6 Months into Living Together…

Happy Valentine’s Day 20 somethings! Whether you are single or in love, please take this day to send love to those who support you. I know I love all of you!!

My boyfriend and I moved in together about 6 months ago, so I figured this is a great time to provide an update on what I have learned so far.

  • Always make sure the toilet seat is down – old habits die hard
    • Note: he still hasn’t killed this bad habit
  • You will gain weight – you’re sharing a pantry with a boy, how could you not?
  • Your mother won’t understand – things were different in her day
    • She’ll also think you’re about to get engaged…
  • You feel like you clean allllll the time
  • Your finances take a bigger hit than you thought – it starts with movers, then furniture, and then you start getting carried away at Target…
  • ESPN & CNN is basically white noise in the background
  • 1 Bedroom Closet isn’t enough
  • Your relationship still has a while to go – a year to adjust
    • Definitely not mentally, physically or emotionally ready for a ring

Ahh.. but let’s not lose sight of the beautiful moments:

  • He knows I like my eggs scrambled
  • He takes out the trash
  • When I can’t get out of work on time, he can pick up my laundry
  • When I get lucky, steak or chili is waiting for me on the stove
  • Living with the best support system since your parents

Halfway in, I know we still have a long way to go. It was an interesting transition in the beginning. Mostly because it was surprisingly difficult to settle into a regular routine. We were watching TV in separate rooms trying to cling to whatever personal space we could claim. We had to learn to communciate more effectively now that we were around each other much more often.

If a friend were to come to me, asking for advice about whether she should take the same route, I would have mixed feelings in all honestly. Every relationship is different. My advice would vary based on the relationship. I say this because I do still think we have a long way to go, and I think moving in together needs to be decided with a great deal of reason.

I love my boyfriend, and I can happily say that we chose to move in together for the right reasons. I know we will still face some trying times on this endeavor. I don’t regret taking this step with him, but I would advise to anyone else to be sure to consider it with enough thought.

Questions or advice for me? Feel free to comment or contact me! I would love to hear if you are in a similar place or considering moving in with your significant other.

xoxo,

Katie @ the 20 Something League

Time for a job hunt?

My senior year in college, one of my english professors mentioned that our generation is estimated to have approximately four to five careers during our lifetime. Not four to five jobs…four to five careers! No wonder we are so exhausted in our twenties.

He specifically prompted us to work this notion into our next assignment, which was an auto-biography written 30 years out in the future. I remember at the time that this was particularly difficult for me to wrap my head around. Both of my parents entered into careers that remained in upon graduating.

You can say, that I expected a path similar to that of my parents. I expected that I would ultimately start a career after graduating, and I would follow that career path throughout rest of my life. Maybe take a pause for kids, maybe take over something temporary to make time for family time, but I truly thought that I would be with one company my whole career. If not, maybe I would work for two companies, but overall I would work within the same job function.

I am here to tell you – I was 100% wrong. HA! How great? It’s not that simple.

I can ramble on about how naive I was/am, but to put it simply, I found myself searching for a new job about a year after graduating. Fast forward to about 3 years later, I still find myself struggling to picture my next career move.

Here is my guide for recognizing when it may be time to move on from your current job:

  • Mastered Core Responsibilities – This is especially true if there is no promise for promotion or the “next step”
    • The company may be headed in a downward direction
    • You are ready to move up, but your company is not promoting
  • Unhealthy Work Environment
    • Corporate culture, stress, and working with difficult people
    • This can be difficult to recognize
    • Bottom line: work is impacting your health or your personal life
  • Newfound Personal Goals
    • Spent enough time at your job to realize it is not for you long term
    • Overall, you need to allow enough time to really dig deep and figure out what you want to see/do next
  • Location / Change of City or State
    • Need a shorter commute?
    • Relocate closer to family or friends
    • Need a change of scenery? Maybe the big city was fun while it lasted, but you need to be near mountains and nature. Or maybe you absolutely hate the cold and need to migrate south.

Have you been thinking you might be ready for a new job? Do any of these bullets resonate with you? If so, be sure to consider the pros and cons as well as what you are truly looking to do or see 40+ hours a week. There is definitely more to come on how to search for your next job! I have so many tips and tricks up my sleeve. Stay tuned twenty somethings!!

 

Achieving your goals: Time Management

Hey 20 Somethings!

How are those New Years Resolutions coming along? With one month down and eleven to go, let’s evaluate where we are in the process. Maybe you made a start, but you feel that you are beginning to lose steam. Maybe you didn’t start at all, and you are kicking yourself for not really trying. Or maybe you are killing the game (x’cuseee me).

Irregardless of where you are in the process, I wanted to take some time to talk about time management. Anytime I find myself lacking in motivation, I head over to listen to Ted Talks looking for the right inspiration to get me going again. I came across this Ted Talk pretty easily, and I want to share it with all of you as it is very relevant to all of us, specifically to achieving our goals.

When I struggle with achieving my goals, the truth is that I have not actively made them a priority. While in my head, it may be something very important to me, I do not realize that I haven’t set enough time aside to make any progress. My lesson here is this, don’t confuse priority with level of importance. If you have a priority (or multiple priorities), be sure to pencil them into your busy schedule.

In Laura Vanderkam’s talk on time management, she talks about treating your priorities as they matter by describing how some of the busiest people manage their time. More over, she provides strategies and examples for how to achieve your goals over the course of the year, which is just where we are with our new years resolutions!

We are moving on to February, so it is definitely not too late for whatever you are looking to achieve. Wether you have stalled out or are worried you may eventually, take some time to watch this Ted talk, “How to gain control of your free time.”

 

In the Spirit of Feminism

My fellow 20 somethings,

In the spirit of Women’s Marches taking place today, I just wanted to announce how proud I am of every single one of you. I promise this is not a political blog. I do not believe in pushing my beliefs on others; your beliefs are your own personal choices. Your political party is your own choice.

With that being said, I felt so proud to be an American yesterday, to witness democracy through our inauguration ceremony. But today, I am so proud to be a woman. I am proud to hear how many people are stepping out to show that women’s rights are human rights, that our diversity unites us, and equality is necessary at all levels of society.

I love each and every one of you!! Let’s spread the love today ❤

New Year, New You! (Continued)

New Year Resolutions… (eye roll, am I right?)

What I dislike about New Years resolutions, is the notion that they are only goals for January, February, and then sometime in March they cease to exist. Just take a look around your gym (if you belong to one), it is probably mobbed right now! Peak hours are much crazier than normal, and there is a wait for a cardio machine. Come March, you’re wondering where everyone went; did they give up? I am here to tell you all, your New Years resolutions don’t need to be this way.

Let’s shift our mindset to the positive, 2017 is a new beginning. Like every year, 2017 has 365 days to work towards your goals, not just the first 3 months. We have so much time to work with.

In my last post, I ended by asking what you want in this year and to gather a list of your goals, which I was obviously intending for myself as well. This year, I decided to log ALL of my goals in google docs (I love being able to access it anywhere). I wrote down everything I want for myself this year, no matter how small to large it may be. Nothing is too small or broad for this list, but keep in mind to only focus on things which you have the power to influence.

For example, I want to stop cursing, save more money, develop my blog, but I also want to focus on making myself happy. Like I said nothing is too broad or too specific. Personally, I feel that every goal I have for myself is important and all serve a different purpose towards mastering my twenties.

Was there something you wished you changed about 2016? Was there something you just never got around to? How about something you’ve wanted for a while, but you did not know where to begin?

Don’t get bogged down by how you will really get there just yet. We can talk about that later. Let’s take this one step at a time, and you won’t burn out. Slow and steady, right?

New Year, New You!

Happy New Year Everyone! Hope you all enjoyed celebrating with those who are special to you. With the New Year comes resolutions and big hopes for change in your life, whatever your goals may be.

I am planning on featuring a few different posts about setting and reaching your goals, but more specifically, how to work on becoming your best self.

Acknowledging what you really want is the first step to achieving your goals!

So now is the time to get a list together of everything you want for yourself in 2017! What is next to tackle in your 20s? Is it budget? Career? Relationships?

Managing 20 Something Anxiety

Recently, a friend of mine texted me about going through a rough time. She was experiencing her first ever round of anxiety while trying to cope with regularly stressing issues.  She felt uncomfortable in her own skin, as if something was crawling all over. She thought she felt better until the next onset of stress brought on another wave anxiety. This time, she felt like she couldn’t catch her own breath as it felt like something was sitting on top of her. She didn’t know what to do or what to think about what was going on in her head.

After a few months of working at my first job out of college, I couldn’t contain my emotions. Overall, I felt sad, stressed, and especially on edge. My emotions and feelings were betraying me, as the smallest things would push me to worrying about my future and fearing the next interaction I would have.

Any of these thoughts or feelings sound familiar? These are just a few examples to help you identify an unfamiliar emotion you may feel at some point or another. I did not experience the same anxiety as my friend, but anxiety is scary and uncomfortable for anyone.

I learned to understand and manage my anxiety with professional help, but for some, maybe it’s not as frequent to warrant professional help. Here are a few things to help you understand and manage your 20 Something anxiety:

  1. Remind yourself that anxiety is a completely normal feeling to experience. You may be tempted to ignore it and try to push it off, but as uncomfortable as it is, you have to start out by trying to understand what triggers it for you.
  2. WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING – I cannot stress the importance of writing down your feelings at a time like this. You might be thinking “Ugh I don’t want to do that. I don’t do diaries. I’ll just list it out in my head.” And I agree with you, I don’t do diaries either, and sometimes I do get nervous about someone finding my deepest thoughts and feelings written down, but get over all of that.

Writing down your feelings is very important to discovering the heart of the issue. You’d be surprised what you begin to learn about yourself or your mindset  when you bring a pen to paper. As your writing, more and more things come to the  surface that allow you to really see everything that has added to your anxiety.

Prefer to type it out on the computer? Write in a notebook or scrap paper? Whatever works for you! Personally, I like to keep all these moments in one small notebook. When I am having a tough time, I will flip through old pages to see if I experienced a familiar feeling before. How did I handle it? Did I get past it?

3. Spend a few minutes doing something you enjoy. Once you spend about 30 minutes (without distraction) writing out what is in your head; spend another 30 minutes doing something you ENJOY (get your nails done, eat a slice of pizza, or play a game). Allow your thoughts and feelings to cool down after bringing them all to the surface.

Part of learning to live with anxiety is realizing that it won’t just go away when you wake up tomorrow. Sure, you might feel better after distracting yourself, but putting off any anxiety you deal will only allows it to manifest.

That’s the thing about anxiety that makes it so convoluted –  trigger points don’t always make sense and can be rather unexpected. You could think you are perfect healthy and rested, but then it hits and you might not fully understand why. Identifying what causes it and allowing yourself to work through your feelings is a huge step to learning to adjust to anxiety.

If all else fails and you find your anxiety getting worse over the next two weeks, do yourself a favor and make an appointment to speak with a professional. Speaking with a professional is not as intense as it sounds. Most companies/insurance providers usually cover up to 6 or 10 sessions with an in-network provider. Therapy helps to identify trigger points and solutions when your feelings overwhelm your day to day life, and in time, the strategies they provide allow you to get better at anxiety over time.

Hang in there! Your feelings are working fine, but you just have to work with them 🙂

 

Holiday Social Etiquette: Answering Tough Questions

The holidays are finally here! I have been listening to Christmas music since November 1st, and I am so happy that the rest of the world has finally caught up to me! Tis’ the season for busy schedules, holiday baking and decorating, parties, and shopping on shopping! Every girl’s dream, right?

Oh and did I mention the holiday parties? I did. Ah, who doesn’t love the forced merriment? What a joy! My sentiment does sound somewhat bitter, so let me clarify. I absolutely love family gatherings. I truly look forward to getting together and catching up with people I don’t get to see so often.

What I am acknowledging is, there is a certain side to the holidays that can be difficult. Maybe it was a rough year for you personally. You’re nervous to see him/her after so long. You’re not at your ideal weight. You’re stressed out shopping without your Holiday bonus. Who will be my date to this holiday party? Ugh, another engagement/baby announcement on Facebook!?

So many thoughts! So many questions. But notice, all of these questions arise by worrying about what others might think of us; what others might ask of us. My thoughts this season? Focus on the positive. What do you have going for yourself? (And don’t play the sad puppy game with me! You are remarkable no matter what stage of life you are in.)

Maybe this was a great year for you. Maybe you have a shiny ring on your finger or dropped on dress size and can’t wait to dance the night away. However, we all have rough years and “off” days or even months. That is nothing to harp on; there is always a little good worth spreading.

Here is my personal perspective, I brought my boyfriend home this year for a series of family parties. As I would have guessed it, the E-word came up so many times; it was even directly asked to both of us at one point. How did I handle it? I focused on what I am proud of right now. “You know what, we are just so happy right now. We’re still getting settled in our new apartment. The time will come when it is right.”

Unfortunately, not everyone invited to holiday parties understands proper social etiquette; how to reciprocate, what to ask, and especially what not to ask. Don’t stress about lying or over-exaggerating something that did not happen as you had hoped. Focus on the good, and when in doubt change the subject. If not this year, next year is all yours with the right attitude.

 

What Every Routine Needs

I love routines, so much so that I regularly find myself in a rut without one. After falling off the wagon, I find myself sluggish, unmotivated, and lost. I try and try to keep up, but that the end of the day, I still find myself stuck in a rut, characterized by a broken habit. If you need a visual, I wind up looking like a couch potato with my hand in a bag of chips.

As humans, we are all creatures of habit. I know that in my case, daily habits and routine adds comfort to my day to day life, and it is vital in reaching my personal goals. What are some of my routines that I stick to during the week? I like to eat healthy, stick to a work out schedule, read or catch up on TV, and then I start all over again. Essentially, what I am trying to get at is routine is what keeps me healthy, feeling confident, and energized. Without regular habits, I feel off and cathartic.

My initial intention in writing this post was to motivate others as well as myself. And yes, I want to be entirely honest about that because we all have these crappy moments when we don’t know where to begin. So I’m going to start by saying, it is okay. It is completely normal. Now we can dive in to my epiphany.

If you are trying to get back on track, what you need is simple: CHANGE. Okay, not that simple. Change is overwhelming, especially if you are feeling somewhat lost. “Where do you begin? Where do I get the energy? But I don’t want to do all of that work.” My mind spins at the thought of figuring all of this out.

In this case, change is both the culprit and the savior. Change is what threw us off our routine. Something happened, whether internal or external. Your commute got longer, work became overwhelming, or maybe you just wanted to give up being superwoman for one week. Something in your routine threw you off, but the only thing to throw you back on is to change out of this rut.

  1. Start small. Find 25 minutes to hit the gym. Pick a salad. Write down your feelings. Take baby steps. Success does not happen overnight, so don’t force yourself to do too much at once. Change your thinking.
  2. Do something out of the ordinary. Bored at the gym? Why not hit the park? Or go to the gym at an offbeat time. Last week, I found the time to go to the gym over lunch, and I was amazing by how much energy I had the rest of the day. Change your environment.
  3. Focus on the positive. I do not know many people who are motivate by negative thoughts. Maybe in some instances it is helpful, but in most cases, I am my best when I am motivated by positivity. Instead of, “I have so much to do,” tell yourself “I have so much to be excited about.” Quit beating yourself up for getting off track, and start thinking about how great it will be to get back on track! Change your direction.

Do you love routine as much as I do? What gets your back on track? Let’s be honest with ourselves. Life happens, and we will fall and pick ourselves back up over and over again. We just will get better at it.

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