Not a given

I was just reading this article on HuffPost, about women in their 30s and their take on being single/unmarried. One of the women made a comment that really spoke to me–she learned that being married “wasn’t a given,” although she grew up and lived most of her life assuming that it was.

I think this is something a lot of people assume by default. We see so many people married when we’re young, and so many people ask us about dating and it’s just such an ingrained part of society–why wouldn’t it happen to us? Everyone does it; it’ll happen for you eventually.

I think this kind of thinking is really unproductive, and it’s something that a lot of young people think today, too. Most millennials I know have the attitude of “it’s not that I don’t want marriage; I just want to focus on my career first and then find a partner.” Which is fine, but that’s like saying, “I just want to focus on being a student first and then find a job.” Young people go after their careers so vigorously and with such determination because they know the odds are not in their favor, and they know that a job they love isn’t a given. They know that it’s something they need to work toward and something they need to seek out for themselves; it’s not something that just “happens to everyone.” So while they’re young, they start thinking about what kind of career they want. When they’re teenagers, they start exploring their interests. When they’re in college, they look for internships and jobs. Their entire life is made up of small steps taken to work their way up to that dream career. It’s not something they think about after focusing on something else; it sits there at the back of their mind, no matter what stage of life they’re in. It influences their decisions. It’s a big deal.

Well, finding a partner (whether a spouse or just a long-term partner) isn’t something that just “happens to everyone.” I don’t know if it’s just that people these days don’t really care about finding a partner or if they still have the mentality that “it’ll happen at the right time.” But if finding a partner is important, I don’t think it’s wrong to actively pursue that. I think it’s really the only logical option if that’s a goal of yours. If it’s what you want, you can’t actively wait till it falls in your lap; you have to go after it and work towards it, the same as you would any other goal. If it’s something you’d ultimately want, why wouldn’t you live your life trying to grow into the type of person you think is worthy of a great partner? Why wouldn’t you make decisions that go towards becoming the person you want to be in order to be a great partner to someone else? Why wouldn’t you work on figuring out what you want and meeting people you think you could get along with? I get that a great career is a part of preparing yourself to be a great partner, by being someone who can contribute to society in a valuable way and be financially ready to support a partner and family–but pursuing only a career thinking that a partner will naturally follow is doing only half the work.

Furthermore, if you meet a great person, but you happen to be young, why would you throw that away just because you think “the timing is off” or “you’re too young”? You can’t control when the right person comes into your life, but you can control how you react to that. If you were young and someone offered you the right career, would you not take it? Would you not realize that opportunities like that don’t come often, if ever, so you’d jump at the chance at something that really isn’t guaranteed to anyone? It’s the same with finding a partner. People treat this aspect of their life as something that they can just go back to if all else doesn’t work out, rather than as something that is rare and not guaranteed. People are too eager to risk not having a partner if all other aspects of their life are not perfect yet, rather than take the plunge and risk having to work a little harder to make all those other aspects of their life work. I see people cross oceans in their early 20s in order to take a job; I only see people accommodate a partner because they fit into their lives and won’t have to make that many adjustments. I wish more people would accommodate partners the same way they do their dream jobs. If it’s that important, it wouldn’t be such a challenge to do so. People these days are too focused on themselves; there isn’t enough focus on others–and I think the root of it is just fear of getting hurt and fear of change. It’s great to live your life for yourself, but if that were the key to happiness then more people would actually be happy. I think people have convinced themselves that they’re happy being single and not having to share the bed and being able to jump on a plane and go anywhere they want….but if they truly were happy, they wouldn’t need to write articles proving why their lives are so much better than those of married people, or people who are in long-term partnerships. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me. But I think it takes guts to admit that yes, you do want to find a partner because you do think it would make you happy. People these days are pretty slow to admit that, but I think it’s something a lot of people still think. I think most people just learn to be content with being single, but if given the choice, I’m sure they’d choose differently. Maybe I’m wrong though; what do I know?

Divergent Inspired Look – Amity

Divergent Inspired Look - Amity Redone

 

Unlike the Candor look I created in 2014, the Amity look I created in 2014 was probably my least favorite. I wanted to create something that was easy and light, because that seemed in line with the Amity characteristics, but the look just felt all over the place and not really sophisticated. I really love this redone Amity look, and it is actually one of my favorites and something I would definitely wear. For this redone Amity look, I wanted to keep that same easy, flowy feel–so I immediately thought of a breezy dress in yellow, since Amity wear yellow and red. I thought a burgundy bucket bag complemented the silhouette of the dress perfectly, and it worked quite well with the shade of yellow. I added a tan leather jacket and caged stiletto sandals to give a little bit of edge to the look. Finally, I topped off the look with some gold jewelry to reflect the sunny nature of Amity.

Divergent Inspired Look – Candor

Divergent Inspired Look - Candor Redone
I’ll be honest…I really loved the Candor look I created in 2014, and I didn’t really want to fix something that wasn’t broken. I thought the look was really perfect as a chic take on what a Candor would wear. So, I basically copied the look with pieces that were a bit more elevated (although I did use the same leather leggings by Paige, and the same Swarovski ring). Instead of black stiletto pumps, I decided to do a unique boot–I’d been waiting for a good opportunity to use these Louboutin boots I found, and I thought that the sleek silhouette and geometric cutouts were a perfect fit for this Candor look. Black leather leggings, combined with a silk shirt and sleek white blazer, are a perfect, clean combo that reflects the straightforward nature of Candors. Simple jewelry, like this ring and bracelet from Swarovski, add to the clean lines of the look, and I finished off the look with a simple bag with a clean, structured silhouette.

Divergent Inspired Look – Abnegation

Divergent Inspired Look - Abnegation Redone

 

The Abnegation look I created back in 2014 is another look that I still absolutely love (and would definitely wear!). I love gray skinny jeans, and since Abnegation is a very simple, no-frills faction, I thought gray skinny jeans were the perfect base for this look. For footwear, Rag and Bone booties instantly came to my mind–they’re classy, yet sort of rugged and tough in a really chic way (not sure if that makes sense…). This look is really similar to my previous Abnegation look, so I wanted to change things up a bit by having a fitted top with a really cozy, chunky cardigan–I love the idea of a fitted silhouette under a really loose, cozy piece for Abnegation. Finally, since Abnegation members aren’t allowed jewelry except a watch, I decided to go for a piece that was equally utilitarian and stylish–an Apple watch! These can be glammed up, or kept simple, and they serve multiple purposes. I added some silver stud earrings to add just a touch of glam (and the studs are a subtle nod to Tris’s eventual switch to Dauntless, and Tris’s mother’s Dauntless origins), and a simple tote bag with clean lines. (I own this MK bag, and it is my favorite bag ever! Enough room to throw in everything I need, and the saffiano leather is incredibly resilient.)

Divergent Inspired Look – Erudite

Divergent Inspired Look - Erudite Redone

 

The Erudite look I created back in 2014 is one that I still really love and would absolutely still wear. It’s a timeless, classic look with some subtle nods to the Erudite faction. Since I was revisiting these looks, I wanted to do something equally classic but more in line with my current style. When I thought of an elegant piece in a navy blue color (the color that Erudites wear), the first thing that came to mind was a jumpsuit or romper in a really flowy, drapey style. I love this sateen romper because it has an easy, flowy silhouette, but the utilitarian/shirt-like details make it a little more edgy. I would definitely wear this romper with the top buttons undone, for a look that’s a little less “done.” In my previous Erudite look, my color palette was definitely warmer, so I wanted to mix things up a bit and go with a cooler color scheme. I chose a gray suede moto jacket to top off the romper, and a nude Christian Louboutin pump to add an elegant touch. I thought a Hermes bag would be perfect for this look, both for the allusion to Greek mythology (perfect for those intellectual Erudites!) and for its classic reputation. I chose a turquoise-y blue to complement the navy romper–it adds a nice pop of color while still remaining within the color palette. To finish off the look, I added some gold and rose gold jewelry. These Chanel eagle earrings are perfect–eagles are a symbol of wisdom and intelligence–and the sapphires on the gold ring add another little pop of blue for Erudite.

Divergent Inspired Look – Dauntless

Divergent Inspired Look - Dauntless Redone (again)


I don’t know why, but I have a lot of fun with creating looks inspired by the factions in the Divergent series, by Veronica Roth. I’ve revisited the looks (it’s actually my third time revisiting the Dauntless look), and am taking a similar approach as before–a chic, modern take on clothing inspired by each faction.
This Dauntless look is definitely my favorite of the bunch. I’m an all black everything girl–more than half of my wardrobe is black, and there’s something about black that just makes me feel so much more chic and put-together. This look is actually something I’d wear on any given day–and I actually own the Citizens jeans featured in this look (LOVE them; SUPER comfortable and fit so well). Those in the Dauntless faction wear black and have a lot of piercings/tattoos, so I took that edgy aesthetic and translated it into something wearable and chic. Valentino rockstuds are what instantly came to my mind for footwear–these boots are the perfect mix of Dauntless and classy. I also instantly thought of the Kendra Scott Naomi ring, which I own in rose gold–one of my friends commented that the ring looks like brass knuckles! It’s definitely a good mix of edgy and elegant, which is perfect for this look. I chose a black suede moto jacket so there wouldn’t be a leather overload–and I think the suede complements the rest of the look perfectly. Finally, I added a subtle ear cuff–I love ear cuffs and think they’re so cool and fitting for a Dauntless-inspired look.

Divergent Inspired Fashion

Millennials aren’t lazy

I’ve come across a lot of articles talking about whether millennials are really lazy, entitled, self-absorbed people instead of the strapping hard-workers their parents were before them. Do I agree? Are millennials lazy, entitled, and self-absorbed?

In short, I don’t think millennials are lazy. I think a lot of people, not just millennials, can be entitled, but I don’t think that word is unique to millennials. Here’s what I think is wrong with millennials though:

Most millennials that I’ve met are willing to put in the work in order to get what they want and move up in their careers and their lives. But, I think a lot of millennials want things that they think will make them truly happy and fulfilled, and are shunning the things that will actually make them happy and fulfilled. 

What do millennials want? They want amazing careers. They want independence. They want to make an impact, something for which they can be remembered long after they’re gone. They want to live a life that is completely up to them. They want to live as they see fit without the constraints of others, or of society.

I’ve seen many a millennial-written article (and my previous post talks about my frustration with this) describing some ideal life that is never meant to be shared or lived for anyone but themselves.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a full life and the opportunity to see the world and grow and learn. There is nothing wrong with wanting a successful, fulfilling career doing something great and making a positive impact. In fact, those are admirable things to want, and I think everyone should strive for that. But what I see most millennials doing is treating that career aspect of their lives as the central part. The kind of attention and importance they are giving their career is the kind of attention they should also be giving to their interpersonal relationships. And that’s where they go wrong.

They are using successful careers and huge financial and career goals as a substitute for fulfilling interpersonal relationships. I think that a lot of millennials are cynical about marriage, or relationships in general, so they take the attitude of just living their own lives without really looking or pursuing relationships, without expecting anything. That attitude is like saying “I’ll just wait around in the lobby of Google and if the right person comes along and offers me a job, then great.” That attitude also implies that you’d rather take yourself out of the game instead of risk getting hurt. It’s much easier to focus on yourself and live your own life without looking for someone to share it with. It’s much, much harder to actively pursue relationships, open yourself up to someone, trust someone, share your life with someone, and risk getting hurt.

Here’s the thing: You should pursue and nurture interpersonal relationships with the same vigor that you do your professional career. 

I feel like millennials feel that a career is something they have control over, and so it makes sense to get fulfillment from that instead of interpersonal relationships, which may come and go. Nothing could be further from the truth. You have some degree of control over both these things. If you work hard at your career, you will do well and advance. Likewise, if you work hard to maintain your interpersonal relationships, they will also flourish.

It’s not a bad thing to want a great career and great life for yourself. You should want that. But I see too many millennials who don’t value interpersonal relationships the way that they do their careers and hobbies. Millenials either glorify the single life and talk about how great it is to have the bed to yourself, or take the Ted Mosby approach to relationships and look for someone absolutely perfect who likes all the right things. With all our apps for meeting people, and networking events–forming relationships these days among millennials feels cheap and inauthentic. If the person isn’t perfectly what you want, just keep swiping. Millennials look for the perfect people to form relationships (of any type) with, instead of accepting that people aren’t perfect, everyone is different, and it is possible to form fulfilling relationships with people who are different or imperfect–it’ll just take some work. A lot of millennials feel that if it requires that much work, maybe it’s not right. Wrong. All relationships (of any type) require work, sacrifice, and compromise. But what you get in return is a deep, lasting relationship in which you and the other person know more than just the superficial details of each other’s personality. They know what foods you like and what movies you like, but they also know what you mean when you say a certain thing, or when you smile a certain way.

Countless studies have shown that the true marker of fulfillment in life is the quality of interpersonal relationships. And I see a lot of millennials with lots of friends, but these friendships are superficial, and all fun and games.  Those friendships don’t really involve serious conversations or moments of vulnerability. The extent that they get to know each other is just what they did last weekend or their next job plans. There’s nothing wrong with having these sorts of relationships. But you also need to have relationships that function on a deeper level. All kinds of relationships are good, but some of those relationships need to be more personal. And that requires opening up. That requires showing parts of yourself that you may not feel are perfect. That requires being vulnerable and opening yourself up to potential pain. That requires trust. That requires communication. That requires compromise and selflessness. I think millennials have a long way to go in this regard. I don’t think for a second that millennials should give up their aspirations to change the world–in fact, this quality is precisely what makes me proud to be a millennial. But, I think that if we extend our passion for our career and for making an impact–if we extend that same passion to our interpersonal relationships, we’ll find our lives a whole lot more fulfilling. We’ll be a lot happier. And while we all may have different goals in our lives, these goals are all for the same purpose: to be happy, and to make the world a happier place for others.

Naivete

I just came across this article on Facebook, courtesy of the Huffington Post, titled “This is Why Our Generation Doesn’t Believe in Settling Down.”

I don’t have issues with the way certain people choose to live their lives. That’s up to you, and what you feel is best for yourself. But what rubs me the wrong way about this article is the assumptions made. As though having a home, picket fence or not, is somehow settling for a sub-par life or somehow limits you from living a full life.

As a millennial myself, I’ve always felt like I didn’t quite fit into my generation, nor the generation before me. I do appreciate the life lessons you learn from traveling and I absolutely want to travel more, but I also know that at the end of the day, I want a place I can call home. I want to have somewhere to go back to, that feels familiar and safe, where I can unwind and be myself. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and I certainly don’t think that having a home means my life will somehow be less fulfilling than someone who lives a more nomadic lifestyle and spends their time traveling. I also don’t think the two are mutually exclusive–you can have a home (again, picket fence or not), and travel as well. One is not better than the other, and you don’t need to choose between the two.

I also fail to see how having a home, a family, and a spouse is “settling.” As one of the commenters wrote, “Settling and settling down are not the same thing.” I absolutely agree with this. In any case, if a person marries someone they love and want to be with, I don’t think the people getting married would see that as settling. After all, it’s something they are choosing to do because they love that person and feel that the person they are marrying will enrich their life. It’s getting really trite to shit on people who actually want to get married and who seek that out, as though it’s a lame thing you do if you have no other options, or something you should only want once you’ve done everything else. What’s the point of marrying someone at the end of your life, after you’ve lived it? It makes more sense to marry someone and take on all those adventures with them–whether it’s the journey towards your dream job or running a business together or writing a book about your travels or raising a beautiful family. A lasting relationship is definitely something I want in my life, because I see the value of having a companion to share my life with. Plus, I was an only child. I’ve been alone long enough. I’ve had my share of not having to share. So having a companion to do life with actually sounds pretty cool.

I find that the people who look at marriage and having a family as “settling” are quite naive. They still think that a fulfilling life means doing whatever you please and traveling without having to think about another person, without having to share your life with anyone–life can just be one big adventure. And it is an adventure–but that adventure can take many forms. Sharing your life with someone, raising a family, traveling, living on your own and learning–those are all valid ways in which life can be an adventure, and they all come with their own sets of rewards and challenges. Those people who think that marriage and family is “settling” fail to see that a fulfilling life has been proven, time and time again, to be because of the full, meaningful relationships people have with others. It’s not because of your job, or your wealth, or how many stamps you have on your passport. It’s the people in your life and your relationships with them.

I understand the pressure that some may feel to “settle down” and live life the traditional way. I’m someone who wants a lasting relationship but isn’t quite so sure about kids, yet. It would have to take meeting someone who I know will be supportive for me to consider starting a family and trust that I can take it on. I get that it might seem that there is a “right” way to live your life, and you feel ostracized for wanting something else. But I should tell you…you’re not the first to feel like this. Literally every generation before you has felt this way. There’s no need to prove how the “adventurous, rebellious” life you want is somehow better than the traditional life others choose to lead. It really rubs me the wrong way when I hear millennials talk like this. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t convince anyone that your chosen lifestyle is somehow better–instead it just makes you sound self-righteous and emotionally stunted. And butt-hurt. No one is trying to stop you from living the life you want. If you’re so secure in your choice of lifestyle, then you wouldn’t feel the need to justify it and sound pretentious while doing so. Let people live the way they want, and don’t judge them for the choices they’ve made. Someone who chooses to get married, have a family and stable job and a 401k, can live a life that feels just as adventurous as someone who travels to a different country every week.

Regardless of the way you choose to live, the one common denominator should be this: take care of your relationships. All kind of relationships–your friendships, your family relationships, your romantic relationships. Nurture them and value them, because at the end of the day, those relationships will be your home. Those relationships will be the things you can go back to when you need some familiarity. They’ll be the listening ear when you feel alone. They’ll be the source of laughter and support when you need it. Whether you choose to travel and never quite settle down, or whether you choose to have a family and a job, or whether you choose to do something completely different–if you don’t have meaningful relationships with people, then your life will always feel like it is missing something. Take it from someone who doesn’t have a whole lot of friends and has spent most of her life alone–the things I value most in my life are the few close relationships I have with people I trust. Being alone has its perks, but human beings are wired to live life in communities. It is in our nature to seek out connections with others. It is a survival trait, but it also brings value to our survival. So let’s stop with the silly debates over traveling vs. having a picket fence home. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is your relationships with others.