8 Super Cool Apps to Keep you organized

Hello Blogger Friends!

I’ve been a busy bee getting articles published and whatnot, so my blogging has fallen to the wayside. The plus side is, that I have loads of fun things to share, including my most recent trip to see my parentals in Monterey! My dad turned 50 earlier this month and my sister’s family and I flew out there to surprise him. While I was there, I went to San Francisco to hangout with a former colleague turned friend and a college buddy of mine (more on that later). It’s safe to say that I’ve fallen in love with the city. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be a resident there. Continue reading “8 Super Cool Apps to Keep you organized”

How NOT to Behave on Valentine’s Day

I think I may be one of those rare “single people” who don’t mind Valentine’s Day. In fact, not only do I not mind, I have an annual tradition set in place since I was 17 years old! It started one fine Valentine’s Day back in 2007 (Yikes I’m getting older O.o). My friends and I were in the local grocery store, walking in like a badass posse strutting our independence because we drove ourselves in my Mom’s Mini-Van. I rocked the shit out of that van back in the day.

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My friends and I had planned on going back to my house and baking a crap ton of delicious treats while watching a movie. As we were getting ready to leave the grocery store, I happened upon a rack of movies. It was there that I found THE Valentine’s Day movie of a lifetime. I picked up The Departed and thought to myself “I have no clue what this movie is about, but for the sake of looking cool, I’m going to go with this one.” Yes friends, I picked a violent Boston mob film to watch on Valentine’s Day. The ridiculous part was, that it went well! I thoroughly enjoyed the film, as did my friends. Thus a tradition was born.

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Fast forward 4 years, and I found myself carrying out my beloved tradition at college in Flagstaff. I invited my friends over for dinner, treats, and a super badass film. I was particularly excited because a certain someone I may or may not have had a crush on was going to be in attendance. Again, I stress the may or may not. It was one of those situations where you aren’t terribly too sure, or at the very least you didn’t want anyone to really know about it. So naturally I did the “deny deny deny” charade for some time.

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As I was preparing the food and getting ready for my friends to arrive, I felt a sudden twinge of anxiety and nervousness. I began to feel pretty anxious about all of these people coming over. So naturally, like any smart 21 year old, I decided to drink the anxiety away. After all, what’s the harm in getting a little buzz on before company arrives? Of course, my intelligent, self had not eaten in quite some time, so let’s just say the booze did it’s job.

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I “came alive” as my friends piled into my house. It was quite a good sized group, so I was pretty happy with the turnout. Drinks were pouring, people were eating, then all of a sudden, he showed up. Zack entered the room casually late with desserts in hand. I think one of the things I admired most about him was his thoughtfulness. So my buzzed (errr, drunk) ass goes over to greet and look over the tasty treats he’s provided.

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I must preface this by saying I am a closeted picky eater. Seriously, there are only two pies that I like: apple and cherry. So looking at his selection, to my horror, Zack had purchased a peach pie. I hate peach pie. Of course, I had planned on doing the nice mature thing by saying “thank you” but my drunk brain had something else in mind. Staring down at the pie I thought to myself “Great he brought peach pie, because I f*cking hate it”. All of a sudden I hear several gasps and the room got quiet.To my shock and horror, what I “thought” I had said to myself, I actually ended up saying out loud. I looked up and surveyed the room to see the stunned faces looking at me. Zack’s face was bright red as I tried to fumble through a terrible retraction/apology.

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Fortunately for me, he was pretty gracious about the whole thing and decided to tease me about for some time, and it later became the joke amongst our group. Later that year I made a peach pie for his birthday as a peace offering. As the hostess with the mostest, I proceeded to shove peach pie down everyone’s throats as a sign of solidarity. Needless to say, that was the first dessert finished that night. Even after my little debacle, it was still a great night.

Well folks, that’s how not to behave on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few key takeaways that I hope you’ve gotten from my awesome little blunder

  1. Don’t drink on an empty stomach
  2. Make sure you’re actually thinking in your head and not out loud
  3. When someone hands you a gift just say “thank you” and shut up

I hope everyone had a swell Valentine’s day!

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When is Regret OK?

“No Regrets”

It’s a term we swing around so loosely, but, does one actually live their lives without any regrets?

This morning I was finally unpacking (I moved, more on that later), and I had Pandora blaring my “A Tribe Called Quest” station (90s Hip Hop or bust!). Bobbing my head while organizing my life, things were going swell. That is, until 93 til’ infinity started playing, and all hell broke loose. On a side note, if you don’t know who Souls of Mischief are, you must go to youtube and search the above mentioned song, it’s legit.

Anywho, the first time I had ever heard that song was about 3-4 years ago when I was attending university in Flagstaff, AZ. I worked at the Student Tech Center on campus and had bosses who had great tastes in music. One day, Trey, my supervisor and I were going on and on about 90s hip hop and he happened to play 93 til’ infinity and I absolutely fell in love with the song. In fact, those years I really developed a stronger love for the genre which I still have to this day.

So where does the regret come to play? Well, when I first started going to NAU, I HATED it. It was a massive culture shock. Trapped in the mountains with a bunch of hippy dippy nature people, I was so out of my element. You see, I am somewhat of an escape artist. One of the perks of living in Southern California is that if you get bored of your scenery, you can escape to somewhere new within a 2 hour radius. In Flagstaff, that was not the case. Tack on a passive aggressive roommate who only communicated by post it notes, my “home life” resembled the Cold War/ Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Being the persnickety person that I am, within the first few months, I already started planning my escape. I knew that I only had to be there for 2 years, I decided to keep myself at an emotional distance from others. You can’t miss anything/anyone you don’t know, right? Well after the first 6 months, things did get better. I started making friends, going out, and creating a pseudo-life, with everything still, at an arm’s length away. Hell, even my graduation was a “wham bam thank you ma’am” spectacle. I literally walked, bought chipotle, then dusted out of town with my family. My parents were pretty incredulous at my indifference and lack of emotion at this point. Seriously, I left Flagstaff a half hour after my graduation with the intention of never going back again (sidenote: I’ve been back a handful of times now).

So, what am I getting at here? Well, you know those pseudo-friends/life I was telling you about? It turns out they may have meant more to me than I initially realized. When 93 til’ infinity started playing through my speakers, I’ll be honest, I didn’t remember the title of the song or the artist. I just remembered how it made me feel. 3 years of buried feelings just started pouring out. I felt of blend of nostalgia, pain, regret, sadness, and a tinge of happiness shoot through me all at once, and rather intensely I might add. How could a song, that I vaguely remember bring back so much unresolved feelings? Music is strange in that way I suppose.

In spite of my first crappy few months away at school, I really did enjoy my time there. The people at the STC were my friends, dare I say my family. Spending my weekends at school trading music jams with my colleagues are some of my best memories ever. I fooled myself into thinking that I could just cut out that part of my life and soldier on, but that’s not the way life works. In short, I regret how I handled things. I regret that I didn’t invest more emotionally. I regret that I didn’t really say goodbye or feel the loss of leaving Flagstaff. I feel regret.

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Obviously I can’t turn back the hands of time, however, I can learn from my mistakes. I struggle at letting people into my little bubble, but I have made strides of improvement. There is a bigger feeling fulfillment when I legitimately connect with others. It’s scary with the vulnerability that I am allowing, but it’s a better feeling than listening to a song that rips you to a time of unresolved feelings.

I can’t change the past, but I can change how I react in my future. My goal is to really connect and enjoy moments when they happen as they are. When you spend your time looking for the next adventure, you could be downplaying something beautiful that is happening right in front of you.

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Are We Waiting to Grow Up?

I’ve been doing some research on an oh so secret project (I’ll explain myself later, promise) and I have been seeing quite a bit of literature out there “explaining” why Millennials “aren’t growing up” or “things Millennials are refusing to do” and I can’t help but feel insulted. The general consensus of older generations is that we’re: lazy, immature, financially irresponsible children who are shirking the necessary responsibilities of life. I could not disagree more. While no generation in its entirety is perfect, I do believe that Gen. Y has a few things stacked against them.

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It’s true that Gen. Y is holding off on major purchases, but with the average student loan debt at the end of 2013 being $29,400, can you blame us? These numbers were not even on the radar of 30 years ago. Most students today are facing 20 years of repaying student debt whereas our Gen. X counterparts only had a fraction of that debt. Of course, one can argue that we “dug ourselves into this hole”, but I can guarantee you it wasn’t a Millennial who sold the “student loans are a good debt to have because a degree is a solid investment” line. We also have to deal with the reality that workforce is stacked against us.

The days of staying with one job for 30 years are dead and gone.  According to Forbes the average worker stays at each of his/her jobs for 4.4 years. If you ask other generations it’s because we don’t want to stick it out, or we want to be the CEO within the first year. The truth is that most millennials are looking for jobs that can help them manage the unbearably high student loans they have to pay back. The average salary for recent 2013 graduates is $45,327. However, when you put that in context with the $29,400 student loan average and cost of living, it’s not an easy feat. So where are the decent paying jobs? They are still with the same people who applied to them decades before.

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Since the average retirement age jumping up from 57 in 1992 to 62 in 2013, Baby Boomers have not been making enough room for younger generations to fill in. This forces, Gen Y to work any job that comes their way to make ends meet. There are as many as 40% of recent graduates are employed in jobs that do not require degrees. Gen X does not understand this hardship because they have the experience and degrees to go after higher paying jobs.

These are just a few things that millennials are dealing with. I’m not even going to touch the dating scene as that could take some time getting into. With that being said, I fully accept the job market and my student loans. No one held a gun to my head as I signed my master promissory note and I am paying them back. Due to the fact that I (and most millennials too) am being responsible for my debt, certain life goals tend to take a backseat. What grinds my gears about these articles and beliefs held by older generations is that their expectations for us are quite ridiculous.

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The biggest argument against millennials is that we are immature and irresponsible because we aren’t settling down and getting married. So you’re telling me, that on top of trying to establish a decent career and paying back student loans, I’m supposed to be getting married and popping out babies simultaneously? In my opinion that would be the irresponsible thing to do. Why would I join in union with another person facing the same realities as myself while trying to make a family with a bunch of debt and a shaky job market hanging over our heads? Then to add insult to injury put a baby in the mix. Sounds like a great way for a marriage to fail. Yeah, no thanks.

In my opinion millennials that are not trying to rush into more responsibilities are more intelligent than you realize. It’s not that getting to the altar and starting a family are not goals of millennials, it’s just that there are a few things we need to take care of first. So before you go rushing to judgement about how we don’t want to grow up or are killing the real estate market take an honest hard look at what our reality looks like. It’s not 1980 anymore and we’re rolling with the punches as best we can. Don’t worry though, we’ll “grow up” eventually, Millennials do you agree? What are some of the things you have to figure out before you “grow up”?

Why I Hate Those “25 Things You Should do at 25…” Lists

So I’m gonna go on a little rant here. I was on Facebook (first mistake) and saw that an acquaintance posted a list from Thought Catalog titled: 25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Turns 25. Naturally I clicked on it (second mistake). Then finally, I read the whole entire thing (third and final mistake) It lists a bunch of things like “having a best friend that’s like a sister” and “having thank you cards in your drawer”, the list goes on and on. Please feel free to read it to get the gist of my annoyance. While I understand that the writer is trying to “empower women” and all that jazz, I can’t help but be supremely irritated by lists of this nature.

1. They are just as oppressive as the oppression they are trying to go against

I can tell you right now that I know a bunch of people (myself) included who do not fit this criteria who are either 25 or near it. So apparently I’m doing life wrong according to this list. Let me go crawl into bed now that I’ve realized I’m a failure at life. WRONG.  The author I guess identifies herself as a feminist, yet uses words and phrases such as, “tact, grace, and the ability to find shoes off of a 40% off rack” to describe how women should act or aspire to be by 25. I’m not even going to get into the gender connotations those words and behaviors imply. If you were going for gender equality, boy you sure nailed it. She also talks about the confidence to eat whatever and to be herself. Hm, how about the confidence to realize and justify that this list is chock full of romanticized crap that I nor anyone else has to adhere to. I mean seriously? How about this, I’ll “be myself” and forget that I ever read this list. Anyone (both male and female) should be able to live their life without having to check with a list to see if they’re doing it right. Life is not a “one size fits all” endeavor and everyone comes into their own path in a unique way.

2. It perpetuates the “Should” mentality

Everything on this list tells you what you “should” be doing. People are impressionable and by creating “standards” for them to live by can make them feel like crap if they haven’t achieved them. One of the biggest problems I see in our (millennial) generation is that we compare ourselves to each other way too much. The only thing that you “should” know when you’re 25 is that life is a confusingly beautiful adventure and it’s yours to do with as you see fit.

3. It is saying that every 25 year old has the exact same aspirations and expectations out of life

We are all different in this amazing and crazy world. My “norm” may be completely off base of what your “norm” is. And you know what? That is perfectly ok. We do not have to see eye to eye on everything, nor should we aspire to be cookie cutter drones. The dangerous thing about lists like these is that the author is perpetuating her sense of normalcy onto others and is passing it off like it’s dogma from the heavens. Who cares if you waited until you were 35 to learn how to change a tire. Maybe you hate shopping and are not savvy at a clearance rack. The beauty of life is that, as long as we’re still on this earth, we have the ability to learn, grow, and change when the time is right for each and every individual.There are no time limits on growth and all expectations need to be thrown out of the window.

Ok, now that I’ve said my peace, my only “list” for you is to live your life in a manner that makes you happiest. So long as you are not hurting others, be free to be whoever you are. Don’t take lists like these to heart, if you are 25 and you don’t have 3 months of livable income in the bank, don’t fret, most people of that age don’t (I mean, student loans, anyone?). Let’s stop placing our expectations of one another and just enjoy life as it comes. Lastly, if you value your life at all, forget that Thought Catalog ever existed. You’re self esteem and wellbeing will thank you for it. Also feel free to ignore my advice, I don’t have all of the answers either, nor do I want to place my values on others. On a side note, today is the 1 year anniversary of this blog (yay!) I will do a post on that later, as for now I’m off to find a 40% off shoe rack… 😉

 

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Fake it Til You Make It

When it comes to things I want, I’m quite ambitious (unless we’re talking about the opposite sex, then I run and hide. But that is a different story for a different day). Particularly with work. I really have no clue where it comes from, but if I see something that I want, I go out and get it. One instance in particular was the time I worked at my university at the student technology center.

Just a little background info, I transferred to a school in Arizona from Southern California. Up until new student orientation, I had never been to that region, so I was moving 400 miles away from home, going in completely blind. It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far. Ok, so going to school out of state isn’t cheap and a girl needs funds to keep up a Starbucks addiction, thus began my search for employment. I particularly wanted to work on campus because of the work-study program (untaxed paychecks!). I came across a job titled “student tech” and thought to myself, “hm, let’s apply for this one”. Now I should probably preface this by saying I seriously lacked in technological aptitude, but hey, who needs to know how to do their job anyways?

So I filled out the application and submitted it. Shortly thereafter I received an email asking me to complete a short test to vet my computer skills. Since I didn’t have any, I paid my little brother who is tech savvy $20 to take it for me. After the test was completed, the manager asked me in for an interview in the following 2 days. Since I was going up there to get the keys to my apartment and meet my roommate, I figured, why not kill 2 birds with one stone? Of course I was excited, I was getting to start a new chapter in my life and I might have potential employment. Now on to the interesting part.

For the sake of efficiency, I decided to do the interview first before hanging out with my new roomie and her mom. I quickly stopped into the apartment, exchanged pleasantries, and explained that I needed to jet to the interview, and I was off. Since my apartment was literally right next to the university, I thought I would have no trouble finding the building. Wrong. Typically, I’m pretty solid on directions but that day, I was batting a thousand. Worried that I would be late, I called the manager trying to figure out which building it was. She was great at giving clearcut directions. I should also mention that in Flagstaff the elevation is significantly higher than what I was accustomed to and I was wearing heels (something else I was not accustomed to). So I’m stumbling around, sweating, out of breath, trying to get to this building on time. I must disclose that the building was right smack in front of me the whole time.

So I finally find the office and the manager. I was sweaty, breathless, and walking like I had a limp (I only wear flats now). She escorted me to a room with a dozen socially awkward males working on computers. As she opened the door, all of them stopped what they were doing and stared at us as we walked by to go to the conference room (Cue even more sweating). I then sat down at a long rectangular table facing a panel of 3 student tech seniors, the manager, as well as another manager. We exchange the proverbial niceties. I quickly rambled off some facts about myself and then the interview began.

The panel interview worked like this: there were 10 questions they took turns asking me. Now, keep in mind that I had primitive computer skills. So I was faced with a dilemma, I could bullshit the answers and sound completely idiotic, or I could be honest and say I did not know (even still, idiotic). I chose the latter. Question after question, I would say I don’t know, and my confidence was waining and I felt like a chump. Not only was I wasting these people’s time, I felt like a moron. I felt like I was in Guantanamo being questioned on suspicions of treason (I would later come to realize that I was only in there for less than 20 minutes). The last few questions were softball ones so I answered a few (4 out of 10 ain’t bad O.o).

At one point I wanted to run out of the room from shear embarrassment. I was asking myself “I really didn’t think this through, I mean did I really think I could get away with this?”. So after the “interrogation” the manager paused and said “We normally don’t do this right off the bat, but the job is yours if you want it”. I must have had a look of bewilderment because she followed up with “We need someone with your interpersonal skills. Computer information is something we can teach you, being able to talk to human beings, we can’t”. She was pretty funny (we’d later go on to becoming good friends after I graduated and still are). I walked out of the conference room, the dozen socially awkward boys were still staring me down, but I didn’t care. I came, I saw, I conquered. I was on cloud nine.

I worked at the student tech center my whole duration of college. Funny enough, I was promoted to a senior role after being there a year. The one thing (among others) that experience taught me was that you can’t succeed if you don’t try. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to get what you want. If you want it, go get it. The feeling of accomplishment is so worth it. Worst comes to worst they can tell you no, but you never know until you try. I think for my next profession, I’ll become a successful writer, who knows 😉

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Congratulations! You are Normal

It’s time to break my writing hiatus! Perception is such a funny funny thing.  The more I read blogs by my fellow 20 somethings, I realize that we’re all on the same boat! It’s so easy to spend all your energy on your own issues that one can fail to see that everyone has their stuff to deal with. And chances are, they are not so different than you!

Being the “take the bull by the horns” person (sometimes) that I am. I enlisted the help of a therapist (who is absolutely wonderful btw) a few months back to help me deal with my “issues”.  I mean because I’m sure no one else could ever feel inadequate, misguided, inexperienced, and overwhelmed like I do, right? Wrong! Funny thing is at one point, she told me “Taryn, everything you’re experiencing is completely normal for someone your age”. Imagine that. Finally for the first time in a long time, I did not feel like a martian who was looking from the outside in. Maybe I am actually part of the human race after all!

So my point is, whether or not you know it (because I sure didn’t) we’re going to survive the quarter-life crisis. I will not always be the unsure “am I doing this right” girl that I am now. So in the mean time, I plan on enjoying my surroundings and commiserating with my fellow 20 somethings because misery loves company (just kidding). But know that if you are on this boat, you’re not the only one; and eventually I’m sure this road will get a little less rocky. For now, congratulations! You are normal.

 

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Victim of a Good Sale

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I absolutely love a good sale. All rational thoughts cease to exist from my mind once I come across a good deal. I will sometimes (almost always) even buy things I don’t really need just because they are priced right. Fortunately, my mother knows me very well and she usually talks me off the ledge.

One moment in particular was about 2 years ago when I was in Arizona for college. I was at home in Cali with my family and decided to make a trip to Target, one of my greatest weaknesses. Target has this college line that encompasses, furniture, linens, and just stuff for collegiate needs. Since my hometown does not really have a university nearby a lot of the items were drastically reduced in price because of lack of demand.

So, hoping to get a bargain, I stumbled across the bed sheets section and to my delight there was treasure to be had. There were several really cute bed spreads priced to sell! I seriously was like a kid in a candy store. So many amazing things all at once. My brain could barely process what was going on. Gluttony was starting to set in. Should I buy one set? Two? Three? Four?! I just could not get over my good fortune of finding such a phenomenal sale! To even sweeten the pot, this sale was going on for another 5 days.

In a very brief moment of clarity, I decided to walk away, think about it, and return tomorrow once I’ve had a chance to calm down. That night I told my mom and dad about how crazy amazing the bed sheet sale at Target was. Like I said, this lady knows me all too well and tried to reason with me. She was quick to remind me that I already had 4 sets of sheets back at my house in AZ and that I really didn’t need anymore. But, I thought to myself, “It’s such a good deal!”.

The next day, after my eye appointment, I found myself meandering the aisles of Target back at the very same spot I was at yesterday; looking at the sheets. I had my cart ready. Screw logic, it was a good deal! Just as I was about to load my cart with an obscene amount of sheets, my phone rang. For a second my depraved ravenous need to take advantage of the sale momentarily subsided as I picked up my phone to answer it. It was my mother.

She casually called to ask about my eye appointment. I quickly bragged about how my optometrist was baffled by my dramatic improvement in eyesight (My astigmatism of 8 years suddenly vanished as well as my prescription cut in half). She was thrilled for me as was I. She then asked me when I was coming home and if she should save lunch for me. I casually mentioned that I stopped by a store (clever, right?) and quickly attempted to change the subject. For a moment, there was silence. I will never forget the next sentence my mother told me as long as I’ll live.

“Taryn, step away from the sheets, get in your car, and drive home.” She knew! I was caught in the act. I’m sure if anyone could see my face, I looked like a 5 year old kid caught doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. So, being the good daughter (for the most part) that I am, I walked out of the store, got in my car, and drove home. I still laugh at that memory to this day as I really did not need those sheets. Like I said, I am a sucker for a good sale. I am just glad I have a mother who seemingly has a sixth sense of my habits to ensure that I stay on the straight and narrow; and I will forever love her for that.

I Now Pronounce You, Adult

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I often wonder, how does a person know when they’re an “adult”? Is there a feeling and you just know? Or do you go through an experience where you face trials and tribulations and you come out on the other side a full blown adult? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ceremony that officially makes you an adult? There would be a specific time and place where you stand before God and all your peers in front of some qualified individual (possibly Morgan Freeman) who anoints you into adulthood.

Currently I find myself in limbo. It’s like that awful Britney Spears song “Not a girl not yet a woman”. Ok, terrible analogy but there is some truth behind it. From a tangible aspect, I am an adult. I pay taxes, pay bills, go to work, etc. Emotionally on the other hand is a different story. Whenever I am talking to an older adult, I always feel like a kid. Now this has nothing to do with the other person and how they are talking to me. It’s just a feeling that someone older and with more “authority” is talking to me.

Recently I had to assert my “adultness” to get a point across. There was a dispute with one of my findings at work which was being called into question. I then had to use my authority and my knowledge on the subject at hand to prove a point. Now as I was in the midst of the situation, I remember thinking to myself, “oh jeez, there’s no way they’re going to listen to some kid just out of college”. To my shock and chagrin, my point came across loud and clear and was respected. Why, because at that moment I realized that I am an adult and my peers see me that way as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t feel like the “real deal” by any means. There are still moments (quite a few) that I lean on my parents for emotional support. I know I’m spoiled to have 2 people in this world who give me the assurance that I don’t need to have all the answers at this stage in my life. They definitely bring me back to earth when I go on my “I’m not on the right path” tangents. I suppose that in then end, it is a process that everyone goes through at their own rate. It is most certainly not a “one size fits all” endeavor.