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The Box

“I’d rather have extra space and extra time than extra stuff”

Another Sunday of going through boxes and closets finding stuff and items that we no longer need and/or want. We found swim trunks, jeans with holes, sweatshirts with rips and crap that just needed to go. This process has taught me to think about my purchases and gifting habits. I have not bought anything from a department store or Target all month because I don’t ‘need’ it, I just want it. (With the exception of cat litter)

I grabbed my junior year prom dress and said, “Well, I guess this is goodbye. Enjoy another formal dance with someone else.” I placed on the pile and walked away. It was like I was saying goodbye to an animal or something that could actually feel my feelings. Why was I so attached to this dress? It had been sitting in the closet for years and is not a dress that can be cut short for a cocktail party. I said goodbye to a memory but I could do it, I just had to walk away. My husband walks into the room and says, “Oh no! You’re getting rid of your junior year prom dress? I love that dress! I think you were wearing that dress when I decided that I did truly love you!”

Geez!

I had just finished my quick goodbye with an article of clothing and he has to walk in and make me second guess this decision! Now, I felt even more attached to it because someone else was attached to the emotion and feelings behind it. It is okay to donate my feelings, but should I be donating someone else’s feelings too? In a panic and worry that it would be going back in my closet, I said so quickly, “Nope, this needs to go! I haven’t worn it in 9 years and it needs to go. We have many pictures of me in the dress, that should be enough!” I grabbed it away from my husband, stuffed it down into a box and taped it shut.

There. Next box.

I knew this challenge would get hard. I knew that I would find stuff that had been sitting for years and some stuff we just don’t need them anymore and others would start hitting me harder. When we moved into this house, we had small boxes that went on the top shelf in our closets with all intentions to go through them once the rest of the house was unpacked. Today I grabbed a small box and looked inside. I went from content and motivated to sad and teary almost immediately.

Inside that box was all of my trinkets, bobble heads, baseballs, and other baseball memorabilia. I was sad because I knew that some day, either in the future or right then and there, I would have to decide if these items really have a meaningful purpose in my life. I put the box down and picked up a few items. First I grabbed the t-shirt. Oh, an old college t-shirt, this should be easy to donate because I know we have at least one more of these somewhere. The shirt was heavier than expected so I unfolded it and found the item hiding inside, protected and cushioned from anything that could have bumped it. A scale replica of Target Field. For some people, that might be an easy toss. Who needs a little model of a baseball field? I remember getting that on the fourth home game of the inaugural season and I stood outside the gates with my mom waiting because we thought we needed this model! We needed to be in the stadium and hold a little stadium in our hands. I wanted to keep this. I wanted to keep the memory.

I put the model down and grabbed a few baseballs and other memorabilia from the All-Star game that came through Minneapolis in 2014. Should I get rid of these? I went to that game, I won this a ball, I ate ice cream out of this hat; I need to be reminded of that feeling and happiness every time I look at these items! There was a TC bobble head, our baseballs that are in plastic cases, and things that had a lot of meaning to me. This box that always made me happy was suddenly making me sad because I knew that some day, those items would have to go. Some day those items would be finding new homes or be passed onto others as gifts.

I wrapped everything back up and put the box away. I’m not ready for that some day yet.

 

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The Socks: Day 1

Today we started the process and adventure of making our lives more simple. The Christmas tree came down, the decorations got put away and a serious house cleaning happened. I went out to the garage and grabbed a medium sized box to start our first, of many, daily cleanse.

Now, I am a special education teacher who puts in way too many hours, my husband and I have plans most nights of the week, or we are out of the house at least 4 evenings in the average week. To think that getting rid of 16 items is going to be a daily occurrence is far-fetched and unrealistic for our lifestyle. While talking about this process together, we decided that as long as we get to 496 items by the end of January we would have met the challenge.

Today, I found 49 items to give up and donate to others who may need it more than me.

I want to share my thought process while giving up these items. First, these white socks. We had 6 pairs of white soccer socks that my husband used when he was a sophomore in high school. Yep! These socks have been with us for 9 years!

My husband had a hard time getting rid of these today. He claimed that they were memories of high school and what if our kid plays soccer one day? Frustrated at this point, because come on! they are just socks!, I told him that we are getting rid of them without a debate. I explained that because he had not worn them for 9 years but we have carted them around to different living spaces he has grown an attachment to their visual presence rather than their actual functionality. They have been in his traveling sock drawer for years and when he goes to get socks tomorrow, they will not be there anymore. This will be hard for him but I can see this process getting harder on him as the weeks progress and we don’t have ‘easy’ things to donate.

Second, this stupid black bicycle shirt. I found it at Goodwill a year or so ago and I have yet to wear this for a few reasons. I don’t bike enough or have a serious urge to bike and when I put it on today, my bellybutton was peeking out. This is the classic, “If I purchase this biking top, maybe I will be more inclined to go biking and I will learn to love biking because biking is something that I want to do more but I need this shirt to prove my love for biking. Therefore, buy the shirt.” I remember having these thoughts when I bought this top and I remember having buyers remorse when I got home. Finally, it is leaving the back corner of my closet and going to someone who might actually like competitive biking.

                

49 items down, 447 to go. I am starting to realize how large this number is and starting to get nervous about the amount of things that will be leaving this house. But, it is all to be more simplistic and less fixated on material possessions. We can do this. You can do this!

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Striving to be Simple and Minimal

“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” 1948. Jackie French Koller.

Another holiday season has come and past. This year’s holiday was a bit different than the past few years because we were driving all over the state and visiting so many family members that it was time consuming, tiring, and wasted a lot of gas. We have very generous families though and we are very thankful to have family welcome us into their homes to help celebrate Christmas and the new year. We are also very thankful that our family feeds us every meal during the holiday because gas station and fast food get old after about one time. As exhausting as it is to drive around for 4 days without sleeping in your bed or seeing your cat, we realize the opportunity to spend time with family is not something that everyone is able to achieve. We are thankful for everything that is given to and surrounding us.

While driving around the state, my husband and I were able to have long discussions about topics and really pick each other’s mind about the other’s feelings and emotional connection to the topic. We did this in college a lot during our drive from Fargo to the Twin Cities, or back to Fargo for school. We would always pass the Powerball sign near St. Cloud and one of us would always ask, “What you would you do if you won the Powerball? What would be the first five things you would pay off or buy? Would you buy anything unrealistic?” Those questions filled the next three hours of driving. We haven’t had the opportunity for a long car ride these past few months, but it was finally time to spend a few hours together in a car and just talk. I was very excited because I had a question that I had been pondering on for a few weeks and I had been waiting for the best time to ask because I wanted a conversation not an answer. It was finally time to ask,

“What are your thoughts on minimalism? Do you think we could develop a more minimalist lifestyle?”

The car was silent for a few moments. But in those moments, I looked back towards the backseat of our borrowed mini van (because you can’t fit an ice fishing house in the back seat of a 4 door Chevrolet Malibu!) and it was piled from back to front and side to side, full of things. Things that we were gifting, but also things that we had received. Things that were edible and things that were tangible. I turned my head away from the back and looked at my husband, waiting his answer and hoping that he felt the same way I did about the amount of ‘crap’ we had accumulated in the last year. He responded with, “I think we could at least try.”

YES! He agreed.

The next 3 hours were lead with discussion about what a minimalist is, how they live and how we could incorporate their lifestyle into ours. We realize that this is a slow process and it will be hard to cut ties with some of our items but our overall thought process was to make our lives more simple and more meaningful. We discussed how cluttered our house had become in the past year and how much we buy buy buy, but never give away or donate. We discussed the things that we have, but don’t need. The best conversation was about an item that my husband decided was necessary and something that I decided was useless. This conversation helped both of us understand each other’s meaning of useful and useless. My husband loves to buy broken items cheap and fix them. With all intentions to resell them, we have kept about 80% of his purchases because he feels an attachment to it because he fixed it and made it better. I tried to tell him that the impact of his handiness could benefit someone who has less than us and does not have the opportunity to buys expensive items at a refurbished price. He agreed but reluctantly because he knew that he would have to give away or sell some of his most treasured finds. We are both willing to work together to build a new mindset and grow together as a couple. I think this decision will impact us when we decide to have a family. We will both be in a mindset of needs over wants and necessity over luxury.

We are striving to become more simple and minimal in the new year. It will start January 1st with the Minimalist Game. 31 Days, 496 items. We will try our hardest to purge 496 items from our home, life, and work spaces. We will be doing this challenge together and it equals up to be 16 items per day. Will you take the challenge with us?

Love people, use things. Not the other way around.

Personal

Food for Thought

“Focus on being healthy, not skinny”-Anonymous

Something strange has happened to me multiples times in the grocery store these past few months. People are coming up to me and congratulating me for being… healthy. They are saying things like, “Wow! You are obviously a healthy eater, good for you!” and “How can you eat like that and pay so little? I must know your secret!” and finally, “I envy people like you who eat healthy.”

Attention everyone: I am not amazing and you do not have to envy me to eat the same food as I do. But, if you want to give me a trophy or a certificate about being so amazing, I would gladly accept your offer.

A little about me so you can understand who I am and how I can achieve this ‘amazing lifestyle’ that everyone else is trying to achieve. I am 25 years old and I work as a special education teacher. My hobbies include camping, kayaking, rock climbing, and rollerblading. I am married to the biggest carnivore in Minnesota and we prepare and cook our meals at least 5 days per week. (We treat ourselves to burritos and Chinese buffets every few weeks.)

I am a teacher, so I do not make a crazy amount of money. My husband is a handyman and, again, is not making a crazy amount of money. We own a house, two cars, and a cat. We budget ourselves accordingly but we leave ourselves some wiggle room. Oh did I mention, we just got married so we are paying off wedding debt too. This is who I am. I want you to realize how easy it is to “eat healthy” and become a supermarket star, if that is what you have always dreamed of becoming.

Every 2 weeks, we allow ourselves $100 in groceries.  That $100 needs to feed and sustain our lifestyles for 12-14 days. During the summer months, we visit the local farmer’s market to support local produce, but on the average shopping trip we support a local grocery store chain. I can honestly tell you that I spend about 75% of my time in the produce section of the grocery store. This usually consumes about 40% of my bi-weekly. I once heard a comment from the friendly cashier, “Wow, you bought all of that produce and your total is still pretty low. I am surprised.”

It surprises me how excited people are to see what I am buying and congratulate me for eating healthy. They act like they cannot eat healthy like me even if they tried. Newsflash: I am not the healthiest eater. Last night, I ate 4 oreo cookies dunked in milk and that is okay. If you deprive yourself from sugars and sweets, you are going to gorge out on them any time you have the chance! Moderation. Instead of 8 cookies, eat 4 and be okay with eating only 4.

If you would like to eat healthier, change your mindset. Change the way you think about food. Everything that you do and all of your habits are based on a mindset that you created. You can change your mindset about food quickly. I did this in about 2-3 weeks. Think about everything you are putting in your cart two times. When you pick up your item as yourself, do I want this or do I need this? If you need it, then ask, how can I prepare and make this into a meal?  If you have any doubts, put it back. If you can’t make something with it, put it back. If you aren’t going to eat it within the next week, put it back. Change your mindset about food. Change the way you think about healthy foods and determine what is healthy.

I don’t eat healthy, I eat right. I fill my body with 80% vegetables, 10% grains and 10% other. I don’t classify myself as a vegetarian because I still eat meat but I don’t load my meals down with meat either. I find alternative proteins and add those into my diet.

There is a diet ‘rule’ that says something along the lines of, “Stay on the outer most portion of the grocery store and don’t go down the isles.” But, how am I going to get cereal, pasta sauce and vegetable stock without going down the isles…? LIES. All of it. Lies. You CAN go down the isles because you are in control of what you pick up. You are in control of what you put into your cart and leave the store with. Leave that prepackaged and boxed food on the shelf. The most processed food that I buy is lunch meat and I cringe every time I put it in my cart, but my husband likes turkey sandwiches.

Don’t strive to be me, congratulate me, or get excited because I am eating healthy. You can eat healthy too. I am living proof that you can eat healthy and still go out to eat once a week in a household of 2 people for $50/week. Think about what you are putting your your cart and evaluate the importance of that frozen lasagna. You can eat healthy if you change your mindset and think about the importance of each item.

For anyone curious,

How I shop: I pick and choose what I buy based on price and availability. Peppers are usually on sale or at a low price, so I pick up 3 of those. I eat these alone, with hummus, in stir fry, and in eggs. I can go through 3 peppers in 2 weeks, easily. Then I mosey down do the carrots, celery, and snap peas. These make great snacks! Next, I grab zucchini, a head of cabbage, mushrooms and some spinach bundles. I always price watch broccoli and cauliflower as these are more pricey items. These become by treats and ‘why not’ decisions. Carrots are the only vegetable or fruit that I buy prepackaged. It is so expensive to pay for packaging. Buy spinach bundles (Shake off that extra water!) and cut them up when you get home. Bagged lettuce gets slimy and spoils faster than a head of lettuce. If you can, leave the packaging at the store and buy the actual item and stop paying for packaging. Then I move onto fruit. Again, grabbing some apples, oranges, kiwi, mangos, raspberries, blueberries and anything that is on sale. I usually pick apples that are priced in the middle of the price spectrum. Same with oranges. I look for sales in the fruit and rarely pay full price for berries. I grab potatoes and onions next and move on. Sometimes I experiment and try a new food or grab something that I haven’t had in a while, but I basically get the same items every week. I move up and down every isle grabbing things I need to make a meal. Pasta sauce, check. Granola, check, Noodles, get in my cart. I move onto the dairy section next, grab 18 eggs, some cheese, diary and soy milk, cottage cheese and sometimes I get yogurt. I grab a loaf of bread and I’m off to the register.

Personal

The Hiatus and The Realization

“You can have my breath, And you can have my darkness, And you can have my blood; if it gets you high.”- Dead Man Winter

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Why haven’t I blogged in over a year? The answer, I have been asking myself those same questions.

In the past year, I have been finding myself and struggling with accepting the person I truly am inside. I have never been a person about labels or personal identification because I felt like I fit in everywhere and I tried very hard to change my personality to fit into every social situation possible. I was never the same person; living multiple personalities and becoming the one personality I detested the most, fake. I smiled at everyone I had come in contact with and made sure I knew some little antidote about them to bring up when meeting them again, to make sure we were connected. I let people take control of me because I was so kind and always willing. I was the smiling girl on campus that walked around proud and full of joy on the outside, but on the inside, was falling apart into pieces and could not find a safe place to take refuge.

I graduated from college.

I fell apart. I moved home. I settled for mediocre. I sat in my parent’s house applying for job after job after job. I settled on a mediocre job, making mediocre pay, working with mediocre staff who knew nothing about child development, advocating for a mediocre life. I hated going to work. I hated the people I worked with. I hated the lack of education these people claimed they possessed. I was a bag of skin and bones full of regret, hate, and confusion. Depression skimmed my eyes and my mind was weak.

I wondered the meaning of my existence and if my mediocre job was going to run my life in the upcoming years. I needed to find an answer and I needed to find someone who could listen. That person was me. I was the only one who could listen and understand my own hardships. I was the only person who could understand my feelings and do something about it.

I found solace in the north shore. I found solace in music. I found solace in the middle of the woods on a Saturday afternoon hike on the Superior Hiking Trail on a brisk April morning.

It was time to decide my meaning on this planet and the ways I can impact the world. rather than the world impacting me. I needed control over who I was and where I was going. I needed to take back that part of my life. In a sense, I needed a revolution. I needed to detox my life and choose the path that best suit me and my dreams. I needed to get rid of the poisons that controlled my life and detach myself from people that fed into the temptation of identity. I needed to break from everyone else’s expectations and only care about myself. I needed to care about myself before I could care about anyone else. I needed to tear out the scribbled on pages of my life and start over with a blank notebook. After months of cleansing, it happened:

My identity had fallen.

This is who I am. I am a millennial, hipster who cares about the environment, needs to feel empowered and picks apart musicians and artists like it’s my part-time job. I am an educator. I am an outspoken individual who will advocate for my student’s success in the most polite, but in your face way possible. I love going to farmers markets. I think weddings are over-rated and that partnerships shouldn’t be trivial and tasking but celebrated and rejoiced. I believe in essential oils and that medication isn’t always the best solution to the common illness and ailments that face our society today. I believe that everyone has good intentions but they may not be able to express their needs in an effective way.

I realized that in the past, I controlled parts of my life that cannot be controlled. I cannot control my friends, their thoughts, or the way others feel about me. I cannot control how my friends grow and how our friendships grow apart. I realized that people come and go in life and those that stay are the ones that are worth your energy. I realized that depression is sneaky and it takes over your life quickly like fog coming in on a chilly fall morning.

I don’t have an identity. I don’t have a category. I don’t have an expectation.

I have peace. I have happiness. I have wonder. And I have love. This, should carry me through life. Day after day.

 

 

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Here’s to You, College Graduate

“Crazy how comfortable you get as 4 years go by. Then you gotta jump into the real world. A new environment. A new life. Don’t be afraid of the jump. The jump is just a new beginning!”- Anonymous

 

First and foremost, congratulations on making it through college and receiving a degree in a field that you hope will bring you joy, happiness, and financial stability. Congratulations for pushing through countless papers, staying up until the early morning completing that assignment that you procrastinated on for a full weekend (if not longer), and for creating some of the greatest memories to date. You are free, for the next six months, to adventure and grow into the adult that you were meant to be. Congratulations on sliding into adulthood with two feet forward and continuing to better yourself and the people around you.

Good. Now with that said:

IT’S A TRAP! TURN AROUND AND GO BACK!

Okay, maybe it is not a trap. Maybe it is just a large black hole that you are continuing to fall down and cannot seem to find the string to pull your parachute to help you land safely without crashing and burning. Yeah. That sounds more like it.

Graduating college has a similar timeline as grieving. First is shock. You did it! Your family and friends are congratulating you and you cannot get enough of the feeling of accomplishment. Soon after, you start feeling pain. Pain from leaving the town that you grew to love. Pain from leaving your friends and professors that you have become so close with. This pain takes over the feeling of shock quickly as you watch the empire you built for the past four to five years crumble. Within a week, you forget about the pain that you held in your heart and begin to become angry or bargain for your college life back. You start to think over the past five years and think about mistakes you made, things you could have done better and really feel ashamed of the opportunities you did not capitalize on. You are not angry at the university or the people around you, just yourself. You also become angry at the amount of job applications being sent out with hopes of a promising career, but you sit by the phone day after day anxiously waiting for the employer to call. You become angry with the career path you chose and angry with your efforts. Don’t be alarmed when the university sends out your college bill almost immediately after graduation, because this will make you even more angry and on the verge of tears. This quickly turns into a depression. Another name for this is ‘Bing-watching Netflix because you can’t even afford to get coffee with a friend.’ You begin to believe that you will never get a job. That you should have started grad school right away. You start calculating your student loan payments and start thinking about new ways to produce income because you are realizing that watching Netflix all day will not make you a penny. You become reluctant to people offering support and offering money. You believe that you can do this on your own! Once you are done loathing on your self pity and want to move on, you begin the upward turn out of depression and get back on that horse. You may only sit in a bing-watching state for a week before making your turn upward. You become so angry that you decide to apply to everything and anything because you can, because you have a college degree and because you want to make a difference in people’s lives. Onto the next stage of reconstruction and hope, you get a phone call, or two or even three! YES! Finally someone has shown me the light! Someone believes in me! Someone is going to be my parachute and make sure that I am going to be okay. You are excited to set up interviews, ready to talk about yourself and accept a job or an opportunity. You are going to grad school. Whatever it is, you have made it and your jump is becoming less scary and more exciting. You accept that you are growing up and you are ready to take on the world, similar to the day you walked across that stage and shook the president’s hand.

You are ready!

To be honest, college graduate. You won’t get the job of your dreams right away. You need to accept that you cannot run a company or manage a group of adults fresh out of college. Create a name. Create a ‘brand’. Sculpt yourself and make sure you are the best you can be. You are an adult and your decisions will be with you for the rest of your life. You cannot fall back on your parents or on your lack of knowledge because that is no longer an excuse, and that’s okay! Make mistakes! Enjoy this opportunity that you are given and make it worth every ounce of energy you have. Take care of those around you, your work colleagues and more importantly, take care your yourself and your interpersonal being. You can do this college grad. You have been given the tools and the materials necessary. Now go build a life worth living!

Personal

An open letter to Chris Christie

“”There’s no point in going climbing if you don’t enjoy the process. It should be like playing.”- Alex Honnold

Dear Chris Christie,

When you were in New Hampshire on August 28th, you made accusations and statements that were ambiguous and showcased the pure ignorance that you posses. During a rally for your presidency, you not only offended the majority of universities in the country, but you also offended the rock climbing community. You stated that the amount of rock climbing walls being built at universities is an epidemic. No, sir. HIV/AIDS is an epidemic. Rock climbing is a stress reliever, a mind relaxer and a way of life.

When you said, “You have rocks!… What the hell do you need a rock climbing wall for?” You see, I go to a university in the Fargo-Moorhead area in North West Minnesota. We are running a bit scarce on the amount of rock we can climb here. In fact, there are no rock faces or cliffs that we can ‘go climb’. The idea that everyone has rocks to climb upon is a bit unrealistic, so that is “why the hell” we need a rock climbing wall. Neighboring universities also have rock climbing walls which is a great feature because we can intermingle with other universities and engage in meaningful relationships over a common interest, which is something that many university presidents want and desire.

When I applied for schools 5 years ago, I did not decide on the university based on the rock wall. Frankly, I did not even know what rock climbing was or if I would enjoy it. It wasn’t until the first week of classes that I entered our climbing wall and was immediately hooked. I have not stopped since. Not many high schools have rock walls which means this is a new experience to many students. A university that has a rock wall promotes not only healthy habits but also the opportunity for students to engage in an activity that is new and exciting. Our rock wall has influenced many leadership opportunities; which is a parallel statement about other rock walls throughout the United States. We started a club on campus devoted to rock climbing. We developed a vision and a linked together passions to create the only club on campus to be awarded with the most school pride award. The only club to share their pride throughout the state. Mr. Christie, the experiences that we have had in this club and the life lessons that we have learned is by far more beneficial than the lessons we have learned in our college classes. This club has brought together multiple nationalities, experience levels, and personalities together. Isn’t that what college’s social purpose is? To expose their students to a multicultural environment that is inclusive to all? Mr. Christie, the rock climbing wall on our university has brought together our most shy individuals and allowed them to grow and become who they never thought they could be.

Rock climbing is not just about climbing a wall and trying to get to the top. Rock climbing is about finding the fears that are deep inside and allowing those fears to break free. Rock climbing allows a person be become one with the wall and lose the stress of the day. Climbers who climb with a heavy mind do not achieve as high as others who climb with a clear head. Huffington Post came out with an article a year ago that states,

“Some researchers suggest exercise be used to help treat a variety of mental illnesses, including addiction, depression and anorexia. But climbing itself has an extra trick up its sleeve:Climbers who totally lose themselves in the flow of the activity enter a mindset that can create a sense of euphoria and even block pain, according to Indiana University.”

The article also states that climbing boosts brain function and it teaches valuable life skills. Mr. Christie, wouldn’t you be impressed if your daughter had a calm place to get away from her studies for a while that wasn’t influenced by drugs, alcohol, or other college pressures? Wouldn’t you be impressed if a university provided a rock wall for your daughter to climb when she is so stressed she cannot look at another page of notes without crying? Mr. Christie, wouldn’t you be impressed if your daughter called you after climbing the rock wall for the first time and sounded excited and accomplished? Rock walls are popping up everywhere on universities throughout the United States because everyone is finally realizing the benefits that a climbing wall has for the university culture as well as student mental health. I don’t know about you, but I would fund a rock wall on a university campus before I funded a new football stadium, basketball courts, or even a water feature.

Mr. Christie, would you suggest to students, that have no knowledge about rock climbing, how to set anchors, tie knots, or belay, to “Go outside and climb those rocks” because “You have rocks, right out there”? Would you want students who have no idea what they are doing to set anchors and hope that they hold when someone else is climbing? I know I wouldn’t. I would rather climb in an area that I know is safe and that is checked on a daily basis to ensure total safety.

Mr. Christie, my challenge for you is to put on a harness and climb up a rock wall. I don’t want you to fail, I want you to understand. I want you to understand the zen that comes from climbing and the amount of trust and courage you need to get up that wall because I don’t think you personally understand the benefits that come when a climbing wall is put on a university campus.

Signed,

A Climber

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/30/health-benefits-rock-climbing_n_5708847.html

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What’s wrong with adulting? 

“You know the path child, now follow it!” -Grandmother Willow

Being only 23, I still have a lot of life and learning ahead of me. I realize that my life as an adult is just beginning and there is already this ora of “adulting” and being responsible that is creeping up like a storm on a warm summers night. Being an adult should be a rush. Being an adult should be enlightening. Being an adult should be a pure experience of your capabilities. Being an adult should be a reflection on the lessons taught to you while growing through adolecense. The last four months has given me a lot of eye opening experiences along with lessons that were tough to learn but in the end, it’ll be worth it because I am transforming into a more educated and well-rounded… well, adult.

I think a lot of college graduates struggle with their identity and who they should and will become. Throughout their childhood they are pushed into different sports, activities, and clubs just to figure out what they do and don’t like. Soon after the pressure of perfection and authenticity becomes overwhelming and they forget their true passions. So I challenge you, no matter your age, sit with the beverage of your choice (Mine is usually coffee in the morning) in a place that you can just relax and think about what you believe, where you want to go, and what your purpose is here on Earth. Think about who you are and not what you are trying to be. For the last two years I have been trying to be someone that I am not. I was getting pulled into so many different directions that it became tiring to wake up and be something that was fake and made up. I realized that being an adult didn’t mean perfection. I didn’t have to smile every day non-stop because it is okay to have a bad day. I realized that being an adult meant being unique and being an adult meant finally being who you truly are and not caring about the stereotypes that followed. Being an adult means letting go of who you were and become who you really want to be. Support and believe whatever you damn well please. No one can stop you. If you grew up in a family that was very conservative but your liberal butterfly is just waiting to fly, let it out and embrace the ability to finally become who you were dentin to be.

Embrace being an adult. We waited 18 years to get here and we are just getting started! Being an adult is hard. It is. No one is going to deny that. But being an adult is as hard as you make it because you have control over many avenues of your life. We are finally responsible enough to pay bills and be accountable. When you think about it, we were in an 18 year training to become an adult and now it is our time to shine. We need to show the world everything that we know and show everyone else that we are able to successfully adult. You will be low on money. You will. Deal with it. Don’t go out to Chipotle two times a week and you’ll be amazed at how much your back account thanks you. Don’t worry about the finer things in life because those will come. They come with age and experience. You will be living paycheck to paycheck but the way that you handle the stress and reality of adulting will define you.. When I was growing up I told my mom, “I can’t wait to be an adult because I want to get mail. I can’t wait to grow up so I can have my own house. I can’t wait to grow up so I can buy my own car. I can’t wait to grow up so I can have a job and earn money.” My mother’s response was the same every time, “You’ll be an adult, but don’t forget to be a kid too.” Don’t forget to be a kid.  Being an adult is a powerful thing. Don’t forget to sit back, have fun, and crack open a juice box.

Adults create meaningful goals. Well, if I’m going to be an adult, I should start making goals that are obtainable. No more making crazy goals about having a job that pays $50,000 right out of college and moving West to become a climber and live in the mountains. Yes, that sounds like an amazing life but it is not realistic. Make goals that are both long term and short term. In the short term, I would like to get through student teaching and receive a reasonable job offer. Obtainable. I would like to get married. Obtainable. I want to go kayaking with orcas, mildly obtainable but becoming a bit far-fetched. Put your heart into the goals that you set and make them come true. What is the purpose of living this life given to us if we are just going through the motions and living on pilot mode? Make your life worth something and drive yourself forward to success. That’s what adults do.

Lets be honest, adulting is tricky. Adulting is stressful. Adulting is work. We worked so hard to get here, live in the moment and enjoy the freedom of being able to control your life, ideas, and future.

In cross country, you were either someone who liked to chase, or someone who like to lead. I like to chase. I was always pushing to beat the person ahead of me because I wanted to be better. Others worked their hardest to be ahead of everyone and maintain the lead. Are you a chaser or a leader?