Hey everyone! Millennials seem to have a bad reputation for a countless number of reasons. Whether it’s for our love of technology or our hatred of discomfort, the generations that surround us seem to shudder when the thought of us in the real world comes to mind. I stand here to speak for those of us who truly do have our head on our shoulders and want nothing more than a happy and successful life. As a 20-year-old guy from south jersey, I must admit that I still have much to learn as a student of life. Yet while my learning has only just begun, the lessons that I have faced thus far have proven to be crucial and impactful and I hope to share them with you as we all stumble through this journey of life.
The Disney experience seems to be one of the very few things the entire world can share. Whether from the tasty Mickey soft pretzels or Cinderella’s captivating castle, Disney has seemed to have created a culture of its own. A culture so exciting, people come from across the world to experience it. The fireworks, the parades, the balloons, and the characters all combine to transport children into their dreams and adults into their youth.
I am lucky enough to have spent the last 7 days in Disney World and got to experience it from an entirely new perspective. Staying at the Shades of Green resort at Disney with 2 close friends and my awesome girlfriend, I got to do what every 20 year old should experience. After a year and a half of military training, work and school, I found that I was so busy adulting that I wasn’t living. My solution? Disney World.
Disney World came to mind because my girlfriend and I enjoyed it on our senior trip but we vowed to comeback together and do it our way. No itinerary or deadlines and no waiting for people who can’t show up on time. Not to mention my girlfriend loves Disney so much that she is practically a Disney Princess herself and my best friend Chris swears he’s Simba. So we came together, planned the trip, and worked our butts off to make it happen. These people are awesome because they aren’t the flakey friends that you hesitate to even make lunch plans with in fear of cancellation. They mean business and because of that, I knew this was going to happen.
Since Chris and I are both in the military, we both have a similar mindset and I think that played a big role in the success of our trip. Yet it wasn’t only our mindsets that made this happen. While most talk about education and travel benefits of joining the military, things such as the Shades of Green resort seem to be kept hidden. This resort is an exclusive military resort that provides room rates based upon the pay grade of the soldier making it extremely affordable. Not only is there a discounted resort but along with that came very discounted tickets.
This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity. What I learned was that Disney is best experienced as a 20 year old. Being old enough to appreciate the beauty of this awesome place while being young enough to power through the hot and humid air of Florida, most of the downsides didn’t even seem to phase us. As young adults, we were able to make our own decisions as to when we waited in line, when we ate, and most importantly, when we napped.
This trip was not as much about Disney as it was pride, for it was a prize that we had to earn on our own. As millennials, we need to remember how good it feels to earn something and not take that for granted. I write this piece as encouragement that there is always a way. It might not be through the military and it might not be to Disney World but if you work hard and put in the time, you will find a way. Trust me when I say earning it yourself is the catch. When you see people who seem genuinely happy, it is not because they have everything in the world. They are happy because what they do have comes with pride and appreciation. Nothing is more exciting than that.
One of the best aspects of my relationship with Tess is how spontaneous we are. If one of us gets the urge to do something different, we just hop in the car and go. Very often, we start driving before we even make a plan and let the road guide us to our destination. We tend to stay as local as possible due to how hectic our lives are but we take advantage of special occasions, such as birthdays, to step even further out of the box.
For my 20th birthday this past April, Tess and I decided that we would take a road trip to Baltimore after an awesome family lunch. Baltimore was hosting a city of lights festival where artist from all over the world come together to show off their amazing talent through a combination of art and light.
The experience was incredible with crazy pieces of work that I could not even begin to describe. Between umbrella boats floating in the harbor riddled with strings of lights to a giant glowing walk-on-water globe. With at least 58 unique displays and an awesome variety of food all setup along the Baltimore Inner Harbor, it is definitely the place to be if you are ever in the area during the festival.
This endeavor is one of many that keeps our relationship fun and unique. I am convinced that these adventures are vital for the success of our relationship. These experiences not only give us unique times to look back on and reminisce about, but it allows us to learn about the cultures and lifestyles that fill the communities around us.
Before I shipped out for the military, I had a standard sales associate job in retail. I worked hard my senior year to build up some money that I could spend during the little bit of time that I had between senior year and basic training. When it came time for me to ship out, I found myself without about $2500.00 left to my name. Since I was not going to need money for at least the next 3 months, I decided I would invest this money instead of having it sitting around in a .01% interest savings account. I spent a decent amount of time researching investment strategies and decided that I would split this money between a company that I previously worked for and an ETF. An ETF is an exchange traded fund, most similarly relating to a mutual fund, except that it is traded over the stock market.
This investment has been one of the best decisions of my life. Not because it made me rich but because it taught me to care about money. Physically purchasing stocks made me want to learn more about money management, savings, and the market. It is even the reason why I decided to be a finance major in college. I am strongly against doing things for monetary reasons, but I want to be in a position where I can adventure and explore the world and not have fear as to where the money will come from.
It does not take much. I try to follow a 70/30 rule. I keep about 70% of my earning in my checking account for bills and local adventures while I spread the other 30% out amongst different investments and saving accounts. My way is not the only way though. Several financial advisors even recommend a 90/10 rule especially for those as young as us. Either way, taking that little bit and putting it away can only do good things for your future. Described as paying yourself first, you are not only protecting yourself in the event of an emergency, you are investing in yourself and in your future.
Tess and I love adventure. We are flexible in that adventure to us can be anything from a walk around the block to a sudden trip to Baltimore. One of our favorite things to do is to watch the sun set. I can think of several occasions where we finished our busy day by early afternoon and had no clue how to spend our night. Our solution is usually the same. A random excursion to the Jersey Shore and no not like MTV. Here in South Jersey, our shore towns are pretty, peaceful, and relaxing. Being the perfect place to calm down after an eventful week, Tess and I love to take advantage of the beautiful back drop while making our big plans for the weeks to come.
There will be a large variety of things that I write about on this blog. I say this because of the nature of my living life skills tends to pull me in every direction possible. I will separate my discussions into categories so that you can follow the ones that interest you most and I will focus my writing on the aspects that everyone seems to enjoy the most. So never hesitate to give me feedback, positive or negative, so that I can adapt and overcome.
I consider myself an amateur photographer. By that I mean that my phone can take pretty epic pictures when I’m lucky. This luck drove my girlfriend and I to purchase a decent camera to see if we could tap into our artsy side. While I cannot say that I have had much luck yet,I can promise that all of the photos that are posted on this blog will be ones taken by either my girlfriend or myself (or by someone of my girlfriend or myself.) Whenever I post about an adventure that we have had, I will try to post some pictures to go along with it. If any photographers have advice out there, I am always open to criticism.
One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever read stated that we should all adapt a genuine interest into what other people say. Today’s society is so hectic and high-strung that small talk has taken over. We as a community have lost that close connection with each other not only because of our hectic lives but also because of the social media take over. We don’t even have to remember anyone’s birthday anymore thanks to Facebook. Next time the oppurtunity arises to have a conversation with someone, skip the small talk. Show them that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say and before you know it, you will have countless friends that you can rely on.
Society today seems to be on edge now more than ever. With our current political environment, it is difficult to find any civil conversations from any generation. For some reason, the art of debate seems to have been lost to emotion. While I do not care to share my political views with the world, mostly because most will not care what I think, I do care to share my opinion on how we express our views.
Why is it that if we do not agree on every issue, I now become a pathetic human being. This is not restricted to one side either. If I am pro Hillary, I am a snow flake who supports corrupted government. If I am pro Donald Trump, I am a sexist who hates muslims. The world has gotten so extreme with their emotions that we now lash out at each other for a difference in core beliefs. The reality? Most who supported Hillary did so because the environment and social issues are their priority. Most who supported President Trump did so because the economy was their priority.
I am not saying there aren’t bad people on either side because there clearly are. What scares me though, is that this topic has gotten so heated that people will not even state publicly who they support anymore. And those who do speak their mind are almost guaranteed to be ridiculed by the other side. I want to see a change in the politics. I want to see the days where people can rationally fight for their side, and then be open to hearing the counter argument. I saw a pretty awesome quote some where that said “People no longer listen to understand, they listen to answer,” and this could not be any more accurate. We are so caught up in accusing the other side that we do not listen to their valid points. I hope that we can someday come together and agree that while our opinions may be polar opposite, we are all Americans who want to see a country prosper.
Today will be another day of learning. Throughout the summer, I will spend my Wednesdays working for the assistant dean at the college of business. I have been assigned two major tasks for this early part of the summer. My first task to learn how to edit the college of business website. My man Frank who has operated the website since his freshman year has just graduated and is now teaching me the ways before he leaves. I’ve never been a tech guy but I will jump on every opportunity to learn something new. I have also been assigned the task of mastering the Bloomberg Terminal so that I gave give a class on it to a group of high schoolers in mid July. For those who do not know, a Bloomberg Terminal is a high-tech computer used widely in the financial field. This computer streams real time data on different markets, currencies, stocks, bonds, and governments. This machine is crucial for investment bankers but even a background with the machine will look good on any resume.