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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What does it really mean to be a GenY or Millennial twentysomething? Countless research studies, articles, and Millennial “experts” are out there telling us this is who GenY and Millennials are — but are they right? Well it’s time we went straight to the source – actual GenY and Millennial twentysomethings. Crazy, I know.
What you’ll find below is A STELLAR LIST from fellow twentysomethings, including myself, on what it really means to be a GenY or Millennial twentysomething.
YOU MIGHT BE A GENY TWENTYSOMETHING IF…
1.‘You have died of dysentery’ does not sound morbid at all, but only stirs fond memories of playing Oregon Trail. ~ Me
2. Sometimes when someone is talking to me I completely tune out and just start counting how many times they say “like”. ~ Micah
3. You’ve learned the best way to communicate is to ignore some one’s phone call, let them leave a message, listen to the message, then respond back to them with a text message, that way you keep personal contact to a minimum. ~Adam
4. “Do you have any kids” has somehow become a normal question people ask me. ~ Mike
5. I miss school. And so do you. But it’s impossible to communicate that to someone who is actually in school. ~ Mike
6. You remember how cool it felt to get a pager. ~ Me
7. You know that if Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible. Ruminations.com
8. You grieve all the day when you spill coffee on something that is “dry clean only.” ~ Me
9. You know what pogs are. ~ Me
10. You thought Mary-Kate and Ashley were adorable. And now they kinda scare you. ~ Katie
11. Somewhere deep in your parents house resides a sweet collection of pogs. ~ Me
12. Somewhere in your parents house resides a sweet collection of mixed tapes. And/or you’ve given a mixed tape of love songs to a girlfriend or boyfriend. And to this day, that mixed tape was the most time you’ve ever spent on a gift. ~ Me
13. Soon it will be perfectly acceptable and customary to ask a girl to marry you via a Facebook wall post. ~ Adam
14. “Dry clean only” actually means “I’ll never, ever, ever wash this.” ~ Me
15. While driving yesterday you saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it…thanks Mario Kart. Ruminations.com
16. You ironed your dress shirts for the first month of your new job, and then decided a much easier strategy was just to stop believing that wrinkles exists. ~ Me
17. You can’t believe you actually ran when girls tried to kiss you as a kid. ~ Me
18. In your memory, the best TV can be summed up with four letters (T-G-I-F)… until you actually watch one of those shows, that is. ~ Mike
19. ‘Who was hotter — Kelly Kapowski or Topanga Lawrence?’ is a very legitimate debate. ~ Paul
20. You still can’t believe your parents turned your old bedroom into an office. Did your time with them mean nothing? Shouldn’t your bedroom have been left intact as a permanent shrine? ~ Me
21. You’ve prayed for the invention of sarcasm font. Ruminations.com
22. Mario Brothers 3 for Regular Nintendo is still your favorite video game. ~ Me
23. You know exactly what Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Left Right, B, A, B, A, Select, Start means. ~ Me
24. You feel like a kid most of the time, until you see a real kid and think, “good Lord, kids are really young these days.” ~ Mike
25. You prayed daily that you could have an Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey. ~ Megan
26. You’ve wished that Disney continued having perverted, subliminal messages. It certainly didn’t affect my childhood and it makes it more fun for us to watch. ~ Micah
27. Standing over the sink is a totally normal place to eat breakfast. ~ Mike
28. Eating Fruity Pebbles over the sink is a totally normal dinner. ~ Me
29. You’ve wondered how growing up, we were allowed to all play Smear the Queer at recess? And how were we allowed to call it Smear the Queer? And how did every kid across the USA know about Smear the Queer? We didn’t have the internet. Did the elaborate Smear the Queer ground rules get relayed by Timmy from Tulsa via carrier pigeon? ~ Paul
30. People are beginning to point out your gray hair. “Wow, thank you for letting me know I have gray hair. I’ve never noticed that before.” (Dang it. Where’s sarcasm font when I need it?!) ~ Me
31. You now understand what your parents meant when they said, ‘You’ll understand when you get older.’ ~ Me
What additions do you have for — You Might be a GenY 20something if? What did we leave out? Add to the list below.
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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
What will you do when you grow up? Our whole lives we’ve been asked this one question. How do we find the answer?
As kids, the answer was easy. A football player. A fire fighter. A ballerina, doctor, politician, lawyer, or President of the USA.
We all had our answer concerning some far off world — where all our dreams and talents converged into the rest of our amazing adult lives.
When I was a kid and my Aunt asked me about Future Adult Paul, I confidently told her I was going to play professional baseball for the Colorado Rockies. But I was a bit of a realist even then, so I had a Plan B. If baseball didn’t work out, I told her I planned on winning the lottery. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
What was so funny?
As We Grow Up
College comes and goes and we begin to realize. We start figuring the odds. We see how many people want the same dream. How many people can dance more gracefully, swing the bat better, solve the problem quicker. Our childhood dreams become just that — dreams, no longer able to breathe in this stuffy adult world. To settle or not to settle becoming the crux question of our twenties.
Your Aunt asks what you’re going to do, this time at your college graduation party.
This time, you don’t know what to tell her.
“So what do you do?” It’s our conversation starter. Our flint. We hope it sparks a picture of this person. What job is you? A tough answer when your job, or lack of job, is anything but.
We are a culture of doers. Of accomplishers — of titles — of my car is faster than yours. My Facebook profile shines and sparkles with more gold medals and blue ribbons — and you should go ahead and commence feeling jealous.
However is what do you do even the right question? Is our calling on this earth just about what we do? Or is it more?
“Maybe instead of asking what will you do, we should be asking what are we going to be when we grow up? Not what are we going to do, what profession are we going to follow or keep on following, what niche are we going to occupy in the order of things. But are we going to be – inside ourselves and among ourselves?” Fredrick Buechner
We are obsessed with doing. What about our being? Apart from any label, any name tag you might slap across your chest. As we grow up we will wear many suits, some will fit better than others. But when we’re doing nothing worth bragging about, who will we be? Maybe that should be the question.
Anyone else have a disparity between what you thought you’d be doing and what you are? Thoughts?
Are you a GROAN UP? Someone in that awkward limbo between growing and grown? If so, you’re not alone.
I recently unwrapped the theory of Emerging Adulthood, which suggests that there is a new developmental stage between the transition from adolescence to adult called “emerging adulthood”.
However, I’ve also been conducting my own less-than-academic research around emerging adulthood and my theory of being a GROAN UP. And after months of collecting answers from twentysomethings/thirtysomethings from around the World of Web-ernet (and sprinkling in my own), I present to you what it REALLY means to be ALL GROAN UP – someone in between growing and grown.
1. When you buy loads of cute accessories for your teenage sister, because
obviously you are too GROAN up to wear them! - Kay
2. The thought of becoming an adult makes you toss up a few Fruity Pebbles.
3. You see nothing wrong with still eating Fruity Pebbles.
4. You take your nieces to see cartoon movies just so you don’t look like a weirdo watching a kids movie – Linzy
5. TGIF still means something more to you (aka you might own the entire DVD set of Boy Meets World).
6. You de-stress by coloring with crayola crayons. - Cara
7. At the first sight of snow you hope work is cancelled tomorrow.
8. You stop laughing at Friends and start thinking that Joey’s comments about sex are inappropriate. – Josh
9. You’ve had a new job (or no job) nearly every year for a decade.
10. You still eat mac n cheese for dinner (but now add peas) – Robin
11. When Father’s Day is for YOU
12. When you realize YOU have to DEAL with the car mechanics instead of your dad doing it for you! – Linzy
13. You can’t believe you’re married
14. You can’t believe you’re NOT married
15. You still don’t really know how taxes work but you pretend like you do. ~ Katie
16. You still get called “the girl” at work – A Girl Who Dreams
17. You ironed your dress shirts for the first month of your new job, and then decided a much easier strategy was just to stop believing that wrinkles exists.
18. You say things like, “That Fred Savage was dreamy” ~ Blunt Delivery
19. You bring empty Tupperware to work to take home leftover office food
20. When you make comments like “I was NEVER allowed to wear something like that when I was her age…I wore stretch pants and an over-sized t-shirt!” ~ Alyssa
21. When the last of the ketchup bottle makes a fart noise and you don’t laugh. ~ Julian
22. You realize on the morning of that Mother’s Day is not just for your mom, but also for your wife, who is now a mom. So you run out and buy a glass swan (I might be speaking from experience here)
23. You love listening to NPR now. I mean, it’s talk radio! ~ David
24. You still giggle when someone says balls (maybe just a groan up guy thing)
25. You go back to your home town and talk about all the “developments” that have happened since you’ve been gone ~ Lindsay
26. You thought Mary-Kate and Ashley were adorable. And now they kinda scare you. ~ Katie
27. When you never run out of underwear because you actually stay on top of laundry ~ Ashley
28. When you’re losing hair and gaining babies.
29. Every evening at 7:30pm you scurry to turn on Jeopardy ~ Rachael
30. You grieve all the day when you spill coffee on something that is “dry clean only.”
31. When your first reaction to finding out a friend is pregnant is “congratulations!!” instead of “holy &^%$, what happened!!” ~ Kate
32. You start taking over the counter pain relievers after a really active day of play/moving/living because you actually need them. ~ Lindsay
31. You feel like a kid most of the time, until you see a real kid and think, “good Lord, kids are really young these days.” ~ Mike
32. You chug two-day old coffee because you’re running late and you know if coffee doesn’t enter, you’re not leaving. (Note to Kid-Self for when time machines become available at Best Buy: Never fight the nap).
33. You realize that the cliques in high school are alive & well in the real world too … ~ Jocelyn
34. You need a vacation to recover from your vacation.
35. You have a 12 year old say to you, “My youth pastor was talking about Vanilla Ice and my friends and I thought he was talking about an ice cream flavor,” and you aren’t sure whether to laugh or cry because she was completely serious. ~ Lindsay
36. You get zits on your jawline and think, “Really? Still?” ~ Katie
37. You think girls today are a bit hoochy but then you see pictures of you with shirts that exposed your belly button ~ Katie
38. You know that Jerry Maguire was not Lizzy Mcguire’s dad. ~ Katie
39. You’ve made a prank call on a pay phone. ~ Katie
40. You’ve used a pay phone period. And you’ve said your name is, “Mom, come get me.” ~ Katie
41. You stop feeling entitled to winter breaks, spring breaks, and summers off. ~ Lindsay
42. The only reason you maintain your weight is so you never have to buy new dress pants
43. When the manager at Chipotle comes outside to the patio, tells the high school kids to stop throwing forks at cars and lighting things on fire, and then turns and apologizes to YOU. ~ Mike
44. You start saying, “this generation’s music really sucks” ~ Will
45. You think you’re not that old and then you realize that the kids who just graduated high school this year were born in 1993. ~ Lindsay
46. You still can’t believe your parents turned your old bedroom into an office. Did your time with them mean nothing? Shouldn’t your bedroom remain a permanent shrine?
47. When going to bed early on Sunday night to prepare for the week becomes a priority. ~ Ryan
48. You begin repeating phrases your parent’s always used to say, that you swore you never would. And then deny it.
49. You utilize your Flex Spending Account, because you know what that is now. ~ Kendra
50. When your wife complains that you drive like her grandfather just to get better gas mileage. ~ Brandon
51. When you complain in agony, “when I got my license, it only costs $20 to fill up my car!” ~ Stephanie
52. Having lower lumbar support has become a major concern.
53. “Do you have any kids” has somehow become a normal question people ask you. ~ Mike
54. You now understand what your parents meant when they said, ‘You’ll understand when you get older.’
55. When you wrinkle your brow and make comments about “kids these days” ~ Kendra
56. You rake piles of leaves and are about to jump in, but stop because ‘what would the neighbors think’
57. When you overhear 16 year olds talking about “that lady” and realize it’s you ~ Sarah
58. Your birthday slowly transitions from best day of the year to worst.
59. You really want to go sledding again. Until you actually go sledding again. Then you don’t ever want to go sledding again.
60. You still debate, “Who was hotter – Kelly Kapowski or Topanga Lawrence?”
61. When you would rather listen to the classical radio station because the alternative radio station “feels” to loud ~ My Brother Chad
62. You’ve caught yourself saying more than once, “I’m getting too old for this.“
What part of being Groan Up did we leave out? Let us know via comments below.