Answers to: “11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask”

Inspired by this article that kept popping up on my news feed.

1. Do the people I’m surrounded by bring me life?

Yes.

On a similar angle, I am reminded of the questions What careers do the people who you spend the most time with have? and On average, what do the five people you spend the most time with make?

My friends’ careers are: teacher, TA for an autistic school, counselor at RTF, nurse, IT, engineer sales, executive assistant, JD/MBA candidate, Navy JAG…the only possible pattern is helping people, with a side of law and technology.

As far as salary, that also covers a wide range. But, I will also say, there is not a strong love of money among my closest friends. We value life, love, people, joy, giving, breaking bread together, laughing till our sides hurt, and celebrating life’s milestones.

“Your life will resemble the lives of your closest friends—does that fact excite you or freak you out?”

Excites me. My friends are strong. Generous. Forgiving. Understanding. Fierce. All things I value and aspire to. And they all make enough to pay rent and mortgages, put food on the tables, and start families. Or, they find ways to make it work.

Creative. Persevering. Hopeful. Hard working.

2. Who inspires me the most?

I have never known how to answer this question. Is it bad that I’m not inspired?

It’s not that I’m not inspired. It’s that I can’t think of just one person who inspires me in every way. My parents are entrepreneurial. My mother is self-sacrificial, my father honest and hard-working.

I don’t know. Ghandi was peaceful. Mother Theresa was giving. Corrie ten Boom was courageous. All of those traits are equally inspiring.

3. What are my favorite stories?

The Ordinary Princess. Ella Enchanted (book, not movie). Cinderella (mostly the  Book of Virtues version).

“Is there a common thread that runs through each story?”

A young girl who has or appears to have a major weakness, but she is strong of character and fights for and pursues the life she wants, valuing what she will and not what people tell her is important. Well, Cinderella doesn’t really fight. And the Disney version annoys me the more I think about it. But when she is not being terribly wimpy, she is very selfless and patient.

4. Would I want to live with me?

Yes.

5. Do I love from my insecurities or do I love from my strengths?

Both. Constantly trying and learning how to love more from my strengths. To give instead of ask.

6. Where am I ripe with talent and where do I quickly deflate?

“Then focus on the things you’re good at.”

Hmmm. I’m talented at:

Talking/public speaking – Getting really excited about ideas and encouraging people to pursue them – Baking – Trying new things – Saying ridiculous things without meaning to – Learning; I pick up things quickly – Waxing philosophical – Writing – Dancing

I’m not so talented at:

Photography – Singing – Running – Keeping in touch with people – Being on time – Getting out of parking tickets – Remembering things (so I write them down)

7. What are my favorite hobbies/things I do for fun, and are they something I can leverage into a career or product?

I love story telling; I always made up bedtime stories for my little siblings growing up, and maintained I would be a storyteller when I grew up.

I’m not great at telling stories in person. I’m bad a jokes too–I never keep the right amount of suspense for the punch line. In fact, I usually forget the punch line! But I’m OK at writing them. More importantly, I love writing them.

Baking. I am starting to make that a side income.

Dancing. You never know. One of my friends/employers has fashioned a career from dancing, so there’s always that. I would love that, actually. Dancing is storytelling, really.

8. What’s the main thing holding me back?

For writing? The last time I sat down to try to write a book was when I was roughly 11 years old. Something about castles and evil uncles and a female heroine being very self-sufficient and strong. I just wrote the first chapter. Her name was Elizabeth and she was being chased through the woods on a horse. It was probably raining. I can’t remember where she was going.

I have never tried to write anything since then. I think I’m afraid it won’t be ‘good enough.’ Chances are it won’t be. Even most good writers have decades of oblivion before writing something that makes money or gets any sort of attention.

For Baking, just the startup costs and things. But Pittsburgh is awesome and I’m going to just start in the Strip, or at farmer’s markets and things.

For Dancing, well, I definitely haven’t invested the time to even be close to make a career of any sort out of it!

9. What are my negotiables and non-negotiables?

Non-negotiables: I want to have a life outside of work. I like my family and my friends. I like seeing people outside of my computer screen and phone. Now, if my work is field-based or something where I am running around like crazy and people are everywhere, that I could do for 80 hours a week.

Negotiables: I like new places. I would move to one.

10. What breaks my heart?

Human trafficking. Women and girls who don’t know their worth. Women and girls who provide a negative role model for other women and girls, encouraging them to downgrade their worth.

11. At 29 years and 364 days, if I have accomplished just one thing, what do I want it to be?

Oh gosh. I’m so bad at these questions. My 20s have a lot in them already!

I’ve moved to two new cities: one of them completely on the other side of the world, and one of them without job prospects. I’ve taken some pretty big risks, and had moments of doubt. I’ve traveled solo, made best friends for a day, learned how to be comfortable with myself and accepting of others, and felt 100% at peace and happy. I’ve loved and lost and loved again. I’ve made bad decisions and learned from them. I’ve learned so much from my financial decisions–what the value of money is, and the difference between not needing money to be happy and needing money to pay rent. I examined and heavily questioned everything I grew up believing and made it my own. I even jumped out of a plane!

Those are all big things!

The first thing that came to mind? Making my parents grandparents. Sounds lame. Especially with all the feminist-centered reading I do. But that would be really, really great.

The second thing: complete a triathlon. Not sure on that, on account of hating running. We’ll see.

Professionally? Maybe I should start working on a book. I had some crazy dreams in Korea, and finally had the sense to write one of them down before they stopped. Definitely has potential.

I will say this: this is a great example of my main ‘problem.’ I don’t know what I want to do, so I am doing nothing. There is so much pressure on doing amazing things, and being that person everyone envies, and accomplishing so much everyone wants to shake your hand, that I am left feeling pathetic at doing only good things.

Good should be enough.

I will think less, and do more. I so dearly love to think and contemplate it gets in the way of accomplishing and taking action.

Back to the question. What is my ONE GOAL for my twenties?

Ahahah, I just had the urge to say, “I need more time to think about it.” Gah! It’s just so much pressure! And limiting!

OK….design a fashion line, write a book, have a farmer’s market bakery, be in a dance troupe/on a dance team, build a piece of furniture for my house, go on a live-aboard, have a kid (!!), get a pet, meet Stephen Colbert..

AH! That’s it! If I can accomplish one thing in my twenties, I want to hang out with Stephen Colbert.