30 Is the Age of Candidacy to be a United States Senator

Did you know that at age 30 you become officially able to run for US Senate? It’s a fact that makes me happy – that idea that this particular age is valued, for whatever arbitrary reason, for being an important turning point. And at age 35, you are able to run for President of the United States. There’s something I actually like about that – that by someones standards, I’m still growing into myself, into my maturity and wisdom.

Since I have no high level political ambitions (no higher than someday writing President Fitz’s lines for Scandal), it doesn’t bother me that I can’t run for President now. But, I do realize there are probably lots of very qualified candidates for both Senate and President who are under 30 and 35, respectively. And some folks have very strong opinions about this issue. This article The Right to Run in Slate made some solid points as to why we should be able to run for office at the same age we can vote.

“Here is a seldom discussed truth about our democracy: The citizenship enjoyed by American adults under the age of 35 is a second-class citizenship. We gain the right to participate fully in American democracy on our 35th birthdays, and not a day before. For on that day, provided all other requirements are met, we become constitutionally eligible to run for virtually all federal, state, and local offices, including the presidency. The fact that very few of us will ever exercise the right to run for any office is irrelevant to the milestone’s significance.” – Osita Nwanevu

After 35, what’s our next real age marker in American culture/government? I think it would be 62 for social security checks or 65 for Medicare? Am I missing any?

Are You Sick of Blue and Black, White and Gold? Or still fascinated?

In case you’ve been under a rock (and it happens to the best of us), there’s been a major viral sensation going on since Thursday night easily dubbed Dress-Gate. It nearly broke the internet. Or at least my Facebook feed.

Is the dress blue and black or white and gold?

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This debate divided the internet so fiercely last night that everyone from Mindy Kaling to Kanye West to Taylor Swift to top researchers on colorblindness from universities all over the world have weighed in…and everyone seems to disagree.

Some people even saw the dress change colors from white and gold to blue and black or vice versa right in front of their eyes! These people include my very own mother.

And my social media experience today consisted of comments like:

“Am I on acid? This thing changed color!! Woh!!”

– “You are not on acid. The same thing happen to me. I saw the picture today at work it was gold and white, I looked at it again with my wife and it was gold to me and blue and black to her. Then we scrolled up the page and it changed colors colors back and fourth several times. Crazy”

Then today I received a phone call from my brother and I was shocked to hear him ask at the end of our conversation: “Oh yeah, blue and black or white and gold?” I had my response ready (I see blue and black). But man, if my brother, who could care less about colors of dresses, said he’d been “researching this fascinating phenomenon all morning,” then it really must have hit a nerve with everyone.

But why such fascination over a dress?

My guess is that not believing our eyes here is kind of equivalent to seeing a ghost. Or suddenly time traveling. Whether or not you believe in ghosts or time travel, if you haven’t experienced either of these things your entire life, and then suddenly do, it’s a major shock. Whether or not we consider ourselves “pretty open” human beings, by our thirties, we pretty much know the limits of our physical senses. So when we see or experience something we didn’t believe existed before, we kind of freak out.

In this case, we experienced something normal (viewing a photo of a dress) and then freaked out that our trusted friends or relatives seemed to see a completely different dress. BUT HOW CAN THAT BE??!

It’s now been proven that the dress is blue and black, whatever that means. The company that makes the dress said so themselves:

“We can confirm #TheDress is blue and black! We should know!” http://t.co/qAeIIHzJxkpic.twitter.com/kkxjUbmgI3

— Roman Originals (@romanoriginals) February 27, 2015

There have been various explanations for the differences in how the dress colors are viewed, but I have a feeling none of them are truly satisfying anyone right now. We’re still too busy being fascinated about our newfound five sense discoveries that can be had even later in life.

No matter what your age, stay open to new information still to be found out about your body and senses. Never assume you know everything about yourself. We’re probably not even close to discovering all that’s out there.

Though hopefully ghosts aren’t some of those things…

And if you’re interested in more info about Dress-gate, here are a few expert theories on the phenomenon:

“Your interpretation depends on several factors, such as which part of the figure you attend to.” -Dr. Joseph Toscano, Villanova University Department of Psychology and an expert in illusions.

“This photograph was probably taken on a phone camera and is very poorly exposed. It depends if your retina is interpreting this photo as over or under exposed, or more scientifically if your rods or cones are dominating the image interpretation.” -Dr. Reena A. Garg, an Assistant Professor of Ophthamology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai

“It can be slightly different in different individuals and the spectrum of wavelengths dedicated to any color could be slightly shifted in some people.” -Dr. Steven Galetta, the chair of the neurology department at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“I’ve studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.” Jay Neitz, a color-vision researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Wired.

“It has to do with the tiny cones in the back of our eyeballs that perceive colors in a slightly different way depending upon our genes,” -Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent.

Business Insider has even has a great way for you to see both color schemes. Check it out- it’s like  finally decoding one of those crazy optical illusions you couldn’t figure out as a kid.

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Loss Aversion and Switching Your Career in Your Thirties

Are you familiar with the phenomenon of loss aversion? Basically, it’s a proven psychological principle that people have a tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. It’s been shown that the desire to avoid losses is nearly twice as strong as acquiring gains. This explains why people hold onto tanking stocks even though all indications say to “sell!” It’s also probably why we often get stuck in a fear based mindset as opposed to an abundance based one.

I was thinking about this idea today in terms of switching careers. I’m in a funny/ambivalent spot myself, because I’m pursuing screenwriting but I also crave stability and consistent growth, which I don’t think this career can give me. So I have been wondering lately – what’s stronger – my desire to keep pursuing dramatic writing OR my desire for stability and consistent career growth?

I started thinking about perhaps I’m afraid that by starting a new path – at almost 33 years old – I will have “wasted” all the time. Is this simply loss aversion coming into play?

This article, The Big Reason It Might Be Time To Quit Your Job has some enlightening statistics about people who switch their jobs. Only 23% of people said they could easily switch careers.

Do you think you could switch careers at this point in your life? What would be the factors you would consider? How much of a salary cut would you take?

Power Tripping in Your Thirties

Do you remember having a crazy boss when you were younger? Or being new to a job and feeling powerless and lost? Was there a time when you looked around at coworkers for advice and assistance?

I’ve been through this multiple times, because, as a self-employed individual, my jobs are always revolving. I’ve been in “management” positions, team positions, and semi-employee positions. I remember being new to jobs and looking up to fellow coworkers for advice. Sometimes I knew that I should ask questions and felt too timid. Other times I was possibly too loud while feeling things out.

I see the power shifting of job positions all the time. It’s especially interesting in my field because someone who was the “manager” yesterday could simply be part of the team today. Leaders become followers become leaders all the time where I work. I find it’s very important to both be able to take direction as a “team member” and also to stay humble in leadership positions.

But I see power being abused all the time by people in leadership positions. People roll their eyes when ‘newbies’ make mistakes. People boss others around when there are way better ways to communicate. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be new to a job and extremely confused.

Perhaps you’re in a leadership position at your job now that you’re in your thirties. Maybe you’re at the top of a ladder you climbed all throughout your twenties- an expert in your field. Try to remember what it was like when you were at the very beginning of your career climb. Keep your roots close to your heart.

Of course, I’ve also seen ‘new’ people disrespect those in authority, or not be able to take direction well. And of course, that doesn’t help them gain any favors from those in power.

However, once you climb close to the top, stay humble and simply empathize and help those around you with their own climb. Try not to power trip even though it may feel good to do so. Know that one day those ‘newbies’ you now have power over may end up in a position of power above you.

I've done some really wild gigs that would've been a lot harder if I had a power tripping manager on my case...

I’ve had some really wild gigs that would’ve been a lot harder if I had a power tripping manager on my case…

A Sweet Compromise

I’ve always been a dog person. Ever since I can remember, I’ve dreamed of having a dog and having that solid, cuddly companionship. But I grew up in Manhattan, and my parents told me that it would be unfair to have a dog in a small apartment with two adults who had full-time jobs. They were right. My dad ended up hooking me up with dog walking gigs in the building.

Now that I’m in my thirties, I feel like I can give myself those things I so desperately wanted as a child. Since I moved to California about a year and a half, I’ve been pressuring my fiancé for a dog. He’s been the voice of reason (amen), and we’ve avoided getting one because he’s mildly allergic AND our apartment is a one-bedroom. Even though we’re in California, our space is Brooklyn-sized.

So we decided a that fostering would be a sweet compromise. We ended up fostering a sweet pooch who I picked up yesterday. Meet Chase. Two month old German Shepard mix, who was picked up roaming the streets of Palmdale, California, hungry and dehydrated.

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I’m writing with a sleepy brain now, because I’ve been on high alert all day, making sure this small animal is safe and sound. I’ve been on bathroom duty all day, and I’m pooped (pun intended!).

Taking care of a puppy is TOUGH – I definitely underestimated how tough it is. OY.

But at least now my childhood dream is somewhat realized. I’ve had a dog for a full twenty-four hours!

What did you want a child that you’d like to give yourself as a bona-fide “grown-up”?

The Occasional Inspiration of Social Media

I wrote a bit about social media and how it can get you down in my post “That Time You Hated Positivity in Your Thirties.”

Sometimes I attempt to take breaks from Facebook (this is hard) because it can occasionally get me down. Seeing too many selfies on my Newsfeed can be the emotional equivalent to eating handfuls of Doritos…I just feel kind of queasy afterwards. Workout selfies especially bother me- they just feel icky somehow.. exceptionally self-involved…and I even enjoy working out.

In my thirties, I am now super aware of the time suck that can be social media. As powerful a tool as social media can be, it can also be the junk food of our adult lives. I’ve had Facebook as a part of my days during all of my twenties, and have regretted countless addicted hours spent there. :p

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But to each their own. I understand that some people want to take pictures of themselves sweating off their weight in the gym. And other people love to “#hashtagblessed” everything that happens in their lives. And sometimes when I’m shaking in -6 degree weather, I hate that people love to post dozens of photos of their tropical vacations. However, I know that I post a lot of travel updates, and sometimes a bunch of happy warm weather trips too, and am possibly annoying a bunch of acquaintances accidentally. I know I can’t censor everything I want to say for fear it’ll upset someone- EVERYTHING will upset SOMEONE.

Also, since I can easily block annoying posts from my feed, I’m usually quiet about them. I’m only writing about them here because this is my blog, and I feel like I can secretly tell you about all the things that bother me :p

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But I’ll also tell you about the social media posts that don’t bother me. My friend Tiffanay posts a lot of inspirational quotes that never seem to drip with phony positivity. They always ring extremely genuine and honest. It’s hard to put my finger on why they inspire me. Maybe it’s because I know her and I know how honest and genuine she is personally. But her Facebook posts always make me feel peaceful inside and calm me down.

I’ll copy a few here. Let me know what you think. Do you get annoyed by social media? Or do you have a passion for it?

And thanks, Tiffanay!

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Top 10 Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 30s

In no particular order, here are 10 money mistakes to avoid in your thirties:

1. Only paying the minimum on your credit card

No. No. No. Avoid this, unless you absolutely cannot. The interest on some of these cards is bonkers (30% anyone?), and it’s just not worth it.

2. Not Considering the Benefits of a Company You May Work At 

Think about all the benefits a future company can offer you. Not just the job itself.

Choosing to work at a company that offers matching funds for your retirement 401K is an amazing perk and you absolutely MUST take advantage of it. Larger corporations often offer matching funds and it’s basically free money, so don’t let it pass you by.

Also consider how good the health benefits are, if there are benefits at all. How much will you have to pay monthly? Do they cover services like physical therapy and talk therapy?

Are there other benefits to consider? Like education or free daycare. I worked at a college for 4 years, and I was able to get a FREE MFA if I wanted. Umm…free Master’s Education, heck yeah! That’s worth like $40,000. I would have done this if they offered writing, but they didn’t. However, imagine if you worked at a school like Columbia, and could a Master’s program that would up your earning potential. Awesome. In many cases, you can also get your children free tuition down the line, if you’re still working at the school of course.

3. Spending too much on little things 

From your $3 cold brew iced coffee to your $1.75 Dasani cold water (guilty), all of these little extravagances add up. Sometimes, at the end of the day, I think about all the small fees and treats I could have avoided paying for, and usually it’s been $3 and $5. So let’s say I could save an extra $5 a day, that would be $1825 a year! Holy moly. That’s a lot of money.

4. Apartment Broker Fees

In NYC, it can sometimes be between 10 and 12% of the annual rent – which can be about one month’s rent or anywhere from $1100 to $2000, depending on what kind of apartment you rent.

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve paid at least three broker fees when I lived in NYC. That was about $3000 lost dollars. There are ways to get around paying broker fees, and searching for these ways is the best way to go. It may mean a longer search time, or using more unorthodox methods (like asking friends of friends), but it’s worth it.

5. Not Picking Up Loose Change on the Street 

My mom taught me this one. Laugh all you want, but if you see a penny, a quarter, a nickel – anything, pick it up! Seriously. It’s not just about the money itself. I think it truly cultivates a sense of reverence towards money. Every time you don’t pick up change, it’s like saying “Oh, that’s just a nickel, who cares!” but what a terrible mentality. Let’s say you manage to pick up 10 cents a day everyday for 10 years (Which actually seems pretty likely considering how many pennies I see lying around), you’d have $365 dollars after 10 years. Not chump change.

6. Not Shopping Around for Groceries 

I adore Rao’s tomato sauce. It’s anywhere from $7.99 to $9.99 a jar, but man, that stuff rules. It’s absolutely delicious and tastes like you’re eating at a real Italian restaurant. Yum. But the point is that normally it’s on sale, recently Whole Foods has been carrying it for $7.99, and that saves me a whole $2 each time I buy it.

7. Not Choosing the Best Option between Renting and Buying 

I really don’t know how to describe the exact math here, but use this handy calculator to determine the best option for you.

8. Not Shopping for Clothing on Sale

Most stores have sales now that offer days when all items are a percentage off. In particular, Banana Republic and the Gap ALWAYS have their damn 40% off sales, at least once a week it seems. Why would you buy any full-price item that’s NOT 40% off? Those are the main two clothing stores I shop at, so I always wait until that deal is around before I purchase an item.

9. Investing in high-cost managed accounts 

Laura knows more about this than I do, but some investment and mutual fund accounts have fees attached to them, from the 1% fund management fee to the 1% financial advisor fee, you end up paying 40% of your returns (generally between 5 and 7%) to your broker.

10.  Having too many automated payments

I love my fiancé and he’s really good with money in most senses, but he has WAY too many automated payments. From paying monthly fees for Photoshop to Spotify, he pays a ton in monthly payments for services.  The problem with automated payments is that you forget about them. They become like financial wallpaper. And I think that’s dangerous. Again, it goes back to having a reverence for money.

BONUS:

11. Not Consistently Checking Your Credit Score 

I use the free service Credit Karma, and I check in every few months to see if my score has gone up (or god forbid, gone down). Having a high credit score can save you THOUSANDS of dollars in the long run, especially when you want to take out a mortgage. Staying above 760 is ideal. Even higher is better.

Hope this helps! If you have any tips of your own and would like to share, please do.

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