2014: Leave it to the Breeze

hopefulI was sitting with a friend for coffee a few weeks ago (because, of course, that is what twenty something year olds do in their free time). Amidst all the holiday jitters of upcoming travel, seeing family and friends, gifts to be bought and things to get done, we started reflecting about this past year.

2014, oh what a year it has been! Full of adventures, new things, new people and many, many lessons learned. As my friend and I sat over our chai, taking in all of 2014 for what it’s been, we started talking about what we’ve learned.

The biggest lesson this year has taught me is to let things go. Whether it be friendships that just no longer fit anymore, past relationships, career struggles, mistakes made or even my pride, I have learned and am still learning the power of the statement, “Let it go!”

Feel free to bust into the Disney anthem at any point in time while reading this. Let it go. How poignantly simple those words are! Let it go. Yet and still, it is not always the easiest thing to do. Let it go. Something about the human brain (at least mine I know for sure), but it likes to hold onto things and people.Let it go. It is something this past year has taught me again and again. Let it go. I can look back on this last year with a smile, knowing that I have learned to let go.

Twenty Something (Advice for Anybody):

There is beauty in knowing when to hold on, just as there is freedom in knowing when to set something free and leave it to the breeze.

Looking over my resolutions from January, I can certainly say that 2014 did not go exactly as I planned. I’ve seen friendships come and go, my career plans get put on pause, and some unexpected surprises, like my brother moving in with me for six months. But that’s life folks! It doesn’t always go as planned. It rarely ever does.

In the midst of all the chaos and the ebbs and flows, there has been so much good. Let’s not forget the good. Here’s some of my 2014 highs: I got to travel to Europe for the first time and survived a 12 hour flight! I ziplined, sampled wines, and traveled to four new states. While I may have lost friendships and had to learn to let some people go, I also gained a close friendship with an old friend, who I am so grateful for! A true friend is worth their weight in gold! I’ve gotten to do more work in the magazine industry from freelancing, to helping out at photoshoots and writing/editing.

It’s been a good year. As we step into the new year, I hope you too can look back on all the good 2014 brought you. For the more painful parts of your 2014, I hope you can take lessons from mistakes made and learn to let go. Holding onto old things just weighs you down. Trust me, I know! Don’t carry that weight in to 2015. Learn to let things go. Show yourself some grace and leave it to the breeze. You’ll be glad you did!

P.S. If you are tired of hearing the overplayed version of Let it Go from Frozen, then try out James Bay’s Let It Go. You can thank me later!

Happy New Year!

-Stephkt

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Color Outside the Lines

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Crash and burns, falling outs, mishaps, mistakes, failures…..

The twenties are  full of them. If this decade could be nicknamed anything, then I’d name it trial and error. You think when you are a kid that by your twenties you’ll have everything figured out. WRONG!!! So miserably, terribly and wholeheartedly wrong.

In your twenties (and for a matter of fact, every chapter of your life), you are bound to fail at something. Maybe you got that degree but didn’t land your dream job right after college. Or maybe you never finished college. Maybe your love life is a mess and that relationship you thought would be always and forever suddenly ended. Maybe you had to unexpectedly move back in with mom and dad. Maybe you set a personal goal for your twenties that you failed to reach. Maybe you dropped the ball and have more mess ups than you can count. If so, welcome to your twenties.

Here’s what I’ve been learning: Mistakes are bound to happen, but whether or not you rebound from them, that is up to you.

Thinking about my own mishaps and blunders in the first half of my twenties, sometimes I cringe from embarrassment and other times from pure horror. But then I stop and think, maybe there are lessons to be learned from them. Maybe these mistakes are all a part of a masterful painting called my life, where the mishaps blend so gracefully into the strokes that make the masterpiece.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):
“No one ever discovered anything new by coloring inside the lines.”

Thomas Vasquez

Something else I’ve been learning: Don’t last your past failures stop you. Whether your mistakes pertain to career, relationships, or personal goals, don’t let them stop you. The twenties are all about learning. So keep learning. Keep trying. Keep going. Keep making mistakes and keep learning from them. That, my friend, is what we call progress. Otherwise, you will just be living in fear.

Writing this blog every week for me is a constant “putting my foot in front of the other” thing. In the early days, there were definitely a number of posts that weren’t so good and that I would deem as mistakes. Sometimes I wonder if people are even reading. What if no one cares what I have to say? But I write anyway. It’s an act of faith, to keep trying and doing something I am passionate about despite any shortcomings thus far.

Forward motion. Growth. That is probably the best thing we can ask for in our twenties. So you had your heart broken once upon a time. Say yes to that date anyway. Ask that girl out for coffee anyway. Didn’t get the job you imagined? Get some more experience and apply again. Or better yet, apply to another position you are just as passionate about and qualified for. To be great, you must first dare to make mistakes and blunders.

I am sure Picasso colored outside the lines a few times as a kid before he ever mastered his art. Do the same. Make mistakes and learn. Try again.

-Stephkt

The Twenties: A Time to Deal

Aaah the twenties! Such a formative decade, full of ups and downs. Full of growing pains. This blog is all about chronicling my life as a twenty something and my lessons learned. Hopefully, all you twenty somethings can relate to the embarrassing moments, life lessons, love mistakes, job woes and friendship growing pains, I divulge each week and that you find them to be both entertaining and inspiring.

Awhile ago, I heard someone say something that piqued my interest. They said something along the lines of,” Your twenties are a time to work through all the issues you’ve developed since childhood, grow and learn how to take the good into your adulthood.”

Here’s what I took from that statement, your twenties are a great time for counseling, whether unofficial or official. I don’t say this in humor or in jest. Get some counseling, whether with a professional in an office with a leather chair and polished furniture, at the foot of the bed with your head in your bible or in long talks with a trusted friend. Start learning to deal with things now. Whatever that looks like for you, start processing through the last twenty something years of your life and deal with stuff.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“Your twenties are a great time for counseling, whether unofficial or official.”

Between the ages of 20 and 29, you are kind of in the in between. You’re no longer legally a minor, bending at the word of whatever adult is in charge, but you’re not quite an adult yet either. You’re still figuring out how to balance work life, bills, travel, family and friends. You’re taking baby steps, but steps nonetheless, on the road to becoming a full fledged adult. Why not use your “in between” to take the stuff that’s happened to propel you forward?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun.”  Whether you are a spiritual person or not, you can still find some relevance in this statement. This verse and really this whole chapter explains that there is a time for everything under the sun. I guarantee you, as a twenty something year old, you probably have your share of baggage, little secrets and parts of your story that aren’t so pretty. There’s a time to deal and to tear down old walls, and that time my friends, is now.

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Each of us has a story. Maybe your childhood was all bunnies and roses. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe college for you was full of nothing but studying, acing classes and volunteering in the community. Or maybe it was full of heartache, wreckless nights, and stories you may never feel quite comfortable sharing with your future spouse. Whichever is true for you, it’s okay. It really is.

The best service you can do yourself and the world around is to use this time in your early adulthood to grow, to mend, to learn how you think and why you think that way, to understand your triggers, to reflect on how your parents’ shortcomings or struggles may have affected you, to heal from past hurts, to figure how who you are and who you want to become.

On the path to becoming who you are meant to be, you have to first deal with the person you have become. Take sometime to reflect. Take a little rest and relaxation to deal with what life has handed to you. Sometimes reflecting back helps you find the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

– Stephkt

Dating and The Job Search- One in the Same?

The things we experience in our twenties are for the books. The twenties are one big heroic, comedic, action-filled loved story all rolled into one, the makings of any great Blockbuster, or at least a sub-par reality t.v. show.

One thing I’ve been realizing in my twenties tale lately is the parallelism between dating and the job search. As someone who is still figuring out both, let me tell you it ain’t easy.

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There are many people on the road to success in career and love, but not everyone succeeds. So what separates the victors from those who fail? Here are a few tidbits of wisdom that I have stumbled upon in my pitfalls and successes:

1- You need to know YOU first

This is the most basic piece of advice I would give my younger self. There will be a lot of offers out there and many of them will look appealing. As far as dating, there will be the football player in high school. The serial dater pre-college. The first love in college. And countless others. Not every guy who comes your way is worth your time or attention. Not every guys who steps up to bat is going to hit a home run.

It is so important to figure out who you are first. What are your standards? What kind of person do you enjoy spending time with? What are your deal breakers? The commonality in all the above questions is ‘you’. You have to know who you are and what you want before you go looking for someone else. Otherwise, you will always look to another person to complete you. On the job front, there will be many job/internships out there. Don’t just go grabbing at what you see. Before you know it, you will catch yourself settling. First, you need to know your own interests, talents and career goals. Money will never make you happy in the long run.

So do the work. Figure out who you are. How you say? Dabble. Dabble early and dabble often. Experience brings knowledge. It was only through writing and reading a lot as a young girl that I figured out that writing was the career path for me. This, of course, did not happen without me first dabbling in a number of other activities. Growing up, I played soccer, ran track, did ballet, played cello and sang in my church choir. A wide array of experience gave me the knowledge of where my talents lay, who I was and who I wanted to be.  Same goes with dating. While I don’t think you have to date a number of people to figure out who you are, I do think it’s great to mingle. I have a number of male friends who I admire and respect so much. If not guy friends, try family. My dad, godfathers and brother have really helped me build a picture of the kind man I will be with.

Don’t settle for that job offer or the guy just because it or he is there. Be patient. Take your time. Dabble. Travel. Take chances. Learn. Figure out who you are and the rest will fall into place. Trust me that job with the big, fat paycheck won’t look so appealing 6 months later when you are hating your life. Neither will that guy once he gets a beer belly.

2- Patience is key

The waiting game….we all know it well. It is not my favorite place to be. It happens when you apply for a job and do not hear anything back for months. It happens when the guy you like seems to be stringing you along. Both places are no fun. Not fun at all. What I’ve learned is the beauty of time. Without getting too cliche here,  time tells all. If that job or that guy is meant for you, it will be yours. Word to the wise, don’t be desperate for any job or person. Desperation is a bad scent that can be detected from afar. The more desperate you are the more unattractive you become. Just give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your success be.

3- Rejection is redirection

Another way I have heard this is, “Rejection is God’s protection.” So you didn’t get the job. After months of waiting, creeping profiles on LinkedIn, and endless emails, you got the news. They decided to hire someone else. Or, the guy, the one you were dead set on, he turned around and broke your heart. He led you on and then finally the truth came out. He is dating someone else. Or maybe things between you two just didn’t work out and the ending of the relationship was mutual.  The lose of that job or relationship has left you feeling rejected. Well, good news. There is something or someone else out there more fitting for you. So don’t get too down. Your time will come. (Don’t forget Step 2). Sometimes the loss of something can seem like the end of the world, but it isn’t. Get back up. Keep your head in the game. Sometimes we loose now only to win big in the end. Whether you face rejection in the job search or the love game, just know that perhaps this was a platform to prepare you for and propel you on to something else, something better.

See I told you. Dating and the job hunt have so much in common. Just keep your head up and don’t get discouraged when things get hard. Tomorrow is always a new day.

– Stephkt

Nothing New Under the Sun

The older I get, I realize more and more the importance of listening to the advice of people older and wiser than me. Yet when I find myself in tough binds with money, dating, education or any life experience that is new to me, I rarely have ever taken heed to the wise words of people older than me.

I know I am not alone in my need for youthful zeal and independence. We get so caught up in having fun and living life that sometimes we forget to hit the brakes and take time to really listen to people who have more experience and knowledge about life. I do believe that people have to learn for themselves but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from other people’s mistakes too.

Nothing new is under the sun. I firmly believe that statement. Everything happening now has happened before in one way or another in times past. This is reassuring news for a twenty-two year old, who has experienced her share of trials and errors. It is good to know that there are people older than me who have had their mishaps, learned from them and survived.

I Peter 5:5 says “You younger people submit yourselves to your elders.” Even though it has taken me awhile to come to this realization. I am glad I did. I have learned the importance of listening, especially to people older than me. We have two ears and one mouth. I think our physical anatomy speaks for itself. We should be quick to listen and slow to speak.

So I thought I’d write about some of the many cliche sayings that I have heard growing up. I’ve come to realize how wise these sayings are. They are cliches because they are overused, but the reason is because they are true. At least I believe them to be. As they say, there is nothing new under the sun.

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-Time Heals All

I agree with this cliche to a certain extent. I think time and space can HELP a hurting or broken heart, but they do not necessarily heal it. I think healing comes from a proactive choice to pursue learning and facing past hurts and mistakes. Time helps but a person can definitely be hurt and angry for years even with the aide of time.

– Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Great things take time and effort. It takes time to cultivate good things. Plant a seed, water it and wait for it to grow.

– What Goes Around Comes Back Around

You reap what you sow. How you treat people will certainly be repaid to you in time.

– The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

I have seen this in my life and in others. Just when giving up seems inevitable, break through happens.

-What’s Done is Done

The past is in the past. You cannot change it. Learn from it and learn to let it go.

– Love is Blind

Love sometimes stops us from seeing the obvious and the things that are too hard to acknowledge.

– Laughter is the Best Medicine

I have known many tears. Laughter, pure and simple, is the a great way to bring hope and light to a dark situation.

– If You Love Something Set it Free

Love is selfless. You cannot force your love on another person. You must be willing to let him or her go. If that person comes back, then you were meant to be. If he or she does not come back, then learn all you can from that relationship and know that there is someone else out there for you.

– Beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder

People make fun of me for this but I sincerely believe that there is beauty in everything and every person. I don’t believe that people can be ugly. I hate to ever say that. What one person finds attractive, another may not but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t possess beauty. It is all in how you see it.

Feel free to comment on pieces of advice or cliche sayings you have been told time and time again.