Quote of the Day

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle”

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— Napoleon Hil

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From My Golden Year to Jordyn Year

“I’ve failed over and over in my life and that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

As a young kid, I knew that I would be a full-blown adult when I turned 22. That was the year that I would have achieved the wisdom, intelligence and confidence to properly navigate the world, I thought.

It was also the year that would be my “Golden Year.”

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Celebrating my 22nd birthday on Feb. 22, 2016.

When it comes to birthdays I’m a very meticulous person. So when I learned about the concept of a Golden Birthday – the year that you turn the age of the date you were born – I made it my goal to make that the best year ever.

I had February 22, 2016 marked on my calendar for at least ten years. I knew I would throw a party where I would wear a gold dress (gotta keep with the theme, ya know) and there would be gold balloons and the song “Living My Life Like It’s Golden” would play as I walked into the room. I achieved 2.5 out of 3 of those goals (Party City only had one gold balloon for me).

And after that party, would commence my best, most adult year yet. And as most of us know, you can’t always will your dreams into realities.

To be sure, this past year hasn’t been to shabby for me.

I graduated from the University of Southern California with a journalism degree that I truly cherish (thanks to all those articles written and hustling done), I made the cross-continental move from Los Angeles to New York, I continue to be surrounded by friends from my college life as well as high school years — and this can’t go without saying, but I have a full-time job in the exact field I wanted on in.

It’s weird though. Now living through this phase of my life that I had carefully planned for the better half of my existence. I think with that kind of pressure, it’ll never truly live up to what you imagined.

There’s a lot that I still haven’t accomplished nor have a grasp on. I still rely on my dad’s email reminder telling me to pay my Citicard bill. I still text my mom complaining about going to the gym in the morning, secretly hoping she’ll give me the OK to just keep sleeping. Navigating a national newsroom is a whole different ballgame than growing accustomed at your college newspaper. I traded in warm weather for the harsh winter wind as I walk to the subway in the morning. I still don’t really know how to cook.

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Yup, 22 isn’t what I thought it would be. This week leading up to my birthday has felt weird. I’m afraid I set way too high of expectations on this past year, and scared that nothing else can come from this next one. Is it possible that someone can reach their peak during their Golden Year?

Melodramatic as that is, in this world of social media, where you live and die by the double taps on a picture, it truly can feel that way.

But as I write this now, on the eve on my birthday, I’m realizing that’s not exactly the case.

My 23rd year on this earth will be a good one. Maybe sometimes you can will your dreams into reality.

This year, there’s no golden-themed party. No golden balloons and I haven’t even ordered a special dress. Most people at my work won’t know that it’s my birthday tomorrow. Luckily, for me, my parents sent me a card. They at least remembered!

I’m going to use this year as an opportunity to create something out of nothing, however. Each birthday leading up to my Golden Birthday held some outside significance. There’s the Sweet Sixteen, 18th birthday and of course 21st one. But what comes with year 23?

It’s going to be my Jordyn Year, a play off of the Michael Jordan themed one 23-year-olds claim. Many people dub it that because the Chicago Bulls player wore that number during his time with the franchise and made the number legendary.

I’m going to now re-claim the number and make it my own. I mean, come on, it was almost destined to be celebrated as my own special year once more (thanks Mom and Dad for the name). This year, I’ll set new goals. Not ones based off of societal expectations, but ones that I want – ones I need – to accomplish to get to the next step. I don’t have the safety net of college or the dictated steps of childhood anymore. Nope, I’m out here in New York making my own path.

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And that’s what I’ll do.

It’s my Jordyn Year – the year where I will set new goals for myself, ones that I never thought I’d want to achieve. I’ll accomplish those goals that scare me to death.

Here’s to 23 Goals:

  1. Drink more water
  2. Run a 5K
  3. See all of New York’s boroughs (I’m coming for ya Staten Island & the Bronx!)
  4. Get interviewed on Bloomberg TV
  5. Learn how to make a five course meal
  6. Go to gym at least three times a week
  7. Speak up more in meetings
  8. Feel more comfortable styling my hair
  9. Pitch more stories
  10. Read more books that weren’t meant for me
  11. Go to more museums
  12. Call my grandmother more
  13. Give myself more credit
  14. Remember to pay my credit card bill
  15. Go to church more regularly
  16. Do 50 hours of volunteer work through Bloomberg
  17. Spend less time on my phone and more time talking to people
  18. Fully catch up on Grey’s Anatomy
  19. Visit Los Angeles at least once
  20. Go home to Chicago at least twice
  21. Feel comfortable asking for what I’ve earned
  22. Go a whole week eating Bloomberg’s soups for lunch
  23. Don’t lock myself out of my apartment
  24. Remember to look back on these goals on February 22, 2018

Setting goals is a scary process, achieving them can be even more daunting. But I’m in it to win it.

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And like the original Jordan said, “I’ve failed over and over in my life, and that is why I succeed.” Not everything has to be perfect, but I have to make life worth it.

Time to get started. Ball’s in my court.

#JordynYear

Quote of the Day

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” IMG_9807.JPG— George Washington

On this day we celebrate the birthday of America’s first president George Washington. This celebration has morphed into a celebration of all U.S. presidents. I spent this holiday weekend surrounded by good friends from college. Ones who I have spent close moments with and intimate memories. Grateful to be surrounded by them and to share a birthday with America’s first president.

 

 

Quote of the Day

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

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— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This has been a rough week. We had to truly wrap our heads around the fact that President Barack Obama, the country’s first black president, will be leaving the White House. The eight years he served were my most formative — all of high school, all of college and into the first few months of the real world.

The pain of saying goodbye to this end of an error, stings a bit more as the man who patient zero of the “birther” lie will now succeed him. Smh.

But as a witness to this era of U.S. history, I realize it is my responsibility to pass on the memory of what it was like to grow up with a First Family who resembled my own. That impact of representation cannot be overstated enough. My president was black. It is up to those who witnessed this moment to channel all the hope we felt and it let that fuel our journey in these next four years.

Quote of the Day

img_9149“It’s a beautiful day to save lives”

— Derek Sheperd

This week I started my second rotation at work. I will be covering the municipal bond market for the next three months. This is the beat that I wanted to cover, but, boy, it’ll be a challenging one. But each day I’m going to wake up ready to do my best, learn all I can and take in the necessary feedback from my editors. Journalism is a craft and because I’m in the beginning stages of my career I know I have a lot of experience to still gain.

This week, I fittingly received a  “Grey’s Anatomy” themed mug in the mail. I’m currently obsessed with this Shonda Rhimes show that follows new surgeons throughout their career, tracing their professional and personal failures and successes. It’s the perfect show for an entry level professional to watch because like journalism, surgery is also a craft that must be mastered.

Each surgery is another chance to prove yourself. For me, each story is another chance to grow.

So drawing on some inspiration from neurosurgeon Derek Sheperd from “Grey’s Anatomy” I must say, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives.”

It’s time to get to work. It’s time to do the impossible. I’m ready to save a life.

Festivals Test Financial Fitness

“No one’s ever achieved financial fitness with a January resolution that’s abandoned by February” — Suze Orman 

Sometimes to achieve your goal, you just have to walk away.

That’s what I had to do today right before I pushed the button to purchase a $400 festival ticket to Governor’s Ball in New York. Not going to lie — at one point I did push the “Buy” button. Luckily the site declined my credit card because this 22-year-old has card limits.

Any who, the second time I tried to load my credit card and use the layaway plan option (yes, it got that deep), I realized that this was a prime case of instant gratification.

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I was most excited for Chance the Rapper and Childish Gambino | Jan. 6, 2016

I’m a millennial, and as much as society likes to assign characteristics to my generation, I do believe people my age have grown up in an era of immediacy. For us, news comes constantly, fast food is king, and if an app on my phone doesn’t load quickly enough, honestly, that app just isn’t worth it anymore. I’ve treated my spending habits in the same way. I’ve become way too accustomed to swiping my credit card now, and waiting for the phone call from my dad about the charge later.

Just consider me the 21st century version of Hilary Banks. Sorry not that very sorry.

Now that I’m adulting full0time with my own bills, apartment and paycheck, I’ve made this the year to hold myself accountable. I’ve made this promise for the past four years. Yet, in college, I had a net of security while living in the illusion of adulthood. In college there was always some reason for why my financial illiteracy was acceptable.

Frequently used ones were: A break from dining hall food, traveling during study abroad, summer break shenanigans, 21st birthday plans, fancy red carpets. Literally anything under the Los Angeles sun.

But there I was in my New York office, finger hovering above my mouse, ready to click “Buy” on the Governor’s Ball ticket ($400!) and I couldn’t think of a quick enough excuse for this frivolous expense. Time was ticking. The site was giving me five minutes to complete my purchase.

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Earlier this week I started an excel spreadsheet dedicated to tracking all of my spending. It’s been going good so far. Before this week, I would tell myself that I could make a mental checklist of just how expensive my lifestyle was. I couldn’t. I would genuinely be surprised when it came time to pay off my credit card each month.

Grant it’s only the first week, but I’m starting to feel accountable to this spreadsheet. I save all of my receipts and scribble prices down in the note section of my phone to make sure I can later update this spreadsheet. It’s kind of jarring to see how quickly money can flow out of my wallet.

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Enjoying my time in Coachella Valley | April 23, 2016

I had two minutes left before the Governor’s Ball site would log me out, and I kept seeing the text messages from my friends encouraging me to buy this ticket. I rechecked the lineup for the festival and, yes, it was still amazing. I thought about how many likes my Instagram photo from the festival would get (just trying to keep it real). There was a lot of noise as that two minutes became 60 seconds and my finger still hovered over the left-hand button on the mouse about to push “Buy”.

But I knew I needed to walk away. The voice I needed to hear was the one telling me that I wouldn’t be able to afford, say, lunch for the next month and a half if I said yes to this expense now. I needed to hear the resolution I made for myself saying that this was the year I would take responsibility for my finances.

I didn’t want to silence that voice any longer. Plus, I love hot food for lunch.

So in a decision that’s been building up since I left for college in 2012, I moved my mouse away from the “Buy” button as the clock start counting down 10. (Tbh, if I thought through this moment thoroughly, I would definitely be the owner of a 3-day Governor’s Ball ticket.) Instead of “Buy”, my mouse shifted up and clicked on the red exit button that would close the page. Feeling uneasy at the decision I got up and walked away from the desk. I had just made my first financial decision of the year.

To celebrate, I called my mom. Half of me called her because I thought she might convince me I should have actually bought that $400 ticket.

She did not. In fact, she was sipping tea at the time I called her and had to put her glass down when I told her how much money I was about to spend. When I assured her I hadn’t, she just started laughing. And laughing. And laughing.

Now I am here with no festival ticket to my name. But I still have $400 to use however I please, and because I live in New York, when I say “however I please” what I really mean is it’s going toward rent.

Yet, I feel better that when facing this decision, I stood up and let the most important voice takeover. This year I’m standing at the precipice of change in my spending habits. From all my failures in the past, I have learned that I can’t change something in my life unless I truly wanted it to happen.

Financial literacy is going to be a yearlong, er lifelong, goal, but at least now I’m ready to take on the challenge.

So here’s to going back to the drawing board. And by drawing board, I mean the excel spreadsheet that keeps my budget.