Tag Archive | love

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.

By 30, you should have…
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

Legendary anchor and journalist Katie Couric writes us into our halfway point this week. She begins by telling us she spent her 20s focused on her career, allowing work to take priority over her love life.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know if it’s because women are becoming more vocal, or because we have social platforms to have more public discussion, or because I’m nearing the end of my 20s myself, or some combination of the above… or none of those things at all.

I do know it’s a constant conversation among my circles for women to feel like they must choose one over the other: career or love?

Courtesy of MyStyleProject.com

Part of this is, unquestionably, biology. If we meet a partner at 25 and marry by 27, we still have some “good years” left in us to have children. Men, on the other hand, can possess none of Mick Jagger’s millions and have children well into their 70s.

Putting that aside, there’s also an expectation for most, if not all, women: We should want to have children. If we don’t, there must be something wrong with us. Or we just don’t know it yet. Or we haven’t found the right person (because who would ever choose to be a single mother?). As I once heard from a wise mother of two, “Any fool can have a baby.” Yet there’s still this need from society for all women to become mothers.

I’m getting deeper than Couric’s message was, but I felt it a necessary piece of the Career vs. Love debate: So much of this boils down to a woman’s choices and her desire to put herself first.

Courtesy of ClipArtKid.com

As I’ve often discussed on this very blog, and IRL ad nauseam, I’ve put my career ahead of most other things. In my seven-point-five years since undergrad, I’ve sacrificed some friendships, ended some romantic relationships, often worked tirelessly without need of recognition — and as long as I could get to a certain career milestone before 30, it’d all be worth it.

I’ll hit that career milestone on Thursday, as my role in my current company shifts. And you know what? I don’t know yet that it was worth it. Sure, I’m thrilled to hit this arbitrary goal I set so long ago. But I still question my career choices often and wonder where my next years will take me after this hurdle is overcome.

Part of that may be my inability to be completely satisfied. And while I should save that for a therapy session, I do question if accomplishing this career goal means I can finally ease my foot off the go-getter gas a little and refocus on romantic relationships. If I can allow myself to be loved, to be taken care of, to let my walls down and be vulnerable again.

Couric even briefly touches on losing her first husband to cancer, and how “the ability to accept and adapt gracefully to life’s twist and turns is one of the greatest skills you’ll learn.”

I know the ride’s not over yet, but I’m certainly going to buckle up for the journey ahead.

Courtesy of PinkSkySerendipity.com

30 Before 30

Image Courtesy of BrightSoLight on EtsyIn 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. Let’s begin!

By 30, you should have…
1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.

Wow, way to start us off with a doozy. I instantly cringed when I saw this was my FIRST item on The List to “obtain.” My relationship history is bumpy and painful, full of letdowns and lessons. But that’s exactly what this first essay, by Genevieve Field, is about: learning.

Field mentions the Buddhist teaching that “every relationship we have in our lives, whether it lasts five hours with a stranger on a plane or fifty years with our soulmate, is meant to teach us something.”

As painful as it can be to think about love lost, I’m also able to look back and see how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come…

The man I can imagine going back to is my most recent ex — not because of the recency, but because I truly felt we were a great match with poor timing. Our relationship ended, obviously, and in a not-so-great way. Had he not let me go, though, I don’t think I’d have ever ended it. I was in love and believed he was worth working through our challenges, as resentful as I (didn’t realize I) was growing. We haven’t had any contact in a few months, but I wish him well and hope he’s working through his needs, just as I’ve been working through mine.

The man who reminds me how far I’ve come was not a boyfriend, per se, but a romantic relationship all the same. I’ve never been one to fake interest or depend on others, but I threw all that aside to “be” with him. I let myself be second fiddle to whatever else he had going on; I tried really hard to care about video games; I depended on him to be my social calendar and support system and lost myself in the process. Our few months together were the best — I thought — until I ended it after another dead-end conversation about our future, and 20/20 hindsight helped me see that I didn’t even like myself anymore.

There’s nothing wrong with me, or these two men, for these failed relationships. We’re each on our own journey, and there’s no telling where those roads will lead us. In the meantime, I can be grateful for the lessons I’ve gained from each of them (and that the tears have subsided since each breakup).

Looking back on your relationships, do you have someone you can imagine going back to, and someone who reminds you how far you’ve come? Let me know in the comments!

WO: Weekly Obsessions


Image Courtesy of Heavy.com

It’s been an emotional week for my home state, particularly for the city of Orlando. I woke up Sunday to my family and friends there marked as “Safe” on Facebook, but there are more than 50 families who weren’t as fortunate. I’m still collecting my thoughts into coherent sentences for a separate post, but until then, here are some things to help us smile through the pain:

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. Hallee’s Birthday: Hallee Sorenson is a vibrant young woman, who happens to be autistic and celebrated her 18th birthday alone last year after invited guests failed to show. Her cousin Becky has now invited all of Facebook to send Hallee birthday wishes via mail. If you can take a few minutes to brighten this young lady’s day, cards can be mailed to:
    Hallee Sorenson
    34 Wellesley Way
    Bangor, ME 04401
  2. Magz Retires: The mother of all teachers — my mother — retired last week after 32 years of teaching foreign languages and life lessons. She spent 22 years at the same high school and has inspired countless students throughout her tenure. True to form, she’s still working hard this week and grading AP tests in Cincinnati. There’s a large margarita on the rocks (no salt) with her name on it when I see her next month.
  3. T-Rex Competes on “America Ninja Warrior”: The T-Rex costume has provided plenty of laughs in various viral videos, but this one might just take the cake. I don’t think I could complete any of these obstacles in regular clothes, let alone an inflatable costume. Spoiler alert: T-Rex’s tiny arms may be his downfall.
  4. NYC Gay Men’s Chorus on “GMA”: Driving out the darkness with a message of positivity, my friend Marc and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus shone brightly on Monday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.” Their message of pride and joy to comfort the grieving Orlando and LGTBQ communities is truly mesmerizing.

On a final note, as Father’s Day approaches: If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with your dad, please call or spend time with him — anything you can — on Sunday. A close friend of mine just lost her father to cancer, 50+ children in Orlando won’t be celebrating and there are things so much bigger in this world than our stubborn differences and disputes.

Images courtesy of: Facebook, Magz, Zimbio, Cosmopolitan



WO: Weekly Obsessions

I’ve refrained from commenting publicly about last week’s Paris attacks, in large part because I am speechless. The resulting debates about terrorism, gun control and refugees are sickening, to say the least.

Here’s hoping these bring a little comfort and solace to your day.

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. Only Love Can Protect Paris: This now-viral video of a little boy and his father will bring happy tears to your eyes. Watch as he tries to process the magnitude of the attacks — and then, comes to the realization that flowers and candles can protect one’s heart.
  2. How to Process Grief: “Not knowing how to deal with grief is a common problem for humanity,” this article begins. Taken from an elderly man’s perspective, this is absolutely one of the best explanations of the grieving process I’ve seen. If nothing else, it humanizes and normalizes how we all cope with loss.
  3. USF Wins Big: On the lighter side of things, my alma mater had an incredible win last Saturday, making us bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010. Taking down a ranked team and securing our spot in a bowl? I’m not mad about it.
  4. “Stitches” – Shawn Mendes: I’ve been toe tapping along to this song for quite some time. Mendes’s voice reminds me of a hybrid between Justin Timberlake and Adam Levine… it sounds funky, but trust me, it’s all good. Plus, he’s adorable!

 Images courtesy of: Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Tampa Bay, Shawn Mendes Wiki

WO: Weekly Obsessions

You know it’s been a crazy couple of weeks at work when you have recurring dreams … about work. The only way to combat such nonsense? Let’s start with these four highlights:

 Image Credits Listed Below

  1. “The Great Gatsby”: Despite touting its soundtrack as the best of 2013, I hadn’t seen the Baz Luhrmann masterpiece until recently. It’s a visual spectacle and takes F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s narrative to explosive, extravagant new heights.
  2. Aziz Ansari’s Love Advice: I can’t wait to read the undoubtedly hilarious writing debut from Ansari, called “Modern Romance.” Till then, BuzzFeed graciously cooridinated a Q&A sesh that doesn’t disappoint.
  3. Warriors Win!: I was thrilled to have both of my Bay Areas in the playoffs recently, but sadly the Lightning didn’t pull through against the Blackhawks. Thankfully, the Warriors brought home a trophy for the first time in 40 years — what a sight to see!
  4. “GDFR” ­– Flo Rida f. Sage the Gemini & Lookas: This song should be in the dictionary next to “pump-up jam.” Whether you’re hitting the gym or the bar, you just feel like you can take on the world after hearing this one.

Images courtesy of: Clash Music, Barnes & Noble, IGN, Genius

WO: Weekly Obsessions

The best part of a long weekend? Um, it’s a long weekend.

The worst part of a long weekend? It takes the rest of the week to figure out what day it actually is.

I’m 80% certain it’s Wednesday, so here you go, faithful followers:

Image Credits Listed Below

  1. Treasure Island: A few days of sand and surf were more than enough to send me straight to relaxation station. You have to check out this idyllic vacation spot the next time you’re in Florida — I know I will!
  2. Allison’s Baptism: My niece, AKA the cutest child alive, was baptized this weekend and I’m honored to be her Godmother. Just look at that smile! She’s obviously perfect. And trouble.
  3. The Fault in Our Stars: This book deserves its own post, because I devoured it in less than 24 hours and felt all the feels. The movie looks interesting, too … even if I don’t like Shailene Whatsherface.
  4. “Not a Bad Thing” – Justin Timberlake: Well, JT does it again. I’ve learned that an earworm stuck in our heads for days is just his MO. The video is also great, because, you know, Jusssstin.

Lovers’ version

Audio only

Images courtesy of: Sunsational, Magz, Wikipedia, Only Vibe