Here you are, 18 years old and heading to a college where, in four years (ideally), you will have it all figured out. Your career, your life goals, your future. Sounds easy and convenient, right?
Life. How lucky are we all to be alive and well and breathing and doing every day things we may take for granted. You don’t really realize it until you suffer a loss of some kind. Whether it be a relationship, a friendship, or, tragically, a death.
Loss forces you to grieve. To cry, to comfort, to be emotional, and to be strong. And although a loss you endure may be something you knew was coming, when it actually happens it is just as painful.
This week my grandpa passed away. Life, right? And yes it did force me to examine my life and truly appreciate what I have & not take for granted every day things like… Breathing. But it still really, really sucks (for a lack of a better word). It’s unfair. It’s unfair to my grandpa, my grandma, all of his kids, nieces, nephews, sisters, grandkids and friends. He was suffering far too long, which is the small amount of peace I get knowing he is in a far better place, but it is still not fair.
And as much as we cry, and get angry and frustrated, nothing will bring grandpa back. So like everything else we go through in life, we have to learn to embrace the loss and cope in anyway we know how.
I am going to be honest, death is not something I will ever be comfortable with, or have great advice for getting through it. Going through a messy break up and you are desperate to move on with your life? Come to me for advice, I am confident I will be able to help you through it. But losing someone near and dear to your heart tragically? This is new to me. This is not something I want to get used to, but realistically I know it is something that will happen in my life time. So, this blog post will be a little different. Embracing twenty-something is all about facing the ups and downs and getting through it the best way possible, so that is what I am aiming to do. That is what my grandpa would want me to do, and there is no one in the world right now I want to make proud more than him.
So how do we embrace loss? Let’s work through it together.
1. Find something you love and that is therapeutic
-This can truly be anything. Everyone is different, so it would have to be something that brings you peace. It can range from talking to close ones, exercise, read, meditate, practice your favorite hobby. For me, my happy place is writing. I can write for hours on end about anything, really, and after I have this sense of freedom and inspiration. When I was going through a rough break up a couple years ago, I found this random blog-type site. I was desperate and lonely and not sleeping, so I typed into google “how to get through a breakup and feel okay again.” No joke, that was my search, and one of the first websites was loveshack.org. So, I clicked on it. OHMYGOODNESS let me tell you, every single topic you can possibly think of is on there. Like, everything.
Long story kind of short, I wrote. I wrote out every emotion I was feeling. The best part? Feedback. From people all over the world. It was comforting and therapeutic, and it is something that made me feel better. So find something that helps you cope. And keep doing it. You’ll find time will start going faster and you’ll gradually start feeling better. Time is key, always.
2. Surround yourself with people that you love
-After finding out my grandpa passed Monday morning, we headed straight for my grandma’s. Between my dad, my aunt, uncle, cousins and grandma, we took a really sad morning and made it easier by reminiscing on memories we each had with our grandpa, and spent the majority of the day looking through old pictures. It was comforting. More so than I ever imagined. The power of being around people you love is amazing – Sometimes it just seems easier to stay alone and cry and the thought of being out around people when you are sad is exhausting, but, it does the opposite. You get distracted from the sad thoughts you have about the one you lost, and when going through hard times anything you can possibly do to lift your spirits is beneficial.
3. Allow yourself to grieve
-This one is important. Trying to move on too fast and not letting all of the emotions of shock, sadness, and anger pass can cause more problems down the road. Like, for example, if you don’t grieve properly and another hard event in your life happens, the build up of everything you just went through can potentially make it even more overwhelming. Crying can be extremely healthy. I don’t know about you guys, but after I have a really good cry I feel SO much better. I put this tip last because at night time is my time to reflect and is when I take time to write out my feelings and truly let myself grieve.
I hope this list helps. I feel like this week I have been in “zombie mode” and completely out of it. But, as mentioned before, writing is my therapy, so not only will this potentially help someone, but it helped me tremendously.
This blog post is dedicated to my Grandpa Sleek. Although the last few years have been so hard on him and his health, the amazing memories we all have with him over the 20+ years is something we will cherish forever. Anyone that was blessed enough to know Tom Sleek was a very lucky person. To be able to call him my grandpa is something I will be able to brag about for the rest of my life. We all love you so much, and heaven is SO lucky to have you.
I mean seriously though. Time-freaking-flies! I always feel bitter-sweet as the year comes to an end. Bitter, because that means Christmas just ended and that, naturally, makes me really sad. Like, my Christmas Countdown App said 364 more days until Christmas a few days ago and I honestly wanted to cry. But, then there is the sweet side of the year coming to an end – Reminiscing on the amazing memories and achievements made in the past year, and focusing on what goals and changes you want to make for the upcoming year. Whatever inspires me to better myself is a great thing, even if it is as cliche as a “New Years Resolution.”
So, together, let’s make 2015 even better than this past year! And instead of wishing you did everything you told yourself you were going to do at the end of the year, let’s follow through with our goals and aspirations and end the year with a well-deserved glass of Pinot Grigio. Or, champagne. Because it is a holiday. And when is champagne not good? Never. 🙂
Last year, at the end of 2013, I do as I always do and made a list of what I wanted to accomplish in the upcoming year. I do not know if it was because my brain fully developed (thanks, Psychbiology), or that I just knew changes had to be made, but I for the first time EVER, stuck with the majority of the goals I wanted to achieve exactly a year ago. Well, minus the “lose weight and consistently go to the gym” one. Can you blame me? A few miles away from my house a drive-thru Panera was built. Oh, and also, Birthday Cake Oreos. I’ll put that on my “2015 New Years Resolutions.” If you have read my previous blogs, my journey on embracing being a twenty-something has been no easy feat. However, learning to truly embrace life right where you are can be an amazing thing. I remind myself of this daily, like, for example, when I realize I will be turning 26 in 2015. Whoa. Good whoa, but whoa.
Just to summarize, because I’m proud, and also, (hopefully), an inspiration to those that feel like they won’t get where they want to go, this year was one of my best year’s yet.
-Got accepted into a 4-year college for Fall 2015 (this one is especially special because I never thought I would get here.)
-Made the Dean’s list
-Started a blog (oh hey followers, I love you!!)
-Stopped crying myself to sleep (this was first on my list last year. It was exhausting. Hey ex boyfriend, I won)
-Got a promotion at work
How did I follow through with these? Well, wine. AND inspiration from within as well as a lot of support from family and friends. But, I do know how tough it can be to follow through with the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. I mean, I lived it for years and years. So because of my great year and success of sticking with my To Do List on steroids, I wanted to share some tips I used for all of you :).
1- Make Realistic Goals
-I feel like this was one of my biggest mistakes when I would make my New Years Resolutions in the past. I know, I know, you can do whatever you set your mind to and nothing is impossible. HOWEVER, not every goal you set for yourself is meant to be a short journey. And to have that mindset that some goals will take longer than others can make the biggest difference. For example, one of my goals for the upcoming year is to get my own place. However, life gets in the way (like, dropping your iPhone in the toilet @ work and having to pay $200 to replace it), and I understand that. So instead of making one of my goals “get my own place”, I will make it, “start saving money for a new apartment.” Start small and work your way up. Those cheesy inspirational quotes like, “you can do whatever you set your mind to” can truly become a reality, you just have to be realistic about the time and work it takes to achieve that resolution.
2- Write out all of your goals for the upcoming year
-This may seem like a silly and small tip, however, it can totally make a big difference. I am 100% a visual learner. So this step for me is crucial. Similar to a Vision Board, writing out your goals for the next year can be used as a daily reminder if you place it somewhere in your house where you will see it every day. And, which I believe to be the most effective part of this tip, write out the steps you will need to take in order to accomplish this goal. Because I love you all so much, I’ll get reallllll personal with you guys for this example. Goal: Stop crying yourself to sleep over *insert exes name here*. Then, I wrote out the steps I knew I had to take to accomplish this goal. 1- write out exactly how I felt at the end of the day in my journal. Writing is therapeutic to me, so I knew this had to help. Which it did. The F-word might have been written more than I would like it to, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. 2- Find hobbies to distract me from the breakup. This one was a win-win for me in regards to this specific goal I was trying to achieve. Not only was I distracted, but I found things that made me happy and that I have grown to love to do. 3 – Go out with friends more often. I know this step may seem unrelated, but my mindset was that if I went out with friends, it would give me the opportunity to meet new people. This, will then in turn, focus my energy on other people instead of only thinking of my ex.
3 – Tell friends & family about your goals
-By doing this, you will then have people to hold you accountable as well as motivating you to achieve the goal you have made for yourself. I don’t know about you guys, but when I know my close family and friends are relying on me to get/do something, I get that much more determined to make it happen. One of the best feelings for me is when I make the people I love happy, and one of the worst feelings for me is disappointing the people I love.
2015. Your year. I, Kelsey Sleek, am holding you all accountable for the goals you have set for yourselves! (Ps, I would love to hear about what you guys are achieving this upcoming year, so leave it in the comments below)!! Take it from someone who thought they would spend the rest of their lives crying themselves to sleep and not thinking they would accomplish anything substantial.
Friends, it can happen. Even just by acknowledging that you want to make a change or set a goal for yourself is a huge step in the right direction. I hope you guys bring in this New Year with champagne (only if you’re of age) and surrounded by your loved ones. Be safe, and remember that (sorry about this cheesiness that’s about to take place), you can TRULY do what you set your mind to. Be realistic. Stay inspired. Do what makes you happy.
Love you all for embracing the New Year!! Us twenty-something’s have a lot to celebrate :).
“Merryyyy Christmas, and happyyyy holidaysssss” (sung in N*Sync’s sweet, sweet harmonies). But really, IT’S THE HOLIDAYS!! AKA my favorite time of the year! As it is the season of giving, I thought this blog post about great holiday gift ideas would be quite fitting. And fun. And a reason to be on Pinterest for hours and hours and not feel toooo guilty about it ;).
Us twenty-something’s are really finding our place in this world. Going out and finding our passion, buying homes, starting families, finishing (or starting) school, I mean the list goes on and on. Although super exciting, embracing your twenties can also be expensive. Like, stuck paying back student loans for the rest of your life expensive. And although the pressure of the holidays approaching and your bank account slowly (or quickly) decreasing can be extremely stressful, there are ways to work around this and find that it isn’t about the price of the gift that matters most, but the heart and thought you put into it.
So, cue the Holiday music, get yourself a mug of hot chocolate (with extra whip, I mean, it’s the holidays), and enjoy these ideas that can not only save your hard-earned money ($50 or less), but also make your loved ones very, very happy! Which is what this season is all about, after all.
1 – Scrapbook
– In a generation of high-tech camera phones and social media, picture accessibility is at an all-time high! And although the items bought cost $, the gift itself is priceless. For a holiday gift, you can use this scrapbook to put together a collection of pictures from the past year. There can be pages of your favorite moments, favorite vacation, and favorite memories. And in addition to the pictures, add your favorite quotes, song lyrics, or personalized notes on the pages. Have fun being imaginative! After giving the completed scrapbook to your loved one, spend time sitting down with them and going through all of the pages of pictures. It will be a time to reflect and reminisce about all the wonderful memories. It is a nostalgic and meaningful present that your loved one will be able to cherish forever!
Approx. Pricing: $50
2 – Gifts in a Jar
-Whoever came up with this idea is brilliant! Talk about a wide-range of options – You can literally put anything in a jar and make it a useful and creative present. Okay well not anything, but there’s a lot of options and because I am really excited about this one, THE SKY IS THE LIMIT! Specifically for this post, I will list the instructions for my favorite gift-in-a-jar – HOT COCO!
Hot Chocolate in a Jar
Is it just me or does hot coco taste so much better when you are cuddled up on the couch and it’s raining outside? 😉
– Mason Jar (16 or 32 oz)
-Vanilla Sugar (4 TB)
-Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (1/4 cup)
-Powder Milk (1/4 cup)
-For your 21 and over friends, a small Bailey’s bottle (They sell mini ones @ BevMo!)
-Marshmallows (I prefer the small ones!)
- Start by adding the sugar to the bottom of the jar
- Next, pour in the cocoa powder
- Follow that with the milk powder
- My favorite step – Top it off with the chocolate chips and marshmallows
- Eat the extras (duh.)
To finish it off, personalize it! Wrap the ribbon around the top, and tie on a tag to this ribbon. So many templates online for personalized tags that you can easily print out. And lastly, if your loved one is of legel drinking age, tie in the mini Bailey’s bottle with the ribbon. Yum!
Easy, right?! And yummy – Your loved ones will thank you when they are curled up on the couch, watching A Christmas Story, and craving something warm and tasty. You. Are. Welcome!
Approx. Pricing: $20
3 – Ani and Alex Bangles
For all of my sisters out there, (sisters meaning girls, cause ya know, it’s just Rach and I), this is such an amazing gift for your best friends! I currently have two bracelets from this collection, and you will not see me without them on! These bracelets are intended to *Enlighten, Enchant, and Empower* one another. You can make this gift personal as they have so many different themes and meanings to choose from, and on top of that, some bracelet choices will give the proceeds to a specific charity. Um, AMAZING, RIGHT?! Not only will this be a meaningful gift for your loved one, but this gift also gives back to those in need. I love that so much I wish I could buy the whole collection! But, I’m twenty-something, and broke, so a few at a time for my loved ones will do 😉
Approx. Pricing: $28
4 – Books
-For your loved ones that love books (Me! Me!), finding a book that is well thought out is such an amazing gift. If you know the person you want to get a book for well, this gift idea can be extremely meaningful and much appreciated. And what I mean by knowing the person well, is knowing what they are interested in the moment, or what in their life they are going through. Barnes and Noble makes this really, really easy for the shopper. They have shelves filled with books that range from romance novels to self-help to autobiographies, and so on. For example, is your book-loving friend going through a rough breakup? A great book to purchase for them is “The Breakup Bible” by Melissa Kantor. Or, is your book-loving friend yearning to read a book and just get completely drawn in by the story? As well as laugh and cry and have all sorts of feels going on? Purchase any type of Nicholas Sparks book. Seriously, they will thank you later. Or, maybe you have a book-loving friend that wants to start a book series with an action-filled story line, purchase, “The Hunger Game Trilogy.”
To top off this gift idea, you can also get even more creative and make your own, personalized book mark! My favorite book marks have an inspirational quote on them, and creating one that you know your loved one will enjoy makes it extra special.
Approx. Pricing: $15-$35
The holidays are such a magical time of the year. Truly. You get to reflect back and think of all the things in life you are thankful for, you get to spend time with friends and family you might not see as much as you would like to, and you get to make new memories that will last a lifetime! The song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is very accurate in my opinion ;).
So, instead of stressing about pricey gifts, spend time, (and less money), creating gifts that are meaningful and creative. I have found as I get older (quarter-life crisis older), my Christmas list that was once filled with material items and over a page long, has now just become me wishing for happiness and quality time with loved ones. When we look back on our lives, memories like these are ones we cherish. And although that new Michael Kors purse I saw staring at me in the mall would make me quite happy, it is nothing compared to the happiness I feel when I receive a handmade or well-thought out meaningful gift from someone I love.
Happy holidays to my fellow twenty-somethings and to your families. I hope you all join me and embrace the most wonderful time of the year!!
“You should love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye” – I saw this quote on Pinterest a few months back and laughed out loud – For those of you that are not too familiar with Kanye West, he is very, very into himself. Like, he loves himself more than I love Christmas, Disneyland and Pinot Grigio, and that is saying A LOT. Although Kanye may exhibit overconfidence, which is not ideal, he is on the right track when it comes to believing in yourself. The importance of self-confidence is significant in many different situations you will have in your life! Confidence in yourself is truly magnetic and a quality many of us strive for. But, easier said than done, right?
I have to admit, this is one quality I am still working on for myself day after day. If you asked me about how confident I was with myself a year ago, I would have been ashamed of my answer. Confidence is a result of something – It takes time, dedication and work, but the end result of someone being insanely comfortable with themselves is one of the most captivating qualities to have, and a reason this blog post is so meaningful for me – This is a journey I am on, and want to have all of you join me in becoming unapologetically and genuinely confident in ourselves. As a twenty-something it is easy to get lost in the stresses, heart breaks, and chaos this decade can bring. However, if we stay true to ourselves and accept (and love), who we are, this will be the foundation of our happiness. Self-confidence is beautiful and inspiring, and a quality I believe all of us should be striving to achieve
SELF LOVE – This is the basis of where self-confidence stems from; Learning to really love yourself! This is one of the tips that can be harder to achieve, however, with the right tools and a positive mindset, learning to really love yourself for all that are you can be the most rewarding! As mentioned in my previous blogs, I am definitely a visual learner. So, naturally, the tools that have worked best for me on my journey to self-love involve writing things out and keeping them somewhere I can see them daily as a reminder. Although this exercise seems simple enough, it is highly beneficial and one of my favorite tips – Start by making three different lists: One of your strengths, one of the things you really admire about yourself, and one of your achievements. After completing, sit back and read the list back to yourself. I have a feeling many of you will be surprised by how amazing you truly are, and the positive effect it has on your self-worth is fantastic.
STOP COMPARING – This one tends to get the best of me, which can be extremely discouraging on a journey to self-confidence. Be aware when you catch yourself comparing your life to someone else’s. I came across a quote a couple years ago that to this day is one of my favorite reminders and extremely powerful – “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” by Steve Furtick. I know I am guilty of this, I think we all are! But, if we become conscious when we start comparing we can stop our thoughts from getting the best of us, and remembering that 1. It isn’t all what it seems 2. It doesn’t make a difference to your true happiness so do not let it impact you! Theodore Roosevelt stated that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and I don’t think he could have been more correct!
DO WHAT YOU LOVE – Yes, I know, it is impossible to go to Disneyland every, single, freaking-day, but I know there has to be other things in life you love just (or almost) as much. Happiness is contagious, truly, and waking up every day excited for going to the job you love, playing your favorite sport, and/or perfecting your chosen hobby, are just a few ways to really gain that confidence in yourself. Doing what you love daily will bring up your spirits, and in turn boost your self-confidence. It is a win-win situation!!
DO NOT LET ANYONE DEFINE YOU – This one will go hand-in-hand with the first tip of self-love. When you love yourself for everything you are, you find that it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of you. Why would it? You know the amazing, generous, ambitious person you are daily, and the people that truly matter will see that, too. I feel this one can hit hardest during or after an unhealthy relationship (friend or romantic). This is why it is so important to put yourself first and not rely on anyone else for your happiness – This will make a huge impact when you are not in that relationship anymore. And to plug my previous blogs (again) ;), I go into detail about the importance of healthy relationships, which can greatly affect your self-confidence *wink*
“Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are – and aren’t – that you will truly succeed.” – Author Unknown
From one working-on-my-self-confidence twenty-something to all of you doing the same, I love you and keep working! You WILL get there. Maybe not Kanye get there, but, like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift get there, which is soooo much better anyways 😉
Life in your twenties is so much more rewarding when you truly embrace it. Of course there will always be some type of stress, but being able to handle it well is the key.
“I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” -Alex Elle
I started this blog for a few different reasons. The main one being I, myself, struggled with this new milestone I had just gotten to – Turning 25!! I recently found ways to really embrace these years instead of being afraid of them. I wanted to share all of these ideas with you, and let’s be real, knowing others are going through these scary times and successfully getting through them is not only comforting, but also motivating. In my first blog I pointed out that life in your 20’s is all about finding yourself – Being selfish and truly figuring out what in life makes YOU happy. Because of all the expectations and pressure the twenties come with, it is often hard to remember to do things that will benefit and make you happy, and not just do things because you feel like you should or everyone else is doing them.
I am going to throw two words out there – ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS. Two words that can be intimidating, exciting, scary, or confusing at all stages of your life. And two words that I am going to be basing this entire blog off of! For the sake of this blog not turning into a novel, more specifically I am going to be discussing romantic relationships and how to know if you are in the right one.
Being twenty-something you are faced with decisions that will affect you for life. Although scary, there is also a sense of excitement realizing you are in complete control of your life (in most cases), and this is the time where we all become independent and truly find ourselves. With added pressure of peers all around us settling down, getting married and having kids, we may find ourselves jumping into (or staying in), relationships because we feel like that is what we SHOULD be doing at this time of our life. However, that is not only unhealthy but also self-destructive. Below I will list what makes a healthy relationship, and how to know if you are not in one!
1 – ARE YOU HAPPY, OR JUST COMFORTABLE?
Remember that whole idea of being selfish during your twenties? Although our Kindergarten teacher taught us the exact opposite, at this time of our life it is crucial to be! Finding someone you are attracted to and having the most amazing chemistry is one of the most exciting parts of life! However, here you are twenty-something years old and 1+ years deep into the relationship. Do you still have that amazing chemistry? Or are you continuing to stay in this relationship because you are comfortable and hey, you don’t have to shave your legs every other day! (haha, gross right. But true, don’t lie). Sometimes when you are in the relationship, it is hard to see what is really going on until you are on the outside looking in. Ever heard of the phrase, “Love is blind” – Oooooohhhh I sure know I have (from personal experience, yikes). But like many things in life, being comfortable is not always the best thing for benefiting yourself. It is great to push yourself in whatever you are doing, and this applies to romantic relationships 100%.
2- ARE YOU FINDING A BALANCE BETWEEN BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND AND FRIENDS?
This one is so important. When you are in a relationship, it is sometimes easy to get wrapped around in everything that has to do with your boyfriend/girlfriend. When you start revolving your whole world around your partner, you often forget you have a life of your own. One of the most important aspects of life is friends and family – When you are well into your twenty-something’s, you have a good sense of your forever friends. You may not have as many as you did when you were 19, but that’s called LIFE. And the friends you have now, the ones that have been there for you through the good, bad and ugly, those, are forever friends. And forever friends are a huge part of surviving your twenty-something’s. If you are not balancing spending time with your partner and your forever friends, this will absolutely turn into an unhealthy relationship. One of my favorite quotes from Sex and the City is relatable with this subject – “Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.” *wink wink*
3 – ARE YOU BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF, AND THOSE AROUND YOU?
This one is closely related to my first point. It is the same idea of are you happy, or just comfortable. When one is super invested in a relationship, it is sometimes just easier to push the negative parts of the relationship deep down and try your best to forget about them. When you are comfortable, you don’t want things to change. I mean, why would you? Things are going fine,*eye twitch*. So take a step back. Examine where you are in your life, and if your partner is someone who not only motivates and inspires you, but someone you are proud of. When two people in a relationship are ambitious, honest and each powerful in their own ways, (think Jay Z and Beyonce), their relationship is UNSTOPPABLE. And a relationship everyone should strive to be in. Never, ever settle. Especially in a time in your twenties when this is a decade for you to shine.
4 – ARE YOU IN A RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD PASS THE “MOM” TEST
This does not literally have to be your mom, but in my family’s case it totally is. My brother has always said, “If my mom doesn’t like the girl I am dating, I won’t be with her.” Mom’s intuition – Use it to your benefit! However, this doesn’t have to only be about if your mom approves. Remember that term forever friends used above? It would be wise to get their opinion as well. One being they know so much about you and two, they will have the “outside looking in” perspective and tell you if they think the relationship you are in is benefiting you as it should be. Because I love quotes and find this one fitting for this subject….. “A woman should never invest in a relationship she wouldn’t want for her daughter, nor allow any man to treat her in a way she would scold her son for.” –Author Unknown.
As some of you may have noticed, all of these different points of advice include the word “YOU” in the header. Although I stress it is ideal to have the approval, balance and openness with friends and family, in the end it all comes down to YOU and how you feel. Being twenty-something can be stressful enough, so you want to make sure everything and EVERYONE you are involved with is benefiting you constantly. This will not only make your twenties easier, but also more memorable and valuable.
For those of you who are currently not in a relationship, when you do get in one try to remember all of these healthy recommendations. And while you are single, ENJOY EVERY SECOND! There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.
“It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather for looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.”