The End of an Era

The End of an Era

Saying goodbye to my twenties feels like the ending of an era. I feel as though I’ve spent a lifetime in this tumultuous decade. Like a good ol’ stereotypical Millennial, I spent most of it searching for meaning and trying to figure out my place in this vast world. I’ve learned so many critical life lessons, mourned the loss of important people in my life, and experienced amazing and wonderful things.

As I reflect on the last ten years and where I am now, I can firmly say I’m happy.

This is where I wanted to be ten years ago: confident in my identity and values, established in a career, and at a job I love. If you’ve kept up with my blog (and know me personally), I’ve gone through a lot of heartaches with job searching (and soul-searching) over the last several years. It hasn’t been easy in the slightest, but I can firmly say now all the waiting, the searching, and the anxiety was worth it.

I’ve faced my fears–some by choice, others by happenstance–and learned to overcome them. I’ve gone through hardship and loss and learned to persevere. I’ve been faced with opportunities and took the road less traveled by–“and that has made all the difference.”

Though I’m looking forward to being a more confident and established adult in my thirties, I have a little heaviness in my heart. I’m saying goodbye to a decade of fears, dreams, trials, and passions. And in saying goodbye to my twenties, I have decided to also say goodbye to this blog.

Thank you so, so much to everyone who’s followed this blog since the beginning, to those who’ve joined my journey along the way, and to others who’ve popped in and read a post here and there. I can’t fully express how grateful I am for all of you who’ve taken the time to read my streams of consciousness.

Thanks to this blog, I’ve had such wonderful conversations with my peers, related to an Internet community, and supported those now struggling in their “adult adolescence.” Even now, when someone tells me they read my post or I receive a new “Like,” I feel so much gratitude and giddiness.

If there’s one thing that’s stuck with me throughout the years, it’s this: you don’t know where you’ll be tomorrow, so take advantage of the present. As a friend recently said: “Be where your feet are.”

No matter what anyone says, your twenties are a unique and special time. Take advantage of it, learn all you can, and live life to the fullest.

Long live the twenties.

What It Means to Be a Christian Feminist

What It Means to Be a Christian Feminist

Feminism.

It’s a term celebrated more and more in our world, but many Christians still regard the term and label with caution. In some communities, they see feminism as practically going against biblical teachings, though no one would ever say so directly. Yet, what is the perception of feminism that causes some Christians to reject the idea?

The image that I grew up with was wild, loud, aggressive women that sought to dominate men and live freely against society. The younger women in my family cringed at the term and never considered themselves feminists, but they still desired to break away from the traditional male and female roles and expectations. To me, equality among the sexes was extremely important even at a young age , and I hated the feeling of oppression.

My household was a strong, traditional patriarchal household. Ever since I was a child, I felt like I needed to fight against stereotypes to get what I wanted. I couldn’t ride a skateboard because that’s what boys did, I couldn’t get scars because I’d be less pretty, I needed to learn how to cook to serve my future household. Sound familiar to anyone else?

I wanted to break every female stereotype I’d heard without giving up my gender identity, but at times it felt like they were at odds with each other. If I was too quiet, I was seen as a weak or passive woman. If I was confident and assertive, I was seen as aggressive and overly strong-willed. I was called a tomboy or a lesbian if I cut my hair short and put on a flannel and jeans, or very feminine if I put on a dress and heels.

But why can’t I be all of those things? And why does it matter?

Continue reading “What It Means to Be a Christian Feminist”

The Secret to Finding Purpose

The Secret to Finding Purpose

Are there some days you just wake up and feel like everything is right with the world? Working at your dream job, doing all the things you’ve wanted, making enough to be financially independent, got supportive friends in your life–it’s a blissful thing. And rare, too, when your entire existence is based on finding purpose and meaning.

But some news: I’ve realized the secret to contentment, and it doesn’t come with discovering some grand, overarching purpose.

If you read my earlier blog posts, you can get the sense I’m really into philosophy, particularly existentialism. I’m not well-versed in it to talk about it with authority, but I’ve wrestled with searching for my purpose in this life and the reason for my experiences. After all, what we do on this earth lasts for only a moment in time until it passes away.

If you’re one of the few who manage to be immortalized in this world (think Biblical characters, authors, legendary entertainers, athletes, etc.), it’s incredible to be an influence to others, but being famous doesn’t equate to a meaningful life. And you don’t stick around to see your immortalized influence anyway.

The search for purpose as a Millennial is almost engrained in us–it defines our generation. But when we can’t find meaning that satisfies us in our work, relationships, or families, we grow restless and depressed. I’ve been there. So many times I’ve wanted to run away from society’s expectations of success and even my own head to find happiness. I struggled with the thoughts: “There must be something greater in this life for me that is meaningful. Why am I here? What is my purpose?” If you’ve ever wondered that, we’re kindred spirits, you and I.

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The Problem with YA Novels

The Problem with YA Novels

Caution: contains spoilers and rants. Proceed if you dare (or don’t care).

I admit, I’ve become cynical when it comes to YA lit. There are some really fantastic writers out there, but quality writing sometimes gets overlooked by big publishing corporations for teeny-bopper romance dramas that are blown out of proportion. It’s all the same tiresome trope dressed up with werewolves, vampires, or whatever the newest trend is.

As a teen, I bought into it. I was obsessed with the Twilight series when it first came out. I borrowed books from friends, hosted reading parties, and talked all the time about our favorite characters. Then I suddenly took a step back and realized I had been polluting my poor brain. Harry Potter–I love those books and still do, but–dare I say it–I’m just tired of angsty Harry wishing for his family and breaking every rule with hardly any consequence. Also, the epilogue? Nice tidy way to clean up the loose ends with a more loquacious: “And they lived happily ever after.” Cute.

I can understand why these novels became so popular. They focus on teenage characters who are just as confused and angsty as teenagers today. Only in books can teens get away with almost anything and fly or coincidentally bump into the love of their life or meet supernatural creatures that aren’t as scary or conniving as they are in, say, Dracula. But where oh where is the substance? What are we telling the teens of today? Or is the point merely to appeal to their senses? Continue reading “The Problem with YA Novels”

Kauai, HI: Favorite Picks

Kauai, HI: Favorite Picks

There are few places that strike me with awe and wonder at every single turn. Kauai, though a small island, was a beautiful place I did not expect to enjoy so. It’s much less touristy than the big island and Oahu, and I really enjoyed being able to meet tourists and chat with locals to get to know more of their culture and island’s history. I had hoped for a relaxing vacation and I definitely received one even though I returned home sore (from hiking) and sunburnt.

Sore, sunburnt, and blissfully rejuvenated.

If you’re planning to visit Kauai soon, here are just a few of the places you must check out and some things I highly recommend you try.

Continue reading “Kauai, HI: Favorite Picks”

No More Excuses

No More Excuses

Today I was sitting in a Barnes and Noble looking for the fiction novels for which I wrote reviews and imagining seeing my own books for sale. It’s a dream I’ve harbored since I was in high school, but it never seems like it’s ever going to happen. Then, the line from a Yellowcard song came to mind that goes:

How will we know if we just don’t try? We won’t ever know.

The line is completely out of context, given the song is about giving love and a relationship a chance, but that line’s message is universal (meanwhile, give Yellowcard a listen, their lyrics are poetry). Couple that with the email from Writer’s Digest I received a few days ago entitled: “Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Giving Up” and the fiction contests popping up in my inboxes lately, I think the world is trying to send me a message.

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Pursuing Happiness by Taking Risks

Pursuing Happiness by Taking Risks

At this age, trying something new is scary. We’ve gained skills working at the same career for a while, and now many of us are looking for a change. We want something new. We want to pursue our passions. We want to find meaning in our jobs.

Maybe to older generations, us Millennials seem like perpetual dreamers, acting as though we’re Peter Pan (thought what else is new), but I can’t see the desire for more being a bad thing.

Actually taking action to switch career paths, apply to graduate schools, or start your own business is terrifying. The potential of failing and completely giving up our stability keeps many of us grounded in our dull jobs instead of seeking growth or following our dreams. For those with children or families, it seems near impossible. But I’ve seen some single mothers start new careers or open their own businesses, not allowing anything to compromise doing what they love while working extra hard to achieve their goals.

After all, when does life really start if we don’t start living it now?

I’ve let fear drive a lot of my life in the past. I was afraid of trying things outside of my comfort zone, meeting new people, looking foolish, and disappointing my family. I sacrificed a lot of what I wanted to stick to the status quo. But as I explored different paths and accepted that life is not a linear experience determined by society, I became less afraid. I became more open to taking calculated risks with nothing to lose with the mantra, “No regrets,” always on the back of my mind.

Now I’m in my late twenties. When it comes to establishing a career path, I’m just getting started. I’ve constantly been on the hunt for new jobs and personal growth, and the search has been both thrilling and completely debilitating. After being on the move for almost a decade, part of me longs for stability, a place where I can learn and grow as an “adult.” Sometimes I wonder if I should just find stable work in a less competitive job market. But another part of me can’t imagine being happy doing something else even if it means working for less money.

It’s horrifying, not gonna lie, thinking about the consequences of my risks and wondering if I will ever “make it.” All I can do is work hard and pray that all that I’ve done will pay off. Do I regret it? No. Even though the job search sends me on an emotional rollercoaster, I don’t regret choosing to teach abroad, travel, attend grad school, and pursue a counseling career.

I’ve been finding relationships to be the same in trying something–or someone–new. The idea of falling in love and being with someone forever is appealing, but it also feels like a dream. I like the idea of it, but practically? It’s so hard for me to be open to more than just the idea of love. Allowing someone else to come into my life and making the time for him, all the while not knowing if it will work out longterm, is scary. To me, it’s not fun dating around to see who’s out there or building quick relationships just to get rejected, ghosted, or ignored after a few dates.

But what is life without trying something new? Without taking risks in relationships, careers, and friendships?

Being open to new things is scary. Being open to the possibility of instability is terrifying. But as the saying goes, no great reward comes without risks.

Closure and Moving Forward

Closure and Moving Forward

Each month so far this year, I’ve experienced some kind of loss. I didn’t have much time to process before the next one hit, and pretending to feel OK and faking it till I “make it” hasn’t helped. I’m sure it makes other people feel better, but it still makes me feel like crap. Due to COVID, it’s been really hard not being able to spend comforting quality time with friends or be consoled through physical touch.

However, through this process of coping, one thing I recognized was the importance of closure. I used to think of closure as a melodramatic term that simply served as an excuse to hold onto a former relationship. But I was wrong. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but it’s a crucial step in the grieving process. The end of any relationship–by death, breakups, or distance–needs some kind of closure to move on.

It’s not easy knowing what that closure looks like. Sometimes it means burning a bunch of pictures or memorabilia. Other times it means keeping memories in a safe box, cleaning out the room they used to occupy, setting up a memorial area, or having deep, vulnerable conversations with others. The trouble with death is it’s harder to find that kind of closure, especially if you have regrets or can’t say your last goodbyes properly.

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Mourning the Loss of a Loved One

Mourning the Loss of a Loved One

Last month, my family and I experienced something we never expected despite the pandemic going on around us. It started with a sore throat that turned into intense fatigue and body aches. In a matter of days, it quickly spread from one person to the rest of my household despite our attempts at isolation. The positive COVID tests just confirmed what we already knew.

Maybe if I only lived with my parents and siblings, we would have been slightly less concerned, but we live with people at high risk. When my grandparents fell sick, we hoped and prayed for the best. Yet, two weeks turned into a month for my grandfather. He went to the hospital, returned feeling much livelier after one night, then a week later was admitted again due to pneumonia and low blood-oxygen levels.

Little did I know that was the last time I would see him.

Continue reading “Mourning the Loss of a Loved One”