Tag Archives: adulthood

On reacting, deciding, and trying to sort out my future

5 Mar

From April 2013 to September 2014, just about every choice I made was a reaction. I wasn’t getting interviews for the 50-some jobs I applied to, then I was offered a summer internship in a field I wasn’t particularly interested in located in an oil boomtown. I took it, sight-unseen. By the end of the summer, I still hadn’t gotten any of the writing jobs I was applying for, so they offered me employment and I took it. Housing was really expensive there, so when a family with a 3-year-old offered to let me rent a room in their house, I took it and moved in. Four days later, my friend decided to come join me, so I found an apartment and signed a month-to-month lease within 36 hours. Then, within four days we found a cheaper two bedroom and signed a lease on that starting the next month. Continue reading


Congratulations, you are now in charge of your life

18 Jan

I just read a very cool article on LinkedIn written by a guy who has found himself in increasingly more interesting jobs due to his willingness to show up and work hard.

In it, he discusses the fact that throughout childhood, and generally all the way through college, our life paths are set out for us. There are goals and deadlines and if we just work hard we will succeed. Sure, some people step off this path and lead fascinating lives, but most of us chug straight through our educational years toward what looks a lot like a finish line.

And then, of course, we discover it’s not a finish line at all. This can feel utterly terrifying, because suddenly there is no path. There is no one telling you how to succeed (other than, perhaps, the vague “get a job”) and there’s no easy way to measure how well we’re doing and if we’ll achieve what we want. It’s really scary, even though it should be exciting.

Imagine, though, if alongside your diploma, you had been handed a certificate that stated, in the same big, fancy writing:

Congratulations, you are now in charge of your life. Continue reading

Stop wishing this away

6 Jan

It’s a January a couple years out of college, which apparently means it’s time for literally everyone to get engaged. Which, for the rest of us, leads to a swirling mess of self-doubt and wishing we could see the future and be reassured that things are going to turn out okay. Or is that just me?

Anyways, I definitely find myself wishing for time to move faster, all the time. Whether it’s the hours until the end of the work day, days until my next trip, months until I know what’s going on with my job, or years (decades? I sure hope not) until I’m a soccer mom, I just want to be anywhere but right now. Continue reading

Lessons Learned, 2013

2 Jan

For the past two years, I’ve written a blog post about the things I learned that year (here’s 2011, and 2012) as a way of reflecting.

So, here goes.

Quality is more important than proximity

One of the worst things about 2013 is that I moved far away from all of the people who matter the most to me. I had experience with long-distance friendship, obviously, as I’ve maintained high school friendships for the last four years. But my friendships from college felt different – with them I had never left at the end of the school day to go home to my family. They had become my family in many ways, and our relationships were based on being around each other all. the. time. 

Sure, we’d said goodbye for winter break, or summer, or a semester or a year abroad. But this was different. This was final. We weren’t coming back. If we didn’t make the effort, we might never see each other again.

It’s only been seven months, and obviously I don’t know how the future’s going to turn out, but I would still call those people I haven’t seen since May (or August or last week if we managed to reunite) my best friends. We know each other well and I know that if it was next week or ten years from now, I could call them up and pick up where we left off. 

Actions speak louder than words

I recognize that I am learning this WAY too late. I think I maybe always knew it in the back of my head, but I refused to acknowledge it. So a simple lesson: if someone says they love you and want to be with you more than anything, but they refuse to take the time to drive five hours and actually see you … they don’t love you. Duhhhh. Next.

Better to be terrified than bored

When it came up on the end of college, I had two options: take an internship in some random tiny oil boomtown I’d never even heard of in North Dakota, or move back to my parent’s house where I had friends and family and a real city but no job prospects. Well, I picked ND, insisting that I would only be here until August. Then I took a full-time permanent job here, and now it’s New Year’s Day.

Moving to Williston sight-unseen was terrifying. It wasn’t what I pictured myself doing after college at all. For the most part (except for my job, which is awesome) I’ve hated it. But I DID it. I didn’t sit at home hoping someone would hand me my dream life, sleeping in the same room I had in 4th grade. I’m so glad I took that leap, and I’m ready to take another one: I’m moving to Minneapolis in two weeks.

You’re responsible for your happiness

So I got this job, because I knew I would be super unhappy if I wasn’t gainfully employed. And I moved to Williston.

And I hated it. I couldn’t go swing dancing, making friends proved near impossible, there was nothing to do but head to the same sports bar, the weather was freezing, it was a million miles from anywhere.

I whined and moped about it for a while/months, as anyone who has been lucky enough to listen to my ten-minute “I hate this place” rant knows. Then I decided to deal with it. It wasn’t my parents’ problems, or my friends’ problem, or my boss’ problem. It was my problem.

So I texted the CFO, asked if I could move to Minneapolis and work from his office there, and he said okay. And when I’m there, it’s going to be my job to get out in the community and make friends and get involved and do what I know I need to do to be happy with my life. Because that’s my job, nobody else’s.

I’m looking for real

It’s hard to write this without looking like a girl who’s just desperate to get a ring on her finger, but that’s definitely not the case.

But I spent a lot of my life thinking “I just want someone to LIKE me. I just want someone to hang out with and cuddle, it doesn’t have to be serious!” And that probably would have been true at 17. But this year, I had the chance to spend a lot of time with someone I know really did care about me, and less time with a number of guys who really didn’t. And in the last few months, there have been a couple of people I probably could have dated, for a little while, just for fun. But I don’t see the point in that. If I don’t see a potential for long-term (again, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where it has to end up, just that that’s a possibility) then I don’t want to waste my time and his. I think that’s a bit unusual, in this generation, but I can’t date someone I don’t have real feelings for, and if I’m constantly thinking, “This can’t end well,” then I can’t enjoy myself along the way.

So, lesson learned: “casual” is not my thing, at least now. If I go on a couple dates and I’m not crazy-excited about the next time I get to hang out with you, it’s over. Because I’m not looking for just okay.

Adulthood is hard but totally worth it

So I recognize that I’m only seven months out of college and I don’t have a lot of “adult” concerns yet (I rent my apartment, so I don’t have a home to maintain; I don’t have kids to worry about; etc.) but I do go to work every day and pay all my own bills and take care of myself.

And sometimes the fact that there is no road map for the rest of my life completely terrifies me. The fact that I have no idea where I’ll be writing this post from a year from now terrifies me. And sometimes I nearly hyperventilate before I go to bed at night thinking about all the things I need to do and all the things I should do but haven’t and all the things I need to pay for and … well, you get it. And when I do, it’s stressful and awful.

But sometimes I’m cooking a meal in a kitchen I rent with groceries I bought. Sometimes I’m staying out however late I want, or not leaving my apartment at all if I don’t want to. Sometimes I’m deciding to take a trip, or to move. Sometimes I’m sitting in the office with my coworkers being asked a question and being able to help. And in those moments, it feels pretty awesome.


So thanks for the lessons, 2013. It’s been tough, but it’s been good.

Six months!

13 Nov

Well. I graduated from college six months ago today. I walked across that stage (I was so nervous, I actually don’t remember it. I had to go first!) and then I sat around for a few hours and then I went to dinner and spent the evening hanging out with my best friends in the room where most of my freshman-year memories were made, and then, that next morning … I left.

And now I’m here.

Weird how that works. 

In the last six months, I’ve been to three states I hadn’t before (Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota) and moved somewhere sight-unseen. I’ve gotten a full-time job (and a raise (!!!)). I’ve moved a 13-hour drive from anyone and everyone I care about. I bought a car. I moved into a grown-up apartment. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve challenged myself.

My roommate and I were talking today (because we are both extremely self-reflective people). Here, I’m not depressed, per se, but it hurts. A good hurt, because I feel like I’m growing as a human being, becoming more self-reliant, learning how to be an adult and how to be alone. But also hurting. It’s like, “thanks for all this personal growth but can I be DONE NOW???”

Anyways. I guess it’s good to remember it’s only been six months. And so much has happened and so much will in the next six months it’s absolutely ridiculous – maybe I won’t even be living here six months from now (I probably will). 

So, I’m six months into adulthood. So far it’s hard and lonely and scary. But it’s also cool. To know that there is no next step — no diploma to be obtained, no degree to seek out. The next step is up to me.

It’s just the fact that making your own path means you have to trudge through a lot of shit. So wish me luck.

The Friend Date

12 Nov

So, tonight I went on my first friend-date of postgraduate life (I know, I know, it’s been six months. It’s hard!).

Anyways. I had dinner with a girl I work with. We gossiped and laughed. I was reminded that there are decent people even here, if you look hard enough.

In college, I had a ready-made group of friends the first night I walked in. Sometimes I got lonely, but I was never really alone. Out here, I’m as close as I’ve been to alone since I went to Europe (loneliest experience of my life, taught me I can survive all on my own).

Anyways. Friend dates are TERRIFYING. It’s like “Please find me fun and funny and just the right amount of self-deprecating without thinking I have pathetically low self-esteem and for goodness sakes please be laughing with me and not thinking about how this will make a hilarious story later about that loser you once hung out with.” 

At least if a date-date never calls again, you can say, “well, they just weren’t attracted to me.” On a friend-date, it’s, “well they either thought I was boring or a terrible person or both.”

Luckily my friend-date tonight went well. I have another on Thursday. Wish me luck.

Closer Every Day

20 Aug

The Future, that is.

Have you noticed I write about it (and it definitely deserves Proper Noun Status) all the time? That’s because I have this terrifying thing coming up called Senior Year. There are a lot of proper nouns in my life right now, because everything is Big and Scary. Continue reading