the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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3 simple ways to find encouragement day to day

I haven’t spoken about it on this blog a lot, but like many twenty-somethings navigating being adults, I struggle off and on with anxiety and depression. It influenced my life for many years until my senior year of college, when a friend encouraged me to seek counseling help. I was amazed when I finally had an adult acknowledge the way I constantly felt and affirmed me in my wishing it could be something separate from me. 

And it can. She told me that depression and anxiety don’t have to be YOU, they can just be something we deal with more than others, or that affect us greatly in our day to day lives. And I agree. But more on mental disorders and health another day.

Because I have these struggles that don’t just “go away” and won’t just be banished by extra prayer or having “more faith” (concepts of some Christians that I extremely disagree with), I have to find a way to push through every day. Some days are way better than others and surprise me, and some days are just in a “funk” that I have to accept and deal with.

I have noticed that, despite how I feel, I can choose to act and live a little differently than I have before. I make mistakes constantly, but something I am noticing is the small little victories that occur when I try something new, try something remembered, or choose to see through a different perspective.

Here are some ways, and some perspectives, that help me make joy happen in the moment:

1. Read quotes. Inspiring, motivating, positive quotes. 

They are WONDERFUL. I cannot appraise them enough. Obviously there’s a lot of leeway when it comes to amassing a collection of them or choosing which ones you want to see. I have continued the process of writing them down immediately, whether that be journaling, re-pinning on Pinterest, retweeting, bookmarking a link, etc.

OR, what really helps me be inspired by positive and upliting quotes is printing them out or writing them down and putting them on my walls. My bedroom used to be covered with them, and I find that when I am reminded of that awesome quote, I am reminded of the positive feeling I associated with it when I first read it or what it inspired me to do. That’s a pretty fantastic way to find joy.

For example, a quote from Kate Arends, a speaker I heard last week at Creative Mornings Minneapolis: “If you can’t see how blessed you are, even the best things in your life can look dull.” #wordsofwisdom

2. Talk to friends (like one-on-one coffee dates). 

I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without the many times I have sat sipping coffee with a good friend. These times of exclusive listening and time-giving are when I feel most comfortable, loved, and noticed. Having coffee with one friend gives me the space to share what’s really been on my mind, and it gives me a chance to listen to them as well! Nothing beats connecting over what you have in common and encouraging each other, whether your struggles are similar or not.

In this world of busy career life post-college, it is important to make time for friends. Even if I only get to visit with one or two in person a week and max out my coffee shop budget before the end of the month, every minute is completely worth it for me. Since I don’t have the blessings of the dorms anymore, being intentional is absolutely essential!

If you’re not able to meet in person or spend money, shoot a text or, if you’re braver than me, a phone call to say you need a little extra encouragement or just to share your thoughts about something. Staying connected is key.

3. Seek the little things. 

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s absolutely true and worth repeating. Find what small joys you have in your day and seek them out. Remember them! Write them down! They can be as simple as your morning cup of coffee that tasted so fantastic and woke you up, or maybe the book you’re reading is amazing, or maybe working out makes you feel really good. Great! Do that thing.

As twenty-somethings, we get to decide how to shape our lives. We get to decide where we find joy and then pursue that thing.

Yes, there are always going to be situations that we don’t love and are tedious (job searching, everyone?). But what I’ve found is that, by seeking out “me time” or encouragement from something every single day instead of waiting for it to come to me, my day gets a little bit brighter.

What are some ways YOU find encouragement every day? 

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thoughts on One Thousand Gifts

one-thousand-gifts

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp is a spiritual journey book about finding joy in your every day life. A mother and wife, Voskamp wanted to live her life intentionally and well, and found that a simple challenge to write down things she was thankful for transformed the way she lived. “‘How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?’” (Amazon). This book is a guide to discovering God’s blessings and learning to be present in Him.

My mentor recommended to me this last summer when I expressed a similar hunger for what Voskamp talks about. The description of the book sounded like a guarantee – a fool-proof way to have joy in your life. Maybe it would have been if I had kept up the gratitude journaling, a concept that launched Voskamp’s spiritual journey and shaped the entire book. The first chapter intrigued me so much, and I was sold! I started my journal right then and there. But as I read on, I was so turned off by her confusing and wordy writing style that the joy simply petered out.

I really want to love this book. The concept is wonderful of course, and I appreciate her fascination with small things, making our “mundane,” every-day lives full of joy. She is a breath of fresh air, and I am thankful for my mentor recommending this to me.

However, her way-over-the-top lyrical style, love of poetry, and bad metaphors started annoying me to no end. I found my inner (and outer) editor cringing and wanting to “fix” this book. It had so much potential!

I can relate to her because I love lyrical essays. But during my undergrad, I got failing grades for writing stuff like this, so I am a little frustrated that this mess was publishable. Certainly wanting to be an editor myself isn’t helping things. And maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe it did undergo a transformation before being published. But if so, it wasn’t enough to pull writers in.

I did take things away from it and I tried to read each page with an open mind and less criticism. However, it was slow-going and my own thankfulness journal didn’t kick off because of it. I didn’t study the craft of writing to ignore execution. I did a lot of underlining in my copy though, and one day I’ll go back and craft some quotes and thoughts from those great pages.

Conclusion: This book may change your life. It certainly taught me things I will carry long beyond the writing style (I hope). Some people truly adore this book, otherwise it wouldn’t be a New York Times best seller! My recommendation is that if you are writer, take this book with a grain of salt (if you attempt to read it at all).

If you are a twenty-something seeking joy, give it a try. And if you are not a writer with an inner editor, definitely go for it! Put it in the church library, gift it to friends wanting to find joy (after reading it of course), and find its gems.

Review on Goodreads


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“the process of becoming”

be who you are

(image via Pinterest)

You may be wondering what my blog’s name means. When I first starting thinking about starting up this blog again, I had to decide why I wanted to do it, who it was going to be for, and what the purpose of it will be.

I already knew I that I enjoy reading articles on websites like RelevantThought Catalog, and Gen Twenty, a few online communities that write for my generation. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into why these articles circulate so much. We find them funny, encouraging, and identifiable because we relate to them so well.

It was then that I knew I had to write to twenty-somethings like me. Graduating high school and embarking into the big unknown is a scary thing, whether one goes to college, finds a job right away, or spends forever trying to decide what they want to do. We’re faced with singleness, relationships, friendships, opportunities, rejections, networking, and plain figuring out what it means to be a “grown up.”

Frankly, that’s a LOT to relate to, a lot to experience, and a lot to write about. When I was super ambitious my first year of college and told my professors I wanted to graduate in two years, one told me I needed to get outside campus and experience more life before I would really know what I wanted to do. Before I knew what I wanted to write about. I needed to travel, to experience loss, to realize what the world has and doesn’t have to offer. (He was right! I want to write memoir and autobiographical creative writing, which can’t really happen at 22, haha).

I may be in my early twenties, but I feel like I’ve experienced so much already while still realizing I have a long way to go. I am still becoming an adult. No, actually I am just growing older. And hopefully wiser. “Becoming” is also is an adjective meaning “attractive appearance,” or “suitable” (Dictionary.com). “Become,” for me, means “to grow.”

I hope that this process of growing and becoming more of who I am can be beautiful and also humorous in its own way, and that it is also encouraging to everyone else going through this journey.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e.cummings


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10 scenarios over-anxious people understand

1. That moment when you have to make a phone call and your pulse was doing fine but now you’re at 160 and breaking a sweat. For no real reason.

2. You are almost constantly thinking you should have said something different during social interactions (and/or texts and emails) and replay the conversations in your mind (especially if it’s your crush, an interviewer, or someone you super duper respect and you’re always like “ahhhh”).

3. Naturally, you always sample cookie dough or brownie batter before you bake it. But then you always question your stomach health for that evening. And probably your life decisions. But you still don’t regret it.

4. You actually question every major (or minor) life decision that you make ten too many times. And then wonder if you’ve made the right choice for a long time afterwards.

5. The moment you turn out the lights to go to sleep, your mind decides to turn ON – full blast – and relive both today and imagine all of tomorrow. And maybe also a year from now.

6. Most of when you cook, you ask yourself a million questions: “Am I doing this right? Did I hear my mom correctly? Or maybe I should have done it this way…” And then find yourself calling or texting your mom or cook of choice anyways to ask for help.

7. Watching movies with your friends is torture for them. Especially mysteries and especially if you are an external processor because you say so much out loud, worrying about and questioning everything. You apologize over and over and hope they’ll forgive you each time.

8. You try not to over-question every comment someone makes around you, but still always secretly wonder if it’s about you and what they think of you and how you interact.

9. Dressing for the day is THE WORST. Even outfits you love become horrible depending on where you’re going, who you’re going to see, and what the weather’s like. And that’s why your room is always a mess after you finally leave.

10. You have to daily remind yourself that whether you’re nervous about something or not, life goes on and you’ll eventually get over it… hopefully. Like Anne of Green Gables (my favorite fictional character) said, “The sun will go on rising and setting whether I fail in geometry or not.”

Preach it, Anne.

overthinking funny

(image via Pinterest)


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thoughts on Into the Still Blue

into the still blue

“What I was trying to say,” he whispered, “is that I see you in everything. There isn’t a word for you that means enough, because you’re everything to me.”

This is the third Young Adult science fiction book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi. Join Perry and Aria and the cast of characters on the tumultuous journey to discover the elusive Still Blue and save their people. Will their love also stand the test? 

“We all have the potential to do terrible things. But we also have the potential to overcome our mistakes.”

This book had a few beautiful gems, more of the romance I loved in the first two books, and was all around a great way to wrap up the series. Most third installments of YA dystopian trilogies end in a way that makes me want punch walls down and shatter glass (you might know exactly which books I’m talking about). However, I have no complaints about this one, except for (hypocritical me) it being a little too… easy on the eyes. But I don’t want to spoil anything.

Also, it was short. Which was actually awesome. I didn’t want another end-of-series book to be a long, drawn-out wrapping up of all the series’ events (*coughHarryPottercough*), and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I blew through this book and didn’t find anything terribly annoying, if not just unexplained or glanced over. The science fiction part of it (which is borderline fantasy) was easy to understand and relate to, unlike other books I’ve read.

Yes, I am on a Young-Adult-fiction-reading kick, but bear with me. YA is easy for me to relate to as a twenty-something. It’s light, some of the time (moreso lately with recent releases) a fantastic and beautiful romance, and closer to my age than the vast world of Adult Fiction (which you often have no idea what you’re getting. Ah, if only there were a “twenties” genre. But then, what would be the point of that?). Also, it generally stays more appropriate than Adult Fiction if you’re looking to stay away from more sexualized writing.

I would highly recommend reading this series, starting with Under the Never Sky. 

Review on Goodreads


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10 simple items for an emotional-health “kit”

Given all the emotions us twenty-somethings and college students experience in our day-to-day lives, my mind has been searching for an emotional first-aid kit, if you will. A list where, when I’m apathetic or truly raw, I can pick off a number and do that item in the hopes that, for a few moments, I can either forget my many emotions or better process them. Quick fixes to curing depression don’t really exist. Instead, I want to offer and be offered small, general steps for when you recognize you need a little TLC. These are good reminders for anyone in that moment of emotional need. emotional first aid kit 1. Stopping to breathe! Tell yourself that times will not always be like this, and whatever emotion you’re experiencing will eventually settle down.

2. A hot drink. Even if that’s not your favorite, even holding some hot water in a mug can be very calming.

3. Taking a walk. Outside, if you can. If you live in the Polar Vortex (like me), then find some hallways, stairs, or pace around. Getting moving can be an emotional break and help relax you.

4. Reading that letter to your future self. I stumbled across one today in a journal from a year ago that basically told me to calm down and remember that nothing is as big as it seems in the moment. Write one to yourself now and store it in a safe place.

5. Stretching.  Sometimes I think my day would benefit greatly by giving my muscles a moment to relax or be used in gentler ways. It leaves your body feeling refreshed.

6. Relaxing media. Whether that be a playlist of your favorite, emotionally-freeing songs, funny YouTube videos (cats or laughing babies are my favorite), or an inspiring Podcast. For example, sometimes I need hip hop dancing and sometimes I need a Spotify “mood” playlist.

7. A Disney movie. Or, if those aren’t your thing, just a favorite film that always incites good memories. And maybe a warm blanket and a friend to watch it with.

8. Blank sheets of paper. To journal, or rant on, or color, draw, paint – you name it! Getting something written down or out of your system can be very therapeutic.

9. Someone to talk to. A phone call, text, or Facebook message away. Admitting you need help or sharing thoughts is healthy. For me, an external processor, it’s almost essential at times.

10. Doing nothing. That’s right – just lie down on the floor and stare at the ceiling for a while. Your mind’s been busy! Give it a break.


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thoughts on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

My first book review for you all. Depending on how fast I read, please enjoy these reviews on occasion! I hope you find a book you enjoy (:

After finishing this book, I was trying to remember how I stumbled upon it and why I thought it would be excellent. Then I remembered I had found a list of movies being made into books in the (near) future, and it had been on there. So naturally, thinking that books with movie deals automatically makes them awesome, I placed the hold at the library immediately.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Creepy – almost disturbing – vintage photos, a mysterious island, and an abandoned orphanage. And a boy with stories his WWII-veteran grandfather told him. All intriguing aspects that make for a thrilling premise and a page-turning read. In this Young Adult novel, Ransom Riggs combines photography and narrative to create a story anyone with a curious taste for the strange would enjoy. Follow sixteen-year-old Jacob as he sets out in the wake of a family tragedy to figure out the mystery of the island and the answers behind the photographs of his memories. As he explores the rotting home, one thing becomes clear – these “peculiar” children may have been – or be – more than they seem.

The premise sounded – and moreso looked – so promising. The photos was so intriguing in and of themselves that I wondered how this book could be classified as Young Adult. Maybe I’ve seen too much “American Horror Story” and so my expectations were too high, but this book is actually not as scary as it seems.

I don’t want to give away spoilers, and I also don’t want to turn you off from this book. The concept made it worth the read, and the story is fun. It felt like it could have been for a younger audience given the characters’ voices, but there were some frightening aspects that did, in fact, remind me of horror. But it just didn’t take the cake for me. The narrative seems to have been formed around the photos (dispersed throughout the inside to illustrate characters), instead of the photos just supplementing the story. It was as if Riggs had found a list of photos and tried painstakingly to fit them all into the story.

Turns out, that’s sort of what he did! But some of the photos just don’t make sense, others are not even ever explained. That bothered me to no end. I would have been more intrigued with the real stories behind the photos, rather than an adventure story about hybrid children with super powers. And the WWII bit didn’t help one bit. Being somewhat of a history buff, I just didn’t see how it all fit. Three out of five stars. For a debut novel, I think Riggs did a decent job. I, however, will not be reading the sequels.

I wouldn’t highly recommend, but if you want to satisfy your curiosity, it’s not completely a waste. And there’s always the movie!

Review on Goodreads