Day 17 – How to Stop Living in the Past and Get on With your Life

The word nostalgia used to indicate a “sickness” or an unhealthy kind of yearning for the past. It comes from two Greek words which mean “returning home” and “pain” or “ache.” We now know that nostalgia is not all bad… remembering what has already taken place can stir up pleasant feelings and an appreciation for things past.

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The truly negative aspect of nostalgia is when you dwell… when you dwell to the point that you consistently feel depressed or lonely and these feelings ultimately keep you from experiencing life today. If you spend all your time reminiscing about college, high school, old friends, how great things used to be etc., you’re going to miss out on all the fun and adventure that’s to come in your future! And potentially experience even more emotional or physical problems related to stress.

The truth is… when you experience nostalgia, often what you remember is an idealistic view of what the past was like. Sure, there were good memories but when you find yourself stuck in that kind of mental time machine, be aware of the kind of lense you are looking through, as it may be more rose colored than clear.

How do you rid yourself of the desire to stay focused on the past?

1) Journal about your memories. Get them out of your head and onto the page.

2) Talk to friends or family about what you remember and ask them for feedback about whether you are remembering things accurately. Maybe they can remind you of the subtleties you’ve forgotten in order to paint a clearer picture of what actually happened. Bounce ideas off them and process why you’re having trouble letting go.

3) Mentally gear yourself up for the future. Think about the exciting times to come… new job opportunities, meeting new people, goals you’re trying to reach etc. It will be impossible  to move forward if you are stuck in the past. If, for some reason, you fear moving on with your life, I’d encourage you to see the counsel of a mentor, life coach or therapist. Life will become stagnant if you cannot find a way to move on. Work through your fears in order to experience freedom and hope for the future!

4) Put together a scrapbook or some kind of memory album so that your memories can be cherished and kept safe on the pages. One of the reasons we allow ourselves to continue in a state of nostalgia is because we are afraid we will forget the times and people that are important to us. Save these memories in a special way so that you can look back on them from time-to-time but no longer hold onto them inside.

The past may have some awesome highlights but the future will too. Allow yourself to embark on the next stage with an open mind.

Day 16 – Why it’s good to be Gen Y!

The young people of the new millennium are so much less predictable than the 20-somethings from back in the day. The days of getting married and having kids right out of college (or even high school) have passed and most people are embarking on careers they may or may not stick with, getting married and having kids later and most importantly, no longer waiting until mid-life to begin thinking about the deep issues of who they are and what they are truly passionate about. As I said at the beginning of the series… times have changed!

But for you, Gen Yers out there, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the confusion and inner turmoil you’re feeling and forget about the advantages you have that the previous generations did not. So let’s focus on the positive today and remember that even though this period is hard, you will pull out of it eventually as healthier and hopefully more fulfilled adults than some of those who have gone before us.

To begin with, I am pretty confident that the whole concept of a mid-life crisis is going to become obsolete. Think about it: one of the reasons people go through them is because they never asked the deeper, philosophical life questions at a younger age. We are asking them straight out of college which means that once we work through them, we can cross them off our life to-do list.

We have a lot more options than the older generations did. I mentioned this previously in the series but my mom said when she graduated from college she had three options of jobs to pursue… teacher, nurse or secretary. Now it’s like a whole world has opened up for young people and the options are endless! Higher education, work-from-home opportunities, technology jobs and more.

Speaking of all these opportunities, 20-somethings of today are more likely to end up loving their jobs (once they finally find the right one)! It is no longer taboo to change jobs from time-to-time (even laterally) in order to figure out the best fit.

We are far more advanced than earlier generations when it comes to technology and the ability to obtain new information. We are also able to multitask and maintain communication with tons of people using smart phones and social media.

Because of the breadth of knowledge available to us and the fact that higher education is more common, the younger generation is entering the work force with great confidence and passion.

Enjoy the stage you’re in because before you know it you will be settled down with a family and unable to be as “selfish” and independent. My husband and I are loving our “selfish period” because we can do what we want, pursue opportunities and just enjoy all that life has to offer. We look forward to starting a family one day but until then… we are loving the freedom of being young and full of energy! I hope you’ll do the same!

What else can you think of that we have in our favor as young peeps?

Day 15 – Not sure if you’re in the midst of a QLC?

Check out this list of 20 Signs You’re in a Quarterlife Crisis to find out if what you’re going through is in fact your average, everyday QLC! 

If you find that you are… check out Day 3 of this series for tips and resources.

 

Day 14 – Moving back home… good idea or wrong on every level?

The question of whether or not to move back in with your parents after college is one that many recent grads must face. In case you didn’t notice, the economy is not exactly booming right now. Not only is it taking longer to find jobs but even those that do find work often times aren’t making enough money to live on their own. It’s tough. You spend your entire childhood ramping up to this big moment of independence, when you graduate from college and can officially begin life on your own… but alas, you can’t afford to and have to move back home. You feel like you’re regressing. You’re afraid because moving back home could stir up all the old baggage you’ve been trying to move past the past four years.

So, what to do? What to do?

Well there is no easy answer here. If you accrued a ton of debt paying for college, moving home may be the only way to get on your feet. Or if you haven’t found a job yet. Or if you found one but can’t afford to get your own place. So what are your options?

Move Home

Share an apartment

Share a room within an apartment

Rent a room in someone’s home

As I’m sure you’ve gathered, we’re going to focus on option1… moving home. Let’s start with the pros… it’s certainly not all bad.

  • You’re comfortable there and can settled back into your old room.
  • Free washer/dryer access.
  • Free cable, electricity, internet etc.
  • Free food.

The cons…

  • Less independence.
  • Potentially falling back into old patterns of relating with the ‘rents.
  • Feeling like you’ve somehow failed because you’re back under your parent’s roof.

Yes, it can be hard but you’re not a failure just because you decided to move back home. In fact, you’re probably being wise. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth sailing all the time. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Talk to your parents in advance about their expectations and let them know yours. If you move back in without making some decisions about how things are going to be, you will be more likely to fall back into old habits.
  2. Have a life outside of your family. You can continue grow in your independence if you pursue activities, work, relationships etc. outside your family.
  3. Set a goal date you would like to move out by. This will keep you on track with saving money and moving forward to the next stage in your life.

Even though moving home may not be your first choice, try to enjoy the time with your family while you have it. When you move out and eventually get married/start your own family, the relationship you have with your family of origin will change. So for now, try to appreciate each person and the unique relationship you have with them.

Additional thoughts? Leave them below!

Day 13 – Misery loves company

Why is misery so much more tolerable when you know others are suffering right there with you? It’s like when you and your boyfriend break up and you find out he’s not eating or sleeping and hasn’t gone out with his friends for over a week. Suddenly your own sadness seems to dissipate and you are overcome with a renewed sense of happiness, all because that darn guy who broke your heart is in as much pain as you are. Seems a little backwards but I know, no matter how much you want to convince yourself you are not that kind of person, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

It’s like in my post, “How I Sabatoged a Perfectly Good Conversation With my Hubby…” I was in a bad mood one day and spent every ounce of available energy trying to make my husband feel the exact same way I did. Brutal. I am normally an incredibly nice person, I promise! But, misery loves company.

So how does this relate to your Quarterlife Crisis? Quite a bit actually because if you can somehow begin to grasp how many other people are suffering from the same doubts, questions, concerns and struggles as you, I guarantee you’ll experience great comfort. One of the worst things we can do as humans is hide. For some reason, hiding seems to magnify all of our problems which is the exact opposite of  what we’re trying to accomplish by hiding to begin with. We hide because we’re ashamed. We hide because we don’t feel worthy. We hide because we feel alone and don’t believe that anyone will understand us let alone actually accept us if they knew… (fill in the blank).

What ends up happening though is the opposite. When we share, we find common ground. When we confess, we experience inner relief. When we allow others to see who we really are, we experience authentic relationships.

My husband and I are in a small group with other couples and we are reading one of my favorite books called “Surrender to Love” by David Benner. We just read a chapter called Love and Fear which described how our fears keep us from experiencing genuine love. We all went around as a group and had a chance to share our fears with one another. You could see the relief and comfort in people’s faces when they heard someone else describe the same fear they have. There is something bonding about knowing you are not alone… like breathing a sigh of relief.

Don’t be afraid to let someone you trust in on what you’re experiencing. To be that vulnerable isn’t easy but hopefully what you’ll find is that the comfort and relief you’ll experience as you come out of hiding will be worth the risk.

I’d love to hear from you. Comment below.

Day 12 – “How to Be Free: A Beginner’s Guide”

This is a great post, especially in light of the career stuff we’ve been covering in the current Quarterlife Crisis series! Enjoy!

How to Be Free: A Beginner’s Guide

Day 11 – Inspiration for 20-somethings… Go for it!!

Yesterday I talked about paying your dues which is a definite reality facing new grads entering the work force. However, life isn’t all bad. 20-somethings have tons of energy and a motivation that unfortunately for many seems to fade as time goes on. Take advantage of it while you have it and don’t allow your sense of purpose and passion to turn into cynicism as you get older.

There are some amazing accomplishments that have been made by men and women in their 20’s. Did you know…

Jack London wrote “The Call of the Wild” at age 27. 

Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly alone across the Atlantic at age 24. 

Ernest Hemingway published his first novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” at age 28. 

Jane Austen wrote “Pride and Prejudice,” her most famous novel, at age 20. 

Madame Curie won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry at age 26.

John Singleton directed his first film, “Boyz ‘N the Hood” at age 23.

Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist received his Ph.D., published 20 articles, and wrote a philosophical novel that outlined many of the issues he would explore during his career by age 22.

Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy by age 26.

What do YOU want to do?? Figure it out and go for it!!

Sexy, Single and Seriously Lovin’ Live!

Check out my article on College Aftermath.com!

Enjoy that and tons of other great tips and insights about life after college!

Day 10 – Paying your Dues

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One of the most frustrating parts of starting out in a new career is paying your dues… I will always remember my parents telling me that after I started my first entry level position out of college. What are “paying your dues” you ask? Let me give you a few examples… getting coffee for anyone and everyone who asks. Doing “lunch runs” where you take the orders of everyone in the office and pick up their lunch. If the order comes back wrong in any way, you go back to the restaurant and ask them to remake the order… and this time they better get it right! And a final scenario: You’re sitting in a chair waiting for a department meeting to start. An executive arrives after you and sees that there are no chairs. You promptly stand up and offer your chair to him. Peons like yourself deserve to stand anyway, right?

You work so hard to get a degree and an amazing job only to discover that you’re miserable and not really doing anything you actually studied. You didn’t have to pay tons of money to go to school in order to learn how to make a pot of coffee… you knew how to do that before. But alas, that’s not the way the world works. We all have to start somewhere and unfortunately the bottom of the barrel is where it’s at. At least there are a few positive things to be gained from this position:

  • Humility: Contrary to what you may believe, you actually don’t know everything there is to know about your chosen field yet. The theory and knowledge you gained in school is awesome and a great foundation for what’s to come but the practical piece is something you can’t help but gain on the job. As you start slow through simply observing what the higher-ups do in their respective roles you’ll have a better idea of what the day-to-day looks like. In time, you can jump on an opportunity to move up but when you initially start, take your time just learning by observing.
  • Attitude: Be the best coffee-getter in the world! Even though you may not like what you’re doing and may even feel a twinge (or more) of resentment at the tasks, do them the best you possibly can still! That will prove you have a good attitude and are willing to do whatever the job requires.
  • Patience: Sometimes there are things going on behind the scenes and that coveted promotion is not going to happen on the timetable you wish it would. Be patient. Keep your eyes open for other opportunities. Do not step on toes or act in a way that contradicts your personal values. Just do your best, stay open and wait.

This is one of the hardest parts of starting a new job but in the end you’ll be stronger for it. Even my past jobs that I no longer have anything to do with were worthwhile because of the experiences I gained in the process. Oh and try to enjoy yourself too!

Thoughts and comments are always welcome below!

Day 9 – What do I want to do with my life?

Warning: I am about to vent!

I hate how teenagers are expected to know exactly what they want to do with their life by age 18! It is so unrealistic! Sure you don’t have to declare a major at that age but it’s almost like you’re looked down upon if you don’t. And then if you haven’t by age 20 or so when you’re finishing up your general ed. classes, it’s like “whoa, okay you really need to pick something and soon!” One of the reasons it’s so hard to decide is there’s an expectation that whatever you choose is going to be your career for life. At that age, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life and many others don’t either.

Take my husband for example… he absolutely loves school and would be a life-long student if I let him! (I would be okay with that if he could somehow bring in more bacon at the same time)! Although he does love to learn he still hasn’t landed on a career… not for sure. He is currently in law school, about to start a joint degree program in political science. He already has two master’s degrees (one in theology and the other in philosophy), neither of which he studied in his undergrad (back then he was interested in psychology and criminology). All that to say, he is actually doing what many of us are thinking  but afraid to pursue… We follow the “rules” we feel like society is implementing… pick a career and stick with it. Climb the ladder to a successful, stable life. The problem however is that many of us feel unfulfilled by said life.

So what do you do if you’re a single guy or gal, you just graduated from college, you do not have a spouse or parents to help you out financially and it’s time to get a job because if you don’t you won’t be able to make ends meet?

  • Figure out your values. Are you interested in bringing in the big bucks? Are you just working for the weekends? Are you looking for a job you will feel passionate about and excited about spending time at day in and day out? What is your reason or working? Obviously we all have to make some money. But some people really enjoy what they do and consider their vocation to be a piece in their overall purpose in life. What do you want? What do you value?
  • Know your interests. Are you more interested in time or money? What are your hobbies? Do you like artsy activities? Do you like sports? Do you like to be alone or with other people?
  • Embrace change. Part of the 21st century adult’s journey is to explore careers and if you land on one you love, great! But if you don’t, unlike our parent’s generation, you may end up hopping around a bit (even laterally) before you find your dream job. Allow yourself the opportunity to try different things, all the while being aware of who you are and what you’re passionate about. More likely than not, your career path will not be a straight line from bottom to top. It will be a bit more zigzagged than back in the days!

How has your career journey been so far?

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