Tag Archives: adulting

The Unread E-mails

5 e-mails. They stare at me, filling me with an unnamed dread. Unnamed and unnecessary, really, because they are just e-mails. But they are e-mails I have been ignoring and so I feel guilty about ignoring them.

But not guilty enough to want to actually answer. And what are these anxiety-inducing e-mails about? 

Nothing of importance. Fall plans. Follow-up questions. Speaker-arrangements. The details of life. But answering them means I am back, back, back.  My lovely summer is over. Time to be responsible again. 

I whined enough about turning into a student again. Why do I turn around and whine about going back to adult things? I feel like this dichotomy of Student and Adult creates most of the conflict in my life and 95% is all in my head. 

Not Actually An Adult

Apparently, despite what I thought yesterday, I am not actually adult enough. I went out for dinner yesterday with my friends and could not buy alcohol because I posses a vertical license. I was the oldest person in our party by three years but the only one not not allowed to have a beer to celebrate! 

It was a fabulously fun day otherwise. I am surrounded by wonderful people who made me feel loved all day! I received surprise donuts in the morning; went out for spicy, pork ramen for lunch; mini-golfed with all the interns after work; had Mod Pizza for dinner; and wrapped it all up with angel food cake cupcakes and a black-and-white movie, My Man Godfrey. 25 and feelin’ alive!

the future looks bright

In many ways, developing a community field office has given me numerous experiences that usually would come with a first apartment. I’ve decorated on a budget, paid the electric bill each month, dealt with locksmiths, plumbers, and electricians, and assembled bookshelves. I’ve spent hours (and hours) at Menards and Goodwill and Ace Hardware.

Today, however, I did something new: I changed the light bulbs. That doesn’t sound very impressive, but I’m not talking desk lamp bulbs. After avoiding it for several months, I decided it was time to figure out why the showroom, spotlights didn’t work. They’ve never worked, but as we also have florescent lights in the room, I never bothered to figure out why. 

The issue was either with the light bulbs (thus fixable by me immediately) or an electrical one (which would involve calling the landlord, waiting two months, calling again, and maybe getting them fixed by March.) I swiped my Dad’s ladder, unscrewed the bulb, found a replacement bulb at Ace Hardware (did you know they don’t make 100 watt bulbs?), replaced the bulb, and hit the switch. It turned on! Only 5 more bulbs to go.

I went back to Ace where they only had 3 of the bulbs in stock and then tried Wal Mart which has completely different brands but wallah, I now have 6 working spotlights. This may not sound like much, but I feel like I conquered the world today. 

Transitioning from “Who” to “What”

 Throughout my teen years and well into college, I was obsessed with discovering ‘who I was.’ I didn’t think of it in those terms and if you had told me I was on some journey of self-discovery I would have laughed, but that is exactly what it was. I loved quizzes and personality tests. It didn’t matter if the test was encompassing like the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, or something silly such as ‘Which Disney Princess Are You?’ What mattered was that I was learning more about me. I needed to know why I was an extrovert or what it meant to be a verbal processor or how my red hair made me like Ariel (I was never flattered by that comparison.) Every detail mattered. My love language, my spiritual gifts, my DISC results, and especially my identity as ENFP all worked together to create a profile of who I was and why I viewed the world the way I did. I needed to know so that I could understand myself. Even this need, I read, somehow tied back into my personality. It all circled around and I desperately wanted to understand that circle.

Now that I’ve been “adulting”* for a while, I find my need has shifted as I have matured. I no longer ask ‘who am I’ but rather ‘what am I.’ One of my wonderful friends, Tori, expresses it this way:

“In those earlier years we dwell on who we are in a self centered way, finding labels and applying them like “introvert” or “shy” or “driven.” But as we get older we realize that that isn’t so important, and the focus shifts more outward. We now ask ourselves “how am I going to use my personality? If I am driven what am I fighting for? If I am introverted, how will I use my time by myself?” We no longer ask who we are but what we are going to do with who we are.”

“…what we are going to do with who we are.” I love that line. I don’t have all the answers I once sought, but it doesn’t matter as much anymore. The angst is over! My “self” has been tested and and the testing has brought maturity. Maturity, in turn, has provided a sense of confidence. Confidence gives me the kick I need to get into more situations where I will be tested. This is a different circle than the one I originally sought to understand, but it is much more satisfying.

As Tori says, “as we get older…the focus shifts more outward.” This outward shift means I prioritize things differently. I see my work as a challenge and a joy that will develop me further. I see those around me differently because I don’t just want to analyze them to contrast them with me, but to further develop them. I’m free from wondering how I will act and able to focus on acting for others. My generation gives adulting such a bad rap, but I have to say, it is one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

A voice in the back of my head chimes in: “Well, you know, ENFPs tend to view people as untapped sources of potential so when you say all that you are really just living up to your type…” And you know what? Maybe I am. However, where once I would have been consumed by that why, I can now shrug and say, “so what am I going to do about that? Whose potential can I tap?”


*aka, graduated and working an adult job

Check out Tori’s blog at – https://isayitbetterinwriting.wordpress.com/

Seeking mentors

What is a mentor?

When I was in high school, I heard a speaker talk about the importance of having mentors in your life. It struck me forcibly. Afterwards, I sent the speaker an e-mail asking for more information. In particular I wanted to know, where do you find mentors? I never got a response back, but the question has remained in my mind to this day.

Where do you find mentors?

At the time, I thought a mentor had to be a much older adult who met with you on a weekly basis for coffee. This wasn’t any old person, this was a MENTOR. This was a very intentional relationship. MENTORS knew their role and defined themselves by it (and somehow by you, too.) Others knew this was your MENTOR. I saw others had MENTORS.

However, especially in high school and college, I couldn’t find anyone specific enough to fit this magical role in my head. It is a lot of pressure to find the perfect adult.

I’ve been realizing lately that I have had a lot of mentors in my life, but I didn’t recognize them at the time. They didn’t carry a giant sign that said MENTOR. They didn’t sit down on a weekly basis and talk about me. In fact, they did something much more precious. They walked through life with me. Some were only in my life for a short time, others have remained for years. They are the adults – and friends – who have watched over, advised, and instilled confidence in me through each new challenge.

I have been surrounded by mentors, but I didn’t notice because I was looking for someone who carried the title. Mentors don’t always look a certain way. Some might purposefully wear the name and meet with you weekly. However, more often they impact you because they are the people in your life at the time. They don’t necessarily fit into a certain age or role, though some categories (like bosses, pastors, professors etc.) may “fit” the role more readily.  I don’t know that the mentors in your life always wake up and think, “I am going to mentor today.” It is more natural, an aspect of your relationship with them.

I have taken a very general view of mentors, and I realize there are situations where a particular person does become a central figure. A  Mentor, if you will. It is good to seek out a Mentor. I don’t want to downplay that. I just found that in seeking a MENTOR, or even a Mentor, I failed to make the most of the mentors I already had.

Finding mentors is critically important. I don’t know if you ever grow out of it. Sometimes, you do find someone to intentionally meet with and learn from. That’s great. It is important to be willing to seek those people out and ask to be mentored if it fits the situation. However, often it is the people around you who don’t carry any specific “title” that have the most impact on your life. It is important to intentionally pursue their wisdom and guidance as well. You have mentors in your life whether you call them by that name or not. The key is to make the most of them.