the process of becoming

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

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narrowing it down, but still keeping it big

Interests-Julia-ChildsIn light of my post from yesterday where I hinted at what I’ve been doing and how I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, today I’m going to give you some of my ideas and dreams.

I often get overwhelmed because of my many interests or things I want to try. But then I think about it. Trying something is quite different from doing or committing to doing it for a long period of time. Someday, my career will be something I’ve tried, tested, and found to be exactly where I need to be – doing what I love. I don’t have a ton of requirements other than that: doing what I love and doing something to impact many.

I’m also not about dropping everything I’m doing just to pursue one dream or idea that I love. I get ideas, I weigh them, maybe even try them, but I know it’s impossible for me to do everything at once or even everything I love!

For example, a couple weeks ago in a bad fit of depression, I found that dancing to hip hop music was therapeutic for me and decided I needed to pursue my dreams to be a really good hip hop dancer. I was stoked. Determined and on fire, I looked up dance classes in the Twin Cities area and realized that all things come at a cost – a good dozens of dollars that I either don’t have or that will only last me a short time. No, I didn’t “give up” on this “dream” of mine because of some funds, but I did realize that 1) I’m a pretty clumsy person to begin with, and 2) I just don’t have the time or money to be enrolled in the classes for as long as it takes. It’s still something I’d like to try one day soon, but realistically, I will not be that figure on the next “Just Dance” Wii game.

But back to career and writing-related topics: I have recently been told that I am wasting my time in my current job as a PCA. This specific, much-older-than-I friend told me that I should start my own business and become a writing coach, assuming that I wasn’t doing a thing in regards to my writing dreams.

However, I am. I have this blog. I am writing more magazine-based articles to query for and seek publication. I am working on becoming a contributing writer to one or more webzines, and I am in the application process of at least writing/social-media-related internship!

To me, that is way more than I was doing a year ago as I returned my graduation gown and rejoiced the first day I didn’t have to go back to school.

But where do I want to end up one day?

The more I read about book publishing, I want to intern at a publishing house, be an editor, and one day work my way up (because to be honest, I don’t know how the process works) to become a literary agent. Writing coaching sounds great, but I don’t feel I have enough knowledge/experience to don that name quite yet.

But why literary agent? Because I LOVE books, I love reading, and I believe I have a good eye. I would rather interact with and help others’ writing than publish my own books.

The other side of the coin is non-profit ministry and church planting work. I’ve already dabbled in both and loved it, but I haven’t had a heavy writing-based position in either. One day that is what I want to offer to a ministry that shows others the love of Christ – my writing skills.

Thus, I believe I have been (somewhat) able to narrow down my passions, interests, and dreams into cohesive goals and/or aspirations that could actually come true! It will just take commitment, focus, and determination. It may change, and I may discover other things I am better at.

Some of my interests include: books/writing/poetry/memoirs, editing/copywriting/freelancing, design, travel/Italy/Europe, DIY projects, knitting, coffee/being a barista, hip hop music/dancing, ministry (pro-life, church/church planting, art and faith, writing-based), eating healthy…. (I could truly go on and on).

But which of those am I truly passionate about to pursue to the next level? Sometimes I think my 3.5 years in college only taught me how to narrow down or eliminate things that I like and things that won’t work out. For example, I LOVED theater and acting when I started at Northwestern, and after many disappointing auditions and a lot of frustrating back-stage work, I realized that I wasn’t ever going to act at the Guthrie one day.

Here’s the thing: I am only 22. I have time. I have time to decide what I want to do, what I’m passionate about, and what will become my hobbies rather than my professional work. It’s healthy to have both! Besides, I’m always changing and discovering new things! And as for the things I haven’t “eliminated” yet, maybe one day I will open a quaint bookstore with my darling husband, being a barista included. Maybe I will be a literary agent toting two toddlers and a cat, writing essays on the side. Maybe I will go live in Europe again.

Who knows. I’m trying to push past the anxiety and enjoy everything I do, living 100% in each moment and doing it one step at a time. That’s the best advice I’ve ever heard on this subject.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by all your desires and interests? What has helped or did help you narrow it down?


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it’s okay, you don’t have to know

And we’re back! I couldn’t tell you how many problems I’ve been having with my laptop, my internet at home, and lastly Google Chrome itself! After so much troubleshooting, sometimes I just need to have a literary sit down for 30+ minutes to recharge. Anyone else have this problem?

Thus, I’ve been keeping busy reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (the latter courtesy of my wonderful mother lending such a popular book to me).

I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking in regards to my career. As a recent graduate and a twenty-something, I so often get asked what job I am currently working. I’m sure you can relate! But when I admit that it’s not what I spent thousands of dollars on my degree for, they ask me where I’d rather be and what I want to pursue.

The problem?

I’m not sure yet.

See, I find myself getting anxious when the pressure gets put on. I’m young, the whole world is ahead of me (okay, minus undergrad, so I can’t really change that), I have so many options. Also, I get the sense from others that, since I went to school for 3.5 years already and graduated with honors, I should know what I want to do. College should have given me the magical answer.

But there is no magical answer. As a naive, PSEO-ed freshman, I thought there was. I thought I would be adored for my high grades, intern up the wazoo, and graduate with a full-time job lined up. But life – and college – doesn’t always turn out the way you hope. It wasn’t that I didn’t try. I just filled those 3.5 years up with so, so much that by the time I was nearing graduation, I was running out of steam. I wore myself thin trying to be great and ended up in a post-graduate funk complete with depression and a feeling of helplessness. I got distracted by my emotionally-taxing job and ran out of the energy that gets me out of my comfort zone.

Now, I’m ready to get out of the funk. I’m learning to take care of my mental state and narrow down what I want from this life. Because my problem in college was that so many things sounded good to me. Can’t I do it all?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt – and still often feels – this way. But no, you cannot do it all. In fact, you should be able to narrow it down to a healthy focus on where you want to end up in life.

I can’t help feeling that this is too optimistic even for someone a year out of college. As an early twenty-something, I don’t have to know exactly what I want to do forever. I’m actually enjoying still discovering the possibilities of all that the world could hold for me and my Writing & Lit degree.

So I want to encourage you post-grads, college students, and twenty-somethings out there: you don’t need to know right now. What matters right now is figuring out when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”

I am finding the value in saying “yes” to opportunities like interning at a pro-life non-profit for 4 months, being on a church planting launch team in Northeast Minneapolis for 2 years, and submitting applications for more internships and volunteer work in the writing fields I am still thinking and learning about.

I am finding the value in saying “no” to trying too many things at once. Finding the value in not taking pride in how busy I can be. I am finding time to relax with coffee, laugh with friends, and read good books. To take care of my mental health.

Opportunities can be either good or bad. Say “yes” to the ones that matter and are important to you. It could save you time by showing you something you don’t like or fit with, or it could further reinforce what you want to pursue. Just don’t say “yes” to them all! (: Soon the future will become clearer.

Tomorrow I will talk about what I’m doing to try to narrow down my career path.

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goals, resolutions, or dreams? my list for 2015

With New Year’s behind us and already a surge in pink and red Valentine’s products filling stores and ads, I almost feel like 2015 started without me! The holidays were busy, we cleaned the entire apartment, I packed away the wrapping paper and supplies, and before I knew it – I didn’t even fill the champagne glasses in time for us all to yell “happy new year.” Oops!

After the hustle settled down, I started thinking about what I wanted 2015 to look like for me. I have never been big on making new year’s resolutions, maybe because as a teen I wanted to be “different” or maybe because I knew the stats showed I wouldn’t keep them.

However, this year I’ve decided to put more thought into the beginning of a new year, even if I’m a few days or weeks late. After all, a goal/resolution is still helpful whether it’s made on January 1st or June 21st (Summer Solstice goals could be a thing, right?). I’ve learned so much, and I’m growing in the ways I discipline myself, look at my life, and try to change. I have dreams, but I’m also learning about what is practical (and tending towards that vein) rather than what looks great but may fail (Pinterest DIYs, anyone?).

But what is the difference between the popular word “resolutions” and the common “goal”? Do we define them by practicality, feasibility, or reality? Or can dreams be included as well?

I have a “bucket list” that I made in Italy in 2012 which I’ve tried not to think of as a joke. It consists mostly of dreams that could actually happen. Things on the list back then were “fall in love and get married,” “ride a gondola in Venice,” “travel to (fill in the blank here),” etc, many of which I have achieved. But when I went back to that list, I realized that I needed to keep it for reasons other than having items to cross off and brag about. I needed to think about what I really want out of this one life I get to live. I started thinking about my dreams and figuring out how I can turn those into practical, realistic goals that can be achievable.

For me, I like the term goals because they can be broken down into achievable parts, and they can originate from dreams and life-long goals. “Resolutions” sounds too abstract or me. Thus, the “2015 goals” lists were born. Multiple ones, as I have a personal one as well as a creative & professional one. These lists are born out of my dreams, and I will come up with practical plans for reaching them. I’m not a quitter, and so if I set small goals in the beginning and reach those, the by-end-of-December-2015 goals will be less daunting and impossible.

These are some of my 2015 goals (creative or personal):

1. Build up my writing portfolio and have at least 10 finished or published pieces by the end of the year (this blog or other mediums).

2. Read 35 books, 5 of which should be classics.

3. Create art I am proud of and can share. Don’t leave unfinished products or abandon talent.

4. Manage and maintain a blog regularly! (:

5. Narrow down my passions and practice focus.

6. Learn and practice Italian.

7. Gain as much job, internship, or volunteer experience as is feasible and learn from everything I take part in. Know my limits and what stress is too much.

What are some of your goals or resolutions for 2015? Are they born out of dreams or more practical steps?