13 Lessons I Haven’t Learned As An Adult

These are all my perspective and to be taken very lightly. 

1. The appropriate time to wake up on the weekend.

I realize this will change once we have kids but we are not there yet so let me be. I feel as though once you hit a certain age, sleeping in the way you did as a college student is frowned upon, however waking up early on your day off is a real bummer too so I don’t know, man. Why is it that when we reach adulthood, everyone likes to talk about sleep so much? How many hours we did or didn’t get the night before. What time we wake up and go to bed. Why are we all so interested in each other’s sleep cycles? It’s weird. All I know is that I am a full eight-hours-a-night kind of girl. More sleep, better me. Just ask my husband.

2. The best place to grocery shop.

This is like picking your college football team as an adult and I really just don’t know whose side I am on here. There is so much pressure, so many options and every place makes me feel different. I have realized when you grow up, you find yourself in conversations about this predicament often and I am not sure why. I mean, I will engage in said debate over why I choose one store over the other, but why do people make it seem like I  must stay true to ONE store for the rest of my life? I changed my major SIX times in college. I can’t make these kinds of life decisions and this is obviously a pattern for me. Self-awareness is the first step, right?

3. At what point the laundry cycle ends.

I really don’t think I want to know the answer to this.

4. How to contour.

I have about three make-up brushes I use everyday and I honestly do not know what they are actually supposed to do for my face. More power to anyone who can do all the things and know all the things when it comes to applying makeup because I am obviously winging it here. Maybe one day I will have the patience to watch the Youtube videos and have the extra cash money to buy nice brushes for those parts of my face I don’t even know the name of, but until then I will stick to my $6 Walgreens mascara and eyeliner. I know, I am judging me too.

5. Appropriate email sign-off verbiage

I am still trying to find the perfect balance between professionalism and wanting them to know there is an actual human being on the other side of the screen. Sincerely seems intimate, I am not trying to write a letter to a soldier at war. Anything with the word “love” seems too forward. I don’t really know you, so I can’t decide if I love you like that. Usually, I stick to “thanks!” but why am I even thanking them? Thanks for reading my email because about 28% of the working population (very made up, fake statistic) actually does that! How do I appropriately portray personality and warmness while keeping it professional? What about, “Thanks for reading this email sorry I don’t know what kind of mood you’re in today and if you need an exclamation point at the end of this, or if I should just sign my name here even though it’s CLEARLY stated in my email address. Have a great day. (!, if needed)” Nailed it.

6. Curling and blow drying my hair.

No matter how many times my hairdresser tells me that I can for sure DIY this Olympic sport at home, I literally cannot. I give up on my hair ever looking anything similar to the way it does when I leave a haircut. There is a reason we like to take 1 million selfies in our car afterwards. Because we all know that once we are left to our own extremely hot and expensive devices, our hair will never look as good as it does in that exact moment. Related, dry shampoo saves lives.

7. My credit score and what determines it..?

This is basically a grade for how well you’re doing at grown-up stuff. I do not know who is keeping score or how they determine points, but someone is out there judging us HARD. I wish they would get to know me before throwing such an important number at me like that. Can good deeds go towards our scores, because they should. What about all the times I let those cars merge in front of me on the road turning into a one lane when they had 100 miles to get over before cutting in front of me? 1000 CREDIT SCORE POINTS FOR ME, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Is there a point keeping person I can take to coffee and tell them how good I try to be? How do I online chat with the person keeping track of my credit score? Please advise.

8. How to fill out a W-4 form.

There are certain times in life when using a pen feels VERY STRESSFUL. For example, when taking a math test, also when filling out a government document. Why does this specific, important document have so many words but you only write like 2.5 little marks on it? No matter how many times I fill this out, I don’t think I will  ever not call my dad for help. There is a reason I had to take Accounting 1 twice in college before changing my major to journalism and I don’t know if that actually has anything to do with W-4 forms, but it feels like it should.

9. Which fork is used for salad and which is used for not salads.

All forks should be created and used equally.

10. What business casual even means.

I do not work in a corporate setting, mainly because of this reason right here. And a few more reasons. But honestly, what IS business casual? Because business sounds like fancy pant suits and casual sounds like me on my couch in leggings while watching Netflix. I am sure there is no way these two things can coexist. I am also positive that pant suits, or anything you wear to an event involving business casual dress code, does not feel nearly as comfortable as my leggings and couch does.

11. How the stock market works.

I know so little about how the stock market works that I literally do not have anything more to write than this sentence.

12.  When you stop needing your parents.     

I’m realizing the older I get the more I actually want to listen to their advice, hang out and be friends with them. I don’t think parenting really ends once you hit a certain age and as their child, you don’t appreciate that until you become an adult yourself and realize this whole time your parents are way more for you than they are against you. At least, that has been my personal experience. But nothing will ever make up for the teenage years they had to endure with us (me). I recognize there comes a time when we have to stop relying on our parents for all the things, but I’m just thankful that even though this is the year I will officially graduate from my parent’s insurance plan, it doesn’t mean I have to stop using my dad’s Netflix account. It’s the little things, really.

13. How after all those years of schooling, I never took a class on any of the above

But thank goodness I learned the quadratic formula because that sure has been useful out here in the real world!! Of course, it may have been a bit much to actually take a class on the best place to grocery shop or appropriate sleep cycles, but it would have been nice to, at the very least, been given more instruction on REAL LIFE things. Here are a few courses I think we could have benefited from in all those years of school: emotional intelligence, how to do your taxes, things to start doing that will increase your credit score, anything about insurance, budgeting and why it matters, common car salesman tricks, career path expectations, just to name a few. I think people put high expectations on us to know all the things there is to know because we earned a college degree, and I might have been in college for five years but that doesn’t mean I was fully prepared for life once I graduated.

If you’re anything like me, you’re just a young adult out here trying to make the best of it. One of the best things my husband and I have done, as we both are in our twenties and figuring out a lot of this together, is how important it is for us to have people in our lives who are in the same season as us. It makes this whole growing up thing a little easier when there’s people who can laugh with you as we all try to do our best with what we know. The list of things above are meant to be humorous and from my own perspective because I am learning that I can’t take all of this adult stuff too seriously. Of course, filing your taxes on time and having life insurance are serious and very boring things about growing up, but that’s not all there is to it. Growing up means I am in the process of gaining more wisdom, insight and experience in my life while trying to make sure I can laugh at myself when I do not understand, which is most of the time. I am thankful for the 25 years I have experienced so far, for what I am learning along the way and for the people around me I get to share it all with. The good, the bad and the WTH why didn’t anyone tell us this stuff.

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Finish Strong

In my job, I get the opportunity to work around high school students. High school is a time in life when you start learning a lot about life on your own. It’s where a lot of us learn about friendships, the first tastes of freedom, or when you had your first relationship. High school is a lot of firsts and those, depending on how you choose to handle them, are helping prepare you for what’s ahead.

While high school is a time of learning about yourself, friendships and relationships, I think the scariest part about all that is leaving it behind. It takes four years to build up a lot of what you have made yourself out to be as a student and young adult. Four years of making that team, quitting that club, getting through the breakups, gaining or losing friendships, and once you reach senior year you’re finally cruising at comfortable. Your friend group is the people who get you the most, you found a club you excel in, or you *finally* squeezed by with a passing grade in a class that was keeping you up at night. This is when you have that “I made it” feeling. It was a lot harder or maybe even easier than you thought it would be but you made it. However, just because you’re here doesn’t mean you start checking out. This is where you finish strong.

In my role at work, the students I tend to get to know the best are seniors. So I have spent the past two years in my job around students who spend most of the year I am friends with them thinking and talking about what is next. Our conversations are almost always surrounded with a theme of change. This is where their comfortability of what they have known for the past four years starts to shift to the unknown of what is to come next in their lives. Even though I am closer to my 10 year high school reunion than I am to the year I graduated high school, I remember this feeling well. Everyone is talking about what’s next. When I got to this point in my high school career I was so ready to move on. However, I was so anxious for a new chapter to start that I forgot to enjoy what was left of high school.

Whatever is next for you is just as important as finishing strong where you are right now. I am sure if your parents haven’t already told you, you will hear it soon- don’t wish this time away.

If you are a freshman, finish strong in how far you’ve gotten this year. A new school, harder classes and all the change that came with being a freshman probably made this year seem forever long. You’re almost done, you’re doing the dang thing. Finish strong.

Sophomores, you are so ready to be an upperclassmen. Or maybe you’re just hoping you get asked to prom. This has been a weird year for you, I know. You’re old enough to know what you’re doing around school but not old enough to drive. It seems like everything you want is so close but still out of reach. That car, that freedom, that upperclassmen status is all about to be a reality- finish strong. Don’t settle into the mindset of, “when I finally get _______, then I will be __________.” That’s a phrase filled with discontentment. What is coming next for you is so, so fun but don’t miss out on where you are right now while you’re busy wishing yourself out of the present. Also, talk to your mom or dad in the carpool line. I know they feel so completely lame and annoying but give them a break every now and again. They are tired and they deserve (at the very least) an audible, “good morning” from you.

To the juniors- this was my favorite year of high school for so many reasons you already know or are experiencing. It’s the first year you were able to drive to school and that really changed your life in so many ways, I get it. It’s the first time you’ll experience prom if you choose to go and please go to prom. Get dressed up, eat a fancy dinner, dance without the pressure of caring. Pro tip- no one looks back on prom and remembers how you danced. Nobody cares in 10 years is something you should all live by, especially when it comes to how you danced at prom. As a junior, you’re tasting a little bit of the freedom you have wished for for years. This is when things start to get comfortable. Finish strong here. And don’t wish away the curfew, I promise it is helping you more than hurting you.

Seniors. It is so easy to check out right here. I did. I checked out as soon as I received my acceptance letter to the only college I wanted to attend. I wished high school away so fast towards the end that I never really took the chance to realize how good the four years had been to me.

Finish this year strong, seniors. Go to the dances, to the games, to the hangouts, plan the spring break trip, visit one college, buy a yearbook, let your mom take way too many pictures of you in your cap and gown. Embrace these lasts so you can have that feeling of finishing well. Don’t look back on this year and the only memory you have is how much you wished it was over. Embrace whatever it is about who you are right now because it is preparing you for what’s next. Finish strong, finish proud, finish with joy. Whatever is next for you will come, but whatever you’re wishing away will never be here again. Don’t push this time away. On graduation day, hug your parents and say thank you. Let your mom put your face on a big cake to celebrate your graduation party and go dorm room shopping with you. I promise at this time next year you’ll be calling her for help more than you think. We never stop needing our moms.

We never know when a season of life will end (okay, high school is *hopefully* four years, I know that), we can only learn what it is like to be fully present in it. There is always something to learn about what’s in front of you. The lessons I learned about myself in high school I still carry into my adult life. The cycle never ends. Next is always coming. But don’t let the wishing of what is to come keep you from embracing where you are right now.

I hope you choose to look back on these years and at the very least be able to laugh at how you dressed because girl, that crop top is not going to be as cute when you’re 25.

Let me leave you with this. There’s a verse in Ecclesiastes that I reference a lot and it has to do with time. I don’t know the context around it but what it says is so simple and so good. This section in my Bible is titled, “A Time for Everything” and I love that. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….a time to plant and a time to uproot.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-2. Some of you are in a time of planting and some of you are beginning to uproot to move on and plant something new. Either way, this is your time. I hope you aren’t missing it.

 

 

My Farewell Letter To Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights is leaving Netflix and no one is okay with it. If you didn’t know this heartbreaking (not fake) news, then I am sorry you had to find out this way. *Moment of silence for those in mourning.*

Since we are all in this together, I feel like we can’t just let this happen and not acknowledge what FNL has meant to all of us. I am writing this letter to give the show, the football team, Dillon, Texas and Coach Taylor the farewell they all deserve.

Dear Friday Night Lights,

How are you doing? No, don’t answer that. I think we all know. And we are with you. As your streaming comes to a heartbreaking end, we (me) would like just say a few words and let you know what you meant to us over the years.

Dillon, Texas. The quaint, Texas town we all wish we lived in. The only parts we ever really saw of you were the flat drives from Coach’s house to Buddy Garrity’s Auto Dealership and the Alamo Freeze to Dillon High School. But, what you gave to us was even better. A team, a family and a small part of Texas we never knew we needed. Texas forever. *cue Explosions In The Sky theme song and tears.*

Riggins, thanks for your hair. Your loyalty to your family and Dillon, Texas. A lone survivor in so many ways. 

Jason Street, you really pushed through. No pun intended. QB1 continually showed us to never give up, no matter what happens in life. From becoming paralyzed, to selling cars and losing Lyla. You taught us what it looks like to be a good person. Even when your best friend steals ya girl.  

Smash, you son of a gun. I am a fan of you because I was a fan of your momma. She was a great lady. Thanks for all your humbling moments.  

Tami, Tami, Tami. Talk about GOALS. I think my dream job is still a high school guidance counselor because of you. You knew how to put Coach in his place, encourage and raise a family. You embodied the goals of a coach’s wife, friend and mom. Thanks for teaching us all how to get through the teams losses, celebrate well and how to put on a smiling face when you really don’t want to. You helped guide Tyra into college and helped me through five years of college. I’ll never be able to say thank you enough for all the times I procrastinated studying to spend quality time with you and your family. 

And how can we forget Buddy Garrity? Talk about loyal, that guy. Persistent as they come. You had to really watch the whole series to learn how to love Buddy through the times you really didn’t want to. Buddy showed us tried and true loyalty and what it meant to never give up on a team or a coach. He was always a #1 fan. We all need those kind of (wallets) people on our side and in our Booster Clubs. 

Coach Taylor. Where do I even start? This may be the hardest goodbye of them all. From the moment we virtually met, I knew you would hold a special place in my heart. So special that my mom has to remind me how fictional you are. But that’s okay. Although you are now a cop in Miami, your legacy still lives on in our hearts as Coach. The lessons you taught Matt Saracen and those players, you taught us as well. Perseverance, believing in ourselves, resiliency. I am not sure who loves you more, us (me) or Matt’s grandmother. She gets it. We can’t thank you enough for the locker room speeches, the family man you were, the kinda of coach you were. A true builder of men. There are not a lot like you, although Mark Richt and Dabo Swinney may be close behind. There will never be another Coach Taylor.

I know there are so many other people to shoutout. Landry/Lance, QB2, Tim’s brother, Tyra, Applebee’s, Lyla, Julie, and all the characters from Seasons 5 & 6. We don’t forget about you, we just are having a hard time processing the words to really let every single person know how we feel about this loss. You are our Texas forevers. 

So, I guess there is only one thing left to say. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts……

 

 

if there was a millennial olympics

You already know where this is going. Stay with me.

Since I am a part of the participation trophy generation, I believe there are every day millennial activities that could be successful in the form of a Hunger Games/Olympic-type situation. Think of this like curling, there will be a lot of confused adults watching athletes do the very least to try and win a medal. Just need to make sure there are enough medals for every participant. No millennial left behind.

Here are a few of the sports I came up with…

AVOCADO TOAST MAKING COMPETITION- It might seem like you’re “just putting mashed up fruit on a piece of bread” but IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT, MOM.

KEEPING THE SNAP STREAK ALIVE OVER THE TWO WEEK PERIOD- This requires so much determination, focus and commitment. Sending pictures of ceiling fans, cups of coffee, and unflattering selfies back and forth all day just so you can have the fire emoji next to a name. This can make or break friendships, or in this case countries teams. Underestimated sport by many, but if you know then you know.

GETTING YOUR MAKEUP TO LOOK JUST LIKE IT SHOULD AT THE END OF THE MAKEUP TUTORIAL- Honestly, shoutout to anyone who has ever accomplished this. A feat many of us will never know the satisfaction of having. We applaud you for your smokey eye not looking like scary Halloween makeup. This is truly a practice makes perfect sport. Not everyone is cut out for the amount of time, tears and failure that went into getting them this far in life.

ANY KIND OF GROUP EXERCISE CLASS- Millennials LOVE group exercise classes. Something about never doing anything alone and the brunch that is always promised afterwards. Finally, we can see some real sweat and tears in these games. By that I mean it’s just a hot yoga class every morning, the last sweaty person still in a headstand wins, or something like that. This is a co-ed activity. The guys are there because lululemon leggings and the girls are there because well…also, lululemon leggings.

INSTAGRAM LIVE OF YOU TEACHING YOUR PARENTS WHAT NEW WORDS/PHRASES MEAN (i.e. lit, bet, fye, living your best life, etc.)- This one is a lot like Winter Olympic sports, you’re frustrated because no one knows what anything is and you spend more time searching the meaning on Google than actually watching it.

So, that is just to name a few. I think I am on to something here. Tokyo 2020, watch out.

 

this is my twenties- trying to understand politics

This post is less about politics and more about how I have gone about trying to understand the complexity of our nation’s political climate during my young adult years.

I have always thought staying up to date with current events is an important part of growing up. I saw as my parents read the newspaper every morning, watched the nightly news and instilled in us the importance of voting once we turned 18.

My senior year of high school we were supposed to take a trip to Washington D.C. and considering my twin sister and four of our friends were the only ones who signed up for the trip, they cancelled it and I still haven’t been. I will forever hold this against the North Forsyth Class of 2010. In college, I majored in communications and multimedia journalism. All this to say, I genuinely enjoy keeping up with the news and politics as best I can and would 100% cry visiting our nation’s capital.

At the age of 25, I am really trying my best to keep up with what is happening in the political world, and I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems to be getting harder to understand the older I get and I feel like it should be the opposite. Maybe it is just the times we live in or I just need to try a little harder? Probably a little bit of both.

Here is the cycle of how I usually stay in the know these days: Presidential election season is happening, I care, I read and follow candidates on Twitter because how else am I supposed to get to know them? I watch the debates on TV and pretend like foreign policy is easy peezy stuff. Election day comes and I stand in the voting line feeling like more of a U.S. citizen than ever. I post a selfie with my “I voted” sticker so it counts, then I watch the fate of our nation unfold that night with the rest of America…while also constantly refreshing Twitter. Election night + Twitter = pure gold, my friends.

After election night, my interest usually lasts until about the 100 day mark. Up until then, I am listening to podcasts and NPR to help me understand what changes might happen under the new administration and try to understand how they would effect me. This is when I typically start to realize that this stuff is going to continue to change or stay unresolved for a while and I don’t know how much longer I can keep up. Once I start to understand one policy change it leaves the news cycle, moving on to the next headline as quickly as the last one came through.

By now, I am unfollowing political accounts on Twitter because I need a dang break from it all. I resort to watching any political show on Netflix to try and make sense of what actually happens, only to realize that at the end of every episode all the things are resolved. I might not understand tax reform, but I do know that there’s no way Olivia Pope is actually fixing all our nation’s issues and ending each night like me with a glass of wine and popcorn for dinner.

And you might be reading this shaking your head and thinking, “Oh boy, just another millennial we have to entrust our future to and all she does is talk about Twitter.” I will promise you this, if it will help you sleep better at night knowing that I will always strive to ask questions when I don’t understand. I will try my best to see views from both sides. I will read more than 140 character tweets and I will, one day, visit Washington D.C..

This is my twenties. Trying my best to do the adult things such as keeping up with current political issues and topics. But please, for the sake of my sanity, do not try and make me understand how the stock market works.

this is my twenties.

‘Sup everybody…

Am I allowed to start a post off saying, “Sup”? Probably not, but this isn’t the New York Times so I think it is fine.

I turned 25 last year and realized I am halfway done with this decade of my life (very good with numbers, obviously). Your twenties are a rollercoaster, man. People might give you a heads up about how much your life will change during this decade, but no one is telling you how it will make you FEEL. Spoiler alert, you feel like you have literally no idea what you’re doing. But I don’t think any of us do. AM I RIGHT? Please tell me I am kinda right. Winging it is how I assume we all go through life and mask it by telling people we are “living our best life” but really we just bought frozen pizza for dinner at Rite Aid using all quarters. Shoutout to college me! You go girl.

I feel like I have hit that sweet spot at 25 where I can look back at this point in my life and know how that one experience affected me, or how that particular relationship grew me. Our twenties are filled with growing up, being on our own, and figuring it out for ourselves. That is our twenties. And our thirties and every decade after that, probably. Some of these years are, all jokes aside, hard as hell. Everyone told us we would have to grow up sometime, but no one tells you how.

Shoot. That got deep real fast, Nicole.

On a lighter note, we also brush up against things that are unexpectedly the best parts of our lives, and we will eventually be able to look back and have the experiences from this time to thank for those. The forever friends you met, when you learned how to cook not using a microwave..still working on that one, the trips you were able to take because you don’t have kids yet, or the trips you can take because you’re single and DON’T NEED NO MAN/WOMAN. It’s all about perspective, really.

I do feel like I have grown up a little and learned a few things along the way- like how to not buy a house, why music festivals aren’t as cool as they seem on Instagram, and that the only way I really afford new clothes is a result of how much Plato’s Closet will pay me for my old ones, which is enough to buy half a headband from lululemon, apparently.

I wanna share these experiences with you. These are my perspectives. These are my twenties. I hope you find yourself unexpectedly enjoying them as much as I do.

Sincerely,

Someone who will never know how to properly sign off here. Do I say “XO”? Ew, I hate that. Do I sign my name? No, this isn’t a cover letter. I don’t know. Byyyyyye buddy.

we need the listeners too.

It is an understatement to say that we live in a world where we all feel strongly (very strongly) about the climate of our nation. It’s also an understatement to say that there is just a lot going on. That’s how I feel. There is always so much going on. All news is breaking news, it seems like.

Social media is a blessing and a curse when it comes to breaking social and political issues right now. It really is amazing to live in a time where we have these platforms to freely express our opinions. We have taken freedom of speech to a new, engaging level.

And while some people feel the need to speak out on their views, beliefs and opinions, there is also another crowd of us. One that isn’t as outspoken, but is still here. The listeners. At least, that’s where I am and maybe it’s just a party of one. This probably makes sense because I am a processor. I might not know exactly where I stand on gun rights, complex social and political issues, standing vs. kneeling, or our president but I am still here listening, reading and processing trying my best to understand it.

I think we need the listeners just as much as we need the people brave enough to speak up. We listen, read and process, we ask good questions, and are quietly curious.

I skim through articles, listen to podcasts and messages to try and expand my view on what’s going on in the world and that’s just where I would like to stay, for now. However, sometimes it is too much. For example, I just temporarily unfollowed all political accounts on Twitter because I just needed some silence, some time to filter through the noise. In the 24-hour news cycle that constantly updates our feeds, I felt the need to step away and listen to something else for a while. Which means now I just see a lot of college football updates, but as a UGA fan that could always go wrong.

As a millennial, I really do look up to those of us who feel so strongly about our generation standing up for what we believe in. We can be discounted for a lot of things, but speaking up is not something we lack in. Our voice in this world matters and so does our posture. I pray that when we do speak up, it comes from a place of love and grace. We have so much to learn from those ahead of us and those being raised after us. We will always need the courageous outspoken, just as much as we need someone to listen. My hope is that I am and we are always listening well to both sides with a posture of love, grace and humility.