The Longest Winter

winter

Peaking out from my window, all I see is white. Layers and layers of white. As a fresh layer of powder covers the remnants of yesterday’s snowfall, all I can think to myself is whether or not the snow will ever end. The groundhog must have seen it’s shadow. Either that, or this must be the longest winter known to mankind.

Life can get to feeling like that sometimes, too. When the sun doesn’t seem to come out for days or months in your corner of the world, and the winter season just doesn’t seem to pass. When you’re in a place, where you are desperate to see the first sign of life and growth, but all you see is frozen, dead and infertile land.

The twenties are full of winter seasons. When you’ve worked so hard and tried and done everything you know to do, yet and still, NOTHING seems to be happening in one area of your life or another.  There’s no bud that shows promise for something new, for growth, for change. It can feel like winter will never pass.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“This too shall pass.”

Here’s the foolproof, 100% guaranteed, sure thing about seasons: they end. Winter will end. And if you are in what seems like an impossible season of your life right now, it will end. Sunny days are in your future forecast.

Saying all this to say: Keep going! Keep going! Keep going! Don’t stop. I’m not sure what area of your life you may be in a winter season in, whether it be career, dating or family/friend relationships, but I want to encourage you to keep trying. If you have a dream or a goal that you are working toward and the journey to getting there has seemed nearly impossible, keep going. Keep putting in the work. Keep staying faithful. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

You know the cool thing that comes with winter? Snow days. Snow days are great for quiet. So if you are in a winter season of your life right now, maybe it’s time to reframe your perspective on what this time of your life is all about. Maybe you’re in need of a little rest and relaxation, and for that matter recuperation. I know, as twentysomethings, we want nothing more than to go, go, go! But sometimes in life there are quiet seasons. And that’s okay.

Don’t be discourage by the snow falling outside. Breathe. Take it in. Take this time for what it is: a time to rest. But keep believing that a time will come when the sun breaks through the clouds, the snow melts and the winter season ends. Give it time. You’ll be ready to bloom in no time.

– Stephkt

Twentysomethings and Self-Acceptance

I am quirky. Quirky would be a understatement actually.

I trip walking up steps most days. Sometimes, I trip over nothing at all. I love to sing (and some say I sound good), but I rarely sing in front of people. I fluctuate between being an introvert and extrovert. I have a really feisty interior hidden beneath an extremely, soft exterior. Winter is my favorite season, but, yet and still, I despise wearing cold weather clothes. If I could wear a dress every day of the week I would. I prefer not to wear high heels (otherwise I might trip more than I already do). I am extremely book smart but can be pretty naive to the world around me. To top it off, I am bowlegged, flat footed and duck footed. Basically, my lower half does not function properly.

Saying all this to say, I am one quirky individual. At twenty four years of age, I know myself better today than ever before. And you know what? That is absolutely, positively wonderful. It is probably the most gratifying feeling I have ever known and the best gift the twenties have brought: feeling comfortable in my own skin.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“Don’t try so hard to fit in, and certainly don’t try so hard to be different. Just try hard to be you.” Zendaya

Do you remember what you were like as a kid? In high school? What about college? If you were anything like me, then perhaps you struggled with your confidence. I remember times where I would change or adapt who I was in order to fit the mold of what I thought I needed to be. The funny thing about being a twentysomething is frankly, we don’t care! We don’t care about what’s cool or what people think we should be. We are too busy figuring out dating, our next career moves and how to pay off student loans and bills. Time spent on other people’s opinions becomes frivolous.

The twenties is a decade of stark juxtapositions in everyday life. In all the blunders and the mess ups that this decade brings, it also brings a lot of lessons about acceptance. You become assured in yourself, your talents, your quirks, and even your downfalls. You own them. You take ownership, and eventually, pride in the person you are and the person you are becoming, and you don’t apologize to anyone for being that person.

imagesI am more confident now at 24 than ever before. Confident enough to accept myself, flaws and all. Confident enough to respectfully decline the criticism and critiques of people who may not like me or what I bring to the table. Confident enough to bend and change when people in my inner circle come to me with honest concerns and insights.

Besides accepting myself, this time in my life has also taught me the beauty of accepting others for who they are, as they are, right where they are. No use in trying to change other people. I’ve come to find that trying to change another person is a lot of wasted energy.

So here I am. A twentysomething. At the shore, peacefully and quietly, as the day begins to dawn on something beautiful: self acceptance and acceptance of other people. It’s a good place to be. I hope that you find yourself in a place of self acceptance. Don’t waste another second trying to be something or someone you’re not. Authenticity is a beautiful thing.

-Stephkt

Living a Life of Passion in Your Twenties

dreams

Do you remember when you were a kid and all the dreams you had? You wanted to be an astronaut, a fire fighter, a singer, a lion tamer. The possibilities were endless. Then, somewhere between adolescent dreams, high school aspirations, the wandering years of the college, and the real world, you lost sight of those dreams. Your focus became more on practicality, making a living and having a 401k.

Well, attention ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to take you down memory road, back to your childhood dreams. What passions have your buried in an effort to make a steady paycheck? What dreams have you forgotten in the grunt of real world work? Take those dreams off the shelf, dust them off and unearth whatever desires, goals and passions are inside of you. Here’s a light bulb moment for you: Your twenties are not the time to give up on your childhood dreams. This is the time where you make it or break it. So keep going!

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“Don’t quit your day dreams. Don’t forget to breathe. Who you want to be, is only up to you.” Tori Kelly

Someone recently asked me to write about my greatest passion. Below is a small excerpt from what I wrote. Take a minute to read my passion statement (as I like to call it). Then take some time to write your own. The twenties is no time to quit on your dreams. As one wise person once said, “Believe in yourself. If you don’t, who will?”

Passion Statement:

Words and I have had a sort of love affair for as long as I can remember. Writing has been the one constant throughout the entirety of my 24 years of life. A pen and paper have been my everyday companions. As a kid, I would fill the pages of journals, scribbling the mindless thoughts of an adolescent girl. Unlike some love stories, there was never any confusion between writing and my affection for it. It was love at first sight.

I have known that I wanted to be a writer since I was 10 years old. What I didn’t know, however, was that writing was not my passion. The older I got the more I realized that writing is my gift. It’s a talent, a skill, an ability I have been given. While, I love words, I have found that my biggest passion is not writing itself, but the power of writing and how I can use it to impact other people.

Someday I hope to be a women’s magazine editor, using words and creative media to make a difference in the lives of women everywhere. I dream of being a sceenwriter and watching my words come to life on the big screen. My words will fly off the pages of magazines, fill scripts and storyboards, and most importantly, change lives. The gift of writing that I have been given will be used to bring hope to other people.

My love affair with words will never end. Words and I will be constant partners in the dance of life. Hand in hands, as we dance across lines of paper, we will fill the hearts, minds and lives of readers. We will splash color onto the cracks and crevices of dull canvases. We will spill light over onto dark places in need of a little sunshine. We will bring hope to hopeless people.

– Stephkt

The Beauty and Burden

Remember when you were in middle school and went through that phase of crazy hair, braces and acne? In the grand scheme of your life, the twenties look a lot like those years when you were growing out of childhood and slowly emerging to the world through the grit and grim of puberty.

THE TWENTIES, a.k.a. the awkward years

growingpains2

Maybe a little elaboration will help you see my point. The twenties is the time when you are becoming an actual adult. You know like…..pay your own bills, buy groceries and cook meals all on your own. The first few years of this decade of your life are most likely spent in college, where you are not quite an adult, still living off the perks of financial support from parents. Then, you graduate and are thrown out into the real world to fend for yourself. You struggle to swim on your own for awhile, but eventually you find a way to keep your head above the water. Career, dating, relationships, friends, family, locale…..everything is constantly changing and the ball is in your court. Decisions are yours to make and you’re constantly having to learn how to deal best with the hand you have been dealt.

The twenties can be described best in two words: disastrously delightful.

The dichotomy of the two words are perfect for what comprises the twenties: a lot of mistakes made, unforgettable experiences, lessons learned, new opportunities, broken hearts, beautiful places, uncomfortable changes, interesting people, and growth. The good and the bad. The beautiful and the ugly. That’s what the twenties are all about.

The other day I caught myself wishing for what’s next, a more certain season, where I had it together more often, made more money, was more established, lived in a city that I loved and the list goes on and on. I was wishing for a different season when life was easier. I quickly realized that the twenties, although not perfect, has a beauty of it’s own. In the midst of all it’s ups and downs, all the pitfalls, all the cuts and bruises, the twenties brings a lot of good too. If anything, it brings growth.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that’s celebration.”  Shauna Niequist

Every season will have it’s beauty and burden attached to it. It would be a shame to miss out on all the beauty that the time in your twenties has to offer just because it doesn’t look like what you thought it would. I’d much rather look back on these years of my life and remember making the most of them, rather than being stressed out over bills, worried about my dating life and always waiting on what’s next for my career.

So you’re in your twenties and it gets pretty awkward at times. Welcome to a wonderful season of growth and growing pains. There’s beauty here, only if you’d open you’re eyes to see it.

– Stephkt