Sometimes life throws you a fast ball that curves, slows down, changes direction, then hits you in the forehead. Other times we create messy situations that are difficult to get out of. In either scenario, there are steps to unraveling the complex parts.
Think about how this change fits into your overall plans, your future, your goals. Where will it lead you to? A step in the wrong direction will divert your plans. Stay focused. Let's say you're trying to save money and something comes up to where you need to move cities, states, or even countries. Maybe moving is actually a step towards saving money by living in a more affordable environment. Create a budget and see. Job opportunity in a field that's not your own? Are there skills to gain that can be transferred? Think about the length of time spent at this position, the possible move for a promotion. What about buying a car? Some areas have accessible public transportation or stores that are more accessible to residents than others. For example, the difference between a city and the suburbs. Check your budget and see how it fits into your life financially. Don't get blindsided by transitions and change. Being overprepared is a hundred times better than being underprepared.
Buy a notebook (or use word/google doc) specifically for your future goals and plans. Writing plans down keeps you accountable. When you forget, you can always go back to them later. It's also great to see all the ideas down together and how they might fit or not. When they stay in your head, it's easy to create a fantasy of how plans will pan out. If you are a spiritual person, pray for guidance. Have discussions with people farther in life than you and compare your next steps. Of course, take any suggestion or opinion with a grain of salt. (For advice on how to deal with people's opinions, read my post here). Don't get stuck in a place you don't want to be in.
*Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash
Sometimes it's difficult to discern when someone has your best interest at mind. Take their advice or not? There is a difference between unwarranted opinions and constructive criticism. Some folks see them as the same thing. It’s not. Ask yourself, does this suggestion help me, or is this person trying to put me down? Everyone feels entitled to their opinion. This is especially true on the internet where it's easy to hide behind a screen. They all think their words are so truthful and helpful. Educating others on concepts are topics they're unfamiliar with is helpful... if it's done without the tone of condescension. Users on social media are hasty with insults and distasteful commentary. They think they are right and no one can or should change their minds. This young woman I watched on YouTube bought a teeth whitening kit because people kept commenting about how yellow her teeth were. First of all, it's natural for teeth to yellow over time due to the enamel wearing off over time (read more about here). Second of all, yellow teeth can be caused by drinks like coffee, not necessarily bad hygiene. Some people like to spew their unwarranted, and unnecessary commentary because they can, not because there is something informative about it. Don't let anyone tell you how to live your life unless it's positive constructive criticism!
*Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash.com
What do you want from life?
Happiness? Money? Love? Stability? Question your motives and tactics. Reach for what you want. You must gain something from what you’re doing. If not, wants the point? Something drives you to continue your degree, work that double shift, or attend that workshop. There is a point to make, a goal to achieve, find that. Everything you do now promotes your future. Even if you make changes to your lifestyle, those changes affect your future too. Experiences can teach you something about yourself, other people, the way society works, or how to overcome obstacles.
Are you following society/culture?
I’m sure millions of kids have parents who have outlined their future. Their mom or dad wants them to go to a specific school, be in a certain profession, and marry the right type of person. It shouldn’t be like this. Not only parents, but the society we live also outlines the path that people should strive for. There are several problems with that idea. One problem is, everyone should have the same outcome. Not everyone can become a doctor. Not everyone can/will want to travel three times a year. Not everyone wants to get married. There is a such thing as individuality for a reason. Every individual must think and act for themselves or else you’re not even living your own life. Like I said in the beginning, question your motives.
What do you hope to gain?
What is the result of your hard work? Going through the motions without having direction is a waste of your potential. It can take years before this question is answerable. You don't always know what you want. Sometimes you look back and realized how much you gained from going to college or doing an internship that taught you valuable skills. Don't sell yourself short. It's possible to set goals and achieve them. It's possible to build that business, get the master's degree, get that promotion, or make a big move to another state.
I hope these questions jogged your brain and made you re-think your actions. Stay tuned for more!
*Photo by Jason Leung on unsplash.com
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you know I graduated early from college in December. It doesn't feel like I graduated... more like a long winter break. Even after it may feel the same as summer break. However, I've watched a few post-grad videos on YouTube and many people say they felt a bit lost after graduation. They focused so much on graduating that once it happened they didn't know where to go. People felt pressured to find employment and sometimes that didn't go so well. Going from the structure of school for 16+ years to a fluid schedule of mostly doing nothing (if you don't have a job right after) can be difficult. This also applies to any other new phase in life like moving to another area, getting a new job, etc.
When this occurs, it's time for a new mindset, and new goals. Create a structure in the new environment you are in. Sometimes when we're used to the old routine it's hard to adapt and change. For example, lets say you're a recent graduate. During the academic year you woke up at ten for classes, work later in the afternoon, and going to the movies with friends after that. Fast forward to post-grad. There are no more classes or work. You can sleep in, binge watch shows and movies, eat, and sleep some more. This might work for a few days, but soon you're going to get bored. I would say find a hobby and make a new routine. Wake up at nine and go to the beach, read poetry, learn a new recipe, apply for two positions, and watch a movie. Don't give yourself a chance to fall into emptiness. Keep yourself busy and gain more skills. If the new phase in life is moving to another area, check out all the cool spots. Spend some time outside even if it's the front lawn. Take a different route everyday. Try new food.
Don't forget to relax, no need to burn yourself out. You may feel depressed or inadequate at times, it might happen. Change is inevitable and can be difficult. It's an opportunity for growth. Also, surround yourself with a stable support system that will encourage and not pressure you. Put up little quotes to remind you that this is the road to success.
*Photo by Sydney Rae on unsplash.com
There are times when we are bombarded with a multitude of opportunities and responsibilities. Sometimes it's hard to manage these things and incorporate them into our lives without running ourselves into the ground. We don't NEED to do everything or say yes to every opportunity that comes by, but sometimes it is difficult to say no. It's difficult to discern which things are most important and which can be done at a later date or not necessary at all.
Take a step back and look at what you have on your plate. In fact, write down everything you have to do. You will find that some things are necessary and probably not up for debate (work (unless you're quitting), class, family time). You will also find that there are things you can eliminate or move around if you can. If there is a event or workshop done on multiple days, switch the day(s) you go to accommodate another thing. Focus on your goals and how the opportunities and responsibilities can help you reach them. Focus on the quality of life you want. Always running around and not enjoying life? Or. Understanding your values and finding a balance. Don't forget about rest. Rest is very important to keep us energized and functioning properly.
In my last post, I discussed my goals for my last quarter at college. I wanted to have fun and focus on writing. Those were the biggest things. So far, I haven't had time to write! I have a lot of readings for class, meetings for my clubs, and an internship! This "relaxing" last quarter turned hectic in less than a week and it already reminds me of junior year. However, I had a lot of fun junior year. The point is, I'm going to have to cut some things out and/or manage my time in a more meticulous manner than I have before. My studying/note-taking habits are also adapting as well. I am a flexible person so it's possible, but that doesn't make it less difficult.
All of these things are easier said than done, but not impossible.
* Photo by Andres F. Uran on Unsplash
“How do you know it’s impossible, if you don’t try?”
Sometimes we get really stuck in the same box, the same comfort zone for a long time. The habits we've created have grown and matured. It's important to keep learning new skills. You can start by watching tutorials on YouTube, taking classes, or just trying it without help. Stop being afraid to take a different track than the one you go on every single day.
You may think, "I'm good here." No! Do not get comfortable, because life will hit you with a flaming fast ball out of nowhere. I encourage you, yes YOU to try something new and discover another fun thing. The world is too vast to stay in a four by four. Continue to expand, even by little measures. Maybe one day someone will need help decorating their living room and because you've been watching interior design videos on YouTube, you have insight (maybe). Say your friend is having a party and wants to bake a really cool cake, but doesn't know how. Thankfully, you've been taking baking classes and can help her. These examples sound far-fetched, but I hope the message still got through. I'm not saying do it for others, you could be in those predicaments. Doing something you haven't done brings a new kind of excitement because it's not what you're used to.
So please try something new and encourage others to do so as well!
*Photo by Patrick Boucher on Unsplash
Does it pass, does it cry? Does it sigh when it loses sunlight? We want more when there’s less, and less when there’s more. It gives us context and deadlines. Milestones and headstones. We can waste it or spend it wisely.
But it doesn’t exist.
Time is not real.
Humans created time to document the rays of sunshine. To categorize wake and sleep. Time is an illusion. You cannot run out of something that doesn’t exist. We have built a world around time and now it has authority over our lives. We will never have enough time to do something. It is never enough time to have fun. Each day comes and goes in the blink of an eye, next thing you know it’s 2025. So what’s the solution? Time management they say. But we don’t control the Earth’s tilt or rotation. We cannot bend it to our will and stop it on command. It goes on with or without us in orbit. Everyday is the same. We are living in the past, present, and future at the same time. There are no breaks between. There’s no yesterday or next week. We are floating in space latching on to meaningless words and numbers that elude us.
Remember this the next time you wish the hours could go by faster.
*Photos by Andrik Langfield and Ashley Bean on Unsplash.com
**Edited by me
In my sociology class, we are going over classical theory and the "founders" of sociology. Each thinker has formed their definition of society, interactions, and how to study it. One person in particular is Auguste Comte who lived during the time of the French Revolution. Don't worry, this isn't a history lesson. I am going to talk about bias and conflicting beliefs between people and how they work together to shape society, not break it. In Comte's view, society was in need of order and progress. Again, he lived during the French Revolution and saw this event as chaotic without understanding the implications of the revolution. People did not protest, yell and fight, because of boredom. They wanted change. Sometimes with change comes conflict because of those differing beliefs everyone has about authority, the economy, or human rights.
Comte didn't take into account the benefit or function of other ideas and groups he saw as inferior. His narrow-minded view of a future society also did not account for conflict or the role they play in a society. He foresaw humans as living in harmony in a deterministic world where humans are rational and make the "right" decisions. He fails to realize how other beliefs function in and create society. He claimed the French revolution was chaotic, but doesn't address the reasoning. In fact, contrary to his thinking, there was order and progress within that movement.
Comte also refused to read other thinker's writings because he thought they would taint his view. It's important to stay open-minded and embrace difference of ideas. Analyzing situations from another point of view gives you insight. Fills in the gaps even. You can agree to disagree and hold on to your opinions, but don't invalidate others. Don't allow bias to cloud your judgment. Consider everyone's truths. Realize there are so many different lives that are being lived which means billions of different experiences. How can your one view of the world be the ONLY valid view? It's not possible. Embrace difference. There is nothing wrong with conflicting beliefs. It becomes an issue when people allow those beliefs to clog their ears and not hear others. It's not about getting someone on your side. It's about respecting each other's differences. That's how society works!
*1st photo by Kyle Glenn and 2nd photo by Ethan Weil on Unsplash.com
Reference: Ritzer, George, and Jeffrey Stepnisky. Classical Sociological Theory. SAGE, 2018.
A couple months ago I was standing at the bus stop with several other people, some of them college students. There was also a homeless man sitting on the ground to my right. I just finished grocery shopping and had the bag resting my feet. My ear buds were in, so I couldn’t hear much of what the man was saying. I took them out assuming he was asking me a question, but he wasn’t. The man was giving us advice and warning us about not focusing on our academics. He told us when he was in school, all he did was party and run around with his friends instead of taking school seriously. He said if we didn’t focus and do our best, we could end up like him and we didn’t want that type of life.
I’m not sure if the other students were paying attention or taking his advice seriously, but I was. That man made a great point.
Sometimes we take our situations for granted without realizing how quickly it can turn for the worse. I was humbled by his words. There was something special in his speech. He wasn’t scolding us, he didn’t have to say anything to us. He felt compelled to share his story so we wouldn’t make the same mistakes. Little things like this mean so much. Hen you’re in school there is obviously a goal in mind, but so many distractions in the way. So much stress in the way. He was not implying that the road was easy, but that we should try. Don’t get discouraged and quit. Don’t get distracted and get off track like the man said.
*Individual photos by Jose Murillo and Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash.com, edited by me
School’s out! I’ve been on break for about a week now and let me say it has been wonderful. This quarter was extremely hectic.
So, what now? It’s time to get back to writing. I can focus on more exciting things like writing and my blog. It sounds counterintuitive to give myself work during break, but this is fun. I get to do what I love after spending four months focusing on academics and work. Turn “free time” into personal work time. Never been to Miami? Always wanted to learn how to draw? Need to work on your LinkedIn profile? Want to learn a new recipe?
These ideas can become goals. Put away ten dollars every paycheck for Miami. Take a couple minutes each day to watch short drawing videos on YouTube. Watch a LinkedIn tutorial online. Buy a cookbook or ask a family member for recipe ideas. Some of these will take a couple minutes, hours, or days to accomplish. Others might take longer. This doesn’t mean you can’t relax. I wrote a post about removing yourself from your workload in October. The crucial message I’m trying to convey is use your spare time to improve components of your life.
It doesn’t always have to be about “work”. Play a new board game with your family, go to a concert, take a walk, or attend an art show. Take advantage of the world around you and your resources. Don’t live the same boring or unfulfilling life. Make decorations for your home. Organize your kitchen. Sell your jewelry! Try a new hairstyle. Even if you have five minutes, there is something you can do or learn in that time. Continue to grow, continue to gain more knowledge, continue to succeed in life. People complain about not having enough time to do fun things, but don’t realize they could utilize their short periods of free time. Save an episode of your favorite show for tomorrow and do something exciting. Stop living comfortably and challenge your mind.
*Photo by Loic Djim on Unsplash
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