Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

In my life, we often forget to appreciate how far we’ve come. We’re too busy trying to rush forward to the next big destination. After doing my list of 26 things to do before I turn 26, I thought of all the things I want to accomplish by the end of next year. I have been 25 for  19 days now,  and I decided to reflect on all the things I have done because they are just as important as the things I will do.

Do what makes you happy

Here are 50 things I’ve done before I turned 25:

1. Held a job for four years

2. Attended the concert of my favorite band and/or singer

3. Been called a “legend”

4. Fallen in love and got my heart broken

5. Done something illegal

6. Asked out a crush

7. Saved someone’s life

8. Lived on my own

9. Had financial independence

10. Survived a financial crisis

11. Survived a major illness

12. Lost over 40 pounds

13.  Given a speech in front of a huge crowd

14. Had a ‘perfect’ day

15. Traveled outside of Illinois

16.  Had a random adventure

17. Overcome a major fear

18. Been called “beautiful’ by a complete stranger

19. Been given flowers

20. Danced in public

21. Graduated college

22. Donated money to a cause I support

23.  Been on television

24. Wrote for a living

25.  Made a film I’m proud of

26. Proved people wrong

27.  Did something others said was impossible

28. Became friends with an enemy

29. Won a plane ticket

30. Wrote at least 5 webseries

31. Started a novel

32. Obtained grant money

33. Maintained friendships with people I’ve known for more than ten years

34. Taught myself a new skill

35.  Stood up for myself

36.  Been in a fight (with a non-family member)

37.  Owned a pet

38. Traveled on a plane

39. Escaped  a dangerous situation

40.  Had a near death experience

41. Read 0ver a hundred books

42. Learned a new language

43.  Appear in a newspaper article

44. Helped someone in need

45. Been told ‘my life has been changed for knowing you’

46. Started a blog

47.   Saw a broadway musical

48.  Had a moment of unspeakable bravery

49. Danced in the street

50.  Taken a big chance

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Disclaimer: I am not a professional psychiatrist. I am only someone who suffered through depression and found ways to mange it. Do not read this post as an article from a professional but as possible ways to find some meaning in dark days. 

I graduated college  over a year  ago and this last year has been anything but magical. Many of us believe once we get our first degree then the world will open up to us.We’ll finally get the life we’ve always dreamed. But right now getting our dream life  has become more difficult than ever before.

Many people have degrees, and you can no longer expect that alone to lead to the job of your dreams, or even some transition jobs. Fifty-three percent of college graduates are underemployed or unemployed, and eighty-five percent of recent grads  have moved back  in with their parents. It’s reasonable to feel a little or really depressed if you’re one, or both, of those statistics.  I was. I am very independent by nature and having to move back home in my twenties felt very limiting.

So jobless, living with parents and without real guidance I felt hopeless, especially seeing so many people I know  get their dream jobs,or at least a good step towards them. I have suffered through stages of depression most of my life and recently found substantial ways to manage it so I was not going to let these road blocks force me back into depression. I used some very simple, but effective ways to find meaning in my life and not let the burden of not having the perfect life defeat me. Here are some of the things I did and may help you.

                               Learn as much as you can about your dream job

The more you learn the easier it will be to go after it full force. Don’t just read books on career advice, but subscribe to blogs, magazines, or newsletters specifically geared toward your field of interest. Besides that, talk to people in your dream field. I can not express how useful linkedin is and how nice strangers can be when you express a desire for guidance. I learned so much from informative interviews with alumni of my college. If you have goals and direction it’ll make the transition year less stressful and very productive.

Another useful way to get advice is joining a club or volunteering somewhere related to your career path. For me, I want to become a full-time screenwriter-but also have interest in entertainment news journalism and freelancing-so I volunteer at the major film festival here. I have met so many cool people, but also received great advice and stories from people who share my dreams. Just working towards something and actively taking charge of your future, not just passively sending out resumes, can instantly snap you into action mode and that can get you out of depression.

                                            Talk to someone about how you feel

You may feel it’s weak to tell others about your problems, but talking can heal you. Whether you talk to a family member, friend, or therapist it really helps you feel less burden by your situation. Even if that person does nothing but listen, sometimes it’s nice not to feel so alone.

                                         Engage in more projects/join clubs/start a club

While you have all this free time why not take advantage of it? You’ll feel more productive and who knows what this project can become.  You could develop a new skill that could look great on your resume or just a sense of satisfaction and self-discovery you need.

                                                                  Get out more

Remember how you missed your parents like crazy while  you were away at college? Well recreate that by keeping your social life intact. It could also lead to a better network which can lead to a job.

                                                        Set realistic weekly goals

Not getting your dream job can have nothing to do with your skills and everything to do with your approach. If you write ten cover letters and resumes a day, think about what percentage of those were actually good. Then ponder how many of those were on jobs you really wanted.  If you’re producing that many a day then you’re probably half assing them. This isn’t that easy A course you took in school, it’s the real world and requires the proper nurturing to obtain a dream job.

Your aim should be to realistically set goals and timelines for your life. If you put “get dream job within the next two months”  as a goal you may get it, but you also may not. If you don’t you may feel like a failure and that can cause depression. Instead, set goals like “make ten new network connections within next two months.” That’s easy with social media sites or just by putting effort into meeting people.  By living in reality you can stop  disappointment and treat life in a positive realistic manner.

                                                            Don’t stop dreaming

Why not plan your future  now? Where would you move? What would you do? What would you buy? Dream big and dream often. Dreams can become reality when we believe in them enough. Being grounded in reality helps cope with depressing, but dreaming helps you cope with life.

                                                        Find other sources of income

While you’re still in the post-college transition phase there are still many ways you can make money without holding a 9-5 job. You can easily research it, but some quick ways are selling stuff, surveys, paid experiments, starting a small business from hobbies (Good at photoshop? Why not start a small business designing flyers for local businesses, or developing blog themes?). By making some money while still underemployed or unemployed it can make you feel less hopeless about not having a 9-5 especially if you have looming bills.

Life is beautiful no matter it’s current state so find some beauty through the cloudy days. But as always, seek professional help if depression becomes too much to handle. There is no shame in seeking help.

In about three weeks, I turn twenty-five. By most cultural standards I should be heading towards marriage, kids, working on my Masters or have my dream job. I wish I could say I am close to all of these things, but I am not.

Recently, I committed the # 1 sin of life: thou shall not compare thine self to others.  It’s easy to worry about things you lack and with  lists like the one linked becoming so popular it becomes hard not to change to fit a mode.  However, due to my increasing love of self-help books and generally more positive attitude, I decided to approach the next year of my life differently.

Instead of regretting what I cannot change, I decided to live the next year without limits. By living without limits, I am going to stop worrying about if I am living life by standards that are set by society and start living by my own set of new standards.

In order, to live a year of embracing the new rules, I composed a list of twenty-six things to do this year.

1. Travel more: As a  self-proclaimed bird not traveling around the world feels so caging. I may not have the money to see Europe yet, but I can occasionally buy more train tickets to see more of the Midwest and some of the East.

2. Move to California: Moving to California by December 28,2012 may seem impossible,  but this dream is just put on hold, not dead. Ticket still bought, ride coming.

3. Become more organized: After taking the Clean Sweep Assessment , I scored  low in the physical environment section. I need to de-clutter my life.

4. Read more books:  I read everyday but mainly blogs and articles now.  That’s why this year, I’ll be participating in  the 50 book challenges

5. Start a website:  After months of planning, I’m going to create two sites this year. One  focusing on movie and book reviews, and the other a plus size fashion and body acceptance one. They will start off as blogs and then I’ll convert them  to sites after I get a steady readership. .I’ll be launching the blogs for them by the end of month.

6. Build Confidence: Lack of confidence cripples most of us and I no longer want to be a victim to the low self-esteem virus.

7. Maintain a  healthy life style: Not just more physical exercising and eating healthy, but doing mental exercises to keep a positive outlook on life.

8. Seize more opportunities: Time for more yeses and less nos.

9. Do one thing that scares me everyday:Fear is good. Fear can bring out a side of us we never knew existed and that brings power and self discovery in the best way. Everyday next year, I’m doing one thing I fear, even something as small as calling up an old friend.

10. Start a jar of good memories: See this post

11. Start a “get me out of here” jar:  See this picture. Take that money and put it into my savings account.

12. Get a job I love: I love freelance writing but if given the choice to write only for my favorite blogs, sites, production companies,  publishing companies or magazines, I’d  choose that.

13. Build my freelance business: I’ve been doing freelancing for  five months and I love it, but it’s not a business yet. I don’t make enough for it to be my sole source of income, but I want it to be.  I want to build a freelance business because even if I get that job I love I want something I can always depend on if that job fails or other life dilemmas.

14. Speaking my mind more: No more silence, time to speak.

15.  Become more social: Ever meet someone and you’re so “wow’ed” by them that you want to spend every moment with them? I have been “wow’ed” plenty of times and I want to become one of those people that can immediately win people over.

16. Revamp my social life: I go out and have fun occasionally. Key word: occasionally.  I need to make  fun and experiencing life  a weekly goal.

17. Make enough money to  become financially independence: Right now, I’m making enough to get by but I want to make enough to fully support myself, which means having money for my bills, eating healthy, gym membership, transportation money, and weekend fun money.

18. Get my  driver’s license: Living in Chicago  allows me to easily access public transportation, but when I move to California I will not have that luxury.

19.  Complete 2013 Bucket List:  See Post.

20. Join a book club: I continuously attempt at starting my own but they’ve failed so yay to joining local ones.

21. Learn a ridiculous amount of movie quotes: On my full Bucket List I have “spend a day only speaking in movie and television quotes.” I even own a movie quotes book, it’s time I start learning them.

22. Teach myself new tricks: Besides improving my language skills, I want to learn  a lot more next year like more photoshop tricks, more video editing skills, how to skate, play guitar, boxing, and different styles of dance.

23.  Convince myself that the impossible is always possible: You have to believe in something; why not the impossible?

24. Maintain a daily journal and weekly vlog: I definitely need to journal more, but also I think it would be reflexive to vlog daily to not only read how I change but see it.

25:  Volunteer:  No better time then now to do this.

26. Take more pictures: Not having a camera this year has shown me that I don’t need one but want one. I  gave my camera to my sister because I felt things like facebook and instagram took away the magic of pictures.  I still feel this is a major problem, but I also feel life needs to be documented. There are things that deserve pictures.

If I can do all of these things then the twenty-fifth year is going to be one hell of a year.

There is only about a month and a couple weeks left before 2013 starts. So I wanted to get a head start on this year by planning out my bucket list. Here are the things I want to complete in 2013:

1. Get a driver’s license

2. Lose at least 50 pounds

3. Build my freelance business

4. Move to California

5. Read at least 50 books

6.  Obtain a passport

7. Improve my Spanish and learn French

8.  Enter a screenwriting contest

9.  Do better social media marketing

10.  Publish a novel or a magazine article

I may add more as the year progresses and I’ll post stories on how I completed each one as soon as I do.