the process of becoming

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


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I’m not going to apologize for being “crazy”

This post is for the woman.

The woman who was brought up to be guarded, dare I even mention the word “submissive,” and proper.

The woman who felt then—and still does—SO. MANY. EMOTIONS. Who just wanted to be heard, noticed, appreciated. Acknowledged that having those emotions was, and is, perfectly okay. Whether that’s being really really happy, a little (or lot) depressed, or just plain moody.

Whether you were raised in the church to always “guard your heart,” whether your parents or relatives were good at discipline and children had to be “seen not heard,” or whether there was a boy who just couldn’t “handle” your tears, I’m here to tell you not to change.

I’m not going to apologize for being emotional, for feeling everything, for “being crazy.” And neither should you.

You are either 1) not crazy, so stop thinking/saying/feeling that you are, or 2) that “crazy” is the beautiful hot mess that is you—goofiness, wonder, passion, interests—all bursting out during moments of energy. I love it. Keep it up, okay?!

I had a rough time in high school where I couldn’t decide whether sharing my emotions was going to turn people off from being my friend. I was moody, dark, somewhat depressed, and I wore black a LOT (long live the band T-shirts). I knew that I had a lot of empathy for basically everything under the sun, but I didn’t know about anxiety disorders back then or the chemical cause of depression. I thought having a boyfriend meant that he’d take you as you are, emotions and crying episodes and all. I didn’t know how not to feel.

And I remember feeling inadequate when I was rejected for showing my feelings. For being “crazy.”

And then, halfway through college, I realized that I didn’t need to apologize anymore.

I don’t need to apologize to my now husband for bursting into tears unexpectedly. I don’t need to apologize to the world for not feeling well enough to venture into another crowd. For being too anxious to pick up the phone. For feeling depressed.

Men, this doesn’t just apply to women, obviously.

I’m simply referring to the generations before us who taught us that women “shouldn’t” you-fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve slowly and gradually learned that there’s only so much you can do to “self-improve.” Find where that stops and celebrate who you actually are.

There’s no stopping my emotion train, but there is therapy or medication for anxiety disorders for those who need them. And then there’s just really emotional people, and sensitive people, and artsy people. And poets. (I could go on)

And I am so so blessed to have a husband who recognizes me and my emotions for who we are and lets me be me. I’ve stopped apologizing and spent more time bursting into laughter over emotional breakdowns now.

Women, stop being sorry. You are beautiful for all the neurons and brainwaves and things you feel. KEEP FEELING THEM. Don’t apologize.

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8 ideas for the overwhelmed post-graduate

Intelligent-Husky-Graduates-College-Still-Doesnt-Know-What-To-Do-With-His-DegreesFinishing undergraduate college can be a truly overwhelming experience. Suddenly you’re on your own. No dorms, cafeteria food and dining funds, professors giving you advice, and learning simply put in front of you. Everything takes effort and intentional work now – including earning money based upon your degree.

I can personally attest to feeling adrift and lost for the whole year after I graduated in December 2013. My story may be different from yours since my brain has dealt with depression since high school, but the post-university blues are a real and documented thing.

I went back to one of my college part-time jobs after graduation to “take a break” from the stress of senior semester (for example, I couldn’t read a single book or learn anything academic). Soon after, I felt stuck, stressed, and lost. I knew I needed more internship experience, but I needed money to pay for my wedding and didn’t have time besides. I didn’t even know how to look for jobs in my field, and worst yet, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m still figuring it all out!

Most importantly, I know I am not alone. For more information on on awareness of college graduates and depression, read these articles from The Guardian, The Independent, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Take a deep breath and remember that you’re not the only one. Here are some ideas to keep in mind and do as you go through this time.

1. Renew your perspective. 

Going through college gives you expectations that may be actually unrealistic! You’re only in your twenties. Talk to people. Many of them didn’t get a job they loved (or in their field, etc.) until they were much older and much further out of college. Try to view your life from another person’s shoes, and you may be surprised to see how blessed you still are. And don’t forget to admire your degree a little!

2. Re-think your expectations. 

Like I stated above, our college minds are taught about the “real world” in terms of expectations for us. In turn, we develop ideas. When we don’t meet those ideas, we may not have made a Plan B and thus fall into negative thinking. Making smaller goals (like making a list of places to apply or attending a resume workshop) can be an easy first step in heading in a more realistic direction. Then you can realistically expect to be in your field, say, five years from now. Don’t go overboard too soon!

3. Narrow down your strengths (and weaknesses). 

Unsure of what you want to do? Write down your interests and then separate the hobbies from the things you could do as a career (this benefited me greatly!). Research your field and find out what you may be a perfect fit for. Write down your strengths for interviews, and also decide on what your weaknesses are should you need to work on those (public speaking, interviewing well, etc). College was spent learning about so many subjects that you may have skipped learning about yourself professionally.

4. Find out how to prepare. 

Maybe you were that student who listened to your college’s career center and practiced interviewing, resume-writing, and job searching, but I wasn’t. I barely had time for homework much less preparing for what I would do afterward. If you feel “stuck” in your current job situation, go back to your strengths and weaknesses and figure out what you could work on. Research actual jobs in your field, ask questions, and do the small things that are helping you become more learned in the area of the real world rather than maybe what you studied. Sometimes this is the best thing you can do while you wait for that call back or interview.

5. Don’t be afraid to try new things. 

Yes, we’re all taught that we should use the degree we got all those student loans for. But honestly, maybe you decided on that major as a junior or senior in high school and were too afraid or far along in college to explore other options (also known as me). Perhaps you want to deviate a little because you found an amazing organization or a line of work you never knew existed. Explore! Take a class now and then if something interests you. Volunteer one night a week or month. Or maybe you might find you love being an Esty-shop owner, barista, or waiter/waitress – that’s perfectly okay! More job experience is more life experience, and all these things can make you well-rounded and wiser.

6. Explore your world. 

As an autobiographical writer, I know I’m probably not going to get something big published while I’m young. It just makes sense that I would need to live a little longer and more. For that reason, I know it is important for me to travel and discover new places, and what’s great for my budget is that they might be just down the road. If you can’t afford to fly somewhere, read your state’s magazine and discover all the gems the locals talk about (Minnesota Monthly and Mpls St. Paul Magazine are my favorites for Minnesotans). If it’s not intimidating, meet new people around you and learn their story. In a small way you are broadening your perspective and becoming more learned in the ways of the world. Don’t underestimate your life and experiences.

7. Enjoy your friends and family. 

It’s true – you may not have the same community of professors and students you had at college. But now that you don’t have the same “busy with finals” excuse, you can use an allotted time each week to reconnect with friends and family you don’t want to lose touch with. Isolation is the worst for depression (as tempting as it is, I would not recommend binge-watching Netflix, at least not for months at a time). Talking to people and being encouraged by them is one of the healthiest things you can do.

8. Get help if you need it. 

Lastly, seek professional help if your depression simply isn’t letting up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of by any means, but it can be hard to find someone without the free services of college right there. Though your college’s counseling center isn’t able to directly help you, they’re usually more than willing to give you a list of services in your area. If that’s not up your alley, then seek out a mentor through your church or perhaps a past professor who would be willing to listen and encourage you.

Are you or did you battle with the post-graduate blues? What are your ideas for battling depression and feeling lost in the job-searching world? 


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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?