Ever think, ‘what in the hell am I even doing?’ I’m a 25 year old woman. And I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve hit some of the ‘adulting’ checkpoints.
Been involved in serious relationships:
Get my oil changed regularly:
Uh, started a blog?
But really, I still just want to dance all night, eat pancakes, play with fire, resist societal norms, play dress up, and drink wine, ya know, ‘I am woman, hear me roar’ kind of stuff. Doesn’t everyone else want to do that too?
I’m in a state that a lot of people my age are in. It’s the time in our lives where we find our middle ground. No, I’m not giving up any of the things I love. And don’t you either! But. I also know that I want to make enough money that I can travel freely. I want to buy property someday. And that I don’t want to worry about money.
I want to figure out how to make the money I need to survive with the lifestyle I desire without giving up any of my passions or succumbing to a job that makes me unhappy just so I can be consistently stacking chips. Ah, the greatest balancing act of all!
Especially to be a woman in her twenties in 2016 is very different than even a generation ago. So many more women are career motivated, independent, and even abrasive with what their passionate about. I know some badass ladies who don’t for a second expect their way to be paved for them but walk with a confidence that implies easy cruising from here! ‘Roll out the red carpet, because I’m here to conquer the world!’
We are also willing to struggle for a bit to avoid compromising. I’m very good at being frugal. Just watch me stretch a dollar. Watch me. But I don’t want to have to stretch all my dollars all my life.
Nothing is perfect and dandy in the world of gender equality. For either parties. Let’s not even get into the current political situation we are now in. But still, women are standing up and speaking their minds. Women are proud of their gender. Supporting each other and lifting each other up—whether they are businesswomen, artists, politicians, writers, or mothers. It’s a beautiful thing. And we should all feel comforted by that as we float in unsure waters searching for our paradise.
So, in this wild ride of a time to exist, here’s a little advice and encouragement for you twenty something’s.
1. Do what you do for you.
Don’t fall into line. Don’t leave yourself room to ask what if when you are an old woman. Leave the expectations at the door.
That a hard one for this woman. I’m a Pisces. I go with the flow and sometimes, a bit too much. I just hate to be an inconvenience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly accepting societal norms or gender roles over here. I mean, I’m a classic bartender with a college degree. I’ve been a taco slinger, a van-dweller, and currently, I have zero clean laundry. I’m also spending the winter jobless in Nicaragua. Not exactly the lifestyle my father would have picked for me. Right, dad? (:
But still, I struggle with going against the grain on a daily basis. Funny thing is, I think it drives my loved ones even more mad than if I were to demand every desire of mine to be true. Ciarra, my travel partner, hits me hard with this one.
I try to surround myself with women who are willing to go against the grain for what they want. Ciarra is a solid example of such a woman. She does what she does for her. No apologies. She’s not exactly stomping on toes but she knows she’s worth it so she won’t resist pushing the envelope a little bit here in there. She brings the most beautiful chaos to my life. And what is life without a little chaos to keep us on our toes?
2. Write it down.
Give yourself some sort of record for your ideas and goals. Organize the thought closet a little bit here and there. There’s so much damn stuff going on in my brain, I can hardly keep up! Watching my boyfriend try to keep up is another hilarious thing entirely.
So, I try to write regularly. Put the thoughts on paper. Or even just in notes on my iPhone. We live such fast paced lives that sometimes we get lost in it. Although the aforementioned chaos is beautiful and keeps us sharp, we also need something to help us stay grounded. Something to help us focus on our goals so that we get what we want.
To have a dream is one thing. But to go out and make a dream come true…that’s a whole other game, baby.
I watched a documentary called Happy recently which was about, you guessed it, happiness and how to acquire it. They made a point of how people find happiness, not in money or material things, but in flow.
It could be something simple that you really love that just makes you feel good. That yoga flow. Fire flow. Surf flow. Art flow. Dance flow. Math flow. Cooking flow. Whatever your thing is. It was something that just got you in the zone. Ya know what I mean?
One example was of a guy who worked in a kitchen at a diner. He was stoked! The clip they had of him was while he was cooking with a casual but distinct look of bliss on his face. He didn’t even have to think about his movements while he answered questions, and talked about how he just loved to cook. Anyone who’s ever worked in a kitchen and felt that flow of things going smoothly, people working together without speaking, conquering a mad rush, you KNOW what he means. It feels damn good. You’re just in it, simple as that.
That kind of feel good flow happiness gets your mind working in a way that works for you too. Self inspire. Find your flow. It doesn’t have to be what makes you money. Just keep that something in your daily life to keep the creative dreamer part of your soul alive and well while you’re chasing whatever it is you’ve set out to acquire.
4. Start a retirement fund.
What? That one kind of seems like it doesn’t belong here in the realm of dreaming and scheming. Don’t freak out. My parents actually convinced me to start a retirement fund, a Roth IRA specifically, probably around the time they realized I wasn’t getting a salary job any time soon. And it’s turned out to be a pretty big relief to me.
My goal is to set aside 10% of what I make each year. It leaves me feeling like I’m not wasting time or income. It’s my safety blanket but one that doesn’t really take from my fun much at all (: But for those desperate moments of, ‘Am I ever going to stop running my bank account dry?’ it helps to soothe the nerves. I especially encourage those of you who survive on your tips to do something like this. It’s real easy to feel rich when after a week of work you have over a thousand dollars cash, but honey, you’re not rich. If you have a good day at the bar and get off work with $350 and drop $80 to celebrate, thinking, ‘$270 is still a solid shift’, think about this: that $80 was four days of living in Nicaragua, a greyhound ticket for half way across the country, two tanks of gas in a mid size vehicle, or hell, it could have bought 2-3 bottles of decent booze and gone a lot farther!
Sorry, rant over. Enjoy yourself but while your not raking in the dough, think of what your spending actually equates to. Even those of us without benefits from our non existent salary jobs could stand to have a little cushion. Remember, stretch the dollars. You never what’s going to happen.
No, not like that. Invest in yourself. Always wanted to learn how to do something, drop a little money and give yourself the opportunity to learn. I did college. I made it out without debt. *Thank you goddess.* So, maybe that’s partly why I’m inclined to spend money on education still. Maybe with a big debt looming over you, this doesn’t seem as appealing. But I just feel like I’m giving myself more opportunities.
I bought a course on blogging. The Travel Blog Success course and community have been amazing assets for me. There’s lessons down to the basics, community forums of other bloggers, job boards, and new information being added all the time. This was a worthy investment, even though I haven’t been as consistent as I should on my blog *shrugs guiltily* and even if this blog never works out. I’ve learned a bit about social media management, SEO, running an online business, and creating content, these are very usable skills today.
I also fire dance and am always looking for groups or camps or workshops to learn more. Am I ever going to make money from fire dancing? Hell if I know. But I do know that it makes me happy and it motivates me. It gives me confidence in all aspects of my life not just my ability to dance with flames. I’d say, thats a worthy investment.
6. Be glamorous.
Sometimes, I find myself avoiding doing things that I want to do because I don’t want to seem materialistic or like some cliche blonde woman. For example: I’ve been running on the beach every day and then doing yoga in front of our apartment. Sometimes I do strength building exercises if there’s no one around. It’s not that I’m shy to exercise in front of people. Not in the least. But sometimes I feel like it might appear to be *sigh* a waste of energy that only a self entitled white girl has the time for. Sounds a little ridiculous right? I’m aware. You’re welcome for being honest about my crazy 🙂
I love to exercise. Exhausting myself helps me clear my head. I suppose after 15 years of playing softball and then continuing to hit the gym 6x a week during college (well, part of college), it’s just a part of my life. It feels good. I love to feel strong, to sweat, and to push my limits further with yoga and flow arts.
I know I’m not doing it because I want to be thin or for my ass to look better in a bikini. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t exactly want a muffin top and what woman doesn’t want a nice booty, but that’s not what drives me. I know this but still I get into my own head about not wanting other people to think that’s what drives me.
Other examples, I avoid lipstick on occasion to avoid appearing like I’m trying to hard. Nobody likes a woman who tries to hard, right? But here’s a secret, I love lipstick! I hardly wear make up but I just love lipstick. It doesn’t really need much more explaining than that.
I also don’t like for people to catch me on my phone because I don’t want to seem obsessed with a device like some selfie queen with nothing worthwhile to talk about, even if I’m just writing in my notes because I don’t have any paper handy.
These are such silly things to keep me from doing things that I love or things that make sense to me. So, be glamorous. Wear that lipstick. Work those thighs. Do the things that make sense for your lifestyle even if you think people might assume negative things. It’s their problem for assuming anyway.
7. Don’t settle in relationships.
Alright, you’re a vision of the divine. You’re intelligent, well traveled, independent, feeling like you can take on the world, more or less, it’s hardly a surprise that you’d be up to the challenge of picking out an almost great lover because you think you could help nudge him a bit into perfection. The ‘fix him’ girl. Why is this a thing? Don’t know what I’m talking about, read this –> You are not a sidekick.
Here’s a theory. Maybe because we are such strong women, we don’t mind the task of helping someone overcome their own issues? That’s cool, I guess. But I think we can all agree, that shit does not actually work in the dating realm. I’ve dated some wonderful guys by the way. But, I’ve also picked out a few that were, well almost perfect. But there was this one thing, this one big, looming black whole of a thing that kept them from even being tolerable. “I want to help though. Yeah, I’m strong, I can be a heroine. I’ll be this guy’s heroine. Yeah! That’s how these superhero movies go nowadays. Day of the goddess is here!!” Alright, but seriously. Calm down. Walk away. And no one has a mental breakdown.
You are a strong and independent woman. Your partner should be as well. And ease up on the feminism, let a guy open your car door or buy you a drink every now and then. He doesn’t think you’re not capable of managing a $6.00 cocktail, he’s just letting you know you’re worth it or maybe he’s a little old fashioned or maybe he’s just being nice. Either way, calm your defense mechanisms and just buy the next round or whatever.
I have a wonderful partner now who treats me like a goddess while also respects that I’m an independent woman. It can be done. He can also stand on his own two feet and don’t for a second think he needs me either because he can do just fine on his own as well. (Seriously, miss fix it, these guys exist and it’s awesome!) It’s not about making someone complete. It’s about complimenting each other as individuals in an intimate way.
“THERE IS ONLY ONE CORNER OF THE UNIVERSE YOU CAN BE CERTAIN OF IMPROVING,
AND THAT’S YOUR OWN SELF.”
― ALDOUS HUXLEY
8. Don’t obsess over finding your passion.
I hope I’m not sending you mixed signals here. But hey, it’s not exactly a formula, just a little food for though. Terri Trespicio sums it up pretty nicely in this Ted Talk though. She talks about how people today sometimes obsess too much over finding their passion. I think this applies pretty well to us twenty somethings who have been primed and prepped with pep talks, college classes, life assessment tests, and then family members and everyone else and their dog asking you, ‘yes, but what you are going to do with your life?’
There’s a crazy amount of pressure! Unnecessary pressure. Listen to this woman, she’ll help you relax about it.
9. Travel well.
Of course, one of the most important things in my opinion is to travel well. Everyone says, ‘Do it while you’re young.’ Fuck that. Do it whenever you feel the urge to do it. While you’re still figuring this whole adulting thing out is a pretty good time, though, even if you’re not trying to be a nomad for life.
There’s so many resources out there for how to do it cheaply *ahem, right here* that I won’t even get into that because that’s not the overall point of this post. But the time I’ve spent traveling and living nomadically since college has taught me way more about myself and what I want to do in this world than college ever did. So don’t travel like a spring breaker or a tourist, travel like an explorer, be conscious of your surroundings as well as your impact, travel well.
Did that help? Do you feel inspired? Anything?
Hope so. Because you’re worth it.