My friend, Rubi, is a 20 something looking to share her stories about figuring out this whole "adult" thing (and aren't we all trying to figure out "adulting"?). I met Rubi online through some blogging groups, and I love the way she shares her heart about careers, college, relationships, and adulthood on her blog: When Life Gives You Rubi. I'm so excited to have her sharing her words in today's Moments post!
This past August marked one year of me living in Washington DC, and five years since I have lived in the place I once called home. At eighteen years old I did what was always expected of me, I moved away from everything I knew to attend college and get away from the small town where nothing ever changes.
Living 400 miles away from home quickly led to me feeling comfortable with being on my own, and although I wasn’t financially independent, emotionally I had figured out a method to not miss those that I left behind. My junior year of college was spent studying in an English university, which is what ultimately led me to equate success and happiness with how much space I could put between myself and the place I grew up.
Now twenty three years old, my life is less about school rallies and study sessions and much more focused on banking overtime hours while still worrying if I’ll be able to cover my expenses. Having moved to Washington DC, a city known to be just as expensive as New York, with nothing more than one thousand dollars, I’m grateful everyday for all the opportunities I’ve stumbled upon. Now past my one year anniversary here, I find myself in my dream apartment, with a job that pays relatively well, all while working towards earning my masters. The only problem is that despite all my success, I find myself incredibly lonely at times.
Lately I’ve been refocusing my blog’s purpose, realizing that my audience is women age 18-24. Women in their most defining years are checking into my blog daily, which caused me to realize that I wanted my website to be nothing like anyone else’s. While other bloggers photographed their picture perfect apartments and handed out relationship advice, I wanted to focus on all the things that make our twenties so damn hard. At the top of that list? How freaking lonely independence can be!
While everyone agrees that our twenties are the time to find ourselves, make mistakes and experience as much as we can, there’s an undercover pressure to keep up with the accomplishments of everyone around us. Nobody congratulates you for saving enough money to travel the world, at least nobody I know. Milestones in adulthood equate graduating college, then maybe graduating again, moving away from home, transitioning into living without roommates, until eventually you reach the ultimate goal, finding one person to love.
It’s ironic that what everyone really wants is a person to complete them, while also being bombarded with messages that we need to be strong, independent women. Last year made the mistake of following the crowd and pouring all my energy into one person. My first year in DC was spent forming memories and bonds with a man, and while I’m not sure if I regret it, it definitely played a part into where I stand today.
My advice for other women who find themselves in a new city, or even the one they’ve always lived in, is to focus less on forming one bond and more on forming a community.
Although I’m not proposing we go back in time and live with our parents for all eternity, more efforts need to be paid to those people in our life who risk it all in order to be conventionally successful. Reach out to your college bestie who moved to the city. Call your friend who always looks to be so busy with earning their second degree. Chances are behind those motivational quotes they post on Instagram are women who feel like giving up at times, yet don’t speak up because how could they possibly complain when they are living the dream?
During one of my not so out of the ordinary pep talks to myself, I discovered exactly how to describe having it all really feels like. Yes I’m appreciative for my job and amazing masters programs I am a part of. Yes I am thankful everyday for the experiences I have thanks to this city. But how do I explain to those who see my life as ideal that living the dream feels a lot more like surviving?
This post has no miracle cure for having it all and being able to enjoy every moment of it. I really do have it all, everything except a group of amazing local friends to enjoy the small moments with. If you’re reading this in your lonely apartment somewhere, know that it doesn’t have to be that way. As scary it as seems, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for yourself.
If you’re like me, you’ve entered 2016 with a list of goals. As you might see on my blog, creating a space for twenty somethings to find relatable, nonjudgemental content is at the top of my list. Close in second place is building a community around myself, because while being independent is important, sometimes you just need a shoulder to lean on. If you’re lucky enough to have a group of friends around you, remind them how much they mean to you and reach out during the busiest moments in their life.
For those of us who are still working on finding our Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, have faith in knowing that based on what you’ve accomplished thus far, you are worthy and capable of forming lasting relationships with people who will push you to strive your best and comfort you when you feel your worst. Today may feel like I’m you’re surviving my dream, but at least you have the gift of living it.
Thanks for sharing such truth, Rubi! It is definitely hard to feel lost in the world of "post-college" as a 20 something who is mixed in with the rest of the working world. For more from Rubi, check her out on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook!
If you'd like to submit your own Moments guest post, click here for more information!