, because after 10am it’s madhouse over there, ya know?

Partying

20s: Ugh, I feel awful. I drank too much. Last night was so fun though! I can’t believe I [insert crazy drunk story here]. SUCH a crazy night! I love how fun and exciting I am!! Let me just nurse my hangover all day and not worry about if I have any obligations I won’t be able to fulfill because I’m too sick to function!!

30s: I’m dying. I’m dying a slow horrible death. Kill me. Kill me know. I’m never drinking again. And why did Katie schedule her baby shower for 10am on a Saturday?? Damn you Katie. Damn you.

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The Magic of Growing Down

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Remember when we were little kids and how we’d spend hours fantasizing about how much fun life will be when we grow up? We envisioned that our lives would be filled with adventure, love that lasts forever, and there was no doubt in our minds that we would grow up to be exactly what we wanted. We were too small to be able to reach our juice box on the kitchen counter and our parents dictated EVERYTHING to us, but none of our restrictions kept us from believing that we would someday rule the world! We had no solid evidence that we were even capable of living the life we wanted. All we had was the belief that we would not always be kids and that we wouldn’t stop trying to be independent… even after every failure. One day we would no longer be restricted. One day WE would be able to choose who we wanted to be… and we would be it. WE would choose where we wanted to go… and we would go there.

Take a moment to obverse your life as it is right now. Are you living with this feeling of being restricted in life? Feeling dictated to by the world? Feeling like your “juice box” is too far out of your reach? The kid version of you would have gotten frustrated, yes… but they would have reminded themselves that it won’t always be this way… and they would keep trying… even through all the failures. We as kids fought so hard to become grown-ups, but when so many of us finally got to the coveted position in life, we stopped fighting for the life that we still had ahead of us.

As kids we were trying to grow up quickly because we didn’t want to be treated like little kids.

As adolescents we were constantly struggling with having one foot in immaturity and one foot in an adult world that we thought we were ready for, but had no clue about.

At 18 we sprint towards independence because we legally can. Regardless of if we can handle it or not, we won’t let anyone see us scared.

At 21 we think we’ve reached nirvana because we can get alcohol legit and go to all the bars where real “adults” hang out. We drink our way through decisions.

Somewhere between 22 and 26, depending on if and how long you went to school for, you then have to prove yourself as an educated adult by entering the workforce. You nail a job and now you’ve arrived! You buy a suit, some new shoes, and shots for everybody… on credit… because to be an adult you have to look like one, right?

If you’re like many Americans, between the ages of 22 and 26 (28 if you’re a late bloomer!) you marry and have your first child. You try to become the all-star parent who gives their 1 year old a Disney lifestyle everyday, because they won’t remember it… wait… they won’t remember it??

From this point on you work and live to prove to others that you’re living the American dream! You’re a stellar parent… but not too perfect… hip, current, with a splash of DIY originality.  You have a home that Pinterest dreams are made of, and according to your FB statuses your hubby is AMAZING… everyday. You have reached the “Grown up” life. What now?

Okay so maybe your life looks (or looked) nothing like the descriptions I detailed. That is neither here nor there. The point that I’m trying to make is that potentially we could spend most of our lives trying to not only grow up, but to grow out of the place that we were presently at. We spend our energy functioning in the present while our minds and hearts are living in the future… but the future isn’t for living! Living is meant to be for right NOW…. because NOW life is happening… NOW is what you can affect… and NOW is when you can begin to initiate change that will affect the future. Many people have went through different periods in their lives, and yet they can’t really identify with them because they don’t even feel any attachment to them… and in some cases they don’t even remember them! I’m not talking about periods of time that were blocked out because of trauma; I’m talking about pretty normal nothing-too-crazy periods in life. Maybe it’s all of high school, or all of your first marriage. It could be your kid’s teenage years, or all of collage (separate from your party days!). Whatever it was, there are those that were so focused on growing up, or just making it out of high school, or until they were 21 , or until they had a great job, or until they got married…. YOU GET THE POINT. Everyone is just too busy growing up to grow into who they are right NOW. The tragedy is that we then end up missing out on so much magic that is happening around us… in us… we don’t get to see and experience our own evolution because we are too busy planning a future that we are not yet an active part of.

I speak from experience. Not judgment. When I say “We” I mean “Me”.

I am going to be 31 in a few months and I can honestly tell you that there are periods of my life… chunks… that I recall as if I’m telling a story that I had heard from a friend about a friend… but not about me. I feel disconnected from my childhood and from my adolescents… all the way up to my early 20s.  I know they happened… I mean, obviously! I know that there were good times and bad, of which I can tell you some specifics. I cannot tell you much about myself as a child or as a teen, because I can’t really identify with that part of my life.  It’s as if I go into this dream sequence when I try to think back. It’s weird. It can be downright uncomfortable and awkward. I mean, who doesn’t know who they were as a kid or a teen?!?!  What I do know is that I had struggled for years with this feeling  that there was something wrong with me now as an adult, as a result of my detachment from my earlier years… like I couldn’t possible come to know who I am if I don’t know who I was.

I came to a place in my adult life where I had to decide who I was going to be. Was I going to be someone who kept looking back, scratching my head, trying to create a future from a past that I couldn’t change even if I did remember? Or was I going to keep looking forward and focus on a future that would be worth remembering someday? I chose neither…. Because the one thing that I could tell has been constant in my life is that I have always been either running to something or from something. At age 30 I finally understood that the concept of “Growing up” as we’ve known it to be is highly overrated

I may not be able to re-do the past, or recreate my childhood, or recall all the details about my teen years. I can’t tell you about how I felt during various special moments that I know happened or tell you with certainty what kind of friend I was in high school. What I can do is create new habits, and un-teach myself old lessons that no longer serve a purpose in who I am today…. I’m growing down. I can stop running from or to something. I can stop trying to prove my independence or adulthood to anyone. I’ve done my growing… I’m 30 years old… I’m an adult. Everything from here on is not new growth… it’s evolution… expansion… progress. 
Being a grown up is not a thing, a place, a degree, a certain level of income, or even the act of getting married (As made apparent by the high divorce rate). Being a grown up is about having the balls to say what you believe in the midst of unbelievers… and being able to shrug if they’re not on board with you, without letting it disturb your sense of peace. Being a grown up is choosing to forgive with or without an apology. Being a grown up is about using “I would never do that” very loosely… because we’ve learned that lack of personal experience with certain situations doesn’t afford us the pleasure of certainty for what kind of decision we’d make had it been us. Being a grown up means saying “I don’t know” when you don’t know… because with our finite minds, we really don’t know much. Being a grown up means that there isn’t a price tag attached to  “I love you”… yours are free… Even to  the one-toothed man that picked up a quarter that dropped out of your wallet for you at the grocery store… just when you were thinking “Ugh, really?!?! I have all these bags in my hands and it’ll be a pain to stoop down to pick it up… but it’s A QUARTER and I think I need one more for laundry. I’ll be so glad when I don’t have to pay for laundry ever again.” Yes, you say “I love you” to even him… and his one-toothed grin made you think “I really do”.

I’m growing down.

 

Yours Truly, Andrea

When The Seasons Change

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There are seasons in life just like there are seasons in nature. Some are bright and touch you with the warmth of all the hope they contain. Others feel as if the cold and harshness of it all knows no limits. Then there are those seasons that are caught in the middle… the ones that feel as if you aren’t where you want to be, and yet you aren’t where you used to be.

How can one tell when the seasons are changing in our lives? How do you know when the season is changing within a relationship, a friendship, or a job?

Sometimes we can confuse a bad day, a bad week, or a dry spell for a change in season. We think “Everything is going wrong, so it must be a SIGN that it’s time to go!” or “All we do is fight all the time. It’s obvious that this means we’re not good together anymore.” In a society where there seems to be a common belief that happiness is a sure sign of a great life, I have found that there are two types of hard times in life: The kind that offers us an opportunity for a BREAK THROUGH, and the kind that’s preparing us to BREAK OUT. Regardless of which we might be in, both offer us an opportunity for personal growth.. and the more we grow the more the people, places, and things around us have no other choice than to shift to make room for all the newness growing within us.

If you feel that the winds of change may be blowing, here are four teltail signs that you may be going into a new season:

  1. You’ve tried everything to reignite it, but after many attempts, the passion just isn’t there anymore. By “Passion” I mean the fulfillment you once got out of it, her, or him. It was like an invisible cord that kept you connected to it regardless of how little money you made doing it, or if your Dad thinks he’s a moron, if your Mom says that you could do better, or if no one understands what all the excitement is about. Maybe it happened slowly or maybe it was a rapid progression, but your passion just isn’t there anymore. Maybe you don’t understand why you no long feel fulfilled by it. Maybe you’ve attempted over and over again to reignite the flame because YOU REALLY WANT TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT IT… but… nope… you’re definitely not anymore. Here’s what I do when I feel my passion waning: I pause from all the trying that I’m doing… trying to love what I’m doing or trying to act like everything is just peachy keen. I let myself just be. Then I pray and seek out my motives behind any discontentment. Is it because I’m just pissed that I didn’t get a promotion? Am I harboring unforgivness or holding onto anything that is causing me to self destruct? Do I just have a bad attitude? Lastly I become purposeful  in either making things right within myself if I’m the problem or I become purposeful in making the changes necessary to find where my new season may be taking me.
  2. You feel like a fish out of water. “What happened?! I used to be so good at this!” is something you may have thought to yourself. Whatever it is that used to come so naturally to you has now got you feeling like you’re floundering. Sometimes we digress in nature due to becoming too comfortable in our abilities that we no longer challenge ourselves. Maybe it’s because you’re distracted for some reason. Maybe it’s because the grace that once empowered you to be able to do what you did so well has lifted. If that’s the case, then it may be that a new season is coming.
  3. If  the idea of change doesn’t seem to be as scary anymore. When we’re in the right season of life, the idea of change can be scary. We have a peace about our position and don’t want to disturb that peace. Yet when a new season is upon us, all of a sudden we crave change. We want to take risks and we start seeking out opportunity. We become open to walking away from what’s familiar.  Observe those cravings when they come. They may be trying to tell you something.
  4. Time. As in “Give yourself some.” Just like the literal seasons, they aren’t going to go right from one season straight into another. There’s going to be a transition into it. If one day you love something and then the next day you hate it, that doesn’t mean you are going into a new season. It means you’re human and some days you’re more into something than other days. Give yourself some time to draw a clear distinction between a new season and moodiness. If you have a long stretch of time in which you feel the same way consistently , then that may be the time to evaluate things.

I know that new seasons can be hard…. Especially if you can see it coming and you aren’t quite convinced that you’re ready for it yet.  Just try to keep in mind that the ending of a season has no discomfort that cannot be healed by the beginning of a new one.

Yours truly,
Andrea

Okay… That Happened.

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It’s okay to get caught up in an emotional moment and throw your phone across the room.

“Okay… that happened.”

Some moments are like a rubber band being snapped against your skin. Quickening you. Awakening your senses. Sparking an out-of-body experience where you are watching yourself and you are possibly… probably… cringing.

Your partner simply asks if you loaded the dishwasher after dinner…before you know it you verbally vomit every annoyance or offense you’ve had concerning them from all the way back to their conception. Or… your Mother makes an innocent comment about a photo of you and your ex by saying “You look so happy”… your response is to get up, head for the door and say something to the effects of how you’re glad you are nothing like her, that you didn’t choose to smile through a disastrous marriage, and settle for moments in photos to remind you of what happiness feels like.

“Okay… that happened.”

Or… you throw your phone across the room because you are feeling super stressed, and crazy overwhelmed, and you’re trying to type a post on your blog, and your stupid phone keyboard went janky, and you just wanted to backspace A WORD, but instead your stupid phone keyboard backspace button won’t stop backspacing, and it deletes everything you typed, and you don’t know if the blog app auto saves like it would if you were on a laptop, and so you yell a few choice words and CHUCK your phone as hard as you can across the room. Then you want to cry because you can’t understand why you are SUCH A SPAZZ. WHY AM I SUCH A SPAZZ?! THIS IS WHY I DON’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND! I’M SUCH A MESS! GOD, I HOPE I DIDN’T BREAK MY PHONE!

[Picks up phone]

Okay, cool. It’s in tact. My Precious.

[Goes back to watching dvr’d American Horror Story]

“Okay… that happened.”

Forgive yourself.
Ask forgiveness.
Mend.
Move on.

There are too many tomorrows filled with the possibility for snags. Don’t let today be your undoing.

Yours Truly, Andrea

The Woman. The Source.

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As woman, we go through multiple various changes and shifts within our lifetime. The momentum of these changes only seem to pick up speed as we get older. We can end up wearing many different hats. One woman can be a mother, a wife, a daughter, a grandmother, a grand-daughter, a friend,  a girlfriend, an employee, head of the PTA, President of the HOA, sunday school teacher, bill payer, prayer partner, grocery shopper, boo boo kisser, task master, cook, lover, book club host, and seamstress [Insert hair pulling here]. Most often we don’t have the luxury of wearing these hats one at a time, but instead we end up stacking one on top of the other until our minds start to feel like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Our hearts are in the right place, but we are after all only 1 person. It is a constant balancing act. Yet enmeshed in all of these different identities lies The Woman. You remember her, right? She’s that part of you that was there long before life placed all these other demands on you. She was there long before those beautiful little energy drainers… and that one big 6 foot-bearded energy drainer too!  Have you forgotten what she looks like?

I am a mother to no one, and I am no longer a wife to anyone either. I don’t have to be to understand the constant divide that we as woman feel on a daily basis. We give, and give, and give some more until there’s just a little left of us. We silently do a little happy dance, feeling like we’ve won a small victory by having a sliver of us left over at the end of the day. That is, until something is needed of us… which happens more often than not… and we look at that sliver, shrug, and think “Well it was nice while it lasted” as we give it away to whomever needs it. This is the cycle we get caught up in day in and day out. Living from sliver to sliver.

Now, I want you to lean in real close because I want to let you in on a little secret. Listen closely and pay attention because I don’t want you to miss this…. Living from sliver to sliver is not sustainable. Let me say that one more time, just to make sure ya’ll heard me… LIVING FROM SLIVER TO SLIVER IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. It’s similar to trying to sustain on barely any food! You may be able to live like that for a while, but your body needs nourishment. Without nourishment it will die. Your person… The Woman… needs nourishment. She cannot survive on sliver to sliver. She will die without the nourishment that only you can giver her. If you don’t know where I’m coming from, you will eventually. Every women will at some point be face to face with The Woman that she either loved or neglected. Maybe that moment will come when your kids become grown, and are out of the house, and no longer need you to parent them as you once did. Maybe that moment will come when you are faced with divorce, and you no longer know who you are if you aren’t a wife. Maybe that moment will sneak up on you when you least except it… when you love your life… that is, until you don’t. You look around at a life that looks seemingly rich, and yet you feel so empty inside. You begin to think “There’s got to be more than this”.

There is something I often say to women I come in contact with that are struggling to keep all their hats balanced, and it’s “We as women have to stay interested in ourselves. We give so much away. We have to be purposeful in replenishing the well that we draw from”. It’s true. I know it’s true because along my journey to personal bliss, it was something that I had to actively teach myself. I had to teach myself to purposefully nurture and love The Woman… because it’s from her that all those other identities spring from. It’s our femininity that makes us qualified to be able to be all those other things! When I say “Femininity” I’m not talking about the 60s stay-at-home mom types, that were all “Yes dear. No dear”. I’m speaking to our hearts. The way we love. The way we can heal someone’s brokenness with our touch. Those things that just come naturally to us. God bless the men in our lives, but being able to split our nature up into different categories and yet have all of them working for us almost simultaneously, is truly a gift that I feel has been given especially to women. It’s our talent and our gift to the world around us.

In all the giving, be careful not to smother out the source of all that magic… The Woman. She needs you too.

Mind over MADDER

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Today’s too-cool-for-school thinking says that we should always be an open book. That we should never hide what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That honesty is always the best policy, and that hurting someone with the truth is always better than hurting them with a lie. In the spirit of honesty, let’s be honest… That’s not 100% true, now is it? We should NOT be an open book all the time, especially when there are emotional robbers waiting to do a breaking and entering act on our heart. Honesty is always the best policy in theory, but some people are hurt by you saying anything about them that was unsolicited. Sometimes you just can’t win!

I like to pride myself on being a mindful communicator. I aim to be precise in what I want to say, and on understanding that the key to being a great communicator is to be a great listener. Most of the time this has worked out well for me, however there are rough patches I encounter from time to time. These communication mishaps occur and leave me feeling dazed as to what happened. It totally throws me off my game! People end up totally misunderstanding me, even though at the time they confirmed that we were on the same page. People misinterpret my intent even when I clearly tell them my objective. There are even times when I walk away thinking that I had a super productive conversation with someone, to later on have them accuse me of a bunch of nonsense that leaves me feeling bewildered! *BIG EXHALE* It’s so hard to tell yourself “These things happen” WHILE THEY ARE HAPPENING!

The reality of life is that these things DO happen. In fact, I believe that they even happen with a purpose! You will end up blinding yourself to that purpose if you stay stuck in frustration, or feeling mad about misunderstandings. Move out of madness into mindfulness and try to look at the situation with compassion… mind over MADDER! View yourself and your emotions with curiosity! View the other party with curiosity!  Curiosity turns the mundane into art… and art is unique from piece to piece… just like people. You do that, and that maddening situation may turn into a learning experience… leading you to a bliss that keeps on giving.

Yours truly,
Andrea