Tag Archives: adulthood

Recognizing limitations, expectations key when giving, getting advice

Advice: the fleeting attempt of one to engage and imagine the problem of another with clarity, and provide an immediate, not-before-realized epiphany.

The dictionary would likely offer a more official definition, but applied to my life, the above fit. Recently, I’ve been meditating on the culture and complexity of advice: how we give it, how we receive it and the action-centric nature of it.

Accompanied often by, “What do I do?” the act of providing and requesting advice strikes me as irrational for several reasons. The prevalence of that corresponding question suggests its innate impulsivity.

Frequently, I turn to family or friends not for advice regarding a major hitch in my mentality toward something, but for a quick fix — a tangible action that will immediately remedy a complicated problem.

And when friends or family ask me for advice, I typically assume I’m one step to closer to an illusive sense of enlightenment. I am a pseudo-adult, after all. They trust me with that anxiety-laden next action; therefore, I am wise.

Yet, I recall the advice sessions of my teenage years and realize, to my chagrin, little has changed.

For teenage Taylor, an advice session began with a friend recapping her latest, drawn-out dating woe (interspersed with pauses to text the “love of her life,” clearly) in a breathless span of a minute.

And with that knowledge, the other friends were expected to deliver an articulate solution in another minute or two (we had important things to do, after all, like Facebook stalk the cute, new kid who moved to Newton from Florida or somewhere equally exotic).

Though my problems have grown more complex and more significant in the long-term, I admit I still expect the irrational from advice. I expect a perfect fix in little time.

With more difficult decisions headed my way, rather than exclaiming, “What do I do?” in panic, I’ll contemplate and, if needed, change a deeply ingrained mentality that may provide a more permanent, powerful fix for my problem.

The value of job-hopping

Real people work one job from 9-5. They drive to the office every day, probably in a reliable car with a “Drake alumni” decal (in my world, anyway).

At the beginning of the year, I had it all figured out. In May, I would begin a full-time job with standard hours and a steady paycheck. I would drive to work. That’s what real people do, and damn it, I’m nearing real-people-dom, with my graduation approaching in December.

Forever on the brink of fledgling adulthood, I wanted to meet my preconceived definition. That would prove I’m ready for the ‘real world,’ right? But the year turned out dramatically different — and I’m content.

Rather than drive to work, I ride the bus. Rather than work one job from 9-5, I work two part-time jobs and three on-and-off freelance writing and videography gigs.

Though I initially dreaded rambling off each job when asked the inevitable question, “What are you doing this summer?” I’ve come to embrace and even appreciate the array. Job-hopping proved to be exactly what I needed.

I devoted nearly all my time and energy last semester to two beloved publications, Think Mag and The Times-Delphic. Though I gained a wealth of practical experience and fondly remember my time with both, I often felt trapped in the grueling cycle of each publication.

Job-hopping, however, has allowed me to try a wide variety of skills and projects. Yet again, my pesky (but ultimately dear) friend chaos has returned and proved a beautiful part of my life.

In a ‘typical’ workday at the Science Center of Iowa, I sometimes go from producing video to editing a blog post to writing a press release to pinning periodic table puns (comedic gold, I swear). And that’s only job No. 1. After that, I might update an Excel spreadsheet at job No. 2 before heading to a local softball diamond to cover a high school game for The Des Moines Register.

Along the job-hopping way, I’ve created my own definition of real-people-dom. Rather than a realm defined by a practical car, regular paycheck and “Bulldog Pride” auto decal, real-people-dom, I’ve realized, can be whatever I make it — screeching Dart bus brakes, periodic-table jokes and homeruns included.

I hope to eventually trade my job-hopping habit for something a little closer to the aforementioned definition, but whatever I do, I know I don’t need to meet a predetermined definition of adulthood. I can create my own definition of it. Well, fledgling adulthood, anyway.