Help! I’m 30 and Never Followed My Childhood Dream!

There was this episode of “How I Met Your Mother” where Ted and the gang all realize that they may never accomplish “someday” childhood career dreams they’re all still holding onto.

Someone had always wanted to be a painter, someone else a rockstar, and then there were a few really ridiculous ideas…I can’t remember all of the dreams. The gang reminisces about the career pursuits they once longed for. Some of them try to pursue the dreams once again in order to turn them into a reality. They realize they’ve all been hoping to accomplish their childhood dreams ‘one day.’ By the end of the half hour, they let the dreams go, and keep on the path they were on before. The moral seems to be: we need to put those childhood dreams to rest for something better to take hold in our lives.’

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Lily wants to be a painter. Barney wants to be…a knight? Who knows? Hahaha, he’s pretty funny no matter what.

 

I was never satisfied with that episode. I think one of the reasons it got under my skin was that my career path has taken such a different turn from what I’d originally expected. When I watched that episode, I wondered if I’d given up on my childhood career dream. Am I still holding on to the belief that I’ll one day pick up my former dream again? Is that belief false?

Right now, I’m a self-employed Corporate Spokesperson and Product Specialist (to be better explained in another post), and I work in a lot of different industries, traveling at least half the time. I really enjoy what I do. When I don’t ponder dream careers and childhood ‘what I want to be when I grow up’s”, I feel a deep satisfaction with my job….for now. But then I think along the lines of: ‘Am I pursuing my dreams?’ ‘Is my inner child satisfied?’ ‘Do I know what my career dreams are?’ The questions lead me down all sorts of analytical paths.

I wonder what it means to feel satisfied right now while not pursuing my childhood dream. 

I wonder what my career dream really is. I always thought I wanted to be an actor- but that’s not my dream at the moment. What do I make of that? Have I given up? Was it never really my dream?

I think of the famous men and women who began what became their ‘defining career start’ later in life. The long list of people includes Vera Wang (40 when she entered the fashion industry), Henry Ford (57 when he created the Model T), Suze Orman (36 when she started her financial group), Gene Hackman (37 when he got his first film role), Colonel Sanders (62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken), Stan Lee (38 when he created his first comic: The Fantastic Four), Julia Child (50 when her first cookbook came out), Laura Ingalls Wilder (65 when the “Little House on the Prairie” books came out)….and many more.

Some of these people pursued a childhood dream that was finally accomplished late in life, and others ended up on a completely new career path…or two or three. I’m sure all of them had moments of confusion about the paths they were on. I’m sure they had many more moments of feeling like they failed. But the important part was that they kept on, proving that they were trying even while possibly failing and failing again.

Right now, I’m satisfied with my career. I’m not pursuing my childhood dream, but it’s not what I want at the moment. And for now, all I can do is listen to my gut. There are times when I’m filled with doubt, and times when I feel confused, but I find clarity in trusting myself and continuing forward, trying to be brave enough to fail and fail again. I make changes as I go, add and subtract, and above all, I continue questioning.

Careers twist and turn, and it’s both okay to pursue your childhood dream with a vengeance, or to let it go to make room for other dreams…or then to pick it back up again years later. Stay honest with yourself, know it’s never too late, and let yourself question your dreams, both old and new.

 

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Have you heard of this movie, Laggies?

What are your weekend plans? All I know is that my weekend will involve seeing this new movie, Laggies, directed by Lynn Shelton. It’s about a 29-year-old woman who struggling to grow up, and finds herself thrown into a crisis of uncertainty when her boyfriend proposes. Here’s the synopsis from IMDb:

Having spent her twenties comfortably inert, 28 year old Megan reaches a crisis when she finds herself squarely in adulthood with no career prospects, no particular motivation to pursue any and no one to relate to, including her high school boyfriend. When he proposes, Megan panics and given an opportunity to escape – at least temporarily – she hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika and Annika’s world-weary single dad.

As a screenwriter, I’m excited by these movies. Not only because it’s directed by one of my favorite female directors, but primarily because I’m so tired of seeing movies about 30-something women desperate for love or struggling to BALANCE IT ALL. There are other types of women in their late twenties and thirties and I want to see them on screen. In my own work, I try to write movies with complex, female characters with different viewpoints than the ones we generally see portrayed. Because if I see one more successful, power-drive corporate woman who’s missing just one thing in her life…love…I’m gonna barf.

Check out the trailer for Laggies here:

The Day After the Best Day Ever

There was a wedding in Canada I went to last summer that basically went on for a week. It felt like every day leading up to the “big day” was a celebration. The bride and groom planned food tours around Montreal, different city walks during the day, and all sorts of expeditions on the days before the wedding.

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Neat buildings seen from a boat ride around the Montreal harbor.

The wedding day itself was amazingly fun, creative and beautiful. It was one of the most enjoyable weddings I’d ever been to. And then the week continued on.

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We tried all different flavors of delicious Canadian poutine! Woohoo!

The afternoon after the wedding a bunch of the wedding party and a few friends all met up again to have lunch and get some poutine (which is a delicious Canadian french fry dish where fries are mixed with cheese and gravy, creating pure happiness.) While we ate, I asked the bride how she was feeling. She replied in an only half-joking bittersweet tone: “It was the best day ever… I want to do it again!! I wish I could get married every day…I can’t believe it’s over!!”

As we wandered around one of Montreal’s parks with our cheesy gravy-covered fries, I thought about how her long anticipated big day had come and gone. The bride’s “best day ever” was now yesterday.

The day after the best day ever always feels like a gamble; Even if it’s pretty good, it’s worrisome that the happy feelings will subside. There’s this residue of greatness now gone that hangs in the air. It’s so hard to hold on to that best day- when it occurs, the urge arises to grab it, but it always slips away.

Sometimes a yearning for ‘yesterday’ will leave me feeling unsatisfied and melancholy; And what’s funny is that even though this ‘day after the best day’ will happen every time, I always struggle against it. I wonder when and if another ‘best’ day will come again…and I wait. And I remember.

But then, in certain moments when things are calm, I think of all the other days and what they might mean. I wonder about them- there are so many more days stretching before me than there are those special, momentous ‘best days ever.’ Will they mean anything in my life? Are they only here to be squandered?

And in my clearest seconds, sometimes during a run at dusk or mid-meditation or on a long bus ride home, I feel a spark of contentment, a flicker of gratitude, a flash of clarity.What if today- and all those ‘other days’ and ‘other moments’ – are equally as great as the best days? Sometimes the clear feeling is as subtle as a touch of wind, and is gone as fast as it came. For the moments in its wake, I’m left confused, struggling to grasp the insight and bring it back to me. But as of late, my goal has been to embrace the confusion and just let it go.

What if the best day ever wasn’t yesterday or won’t even be tomorrow, but is actually right now?

Did you see this video about street harassment?

Did you see this video showing a woman who walked through New York City for ten hours and received over 100 harassing comments from men during that time?  She wore a backpack outfitted with a video camera and held two microphones. It was created by Hollaback! an anti-street harassment organization with the assistance of the video marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative.

Having grown up in New York City, I remember these sorts of comments from as early as age thirteen. I remember being a teenager and feeling embarrassed to walk down the street with my dad, in fear that someone would say something, and I’d feel shamed in front of my father.

In addition to the outrage at the obvious awful comments like “Sexy” or “Nice ass”, what pisses me off the most about these comments is this expectation for women to be pleasant and chatty all the time. Because sometimes, we DON’T want to participate in pleasantries. That’s when we get comments like, “Smile, more!” or “What do you have be so down about?” God, nothing pisses me off more than that.

I remember when I was growing up, my mom told me this story about a man in our apartment building. My mom is very friendly and will often chat up strangers on transport, elevators, etc. But this particular man she felt uneasy about, so she often stayed silent in their elevator rides when they’d be alone. But she said that he would often clear his throat in expectation that she would talk to him, and then made loud sighing noises when she didn’t initiate conversations.

If I’m in a brave mood, when I get unwanted up-and-down stares from men on the street, I give them a good, long up-and-down look, judging them the same way they judge me. I’m not sure what the men think of this, but somehow it levels the playing field.

Living with Paradoxes

Two days ago, I was on the bus and a homeless man got on. He carried a rolled-up blanket, three plastic bags, and wore some sort of Scottish looking kilt. Not a strange sight at all for a city bus in Los Angeles. I’ve also seen this particular man taking naps at the Big Blue Bus benches around Santa Monica so I think my assumption that he is homeless is probably accurate.

But, here’s what surprised me and got me to look a little deeper. He also carried two dry cleaning bags. When I looked closer, I saw that the bags contained crisp black suits. I couldn’t help but find this surprising. It’s interesting that he chose to spend his money on dry cleaning, but also ambitious that he would do this, maybe this small gesture and choice would help him land a job after an interview.

For me, the image of this homeless man carrying dry cleaning bags reminded me of the paradoxes we live with every day.

As I’ve started to embrace my 30’s, I’m finding that there are more and more paradoxes in life. For me, one of the most challenging paradoxes has to do with my writing career. I’m the type of person who reads self-help books and believes in positive thinking. Yes, I’ve read “The Secret” and I do believe there’s some truth to it. So I sometimes visualize myself working in a TV writer’s room, feeling financially secure and creatively productive. But I also am working on accepting myself and realizing there are many external factors that will play a role in whether or not this dream happens for me. For a very long time, I thought that I simply wasn’t working hard enough – I wasn’t putting in the hours to my writing which is why I wasn’t writing for Shonda Rhimes or Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, About a Boy). But the truth is – there’s a very real “market” out there, and the market may not want to buy my work.

Trying to hold both of these ideas in my head at the same time is a challenge. And I think it’s a great challenge of life, especially as we get older – learning to live within the paradoxes.

So You Want to Get Plastic Surgery

Renee Zellweger has been all over the news recently regarding her facial transformation. This news is so ubiquitous that it twice has made it onto a daily ‘top ten world news items’ email that I subscribe to.

Her new image caused me to do several double takes. I searched her name on Google in order to see even more unrecognizable photos. And I must admit my first few thoughts surfaced quickly: I judged her. Harshly.

‘What has she done to her face?’ I thought to myself. “It’s horrible that I can’t recognize her anymore! WHY would she do that?”

And then the opinion pages popped up all over the internet:

“She shouldn’t have done that to herself- she should be natural!!”
“Goddammit! Why?? She looks totally different! I liked her old face!!”
“The horror!! She looks even older now!”

And like a rapidly dividing cellular organism, the opinionated groups split and split into voices screaming everywhere:

“Be natural,” “Looks like an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PERSON,” “Trying to look younger,” “Horrifying” “Don’t talk about it anymore!”

But we’re talking about it. Even when we shut up, we’re thinking about it. It’s part of our culture to judge and put beauty and the act of aging under a microscope. Celebrities are under the microscope more than non-celebs, but only because they have more photos/video taken of them, and are seen by more people. Aging is judged for us all, and so people who try to combat aging are judged and reviewed even more. And this media frenzy has happened right now because Renee Zellweger seems to have “failed” the aging test.

In our society, women aren’t supposed to look like they’ve aged if they want to be valued; so the question strangles us from a young age: how do we stop letting age show on our faces and bodies? How do we pass the aging test? Can we eat perfectly “clean” and follow the ‘right’ exercise and sleep routines and be balanced and meditate and never stress out? Can we ‘make up for aging’ in some other way, by perhaps excelling with our creative talent (the Meryl Streep argument), utilizing our outstanding intellect, accomplishing our inner goals and dreams? Will these things make us better?

Maybe they will and maybe they won’t, but the purpose of all the above achievements and routines was never to make us LOOK better, but to make us BE better.

Becoming a better person inside doesn’t always show physically. It seems fair that inner beauty will always shine through on the outside, but life isn’t fair- when did we ever think it was? It is 100% certain that we will all age. There will be people who naturally look younger when they are older- a combination of luck and some habits and genes. Then there will be people who look their age or older- also a combination of luck and some habits and genes.

If successfully ’passing’ the aging test means looking looking naturally younger or “natural but still very good” then you will have ‘passed’ if you luck out by aging well ‘naturally.’ If you don’t feel like you have aged well naturally, then you’re stuck being judged for ‘looking old.’ So you can try to fix this with plastic surgery, Botox, or other outside help- but you will only have succeeded if the ‘help’ is a secret..if it’s completely and mysteriously invisible.

So the ‘aging test’ goes into super difficult bonus round challenge if you reveal the secret…you’re not allowed to show that you’ve had-gasp!- surgery! You can’t show that you’re trying to beat the system ‘unnaturally’– that’s cheating!

What’s that? Did I just write that we’re set up to fail?

I think so. The system that’s in place is set up to be all but impossible to beat. It’s a system of hypocrisy and double standards, of secrecy and judgement. The only way to beat it now is to join it, to believe in it or live in shame. And that’s not really beating it at all.

Our system is broken. It’s NATURAL to AGE! It’s Natural that age shows on our faces and bodies. But what our culture wants is a youthful look at all costs. So let us not judge plastic surgery. Let us judge our culture.

Kintsugi

Do you ever feel like now that you’re in your 30’s you have more wear and tear, maybe a little more scarring, if you will…?

I do. In the physical way, obviously – for instance, I’m starting to see the lines on my forehead, and my pores are larger (which my facialist said was due to gravity pulling the skin downward and thus enlarging the pores, which was somehow terrifying to hear.) But also emotionally. I’ve been let down by friends, been broken hearted, become a touch more jaded, lost some of my idealism, etc.

So when I read about this Japanese practice of Kintsugi, my heart felt happy. According to Wikipedia, Kintsugi is “The Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”

What if we thought of ourselves like this? As if all our so-called ‘failures’ are actually beautiful golden additions to ourselves — armor against negativity, reflectors of light.

Our “brokenness” is something to be celebrated. I know I’m stating the obvious here – but it bears repeating – let’s embrace our history and heartbreaks and remember that they make us who we are.

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from sangbleu.com

Are the People You Date Just “Tolerating” You?

What does it mean when you pursue people who don’t call you back, are flaky, or seem only ho hum about you?

It’s scary to allow only the best into your life and to let go of the mediocre. However, in these busy times, when every person and article and job duty and creative endeavor is demanding your attention, how can you allow anything else?

An article called “Fuck yes or no!” on Mark Manson’s fantastic website basically sums up whether to go forward with dating someone. Start by asking yourself: do I want to be with this person? Is your answer ‘Fuck yes!’? Ok, proceed. Hesitant? Stand down. But you have to glean the other person’s answer too, because it works the same in reverse: is the object of your desire saying or seeming to say ‘fuck yes!’ to you? Great. But are they not returning your calls? Are they sporadic and vague? That’s not a ‘fuck yes!’ my friend, and so it’s a no.

It’s a painful truth, and it’s in no way a perfect truth. Of course people change and grow. Of course you can work on things together. Of course, some things are a ‘fuck yes!’ at first lustful sight, but then turn into an ‘umm, no.’ And occasionally vice versa…but that’s rare. I’s best to start strong.

Mark says “There’s a grey area in dating… a grey area where feelings are ambiguous or one person has stronger feelings than the other. This grey area causes real, tangible issues. For women, a common question is what to do with men who make their feelings ambiguous.” He continues to talk about how most dating advice exists to ‘fix’ the grey area…but the grey area mean it’s already a no go! How much simpler is everything when you actually heed that advice??

In your thirties, what you used to tolerate in your twenties becomes less tolerable. That’s why it’s important to first know what you want and who you are as best you can. Make your feelings clear to yourself and then you can figure out whether your answers to everything- not just dating, but friendships, career choices, creative projects- are a major ‘fuck yes!’ or an ‘ummm..hmm.’ And then ask yourself whether that other person or project seems to to be loudly calling your name as well with an ‘absolute fuck yes, for sure!’

Proceed accordingly. Celebrate your choices. It can sometimes be just that simple.

"Fuck yes!"

Saying yes!

The Grass is Greener Syndrome

Everything in your life could be better, if only got a new job, moved, owned a dog, ate five servings of vegetables a day, gave up alcohol, ate gluten free, and the list goes on…

Since I graduated college in 2004, I’ve moved to a new apartment every year with the exception of two years. When lease renewal time came around, I always felt I could find a better apartment, a better “fit” for me, or a more fulfilling roommate situation. (In fact, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking about how great a new, bigger apartment would be, despite having just moved three months ago.) Besides all the money I spent on moving costs, there was the psychological toll of moving. Moving can be traumatic and stressful. Every year, I’d lug all my belongings from one Brooklyn neighborhood to another, until I had exhausted all the neighborhoods and at last, borough-hopped to Queens.

Recently, I realized that maybe this was some pattern and indicative of something deeper. And apparently, there’s even a term for this chronic need to find the next best thing. It’s called “the grass is always greener syndrome” or GIGS for short.

This syndrome, “the grass is greener” dilemma,  is not just limited to moving. It can affect all areas of your life. Ever known a chronic job hopper? Or someone who’s always “falling in love” with someone new? I’m not judging this behavior, and in fact, having a desire to improve your life is natural and evolutionarily adaptive. But it gets self-destructive when it infuses everything else in your life with doubt. How can you enjoy a relationship, friendships, a job when you’ve got a nagging feeling that it could be better?

When I moved to LA a year ago, I had all these grand hopes for changing my life. I imagined I’d be more relaxed, eating avocados, walking on the beach, and writing my screenplays all day long…Uh. Yeah, right. As much as I tried to leave my issues in NYC,  I they joined me in California. I still have trouble motivating myself to write for long stretches of time, I still don’t exercise as much as I should, and more often than not, I opt for Trader Joe’s frozen meals over fresh avocados.

But I guess what I am trying to learn and internalize is that there’s great pleasure to be gained in loving a place, a person, a situation for a long period of time. Finding ways to improve upon something and being at peace with “what is.” (This is new-agey Jane coming out now.)

There’s an Eckhart Tolle quote that really speaks to this:

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” – Eckhart Tolle

 

The Difficult Simplicity of You Celebrating You

Have you ever wanted to become somebody else?

Perhaps you’re at a party and a friend starts telling hilarious jokes or pulls out her best French accent. You suddenly wish you knew more jokes or had a fun accent ready to go as well.

Then you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see an acquaintance with a perfect bikini body who always seems to be drinking Mai Tais in Cancun. And/or you’re slammed with post after post of perfect engagements or amazing job titles. You wonder why you’re single and pasty white from lack of beach time fun..and also, how come you never tried to become an opera singer? Why didn’t you have the idea 10 years ago to begin computer programming or get an MBA?

Jane recently wrote about five things you should leave behind in your twenties. “Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated” slammed me in the face as the hardest lesson I’ve grappled with this year. It’s a difficult lesson when you’re constantly unsure how to celebrate yourself…because you’re not exactly sure who it is you’re celebrating.

I’m an extremely curious person and I’ve spent a lot of life wanting to be everyone at the same time. I’m in a state of constant wonderment about other lifestyles, other careers, and other ways of living. I make decisions about who I am slowly and carefully…and as I’m trying to pick a lifestyle from an endless array of choices, I ignore the lifestyle I’m already living. The hardest person for me to see has always been myself.

As I’ve realized this in my absolute latest twenties, life has gotten slightly easier. Maybe I don’t have to be the person who has tons of jokes up her sleeve or can command a room with a party quirk…maybe I can keep my natural ways of being a great listener and observer instead. That’s more the person I organically am.

And when I turn away from Facebook for awhile, and alternatively enjoy a morning mediation, I even feel comfortable alone with myself in the moment, far away from the stress of who I might become.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve had trouble knowing how to celebrate yourself. A major key is to find the difference between two desires: the desire to better who you are and the desire to become a different person. One desire is healthy and will push you forward (even though it may feel scary and difficult at times), but the other desire will scatter your energy and throw you out of balance …because it isn’t you.

Bettering yourself can mean anything from embracing your natural tendency towards unique clothing choices to signing up for a half marathon because you love running to letting yourself feel confident while remaining silent. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not naturally sarcastic, or naturally size 0, or a naturally a great software developer.

Yes, of course you can change, but it’s easiest to change into the best version of the self that comes naturally, easily, when no one is looking.

Celebrate that person, no matter where and who you are right now.

 

 

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5 Things You Should Leave Behind in your 20’s

Imagine a big suitcase full stuffed to the brim with random clothing, knick-knacks, granola bars, etc. It’s bursting at the seams and the wheels are kinda broke so it makes a scraping sound when you roll it places. All that junk represents the issues of your 20’s.

Now imagine that you’re at the gates of thirty-something-dom. The doors open and the gate-keeper says you must leave this suitcase at the door.

What’s inside the suitcase? Are you okay with letting it go?

Here’s what was in my suitcase and what I recommend you should let go too.

1) Crappy Friends. The kind that aren’t genuinely happy for you when good things happen in your life. The kind that make you feel bad about yourself after hanging out with them. Like George Washington said, “It is better to be alone than in bad company.”

2) Bad boys. The kind that don’t call when they say they will. And when they do, you somehow feel ‘lucky’ they called. The kind that can’t commit after eight months of dating. That kind that make you feel like you’re constantly playing games.

3) Days Lost to Hangovers. It’s not worth it. It’s just not. And okay, can’t say I’ve totally, 100% left these days behind, BUT for the most part, I rarely lose a day to a hangover. Maybe two days a year.

4) Being Tolerated and not Celebrated. I read this quote recently, and it resonated with me. “Go Where You Are Celebrated, Not Where You Are Tolerated.” This includes in workplaces, relationships, friends, extra-curriculars, etc. Find your tribe. They are out there and trust me, they are worth finding.

5) Saying Yes When You Want to Say No. Your time is valuable. Really damn valuable. So ignore the “should’s” (“I should go to that party, but I really want to stay in and read tonight.”) and go with the “want to’s” instead.

 

Help I’m thirty!

The other day, I googled “help, I’m thirty” and found a bunch of strange and scattered articles about the “Big 3-0.” Many left me with a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. The urge to both to go running and eat a pint of Haagen Daz came over me.

Then I found one article consisting of a woman named Dorian (you’ll see the irony of her name in a second) asking a question to an advice columnist. The almost-30 year old Dorian was extremely worried about losing her looks to aging. She described herself as beautiful to the point of self-obsession, staring at herself in the mirror and becoming completely enraptured with her own beautiful face. She wrote about people on the street gazing at her longingly, because “there truly is nothing like a beautiful face.” Dorian was completely devastated about the inevitable doom of her declining good looks.

Dorian’s letter depressed me thoroughly, not only because it scared me, but because I wanted to hate this woman and couldn’t. What I really hated was my jealousy of her…how was she so beautiful that everyone gazed at her longingly day in and day out? How could she stare at her image in the mirror and obsess over her beauty?  Then I worried about the looks-obsession that had completely permeated society. And then I worried much more about the looks-obsession that had completely permeated my own life. Damn it- how did I let this happen to myself?? And why couldn’t I shake it??

The advice columnist (a woman by the name of Polly) fired back a thoughtful response that hit me like a bucket of cold water. Polly told Dorian: “What are you going to lose, exactly, when you get older? Even when I picture you as Giselle, I remain unmoved. The enraptured gazes, the shimmering whatever… It’s so hard to imagine. It makes me tired just thinking about it…The world is so much more engaging and incredible than you’re making it seem. What’s kept you in this two-dimensional realm of the mirror? Who trapped you there? What’s at stake?”

I thought about these questions. Something shook in my heart.

Polly asked “Haven’t you ever met anyone who wasn’t conventionally attractive, but who was incredibly charismatic and enviable? If not, you really need to get out more. …Instead of gazing at your own heart-stopping face, you should throw out your mirror and dedicate yourself to something that feeds your soul and makes you feel even more alive than, I don’t know, admiring your own image? It’s a bad habit.”

I thought of the people in my life who had grown enormously hot as I got to know their gorgeous personalities. Or, sadly even more common, I thought of the incredibly hot people who quickly turned hideous after I found out they were rude, flaky, vacuous, or just plain bad at being generous human beings.

Sometimes I have a rough time shaking the feeling that looks mean more than anything else. Society bombards me every day with messages about the utmost importance of physical beauty. But then occasionally I notice beautiful things that strike me way beyond their physical look. And I observe beauty growing with age.

My fears release for a second with Polly’s wise words: “You say there’s truly nothing like a beautiful face. That statement makes me imagine a giant plate of delicious nachos, a good book, and a cold beer. It makes me think about dogs with weird personalities, and funny children. It makes me think about the sound of rain on the roof when you’re taking a nap in the afternoon. Pretty faces can go fuck themselves, compared to peanut butter cups.”

Yes indeed, Polly. Yes, indeed.


Read Polly’s words for yourself here: http://www.theawl.com/2013/07/ask-polly-im-almost-30-and-im-terrified-of-losing-my-looks

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Egg Freezing Procedure Covered by Employers Apple and Facebook

You’ve probably heard the news that Facebook and Apple are now offering to pay for an egg freezing procedure for their female employees. Essentially, this policy was put in place to help women free up time to focus on their careers… without the stress of declining fertility and the pressure to have a child stat. You can read more details about their new free egg freezing policies in Bloomberg Business Week’s thorough article: Later, Baby: Will Freezing Your Eggs Free Your Career?

The procedure costs anywhere from $7,000 to $12,000 plus storage fees, which run about $1,000 yearly. The majority of insurers do not cover this procedure.

I’m all for women having flexibility and choice when it comes to deciding when to have children. As someone who’s nearly 33 years old, I know firsthand the stress of wanting to have children but also wanting to get further in my career; It feels like this heavy invisible weight I carry around, knowing I have to make this very important decision soon. For me, egg freezing is not an option, mainly because I don’t have $10,000 to spare. If it were free, I would probably get my eggs frozen. So I’m thrilled that companies like Apple and Facebook are paying for their employees to have extended time to make what is likely the most important decision of their lives.

That said, I’m unsettled thinking that only these elite Silicon Valley companies are offering this ‘perk’- (I have about a .01% hope that bigger, more ‘corporate’ companies will offer this anytime in the next five years). These large companies are the same ones that offer perks like free candy bars with frozen yogurt/ unlimited sweet goodies (Facebook), on-site barber shops (Facebook), Shuttle bus services (Apple), and many more freebies I can only dream of.

The idealist in me wants every woman to have an egg-freezing option, not only women that can afford it, or women that work for one-of-a-kind silicon valley companies who *may* be offering this as a general PR play or HR recruiting tactic.

Around Age 30, Saturn Returns!

Are you in the age range of 28-30, 56-60 or 84-90? Then say a nice warm welcome to the planet Saturn, for he is returning to say hi to you and teach you a lesson or three!

A Saturn Return is an astrological transit that means that Saturn is returning to the same point in the sky that it occupied at the time of your birth. If you’re into astrology at all, read on.

Saturn can be quite the pokey planet, so a Saturn Return only occurs around every 28-30 years or so. Most people are happy about this because while Jupiter is known to be the planet of luck, happiness and abundance, Saturn is the harsher planet of maturity and learning life’s lessons.  Therefore, people can get quite scared of Saturn returning with his occasionally rough teachings.

You can only get about 3 saturn returns in your lifetime, (4 if you’re lucky and live till 116 -and you never know, medical technology is getting better all the time), but the first one at around age 28-30 will probably come as the biggest shock. A major lesson or turning point is supposed to hit you hard during this time. No matter how unpleasant, Saturn returning means it’s time to tuck your head and bravely get through the storm.

I used to work for a pretty amazing astrologer. She’s been working with astrology and writing about it for over 25 years, has written a few books and multiple magazine columns, and has a very famous website. I learned a lot from her. But the biggest thing I remember was wondering about this mysterious Saturn Return. I was only 22 at the time and I saw so many people write in to her and ask about it. Sometimes they wouldn’t realize it was even happening until they told her their age. Then they’d realize that whatever crazy thing they were going through just happened to coincide with their Saturn Return.

Now, the astrologer’s response to Saturn Return worriers was always very positive. She would tell people that Saturn teaches his lessons for a reason. Sometimes there are things you need to learn in order for you to grow. It may seem harsh, but Saturn Returns help you to mature and change the things that aren’t working anymore. And so, in a way, Saturn Returns are extremely beneficial.

That’s not to say that they aren’t difficult. Since I’ve just turned 30, I’m getting to the end of my Saturn Return and it was quite possibly the most difficult time in my life. That doesn’t mean Saturn Returns always have to be so tough, but I guess I was pretty darn resistant to learning its lessons. I hope in the future I’m able to implement as much as I can of what Saturn tried to teach me in the past year.

saturn-spa-snake-jagger

Doing it for the Beauty

Sometimes a stranger articulates something about yourself better than you ever could.

I work part-time at the college library doing social media. It provides me with much needed extra cash and I happen to love the job. While most of my job involves me sitting in front of my computer brainstorming witty library related things to say or scouring local events to post, occasionally a lost student will wander into the staff area looking for help. I especially love these moments, mainly cause  I like the human interaction and it’s a nice respite from staring at a screen.

The other day, one of those students wandered in. She approached me and immediately it was clear she didn’t speak English well, as I had no idea what she was saying. She looked to be Chinese and about my age, somewhere in her early 30’s. (At UCLA, we have a huge international student population, so it’s very common to have lots of bi-lingual students.) After a few botched attempts of mis-interpreting her, and thinking she was asking for the “coffee” machine, I eventually realized she was talking about the “copier” machine. She was asking me to take her to the area in the library with copiers.

So, as an excuse to stretch my legs and because I realized there was no way she was going to understand my directions, which involve several twists and turns through a very large library, I get up and say, “I’ll take you there.” As we walked together through the library, I engaged her in some small talk. Since she appeared to be around my age, I asked her if she was a graduate student. She nodded and said yes, she was studying mechanical engineering. I told her she picked a good field, and made some quip that she would definitely have jobs waiting for her after school! She seemed to agree with me.

She asked what I studied, and I said I was a graduate student in screenwriting. Writing for the movies. It took her a second to process what I had said, and then she smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, you do it for the beauty.”

And I just felt…well, understood, I guess. The whole summer I was worried about if I would ever sell a script or get a job on a writing staff of a TV show, thinking about MONEY and how I would live, and in one instant, I was reminded, that’s ultimately it’s not about that. I’m here to make something of beauty – something that allows us to connect to each other as human beings. I know, it’s corny, but there’s truth there. My aim was never to make lots of money from something, it was to create something beautiful.

So, thank you stranger in the library.

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