Life in Transition

We all go through stages and phases in life. As a kid you may have gone through a phase where you thought you were a dinosaur. Or you may have gone through a skater/punk phase in middle school like me. We go from living with our parents to living on our own at college. But what about the stage after college? The stage of moving out of your parents house and going to college is a relatively smooth transition. Sure, there is the stress of waiting to see if you get into the school you want to go to and figuring out the best way to pay for school, but there’s really nothing else to it but that. The stage of life after college is a totally different animal. There is no guarantee. There is no “community college in your hometown and your childhood bedroom” fall back plan (no shame). It’s messy. It’s stressful. There is also a lot of pride. You’ve already been on your own for 4+ years and a lot has been invested in you, what if you don’t succeed? What if it was all a waste. It can be scary.

Sometimes we think of life as being a movie. Where the scenes transition seamlessly with no breaks or hiccups; where everything goes according to plan and according to our socially acceptable timeline. Unfortunately, life doesn’t transition like a movie. Life is more like a play. There are awkward intermission times. Sometimes life pauses and all you can really do is take a pee break, grab another beer, and prepare for the next scene to start. Sometimes for us college grads that intermission time is filled with late night waitressing jobs, crappy apartments with roommates you found on craigslist (or even back with your original roomies, the parents), and selling herbal tea on Facebook. When the new scene starts it may even pick up in a totally random spot. But you know what? Thats OKAY! At least the play is still going on.

Life can seem like it’s in a standstill. It can feel like you aren’t transitioning from intermission to the next scene. But, these are the times that you learn the most about yourself and about life. You learn what you’re capable of and just how strong you are mentally.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.” Marianne Williamson

One of my favorite quotes. This quote got me through some of my toughest moments in college. Having to sit out my senior year of college volleyball, not graduating when I expected to, not having the scholarship I expected to still have. All of these things brought a huge halt to the play of my life. My life was in transition at that point and I had to re-navigate it. I was discouraged and scared of all the unknowns.

“Who are you not to be? You are a child of God.” Anything is possible for you. God can do immeasurably more than all that you ask of Him (Ephesians 3:20). A lot of times we pray for something so specific for our lives and we get disappointed when God doesn’t show up in that way. But there is a big difference between our desires for our lives and the Lord’s desires for our lives. We get so caught up in how we envision our life to be, we forget to stop and ask God what He wants it to look like. Because no matter what, His timing is perfect and we just need to chill the heck out and be patient.

Now we can either waste our time pouting about the awkward transitions in life or we can realize that we are “powerful beyond measure” and keep trucking through. We can either tell God what we want to happen, or we can ask Him what he wants of us. The first produces false hope and disappoint; the latter produces a life fulfilled and potential realized.

So what if you’re not married and pregnant at 25? So what if you don’t have money to travel the world like you want to right now? So what if you haven’t “figured your life out” yet? Whatever that even means. The point is, life in transition doesn’t have to literally be the worst. You can learn about yourself and what God really wants to see for your life. So take a pee break, grab another beer, and ask God “what next?”

You’re welcome,

XO Jenna

#ForeverAnIntern

If you lived your life according to every blog post you read about twenty-somethings on Facebook, you would be a very lost and confused individual. “Make mistakes, take advantage of your young, hot bodies, don’t worry about growing up,” they all say. But then there are the other posts (obviously written by older people) that tell us that our generation is taking longer and longer to go out on our own and become independent from our parents financial safety net. I don’t deny that this last one isn’t true for a majority, but it definitely isn’t the rule.

When I think about my own life and my current career path, I get anxious and almost feel ashamed. I’m currently finishing up my second internship within intercollegiate athletic administration and have applied for dozens of full-time positions with no leads. The only position that I have been called back about is…yep, you guessed it, another internship! Anyone that has lived outside of their college campus or their parents house for an internship knows that it is basically impossible to completely support yourself on an intern salary alone. For one, you don’t get benefits as an intern. You don’t have health or dental insurance and most importantly, you don’t have vacation or sick days. Not that you would be able to use any sick days anyway since you wouldn’t be able to afford to go to the doctor or get medicine with no insurance. I mean even if they did provide insurance for interns, they basically would be making $20 a paycheck after all the taxes and insurance were taken out of the already crap stipend they get a month. I did the math one time and during the months when I was working out of town and a lot of extra hours, I was making well below minimum wage. When I worked the normal 8-5, it comes out to just below minimum wage after taxes.

But once I settle down and stop beating myself up about only being an intern for the rest of eternity and not getting off my parents tit till they eventually hire someone to marry me, I realize I’m still young. Not to mention that I am still working on my education. Not that I feel like my masters degree will contribute to my getting out of the intern-zone in any way, I’m still going to work on my last two classes and graduate in December. Even though I am convinced that working is a mild form of cruel and unusual punishment, I am still very anxious to start earning my own money and be able to spend it on things like, oh I don’t know, getting my nails done for once, chips with my burrito bowl at Chipotle (I obviously don’t sacrifice the guac), or actually going to see a movie in theaters at night and not as a matinee. I mean. It’s the simple things. But the simple things are also the things you can’t afford when you don’t have a real full-time job.

One thing I’m starting to learn is that you can’t compare your path to anyone else’s. While some of your friends may have already found their dream job and bought their first new car, others may still be living at home trying to plan their next trip overseas in an effort to see the world before 30. And that’s okay! Like I said, everyone takes a different route, and some take longer than others. The one thing I know for certain is that my path is uniquely mine. And above all, I’m being guided through it by and with the Lord. Wherever I am is right where He wants me and, even though I don’t see it, it is a part of the big picture. That’s what it takes sometimes. It takes stepping back, taking your death grip off of the situation and admitting you don’t have control of it. Hand it off and watch the big picture unfold.

Love Yourself. Live With Yourself.

I’ve only lived alone for a total of five days so far but I’m absolutely loving it. Living alone to me is like the ultimate establishment of freedom. You don’t have to rely on anyone else to pay the rent, you got it. You don’t have to worry that your roommate is going to move in that 30 year old couch that her boyfriend got from the frat house. You’re the sole interior decorator. You don’t have to put pants on just out of courtesy for the rest of the house. Because, obviously, you’re the only one there! It’s just a really freeing feeling to know that everything inside the space is yours. You aren’t sharing it with anyone else and don’t have to leave room for their things. You can also take super flattering gym pics of yourself.Live Alone_2

Of course before I moved into a one bedroom place by myself I was pretty nervous. I mean who wouldn’t be? I had never lived alone before and I was moving to a new city hundreds of miles away from what I’m used to. There was the fear that I may not be able to sleep at night or that I would just sit around worrying about all the “what-if’s.” But what I’ve come to learn is that you can’t sit around and let fear cripple you into not living your life. And truly, if you just go along living life, you won’t even have time to think about the “what-if’s.” You can’t be too afraid to go sit in a restaurant alone or sit at a bar by yourself and talk to random strangers. Because sitting in your empty apartment alone every night won’t make you any new friends and definitely won’t make you any memories worth talking about.

One big suggestion, though, for people considering spreading their wings and flying solo into a nest of their own (just go with it) is to learn to like yourself first. So many people, especially females, have a hard time being alone because they just don’t really like themselves that much. Thankfully though, I think I’m awesome and I keep myself cracking up on the reg so I wasn’t worried about it at all. But the majority of everyone else, on the other hand, needs to find their inner weirdo and embrace it. Everyone has their quirks and perks and thats what makes life so interesting. I mean if you aren’t going to be you, then who is? So be true to yourself and know that you are one of a kind and enjoy your own company. You don’t need to be surrounded by your 800 best friends, or constantly connected to your 2K followers and you for dang sure DON’T NEED NO MAN (or woman for my male readers, or whomever you prefer). If your happiness is dependent on these people, then you will fall short and empty every single time. God created us for community, yes, but He didn’t create us to find our joy in other humans. He created us to find our joy in Him. And in the words of the ever, above-my-head, John Piper, “He is most satisfied in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

So don’t worry that you don’t have furniture to put in your place or that you don’t know anyone where you’re going. I have no couch in my living room, my TV doesn’t have a stand so it is just sitting on the ground and I have a kitchen table with no chairs. Doesn’t get anymore dysfunctional than that. But guess what? There’s no one there to judge me for it or tell me what to do! Everyone should stand on their own two feet and live in the company of themselves at least once. You learn a lot about yourself when you spend all your time with you. Love it or hate it, you have to live with who you are for the rest of your life. You might as well learn to love who God created you to be now.

 

Family Rules

So my sister is kind of neurotic and a bit of a weirdo, but that’s probably why we get a long so well. But anyways, I started writing down the things that she told me that I was and wasn’t supposed to do all the time. We call them the “Family Rules,” but pretty much only her and I recognize them as that. I mean, we’re the only ones that count in the family anyways, right? Exactly. So here is our short list of family rules and a little explanation of how each came about. It goes without saying that everything not included on this list is wide open, just don’t act like an idiot. We hate idiots.  (More to be added soon, inevitably).

1. Don’t drink and drive. 

This is one of those obvious, “don’t be an idiot,” rules. We like to have a good time just like any other person, but don’t let your choice be someone else’s pain. Whether you think they do or not, your actions affect others. So be smart. Always have a plan and don’t put yourself and others in danger.

2. Always wear sunscreen.

This is one of Allison’s (sister) biggest things. We both grew up in Northwest Florida living 15 minutes from the beach. So we spent nearly every summer on the beach chasing a tan. She now wears an obnoxious amount of SPF 100+ in an effort to live forever. If any of your skin is showing and you are going to be outside, it needs to be coated in sunscreen. Allison really believes that she can make herself live forever by avoiding sun damage from now on. Which, is a noble goal, but lets be honest, some people just don’t pull off the casper look. Allison rocks it. Me? Not so much.

3. Never wear open toe shoes in New Orleans.

Okay, the story behind this one is awesome. My sister and her husband got married two years ago in May. Her husband and his friends did a bachelor party weekend in New Orleans. Now typical brides-to-be usually lay out the rules for their fiancé before they venture out on their last night out as a single man with all their gross frat boy friends. However, my sister was no typical bride-to-be. My weirdo sister only had one rule for him as he visited the city of sin, notorious for excessive fruity alcoholic drinks in embarrassing souvenir cups, jello shots, and prostitutes and strippers on every corner. That rule was that he had to wear closed toe shoes at all times. She stated, and I quote, “I will not marry you if you don’t wear closed toe shoes the entire time you’re there.” Yep, that’s my neurotic sister. She said that New Orleans was gross and the streets were covered with diseases that he could contract in his toenails.  And thus, it became a family rule.

So with the obvious monopolization of rule making by my sister, you are getting the idea that she’s a bossy witch. But before Allison became the bossy pants she is today, she was taught by her predecessor, Mom. Now mom is just about as bossy and crazy as my sister, but my sister is just a lot more intolerant and a much bigger witch. So here are a few of the original, but never before written down, family rules from the queen of boss herself.

4. Just say okay.

Allison and I used to get lectured about random crap by our dad all the time. But one thing Allison never learned was to just say “okay.” Allison loved to talk back and argue with everything my dad told her, even if he was obviously right. Therefore, she would get to sit there in an arguing match with him all night instead of just saying, “Okay, dad, I won’t back into your truck as I leave the driveway,” and not get to go see whatever screamo, emo, punk band she was into that week. Mom always told her to just say “okay,” but this was one rule Allison just loved to break.

5. This is as pretty as you’ll ever be, so enjoy it!

This one may sound like one of those inadvertent compliments, but that’s only because it kind of is. Mom always told us that we would never be prettier or younger than we are right now, so we better not waste it being insecure or thinking we’re ugly because it only gets worse. Writing that out now it sounds kind of bad, but it always motivated me. And now when I go back and look at pictures of myself from high school, I always say how pretty and skinny I was. But then I remember how I still thought I was fat. It’s amazing, Mom was right. But what else is new?

XO,

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If you weren’t raised by my parents…I hate you.

My sister and I say this all the time. If you weren’t raised by Scott and Sandy (who are saints) then theres a high possibility that we hate you. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word, even I don’t like to use it that much. We don’t necessarily “hate” you but we definitely can’t stand interacting with you. Fortunately for some of you though, we have found that similar parents do exist. Its rare, but possible.

Here’s why we think this: Other parents didn’t teach their children to not be total idiots. Like life really isn’t that hard if you are some what a normal person. Here are some criteria for owning life and not being an idiot…

1. Don’t get addicted to drugs or alcohol. And don’t “casually” do drugs. Simple right? You’d be surprised though. Remember, people are dumb.

2. Do stuff. Don’t sit at home, or on the beach or in front of a weird, creepy porno site instead of going to school or getting a job. Get your out of shape butt up and just do stuff. Have faith that you can and move (James 2:18).

3. Be efficient. One thing my parents always taught me was to be on time and to do things right. They were never about doing things the easy way just to get it done. Do it right the first time so it’s the only time you have to do it. Oh and if you are late to ANYTHING, its the end of the world and you are automatically the most rude person ever. I just always thought Sandy was a total drama queen about that. But as many of us twenty-somethings are painfully starting to realize, our mother’s were right. They were right about just about every little annoying thing. Well, if you were raised by Sandy and Scott that is.

4. Have common sense. This is the hardest one for a lot of people. This one also covers a lot of ground. For instance, it takes common sense to know that you shouldn’t spend your rent money on a new dog or it’s stupid to chase after an older guy when he doesn’t have a stable job and lives with his mom still.

Don’t get me wrong, I love you all as brother’s and sister’s in Christ. I also know that there is no way that Scott and Sandy could have raised my sister and I so well without the grace of God (my sister required more grace). I just really pity everyone that didn’t have as great as parents as I did. Take my advice and do everyone a favor…stop being an idiot.

XO,

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Confidence Never Goes Out of Style

I hear this excuse from my friends all the time. “I love this! But there is no way I can pull it off. I can’t.” I used to think the same thing too. Until I just experimented with something I had never worn before and decided to act like I wore it everyday. My sophomore year of college was the first time I ever wore lipstick. And I didn’t start with a light pink color or something pale and subdued to ease myself in. I started off with a deep crimson to take my lipstick virginity like it was the last day I would ever live. So I put it on and wore it like I didn’t even have it on to a party at my friends apartment. I can’t even count how many compliments I got and how many times I heard, “I wish I could pull that off.” The funny thing to me was that there was no “pulling it off” about it for me. I was sure I looked like Chucky with it on but I refused to let people think I felt that way. I was really just wearing something and resolved to not give a crap what everyone thought or said. So after that day, I bought all the lipsticks from all the stores (exaggeration of course). But I kept wearing them.

I even tried out other weird trends too. Recently, I found out that Vans has a new line of ASPCA shoes, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Aka they have shoes with cat faces all over them or dog faces all over them. So naturally I thought the ones with the cats were the coolest thing I had ever seen and had to own them. Even though its hard for me to fathom, I know that not everyone is as big of a cat lover as I am so I knew there would be some back lash to me wearing them in public with my friends. But I said, screw you guys, I think they are awesome and they make me happy. So I wear them with the pride and swagger that cat shoes are meant to be worn with.IMG_8814

My point with all of this is, life is too short to not wear what you love, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks. Thats the beautiful thing about confidence, it goes with every outfit, and most times, makes the outfit. You can pull off that huge floppy hat or spiked, studded stilettos; as long as you really love them and wear it with a ferocity that would make Beyoncé cower as you walked by. Also, know your confidence comes from your confidence in our savior, Jesus. When we are being fully satisfied in Him, no one can touch us. So find your confidence in the Lord and wear it everyday!

XO,

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