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Friday, February 19, 2016


Friday Speak Out!: Planning and Executing the Exploration of Adulthood

by Kendra Beltran

Go to college they said, it’ll land you a great job they said. Fast forward to seven years out of higher education, and nothing but freelance gigs that pay just enough are my norm. Typical 9-5s never hired me in the past, so when an internship led me to writing, that’s where I stayed and have been since in between seasonal and contract jobs that usually last as long as an Orange is the New Black binge. Being that I’ve never been an “adult” by any means based on employment and other aspects of my life, I started to wonder what that word really meant.

Supporting myself with minimal work and living on my own, that’s pretty grown...right? Instead, I had people tell me otherwise. So I started to look at those around me. What’s so adult about having a good job, but not wanting to take responsibility and move out on your own? Those are the questions that kept me up at night and while I would’ve loved to continue to just voice my opinion on Tumblr, the idea of what it meant to be a grown up, and all the aspects that went into it would not leave my mind. That’s when I decided I’d write a book about it. After a month or two of putting it off, I thought, why not a podcast? Those are all the rage, but thinking more about it...I had to veto the idea due to my Alvin and The Chipmunks like voice. Why I didn’t just figure a blog about it was the way to go in the first place escapes me. I’d already run my own music one for years and contributed to almost two dozen other various sites since ‘09--blogging was it, and Exploring Adulthood was born.

For those who love this kind of stuff, the planning is the most exciting part. With 12 months in a year, it was easy to decide on breaking things down into that many topics with each week being a subtopic. Once the basic bones of it was on paper, I then decided on everything else: topics, subtopics, who to interview, what to say, books to read, etc. After a few 20+ page outlined drafts, I had my master plan, and ever since the start of 2016, I’ve been posting Monday through Friday about everything from what it’s like to still live with your parents as an adult to what it means to be an “adult adolescent.”

Each week I explore a different aspect and in time, I’ve been learning a lot about others through this project. We grow up and are so set in our ways and what we know, but we rarely look at others and really take in their story; who they are past their Facebook posts and Twitter bios. Through interviews and surveys, I’m learning the highs and lows of adulthood from everyone else and realizing there are way more ideas out there than I would’ve initially guessed. While I make nothing from this venture, it has made me rethink what I want to do with my life. I’ve always written about music and pop culture, but talking with friends, family and friends of friends of friends, I’ve realized the good stories may just be right next door. Every day people are some of the most interesting characters you’ll encounter, so never stray away from them--use them to learn about a new take on life and then use that to continue to write, write and write some more.

* * *
Growing up in a double wide in a small desert town that seemed a world away from normalcy, Kendra looked for an escape plan early on in life. At five-years-old she decided college was her way out - only she didn’t think past that point. Once she had that BA in hand, she realized the real world was more than MTV had portrayed. Typical jobs with steady pay always seemed to pass by her resume, and soon enough she fell into the world of freelance writing. Over the years she’s contributed to MTV Geek, Rant Chic and Cartoon Brew. Today she lends her words to Entertainment Voice, Coming Up Magazine, Fandomania and more on top of handling two sites of her own; Golden Mixtape and Exploring Adulthood.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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