10 years ago I was 21

Hello April, wow I feel like I went to sleep and I woke up and it was April 1st. Ok maybe it just has been a really long time since I have written anything new. I blame…procrastination.

Well a little over two weeks ago I turned 31. Not as exciting as turning 30, but I come back to you a year older.

31 is somewhat of a weird age for me. I am not sure if I should start crying now, or if I should be excited that I am growing in wisdom. What happens at 31? In the last two weeks since my 31st birthday, well I can honestly say that I feel no different from when I was 29 or 30. I just know that on my 31st birthday my mother so nicely told me that I was falling behind and needed to get on the ball because when she was 31 she was already married with two kids. My brother was 6 and I was 3. Is that where my life should be at this point? Could I see myself married with two kids at this time in my life? Well a part of me wants to laugh loudly at that thought. I have a feeling that a husband and a set of kids would cramp my entire style of free spiritness.

Well that’s not totally true, there are those days when I do wish I had a husband to do everything for me (that is what husband’s do right?). I would like to have kids who bear my resemblance so I could look at how cute they are, and have them follow me around because I am so awesome. Ok, maybe it is not that simple, but a family sometimes is a nice thought, that will come with time.

It feels slightly strange at 31 to be 10 years removed from 21. When I was 21 I felt like time stood still, I never really thought of what life would be like at 31. At 21 I knew that age 31 was ancient, and it was a far off age that would not find a place in my reality.

Where was I at 21? Well I was a senior in college, I knew I would go to graduate school, so I guess I had envisioned a future    up to age 25. My birthday was during spring break, so I celebrated it as a college spring breaker in South Beach, Miami. Oh memories. The days of reckless behaviors and irresponsible drinking, oh wait I still do the irresponsible drinking at times, but I will admit that the frequency has significantly decreased.

At 21 I felt like a child. At 31 I am a full-fledged adult. I wish there was a manual on how to be an adult, because I frequently wonder if I am doing it right. I am human, I make mistakes, I wish there was a way to avoid those mistakes.

As an adult I have responsibilities. Responsibilities not only to myself, but to my employer, to my clients, and to my family. Sometimes I miss the days of being a care free college student, although some college students have responsibilities to others, I sure wasn’t one of them. At 21 I felt life was hard, it wasn’t. I thought I knew all the answers, well I didn’t. I thought I had a perfectly thought out plan of what my life would be like, it didn’t work out that way. Life happens, plans change, daily.

At 31 I am not the same person that I was when I was 21. I consider that a very good thing. I have grown, learned more about myself, and can’t wait to grow some more. However, some days at 31 I still feel uncertain about life. At times I am unsure about plans, I question myself more than ever, I am on overdrive most days, and I feel like my life map has been thrown out the window. Direction would be nice at 31. At 21 I hated direction, at 31 I am begging for a clear planned out map. I guess I will start working on that now.

Life moves fast at 31. At 21, years moved at a snail’s pace, and  time took forever to jump forward. At 31, well I blink my eyes and suddenly its April. Time moves fast, I need to make the most out of being 31 before it’s over, and suddenly I will be crying for real at 32.

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29 and counting…Its Over. My 20’s a decade in review

Welcome 30! Today I have officially made it out of my 20’s safely, and kleenex free. Luckily I have avoided the emotional meltdown that I was highly dreading.  Surprisingly I still feel good, actually I feel great.  I hope age 30 will be my best year ever! Let’s check in on that a year from now.

As I say goodbye to my twenties, I must say that I am really not too sad to see them go. I have made mistakes, learned how to get over those mistakes, made more mistakes, and again continued to grow. Life is a journey. One word to describe the last 10 years of my life: Transformation. A year ago I would have never been able to understand this transformation fully, but over time, I have been able to look back on events in my life and learn from them. I have been able to transform into the product of a collection of lessons learned from every phase of life over the past decade, for if I have not been able to learn from it then what was truly the point of living it.

My 20’s a decade in review: A decade that can safely be put to rest

Ages 20-22: I was really dumb. Seriously, I knew absolutely nothing at all about anything. During this phase of my life I graduated college, so I knew enough to get by in higher education.  I started graduate school, so I even knew just enough to get by in continued higher education. OK so maybe I was book smart. However I was still dumb. My weekends were spent partying at the club, and I think I tried about every type of alcohol that was in existence at the time. During the age of 20 I drank so much, that by the time I turned 21 I really didn’t have the desire to drink anymore. But I did. I kept drinking, I was having fun. That’s what you do when your young right you have fun and binge drink. During my early twenties I learned how to express love to another person, I thought was in love for the first time (or at least I really really  liked my boyfriend a whole lot), and I learned there are hundreds of ways to have the most amount of fun in Manhattan on a super cheap budget! Most important lesson learned: Stop being dumb and grow up!

Ages 23-25: Ahhhh my mid twenties! I was still dumb. Maybe not as dumb as my early twenties but still very much dumb. By this time I thought I had found love for the second time. Even had those crazy thoughts of having that nice shiny ring, with that whole wedding thing to match. Yeah I was a serial monogamist. But, I am also a romantic, so if I think it is love then I will run with it. The highlight of my mid twenties; graduating from graduate school. The low point of my mid twenties, actually having to go out and get a job! Adulthood came quick, I wasn’t even looking and it hit me on the head. No more living on grad school budget with two part time jobs, I had a real salary and real responsibilities. As a new psychotherapist I knew nothing, and I imagined all my clients hating me and walking out of my office because they would eventually realize that I knew absolutely nothing. Yeah that was me. Fresh out of school, student loans galore, and I still knew nothing. Lesson learned: Just because someone gives you a job, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to do it.

Age 26: In basketball, during  a seven game playoff series, when both teams each have 2 wins in the series, they refer to game 5 as the pivotal game 5. Age 26 was my pivotal game 5. To be honest, age 26 was probably the darkest year of my life to date, and I never want to go back to that point again. It was my make or break year, and through much of the year I was broken. If I could describe myself at age 26 the word would be, uncertain. I was uncertain about everything, and just surviving to make it to the next day. Life was there, but I was no where near living.  My job was a daily form of torture. I was on a roller coaster ride of a relationship, so that was just more self-inflicted torture, and everything about New York City seemed to increase the daily torture meter. To describe my mood as unhappy would be the ultimate understatement. The age of 26 was pivotal because I knew something needed to change. I needed a big change and I needed it quick. If I had stayed in New York, I saw my life on a downward spiral towards the abyss of depression. If I left, well I figured it couldn’t be any worse than what I was already facing. And on that note, I left. Lessons learned: Stay away from douche bags, and self-inflicted torture is never a good idea. If you are not happy with something in life, It is fully your responsibility to change it.

Ages 27-29: The transformation years: These are the years that I will miss. I am happy and sad to see them go. During this period I was no longer the college drinking weekend alcoholic, or the unhappy, job hating New Yorker. I found a way to just be me, and I found a way to be me on the other side of the pacific. Who knew that would happen? No, everyday was not the best of days, I still very much struggled with days of unhappiness, and even lingering depressive thoughts. Lessons learned: How to take control of my own life. How to make it work for me. I learned how to combat negative thoughts, negative energy, and negative experiences, so I can the avoid the downward spiral. I learned to depend on myself. To not look for love from others, but to look for love within myself. I learned how to work at a job that I love. I have developed into a great therapist, and no longer worry what my clients think of me. I have learned to appreciate the life that was given to me, and over the past few years I have developed a stronger understanding of how I can make it better. I have no regrets. Most importantly, I learned that life involves taking risk, without my risk who knows where I would be today.

As I reflect on my twenties, I start to smile. Through the laughing, the crying, the love, the heartbreak, the pain, the isolation, and the starting over, I have really had an emotional, purpose driven last ten years of life. I am grateful for the lessons learned in life through each year of my twenties. I am also very happy that I am no longer dumb. I still do not know a lot, but at least now I recognize what is unknown, and as always I am ready to learn so much more.

So today at 30, bring it on. What do I want to do? Well to start expanding my career options, move back to the other side of the Pacific, possibly closer to the Atlantic, and if that love thing happens to come around again, I’ll be even more ready for it this time. I can’t help it, I will always be a hopeless romantic. 🙂

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

29 and counting….wow 30 is almost here

Less than two months away from turning 30! We are down to the final stretch, and enter panic mode. Well I guess that is what is supposed to happen. I have been contemplating what I should actually do for my 30th birthday. How do you celebrate the Big 3-0, what should I do to kick off this new decade of life? I want the next 10 years of life to be my best 10 years of  life, how can I make that happen? Sure, I am possibly over thinking this turning 30 thing a little bit too much. There is nothing I can do to stop it from happening, it will happen no matter how much I kick, scream, and cry. Its life. You get older, live with it, the end.

I recently thought that I would like to have a blow out party, that would deter me from having my very own pity party. If I have a semi real party, with actual people, maybe that will ease the torment of thinking about what life is actually like at 30. I want to still have fun at 30. I actually want to have more fun than ever before. So in my mind an awesome 30th birthday would be something that includes throwing a major party at Tao in Las Vegas, with streamers, a huge cake, and a well known DJ. It would be something like umm, Kim Kardashian’s 30th birthday. Ok, I know I am not Kim Kardashian, and I do not have anywhere near Kardashian money so a club party in Vegas will not be an option. Well at least not for this year, maybe next year we can shoot for that option.

So what is a good way to bring in your 30th birthday! I want to do something that matches my personality. I am 30 and the world is my playground. I live in the boundaries of very few limitations. I see myself on a path to extraordinary. What type of event expresses that notion? Do I go for a grown and sexy vibe, or do I go for a young and free vibe? Honestly, I really wish I had someone to plan a party and I just show up. I am not a party planner. I have a new idea for my life everyday, so obviously I will have a new idea everyday on ways to celebrate this overdramatized  milestone of my 30th birthday. I am not the first person in the world to turn 30 but, it is the first and only time turning 30 will happen to me. I owe it to myself to make it a memorable experience, who knows when the next memorable experience will happen to me.

I have less than two months to enjoy my last days in my twenties. Some people want to be married by the time they are 30. If I was one of those people then I would have to hurry up and find a husband real quick. But I am not. I never really thought of what it was going to be like when I turned 30, well not until I turned 29. Then 30 was hitting me in the head hard, I was forced to create an image of what life is like at 30. Soon enough I will find out for real. So what should I do to celebrate my 30th birthday? Should I go over the way of full on party, or low key and relaxed? Whatever I do, I sure hope it is fun.

Any ideas on how to celebrate the big 3-0?

 

 

Positive thoughts, positive ideas, positive experiences

I want off this “Ship”, what I really want is a “Relationship”

Recently I was having a conversation with a male friend about his most recent relationship. According to him, he had just gotten out of a 3 year “ship”.  Yeah “ship”. I asked him to elaborate on what exactly was a “ship”. He proceed to explain that a “ship”, was kind of like a relationship, but not exactly a relationship. No commitments, no demands, no expectations, basically no relationship. A “ship”. My definition of a “ship”: A friendShip with benefits, but don’t expect too much more because you are not in an actual relationShip. Think of it as dating extended, or relationship limbo.

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Before the whole concept of the relationship hits its death bed, I want to make an effort to try to save it while it is still on life support. I’m going to target this one towards women.  I will agree with Steve Harvey on this one point: women, we have the control as to what we want from the relationship with a man. We set the expectations of what this relationship will be, if you have no expectations, sadly you will get nothing in return.  With the acceptance of an undefined relationship, you will eventually set yourself up for disappointment, and anger. Women, if you want an actual relationship, lets start by not accepting the “ship”.

To be in an undefined “ship” for 3 years is a long time. Women will eventually want more. Reality check time: no one is ever really happy being the side chick, the baby mamma hanging on to her baby daddy who has a new girlfriend,  or a wifey but never a wife. Women we may stay in that “ship”, on the hopes that it may turn into a relationship. After 3 years, you can almost be certain that you will not get that relationship that you want. As women we are emotional creatures who look for connections. So if choose to stay in that “ship” now, don’t be surprised by the disappointment you may face later.

The good news: If you are in a ship, you can jump off at any time you are ready. The “ship” can also be avoided all together.

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Ways to avoid getting stuck on the “ship”

  • When you meet a man who appears to be your next possible Mr. Right, state your expectations.  Make them clear. If a relationship is what you want, let him know that you are looking for a relationship. A real relationship, you don’t want to just “kick it”, and you don’t want a “ship”. If he doesn’t want a relationship be prepared to walk away, if you don’t walk, you may find yourself smooth sailing on his ship.
  • If  your possible Mr. Right says, “I want a relationship, but I need time to really get to know you”. Fine take that. Give him and yourself time to decide if you two are compatible for a committed relationship. Date him, you should even date other people if you want to weigh your options. However, make sure you have a timeline. Use your best instincts, and make your timeline is one that you are comfortable with.  If you say to yourself, and to him, I need to know if we are ready for commitment in three months, make sure you check back in three months to see if he is ready for a committed relationship. If you overlook the check back stage then you will be on that ship to the land of confusion, questioning what you two are doing. If he is not ready for that relationship that you want, then be ready to walk. There are other men who will give you the relationship that you want.
  • If you find yourself on the “ship”, but you are having a good time. (this is a hard one) In the moment it may not seem so bad, it may even be fun. Ask yourself are you looking for fun right now or, are you looking for a relationship  for the long run.  Think about the direction that you want this ship to go. Jump in the captain’s seat and take control. Again if you want a relationship, say so! This guy may be a good guy for you and may be boyfriend material, tell him you want a commitment. If nothing is said, nothing new will be done.

Men will only treat a women in a way that she allows herself to be treated.  If you accept crap, you will get crap. If you hold yourself to a higher standard, then you will get a higher standard. When a man wants to be with you, you will know it. So when you know what you want, don’t settle for less than that. If a real RELATIONSHIP is what you what, don’t start it off by hoping on that SHIP.

 

Positive energy, positive thoughts, positive experiences

29 and counting…part 3 Getting over the defeat

5 months, 3 days away from turning 30

A few weeks ago I was feeling really defeated. I just wanted to quit. I wanted to quit everything. I was done. I felt tired of trying and not getting any results. What was I trying to do? Well now that I’m over my feeling of defeat, I am re-examining exactly what it is that I want to do. I start to ask myself, What am I really looking for?

At the end of my twenties, I feel like I followed the path of life that I supposed to go on. At least the plan that my parents may have had for me. I graduated from high school, went to college, graduated from college, even graduated from grad school at NYU! I started working for employers in my field, made a career for myself, moved to the other side of the world, survived in Hawaii, and now I wonder: What’s supposed to come next!

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

What is my next move, and how do I start to make it. I feel like the person in the Robert Frost poem, The Road not taken. I am at a crossroads of two diverging roads, so obviously I should take the road less traveled by. The problem is I don’t even have a sense of which road has been less traveled.

In actuality I always have taken the road less traveled. My life is a representation of taking that chance to make the difference. However, today as I move closer to 30 it appears that life has hit me with uncertainty. Uncertainty about if  that road that few go down is really the right road. I wonder about my career. I love my job, but do I want to do this forever. Should I get a Ph.D. to excel in my career, or do I just want a Ph. D. so people can call me Doctor. I can’t let my ego make life decisions for me, in the end I will just end up in a never-ending battle with my own self.  When I have accomplished everything that was on my “to do” list, what am I really supposed to do next.  Make a new list possibly? Okay, what do I put on it.  The plan that I had at 19 once seemed that it would last  for the rest of my life. At 29 I wonder how long my next plan will last. I really don’t want this feeling again at 39.

There are days when I want to hide, I want to disappear, so I don’t have to make decisions for my own life. I tell myself “WAKE UP!” this is adulthood, accept responsibility for your own life. I wonder if I should try a new career, but what would I do? Would I even like it? I guess I won’t know until I make an attempt. I wonder if I should move to a new city, but will I be happy there?  I need to stop wondering and just do something, anything.  So here it goes, I will set out again on that road less traveled by. I’m going to enter 30 with at new plan, a new outlook, complete bigger and better accomplishments. To fight the feeling of uncertainty I will remember: My best days are ahead of me, and I just have to live for today.

 Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

29 and counting part 2

 

Presently 6 months and 28 days away from 30!              

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Something happens as you get older.  Time starts to fade, and outsiders are suddenly more interested in your personal life than they really should be. Lately I have noticed that more and more people actually have expectations for where I should be in my life. Not career wise because they see that I love my job, and I am independent enough to support myself, but they have a strong interest in my love life. I don’t think I care as much about my own love life as other people do. Why do they care so much? Sometimes I wonder what is so wrong with their own life that they seem to take so much time caring about mine. Yeah, I do go against the grain. I have never been a normal chick anyway. I prefer to march to the beat of my own drum, that way I don’t have to adjust to a new beat when I hate the song anyway. I live my life my way, and it works for me.

In my pre-phase for 30, I already go into each week knowing that at least three people are going to ask me if I am married, do I have a boyfriend, or do I have kids. The follow-up question being, why not? With a comment of, “you are so pretty”.  I have been asked these questions so much that the answers no to all of them, and it just hasn’t happened,  roll off my tongue in the same manner as if someone were to ask me my first name.

As I get older societal expectations grow. Some days it can be overwhelming. In true form, I ignore them. Independence is an anomaly, and to be connected to something, or someone is a 30 something  must have.

I on the other hand look at the glass half full. News flash #1: It is not hard to get married. Believe it or not there are men who want to get married. So sure I could have been married by now.  Would I have been happy? Probably not. Marriage does not guarantee love or happiness. So where would that leave me, 7 months away from 30 and possibly on the road to my first divorce. Yeah, I’ll pass on that one. 30 and divorced does not sound like much fun.

The subject of kids. Yeah, I guess I want them one day. News flash #2, It is not hard to make a baby! So sure I could have had kids by now. My life plan just worked out a little bit differently.  I have more to learn about myself before kids enters the plan.  I love kids, but I also love returning them back to their parents after a few hours.

At 30 people may wonder more than ever when I will settle down, and adjust to what is expected of me. Not sure.  But, I know that I am just where I need to be in life and so life is good.

A daily reminder to myself,  in actuality I am happy where I am at. I went through a lot to get here, so why not enjoy the moment. Five years ago the thought of being able to watch a sunset in Waikiki was an impossible dream that would never happen. Today it is my reality. My life did not happen by accident, it comes with purpose.

A  good friend of mine always tells me not to allow someone to enter my life who is going to take away my happiness. If I allow myself to fall to the pressures of society before the time is right, the end result may be a sacrifice of my happiness. Today I choose to own my happy.

 

To be continued…

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London