Intestinal bleeding, subway rides and career developments are all a part of Lauren Allen’s new book, “How to Be 23: What Nobody Tells You About Adulting.”
UK and JAM School graduate Allen released “How to Be 23” in mid-December, and the debut memoir is the story of Allen’s move to New York City and the journey she takes to learn to navigate adulthood.
“How to Be 23 is my entire heart and soul that I have published in hopes of helping others who are struggling to settle into life after college, start a new career or move to a new city,” said Allen.
Allen graduated in 2016 with a degree in print journalism and a minor in digital art, before making a move to Harlem, New York City, a destination she had long dreamt of moving to. She currently works as a bridal consultant for a family-owned company in midtown Manhattan.
Career exploration is just one topic that Allen evaluates in the book— the rest are a conglomeration of life experiences that can reach out to readers.
“My stories are all the lessons that I learned along the way. I hope that readers can learn from the lessons that I learned the hard way,” Allen said.
The choice to actually pursue the project came to fruition after Allen realized that she didn’t need to be a best-selling author to start writing—she just needed to be able to tell her story.
“For years I have been saying that I wanted to write a book, but I thought that you had to hit some sort of level of fame or fortune to write a book that people would care about,” said Allen. This changed on her 23rd birthday.
“I started writing down the stories of the experiences that I was going through at the time, at first only as a way to think through my circumstance, but then eventually as something that I thought was worth sharing,” she said.
The book details the most changing year of Allen’s life, quick career changes and even a near-death experience. Her hope is that the book teaches readers that life isn’t easy, but that there is positivity in the negativity that life may throw at you, which can happen quite frequently during the first years after college.
Allen’s writing process involved journaling her life experiences over the course of her 23rd year of life and then six months of editing, formatting and learning the self-publishing process— all while she worked her full-time job.
“The whole writing, editing and publishing experience was an overwhelming barrage of emotions including pride, fear and joy,” said Allen.
Part of the writing and publishing process involved picking out the cover art, which has special meaning for Allen. Created by her cousin Mary Kate McCrystal, the cover of “How to be 23” features the New York City skyline at sunset, a view which Allen considers to be her favorite in the world.
“This is where I feel the most calm, inspired and strong, which is exactly what I want the reader to feel after reading my book,” Allen said.
Now that the book is published, Allen is excited by its potential to guide readers after they leave college and begin to construct their post-graduate lives.
“No matter how beautifully you plan your life, there will be things that happen out of your control that will come in and seemingly ruin those plans. Just know that as long as you get back up and keep moving forward something even better than you could have ever planned for is just around the corner,” Allen said.
Eager readers can purchase a paperback copy or the Kindle edition on Amazon.