Browse Category by Millennial Lifestyle

What You Will Find Here

Millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 2000. Love it or hate it, millennials do things differently than our predecessors. We think differently about careers, money, and pursuing happiness. Since I am a twenty-something millennial myself, I know about the millennial lifestyle and its triumphs and tribulations. On this site, you will find practical posts about the struggles facing us today and ways to counteract them. This includes things such as: Money, jobs, adulting, following your dreams, and travel advice.

The millennial lifestyle has uniquely shaped the environment that we grew up in. This in conjunction with the natural difficulties of surviving your twenties can make life seem like a struggle. The twenties are a time of change and uncertainty. But they are also a time of creating great opportunity for yourself. My hope is that through reading this blog, you will find small ways of navigating your twenties with greater ease.

Thanks for reading, I hope that you will find something that you will enjoy.

“Once in awhile it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley

Millennial Lifestyle

Let’s Talk About Suicide

let's talk about suicide

Please Note: I am not an expert; however, I volunteered for three years on my local distress line and have gained experience in this area. And you don’t need to be an expert to start the conversation. Let’s talk about suicide.

Let’s Talk About Suicide

September 10th is Suicide Prevention Day. As twenty-something millennials it is normal to feel some anguish or confusion about the future. However, there is a line between “What am I doing with my life?” and wanting to end your life. We definitely live in a culture where suicide is made light of with our language, we say things like, “If ____ happens then I’m going to just kill myself.” Or, “I’m so tired I could just die.” I am 100% guilty of doing this myself. Speaking in this way diminishes the experience that someone who is thinking of suicide might be having. It also might make it harder to recognize when someone is being serious about their thoughts.

Suicide is something that is highly stigmatized. Some families who have experienced a loss to suicide never talk about it. That loss is swept under the rug. In turn, this closes the doors for conversation if other family members are experiencing those same thoughts. However, this is tragic because simply knowing someone who has killed themselves increases risk of suicide. Talking about suicide is the only way to break down these barriers. If you are thinking about suicide you are not alone and there is help. Let’s talk about suicide and open those doors.

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Let’s Talk About You

If you are genuinely thinking about killing yourself or having thoughts of doing so even if you aren’t intending on doing it, then it is very important to get some help. There are likely professionals in your area or you can talk to your family doctor about getting help. Talking to professionals or asking for help can be very scary and intimidating. It takes a lot of courage to admit that things aren’t right and a lot of strength to seek out help. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health issues the first person you speak to might not be helpful or supportive. This is understandably very discouraging, but please don’t give up on it if the first person you speak to isn’t helpful. You are worth everything. Keep searching until you find someone who understands.

If you find yourself in this place and are feeling alone or like no one cares, please know this is false. Often when people are experiencing suicidal thoughts they might feel this way but the reality is that there are people out there that do care.

Often times when someone is having suicidal thoughts it is less about wanting to die and more about wanting to end the pain that a person is experiencing. This pain can take many different forms and varies by the individual. Whatever pain a person is in is valid. And wanting to end that pain is normal. This life and death struggle is referred to as ambivalence. If you are experiencing pain, there are other ways of ending it.

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Lets Talk About Help For Others

If you suspect that someone you know is thinking about killing themselves it is okay to just ask them. You won’t plant any ideas. Make sure that you ask the question directly, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” This opens up the door for conversation. A person who is not thinking about killing themselves will give a hard no. Someone who is may give a vague or non-answer or a just plain honest, “Yes.”

One of the reasons it’s important to have a conversation is that someone who is in that place may be experiencing perceived isolation. This is where they believe no one cares or no one would miss them if they were gone. While this is often far from the truth it is a common part of the negative spiral a person finds themselves in when they are depressed.

And please, never, ever, tell someone to, “Just get over it” or “Snap out of it.” This is more damaging than you could ever realize. And depression, suicidal thoughts or any other mental health concerns are so much more complex than this.

Let’s Talk About Suicide More

Many cities have a local distress line, here are resources for Canada and USA.

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Millennial Lifestyle

How to Overcome Fear and Follow Your Dreams

How to overcomer your fears

Recently, I went bungee jumping for the first time off of a 160-foot bridge (I like to go extreme or not at all) and I convinced my little sister to join me. As the older sister, I went first. Of course, the jump was scary, it is a massive bridge. But she was watching me. I knew that if I hesitated she would see it and it might affect her confidence jumping after me. I had to look over the ledge, take a deep breath and jump. It was amazing. However, I had to take a moment to face my own fear in order to instill confidence in someone else. We often praise those who overcome their fears and achieve great things. In facing your own fears, you may become an inspiration to others. You will not only achieve your own dreams; you will help others achieve theirs. Overcome fear and follow your dreams.

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Fear is a fickle friend. It can both motivate but also paralyze. Everyone feels fear, even the bravest people have been afraid at some point. Working past that fear to face a challenge can be so liberating. What fears are limiting you? What is making you afraid?

I had a fear of starting this blog. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough or that I wouldn’t have anything interesting and new to say. But I’ve been working past that fear to try something new.

Sometimes, taking the full plunge all at once might be too scary. Necessary for bungee jumping but not always necessary for other areas of life. If this is the case and fully jumping into something all at once is too much then take it in smaller steps.

A common treatment for phobias is exposure-based therapy. This is essentially, gradual exposure to the feared object. While a phobia is an irrational, extreme fear of something, this concept of gradual exposure can be utilized in coping with other fears as well. If jumping all in at once feels too unattainable for you then try breaking down your fear into smaller pieces and slowly build your way up to overcoming it.

In my blog example, it took me forever to actually start it. I slowly brainstormed my concept and researched and researched. I bought my web address but did nothing with it. Then I designed my site but didn’t make it public. But eventually you do just have to take the plunge. Accept the fear, acknowledge the feeling, and do it anyway. 

When I planned my recent trip to Spain I often found myself being asked about how I feel going to Europe with all of the terrorism happening. This frustrated me because I’m not going to change my life based on the idea that something might happen. I can’t stay home and live my life in fear. The city in which I live in has a mall that was called out as a possible attack site. I’m just as at risk at home as I am there. Letting fear take over can prevent you from having incredible opportunities.  Please, don’t let fear of what could go wrong stop you from following a dream (That being said, if there is a true and actual risk to your safety then don’t do it).

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Ways to Tackle Fear:

  1. Accept the feeling. It is okay that it scares you.
  2. Explore the fear. What is causing you to feel afraid? Truly. Be open and honest with yourself. Brainstorm what the possible causes might be. Figure out where this fear is coming from. If you don’t know the true reason why you’re feeling afraid then you can’t truly address it and change it. If the fear is that you won’t be successful in your endeavor, then know that any step in the direction of your dreams is a learning experience. It’s possible that you might not be successful by your standards but you learned something along the way that will make your next endeavor more successful.
  3. Face the fear. Whether it’s in small increments or all at once. Face the fear. You have to take that plunge. Trust me, it feels amazing.
  4. Live Your Dreams.

Please join me in the comments with some of your fears and how you have overcome them!

 

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Millennial Lifestyle

The Number One Reason You Need to Start an Emergency Fund in your 20s

the number one reason you need an emergency fund in your 20s

Uncertainty. You need to start an emergency fund in your 20s because life is so full of uncertainties and unknowns. Even when you think that you have planned for everything, those unknowns can rear their ugly head and ruin everything. Having an emergency fund is the perfect antidote to uncertainty. As we go through our 20s, many things will affect our financial situation. Be it job loss, a car breaking down, or some other incidental expense that you didn’t see coming. Some people may have parents who can bail them out of a tough spot, but what if you don’t? An emergency fund will save the day.

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I normally don’t tell many personal anecdotes but for this I will. This week I was hit with an unexpected vet bill (my cats are my children). The first vet I took my cat to told me that they think he has a blockage and if this is the case then he will need a $2000 surgery immediately to remove it or his bladder will explode in less than 24 hours. If you’re an animal lover you can imagine how hard this hit me.

One of the reasons this hit me so hard was because I am currently trying to stretch $500 over the next 12 days before my next pay check. I thought I was going to have to put down my beloved pet because I am financially unstable. (Luckily, I took him to a second vet and everything turned out okay).

Like many millennials, I am strapped with student loans and credit card debt. Somehow student loan has come to be known as “good debt” as if any kind of debt is actually good. When we have debt, big or small, it limits our options in life. It eats away at our financial freedom and stability. In my low point, I started to attack myself, “If I wasn’t in debt I could pay this vet bill no problem.”

We never like to think that things will go wrong. I enjoy my ignorant bliss that my cats are invincible. But what if something does? An emergency fund will make you so much more prepared to handle that incidental expense. Now sometimes it might be that you do have the money to fix the emergency but choose not too because you realize that it isn’t as important as you thought it was. That’s fair, but at least you were able to make that decision for yourself. The option wasn’t taken away from you due to poor financial planning.

As I sit with my cat lovingly beside me, I don’t regret spending the $400 it ended up costing to get him the care he needed. I just wish I could have done it in a more financially secure way.

So how do you start saving an emergency fund?

Figure out what an amount that you can save is per month and then have your bank set up an automatic withdrawal to your savings. If you make saving as effortless as possible the more effective you will be at it. I have been successfully saving $200 a month for the last year using this method. My savings account is one that cannot be easily accessed. Taking money out of it can have a processing time of up to 24 hours. This prevents me from making rash decisions. As someone who has always struggled to save, this has really helped me out a lot. Plus, I’ve been able to watch my progress grow. Having those savings has given me such a peace of mind. Even without something bad happening, simply knowing that there is money ready for me if needed is reassuring.

Any goal is always more attainable when you have a clear end point (My post on bucket lists, relates to this concept). Start small and slowly build your way up to 3-6 months worth of wages. For example, you could start by only wanting $500. This is much more attainable that starting off with aiming for $5000. With an emergency fund you will be well on your way to financial freedom and security. Being prepared for an emergency that may never happen is far better than being struck down by an emergency that you were never prepared for. 

Uncertainty can strike at any age; however, building up this emergency fund in your 20s lays a solid foundation for a financially secure future.

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Millennial Lifestyle

Why You Need to Start Practicing Gratitude

Being grateful for what you have is an underrated way to improve happiness. From Marie Kondo who is expresses gratitude for every dollar in her bank account to bloggers abound the internet gratitude is a big help. One of the things that I have been grateful for since starting out blogging is the support and kindness of other bloggers in the community. I never anticipated how supportive total strangers could be. To give thanks, on Fridays I will be posting links to other blog posts around the Internet that I have enjoyed and hope that you will too. In addition, I’ll also be posting a small gratitude list of things that I loved this this week or things that I am grateful for. P

Please join me in the comments! We should all share the gratitude in our lives. Or at least start practicing gratitude.

Posts for Practicing Gratitude:

*This may contain affiliate links. For more on what that means click here.

My Gratitude List:

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Millennial Lifestyle

Is Being Single Really That Bad?

is being single really that bad

There is a lot of societal pressure to get married and settle down. This in turn, can make people who are single with no prospects feel lonelier. I can’t count how many times I have heard women make self-depreciating comments about how they might as well get ten cats now because they will never find anyone. I don’t even know how cats became the poster animal for single life; they are actually wonderful. But is being single really that bad? I don’t actually think it is.

When you are single you can work on yourself. The quest to find the perfect mate becomes a lot easier when you know your own values, passions, and goals in life. Knowing yourself makes it so much easier to know what you need to get out of a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, as someone who is chronically single, I do get lonely and I do sometimes find myself wishing that I had someone. But by the same token, I know that being in a relationship right now would be a barrier to me truly working on myself the way that I want to.

If anything, being single when you are young leaves you more open to opportunity. As a single woman, I don’t need to stop and pause to think about whether a decision to travel to South America for three months would impact my relationship. I could just do it. How wonderful is it that we can explore our own lives and create stories to tell our future partners someday? Being single, you can job hop, city hop and go after whatever it is you want freely. Not that I’m suggesting that you can’t do these things with a partner but for some this might make the decision more difficult.

I’ve seen so many people bounce from relationship to relationship without truly being happy. Many of these relationships lack quality and depth. Often, they aren’t getting what they need out of their partner. The idea of dating many people or cycling through relationships has never appealed to me. Being single, means that you can think about what you want. If you need a relationship to feel whole, that may be a sign that not everything is right.

Successful relationships happen when both parties have their own passions and goals. Healthy relationships look more like a Venn diagram. We each have our own circle and sometimes we overlap. I hate the expression, “They complete me.” No, you alone can complete yourself. A partner should equal you or complement you. Relationships should help you grow.

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My Venn diagram of love. The intersection in the middle is beautiful.

If you are single, trust me, it is perfectly okay. Take this as an opportunity to learn about yourself and what you want. Instead of fretting, seek opportunities.

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Millennial Lifestyle

How To Create a Bucket List

how to create a bucket list

Almost anyone that I have ever encountered has had some sort of list of things they hope to do “Someday” or “Before I die.” These are most commonly known as a bucket list. Some people, such as myself, choose to write out a bullet point list of these goals. I even go as far to try adding date of completion to mine. Other people do not write down their goals and they float through the realm of their mind lost forever. I’ve always found that writing down my goals or things to do, makes them more tangible. Writing down goals allows you to clearly see what it is that you want to accomplish.

However, simply making an effort to write down your goals is not enough. Recently, I found an old “Life List” that I made as a teenager but hadn’t seen in years. Looking back on it seven years later I did see that I had managed to accomplish quite a few things that I set out to do. This is awesome but there are also many items on this list that are exceptionally unclear and therefore will never be completed.

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Some unachievable goals.

Sure, delving into my personal psychology or breaking my destructive patterns were noble wishes of an 18 year old. However, how will I know when I’ve completed them? If you want to be able to complete a bucket list the items you add must be tangible and have clear outcomes. Make the items on your list actionable items. “Go to the Grand Canyon” I did that, I know when I did that, I can cross that off. You could even go as far to have multi-part items: Learn to Scuba Dive, Scuba Dive in the Great Barrier Reef, Scuba Dive in Belize, etc, But all items must be clearly actionable and have a clear end point. There is no point if having a bucket list that you cannot complete!

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When the item has clear end goal it is much easier to say you’ve done it.

Give yourself some timelines. A great human error is always thinking that we have more time. Oh, I’ll get to bungee jumping some day. Sure, I’ve always wanted to white water raft but I just don’t have time right now. Thinking you have more time and making excuses will prevent you from ever completing your bucket list. Try choosing 1-3 items a year that you will complete. You can make the time to do three things a year that you have always wanted to do. Even just completing one is a big step towards living the life you want. I will be transcribing my list into my Filofax so that it is always with me.

It is perfectly okay if your goals change over time. Rewrite them so that they fit your new life trajectory or simply remove them. People change over time and our ideas or lifestyles change. For example, I see that at one point I wished to get married. I no longer find this to be important. Sure, I want a partner someday but I don’t find the formality of marriage to matter so much. If five years down the road you see an item that you no longer care to do then change it up.

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Many of my Bucket List items are travel related but not all of them have to be.

Five Easy Steps for Creating a Bucket List:

  1. Actually take the time to write the items down. Better yet, make them fancy, a list that you can be proud of or write them down in their own special notebook. Your dreams and goals are important.
  2. Make them tangible, actionable items. How will you know when you have completed them?
  3. Give yourself some timelines. For example, I want to learn how to scuba dive by 2018. I want to scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef by 2020.
  4. Revel in the feeling of success or happiness when you have achieved something that you have always wanted to do. You are amazing! Look at what you have accomplished! This will motivate you to keep going.
  5. Adapt your goals to your current life. Desires can change but never lose focus on doing what is best for you.

 

Side Note: Many of the ideas in this post are also translatable to lists and goals outside of bucket lists.

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Millennial Lifestyle

How to Choose a Job During Your Quarter-Life Crisis

Questions to Ask Yourself When Struggling to Find a Job You Love

The Quarter Life Crisis happens, now how to go about choosing a job during a quarter-life crisis? That becomes the real question. Surely, there are plenty of “adults” who carry that sense of unease and dread in their stomachs for their entire adulthood. And maybe accepting that is just a natural step to adulting. But why does it have to be? We live in a society with options everywhere we turn. Which is great but choice can feel so overwhelming. Now instead of pressure to follow in our parents’ steps, the pressure is to do good, be good and succeed at everything. The beauty of a society with so many options is that you don’t have to settle or only do one thing. We have moved passed the times of finding a job, working the job for forty years, and retiring.

If what you have chosen leaves you drained of life and dreading showing up every day, then it is time for a change. There are only so many hours in a week and there is no need for you to spend so many of them unhappy. That unhappiness is a water balloon that eventually will break over into other areas of life.

For me, I worked a job for years at which I was unhappy. My mood radically changed when I went there. I stopped being the bubbly, people loving person that I am and wished that people would just stop talking to me forever. That’s not me. That is what happens when we don’t stay true to ourselves, we get lost and that adds to the feelings of crisis or discontent. Once I left there, I could feel myself becoming more alive and getting back to who I want to be.

            Is your current job taking away from who you are or who you want to be?

I’ve always dreamed big and expected big things from myself. Which leads me to ask how can I follow my dreams when I have about six of them? I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I don’t know what I want to do because I want to do too many things. Or I haven’t gained enough experience to know what I like and what I don’t like. I’m telling you, it is okay to change paths. It is okay to go through university and think you want to come out of it doing one thing but realize that you can’t actually stand it once you get elbow deep in the field. It happens to so many people. That knowledge you learned and those skills you gained will propel you forward in another direction. They are still a foundation for your talents.

It is okay to skip university and get straight to work. But either track should end in something that you love. Change is a natural part of life. Everything will change. If you have six dreams, follow them. It can even be in different little ways.

If you had asked six year-old Arielle what she wanted to be when she grew up the answer would have been, “An author who lives in New York City” (I was obsessed with Babysitter Club Books and this is where Ann M. Martin lived). Throughout my life, I kept thinking of that dream and writing it off as not practical or unachievable. But the dream never died.

            Are there any dreams or goals in your life that you’ve tried to suppress but just keep coming back? 

I went to university to prepare for what I considered a more practical career, while still thinking of this dream in the back of my mind. Now, I am working a job that I will not stay in forever but this blog is my way of working towards that dream in some small way. While this will likely never be a career, it is an outlet to help me feel like I am making some small difference or helping others through my writing and that will keep me going while I continue to hunt for a job that makes me feel happy.

 If there is, what steps can you take to make them a reality? Even if there is nothing that stands out to you, brainstorm possible ideas of things you could enjoy. I like to think of my work life in terms of one year. Is this something that I could see myself enjoying for at least one year? If after my year comes and goes, if I’m unhappy I start weighing my options for leaving. The year mark is arbitrarily chosen to help me look reliable. Some employers frown on too frequent of job changes.

Slowly, my resume becomes a list of things I hope to never do again. However, that gives me a sense of direction. I know I hate that, I know I won’t enjoy that, so I won’t even apply for it or put it on the table. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Next challenge please.

            Is there anything on your resume that you know you would never do again or that you just absolutely hated?

Make a list of what you hated about that job. It could be anything from didn’t fit in with workplace culture, the hours, the job tasks were menial, or it just didn’t feel quite right in some way. This list can help provide guidance for what you dabble in next. “Well, I know I hate customer service. Maybe I should look for a job setting where I choose my clients or don’t have  any clients.”

I absolutely love this TedTalk. Emilie Wapnick talks about multipotenialites. What resonates with me the most about this is the idea of not having to do just one thing. I think that we may be a renaissance generation. We no longer have to limit ourselves to one choice. We can explore and dabble in so many different options. The skills you learned in one job or educational path don’t disappear. They carry over into other fields. So keep exploring. Find what you really love. Or learn to combine multiple things that you love! Another reason for my one year deadline, is I find that this is usually about the time my restlessness kicks in. I don’t think that I was meant to only follow one path.

Are there any ways that you can merge your passions together? Or even create a career you enjoy coupled with a completely different passion?

For those of you who truly do have it figured out. That is awesome! Is this something that you can enjoy and still feel challenged at years later? Then pursue it with reckless abandon.

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Millennial Lifestyle

Why I Started Quarter Life Thriving

Dear Reader,

My name is Arielle and I’m a 25 year old living in Edmonton, Alberta. I started Quarter Life Thriving because ever since I was a young child I had dreams of being a writer. However, I suppressed these in favour of something more practical. I ended up completing a degree in psychology two years ago with the intent of pursuing a Ph.D. Throughout the course of my degree I ended a six year relationship with someone who was not the best fit to say the least. Ultimately, I realized that I didn’t have to follow the streamlined pattern laid out for me. I did not have to finish high school, get higher education, and settle down. Hell, I haven’t even had a meaningful relationship in three years.

As powerful as this realization was, I no longer know what I wish to do. Plus, I now have student debt (I don’t regret my degree though as it laid a strong foundation for all other pursuits). Part of me does want to go for the masters/Ph.D. that I built my university life around; however, part of me wants to gallivant around the world.

For a long time, I thought I was alone in my turmoil. Everyone seemed so much more put together than me. But, then I realized that this is something that so many other 20-somethings can relate to. It took me a long time to start a blog because I worried that my ideas would have been done already or that I just wouldn’t be good enough. Then I realized that I can do this.

Since finishing my degree I have travelled at every opportunity. I have said, “Yes” to so many different things. And I have completely grown as a person.

I don’t even recognize myself from who I was four years ago.

This is why I started Quarter Life Thriving. I hope to share this journey with you, my reader, and provide you with the tips that I have learned along my transformation so that you too can join me in Quarter Life Thriving.

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