25 Reasons Not To Settle Before Turning 25 by Stephanie Hayman

Original article by Stephanie Hayman can be found here: http://elitedaily.com/life/25-reasons-settle-turning-25/850934/

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I am six months away from turning 25 — or, reaching my quarter-life crisis.

I have been told that it all goes downhill after 25; your metabolism slows down, you get tired at a progressively faster rate and the sun is truly setting on those carefree, fun days.

Hitting 24 was a bit of a conundrum. My mother married my father when she was 24 and had moved out of my grandparent’s house.

At the same age, I found myself wading through the casual dating waters, nowhere close to finding the man who would ideally put a ring on my finger.

I’m college educated, working my way up the corporate ladder and also have a BS degree in bar stool lingo.

As I creep closer to the tabooed age of 25, I realize the lessons I’ve learned in the dating world can now be looked upon and appreciated.

First and foremost, your 20s are a crucial time period that allow you to explore who you really are and what you want. By experiencing ups and downs, victories and defeats within the relationship schematic, you give yourself the ability to learn more about what you want in a lifelong partner.

You also give yourself the opportunity for introspective and adventurous experiences of singledom, which allow you to learn more about yourself.

Here are 25 reasons why you shouldn’t settle on just any guy before turning 25:

25. Focus on your education

Don’t get so hung up on a guy that you neglect your studies. There is nothing you will regret more than not putting your best foot forward in school because you sacrificed your time for a guy (who you were probably totally in love with at that point in time).

I had one sucky semester my sophomore year of college because I was too busy devoting my time to a guy with whom I was enamored. Clearly, he is no longer in my life, but the distraction still cost me an “A” in accounting.


24. The first guy who says, “I love you” usually doesn’t

Let’s get real; I’m not saying that there aren’t genuine guys out there who actually mean what they say, but the ones who say the “right” things ruin it for everyone else.

In college, “I love you” is a really nice way of saying, “I want to get in your pants, so I’m saying exactly what you want to hear.” Learn how to tell the difference.


23. Lay the foundation for your career

Work part-time jobs, intern and build connections that will lead to bolstering your résumé. Make sure that you have developed into a whirlwind of strength that can devour a conference room, strike a deal or teach a class better than anybody else.


22. Achieve a level of independence

As Ne-Yo so eloquently stated, “There’s somethin’ oh so sexy about kinda woman that don’t even need my help, she said she got it, she got it, no doubt.”

Confidence and independence is directly proportional to sexiness. These are assets that will attract quality guys — the kind that won’t be intimidated or threatened by you, that is.


21. Learn to stop playing games

Games are meant to be played on the playground and are not valuable assets for emotional and physical growth with another person. Don’t get hung up on the “he ignored me for two days, I’ll ignore him for three and show him who’s better at this” type scenarios.

It’s both unhealthy and immature. Someone who’s worthy of your time and attention will not do this (and neither should you).


20. Experiment

A close friend once told me, “You need to go out there and date someone completely wrong for you in order to realize who the right ones are.” Though I didn’t necessarily agree with that philosophy, it’s exactly what I wound up doing.

In fact, we couldn’t have been less compatible if I had tried. Though it wasn’t the best ever situation, it was probably one of the most important life lessons that I’ve learned so far.

It showed me that my pickiness and discriminating nature was necessary [for me] in terms of dating. Experiment with people and situations and figure out what’s important to you.


19. Your frontal cortex isn’t fully developed

Your frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that is directly related to judgment calls and decision-making, does not reach full development until about age 25.

Think about it: a decision that you make at 23 could be radically different two years down the line, once your brain reaches that full capacity of maturity.


18. Kiss a lot of frogs

Again, find out what intrigues you — not only emotionally, but physically, as well. Learn about yourself and what piques your interests behind closed doors.


17. Learn that you can’t change people

Get over the notion that you can change a guy. Maybe you can change his style or his choice of restaurants, but deep down, you cannot change who people inherently at their cores.

It is also unfair for you to want to tear down a person to suit your own needs. If people are set in their ways, they most likely will not change due simply to your request.


16. Learn to be you, wholly and unapologetically

I make terrible, corny jokes. I love to sing, but my voice could crack glass. I always eat quesadillas with a fork and knife. I cry while watching Hallmark Christmas movies. It may take a while, but learn to love every ounce of yourself, including all of your quirks and flaws.

You can only find your true counterpart or soulmate once you accept who you are and trust that someone will appreciate your personality and soul.


15. Do things with your girls

The worst thing you could do is look back on your teens or early 20s and not have great memories with your best friends. Don’t budget all of your time for a guy without equally balancing out that with time with your besties.

These people are the ones who will always support you, laugh with you until you cry and dry your tears during hard times. They are the ones with whom you need to make beautiful memories.


14. Work on yourself

Get to a point in life where you are satisfied with what you’ve accomplished. Become a marathon runner, read all of “the classics” and learn a second language. Do something of which you can be proud and devote your time to at a pivotal point in your life.


13. Realize that “once a cheater” means “always a cheater”

Don’t think that even though your “dream man” cheated on his girlfriend with you, he will leave her for you. As amazing as you may be, and as wonderfully as he may treat you, he can never be fully trusted.

Big shout out to the first guy I dated during college for teaching me this important lesson: There are plenty of other fish in the sea.


12. Find someone who is your best friend

I’ve dated plenty of guys to whom I was both attracted and with whom I got along. This didn’t necessarily mean that I considered them people to whom I could tell absolutely everything and confide in completely, though.

Look for someone with whom you can share all of life’s daily, silly moments and tear down the dance floor at the local bar. Look for someone with whom you can speak intellectually but also be completely stupid.


11. Listen to your gut

You can take advice from family, friends and other respected individuals, but nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Listen to the gut feeling you get — it may tell you that he’s “the one” or it may tell you to run like hell.

Either way, always trust yourself because you’re usually right.


10. Wait for guys to grow up

Biologically speaking, males are about five to seven years behind [maturity-wise] to females.

I’m not saying that you need to date someone older than you to balance that out, but finding someone who’s mature (in terms of personality, financials, career, etc.) is worth waiting for.


9. Demand respect

Don’t settle for a guy who treats you with mediocrity. You need to command respect because you deserve it.

If this precedent is not set up front, you will wind up being a doormat. Be strong and learn that respect is crucial to any healthy relationship.


8. Figure out your future

Do you want to buy a house in the suburbs prior to getting engaged? Have four kids? Decide exactly what you want before you fully commit to someone.

You can always change your mind, but it’s important to find someone who shares your aspirations.


7. Financial independence

Invest in stocks and money markets. Place your money in savings accounts and CDs. See if your company has a 401(k), and invest funds there, too.

Obtain your own financial security before settling down with someone. In addition, it doesn’t hurt to figure out if your significant other is savvy when it comes to saving vs. spending.


6. Learn to cook

One of my grandmothers always asks me, “When you get married, will you know how to cook for your husband?”

I always respond with, “I will be able to, and he should be able to do the same for me.” Become comfortable in the kitchen so that you will be able to contribute to this facet of life. Plus, good food is usually the way to a man’s heart.


5. Value time with your family

Family is forever, but some members won’t be around forever. In your more impressionable years, it’s key to spend time with the ones you love.

They will help guide you throughout all walks of life and provide you with a level of comfort that is hard to come by in any other way, shape or form.


4. Believe in “what’s meant to be, will be”

This is probably the hardest philosophy to truly grasp. Know that everything happens for a reason and everything you experience in life up until this point is what made you, you.

Every little experience, no matter how insignificant, has shaped you into the person  you are meant to become, and the person with whom someone else will fall in love.


3. Call your own shots

This is a privilege, so make sure you are able to do it. Once you’re in a serious relationship, engaged and married, you must make dual decisions for the rest your life.

Your single days are meant for you to do whatever you want. Have fun doing that while you can.


2. Wait for “that feeling”

I believe in the feeling you get when you know that something or someone is different; that he or she is meant to be a part of your life and will remain there.

It’s at that point that you can detect an inherent connection with another human being. When the hair on your arms stands up, you get a shiver down your spine and the butterflies in your stomach, you know that something even greater than your mind has detected someone special.


1. Reach a level of self-actualization

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this is the pinnacle that a human being must reach in life. It’s a point where you are wholly and completely aware of yourself and all that you are.

It is at this point that you have entered unconditional love with yourself and can then shed and share that love with a man who is worthy of you.

Featured Image -- 1113

What It’s Like To Be The Sort-Of-Pretty Girl

Carrie Grace:

Finally someone that understands!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

First off, I should probably specify what I mean by “sort of pretty.” You’re a sort-of-pretty girl if you’re not the loveliest in the bunch, but still get called cute. You’re the girl who gets 27 likes on Instagram, tops. You’re the girl who has big eyes but also a prominent nose. In fact, you are pretty, just not conventionally. You don’t relate to the delicate faces plastered on commercial busses. You don’t have the most voluminous hair or the longest legs; you’re average bordering on something more. Not a head turner but still intriguing. You’re sort of pretty.

Being a sort-of-pretty girl has it’s implications. It means you may have been insecure about the bulge on your nose at some point but later realized it made you look exotic. It means you developed confidence and drive. You became independent because you never relied…

View original 340 more words

The view on singles

For years, I head about the bad POV people have on singles once you enter the realm of 20-somethings. There’s the falsely cheerful, “you’re a strong independent woman who don’t need no man” and the blatantly negative “aww, it’s okay hunny, I’m sure you’ll find someone”. I was blissfully naive to how these kinds of comments make an actual single 20-something feel.

When you’re in high school, people will start coupling off, and sure you’ll feel bummed, but you get over it and move on to the million other issues you face as an awkward teenager. As a 20-something, it seems as if all other aspects of your life are coming together, except one you really cannot control on your own. When no one brings it up, you’re fine with the way your life is. But then someone, or something, brings up the fact that you’re single, and makes it seem as if being single is the worst thing that could possibly be happening to you right now.

Now as a single 20-something, who is very single, with many not so single friends, I take a serious offense to this. I look at the 99.9 % of my friends that are in relationships right now, and at least 99.9% of them seem like some of the unhappiest people on the planet. If I had the option to be in one of their relationships, I would turn it down cold turkey. I don’t know about you, but disfunction is so not my thing.

Then today I come across this article about 12 things about serious relationships that no one tells single people. I sincerely hope that this was some sort of title ploy that people who think they are in serious relationships will end up reading the article so they can finally realize how ridiculous their relationships are.

I went in to reading this article with an open mind, hoping to find some words of wisdom as to why on earth I am still single. At the very least, some new information for the single 20-something. Instead, I got 12 things I found absolutely ridiculous to be telling a single person.

Why? Because WE ALREADY KNOW THESE THINGS. These are the things we have watched our friends do wrong for years. We are the friend that gets ditched for the boyfriend. We’re the ones that have to remind our friends that, hey, he’s only human, he’s going to talk about how hot Mila Kunis is (because girl is smokin’). We’re the ones that enforce compromise, allow some bickering, and aren’t afraid to stand up when the relationship is more fighting and less of the good stuff.

Who really needs to  read this is all the people who think their relationship is perfect, then with the onset of a single fight believes the entire world is crumbling down and comes running back to all of the friends they have been ignoring for their significant other. We know all of this, we’ve lived all of this through a non-love-crazy eye.

But maybe this is exactly why we singles are not in these “serious” relationships. Maybe I have some crazy convoluted idea that I’m just waiting around for someone I think is worthy enough to go through all of this for. Maybe I’m waiting until I’m mature enough to handle serious. Maybe I know just how crazy me and my life are, and I’m not sure anyone I have met yet is ready to handle me yet.

Given the option between having one of the “serious” relationships I’ve seen, and living my life as a single, I would choose single any day of the week, and I’m proud of that.

Plans fail…

At the beginning of this summer, I had all these plans. I had planned on blogging every day. This has obviously not occurred. I planned on tanning every day, or at least soaking up a few rays. It’s rained or been cloudy almost every day. I planned on getting my life together so I could focus on my future. I really need to come to terms with the fact that I will NEVER have my life together no matter how hard I try.

Life is hard, life is crazy. Planning is practically useless.

Lesson to be learned? Live in the moment, and be okay with it. Realize there is nothing wrong with not having a clue what you are doing in anything you pursue, because even those who appear to have it together are faking it. This world is rapidly changing at a crazy pace. Enjoy the ride and just go with it.

Dear the future love of my life,

There are few things that I will ever want from you, the list of requirements is fairly simple. I hope that you will make me laugh every day of the year. I hope you’ll bring me coffee when I’m grumpy, and chocolate when I’m sad. You’ll need to put up with my ever changing moods, and know that even when I need my time alone, that I still love you with all of my heart. I hope you’ll take me to bookstores and don’t mind that I take 10 hours to choose on a single book that I’ll probably never get around to reading. I hope you’ll be okay with my ridiculous schedule and realize that it’s only because I refuse to give up on my many passions, and I hope you pursue your passions too. I hope we can spend weekend watching football and you’ll be okay with me pretending I have a clue whats going on. I hope someday you’ll give me a house with a window seat and library. I hope someday you’ll remember to ask my father for my hand. I hope you’ll understand that despite how dysfunctional my family is and how much I complain that they mean the most to me. You’ll need to remind me to sit down and breathe, you’ll need to remind me to say no. You’ll have to remind me that I don’t need to change my outfits 4000 times because no matter what you love me. I hope you help me find the good in each day, and hug me on those days where nothing seems to go right. I hope we’ll travel, and I hope that we can see the world together. I need you to just hug me during my breakdowns, and engage in my silliness. I need you to accept me for my blonde moments and just nod and smile when I get excited about insignificant things. I need you to be my friend, keep all my secrets, pretend to listen to my ramblings, and just be there. I don’t need you to buy me things, or take me places, just hold my hand and walk by my side through this crazy thing we call life. 

Sincerely,

Me

We’re going to try this… 104 Days of Summer Vacay

Meatless Monday: I will make a vegetarian/vegan meal each Monday of summer

Turned Up Tuesday: Cocktail Day! We’re finally hitting 21 this May so we’ll be exploring some exotic summer drinks.

Wacky Wednesday: A new meal, a new drink, a new place to eat, a new place to go this is the day to experiment with anything. 

Throwback Thursday: A blast from the past is due on this day. Just a return to childhood, the olden days and all around better times.

Freedom Friday: Similar to Wacky Wednesday, but this one is a little more about adventuring and exploring

Suck It Up Saturday: I have this thing where whether its summer or winter, or fall or whatever, I don’t go to the gym. Well this year I’m sucking it up and hitting the weight rack. 

Funday Sunday: Usually family oriented, Sundays are for recreation and relaxation. 

Featured Image -- 1068

What Students Really Need to Hear

Carrie Grace:

Thoughts of an ECE/Education Major…

Originally posted on affectiveliving:

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

View original 765 more words

It’s okay to show weakness

Sometimes, I get so set in being the “strong” one, that I forget its okay to be weak. I have a hard time showing weakness around others, but it gets to the point sometimes where I break down. I have a panic attack for a good 10 minutes, and then I’m ready to move on. Fake it for another day. I’m good at faking it to get by. I did it for a number of years in high school, so whenever I need to do it now, it comes automatically. I don’t even recognize “bad days” anymore. Being sad is a fleeting feeling. It lasts for a moment, and then its on to doing something else. 

In some cases its a good thing. It helps me keep my head on straight at work and lets me work well under pressure. 

The thing about sadness though is that it builds. Sadness is not a fleeting feeling. It hides in the darkest parts of yourself, until it runs out of places to hide. Then it rears its ugly head, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. 

There is a balance between strength and weakness. It is a fine line that we walk from day to day, sometimes its so thin that strength and weakness become one in the same. It is a war we fight within our selves throughout our entire lives. In an instant, we can go from having the times of our lives, to feeling like the world is at its end. 

It happened last night. One minute I was having a blast with friends, and the next I just couldn’t keep it together. I ran off into a bathroom, curled up on the floor and cried my eyes out – PS. crying during allergy season is the worst! 

And of course it was over a stupid boy. I hate crying over boys. I’m quite frankly very done with it. With them as a species in general as well.

For the first time since Nick ended things, I had time to think on everything. I found some of his stuff under my bed, but I threw a blanket over it and moved on. Then Blake came up for the usual Friday night, and I got to be the wonderful 3rd wheel I’ve come accustomed to being. We went to a movie at a theater, then were just staying in for the night and watching more movies. This overwhelming feeling of missing Nick just kind of washed over me. It just felt like he was supposed to be there, and he wasn’t. I didn’t want to look like an idiot whining over a break-up of a relationship that was never really a relationship, so I sucked it up and made it through the night. 

Then Saturday night, a few friends came in to town. One has a habit of hitting on me frequently. We kissed once and he’s been hooked since. So he tried, as usual; being an officially single man only making him put in all the more effort. For the first time ever, I couldn’t handle being hit on. All I wanted to do was run. (Odd, because the weekend after the breakup I was totally fine hooking up with my friend that was in town… oops. But I think that was more out of anger than anything else.) To make things worse, of the two guys that hit on me that night, both of them didn’t seem all that upset with me not flirting back. They moved right on to the next girl and both of them ended up kissing and/or going home with other girls. I hated that I was back to being treated like an object, a pawn in the game of sex. On top of that, one of our visiting friends wouldn’t stop asking if I was okay even after I said I was fine and didn’t feel like talking. Then my roommate kept asking if I was okay, if I wanted to just go home. 

I didn’t want to go home. I was determined to go out and have a normal college night. I got a little nasty and snapped at her, I’ve never snapped at her before. I didn’t like it.

Then as we were walking someplace else, one of the guys that had hit on me and I had witnessed making out with another girl decided to try and hit on me again. Then he brought up Nick. And then I lost it. I made it in to the sushi place just fine, but then people kept asking if I was okay, and I couldn’t keep up the charade. 

The fact was, I was not okay. I was not okay at all. 24 hours, 10 episodes of FRIENDS and a quart of ice cream later I still don’t think I am. I get so focused on all other things that I tend to forget that sometimes, I’m not okay. Plowing through life and filling up your schedule so you don’t have to face the bad stuff isn’t a solution. Saying “I’m fine” does nothing. It plays in to all of the lies you tell yourself to make it through the day. You’re allowed to say, “I’m not fine, but I don’t want to talk about it; I promise I will be okay though.” Because you will be okay. You’ve gotten through ever single day of your life up until right now, and you’ll continue to do it for as long as this universe will allow you to live. You don’t always need to be “fine”. What you do need is the will to keep working and moving forward. Remember that you’re not alone in your pain, everyone suffers; some are just better at covering it up than others. 

The Intern

I know, I know. I’ve been Horrible with a capital H about making any kind of posts. I’ve been doing a lot of freelance writing lately and it has left me with very little time to do much of anything of my own accord. BUT! I’m changing things up a bit. There are actually quite a few changes coming up on the horizon that I am very excited about. Starting today most especially.

You are reading a piece by the 2014 William Morrow marketing intern. Yep, I got myself an internship. I honestly don’t know how it all came together. I mean they say when you know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, it’s easy and everything falls into place. Not necessarily true. I’ve had to work pretty hard for this. There has been a lot of preparing, a lot of going back and forth between people, and a little bit of groveling. 

At one point, I thought the company I had been introduced to was going to drop me and say they had no place for me at all. A phone conversation with the person I was talking to in HR ended with her saying, if you are thinking about any other internships, or if you are offered other positions, just let us know. I was crushed. I took it as, we probably can’t take you here, so if you want to give me an easy way to say no to you, that’ll be awesome. 

I’m thankful for that sentence though. I don’t think I realized how much I wanted this internship until that phone call. When I got off that phone, I saw all of my hopes of entering the publishing world fall apart before my eyes. I had chosen the wrong major. I would have to go back to school, pick up an appropriate degree, and then start this whole stressful process all over again. 

This internship search had been one mess of me being passed off from one person to another. I talked to at least three other people before my interview date was even established. My resume was sent to 5 different departments before someone decided to give me a chance. The number of times I had to say how much I wanted to be here, and that I wanted to do absolutely anything to get my foot in the door, and I swear I am a fast learner and won’t be dragging the entire company down by being there – not in those words exactly, but a more professional version of that sense. 
After I thought no one in the company wanted to even speak to me, someone decided to give me an interview. Hallelujah let the choir sing! 
Then it sunk in. I had to do a formal interview… In real people clothes… In New York City… 
Now, I grew up about 2 hours away from the city. I had been to the city plenty of times, but I was never the navigator. I was very much a let someone take the lead and get me from point A to point B. I had to hop on a train, hop on a subway and get myself from 34th St to 53rd. Surprisingly, it didn’t end up being that hard. I was proud of my city slicker skills even though I grew up on the bubble of an island and attended school out in the boonies. 
I thought the interview had gone well. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. I’ve only interviewed two other times and they were extremely informal. This was so different than anything I had ever done. My uncle and one of his colleagues had prepped me well though, and I was confident in everything that I had to say. I didn’t stumble. I gave good evidence that even though I had never worked in publishing, I had past experiences essential to the intern position. I made a solid argument. But I couldn’t read my interviewer for the life of me. 
I went home with butterflies flying rampant in my stomach. I had no idea what to expect. The next morning I sent my thank you follow up e-mail. Tried my best to include information specific to the interview, and went about the million things I needed to do as best I could. I was expecting to go through weeks of agony, waiting for a decision. 
I came in from walking my dog to find a missed call from a 212 area code. New York City. Oh. My. God. 
There was a voicemail and I listened quickly. I had gotten the position! I called back immediately. “The position is yours if you’re still interested.” No duh I’m still interested! “Of course! I look forward to the summer, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” Click, phone off. OH MY GOD I GOT THE INTERNSHIP! THE SUN IS SHINING THE BIRDS ARE SINGING! I DON’T HAVE TO START COLLEGE ALL OVER AGAIN! HALLELUJAH! 
So, I was kind of excited. Kidding. I was thrilled. I told everyone I knew. So in preparation for my internship, I will be reading a lot of books from the division I will be working for and writing about it, because thats kind of what I’ll be doing all summer, so I might as well get a head start now!