Life Update: Adulting 101

I have become a full-fledged adult since my last blog post. I have a college degree; my own apartment; and a full-time, big-boy job. Since I have been quiet lately, I thought for those who 1) read these and 2) care what I write about would be interested in knowing where I am in life.

And, I have been approached by several people telling me how much they love my blog and read every single one. Some of these people I haven’t seen in years or barely know. Honestly, it is humbling to hear these comments from people, and it definitely reminds me why I do this. I wanted to get back into blogging officially and permanently because of those people.

Moving beyond the sappiness above, here is an update on Kyle Majerus’s life.

 

Graduation

I FINALLY GRADUATED COLLEGE. After four long years of intense stress and rigorous work, I graduated from Clarke University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a minor in business administration. I will be honest, there was a three-week period in March in which I didn’t think I was going to pass my English capstone (senior thesis and presentation) because I had to re-write my paper three times (20-25 pages each time, mind you…).

BUT, I DID IT. I graduated magna cum laude, as well as with the highest honor bestowed upon a Clarke graduating senior, the Francis J. O’Connor Memorial Award.

Now, I am taking a break from school for a few years. However, I have full intentions of returning for a Master of Business Administration in either marketing or entrepreneurship.

Apartment

I know, I know, for over a year I wrote how I was moving to Chicago right away upon graduation. I even went so far as to interview for a manager position out there. However, after speaking with professors who lived there for years and friends from there, I knew I couldn’t support myself with an entry-level job. Making ~$40,000 a year does not cover paying rent for a 300 sq. ft. studio apartment that costs ~$800/month, utilities, various bills, and student loans. I was honest with myself and told myself that once I get a few years of experience under my belt, I can get an upper-level job and support myself while living in that beautiful city.

Besides, I seriously love Dubuque. And, for those who haven’t visited or been here in a while, the downtown area is seriously stepping it up. The main street has unique shops; the library is outstanding; the Millwork District is breath-taking with shops, aesthetics, architecture, and apartments; the farmers’ market is incredible and quite large; and many other factors make Dubuque downtown an outstanding location. My apartment is in downtown Dubuque, but not in the Millwork District, sadly. That would have cost $1,200/month… yeah, I am good. I totally would have if I had a roommate, but there are only three people I would live with — two live in Chicago and one refused, haha.

But, I love my one-bedroom apartment. It is so cozy and screams “Kyle!” I won’t describe it to you; rather, I prefer the old saying “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Well, here are 7,000 words.

P.S. My plant is named Vincent.

P.P.S. My apartment is not complete yet. I still have a few more pieces of furniture to get. So, updates to follow in the future!

P.P.P.S. The natural light is AMAZING in this apartment when the blinds are open. Oh, my Lord, it is my favorite things about this apartment.

 

Career

I got the opportunity for a unique experience at Heartland Financial USA Inc. here in Dubuque. I am going through a marketing management trainee program, which they call their marketing academy. I am a full-time employee, not an intern, FYI. I will work in the marketing department as a whole, such as digital marketing, analytics, product development, and sales support. The intention of this program is to 1) make me a well-rounded marketer and 2) train me to become a marketing manager. Instead of working in one specific area, like copywriting, I get to experience the full range of marketing! I am on week three, and I absolutely love it. The work I do is empowering and important.

Oh, and I am a living testament that 1) Liberal Arts degrees are extremely useful in the “real world” and 2) Liberal Arts graduates can work in the business world. For those who are worried about their major and if they are employable: yes, you are. It goes beyond the degree you have. It is about the skills, experiences, and grit that you have. So, make sure you are interning and getting involved in professional development any way you can!

Lifestyle

Finally, I can live my life the way I want to again. College impeded me because I was always bombarded with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and work. Presently, I work, and once I get off, my life is my life. I can do the things I love to do again.

Beyond what I do with my life, I decided to go deeper with how I live my life and commit even more to the minimalist lifestyle. As you can tell from my apartment photos, I really do not have much beyond the basics. And, that was my intention. I don’t need much to be happy, so I simply want what I need. After graduation, I went through everything I owned, and I think I threw away over 75% of my stuff. They just did not bring me happiness or have a use anymore. I desire quality over quantity. Yes, this means I may spend double on a pair on chinos, a sweater, etc. But, these items will last, at least, three times as long, if not longer than the cheaper options.

For example, for the past two years, I wanted this simple gray sweater from Asket. (Yes, for two years I have contemplated buying it.) Yes, it comes with a high price tag, but the quality is worth it. And, I know it’ll last for several years. So, would I rather have a $30 H&M or Target sweater that lasts one year or the $95 Asket sweater that lasts five? Yeah, in the grand scheme of things, the latter is the best option. I think I am going to finally pull the trigger on this sweater next week, I think after two years of contemplating it, I should get it.

Trying to move beyond the materialistic lifestyle is something I am still working on. I still want things I don’t need, surely. But, I will force myself to think about the item(s) for a minimum of two weeks before I make the purchase. And, after weighing the decision and if the desire is still strong, then I know it (they) is (are) something I really do want and need.

Am I or will I become an extreme minimalist? Goodness, no. That is going too far and a bit ridiculous. I will be minimal in most areas of my life, but I still will own some things I do not need or have a bit too much of. I am human.

 

In all, life is good, everyone. All the pieces have fallen into place nicely. Will this be my life forever? No. Will I move around, move up in the professional world, and change aspects of my lifestyle? Yes. Because that is what growing as a person does.

– Kyle Majerus

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Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

For those of you who don’t know, minimalism is a lifestyle in which a person chooses to live with the most basic of things, e.g., clothing, furniture, and possessions, but gets the most bang for his or her buck. For example, minimalist prefer quality over quantity, so he or she may purchase a high-end winter coat that will last him or her for years instead of four to five cheaper coats that will only last a few months.

Now, I would consider myself a minimalist in terms of clothing; I only wear five shirts and sweaters, four pairs of pants, and three pairs of shoes. Instead of owning a ridiculous amount of clothing that I will never wear, I just purchase high-quality pieces of clothing that I cycle throughout the year and create various combinations. And you know what, people rarely notice. They do not notice that I just wear the same thing in a different variation. This is what minimalism is about. Creating the most out of the basic items. The absolute best pieces to get to create a minimalist wardrobe are chinos in navy, gray, and black; sweaters in black and navy; white button-downs; and white sneakers. You do not realize the creations you can make, everyone.

Some of you may be wondering what got me into the minimalist lifestyle, and I would say a huge inspiration would be a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. It follows around and interviews a variety of minimalists who gave up their Wall Street-like, materialistic lifestyle and adopted a minimalist one. It is quite moving honestly. I urge you all to check it out on Netflix because, who knows, you may find a desire to give up the lifestyle you live for a more minimal one.

When I watched it for the first time during my freshman year of college, I ended up throwing away three containers of junk from my room and another two containers of clothing. I realized how much space I was wasting and what little value these items were. It felt absolutely freeing to do.

After watching this documentary for the second time this past weekend, I actually ended up clearing out my apartment closet and room of unnecessary clothing and items that I do not need or never use. It allowed me to declutter my life in various ways and focus on what is important: myself. Now that I do not have so much junk to distract me, I can work on myself, discover who I am, and fix the issues in my life. The documentary does a great job of conveying that minimalism is not an image that hipsters adopt; rather, it is a lifestyle that allows a person to stop focusing on what doesn’t matter, i.e., materialistic items, and start focusing on what really should matter — people, experiences, and oneself.

Let me know if any of you give it a watch, and also let me know if it inspires you to become a minimalist!

– Kyle Majerus

Featured Image: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/minimalism_a_documentary_about_the_important_things/

 

 

The Apple Watch: The Best Smartwatch to Own

Elegant. Minimal. Convenient.

The Apple Watch is a triple threat that covers the areas many watch wearers care about; it is elegant, has a beautiful and minimal design, and is extremely convenient. Watch wearers pride themselves on the watch that is strapped around their wrists. They wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a watch from Wal-Mart or Shopko; no, they want to be seen wearing Omega, Rolex, or even Daniel Wellington because these watches stand out to those who appreciate watches. Me? I was a Daniel Wellington and August Steiner kind-of-guy prior to my Apple Watch. They are minimal, versatile, and cheap.

And, like anyone who adores watches, I am proud of my watches because they are an extension of who I am and what I like. My black-banded, white-faced August Steiner watch was an embodiment of my minimalistic style. Just like a flashy, diamond-coated Rolex may exemplify the high roller who owns it. It’s simple: watches represent their owners, so the owners are going to pick a watch that depicts them exactly.

So, when I finally purchased my Space Gray 38mm Apple Watch over a month ago, I knew that it would be the perfect extension of myself. It is sleek and minimal in design, and it is lovely to look at. I love my accessories to add to my outfit, not take the spotlight. The simple look of the Apple Watch is just enough for others to spot it but not focus all their attention on it. Also, it has myriads of watch faces that can be changed with just a finger touch. My personal favorite is “Mickey Mouse” because he taps his foot to represent a second of time ticking by, and he talks to you if you click on him! However, to save battery life, I use the “Simple” watch face with some added complications (alarm, temperature, date, and workout) to keep it, well, simple. The various watch faces are an outstanding feature because I can pick my watch face based on my mood or the setting I am in. Super convenient and versatile.

Not only are the watch faces easily interchangeable, but the watch bands are as well. With the simple push of a tab, you may slide the current watch band off and put on another one. Also, just like the watch faces, you may choose the watch band to suit a certain occasion or your mood. The Apple Watch comes with a Sport Band that can be in a multitude of colors, but you may buy more as you please. Personally, I love the Milanese Band and bought one for my Apple Watch. However, the Apple Watch bands are pricey, so I suggest looking on eBay or Amazon to find a great deal. Pictured below is my Apple Watch with a black Milanese Band I purchased on eBay (for $12 instead of $150!). The magnet is powerful and keeps the Apple Watch resting perfectly on my wrist.

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Another – and my personal favorite – benefit to having an Apple Watch is the convenience of it. No longer am I stuffing my hand into my pocket and pulling out my iPhone just to text someone back, check an email, or look at my reminders; rather, I raise my arm to see who texted me, reply to a crucial email, or checkmark a reminder as being complete. It saves momentous amounts of time. Which is a problem in today’s society. We are all time-poor people who do not have the time to scroll through Facebook and Twitter, reply to a text, or check all our email accounts because we are too busy keeping up with our active lifestyles. So, when I bought the Apple Watch, I had no idea that it would save me time to focus on more pressing matters. (Check back to my blog in a few weeks because I am writing a post about how my Apple Watch stopped my iPhone addiction!)

So, you still may be asking yourself if it is worth spending $270+ for one smartwatch, and I want you to stop right there. Purchasing this watch is not spending… it is investing. You’re investing in a timepiece that exceeds all others, can save you the trouble of pulling out your iPhone every five minutes, looks pretty damn cool on your wrist and will last you years to come. Apple products are known for their outstanding quality and incredible lifetime, and the Apple Watch is no exception.

Leave a comment or send me a message with your thoughts on the Apple Watch. Do you think it is worth it? Would you make the investment yourself, or have you already? Let me know!

 

-Kyle Majerus