You’re just like your mother.

Jessica M

It’s an insult so often uttered on TV in movies that I spent a good deal of my childhood growing up dreading the idea of possibly turning into my mother (the constant reoccurring nagging wife character that is ever present on television and in movies). In no way, shape, or form would I EVER let that happen. She’s a crazy old bird that has no idea what it’s like to be me!!!  Sound familiar?

My mom was a blonde, so I dyed my hair black.  She played softball, I played soccer.  She didn’t think I needed a cellphone in high school, so I got a job and got one on my own.  She wanted me to pursue a degree in math or science, I took a liberal arts track.  She started her family at 22, I swore off kids for as long as possible.  On and on, I did every thing I could to distance myself from her.

But why?

At 27, I see more of my mother in me than I ever thought I would and as it turns out, she’s a pretty rad lady.  She’s funny, she’s fit, and she’s so smart.  We like the same movies, the same books, the same food (total sugar addicts).  She’s been there to listen to me mope around about boys from the ages of 13-25, and I now see myself doing the same thing with my student workers.  She took a week off of work and bought the box set of Roots on DVD to stay home and watch with me while I recovered from a breast reduction surgery (which she then also had a few years later).  When I was a kid I remember her leaving every Tuesday night to get together with “the girls,” a ritual she still keeps up to this day (and something I desperately wish I could arrange with my girlfriends, maybe if we’re ever back in the same area code again).  Shortly after I moved home after college I was watching TV with my dad waiting for my mom to get home from work when the phone rings – she just hit the jackpot on slot machines in the local casino and wanted us to ride up and celebrate with her (and was actually out of work over an hour ago ha). She rides on the back of my dad’s motorcycle (Sturgis bike week is to them what music festivals are to me) and was fully supportive when I made the insane, impulsive, and ridiculous decision to get a motorcycle of my own.  Between the two of us, we could easily set a world record for clumsiness, there is no step too small to trip over and no glass too sturdy to break (my last apartment had paint stains on the door frame from when she kicked a paint can over by mistake 20 years ago).  She goes to so many events downtown, I actually find myself jealous of her social life sometimes.  A twentysomething, jealous of her mother’s social life!  She and my dad have been role models for a healthy relationship (high school sweethearts happily married for 28 – or so – years), not many people can say that.

Most importantly, through thick and thin, no matter how defiant I became, my mother always been the most supportive person in my life (even when I took that liberal arts track, and registered as a *gasp* democrat).  When I turned 25, I had a party in my/her back yard (hot dogs, a keg, music, friends) that she and dad came to (I mean, it was in their backyard).  My mom was cracking jokes (her most quoted line of the night, “it’s not my  kind of party if you have to wear shoes!) and the girls loved her.  The next day, and for a while afterwards, I was bombarded with people telling me how cool my mom was and how similar the two of us are (my dad is pretty cool too, he cruises around town on a Harley for crying out loud – but this isn’t a post about dads).  Just a week ago I told a coworker that I am in need my mother’s daughter, if he met my parents it would be clear that I am their daughter..  It turns out being just like my mother, isn’t such a bad thing after all.

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Class of 2014 – lend me your ears

Jessica M

In honor of all the recent grads (I have college students in mind, but high school students could probably benefit from some wisdom as well), I have compiled a list of quick advice – things to keep in mind when adulthood is no longer on the horizon but in fact, right in your face.

- Do not give up.

- Put yourself first, but find time to help others.  Balance is key.

- Money isn’t everything.  Sure it can make life easier at times, and sure you can buy nice things with it (to whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness – have you ever ridden a jet ski in the Bahamas?).  But things are just things, they won’t last forever.

- Do not eat big meals before interviews/meetings/seminars etc.

- You WILL find the right partner.  It might take a long ass time, but he/she is out there.

- Do not settle.

- Okay, maybe settle with your first job out of college, but do not give up (see above).  I spent a year of steadily applying at jobs in my field (library science) before I even had my first interview.  Meanwhile, I worked in a grocery store.  Guess what?  I landed that interview because of my grocery store experience.

- Do not avoid chances for skinny dipping, dancing like a maniac, going on dates, singing

photo via NBC / mitchellkristen.tumblr.com

photo via NBC / mitchellkristen.tumblr.com

karaoke loud and off key, any chance to show off – because of the way you look.  When you’re old and reflecting back on your life, you don’t want to regret missing out on fun memories because you were too self conscious.  Just have fun!  No one minds!

- Set goals, and do what you want to do.  Do you long to have a busy and fulfilling career?  Go for it.  Take those promotions, they’re waiting for you.  Do you aspire to be a mother?  Just because it’s unpaid doesn’t make this just as fulfilling of a career.  There is no standard for a fulfilling life – but you’ve only got one, do what makes you happy.

- The universe is confusing, but things do (weirdly) work out.

Hopefully at least one thing on this list resonates with you.  And while I’m at it, let’s add another one:

- Forget what I said about adulthood being in your face, we are the generation of adulthood beginning at 30

RL20S is Turning One Year Old!!!

ashley

July marks the one year anniversary for RealLifeTwentySomething. One year ago I watched my younger sister graduate highschool. I left so disappointed in the future generation that I knew I had to say something.

There are over 100 people who have loved what our writers have had to say that they’ve signed up to follow us. It really makes me proud to see so many people relate to what this blog is about. I thank you for such great support and following each of our writer’s journeys. I truly hope that each post touches someone somewhere out there and helps them deal with their own age related struggles. We all are going through some tough stuff but we’re strong and we’re here to talk about it.

If you’ve been following us for some time or just found us today, you’re more than welcome to become a part of the team. We’re always looking for more writers to share their individual story. Email us at reallifetwentysomething@gmail.com, we’d love to hear all about your life.

Youth – no longer for me.

Jessica M

We hear people all the time talking about their lost youth, how to look and feel younger, and what they wouldn’t give to be young again.  I have to admit, I’ve had some of those same thoughts (I found my first gray hair in my bangs recently).  Youth is wasted on the youth, right?  But if you ever take a moment to reflect on what being a teenager is like now, I think you’ll be surprised – and take a new appreciation for your age.  Here are a few reasons why being young today really isn’t all that desirable.

Social networking.  Puberty was hard enough as it was, but going through puberty on the internet seem unimaginable.  It’s commonplace now for teens to share their every thought and where they’ve been and what they’re doing and pictures of how they look constantly.  Then they’re open to critiques and comments from all over the place (in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, cyber-bulling is a HUGE problem with teens, anonymity bring out  .  They’re all doing it, it’s normal.  I had a hard enough time confiding my thoughts with my closest friends.  And there were a lot of days when I had a hard time even leaving my room.  I am so thankful that social networking was just starting out as I was leaving high school, I can’t imagine the kind of trouble I’d get myself in.  Also, I’m SO glad that my Facebook pictures only go back to the beginning of college.  Facebook info stays on the internet forever, and I don’t want any picture of 9th grade me, a face full of acne and a mouth full of braces floating around anywhere out of my control.

Smartphones.   Read above except include an option for nude selfies.  Again, I was a very trusting person as a teen(until I learned better).  Again, I can’t imagine the kind of trouble I could have gotten myself into.  Sure camera phones were around, but nothing like today.

Prom proposals. Or maybe it’s promposals.  Either way, teenagers are starting to make an extravagant event out of asking each other to prom.  When I was in high school, there were always rumors or dreamy fantasies about leaving school for the day and seeing my dream boat waiting outside with a fancy car and big bouquet of flowers ready to ask me to prom or getting a pizza delivered that had a nice message on it.  But I never actually knew of anything like this really happening.  Now a day, it’s expected of teens to pull out all the stops and make asking their date to the prom an event in its own.  No more awkward phone calls or meeting in the hallway when you’re both nervous and stumbling over your words.  Now, teens are planning elaborate (and sometimes expensive) events and surprises to ask his or her date to the prom.  Talk about pressure, I can’t even get my boyfriend to surprise me with pizza toppings (but I guess being in charge all the time has it’s benefits).

I’ll keep my gray hairs, slowing metabolism, and stiff back.  You youngsters can have all that hassle, good luck and god speed ;)

Not giving up on new years resolutions

ashley

I had one important new years resolution this year. This year I would let go of control and ask for help. My first step was hiring a financial planner.

My husband and I have a pretty traditional/old world dynamic. He’s the breadwinner and I take care of all the household operations. Since I’m the one paying all the bills, I’m also the one with the decision of how to pay things off and how to save our money. Now as a young twenty something that was newly married, our biggest concern was student loans. We didn’t own anything to lose.

This year we bought a house and got pregnant. My confidence in controlling our financial future ended right there. I knew I could keep us afloat, but I didn’t have any faith that I’d be pushing us to financial security anytime soon.

So I joined a financial group and was assigned a planner. His name is Jeff and let me tell you, having him has taken so much pressure off my shoulders. I was so nervous at first to have someone watching me spend my money and shaking their head at me when I did something I knew I shouldn’t have. But that’s not at all what happened. We talked on the phone and he understood us, no judgement. He also planned our next five years and the picture at the end of the road is something I did not even think was possible in 5 years. All debt paid off in 4 years? Heck yes! 20K in savings for emergencies and retirement savings to be jealous of? Uh, why couldn’t I have found you sooner Jeff?

Now yes, i’m still doggie paddling through my new plan. I’m still going over budget in some spots and still trying to earn extra money to pay off our debt early. Jeff is changing our lives. He’s instilling new habits and helping us make better choices. I may cringe whenever he mentions life insurance and wills, but I don’t regret a single penny I paid to meet him. The only thing I regret? Not doing this sooner. This has been the BEST new years resolution I’ve ever made for myself.

on living with a significant other

Many people regard moving in with a significant other to be a really huge step. Because of that, I found that some people weren’t the most encouraging when I told them J and I were moving in together (especially when you factor in the whole moving to a different state thing.) I can’t deny that it’s not a big deal but for us, but it seemed like the right thing to do. This big step has been the easiest decision that we’ve both made and agree that it’s also been the best. And let’s be honest, I think that after three years together it seems logical that it would be.

For some people, they would’ve made the decision sooner while others would’ve waited longer. It’s different for everyone and we’ve found that living together is definitely a learning experience that varies from couple to couple. I’ve been warned that we would fight and that we would get on each others’ nerves and all that so even though I wanted to make this move, I’ll admit that I was a little worried. Luckily for us, there hasn’t been a bit of that at all. I know it’s only been a month and a half, but the biggest issues that we’ve has so far are our difference in opinion on how to fold shirts and the fact that I don’t like the toilet lid to be open while he doesn’t care either way. Neither is worth fighting about and we end up laughing about it all. It’s really not that hard for me to fold his clothes one way and mine another and for him to try to remember to close the toilet lid…which he might only do after he almost dropped his toothbrush in there one day. If those kinds of things are the biggest issues we have, I think I can deal with that.

Moving in with anyone always requires some adjustments, but I hope for couples that choose to take that step that they find it to be as natural as I have. Even if you’re thing is fighting (in a good way, not in the break up or kill each other kind of way) I hope that it’s as exciting and fun of an experience as it has been for us.

Moving: Finale.

Jessica M

Moving day finally came, faster than we were expecting as most important events seem to.  Lets recount the events of that day together….

8:00am: wake up, coffee/eat/shower/etc., get ready for the day

10:00am: call the building manager to see if she’s ready for us to come by and sign the lease (keep in mind, we decided on our move in date weeks previously).  She doesn’t answer, so we leave a voicemail.

11:00am: still no call back (continue relaxing on the couch)

12:00pm: still no call back (more relaxation, but tension has definitely built up considerably), decided I’d give her until 12:30 to call us back before I called again (it seems passive now, but for some reason I didn’t want to be too pushy)

12:30pm: okay, maybe I’ll wait until 12:45

12:35pm: finally got a call back from our building manager.  She wanted to see if we were free at 4:00pm to move into our apartment.

photo via buzzfeed

photo via buzzfeed

12:40pm: 4:00PM?! WHO THE HELL WANTS TO MOVE IN FLIPPING THE DARK.  Would it really have been that big of a hassle for her to give us the keys so we could start moving in, and then come sign the lease when she was ready?  We literally wasted an entire day off together waiting around.  Coordinating a full day off with someone who doesn’t have a job with consistent hours is a real pain.  Not mention, trying to combine two apartments with only one person available is an even bigger pain.

12:45pm: Lets get frozen yogurt.

1:30pm: (back at home) My boyfriend looks at me while we’re sitting in silence and says “you’re handling this a lot better than I expected” (I’m not known for patience, but I’ve been practicing).  We turn on the TV and settle in to wait until we can head over.

3:45pm: finally time to head to the building.  We load up our cars with stuff from my apartment so we can start unloading as soon as the lease is signed and we have the keys.

3:55pm: we arrive at the building, and walk into the building manager’s office.  She looks surprised to see us, and mentions something about us being early.  She still has to print out copies of the lease and any other paperwork we need to look over and sign.  Once again, we made plans to move in on this date weeks ago; it didn’t occur to us that arriving five minutes early for a 4:00pm move in would throw her off that much.

4:00pm – 4:45pm: Spent going over the lease, monitoring the gradual increase in sweat on my palms.  LETS GET THIS GOING ALREADY.

5:00pm – 11:00pm:  Spent taking trips to and from our apartments (alternating apartments with each trip seemed the most fair way to tackle the job).  As the sun was going down, rather than getting more frustrated we started seeing the humor in the situation.  It’s hard to be mad when our luck consistently proves to be.. non-existent.  Of course something like this would happen to us, and laughing at ourselves and the situation, made the move easier (moving is so damn terrible to begin with).

At around 11:00 we decided to call it quits.  I can’t imagine how sketchy we must have looked, moving in the middle of the night like people skipping out on rent, and we were starved.

Day 2 proved to be about on par with day 1.  We only had a half day with both of us available, and the weather was a trusty rain/snow combo.  Once again there was nothing we could do but laugh.

We’ll probably laugh our way right into the loony bin, but until then – at least we have a roof over our heads that is ours.

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photo via buzzfeed

 

Today we need a peptalk

ashley

Recent activities have led to a very nostalgic feeling. While looking for food pictures for my husbands website, I was forced to do some sorting of ALL our photos to find them. I came across some from the beginning of our relationship. Some where life wasn’t so great but you couldn’t tell any of that from our smiling faces.

As I looked at past christmas’, picnics, and dinner nights at home, I was only looking at the surface. “Wow, my hair looked great back then, certainly not what I’m dealing with today”. Or, “look how skinny both of our faces used to be!”. As I dug deeper into the mess of memories, I started seeing the photos differently. I noticed the size of our first apartment together and the old tube tv from my grandmother’s house. I saw the lack of jewelry we wore because we simply didn’t own anything other than our wedding bands. I even saw the old buick that my lovely husband had when we first met that we depended on so much back in those days.

After clearing away a few tears I looked around me. So much has changed. So many things have gotten easier. We’ve come so far. I don’t for a moment look at any old photo and not think fondly of our early days together. I also can’t see these photos and not be proud of the people we are today.

So do yourself a favor. Take a moment and find those old photos. Really look at them and remember how life was. Sure, you’re smiling, but do you remember the bills/relationship issues/just how hard life was? Are you still there? Ofcourse not! You’ve grown, you’ve mastered, and you’re still learning. That’s something to be proud of. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget what you’ve already accomplished. Nothing that’s getting you down today can take away the progress you’ve made. You’re doing great. :)

Transition Position

Kevin

I know that the idea of being twenty something is all about transitions. I’m proof of that. I moved, started a new job, exited the service industry… all in the last month. Honestly its exhausting. I’m the type of guy that likes to stay busy, without a doubt, but lately I’ve been asking myself where the days are going. between running my freelance business, (which is a bit of an oxymoron, I suppose) working my design job, working at a craft beer store and all the other odd jobs I do, I’m lucky if I have time to catch my breath.

Then again, do I really need to catch my breath? This life I’ve been living is much different than the one I led a year ago. When I was in school I was constantly making time to do homework, preparing to graduate, and working. It may sound like it wasn’t much different, but I had structure set up for me. Now, I have little to no structure at all. Ya, I have some deadlines, places to be, people to see, but no schedule. It’s really made me think about what I need to do to get my life focused.

So, here’s to the next transition. There is a life I’ve been living but it requires a bit of change, and a lot of growing up. I’m in a position where I need to grow up to become the person I’ve been dreaming of becoming, so I really don’t have an option. The thing about growing up is it doesn’t happen over night. There’s no real easy way of saying this other than, like everything else in life, growing up is a process. It takes time, dedication, and will certainly cause some challenges with your peers. I’ll touch more on that subject in a later post.

If you feel inclined to do so, share some of your stories in a comment. I’d love to hear how people are progressing through their adventures and transitions.

Money

Dan B.

Get up, go to work, come home, sleep. Get up, go to work, come home, sleep. Get up, go to work…you get the point. This routine is one we’ve all become far too familiar with.

Money is pretty much the driving factor in life. We decide on and define our careers based on compensation, and if we’re lucky there’s a little bit of enjoyment involved. We constantly search for the best deals to stretch the bills the most. Admit it, you’ve driven an extra mile to save $.02 per gallon in gas. Once the tank is full, you might have only saved a quarter. At what point does it stop?

Without realizing it, money slowly envelops your entire thought process. You obsessively save your money for that “rainy day,” while watching major life experiences pass you by. Bills constantly arrive in the mail (or email) and it becomes more stressful than you ever would have imagined. Student loans, rent/mortgage payments, utilities, cell phone, car instance/public transit fees…again, you get the point.

Something I’ve worked hard at recently is establishing a budget. A real, grown-up budget. It’s more than figuring out which bills will drain my bank account on what day of the month. It also involves figuring out how much money I can save a month. One thing that’s easy to overlook is an allowance to go out to a bar or the movies, or whatever you do to treat yourself.

That last part is crucial. People often think of the finish line, but not the race to get there. They plan for the future and forget the present. It’s a given part of life that down the road you will want to buy a house, take a vacation, buy a car, or some other larger expense than the average purchase. While it is a good or even necessary idea to save for these milestone purchases, you can’t forget to make yourself happy in the meantime. A budget will help you do both.

If you feel like you don’t make enough money, laying out your budget will help you realize that you either are and don’t realize it, or help you realize where you can cut unnecessary costs. Going out for dinner can be a very nice experience, especially with a friend or loved one. It can also be expensive if you find yourself doing it more often than you should. Set aside $200 a month for dinners and movies/entertainment, and hold yourself accountable to it. To make it easier, take the money out as cash when you get paid so it’s more tangible than swiping a piece of plastic from your wallet. Spending cash has been proven to have more of a psychological effect than swiping a debit or credit card.

Of course your budget will have to cater specifically to your salary. The entertainment budget will also depend on your own tastes. Maybe you like going to McDonald’s instead of a five-star restaurant (although I hope not). Maybe you’d prefer to rent from Red Box instead of going to a theater. Or, maybe you’d prefer to see an indie concert instead of the Rolling Stones.

No matter what your income level, two things will ring true: you can save, and you should treat yourself. By investing in the present, you’ve already invested in your future.