Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable: Part 3: It’s Your LIFE

 

In part 1 of this series, I talked about the importance of this simple concept, getting comfortable being uncomfortable, as it pertains to fitness. Part 1 was probably the most widely recognized and relatable concept, as it could and should pertain to everyone, because everyone can use a good kick in the rear to get started, keep going, or to work harder.

So, Part 1 was relatable.

Part 2, which was all about relationships, became a very relatable piece without people realizing it prior to reading. But once you started reading you began saying to yourself “yep, I agree with that” or “yep, I need to do that”.

So part 1 and 2 were both relatable, part 2 just took some extra digging.

Part 3 y’all, you’re likely going to need to dig deep. Dig deep because we don’t like to realize that we are being complacent with our lives, and the one and only shot we have at it. Unfortunately, more times than not, that is how we live our lives- complacent without realization.

In order to reach your full potential, to see what this world truly has to offer for you, to live out your life so wildly in love with it, you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The changes you should be making in part here, they will be the most uncomfortable of all.

When you think about your life as is, what you’re doing, what you’re accomplishing, the people, events, and experiences you fill it with, what does it look like?

Does that match up to the goals, as lofty as they may be, that you have for your life?

Maybe you’ve got 1 area, maybe 2, where you can say “yes, THIS is how I want it to be for the rest of my life”. May that be your significant other, your kids, or where you live.

But what about the rest?

Do you have goals that are floating out there somewhere?

Maybe some within swimming reach.

Maybe some so far away that you’d have to rent out a yacht to get there.

Only, you can’t afford a yacht, so you leave them out there floating…. floating… floating…

So you tell yourself that you can’t afford that yacht, and that you will never be able to afford that yacht, because the risks, the sacrifices, and the effort it takes to afford that yacht are so far out of your comfort zone, it just doesn’t seem possible to you.

That is where getting comfortable being uncomfortable comes in.

THIS LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO UNCOMFORTABLE AT TIMES.

IT MEANS YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING NEW.

SOMETHING CHALLENGING.

SOMETHING SO WILDLY FRESH IT WILL AWAKEN YOUR SOUL AGAIN.

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Here’s where we fail at getting uncomfortable:

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The first step

May this be the first step out of your comfort zone.

The first step into a new interview.

The first step into a new home.

The first step literally anywhere.

We have a hard time taking it because we like our comfort zone. It’s warm and fuzzy like a newborn baby all swaddled up.

It’s comfortable until it’s not.

But there’s a minor part before this first step that we fail at before we can even fail at taking the first step, it’s realizing that a first step is needed in the first place.

How do you know? How do you know it is time to take the first step, that any part of your life even requires that first step? Here let me help you….

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re ready, and in need, of taking the first step:

  1. Do you feel complacent in your job?
  2. Do you feel complacent in your relationship?
  3. Do you feel complacent where you live?
  4. Do you feel complacent in your friend circle?
  5. Do you dream of living somewhere else?
  6. Do your day dreams take you far away from where you currently are (physically or mentally)?
  7. Have you tried something new within the past year?
  8. How about the past 6 months?
  9. Have you lived your life according to your own terms?
  10. If you lived the rest of your life, exactly where and exactly how you are now, would you be happy with it by the end of your life?
If you didn’t have one single “yes” answer, then you my friend are a gem. That means you’re living your life to the freaking fullest. You’ve grasped opportunity, you’ve found your tribe, you have found and understand the importance of YOUR happiness.

And if you didn’t have one single “yes”, go back through again to make sure you’re not lying to yourself.

And for those of you who did have a “YES”. Are you ready? Because it’s time to get stepping.

Here’s your cue, make the first step, and make it now.

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Justifying our decisions

Once we’ve made that first step, for some wild reason, we feel the need to justify it. Both to ourselves and to our family and friends.

What’s wrong with that you might ask? I like to make sure I’m making the right decision, I like to let my family and friends in on it. FRIEND, NO. Just NO. Let your gut do the talking for one time in your whole freaking life. DON’T JUSTIFY IT. Tell yourself and your family that you are doing this because it is the best FOR YOU and you are so excited. Point blank, this feels right, and it feels right for you- RIGHT NOW. **Now, if there’s a significant other or kids involved, I hope you are all on board with it, maybe prior to making the decision to step**.

You’ve made the decision to take the first step out of your comfort zone and towards something more. Be proud as f*ck of that, wear that shit on your sleeve. And ignore the feeling to justify it.

It’s weird, isn’t? I’ve done it before, still feel the need to do it sometimes. We have grown into a society where we constantly have to explain ourselves. Social media is primarily to blame.

You’re moving? Got a new job? Cutting your hair? Cutting the cord on a friendship? Trying a new exercise routine? Sending your kids to a different school? Adopting a new dog? Taking a first step WHERE EVER?

Sweet good for you. You go Glen CoCo. Don’t explain it. Just do it. Shout it from the rooftops.

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Coming to terms with it

Otherwise put, second guessing ourselves.

Unless you’re making a total on the spot, impulsive decision, then you’re giving yourself room to second guess yourself. I’m not saying to make every decision an impulse decision, not at all. I am telling you to prepare yourself to get uncomfortable again, the second time you have to make the decision to make the first step, or in this case, it’ll feel like the second step, out of your comfort zone.

We’ve all been there.

We make a decision, but it takes time to fully birth, so there is a period of time when we can second guess ourselves. Most of the time, we do. This is where it truly matters. I hope that you trust your gut enough, and trust your desire for more to not turn and walk back into your comfort zone.

Sometimes, in this period of coming to terms, we turn to those closest to us to talk about it. But beware, that can be equally helpful as hurtful. If this is a decision you made all on your own the first time, don’t let someone else talk you in or out of it. Is it uncomfortable being the only person to make that decision for yourself again? Hell yes. We like to feel secure in our decisions. But news flash, if you’re making a big life decision, you might not feel secure in that until months after. How freaking uncomfortable! Ride it out. Trust yourself, and trust the higher up. You might be uncomfortable for a few months, but that’s better than being uncomfortable knowing that you are still in the same freaking place as you’ve always been.

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Running after you step

There is no turning back now. You’ve stepped, made the decision, shouted it from the roof top and squashed second guessing. It’s all in now.

Things will pick up speed, whatever this big life decision is, I promise you it will pick up speed. So lace up! It’s go time.

Take it from me, this part of being uncomfortable can turn into the most fun part. Things are spinning around you, but there is so much to see in that blur of newness and the unknown.

  • Had we not realized we wanted to leave Iowa and the Midwest to see what else was out there for us.
  • Had Alex not said yes to a job in Greensboro, NC.
  • Had I said no to going with him because I was so sad about the thought of leaving my friends and family.
  • Had we not moved to NC.
  • Had I not gotten a job at Orangetheory Fitness.
  • Had I not met people with connections to so much more.
  • Had I not started volunteering with animal rescue
  • Had we not done all of those things PLUS MORE we…. I…. wouldn’t be who I am today. I can tell you that I would be a slightly more bitter, more tired, less fulfilled version of myself who would constantly be thinking of the what-ifs and stuck in my day dreams.

But we went for it!

It was fast. I tried to hold on for dear life at times. But when I let go and let the rollercoaster of life take me where I’m supposed to be, when I laced up my shoes and ran with the wind, I learned to enjoy the ride. And holy hell what a ride it has been!

Was I uncomfortable at times? Hell yes.

I still am. Because we are still going for it, still saying yes to more and to new.

I like being uncomfortable. Because it means I’m feeling something new. It means I’m doing something new.

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And with each step out of my comfort zone, that comfort zone grows smaller. It becomes a smaller zone to step back into, forcing myself to stay out of it.

And with each step out of my comfort zone, I’m getting closer to that yacht. Figuratively and literally. I will own a yacht someday. And when I do, I’ll grab that last piece of dream floating out there in the deep blue, only to find that there are more floating out there, ready for me to catch.

 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

It’s the only way to LIVE.

 

Cheers to living!

 

As always, 

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Cheers & in health,

Carly B



 

 

An Open Letter To Cheerleading (and to parents who are struggling with letting their kid try a new hobby)

I remember my first ever cheer tryouts. I was a shy and awkward 6th grader who worshiped her one and only Hollister shirt because having it meant, in my mind, that I would fit in.

(I wish I could dig up more pics from middle school cheer, 
but I can't so I'll share the pics from my cheer career that I COULD find)
Cheer camp at the Wisconsin Dells with University of Northern Iowa, summer of 2013.

To those of you who know me and my loud mouth now you would be shocked to know that I was kind of shy at this point in my life. It didn’t help that just one year prior I had fallen off the monkey bars at recess and knocked my teeth parallel to the roof of my mouth. There was blood everywhere, including on my favorite pair of jeans. I cried out of concern that I’d have to throw the pants away, never mind the teeth. Naturally, it took some time for those teeth to find their way back from the roof of my mouth into the front of my mouth where they should be, in a smile. On top of that, it was only 6th grade and I was already taller than most guys in school, I also didn’t know how to do my hair yet, I had just learned how to attempt to pluck my eyebrows. Oh, let’s not forget I was right around the corner from getting teenage acne.

I was awkward. I’m not sure what possessed me to try cheerleading. I’m putting my bets on the fact that I had been doing gymnastics for years already, so this was the logical next step.

Anyway, I made the cheerleading squad! The awkward 11 year old girl who was trying to find her voice in the world made the squad! Hellllooo popularity! Or so I thought.

Turns out, cheerleading didn’t end up being this huge quest for popularity that I thought it would be. Sure, in middle school, that is exactly what it was. But as I not only grew older, but also grew in my passion for cheerleading, I grew into someone completely different, with a different mindset.

Cheerleading, you helped me blossom into the fearless, confident, and strong woman that I am today. Not only that, but through it, I learned at a younger age than most, how important it was to be nice to everyone. Does it sound cliche to say that out of all sports, cheerleading, was the one to shape me into the woman I am today? Maybe. But I know damn well that I wouldn’t be where I am today (like physically would not be living where I am), have the relationships i do, hell I probably wouldn’t have the career path I have, if I didn’t make the squat.

And it started in that musty middle school gymnasium, in small town Illinois, on a hot May day back in 2004.

I made the squad Y’ALL!

Now let me time out for a second:

To all the parents out there reading this,

or any hopeful parents-to-be let me tell you my one piece of advice. Its advice coming not from a fellow parent, but from a daughter who is thankful that her parents did this one thing for her.

Let your kids choose their passion and let them love it hard.

It doesn’t matter what sport, hobby, or extra curricular they fall in love with, let them love it. A child learning to be passionate about something all on their own is a really special thing. Because when they get older, and when it comes time to start making decisions about their life, all on their own, it’s their passions that will drive them to those decisions more than anything else.

My parents were both jocks, like they were each amazingly good at their sports. So it made sense that they enrolled both me and my brother in various sports growing up. I played softball for 10 years, up until my sophomore year of college and I was good. I tried volleyball, that was a bust. I consider basketball but couldn’t make a lay up to save my life, so sayonara to basketball.

Had my parents “forced” me to stay in softball when I wanted to quit because of a coach that ruined it all for me, then I would not have finished my high school career, and then my college career with cheerleading. Hell, I would have gone to a different school entirely had I been in the mindset to stay on the track to “play ball at the collegiate level”. My parents were jocks but they let me try, and then excel at cheerleading. And when it was the sport that I fell in love with, they supported me without blinking an eye. They would even drive 3 hours to watch me cheer in high school at a far away football game, in the freezing freaking cold rain. My dad became “Super Fan Dan” as my high school squad got good at competitive cheer, and made it to the state competition finals year after year.

They saw my passion, they saw me fall in love with it, and the supported me SO HARD.

And because of that single passion, I have molded into the person I am today.

You see cheerleading, you were more than just a “oh let’s see if I’ll like this sport”, you changed the trajectory of… ME.

Had I not made the squad, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with cheerleading, and then I wouldn’t have done it in high school.

Had I not done it high school I would have put my attention and efforts into softball.

Had my efforts been in softball, I would have tried to play at the collegiate level.

Had I tried to play at the collegiate level I’m 99% sure I would not have ended up at the University of Northern Iowa.

Had I not ended up at UNI, I wouldn’t have met my best friends.

Had I not met my best friends I wouldn’t have met my husband.

Had I not met my husband, I wouldn’t have my 3 animals. I wouldn’t have moved to North Carolina. I wouldn’t have begun volunteering with Triad Golden Retriever Rescue. I wouldn’t have become an Orangetheory Coach.

I wouldn’t be HERE.

On top of that, I wouldn’t have developed the skills and traits that I have now, that have helped me go for things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

My outgoing nature?

I can thank cheerleading for that. It’s pretty damn hard to be an enthustiatic cheerleader and also be a total introvert. Is it possible? Yep. But that’s not how the cards played for me, and I’m glad. Because with this extroverted and outgoing nature, I have tried SO MANY THINGS that I don’t see introverts around me trying.

Cheering in front of crowds of thousands in college? What a freaking experience.

Walking in two fashion shows? Some would say hello NERVES. I said hello EXPERIENCE.

Being a fitness coach? Try doing that without an outgoing personality feeding into your energy.

My strange comfort in public speaking?

Yep, let’s thank cheerleading for that. I mean cheerleading is public speaking after all, we just change the pitch of our voices

But for real, it’s weird, I actually really like public speaking.

My most looked forward to school events and assignments? Presentations. PowerPoints, etc.

Without my innate ability for public speaking, combined with my extroverted nature, I wouldn’t have been selected in college to be on a team of 3 to go present a topic at the National Convention for Society of Public Health Education- and get second place in the nation!

My ability to be friends with virtually anyone, and my desire to include everyone?

You guessed it. Cheerleading.

Now, let me pause and say that all cheerleading squads I was apart of were not your stereotypical “bitch” squads, like you might have guessed. Because of that, I think my friendly nature that I already had, had a chance to thrive even more.

My excitement about LIFE?

HELL FREAKING YA THIS STEMMED FROM CHEERLEADING!

Learning how to be excited about a turnover, a 3-point swish, a touchdown, an interception, or whatever, and being excited about those time. after. time. instills a deep excitement for everything! I’m proud to say I’m generally a very optimistic and excited person now-a-days.

Once a cheerleader. Always a cheerleader.

Not to mention the friends I made or the connections made because of cheerleading

It’s been like a rollercoaster that keeps picking up speed. It started with cheerleading. Then it was meeting the friends I did, deciding to go to a college because I had heard about it from someone I used to cheer with. Then it was getting to college and deciding to cheer, which introduced me to new people, my husband, etc. The roller coaster kept picking up even after I was done cheering as it led me to becoming a fur-mom, into a new state, into a new career path, and so much more!

Just like any other sport, hobby, etc. Cheerleading put me on this roller coaster of excitement, and even though I’ve been out of cheer for 5 years now, my roller coaster is not. slowing. down.

Some kids might fall in love with football or soccer like you envision them to. And those sports might turn into passions that catapult them into greatness such as playing on scholarship in college, or hell for the amazingly talented and lucky few, going pro. But for other kids, theater, piano, tae-kwan-do, fine arts, or even cheerleading might be what they become so passionate about that it’s impossible to ignore.

So don’t ignore it. Help them in any way you can. But ultimately, let them make their decisions about where they want to go with that passion and what they want to do. Not only are they learning to make decisions on their own, they’re molding themselves into pretty fantastic human beings.

Who would have thought that cheerleading had the capacity to change the trajectory of my life so much?

But it did. It all started in a musty middle school gymnasium, in small town Illinois, on a hot May day back in 2004.

And because of that, from my 26 year old self to my 11 year old self, I thank you cheerleading. And I thank everyone who I came in contact with throughout my time as a cheerleader, and every experience I got out of it.

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Love, Carly

Balance is… Having a Mimosa in Each Hand

BALANCE.

What a f*cking buzzword right now, am I right?

It’s something I’ve practiced, and something I’ve preached for years now.

But now? Someone will look at a cupcake while drinking an ounce of water and #hashtagbalance

It’s cool, I want you all to have balance. I want you all to experience the freedom that comes with balance.

But let’s talk about what balance actually is, and how you can achieve it.

And friend, I’m not talking about finding balance between the hours you spend in the gym and the amount of donuts you put in your mouth like the 15.4M hashtags on Instagram suggest.  I’m talking about balance in your f*cking LIFE.

Oh yeah, I’m fired up.

Finding life balance: how do we do it? What does it look like?

Well, it looks different for everyone.

To someone, it could be learning to allow themselves to enjoy a burger on the weekend, without running 10 miles the next day to work it off. To them, that’s a balance win, simply enjoying that burger. Because in the past, their need for self-control would have taken over, and they would have eaten half a salad and brought the other half home for lunch the next day, all while watching their friends gorge themselves in nachos and beer.

To someone else it’s letting go of toxic relationships. Because they understand the value of living their life for THEM. The value of being surrounded by uplifting people. They’ve learned that their life has been out of balance for awhile now, so they looked around them at what could be throwing that equilibrium off kilter.

Or for someone else it’s letting their mom watch their 4-month-old child for a few hours so they can go to the gym and then get a massage. It’s the balance of being a good mom by taking care of their child while also being a good mom while taking care of themselves.

Or to a yogi, balance might quite literally mean the ability to stand on one’s head.

To me? Balance is doing whatever the f*ck I please, not recklessly, but in a way where I don’t have to overthink it. If I want to have late night pizza two nights in a row after drinking beer and Malibu all day, like I did last weekend, I can. My lifestyle supports that. I drink water like a fish every day. So much that I probably piss out enough clear water to hydrate an underdeveloped country. I work out hard, and smart, 4-5 days a week. My lifestyle supports my desire to indulge when I want and where I want.

To me, it is also staying in with my husband on a Friday night and then going out with the girls on Saturday. Life, and relationships, demand balance too.

To me, it is sleeping in on my days off to catch up on that deeply needed sleep. Even if my schedule says it’s time to workout, if my body needs sleep, it gets sleep (as much as I can manipulate my schedule to allow that though. This is the hardest area for me to find balance).

To me, it’s giving myself some leniency in my daily checklist. Sometimes I just can’t get everything done. Some days I volunteer with animal rescue, but that means I don’t have time to walk my dogs. That day. Some days I clean the whole freaking house, and some days I only clean up after my dinner mess and go watch New Girl instead of vacuuming the floors. Some days I win the mental battle of looking on the bright side of things, and other days I don’t. Some weeks my days balance each other out. Good day, then bad day, back to a good day. Quite frankly, balance looks different on each given day, because each day demands something different out of me. But that, that, is the beauty of balance. It’s figuring out where there are high and low points that don’t meet the equilibrium. Sometimes, often times, it’s about looking at the bigger picture. What you learn to balance today will help you learn to balance the bigger picture, and that bigger picture is your life.

And that’s my point.

Balance is more, balance is so freaking much more.

I want you to have balance in multiple aspects of your life. Hell, I even want you to find a way to balance those aspects of your life out. To find a point where all areas of your life can coincide in harmony, without one pulling and weighing you down harder than the other. Woah, big statement, I know.

Here’s some ways to start:

  1) Look at the areas of your life that are draining you, first.

Where can you cut the cord, where can you improve? Let’s start there. Because likely, these areas that are draining you are some of the biggest aspects of your life. It’s best to balance out the largest scale you have first, then work on the smaller ones. Because if you start small, you might miss the point when they become balanced, because other, unbalanced areas, will be weighing them down disproportionally.

  2) Look at how you treat yourself.

Out of everyone you come in contact with, do you treat yourself the most poorly? Are you treating yourself like dirt, not giving yourself a break, running yourself into the ground? I’m going to answer that for you. Yes, you are. We all do it. We are all hardest on yourself. Now this isn’t a quick fix, but look for the area that you can give yourself a double high five in first. Have you been making progress in the gym? Double high five! Now stop beating yourself up over those last few pounds (because news flash, they actually don’t matter!). Is your relationship at its highest point ever? Are you and your significant other thriving together (maybe at the cost of some friendships, but hey cut that cord). Okay, cool, double high five! How about your job? Your kids? Your mental health, sleep health, skin health, etc.? Chances are you have been making big strides in at least one area of your life, but you haven’t been able to see it because you have been tearing yourself down for so long, over so many things. It’s time to start realizing when progress is happening, and freaking celebrate!

  3) Learn this definition, & remind yourself of it daily:

Balance: (noun)

an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.

You my friend, you are the “something” that needs to be upright and steady. Not leaning on something or someone. You don’t need a crutch, you just need you, standing upright and steady like a damn brick wall, all by your damn self!

  4) Now write this down on a sticky note and post it every freaking where:

“I am the writer of my own storybook”.

In case you forgot, the only person who can change the trajectory of your life is YOU, and God, but He knows where you’re going long before you do, and He wants to watch you see yourself through it.

  5) And finally, buddy up!

I believe everything in life is better with a buddy, but only if that buddy is vibing the way you are. If you’re trying to be better about finding balance with your nutritional choices, don’t do it with a buddy who will always encourage the unhealthy choice. If you’re trying to find balance with taking care of your family while taking care of yourself, a buddy who mom shames is not the buddy for you. You get the point?

Balance is freedom. It is not a free for all.

To have balance you must be able to know when you need to subtract or add things from each side. When one side is too heavy, it feels too heavy, it weighs you down.

Freedom to say yes to things that positively affect your life.

Freedom to do things that lift you up instead of bring you down.

Freedom to feel guilt free, to not overthink, to just simply be.

Balance is having a mimosa in each hand my friends.

One for you, and one for your buddy.

Or maybe two for you, if that’s how you’re vibing that day, it’s okay to be selfish

Don’t think too hard about it. Just pour the bubbly into those cups. Maybe bubbles aren’t your thing, maybe you’d rather fill your cups with water, a bloody mary, or an ice cold fountain pop. Whatever it may be, I need you fill your cup, fill it to the brim baby! But make sure its filled to the brim with the very best. Fill those cups with a smile and positive energy.

Most importantly, make sure that all of your cups are filling equally.

Because no one likes to get gypped on mimosas.

 

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What I’m Learning About Being a Twenty-Something Trying to Make Her Way in This World

Graduate college they said, it’ll be fun they said.

It is, but it’s not. Okay that sounds pessimistic but life after college takes a lot more brainpower than I would have thought. And that’s a crazy idea saying as college seemed to suck the life out of my brain, especially during finals.

One day you are in college, embracing every single opportunity, not thinking twice about much. You know that you have deadlines to meet, but realize that some of them are flexible. You know that you have friends down the hall who will meet you out every Friday night. Cooking your own food? Never. That’s what dining halls are for. Doing your own laundry? Pfft. that is what weekend trips home to mom are for 😉 College is sweet. College, in retrospective, is easy.

The real world is bat shit crazy at times, but it is also cooler than a popsicle 😉

Here’s some things I’ve learned to be true about the real world…

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You’ll never figure it all out.

For example, these conclusions I’m drawing about figuring out life, I’m sure will change in just another short year. But for real, this is one of my biggest downfalls (and I’m figuring out that I have many), trying to figure everything out, all the time. Being twenty-something seems old once you get there, as soon as you get that diploma you feel like you’ve aged 10-15 years, or at least I did. And when you feel older you are already pressurizing yourself with feelings of having to figure everything out. Figure out tonight’s dinner, next week’s plans, next months budget, this summers vacation, your job, your friends, your family, your home, and soooo onnnn. Sometimes it’s hard not to. But why? At 26 years old I have 100X more things on my mind, more responsibilities that I feel I need to figure out than I did just 5 short years ago at age 18. The media publicizes so many opinions now-a-days, making you think you need to be this size, have this much in your wallet at this age, be ready for kids by now, blah, blah, blah. It publicizes people who have their shit together, or so we are led to believe. Like get real, Taylor Swift who Time Magazine has called the highest paid celebrity in 2016 was only 27- TWENTY SEVEN. Kendall Jenner, worth $18 million dollars, at age 21. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson, $300 million, at age 30. These celebrities are our age, us twenty-something year olds, and the media publicizes them as people who have made it. And maybe they have, maybe Taylor Swifts extreme talent and the way she cares about her fans motivates me to dream BIG and never lose sight, but her, or their net worth doesn’t mean they have everything figured out, it’s just money.  Which leads me to my next point

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Your wallet doesn’t define you.

I’ve had $200 in my wallet and I’ve had $0 in my wallet in any given month. Have I had nervous breakdowns when my wallet and my bank accounts get low and my credit card gets high? You bet. Does it take me awhile to realize how ridiculous this is and convince myself to be better next time, oh yeah. Do I do better next time? Eh only about 25% of the time. I feel old, and I feel like my wallet is small in comparison. But why? I DON’T KNOW. For goodness sake, I have no idea why I have all of these nervous breakdowns. I’m here right now telling myself that my wallet doesn’t define me, only 3 short hours after nervously checking my bank accounts wondering how I’m going to make ends meet. Finances are tough, for everyone. But guess what you are TWENTY-SOMETHING years old and most likely in student loan debt at the least, SO WHAT! They are just short term finances, and I’m learning that it’s better to feel in control of them, no matter how small they are, then to let them control you. Plus, I’ve learned it’s the BEST to be smart with your money, and save it starting NOW than to feel good about having a higher $ amount in your wallet. Look at that savings account, try to build that. Live like no one else NOW so you can live like no one else in 20 years. You are not defined by money, and when you make millions someday, I hope you remember this.

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Don’t let your ego stop you from gaining work experience.

I’ve had many duties in my workplace already, many have been the exact things I want to do, few have not. But those duties that you might not want to do, aren’t the ones to say no to, because those duties are the ones that give you experience, real experience. Trust me on this. Applying yourself in a different way than you are comfortable, stepping out of your comfort zone, being humble and doing a job below you teaches you something about your work ethic, and it lets you reflect on your true career goals. Plus, sometimes these jobs are the ones you make the best connections with, you might find your next job reference, or someone who knows someone to get you into that dream job. You are TWENTY-SOMETHING years old, don’t let your ego hinder you. Being an intern is okay, starting small in a place where you can grow is okay. Work an underpaid job for a few months to appreciate the big job when you get it. But you have to be smart about your time-management with these jobs, which brings me to my next point.

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Jobs come and go, real experiences with friends and family don’t. 

I’m learning, and this is one thing that I can proudly say I’ve already gotten better at, is that over-working yourself and missing out on real life fun leaves you with nothing fun to look back on. Work hard at your job, appreciate it, and try to make strides in the workplace, but know when to stop, to clock out for the day and go home. You are TWENTY-SOMETHING years old, don’t waste it at your job. Being young in the workplace it is easy to be looked down on, to be viewed as an “intern” even if you have the same experience as your elder coworkers. If asked to go above and beyond your job duties, or hours, know when to say no. You are asked to go grab coffee for others, think about this. Am I going to get coffee for myself? If so, be kind and get others coffee. Am I already nose deep into reports and don’t have time to go to the bathroom? Say no, kindly. You are asked to pick up another shift, and then another, and then another. Know when to say no. Sometimes it’s right to say yes, you just need to. Sometimes you say yes because you absolutely love what the specific shift has to bring– and that is okay! But know that next time if it comes around and you have cocktail night planned, that it is okay to say no. Saying yes once, doesn’t mean saying yes all the time. Clock out early today, go spend time with loved ones, and do not feel guilty about it.

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Your friends matter, your family matters.

This is a short and easy one. These are the people that have always been there for you, and who will always be there for you, regardless of your place in the world. Use them for help, use them for shoulder to cry on, for an ear to listen. Have fun with them when the world feels like its hitting you hard. Don’t push these people away, they are your people, and they get you.

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Dive into recreational activities. 

This is one thing I am working on. Most likely, many of us are no longer athletes who have a coach and a team to report to 3-6 days out of the week. No, we are TWENTY-SOMETHING year olds who feel old. But we’re not! Find a rec volleyball league, basketball league, kickball league. Go painting once a week, join a book club (and this does NOT make you old, it makes you wise). Find something to immerse yourself in when everything else seems to be moving at top speed. These are the things that can slow your day down, put a smile on your face, and even introduce you to new people. Because let’s face it sometimes fresh souls are good for our own. They could be great new friends, future references, the person who knows someone who knows someone, or someone you actually don’t get along with, which is a learning experience in itself. Plus, it’s good for your health to stay active, go find a rec league, take a load off.

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Appreciate your elders. 

If not for anything else, but because they won’t be around forever. But these are also the people who you likely look at as ‘wise’, and how do you think they got wise? Listen to their stories, their personal experiences, listen to what made them the wise person they are and why. We won’t find that at our age, we just won’t. Being a TWENTY-SOMETHING year old gives us a lot less time for personal life experiences. Plus, sitting back and listening to their stories can put your life into a lot better perspective.

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You will fall flat on your face sometimes. 

You have to get back up. Every. Single. Time.

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So one day you’re in college, but you know what, one day you are also in the real world, and that is pretty fricking awesome. You might not be able to meet your friends out on Thursday nights every week, but you can meet them out for cocktails on Wednesday night without a fake ID, because that is just the cool thing to do. You can stay at home on Friday with a glass of wine and watch your puppies run around, instead of watching school equations run off the paper you’re studying. You can buy a new vacuum and feel like an absolute rock star because of it, instead of feeling like a millionaire when you finally fill your tank all the way up (oh the typical college kid move, we all did it). Being in the real world has responsibilities, new experiences, new people, new stresses and excitements, but these are what shape your life, that shape you. Embrace them all. They’re your future.

Alex & Carly-11

 

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In health,

Carly