quarterlife in review; also known as the end of an era

I’ve turned 25, and there’s a lot on my mind. I keep thinking of the uncertainty of the future – my job ends August 31st, I’m struggling with debt, I keep hitting a wall in my dancing… While I wouldn’t say I’m in the middle of a Quarterlife Crisis, I would say that I am feeling a certain undefinable pressure and uncertainty related to my age and a sense of lacking in accomplishments.

But – I have, in fact, accomplished a great deal over the last few years. When I look back at my blog and my New Year’s Goals of the last few years, that feeling is reinforced. And some of those accomplishments are pretty awesome.

I moved to California

After a year or so of daydreaming, I moved across the country. I was initially hesitant to do so because I wanted to have security – but instead, I moved my life 3,000 miles from my parents (give or take) without any sustainable plan. Well, that’s not true – I planned to attend Graduate School, but I found out I wasn’t accepted about a month after moving.

But I plan on staying. And I’m re-evaluating my goals. While I don’t have a plan set in stone at the moment – heck, I don’t know what I’m doing after August 31st, when my employment ends – I’m pretty confident that I’m in the right place and my life is moving in the right direction.

I eat like a grown-up

I grew up exceedingly picky (in spite of how hard my parents tried to expand my horizons). I wouldn’t eat anything which wasn’t bland and recognizable. I ate Mac & Cheese (from the box) upwards of five nights a week. I didn’t believe in commonly loved foods such as hamburgers, sandwiches, steak, chocolate, or wheat bread; most fruits and vegetables were also banned from my plate.

It was obviously detrimental to my physical health, but it was also incredibly embarrassing to explain to friends every time we went out.

Over the last few years, I’ve been working slowly but surely towards being less picky – and since I’ve moved to California, I feel like I’ve made progress in leaps and bounds. Some foods might never make it onto my “approved” list (hamburgers – ugh)…but I can go to a dinner party without being afraid. And when I go to the grocery store, there’s more fresh food in my basket than pre-packaged.

I still have a long way to go before I’m eating a healthy and wide variety of foods every day – but I haven’t made Mac & Cheese for two weeks.

Other Awesome Accomplishments

Those are the two most obvious things I’m proud of at the moment – but there are other things.

  • I love running, which I’ve only learned over the last two years. I’m not running much right now (it’s hard to find the motivation when the temperature hovers around 100°), but the fact that I exercise at all is an improvement over the last 25 years.
  • I can do 25 or so push-ups at the moment. I’ve needed to re-start the 100 Push Up challenge now that I’ve settled in to California…but I’m still proud of the improvements I’ve made.
  • I’m maintaining a Lindy Blog with some regularity, though this blog has fallen off the radar a bit (more on that below). And it’s a blog I really love, where I feel I’ve been able to contribute a great amount to my favorite community of dancers.
  • I’m learning awesome things, like how to make maps through GIS, and how to create websites and code programs (check out Codecademy!). And honestly, I’m doing these things because I’m interested in learning, and that’s always fun.
  • I’ve made significant progress in my financial situation. While I still struggle on a daily basis with not succumbing to the depression of what feels like an overwhelming amount of debt, I definitely have a plan.
  • I’ve learned – and taught – some pretty awesome dance choreographies, including but not limited to the Big Apple, the Tranky Doo, and the Al and Leon Shim Sham. Next on the list? The Dean Collins Shim Sham and the Hat Trick versions of the Al & Leon Shim Sham and the Tranky Doo.

So, that’s a lot of good things. They’re things worth recognizing, because they’re accomplishments for which I should be proud.

Current Inspiration

I am really inspired by this article about Joss Whedon and his personal philosophy for success.

While it’s certainly not a set formula for success, I think there’s some quality advice in there. In a sense, it’s all about setting goals, being specific about how to get those things done, and never limiting how much you think you are capable of doing. I also think that success is made more possible with quality friendships – especially if those friends can give you some tough love.

I am finding a lot of excitement and motivation in learning new skills, reading, and getting things done. There are some hurdles I have to jump – like how easy it is to spend more hours than necessary with Netflix – but I have plans.

Speaking of Plans – I have them

I’m trying a new approach: I’m creating a “25 while 25 list.” While this list is similar to “New Year’s Goals,” it will also help me redefine my goals, which have changed significantly since the New Year. Some of these goals are meant to be fun and exciting – because life is more fulfilling when we do awesome things. Some of them will be serious – because life is also more fulfilling when we feel proud of our “grown-up” accomplishments.

To facilitate this new phase in my life, I am leaving this blog behind. I love it – I’ve grown a lot and accomplished a lot, and a good portion of that growth has been motivated by and documented through this blog. However, I also feel like there’s a lot of baggage: much like my life, this blog suffered from a lack of focus over the past two years. It’s time to buckle down and do the things I want in my life.

Feel free to follow my new blog, One Thousand Adventures (’cause I plan on having them all). This might be the end of an era – but you know what they say about endings and beginnings. Without one, we couldn’t have the other.