Friday Favorites & Turning 30

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope the week has treated you well! What are you up to this weekend? My 30th birthday is on Sunday, and with that in mind I thought I’d mix things up a bit with this week’s roundup and share some of my favorite experiences from the last decade. (By the way, how crazy is it that I’m at the point where I’m measuring my life in decades? When everybody turned 30 on Friends, they seemed SO much older!) But I digress. Stroll down memory lane with me and relive a few of the highlights from my twenties!

Highlights from my twenties

1. My senior year of college, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Rome as part of my Classics major. As insane as it sounds in retrospect, I wasn’t initially sure that I wanted to do it. I didn’t speak Italian, it was my last year of school and didn’t want to spend half of it away from my friends (yeah, I kind of want to go back in time and slap myself). But I was equally afraid I’d end up regretting it if I didn’t go. So I took the plunge, and guess what? It was amazing. Duh. Not only was living in Rome was one of the most exciting and enriching experiences I’ve ever had, but it really got me out of my comfort zone – something I need more of in my life. Plus, gelato! Need I say more?

2. My 21st birthday party will forever live in infamy as my favorite birthday party of all time. My roommate planned an incredibly elaborate spy-themed soirée: all the guests were assigned a mysterious alias and backstory. There were games (Mil-themed bingo!), prizes (booze, obviously), and of course, plenty of cocktails. To top it all off, my sister flew in to join the festivities. Best birthday party ever!

3. The year after graduating college, I spent months planning a trip to Mexico with a friend. But right before we were about to book it, I was laid off from my job (which happened to be my first job out of college, and my dream job to boot). I was depressed, totally broke, and in absolutely no position to spend big money on a vacation. You see where this is going, right? I went to Mexico anyway. Was it the financially responsible thing to do? Hell no. Would I do the same thing now? No way. But at the time, it was exactly what I needed. We spent ten days drinking margaritas on the beach, exploring Mayan ruins, and soaking up the sun. (And thankfully, by the time we went on the trip, I had found another job. Bullet dodged…)

4. Signing the lease on my first apartment is when I finally felt like an actual adult. No roommate, no family, just me, a legit grown-up. Nothing else before or since has given me the same sense of accomplishment and independence, probably because it was such a long time coming (I had moved back home after graduating college, and it was a few years before I was making enough money to live on my own). Leaving my childhood home behind, I found an apartment downtown, and I was so excited to be steps away from all the restaurants, cute shops, and countless happy hours. But perhaps best of all, I could finally decorate however I wanted. Sweet freedom!

5. I’m a pretty emotional person, but it takes a lot for me to cry in public. That went right out the window the day Jules got married. I can’t remember ever crying so many happy tears! My face literally hurt from smiling so much that day. I love the picture above because you can see how ridiculously happy I am to be standing up there with her. Love you, Jules!

Obviously I’m leaving a lot out, both good and bad, but I hope you enjoyed this brief (well, sort of) glimpse into my twenties. Here’s to the next decade!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

♥ Mil

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It’s the End of an Era

Julia Malinowski Twenties Lessons Learned Depression Anxiety

These last few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a grown-up. Today marks my transition from my twenties to my thirties, and as I usher in this new decade of my life I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the past 10 years. Most people come into their own in their twenties and I was no different. I spent this time experimenting with my hair (definitely had a mullet at one point), jobs, and boyfriends, testing things out until I found the best fit. I also faced my first adult challenges: paying bills, negotiating work politics, developing a support structure in unfamiliar cities, etc. With each new challenge came a lesson, a strategy for doing it better next time or not at all! When I think of the most salient lessons I’ve learned during this time, I keep returning to these three:
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Own your truth. For most of my life I’ve taken pains to always present my best self to both the world and my friends. Success is important to me and perception is a big part of achieving success. For a long time I thought that the strong thing to do was to present and happy yet determined face to the world. Whatever I was actually feeling, most often depression, I threw on a smile as soon as I walked out the front door. Turns out, constantly plastering on a happy face and avoiding your real emotions isn’t that good for you in the long term…Seems a bit obvious as I write it, but in the moment it certainly was not. In my late twenties I reached a breaking point and ended up being hospitalized for the depression I’d spent years ignoring. Having my very own Girl Interrupted moment shocked me into realizing that something needed to change. Since then I’ve worked to be much more honest with myself and others. Real strength comes from understanding who you are and really owning it.
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It’s never too late to change. I am a stubborn person. I’ve always been open to trivial changes: trying new foods, changing my hair style, making new acquaintances, which helps create the perception that I’m flexible. However when it comes to my core attitudes and behaviors, I’ve been more resistant to change (aren’t most people?). I’ve always been fiercely independent and as already referenced have struggled to let others in. The idea of depending on someone and completely letting them into your life, whether a friend or a significant other, has always scared the bejesus out of me. I certainly count on my friends and family, but in the back of my head I always told myself that if push came to shove I’d be fine on my own.
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While I still think this way from time to time, over the last couple of years I have been working hard to change my default thoughts and behaviors. Getting married was a helpful push. You can’t have a successful marriage if you’re not willing to fully open up to your partner and trust that he/she will support you in spite of your ugly secrets and moments of shame. I’ve actually started taking a class to help me better understand and communicate my emotions. It’s hard work that’s often often frustrating and I frequently fail. What makes it worth it is that there was a time in my life when I thought “once emotionally stunted, always emotionally stunted,” and today I know that that’s not the case.
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Nick Malinowski Julia Malinowski twenties lessons depression

Me and Nck. Don’t worry, the shirt was for a theme party. 

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From time to time, take the crazier and riskier path.
 I am generally a risk averse person. As my husband can attest, I’m terribly fond of longterm plans and saving for future. I don’t gamble, ride motorcycles, or even rollercoasters. However, a couple times in my life I’ve let my passions or intuition lead me down the riskier path and each time it’s ended up having an incredible impact on me. I think the craziest thing I did in my twenties was move to a rural town in Arkansas, a state I couldn’t even mentally picture on a map. I moved with the intention of launching a career in economic development with the next step from there being a stint abroad. 5 years later, I still have yet to work abroad, but what I gained more than makes up for it. I gained amazing work experience, serving as a board president and the director of an organization. I gained strong friendships and mentorships that I know I will be able to count on for years to come. And I also gained my husband. I actually met Nick on my first day in Helena; can you imagine how different my life would have been had I not made the move?!

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Striking a pose in downtown Helena, a place that will always be near and dear to my heart.

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So cheers to my twenties and let’s hope that the best is still yet to come! What are the best lessons you’ve learned over the years? How have you changed over the past decade?
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XOXO,
Jules

Friday Favorites and Turning 29

birthday-cake-candles

Y’all, this Sunday I turn 29 and it’s a bit hard for me fathom. I’m entering my last year before I hit my thirties and I still feel like I’m barely a grown-up. I laugh inappropriately all the time and use my fingers at dinner. Plus, I barely look like I’m 19, much less 29!

I’m actually not a birthday person. I don’t want a birthday party, I don’t want to be sung to, etc. I’m an introvert by nature and I’m just uncomfortable having people look at me all day. Plus, when did birthdays become a month long thing? Isn’t one day of being the center of attention enough? (Although I gamely humor those who claim an entire month for their celebrations).

Last year Nick got me a big white bathrobe. I ended up spending my birthday lounging around in just my robe eating chocolate pie. This year I think we’re going to Memphis to run errands and then will probably go out to dinner. Lame, I know.

Now Halloween on the other hand is a celebration I can get behind and it’s a holiday that deserves to be observed beyond one day. To celebrate, most of this week’s favorites are seasonally themed:

1. You need to watch this video of men trying on “sexy” Halloween costumes. I have nothing against women wanting to look cute in their costumes. However in a world where sex sells, retailers are coming out with an increasing number of ridiculous and sexually provocative outfits. So much so that it’s become almost an expectation to dress as a sexy witch or nurse. Can women even buy a full coverage costume anymore?

Cartoon by Andy Mariette, via Sociological Images

Cartoon by Andy Mariette, via Sociological Images

 

2. To clean your palette, you must look at these pictures of puppies in costumes. I am dying over the cute factor and now suddenly want a third dog.

3. Everyone has their go-to candy to pass out on Halloween. Depending on my mood I either buy candy I don’t like so I won’t eat it all, or conversely I buy candy I do like in case there are leftovers. What does your candy choice say about you? Please tell me you don’t pass out raisins or granola bars.

4. Apparently this year I will be hitting my social peak. A study recently came out identifying 29 as the age when people have the most friends. So this is as good as it’s going to get.

5. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Giants won the World Series. I don’t even follow sports, but it was an interesting series to track. I wonder how many Royals fans took the day off to mourn. While reading an article about the game, a picture caught my eye (see below). Is it just me, or does Madison Bumgarner look like Shia LaBeouf dressed up in a baseball uniform?

Source: KGMI.com

Source: KGMI.com

 

And with that, I wish you a happy weekend.

XOXO,
Jules

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