My Attempt at Adulting Post-Grad

So it’s been 4 months since I’ve graduated college. I feel like less of an adult than I was then. Or at least less of a struggling adult since I was constantly working my ass off with very little sleep but had the security of relying on dangerously high student loans that I am now faced with paying off. I did not have to worry about qualifying for an apartment or being able to pay rent on time. Having to earn your own bread does something to a person.

It’s not that I was a lazy kid before. I used to kill myself working two jobs, going to school full time, doing intense research, studying, going to the gym, and trying to get into graduate school. My days started at 5:30am, and sometimes I didn’t get home from work until 1 am. I burnt myself out. I had no balance in my life, and I always whined about it, which surely annoyed my friends whom I rarely saw. But I was “successful,” even though I never felt that I was, and I never felt smart. I was a Classics major who graduated in 3.5 years with a 3.93 overall GPA, 4.0 major GPA, and 4 honor societies. I studied at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, and I was accepted into the American Academy for Classical Studies in Athens which was a program normally for graduate students and professors. Everything was set. I was going to graduate early, apply to PhD programs, and ship myself somewhere across the country to spend the rest of my 20s studying and continuing to kill myself over what I apparently “loved.”

But during the summer before my final semester, I choked. I was sitting in a cafe trying to come up with a research topic for one of my two senior seminars for that upcoming semester. All of a sudden I started crying in the middle of the cafe. That happens a lot by the way. I’m a crier. No shame (okay yes shame, and I am terrified of it). I thought I sucked at research, and I was tired of driving myself crazy over something I wasn’t even sure if I loved. I still don’t know exactly why or how I ended up on the path to becoming a Classics Professor. It just kind of felt like it was calling me. But I have some deep insecurity issues I need to fix before I can handle 6-8 years of a PhD program which I don’t think that I’m good enough to deserve or be in.

So then I decided to become a Professional Ballroom and Latin Dance instructor instead… I know. From Classical Studies to Ballroom dance is quite a big leap. But dancing has been a passion of mine since I was little. I wanted to be a dance instructor when I was in high school. But then I quit. Went to college. Became involved in the Ballroom dance club at my university, saying I’d never become super committed to dance again. Then started taking private lesson. Then competing. And now I am a Ballroom instructor instead of a grad student. So that’s how that happened.

I received a lot of concerns and condescension from people after that decision. And nobody believes that this is my full time job now, or they think I am just doing this for a year and then going to graduate school. Who knows. Maybe one day I will end up back in school. But if you had to tell me in a year I’d be back in that torturous hell hole, I might be tempted to jab a pen in my eye. I always pretended to be this super ambitious person, and now people think I am crazy for taking the “easy way out” or going for a less ambitious job. I laugh at people who think my job is easy. But they can think and say what they want. I am happier now than I was 4 months ago, and all I care about now is working on my clientele, becoming a better instructor and dancer, finding a place to live and being able to support myself, and also learning how to have a social life and enjoy being 22. And if you think those aren’t noble goals then fuck you. I don’t know where I am going to be in 5 to 10 years. A year ago I could tell you that, but now I know deciding or predicting where your life will end up in 5 to 10 years is bullshit. Things change so much in a year, hell even in a day, so why the fuck are you trying to predict 10 years from now? I am focusing on being better and happier now. Because I’ve whined about being miserable most of my life. So I am changing what I am not happy with and trying to make a better life for myself.

That, my friends, is fucking adulting.

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New Exciting Life Milestones: Trying on My First Custom Latin Dress and Packing for my First Apartment

So, as a professional Ballroom and Latin Dance Instructor, I must look the part. Now dance dresses can cost an arm and a leg. Doré dresses cost around $5,000. I paid more for this custom dress than I did for my first car. Granted: I bought my car for dirt cheap on craigslist, but I love her, and I wouldn’t have any other car.

Oh, quick digression. If you haven’t met my baby before. This is my 2001 Pontiac Grand Am. She’s my first car, and I love her and hope to keep her for a very long time. We’ve been through a lot together. She also has a subwoofer for awesome bass jams for my commute.

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And yes, the ikea bed is still in my car…

But back to the dress. People always ask me why ballroom dresses are so damn expensive. Well… let me tell you. Because they have to have thousands of stones which have to be individually hand glued. It is also custom designed to your taste and body. After 2 months of back and forth and changing the design several times, here is the final product:

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Royal blue, two piece design, with royal blue stones and a drape. I love the longer skirt for Latin with the high slit. Typically rhythm/Latin dresses are shorter, but I love this look and still gives me full mobility. It was not what I expected or originally wanted, but I love it nonetheless. I cannot wait to actually be able to wear this dress. Maybe one day I’ll be competing professionally in it. Maybe. Hopefully. Maybe. Need to focus on becoming a better instructor first before I even think about competing professionally. Also have a lot of growth to do. So that is definitely not something I will be rushing into.

Other exciting milestone in my life: I move into my first apartment tomorrow! Riverfront. Hardwood floors. Spacious living room and bedroom. Riverfront. Tiny kitchen but I’ll survive because it’s riverfront.

I spent all of Easter Sunday locked in my room packing up my life and sorting things that need to be donated. I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years, and it feels so refreshing to get rid of some of it. There’s something freeing about cleaning out your life and getting rid of the unnecessary. It clears the mind and also satisfies my OCD-neat freak ass. I cannot wait to move into a completely new clean space with just the things that I love and need. Yet I still have a lot of stuff:

Now it’s the night before, and everything is packed, triple taped, and ready to go. I have an amazing friend who is helping me in the morning. I’m going to buy us panera bagels and coffee in the morning.

Guys, this is my last night in my parents house. I cannot wait to have a place to call my home. It’s been a long journey, and I still cannot believe tomorrow is the day. I was unhappy at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017. Someone inspired me to take control of what I don’t like in my life and change it. So I made it happen. And that makes me so extremely happy to know that I took control of my life and created happiness for myself. It was an extremely frustrating process, as are most processes in life, but I am so extremely happy with the outcome. Tomorrow is a new chapter in my life.

…Unfortunately that chapter also includes paying bills, but at least I will have the self fulfillment of adulting.

Ikea Haul! Or an adventure in trying to fit a Queen bed into a 2001 Pontiac Grand Am.

Pro tip. If you intend to buy a bed at ikea (which is an hour and a half away from my house), and many of your friends have offered their truck and manpower, take advantage of it. But I being stubborn and an independent woman stupidly went to ikea with my roommate (separate cars luckily), and forgot that I drive a tiny sedan with a tiny trunk. Oh and there’s also a subwoofer that takes up a good quarter of the trunk. But we made it work.

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We accidentally unhooked the subwoofer, which means I had to drive home with bass-less jams. Sad day.

But this is what my new bed will look like once it’s all put together:

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But the bedding will look like:

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We also bought a new coffee table, a wooden mail thingie for the wall, and we scored a $150 17-piece knife set for only $80. In addition we scored a bunch of little things on sale like glassware, wine glasses, flatware, all on sale. Still need to buy a couch and an area rug.

Still need to figure out something to go on the wall above my bed since I am not getting a headboard. I might do a collage of my favorite photos and then put lights around it. Or maybe I’ll buy a picture or a tapestry. If you have any (cheap) ideas for filling a space above a bed, comment below.

It’s two days later, and the bed is still in my car, because no one at home will help me take it out. It might just stay in there until next Friday…

This is the canvas I am making to go above the mini bar. It’s metallic silver paint lettering and it will have a black background:

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But anyways. After all that rambling. Here is an apartment list I have made if anyone else is moving into their first apartment.

Kitchen:

  • Pots and pans set
  • Flatware
  • Dinnerware
  • Glassware
  • Cooking utensils
  • Food scale
  • Silverware holder
  • Fruit and veggie basket
  • Baking dishes (Cookie sheets, cupcake pans, cake pans, etc.)
  • Canisters for flour, sugar, etc.
  • Knife set
  • Tupperware
  • Coffee stuff (french press, espresso moka pot, tea kettle)
  • Toaster
  • Waffle maker
  • Mixer
  • Instant pot/crock pot
  • Mixing bowls
  • Dish drying rack
  • Dish towels
  • Cutting board
  • Colander

Living Room/Dining Room (we just have one open large space)

  • Futon/couch
  • Coffee table
  • Area rug
  • Side tables
  • Mini bar
  • Bookshelves
  • Games
  • Throw pillows
  • Curtains
  • Wall mail holder
  • Orb chair
  • Throw blankets
  • Wall decor
  • Dining table and chairs

Bedroom:

  • Bed
  • Mattress
  • Sheets
  • Bedding set
  • Floor mirror
  • Dresser
  • Night stand/side table
  • Decorative lights
  • Floor lamp
  • Wall decor (Have some things, might buy something new after I move in)

Bathroom

  • Shower curtain, liner, rings
  • Extra storage shelves
  • Towels
  • Bathmat
  • Toilet seat cover
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Soap dispenser
  • Plunger and toilet bowl cleaner

Misc

  • Trashcans
  • Broom
  • No vacuum needed because all hardwood! My mom is giving us a hardwood floor cleaner
  • Cleaning supplies
  • We will probably think of 5 billion more things once we move in.

I got my first apartment!!!

I feel like such an adult. This is scary but so exciting. All hardwood floors. Spacious floorplan. Riverfront. Close to the city center, but far enough to still get some peace and quiet and nature.

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View of the train and downtown

I can’t wait to have friends and family over. To cook homemade pasta. And make cocktails for with my bookshelf-makeshift-mini bar. I cannot wait to come home from a stressful day at work to a nice peaceful home that feels like my own. It won’t feel like I am living in someone else’s space.

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I have a few weeks before we move in, but I cannot wait to go shopping this weekend with my roommate for a new couch, a new bed, kitchen stuff, decor, etc. We are going to fill this gorgeous space and make it our home.

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The kitchen is small, but we will make it work. Love the cabinets!

This all feels unreal. I’ve been spending the last month hopeless struggling to find a roommate and place to live. Disappointment after disappointment. I thought it’d never happen or I’d have to settle for renting a room in someone’s random ass apartment. But no. I persevered. I found an amazing roommate, and we found the perfect apartment.

I have a full time job that I love. A car that I love and runs well. And now I have my very first apartment. Finally feels like I am getting this adulting thing.

Apartment Hunting in a (sort of) New City

I. hate. apartment. hunting.

Okay I do love it. And this is a very exciting moment in my life. Also terrifying. My favorite childhood memory is now not paying bills. But it is also a great feeling to be able to support yourself.

So I graduated in December. My plans for post grad changed probably 14ish times. I originally was supposed to be moving to the city where I work, but then decided to move back in with my parents in Richmond, VA, although they live out in the county, not Richmond city. I’ve always wanted to move to the city, but my parents hate cities. I’ve always wanted to live in the city. I went to high school in Richmond city for four years, and I also lived in downtown Rome for a semester.  I love living in a city and being able to walk places. I commute every day, so I’d really appreciate the chance to get some fresh air and walk to a coffee shop on Sunday mornings. I love RVA, and I want to stay here. There is also some part of me that thinks if I live in the city my social life would be better. I understand improving my social life requires work on my part, but I feel like it would be easier to meet more people my age if I lived in the city near VCU rather than living in the suburbs, where there is no one my age and also nothing to do other than go to the mall…

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North Bank Trail view of Downtown Richmond

So I made my decision. I could no longer take living in my parents house. I said I’d come home from 6 months to a year to save up money… I made it three months…

I would love to live at home and save up even more money, but at the same time I am not happy living at my parents house. I am trying to do this thing where I stop complaining about my life and actively am trying to make changes. So I think I would be happier in a place I could call my own home. A nice quiet, clean space that feels like mine, where I can invite friends over for dinner and drinks. I don’t want to sublet a room out of someone else’s apartment, because then it will feel like I am living in someone else’s space. It may sound like I am being picky or high maintenance, but this is what I want, and I am going to make it happen. And I am so close to that.

My next task was trying to find a roommate. I’ve spent the last month searching online (I know, stranger danger, but sometimes you have to do it when you live in a city where you no longer know people). I met a really cool girl who wants the same things as me, and I think we would be good roommates. But we are now learning that it’s impossible to have everything you want in an apartment unless you are working with unlimited funds, which as early 20-somethings, we obviously aren’t.

So we’ve seen a couple of apartments throughout the city. In all the popular places that we really want to live, obviously the rent is too damn high because everyone wants to live there. So we have to make compromises. We found two that are on the opposite side of the river, but still close to the city center. Bigger square footage and a smaller price tag. We saw one on Monday but it smelled heinously! I’m sorry I cannot live somewhere where I cannot breath.

We are going to see one more today. It’s in a nice neighborhood. Close to the river. Spacious hardwood floors. In our price range. No special amenities, but I don’t need a pool. It’s in a perfect location for both of our commutes. I just really hope there is not something horrible about it that when we walk in we are both like “HAEEELLLLLLL NO!” But the unit we want is available now. So if we like it, WE ARE APPLYING TODAY!

Hopefully. Because I am exhausted from the last month roommate/apartment hunting. I am so ready to move. I’ve already started packing.

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