Turning 35 and A Great Relationship Analogy

Today I’m turning 35. I can hardly believe it. There’s something substantial about this age. It feels like I’m a real adult in the prime of my life. And the government must think so too, because, guys, I’m eligible to run for President now. Ha!

Anyway, birthday aside- I wanted to share something my co-worker told me yesterday that resonated.

I work in the film industry as a website editor, and my passion is screenwriting and television writing. Yesterday, my co-worker made an amazing analogy between what makes a successful film and what makes a successful relationship. Here goes the gist of what she said…

A film is ultimately art, right? The end goal is to make the audience feel something, touch their hearts in some way (even if it’s terrifying someone, as in the case of a horror movie). When I write, it’s to make people laugh and understand our shared humanity and maybe make them feel less alone. That’s what a good movie or TV show does for me.

But making films is also a business. You need to make money to be able to continue making films. The whole art and commerce thing…

So my co-worker’s analogy was this – the relationship between art and film is similar to the one between your heart and your head in a romantic partnership. Your heart may love the person you’re with, but your head may say that person is unhealthy for you. Ultimately, you want to find someone that you both love and is logically right for you.

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How Much Money Do You Spend Per Day?

According to yesterday’s (2/20/2017) Gallup polls, the average dollar amount Americans report spending or charging on a daily basis (not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle, or normal household bills) is $101.

What do you think of that? That number blew me away, primarily because I don’t make nearly enough money to spend that kind of money. I realize though that the number probably reflects people who have children and other dependents.

I used to try to live in about $30 a day. Which seems like a lot of money, but in actuality, isn’t at all. If you want to go out to dinner with friends, you may be spending $50 or above for drinks and dinner. Before I let go of the $30 per day thing, the $30 balanced out in my mind – because some nights I’d stay in and cook, and be spending only $10 a day, and then other nights I’d use the leftover money to pay for the dinners and nights out. But then I started spending more nights out and treating myself to self-care things like massages and the occasional self-help book on Amazon and I couldn’t keep myself within that $30 per day rule. And then I’d feel bad about myself.

So, I try not to think about how much money I’m spending each day. That’s probably not the best approach, but for now, it’s the best thing for my mental health. I try to be conservative obviously but I don’t want to be limited everyday to a strict amount.

Do you count how much money you spend every day? Laura, my fellow blogger and bestie, told me she uses an app to track her spending everyday. But it seems like too much work for me at the moment, even though she’s assured me it’s easy to use.

If you’re interested in seeing more data of how the average American spends their money and their overall job satisfaction, I highly recommend the Gallup site:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/112723/Gallup-Daily-US-Consumer-Spending.aspx

Would You Hire a Life Coach?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of stories from friends who hired life coaches or executive coaches to either get out of a rut or find a new perspective on moving forward in their career/personal life. In fact, I just hired a screenwriting coach to help me push my career forward. I was on the fence about it for awhile before I actually pulled the trigger – I kept asking myself, “Can’t I just motivate myself?” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had nothing to lose but money, and even if I gained just a little bit of new knowledge about the industry I’m trying to break into, then it would be worth it.

Also, when I asked my dad for advice on whether I should pay for the coaching services or not, he gave me some great advice. He said that an investment in myself is always money well spent.

I’ve met with the coach twice so far, and it’s been pretty great. She re-energizes and focuses me. She keeps me accountable to my goals. (Granted, we’re only two weeks in and I’ve had no real deliverables, so we will see what happens going forward. But I’m confident that I won’t want to let her down.)

I think what’s great about coaching is that your coach allows you to see the big picture. They give you the Grand Canyon vantage point. Are the small issues you’re fretting about or spending time on really adding value to your life or getting you closer to your goals?

If you’re interested in coaching, the first step is figuring out what kind of coach you would want. They are usually bucketed into two categories: 1) Personal or life coaches, or 2) Business or professional.

Next, you want to make sure your coach is highly vetted. Recommendations from family or friends seem to be best. And you should make sure your coach is certified by the International Coach Federation.

If you don’t know someone who can give you a personal recommendation, a thoughtful Google search may direct you to the websites of coaches who deal in issues you might want to tackle (like, transitioning careers, new motherhood, etc.). These websites will give you a good feel of the coach and their methodology. They will often have free reading material which is also helpful.

Here’s a couple of life coaches websites, so you can get a feel for the different styles out there:

http://yourkickasslife.com/coaching/

http://erikadolnackova.com/life-coaching-for-women/

 

A Somewhat Rambling Post On Turning 35

In March, I’ll turn 35 years old. Kinda crazy to think about. I still feel like I just entered my thirties, the decade so many people told me would be the best of my life. So far, that’s been true for me. All those cliches about getting older were validated – you’re more confident in your own skin and you give less sh**s about what other people think. I’m still working on the comparison game however; it’s hard for me not to look at folks my age who have high-powered careers and families, and wonder why I’m eating frozen burritos in my apartment with no kitchen.

But the thing is, while I can compare myself to other people my age, I also realize I made the choice to be a writer – to follow this path where nothing is predictable and quality work doesn’t always correlate with dollar bills. I knew full well that making solid money from this wasn’t the primary goal. And the truth is, knowing I have this deep passion for storytelling and that I’m trying to pursue it as a career is way more valuable to me than a six-figure paycheck. (Though I eventually want that, too!). I like to think that the longer and harder the journey, the sweeter the success will feel when I get there.

I feel excited about turning 35. It feels substantial. I feel substantial.

So, I find it somewhat hilarious that in an interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump talked about women’s ages and said: “What is it at 35, Howard?” Trump wondered aloud. “It’s called checkout time.”

I can’t formulate a better reply to this than writer Michelle Ruiz’s in her Vogue article, On Turning 35, the Age at Which Donald Trump Dumps His Girlfriends.

Here’s how she reacted:

But, upon further consideration, I think Trump is exactly right. Women at 35 are “too experienced.” Too experienced to see themselves as a man’s possession to be “checked out” on. Too experienced to constantly second-guess themselves and whether or not they deserve their compliments, their jobs, or their promotions. Too experienced, for sure, to sell their souls to Oompa Loompa–color sugar daddies with penchants for pussy grabbing. Today, at 35, I’m largely out of fucks to give, and, to borrow a phrase from Trump, as “nasty” as I want to be. I’m more willing to speak my mind than ever, and I care significantly less than I did 10 years ago about what other people think. And, as a bonus, I like my body and my bank account balance better now, too.

A little life experience will do that for you. Many 35-year-old women, myself included, have been around the block, or even the whole neighborhood. We’ve been dumped, disregarded, laid off, and underestimated; made mistakes, taken chances; failed miserably; in some cases, even hit rock bottom. We’ve lost friends and parents and found a little more of our ourselves. (Lose a friend in his 20s, or see a college classmate lose her toddler son to cancer, and suddenly, complaining about a 35th birthday loses its fun). We’ve gone from assistants to bosses, gotten married, birthed babies, or done none of the above, and discovered our own resilience all the same. If this makes women of 35 undesirable to Trump, or anyone else, then, as fellow 35-year-old Beyoncé would say: Boy, bye.

That’s one of the great things about being in your 30s – you don’t have time for people who find you undesirable or unworthy. You know to never settle for people who don’t fully support you. As our first President so wisely said:

“Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.”

-George Washington

To Have Resolutions or Not?

Happy New Year, everyone! Are you still feeling that spark of fresh excitement at the prospect of new possibilities? I am. While I had a rough January 1st, the days since have been really good. I feel refreshed and stronger.

During the final weeks of 2016, I was having a ridiculous amount of anxiety which culminated in my first full-blown panic attack. I thought I’d had panic attacks before, but this was unlike anything I’d experienced before. I got weak, my eyesight started blurring, and my heart raced. I thought I was going to pass out. I ended up going to urgent care that day because I didn’t want to pass out alone in my studio apartment. It was terrifying and scary, and I realized I never wanted to go back to that place again.

Over the holidays, I realized that I needed to make changes in my life. Specifically, I needed to carve out more alone time and spend more time writing my scripts (the process of which I’ve now termed “taking my medicine”). Since 2017 started, I’ve spent time writing every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. But that consistency is powerful. I will keep it up.

So, while I didn’t really make official ‘resolutions’ this year, I did realize that something had to change from the path I had been on. I had to lower my anxiety by focusing on my work – my writing. The anxiety was telling me that I was wasting away when I wasn’t writing.

In lieu of resolutions, I really like the idea of simply having a word or mantra for the year. For me, in 2017, my word is “warrior.” Warrior for myself and for my needs. Because the most important relationship that any of us will ever have is with ourselves.

To a beautiful New Year.

A Small Change I Made In My 30s That’s Been Awesome

A little over three years ago, I moved from NYC to LA. And it’s not an overstatement to say that it was the biggest adjustment of my life. I strongly disliked LA for at least a year, mildly disliked it for another year, and finally started to really dig it in my third year. Now, I’m pretty in love with this city of Angels. It’s warm, there are lots of open spaces, people here love their dogs so much, and the pace of life is slower than New York.

But when I left New York, I remember feeling heartbroken at leaving my mom and my friends, friends who I had known since as early as elementary school. So, when I was having my final hangouts with friends, I remember we all felt very emotional.

A shift happened when I was leaving. I decided to start telling my friend in earnest, “I love you.” Not the quick, “Love ya!” when you’re hanging up the phone or “xoxo” in an email, but the real deal, looking them in the eyes and saying “I love you.” Making everything slow down for a brief moment. It made me kind of nervous to say it to friends, because I got afraid they wouldn’t reciprocate or that I’d look like a crazy person. But it was reciprocated and it felt really good.

There’s something very special about genuinely acknowledging the love between friends, especially as we get older. And we should all remind ourselves that it’s a honor to have friends to say it to.

Hope you are all enjoying your holidays, and telling those you love, that you love them.

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What Type of Friend-Maker Are You?

A few days ago, I read this fascinating article: An Ivy League Professor Says There Are Only Three Types of Friendships We Make.

Basically, the results of the study they conducted deduced that we all structure our social connections in one of three ways. We are either:

Tight-Knitters – You have one close group of friends, who all know each other.

Compartmentalizers – You have different groups of friends, who help you with different needs (like work related advice or gossip seshs about dating).

OR

Samplers – You tend to have one-on-one friendships, rather than a group of friends.

I’m definitely a sampler. But I hate that name! It makes it seem like I’m testing out different types of people or ordering a sampler tapas place at a Spanish restaurant.

The truth is, I just like to have depth of connection and I find that in one-on-one interactions. The article mentions that samplers can feel socially isolated at points, and I absolutely have felt that. It’s hard to feel like your friends don’t know each other and there’s also such a great sense of community in a group of friends. I remember watching the TV show “How I Met Your Mother” and feeling down that I didn’t have a group like there.

So. Which type of friend maker are you?

Aceso Calm Supplement Review (A relaxing hemp drink)

When I come home from work, it’s hard to relax. And not because work is particularly stressful, because it’s not. At all. I research media information and then enter that data into an online database. I’m lucky my job isn’t stressful. Because it gives me time/mental space to write. Here’s the thing though. I’m stressed after work – because I know I should be working on my writing. But I also want a social life and I need to take care of life things – groceries, cleaning, etc. So it’s this mental debate between what I should do and what I want to do and I don’t know where to begin. I feel restless. Can anyone relate to that feeling?

So, I’m always looking for new ways to relax. And about two months ago, I stumbled upon a review for a product called Aceso Calm, a non-sedative relaxation formula made out of hemp and their naturally occurring constituents, cannabinoids. Aceso Calm comes in two forms – powder packets or spray for your mouth. While you may hear the word ‘cannabinoids’ and think illegal, this is a completely natural and legal product.

I knew I’d have to try it, considering my main forms of relaxation are the limited wine and TV (ha!). I thought I should expand my repertoire in a natural way. I don’t smoke pot, but I liked the idea of a legal supplement that could potentially relax me. I emailed the kind folks at Aceso and asked for a sample to review for our site. So read on for my review!

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The Verdict:

So, after a long plane ride and being stressed about the upcoming holidays, I decided to try one of my powder packet samples. And if you’ve ever taken those Emergen-C things when you feel a cold coming on, these packets are kinda like that. You put one into 4-6 oz of water and let the yellow powder dissolve. It’s $10 for a pack of 5.

It tastes a little like lavender, so that was nice. It didn’t taste overly sugary or sweet, so that was also good. I drank a cup of the supplement and waited. After about a half hour or so, I felt a little more relaxed. I didn’t feel super blissed out or anything. But I did feel subtly and gently relaxed. While I expected a more intense feeling, this was still nice. Aceso also makes a spray, so I wondered if perhaps that form is more potent.

After getting some answers about the product from the hemp product manager at Aceso, Kurt Forstmann, the gentle effects I experienced made more sense. Here’s what Kurt wrote:

How does the spray differ from the packets that you put in water? Is one product stronger than the other?

The spray is generally stronger, containing 7.5mg of active cannabinoids versus the powder which contains 5.0mg of active cannabinoids. Also, as discussed before, the route of administration also dictates outcome. Since the spray is absorbed in the oral mucosa (under the tongue) it penetrates the brain-blood barrier rapidly and has a fast acting effect. While the powder is ingested into the GI which takes time before cells absorb the active and customers begin to notice an outcome.

How would you recommend someone use the Aceso Calm product? As needed or more on a daily basis like a vitamin?

It can be used both ways. Our sprays, since they’re applied like a homeopathic tincture (under the tongue, let sit for 90 seconds, then swallow) are good for “knock down” use or as-needed, such as when you need to calm down, ie stress attack, sleep issues, etc…  Our powders are designed more as a daily use regimen, as the route of absorption is thru the GI and it takes longer for the actives to become absorbed by the body and take effect. However, we have heard of customers that experience an immediate outcome when using the powder.

Would I use it again? I think I would use the spray but I probably wouldn’t buy the powder, because I’d like a stronger effect quicker.

Check out all of Aceso’s products here.

Are You Working In A ‘Shadow Career’?

Have you heard the term ‘shadow career’? I hadn’t until I started reading Ed Pressfield’s book “Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work.” This is how Pressfield explains the idea of a shadow career:

“Sometimes when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow career instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. It’s shape is similar, it’s contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us”

So I guess a few examples would be:

  • someone who wants to write movies, but instead pursues development of other people’s work
  • someone who wants to run for office and instead is a campaign manager for someone else’s political career

Pressfield says that if you’re in a shadow career, you’re hiding from yourself and can’t fully actualize or be fulfilled. If you have a passion or project you keep denying from yourself because you’re working for a job that eats up all of your time, you’re probably in a shadow career.

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I like this idea of ‘shadow careers’ but I think there’s a fine line between a ‘shadow career’ and a ‘day job’ to pay the rent. I work in the entertainment industry when I know I want to write for TV and film, but I can’t just quit and write all day. Or, is that just what I tell myself to avoid putting in eight hours of writing work? Pressfield might suggest I work for one year, scrimp and save and then take 6 months off to solely write all day. That’s similar to what he did – and how he “turned pro.”A film professor of mine in graduate school gave me similar advice. He said to take a day job and try and write on nights and weekends, but if after 2 years, I hadn’t made significant progress in my writing, I should quit and just focus on writing. But uh…that still doesn’t address the money/how to live issue.

It’s an interesting book. I was originally turned onto Pressfield’s work by fellow writers who love his motivational book “The War of Art.” It’s all about pushing through the resistance of creation to actually get work complete. It’s a pretty fantastic book, and very inspiring to those of us who need a kick in the butt to get writing done. Or anything, really.

So, do you think you could be stuck in a shadow career?

New Hobbies in Your 30s

When was the last time you took up a new hobby?

When people ask me what my ‘hobbies’ are – which is rare and mainly occurs on job interviews or awkward first dates – I usually have to pause and think. Does drinking wine and watching TV shows on Netflix count? Probably not. How about hanging out with friends? Nah, cause hobbies seem to imply having a skill. Does writing count? I would say no, because it’s not so much a ‘hobby’ as it is my primary career goal. So, I guess I don’t really have a ton of hobbies aside from reading. But I may have a new one…

Today my co-workers and I went to the craft store, Michael’s to pick up Halloween decorations for the office. We walked past the aisles of yarn and I was seduced by the colorful wool and cotton piles. I stopped and ran my hands over a container of thick teal colored yarn, and I knew I had to learn. I love chunky knits and I felt like this could make the perfect scarf or small cuddling blanket. Luckily, one of my co-workers is an experienced knitter so she promised to show me the basics.

When we got back to the office, she showed how to do a basic stitch, but it was hard! So it might be a little bit until I get the hang of this and can make something that vaguely resembles something. Guess that’s why it’s a hobby. It takes time to develop a skill.

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Friendships Between Thirtysomething Women Are Pearls

One of my favorite places to spend time on the internet is Salon.com. They offer high-quality journalism in a world where there’s a lot of SEO click bait type articles and listicles of no real value.  Yesterday on Salon.com, I found this gem of an article written by Emily J. Smith: Breaking up with my type: How I learned to stop worrying and let myself loathe the men I once desired.

Emily talks about how she used to be attracted to hipster man-children with beards and skinny jeans who were self-centered and only interested in their own stories and lives. I’ve been there, so I could relate.

But what I loved most about the article was this part, about her friendships with 30-something females. She calls them treasures – pearls. I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s what Emily J. Smith wrote about that:

It was then, when I gave up on men completely, that I discovered the treasure — the pearls — that are 30-something female friendships. Around 30, I realized, was when single women got better and single men got worse. It’s the age when women have internalized and learned to deal with the injustice that comes with their gender; they get stronger and give fewer shits. Men, on the other hand, learn that their wrinkles are by some weird miracle considered attractive, as are their dad-like bodies, and that essentially the limits of time as we know it do not apply to them. They get spoiled.

My relationships with women were like a whole other species compared with my romantic flings. We traded honest stories of struggle. We empathized with years of pushing ourselves to be more aggressive with the men we worked with and more chill with the men we slept with. We’d learned to manipulate and contort our feelings so many times we were lion tamers of emotion. When we finished a bag of Kettle Chips in one sitting we reminded one another that we deserved it. We shared tips on body-hair removal and fears of infertility. I learned what real conversation felt like. We asked questions, admitted flaws; we listened to one another and let ourselves be vulnerable.

Beautiful. And don’t forget that the culturing process of a pearl usually takes several years.

 

How Would You Answer This Question?

What would you say if someone asked you if you agreed with the below statement?

“I’m confident that eventually I will get what I want out of life.”

I would say yes. But I happen to be a pretty optimistic person generally (if, anxious).

In a study at Clark University completed by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, 655 thirtysomethings were asked the same question – if they agreed with the above statement.

And guess what percentage said yes? 87%. Not only that, but more than three quarters said they still feel like “anything is possible.”  That’s pretty impressive, especially considering how many thitysomethings feel like they aren’t where they want to be career-wise or personally (That’s my informal, completely un-researched opinion after talking to my friends).

Arnett, the researcher, was surprised by these results, and while he said they are admirable, he also felt they were unrealistic. That’s because he also asked these thirtysomethings if they have gotten as far in their careers as they’d hoped to be by now. And 56% of respondents (born between 1975 and 1984) said they haven’t gotten as far in their careers as they’d have hoped to by now. And 17% said they are not in a relationship now but would like to be.

Maybe it’s because we may not feel like we’re at the ‘destination’ of where we want to be, but we’re enjoying the ‘journey’ a heck of a lot. Personally, I do love the fact that I have more time and freedom right now than people with children or very demanding jobs. That time has allowed me to explore screenwriting and TV writing as a career.

We also might not be settling for less. We’re realizing that it may take a longer time to get exactly what we want, but it’s way better than settling for a mediocre career or relationship situation that society tells us is what we should have in our 30s.

Life Lessons You Learn By 30

One of my favorite websites to read for inspiration is The Minimalists, run by two friends who had achieved everything they thought would make them happy by age 30: six-figure salaries, nice homes, cars, expensive clothing, etc. but even with all that, they didn’t feel fulfilled. So they gave it all up to live minimalist lives. You can read more about what that means to them on the “About” tab of their blog.

There’s a post of theirs in particular that I really like and that I think you guys will find relevant:  30 Life Lessons From 30 Years.

The most resonant lesson for me is:

5. Make change a must. For the longest time, I knew I wanted to change: unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled, I knew I didn’t have freedom—not real freedom. The problem was I knew this intellectually, but not emotionally: I didn’t have the feeling in my gut that things must change. I knew they should change, but the change wasn’t a must for me, and thus it didn’t happen. A decision is not a real decision until it is a must, until you feel it on your nerve-endings, until you are compelled to take action. Once your shoulds have turned into musts, then you are ready for change.

There were many years before graduate school when I knew I wanted to be a writer but I didn’t actually make the time to write. Eventually, it became MORE painful to NOT write than to actually sit down and write. And that is when I became a real writer.

How can you transform your ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’? And if they’re too hard to make ‘musts,’ then perhaps you don’t want whatever it is badly enough and aren’t ready to prioritize that change.

I guess it’s also learning how to accelerate getting that feeling in your gut – learning to tap into your emotional drivers.

What big lessons did you learn by the time you reached 30?

When Self-Care Doesn’t Work

Last week for about the whole week, I had really, really bad anxiety. Like ‘a bubble bath and bottle of wine’ isn’t gonna help this kind of anxiety. It was strong and I didn’t feel like myself – this icky feeling possessed my brain (not Exorcist style in my body though, thank God!) in what felt like an unshakeable way. I’m not sure exactly what sparked it, but probably lots of little things that kind of exploded into a ball of overwhelm.

I tried everything. Watching my shows on Netflix, eating ridiculous amounts of pizza, drinking wine, reading cheesy magazines and books, taking walks – but nothing worked. My brain kept circling the same thoughts over and over again. Why didn’t I have more plans on Labor Day weekend? Am I going to live in this tiny studio apartment my whole life? Will I get get married and have kids? 

Those thoughts just kept repeating and repeating in my head, and I couldn’t shut them down.

I started getting angry at the idea of ‘self-care’ because it sure didn’t seem to be working for me.

So what do you do in these situations? Obviously, there’s medication, which I believe can be very helpful if you need it. But aside from that, what’s the biggest way to deal with moments like this? Now that I’m a little out of the anxiety fugue state, there’s one thing I know that works.

Riding it out. Accept that your (anxiety/loneliness/depression/fear/anger) may be PART of your life experience, but it’s not ALL of your life experience. It will pass.

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One Valuable Lesson of My 30s

In my thirties, I’ve come to greatly appreciate my interaction with strangers. When I say ‘strangers,’ I mean people you meet out in your community, in your daily life – at the grocery store for instance, or on the bus or train.

I think we sometimes discount these moments as just part of the fabric and niceties of life, but I’ve come to discover these interactions can affect one’s day in a big way.

Thirty seconds or a minute of interaction between strangers can be day-altering. You can feel appreciated and ‘seen’ by people you’ve never met before. That’s powerful and has the ability to change the course and mood of someone’s day.

I did a comedy show last week, and while it wasn’t a disaster, it also wasn’t the best I could do. Right after I had begun my set, the mic fell out of the cord connecting it to power, and for a few seconds, my voice went from crisp and loud to inaudible. I started making corny jokes that no one could hear and looked like a crazy woman mumbling to herself. The host had to come on stage during my set and fix the situation. But I was off my game at that point. I kept on going, but I had lost some of my initial momentum.

I walked off the stage and into the crowd feeling disappointed in my performance. I spent the rest of the show watching the other comics, but beating myself up internally. I thought about possibly giving up on stand-up. Maybe this wasn’t a medium for me.

When the night was over, a man came up to me to talk about the show. He told me that I was one of his favorites because I seemed so real and authentic, that I wasn’t putting on a persona. He seemed genuine and thoughtful. He told me to keep going with this whole stand-up thing.

That minute of interaction with the man pushed me to continue on with stand-up. So for one minute of stranger interaction, I will end up spending hours and hours continuing to pursue stand-up.

This article by Elizabeth Crisci speaks to the benefits of talking to strangers quite beautifully. I love what she wrote below:

Giving the gift of our attention to people that we know, and those we don’t, is not only generous, it empowers us as well as the person we are talking with.

 

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