Many young single adults have certain expectations for the future including plans for marriage as well as a promising career.
But what happens when life doesn’t go according to plan? The reality for many young single adults in this community is they remain single, which to some people can feel as lonely as leprosy. Many simply put their lives on hold, in hopes for better timing to come calling.
Kylee Shields, 36 and single, is not one of these people. Shields is the author of “Making it Happen: A Guide to Happiness for LDS Singles” and is a perfect example of someone being actively engaged in her life. When she graduated from BYU in 2004, her life was right on track, or at least she thought it was.
She had successfully completed her bachelor’s in English and accomplished a double minor in editing and linguistics. She even landed her first job out of college as copy editor for Square Magazine.
But after six months at this supposed dream job, Shields found her “real-world” work experiences were not everything she dreamed they would be. Rather than wait around for her situation to improve, Shields took matters into her own hands, and moved out to Boston.
This move proved costly to her finances, but her pursuit of happiness was in no way diminished. She began blogging about her interactions with other people in her situation, people who were older, single and still trying to make their mark in life. What she discovered was a drive and a confidence to act, and not to simply be acted upon. This drive serves as the basis for her book.
“I felt old when I moved out of Provo, but I noticed a lot of people in Boston who were fine with being older (and single) and that was very freeing for me,” Shields said. “(But) I noticed there were a lot of (single) girls who were older than me who were miserable. These girls were spinning their wheels, sort of hanging out in life waiting to get married. These were people I never wanted to be like: putting my dreams on hold and hanging onto a job I didn’t like.”
Shields became consumed with the idea of not only making her dreams come true, but empowering others in her situation to do the same. In “Make it Happen,” Shields argues that achieving our dreams is often a matter of letting ourselves go after them.
“I notice a lot of people need an invitation,” Shields said. “They need to be invited to make their dreams happen, and that’s the gift I want to give my readers. It’s sort of a hard feeling to bust through because it takes work, but the underlying theme is to get out of your own way.”
And her message of courage could not be more timely. Since the recent change in eligible missionary age, many young women are widening their scope of things they want to accomplish in life.
For sophomore Janae Klump, one of those goals is to perform on Broadway.
Klump is currently applying to the music dance theatre program at BYU and while she’s hopeful of getting accepted, she concedes the possibility of failure. However, when asked what obstacles might stand in her way, she didn’t mention the application process, or the limited number of performance jobs. Her answer was much simpler than that:
“Fear,” Klump said. “Fear and bad timing would probably keep me from (pursuing) my goals.”
These sentiments were shared by Kelsey Hudson, a senior studying exercise and wellness.
“I honestly think the fear of not being able to do something keeps me from doing a lot of things,” Hudson said.
While collecting material for her book, Shields found several people she encountered excuse themselves from pursuing their dreams because of lack: lack of money, lack of time, lack of talent, lack of courage.
“(We all) hit the ceiling sometimes,” Shields said. “We think, ‘I don’t have enough of this, so I can’t do that.’ We often think that once we use all our resources, for that one thing we’re called to do in life, then that’s it for us. We set limitations on ourselves.”
Despite its title, “Make it Happen” is more than a guide to happiness for the young single adult singles population.
“If you search for my book online, many of the reviews come from married people,” Shields said. “(The chapters) are just life principles. It doesn’t matter if you are single, married, divorced or even if you’re LDS. The book talks about dealing with trials and how to choose God during those trials. Every chapter is applicable.”
“Make it Happen” can be found at Amazon.com, as well as Deseret Book.