college

Use Your Millennial Gifts

Most of my peers are in their mid to late 20’s. What does that mean? Some of us have finished up our first degree and are working towards our second or third. Others may have found their dream career and are actively working on moving up the ladder of success. Some of us, like myself, have decent jobs, but also have a side hustle trying to figure out this adult thing. Contrary to popular belief, all of this is okay. As millennials, we have been put into a unique position. The generation before us think that we are lazy and entitled. For most of us, I disagree. We are in a time where there is so much information and opportunity that we have no clue where to start.

Past generations like to simplify life in three steps. They tell us to graduate college, get a good job, and start a family. It sounds good, but why go to college and rack up over hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans? I enjoyed my college experience and met some lifelong friends, but at times, I contemplate if it was worth the financial stress. After college, we are then told that we should be able to get a good job, but they don’t tell us that looking for a job is the job. As I have discovered, many employers are looking for eager young people that have 5+ years of experience in their field. It’s difficult to obtain that experience when we’ve only had time for college. On top of that, our parents want us to start a family, so they can have grandchildren. Unfortunately, it is tough when you are trying to build a career and pay off your debts. Life would be great if it was just those three steps, but it’s just not that simple anymore.

I don’t mean to sound like the complaining millennial, but those are some of the issues this generation is struggling with. However, all hope is not lost. Our 20’s and even our early 30’s is a time where we should be putting in the work on ourselves. We have so much at our disposal that we should take the time to explore what we want. Even now, one of my friends is moving from our hometown Milwaukee and starting her adult life over in another state. Some might say that’s bold, but I say that she has recognized and tapped into her millennial gift of opportunity. We all have millennial gifts, but life can get in the way of our vision. Unlike past generations, we are not confined to the rigidity of life. We can get up and go when we want. Millennials have a hustler spirit that we can tap into and create something that has never been seen or done before.

Now some might disagree and think they don’t have it, but we all do. We must do the work! The work may include losing weight, seeing a therapist, reading books, attending lectures, and using YouTube. YouTube is a millennial gift that is often used for entertainment. It has so much information on its platform that it can be an alternative for college. Be fearless and seek out possible mentors. There are people out there that are willing to help. Recognize the power that you have as a millennial and the world is your because “they” know what we are capable of and you should too.

What are your millennial gifts and what gifts did I miss?

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The "EX"perience

In my early twenties, I was in a serious relationship for about three years. We met towards the end of our freshman year in college. My friends and I went to a neighboring college party where I met her. Something about her intrigued me. I don’t recall what it was, but I do remember someone throwing up on her and I came to the rescue. After getting her cleaned up, we exchanged numbers. In the beginning, like most relationships, things were good. We were getting to know each other and after a short while, we fell in love. Within two years, I wanted to pop the question. Before I did however, I asked her dad for his daughter’s hand in marriage along with consulting her mother and brother. I even asked the dog. They were thrilled and so was I once she said yes.

A year into our engagement, I found out that relationships were a lot of hard work. We moved in together while she was working a full time job along with going to school and I was working part time trying to finish school as well. During our sophomore year of college, our majors changed drastically. She went from wanting to be a doctor to a chef while I changed from wanting to be an electrical engineer to studying business marketing. Eventually, she decided that she wanted to take a semester off and work full time while I was still working part time and going to school. Unfortunately, that dynamic shift in our relationship took a toll on us. Even though I was productive, she felt as if I wasn’t working hard enough. She thought that I should take a year off of college to work full time and to help with the bills. We argued about that a lot. I didn’t want to stop because I was sure about my major and wanted to finish.

 Moving into my junior year of college, I was able to take on a full time job because my class schedules were more flexible. I could work in the mornings and take classes at night. The relationship seemed to get back on track. She enrolled in school again to be a chef. I could see the passion in her eyes when it pertained to cooking. Whatever she learned in class, she would try it out at home. The meals were great and I love it. Things were looking up, however, in my bliss, I didn’t realize that there was someone else moving in. She became more distant and wanted to go out with her new college friends. Most of the times, those outings didn’t include me. I trusted her, but something wasn’t right. She began to lie about who should would be hanging out with and where she would be going. I found out it was a guy from class that she was going out with alone. Angry, I asked for my ring back and to my surprise, she quickly obliged. After that, I never saw her again. Our ending was bitter and still until this day, we have not spoken a word to each other or follow each other on social media. It’s finally all behind me.

Every man has that one woman that broke their heart. The one woman that we were most vulnerable and the most honest with. Our past EXperiences helps shape us to be the men that we are today. Learn and grow from it and then move on.

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Ac·count·able

The dictionary defines accountable as, “required or expected to justify actions or decisions”. Last year, I sat with a group of men that shared some of their personal stories. I listened as one man shared that he had a drinking problem and was on the brink of losing his family. Coming home from work, he would get a drink to relax his mind and fall asleep. Then he would wake up and go out with his friends to drink again. It made him angrier and more irritable. Arguments were started with his wife until one day, she gave him an ultimatum. Either get cleaned or she was gone.

 

Fearing that he might lose his wife, he went to get some help. While at an Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meeting, he listened to the stories of other people. A lawyer mentioned how they would show up to court smelling like alcohol. The drinking became so bad that they were eventually disbarred. Other husbands talked about losing their families to drinking. After hearing these stories, the man knew that he needed to make a change. It started with him recognizing the problem he was causing in his life and marriage. Now over a year sober, his marriage is stronger. Drinking uncontrollably ripped him of his manhood. He became irresponsible and inconsiderate. If he didn’t acknowledge his actions, he probably would have lost his wife and his battle with alcoholism.

 

Learning from his story, I had to come to terms with my own irresponsibility. I met a woman a couple of years ago, towards the end of my senior year in college. We were just friends at first, but we developed a sexual relationship. I’d used to call her over to my apartment to watch a movie and have sex. It was fun and enticing. Over the course of our “friendly” relationship, I started to notice that she developed feelings for me. She would get clingy and upset if I talked about other women in front of her. I did my best to be upfront with her and told her that I’m not looking for a relationship. In fact, I was willing to cut the sex out. Understanding my position, we continued having sex.

 

For sometime, the situation was perfect, but slowly and surely the questions about a relationship came back. Irritated, I told her we shouldn’t have sex anymore. She became upset and started to believe I was having sex with someone else. I wasn’t, but she was willing to do anything I wanted. Guys at her office would try to talk to her, but she would tell them that she had a boyfriend. I started to feel guilty. I felt like I was robbing her of a true relationship. Ultimately, I cut all communications off and stop interacting with her. Last year, I reached out to her to apologize. I shouldn’t have taken advantage of her heart and I should have been more responsible in understanding her feelings. My honesty was appreciated, but I broke her heart and she didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I assumed that if I told her my position upfront, then I was clear of all wrong doing, but I took advantage of her. It was wrong and I lost a friend.

 

Being a man means being accountable for your actions. It’s about not blaming others, but taking control of yourself. Whether it is in our careers, friendships, romantic relationships or family, we have to recognize the roles that we play.

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