The Power of Not Knowing

These are the things that I do not know: 

1. I don’t know where I’m going to be in the next five to ten years.
Married? Kids? Alone on my couch with my five cats clawing at my feet while watching reruns of Parks and Recreation? Maybe. Who the eff knows. What I do know is that for the first time in my life, I prefer to live in the present moment. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that nothing is guaranteed. The perfect life that I dreamed of is not here, and even though it’s not too late, and that picture-perfect life may still be a distant dream, that’s just what it is. A dream. Why not make the present perfect in it’s own way? I’m tired of dreaming of the ideal life for myself because it detracts from where I am right now. Am I the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life? No, not really. But are your questions about the future distracting me from getting to that place? Yes, absolutely. So for once, please allow me to focus on the now.

2. I don’t know who I’m going to be with for the rest of my life.
And that’s okay. I never thought I would get to a place where it would be okay. But now, I’m just living one day at a time. I hate to admit that I’ve succumbed to the realities of tinder, but maybe it’s just practice for Mr./Mrs. Right. I don’t expect to find my true love there. But if I can get a free dinner out of it, why not? I’ve also learned that love is not a fairy tale. Sorry, Disney fans. Love is hard work. It is stressful and vulnerable and scary. But it’s worth it. And if it means waiting until some unforeseen future to truly feel love again, then I will wait.

3. I don’t know what “the next step” is.
Are you kidding me with this one? It’s barely been six months since I got into graduate school. I was just given this amazing new opportunity at work. I’m basically amazing, doing (semi) amazing things with my life right now, and you already want me to start thinking about what I’m going to do after this? Hold on and please refer to #1 – allow me to focus on the now. Even if I had time to start searching for jobs, thinking about the next step, it would only be detracting from the great things I am doing with my time now. Maybe I’ll be an Assistant Director of some fancy office, or maybe I’ll move to Italy and scoop gelato for the rest of my life. Or be a published author. I’d be happy with any of those things. Or none of those things, depending on a possible fourth path that is not in view at this time.

4. I don’t know (certain parts of) who I am.
To say “I don’t know who I am” is so five years ago. But I’d be lying if I said I felt completely aware of every aspect of myself and how I define myself as a person. This year alone, I’ve explored new identities that I never thought possible and have enjoyed things that completely challenge my previous standards of self. But why not? Isn’t this the time to explore those parts of who you are? Because despite all of the recent responsibilities in my life, I sometimes forget that I am still relatively young. I should be making mistakes, figuring out what I like or don’t like, and learning from everything and everyone. Sometimes, it’s hard not to know who you are, especially when you thought you had it all figured out. But it’s better than being stagnant. I’d rather be in search of the true me for years than to accept myself as someone I am less than pleased with just for the sake of comfort.

5.  I don’t know everything.
This is something I already knew. Nobody knows everything (except maybe my mom). But what I didn’t realize is that there is SO MUCH that I still have to learn. About work, friends, love, life. Everything. I made a goal for myself this semester: I’m going to try one new fruit or vegetable every week. It’s a small thing, but it’s something. Today, I picked up a rutabaga. What the heck is a rutabaga? Even though I consider myself a decent chef for a twentysomething, there is still plenty more to learn. I think it’s important to find something that you want to learn more about and challenge yourself to get there. It will never be “everything,” but something is better than nothing.

These are the things that I do know:

1. It’s all going to be okay.
There is a power in not knowing. A dream of mine is to someday be in a local community musical. But as exciting as musical theater is, think about how boring life would be if everything was scripted like a show. No thank you. There is a power in not knowing because it gives us the opportunity to be flexible and adapt to life as it comes. We aren’t under the direct guidance of parents or college administrators anymore, yet we aren’t settled in careers with full families either. We’re in the middle. We don’t know it all. We don’t know exactly how life is going to turn out. And that’s okay.


Dear Valentine

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day, everyone!

As I was sitting down to write this post, I was having a difficult time thinking of a unifying theme. I try to write about topics that every twentysomething can relate to, regardless of where they are in life. And then, boom, Valentine’s Day hits, a celebration of love, where literally every single person on the planet has a different view of what this day should look like. How the heck am I supposed to write about love? I thought. A topic that is so widespread, especially among our twentysomething group. I’ve narrowed it down to a few categories.

1. The Newlywed
“I cant believe it’s already been a year with the love of my life! We are so happy together.”
We’ve all seen these types of posts on social media, right? You are most likely so incredibly happy that you just can’t help but to post about your amazing love life for the rest of the world to see. And why shouldn’t you? You have worked hard to maintain a successful and loving relationship and you deserve to have every single one of your Facebook friends write a congratulatory note to you. Your plans for Valentine’s Day probably included dinner and movie or some variation. Most likely with some steamy time in the bedroom afterward. Get it!

2. Over It
When is Valentine’s Day again? Oh yeah, the 14th. Just like every other year. Whatever, it’s no big deal to you. You’ve seen enough Valentine’s Days. You’ve had plenty of valentines that may or may not have worked out. Either way, it doesn’t matter to you because you would rather pamper yourself anyway. Why waste time and money on flowers and candy for someone else? Your day probably consisted of a true Treat Yo Self day with a full-body deep-tissue massage, day at the spa, or luxury shopping trip at the mall.

3. The Bitter Ex
You hate Valentine’s Day. It’s a commercial holiday anyway, isn’t it? A way for the card and candy industries to make a few bucks. Even if you had a valentine, you wouldn’t even exchange gifts. It’s just another day, people. And though you put on a tough act for all your friends, the harsh reality is that you’ve probably had your heart broken, maybe even more than once. Maybe it was the “Happy Valentine’s Day!” email you once received from your ex-lover, or maybe it was the oblivious ex-valentine who forget entirely. Either way, you probably spent this year’s Valentine’s Day looking through old photos and drinking heavily.

4. Forever Alone
No matter how many dates you’ve been on in the past year, it never seems to work out. You can swipe right as many times as you want, but regardless of that hot match less than three miles away, this Valentine’s Day has left you alone, once again. And while all your friends are out on dates, you awkwardly decline their invitation for fear of being the third wheel for the fourth time that week. Your plans for Valentine’s Day probably involved binge-watching romantic comedies on Netflix, crying excessively at all the romantic parts, and drinking wine. Lots of wine.

5. The Friendly Valentine
Who’s up for a Galentine’s Day celebration?! No matter the day, you know what really matters to you. Friends, family, and yourself. You have your priorities in order and you know what’s important. Even though you may not have a valentine this year, that’s okay. You have plenty of people surrounding you that show you love every day. Your Valentine’s Day consisted of a nice brunch with friends or family, followed by an outing on the town full of smiles, laughter, and craft espresso beverages from your favorite local coffee shop.

Which valentine category did you find yourself in this year? Regardless, I’m sending positive thoughts to all of you for a belated Valetine’s Day!

Twentysomething Birthdays!

It’s official. I have lived through twenty-four birthdays. Happy Birthday to me!


Birthdays are an interesting time. As Drew Dudley says in his TEDtalk Everyday Leadership“We celebrate birthdays, where all you have to do is not die for 365 days-and yet we let people who have made our lives better walk around without knowing it.” Yet, with today as my birthday, I’m seeing this quote a little differently. Aren’t birthdays a time for others to show you how you have made their lives better? At least in some way?

Birthdays as a twentysomething are hard. In college, birthdays were always surrounded by friends. There was never any doubt. Birthday dinner, drinks, and a night out full of dancing, fun, and partying it up, surrounded by the people you love and care about. For the past two birthdays, coincidentally the past two years since I’ve graduated, my birthdays have been in a new place. New people, new friends, new me. What do I want to do for my birthday? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to be with? And to those questions, I’m not really sure. I’m new to the area still, the friends that I’ve made are great but I haven’t yet found that core group of people that always hangs out together all the time, and regardless of my #1 Birthday Wish, I was still stuck reading most of the day for class.

Another thing about birthdays as a twentysomething: it’s okay (and almost expected) that you may not celebrate your birthday on your actual birthday. This year, mine happened to be on a Sunday. Aka the day that everyone is stuck at home reading the material everyone procrastinated reading for Monday classes. So with that, most of my celebrating was last night. A group of friends and I went out for a nice dinner and then to a local bar for some drinks. It was low-key but everything I was hoping for. The friends I was with are relatively new friends, but it was good company and it made for a really nice birthday celebration. And then tomorrow is my “work birthday.” The office organized a little get-together in honor of my special day, cake included! So I am looking forward to that.

Regardless of where you are as a twentysomething, birthdays are a great reminder of how many people love and care about you. I got a phone call from my best friend from undergrad last night, exactly at 12:00 AM. Even though she is hours away, she was still thinking of me. I talked to so many good friends today who sent positive messages my way. They took the time to call, text, send a Facebook message. It was just really nice. A nice reminder. Because sometimes, as a young twentysomething, you forget. You’re ostracized from old friends, close family. Consumed by your work, your job, your failed relationships and all the could-haves.

But on any birthday as a twentysomething, I think it’s important to indulge in something that makes you feel good. Even if you have to work, even if you have to read for class all day long. For me, it is this delicious glass of wine I’m having right now. It’s taking some time out of my day to write this blog post. Yes, birthdays do change as you get older, especially as a twentysomething, but what better way to celebrate all that you have done in the past year?

But celebrating you shouldn’t only be once a year on your birthday. What are some other fun and exciting ways to celebrate all of you other twentysomethings being so great?

A Little Soup for this Twentysomething Group

Being a twentysomething leaves little time for cooking and/or being healthy about it. I have one friend that is constantly posting pictures of all her new recipes that she has time to cook. Each photo screams five-star restaurant with ingredients that I’ve never even heard of, all covered with a drizzle of zesty balsamic glaze. For the rest of us, I don’t see how that is possible. We work jobs, go to school full-time or part-time after our jobs, and on top of that, try to have a social life.

I realized the other day that I have been an accidental vegetarian ever since I moved into this new apartment. It’s not that I don’t want to eat meat, it’s that I literally do not have the time it takes to defrost the chicken from my freezer and then cook it. I’m lucky if I find myself eating any meal that is comprised of a protein, a starch, AND a vegetable. Most nights, it’s just whatever is in the fridge already prepared. And if that means leftover canned corn and lettuce, I’ll call it a salad and move on.

I’ve noticed that being in this state of mind, I haven’t been making the healthiest of eating choices (as evidenced by the time I bought an entire box of junior mints last night and ate the whole thing in one sitting on my couch, and then proceeded to wash it down with half a bottle of wine). Needless to say, I’ve been looking for some alternatives for my Saturday night.

Some other twentysomething friends swear by their Crock-Pot. But for me, I hate using a Crock-Pot. In fact, I say Crock-NOT. Okay, I have to be honest, I’ve been planning that joke for three whole days now. Maybe it’s by grandmother’s voice in the back of my head telling me never to leave anything plugged in, or maybe it’s the irrational fear that my apartment will burn down, but I just don’t like them. I’m also an instant gratification kind of person. I don’t want to wait 6-8 HOURS for my dinner. And surprisingly, there is usually too much prep work involved. I’m a lazy chef.

Right now in Upstate New York, it is a balmy 17 degrees Fahrenheit. What better food to make on a chilly winter night than soup?! I’ve learned that soup is surprisingly easy to make, too, which I love. So for this entry of Twentysomething Months, I’m going to provide some easy easy easy recipes for soup that I hope will warm you up on a cold winter night or warm you up from the coldness of your ex-hookup’s heart.

First things first, this is a magical appliance and you should all invest in one:

For those of you that don’t know, it’s an avocado slicer/masher. I got it two years ago as a gift from a family friend thinking I would never use it ever in my entire life. Surprisingly, it has come in handy on multiple occasions, especially for these two soup recipes. If you don’t have one though, no worries. It’s not required.

Soup #1: Tomato-Basil 
For this one, it’s soup-er easy. Okay, sorry. I’m done. First, take the tomatoes and mash them up in a medium pot with the avocado masher. If you don’t have one of these fantastic appliances, you can just cut up the tomatoes instead. Heat that up. Add the can of image1condensed tomato soup and one can of water. Stir that around a bit. Then, add a few spoonfuls of salsa and hot sauce if you like things spicy. Salt, pepper, and basil to taste, and voila! The best part about this soup is that technically it comes from a can, but it tastes so much healthier because you’re using real tomatoes!

Soup #2: Spicy Black Bean
For this one, also super easy. Take one can of black beans, juice and all, and dump that into a medium pot. If you have a masher, go ahead and start mashing. image2If not, no big deal, leave the beans whole. Next, add the second can of black beans, 16oz. of whatever kind of broth you have, salsa, hot sauce, chili powder, salt, and pepper. All to taste. It’s a really scientific process here, can’t you tell? Heat it all up, and top with sour cream if desired.

The one similarity between these soups? SALSA. It is a gift from the culinary gods. It has tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices…all chopped up and put in one jar! No more cutting and dicing teary onions or working with spices…it’s all taken care of for you.

So there you go! I hope you enjoy these simple and quick recipes. Each one serves 2-4 people. Let me know what you think, and feel free to add your own easy twentysomething recipes below!