Life is hard on twenty-somethings. Why is that? Since graduating from college, I’ve asked myself the questions “what now?” about a million times. The world is geared for people who know what they want. Do I know what I want? Am I on the correct path to find what I want? Will what I want right now satisfy me for the rest of my life? These are questions that are waaaaaay too big to discuss here. But, here are eleven questions that Paul Angone (the awesome guy behind the website All Groan Up) says twenty-somethings need to ask themselves in order to find success.
You can read the original article here.
As always, my commentary follows the question.
- Do the people I’m surrounded by bring me life? I love this question, because it’s something I would have never thought to ask myself. “Do my friends push me to be better?” is another way to ask this question. I feel like I have friends who fall into three categories: 1) on the career path, way ahead of me in life in general; 2) on the academic path, never having held a real job but pursuing a PhD, so still way ahead of me in life; and 3) married/planning a wedding/being a mom/waiting for something to come along. And where am I? I’m kind of a combination of all three, when it comes down to it – trying to advance my career while going back to school and thinking about starting to plan my future with H, all at the same time. I love my friends. They do bring me to life. And the ones who don’t, who are lagging behind my stage of life? Well, we’re mutually phasing each other out. It happens. Friends leave. I’ve talked about this before. And then there’s H, my motivator, my confidant, my cheerleader. He was the person who brought me back to life in the first place. So, answer to the question? A resounding YES.
- Who inspires me the most? See my “People Who Inspire Me” posts every other Sunday, because I can’t choose just one person. Why? Because, to quote Four, “I don’t want to be just one thing. I can’t be. I want to be brave, and I want to be selfless, and intelligent, and honest, and kind.” So I can’t choose just one person to be like, because there is more than one thing that I want to be.
- What are my favorite stories? I love love stories. I love inspirational sports movies, where adversity is overcome. I love stories where characters do the unexpected. And I absolutely love heroines. So what does that say about me? I’ll let you decide.
- Would I want to live with me? The best thing that happened to me was that I was single for two years before I met H. I knew myself. I had faced the majority of my demons. Yes, I felt miserable at the time, and I pined after some people who were unavailable, either logistically (as in, they were already in a relationship) or emotionally (they were hung up on someone else). It all sucked, but it was the best thing for me. I needed to live alone, to figure out what I truly wanted, and to find myself before I could live with another person again. Now, I’d live with me. I’m still a little messy, and I have the tendency to leave granola bar wrappers in random places, and I hate putting laundry away. But at my core, I know who I am. And I like to think that I’m a good roommate.
- Do I love from my insecurities or do I love from my strengths? This is another amazingly important question. In Mr. Angone’s explanation, loving from your insecurities demands from others, while loving from your strengths gives to others. I’m not sure I can answer this for myself without sounding conceited, so I’m going to do my best. All I want from H is his love. I always tell him, if I had the money, I’d buy him everything he ever wanted, because I just want him to be happy. It’s the same with my friends. I want them to be happy, and that’s all. Whether, for them, that is a promotion, or moving across the country, or asking me to wear a baby pink dress on their wedding day, I’ll support them and do it. I would like to say that I love with my strengths, but I guess I will leave that opinion up to you.
- Where am I ripe with talent and where do I quickly deflate? I can write, and I can plan. I truly think those are my two main talents. Since I would never be able to deal with the bridezillas and crazies that come with event or wedding planning, I think I’ll stick with the writing. It took me a long time to realize this on my own – that it’s easier to focus on your talents than fight for something you’re not good at only to remain constantly frustrated. That’s how it was for me in science. I wanted it, but I wasn’t good at it. It took me a little too long to realize it, but I figured it out before I wasted too much time. And now I’m actually on a path that I believe is going to make me happy in the long run.
- What are my favorite hobbies/things I do for fun, and is there something I can leverage into a career or product? Question already answered. Writing and editing. And I’m working on it.
- What’s the main thing that’s holding me back? Let’s be honest – the main things holding me back right now are time and money. I have all the support I need, emotionally, and I have enough talent and material to back up what I want to do (publish my fiction!). But I don’t currently have the money to self-publish or use an indie publishing house, and I don’t have the time to research and query agents every day until I find the right one. I’m hoping for a big break one of these days. Hoping, hoping, hoping.
- What are my negotiables and non-negotiables? Non-negotiables: going anywhere without H, and taking a job that expects more than 40 hours per week but doesn’t pay overtime (ain’t nobody got time for that). Negotiables: location, and basically everything else. I want to be able to have a life, but I also want to do what I love. I don’t think my negotiables are too extreme, so I’m thinking I’ll be able to find a job in a year (eek!).
- What breaks my heart? Homophobia, racism, and general ignorance break my heart into little tiny pieces. I get to love who I love, I am half Mexican, and I want to stick around this planet for a very long time. It absolutely crushes my spirit when people are ignorant, because I know I can’t change anyone’s mind. But I can write about it. Which I’ve done.[i]
- At 29 years and 364 days, if I accomplished just one thing, what do I want it to be? Get published! That’s all I want out of life, and I know I can do it, I just have to find the right means for me!
Do these questions help you at all? Did they make you think? I’d love to hear from people, because I think the questions are pretty perfect.
[i] If you haven’t read my story Flashback (formerly titled Something Beautiful – I’m bad at choosing titles) and you want to, let me know. It deals with ignorance and friendship and love and it holds a giant piece of my heart in it.