Nintendo, Love, and the Great Midwest: Let’s Risk it All

Life is no Nintendo game, there are no re-dos , no unlimited lives, and no reset button. You have only this one shot and every choice you make will shape your life.  How are you choosing your path life to look?  Are you making your own decisions or are you listening to what people are whispering in your ear?

jack sparrowI recently celebrated my 24th birthday and finally made the decision I had been wanting to make for a long time. That is that this year I will take risks that I believe will ultimately improve my life.  I know that a lot of people think that I am on a pretty crazy path, and it’s true. I’ve made some wild moves to pursue what I’m looking for. I am the first to admit that I have been making some pretty risky decisions, but I can’t help but feel like these decisions are going to lead to a kick ass year.

When I was growing up I had always looked to my dad for advice in every aspect of my life.  I’d weigh out the pros and cons and 95% of the time I would always do what my dad told me I should do.  I’ve been doing this for 24 years and with this New Year of my life I am finally ready to put my resolutions into action.  This year I’ve taken more risks than I’ve ever had in my personal and professional life and for the first time I didn’t ask my dad for advice before I made the final decision. I just did what I wanted to do.

head on deskAfter college, like many recent graduates, I stressed about finding a job as soon as I could. My dad told me I shouldn’t be picky, so I accepted a job with a great company, even though, deep down, I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me.  While working I realized something so obvious that I am surprised it took me as long to realize as it did; I’m actively choosing to be miserable.  So ridiculous, right?  But I stuck with the job under the idea that I should be thankful to be employed and should not be picky, until quite recently.

The number one thing I’ve learned from my first year post-grad life and what I would tell anyone graduating now, is that you don’t have to love your job, but at the very least you should, and are allowed to, like some aspect of your job.  You don’t have to go for the first opportunity that presents itself and  it’s ok to be a little picky about your first job.

Something that I think is important to keep in mind when it comes to any aspect of employment is to know your own self-worth.  You have something to offer.  I feel like sometimes people forget that in the job searching/interviewing process.  When you go to an interview you have to remember that you are interviewing them too. You need to also decide if they’re worth your time, energy, and if you will be happy there.  This may sound kind of arrogant, but it’s true.

Which brings me to one of the major risks I’ve ever taken…I quit my job!

I’ll be unemployed starting May 15 and moving to Minneapolis June 1st.  I’ve been thinking about quitting for some time now, but never actually thought I could do it.  I’d talk to my best friends, and writers of the Muse, Elizabeth and Sam about it a lot and I am sure they can more than attest to how much I hated my job.   Still, the risks of quitting and not finding another job seemed too high.  (My dad talking in my head)  Would I find another job?  What do I have to offer another employer?  While all these questions were racing through my head, I realized something else I seemed to have forgotten, I’m 24. That is young!  If I’m going to take risks it should be now while I don’t have to truly consider another person in my decisions.  I can be completely selfish.  Which I finally realized is completely ok for me to do too right now.  Quitting without another job sounds crazy, because it kind of is, but it’s also exciting!  An entire new city with so many opportunities, not just for jobs, but anything really.  I could get a puppy, get employed at my dream company or meet Tom Hiddleston! I mean the possibilities are really endless.

Don’t get me wrong. I also have thought of the not so fabulous possibilities too.  Where I could find myself somehow living with a stray cat who I am too afraid to kick out(I’m allergic), being unable to pay my bills, having to work at the BK lounge and meeting someone who is the exact opposite of Tom Hiddleston.  But if this does happen (cross your fingers it doesn’t)at least I can say that I tried and I’ll learn from it and be better for it.

j cole quoteMost of you don’t know me very well, but Sam once told me that I hold my cards very close to my chest.  That couldn’t be more true.  I would consider myself more of a private person.  I don’t share too much with anyone unless I am 100% sure that I can trust them and even then, sometimes I have a difficult time talking to people that I absolutely trust.  Trusting someone with my feelings is one of the most difficult things for me to do and even when I feel like I am opening up, I know that I part of me is still holding back.  Honestly, this is probably why I’ve never had a serious long-term relationship and why I am always a bit hesitant to use the word “relationships” to describe these…”things”?  (We’ll go with that).  But, I’ve learned quite recently that you need to take risks and try being with someone.  You have to really put yourself out there, put it all out on the line, and don’t hold back, even though you know it might end in heartache. You can’t let the chance that something bad will happen keep you from discovering something wonderful.

I am working on that.

tumblr_mg5ur05Pne1qfvaoco1_500Finally, what I’ve learned from my most recent risk in the dating world is that when you take a risk and start to put your self out side of your comfort zone that nagging feeling of, “what if?” goes away.

In this case, I went for it and I definitely learned a lot about what things I need from someone in order to be with them in the future. I learned to not be shy about asking for more and learned how to give of myself more deeply.

I also learned its ok to cry.  Not just for that day, but maybe for a couple days, and even then still feel the dull ache for a while.  But, just let it out.  Everyone should be proud of themselves for taking such a risk with their hearts and making themselves vulnerable. It’s important to remember that you will be ok.  There is clearly someone better or maybe the timing was just off, but don’t wait around.  I’m a big believer in fate and if it’s meant to be, it will happen naturally.

I know it is said all the time, but lean on your friends during this time, call them up or have a girl’s night to talk about.

If you end up thinking of him/her later that’s completely normal.  They were a person you really cared about at one point and you’re going to wonder how they’re doing.  Then, get back out there!  Don’t be afraid that it might happen again, because you know what, it might, “but it also might turn out that you find the person that makes it all worth while!” – Sam (sorry Gabs, has to add a bit 😉 )

Overall, I’m happy with the risks I’ve taken.  It’s a crazy path and I have no idea where it’s taking me., but that’s what makes it exciting. I’m ready for the adventure and fingers crossed it goes well!

Cheers everybody and good luck with the rest of the year!!

– Gabby J.

 

Single and Ready to Bingo

All I want for Valentine’s Day is a man with Ryan Gosling’s chiseled abs, Channing Tatum’s dance moves, Brad Pitt’s jawline, Ed Sheeran’s voice, Jared Leto’s eyes, Bobby Moynihan’s humor, Patrick Dempsey’s hair, and ages like George Clooney. Is that really too much to ask?

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Apparently, not only is it too much to ask, but is also impossible for a 24 year old single girl who works second shift at a nursing home. Being single at a nursing home is one of the worst social experiences ever. Hearing everything from “You should settle down” to “Well who is going to take care of you when you’re my age?” to “A pretty girl like you? What’s wrong with you?”, I have come pretty close to wearing a fake engagement ring and photoshopping some celebrity into a photo with me and introducing him as my fiance just to avoid such unfortunate encounters.

So this Valentine’s Day, with nothing to look forward to but a good round of Candy Heart Bingo at work, I reflect on the 5 Stages of Being Single on V-Day:

1. I’m single as f***

Everyone but you is in a relationship, and you’re surrounded by lovesick idiots. Whether it’s roses and kisses and sappy love proclamations on Facebook or hand holding and gooey eyes on the streets, it feels like everyone around you is rubbing it in your face that you are completely single. Can you get any more single? Probably. The days surrounding this ill-fated holiday are saturated in red and pink and flowers, which to any single person are The Worst. As the day draws nearer and nearer you seem to get more and more single, can’t the day just be over now so you can stop wallowing in your complete aloneness. What are your Valentine’s Day plans, your friends ask. Wallowing in self pity you say.

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2. Everything is RED

It’s as if the world is out to get you. You can’t step out of the house without being reminded of how single you are. The hot topics at work involve what your Valentine’s Day plans, what your sweetheart has planned for you, and how awful it must be to be single, which turns your disbelief and skepticism into molten lava rage. You want to punch every heart shaped balloon and box of chocolates. And the monstrosity that is heart shaped pizzas?! I would prefer mine to be perfectly ordinarily circular please. As the day draws nearer you develop a personal vendetta against everything red and heart shaped. You can’t even enjoy your emojis anymore.

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3. Who Needs Love Anyways

What is today? February 14? Weird, must not have gotten the memo. Your anger and rage have dissipated into denial and blissful ignorance. I think I’ll stay in bed all day and wear sweatpants in honor of this hallowed day. Maybe eat my weight in chocolate and finally clean up my e-mail inbox. What is that you say, there are other fish in the sea? Well, I don’t particularly like fishing.

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4. Treat ‘Yo Self

You decide to take this day as your personal holiday: it’s all about you, girlfriend! Whether it’s a Galentine’s Day celebration with your gal pals, a spa day on your own, or a shopping spree, bank statements and calories don’t exist. The sky’s the limit, and you are pulling out all the stops. Things are beginning to look up, Valentine’s Day could be enjoyable. If couples can have a special day, you can too. Seize the day, bask in the love in the air. Embrace your singleness and OWN IT.

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5. Que Sera Sera

It’s the day of and your emotions are all over the place, but you’ve come to accept the fact that you will be spending the day alone. At this point you’ve come to terms with it all and have a sense of freedom: anything could happen now that you have no plans and no one to tie you down. You’re on cloud nine with no expectations for the day to let you down. Enjoy your freedom, this rollercoaster of emotions only comes once a year!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Muses!

-Jen

The Other Side of a Breakup

f4e8d470098ed95900d354f9ef51f340Most say that breakups are one sided. Those people are clearly uneducated and/or never experienced a long winded relationship. The small ones that aren’t lengthy and have lasted only a few weeks to a few months are the easy kind that aren’t as difficult to overcome – so that is understandable in some cases. But, the ones that have been quite some time, the ones where you can list memory after memory – always seemingly picturing them in black in white or sepia because you can’t help but feel the nostalgia and sentimentality – those ones, those ones are precious. The ones that leave an imprint on your heart, mind and soul are the kind of break ups that are a completely unfamiliar story. Ugly or beautiful, special or not and whether they were full of hideous fights that lasted until 2 in the morning or full of love notes and thoughts of a possible marriage, there was still something there. Whatever that might be, only they will know.

What is the point that I am trying to make here? “He got hurt. She smashed his heart. After everything that he did for her. She didn’t have to go through anything. That evil fire breathing, spawn of satan, soulless bitch.”

It’s obvious. The girl broke up with the guy, and of course, after being in a relationship for, let’s say, two years, he is crushed. Why wouldn’t he be? I’ve had my heart broken multiple times and I can safely say that it feels way worse than how people actually describe it. It’s like taking an actual chainsaw and slicing it through your beating, bleeding heart. Once you experience it for yourself, it’s a completely different story. I’m not going to get into all of the gory details. (Like I haven’t already, right?) Either you know what I am talking about, and if not, well – you’ll find out someday and you can relate. But that’s not the point that I am trying to make.

What I want this to lead up to is to erase the assumption that only the “dumpee” gets their heart obliterated, because that is definitely not the case. I recently broke up with my ex boyfriend not too long ago because we were simply going down two different paths.

04-couple-with-distance-between-them-w724Sounds simple, huh?

No, it wasn’t. We weren’t connecting, or seeing eye to eye. We fought constantly and everything he did irritated me. I was beginning to realize that I didn’t get excited when I went to visit him. When he saw me away at college, we spent the day together and all I wanted was for him to leave.

Now that sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it? But it was so true. He wasn’t growing up – and, I’m no saint either in the growing up department, but at least I was making attempts. It was as though he only cared about his band and said that band practice was him “going to work.” He was infuriating and pretty soon when he realized I was pushing away, he clutched tighter and that’s when I felt suffocated. It needed to end.

“Sounds pretty simple for you. Piece of cake, break up and move on. You got what you wanted, right? You malevolent, cruel and vicious woman, you”, is maybe something some of you readers are thinking. No, no. It’s okay, I understand. You would assume that it was a walk in the park for me, because from description above, he was someone I began to not stand and wanted to get away from. So, ending it all would solve everything and I could move on as if nothing happened, right? Well, you are wrong on that one if you think such. We had problems in the end, and it gave me clearity that our relationship was not meant to be, however, that didn’t mean that we didn’t have good times. I mean, that is why I took interest in him in the first place. Those were the euphoric days, the honey moon stage as some call it . . . the golden era. It was quite nice.

10bf872aed5f65b08ed2c157ad78f751He was my best friend, I mean that is how it started out. We hung out all the time, watched movies together, talked about music we were both passionate about, ate food together, made out, dressed up and went out to dinner, wandered to nowhere, talked about our future. He was – what I thought at the time – the best boyfriend I had ever had. Then things got serious. Things got rough. I broke up with him, and it was not, I repeat . . . was not easy. At all. I had felt so trapped and in deep for a month but I kept going on in the relationship in hopes that it would get better, and even when I knew it would, I kept it up. I didn’t want to hurt him or lose what we had. I didn’t want to lose my best friend and I was walking on eggshells everyday. Then I did it. It hurt like hell.

The dumpers – sounds so lovely, doesn’t? – can experience the same amount of pain. If not, more. Breaking up is not something we want to do, but know in our mind and gut that we have to do. It’s one of those mind over heart type of situations and yes, they suck. I certainly did not want to break up with my boyfriend at the time. I wanted to be in love with him and everytime I thought of us cuddling in his bed together, or jamming out to a song in his car, I cringed. It made the thought of breaking up with him harder, mainly because I was focusing in on the good times. I weighed the pros and cons and came to the conclusion that I was not in love with him anymore and that the relationship had deteriorated into something toxic and unhealthy. So of course, why would I want to stay in something like that? Of course it hurt me too. People assume that us dumpers call it off, go home, party, live it up – with the neon lights and smoke and all those lively effects symbolizing a “better life” – not even worrying about anything, as if we have a “feelings switch” implanted into our heads. Nope. When I broke up with my then-boyfriend, I walked in the house feeling as if there was a brick weighing on my heart along with the rest of the world. I had ended it; lost my best friend. In my heart I knew I had done the right thing, but it was still hard. My mom asked me how I was and in a strong response I said “I’m fine.” Two minutes later, I found myself weeping on my couch in the living room, curled up in a ball. 45af8a59c15fddb423e00618e4b768b3

The love is always there, but not in the same way. It dwindles and morphs into something else that makes us feel warm and sometimes humble inside. We can look back at the memories and reminisce.

What I’m trying to say is that . . . those songs dedicated to the people who got dumped, is also for the dumpees. Hey, I started singing along to sappy break up songs after I initiated the break up – no guilt. I think we deserve those songs, too. It hurts just the same, especially if you are caring and compassionate and did all you could to make he relationship grow and flourish. It hasn’t been the easiest for me. It stings here and there, but there have been worse break ups. My important point is that nobody should belittle ones feelings. 3cc28e5f2443b9bae49bb7dac465bc83Whether you were the one to break up with your partner, or you were the one who got dumped, it hurts both sides. We can all turn out to be emotional messes one way or another. We all have a story. We all have feelings and weird stuff going on that only we will be able to understand. And you know what? Sometimes, that is enough. 🙂

– Jules

The Revival of the Handwritten Letter

                In our hyper-connected world, handwritten letters are nearly obsolete. It is so easy to send a friend, family member or significant a text, Facebook message or email. Through these new forms of communication, we lose personal and more deeply invested – handwritten – letters.

                Nick and I began writing to one another in 2009 during the fall I went to college – a few months before we started dating. This continued for 4.5 years and has, quite literally, become a very complete journal of our evolving relationship. We’ve written to one another across many states and stages of life, through both our undergraduate college careers, and stopped just before moving in together.

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Embellish your envelopes! Here are a few between Nick and Elizabeth.

                Opening any random piece of mail between us would transport you to memories of the first time we went adventuring, confessions of feelings for each other, our first few dates, happenings in school between roommates and friends, Nick’s summers of field work in Wisconsin/Michigan/Indiana/Montana, my summer in Colorado, vacations, trips we’d take when Nick would visit me in college, plans to meet in Yellowstone, and, in almost every letter, our plans for the faraway future. The “future” we spoke of is no longer far off, and we are in a position that we’ve both been wanting for such a long time, but looking back on these letters full of thoughts and feelings is such a sweet and nostalgic activity.

                We have kept one another’s letters, respectively – embellished envelopes and all. They are a perfect, unchanged record of our past. It is one of my favorite things of what we have done for one another and how well we maintained our regular correspondence.

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4.5 years of letters between Nick and Elizabeth. When stacked, the pile is HIGH.

                I tell you about our experience with the hope to motivate you to pick up a pen and paper and write to someone you want to reconnect with. My younger sister and I have also written letters to one another for the past couple of years. She is the worst person to have a conversation with over the phone, but she updates me with (very funny) two page letters on a weekly basis. I look forward to getting these and responding to them every week, and it is always exciting to get something in the mail other than a bill, flyer, or general junk mail.

                So, dear reader, I challenge you to pen a friend, family member or significant other this week. Let them know why they are on your mind and what is new in life. Thank them for being your friend, and share great thoughts or happy memories with them. Decorate your envelope so that it is fun and exciting to receive! It will feel as good as it did when you passed notes between classes, now serviced by USPS between your apartments across much greater distances.

Thank you for reading!

Elizabeth

Shrinking the Distance

downloadDating has changed a lot since we were younger. Long gone are the days of calling a girl’s house, praying to every deity in the book that her father didn’t answer, then inevitably having to ask her father if she was home and available to talk. Most of the time I was met with the reply, “Sorry, she is doing homework,”or, “She is grounded from the phone,”or, “God dammit son it is dinner time! How dare you disturb us!”(Megan Groneck seemed to be eating dinner at all hours of the day in fourth grade.) A very optimistic estimate of 25% of the time, however, I actually got to talk to that perfect girl I was calling. Now calling means something completely different. Then it was lying on my bedroom floor with my Garfield corded telephone, talking about how Mrs. McCord’s spelling test was totally bogus or how they only charged an extra five cents to mix the Icee flavors as of last Thursday. Now, it requires an Internet connection strong enough to register those eight distinct beeps followed by her face on the screen.

Skype and Face Time have shrunk the visual distance between us and our loved ones but I am starting to think it stretches our emotional connections to infinity.

Skype and Face Time are fantastic advances in how we connect as humans. Thousands of miles transform into the distance between fingertips with a simple click. You can look into someone else’s eyes and instantly witness what makes them smile. This increase in connectivity has made continuing long distant relationships easier for us, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection (step up your game, Charter).

Having a girlfriend that is pursuing her doctorate in New York while I am sitting in Wisconsin becomes just a little bit easier when we can see each other’s faces on a regular basis. Days I know we get to Skype are the best days of my week. I get to see her! Like actually see her face and not through Facebook stalking! I see the faces she makes when she laughs, when she is embarrassed, when she is sad. She is right there in front of me. The hours of conversations we get to have are the most normal hours of my week. We are instantly transported to a time when we are able to lie next to each other and discuss everything under the sun without any sort of limitations. We give each other advice and listen to each other’s problems, while simultaneously discussing Batman and The Bachelorette.

While the enormous physical distance between us shrinks to mere inches when we are starring into each other’s eyes, it fades off into forever when the computer goes black. One moment I can feel her next to me, the next she is nowhere to be found. My heart finds an uncomfortable place in my stomach and I am alone again, sitting in my solitary nine by nine bedroom. I stare at the black screen confused as to how and why some critical part of my genetic make-up got ripped away from me with the click of a button. This enormous high of seeing her face swings to the equally enormous low when it is time to go. I lie there hoping that sleep will overtake me quickly, but I know my mind will tirelessly transmission to racing along at a million miles a minute, always fixated on one point: her.

moneyIn order to continue on it is crucial to escape these empty moments; however, it has become increasingly harder to push these feelings away towards the fringes of my consciousness. I have to fight them off when I catch myself gazing at the shower floor as my mind escapes me. There is no other option but to turn a blind eye to her favorite cereal as I stroll through the grocery store. I cannot succumb to these moments. If I do they will overpower the memories of her smile when I tell a stupid joke. The feeling of my arms around her hips will be met with a bittersweet opposition. Instead of living in a moment with her, my mind would remain stuck on the days when the distance is wedged between us.

Every moment I get to see her, whether it is through the computer screen, or within our sheets we occasionally get to share, are without a doubt something real. I feel them within my chest, so they must be real. I hope to God, Yahweh, Allah, Zeus, Osiris, and Walter White that one day we will share a balance between the physical connection that is currently absent and the emotional connection that is ever present.

We realize though that this harmony is not something that will magically appear if we wait for it. It will only be achieved if we both work, if we both push, and if we both relentlessly continue on. I do not know what the future holds between the two of us. We both have dreams and aspirations that have been within us long before we met each other.

Nothing and nobody was going to get in the way of what I wanted until she walked in.

tumblr_mkdl6v9QiK1qborqqo1_500I never believed that long distance relationships could work and I always claimed I would never be in one. I am not fully convinced that this one will pan out. Yet, despite the uncertainty, I want it to, and so does she. While we still feel that powerful, invisible, emotional connection we felt when she was here, we can now only see each other through the pixels in our pockets or on our desks. Unfortunately this causes her voice to be unnatural and simply an audio interpreted by a system of wires and circuits that spit out something that sounds like her through my speakers. This is hard. I hope it gets easier. I believe how we chose to spend this time apart will determine where our relationship will end up. We may rise above the distance or it may all come crashing down on us. Despite the outcome, we owe it to ourselves, and to each other, to continue to pick up our feet.

Jeffery Jeffrey Morris

A man of many hats, you could say Jeffrey Morris does it all. Kid car builder by day, drink mixologist by night, and master of the questions every Sunday. Some would say Jeff is most comfortable in the water, but those who see him every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 6:30a.m for another grueling November Project Workout might disagree; saying there is no terrain to rough for Jeff as he points his camera at their sweaty faces and runs backward up Bascom hill (slight exaggeration). Ultimately, it is Jeff’s friends and family that help motivate him to be the best he can be. A Madison Alum, with an iron will, you can bet your Biddy that you haven’t heard the last of Jeffrey Morris.

The Defining Decade

DefiningDecI was recently chatting with a friend on the phone and we ended our conversation by giving each other book recommendations.  My friend was so enthusiastic about her recommendation that I think I had put the book on hold at the library before we even hung up.  The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay, PhD is one of those books that I could hardly put down.  It’s a mere 200 pages and reads as quickly as Harry Potter. Now I’m not a professional book critic, but I promise that if you’re in your twenties, that you will find something relevant in this book.

The message in this book is straightforward: reclaim your twenties because they are a transformative period in life. We do not need to wait until we are thirty to find our dream job or settle down. Despite what society might be telling us–“that the twenties don’t really matter and that that they don’t count; you can start real life when you turn thirty. Have fun until then.”  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend the next several years just waiting around until life is supposed to count.

There are three sections: work, love, brain & body. Because it would be illegal for me type the contents of the entire book in this post (even though that’s how compelled I am to share it with you), I will give a few of the big take-away points.


DreamsDon't#1 Identity Capital 
Jay encourages us to stop having an identity crisis and start building our identity capital.  This simply means adding value to ourselves and investing in opportunities that are worth it.  For example, a client told Jay that she was a talented photographer and wanted to work in the art world, but had been nannying to pay the bills. She said she was going to take a job at a coffee shop and pass up an interview to be a floater at an animation studio because the pay wasn’t stellar.  This decision has a clear choice to build identity capital.  Although being a floater wasn’t the client’s ideal job, it was an “in” to the world in which she wanted to ultimately thrive.  If she got the job she could build connections and learn about the art world. Long story short, the client got the floater job, worked her way up to a movie director and then to a cinematography assistant where she works on movies in Los Angeles.  Jay says, “But something better doesn’t just come along. One good piece of capital is how you get better” (13).  So if you’re like me and you’re trying to find your way in the career world, take Dr. Jay’s advice and take the opportunity that will help you explore an option that counts.


weak-ties#2 The Strength of Weak Ties 
Obviously our close friends and family have value, but when it comes to new information, weak ties are where it’s at.  These are the people in our lives who are only acquaintances.  They force us to communicate differently because we aren’t in the same clique. We have to speak more thoroughly, which promotes “thoughtful growth and change” (22).  Because our weak ties aren’t people we are in regular communication with, they provide access to fresh information.  “Information and opportunity spread farther and faster through weak ties than through close friends because weak ties have fewer overlapping contacts. Weak ties are like bridges you cannot see all the way across, so there is no telling where they might lead” (21).  If you’re looking for a job or to meet someone new, talk to your weak ties.  They are often willing to go out a limb for you, even though they barely know you. This is strange but that’s how tons of people get that job.  And what do you have to lose by reaching out to a weak tie? Nothing.

Beintentional#3 Be as intentional about love as you are about work. Because the trend is to settle down and marry later, many people end up with whoever they’re with at the moment when they feel the pressure to settle down. Jay gives a scary example in her TED talk: “Dating in my 20s was like musical chairs. Everybody was running around and having fun. But then sometime around thirty it was like the music turned off. Everyone started sitting down. I didn’t want to the only one left standing up. Sometimes I think I married my husband because he was the closest chair to me at thirty” (6:40 TED talk).  She urges us to be intentional our relationships and not to “date down.”  Don’t stay in your relationship because it puts a roof over your head or fills the void of loneliness. Another piece of Jay’s advice is to start working on your marriage before you have one.  Don’t settle for less than what you deserve: the best.

So go put this book on hold or go buy it.  This is a book that I could read over and over again. Get out there and claim your twenties–they matter!

Emily Elizabeth

The Response:

To start off, I am for sure adding this to my summer reading list! I definitely feel like I have been floating through my twenties so far; it’s been far too easy to fall into a rut of putting off big decisions until later because “I’m only 23!”. SO DANGEROUS! Even though I’m still in school, I still feel like I’m coasting, and I definitely want to pay more attention to how  I’m doing and what I’m doing to better my future, in all aspects of my life!

In the first point that you highlighted, I absolutely align with the idea that it isn’t so much about passively allowing something better to happen, but rather the importance is in how you get better. This point makes us accountable for our own futures and careers, which is easy to let slide into the “I can work when I’m 30” mentality. However, I wish you had talked more about overcoming the rejection we all face in the job search, and how to keep your head up when you’re looked down upon for your “young” age, as well as staying motivated when we take the more explorative and low paying jobs that may get us to where we want to be, but in the current time absolutely suck.

Similarly, I really enjoyed your analysis on networking, and how you (and Jay) connected networking to invisible webs and threads of interactions. This point of networking is drilled into our heads throughout college, but it doesn’t seem to become real until we’re out of the safe and sheltering college bubble and are trying to make it on our own. I think this also extends to relationships with friends (and at times family as well). I have so many friends that remain on the edge of acquaintance/close friend, and I don’t want to give up on potential friendships because I may not have time or am busy with work.

MUSICAL CHAIRS IS SO RIGHT. Just step into any bar at around 1:45 a.m. and you’ll see a game similar to musical chairs that is happening right before your eyes: who is going home with who, which usually has to do with proximity (i.e. they were the closest person to me on the dance floor or the last person I talked to). I try my best to distance myself from this game of musical chairs, but it’s hard to find fellow twenty-somethings that aren’t bouncing around from person to person and actually want what you want too.

I’m totally going to check out this book, and find some great tips and advice about navigating my twenties, because someone has to have better advice than the fortune cookie I had yesterday: “every exit is an entrance” (which is questionable on so many levels).

Thank you so much for sharing this book!

Jen