From the view of a 20-something dream chaser.

30 Things...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30

By Glamour Magazine

Ok so I've yet to even reach my mid-20s, but I came across this list and found it to be great for self-reflection and evaluation, no matter what age you are. I like to take time to think about what I'm really doing here on earth and I figured I'm not the only one. Sometimes your life, relationships and career and personal goals need some revamping. This might help.

By 30, you should have:
One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
A youth you’re content to move beyond.
A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you
deserve it.
The belief that you deserve it.
A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.

By 30, you should know:
How to fall in love without losing yourself.
How you feel about having kids.
How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
When to try harder and when to walk away.
How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
How to take control of your own birthday.
That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
Why they say life begins at 30.

Someday when I'm 30, I hope to have and know each of the articles on this list. And I hope that my life will still be what dreams are made of.

Why Not?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A good friend of mine, Isaac, came into town this past weekend for work, so we planned to meet up. After my class, we met at Times Square and asked two policemen where we should go. Isaac said asking policemen is always a safe route because they have to know the city. They told us we should find Restaurant Row, so we did and ended up at a French restaurant called L'Ybane. I ordered the seafood spaghetti and a glass (ok, maybe two) of sparkling Moscato. Mon dieu, c'est trés bon! Had the leftovers the next day for lunch and it was even better the second time. The spaghetti, not the wine. But this is not a review of this restaurant (although I will most certainly go back), so moving on...

As Isaac and I we were talking about how I was adjusting to life in the city, my love life (and lack thereof, in case you're wondering), and being a graduate student, he said something to me that began a conversation and series of thoughts that I will never forget. It began when he told me how proud he was that I decided to venture out of Virginia, that he wished he had the balls to do that when he was 22. He said, "If there's an opportunity to study abroad, GO!" and reminded me that there is a world of opportunities here that are at my fingertips, from networking events to modeling opportunities to community involvement. He then asked me what really made me feel compelled to move to New York City, in the end. Without even thinking, I replied, "Why not?"

Isaac and me at my college graduation

And again I say, "Why not?" It makes me think of the Hilary Duff song lyrics:

Why not take a crazy chance?
Why not do a crazy dance?
If you lose a moment, you might lose a lot.
So, why not?

Why not? There was absolutely nothing holding me back. I didn't win Miss Virginia so promoting my personal platform, as well as the Miss America Organization and its platform, the Children's Miracle Network, as a full-time job for the next year was no longer an option. I didn't have a job or internship or even living arrangements in Northern Virginia, where I went to undergrad and where many of my friends still are. And although I love my little town of Louisa and my parents and brother very much, what on earth would I be doing there right now? Looking terrible, I bet (my signature phrase). The reason I moved here and the reason why I do so many of the things I do (which is the same reason my parents worry so much about me), is because I was born without fear. For as long as I can remember, I have had a healthy disregard for the impossible. I awaken from my big dreams in the morning and begin to prepare for my future full of them. No one can make them a reality but me and God.

So that's what I'm doing here. I have set out, not to change the world, but to make a difference in it. And I believe I have chosen the best profession in the world for that. When done properly, public relations seeks to educate people, to motivate them and change public perception without misleading people. Public relations is centered on ethics, and since ethics play such an immeasurable role in my personal life, it's only right that the consistency spreads across my professional life, as well.

I know so many people take pride in my accomplishments because they feel they have helped me succeed in some way. They are correct. No man (or woman) succeeds on his own. I learned that from Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. I know that some people are counting on me to fail and run home crying to my parents. Tell them not to bet their bottom dollar. I know that there are still others who would like to do and be more than they currently are. They can. They just need to ask themselves, "Why not?" If that question goes unanswered, they'll know it's time. I hope I can inspire them in some way, even if I never know. That's what dreams are made of.

My (New) New York

Saturday, September 15, 2012

They say you aren't truly a New Yorker until you've lived here consecutively for ten years. Bump them. I've been here a little over a week and I'd like to think I'm already a New Yorker. I have yet to master the subway, I forget to close my curtains sometimes and I still walk around in awe as a tourist would, but who cares? I'm an explorer.

And my apartment--OUR apartment--is the best thing since sliced bread. My roommate and I lucked out in getting a newly renovated place with all new furnishings. Unfortunately, that also meant we were without a kitchen sink and cabinets for almost a week. It was tragic. All those meals I had imagined myself cooking had to be put on hold. The horror. Yet, somehow, I managed.

For making this move alone to a brand new city, I have been called brave. I have been called crazy. I have been called amazing. In reality, I am probably a bit of all three, with an emphasis on the crazy. Let’s face it: I’m a southern country gal. There are farms and llamas and dirt roads in Louisa, Va., where I’m from. We just got a Wal-Mart. Our biggest attractions are Lake Anna and our Friday night football games in The Jungle. This is a big change for me. My parents are worried sick and in constant prayer. And so am I. 

On my first full day as a New York resident, my father texted to ask if I was yet homesick. I told him I wasn’t, which was and is true. But as the week progressed, I learned that the city can be quite lonely. At times, I felt so small in this immensely populated and big place. New York City is my ocean, and I believe I will always feel small standing beside it. I have certainly found my comfort zone and vow to stay out of it in exploration of something more. 

In my first week, I noticed quite a few things. For starters, New Yorkers stare. And not just the creeps you see hanging out in dark alleys (not that I've ever been in any other than in my nightmares), but even the fairly normal-looking people. It may be because I have a smiling problem and they don't. New Yorkers don’t smile enough, so naturally they’re surprised when I smile at them. They probably think I’m crazy. Ask me if I care. The world needs a lot more love.

I also found that everyone here is always in a hurry, even when they don't have to be. It seems they have become so accustomed to the rat race that even when they have time, they don't stop to enjoy life. I hope that doesn't become me. I want to always make time to soak in life's sweet moments. The other night on the train, I was thinking about my freshman year of undergrad and the good times I had with the friends who became family. I will never get those moments back, but I so wish I could sometimes. Someday, I may say the same about the time I spent here in New York. So my days here will not be wasted.

Now, about grad school: it's a lot like undergrad. You have the slackers and the overachievers, the invigorating and mind-stimulating professors and the ones who drone on and on. (If you're reading this, Prof. Breakenridge, you are most certainly the former.) And we can't forget the group projects and presentations and seemingly endless reading assignments. What's different is, of course, the content and discussion thereof. We examine many more case studies than I did in undergrad, which I find extremely useful for practical application. Everyone knows you can't learn everything you need to in a classroom or from a book. But you can learn from the past and from your professors and peers. I can honestly say I am impressed with my fellow classmates and their accomplishments, as well as with my professors and their teaching styles.

Right now, I have a lot of free time on my hands, but in a couple weeks I will begin an internship with Simon & Schuster, a top publishing company. When I tell you this opportunity of a lifetime fell into my lap, I mean it. And that’s why I think it was sent from above. I believe in signs like that. What's meant to be always will be. And I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now.

I feel blessed to be who and where I am. This is what dreams are made of.
Life is Deleesh. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.