3 Secrets That No One Ever Told You About Growing Up

It is not an unknown fact that being in your 20’s is ridiculously hard. From endless sleepless nights in college studying and perfecting your craft to the months afterwards where you wonder what is next, it’s a mess. It’s almost as if there is a gravitational pull towards the ultimate pit of doom and failure the moment you walk across the stage of college graduation. Society tells you what success looks like and if you don’t meet the exact standards of this idea of ‘success’, well then sucks to be you, right? WRONG. I can tell you that there are three things that I have learned to be so, so true during these past few years after graduation.

  1. You probably will never know the answer to the infamous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Okay, so let’s all be real here. We all had a dream when we were a kid. Mine was to grow up to be a veterinarian. The moment I realized that I would have to see blood basically every day, that dream changed. Then the dream became a broadway singer. In high school I realized that belting wasn’t my strength so then I thought maybe an opera singer. So, I went to college as a vocal performance major. Along that journey I realized that the lifestyle of living out of a suitcase from role to role was not the life for me. Among that journey, I thought about becoming a music therapist, a songwriter, a jazz vocalist… the list goes on and on. After graduation, I thought “hm, maybe I want to be a lawyer.” (Spoiler alert: that was NOT the path for me.) Then I started teaching preschool which is something I love dearly because it’s so awesome to be helping shape young minds. Now, I’m a mix of a teacher, a writer and soon to be photography business (EEKS. BIG ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON, BY THE WAY… I bet you can guess what it is.) And you know what? My answer of what I want to be when I grow up could very likely change tomorrow or a year from now. The coolest part is that your 20’s are like playing in a sandbox. You are allowed to get your hands a little dirty and explore what kind of sandcastle you want to build. (Yeah, I know. It’s a cheesy analogy.)

Anyway, what I’m saying is that the answer to the question that we are asked from elementary school onward is an unanswerable question. Life is full of surprises and we as humans have the incredible ability to choose what we want in life and that includes our career paths. So, take a leap. See where you land. It might be in the middle of the desert and you’ll think “Uh, what’s next?” and that exactly is what our 20’s is all about.

2. You are going to mess up. Be kind and patient with yourself.

This part of our lives is full of decisions. Whether life-altering or teeny tiny like where to eat dinner, sometimes it feels like these decisions are a gargantuan. I am here to assure you that even if you do make the wrong decision and you eat at that somewhat sketchy but looks delicious restaurant that everyone was warning you about and you get sick, it’s okay. Mistakes happen and it’s all part of being a human on earth. Sometimes you won’t even know if the outcome of a decision will be good or bad because you won’t even have control over what happens next. These moments are the hardest to accept because you basically put your heart out there and just wait to see what the world does with it. You deserve to be your best friend and treat yourself with the kindness and patience that you would treat the dog that you grew up with or a child that you love and babysit a lot.

I got the chance to hear Brene Brown speak last night and man, she is an inspiring woman. She said something that stuck with me (okay, a lot of things but I won’t get into that here) and that was “I belong to me.” Such a simple phrase but it can go so far in life when you are struggling with decision making and what is best for the situation. Once you are able to put that phrase into practice, you will find that it is not a selfish thing but rather you are able to put others needs as a priority in the long run because you aren’t worried about you. You know who you are and if you don’t, now is the perfect time to find out. Be kind. Be patient. And remember that you belong to yourself first and foremost.

3. It’s supposed to be hard and it’s going to be but it’s also supposed to be filled with joy and adventures.

I cannot stress this part enough. Being in your 20’s is hard. Any part of life is hard. Life is hard. That’s just a simple fact. BUT. Life is also incredibly beautiful filled with so many people to love, so many experiences to have and a life that we have the ability to choose to make for ourselves. And that’s what it ultimately comes down to, right? We all want to build the best lives for us and for those surrounding us. So why not fill it with adventures and work that you’re passionate about and family and friends who you love with all your heart? Every day we get to wake up with a choice. A choice to make our lives brighter, happier and full of more love than it was the day before.

So, as you move forward, I challenge you to find at least one thing each day that reminds you of how beautiful and incredible this life is. I promise that you are surrounded by beauty, even if it’s sometimes hard to see.

Well, that’s it for now folks. I’m off to work for the day and then I have the wonderful opportunity to attend Inbound 2017 Conference where I get to hear inspiring individuals speak to us content creation/marketing/business people. I will be posting a blog all about my experience there next week!

A brief pause.

Fun fact: The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Mental health advocacy is something that is very important to me and I believe that creating a community of safety and security when talking about this topic is even more important. I am diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and for those of you who may deal with this or have a loved one who does, you know quite well that change and anxiety are two things that DO NOT GO WELL TOGETHER. It’s like putting soy sauce into your morning berry smoothie. NO ONE LIKES THAT. NO ONE. Regardless, here I am. Even though change sparks my anxiety fuel and sends me on an uncontrallable jet of doom (okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic) I am still making the change. Why you might ask am I putting myself through this if it’s so scary to me? Well, if I let my fears control my emotions, I wouldn’t really be making any changes in life. Because let’s face it, life is a lil’ scary sometimes and having panic disorder definitely doesn’t help the situation. 

So, how do I manage these illnesses among a period of SO MUCH CHANGE? Well, it’s different for everyone. Finding your own way and own path is essential. But I can certainly offer you a few tid-bits of advice as I’m currently in the midst of this crazy transitional part of my life. So, here goes nothing…

Self Sanity Tip #1: Not everything is going to be perfect and that is completely okay. When you decide to switch up your life in a big way, expect big waves to come at you with full force. For me, it’s been waves of emotions and man, those waves are BIG. And when you have to jump through a billion hoops to just get a parking permit for your U-haul box, insanity is just about to kick in when all of the sudden… I remember I’m not alone! Which leads to the next tip!

Self Sanity Tip #2: Reach out to your loved ones! THEY ARE EVERYTHING DURING TIMES OF CHANGE. I’m lucky to have a fantastic support system who supports our move and gives their love unconditionally. This support system may come in different shapes and sizes. It may be family, friends, neighbors, professors, collegues… Regardless, I promise you have a support system.

Self Sanity Tip #3: Taking time to just be and relax is essential. Without self-care, this big change will be even more overwhelming than it already is. So, draw that bubble bath you’ve been thinking about and then curl up with a good book and cozy blanket. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take time to do things that help you feel relaxed and peaceful… especially with so much change going on! 

Self Sanity Tip #4: The change that you’re making will become your normal soon enough. I know that saying goodbye to my friends and family here is a step to begin this new chapter of my life. My future apartment and job? Those will become normal to me soon enough. Getting through the transition period is just the hardest part (at least I think so… ask me in a few months and I might have a totally different answer.)

And for now, that’s all the advice I have up my sleeve. As for an update on the move, the Uhaul box is all packed up and on it’s way to Boston and in 14 days, we’ll be heading out!! Two weeks left in Salt Lake City and I certainly plan to take a brief pause at least once a day to remind myself that this change is creating strength and courage. And for those going through a similar (or totally different) transitional time in life, I send you my love and support because it’s certainly not the easiest but it’ll be worth it. 

With loves, Nicole