Welcome to All Groan Up by Paul Angone — a place for twenty-somethings asking “what now?” Snag a free copy of the 21 Secrets for your 20′s ebook (free for a limited time) and pre-order the full release book coming this July 1st — 101 Secrets for your Twenties (Moody Publishers)
1. Never looking at your budget and never making a budget is the exact same thing.
2. The possibility for greatness and embarrassment both exist in the same space. If you’re not willing to be embarrassed, you’re probably not willing to be great.
3. Feel no shame in seeking help from a counselor or therapist. We all have crap we try to wrap and hide under the Christmas tree. Get rid of it before it smells up your entire holiday.
4. All job listings on Craigslist lead you to a warehouse in downtown LA “wearing something nice with shoes you can walk in”.
5. Don’t ever, ever check Facebook when you’re:
C. Depressed and Drinking.
E. Anytime after 9:17 pm.
F. Struggling with being blessed with singleness while all your friends seem to be blessed with 2.4 kids and that blazing white-picket-fence shining with the glory of Jesus Christ himself.
6. All those amazing college friends you swore you’d never lose contact with after college yeah, well, you might lose contact. Moving all over the country, getting married, having kids, all make that forty-five minute conversation with your sophomore roommate a little more complicated than it used to be over a game of Mario Kart. Making and keeping friends in our twenties takes intentionality.
7. Your twenties will produce more failures than you’ll choose to remember. The key is when you fail, don’t begin calling yourself a failure.
8. Every break up has two break ups. I’m no physicist, but this is a law of physics, of this I am certain. Yes you’ll have the first tearful “It’s over” sitting in the front seat of your Honda or on a park swing. Then 1-2 months later after there’s “been talk”, you’ll have the “real breakup” because she forgets to call like she used to or he checks out the waitress like he’s a judge for Miss USA. And gird those loins because in the second break up there will be a lot more breaking.
9. The Freshman-Fifteen is nothing compared to the Cubicle-Cincuenta. Don’t sit at your computer perched like a Roman gargoyle. Don’t let office birthday cake be forced on you like a cigarette behind your middle school. Bust out before your butt does.
10. And yes, cubicles don’t make sense to anybody other than upper-management. I would be willing to bet that only 3% of all “Cubicle Americans” actually have a positive outlook on life. And half of that 3% is stealing from their company.
11. If at some point between 22 – 27 you feel like you’re six years old again, lost and alone at the San Diego Zoo (it’s a big-frickin-zoo), frantically searching for a familiar face – hold tight, you’re experiencing a bit of a Quarter-Life Crisis. Stay put. Pray a lot. And in no time someone will call your name across the loud speaker to tell you where you can be found.
12. Reckless drinking and reckless flirting have a direct correlation. Friends don’t let friends drive, or flirt, drunk.
13. If you grew up going to church, at some point in your 20′s you’ll probably stop going to church. If you grew up with faith as a central part of your life, at some point in your twenties faith might move to the outskirts of town next to the trailer park and three-legged squirrel refuge. Your twenties are a process of making faith your own apart from your parents and childhood. Sometimes that means staggering away so you know what you’re coming back to.
14. Don’t ever begin dating someone you first met whilst in swimsuits. Doubly-don’t if you’re both in swimsuits whilst holding an alcoholic beverage.
15. Obsessive Comparision Disorder is the smallpox of our generation. 9 out of 10 doctor’s agree this disorder is the leading cause to eating a whole sleeve of Oreo’s while watching Real Housewives of OC. Say no to obsessive comparison disorder before it starts. Remember everyone’s too busy putting a PR spin on their Facebook profile to care much about yours.
16. Life will never feel like it’s “supposed to”. Being twentysomething can feel like death by unmet expectations. However, let me be so brash to say that you are right now, at this moment, exactly where you need to be. But you’ll only be able to see that five years and thirty-eight days from today.
17. You might have your first kid and realize what it’s like to be young, a parent, and have no freaking clue what you’re doing. And for the first time in your life, you also might actually understand your parents for the first time.
18. Marriage WILL NOT fix any of your problems. No, instead marriage will put a magnifying glass on how many problems you really have. We grow up carrying bags with our insecurities, fears, bad relationships, problems with our parents — you name it. Begin to ditch these bags now. Newly married and living in a small apartment is no place to store a luggage set full of shiz.
19. An assortment of crappy jobs are a twentysomething rite of passage. Figure out what you need to learn there and learn it. If you don’t, an assortment of crappy jobs might be your thirty, forty and fiftysomething rite of passage as well.
20. Great ideas alone mean nothing. Your ability to persevere through 16 major setbacks, a lack of passion, forgetting why you started this great idea in the first place, and all the people who allude that your great idea is actually quite terrible — well, that means everything.
21. The grass is always greener on the other side, until you get there and realize it’s because of all the manure.
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Today All Groan Up is honored to welcome the hilarious and wise Therese Schwenkler. She is founder of TheUnlost.com, where she proves that good advice doesn’t have to be boring or uncool. Looking to figure out your career path? Click here to get the FREE Unlost Mini-Kit for discovering the work you were BORN to do.
You know those moments when you all of the sudden realize that… well, you’re actually kind of old? Like, you’re a real grownup?
I had one of those the other night.
I was eating dinner (by myself, with a glass of wine) when my phone rang. (Actually, that was a lie. My phone didn’t ring—it blasted out a Nicki Menaj ringtone, which only goes to show that some part of me still believes I am 16 years old.)
It was a friend of mine whom I hadn’t talked to in awhile.
“Hey, Therese. I have some news for you,” she said.
“HOLY HELL,” I shouted. “What are you gonna d—”
I immediately stifled my knee-jerk response.
“I mean, CONGRATULATIONS!”
“Thanks!” she said. “Aaron and I have been trying for awhile now. I’m so excited…” We chatted for awhile longer and discussed the pros and cons of breastfeeding and whether she should use cloth diapers or disposable.
“Hey, I gotta go now, though,” I told her. “I hafta get my laundry out of the dryer before it gets all wrinkly. Celebrate soon?”
I put my phone down and stood in the middle of my kitchen.
You know, the kitchen that’s inside the home I pay a mortgage on every month.
Slowly, it all began to sink in.
Not only do I pay a mortgage, but I drink single glasses of wine with my dinners.
I stay home and do laundry on work nights.
And when my friend announces she’s pregnant, the proper response is “Congratulations,” not “WTF.”
I looked around in confusion, feeling as if I might faint at any second.
I think I’m a real adult.
When in the hell did this happen!?
I’m 27 years old, for goshsake, and yet I still have days like this all the time. I honestly have no idea when, exactly, it became normal to drink two cocktails instead of 12 (or even to call drinks “cocktails,” for that matter). I still look around in confusion when I hear people tell their kids to “watch out for that lady!” in the grocery store.
There are a lot of confusing things about being an “adult”— for example:
- How in the heck do you do taxes?
- What do you wanna “be” when you grow up?
- When do you get to take summer break?
- Why do high school kids still look like they’re 12?
Among all the weird questions that are swirling around in your head, though, I think there’s one that beats out all the others.
In fact, it might be the most important question that you ever ask of yourself.
That question is simply this:
Who are you meant to become?
When you look back on your life as a wrinkly old lady (or man), will you be satisfied with the way you lived your life? Will you be proud of the actions you’ve taken and of the decisions you’ve made?
At your funeral, will people talk about how you always had perfect hair or how you could get into all the clubs? Will they talk about what car you drove or about how cool your Facebook statuses were?
No way. In fact, having perfect hair or owning a Lamborghini sound kind of stupid when you look at things from this perspective.
So what will they talk about? What would you be proud to hear people say?
What kind of a person are you meant to become?
Ask yourself this question every day. Ask it when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. Ask it when you’re with other people and when you’re alone with yourself. No matter what you’re doing, ask yourself this question and strive to live up to your own answers.
Because in the end, the question isn’t whether or not you’ll become an adult. Like it or not, you’ll soon be going to bed at 10 PM and telling your kids to eat their broccoli. Like it or not, you will inevitably become a “real adult.”
The more important question is, what kind of an adult will you become?
Have you ever wondered — am I really an adult? I mean, who decides when and where we become this ambiguously mature word?
Read these 17 signs to see just how emerging into adulthood you really are. If none of them apply to you, keep on playing video games until 2 am whilst eating a Little Caeser’s Hot-n-Ready. If all 17 ring your name, start looking for mini-vans and re-allocating your IRA my friend.
17 Signs You’re Emerging into Adulthood
1. Ikea has become your Disneyland
2. Sleep goes from being your nemesis who you avoid, to your best friend whom you wish would come over more often.
3. Watching three hours of Friends re-runs begins to feel slightly less productive than it used to.
4. If all the work emails you’ve read and written were placed side by side, they would cross the Atlantic Ocean. There and back.
5. Your body begins to ache from your vigorous lack of movement.
6. Debt goes from being this fairy tale to be repaid in a land far, far, away. To your daily reality show.
7. Memories of how you’re going to feel Sunday morning actually begin to factor into your decisions on Saturday night.
8. A Christmas sweater with a reindeer on it feels like a good idea. And you’re not being ironic.
9. You’ve mastered the interview this is my dream job nod-and-smile for a job you don’t want and can’t believe you’re applying for.
10. Facebook goes from being a hobby, to an obsession, to a chore you dread.
11. 93% of the photos on your phone are of your baby. The remaining pictures are things you’re trying to sell on Craigslist to make room for the baby.
12. The thought of buying a new sofa or kitchen appliance makes you as giddy as a 12-year-old at a Justin Bieber concert.
13. At the end of church you find yourself actually walking up to the table to “Join a Small Group.” And you’re excited.
14. Taxes are your 8th grade science experiment. You put it off until the night before. You have no clue what you’re doing. Yet somehow, it always gets done.
15. You haven’t sprinted in two years. Something you realize too late as you try to dash across the street to avoid oncoming traffic, only to pull muscles you forgot you had.
16. Classical music becomes this weird, welcomed breather.
17. You know enough now to know that you really don’t know jack.
Relate to any of these? What did I miss?
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2012 was an uber-amazing, tipping point for All Groan Up! A colossus sized THANK YOU to well, YOU, for all the support, encouragement, and shout out’s this year. The emails I’ve received from you makes all the mornings up 5:00 AM to write and hours spent pouring over articles with my incredible editor — my wife, very, very worth it.
To commemorate and celebrate this awesome year, let’s do a countdown of the top nine most popular posts on All Groan Up in 2012, starting with: The Biggest surprise about becoming an adult that no one talks about.
Do you ever feel like you flat out suck at being an adult?
That’s how I feel right now. Let’s see…
- I just blew up at my wife because she mentioned “curtain rods.” (long story)
- The three cups of coffee I downed at work couldn’t knock the half-dead out of me as I zombied the day.
- I just returned a Redbox movie, that was only three days late. And the only reason I finally did was so I could buy a bag of M&M’s (okay I bought two bags) that I am slowly eating ( so I downed them both in under 45 seconds. Geesh, didn’t know someone had a stopwatch on me).
- And the kicker, my sweet one-year-old girl whom I just told to stay in her room, took one look at me, grinned that two-tooth-grin, and ran right out the door. Even she knew. Who does this guy think he is — a freaking adult?!
The Biggest Secret About Becoming an Adult…
So as I sit here, thumbing the M&M wrapper hoping just one missed my guzzle, having just come back from apologizing to my wife for being an ass. I finally understand the secret of what it really means to become All Groan Up.
The thing about truly emerging into an adult as a twentysomething isn’t about finding a career, or getting married, having a kid, buying a house, or any of these things.
It’s all of them.
Because the biggest secret about being an adult is…
Adulthood. Never. Stops.
Growing up in school we’re conditioned to live in defined periods of time. Push ourselves for a semester, pull some all-nighters, cram, chug a six-pack of Mountain Dew and wear your pajamas for three-days-straight, take those grueling finals, then bam. You’re selling your books back for $7.33, driving across country — onto summer break, onto something new, onto a complete change.
Adulthood is the opposite. It’s the Energizer bunny — it just keeps going and going and…
Rocking adulthood is nothing more glamorous than consistency.
Doing day 3,354 with the same energy as the first. I need help or I know my bunny is going to keel over way before then.
How to not burn out on adulthood
Honestly, I love my adult life. I love being married. My Instragram will tell you being a dad is the proudest, most fulfilling role I’ve ever experienced. I love my 9-5 job — my co-workers the best friends I’ve had in a long time.
But yet, I feel like I’m on the path to Nervous Breakdownville. How do I prevent that from happening?
1. Take a Nothing Vacation
What’s a nothing vacation. Well, it’s a vacation where you do nothing. Absolutely. No sight-seeing. No family. No friends. Nothing. My wife and I just agreed we’re taking one. Next month. No baby. No itinerary. Just sleep. Food. Books. Sleep. Food. Rinse. Repeat. (if my wife will still go with me. Seriously, I blew up over curtain rods. God help me).
I check my phone more times than a frantic smoker takes puffs after a six-hour flight.
Sometimes, I need to be off. Phone included. I need to sit and be still. To think. Reflect. Pray. Ask God to enter into my insane days for my own sanity.
3. You Tell Me…
What’s something you do to find sanity within adulthood’s biggest secret…that adulthood. never. freaking. stops.
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Original confetti photo by Art Siegel - CC
1. Rent. Food. Health and car insurance. Cell phone bills. College loans. Trips to the mechanic to fix something in your car you didn’t know existed. Yeah, these are all wait-they-can’t-be-serious more expensive than when life was on parent-support. Don’t worry the shock will wear off. But still, every time you write a rent check, an angel loses its wings.
2. Dating someone seriously makes life twice as complex. Getting engaged 3 times. Married x 5. Having a baby x 11. Baby, house, and a dog whose one goal in life is to crap on your living room carpet x 17. Second baby x 31. Third baby = At this point, math is no longer relevant to you.
Photo Credit: Delphine Devos – Creative Commons
3. What is your “why?” is the most important question you can answer as a real.live.adult. Most adults are obsessed with “what” and “how”. “What do you do for living?” “How do you pay the bills” etc.
But the real.live.adults who are thriving care much more about their “why”. As Simon Sinek explains in his TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action“, great adults are driven by a cause. A purpose. A belief. A reason why.
You have a great idea you want to pursue? Awesome, so does everyone else. Why is this great idea vital to you and to this world? That’s the question real.live.adults ask every.single.day. Adulthood is filled with cement walls of “you can’t do this”. Your “why” is what dynamites impossible.
4. Growing up we sprint for defined periods of time. Cram for finals, so you can make it to three months of summer break. Adulthood, on the other hand, is doing dishes. Laundry. Bills. 8-5, M-F. The biggest shock of becoming a real.live.adult is realizing that Adulthood.Never.Stops.
Rocking your 20′s is sometimes nothing more glamorous than patient every-day-ness.
As an emerging adult twentysomething we want success on Day 3 when it’s actually penciled in for Day 3,767. Our dreams of doing big things is not necessarily the problem, our timeline is.
5. Frustration is an adults best friend, if we’ll let it. Yes, frustration is a complete jerk. It won’t sit there all polite and quiet-like. No, it will gnaw at our insides like an angry rat on a corncob. Until you freaking do something about it. That’s why we need it. Frustration forces change. So go ahead, be frustrated. Just make sure you do something productive about it.
6. Adulthood keeps on marching on and if you don’t take some breathers you’re bound to get elephant-trampeded.
- Breather idea #1: Take a Nothing Vacation. What’s a Nothing Vacation? Well, it’s a vacation where you do nothing. Absolutely. No sight-seeing. No family. No friends. Nothing. My wife and I just took one. No baby. No itinerary. Just sleep. Food. Books. Sleep. Drink. Pool. Food. Rinse. Repeat.
- Breather idea #2: Celebrate the small. Did you nail a presentation. Manage a project that was a hit. Have an article published. Design a website. Be intentional to celebrate these achievements. Don’t let adulthood be white-washed with monotony.
7. When an “official” real.live.adult tells you it’s time to put on your “grown-up pants” that’s just their snarky code-phrase for it’s time to wear uncomfortable dress pants like them that are daily threatening to no longer fit, so that you can do something you highly dislike while encased in a cubicle, thinking about that dream you once had that you were too scared to pursue, the only highlight of your day now being birthday cake in the break room.
There’s too many real.live.dead.adults, for you to join the ranks. So if at some point you want to accidentally drop your “grown-up pants” in a real.live.fire, you have my blessing.
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