A Silver Lining Mindset

silverliningI really do enjoy writing this blog. If you’re new here, Life as Told by an Upcoming Twenty Something is all about the mishaps, blunders, pitfalls, mistakes and lessons learned while in your twenties. I am learning, writing and sharing with you all as I go. So usually when I write something, it’s because it is either something I have walked through or am walking through. If you ever feel like I am preaching to you, please don’t. Because I am telling myself these lessons as much as I am telling you guys.

So I am 24 years old as I write this, and I find myself in a bit of slump lately. Talking to my older brother the other night, I found ironically that when he was 24, he too found himself in a bit of a “quarter life crisis”. Not to be dramatic, but 24 has been rough. These last six months have been hard. I have encountered a lot of uncertainty in my career, my friendships, with dating, you name it!

In the midst of all the uncertainty and the chaos, I was reminded the other day the value of perspective. Feeling despondent and down on myself, I quickly remembered the value of what I choose to focus on.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life.” Sarah Young

If all you choose to focus on are the clouds, you might miss out on the rainbow that peers through the darkness at the end of the storm. You might only see an inconvenient crack in the sidewalk that causes you to slip but completely overlook the flower sprouting in the imperfect, tattered cement.

One saying that I live by is, “There is always hope.” Lately, I have gotten off track and forgotten that there is always something good to hope for. There are always second chances, new beginnings, births after deaths, wins after losses.

So maybe you’re like me and you’re at a point where life doesn’t quite look like what you had planned. Or maybe you have had some success but lately only seen setbacks and losses. Well, I am here to give you a kick in the rear and encourage you to see that there is still good to be found from your frame of reference. There is beauty in the masterpiece called your life. Sometimes you just have to dust your eyes off to see that it’s there.

-Stephkt

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Life’s Unexpected Waves

I love my godmomma. She is the quintessential woman, strong, motherly, charismatic, caring and nurturing. She is everything that I could hope to be someday as a woman. I was talking to her the other day, just catching up on the little things. It was great to hear from her, but what was even better was hearing about all the good that has happened in her life.

Let me first give you a little more background: My godmother lives in Michigan, where my entire family is from. She is my mom’s childhood best friend. We have always been really close. We even share the same birthday (September 10!) My godmom has two kids who are about 10 years older than me, Joy and Joel. They are both married and have kids.

The cool thing about my godmom and her kids’ story is the struggle it took to get where they are now. Looking at how beautiful and happy their family is now, you wouldn’t know all they had been through to get there. My godsister, Joy, struggled with getting pregnant, and dealt with the loss of numerous miscarriages. In his twenties, Joel went through an untimely and devastating divorce. I remember my godmom telling me of how she would just sit and talk with her son, while he sat crying in her arms. Two difficult situations. Circumstances that were unplanned and seemingly out of their control. Situations that could have defeated them.

 

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“But life inevitably throws us curve balls, unexpected circumstances that remind us to expect the unexpected.” Carre Otis

 

That is not where their stories end. My godsister now is a mother to three beautiful children. My godbrother is remarried and now a father to three kids, as well. It’s an amazing story, a story of loss, of suffering, of triumph, of overcoming, of perseverance. It’s the human story, something we can all relate to.

I wanted to share their story today, just a reminder to all the twenty somethings out there: Keep going. Life is guaranteed to knock you down. Life will hand you the unexpected. Expect it. Anticipate the curveballs. When you get knocked down, remember it is always your choice to get back up again or to stay down. You decide. My godmom reminded me of this by sharing with me this beautiful story of heartache, loss and new beginnings. I wanted to share in hopes that wherever you are and whatever life has handed you today, that you would keep going. Happily ever afters are possible, but it’s gonna take going through something to get there.

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All six of my godmom’s beautiful, healthy grandchildren

-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