It is what it is

If you know me in person, you know that I say this all the time. I even have a bracelet that says it. It’s my daily mantra and reminder to let things be as they are.

But what happens when you don’t like how things are??

This is a question that I struggle with, because I really am not sure of the answer. I think in my yogi-philosophical brain it makes sense to say that you just have to let the situation be what it is and it will pass and become better eventually. Though this sentiment may be true and rather insightful (if I do say so, myself), real-life me is thinking that this is bulls***.

Some stuff in life can super suck and maybe you don’t want to always “live in the moment,” or whatever. It’s hard to pull yourself out of reality and step back for a minute into “rational” thinking that the sucky stuff will pass. Sometimes you just want to get out of a situation and into a better one, rather than waiting around for the storm to pass.

So why do I constantly say “It is what it is?” Am I not just contradicting myself?

Simple answer- because despite the fact that I don’t like some situations, I do need to accept what’s happening in order to move forward. Put it this way- if you’re in denial that anything is happening, then there’s nothing to change, right? If you don’t accept what’s going on as the truth of the situation, then you can’t do much to improve where you are.

If you accept the situation for what it is, you’re saying “this is the deal and I want to do something about it.” From there, you can take steps to improve whatever spot you’re in.

So it’s not really contradicting myself. If anything, these two concepts are complementary to each other. It’s expanding upon the concept of letting the situation be exactly what it is, and taking it further to embracing the suck and moving forward.

I guess the point here is that you can allow a situation to just BE, while also seeking improvement or forward-motion. The acceptance of it is key, because as soon as we accept what’s happening, we can move on.

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3 Reasons to Stop Comparing Yourself to Your Friends

We all have that one friend (or group of friends) who you look at and think to yourself, “how is she so pretty and talented? I wish I could keep up!” It happens all the time, and I’ll absolutely be the first to say that I’m constantly playing this competitive game that ultimately nobody wins. So here are three reasons to stop comparing yourself to your friends:

1- They are awesome, but so are you. “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”- Zen Shin. I think this quote is awesome because it’s showing that nobody has to do any better or worse than the other in order to coexist, which is completely true, particularly because you may be at different stages in life. Friends don’t often take the exact same paths, whether in career or personal life, so there really is no direct comparison. You’ll always be comparing apples to oranges, so why bother comparing at all? There doesn’t have to be levels of awesomeness, but a mutual, unspoken agreement that you both can “bloom” simultaneously.

2- You have different strengths. I’m not a fast runner, but I can bake the best brownies you’ll ever have. I’m not a great musician, but I can write fairly well (if I do say so, myself). I don’t have super shiny hair, but I can walk on cobblestone in heels without breaking an ankle, which takes a TON of talent. Point is- there’s always going to be something you don’t do well, and there’s always going to be something you excel at, so focus on the things you do well and let your friends focus on their own strengths.

3- They’re probably feeling the same way about you. Every single thing you feel toward them, I guarantee they’re feeling, too. They’re probably sitting here wishing they could bake or write or not fall over in heels, just like you’re wishing you could run or play music or make your hair stop frizzing in all this damn humidity. It’s a two-way street, and I think this realization will help to see our own strengths, not just our perceived shortcomings.

Conclusion- stop comparing yourself to your friends because you are your own kind of awesome and have many talents, and there’s always going to be someone else thinking that you’re the pretty, talented friend to keep up with.

The Struggle Is Real.

The other day, a great friend of mine responded to one of my first posts saying, “Your   blog is exactly what I needed today and like every day… It’s a really important topic. I feel like not enough people talk about it. I’m really glad you’re writing about it. I need it.” We then proceeded to commiserate about the fact that neither of us feels like we truly have our life together, but act like we do every day.

So if, when addressed on a 1:1 basis, we think it’s a good idea to talk about the fact that we’re struggling to pull our lives together, why is it so taboo to speak about it more publicly? Why do we feel like we need to constantly have our shit together?

Because we refuse to talk about our feelings. A movie cliche, yes I know, but hear me out. By refusing to acknowledge that everything might not be going great, we can’t take the steps to make life as great as it can be. If you’ve already made this realization, what comes next? Let’s just stop pretending.

To “fake it ’till you make it” or pretend that everything’s fine isn’t necessarily the answer to this ever-burning question of whether or not we’re properly progressing in life.

Talking about it, writing about it, reading about it, and just admitting that everything’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time I think is a great first step in making a positive change. It’s acknowledging that there is room to grow and allowing others to help us figure out how. Sometimes we need a little push or a little company in our struggles, and the best place to go is to friends experiencing the same stages in life…. but if we refuse to talk about it, how do we even know that they are?

I say go ahead and assume that they have their own struggles, too. Open up a conversation and I guarantee it’ll be met with “no way, me too!” because they’re most likely feeling the same way. When we open up the conversation we can start to realize that everyone else is just acting, too, and we can finally start to feel like we’re not a failure for reconsidering a career choice or still buying your clothes at Target instead of Saks Fifth Avenue.

5 Things to Look For in a Relationship

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I am currently engaged to a wonderful guy, and although things are going great now, I have certainly had more than my share of terrible experiences with relationships.

The prime example would be that I dated a convicted felon. Okay, maybe that description is a bit harsh, but I did knowingly go out with a guy who had stolen… a chalice… from a church… BEFORE we were dating. Long story short, we dated for about five months, during most of which time I was away at college, and when we broke up he proceeded to send me messages and texts and try just about every which-way to get in contact with me LONG after an acceptable mourning time for our deceased relationship.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that everyone’s got bad relationship stories, but not everybody has good ones.

So what does this mean when it comes to finding a great relationship?

1- Look for someone who supports you. No, this does not mean someone who always says “yes, dear,” and goes with whatever plan you’ve concocted that day. This is a person who will push you toward your dreams and goals and reel you back in when you stray from a path that is good for you.

2- Look for someone who makes you feel good. Support doesn’t necessarily mean it feels good. Think tough- love. Supportive, yes, but maybe you don’t want someone who only supports you through these means. Maybe you do want tough love all the time, but don’t want someone who supports you by always talking about your feelings. Maybe you do. In other words- figure out how you best receive support, then look for someone who best gives support in a way that matches your needs.

3- Look for a partner who pushes you. Every one of us has things we need to work on. For me, it is that I am all over the place. I start off on a career path or a diet or a workout plan, etc., try it for a few weeks or months and then go off in another direction. I needed someone to be a grounding presence for me. Someone steady. I also needed someone to push me to open up and talk about feelings. Which brings us to the next criteria:

4- Look for a person who you can open up to. Self- explanatory, right? Find someone who you are comfortable enough with to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets.

5- Look for someone you’re attracted to. By this I mean someone who you find attractive on a physical level, sure, but also on a spiritual level. At a certain point, usually just beyond the “honeymoon phase,” for me, I’d always have an intuitive sense of whether or not the relationship was good for me through some form of a gut feeling. Usually I’d figure out that it wasn’t, but stay in it anyway, but that’s beside the point. Find someone who you find yourself still wanting to be around after the “honeymoon phase.” Someone who makes you happy and makes you look at them the way you look at a giant bowl of mac and cheese. Makes you smile, right? That’s the gut feeling to look for.

These suggestions are by no means hard-and-fast rules. They’re things I should have looked for in relationships, and ultimately ended up stumbling into that hopefully you can stumble upon, too!

Should I Go Back to School?

When I was two years old, I wanted to be a doctor. By ten years old, I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist (yikes), and by the end of high school I was a volunteer EMT and wanted to be a trauma surgeon (again- yikes).

Needless to say, neither of those paths ended up working out, as I now work in admissions for a private high school- just a little different from the original plan.

So after making it through college and now through three years of bouncing around from job to office job in the working world, I’m wondering if I should go back to school. This time, rather than majoring in French and Political Science, I’d be studying Nursing. Back toward the original plan, decided by a two- year- old. But should I do it?

So here’s the question- does it make sense to go back to school and radically change careers in your twenties?

Simple answer- – – – – I have no simple answer.

I think it really depends on the situation. Does it make sense to hold a job, even if it’s not your dream job so that you can pay your rent and bills? Yes. Does it make sense to try to find the job of your dreams while you’re young so  you can have as much time as possible to enjoy that job before you’re at a stage in life where it’s time to retire? Also yes.

So how does this ultimately work out?

  • Figure out what degree you’d want to get. The time and money and stress levels can be different depending on whether you’re aiming for an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate.
  • Take stock of everything.
    • Take a look at what it costs to pay your bills and what it costs to enroll in classes (don’t forget the added costs of fees and textbooks).
    • Take a look at how many hours of work you have each week and realistically how much time you’ll have to study. Include in that how many hours you spend doing other things- going to the gym, walking the dog, second jobs, sleeping so you can function as a semi-conscious human, etc. Every hour matters.
    • Take a look at who’s closest to you. If you have a significant other or close family, figure out how you’ll see them. Really SEE them, not just have them in the room while you’re studying. Remember that they need your attention, too.
    • Take a look at the future. Do you see yourself finishing school and starting your career? Do you see yourself having children or other responsibilities that might make it more difficult to continue this career path, or does it still seem doable? Consider other factors that may interfere or help with this path.
  • Get set in what you want. This decision is a large one, so be prepared for things to change if you jump in.
  • DO IT.

These bullet points can seem intimidating- particularly the ones about taking stock, but ultimately the decision to go back to school is up to you. If you see your future lining up in a different way than the path you’re currently on and it makes sense, then jump in!

As for me, I completed my first semester of classes for nursing school and did okay! I am taking this semester off because I am currently planning my wedding, which would be the same week as final exams and I am prioritizing enjoying getting married over pulling my hair out trying to get everything done at the same time! Having a full-time job that I like well enough for now allows me the flexibility to take my time in going back to school and take it semester-by-semester, evaluating as I go if this is still the right path for me.

I’ll keep you updated on whether or not I finish it out, but in the mean- time, if you’re struggling with the decision to go back to school, take a look at the factors in your life and if it makes sense, jump right in and reach for your dream life!

What is a Quarter Life Crisis and Am I Having One?

A quarter life crisis is a stage of life, usually right around your 20’s, when the world turns upside-down and you find yourself questioning everything. This can include anything from “Am I spending too much money on wine?” to “How do I find a job I don’t hate?” and “How the heck are most of my friends married and I’m still single as a pringle?”

So the answer to the second part of this ever-imposing question, is probably yes. If you found this blog, you’re probably having some form of a quarter life crisis. You’re probably somewhere in your 20’s, stumbling from brunch to work to an apartment you can barely afford.

Our twenties are a time of excitement and wonder, allowing for a sense of self-discovery as we set ourselves up for the rest of our lives, whether that be in our careers or personal lives. It’s awesome, but also terrifying.

If you can identify with any of this sense of questioning and self-discovery, then you are probably having a quarter life crisis, too. The best part, though- you’re not on your own.

I’d venture to say that most people go through this at some point- Some figure out their lives before or during college, some wait until a midlife crisis in their 50’s, but now is really the time to figure it out. You’ve already gone through your stupid teenage and college years, blundering through social situations and desperately selling your soul to get hired in any job available, regardless of what it is, so this is the time to mess up and get your hands dirty and figure out life one day at a time.

So yes, you are probably having a quarter life crisis, because the rest of us certainly are!