Tag Archive | advice

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
28. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

Remember when The List covered such fluffy topics as umbrellas and makeup? Trust is far and away one of the most difficult topics for me to discuss on this blog — isn’t it ironic, Alanis?

I’ve been through all sorts of ups and downs in personal and professional relationships. I’ve trusted too much and been burned. I’ve been given too much trust and done the burning in a moment of anger. I’ve trusted too little and burned myself. Trusting and burning, trusting and burning, rinse and repeat.

Courtesy of JeremyChin.com

What does legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith say about trust? Well, she’s got more than 50 years of experience in the business, pissed off many — from Sinatra to Trump — and she’s lived to tell the tale.

Smith’s tips are as follows, with (you guessed it!) my own take below each:

You can usually trust a gal who says it like it is.
This may come in many forms, but I’ve personally tried to live by Maya Angelou’s words: “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” This opens up a debate of show versus tell, but I think the point is the same: Most people aren’t living double lives. How they treat a customer service agent, hired help, someone in need… it’s pretty telling of who they are as a human being.

When it comes to romance, heed these words: Trust and verify.
In today’s dating world, we have the ability to research a potential match before we even meet them. There’s the episode of “How I Met Your Mother” which explores the battle of mystery vs. history, i.e.,  wanting to know you’re not meeting up (or already dating) a psychopath, but wanting to keep some mystery alive. My take? It doesn’t hurt to know some basics, like their name, their age (range, at least), what industry they work in… and of course, their app bio says a lot about how much they value words and/or the English language. But some things can also be discovered on a real, live date — and make for a hell of a story after.

Never trust your instincts when you’re angry.
Remember how I said people show you who they are? This might be the one exception. Who hasn’t been frustrated with Comcast after 90 minutes on the phone with them? If you can recognize it in the moment, at least, you can mitigate any major faux pas and save yourself the embarrassment of feeling like a total A-hole. Same goes for traffic temper tantrums, though I think we’re all thankful I haven’t driven regularly in nearly five years.

Assume you can’t trust anyone who’s just handed you a contract.
I don’t have a mountain of personal experience with contractual obligations, aside from rental leases and a million Terms & Conditions I’ve toootally read through. But Smith’s point is 100% valid: Get legal advice before you sign anything! I’ve asked for second opinions on work contracts, and I’ve learned the hard way to get freelance agreements well-documented in writing. Feeling the burn? All right.

Life’s just too short to take every little betrayal personally.
This one may be the hardest of all, because it’s natural to feel like certain behaviors or responses are directed toward you. And with social media, Lord knows some of those are directed at you. Instead of getting into a Twitter feud or FB debate, I’ve learned to not engage. If it really irks me, I might privately message or call the person to try and talk it out. Yes, the trolls are real. But holding onto hatred for them only hurts you.

There are no real secrets, so you might as well tell the truth about things.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Public Relations 101. Only you can manage your story. If you’re not up front about certain things — whether it’s being a single mom on the dating scene or messing up at work — the truth will come out. Maybe not right away, and maybe not even with the person you’ve offended. But it will, so why not manage the message and take ownership from the start?

Truthfully, this entire post made me sweat 😅 But being open and vulnerable with you all is kind of the whole point of this series, right?

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
26. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.

Well, duh. Of course I had to start with that softball of a joke.

Seriously, though, this week’s List item could very well be one of the most important challenges. Why’s that, Wittyburg, you ask? Well, because this requires you to know yourself… and you likely haven’t learned about the lengths you’d go (or wouldn’t) for money and love without making a few mistakes.

To navigate this tricky task, our narrator is Lauren Conrad. Yes, THE LC, goddess of high school drama “Laguna Beach,” and then “The Hills,” “The City” and basically all of my domestic dreams. If you were in high school at any point between 2004 and 2009, you binge-watched right along with me and envied LC’s life.

Courtesy of Alchetron.com

Long gone are her days of reality TV, but Conrad’s life is still enviable. She’s built multi-million dollar brands in The Beauty Department, her fashion lines, books and more. She also married a cutie named William Tell(!) and is expecting their first child any day now.

What wasn’t enviable about LC’s former life? Broadcasting her ups and downs as she navigated love and career on national television. While she always looked flawless and generally handled herself with class and charisma, there’s something to be said for putting it all out there at 17.

Thankfully, Lauren’s left us some lessons from her days on reality TV (and since):

What she’d never do for money:

  • Be a phony.
  • Be a manipulator.
  • Work a job she doesn’t love.

What she’d never do for love (at least never again):

  • Turn away from her family and friends.
  • Lie to herself about whether a guy is interested.
  • Sacrifice her own happiness.

(BONUS!) What she will always do for love, no matter how humiliating:

  • Care about the small stuff.
  • One word: Karaoke.

Lauren’s lists made me think about my own lessons, naturally, and there are certainly some parallels.

Being true to yourself is a core component to being successful, in my opinion, but you don’t always have the luxury of time to learn who you are before entering the workforce. You may be thrown into a situation — heck, at 22 or 52 — and have to make a decision that could define (or redefine) your character. You may be asked to do things you’re not comfortable with, and not know how to say no without “getting in trouble.” It’s not easy to make those tough decisions, but it often says a lot about what you’re willing to compromise.

In that same vein, you may be fortunate enough to avoid relationship ethics until well after formative years. I can thank puberty and my tomboyishness for that, but I was also able to discover myself as a person and navigate personal relationships before having to make difficult romantic relationship decisions. I’ve since learned what I will and won’t tolerate, plus what I need from a partner in order to pursue a future with them.

Finally, as Conrad puts it, “…just because you love somebody and they love you back doesn’t mean your relationship makes sense or that it’s a good one for you both to be in.” That may be the hardest lesson of all for me personally, but it’s one I’ll carry with me and apply to all relationships — romantic, personal and professional — for a long time to come.

Courtesy of Pinterest

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
25. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.

Wow, Lisa Ling. Way to hit a girl right in the feels.

The journalist, author and TV hostess narrates this week’s challenge. She explains — with her ever-present grace and poise — how her parents divorced when she was just seven years old. She jumped into a maternal role for her younger sister, and thus began a decades-long pattern of tackling challenges head-on.

This perspective is priceless, particularly as someone whose life also changed overnight at a young age. After our dad’s stroke, my brother and I were told we’d be “growing up fast” and took on respective responsibilities to help around the house. Our childhood didn’t suffer, per se, but it certainly changed our perspectives and family structure more than many of our classmates could empathize with or understand.

As Ling explains about her own experience, “I was teased a lot for being different and I never invited the friends I did have over because I was embarrassed that our house was a disaster on the inside.” She speaks both as a first-generation Chinese-American and as a child of divorced parents, but I think most children seek that comfort and value and security of popularity + perfectionism. What we often failed to realize as kids, though, is how unrealistic those aspirations are.

Courtesy of WeKnowMemes.com

Our experiences are all relative — that is, my absolute worst experience may “pale in comparison” to yours, but that doesn’t make mine (or yours!) any less valid. Whether it’s death; poverty; abuse; or yes — ”even” being unpopular — we’ve all struggled with our own demons. We’ve all wished to walk in someone else’s shoes, daydreaming about what it’d be like to be them for a day. And while I fully support the creative lens and imagination, I hope we each can find things in our own lives to be thankful for; to appreciate those unique experiences only we can say we did.

Remembering your childhood without letting it define you is likely a work in progress for us all. A song or movie sends us back; a conversation triggers our memory; a repeated offense transports us to another place and time.

But, if we can heed Ling’s advice and make peace with our pasts first; then be grateful for them, we can begin to appreciate how those experiences shaped our adult selves… without that damn existential dread setting in.

Courtesy of Imgur.com

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
20. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

OK, editors of Glamour. I wanted to hear you out, because my initial reaction to this must-know was not a positive one.

My mind raced with a stream of feminist fury: Why would a kiss dictate what we want and don’t want to happen next? Shouldn’t our words do the talking? Shouldn’t the person receiving said kisses and communication be understanding of whatever we want to happen (or not)?

Maybe I was so upset because I just finished the deeply moving Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” (more on that in tomorrow’s WO). Maybe it’s because I spent my college career flying under the dating radar, for fear of being labeled a “slut,” “whore,” or anything other than a young woman exploring her sexuality. Maybe it’s because I have nieces, whose safety I worry about constantly from 3,000 miles away. Maybe it’s because for the first time in a long time, I was pissed at Glamour editors for writing the exact kind of fluff expected from a women’s magazine.

Courtesy of ContentedTraveller.com

To say I struggled with this List item is an understatement. I understood the message the editors tried to convey: A woman’s ability to communicate via kiss can be powerful. It can be empowering. It can be a lot of positive things, indeed.

The rabbit hole I fell down, instead, was thinking about how much time I spent in my teens and 20s convincing myself I was OK with casual dating. Exploring my preferences carefully, because I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea about me. Being scared to have my reputation tarnished by one awful frog I’d mistaken for a prince. Finally letting go of it all when I moved to New York, where I learned very quickly it’s the smallest world of 9 million people you can imagine.

Thankfully, very few of my experiences shook me to my core. I wasn’t taken advantage of or abused or any of the negative things that can happen after something as simple as a kiss. I know not everyone is as lucky.

And while I understand the power a kiss can hold — it’s the gateway to intimacy and often still heralded as the first test of a potential partner — I don’t agree with this item on The List.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments! I’m eager to hear your perspective.

Courtesy of SickChirpse.com

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columthe nist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

Courtesy of MemeGenerator.net

By 30, you should know…
19. When to try harder and when to walk away.

Similar to last week’s task, this challenge made me think a lot about what it means to quit.

Often seen as a pejorative term, quitting is frowned upon — usually without taking into consideration our human and humble needs. It doesn’t have to mean you’ve given up, or you haven’t tried hard enough or some other iteration of being a whiny baby.

To be clear, it’s understandable why “winners never quit and quitters never win” was drilled into our heads as kids. The point is about learning resiliency, and how there will often be things in life you have to do — whether or not you want to.

I was on a cycle for years of starting the year strong with Girl Scouts. We’d come off an amazing summer trip; I’d be pumped for the year ahead; and then around the time we had to sell cookies or calendars, I wanted out. Girl Scouts was dorky, or I was frenemies with a troop member or camping was gross. My parents wouldn’t let me quit mid-year, though — I was to see myself through the end of the year and then I could choose to not sign up for the following year. And what would always happen at the end of each year? Another amazing summer trip, and we’d start the routine all over again.

What if my parents had let me quit any of those times I cried dramatically about hating it? I wouldn’t have completed thousands of hours of volunteer work; nor earned my Silver Award, my Gold Award (the highest honor in Girl Scouts) nor my college scholarship for scouting service. I wouldn’t have continued what have become some of my longest-lasting friendships. I wouldn’t have cried at the thought of my former camp suffering from a massive brush fire last weekend.

Instead, I would have learned it’s OK to give up when things get tough.

I went through similar lessons in my years of athletic competition. Whether it was a practice, scrimmage, game or tournament, I’d want to give up when I just wasn’t feeling it. But I’d learn at the end of each season how perseverance paid off and hard workers were often rewarded. Setting records, learning leadership, forging friendships — these are just a few of the perks of sticking a tough situation out. And earning those after you’ve been ready to give up is all that much sweeter.

Now, what’s equally important, is knowing when to walk away.

This is one I clearly haven’t mastered, as evidenced in last week’s essay. Comedienne Kathy Griffin writes this week’s response to The List, and she provides the classic example of leaving an unhealthy relationship.

The problem for many of us, though, is not seeing how unhealthy a relationship is until we’re out of it. Hindsight is often 20/20… so how do we bump it up into foresight?

Objectively, you can look at the data. See what patterns emerge from past relationships (or jobs, or friendships… you get the idea). Do you leave feeling used or bad about yourself or some other negative way? Is it really possible for the situation to change, or are you giving it your all without ever receiving anything back?

Griffin points out how stereotypically easy it is for men to move on from relationships. They leave without looking back. But women, often, are “more analytical and accommodating. We tend to hang in there and try harder.” That’s not necessarily wrong of us, but it can explain why we can feel like it’s our fault if/when things don’t work out.

The point this week, I think, is finding the balance and trusting your instinct. If you feel you should try harder, then set a timeline to check in with yourself again and see if things have improved. Don’t give up, per se, but reevaluate what’s worth your precious time, effort and energy. And if you feel it’s time to walk away — or all of your friends are saying so because they’re acknowledging what you won’t — then know that you will be OK and aren’t a failure for doing so.

At the end of the day, it isn’t selfish to prioritize your needs and learn these lessons. It’s self-care.

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

By 30, you should know…
16. How to fall in love without losing yourself.

Author Melissa de la Cruz kicks off the second half of The List, which focuses on what you should know by 30, rather than what you should have.

Once again, we start in the relationship arena. Le sigh.

She tells a fictional, purely hypothetical tale of a young woman named Jess, who is interesting and carries herself with grace and confidence. Who wouldn’t want to be — or be with — Jess?

Unfortunately, Jess falls victim to that head-over-heels love where your life becomes all but consumed with your partner’s interests. Through a string of alliterative aliases, boyfriends range from Baseball Billy to Hipster Harry. I think we can all see where this fairy tale is headed.

With each one, Jess invests herself into the relationships so fully, she loses her identity. She goes from buying World Series tickets to dressing in sci-fi costumes to cutting her hair; and as each relationship ends, she’s left as a shell of the woman she used to be… and without many friends who’ve stuck around.

The point of this fable is, quite obviously, to remain confident in who you are — not change your core values for someone else. Can you like the music a partner introduced you to? Of course. Can you genuinely enjoy sports if you’ve never been into them before? I think so. The point is, rather, to not sacrifice what you already are passionate about for your partner’s interests… especially if you already know you don’t share those interests.

Some of the couples I envy most are those which can enjoy separate passions, and allow each other the space to do so. It’s something I’ve strived for in my own relationships, and have seen varying levels of success.

Courtesy of ExplodingDog.com

“I hate how you’ve changed.”

While I don’t take falling in love lightly, the relationship I found most meaningful grew from a shared love of some things: reading, sarcasm and baseball, for example. We introduced each other to new books and enjoyed watching games together, but we also allowed — nay, expected — one another to have separate passions.

Sure, he introduced me to new music and I showed him new restaurants. But we didn’t spend all of our time together, and there wasn’t any resentment for wanting to have our own “thing.”

I saw markedly more success in that relationship than in the one before it, where I tried to enjoy video games in an effort to spend more time together. Turns out, my love for them remains at about a Mario Kart level.

And while I didn’t resent him for being passionate about something different, I think it was challenging for him to understand how I couldn’t be so excited about this thing he loved. I encouraged him to still participate in game nights and tournaments, because he enjoyed it, but I wasn’t going to sit and watch for hours on end without having the slightest interest.

All this is to say, we each have our own passions… and non-negotiables. For some couples, it works very well to work in the same industry (or at the same company), to have the same hobbies, to share all of the same friends. For others, myself included, it works to have some sense of independence and social circles.

I’m clearly no expert, but I think approach it however it will make you happy — without sacrificing who you are at your core.

Courtesy of Pinterest

30 Before 30

In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”

The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.

Image Courtesy of Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS

By 30, you should have…
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.

Money, money, money. We all love it. We all use it. But we don’t always love to discuss it.

After moving to Manhattan, and eventually San Francisco, I’ve become more comfortable talking about finances. Part of it is my age. Part of it is living in two of America’s most expensive cities, where you find yourself constantly chatting with friends about rising rent rates, cab fare and what you owe each other on Venmo.

Still, it was a relief to see this week’s passage, written by finance guru Suze Orman. She shares her five essential rules for getting on track financially — and feeling all the more empowered and beautiful for it.

Suze’s rules:

  1. Come clean about money.
    From my perspective, it’s been easy enough to nail this one down. It’s not pretty nor fun, but I’ve come to terms with my debts and set a plan in place last year to get as close to debt-free before 30 as I could. Some speed bumps have come along the way since then, but I’m still acutely aware — and realistic — about my bills and what lifestyle I can afford.
  1. Give to yourself as much as you give of yourself.
    This rule is an especially difficult one for women, as Suze notes, “Women… give, give, give — to their friends, their significant other, their spouse, their kids, their pets, their plants — even to stranger on the street.” And while I do my best to donate to my favorite causes and help others in need, I’ve also been burned countless times from failing to see loans repaid, which only puts me in dire straits. Before giving to others, we must put ourselves (and our future) first by removing debts, paying bills on time and saving for our retirement.
  1. Know how to ask for a raise and get it.
    I was speaking this weekend with a longtime friend about job opportunities and compensation packages. She hadn’t ever really had to negotiate for a higher offer, so I shared some advice: The worst they can say is “No.” I learned — sometimes the hard way — that $10,000 to a company is not often a lot on its bottom line. But to an individual, that’s peace of mind and the motivation to do your very best at a place that supports you. Whether it’s with more equity, a signing bonus or agreed-upon (and written-down) biannual merit reviews, do what you have to do to feel secure.
  1. Live below your means but above your needs.
    Ah, the age-old problem of wanting to keep up with the Joneses. Or as our modern society knows it, Facebook Life. Do I envy friends who’ve traveled to Asia and Africa, who’ve purchased new cars or homes? Of course. But I also know 1) I can’t currently afford that lifestyle, and 2) I’ll go bankrupt if I try to live everyone else’s Facebook life. I’m content with my travels for now; I don’t currently have the bankroll to invest in a home or car — then spend $400/month on parking, let alone a car payment, gas, insurance, maintenance and paid parking for anywhere else but my building. Being realistic about what I can afford, treating myself when I can… those are the things that’ll get me closer to debt-free and financially sound.
  1. Be your own financial advisor.
    This is Suze’s final point, and for good reason. She reminds us, “Nobody is going to care about your money more than you do.” She shares a personal example of how she invested hard-earned cash into an advisor, who turned out to be crooked, and the money vanished in a matter of months. How did she become the Suze Orman we know and love today? She took a job with Merrill Lynch and got herself back on track. It wasn’t easy, but it sure was worth it. Believing in ourselves, educating ourselves and trusting ourselves to take care of our money better than anyone else is the way to go.

Let’s make this topic a fun one — or at least one we don’t feel the need to whisper about? What are your best tips for saving money? What’s a money mistake you’ve made (and learned from)?

Image Courtesy of Huffington Post