Just another reason to make a wish

It’s the eve of my 26th birthday and it is by far the least excited I have been yet to turn another year older. This year is a big one for me. 25 seemed like a milestone, and passing the quarter-century point is something of a feat in adulting. This is the birthday the government gives us newly turned 26-year-olds the stiff-armed pushed into adulthood. This is the year they say “hopefully you have your shit together, we know your joints are starting to hurt more than they did in your early 20’s, your hangovers only seem to be getting worse, and gray is now part of the color spectrum on your head, but even so, you can’t mooch off your parents forever, get your own fucking health insurance.”

There are only a few circumstances that newly turned 26-year-olds find themselves in. They will breathe a sigh of relief, wake up, and roll out of bed to the job that is providing them with a health plan. Or, they will reach a little further into their pockets to pay for their own insurance. Or, they will risk it and go without. Those scenarios have been sitting on my shoulder this whole past year whispering their sweet anxieties into my ears.

The last week has felt heavy. The last month felt heavy. Hell, 25 has been a heavy year for me.

Minutes before it turned 12 am, marking my birthday—yes I paid attention— I’m trying to remember some of my recent past birthdays. Some I could remember easily, some were a bit foggy as to how I spent my day. I thought that was odd, not remembering. But, I do know that each one of them I had some type of plan that included celebrations, usually which involved drinking adult beverages and inviting friends to spend the day with me. This year is by far the tamest, and I am so ok with that.

So, it’s 12:07 am, newly 26,  and I’m flossing my teeth. Just 10 minutes earlier I was looking into the dance moves in Fortnite with my little brother.

Life as of recently has been felt nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. Specifically, the kind that takes you up and down and turns you upside down to the point where if the seatbelts malfunctioned you’d definitely find yourself catapulted out of your seat. Even so, grateful is what I feel, and there has been a growth within me that I am proud of.

As daunting as 26 has been, I do feel a lightness that is unexpected and welcoming. 25 was challenging and this next year maybe even more so, but it provides some changes that I have been desperately grasping for. I’m not sure how long this lightness will last for, I’m only one hour into being 26, but I’m going to fly with it as long as the magic carpet will let me.

I don’t want to say that I’m ditching all that has been, but, really, yeah, I kinda am.

 

Does IQ matter?

I read this article that was part of a pre-interview process for a tutoring program I’m interested in getting into. It contained research findings pertaining to learning specifically for children and the youth, but it got me thinking about adulthood and the lack of learning there is. When we attend school we are constantly working our brain which is actively adding to our intelligence. The main point in the article was that IQ is not a static position, it can grow. It showed that learning mindsets affect the progress and success of learning. So, for example, when one says “I’m just bad at math,” it is viewed as a static statement implying that one has always been and will always be bad at math. There is no perspective of improvement, thus creating an excuse for continuing to be bad at math. It was proven that students who were taught growth learning got higher scores than students who were taught study skills. The mindset is what makes the difference. With growth learning, students are taught that learning is a process and can improve with effort and dedication. Thinking, “I may be bad at math now, but I can improve” is the mindset that is set forth. Understanding that the brain is a muscle and needs to be worked to get stronger is a key step in growth learning. Also, understanding that there is time and room for improvement helps students view themselves as successful.

There are goals set forth. Goals specifically pertaining to learning. When I think about adulthood I see a lot of hoops that we have to jump through. Whether it be the job search process, acclimating to a new career, or gaining experience, we lose the mindset of growth learning. We forget to actively learn, and it’s because society has made it easy. It has set certain goals that we think we have to meet and gives us a satisfaction that isn’t necessarily productive for our learning. Make this number of calls, send these emails, make this amount in sales, memorize tonight’s menu offerings, etc…But do these actions contribute to the growth of our IQ? I’m not saying that people don’t learn from these experiences because we do, and they are important. But it’s the kind of learning and the mindset that we accustom ourselves with that will make a bigger difference.

The first year after I graduated from college, I felt this void that I contribute to my lack of learning. I focused on finding a career and enjoying life as it was thrown at me. I never thought about expanding my mind more by continuing to educate myself. My mindset was, “ok I graduated, I know a lot now and got through the hoops I needed to get through to get to the next step in my life.” But I found myself missing studying for tests, I found myself missing learning new things and having the mindset to improve my brain. I got lost in improving the social and emotional aspects of my life, which are just as important, but realizing now that my lack of intentional brain growth may have been the foundation of my struggles. We find satisfaction in watching documentaries, watching the news, or reading articles because we think it makes us knowledgeable. And it does, and it keeps us relevant. But, often we get lost in our relevance as we are filling our brains with information rather than setting goals for ourselves to improve the strength of our mind. It’s like when Einstein was asked what his phone number was and instead he grabbed the directory and said, “why should I memorize something that I can find in a book?” It’s the idea that clutter takes up our mind power. It creates deceiving learning growth and contributes to the excuses we make as to why we aren’t at a certain point or level. It’s part of why we end up settling.

Now, this is me dissecting the article and kind of running away with it. The focus was on youth learning growth and the positive impact it has on overall success and IQ. But being an adult, I can feel how this is true throughout life. Once you give up on the idea of actively learning, your brain, as a muscle, will not get stronger. Now, I’m not saying you get dumber, but to get smarter you have to have the perspective and understanding of learning, of working out your brain, and what is entailed to grow.

spring, spring, goddamn spring

Spring has sprung! Oh god, punch me. Like we need more cliches or analogies to the more obvious oddities that come around every few quarter months. I’d love to smell the new budded roses but my nasal cavities are swollen from the pollen saturated air. These days of gloom and nights of boom-in-the-sky are making me feel achy and I wake up as if recovering from a bipolar episode pondering my emotional state.

Ok, but for real, I’m a big fan of spring. It’s my third favorite season.

I like that the streets I drive down are now covered with bright green leaves overhead. They’re almost neon lime green, my favorite color. Just a week and a half ago I was looking out my window at the bare tree branches slightly swaying in the wind. Mind you, they were only swaying because this past week has been super windy, branches aren’t usually great swayers. And today, those branches are full of half-grown neon green beauties. I’ve got my window open so I can feel the wet air and hear the birds chirping. The paper drawings I have hung up on the walls are slightly wilting, worth it though. I’m a big window gal. I hate air conditioning, especially in my car. Most of the time no matter where I end up, my hair is a tousled mess from all my windows being open, and that’s how I like it…it’s also why I wear hats all the time. So, spring brings me several little joys.

I was pondering as I was driving through this particularly early grey and gloomy morning, thinking man, I would prefer that the sun was out thinking my drive would be more pleasant and enjoyable. I found it difficult to fully wake up, and my eyes remained in a half open, half closed, crescent shape. But then later, something happened. The damn sun came out, and it got hot. Like whoa humid hot compared to the chilly morning where I had my heat on in my car. This is when I noticed the trees. The past few days have been all rain. All gloom. All wet. Now, I could watch a thunderstorm for hours completely content, but when grey wetness continues for days, I find myself wishing for the sun and dry pavement. But this is the part of spring that is so important.

Spring needs those dark gloomy rain ridden days. That’s what makes spring, spring. Because without the rain we wouldn’t get those pretty yellow dots that cover our yard after one rainfall, even though they make my allergies go bazerk. Without the rain, our streets wouldn’t be singing. Without the rain, we might forget what plush feels like under our feet.

My point is, we need those dark days. I’m talking in one of those cliche metaphor voices now—in case you didn’t realize that I switched it up there… 

What makes things beautiful, what makes us beautiful, are the dark days. There the days of doubt, of sadness, of boredom, of hurt, of whatever not pleasant feeling that we feel sometimes. Becuase those days give us the nourishment that we need. I realize this is borderline contradictory, stay with me here though. Those days give us the urge, the power, the desires that we need to get to the place of neon lime green.

Spring has sprung, and so can we. Ha ha now THAT was a good one. People will tell you, give it time, it might take awhile. But also, if nobody has told you yet, one rainfall can bud some pretty badass flowers.