Fanning the flame

work life balance

Hello again, loverly readers! It’s quite convenient how Lydia and I seem to take turns being inspired, regular posters..completely unplanned, I assure you, but it’s nice to know that while I was over here being a combination of busy, unmotivated and just plain exhausted, you had plenty of witty anecdotes at your fingertips.

Don’t get too excited, I’m still busy, unmotivated and exhausted, but I felt I should share a little bit of where I’ve been (mentally) lately…at work.

Once while on our way to a client meeting, my boss talked to me about how to avoid getting burned out and shared a story about a time she realized she was. At the time, I was firmly in the denial phase about my stress load, so I mentally filed her guidance under “Truly helpful for the distant future” and stacked “Reasons I’m completely fine” on top despite my overwhelming to do list, weekly chest tightening spasms and most-likely-related health issues/sudden onset of allergies.

See, I’ve always been super self-motivated – working hard, getting (over) involved and looking for leadership positions are activities I actually do enjoy just for me, not for a resume or to fulfill someone else’s idea of ‘success’. But I’m realizing what helped all those commitments and responsibilities seem more manageable was the fact that they all had a definitive end date: assignment deadline, event date, summer, graduation…the exhausting thing about ‘real life’ work (and life) commitments and responsibilities is the recent revelation that there really is no set end date. I will one day hopefully, finally complete fall planning only to realize I’m already woefully behind on 2014’s marketing strategy.

I’ve read this relearning of stress management is normal for us young professionals. In the grand scheme of things, we’re still relatively new at navigating this whole career, work-life balance thing. We’re figuring out what we’re good at and where we fit in the working world, whether that is finding a career path, company or something to pay the monthly car payment.

Sometimes I toy with the idea of taking off for world travels/volunteering or even just up and moving somewhere new…but I can’t help but value my career, job security and financial stability a little bit more when I reach the “Complete Purchase” button on my itinerary. Even though it looks like I won’t be taking off for a foreign country for an extended amount of time or having a spare day until mid-September to even think about taking a vacation, I clearly need to find some way to dial-back a notch in my day-to-day.

A Huffington Post article shared tips from thought leaders for maximizing your twenties, including this one: “Burnout is not a badge of honor. Don’t try to do it all, focus on the 5% you’re great at and delegate the rest!”

So this week I’m embracing delegation along with some old-fashioned hard work in the hopes that my typed, two-page to do list (unfortunately not a exaggeration) can make its way down to a much more manageable one.

…In the meantime, you can also find me surfing ZapTravel.com in the hopes of landing an affordable getaway.

A job or ‘the’ job?

ashley olsen work styleworking desk and coffeeworking women style  

This is a kinda a big week for me professionally, so I’ve spent a lot of time pinpointing work-related hopes and frustrations lately. While attempting to do so I stumbled across a Forbes article. Titled “Why we need to take 20-somethings seriously,” I was initially excited to find another semi-rare article listing the pros we could offer the work world rather than the cons. So imagine my surprise when I clicked through to read how 20-somethings are supposedly falling behind in the career world because we’re falling prey to the idea that now is our time of life for exploration and experimenting.

From the article: “The biggest myth is that the 20s are a time to think about what you want to do,” notes Jay. “That doesn’t work. You basically know what you want. Just start, and get the best job you can get.”

Between this and the suggested article, “How I Became a 21-Year-Old Business Executive,” all I have to say is, thanks for helping lower my already increasing stress levels, Forbes. On the bright side, at least these articles are saying we can and should have a place professionally rather than make our age out to be a hindrance, which is what I sometimes feel.

Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me or a product from our culture, but part of what stresses me out is I can’t get away from the idea that there’s a perfect job for me somewhere…if only I could somehow find it. The thing is, I’m quite happy where I am. But there’s always a part of me wondering, but could I be happier?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any real solutions for anyone else in the same boat. While I’ll be acknowledging these “grass is always greener” scenarios with some research and deep-thinking, I’ve decided I also need to devote less of my thought life to these ambitions and more time being the best I can right here.

So there you have it…my weekly (and probably lifelong) professional goal for finding Tiffany’s. I’d love to know what you think about the articles, too!

Seeing skyscrapers: A love affair

new york citynew york city buildingnew york building tribecca Heineken adnew york city central park 

My one year anniversary is almost here! …The anniversary of my first trip to New York City that is. I always thought I would like New York, but nothing prepared me for how infectious the unique combination of nostalgia, success and so much more would be. That city just has momentum, you know?

I’ve never been the type to get all choked up about goodbyes with people. But when I left New York, I truly felt a twinge of sadness. Okay fine, at that immediate moment making my way towards the airport I felt exhausted and possibly just a tad hungover from one of the best weeks of my life. But that next week watching Gossip Girl, I couldn’t care less what annoying thing Dan was doing this time, because all I was watching was the city. My chest literally ached to be there again.

Why am I not there right now? Well, it all goes back to that conversation about settling I mentioned a couple posts ago. If I’m being honest the reason I didn’t move to New York or even pursue a job there after graduation was that I was scared. Scared of not having enough money. Scared of finding a place to live. Scared of not finding a job.

I’m realizing though that this is pretty stupid. In life I’m never going to feel I have enough money or always have certainty about what’s next. This is why (or so I’m told) being in your twenties is so brilliant! This is the time when we’re supposed to be trying new places and jobs out, going for those dreams…and still have plenty of time to pick ourselves up if we fall.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still scared. But I’m sticking my toes out in the water, exploring my options for making this dream come true. If you have any words of wisdom I’d love to hear them! For now, I’ll leave you with this quote from Michael Bloomberg:

And because no matter who you are, if you believe in yourself and your dream, New York will always be a place for you.

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This time of life

emma stone and andrew garfield jennifer lawrence{Two of my favorite women completely rocking their twenties.}

Tonight a co-worker and I had the opportunity to attend a happy hour…that started at about 8:45 p.m. She turned to me and aptly said, “A basically 9 p.m. happy hour is no longer a happy hour. That is just a party.”

Spoken like a true 20-something. I’ve been noticing a lot of articles lately about “what it means to be a 20-something” or “signs you’re a 20-something.” While most of these provide endless amusement with their eerily accurate observations, they also promote this sense of unity in knowing I’m not alone. You’d think this would be discouraging to learn I’m not as much of a unique individual as I thought I was, but it’s actually strangely comforting. On one of Soul Pancake’s message boards, somebody asked, “What’s so noteworthy about being a 20-something anyways?” Someone else responded, “Nothing more than any other age.” While I completely agree that this could be true as I don’t have a whole lot of times of life to compare now to, I’d have to say there’s a lot about being at the time I am now that’s noteworthy. I’ve caught myself a lot over the past few months just marveling about how it feels to hit these “milestones” compared to how I thought I’d feel. It’s a strange feeling to spend your whole life wanting to be “old” then finally getting there to realize it’s a whole lot different than you thought it’d be. At the same time nearly everything in my life is changing all the time, and I’m knowing the “adults” in my life a whole new way.

Here’s a couple of the realizations I’ve found myself pondering lately:

Parents are actually always right. At that same moment, you realize that they told you they were always right, not because they were your parents (which is what you thought growing up), but probably because they, too, at some point realized their parents were always right.

Getting married isn’t a happy ending or a solution. And even though there’s a lot of happy engaged couple around you, it turns out the whole process is not nearly as romantic or surprising as you thought it’d be because there’s a whole lot of real life logistics that need to happen as far as jobs, locations of jobs, leases, roommates, and probably so much more.

Being “old” doesn’t mean you have everything figured out. In fact, it seems that most people don’t ever really know what they want or where they’re going. It’s a mix of educated guessing, luck and simply taking the next step. I also know people older than me who have changed their career path completely, taken time off to travel or volunteer for a social cause, etc. There’s not some secret “right” path to life it turns out…and that’s okay.

20 somethings quote