Tag Archives: life

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

You can say that I’m living the dream. It has been a year since graduation and in that year I’ve moved to Chicago to work for the world’s top public relations agency. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in a beautiful neighborhood. I pay my own bills (including school loans). I’ve made fantastic friends. I go to brunch. Yes, I’m living the dream. A dream that I’ve worked my whole academic life to achieve. So, this is why I worked so hard. So, this is why I made the choices I made. So, this is it.

But, this is not enough.

You see, I ‘m the kind of person that’s never satisfied. I’m my own worst critic. I actually cringed a little bit writing that first paragraph because while all of that is true, it reeked of humble-braggedness (yes, I made up this word) plus rarely do I ever take time to reflect on how blessed I really am. It wasn’t until my 9-year-old sister told me on the phone the other day that I was her “role model” that I actually began to feel like I’ve done some good in the world. I’ve always looked outwardly for role models, never really identifying myself as one, but, damn, if the smartest kid I know wants to be like me then I must be doing something right.

I tend to focus more on fixing weaknesses than appreciating strengths. Obviously this isn’t the healthiest mind-set.

For me, it is always about what more can I do? What does the next level look like? Am I doing enough? What isn’t working here?

Maybe I’m paranoid, but I like to have multiple hustles. Sure, I have a full-time job, but I also freelance write and work occasionally at a neat stationary shop called GREERChicago. I have an innate fear of only being associated with one group or one thing. That’s probably why I never felt a desire to join a sorority. I’m a floater by nature, so being anchored by one group never really appealed to me. It’s probably why my resume looks like a game of “connect the dots.” How does one work experience connect with the other? And, how the hell did I end up in public relations despite concentrating in legal communications. Paranoia, that’s why.

My innate fear of only being associated with one group or one thing is tied into my greatest ultimate fear: not living up to my full-potential.

I’m not a big sports buff, but I am a big fan of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries. I binge-watch them on Netflix. Not only are they extremely well-made, but they all speak to this idea of potential whether in regards to meeting, surpassing or falling short of one’s expected potential. The internal and external pressures faced by athletes to live up their full-potential is an inherently human plight. While I am in no way an athlete I can relate.

There’s a door in my apartment building that clearly says “pull,” but when you pull on the door it doesn’t open. Turns out, you’re actually meant to push the door. Generally, fear is an emotion that pulls us back, but in some cases fear can actually push us forward. Just like that door there are some things in life that won’t operate the way are “supposed” to. We ask for signs to help aid our decision making, but sometimes the signs we are presented with aren’t necessarily the right ones. Sometimes we just have to operate by instinct. If our instincts tell us to push forward then why should we follow directions from signs telling us to pull back?

This is where I’m at right now. I’m facing signs telling me to do this, do that, be this, be that. But, my instincts say otherwise. My instincts say that if I follow my passions then I will eventually to live up to my full-potential because my potential resides within my passions.

So, what’s the moral of this admitted stream of consciousness? Don’t wait for a sign to tell you how to move forward. Trust your instincts. If you are doing things rooted by a passion then you will make great strides towards living up to your full-potential as defined by you, not others. If you’re afraid of what’s next then use that fear to fuel you. Use that fear to push you forward instead of pull you back. Above all, take time to appreciate your strengths and accomplishments, but don’t stop ’til you get enough.

 

Things to Consider When Apartment Hunting

As I write this one of my favorite HGTV shows, For Rent, is playing in the background. It is more than appropriate since this post is about my recent experience apartment hunting in Chicago.

According to HGTV’s website, host Jodi Gilmour “guides desperate but hopeful renters to a home that fits their budget.” I would certainly place myself in the “desperate but hopeful” category since I only had a week in Chicago to find a decent apartment. Unfortunately, I did not have Jodi Gilmour as a guide. Instead I consulted every and anyone I could find with some connection to Chicago and of course the Internet. If you are planning to move to Chicago I would highly recommend checking out YoChicago for information about neighborhoods in the area.

One of my future co-workers (yay!) gave me a list of neighborhoods to target. The neighborhoods on the list were (1) Rogers Park, (2) Lincoln Park/Lakeview, (3) Bucktown/Wicker Park, and (5) Hyde Park.

Here’s what I took away from the apartment hunting experience:

  1. Much like the rent in Washington, DC the rent in Chicago is “too damn high.”
  2. My co-worker’s list of neighborhoods was right on point!

I ended up choosing to live in a nice building located in one of the aforementioned neighborhoods. But, let me tell you I had to kiss a few frogs first.

My Top Three Apartment Hunting OMG-WTH-I Can’t Moments:

3. I wish I was allowed to take a picture of this unit. In one of the studios I literally could not open the refrigerator door more than six inches. There was a wall directly in front of it. In fact, my arm got stuck when I tried to reach inside. That’s definitely a no no for a Foodie like me.

2. The following is a picture of a studio apartment I visited. It was by far the smallest and yet oddly enough the most expensive apartment I came across. You could literally cook from your bed, enough said.

20130521_113711

1. Prior to coming across my future apartment the nicest apartment I saw also happened to be the absolute smelliest apartment on Earth. Seriously.

I used a free apartment finding service to help me search for apartments during my first few days in the city. The guy from the service really helped me learn more about the city and bring me back down to Earth in regards to my wish list and budget. However, the last place we visited was disgusting beyond belief.

Let me set the scene for you.

At first, I started swooning over the building because it is located right by a metro line and the beach. I could literally walk less than three minutes to the beach each day if I wanted to. I later found out that being so close to the beach isn’t a good thing. According to some random lady I met the closer you are to the beach the closer you are to “the hood.” Her words, not mine. So, we walk into the one-bedroom apartment and the current tenant is home. Awkward. The apartment is much like its tenant: sloppy and disheveled. I’m not being rude, just being honest here.

The guy from the apartment service and I were both welcomed with the overwhelming stench of God-knows-what. We exchange worried looks, discreetly hold our breaths, and forge on. I’ll skip the part when I peek into the bathroom because I’ll get night terrors trying to recall what I saw. But, if you’re into gross things I’ll share with you what I saw in the bedroom. Picture this: a mattress with no bedsheets, pillows, or comforter with a hula hoop sized brown stain on it. Okay, so we’re done here.

After years of watching hours of HGTV I thought I pretty much had the whole “find your perfect apartment” thing down pact. However, no amount of HGTV can really prepare for what’s out there. But, it sure can help.

Here are some things to consider when apartment hunting:

1. Plan your trip. Do your due diligence and learn everything you can about your target neighborhoods. Ask people you know, talk to strangers, go on web forums, spend hours on your search engine of choice. Learn as much as you can. For example, I looked up the crime statistics of my target neighborhoods and checked how far each perspective building was from work by public transit. If the place was too far, or the rent and the crime rate was too damn high I crossed it off my list quickly.

2. Come armed with a wish list of apartment features. Identify what your must-haves are and also what you can be flexible about. My must-haves included a “safe” building (security cameras at least) in a walkable area close to public transit. I was flexible about living in a building with a fitness room (no, gym costs!) and hardwood floors. I ended up getting a place with a fitness room, but carpet instead of hardwood floors on the condition that management would clean the carpet before my arrival.

3. Visit potential apartments during different times of the day.  A place may look nice in the morning or in the afternoon, but make sure it looks nice later in the day too. There’s a reason they say the freaks come out at night.

4. Think about whether you want roommates. After spending the last three years living in a house with five other people I figured I have had my fill of roommates. Plus, I didn’t want to risk living with a crazy stranger. There are pros and cons to living with roommates versus living alone.

5. Don’t rely on only the Internet to find a place. One of the best ways to find an apartment in the neighborhood of your choice is to actually visit the neighborhood. I spent hours walking around neighborhoods and walking into buildings that I liked. Randomly walking into the right place at the right time is how I found the building I will be moving into next month. Leaving my computer and walking around helped me learn more about my target neighborhoods and made it easier to envision myself living there.

6. Take online ratings and reviews with a grain of salt. Yelp ratings and similar sites can be extremely helpful because they give you insight that you can’t get from management. However, they can also be full of haters and perpetrators.  One thing I did when the opportunity presented itself was to stop a current tenant during a visit to ask them how they liked the building. I got some great advice and insight that way.

I look forward to moving next month and decorating my new place. Yes, of course I’ll share some pictures and probably a DIY project or two. Now excuse me while I lurk around Pinterest.

 

(Photo Credit: PinkMoose

 

ENTERING THE “REAL” WORLD

It always feels as if time slows down during the last month of school. When you realize that it’s April and you only have a few more weeks left you wonder where all the time went, but as you are beginning to complete papers, present projects and study for exams time seems to move oddly slower than it did before.

Read more...
INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

on

You know you have finally made it when people stop asking you what you want to be when you grow up. Since I am asked that question on a regular basis it is very safe to say that I haven’t made it…yet.

That question is certainly more than a handful. No really, it’s ten words. First and foremost, I want to be happy. However, that is never the answer people are looking for when they ask that question. They want to know what I plan to do career-wise because as unfortunate as it is we tend to define people solely by their careers.

Read more...