Category Archives: growing up

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Gen Y has suffered from some pretty heavy stigmas over the years. We’ve been labeled “self indulgent,” “lazy,” “coddled,” and so on and so forth. We’re a generation of fledgling adults, still seeking help from our parents despite the fact that we’ve been out of our teens for a decade.

A new study, however, has revealed evidence that still relying on our parents could potentially be a good thing. This need for parental approval and still using Mommy and Daddy as a financial safety net isn’t just because Gen Y is “idle.” The study concludes that the support given to us by our parents can be considered a kind of structural skeleton for our adult lives.

The  study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that members of generation Y turn to their parents as a mechanism to help their career advancement.

By “boomeranging” back to the nest, the 18 to 34 year olds can use the money they’re saving on rent to put towards advancing their education or gaining experience at an internship.

In a world where advanced education is considered more important everyday, Gen Y is laying the building blocks for a successful adulthood.

Unlike our parents or grandparents, who were married and responsible for young children by the time they were 25, we have the option of exploring multiple career paths. In a rocky economy and ever changing world, Gen Y members who have multiple skills will be better off. It also makes then more desirable to employers when they do enter the job market.

The study also concluded that most Gen Y-ers do become self sufficient by the time they are 30.

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Hello, 2011

The new year is upon us, my friends. It seems like just hours ago that I was bidding farewell to 2009, and here I am doing the same exact thing to 2010.

New Year’s has always held a bittersweet feeling for me. It’s kind of like straddling two different chapters of your life in only one night. It reminds me of standing at the state line, one of my feet in Pennsylvania while the other one rests in New York.

2010 was a pivotal year for me. Friendships were made and broken. I lost a very close friend to a deadly illness. I lost my job and moved back home. I went to Europe and also started freelancing full time.

I feel like 2011 is going to be infinitely cooler than 2010. This time last year all I wanted to do was leave the country. I still want to travel and see the world, but my resolution for 2011 is simply to be okay. I want to become at peace with myself and accept myself for who I am, regardless of what I have or what I lack.

What’re your resolutions? What do you hope 2011 holds?

I’m like a cat. Sorta.

Did you ever get the feeling that you’ve lived many different lives? I think I’ve had about five so far, each complete with its own tiny tragedy and death. My different lives are usually built around new places or people. And when I change cities or relationships, I have to bulldoze over everything I’ve built and start from scratch.

My third life orbited around a guy named Ben. I was 22 at the time, still in college, and worked part-time at an independent bookstore. I had recently moved back to Pennsylvania after spending three years in Vermont and had lost contact with almost everybody I knew from my home state. Ben was a godsend and the gateway drug to the archetype of man that I now prefer. He was the typical tattooed, hardworking, blue collared, beer guzzling, I-can-fix-everything-in-your-kitchen-and-on-your-car-and-I-can-even-sew type of guy. Ours was a love measured in mileage. He lived an hour away in South Jersey and every day one of us took up the task of rounding up the dogs and making the commute across the river to the other’s apartment. I created an adorable life when I moved back to PA, filled to the brim with feminist theory seminars, Ikea futons, laid back, easy part-time work, dog walks, and punk rock shows. I had literally no responsibilities other than keeping my GPA up and paying the cable bill.

That life came to an end shortly after I graduated. Ben wanted kids and I wanted a career so we parted ways. Life Number Four started the day I moved to Philly and revolved heavily around poverty, fear, career changes, and another relationship. I laid Life Number Four to rest two years later, after two apartments, four jobs, the worst break-up that I’ve ever been through to date, and the adoption of another dog.

 Life Number 5 is the first life I’ve had that has been primarily about me. It’s about self-improvement, self-realization, and self-acceptance. I’ve made tons of mistakes already and have hurt a lot of people in the process, but something has woken up inside of me.

All through high school and college, some ingrained thing in me was growing and feeding on snowstorms and Catholicism. It made me bite my nails at 60 miles per hour and it made me sad in the winter and it made me stay up all night stressing about where all of this was going, and when I moved to the city, I shut it down. Hey there, painful thing. Chill out for a couple years. So there we sat, in a posh apartment with a job in journalism.

But lately, it’s been moving around again, this enormous monster in the soupy lake of my subconscious. It’s gnawing at me and punching at me and I feel like I have to suffer a bit more to grow up. Life Number Five is about feeding my painful thing, allowing it to grow and working my butt off so that I can feel fulfilled with the one real life that I have. Does that make sense?

Sometimes you still need your parents’ help

I am a big girl. I am house-broken, receive a weekly paycheck, know how to drive a car, and open a bottle of wine. Yet, despite all of the things that I can do on my own, there are still some things that I need my parents to help me with, ie taxes. The picture to the right shows just exactly what I was dealing with…

I just have no idea where to begin. Once I recieved all of my forms, including the one from my fulltime job and the 12 billion other ones from multiple freelancing gigs, I lay them out on the kitchen table, looked them over once, and allowed them to sit there for two weeks until I visited my parents for my mom’s birthday. Once back at home, I handed my father the wrinkled pile (which had 14 days worth of dust and cat hair on it) and said, “Help me.”

No matter how old or how independent you are, you will always at some point need advice from your parents. And you shouldn’t feel bad about asking them for help once in awhile. It’s all part of this growing up, navigating the world thing. Your parents are your North Star. They are there to help hold your hand and lead the way.

I call my parents roughly three-four times a day. My father even set their landline phone to have a special ring tone when I call, just so my mother can know to avoid picking up if she wants to. I think it’s Farmer in the Dell, or maybe the shower-scene music from Psycho.

Adios, 2009

So in less than a week, 2009 will be over and we will be ringing in the new year. It blows my mind to see how fast this year went by. It seems like just last week I was at the Electric Factory watching Gogol Bordello with my then-boyfriend, drinking my ninth Miller Lite and reminiscing about 2008. I vividly remember that the guy  in front of me was so blitzed that he had trouble standing up and was leaning his haunches into me. I said something nasty to him just before the clock turned midnight and he called me a bitch and that whole situation set the tone for my 2009.

As a whole, the year was one of huge awakening for me. I got my first real big-girl job at the newspaper, I broke up with my live-in boyfriend, and I began slowly discovering what I will and will not tolerate in relationships and friendships. I started setting boundaries for myself, drawing lines in the sand that I expect some people to never, ever cross. In 2009, I began growing up. 

I think that I will remember this year as a year of transition. It was a quiet transition, but a colossal one as well. I didn’t suffer from any serious illness or had anybody close to me die. In fact, no huge tragedy occurred in my life. But I began realizing certain things. I started seeing for the first time what I really wanted out of life and what sacrifices I’d have to make in order to achieve my dreams.

2009 taught me to be my own hero. For so long I have heavily relied on others to provide me with happiness. I never knew that self-gratitude could come from within. People change, relationships fall apart, but I would always be able to depend upon myself. I didn’t need a boyfriend or a single serving of Jesus Christ to rescue me. I could do it myself. I had a job, a car, and a solid foundation that told me what was right and wrong at a very early age. I didn’t need anybody to wipe my ass or leave a trail of breadcrumbs. 

I laid the groundwork for my dreams this year. I have a blueprint of what I want out of my life and what it’ll take in order for me to succeed. I think 2010 is a good year to be like, “YO. It’s go time!”

I promise not to blog about you if we date. But sometimes I will.

female_blogger_cAmerica is a land of voyeurism. Reality television, webcams, live feed from social networking sites, and other people’s problems – we eat it all up.  This is especially true for people in their twenties who came of age when MTV’s The Real World was still good and AOL was just taking off. 

Blogs are no different. They are  online diaries, simply another way to share unnecessary information about yourself with a world that doesn’t care. Even though the entire planet can read about your inner most thoughts and desires, some people still aren’t capable of understanding this and tend to over-share, writing about things like break-ups and bowel movements and other information that is better left unsaid. I am totally one of those people. 

The idea of complete strangers reading about my life fascinates me, and I think this is why I am so forthcoming with information. I really am not that interesting, but I do have a lot to say. I guess writing it all down on a public forum makes me feel like this one life, my life, is significant and worthy of other people’s curiosity. 

On this particular blog, I try to take events from my own life, such as break-ups and poverty, and create a universal theme that anybody can relate to. It seems that people enjoy reading about things that they are familiar with. If somebody sees themselves reflected in an entry, empathy is usually created and thus they keep reading. It also seems that people my age are so lost. We’re all trying to cultivate some kind of life for ourselves while navigating this brand new thing called “Adulthood.” It’s hard, and I want people to know that they are not alone. 

I want to write about how I have been in a perpetual state of heartbreak for the last couple of weeks now. Winter was never my season. When it’s right around the corner I get a bit like Eeyore. I also just realized that I’ve wasted the last month of my life pursuing a relationship that had been circling the drain since day one. I was just too stubborn to see it. I think I told this particular person that I’d never write about him, so I’ll keep it at that…

Cities can be amazing, wonderful places. They can also be terribly lonely places when you’ve lost your way. 

 

Walk on the grass. Draw on the walls.

well_behaved_women-thumbI was never one to set a good example when I was younger. Instead, I was always the cautionary tale. I got suspended in high school for smoking in the bathroom, crashed my car before I even had my license, snuck out through my bedroom window on school nights to go meet up with boys, and I never, ever listened to my mother’s advice.

Needless-to-say, this “bad girl” phase lasted up until my junior year of college. It was then that reality struck. I was going to be graduating in less than two years, my GPA was horrendous, beer pong was the only recreational sport I played, and I had little to no work ethic. I did a complete 180 that year and actually started going to class, got a part-time job, interned at a publishing company, and called my mom more than once a month. 

Now that I am in Adult Land, misbehaving has recently started to sound much more appealing. I’ve been wanting to rock the boat a little. I don’t want to start a riot or have discriminating pictures of me surfacing on the Internet, but I do want to cause a little ruckus. 

This past weekend, my friend and I were in the checkout line at Target when all of a sudden he started telling me a crude joke. I immediately shushed him and motioned to all of the other people around us and he just shook his head at me and grinned and that’s when it dawned on me: I have become my mother. 

I started recounting all of the things I do now that I never even thought I’d be doing two years ago: I scrub my kitchen floors weekly, I start dry-heaving if somebody belches in front of me, my soul dies a little every time somebody leaves grease marks on the stove-top, I have alphabetized my records.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the items listed above. I just never thought I’d be one to care if Fugazi was in front of the Flaming Lips or that there was a dirty spoon still left in my sink. What have I become?

I  feel that when people become adults, women especially, we throw entire pieces of ourselves away. We try to be these proper, dainty things that pay the bills on time and drive in the right hand lane. And if, God forbid, one of our male friends burps while we’re at a crowded restaurant, well, you can just shoot us right then and there.

I just wish that I could bring back a little of the 19 year old me. I was confused and distraught and angst-ridden, yes, but I had much more fun back then. Other’s opinions didn’t matter as much and I just did what felt right. Now-a-days, I’m so shackled by my own fear that I allow many, many fun opportunities to just pass me by. Or, I am too busy worrying, that I can’t enjoy myself in the present. 

I also don’t take as much risks as I used to. I have become this reserved, habitual person that cannot allow herself to just take the plunge. And it sucks. 

“Well-behaved women seldom make history,” the saying goes.

I want to make history, and sometimes I get the  feeling that behaving myself all the time is just getting me into bigger trouble.