A Generation Drunk Off Dreaming

drunk off dreaming

I’m waiting for someone to start telling the truth. I’m waiting for an entrepreneur to emerge from the woodworks and tell us all that six months ago she was forced out of a job and left up shit’s creek without a paddle. I’m waiting for someone’s success story rooted in mayhem and built from the storm. I want that story now. While she’s knee-deep in mud and neck high in uncertainty.

I’m waiting for something other than a quote urging me to rise and grind.

I’m waiting for people to stop trying to monetize every single thing. I’m waiting for people to produce work that is truly worth investing in. See, when I start suffocating under the pressure to make money, I remind myself to never forget job number one: write good shit. Tell beautiful stories. String together strong sentences. Pen essays that vibrate and linger. Whip up soul food in a world that binges on cotton candy. The money will come. The growth will come. But never forget job number one.

I’m waiting for the moment when we stop drinking dream propaganda and start feeding ourselves substance. I’m waiting for us to stop deifying leaps of faith while we denounce good old common sense. I’m waiting for someone to say that dreams never paid bills and Sallie Mae never accepted “living the life you love” as currency. I’m waiting for us to declare that there may indeed be a long and windy road from the life you’re living to the life you love. And I’m waiting for us to say that is OK. There are levels to this shit.

I’m waiting for us to stop overdosing on Instagram inspiration and start healing our wounds. Doing the real work. Laying our burdens down.

I’m waiting for us to be more patient with ourselves and even more patient with out dreams. I’m waiting for the day when we say “stay low and build” and we truly stay low and build. Not stay low and get rich quickly. Not stay low and quit your job tomorrow. Not stay low and learn how to earn $1,000 dollars in one hour. But truly stay low and build. Brick by brick. Layer by layer. Day after day. Year after year.

I’m waiting for us to unsubscribe from the bullshit.

I’m waiting for you to tell me the truth. And, if you won’t, I will keep telling you mine.


Countdown to 25: An Update on My Quarter-Life Crisis

Countdown to 25 is my way of taking all of the pressure off myself to write one kickass birthday blog post on October 12, and instead sprinkling my “wisdom” throughout the week.

As I ascended the steps to Apartment 407, it hit me in the worst way. I was moving. Again. That night would be the last night I ever came home from work, pulled into that apartment complex and ascended those stairs. And using the verb “ascended” makes this all sound unnecessarily melodramatic, but “unnecessarily melodramatic” is my life’s subtext.

I’ve moved a few times since graduation, and all of those moves had finality to them. I would be leaving the state. Changing work assignments. Leaving friends who still felt new only to go make newer ones. But, this move didn’t have finality. This move happened while the rest of my life was still charging full speed ahead. This move was a comma; the rest of them were periods.

And because this move was a comma, I underestimated its importance. I spent three consecutive weekends tossing my few worldly possessions into boxes. I took Ikea canvas pictures off the walls. I called Comcast to transfer my cable and internet. I did all of the normal move things yet didn’t think I would experience any of the it’s-so-hard-to-say-goodbye move emotions. But, on that Thursday night, it all sucker-punched me in the stomach.

Apartment 407 was my first home. Not just a place where I napped or binged on Bravo television or squatted. But, it was a home. Before Apartment 407, I always felt like a vagabond, never too emotionally tethered to my living spaces because I knew I would leave them after eight months for a new work rotation. But, Apartment 407 was the first place I leased once all of that moving was done. It was the first place I really made a dent in. It was the first place I lived in long enough to leave ambiguous stains on the carpet and colorful memories in the bedroom. It was the first place where I successfully learned each and every one of Roxy’s hiding spots. It was the first place where I hosted small gatherings and invited my friends to leave good vibes. The first place where I stood in the bathroom for hours, locking the cat out so I could practice spoken word. It was the first place where I got serious about my writing, where I moved from just sitting on the couch to write to sitting up straight at a semi-decent workspace in the dining room. This was the first place where I planted roots.

But, when you are at the mercy of management companies yanking the rent up, sometimes you re-evaluate where you’ve your planted roots. This re-evaluation is also known as “Get the fuck out because you can’t afford a place with vaulted ceilings and a valet trash service.” However, I’d like to think I’m leaving all of my memories from these two years not just to save cash (although that’s the main reason), but also to start building new memories elsewhere. I’d like to think that even though this move is a comma, it means new beginnings in a lot of different ways that I don’t even know about yet.

Everyone I know is dealing with their iteration of the quarter-life crisis. I call friends to wish them a happy birthday and we are all of a sudden pontificating about the trajectory of our lives. I dial a number to interview someone for the blog and we’re trading stories about moves. I Gchat a friend I haven’t talked to in ages and we start chatting about what’s happening with them now that they’ve finished grad school. No matter how trivial anyone believes this so-called quarter-life crisis is, the truth is we are all looking at our lives and wondering what’s next and what the fuck? We’ve made it out of the abyss we fell into right after undergrad, that era when our perfect little collegiate bubbles burst and reality hit us like a sledgehammer. Now, we’re a tiny bit smarter. We have a smidgen of wisdom. We have destroyed ourselves enough now to know that we want to do better, even if we’re not quite sure how.

I knew I wanted to do better. I knew I didn’t want to wince or sweat or cower every time I checked my bank account. I put two and two together enough to know that desire meant getting out of an apartment munching on nearly 40% of my monthly income. I knew that meant trading in vaulted ceilings and a valet trash service for sanity and sleep-filled nights. I have destroyed myself enough. Time to do better.


The Makings of My Quarter-Life Crisis

I really didn’t want to do this. I really wanted to spare all of us the melodrama of my becoming yet another person approaching my quarter-life and freaking out.

I tried not to do it.

I’m pretty sure I failed.

Cause I’m freaking out.

My 25th birthday is less than two months away. All of a sudden, this matters more than I ever thought it would, should or could.

When I demanded that Twitter (yes, Twitter of all places) provide me with advice for how to handle one’s quarter-life crisis, I was met with every reply under the sun, ranging from “wine” to “prayer.” Clearly if I can just chuck a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon whilst on my knees at an altar, I’ll have the perfect response to all of my misgivings.

I decided to hit up my homie dictionary.com to get a better sense of what a crisis really is. Crisis is a scary and oft-misused word. But, the homie told me that a crisis is “a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.” 

quarter life crisis
Quarter-life crisis selfie

Ok, so really, I’m back at square one because what the hell does any of that even mean? Is the “stage” now? Is the “sequence of events” my life? Are “all future events” the rest of my life? Come on, dictionary.com, you’re fucking up. I need answers and you’ve only left me with more questions.

Everyone’s quarter-life crisis looks a bit differently. Let’s mitigate any confusion by stating that mine is not of the “need to get married and have babies” variety. No disrespect to that crisis; all crises are created equal. That’s just not mine.

It’s difficult to paint an accurate portrait of my quarter life crisis because a fraction of it involves my career and the 9 to 5 hush-hush part of my career isn’t quite up for blog discussion. But, for all intents and purposes, let’s say my crisis is about career, my blog and money–three entities that are related in theory, but pose separate sets of anxiety for me in this case.

I’ve spent the past three years pretty content that I have the basics: housing, food, water, litter for my cat. You know, those things. I have a job. I pay my rent. I can afford independence. When my 18-year-old mind dreamed way back during my days in Easton Hall, the aforementioned list was what I wanted. But, recently, I’ve wanted more. I’ve wanted to live a life of authenticity and creativity. I’ve wanted to stop hating Mondays. I’ve wanted to quit using the phrase “I can’t do anything for the next two weeks cause this is my rent check.” These are the things that bug me now. Just making it is no longer enough. Just scraping by is no longer enough. Just being OK is no longer enough. And, if you want to jump in the comments section and tell me that it is, save yourself the trouble. I moderate the comments in this bitch. Access denied.

I did something about one of my quarter-life woes so far; I decided to move to a cheaper apartment. In fact, a few days ago, I paid the exorbitant, demonic and soul-crushing rent on my current apartment for the last time (shout out to October’s pro-rated rent!) I feel both excited and apprehensive about my decision to downsize; I’m excited because I’m finally getting a chance to hold on to more money every month and I’m apprehensive because I need a legitimate plan to save that money so I avoid squandering it on Yellow Tail bottles of wine. To be continued.

I haven’t figured out how to (wo)man handle the other fractions of my crisis yet. I just know one motif that appeared again and again when the Twitter brigade offered suggestions was that it helps to have a plan. It does not mean the Universe will always move according to that plan, but it still helps to have it. It helps to have some goal, some aspiration, some thing that keeps you anchored during times of mayhem and uncertainty.

So, I guess it’s time to plan. The first plan is to continue to chronicle the makings of my quarter-life crisis intermittently on the blog so that you all can witness my neurosis. Seems like a good start.


Has Anyone Ever Really Found an Apartment on Craigslist?

I went to dinner with a friend a few weeks ago and she told me about a friend of hers who landed a great deal for an apartment on U Street. She found the place on Craigslist and while it was one of those sketchy ass listings that didn’t include any photos, it turned out to be a beauty.

I’m in the market for a new apartment once autumn hits. And, after a few skims through Craigslist, I am convinced there is some secret section under “Housing” that only 3% of apartment hunters know about where they find these incredible deals.

Moving is a royal pain in the ass. I’ve done it before, but all of those times were on corporate relocation money, also known as “Just tip the movers and we’ll take care of the rest.” In other words, all of my prior moves happened in some fantasy land in which I no longer reside. There will not be movers–there will be the Wilkins family, a UHaul and aching limbs for a week after.

If it were entirely up to me, I’d stay in my current apartment until it’s time to get married or something. But, my complex jacked the rent up last year and I’m getting tired of looking at my bank account and having the balance read, “What in the entire fuck?” So, I figured I need to downgrade a bit. And, that’s why I started browsing through Craigslist.

movingOf course, I started with the “apts/housing” tab, but all that ever yields is “Must see! One bedroom! $1700.” Oh, go to hell, District of Columbia, in all of your gentrified and overpriced glory.

The other idea is that I could get a roommate. However, I’ve been living alone since I graduated from college and once you live alone, the only person you ever want to potentially consider living with is your future spouse. And, even that cohabitation is questionable. The liberties that come with living alone–blasting music, reciting poetry loudly at 11pm, not closing the door when you use the bathroom and essentially doing whatever you want–are now freedoms on which I’ve come to rely.

Even so, I decided to take a peek into the darker side of Craigslist: “rooms/shared”. And, that was when shit got weird. First of all, half of these places don’t allow pets. Sorry, I’m a package deal. While I’ve never outright told an apartment complex I have a cat (because what the fuck is “pet rent”?), I have also only lived in ones that do allow pets. Just in case a leasing agent busts in on me one afternoon while Roxy is meowing endlessly at the bathroom sink (a nightly occurrence). Hey, you never know.

Under the rooms/shared tab, I also saw a listing requesting a “Professional Indian Desi woman” in which case I am absolutely sure the lister meant to post that under the “personals”. Are you looking for a roommate or a damn wife?

I clicked on listings advertising someone’s basement as a space to rent. At first, those seemed somewhat decent aside from only receiving a tunnel of natural light. But, at least they would be my own space–kind of. Except those listings became strange when I’d scroll through the photos of the space and all of the sudden, a photo of the couple renting out the space would pop up. There they would be all smiley and inviting and I’d have visions of them offering me a cup of coffee laced with arsenic. No, thanks.

Listen. Living should just be free. Or dirt cheap. Someone told me that a one bedroom apartment including utilities goes for about $525 in Oklahoma. But, then of course, you are living in…Oklahoma. Does that state even have paved highways?

Now, I’ve returned to my original apartment-hunting tool–www.apartmentguide.com. Fortunately, the move is still a few months away, so for now, I’ll drink wine while lamenting my bank account.



Advice Should Be Free (Or, Why We Don’t Need Anymore Coaches/Consultants)

Listen. I’ve paid for advice a lot in my life. I had a therapist for two years. I once paid for a coaching session with one of my favorite bloggers long before Twenties Unscripted even became a thing or a name or a brand or whatever else I call it these days. I paid an ungodly amount of money to spend 30 minutes on the phone with her, probably because at the time I idolized her and not because I was completely incapable of nurturing a blog for two years sans that advice.

Paying for those bits of wisdom throughout my life has taught me that not all incredible advice deserves a price tag. In fact, a lot of standard, common sense, barebones advice is what you’ll actually pay for. And, a lot of eye-opening gems of advice are often times nestled in the corners of dinner conversations or drunken nights on the couch with your friends. Good advice can even be found on Twitter if you weed through all of the simpletons spewing their usual trash.

Unfortunately, we now live in the age of the side hustle which means we live in the age of the “Coaching Package.” I always raise my brow when I see these sorts of phrases grace the pages of someone’s blog or website. Granted, there are people who are qualified to charge you for advice. They have been trained, educated and equipped with the proper credentials to charge for their services. They have spent countless hours getting savvy when it comes to blog business plans or ways to improve self-esteem or whatever else people are coaching others on in 2014. They have proven and specific methods to help people get ahead. I get that. I don’t knock that. Multiple streams of income and all that jazz. But, if you just happen to have a blog and you just happen to have an opinion, you don’t have a right to charge people for advice. You just don’t.

You’ll never see “Let me coach you!” as one of the pages on my blog. Yes, I am working on ways to develop more income from my blog, but I don’t believe shelling out my thoughts and opinions at a cost is a reasonable way to gather that income. You guys get my thoughts and opinions every day. You can click on the “blogging” or “writing” categories if you want my advice about this game. And, I have personally responded to people who have reached out asking for specific advice regarding their blogs. To me, that’s just the territory that comes along with blogging. People reach out and you reach back. That is what you do. It sickens me that we’re starting to exist in a world where people do not feel obligated to respond to a question unless it’s going to benefit their pocket.

You want my advice on blogging? Be consistent. Be consistent. And when that fails, continue to be consistent. Be consistent in your content. Be consistent in your scheduling. Be consistent in your voice. Have your content match your social media presence and have that social media presence match your actual presence. That is how you develop a brand–consistency. I wouldn’t charge you for that advice. You know why? Because it’s common fucking sense. The formula that hard work pays off is not rocket science; it’s common fucking sense.

The experiences I’ve had paying for advice have pushed me to be tenacious when it comes to finding free advice. I look for and find inspiration and insight in every day life. I don’t need to shell out any fraction of my paycheck for that.