Rise & Shine

Australia, Beach, photography, Sunrise

“I love that this morning’s sunrise does not define itself

by last night’s sunset.” – Steve Maraboli

Watching the Sunrise at manly beach bring all the early risers out for a morning surf or run on the beach.

The Reality of Taking The Road Less Traveled

Adventure, life, Risks, Travel

“Do your own thing. Make your own way. Take the road less traveled.”Great. We hear these expressions thrown around constantly. The thing is, rarely are we advised as to what it is actually like to venture out and create a custom designed life. So, here’s my synopsis…

Step 1: Life hits

At some point in life everyone arrives at a major crossroad and has to decide whether to continue as a follower or a leader, decide whether to conform to society’s (really anyone’s) expectations or breakaway and establish their own objectives for life as well as themselves.

For myself, previously, it was the decision to return to my University in the US after Christmas break or to pack up and move to Australia for at least six months.

Some tend to linger when it comes to making such a large decision and ponder all options for quite some time, while others tend to make decisions with a snap of a finger. Regardless, both scenarios lead to a final moment in which everything is put on the line or kept decently secure and safe.

Despite endless amounts of time and consideration, some desire security and stability, which is completely reasonable if it suits and fulfills his or her personality.

Personally, “consistency” does not resemble my lifestyle in the faintest of ways. I tend to be one of the free spirits who take risks, reap the benefits at times, and truly fall on my face at others. For people such as myself, although it seems to be one of the only consistencies amongst us (let’s say, “adventurers”), I’ve noticed a vague cycle we all seem to follow…

Step 2: The “F*ck It” Moment

When deciding to take the road less travel it really comes down to a single moment where passion overtakes logic and you run with it. … I call this the “f*ck it moment.”

If you are or have a split moment where to decide to become an “adventurer,” you have already conquered this very moment or soon will.

It’s almost comparable to that last moment of a character’s life in a movie when a sense of clarity overtakes them and he/she realizes what is truly important. In the same way, during this “f*ck it moment” it’s all about what is truly in the heart. Not money, not status, not other’s requests, but simply an all consuming gut feeling.

One of my favorite quotes says it perfectly,

 “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery and I promise you, something great will come of it.”

Remembering this quote, my “f*ck it moment” occurred when, a bit surprising to myself, I chose Australia in a matter of 48 hours from the offer and never looked back.

Step 3: Is This Really Happening?!

Once that insane feeling of adrenaline fades, there is always that moment of disbelief when, as an “adventurer,” you wait to wake up from a dream and come back to reality. Often times, you find yourself almost in denial that you just had the guts to go out on such a limb. But, wow, you frickin did! And it felt goooodd.

I remember experiencing such an exhilaration that I just wanted to high five myself and share what I was about to do with anyone willing to listen whether it was my family or a stranger in the check out line.

Whether you know it or not yet, chances are, in that single “f*ck it moment,” with that very decision you already have conquered the most difficult part of the journey. Now you are committed…

Step 4: But, What if..?

Or are you?

“Adventurers” tend to think rather in depth and analyze situations. Just because they take chances and make spontaneous decisions does not mean that they do not have any rationality to their thought processes, there is actually quite a bit.

Consequently, second thoughts will eventually begin sneaking into the mind. “Can I do this? What if something goes wrong? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I chose… instead?” Ignore these at all costs!! They say nothing in life worth having comes easy. Creating your own path will not be easy, but it will be rewarding as long as you stay strong in your decisions and goals despite the hurdles you will have to overcome as well as the select people that will more than likely transform into hurdles themselves.

Because of all my “what ifs,” I honestly considered backing out, canceling my flight, and returning to school for a brief moment. I worried about loosing my support system, not graduating when I planned to, and missing out on my life in college as well as with my friends and family.

Looking back, I would have HATED my self! Sure, going back to school would have been easy and I probably would have been happy, but sticking with my decision and pursuing the chance to live in another country and culture is so incredibly rewarding.

Step 5: Killin’ it!

Or in other words, the climax! Whether you have decided to overcome your fear and go skydiving, train for a marathon, quit an exhausting job, or take a spontaneous trip the day is finally here! Some kind of feeling of empowerment, liberation, or accomplishment is inevitable.

Now is the time to really relish the moment and appreciate it for what it is as well as applaud yourself for taking the chance that ultimately led you to this very moment in time. No one else will feel all the ups and downs of your experience. Therefore, no one else is capable of valuing the outcome as much as you can even if they desperately want to.

I have a quote I’m infamous for saying to my friends, “You do you.!” I unconditionally encourage any of their wild and crazy dreams, but in return I expect the same and continue my saying with, “and I’ll do me.”

Step 6: Doing your thing

There’s no disagreeing that most people tend to follow the already paved road, meaning that the path of adventurers, who choose to develop and explore, is not one that most encourage or even comprehend.

Relationships could be tested by the differing lifestyles because making your own path does not allow others to easily parallel such a life for long. For this reason some friendships will have to be left in the past and many others will only make an appearance in your life for a season or two.

However, the best thing for adventurers to have is a support system of people whom are full of reassurance when difficulties arise. Sifting through friendships and relationships can feel like a very stressful and heart-aching task, but if there’s one thing I am sure of it is that this is a necessary and very rewarding step. Think of it as an overall “life detox.”

Clearly, every person has a different aspect of life that they would like to work on or “detox.” It may not particularly be relationships, but habits or mindsets. Which is wonderful! This should be custom to each goal as well as overall life. Seeing a pattern? It’s all about what is best for each individual! Beautiful isn’t it?

Step 1,500: Hindsight

Having a curious and adventurous attitude, specifically when acting on such manner, comes as both a blessing and somewhat of a curse.

Of course, choosing whether to hop on the paved path or blaze your own trail is not always made with ease. Taking the road less traveled is just that, it’s rocky and unknown, full of ups and downs as well as unforeseen opportunities for both failure and success.

Just as unpredictable will be your social life. When looking back you WILL realize that those falling outs were not worth a single tear and just straight up walking out of negative relationships was top five most fabulous things you’ve ever done!

By cutting those strings you lost the weight and baggage that came with them, allowing you to move forward with everything in you instead of being held back by negativity or discouragement… Please, we do not have time for that! We’re too busy living life.

It is, however, important to appreciate each relationship, as every one of them introduced insightful outlooks as well as experiences that absolutely aided personal growth and expanded the mind (whether you know how or not yet).

Most importantly, when you have accomplished your goal it’s more than okay to have an “obsessed with yourself” moment because you frickin’ did it! It’s encouraged to be selfish and savor this time, no matter how short or long it may be. Disregarding other’s criticisms can and should be a habit by this point. That’s the beauty of the road less traveled, every move is entirely up to you. Your life as well as future are literally in your own hands.

So, “you do you,” brilliantly and unapologetically!

Over the Cliff – My Take On the Blue Mountains

Australia, bluemountains, Bucketlist, Travel

Have you ever had something so beautiful take your breath away in every essence of the word? I had this happen to me for the first time in my life when a few friends and I decided to make a day trip to the Blue Mountains. I’m telling you, as soon as we reached the edge where we could best see the view, it was an overwhelming awe that froze me in place and demanded a moment to simply take it all in and admire the natural beauty of it. I felt like I was seeing a new form of geography because I had honestly never seen anything remotely close to this before. The all consuming mountains that seemed to go on forever, the way they actually appear to be tinted blue, the soothing sound of the water rolling off the top of the waterfall and collapsing on the rocks below, it was absolutely stunning. Once we got the slightest glimpse we were like giddy children on Christmas morning eager to hike to the lookout points in hopes of finding the next best view.

DSC03310

The best part is that a local friend, who so kindly offered to be our tour guide for the day, assured us that we were only sight seeing and therefore no “appropriate attire” would be needed. WithinDSC03292 four minutes we were already regretting listening to him, but we simply were not about to let slippery shoes or lack of anything resembling hiking attire stop us from exploring and experiencing all the Blue Mountains had to offer. Sure, following the trails and simply looking would provide for beautiful views and good pictures. But the idea of going past the boundaries, climbing our way over fences, and crawling under fallen trees for the awe-striking views and magnificent pictures was too intriguing. Sowe did just that.

There is a smaller more secluded waterfall that we found and discovered a tree trunk that stuck out over a cliff. The only question was who was crawling out there first. I followed closely behind the most daring one of us all and, as slowly as one could possibly move, I crept my way across the trunk and situated myself the best I could in order to best view the scenery. Scary? A bit. Worth it? For sure! If you are lucky enough to explore the Blue Mountains yourself and possibly stumble across this location, take the time to take it in and hopefully even climb out there yourself. If you can easily conquer this, I present you with another challenge.

On the trail that takes you down to the monstrous waterfall there are a few steps t10968080_356228787898259_1455073269_nhat take you down to a lookout point, great for pictures of large portion of the Blue Mountains. However, if you are as crazy (maybe just dumb) as my friend and I, there is a ledge that sticks out off the side of the cliff reachable by climbing the fence, over the edge, and making your way down to it. Risky? Very. Stupid? Probably. Would I do it again? In a heart beat! If this were a scene in a movie it would be comparable to the scene in titanic on the front of the boat. If there is anything remotely close to standing on top of the world, I swear this was it. All I could think of was that overly recited quote from “Perks of being a Wallflower,”

 “And in that moment, we were infinite.”

Which is exactly how it felt. When we finally agreed we needed to move on and began climbing up, we resurfaced the top of the cliff to a crowd of people watching the “two reckless kids with a death wish.”

When I saw the your crazy look on so many of their faces, I gave it right back to them. I kindly made my way past them off to explore even more, but what I really wanted to say was “You’re crazy. You’re crazy for being content with only observing a fraction of these mountains when the opportunity to feel as if you’re apart of them is right before you. You’re crazy for judging me for going all in and living life in it’s most raw and pure form disregarding the dangers. You’re crazy for settling.”

DSC03300

The rest of my hike I thought about these people and how that single moment is probably a pretty good representation of our differing lifestyles. One sporadic and free, the other stable and surface level. I came to the conclusion that both are necessary in our world for the sake of some kind of balance. I am just so incredibly happy to be a “wild one” and for anyone who has a speck of wild in their heart, I hope you allow it to come to life and take you over the cliff as well.

Onto of the World

Australia, bluemountains, Travel

You know how In airplanes you look down at a city and everything looks miniature and seems so small?.. Sitting on top of this mountain was the same feeling. But instead of being so far up and isolated from the view, we were sitting right in the middle of it all.

From Comfort Zone to Danger Zone – and why I am forever thankful for it.

chances, life, twenties

I’ll be the first to admit I was pretty well off, actually really blessed, as a child/adolescents. I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago in an upper middle class neighborhood next door to my best friend of now almost eighteen years. My form of education from grades 1-5 was homeschooling along with my three younger brothers so that, of COURSE, my parents could establish our base of knowledge the way they wanted, but also so that we could easily travel with my extended family anytime without the stress of “absent days” and “make up work.”

I definitely was not one of the most spoiled children in the neighborhood, but overall I had most of what I wanted and a decently up to par (or what I thought was stylish) wardrobe… looking back now, the pink camo pants, skorts, and visors were just pitiful.

Regardless of my mother’s inability to burn most of these articles to SAVE me from some seriously awful pictures, she was always incredibly talented in the culinary arts and establishing mature and select taste preferences in all of our family… I’m talking her best meals would have private chefs on yachts fired in minutes.

Luckily, she CONTINUED to only exclusively cook for our family and we frequently shared these wonderful dinners together allowing us to regularly discuss our days and form a pretty close relationship as a whole. However, over time I drifted from their “work hard and long” mind set and developed an extreme fascination, and ultimately a desire, for a more simplistic and “live free” mentality. So much so that half way through my COLLEGE DEGREE (plot twist) I picked up, without their complete support or approval, and decided to throw myself COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone by purchasing a one-way ticket to Australia.

Since being in Aussie I have been living completely on my own dime (which sounded hard at home already) and considering that Sydney is one of the most expensive countries in the world I am paying approximately 2.5 times the price of anything back in the states. OUCH. My friend Alex and I went out pretty regularly the first week then when we realized how much money we blew through… for the first time ever.. we decided we needed to budget. We AGREED to do grocery store runs and make our food as well as give up the cute cafes and eateries 1-3 times a day. Again, I wasn’t incredibly spoiled at home but never in my life did I have to pass up on buying a frickin salad or coffee because I couldn’t afford it. That day we decided this we looked at each other and just laughed, “welcome to the poor life.” Everyone says that you’re poor in your twenties but you never believe it or even get it until you’re there.

This sank in when one night we finally had everything for PB&J and were legitimately excited that we could have a toasted slice of bread with peanut butter and jam on it. Alex and I actually just laughed out loud at how much of a joke our lives had seemed to turn into. But, we both without a doubt in our minds or hearts continued laughing and agreed every single kids meal and occasional PB&J were worth this experience of living on the other side of the world in Sydney. When I’m fifty I’m going to look back on my life and tell endless stories and memories not talk about every meal I had anyways. So that’s that, glad we settled it.

This entire what will I say, remember, or think when I’m fifty is actually what I live my life by… Literally almost as if it’s my gospel.

Us accepting this as our life at the moment, of COURSE, led to many more of these pathetically hilarious memories, but it also led to something much bigger. This acceptance led to such a liberating feeling that I cannot begin to put into words. I’m currently not in college, so good grades or worrying about my future career does not necessarily matter. I came here only knowing one other person in the entire country, so I have a fresh START to selectively choose who I bring into my life or develop a relationship with… Clearly it would not be anyone that was anything near materialistic or simple minded and judgmental.  The best part, however, was that with that fresh start it gave me a clean slate to be whoever I want to be, as wild or serious, as adventurous or boring, and as loving or reserved I want to be.

You want to talk about a liberating feeling… I have absolutely no reputation or expectations of me and I’m happy to say so far I have used that to my benefit. Life happens and it can hit harder than you’d ever imagine you could come back from, some people have a way of convincing you no one can be trusted, and experiences can really leave you hurt if you let them. I’ll be the first to admit that, before, because of life happening I’ve been very closed off to most things that required trusting or taking chances that anyone else plays a major role in. Ugghhh even knowing that and saying it now makes so disappointed to hear. What the hell is the point if you aren’t CONTINUOUSLY developing relationships with people, taking chances that could end up being the best experience of your life, or allowing your curiosity to carry you as far as it takes to find that answer?!

Thankfully, I realized how seriously screwed this mindset is and chose to go against it in any and every way I can. So life happens? If it didn’t you’d be dead. So trusting is scary and some people can’t be trusted? The right people can be, and once you find them they are the ones that will share the greatest memories with you and be there for you when the memory isn’t looking so great. So telling someone you love them is scary and makes yourself vulnerable? Having that person being “the one that got away” is much scarier and it takes risks to find that desired love. So you’re scared, that “thing,” whatever it may be, could end up seriously hurting you? The best answer I have to this is lyrics to the song I’ve always loved…

“Scars heal, glory fades and all we’re left with are the memories made. Pain hurts but only for a minute, life is short so go on and live it”

I now choose to live life like this. It doesn’t mean it’s not scary; sometimes it scares the living hell out of me. But, now, in my mind that leap of faith is a no-brainer because I have already decided the day I arrived in Australia that whatever that chance may be (as long as it’s reasonably risky aka not jumping off a cliff with a sheet as my parachute) you bet I’m taking it! Sure I have a few scratches and scrapes and some moments when my stomach has COMPLETELY disappeared from my body. But, each scar is a treasured memory and the buzz I get, even with a stomach full of butterflies, has me smiling for hours and coming back for more every time.

I honestly believe that the reason it has become so much easier for me to do this is because I had already left my comfort zone, and not in the way that I’m down the street from home or at a party with people don’t know very well. I am on the other size of the world where I can’t reach my original comfort zone if my life depended on it. I am CONTINUOUSLY on my feet and even ordering coffee here is out of normality for me. This “danger zone” caused me to become my own safe zone. As long as my mind is clear and my heart is in the right place, I am able to do just about anything because approaching new territory is now “normal” and I could not be more thankful for that nor more encouraging for others to force themselves semi-permanently out of their comfort zone as well. Who knows, that danger zone could end up being the best thing that’s ever happened to you.

The WTFs of Moving to Australia

Australia, cultureshock, wtf

Now that I have been living in Sydney,Australia with my friend Alex for over two weeks, I feel that I have a pretty good idea of how things work here (the basics at least). Naturally, the only way to discover these things is by experiencing them and often times this learning process only comes after some kind of a struggle.. Or is that just us?! Ether way, after many trials and errors, awkward encounters, and embarrassing stories we now have laughs and stories to last us a life time as well as some WTF heads up we figured we’d have the decency to share.

Day drinking is out of the question

Throwback to those $2 shots at college… or happy hours thatyou could actually be happy about. You’d like a nice martini to sip by thebeach? That’ll be $18 dollars, “mate.”

Throwing free & unnecessary money at people

Yeah, that cab driver was not just extremely polite for noreason… He’s happy because your ignorance just earnedhim an extra 15 bucks. The sooner you learn they don’t tip here the better. Trust me, you could use the saved cash!

The struggle of deciding to walk or get a cab is decided for you

Your destination is close but you’re exhausted and want to grab a quick ride there… That’s a nice thought. The taxi drivers want more money and will refuse you. That’s right REFUSE you, leave you on the corner of the street, and never look back.

Having a car yell at you for crossing the road and thinking Australian’s are extremely rude …Not the case

Cars have the home court advantage here. Enjoy waiting at every single crosswalk as a pedestrian reminiscing on the good old days when you could strut right across the street worry free.

Thinking you’re in the mood for some nice chips & queso? Psych, think again!

The waiter will look at you like you’re crazy because they don’t. Know. What. Queso. Is.

Barefoot walk on the beach.. yeah right!

Those things you see on the ground are not sea shells or anything you want to approach.. They are poisonous spiders that can, of course, be deathly…

Here, “Sun-kissed” is more like “Sun-torched”

If you’re lathering up with some tanning oil, go prepared with some aloe as well… A few hours of your bare skin in the sun here and you can be covered in oozing blisters.

& cooling off in the ocean is even like playing with fire

Whether you’re in a cove that you later find out is a shark breading ground or a public beach overpopulated by tourists, there’s likely to be some kind of poisonous fish or creature that can harm you.

That 3am pizza you just NEED will never come

Apparently part of being a healthy country entails delivery stopping at 10pm!! WTF this is when we start thinking about dinner in college. Enjoy adjusting your eating schedule to a more reasonably healthy one while you consider eating your friend’s left arm.

Say goodbye to your “Venti non-fat latte”

You ask for directions to the nearest Starbucks and you asked to be shunned. Luckily, once you get over your separation anxiety an entire new world of coffees and espressos will be awaiting you. Just look up their terminology first to avoid a second harsh judgment moment! An iced-coffee here comes with ice cream in it.

& just when you’re ready to tap out and stay in for a night of binge watching Netflix … laugh at yourself for such a thought

Netflix is not a thing in Australia. Are you hearing me? Netflix does NOT exist here. No binge watching Tv shows or watching a terrible movie because you just can’t make it out. I have a feeling they actually might read real paperback books here

That being said… we both are head over heals (sometimes literally) in love with it here and would not trade a moment of our time in Australia for the world. Life’s all about taking chances, making memories, and learning from your experiences anyways, right?

“Don’t Forget Your Thongs”

Australia, Travel, words

When E-mailing the mother of the family that I will be an Au pair for in Sydney I asked her for any helpful advice on packing. Because I was packing for a minimum of 6 months and hitting both summer and winter I knew I needed to strategize if I wanted to be able to carry my suitcases and not be stuck wearing water shoes in the winter.

To my surprise her response ended with, “and don’t forget YOUR thongs!” I remember thinking what in the world? Why would my underwear choice possibly matter?! While I know some people are extremely irritated by underwear lines, I did not exactly see this as a priority especially coming from a mother EMPLOYING me to care for her children.

Of COURSE, shortly after I discovered that these “thongs” were something I would be wearing on my feet…. No, not underwear on my feet. Even more confusing to me… “Thongs” = sandals or flip-flops!!

Instantly I was fascinated by the extreme difference in some terms! Even though we spoke the same language, there may still be a language barrier after all.

Obviously, I had to start writing down these terms and continue looking for an opportunity to learn new ones. So here is my ongoing list of a type of Australian à English translation…

Thong —> Sandal/flip flop

Jumper —> Jacket/sweater

Bogan —> Hillbilly

Macca’s —> What they call McDonalds

The goon of fortune —> A drinking game similar to our  ”slap the bag

Rock melon —> Cantaloupe

“Chuck- a –ue”—> To make a U turn

“No worries” —> “You’re welcome”

“Can’t be bothered” —> I’m feeling lazy

Ah-da-das —> Adidas running shoes pronunciation

Sunnies —> sun glasses

Swimmers —> swimsuit

Uni/kindy –> University/ Kindergarten

Bent –> Homosexual

“Go With All Your Heart” – the quote that pushed me to make the biggest/best decision of my life

justgo, quotes, Travel, twenties

A few months ago I was desperately searching for and absolutely positive I could; No, I HAD to find “the one.” I had been looking for a while with a few potential candidates but I never encountered the one that would truly spark something spectacular in me and inspire me to go to the ends of the earth for my dreams, you know, that “one.”

Stick with me here. Before labeling me as a hopeless romantic and disregarding all utterances that follow, wrap your mind around this… I was looking for a quote. Yes, as in those five to fifty word phrases that are supposed to change your life forever. I was always skeptical yet still hopeful that these even existed.

Then, one Pinterest filled day, I stumbled across a quote that read,

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

For me, this phrase really hit home, opened my eyes, and, spoiler, actually inspired a major change in my life. Because of previous situations, relationships, friendships, and struggles, I built quite an impressive wall… Probably suitable for bank vaults. Simply put, although I was pretty social, I was hesitant to actually let anyone in and especially talk about those things I believe I have heard people refer to as feelings. I was careful not to get too excited about future events to assure that I wouldn’t get my hopes up and so on.

What I had started to realize was that I was developing into the person usually labeled the “thrill chaser” in order to make up for the fact that I simply was preventing myself from truly living, from really feeling and experiencing life, and from reaching any form of overwhelming excitement or overwhelming happiness.

The Epiphany 

About three weeks ago I was talking to one of my closest friends discussing how she was moving to Australia for the next six months after already visiting twice before. Hearing how liberating and refreshing this experience was sure to be all the sudden I just knew I needed this too. I swore people were crazy, and in my opinion annoying, when they would say, “ I just knew.” It sounded cliché and unrealistic. I now know my disbelief was merely because I had never felt that kind of undeniable urge before.

I’ve made huge decisions before… ended relationships, quit teams or jobs, transferred schools, committed to leading groups or coaching, but only after I had discussed it with about fifteen people and pondered the idea for what seemed like forever.

This time was different. This time I knew. That same day I vaguely mentioned to my mom that I was considering the idea and the next day applied for jobs, researched visas, and announced to my family that instead of returning to my university in two weeks I would be taking the semester off and working as an Au Pair in Australia. Within the next two weeks I found an incredible family, lined up my job and living situation, drove up to pack everything I had left in my room at school as well as notified them I wouldn’t be returning, cut all ties, and somehow managed to buy a one way ticket in addition to being approved for a year long working holiday visa. Before I knew it, the day came that I would move out of my childhood home forever (my family will be moving) and to Australia with one of my best friends.

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So here I am, on my second night in Sydney, Australia reflecting on how I made this happen despite the lack of time and endless obstacles I had to tackle head on in order to be siting here. Honestly, what I kept reminding myself and reciting over and over were those eight words. Those eight words that pushed me to make the greatest decision I have ever made thus far and the most thrilling yet challenging adventures I have already had and surly will have every single day to come.

I am on my own, in a new city, and going with all of my heart. I am dedicated to experiencing as much as I possibly can, taking every opportunity that I see to make a new memory or story, engulfing myself in this new culture, and appreciating the unique people I come across along the way. My guard is down and I am vulnerable as hell, yet my eyes and arms are more open than ever before and I am living in such a way that I’m sad to see the sun go down because I am enjoying that moment and that moment only. Having no comfort zone is almost comforting in itself because figuring things out on my own or putting myself out there is no longer an option, it’s a must. There is no choice to make except for which experience or chance I’m taking next. And that, is the most beautiful and liberating feeling I could ever possibly dream of.

A note to myself (& those who may need to hear the same): Why I believe the crossroads of your twenties may call for some reevaluation and more importantly, A pause for a vaca… & ITS OKAY!

crossroads, Travel, travelbreak, twenities, vavation

The whirlwind that hits in your twenties

Simply put, the twenties come with major crossroads in life that have to potential to shake up anyone’s world as if an angry tornado out for revenge is rattling their world no matter how indestructible he or she may be. To others, these crossroads may seem minor, insignificant, or even just nonexistent and you must accept that now…the sooner the better. Truth is you’re probably just doing everything in your power to keep those skeletons in the closet, even if it’s subconsciously, and it’s working.

Most often the breaking-point-crossroad seems to be formed by the confusing stressors in life at this age and the contradicting pressures that come with them, whatever they may be. Perhaps the pressure to be a trustworthy and positive friend, to be a loyal and supportive girlfriend, to be a well rounded A student, to have a sufficient social life without reaching the “entirely insane partier” status, and somehow accomplishing all of these in order to be a son/daughter/friend/potential employee…ect worth respecting.

But oh wait! In case you forgot… “we are in our twenties—young, living care free lives and should stay in school as long as possible because the real world sucks!” as they say…Umm hello, I’m not sure where you went to college but I can promise you that my sanity is questioned at times in college as well, not to mention the whole trying to figure out ‘who am I’ thing.

We wish… but in reality the pressure can feel as if it’s building and building with little to no release, on it’s way to an explosion. Although, I hope you have admitted and accepted by now, ultimately you are the only one who can accept or disregard the pressures others condemn you with, but right now the tornado appears to be spinning, sucking in all the criticisms, expectations, and concerns before you may even have time to shake their hand and properly introduce yourself in order to familiarize yourself with your next opponent… I think this might be the rude awakening they talk about receiving one day, they just never say it comes this early.

Time To Interfere

Life has a tendency to do this, especially in the age of the twenties when you’re supposed to be figuring out what in the world you are suppose to be doing with your life… Not to mention, who you’ll be doing and who you yourself will be. Some stress can be good, however, too much stress can be destructive and if this spiraling tornado seems to exist in your life maybe it’s time to change things.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

If your life is simply not making you happy and you don’t want things to stay the way they are you must change your life! No one else can nor will they do this for you. Expecting anything better without taking the steps to get there yourself is unrealistic and I’m sorry to break it to you but it’s probably never going to happen. The good news is, if you need to hear it’s okay to change your mind, direction in life, or relationships then you have every right to do that. Above all else you owe it to yourself to establish yourself in a good place mentally and create a strong base for the rest of your life.

We all have a breaking point (good news is this is when change happens)

Basically, you’ve hit a breaking point. You are in your twenties and fast approaching what they now call a “quarter life crisis.” You are questioning relationships, goals for the future, family, morals and beliefs, and, probably soon to come, why the sky is blue. However, because you are so young you, my friend, are in this beautiful place where you can do something about this. Who says you have to follow this cookie cutter life… Society? I’m calling bullshit. If you’re in such a place in life where you are prepared to take the road(s) less traveled and create a new path then DO IT.

“Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.”

Jump in with two feet, don’t let anyone stop you, and don’t look back! Challenge all of those questions and fears but take the necessary time and break YOU need to do this.  If taking a few days to recoup is all you need, great! If months or years are what you need, you do you and do it unforgivably. If a few months for yourself is the turning point in life where you re-create yourself and establish your happiness, confirm or investigate your faith, relight a passion for life, and/ or discover what it really is to love then I for one think anyone would be crazy not to allow themselves this time in order to do that.

I truly believe that by recognizing some of these struggles and taking them on head on, in an enjoyable and healthy way, it allows you the opportunity to come out a better and much more beautiful person. You will be able to look back at fifty years old and thank the younger, better-looking version of yourself for valuing as well as prioritizing yourself and your happiness.

You’re Only Young Once, & Just Getting Older

Now, at fifty will you look back and regret the few months missed with friends back at home or college? Will you wish you hadn’t traveled the world and taken chances? Will you think of yourself as foolish and immature for waiting a few months to start a career?

“50 years from now when you’re looking back on your life don’t you want to say you had the guts to get in the car?” -transformers

The real answer is I can’t answer that truthfully but I can assure you that everything in me whole-heartedly believes the fifty-year-old versions of us will love ourselves for it. I recognize it is not the traditional way of doing things, but as they say…

“In order to be extraordinary one can never be ordinary.”

Don’t settle to be anything short of extraordinary and when preparing to explain this to friends, parents, or loved ones, as some of the people that love you the most, I cannot imagine them wanting any less for you either so be brave, confident, and well-spoken. Ask them to not only allow, but to support and encourage you to be extraordinary. You never know, they may just surprise you a bit. I know mine did…eventually!

Make This Time Worth Wild

Set Goals!

In order to insure that you are utilizing every second of your time and truly going to get everything out of this as possible I suggest making goals for yourself. However, make these specific and with dates when you would like them completed by. If you take this seriously and do your research you could find an amazing new experience or hobby you can do as well as take this time to really devote yourself to learning something you always have wanted to but have never conveniently been able to. This way at the end of the time you allow yourself you can look at all you have accomplished and reflect on what all this did for you.

Mainly, however, it simply assures that you go in with a clear mindset of why you are doing this, what you need to achieve, and that the entire time isn’t wasted away sleeping all day. I personally know that I would not be okay with putting my education and/or life on hold in order to go be unproductive and bum away the next few months of my life… The point of this is to get something out of it and only YOU can make sure that happens!

Now, be an inspiration to yourself and those around you. Go put on your ‘big girl panties’ and conquer the world… whatever that means to you.