The Difference Between Mistakes and Regrets

It’s been a big week for me. I’ve been dealing with some personal issues and I’ve had some trouble maintaining routines – including writing on this blog. So thank you for bearing with me!

I’ve been lucky enough to keep my temporary job at summer camp, and that’s provided ample work and distraction for me. Since it’s an arts camp, all the employees are artists themselves – filmmakers, writers, actors, etc. and it’s nice to be with people who feel like they are part of my ‘tribe.’ In fact, in the near two years I’ve been in LA, I haven’t had such instant connections with people as I’ve had in the camp.

One of my fellow staffers is turning 30 in August, and we’ve been talking about what that means. For her, it means taking a huge adventure to move across the globe to pursue her artistic discipline. But of course, it’s a big decision and scary one. It got me thinking about decisions we make in our 30s.

Do you ever feel like the decisions we make in our 30s are loaded? Like, they carry an exceptional amount of weight because this is a ‘do or die’ decade? We’re making choices about career and family that may have implications for the rest of our lives. That can be somewhat paralyzing when it comes to making choices.

But yesterday, a wise person told me there’s a big difference between making mistakes and having regrets. You can make a mistake and not have regrets. You make choices and in doing that, you are powerful and exercising your agency as a human being, and for that you can never have regret.

I remember a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert where she talked about not regretting decisions you’ve made in the past, because you made them with all the information you had at the time. I loved that. Regret doesn’t make sense in a life where we’re constantly evolving and growing as people.

So, here’s to not being so precious about each and every step in our 30s.

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What’s On Your Summer Reading List?

I don’t know about you, but I find the summer to be the best time for reading. My mind is naturally in a more day-dreamy state (yes, I just made up a word) and I have more free time than usual. I’m excited to read a lot of books this summer, but I’m starting with The Vacationers by Emma Straub. It’s set in Mallorca, Spain and it’s about a family who is taking one of their first big vacations in years, after some pretty big issues have taken place. content

While I can only read one fiction novel at a time, I can usually read a non-fiction book at the same time. So this summer, I’m going to try and pick back up Tony Robbins’s Awaken the Giant Within. I started it a few months ago, because Laura and I deemed it our next book club pick after hearing so many people call it life-changing, but we both read a few chapters and then put it down. We both agreed that maybe it was because there are “homework” exercises after many chapters, and that deterred us. It’s not that we’re lazy and don’t want to do the homework, but usually we’re reading at night before bed, or on commutes, and it’s hard to just switch into paper and pen brainstorming mode. But the plan is to get back to it and finish it. A lot of “self-help” writers that I respect and admire are huge Tony Robbins fans.

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So, what will you be reading this summer?

Single in Your Thirties? Here’s How to Ruin a First Date

I just saw the funniest Facebook post today about how to ruin a date in only 5 words. Everyone was commenting with suggestions, and a few of them were quite genius.

In this technological modern age, there’s more online dating happening than ever before, which basically translates into more dating happening than ever before…or at least more online penpal-ing? But anyways, with the amount of dating going on nowadays, a ridiculous multitude of dating horror stories have arisen. Of course, there are lots of really good dates, and even great dates, but the funniest stories usually come from the crazy dates. From constant texting to Facebook stalking to misrepresentations on Tinder, the dating arena’s a lot more like the wild west than it ever was before. And I realized recently that there’s a whole lot more semi-blind dating happening now than it ever has in the past. OkCupid, Tinder, Hinge (have you ever even heard of that one??) and plenty more dating apps have brought a whole new series of strange events and bizarre occurrences…at the very least! But don’t be scared- interesting dating stories are happening to anyone who’s brave enough to put themselves out there! And it’s all kind of awesome.

There’s a lot I can say about dating, and I will talk more seriously about it in another post, but for tonight, just sit back and enjoy some absolutely terrible first date comments that may just make you laugh till you cry.

Here are some of the best suggestions for how to ruin a first date in just 5 words. Enjoy!

The Obvious Issues

  • It’s not contagious anymore…hopefully
  • Honestly, your friends hired me
  • They haven’t convicted me yet
  • I know where you live
  • My lawyer says no kissing
  • When will this be over?

The Family Issues

  • You remind me of mom
  • My curfew is at 9
  • What’s your sister’s phone number?
  • My dad’s on his way
  • By the way, I’m married
  • My current wife is missing

The Political/ Cultural Issues

  • Have you considered Donald Trump?
  • I don’t believe in education
  • My role model’s Kim Kardashian
  • Ann Coulter is my hero
  • Theater is like live TV
  • I don’t believe in independence

The Technology Issues

  • I already Facebook stalked you
  • Those Tinder photos weren’t me
  • Wait, I’m tweeting about this
  • I’m only 40 pounds heavier
  • I just bought your domain
  • Hold on- texting my ex

The Seems Like Maybe Red Flag Issues

  • I figured, hey, free dinner!
  • You are really rich, right?
  • I’m high. Everything is funny
  • I only speak in rhyme
  • Yuck! I hate all foods
  • I heard you were desperate
  • Hurry! I have another date
  • I got that waitress pregnant
  • No one else was available
  • Meet my psychiatric service dog
  • My biological clock is ticking
  • I think I love you

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The Story of the Green Beetle

A few days ago, I was walking to the bus stop to head home from my summer camp job, and my mind was in a thousand places. I was thinking of all the emails I had to return, the laundry that had piled up, and the buzzing phone in my pocket filled with group text messages from work, and if I should eat pizza for dinner for a second time this week (resounding yes). My mind was anywhere but the present.

As I was approaching my bus stop, two enthusiastic young men stopped me, their eyes lit up with a feverish intensity. Being a New Yorker, I know what that means. Comedy club tickets, anyone? Or how an all-inclusive ‘salon package’ for the low, low cost of $69.95 but worth $200? Spend a year in Manhattan and you’ll be propositioned for both of those offers.  But these looked like international college age students, and they didn’t seem remotely threatening. So I stopped. They pointed down at the ground to a large beetle with a black body and glowing green legs.

Bugs freak me out, so I recoiled a bit. But this was magical; I have never in my life seen a bug so gorgeous and so unusual looking. It looked like it belonged in the amazon rainforest. The first thought I had was that this bug must not be real. It looked like it could be a small, robotic animal. The young men remarked that they had never seen a creature like this in their lives, and asked if I had. I shook my head and said no. We all stared at it in awe, until it jumped up and started flying, to our collective surprise.

There is no exciting end to this story – the bug flew away and I ran to grab my bus. But I was left in a new headspace, feeling curious. I spent my bus ride home searching google on my phone, trying to identify this beetle. But nothing came up that looked like the beetle. They were lots of bugs with neon green bodies, but none with just neon green legs.

People sometimes say that when you’ve got stress or anxiety in your life, you should step back and “Look at the big picture.” And sure, it’s good advice. But sometimes I think the better advice is to narrow your focus. Take in the smallest of details around you. See how the tiny details expand and become worlds onto themselves.

Has A Breakup Nearly Destroyed You In Your Thirties?

My friend Seth went through a really bad breakup a few years back. When I say bad, I mean horrendous. Bad to the point that it took him almost two years to get over it…and during that time he was anxious almost every day and couldn’t sleep. His anxiety about the breakup permeated every corner of his thoughts and dreams…and turned the act of sleeping into a constant nightmare.

I remember meeting up with him during this time and barely recognizing him. He felt like a shell of the boisterous, smiley person he usually is. Seth is a self-employed composer and lyricist who is always extremely creative and prolific, writing songs at all hours of the day and night, playing piano at auditions, and presenting showcases of his work. He even has his own webseries.

However, during the years after his breakup, he was on so many different anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills that he could barely function…and he’s the type of person who normally never even drinks coffee because it makes him jittery. Both Seth’s nights and days were wrecked, first by his ex’s departure, and then by the constant anxiety and even panic attacks that just wouldn’t go away.

My friend Seth and I in better times.

Seth and me in later, happier times.

Have you ever gone through a breakup that leaves you reeling for far longer than you think it should? Have you ever felt like you were the only one who just couldn’t let it go? Did you think you were going to marry the person who left, or did the person end up leaving the marriage you already had? Have you ever had even your absolute best friends wonder when you were going to get over it? This happens to people way more often than you think.

There’s no set timeline on grief, and a breakup is legitimately a loss. Breakups can feel kind of like mini deaths that you have to grieve and eventually move on from. Any act of grieving can take quite awhile, leading to intense discomfort, especially around your friends and family who may just want you to ‘get over it.’

It’s hard to just get over something on a timeline, and the time needed for grieving any particular loss is personal and unknown.This recovery time includes breakups as well as deaths- any type of loss can take a very long time to get over, really. Sometimes grief can even go away for awhile and then return as an intense sneak attack!

When Seth finally started to recover, and even during his grieving process, he attempted to open up to others about what he was going through. Little by little, he heard similar stories from friends who experienced similar breakups that brought them to the ground.

Seth and I after his recovery, when I directed his concert, Broadway Meows, benefitting the Humane Society

Seth and me after his recovery. I directed his Humane Society benefit concert, Broadway Meows

Seth realized how helpful it was to have friends around him and people who understood his situation. And it was extremely helpful to realize that other people had gone through similar situations after a breakup.

So he wrote a book to share his experiences.

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The book is called Sleep. Write. Nowand it chronicles his entire spiral into depression and insomnia after the breakup, and his very, very slow recovery. The book is breathtakingly open and vulnerable regarding the painful moments that occur after a breakup, from the embarrassing (private journal entries of positive affirmations that all don’t work) to the horrendous (loss of friends after recovery ‘took too long’ and he was ‘still too obsessed with her’) to the hilarious and touching (how his cat helped him through some of his darkest moments.)

I highly recommend Sleep.Write. Now, and it’s easy to grab on Amazon. The book is an amazing read for anyone who’s gone through or is going through a traumatizing breakup and feels alone. Remember, grieving takes time and it can take a lot more time than you think it will. Breakups are a natural part of life (you can’t marry everyone you date!) and rejection happens to everyone.

Always remember- you are not alone.

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There Were 10, now 6, then 3…Friendship in Your 30s

Today, I got to thinking about the “oldest” friends we all have, and friendships in general after my fiancé told me about his fantasy football league. Let me explain. Basically, the leader/organizer person (I know nothing about fantasy football) had decided to shut down their decade long running league because he was having a child and had too much responsibility. My fiancé, understandably, was sad. These were tons of his old college buddies who were spread across the country, and this online game was a way to connect to them. Even though I have no ties to the team and have no clue how one would even play ‘fantasy football,’ it made me sad to hear about a group dissolving. I always feel sad when a group of mine dis-integrates – from a book club ending to summer pot lucks winding down when the season ends….

I started thinking about how in our 30s, our close friend group gets smaller and smaller, until we realize someday that we’ve ended up with a circle much smaller than in our 20s. There are the obvious reasons for that: getting married and settling down, having children, job responsibilities, etc. But I believe we all need lots of different types of love in our life – and a few people cannot sustain or fulfill all those needs. All of our primary, most supportive relationships must have buoys and support around them. In the same way it’s been said that “it takes a village’ to raise children, it takes a group of people to sustain our deepest relationships. Your marriage or closest friendship gets oxygen from mutual friends, from family visits, and from the outside interaction you get at places like work.

I speak to a lot less friends than I did when I was 25. About half less I would say. The bright side is that I feel the quality of these remaining friendships has improved. They’ve been through the ups and downs with me. The past July 4th weekend, I got to have long conversations with old high school and even (gasp!) elementary school, and it made me incredibly happy and left me feeling physically lighter. Our friends can help us carry our loads.

So what do we do with less friendships in our 30s? Obviously, we hold onto the ones we love with a vice grip! But we must always be open to new friendships, coming at any age. Your next ‘soul mate’ friend could be just around the corner. Sometimes I feel like we’ve been taught that we would have met all our best friends in the world by now. But maybe that’s only encouraging us to keep ourself guarded. Instead, maybe we should always keep out heart opens to new friends – even with the new responsibilities the thirties place on us.

Summer Camp for Adults

How are you kicking back this Summer? Hopefully you’ve got a vacation or at least a three-day weekend planned. I don’t have a proper vacation on the horizon, but since I’m job hunting, I do have a lot of down time. So I’ve been doing relaxing things like watching my favorite new shows (Seven Year Switch on FYI, Amy Schumer Show, Fresh Off the Boat), reading, general loafing, indulging in long phone conversations and eating delicious things. But it’s not quite the same as vacation. Not even close really, especially because I have the spectre of the job hunt looming over all my free time.

I was lucky enough to get a job for a week at an arts camp, which I started today, so that’s been fun. Being at the camp reminds me of my own experiences at both day camp and sleep away camp, and how they both really allowed my mind to wander and reset itself. I can’t say I loved camp (all that constant socializing can be hard for an introvert!), but I appreciated being out of NYC for awhile, and how the days felt so different from school days.

Would you ever consider Summer camp for adults? And yes, they do do exist! This place sounds very cool to me:  Camp Grounded. The focus of this camp is about digitally detoxing. Their motto is “disconnect to reconnect.” You basically give up using your phone, social media accounts, etc. and have an off-the-grid weekend participating in activities.

There are tons of specific interest camps – like the Culinary Institute of America camp, or Long Island Wine Camp. But the old-fashioned summer camp experience for adults sounds more up my alley – including color war, s’mores and bonfires. This place sounds like another fun option, Camp No Counselors. Though, just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to attend – they cherry-pick their guests to create a dynamic mix of people.

I guess organizing a weekend get-away with your friends is similar – and doesn’t require any application process or hefty fees. Still, the idea of being “taken care” of at a summer camp and provided with specific entertainment sounds pretty great to me. Maybe one day…

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Taking a “break” from camp at the UCLA sculpture garden

How to Save Stupid Crazy Money on Travel in Your Thirties..or.. Oh the Places You’ll Go..While Barely Traveling!

I love travel, but I love New York more. If I had to pick whether to travel and never return to New York, or whether to stay in New York and never travel again…I must admit, I’ve just stumped myself with that one…

Anyway…I’m lucky and grateful that I never have to decide between those two options. And I’m also lucky that I get to travel all the time for work, but during the summer, the work travel slows almost to nothing. And it’s during this time that I travel the most of all! But I don’t have to go anywhere! And I don’t have to spend any money.

I will explain.

I used to have a travel blog where I’d talk about traveling all the time. Ironically, I didn’t actually ever travel for pleasure during this time – only for work- because pleasure trips cost too much money for me. Since I’m still paying off my student loan– which I’m gonna kill dammit…soon..I save a lot of money by not taking vacations.But I found a kind of travel that costs me almost no money, is just as pleasurable as pleasure trips, and never takes up a lot of time. I go on staycations! I travel completely within New York, and see lots of exciting places..even ones I’ve somehow managed to miss during my 30 years living here!

My friend Amy does this best. She’s an expert staycationer who both staycations and travels the globe. No matter whether she’s exploring Greenpoint, Brooklyn, or wandering around Tokyo, she always goes alone. It’s pretty amazing and inspiring. She always finds great places to see and new experiences to have.

Amy recently walked the the George Washington  Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge in one day!

Amy recently walked the the George Washington Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge in one day!

So here’s how to save stupid crazy money on travel in your thirties and go on summer staycations instead:

1. Look for free or cheap summer things to do in your hometown

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I happened upon yoga in Bryant Park one day..I’d forgotten that it was a summer thing in New York. Pretty neat.

2. Find somewhere you’ve never gone in your city or hometown and go there.

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My friend Zach and I recently went to Governor’s Island- a little island off the coast of Manhattan- home to a bunch of museums, and gorgeous views and great picnicking areas. It cost me a grand total of $2.00 for the ferry.

3. Go to an area in your hometown/city you’ve been to but find a street or ave you’ve never seen before.

Saw fireworks on the boardwalks of Long Island City, Queens. Somehow I'd never been there before.

Saw fireworks on the boardwalks of Long Island City, Queens. Somehow I’d never been there before.

4. Go somewhere you’ve already been, but never appreciated as a vacation spot..and call it your vacation day!

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I love Fire Island beaches- and with 32 miles of beaches, there’s always more to explore.

5. Go somewhere in your hometown/city that just opened!

I went to the new Whitney museum off the Highline recently ..it's brand new!

I went to the new Whitney museum off the Highline recently ..it’s brand new!

6. Go to a place you’ve been to before but pretend you’re in Europe. Or Canada. Or America if you live in Europe or Canada. You know what I mean.

Ferry off the coast of downtown Toronto

Ferry off the coast of downtown Manhattan.

Ferry off the coast of downtown Manhattan.

7. Go nowhere, stay at home, and say you’re on vacation. Turn off your phone. Disconnect wifi. Call it ‘mental spa week.’

Ahhh, I’m starting to feel better already just thinking about mental spa week.

Doesn’t a summer staycation sound good? Give it a try! It’ll seem even better after you take a look at your bank account and still have all of your hard earned money left 😉

Choosing What City You’re Going to Live In

Laura’s last post got me thinking about cities and towns, specifically how people choose where to live and settle down. Not that you have to settle down, but a majority of people want to lay down roots in their 30s. Maybe that’s due to getting married, or having children or wanting to make a long term commitment to a job.

So where do you choose to live? Do you default to where you grew up and are most comfortable? Laura and I both grew up in NYC, and were in fact raised in the same neighborhood. We’re abnormal cases, because NYC offers every job possibility under the sun, so it’s hard not to come back to.

When you’re in your 30s, I think family plays a huge role. Where does your family live? You realize that your parents aren’t getting any younger, and neither are you. You also realize time is precious, and if you don’t have your “people” around you, you’re stuck without vital support. You also realize that maybe having and being vital support is the most important thing in life.

Money also plays a huge role. In the past eleven years since graduating college, I’ve lived in two of the most expensive cities in the world: NYC and LA. But what if I had moved to Austin or Portland? Would I have more of a nest egg?

And if you have children, what about public school systems and parks?

So how do you figure it out? I won’t lie – I’ve taken online quizzes, and let me tell you, there are a TON of quizzes about where you’re best suited to live. Here are just a sampling:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/what-city-should-you-actually-live-in#.eq033Nz5d

http://www.selectsmart.com/city/

http://www.brainfall.com/quizzes/what-city-should-you-live-in/

There was even a movie about the search to find a place to call home. It was called “Away We Go” with Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski and is about a couple’s search to find the perfect city to raise their family.

And the bigger, more interesting question is: would you ever move to city where you didn’t know anyone? Or, a place where you had minimal social ties? I’ll explore that in another blog post.

How To Move In Your Thirties- Part 1

If you’re moving in your thirties, there’s probably something tumultuous happening in your life. At least that’s been my experience with moving. But then again, that was my experience in my twenties too. So I guess moving is usually accompanied by some kind of major upheaval, no matter what your age.

I hate moving. I hate it more than almost anything. I practically have to be dragged out of a place in order to leave it. Yet, I guess life is pretty good at dragging me out and keeping me moving, because I’ve moved 8 times since college (I actually had to count my moves multiple times because the number seemed so high). So I guess I should be quite the moving authority by now.

Since I’ve changed places so many times, I guess I have a couple of moving moves I use over and over, even if I don’t really feel like a total expert at moving because I hate it so damn much. I actually think that moving only felt harder in my late twenties and start of thirties, because I want so badly to stop and call a place home for as long as possible. So I’d like to share a few tips that will hopefully make your moves less harsh than mine have been…or at least somewhat smoother. Here’s a few I’ve learned the hard way:

1) The emotional part is hard- embrace it and move on

One of my moves happened because I went from living with roommates to living with a boyfriend. I loved my place with the roommates and was very attached to my huge room. My boyfriend at the time said to me: “But the room you’re in is only a box. It’s just a box of space. We’ll find a new box of space to live and we’ll make it home.” At the time, it felt like a harsh and almost cold thing to say. However, those words have stuck with me throughout my future moves. Where you live now is only a box. It was once cold and empty and it will be cold and empty again one day. You will find a new place to live and you’ll be the one to make a home for yourself. The place won’t be able to make you a home. It never could. it’s only a box.

2) Craigslist is awesome, but sometimes it helps to phone a friend

I love Craigslist. I used to use it for everything, even jobs (though now the jobs area seems to have become somewhat of a sketchy operation so I don’t recommend it anymore). I do still love the apt listings on Craigslist though, and I found all of my roommates through the site. For my last move, however, Jane actually gave me the number of her former broker, who was amazing and found me the place that I’m in now. I never would have found my apt without her. Let friends know you’re looking for a new place to live- a lot of times someone will have a recommendation, or a great broker, or at least know a friend of a friend who’s moving.

3. Get movers. Get movers. Get movers.

I can’t repeat this one enough. Moving is tough enough without having to drag your bed and dresser up 4 flights of stairs. This is one of those times where you need to throw money at the problem- budget it in. Even if you barely have much money (I’ve been very stressed about money in the past, but I still budgeted for movers because I’ve also moved without them before and it’s been AWFUL). Movers are worth every penny. Here’s a recommendation for my favorite movers if you’re moving to or within New York City.

4. If you’re renting, or even buying, especially in a bigger city, be ready to move fast

New York apartments are truly here and then gone in a New York minute. Other large cities are likely to be similar. If you really like the place, put down the deposit and say yes. I ‘ve actually looked at places with a check in hand for roommate situations. Shopping for homes is a little different with brokers and full apartments or houses, but you need to be ready to commit ASAP, or you can lose the place to someone else.

5. Make a top 5 list of what you’re looking for in a home.

Try to keep the list under 6 items tops. Your list should be what you REALLLY don’t want to compromise on in a home. There was one time where I was looking for an apartment and kept subwaying around to dozens of places and checking them all out in person. It was exhausting. A friend said to me, “you should narrow down what you’re looking for BEFORE you go and see the apartment. Try to make sure it has what you want as early as you can, and THEN go trek over and check it out.” This advice has helped me IMMENSELY…in fact, it might be the best tactic I’ve ever used to help me find a better apartment faster. Here’s my old list as an example:

  1. Must be near the subway (ideally under a 10 minute walk)
  2. Good size room (or good size full apartment if I was going the non-roommate route at the time)
  3. No mice or bugs (hard to figure out at first glance, but some places seem more likely than others)
  4. No crazy or bad roommates allowed (you can only use your best judgement with this one…until you eliminate having roommates entirely)
  5. Elevator building (I travel a TON for work and dragging suitcases up 3 flights of stairs 50 times a year SUCKS).                                                                         Then I had a bunch of preferences that weren’t deal-breakers, such as
  • Modern place preferred
  • Close to Manhattan preferred
  • Neighbors can’t hear me walking on floor preferred (I used to have a landlord that lived under me and would bang on the ceiling with a broom at night when I was walking to and from my desk. That was very unpleasant…I guess for both of us.

Anyway, I can go on and on with many more tips, especially ones for after you’ve moved and are figuring things out in your new space, so I’ll just call this part one and end it for now.

Meanwhile, I’ll simply link to Ikea. Because.

You’re welcome.

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Getting Your Exercise On in Your 30s

I’ll be honest – I don’t have a regular exercise practice. I walk pretty regularly as  part of my life, but when it comes to regular exercise, I just don’t do it. I probably exercise about 2-3 times a month, normally a pilates class or a elliptical/treadmill session at the gym. But it’s not enough, and I know it. Because I’m not overweight, people always assume I’m healthy and completely fine, but I don’t feel that way. I feel lethargic a lot of the time, and I get sleepy early in the evening.

I’ve read a number of articles that say – if you don’t have an exercise routine in your 30s, now is the time to prioritize it. For one thing, your metabolism decreases by 2 -3% in your thirties, so you have to do more work to maintain your physical status quo. But the bright side is that your bone mass and the growth hormones that were flowing in your 20s are still working their magic. But they will start decreasing in your 40s. So this is the best time to start exercising, before you experience the gradual loss of bone density, strength and flexibility.

The old adage “Better Late than Never” applies when it comes to exercise. Do you watch Girls? One of my personal career icons, Jenni Konner, is the executive producer of the show, and she wrote about her personal exercise evolution in Self magazine, and I could TOTALLY relate. This is an excerpt from the article:

I was 38 when I started exercising. That’s right, 38. My exercise history reads like a bad report card. Everything fitness-oriented was mandatory and completed by the skin of my teeth. The President’s Physical Fitness Test was my Everest. Each year in elementary school, as the day drew nearer, I would plot my illnesses. “My fever must be high to the point of danger. I probably have scurvy,” I’d tell my mom. My parents never fell for it, and the day usually culminated in tears and terrible sit-ups.

I made it through my unathletic 20s like any other unathletic twentysomething. I ate very little, drank a lot and stood on the sidelines, cheering on hipster dodgeball games like a narcoleptic Knicks City Dancer. In my 20s, I didn’t have to exercise because no matter what I did, I looked the same—which was pretty good in hindsight.

In my 30s, it all started to catch up with me.

– Jenni Konner

Anyway, you’ll have to read the whole article here if you want to know how she got her booty into gear, but the gist of it is that she found a workout she loved. It happened to be the Tracy Anderson method, which is supposedly amazing.

The key seems to be: find an exercise you like – something that feels like play to you. What do you genuinely enjoy doing? I hate running. While I have a few friends who swear by running, I’ve never been able to get into the swing of it and find it incredibly boring. To each their own! For me, the exercises that feel like play to me are swimming and yoga. When I’m in a pool, I feel like a little kid.

So, the key seems to be to find your exercise jam in your 30s and stick to it. Finding your “jam” may mean trying everything from ballet barre classes to free online workouts at fitnessblender.com to taking a boxing class at your local Rocky-inspired gym. It’s kinda like when people say you find your “look” in your 30s – like, you find what clothing and styles look best on you.

Here’s to a Summer of fitness and finding your way of turning exercise from an “I should” into an “I want!” And if you’re already there, congratulations! We would love to hear what exercise gets you pumped.

How Much Have You Forgotten By Your Thirties?

I finally saw Inside Out tonight. It’s a movie that all of my favorite people have been raving about and begging me to go see. I’d only heard amazing things about it, and Jane even mentioned and exalted it in her last post, Shake It Up, Mix It Together, and Reassemble. The movie was as good as everyone said it would be- in fact, I think it was even better than all the hype. It has become my absolute favorite Pixar movie.

Warning: Inside Out spoiler alert ahead…stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie…and go see it.

There were quite a few moments in the movie that left me in tears..sometimes happy ones and sometimes really sad ones. One of the saddest moments for me was the disappearance of the protagonist, Riley’s, imaginary friend, Bing Bong. This imaginary friend was walking with another character, Joy, through the land of forgotten memories, and while he was there, he started to fade. First he lost a piece of hand, and then an arm, and then, in a moment of sacrifice, he let himself stay in forgotten memory land and fade away completely in order to let Joy escape.

When Bing Bong faded away, I lost it. I started weeping uncontrollably once Bing Bong was gone, even though I kind of saw it coming. And I saw it coming because I couldn’t remember my imaginary friend. Maybe I never even had one. Or maybe I forgot him or her. But it didn’t matter because that memory was gone. And so were many other memories from my childhood.

There’s so much we remember, and so much that fades. At this point we have 30-something years of memories. I realized recently that many of the memories I have repeat themselves over and over. The others are simply gone. It feels like such a shame to lose so much time but I guess that’s essentially part of the process of growing up. And we never stop growing up. Just because we’re already adults doesn’t mean that the growing up stops. It just keeps going and evolving. And fading.

As much as I uselessly grieved tonight over lost memories I can never get back, I was grateful for the ones I still have and for the present moment, where I can experience new things that aren’t gone or only memories yet. The disappearance of most memories is a darn good reason to try even harder to appreciate the present moment and to stay in the now- if you don’t grab onto the moment as it happens, you won’t ever experience it again and you may not even remember that it existed at all.

Disney Pixar Inside Out Bing Bong 01

Shake Up, Mix it Together and Re-Assemble

I hope you had a great 4th of July! Mine was very restful – I saw the new Pixar movie Inside Out, which was fantastic. A must-see. If you don’t already know the plot, it’s about a young girl named Riley and her emotions – which are all characters onto themselves. It put me in a very introspective mood about feelings and how we emotionally adapt over time. It reminded me of something I read last week that I wanted to share with you.

There was an article in the NY Times Magazine last weekend about psychoanalysis. They talked about the work of a psychoanalyst and researcher named Dr. Andrew Gerber. He was describing the transformation of some of his patients as similar to the chemistry process called “annealing.” I had never heard this term before, but the author of the article, Casey Schwartz, described it in layman’s terms as:

“the act of heating something so that all its molecules dance around wildly and then slowly cooling it back down so that it assumes a new and more stable state.”

I thought this was such an interesting way to describe the process of psychoanalysis and therapy in general. I’ve never done psychoanalysis, but I have done therapy. And sometimes you do go through this process whereby you think it’s not working at all and you’re vacillating between extreme feelings about the whole experience and your own emotions, but then somehow, at some point, you realize a big shift has taken place. It’s somewhat hard to describe without it sounding vague and nebulous, but it’s basically when you feel like you’ve become a new version of yourself after a certain period of internal turmoil and transition.

Therapy aside, I think there are several time periods in one’s life that act as “annealing” processes, if you will. When you’ve reached your 30s, you’ve probably gone through at least a few of them. For me, puberty, college, and the several years haze after college when I emerged into the real world were those periods for me.

How many times in our lifetime do you think we go through a process of emotional re-assembly?

Are You At Your Income Happiness Cap?

I’ve known for awhile that there’ve been scientific studies showing that your income correlates with your level of happiness only up to a certain amount and then caps off.  This is an interesting tidbit to remember in your thirties, as your income possibly grows more than it has when you were younger.

A study in 2010 found the income level happiness cap to be $75,000. So according to this research, you’d get progressively happier up to $75,000 in income and then your happiness level would remain consistent. Let’s adjust this for 2015 inflation and then adjust it once again for a major city like New York, San Francisco, or LA, plus let’s be generous, so we’ll make the number $120,000.

Now, $120,000 a year is a good chunk of money for someone in their thirties, and nothing to scoff about even in New York, especially for one person and not a household. If you made $120,000, do you think you’d be significantly happier making $140,000?

I guess it depends on who you are, and how well you know yourself. I believe happiness  definitely caps at a certain income level… that level might just be different for different people, but it’ll still work the same way.

I believe there’s a Maslow’s pyramid of needs associated with income. If you don’t know about this pyramid, click the link above…Maslow’s pyramid is a very clear way to view how our goals are naturally set up in life.

Ok, here’s a stab what I think the income pyramid of needs is:

1. Providing basic security items such as paying rent and buying food.

This is the basic bottom level of what money needs to provide- food and shelter.

2. Adding personal touches to our basic needs

At this level, you don’t only eat and pay rent, you can also buy a specific soap you like for your home, and buy a nicer can of beans than Goya.

3. Some disposable income

Once you get to this level, you can move beyond simple food and shelter and possibly go see a movie, or have dinner with friends

4. A good amount of disposable income

Here’s where you can purchase bigger items such as higher education, a vehicle, and a big screen tv. Of course, this is where a lot of people get into trouble and get stuck. Debt occurs the most at this level.

4. Money for the future and savings

This is a major jump that some people never get to.  At this level, you’re mostly out of debt or on a good payment plan, and are setting aside money in a savings account and a retirement fund.

5. Money to give away

At this level, you have all the money you need, and your future accounts are funded. Now you can really help others. This is a nice, happy level to be at.

Beyond the last level, I guess you can give even MORE to others, or sock even more money away or buy a ranch and a bunch of ponies or something, but it’s all extra from there.

So maybe it’s actually not a yearly income thing- maybe people simply need to make enough money to climb to the top of the pyramid, and then more money doesn’t really bring more joy.

What do you think?

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