This is NOT the sound of settling.

I have been told a time, or two, or twenty that I can be a bit intense and too hard on myself. Naturally, my stubborn side rises up and disagrees with these claims.

It can be extremely easy to feel inferior in this city, and yet when I talk with people outside of LA I regularly get told things like:

“I would be exhausted if I lived your life.”

“Your love life is hilarious to me.”

“Wow, I can’t believe you do so much.”

Living in Los Angeles has been a humbling experience for me because most people in LA that are my age have written a book, started a non-profit, been featured in Vogue, and have been invited to the White House.

To me; having dreams has always gone hand in hand with working one’s ass off, pardon my French, so I have the hardest time understanding why people look at my life as though they are observing a foreign life form.

Then the other night I watched a Ted Talk that seemed to make me understand. It was about not wasting your 20’s. A topic of which I am passionate about.

When I was 17 going on 18 I joined a two-year internship program. Upon joining I had the leaders, as well as multiple people who had graduated the internship in previous years, tell me that at the end of the internship I would look back and regret the time I wasted. Maybe it was a scheme to try and get me not to waste those two years, if it was it most definitely worked. I became devoted to investing everything I could into my work, my study, and everyone around me. Constantly seeking correction, motivation, and discipline. I would not waste my time.

And I don’t believe I did. When I finished after two years I had no regrets, were there bumps along the road? Ohhhhh you betcha there were. Did my roommate and I spend 30 straight hours watching the 5th season of LOST? Yes we did, and I don’t count that as wasted time. But in the end those two years were my foundation for adulthood and I’m thankful I drove myself crazy utilizing every moment.

I saw a quote recently that said, “Doing the same thing 75 times does not count as living”.

Somedays I feel like such a lazy person, and other days I feel utterly overwhelmed by the dreams and deadlines that I balance.

When I saw this Ted Talk the other night I had the thought that 30-year-old me will be grateful for the dedication and standards I am living with now.

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