The 5 Guys You Date After A Break-Up

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Breakups come in all sorts of forms, the blindside breakup, the ultimatum breakup, the love-does-not-conquer-all breakup, the “mutual” breakup — the list goes on. No matter which type of breakup you endure, it takes some time to bounce back. After a breakup, all you truly want is to feel normal again. You’ll do just about anything to see some semblance of your old self. To bring yourself back to life, you’ll probably think about rebounding back into the dating game. You know, the ol’ “Get yourself back out there!” tactic. Well, from someone who has recently tried this method, here are my findings. Here are the five guys you’ll date after a breakup…

1. The guy you’ll almost go out with

This date happens pretty quickly after the breakup. Most likely this will be a guy who you’ll be set up with by a friend. Your friends care about you and want you to get back out there. They’ll look at you and only see a sad, three-legged-dog that no one wanted to make a “forever home” with. They won’t know how to make you feel better so they’ll assume that dating is the only magical trick that will fix everything. They’ll have plenty of ideas of how to do this, but my personal favorite is the meddling-where-they-don’t-belong-set-up. You’ll hear things like, “Oh, you just need to get back out there!” or “I know the grrrreatest guy, you’ll definitely hit it off!”

Fortunately for them, right around now you’ll do just about anything to get out of your own head for a bit. You’ll also appreciate a reason to escape your bedroom that you’ve been hibernating in for the past week or so. You’ll be desperate to wake up from your Netflix-coma. You’ll agree to the date.

The day of the date will arrive and you’ll be a wreck. You’ve forgotten what first-date jitters felt like. You’ll start getting ready and realize you have nothing to wear. You’ll be frozen, staring at your closet only remembering what you wore on your last first date. The first date that you thought was going to be your last first date ever. You’ll fall into a cloud of bittersweet memories. You’ll want to cancel right then and there. You’ll text a friend and they’ll talk you off the ledge. You’ll find something to wear; you don’t love it but whatever. You’ll be ready a half-hour early. You’ll be nervous.

Then, you see him pull up. His car comes to a stop and he gets out. He has flowers. (Cue the “awes”). You’ll meet him at the door and engage in an awkward handshake/hug. You’ll size him up – cute guy, not bad. He smells nice too. You’ll get in the car and realize that you can’t do this. You just physically can’t go through with the date. He’ll start talking about something, something so normal, asking you about your favorite food or movie, and you’ll be on a different planet. He’ll turn off your street and start heading to dinner. You’ll realize more and more that you can’t go. It’s not that he’s repulsive or you’re completely turned off by the situation… You’re just not ready.

You’re not ready. You’re not ready to get to know another person. You’re simply exhausted and you don’t have it in you to learn what type of music he likes or how many siblings he has. Then you’ll do something terrible – you’ll fake an emergency to get out of the date. You’ll have a friend call your phone and you’ll answer and act like a huge emergency is happening. You’ll be extremely vague. Your friend on the phone will say, “You owe me big time,” as you hang up. He’ll be sensitive and caring and he’ll understand that you need to be taken home immediately. He’ll drop you off and you’ll tell him that you’ll call.

You’ll go into your house, feeling relief and also feeling awful. You’ll feel bad, not only because he was a great guy that you legitimately ditched within 3 minutes of the date — but you’ll also feel awful because you just want to feel normal again. You just want to get back to yourself. You’ll sit on the couch, still in your coat, with your purse strapped to you. You’ll be in hazy, cloud of fog, wondering if it will ever get easier. You’ll curse yourself because you’re now convinced you’ll have the worst dating karma in the world because you “fake emergency-d” this guy. You’ll think of texting him, apologizing, and asking for another shot. You’ll get your phone out to text him, but you won’t. You won’t because you know, deep down, you’re not ready and it’s not fair to him. It’s not fair for him to be kept on the hook, kept as a place keeper.

You’ll wash your face and close the drapes. You’ll hop into bed and cue up an extra sappy episode of Grey’s Anatomy. You’ll text your friend and they’ll sympathize with you, but you know that they want to scream, “What are you waiting for!? Get back out there!” You’ll doze off to sleep, hoping to dream of anything but the person you’re trying so desperately to forget.


2. The guy who’s playing the field 


A few weeks later, you’ll meet someone else. This guy will be elusive and interesting. He’ll keep you guessing and you’ll like the mystery he provides. Unexpectedly, only a few days after you met, he’ll ask you to grab a drink. You’ll think, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?

On the drive there, you’ll check your make-up in the car and text your roommate to ask if she’s still positive your outfit was a good choice. You’ll park and wait a bit. You wait just enough so he’s the first one there and you don’t have to nervously pick a table and wait. You’ll walk the few blocks to the bar and check your reflection in every window. You’ll get to the bar and see that he’s at a quiet booth in the corner. You sit down and order a beer. The conversation is easy and you even forget to send your friend the “I’m alive” text that you’ve concocted to alert friends when you meet up with people you barely know.

You’ll notice that you’re actually listening to what he has to say. You’re asking questions and caring about what the answers are. It will be a surreal moment, for a split second you feel like you’re watching yourself. Look at you! You’re on a date and you’re enjoying yourself! Holla!

Before you know it, the date will be winding down, the bar will be closing, and you’ll find yourself outside on the sidewalk with this new guy. You’ll both say you had a great time and he’ll walk you to your car. He won’t kiss you, but you aren’t ready for that anyway. You’ll end up doing the whole hug-hide-your-face-thing when it looked like a kiss was about to happen.

You’ll get home and see yourself a bit differently in the mirror. You’ll see someone who can go out on a date — the whole date. Things won’t work out with this guy though; he’s not your knight in shining armor. He’ll text you here and there, but he doesn’t want more than just something casual. Which is probably the best for you right now anyway. You won’t care too much that he’s not “the one”. Because really, the best part has already happened. It’ll happen when you go to sleep that night. For the first night in a long time, you’ll be thinking of someone else. It’ll feel amazing to be worried about another guy. It’ll feel liberating to wonder about someone new. It will feel refreshing. It will feel good. So, while it may seem like nothing came from this date, in actuality, everything came from it. You’ll be back. You’ll be ready to date again. You’ll be thinking of the possibility of something new. And that’s all you really needed, possibility.


3. The guy who’s completely wrong for you


The next guy will be a breath of fresh air. He’ll be so different from you that you’ll be intrigued. He’ll be a cute, nerdy, engineer-y type guy, when you’ve always dated the preppy, athletic ones. You’ll think, well maybe this has been the problem all along — you’ve only dated people too similar to yourself. You’ll listen to his stories and begin to recognize his adorable quirks.

About halfway through the date, he’ll be talking about some work thing and you’ll realize you haven’t heard a word he’s said. It’s not that he’s uninteresting; he’s just uninteresting to you. Not even boring really, you just don’t have anything in common. He doesn’t spend much time with his family, while your family is your rock. He’s not into sports, while March Madness is, in your opinion, one of the greatest times of the year. He doesn’t like trashy reality TV (not that many guys do) but he also doesn’t get as pumped about pizza as you do — um, hello? Who doesn’t love pizza?

However, he will have his strengths, he’ll be a great listener and he’ll be able to make you laugh – something you’ve been missing for a while. You’ll begin to realize he could be a great friend. You’ll then realize that at some point, other guys that you’ve been out with in the past probably made the same call about you. In your head, you’ll begin to pick out people who would be thrilled to be on a date with this guy. Someone who also has a passion for craft beer and the sciences. Someone who would love to be out with this great guy. It’s just not you.


4. The guy who’s perfect


The next guy will be amazing. He’ll be attractive, have a stable job, be looking for something serious, yada yada. He’ll have all of his ducks in a row and you’ll think you’ve found the Holy Grail. But just like they say, things that seem too good to be true… usually are.

The date will go smoothly. He’ll say all the right things and you’ll swoon at all the right moments. He’ll surprise you by being extremely straightforward about his feelings and he’ll explain how he really sees a potential future with you. You’ll sigh a breath of relief because maybe for once, just once, you won’t have to play the whole, “Does he really like me?” game.

You’ll walk out to the car and he’ll grab for your hand. He’ll kiss you goodnight. It will be a nice kiss — a kiss that is nice, but you don’t feel much behind it. You’ll question the kiss the whole way home. You’ll wonder if you’re holding yourself back. You’ll wonder if maybe you’re sabotaging your own happiness. So, you’ll brush off the ‘meh’-ness of the kiss and continue to talk to this guy — hoping that you’ll feel something more. Unfortunately, nothing changes. You’ll want to fall for this guy. You’ll want that so badly.

There’s just something missing. You can’t put your finger on it, but you feel the empty space. You keep talking to him, hoping that the lacking connection will miraculously show up. Then one day it will stop, you won’t keep talking to him or trying to figure out your indifference. The missing puzzle piece is chemistry. If the spark isn’t there, even the most appealing person on paper won’t make your heart skip a beat. At the end of the day, that’s all you’re after — someone who makes your cardiac muscle go pitter-patter.


5. The guy who makes it all worth it


… stay tuned.

Go Hug Your Parents

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I was never one of those girls in junior high or high school who was best friends with her mom. I was, for the lack of a better term, a quintessential teenager who was mortified to even be seen with my parents. I was totally the:

“Please, dear God, drop me off around the block. YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING, DAD… UGHHH” (Wasn’t I a peach?)

I never understood how these other girls in my grade were always hanging out with THEIR MOM. Really, you’re going to the mall with your mom? No thanks. I’ll do that twice a year, once for the dreaded back-to-school spree and maybe again when I need some new gym tennies.

My mom would tell me stories of her friends who had daughters older than me:

“One day, you’ll just hit a point and realize that I’m not crazy.”

Yeah, OKAY mom. Ugh, could you please close my door on your way OUT? (Again, ‘daughter-of-the-year’ quality here)

Well, like most of you have probably realized, in some frightening dimension of the universe, our parents were right… about basically everything. I can almost pinpoint an exact time in which I woke up from the cloud that was my indifference towards my parents.

It was sometime during college. I don’t remember why or how exactly, but I just began to see my parents a little differently. Aside from the fact I realized that I was extremely lucky to have two parents who loved me unconditionally and really didn’t screw me up in the head too much, I began to see my college friends and work acquaintances who had suffered from receiving the short end of the stick on the parent tree.

These other parents put extreme pressures on their kids to succeed, or their body image, or even brought their own petty dramas down onto their children, etc. Making a comparison, I was SO lucky. What was I so bent out of shape about? Growing up with these knuckleheads, I had two loving parents who stood beside me my whole life with unwavering support. Slowly but surely I began to not only respect my parents but also appreciate them.

Now, I can’t imagine my parents playing in the chorus of the big, dramatic play that is my life – they are leading cast members. My parents became the main people I could count on in my life. Chances are, the troubles I have or the stresses I face, they’ve been there before. I can’t think of a better person who you’d want to get advice from than those who simply will always want the best for you. Now when I’m broken hearted (yet again) I click “Home” on the speed dial. Or when an amazing job opportunity comes my way I can’t decide who to email first, Mom or Dad?! (Or just send it to the email address that they still share – aren’t they adorable?)

It turns out they were right all along about how I’d finally come around. Also turns out, they are right about everything else. They were right about the little things like, making sure to eat your vegetables, how to check out the sales rack first, that there is a Bob Seger song that fits any situation you’re going through, and to say “please and thank-you”.

And they were right about the big things like money and savings, that heartbreaks will eventually pass, how sometimes change can be good, how my sister would become one of my most trusted friends, and that time does heal all. Before the tune, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger,” starts in, I’ll confess, I do look back and regret how much time I wasted fighting against the current. But I probably wouldn’t appreciate them as much as I do now…

Now, if you’re feeling similar to what I’ve been blabbing on about, go thank your parents! Do it now. We always hear parents saying, “My kids are the best thing I ever did.” Go thank them for doing that! These people, these amazing people who created you out of nothing are the two most enthusiastic cheerleaders you are ever going to have. Relish in this. Feel lucky, feel extremely lucky. Go give your mom and dad a hug.

A Tale Of Two Headaches: Dating & Job Hunting

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When I was a little girl, I had a vision of what my dating life would be like once I got older. I would be swept off my feet, ride off into the sunset, happily ever after, etc. etc. As you may have already guessed, this hasn’t happened. (For future reference: I don’t really want to ride off into the sunset. Preferably, I’d rather sit back, drink in hand, and watch a sunset. “Riding off” sounds exhausting).

I’ve also had a vision of what my working life would be like. I’d go to college, study hard, have fun, graduate, and get a job.

Bing – Bang – Boom.

This also hasn’t exactly happened. I have been fortunate to be employed and I don’t want to downplay how grateful I am for my job – – However, I am continuously looking for a career – – A career where I can fully immerse myself in a company and see growth, potential, and a future.

So, while I’ve been on both the dating and job hunt – – I’ve noticed how similar the two are.

1. Seeking “The One”

Whether it be searching for a job or a partner-in-crime, most everyone is looking for “The One”. I don’t know many people who are like, “Well, I’d rather date some crappy people for awhile,” or “Sure, I’d like a job where I see absolutely no future and I’m not using any of the expensive college degree I have.” Most people are looking for “The One”.

2. White Lies

If you are applying for a job or getting to know someone that you may want to pursue romantically, we all know there are little white lies that are presented. You fudge the truth, but only slightly. BECAUSE – – If this escalates (the job or lover) you know that they’ll eventually check your references. So, I suggest not explaining you had a two-year internship at Google when you actually worked at your Dad’s law firm, filing and flirting with the UPS guy. Or explaining how much of a family oriented person you are, when in fact you haven’t made it home for Christmas in three years. Here, honesty is truly the best policy.

3. Networking

Of course, you’ll hope to be set up by a friend but you’ll most likely end up turning to online dating. Just like you’ll hope to network your way to the top, but have to turn to Monster.com at some point. (Sigh).

4. Interviewing vs. Dating

If you get past the initial screening, you have made it to the interview/first date portion. Interviews and dates have more in common than you’d think.

There are always lots of smiles, combined with nerves. A great amount of thought put into outfit selection – – nothing too over-the-top, but nothing too frumpy either. The Q&A portion, where you try not to bring up anything too serious too soon and you’re of course very anxious to see how it ends.

5. Full Circle

At first, you’re super picky. Nothing will do. “Oh please, I went to college and got my MBA – – that job is so below me” or “Right, like I’d go out with a guy who lives in his parent’s basement”.

Then you’ll take anything you can get. Anything and everything. “Well, it can’t be thaaaaat bad, right?” or “Yeah, so? It was white collar crime! He’s a nice guy!”

Then you’ll wake up. You’ll become picky again. “What THE HELL was I thinking??”

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

6. The Aftermath

Here, you’ll now wait by the phone. Anxious to hear from Mr./Mrs. Right and or the HR Recruiter of your dreams.

The “One That Got Away”: Job hunters, daters, and, well, serial killers have this.

Unrequited love: Ah, the worst. Nothing stings like rejections. It hurts, burns, leaves a scar, and takes time to get over. But you have to bounce back. You’re resilient, you can do it! Remember, you can’t control the process, only your reaction. Try not to take rejection personally. (If you figure out how to not take it personally, would you please let me know?)

Going your separate ways: You and your past employer or significant other may have just lost that “loving feeling”. Now it’s gone, gone, goneeeee – – and you have to go on.

At the end of the day, to find your best match, whether it be a job or a future companion you have to know what you want. You have to find that perfect mixture of being open and also selective to opportunities both romantically and within the business world. There will be days when you are constantly second (or triple) guessing which aspects of yourself or your resume to highlight. What will make me stand out? What are they looking for? Who the hell knows…

The most important piece I will leave you with is this…

Give it time. We must try to understand that the job/love search can’t be a one-night-stand or even a summer fling. The process is probably going to take upwards of several months (or more – possibly much, much more) to find something worthy of you

You will get your heartbroken, at least once. Losing a job prospect, not getting a phone call after a great date – – These things will happen. There’s nothing worse than a follow-up email that features the word “unfortunately” or a text message that reads, “I think we’re looking for different things”. My advice is to have a good support network.

Actually, have an amazing support network. With that, you’ll be able to face anything.

What to Expect When You Tell Your Single Friends You’re Expecting

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The twenties are full of many milestones. Milestones like graduations, internships, job offers, engagements, home ownership, weddings, marriages, and babies. These life-changing moments are much more than Facebook status updates or Instagram photos and these momentous events come at different times for everybody.

I’m thoroughly enjoying my twenties and this year I turned 26 (an age of which I keep referring to as, “the wrong side of 25”). I’ve begun to realize that while I have hit some of the above-mentioned milestones, others… well, not so quite. While some of these milestones like engagements and marriages are not on my radar right now (or really in any radius of personal thought) my friends are hitting all of the milestones – – and in perfect succession might I add. And while I am really, truly happy for my friends, I can’t help but have some sort of other feelings about it. Boy do I have some feelings about it. This is normal. Right?

I can’t be the only person in the world that has feelings other than complete and utter happiness when their friends tell them they are expecting. I handled the engagements well. I handled the marriages even better (helped throw bridal showers, stood beside the most beautiful brides as they married their best friend, and partied like it was 1999 at many a reception) – Did I just make a Prince reference? Good grief.

Moving on.

Back to what I was saying, I haven’t really been affected by seeing, watching, and participating in others hitting these milestones. However, the one that has somewhat “culture shocked” me is news of friends now having children. Gone are the days when these friends were terrified of asking their mom’s to be put on birth control, or the early morning emergency calls requesting to run out and get Plan B for them, or the glorious text messages letting me know that Aunt Flow made her monthly visit, even if she was a few weeks late and scared the shit out of everyone.

I’ve just begun adjusting to the idea that my friends are planning and trying to get pregnant. I haven’t had enough time to get ready for these plans to turn into reality and these realities to turn into sonograms and these sonograms to turn into real, live, babies. Hasn’t anyone thought about me? Am I the only one that feels like the kid who isn’t tall enough to ride the roller coaster? All my friends are running through the gate while I’m begging my mom to measure me again, “I have to be 52’’ tall, mommmm!”.

Now, now. I know how this sounds. It sounds incredibly childish, selfish (well, basically any word ending with “ish” that means: terrible person). I’m very cognizant of how this sounds. Oh, I’m very, very aware of how this sounds. This is why I (and I assume most single/childless people) have learned to hold these thoughts inside and hide how we really feel.

So this is why I am writing this. Here are the five thoughts that immediately go through your single friend’s heads when you annouce you’re expecting:

1. “Oh god, not another one!”

Jesus. They are dropping like flies. (Is there something wrong with me?)

2. “What about me?”

So, now that you are going to have this baby. Sorry, I’ll stop referring to it as “this baby”. Crap, I’ll also stop referring to it as “it”. Crap. Anyway, back to what I was saying. Now that you’re having a baby, where do I fit into your life? After you got married we adjusted to having our “girls night” every once in awhile. And these are sporadic – at best. Now that you have a family, where do I fit in? Ugh, I hate when I do this – – make it about me. But really, what about me?

3. “Are we going drift apart?”

Please don’t think that I don’t want to hear about everything. I may not be at the same stage you are (or even close to that stage) but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear all the details. All the details. I want to hear about the morning sickness, the name picking challenges, all the body changes (even if they’re gross), etc. I want to hear it all. I want to remain close to you and to remain close to you is to hear about your life. This pregnancy is your life. And believe me, I still want to share my life with you – – even if my stories are all about my disorganized, shambles of a life.

4. “Are you sure we aren’t going to drift apart?”

Make sure to reassure me that there’s still some room for me. I know, I’m one selfish asshole.

5. “Please don’t think I have an “empty” life and I won’t think your “life is over”…”

While we are both encountering and tackling extremely different life milestones, I promise to never belittle your choices. Promise you won’t belittle mine. While yours is going to include diaper changes and play dates, mine is still going to include happy hours and bad dates. One of these is not greater than the other. While you’re bringing life into the world – let me repeat that – while you’re BRINGING LIFE INTO THE WORLD (holy cow, that’s impressive) I’m still going to be sifting through losers trying to find “the one” and still deflecting any and all inquisitions from family members about my life and relationship status.

We are both going to need each other.

We are going to need each other so badly.

 

 

 

Six Things We Need To (…Attempt to) Stop Doing

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1. Thinking The Grass Is Greener: One day, you’re just surfing good ol’ Facebook, minding your own business, and the next thing you know… It’s been two hours and you’ve stalked everyone who was in your middle school earth science class. You then come to the conclusion: What the fuck am I doing with my life?! How much easier was it when social media didn’t exist to constantly remind us of how “we’re doing”? Pictures of graduation ceremonies, engagements, house hunting, ultrasounds, etc. etc. It’s easy to think that you’d be happier if you lived somewhere else, or had a better job, or earned more money, or were in a relationship.

These are really nice lies we tell ourselves – – but they just distract us from fixing the actual problems we have with our situations. Don’t buy into this delusion; the grass isn’t always greener.

2. Posting Everything: Speaking of Facebook, can we all just sign an imaginary agreement that we will stop posting every, single thing we are doing at every moment of every day. This isn’t going to be easy, let’s just really try and work on it together.

3. Dating Someone & You Know It Won’t Work Out: Ah, this one. We really need to stop this. Whether we tend to ignore the important signs pointing to why one should walk away or that we tend to keep someone “on the hook” just to… keep someone “on the hook”, let’s snap out of it!

Ignoring the important signs: C’mon, we’re better than this. Let’s end this – – Immediately. Red Flags: They avoid meeting your friends/family. Your friends/family don’t like them. They don’t make any sacrifices. They’re too controlling. The “What are we?” conversation fails, miserably – – Multiple times. The attraction is “meh”. They violated your trust. It’s hard to have great conversations with them. They don’t make you laugh. Your gut is telling you that this just isn’t the person for you. Ultimately, avoiding these obvious signs can lead to some major, unnecessary heartache.

“On The Hook”: This euphemism for keeping someone around until someone better comes along NEEDS to stop. I’m definitely not free of guilt on this one and I’ve also definitely been stuck on someone else’s hook. Nothing about this situation is fun. It doesn’t feel very good to be dragged along by someone who “likes” you just enough to keep you around but not enough to fully commit. And on the other side, it’s not fair to keep someone on your hook just because it may feel good, or you’re lonely, or you’re “in between relationships”, or whatever. The hook is worse than the friend zone. At least when you’re in the friend zone, you know where you stand – – You may not necessarily be where you want to be, but at least you’re swimming around in a giant ocean full of other fish that may actually be interested in you. But when you’re on the hook – – You’re harnessed in, dragging behind the boat’s propeller, water splashing in your face, holding on for dear life – – Pretty much torture. Everything about the hook sucks. Let’s get rid of it.

4. Stop agreeing to do things that you know you’ll never actually do: I am terrible at this one. Like, super terrible. I don’t know how many times I run into old friends and leave the conversation with, “Yes, totally! We HAVE to get together soon, I’ll call you!” And I rarely do. It’s not because I don’t care about this person or value their friendship. It’s just life gets busy! Right? Ugh. Maybe I am terrible. This needs to stop.

I refuse to be labeled a “flake” and you should too! Believe me, people will notice when you don’t follow through. The problem here doesn’t lie in the fact that you need to do everything, every time someone asks – – You need to stop just automatically saying YES. It’s okay to just be honest. If you have no intention, what so ever, of follow through… JUST SAY NO.

5. Stop seeking approval! Approach life, situations, people, etc., with the belief that you’re awesome. It’s completely normal to want the people around you to like you. But it becomes a big problem when almost all of your time, energy, and behavior toward certain people are designed to constantly reassure you of their approval – – Breathe easy, you are awesome.

6. Wondering When Your Life Is Going To “Begin” I’ve talked about this before… How it seems to become increasingly more difficult year-by-year to figure out what I’m doing with my life. I always thought this was supposed to get easier as I got older. One day I would just hit a magic day and a little man dressed like Mr. Peanut would come out with confetti and say, “Congratulations, you’ve made it!”

This hasn’t happened yet.

And maybe we need to stop wondering when this is going to happen… and maybe even stop thinking it will happen.

Why do I feel like this? Does everyone feel like this? Am I literally crazy? I think the reason why most twentysomethings are so fixated on age is because we feel some sort of pressure to be a certain way at 21, or 25, or 28, or 30, etc. These ages all represent invisible deadlines that we have given ourselves regarding careers, love, family, etc. “I can’t get drunk and throw up anymore, I’m 25!” “I need to be in a serious relationship by 27.” “I need to have a baby by 30.”

We put all of this pressure on ourselves which results in a whole lotta’ guilt for essentially just acting our age. Movies, TV, magazines, friends, teachers, and parents have all made us obsessed with the idea of being domesticated and having our shit together. It makes me sad to think that we are always so caught up in this stuff that we miss out on the other stuff. Other stuff = Our actual youth. By being so focused on doing everything THE RIGHT WAY, we are skipping out on doing things in the wrong way. Which could end up being the best way of all.

***If you can tell me how to actually stick with any of these, please message me 😉

The 5 Friends Every Twenty-Something Needs

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Being a twenty-something these days is exhausting. We’re constantly pulled in a thousand directions – – “Be mature!” “Get a real job!” “But you’re so young!” “At your age I was already married with two kids!” “These are the best years of your life!” First, would someone please take a poll of society so we can finally agree on a common age that is, in fact, “The Best Years Of Your Life”? That would be much appreciated. Secondly, I’ve composed the following list of 5 friends that I believe every twenty-something needs – – To ensure survival of the twenty-something years.

The DeLorean: This friend encompasses your past, present, and you know they hold a place in your future.  While this friend holds a lot of stock in your friendship market, they are probably not a reoccurring character in your current, daily life. Hell, this friend is probably not around a lot. This isn’t because they don’t care or you don’t care – – There is just some space. This space can be literal proximity (moved for school, job, new direction, etc.) or the space can be that you both have just grown apart.

Growing apart from friends is always difficult because 99% of the time there isn’t rhyme or reason. The drifting begins and you try to keep up the friendship because the investment is there and you’re a smart cookie – – You know you can’t just walk away from a long-term investment.

So, you don’t walk away… completely. The DeLorean and you keep the friendship afloat by allowing one another to change. This friendship still works because you have both allowed one another to evolve into new people – – You allowed one another to grow up and in turn, grow apart.

The DeLorean may not be around for your daily new stories – – The fight you got into with your sister, the horrible date you couldn’t escape, or that celebration for the promotion you finally received. While they won’t be there for those moments, they were there for the past. They will always hold a special place within your heart/soul/memories because they know you. They know every scar, every wound (both visible and emotional). There’s not many people who can identify the scar above your left eyebrow that you hit on the nightstand when you fell out of bed on Father’s Day 1996. There’s also not many people who know exactly how often you lip synched to Britney Spear’s …Baby, One More Time with a hairbrush. And there’s definitely not many people who helped you compose the most beautiful poem for your waiter at Steak N’ Shake, circa junior year.

The DeLorean will always hold a very special place on your friend roster and while they’re in and out of your life a lot, you’ll always be able to count on them to transport you back to simpler times and memories you never want to forget.

The Magic Eight Ball: This is a special type of friend. The Magic Eight Ball (M8B) is the friend you can talk to about anything. They not only give the best advice, but they listen completely. The conversation is unhindered because no one is trying to “one up” the other or interject with opinions. You’re probably wondering why I call this friend the M8B… let me explain.

The M8B doesn’t care if you want to talk about the same story over and over again. You all know what I’m talking about. That one story that’s even starting to annoy you as you start from the top for the 99th time. But the M8B knows that for whatever reason, you need to talk about it – – Again. The M8B will dissect a break-up over and over (and over) again until you feel better about it. Then, when you feel worse about it again – – They’ll buckle up for the repeat.

After they patiently listen, the M8B also carefully dolls out advice. This advice is most likely paired with the ever-so-popular terms, “It is certain”, “Without a doubt”, or “You may rely on it”. The M8B can also be counted on to cut the bullshit with, “Don’t count on it”, “My reply is no”, or the pleasant, “My sources say no”. Yes, it might sting – – But its better than those super-annoying, middle-of-the-road, “Reply hazy, try again”, or  “Cannot predict now”. Well, why the fuck would I ask you if you can’t “predict” now, M8B?!

The Energizer Bunny: Oh, this friend. This friend is amazing. Amazing, yet exhausting. You can’t figure out how they can go, go, go, go, go, and never seem to tire. You can’t figure out how they still have the energy and stamina of a college freshman while you’ve transferred to the common, yet more sedentary lifestyle of a twenty-five-year-old.

The Energizer Bunny (EB) is the friend that drags you off the couch and out on the town. They insist you have time to grab a drink after work. They are insatiable and extremely persuasive. The EB is the only friend that is able to convince you to go out, even after you’ve put your hair up and PJ’s on for the evening. The EB is also the friend that wants to stay out and close down the bar. While you’re probably not familiar with the harsh lights of a 2am last call, the EB is making their last cycle around the bar, and bidding adieu to their favorite waitresses.

The EB seems to be living in a frozen undergrad moment. It’s hard to be on the same page as an EB sometimes because you have different priorities. You probably want to shake your EB sometimes and be like, “HOW ARE YOU NOT STRESSED OUT ABOUT THIS??” “HOW ARE YOU NOT WORRIED?!” The EB’s always seem so carefree. It’s not only hard to wrap your mind around but it’s also pretty fucking frustrating. The EB can be frustrating because you don’t understand why they won’t just grow up, too. Why can’t they be tired, too? Why can’t they understand that you can’t just book a vacation for next week because you’re saving for a down payment? (Down payment on what? Who the hell knows, but you’re saving for something.) Why can’t they understand that you don’t go out to 1am on weekdays anymore because you’re responsible?

While the EB will push you to your breaking point more than once, you hold your tongue because you know the EB will get their shit together… eventually. We all change and grow at different paces and the EB will get there at some point… right? And even if they take forever or never get there, who cares?

The best part of the EB is they help you step outside of your comfort zone. They help you remember how to have fun. The EB makes you feel young again. The EB reminds you that sometimes it’s okay to stumble home at 3am on a Tuesday night, after karaoke-ing The Counting Crows greatest hits, and eating greasy, bar pizza.

The Clock: The opposite of the EB. This is the yang to the EB’s yin. This is the mature friend. This is the friend who has all of their shit together – – Probably detailed in a very organized planner. You met this friend in school or from work. You can always count on this friend for anything. You can count on this friend to always do the right thing. You can also count on them to get jobs, get married, and have babies.

The Clock is a great friend. However, The Clock is someone who is always there to remind you of that one really, really, super, annoying thing – – Time. While you’re still trying to map out a “career path” (if that term even exists?) and find a significant other that you can stand for more than four weeks (four weeks sounds longer than one month, right?) The Clock just landed their dream position at Google and got engaged at the top of the Eiffel Tower last weekend. While you think the Eiffel Tower is a little cheesy, you still can’t help but feel a bit behind while all these amazing-life-altering things seem to be happening to The Clock.

You love The Clock and wish him/her all the best, but this goddamn Clock is beginning to make you feel behind the curve. You’ve had to adjust to the fact that people your age actually want to get pregnant and these beautiful children aren’t just “happy surprises” anymore. You’ve also had to practice your facial expression(s) so that when The Clock tells you that she isn’t taking her birth control anymore, your face that would normally say, “HOLY HELL, WHY?!” now looks more like, “YAY, SUCH A GREAT IDEA!”.

I’m not trying to degrade The Clocks out there – – I love my Clocks! The Clocks make the world go round (no pun intended). The Clocks are needed to balance out the EB’s and the other stragglers, like myself. I look up to The Clocks and part of me wishes I was more like a Clock. I wish I had more of a plan – – I wish I had more direction. I would love to embody the beauty that seems to exude from the stability, and calmness of a Clock. My Clocks are some of the greatest friends I have and I know I can count on them for the rest of my life.

The Rock: This person is your person. Out of anyone at anytime in anyplace this is the person you want by your side. The Rock can read your mind and know what you’re thinking even before you know what you’re thinking. For example, you and The Rock aren’t allowed to be on the same team at Game Night when Taboo comes into play – –  “It’s not fairrrrr,” say the whiners, “They know what the other is thinking, ughhh,” they’ll plead as they beg that you’re split onto opposite teams.

You can be your complete self with The Rock. Conversations with The Rock can start with discussing your biggest fears, then in the same thought, you can also admit to actually liking the band Nickelback. The Rock will go to parties or get-togethers that they know they’ll hate, just because you asked and know you’ll need reinforcement. They’re the friends that have been there when your family awkwardly fights in front of them and they’ve actually come back. The Rock is pretty much a member of your family. You can go some time without talking and nothing really changes. You know that annoying saying, “Friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but you know they’re there.” Ugh – – with a double side of ugh. The Rock is the friend that you want to see all the time – – And if you’re far away from your Rock, you don’t pretend that “distance makes the heart grow fonder” bullshit. You feel a little off not talking and seeing your Rock on the reg.

They’ve been there for the best days – – The graduations, the new jobs, the dates you fell in love with, the nights you both laughed so hard in the middle of State Street you fell over, the birthdays, the vacations, and everything in between. They’ve also been there for the worst – – The failed classes, the jobs we hated, the dates that broke our hearts, the nights we both cried so hard it seemed like nothing could ever be that sad again, the arguments, and everything else in between.

That’s the best part about The Rock – – They’ve been there for everything and you know they’ll be there for the rest.

For my sister… and really, all other twenty-two-year-olds.

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This past weekend, I sat at my younger sister’s college graduation ceremony and I couldn’t help but be transported back to my undergraduate commencement. Let me take a quick sidebar and just say how annoyingly awful graduation ceremonies are. Yes, it is a special time for friends and relatives to dab their teary-eyes and exclaim their pride for the graduate and yes, it is a tradition that has been set for years and years…and years. Graduation ceremonies are uniform and boring. But it’s just one of those things in life that we don’t question or change – we just accept it. If you think about it, graduation ceremonies kind of mirror The Hunger Games pretty accurately. Let me explain.

The procession followed by sitting in a large group of peers, all wearing the same outfit is eerily familiar to The Reaping. Family members look on as if they know exactly how you feel – – As if they have been there before. The speeches are definitely all the same and end with the all-too-familiar, “May the odds be ever in your favor” feel. And lastly, the “real world” is set as the arena. It’s truly a dog-eat-dog world out here and there isn’t much room to have alliances. Let’s just be glad that we’re not named Katniss. Moving on.

Where was I? Ah yes. Three years have passed since my twenty-two-year-old self pretty much galloped with glee across the graduation stage to receive my Bachelor’s degree. I was full of the perfect mixture of excitement and nerves. My real life was about to begin!

Boy, was I disappointed.

The following is a letter dedicated to my sister and really, every other twenty-two-year-old out there who is experiencing the same feeling of excitement swirling with a shit load of anxiety.

Dear Taylor,

As your big sister, my job is and has always been to be a good example, give great advice, be a shoulder to cry on, and above all else, be someone you can look up to. So, I guess I should probably apologize for not completely adhering to all of those duties. Being the older sister is hard! Aside from my fabulous fashion sense I’ve tried tirelessly to “pass down” to you over the years, I think another aspect that I can give that may (actually) be useful is my advice/experience of how to deal with all-things-post-graduation.

Here we go…

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a vision of what post-graduation life is going to look like. Here are some of the top things I envisioned for myself after graduating…

I like to call this next section: “What really happened”

1. Fancy Feast: No, this doesn’t pertain to cats. After the years of living off dorm food and ramen, I thought that after graduation I would completely change my ways. My fridge and pantry were going to be stocked full of fancy “adult” food. What would this fancy adult food be? I’m not really sure. I think I envisioned myself at least harboring some fresh produce.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I still live off noodles and swipe my debit card out to eat, far too often. Also, as for the “fresh produce” – – I have a hard time finishing a half-gallon of milk before it expires…

2. BUSY: After college, I assumed I would be extremely busy. I would be working 40+ hours a week at my dream career, balancing philanthropy work I was passionate about, hangin’ with my super successful live-in boyfriend, and still finding time for “Happy Hour” with friends — Of course.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: Well, let’s see here. I did find a job. Definitely not my dream. My philanthropic duties range from begrudgingly taking out the trash and occasionally watching my friend’s puppy who tires me out within 30 minutes of exposure. That super successful boyfriend? Yeah, that’s not something I have to “worry about fitting in” right now. “Happy Hour” does happen, thankfully. Mainly, because it’s from 4-7pm and most of us want to be in bed by 9pm. As for being busy? I miss being busy. In college I was so busy between classes, work, student organizations, friends, boys, etc., I had to nap for twenty minutes between activities just to gain some shuteye for the week. Now, I have more free time than I know what to do with. Like, I now have the time to work out? Yuck.

3. Professional Clothing: After graduation I assumed I would transform. One of these miraculous transformations would be my clothes. I would wake up one day with a complete closet makeover, full of professional blazers, suits (lady like suits – not butchy/boy-like suits), expensive heels, etc. I would be stylin’.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I still shop at The Gap way more than I would prefer. I have exactly two pairs of “work shoes” that are heels that look “professional” and also exude the comfort needed for standing all day. Needless to say, they aren’t the “cutest” things I shove on my hooves. I have one (ONE) “interview” outfit. I’m still waiting for this closet makeover to surprise me one morning – – Here’s to hoping.

4. Sense of Direction: Yes, I mean something deeper than North-South-East-West directions (However, I could use a better sense of those as well). I just knew that once I graduated college that I would know what my “mission” in life would be. I would magically just know if it was time to change jobs, go to grad school, or pack up and move across the county. Graduation was going to be that time in my life when my “plan” was going to come to fruition and show me what the next step was.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: I was just as confused as ever. Probably even more fucking so. While all opportunities were at my fingertips, my “plan” seemed to be burning up in flames right before my eyes. Unfortunately, this “plan” that most of us have doesn’t come with time extensions or modification directions. Get ready for days when your highest accomplishments include scoring two yahtzees in “Dice with Buddies” and not losing a sock whilst tending to your laundry.

5. Lesssss Hangovers: Growing older, I just assumed that I would have less hangovers. Less drinking = Less hangovers.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: As I stopped drinking as frequently, my tolerance leveled out at ZERO. Now, after a few beers or a shot, I’m about ready to be wheeled home. Check, please.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Well Stace, gee thanks. This has been super uplifting. I am so pumped that I just graduated. Hold on… keep reading. Let’s get serious for a moment.

So here you are, at the ultimate crossroads of your life. This is no fucking joke. This will be the biggest crossroad of your entire life. This is where you get to choose everything.

Sure. You’re currently enduring a complete identity crisis. Yep, there is still going to be some failure and most likely some more heartbreak ahead. And yes, you’re going to run into the “Big Three”: Boredom, Routine, and Frustration. And yes, all three of these bitches will suck. Big time. BUT! There is something you can do.

You hold all the power. You get to choose how you’re going to react to all of it. This may sound cliché or corny or whatever but you get to choose how you’re going to adapt to it all. You get to choose if you’re going to remain positive or if you’re going to fall into a well of despair and never fully recover. You get to decide if you’re going to work extremely hard to get what you want or if you’re going to just roll over. You get to choose if you’re going to embrace moving back home, spend time with your parents, get to know them all over again, and actually enjoy it or you can feel sorry for yourself and re-watch Mad Men on Netflix in the basement.

The point is, you get to choose. You get to decide. Sure, you learned all about your major and you even found your minor to be pretty interesting. And yep, you’re “well rounded” thanks to general education requirements. But the main thing that the fancy (and expensive) diploma you received should give you is the ability to choose. College should have taught you one of life’s most powerful lessons – – What has meaning and what doesn’t. If you’re extremely lucky, you’ve learned how to decide what is meaningful to you and what isn’t.

So why does this matter? It matters because no matter what situation you get yourself in, no matter what is thrown your way, no matter who breaks your heart, no matter how confused you feel, no matter what changes you have to endure… You have the ability to choose how you’re going to react. College should have taught you to have confidence in yourself. To have confidence in your choices and actions. You have the confidence to stand by how you feel. Sure, things aren’t going to go exactly how you think they will. And I can almost guarantee that your “plan” is going to be foiled immediately. But in the end you have to remember that no matter what happens, you are still in charge of what is most important – – you.

My final piece(s) of advice are the following:

1.If you’re moving home: Don’t mope around and haunt your hometown like some sad ghost. Get up and get doing. Also, avoid the main grocery store – – Just trust me on that one.

2. Don’t make super depressing Facebook statuses. In fact, stay off Facebook as much as possible. Facebook may have been the best medicine for procrastination while writing a term paper but now you’re just going to want to be added to a suicide watch list when you’ve refreshed your newsfeed thirty times in the span of two minutes. Get a Twitter account and follow some funny comedians.

3. Take some time to find yourself. Yes, this is cliché but take some time and “date yourself”. Read a real book (not a textbook or academic article). You know, that book haven’t had time for between the all-nighters and exams you were cramming for. Really sharpen your Netflix profile and what is recommended for you. Write something, anything. Figure out what your favorite food really is. Garner an opinion on politics, same-sex marriage, marijuana, the death penalty, abortion, and so forth. (Note: I didn’t say share this opinion – – But I do believe it is critical to have your own opinion formed before others try to change it). Find out what you really want in someone you date, get into a serious relationship with, or even eventually marry. Realize that your parents are (and were) always right. About everything. (Hang out with them more).

If you remember anything I have just rambled about remember this: Things aren’t going to go according to plan.

Just throw the fucking plan out.