I Resolve To… ((A Journey of Growing.))

Hello and happy (almost) spring! If you are like me (and many hopeful others), you probably made some sort of resolution for 2015. How are you doing?!?! Are you seeing willful and meaningful changes in your life? Have you been measuring your progress? Have you formed some new and exciting habits?

I hope so!

2015 has been my year to center myself and take control of the person I want to be. It is also, coincidentally, my 25th year – the year my brain finishes its development. Honestly, it’s like I can feel my pre-frontal cortex making its final adjustments for impulse-control, planning, and sequencing consequences…

I’m totally kidding. But in all seriousness, I am really honing in on some skills that I’d like to continue for my next quarter century, and I think that it’s great if you’ve chosen to do the same! For myself, I looked at areas of intellect, adventure, and physical/mental wellbeing. It has been a lot to take on and challenge myself with, but I’ve set up very measurable objectives in order to meet my final goal which is ultimately to be a happier, healthier, more fulfilled person.

Tip: Fall in love in a comfy chair with an ocean view.

Tip: Fall in love in a comfy chair with an ocean view.

Do you have a lost love? When I was a kid, I was a ravenous reader. I starved for books and I engulfed them. Somewhere between high school and college, I lost my hunger. Reading became a chore and I became a couch potato. I decided that one of my primary goals this year was to revive my love of reading by reading 24 books by the end of the year. It’s March, and I am happy to report that I am about halfway through my eighth book. I’ve shifted my goal to reading as many books as possible this year. So, I’ll ask again – do you have a lost love? A forgotten hobby? Pick that shit up and revive it. (You’re welcome!)

Have you been anywhere new lately? Anywhere exciting? Anywhere that made you cry because of its beauty or warm you to your core? This year, I told myself that I was going to visit three new places. On a whim, I bought a plane ticket to Colorado ($120 roundtrip – thanks Spirit Airlines!) – a place I am well acquainted with and has brought me to tears more than once. If you do nothing else in life, surround yourself with mountains and be humbled by how small you are in this big, beautiful world. After hiking the Hanging Lake Trail and Red Rocks, soaking in hot springs, visiting old friends, and laughing (a lot) with one of my best friends, I returned home with a lighter heart and a smiling face.

Tip: Do go chasing waterfalls. (Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, CO)

Tip: Do go chasing waterfalls. (Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, CO)

Shortly after, I visited the Virgin Islands and had my soul warmed by the sun, snorkeling, and the beauty of the Caribbean. I cannot tell you how fulfilling these two journeys were to me, or how incredibly grateful I am to have had these opportunities. I can tell you that I don’t want to stop seeking these adventures and exposing myself to the world that surrounds us – whether that be a two hour drive to a state park or a flight to a continent away. I have found my cure for any ailment that may hinder me just by going outside. Nature is for everyone – go get your slice!

Finally, for the past three months, I have been trying to move past pretending to like exercise to actually liking exercise. This has worked to an extent – I have increased my endurance and I look forward to the proud feeling following my workout, but you will not find me dragging myself out of bed every morning at 6am to get to the gym. Unfortunately, I have not come to detest the taste of ice cream, but I have come to dislike the taste of things that are too sweet and most, if not all, processed desserts – particularly candy bars and anything packaged. Fortunately, I have come to really enjoy well-rounded meals, and incorporate a ton of fresh produce and water in my diet. It’s a lifestyle choice not a diet – I’m creating eating habits that I can maintain for long-term, not a short-term fix for weight loss. Listen to your body and abide by the things it needs – and give it a treat once and a while. I know from experience that it really likes treats.

Overlooking Nazareth Bay, St. Thomas, USVI

Overlooking Nazareth Bay, St. Thomas, USVI

My hope for this post is that you are motivated to get moving – whether that is to a new place, a new experience, or literally just moving your body. Moving on to the person you want to be, the person you have big plans for, and the person that deserves the most you can give them. Surround yourself with positive people that love and support you in environment that will foster and encourage growth and personal development. Adopt an optimistic mindset and refine the skills that make you innately you!

Thanks for reading!
Elizabeth

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Delay the Real World, Take a Gap Year. Or Two.

If you’re anything like me you probably spent the month before graduation and the few following having a quarter life crisis. After I sat through my college graduation ceremony, I suddenly had a realization, I had a plan that would bring me through December, and then absolutely no idea what I was doing with my life. So, I did what every recent college graduate would do, I freaked out!

In March, I accepted a four-month internship in Ireland, and I was beyond excited. Yet, after graduation I wasn’t sure if my non-traditional path was a good idea. I was convinced that everyone around me had entry-level jobs secured and surely this meant they would be more successful in life than I would. If I didn’t take a full-time position at a Public Relations agency would I ever be able to break into a career I eventually wanted?

Well, after two or three months of constantly going over the  positives and negatives of accepting a short-term internship I decided it was the best thing I could do with my life. While there are many drawbacks to choosing a non-traditional path and often it’s financially impossible to fund an unpaid internship abroad, I’m going to lay out a few positives that outweigh any negative.

First, choosing to put off graduate school or applying for entry-level positions in order to travel will make you a smarter person. The moment I get into Dublin I’m going to have to hit the ground running. My flight comes in early in the morning and instead of catching some shut-eye I’m going to have to get myself to my hostel, take a quick shower and head over to my first day at the office. After that I’m going to have to start setting up meetings to try to find an apartment. I will be thrown into the mix from the moment I get to Dublin, and I will have to learn quickly how to think on my feet and provide for myself. I have no doubt there will be some moments of complete panic, but the experience will teach me to think critically and problem-solve. There are few things that will push a person outside of his or her comfort zone, but when you find something that does, it will completely change the way you process information and work through problems. Add that to your skill list!

o'connell streetAlso, if you take some time to travel after graduation you will learn how to interact with people better. Let me tell you, it’s terrifying to think about flying over 3,500 miles by myself to a city where I know virtually no one, but it’s also a little exhilarating. So, I made a promise to myself for my time in Ireland, which is to say yes to everything. Instead of assuming a person is inviting me to the pub or an event just to be nice, I’m going to take him or her up on the offer. Maybe the hours spent with the people who invite me out will be terrible and completely awkward, but maybe they will be some of the best memories of my trip. I plan to meet people I would never consider hanging out with back home. This means I will learn how to relate to a diverse set of people, which can only serve to help me in both my personal and professional life.

Lastly, if the other reasons don’t convince you, just think about how great something like a gap-year job or a short unpaid international internship will look on your résumé. Studying abroad is great and something I would urge everyone to do, but it’s so common now that employers don’t necessarily see it as something unique that places one candidate above another. Instead think about how you could say you didn’t only go abroad, you learned how to work with people from different cultures in a professional work environment. I don’t think it’s the wisest idea to do something simply because of how it looks on paper but I’m willing to use any argument to convince someone to travel and work abroad. So, if this is the only reason that will make you consider booking that plane ticket, I’ll use it.

I have a million other reasons to argue but I don’t have the time and I don’t want to take any more of yours. I’ll leave it there and let you decide additional reasons for yourself. And I’ll be honest, I will most likely come back from Europe without much money in my bank account, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t come back with many, if any, regrets. I think it’s more likely that I’ll be planning my next trip abroad!