Tag Archive | how to adult

WO: Weekly Obsessions

I’m gonna tell you straight: I had a 9-hour safety training today, so pls excuse any typos. Now wouldn’t that be a great email signature “sent from my iPhone”?

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. Remembering Kate Spade: The tragic news of Kate Spade’s apparent suicide sent shock waves in my circles yesterday. How could someone who seemingly had it all take their own life? As of this writing, I don’t know exactly what mental health or other struggles Spade endured. I do know, though, her legacy won’t soon be forgotten. For more, read one author’s take on what she meant for women. As always, if you or someone you know is struggling, there are resources available. Including me ❤
  2. Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-Loop, Zig-Zagging Journey to Adulthood” – Mari Andrew: You may have followed author and artist Mari Andrew’s doodles for years on Instagram; or you may have just learned of her work with her annual, viral Mother’s Day illustration (or you may be just hearing of her now). In any case, her debut book illuminates more of Andrews’s personal life, coupled with those oh-so-relatable drawings and doodles.
  3. Mari Andrew in SF: After I myself became familiar with her work in 2016 with this Identifying the Problem post, I knew I just had to learn more about this Mari Andrew woman. The day has finally come and I’m super pumped for her event tonight at the JCC in SF. I may secretly check the Warriors/Cavs score but am otherwise thrilled to have the chance to hear her speak about #HowToAdult.
  4. “No Tears Left to Cry” – Ariana Grande”: I’m still on the fence about her new relationship with Pete Davidson (don’t even get me started on ScarJo-CoJo’s), but it’s impossible to escape this bop so here we are. The always intriguing, incredibly talented Grande puts out an earworm like no other and this latest offering is no exception.

 

 

Images courtesy of: Andrew Toth, Amazon, Clémènce Polès, Genius

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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…
27. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.

This very well could be the thing that makes many feel like life is over at 30. Fun is done. Show is over. Throw in the towel now, grandma.

What Katie Crouch, this week’s author, emphasizes instead is all of the things she lost from focusing too much on booze and not enough on being present.

We’ll get to my perspective on it in a moment, but first, I’ll glaze over the other vices — just as Katie did.

My parents were smokers until my dad’s stroke at age 45, so my brother and I were kids who didn’t want to repeat the cycle. Have I ever smoked? Yes. And I do enjoy a celebratory cigar with my male relatives at weddings and big events. But I’ve never purchased a pack of cigarettes, and I still can’t stand the smell. I hated the clouds of smoke in NYC, and I hate them even more now on the rare occasion I smell one in SF. My brother, to this day, has never smoked a cigarette. So, smoking? Not an issue.

I won’t play Polly Perfect and tell you I’ve never tried drugs either. I will say, though, I’ve only ever experimented with marijuana and I have no desire to try anything else. It doesn’t matter if Molly is trending or cocaine will keep the party going. I want no part of it. And weed lost its luster after a bad trip years ago at a friend’s wedding weekend. It killed the mood and made me completely paranoid, a feeling I didn’t ever want to experience again. Since then, I find the skunky smell less inviting… even though it’s a daily feature of SF life.

Not flossing… talk about a buzzkill! I set a goal for myself just last year to commit regularly to the painful practice. I’ve had every dental issue under the sun, so why wouldn’t I prioritize something to help me be healthier? I still don’t floss every single day and night, but I did recently purchase an electric toothbrush to signal my acceptance of adulthood and help keep my chompers intact. And as much as I loathe threading floss through my permanent bottom retainer (TMI?), I’m not willing to give that up and risk having my paid-for pearly whites shift around.

Now, back to alcohol: the belle of the (high)ball. Crouch details some of her lowest lows from years of boozing, and while I haven’t missed a friend’s rehearsal dinner because of it, I’ve certainly been to work hungover (sometimes, yes, still drunk). I’ve flirted with guys I wouldn’t come within a mile of if I were sober. I’ve been vulnerable and in compromising situations and made stupid choices, because I realized too late I’d had too many.

It doesn’t help that my family history is littered with addiction, alcohol included. I’m fortunate to say we’ve had more triumphs than tragedy, but my childhood understanding of alcohol was seeing it used as a mechanism for coping, celebrations and everything in between. I thought it was normal to drink with family members at home when I was 14. I didn’t see the correlation between my incredibly high tolerance and predisposition for the disease.

You may recall my post from February, about being sober for a month. This conscious decision to refrain from drinking for 31 days brought a few things into laser focus for me. Have I indulged in alcohol since then? You betcha. But I’ve also found other ways to cope with a stressful or disappointing day. I don’t say nearly as often how much “I need a drink” and suggest socializing with workouts or other activities that won’t kill my liver.

And as fun as it might be in the moment, the hangovers that come with age are no joke. All the Pedialyte and breakfast sandwiches in the world won’t change that.

As Crouch says, setting some basic rules for yourself can help ease you into a life less fueled by alcohol. While I *barely* have crow’s feet, and certainly not lines that creep past my cheekbones, I can live with limiting nights out past midnight to one per week. “Slow[ing] down enough to build… relationships, career and a family” actually sounds like one heck of a party, if you ask me. Cheers to that.

Courtesy of FB

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…
23. Where to go—be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat—when your soul needs soothing.

Something I’ve noticed many of these List items have in common is self-awareness. After nearly three decades of life, after all, you’ve likely learned a lot about yourself: what you like, loathe, want, need, crave, and so on.

Something I’ve struggled with, though, is asking for help. Or even admitting I need help. I’ve fumbled through school assignments, rarely daring to wave the white flag and request another’s perspective. I’ve drowned in work assignments, only to learn how much asking for help would have benefited me (and my sanity). I’ve considered independence a surefire sign of maturity and looked down my nose at those who allowed themselves to be vulnerable or lean on others for anything.

I spent so much time flailing solo, I didn’t learn how to fly with support.

And then I moved to a new city.
And my dad died.
And I moved to another city.
And I got dumped.

And through all of those experiences, I couldn’t possibly fight the icky feelings off on my own. I couldn’t cope with my tried-and-true combo of sad playlists and movies, sponsored by comfort food. I couldn’t shut myself away and refuse to face my fears.

I needed help.

I had to admit I didn’t know it all, nor could I handle it all by myself. I had to be OK with not knowing the perfect solution right away, and instead try different approaches until I found one. I had to accept (gasp!) that I’m not always right.

Courtesy of OdysseyOnline.com

Now, I know where to go when my soul needs soothing.

If I had a tough day at work, I call a friend.
If I need unequivocal love, I FaceTime my nieces.
If I just got dumped, I go to a friend’s… and then to a bar.
If I need to zone out, I meditate.
If I want to feel good, I go to the gym or read a book.
If I need fresh air, I take a walk outside.
If I want to laugh, I watch baby videos.
If I want to cry, I watch puppy videos.
If it’s Friday at 230pm, I see my therapist.
If it’s Friday at 330pm, I call my mom. 😉

Sure, I still have my sad soundtracks and shows, and comfort food on deck as needed. But I’ve learned how to be vulnerable and open and allow people other than Papa John’s and Mark West to console me.

It’s a work in progress, but I’ve even had new friends and co-workers comment on how open I am. Gone are the days of closing myself off from others, for fear of judgment and persecution.

Getting closer to 30 has given me a lot more confidence to be unapologetic for my range of emotions. We’re all human, and if we can allow ourselves to show more compassion, humility, humanity… I think we’d all be a bit more forgiving of ourselves and each other.

Courtesy of Viralscape.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…
18. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

Well isn’t this week’s List item just a bowl of sunshine?

I could keep my response as brief as this: If you’ve mastered any of these techniques, please let me know.

Instead, I’ll do as I do, and share a few (mostly unsuccessful) experiences of my own…

My parents taught us to never quit — if you commit to something, you see it through. So perhaps this lack of practice in my adolescent years could explain why I’m quite awful at quitting a job.

Example 1: I left my college retail job for a call center job (making double what I did at the mall), only to confirm within a few weeks that I was not meant to be in customer service or scripted phone calls. I was very fortunate to find an external role just two months later, which put my degree to use and was sure to grant me more success. The problem? I needed to start with two days’ notice to my current employer. And while I knew going into the call center that I wouldn’t be a lifer, I felt absolutely terrible. I ummed and ahhed my way through a verbal resignation, hanging my head as I handed over a poorly written notice letter. Was my manager surprised? Not one bit. But I felt like a doof all the same and swore I’d never fumble my way through the experience again.

Example 2: A few years later, it was time for me to move on and pursue a relocation opportunity in New York City. This dream of mine was finally going to happen, but I had to go through the nightmare of resigning first. This time, I was able to give plenty of notice — I just wasn’t sure if my employer would grant it to me or send me packing that afternoon. What happened, instead, was a somewhat more coherent resignation speech and letter to my VP, plus a personal Facebook post that evening announcing my relocation. I didn’t specify whether or not I was leaving my company (we had an NYC office), and my post was not visible to non-friends. I came into work the next morning to a message from my VP, asking to see me. They were upset because they “hadn’t accepted [my] resignation.” They lectured me about the importance of social media and not burning bridges, but I remained baffled. I’d already signed paperwork with my next employer, and felt I’d done my due diligence by giving as much notice as possible. I hadn’t disparaged my employer in any way, shape or form; and someone had clearly shared my post with my VP for them to even see it. My heart beats rapid-fire even now, more than four years later, at the thought.

If only I’d had these articles to guide me then!

Romantic breakups aren’t much easier, I’ve found. While I’m more often the dumpee than the dumper, it doesn’t feel good to be on either side. I’ve learned to focus on my own needs, while avoiding the “It’s not you, it’s me” babble. Wanting to part ways with them doesn’t make them terrible (necessarily); it makes them not right for me. And with hindsight always being 20/20, it’s safe to say that both parties in a breakup will eventually find the relationship had to come to an end — better sooner than later, right? Right.

I believe it was in Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance,” and if not, he’s getting credit anyway: Break up with someone how you’d want to be broken up with. Don’t be a dick, and relationship karma will reward you, because getting dumped unceremoniously suuucks. PS: Maybe it’s the term “dumped” that makes it all the more painful. Let’s find a different word for that.

Some more helpful tips:

Courtesy of TheLadyGang.com

Finally, there’s confronting a friend without ruining the friendship. Oof.

This, again, has been a struggle for me through the years. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better — in large part, because my career consists of giving and receiving critical feedback — but it’s still a hard thing to do. No one wants to make their friend feel like garbage when you’re expressing an opposing opinion or critical callout.

A recent example comes to mind: I knew one of my very best friends, whom I love and respect dearly, was planning to vote for Trump. I wholeheartedly disagreed, avoided the topic and figured we’d all laugh about this in a few years.

As the election drew nearer, then came to a close, I knew I had to say something. We live in different time zones and have opposite work schedules, so we often text first anyway to make sure the other can talk.

I approached her, first and foremost, with positivity. Our text history is too long to revisit, but I recall the conversation going something like this:

Me: I love and respect you and hope this doesn’t sound rude, but can you help me understand why you’re voting for Trump?
Her: Haha [laughing because she knows I wrote and rewrote that 20 times before sending]
Her: Explains her reasoning, which is thoughtful and not accusatory of Clinton — or me
Me: I appreciate you letting me ask… Explain my viewpoint, again without accusation or hate speech
Her/Me: When are we getting together next?

Crisis averted. We don’t need to have the same viewpoints to remain friends, although some of my peers disagree with that very statement. For me, our friendship is too valuable to let this end it — and if I do, I have a hell of a lot of family members to dissociate from.

Some ideas to manage the message:

Courtesy of Flavorwire.com

Phew! If you made it this far, I hope you’ve learned something or maybe even laughed a little.

Again, if you’ve mastered any or all of these techniques: Please comment with your tips and tricks!

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 have…
4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you aren’t ashamed to be seen carrying.

It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I realized how valuable it is to have at least one quality purse, suitcase and umbrella each in my collection.

Despite the Louis Vuitton resurgence during my high school years, plus plenty of travel and thunderstorms in college and beyond, it hit me the night I landed in New York. Yet another Target purse ripped, my suitcase handle came clean off the rails and a Walgreens umbrella failed me in the falling snow.

In the four years — and one day — since I moved to NYC (and now San Francisco), I’ve invested carefully in some quality pieces.

I waited for a handbag sale at Macy’s and used multiple coupons (plus my corporate discount) to treat myself to this Vince Camuto beauty last year. I don’t use it every day, or even every week; but I always receive compliments and am proud of this stylish, yet practical purchase.

Image Courtesy of My iPhone
The luggage I’ve coveted for years finally became mine after I signed my relocation paperwork for San Francisco. Again, I waited for a Macy’s sale and piled on promos with my discount to save a considerable amount of money. The Samsonite spinner set has served me well over thousands of miles, and it’s always easy to spot at baggage claim. My only regret is not adding on a carry-on size at the time, but I’ve got about 26 weeks to do so before my birthday comes 😉

Image Courtesy of Macy's
Finally, the ubiquitous umbrella… such a seemingly simple item, but a puzzling purchase nonetheless. Get one too big, and it’s a pain to lug around — remember, I don’t have a car anymore. Get one too small, and it’s pointless during a downpour. I eventually ditched the last of my $5 drugstore umbrellas, and went with a not-much-more-expensive Totes option. It opens and closes with the push of a button, and it provides enough coverage without breaking my back to carry to and fro. Bonus: It comes in plenty of colors and patterns, so you’ve got endless options to style your stormy day.

Image Courtesy of A New Technology
So, there you have it: the purse, suitcase and umbrella I’m not ashamed to be seen carrying. Which of these items are you most proud you purchased? Post in the comments so I can scope your styles!