Friday, December 10, 2010

Thank God It's F... Friday!

TGIF has a whole new meaning to me.

I would like to add a punch of intensity in the form of an expletive and say TGIFF. Figure it out.

I have officially made it through my first five day work week. How do I feel? Like
I am ready for a big long nap, a glass of wine the size of a turkey, and a two week tropical vacation.

Please contain your laughter. I know I have roughly 40 some odd years of work left in my lifetime.

These Times, They Are A Changin'

Baby's got blue skies up ahead.

As previously promised, I offer no excuses for my absence. Because let’s face it – I have a select handful of readers, mostly friends and family, and they already are well aware of my raging case of “Starting-something-and-not-finishing-it.” However, I have been vigorously battling this curse for years and I will continue to do so. The way I see it, my absence over the last four months has done nothing but create new ammunition and material for me to fire in your face. Put your helmets on.

Where to begin? I guess I suppose I owe you somewhat of an update. I have previously blogged about my plight as a server and bartender, an occupation that I have held for the last two years. There are so many things about this job that I absolutely hate. I hate the song and dance I have to perform for each and every customer - the fake smiles, the fake laughs, the stories I listened to (without any choice whatsoever), the personal information they would dig out of me – I hate every moment of it. I like to consider myself a “real” girl who tells it bluntly like it is, and has the “I’m sorry I’m not sorry” kind of attitude. I have had to check that attitude at the employee entrance. My livelihood depended on tips, which meant ass-kissing and tap-dancing for the customers. Might as well have given me a top hat and a sparkly jacket! I hate that a few select management and upper-management individuals were not only raging a-holes, but at most times, not the brightest bulbs in the joint. I can say with conviction that I am not the first employee to think they are smarter than their bosses, and I certainly won’t be the last. It is an unfortunate fact of life, and better to learn it sooner than later (thanks for the advice Dad). I have hated the mounting frustration in my heart that I was indeed better than this. I have felt like I deserved more. I deserved a bright, shiny career that gave me a sense of fulfillment that serving and bartending could never give me. Now, don’t slap me for being a brat. I can’t control the way I felt while slinging drinks and fetching more mayo for the portly guests. However, it was what it was; 2009/10 had been brutal years for the newly graduated, and I was no exception. I had to do what it took to bring in the cash flow.

An eternal optimist, I did (had to) find things that I loved about that job to pull me through. It was a matter of preserving my sanity. I genuinely enjoyed my fellow servers and bartenders. Like any job, it’s usually what keeps you going, or makes you want to blow your brains out. In my case, most of my peers are twenty-somethings who were in the same life position as I was. I actually worked with some extremely educated people. 95% of them all at least had college degrees. One server, Mike, has two degrees as well as a master’s degree from Northwestern. And this kid was out of a job! The old saying “misery loves company” permeated through all of us; we were struggling to make big strides but gripping onto each other tightly for some kind, any kind of support. I have had a love/hate relationship with the hours I kept. Far from “normal,” my schedule varies from week to week, but has always included weekend shifts. While all my friends were frolicking at happy hour on Friday’s, with wide open Saturday’s, and Sunday Funday’s, I was stuck at the restaurant. Making plans of any sort were always out of the question, and my social life took a serious turn towards non-existence. However, I relished the fact that my earliest start was 10:00am, with most days starting at 4:00pm. This left ample time for sleeping in (I am NOT a morning person), staying out late, and relaxing/running errands during the day. Although I worked close to 40 hours per week, my position was technically part-time, leaving a lot of flexibility for travel. A few scribbles in the request-off book, and I was on my way to week long vacations anywhere I deemed necessary.

Now, why I am going on and on about this stupid restaurant job again? Well…wait for it…wait for it…

I got a job. A “real” one. With “normal” hours. A desk. Paper clips. Benefits. A salary!

A few months ago, I was introduced to a man who I will call John. John is an extremely successful businessman who owns multiple companies in the Chicagoland area. I had the pleasure of meeting John via a good girlfriend of mine. Upon learning of his success in the business world, I was on a mission of jihad intensity to impress him with my quick wit, extreme desire to begin a career, (Somewhere! Anywhere!) ridiculously awesome work ethic, and the brains to boot. A month or so went by when I received a call from him informing me that he had a position opening up at one of his companies. Within 24 hours, I had met with the hiring manager and had a job. Just.Like.That. After two years of frustration, tears, internal degradation (“You are not good enough! That is why no one will hire you!”), and cursing the college system to the high heavens (“F college! What a conspiracy! $100,000 and I can’t get hired!”), I finally had what I had been looking for. This also leads me to my theory on the cliche saying, "It's all in who you know." The 150+ jobs that I had applied for over two years had resulted in squat. One refferalfrom the president of a company, and I was in. As simple as that! I was as baffled as I was angry (at the system, not my newfound hired-ness).

My start date was December 1st. In typical scared new hire form, I arrived ten minutes early because everyone knows fifteen minutes just looks desperate. I wore my best “I’m Corporate Now” outfit only to walk in and find the fellow employees in jeans. I was officially over dressed, overwhelmed, and over stimulated by all these new faces, names, and job duties. However, I was more than welcomed by every single person in the building. Within two hours of being there, I already had felt comfortable. The girl who was training me, as well as my department/office mate, Michelle, is one of those girls you feel like you just know. She is easy going and bubbly, full of good energy that bursts from her tiny frame. I kept thinking to myself how lucky I have been as far as co-workers go. I will have to spend 40 hours of my week with this woman, so needless to say, I better freaking like her. At the very least, be able to tolerate the woman. Much to my delight, I don’t just like her, I LOVE her.

Now eight days into my big girl job, I am slowly adjusting. Coming from six years of erratic sleeping schedules, late nights, and many a mornings tucked in til noon, waking up every day at 6:45am is quite a slap in the face. I get home after 5 in the evenings and all I want to do is sit on the couch and delve into hours of mindless entrancement from the boob tube. Evening dinner and drinks with girlfriends have been non-existent. It’s me, my couch, and a big glass of wine and nobody can compete with that at this point. I am sure as time passes, my body will become more accustomed to the early mornings. But in the mean time, I am just trying to keep my head above these newly uncharted waters.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There is more to come...

Obviously, I have been really bad about writing this blog. Really, really bad. And the thing is, I LOVE writing for this blog.

No excuses this time.

More entries to come.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Am I Doin'? What Am I Doin'? Oh Yeah, That's Right - I'm Doin' Me

I feel that comparing yourself to others is as natural as body odor. It begins when you are a small child and so-and-so has a toy or gadget that you want. For me, it was a trampoline. My parents always thought they were too dangerous, and even more dangerous when you have a ridiculously accident prone child (me). Then it evolved from being jealous of the people that had trampolines, to swimming pools. I remember saying "Ugh, if I had a pool, I'd swim in it EVERYDAY." When you get to middle school, you start comparing yourself to others in terms of bodies and boyfriends. The girls that had boobs didn't want them, and the girls that were still flat-chested longed to be able to fill out a bra. The girls that were having their first kisses versus the girls that could barely conjure up the strength to tap a boy on the shoulder to ask him to borrow a pencil. Girls were also starting to compare themselves in terms of fashion for the first time. Financial class came into our lives like a storm and we understood that Doc Martens were expensive shoes, and to wear them was a status symbol. High school comes around and kids are comparing themselves to others in terms of what classes they're taking, niching out our goals and passions, who was excelling in sports, and of course, who had the coolest boyfriend. Comparisons were rampant, whether publicly admitted or not. In our own minds, we were constantly sizing up others. And the tale as old as time, putting others down (either out loud or in our mind), somehow made ourselves feel better.

I started college in the fall of 2004, ironically enough when TheFacebook (as it was called at the time) was introduced to the world. I joined in December after all my friends coaxed me to do it. "It's so cool!" The fact is, it WAS cool. It was this whole new technology that was available for "only" college students and the social explosion began. Now comparing ourselves was easier than ever. We suddenly had access into the private lives of our friends and peers. People say that they are on Facebook for a number of reasons. But let's face it, people are interested, intrigued by how others are living their lives. From this, a term that we have all known to grow and love/hate was spawned - Facebook stalking. I would bet that 97% of users spend their time on the book "stalking."

About a year ago when I was down and out - an unemployed college grad, slinging burgers at the local golf course, living at my parents house - I found myself engaged in a heavy dose of constant comparison. As I was scrolling through my news feed, I encountered status after status that made me jealous. They made me wonder why I wasn't in the south of France, or on business in New York City, or living in Malibu, or climbing the Great Wall of China, or moving into a swanky new downtown apartment with my three best friends. Then, I started noticing photo albums - picture after picture, album after album of exotic vacations, concerts, new apartments/homes, weddings, babies, etc. I kept asking myself, "How the hell does this person have the money to go there?!" and "How did they get a job and I still haven't!?" and "How the HELL does this person pay their rent on their fabulous place if they're on vacation all the damn time?" I felt for many months a deep jealousy. Everyone seemed to have their shit together - everyone seemed to be rich - everyone seemed to be going places and doing things I wanted to do. I was comparing myself to others more than ever, and it was subconsciously eating my soul. I have visions of myself pouting at the computer saying out loud, "Ugh. This isn't fair!" I was more worried about what others were doing, than what I was going to do.

I can thank my dad for snapping me out of my compare-hungry funk. He caught me in conversation comparing myself to someone. He looked straight into my eyes, with pure sincerity and concern and told me, "You can't do that to yourself. You can't worry about what everyone else is doing. Worry about what YOU'RE doing. Worry about YOUR goals and how you are going to achieve what is happiness to YOU. Sometimes you just gotta say, 'Screw them.'" His words were ordinary. They were nothing that moved mountains or started revolutions. But for some reason, his words stuck to my mind like a suction cup. That suction cup still sits on my brain to this day, tugging on it and holding strong, reminding me to not compare my life to anyone else's.

We all are on different paths. Some of us are going about it a much less glamorous way, but we're on our own trail. I was raised never to be a follower, but a leader. I can't follow other people's choices and dreams. I have to follow my own. I can't let someone else's life to make mine feel lesser. My life is great the way it is, and getting better everyday. I challenge you to try your best not to compare yourself to others today. I promise, it feels liberating.

In the wise words of Drake, I say often, "What am I doin'? What am I doin'? Oh yeah, that's right - I'm doin' ME."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Whelp, it's almost 2 months til the day since I last updated this blog. What can I say? Where do I begin? I feel like I owe an apology or something! (Cripe, I am apologizing to a technological source. It truly is 2010.)

Friends and family have repeatedly asked me over the past few months why I haven't written in my blog. The answer is a deep one. For those who I do not feel like delving my personal insights, I give them the "I know, I know. I've been so busy! I'll write in it soon." But for the friends that I know well, and feel a safe harbor for my silly little feelings, I tell them the truth.

The truth is: I feel like for the first time in my life I am living; an awakening if you will. It all began when I left for the illustrious road trip to Florida I have previously written about. We left about 8:30pm on Tuesday, June 8th. The owner of the car (Kevin) had worked all day and settled in for a night's sleep in the backseat. I behind the wheel, and my co-pilot Bianca by my side. Let's pause - I have previously dogged Bianca for being a narcoleptic. She falls asleep just about anywhere, so needless to say, I was nervous about her co-piloting abilities. I figured she'd put up a good fight and doze off mid-sentence, like she always does, somewhere around 3am. The exact opposite happened. About 3 cans of Red Bulls deep, me and Bianca proceeded to engage in a meaningful, deep conversation about every facet of life; love, goals, dreams, family, values, and of course, plenty of funny stories. For five hours, two friends conversed through the star splashed night, on roads we had never driven, and discussing topics we'd never covered. We watched the sun rise together in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, marveling in the beauty of the fog nestled between the lush green hills, the glassy highway-side lakes, and screaming every time we saw a sign for "Visit Ruby Falls!" (If you have ever driven this stretch, you will see, no joke, about 100 signs for Ruby Falls.) I told Bianca I would never forget that night. I will remember it until I die. There is something so quietly beautiful, yet alarmingly simple, about our experience for those five hours.

Spending a few days in St. Pete Beach was exactly what I needed. Fresh off a nasty breakup, I took the time to soak in the goodness that was upon me; the warm sun on my skin, digging my heels into the sand, running full speed into the warm, splashing waves, stimulating conversation over beers with my best friends, and most of all, I began to think about my immediate future. Something about the atmosphere in St. Pete bit me like an infectious bug. I HAD to live here. If not here, anywhere where I could experience a new taste of life. I told myself by Summer 2012, I would be out of Chicago. I made a list of steps I need to take to make that goal happen.

Arriving back in Chicago, I spent June and July running wild and free. I cannot even begin to express how liberating it is to be single. It's no secret that I am a serial dater. A hopeless romantic. The girl that always has a boyfriend. The liberation of singleness (for me), does not derive from being able to talk to whatever guys I choose. It is the fact that I get to do me. I get to spend time alone, time with friends, and fly by the seat of my pants. And that is exactly what I have been doing.

This longwinded answer to why I haven't been blogging comes down to this: I have been soaking up experiences, feelings, and generally been enjoying life to such an extent that I don't feel a need to write about it. I wanted life to become me, live inside my eager veins, and burst inside me. It is not that I am letting this school of thought die. I know feel like I have been gaining perspective on myself and enjoying life so much, that I didn't want to stop for a moment to reflect. I just had to live. Not think, just live.

But here I am, writing again. I have always found it to be a character flaw that I don't always finish what I have started. When I was little, I quit gymnastics for ice skating, quit ice skating for soccer, quit soccer for cheerleading, and so forth. I have let opportunities that I began slip away because of this. I don't want to let that happen anymore. I won't let it happen anymore. I challenge you to think of things that you have started and not finished. It makes your stomach turn a little when you are honest with yourself.

The blog is back, ladies and gentlemen!

Monday, June 7, 2010


So I promised myself I wouldn't blog unless I felt truly compelled to tell some sort of story. As all writers know, some days your mind is void of the right words, the right thoughts, and the right ways to say them. However, I did want to share a trailer that has me bouncing of the walls for the season to begin. I'm sure you all know it and love it - Entourage.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Lost Art of the Road Trip

On Tuesday, I am leaving to go to St. Petersburg, FL to visit two of my best friends. In the days and weeks before this vacation, I have been bouncing off the walls with glee and excitement. My last "vacation" was to Amarillo, Texas and while I don't mean to diss the cow-tippin town, vacations to me mean palm trees. Exotic locales. White sand beaches. Fruity drinks with umbrellas. On top of the fact that I get to check off my "vacation" criteria checklist, I will be re-united with two of my very best friends on the planet.

As one gets anxious about an impending vacation, they tend to bring it up in conversation. "Oh my Gaaaaaahdddd, I can't wait to get outta here and just be on vacation already!" Don't feel bad, we are ALL guilty of subtly rubbing in that we get to get out of town. For some reason it just feels good. What people cannot believe delving into the more detailed question responses, "Where are you going?" and "When are you leaving?" "You're flying?"

"No, we're driving."

ERRRRRRRRRRRRR! Conversation slams on the breaks. Windows shatter. The whole room stops in silence with mouths agape. "You guys are driving from Chicago to St. Petersburg?!?"

"Yea! It's more fun that way." My response usually elicits a laugh or a smirk or a sarcastic "Hah, well good luck..." But you know what, I will stick up for the road trip. The road trips glory has long been lost.

Now a days, our lives are about convenience and efficiency. We want to get to places as fast as possible (hell, I would love a teleporting machine), get our work done as fast as possible, and do it all with the smallest amount of effort put forth. We are a society of instant gratification. We want things when we want them, and we want them yesterday. Flying on a plane is a perfect example. We are willing to trade our hard earned dollars to achieve the convenience and efficiency we so desire. For our generation, flights seem as normal as a bowl of cereal and driving, well driving seems exhausting and passe. I am sure all of you have heard your parents or relatives say, "Back in my day, we drove. We all piled in the station wagon and drove 15 hours to the beach. And to us, it was fun, it was normal, it was a luxury."

Seeing as for the past six years of my life I have been on the poorer end of the financial spectrum, road trips for me happened out of sheer necessity. If I wanted to take a vacation, I would have to drive. I couldn't afford the $300+ plane ticket, plus all of the fun vacation stuff while I was there. My maiden voyage road trip was in college, when 4 of my friends decided we MUST go down to Tampa, FL for the Hawkeyes bowl game. The drive - it was 23 hours. We got lost. We screamed. We sweated in the southern heat. We wanted to kill each other. I swore that I would never participate in an old-fashioned road trip again.

Isn't it funny though how you look back at an experience later on with more positive nostalgia? I actually smile and reminisce about that road trip when I think about it today. So, when the opportunity presented itself for another road trip to Amarillo, Texas to visit one of my best friends last summer, I was in. I convinced my two friends Bianca and Kevin that it would be cheap, and hell, it'll be fun! On the way down, we were lovin life; the open road, good tunes, great conversation, and the building excitement of arriving in Texas. On the way back, it was a different story. I was hungover six ways from Sunday, demanding frequent "PULL OVER! PULL OVER! I'M GONNA PUKE!" In Oklahoma, we hit a dead stop on the highway for 2 1/2 hours for an accident. Tensions were boiling, we had no information on why we were stopped, and we were 12 hours from home. Did I mention that the thermometer in the car read 130 degrees? One of my road trip comrades, Kevin, was having a damn near panic attack in the back seat and kept yelling about his sweaty stench and something in his pants sticking to his leg. It was bad.

Guess who I am driving with down to St. Petersburg? Bianca and Kevin. Even though they could both afford to fly (they actually have "real" jobs), and both experienced the torturous drive home from Amarillo, they were down to drive. I think it is because they look back with that same positive nostalgia that we all have. They remember what is so great about the road trip.

The road trip is this to me - it is friends packed in a car with nothing but each others company and the radio. It's the open road and feeling free. It's the feeling of being on an adventure; much akin to the ones that seemed so amazingly fun and scary as a child. It's seeing new places and new kinds of people at every stop along the way. It's telling stories, telling fears, and eating bad fast food along the way. It's having gut wrenching belly laughs that only seem to come when a story is either really funny, or you're just damn near delirious from driving. It's keeping each other awake at 4am and being a good "co-pilot." It's bonding in a way that you can't manufacture over a dinner or night out. It's being stuck in a car, hours on end, with people you love. You get to know the people on a different, deeper level. It's singing at the top of your lungs, arms flailing, hands out the window, and dancing in your seat. It's getting frustrated, getting lost, and snapping at people; followed by the understanding that we don't really mean the hurtful things we say when we're stressed. It's the understanding that "We're in this together."

The road trip has been lost in our society. Don't be afraid to bring it back. I promise you - you're gonna thank me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wear Sunscreen.

One of my favorite "songs" of all time is Baz Luhrmann's "(Everybody's Free to) Wear Sunscreen." It has such great advice for life. I'm sure most of you have heard this song, but being as it is 11 years since its release date, I thought I'd reshare this lyrical wealth. Enjoy.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body,use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and
lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live
in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you wereyoung prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

No Shame in my Game

Want to know when I graduated college? December 2008. For those whose mind glosses over that time period, let me refresh your memory.

My last semester of college, August 2008-December, was the height of the fall of our economy. September and October were being compared to the crash of '29. I knew it was awful when a teacher told our class, with tears glazing her eyes, that she feared for the graduates. She told us that she had never seen our country this way and felt pity for those of us about to embark in the blood filled waters. She told us we would be LUCKY to find a job. I didn't believe her. I believed that I would be different, I would be fine, I would find a job.

A year and a half later, do you know what I am doing? I am serving at a restaurant. Not to cast a pitiful haze on this profession because I work with some great people; but my parents did not spend $100,000 for me to fetch ketchup and Diet Pepsi's (easy on the ice) to unassuming assholes that dine. Hold on - I am beginning to sound ungrateful. The fact of the matter is, I am downright lucky to have a job at all. My co-workers can be categorized in two groups of people; college graduates in the same position as myself, and middle-aged men and women that have been laid off from their jobs. I get it, the times are tough, we're all hurting in some way, shape, or form. Everyone I work with, including myself, are rolling with the punches, trying to keep our heads above water, and working our asses off. I have zero shame in my hard, honest day's work that I endure, week after week.

Here is something I experienced this morning while serving. I don't know why, but three hours later, I am still reeling from this experience with a certain customer.

Two men, around age 50, are seated in my section. In the middle of service, a co-worker informed me that one of the men is Joe Schmoe, of Schmoe Investments. All I know of this firm are two things - the giant, shiny skyscraper with the flashy "Schmoe Investments" sign and that it employs over a thousand+ employees. My co-worker then informs me that he used to wait on him at another restaurant and his net worth is 2 BILLION. 2 BILLION?! I immediately was overcome with a rush of warmth and excitement that I had a big ole' fat tip comin' my way.

His bill was $31.10. Twenty percent would be $6. I figured being a multi-billionaire he may throw a few extra bucks for my great service and hilarious jokes (Well, hilarious may be subjective. I thought they were hilarious).

He left me $4.50.

I have no idea what it is like to be rich. Hell, I don't know what it's like to be comfortable. I don't even have a savings account! But I will tell you this: I will ALWAYS tip 20% and usually upwards towards 30% for great service. This man has a net worth he will be unable to spend in his lifetime, yet tips a hard-working individual $4.50. It killed me.

An experience like this made me think of the bigger picture. Always be gracious to strangers, tip when it is due, and remember not everyone is as fortunate as yourself. One last thing, it doesn't hurt to smile at your waiter or waitress, it means more to us than you know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And each day, I shall start anew.

"So often time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key." ~The Eagles

I often find myself stuck in a frame of mind that I have all these great ideas, but I don't have the means to carry them out. Or so I think. Accompanying that same frame of mind are the sister frame of minds of, "I would love to do that, but I don't have enough money," "I really want to start doing "X," but I don't have enough time/forget/can't keep up the habit," and my personal favorite, "I really want to think/be "X," but I can't."

At 24 years of age, I have become more keen of my surroundings, of my emerging adult spirit, and cognizant of the importance of life. In the years post-mortem, cough cough, I mean post-college, I have wrestled with these new found questions about myself and the world. I arise in the morning with the zeal of a child; wide-eyed and sponge-like, attempting to soak in all that I can. It is like I have finally let into the elusive "Adult's Club" and I don't know the first frikking thing about being a member but I am trying my damnedest to figure it out. All this being said, please refer to paragraph numero uno; I often find myself imposing excuses on my ideas, thoughts, and motivations. I often inhibit my own personal growth. It is as almost as if I am baby - learning the rules of society, how to walk and talk like an adult, and the morals and principles of being a "good" person.

It is this contradiction that is the beauty of the stumble through your 20's. It is the beautifully disastrous contradiction that we all face. The desire to change ourselves for the better, all while we settle for half-hearted excuses why not. For some of us, figuring out our life passions and career paths are not for the faint hearted. It is a daily struggle inside our minds and souls, and the constant question, "What do I want to spend the next 40 years of my life doing?"

I have no frikking clue.

Maybe that's part of the adventure. All I know is, I have got the keys to unlock the chains on "I want to..but..." and that's all that matters. Our 20's are frightening yet exhilarating, exhausting yet fulfilling, and opportunistic yet shackled.

So here's to putting myself out there. Here's to unlocking the chains and voicing my experiences and fears. Here's to sharing my thoughts and to the people that feel a connection and say, "I thought I was the only one who felt this." Here's to attempting to figure out this "Adult's Club" with grace, humor, and strength. Here goes nothin'.