Twenty-something with no idea

So I’m going through this thing called life and I’ve reached my early twenties, 22 as of now to be exact. And let me tell you, it is weird. I mean weird. 

One day I’m in high school, living at home with my parents and focusing on every extracurricular activity known to man, and the next day I’m in college, living with roommates and focusing on having money while paying bills and eating and keeping up my GPA. Then I graduate. 

Ok. Cool. Exciting. But what now?

I take two seconds to look at life around me to see what my peers are doing. Ya know, maybe they can give me some clues as to where I go next. I take to Facebook, because online stalking isn’t called stalking on Facebook, it’s called “creeping.” 

Some of my friends are still in school. Some of my friends are graduating like me. Some of my friends have full time jobs. Some of my friends have part time jobs. Some of my friends are getting married. Some of my friends are growing their families. 

Ok. Cool. No one is in the same place. No biggie. I can pull something from this…

Now as I sat back and thought about what I saw, I realized that hardly any of us have our sh!t figured out. Not a dang clue as to what we’re doing. But you know what? 

IT’S OKAY TO NOT HAVE IT FIGURED OUT. Really, I’m not sure anyone figures out what they’re supposed to be doing as they get older. We are all kind of just winging it. 

So back to my story, I thought back to my life and what I wanted to do at this point. I’ve always said I want to move away while I’m young. This is a good time. (Ha, there’s never really a “good time” for anything but for mental purposes I told myself it was.) 

And now here I am, sitting in shorts and a tshirt in February in Florida. I’ve accepted a job, which I start in two weeks to the day. Brett and I have been house searching here, and we are waiting to hear back from one any second. I realized if I can’t get my stuff together, I can at least get it together somewhere warm. 

Now, back to being twenty-something and wandering around aimlessly. I think it’s safe to say everyone I saw on my Facebook is still questioning whether they’ve done the right thing or are currently doing the right thing. We all have that little voice that just can’t help but make us question ourselves. 

And I’m about to tell you that voice will forever hold you back from trying something new unless you stop listening to it. Be the great student, parent, spouse, fiancé, intern, possibly homeless person I know you are. If I listened to my little voice, I’d still be sitting in cold Missouri wondering what else I could be doing. None of us have it figured out. And not all of us are in the same places in our lives, besides the fact that we are twenty-something and have no idea. 

I’m just saying you should keep it up, because whatever you’re doing, it’s working. 

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To Love and Be Loved

As I drove back to Columbia tonight, I couldn’t help but think about my parents.

This afternoon as I watched my dad work on the house, I was reminded of how great he is. I swear he has a never-ending supply of knowledge in that noggin’ of his, because he knows the answer to almost any question I ask him. He may have a dry sense of humor and not like when I make fascia compliments, but he has always been one of my biggest supporters. He has taught me how to be a hard worker and deliver my own success.

But as my dad was working, my mom was along side helping do the little things. We had the pleasure of cleaning siding together (yay). My mom has always been a crafty person, so she has taught me that the details do matter; they matter a lot! She has always been my shoulder to cry on, but especially my friend to laugh with. She reminds me to keep my heart light and laugh off the things that aren’t worth worrying about. She also shared her love of animals with me, but I’m not sure if this one is a blessing or curse yet…

Either way, my parents have taught me more about the person I want to become more than I think they know. They’ve taught me how to love others and myself. They’ve showed me that family comes first. I can’t even begin to express how much we all drive each other nuts sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade that for any amount of money in the world.

Then I think about all of the kids that don’t grow up in family environments like mine, and it makes me sad. I honestly believe that’s one of the main reasons I like to welcome people into my life that need help. No one should have to go through anything alone; that’s what family is for. I have a yearning to help these people, whether I know them or not. Helping people is the most rewarding feeling, because I don’t want anything in return from them. Everyone needs to know there is someone there to lean on.

All we want is to love, and be loved- and that just one of the many things I have learned from my parents.

I am blessed with opportunity

I am blessed. Blessed to be alive. Blessed to be fortunate enough to attend college. Blessed to have a family that loves me. Blessed to be healthy. Blessed with many opportunities.

Opportunity; that’s a word we hear too often. We say we will take every opportunity we can, yet very seldom do we follow through.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference in Kansas City. I figured I knew what to expect, seeing as though I had been to many leadership conferences with FFA throughout high school. Boy, was I wrong.

AFA was focused on teaching leaders what’s next, not how to become a leader. They already saw us as leaders for either earning the scholarship to get there, or being accepted after submitting an application. We chose to be there, it wasn’t just by chance of a school trip.

This made the sessions focus more on what skills we need as leaders to take the next step. Every single session is applicable to my life with leadership, as well as school, family, friends and relationships. I feel confident knowing this conference was worth my while. And I would have missed out on all of this if I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity.

I have now challenged myself to actually take opportunities more often. There are so many out there! And I challenge each of you to do the same. Who knows what will come of it!

Falling

It was a slow fall.
Heart lifted,
Head in the clouds;
Falling.

Speeding up,
A few quivers,
But still steady;
Falling.

Faster now,
Try to keep up,
Hold on tight;
Falling.

Empty reaches,
Clawing for air,
Pointless hoping;
Falling.

Racing mind,
Numb body,
Rock bottom;
Fell.

Growing up in the dance world hasn’t always been easy. Of course it is awesome to bond with a group of girls and watch them grow as dancers as we get older, but there is also a pressure that comes with it. Many people assume dancers have the perfect bodies. I, for one, know I am nowhere near perfect. But I can accept that. 

There is one moment I can remember from a dance competition when I was about 10. Now let me start by saying there are some pretty provocative costumes some younger girls wear (rhinestoned bras and booty shorts without tights). I can remember all of the parents from my competition team making snarky comments about how it’s inappropriate for young girls to wear costumes that show off their stomachs. They also kept saying it’s inappropriate for bigger sized people to show their stomachs too. And there I was standing next to them with a costume that had my stomach revealed. My costume was modest, connecting at the sides with a skirt that was a decent length and of course I had tights on, but I still felt the need to cover my stomach after listening to them rant. I felt like I was being judged.

Ever since that competition season every costume I wore covered my stomach, until a few weeks ago when I decided to try out for the Mizzou Golden Girls. The mandatory outfit included a sports bra or short top, booty shorts and tights. I didn’t even try out my freshman year because I wasn’t sure how I felt about that dress code. But when I got to tryouts, there were girls there of all shapes and sizes. No one’s stomach was flat and perfect either. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and didn’t feel like I was being judged for having my stomach showing. Even though I didn’t make the team, I am so happy I went and auditioned. 

I’m not trying to bash on the parents that made me feel this way; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just wish people were more accepting instead of putting others down. I’m also not saying I plan on walking around with my stomach exposed 24/7, but it’s just nice to finally be confident enough to not feel like I have to hide it while wearing a swim suit. 

I guess what I am getting at is to not let others’ opinions get you down. It’s your body, you can wear what you want. So do yourself a favor and look in the mirror and love what you see. And most importantly, love everyone (including yourself) for who they are!

To My Generation:

I would like to take a few minutes out of my morning to share the thoughts I had while walking across campus this morning.

I am so grateful to have been raised by two wonderful parents. They taught me something I thought a majority of people used; manners. Everyday I see college-aged “adults” disrespecting many places and people on campus. This morning I got on the elevator and found an empty plastic cup sitting on the floor. Without thinking I picked it up and threw it away once I got off. How hard is it to throw away garbage? Especially with all of the trashcans located at every corner on campus. Also, how hard is it to hold the door open for someone coming in or out after you? Especially for the elderly or professors. Where has all of the respect for others gone?

My parents have raised me to have manners that I hardly find in my generation anymore. This makes me sad! Most of the people my age are plugged into their headphones 24/7 too busy tweeting and texting to take a second to look others in the eyes and greet them with a polite smile or nod. Of course we are all in touch with technology, but it’s okay to put your phone down for 10 minutes on your walk to class. I promise!

But worst of all, I think the biggest impolite thing my generation can’t grasp is the idea of saying “thank you”. It’s two easy words that have more meaning than some may think. I hold the door open for people all the time and hardly ever do I hear a thank you. Do they think that door is just staying open by itself? 

Now by no means am I saying every single person of my generation is like this. Yes, there are some I know that are polite, but there are far too many that ignore manners and respect in every way possible. I’m also not saying I am perfect in using my manners 100% of the time, but I still try to a majority of the time.

So, I would like to take this time to thank my parents. Thank you for being positive role models while I was growing up. Thank you for raising me to show respect to others as well as myself. Thank you for teaching me how to be polite. Thank you for showing me how to make good choices. Thank you for reminding me every day that you love me. And most importantly, thank you for spanking me when I did something wrong as a kid. But I ask one thing of you? Can you come to campus and spank some of these kids and teach them some manners?