It’s been one year since I graduated from college, and what a ride this last year has been. At this point in my journey, I feel at ease and I’m enjoying the flow, but that wasn’t the case previously. A few months ago, I wasn’t feeling like myself at all. I was isolating myself, doubting myself, suffering from anxiety attacks, and dealing with other symptoms of depression.
In hindsight, everything flowed as it needed to for me to be and enjoy where I am at now. You can read about that unfolding on my blog, beginning here, and then reading this post.
If you don’t want to read those posts, or if you have already, I thought I’d share the highlights of what I’ve learned since graduating from college. These lessons are not a guide to land a job; they’re applicable to multiple chapters of life. If you are graduating from high school, college, or if you’re just moving on, I hope what I have learned will remind you to flow and to enjoy your own journey.
Five Lessons I’ve Learned Since Graduating from College
1. Honor where you are at.
I spent many hours scrolling through Instagram first thing when I awoke and then again before I went to bed. While social media is a great way to stay connected to people, which may be particularly desirable when you graduate from college and move away from your friends, I found myself stuck in the “comparison trap” based on other people’s photos. One person would post about getting a great job, another person would share that they are beginning graduate school, and someone else would divulge the glamorous details of their gorgeous vacation.
Although these were accomplishments to be celebrated, I often found myself feeling bad for not accomplishing or doing any of those things. Fortunately, I eventually realized how negative Instagram was for me at this transitionary point in my life, so I deactivated my account. It helped me to become present and thus, I focused on myself rather than what everyone else was doing. It was then that I paid attention to the things to be grateful for, which improved my perspective and my attitude.
Social media may not be a problem for you, but I encourage you to notice if you are honoring where you are at now and finding gratitude, or if you are more focused on everyone else and/or what you lack.
2. Be positive
One of my favorite quotes is “Your perspective is your reality,” and it is incredibly accurate. If your perspective is that your life isn’t going the way you want it to, you never get what you want while everyone else seems to, and that you are a loser, then yeah, that is your reality.
On the other hand, you can perceive your life as being full of obstacles that you are capable of overcoming because everything you’ve experienced in the past has prepared you for what is ahead. You can argue that you do get what you want because you work hard for your goals. Maybe you’re not getting what you want when you want it, but you will get what you need when you are ready for it. Lastly, you can practice compassion toward yourself.
The practice of positivity was very difficult for me initially, but over time it got easier as I began to feel lighter and happier.
I never had my post-grad life planned out, but I did expect to obtain a full-time job within a few months after college. Many people graduated with full-time offers, so this didn’t seem like an unreasonable goal to me.
As months passed without receiving a single offer, I felt like a failure and a loser. It seemed like everyone around me was moving forward while I was left behind, living with my parents and without a full-time job.
In retrospect, I am grateful that everything panned out the way that it did.
If I had gotten a full-time offer that began when I graduated, I wouldn’t have been able to do yoga teacher training. If I had gotten an offer right after YTT, I may not have gotten my yoga teaching job at the community center and I may not have been able to get as involved in the center because I wouldn’t have been able to sub as many classes. I also wouldn’t have built up as strong of a reputation at the community center.
If I had gotten a job right after YTT, I wouldn’t have accepted the campaign job, which introduced me to an unsuitable leadership style for my personality. If the promised job after the campaign had come to fruition, I wouldn’t have used a staffing agency. I also wouldn’t have had as much time to study and take the GRE. If I hadn’t had the campaign experience, I wouldn’t have had as much to talk about during interviews I got through the staffing agency. If I had gotten a full-time offer during this time, I wouldn’t have been able to accept a temporary position where I learned a lot about office culture and professionalism.
If I hadn’t attended my community center’s happy hour after work on a Friday, I wouldn’t have talked about my temporary job and what I was looking for next. If I hadn’t attended that happy hour and if I hadn’t been able to talk about my work experience, I wouldn’t have been noticed by a fellow staff member whose husband was looking for employees. If I hadn’t had a major shift in my perspective and if I hadn’t continued to persist, I wouldn’t have gotten an interview through the staff member or on my own job-search. If I hadn’t adopted a positive perspective and if I hadn’t found gratitude for my current situation, I wouldn’t have been an impressive candidate. My boss at the community center wouldn’t have vouched for me as being a valuable employee. Then I wouldn’t have had two job offers in the same weekend. Thus, I wouldn’t have accepted my current position, which I love.
This “logic” can go in so many more directions, but the point is that everything happened how it needed to.
“You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.” -Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life”
Just because it didn’t happen when I wanted it to, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t going to happen at all.
5. Experience joy.
Transitions are uncomfortable, scary, and stressful, but that doesn’t entail you should feel that way all of the time, or at all. When times are difficult, it’s all the more reason to experience joy. This can be as simple as reading a book, having coffee with a friend, or volunteering for a cause that is important to you. You deserve to experience joy daily.
Let me know your thoughts on these lessons, and please share anything you’ve learned along the way!
It’s been quite some time since I shared a recipe, but it’s not because I’m not cooking. I haven’t shared any recipes because I haven’t been doing my own spin on meals I prepare lately. This salad is the exception — I didn’t follow a recipe for this, I created it myself!
This Mediterranean salad is inspired by a salad my parents and I enjoyed at an Afghan restaurant we discovered last weekend. The waiter gave us each a big plate full of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers swimming in a pool of light, acidic, and tangy dressing. I’ve had a strong craving for Mediterranean food lately, so I thought it’d be fun to make it at home! Below is the recipe.
My Version of a Mediterranean-Inspired Salad (modify as desired!)
2 large cucumbers
4 small/medium-sized tomatoes
A lot of fresh parsley
Many mint leaves
Several sprigs of fresh dill
Apple cider vinegar (optional)
Two garlic cloves
Garlic powder (optional)
1/2 red onion
Peel and julienne large cucumbers (the mandolin my dad got me for Christmas worked wonders for this) and put in a large bowl
Dice the tomatoes and toss in the bowl. Try to keep the guts of the tomato intact so it can add to the dressing.
Chop up more fresh parsley than you think you need, and add it
Chop a ton of fresh mint
I plucked the dill right off of the stem and threw them into the bowl…I don’t know if there’s an “official” way to prepare fresh dill.
Squeeze one lemon over the mixture
Option to add some apple cider vinegar as well. I would’ve added another lemon but I didn’t have any, so I used the vinegar to provide more acidity
Mince the garlic and add
If raw garlic is irritating to your digestive system, I recommend using garlic powder instead. I used both garlic powder and raw garlic
Chop the red onion and add
Season with salt and pepper to taste
The night before you serve, or even right before you eat it, add as much feta as you would like. I added it as late as possible because I think it would dissolve into the dressing otherwise.
That’s it! It’s quite simple but so satisfying.
One more note- it’s best to prepare this at least the night before so everything can soak overnight.
If you make this at home, let me know what your take on the recipe is.
Now that it’s May (how is it May already?!), I would like to take a moment to reflect on my goals for 2019. Below is where I am at in my 2019 aspirational list.
Top 10 Goals for 2019
1. Allot weekly yoga studying time – I was doing this…then I stopped. I am going to be doing some yoga workshops though.
2. Establish a consistent meditation practice, at least weekly – Always a work in progress. However, my boss has introduced me to a local Buddhist meditation center that I now visit.
3. Plan and execute a chakra yoga class series for the spring – May not happen until the fall?
4. Research and book a yoga workshop/training for late 2019/2020 – This is happening!
5. Confidently making decisions! (Such as for grad school) – I have been actively working on trusting my inner voice.
6. Integrate cardio at least weekly into my routine – Thanks to my yoga job, I have definitely been integrating cardio via a cycling class. I love the community and I love cycling!
7. Work daily on a long-term writing project – I’ve been in a rut lately so writing has taken a back burner unfortunately.
8. Continue to maintain this blog and begin planning how to expand it – I am maintaining this space but I’m not expanding it…I don’t think expanding it is my goal. I just want to be creative more frequently.
9. Complete the rest of the half-read books that I have. – I have finished several half-read books, such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. I had an affinity for older literature for a few months ago.
10. Create a ritual for my ancestors – This still needs to happen
What I’d like to focus on at least until the Summer Solstice is creative writing. I’ve been reading so many books lately and I’ve been inspired by all of them, but I haven’t been taking the next step, which is to use my inspiration! I think I just need to find a better balance between reading and writing.
I feel that way with yoga too. I spend most days practicing asanas, but I need to integrate more studying of Yoga philosophy. Initially, I thought I needed to improve my sequencing to become a better teacher, but currently I think I need to explore spirituality.
Now I invite you to take this opportunity between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice to realign and refocus. Are you on the track to achieving any goals? Have you neglected some goals? Have your desires for 2019 changed?
The title of this post feels like a throwback to my obscure blog post titles circa 2014. This title is actually not obscure though…my barista really did get a new job. He’s going to be working full-time doing something related to his field and it’s great! It’s also bittersweet because he’s been my barista for a few years, and I’m going to miss chatting with him.
I’ve actually known him for over five years, before he even became a barista. We used to work together at a burger shack when I was in high school. (If you read my blog back in 2014, I’m referring to the infamous burger-shack-lesbian-romance-disaster that I wrote in great detail about during the beginnings of this blog. He’s from that era of my life).
Before my senior year of high school began, he quit to become a barista at the coffee shop local to me. He was (maybe still is) friends with my first ex, so I used to still hang out with him when the lesbian squad and I visited him after his shifts.
When my ex and I split during my first few months in college, I dreaded running into him when I was home from break and went to my local coffee shop. Obviously, as time passed, wounds healed, and dread turned into “nice.” It was nice to run into him every few months just because he was a familiar face and we would catch up a bit.
After I graduated from college, I basically moved into the local coffee shop just so I could escape my parents’ interrogations about jobs. Our conversations at the coffee shop became longer since we had more time to chat and since we saw each other more frequently. We bonded over job-hunting since he was graduating soon and about to embark on the full-time job-hunt too.
So…he’s heard bits from all different points in my life. He’s heard about college, my temporary jobs, my two full-time job offers, and my acceptance of a full-time job offer. I’ve heard about his college experience, job-hunting, and I coincidentally saw him on his last day at the shop, so he was able to tell me about his acceptance of a full-time offer.
It’s come full circle! We’ve both moved on from that coffee shop and are now professional, working adults. What a life.
I want to try to stay in touch with him, despite the fact that I won’t be seeing him somewhat regularly anymore. After I saw him on Friday, I messaged him to suggest getting drinks after work sometime. We’ve never hung out before aside from five years ago, but I think it’d be nice to try. Maybe we can become better acquaintances or even friends! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated.
Today would have been the second-year anniversary with my ex. Although we didn’t quite make it to two years as a couple, she was part of my life for more than two years and…I didn’t realize how much of an influence she had on me until she was gone. She has seemingly tainted everything.
Parts of my wardrobe were either gifts from her or they are from activities that we did together. Places we went together, that I still frequent, remind me of her. Some items I use daily are gifts from her. She’s permeated most, if not all, aspects of my life.
I also hadn’t realized until recently that it was never possible for things to end well between us because we hadn’t been on the same wavelength for a long time. So…processing that has been devastating.
A few other things have been difficult to process as well lately.
Tomorrow my cousin would have turned twenty-eight. I wish she was still here with us.
I haven’t really talked about this much, if at all, but my mom is beginning treatment next week for her cancer. She was diagnosed the day after my cousin passed away, so it’s not exactly a new situation. She’s doing well, but what she is enduring is scary and exhausting. This will be her first time doing any type of treatment. Yoga has been helping her tremendously though. She goes to all of my yoga classes and has been practicing pranayama (breathing) and mindfulness in her everyday life, especially when she goes to the doctor. I’m really proud of her.
Then things will become a little sunnier.
A few weeks after she begins treatment, my sister will graduate from college. I’m so proud of my sister, but I can’t believe how fast time flies.
The week after my mom is finished with treatment and after my sister graduates, my family and I are going on a much-needed and well-deserved vacation to Disney to celebrate all of the endings and to welcome the new beginnings.
So…while April may be a difficult month, it’s watering the soil to support growth in May. Hopefully there will be many flowers.
One day I will have it all: A bountiful, dynamic, creative career, and a satisfying, secure, love life. That day is not today though.
Today, I feel like I’m playing whack-a-mole. For months I was stressed about my professional life and not worried about my romantic life at all. Now, my professional life is flowing, and my romantic life has been torched to the ground and then pulverized for good measure.
I’ve become a little numb to the devastation of my relationship. This is both good and bad…good because I’m able to function relatively normally at work, with my family, and with friends. It’s bad because my feelings aren’t really being addressed since I opt to distract myself, thus this numbness has been hampering my creativity.
Keep applying for jobs. I know, this is probably the most eye-roll-inducing item on the list considering “applying to jobs” is all that I’ve done since May. I will land a job soon though, I’m positive of it. I did land a job! It’s fantastic!
Clean my room and the spare room, which is essentially a disastrous extension of my room because it’s filled primarily with my own belongings. I don’t need that much shit! If most of it was thrown out, I wouldn’t even notice. Plus, by organizing my space, I am more prepared to move out. I did organize a little bit…but this is still a huge “to do.”
Get a haircut and paint my nails. Sure, they’re not necessarily transformative tasks, but I am well overdue for a haircut and painting my nails would make me feel fancy, which is important. I want to feel good about myself. I did get a haircut, but I never painted my nails.
Plan a weekend trip, then actually follow-through on it. It’ll be something to look forward to, which I definitely need. I’ve been doing my best to plan small outings with friends on the weekend. It’s definitely been helpful.
Lean on the friends that I have during this time of healing. Yes, but more importantly, I need to allow myself to grieve.
When I get a job, fearlessly put myself out there, both professionally and casually. Perhaps I can make some new friends through work. I get along with my coworkers really well! We plan to go to a Thai meditation center together next week.
Finish reading Don Quixote because I’ve been meaning to finish it for over a year, plus it’s hilarious, which I definitely need in my life right now. I haven’t finished this book, but I’ve finished about three or four other books. This is still a work in progress.
Resume reading my chakra book so I can begin to create chakra yoga classes. That will be a fulfilling project to work on and to share with my students. I haven’t done this.
Do guided meditations for a few weeks to establish the habit of meditating. Meditation is medicine. I did it for a bit but my meditation habit continues to be inconsistent.
Find something weekly to get excited about and to look forward to. This can be something as simple as treating myself to a nice meal or trying a new class at the gym. Yes…I’ve accomplished this.
Free-write daily to alleviate my burdensome thoughts. Express myself and my creativity! I have been journaling…it helps.
Until I get a job, find ways to engage with people. This can be by making small talk with someone while I wait in line at the register or by offering someone I pass a compliment. Lately, I’ve been engaging with people primarily at work.
One thing I’d like to add to my list is below:
13. Allot time to grieve weekly.
Do you have any breakup recovery tips? Let me know in the comments below!
Recently I bought a bunch of professional clothes before I knew I was going to be working in a casual office. By “casual,” I mean Uggs and leggings or jeans and t-shirts. It’s very casual. That may be partially attributed to the fact that I work in a warehouse as opposed to the sleek corporate office I was in before.
So now, I’m one of the most fashionable and probably the most over-dressed employees. I’m okay with that though. I’m used to standing out a bit due to my consistently eclectic wardrobe. I don’t think I was nominated for “Most Unique” in high school because I’m weird. I mean…I am weird, but who isn’t?!
Below are some new outfits I’ve worn recently that I love. Scroll through, be inspired, and enjoy!
1. Burnt Orange Delight
I am obsessed with this dress!!! It’s a Free People dress, but my mom got it for me on clearance at Macy’s. I love Free People, but not the prices of their clothing. Thankfully their goods can be found on sale at Macy’s or TJ Maxx! You can’t really tell in the picture, but the dress wraps around the waist and I tie it in a bow in the back. I love it. It makes me feel simultaneously feminine, flirty, and professional.
My earrings are paintings of coquis, or frogs found in Puerto Rico. My mom bought them for me on one of her trips to Puerto Rico to visit my grandma. My orange gemstone necklace is a stone that my dad’s mom had. My aunt made all of the gemstones she had into necklaces and gave them to all of my cousins. I chose the orange one. The smaller necklace is a sweet charm my maternal grandparents got for me.
My shoes are one of my new purchases and the brand is Indigo Rd. I adore the color, and they’re surprisingly super comfortable. I wore them when I visited my friend a few weekends ago, and we did a ton of walking and they didn’t bother my feet at all. (I have very flat feet, so comfortable footwear is extremely important to me).
2. Pretty in Pink
I am obsessed with this skirt!!! I bought a ton of colorful professional skirts from Express for spring/summer, and they are all fantastic. Right now I’m attracted to hot pink, which is kind of unexpected for me. Then again, I have loved the color in the past…but my relationship with hot pink is complicated, to say the least.
The color of this skirt is technically called Flamingo Pink, which causes me love it even more because it reminds me of a project I did in 3rd grade about the species. Did you know that flamingoes get their pink color from shrimp??
My shirt is my mom’s old shirt, and my mom got me those cool, flower-printed tights a few years ago. My heeled-booties were a gift for either my twentieth or twenty-first birthday. They’re Marc Fisher. I love that brand.
My Betsey Johnson earrings are a gift from my mom back when I was in high school. My heart chain necklace is a hand-me-down from my step-grandma’s mom. Lastly, my green flower necklace is something I pulled out from the depths of my dusty closet. I probably bought it in middle school.
3. Angsty Holiday Cheer
This skirt is so unique! My mom got it for me from Kohl’s around the holidays, which is why it has a wintery plaid print. I’m wearing it with a red sweater from Old Navy and super old lace-up boots from Aldo.
A perk to working in a casual office is that I can integrate some of my edgier pieces into my outfits, such as these boots! My mom got these Aldo boots for me a few years ago to replace a pair just like them that I had back in high school.
My necklace is another hand-me-down from my step-grandma’s mom. My earrings here are also Betsey (I love her stuff) and I’ve also had them since high school.
4. Chic yet Fiery Professional
I planned my outfit around these new shoes I got on clearance at DSW. I’ve been looking for a loafer to wear during the warmer months because I won’t be able to wear my wonderful tall boots during that time. I have several heels that I can wear, but I didn’t have a nice flat shoe, until now!
The shirt is my mom’s old button-up and the sweater is a gift from my maternal grandparents from Eddie Bauer. My pants are from Kohl’s, and they’re super soft and stretchy.
My shoes are Franco Sarto. I love the silver heel accent.
I’ve had my necklace since middle school. I got it from a woman who had a jewelry shop in her basement.
5. Busy Bee
I actually got a few compliments on this outfit at work!
My skirt is from Express, and it actually has pockets as you can see below. I love that it has a paper-bag feel with the ruffly top. My shirt is from Abercrombie and Fitch.
When I was looking for loafers, I came across this pair of shoes by Naturalizers. I didn’t need them, but I loved them and I am a big fan of this brand. I have a few other pairs Naturalizers. Their footwear is very comfortable and they have excellent styles.
When I brought these shoes home, my mom loved them shoes so she got herself a pair too haha
My flower bracelet is Betsey Johnson. I got it for my 8th-grade graduation with a matching necklace, earrings, and ring.
I’m only wearing the matching earrings for this look though. They’re bees! They match my yellow and black ascetic perfectly!
6. Ice Queen/Silver Everything!
I don’t think I’ve worn this much silver/grey before, but I definitely want to do it more often! I felt so chic.
My sister got me this sweater from Aerie when they came in a truck to sell things on campus. It’s super soft and I love the glitter in it! My pants are from Kohl’s, and I adore the pattern and zipper accents. You can see a better picture of them below.
My new shoes scream Duckie from Pretty in Pink. I love them so much not only because they feel so 80s (I love 80s stuff), but also because the color is so unique and I’m a big fan of buckles. They’re just a super cool pair of shoes. I wish I had found them sooner, although I don’t know if they existed until now.
Anyway, my mom got them for me spontaneously when we were returning a pair of shoes to DSW. We found them in the clearance section, and they seemed destined for my feet. They’re Bleecker and Bond.
My ex got me these wonderfully warm, furry, and glittery socks from DSW. The socks look beautiful with my shoes.
My necklace was a gift from my maternal grandparents. I probably got it in high school, so I don’t know where it’s from. My earrings are simple and I think they’re from Kohl’s.
That’s all for now! I’ll be sure to share my other looks soon!
What was your favorite look? Where do you like to shop? Let me know in the comments!
I apologize for my absence last week. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold on my first day of work, so when I wasn’t working, I was sleeping. I’m grateful to report that I feel significantly better and that I’m back to my regular self!
Aside from being sick, the last few weeks have been insightful and exciting. Before I started my new job, I took advantage of being unemployed by going on small adventures.
The first two days of the week, I subbed at my previous temp job so I got some extra spending cash for my adventures. On Wednesday, I went to my alma mater and ate lunch with my sister. Then I spontaneously had dinner with my ex. On Thursday, I caught up with my friends from my Europe travels. It’s always wonderful to see them. Friday, after teaching my AM yoga class, I went to the city with my sister. Because it was so nice out, we walked a ton, it was fantastic. Then on Saturday, I visited a friend’s new apartment and neighborhood. The area had such a LGBTQ/hipster environment, it was cool to experience. On top of everything, I subbed for a yoga instructor all weekend.
I suspect all the adventures, plus subbing all the yoga classes, were taxing on my immune system, causing me to get sick. It was well worth it though.
Last Monday, I began my new job! I’ve been enjoying it a lot. My boss is kind and supportive, my coworkers are lovely and helpful, and the work has been challenging and exciting. The only thing I’m having a bit of a difficult time with at this new job is the amount of sitting I do all day.
I’ve worked in an office before, so it’s not like I’m completely unaccustomed to a desk job. However, the previous office I was at was larger, so important places like the bathroom, the printer, and the kitchen were further apart, thus I walked more. The office I’m at now is significantly smaller, so I take probably 10 steps total to either go to the makeshift kitchen, to get something from the printer, and to go to the bathroom. All the sitting causes me to feel antsy, so sometimes I stand at my desk while I work. Unfortunately, the desk is not accommodating for working while standing, so I can’t stand for very long. I may get something on Amazon to make my desk and thus my workspace more comfortable. And/or I may go on a brief walk during my lunch break. If you have suggestions or thoughts, please share in the comments!
Another new thing going on in my life: last week I taught my first yin class at the local community center/gym I regularly teach at. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to teach an additional class and to teach a different yoga discipline. I am continuing to research workshops to take to expand my knowledge so I can integrate it into my classes. I have one in particular that I most certainly want to do, it’s just a matter of finding the courage to register.
That’s about it for me. A lot of new seeds have been planted before the Spring Equinox. I’m eager to see what blooms.