One Reason Being In Your Thirties Can Feel So Lonely

I’m 35, and most of my oldest friends are married without kids or with kids and/or have successful careers, or simply are content being single with a forward moving career. Most of them are pretty settled in one way or another, feeling good and grateful for where they are in their lives. They know it’s damn tough and they’ve come a long ass way to be where they are. And their lives are certainly not without struggle, be it infertility, health issues, etc. But, they’re happy to have made inroads into whatever they set out to do. And that’s awesome. It’s really inspiring seeing your friends raise kids, embark on new, challenging career goals or start a business. I’m not jealous; I know we all have unique paths to follow.

Once there was a broader path we were all on. But now the path is narrowing and more lonely than ever. Here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been depressed lately, and I have been remembering that I felt this same combination of ‘lost and scared’ intermittently throughout high school and college – this bleak feeling of dissociation. But what ALWAYS made it better was having friends with whom I could relate. Because in high school and college, we all felt similarly. At least I think we did.

Some of my favorite moments of high school were spent sprawled in the aisles of Barnes & Noble (which some called Barnes & Nobles – which always made me feel silly and happy), with a stack of career books and an assortment of US Weeklies and random crap, talking about our futures and all the possibilities ahead. We were blank slates, eager and excited, and all the nervousness of uncertainty was mitigated by each other’s company. When you realize you’re not alone, a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders.

At 35, I don’t have lots of friends to sit with in B & N and kvetch about life and how uncertain everything seems. I have about 2 of those friends, and they’re back home in NYC. I’m grateful for them, because we can email and talk about life and how we feel (and sometimes I can’t even email them back because I am feeling too low). But still — the number of us who are uncertain and scared, keeps dwindling. I guess that’s good, right? That’s a phase we should be past, perhaps? But…

It can make you feel alone. To feel like everyone has got at least one anchor in their life at this point, and you don’t. It doesn’t mean I’m not grateful to be alive and striving but still.

Sometimes I wish I was back in high school, in those aisles of Barnes & Nobles, with my vanilla steamer and my best friend, uncertain but hopeful about where our lives would take us, but pretty damn confident it would be somewhere awesome.

Advertisements

30 Quotes About Being In Your Thirties – the Coloring Book!

When we first started this blog, I was trying to find awesome, inspiring quotes about being in your thirties, but most of the quotes that I found were negative or ended up making fun of being in your thirties.  There are enough of those, so I pored through all the quotes I found and picked out only the best, most motivational, and most interesting.

I put my favorite 30s quotes together in one of our first blog posts titled: 30 Quotes About the Thirties. It’s one of our most popular posts.

Lately, I’ve gotten into the process of making coloring books. So I’m very excited to announce that we made a coloring book with all of the 30 quotes from the blog post! I enjoy these quotes a lot (I hand picked them so I’m biased though) and find coloring to be relaxing and stress-reducing- so I especially enjoy coloring these quotes.

If you like coloring, and/or are trying to find a great birthday present for a friend or family member turning thirty-something, we hope you enjoy these thirties-themed coloring books! We’re excited to have made them for you!

Please share the thirties love and enjoy!

Here’s a link to the 30 Motivational Quotes About Being in Your Thirties Coloring Book on Amazon!

And here’s the Amazon link to the same 30 Motivational Quotes About Being in Your Thirties coloring book with a black background, if you’re into a more mysterious look.

 

Here are a few pages of 30s quotes images from the books. Enjoy!

1white copy.jpg

23.jpg

27black copy.jpg

Rebooting Old Friendships

As an only child, I’ve been fascinated by friendship since pre-school, when I had the opportunity to make my very first real friend.  Whose name I don’t remember…oops!

On my birthday two weeks ago, an old college friend who I haven’t spoken to in maybe 5 years reached out to me. There was never a falling-out between us. Rather, she mysteriously disappeared. She stopping returned emails, texts, calls and just vanished. A group of her friends from med school and I tried to figure out what was going on, but we couldn’t track her down. Because we knew she had disappeared on other people at an earlier stage in her life, and that there had been recent drama in her life, we didn’t think she was kidnapped or anything crazy like that. We knew she must have chosen to leave of her own volition. Also, one friend heard from her and passed along the information that she was safe but not looking to be contacted.

Back to my birthday. I got an email from this old friend who disappeared. It was a very simple message – she wished me a happy birthday and apologized for missing so much of my live/events in my life, etc. and asked if I’d be willing to open up a friendship again. She didn’t mention why she disappeared or what happened.

While some people might have been hurt to have been left by a friend, I was excited to hear from her. She was someone who I didn’t depend on completely for emotional support, and I something I loved about her was her independence and free spirited nature. While we never had that much in common, I always enjoyed spending time with her and loved her intellect and passion for life. She inspired me because she gave 100% to everything she did – becoming a neurosurgeon, going to residency, and then deciding to quit it all to write. She’s now got a book published. It’s pretty amazing. She’s already accomplished so many big deal things in her life.

We’ve been emailing back and forth a few times, but we haven’t gotten to meaty subjects yet, though I’m sure that is coming in time.

I read an article this week about how to deal with re-building these sorts of friendships – ones that disappear and then re-emerge: A Psychologist Explains How to Revive a Dead Friendship.

The most important take-away from the article for me was this: when re-building an old friendship, you need to be willing to see that person with a completely fresh set of eyes. Easier said than done, but I think it’s the only way to have an authentically honest new friendship.

It’s like if an artist were to paint another painting on top of an already used canvas. Like, when art historians discover than underneath a Picasso was an older Picasso painting he painted years prior.

I’m not sure what will happen with my new/old friend, especially because we don’t live in the same city, but I’m curious to find out.

You Don’t Have to Go Far to Go Far

Going to Japan last year was one of the best trips of my life. I wrote about Japan a bunch in the posts Must Do’s for a Two Week Japan Trip as well as Working Easy In Your Thirties and  You Can Actually Do That Crazy Thing In Your Thirties. This year everyone asked me where I was going to go next – like I don’t travel enough for work… but they meant travel for fun. I’d love to go on another insane (good insane) major international trip like Japan, but this year I’ve decided to stay in my home city. This is mainly because I travel so much for work and I feel like I need a thorough spring and summer in New york this year. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have some of the same sensational experiences I had in Japan.

I went to Japan solo, and that was part of the magic of the trip- I really got to spend time with myself and explore all the places I wanted to see. Walking for 12 hours a day? I have no problem with that- but other people might. Skipping lunch and eating a beautiful, fancy vegan dinner every night? That wouldn’t fly for everyone but that’s how I scheduled almost every day of my Japan trip. Meeting cool strangers at Airbnbs in Tokyo and Kyoto? I excitedly researched each place I stayed at and ended up loving all of my hosts.

So when I booked work in Boston this week, I decided to make the work trip more fun by applying a bit of my Japan attitude to a city I’m extremely familiar with. I’d never been to Japan before my last trip but I’ve been to Boston countless times. So I decided to go somewhere in Boston that I’d never been before- The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It’s the site of the most famous art heist in the world.

IMG_5990

The Gardner museum is also a simply gorgeous museum. I had no idea how incredible it was until I saw it for myself.

IMG_5946

IMG_5957

IMG_5972

IMG_5988

Wondering the halls of the museum solo, I felt the same wonderment and solitude that I felt in Japan. I remembered the Edo Museum I’d gone to in Tokyo, as well as multiple temples in Kyoto and Koyasan I’d been inside that filled me with reverence and awe. I came into Boston extra early the day before work in order to have this time to myself and it was time well spent.

And both nights I was in Boston I took myself out to luxurious vegan meals (extra opulent for me because I really only eat dinner out alone on special occasions – like when I’m traveling for fun. Neither of the meals were very expensive- they were at traditional Indian and modern Chinese food restaurants- but to me they were indulgent and lovely. I could have been traveling solo in an unexplored asian country and I might have had similar moments of solitary contemplation.

I also stayed at a fantastic Boston Airbnb with a wonderful Ukranian host who had spent the last 8 months in India, living in an ashram and teaching autistic children yoga. She practiced hour-plus-long meditations, and told me incredible stories about her last 10 day vows of silence, the guru (teacher) she had in India, and various meditation retreats she’d been to and wanted to go to. She taught me some breath work she learned in India that helped with her meditations, and shared her vegan yogurt with me (she’s a vegetarian as well). I really feel like I met a kindred!

IMG_5998

The gorgeous cat, Lunca, at my Boston Airbnb

So although I’m obviously a big fan of travel, I don’t think it’s necessary to go very far to experience the intoxicating high of traveling. You don’t have to spend much money or even leave your neighborhood to travel away from your normal routine. If you can’t travel right now, try something new you haven’t tried before instead. Take yourself to a new place for dinner or explore a different area. Talk to someone you’ve never talked to before. Investigate a new museum and see how you feel when you’re alone with just your thoughts and your spirit.

IMG_5989

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.

images.jpg

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?

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.

 

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.

feelings

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.

 

When Things Feel Uncomfortable or A Shock of Cold Water in Your Thirties

Yesterday I was at the beach for the first time this year. It was a beautiful day and the sun and sand were both feeling glorious on my skin.

image

image

My friend Zach and I went to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn for the day. Zach loves both swimming and cold water so one of the first things he wanted to do was go into the ocean. At first I didn’t want to follow him- I’ve been to this beach before but hate cold water and am not a big city ocean swimmer. And the New York City waters are not known for their tropical climates.

But I decided to at least put my feet in and followed Zach into the surf. Right away, the frigid cold stung my feet, and I didn’t go any further. “It’s freezing!!!” I screamed, but he assured me that I’d get used to it. I didn’t believe him, but I wanted to continue our previous conversation, so I stayed with my feet in the water. Before long, the water felt body temperature and then downright warm on my feet. I was sure I had teleported to Miami. Soon I was stomach deep in the water and happily frolicking around.

image

Now, I’m convinced the water was two different temperatures from the start to the finish. How did something so unbearable transform into something so great? And I’m thinking this happens in life all the time.. when you’re at the beginning of something new, even a new feeling, it can sting and feel completely uncomfortable, even intolerable. So you leave before you experience a change.

But sometimes the gentle reassurance of a friend or a family member invites us to stick with something that at first feels unwelcome or too hard. Occasionally the distraction of good company can take us away from our old habits enough to welcome change. How many times have we instinctually run from something that might have turned out to be lovely?

image

Social Media and sometimes FOMO in your Thirties

I have a love/dislike (hate is too strong a word) relationship with Social Media. There are many reasons for this, some simply to do with concentrating on better ways to spend my time. But the biggest reason for my discomfort with social media is that it can occasionally make me feel really bad about myself.

The badness I feel from social media is a strange type of vexation- it comes and goes. When I go through social media ‘feel good’ periods, I can actually remain in a peaceful fun stretch for quite awhile. I understand the points of connection and sharing that are at the core of Facebook or Snapchat. I even feel connected. I feel looped in. I enjoy sharing. I enjoy commenting. I feel like An Important Part of Something Big. And I actually really like social media at these times.

But then there are the FOMO periods. These periods can happen at two very opposite times for me: 1.During times when I’m using social media a lot. 2. During times when I’m using social media not a lot ..but am thinking about it.

FOMO, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, stands for Fear of Missing Out, and I think social media taps into this inner fear more than anything else I’ve ever known. FOMO occurs from social media because people are sharing the polished, highlight reels of their lives and not necessarily what’s actually happening- so everything looks pretty good from an outsiders view. People rarely share worries about their relationships, career fears, family drama, fallouts with friends, financial struggles and the like. Social Media is full of platitudes, photos of cute kids, congratulations on new jobs, sunny visits to the beach, diamond engagement rings, delicious food with friends, and more happy times.

Honestly, that’s okay. That’s what social media is here to do for the most part- enable people to share great parts of their lives. Super depressing happenings usually come off as weird on a news feed and people understand that. I don’t necessarily want to read about tons of negative happenings either.

Yet, even being aware of the highlight reel nature of the beast can’t stop FOMO from coming. There’s a certain discouragement I can feel when scrolling a Facebook feed, especially if I’m already feeling not so great. I can get extra down on myself. Why am I not as happy as I can be right now? My friends seem so happy. Everyone is so busy doing social things- they’re all together- am I being antisocial? Oh god, I don’t use Snapchat enough. Everyone is having fun. Why can’t I get into Instagram? Why don’t I have 6 pack abs? I need to take gym selfies or no one will know I went to the gym! I need to use social media or no one will know I exist!! IF I DONT WRITE ABOUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, DID IT EVEN REALLY HAPPEN??

Even though my mind knows most of these thoughts are extremely silly, the feelings come anyway. I’m bombarded with feels as I’m bombarded with feeds. Some of these thoughts are a mild exaggeration, but you may recognize others in yourself.

Some people don’t go through FOMO at all- I have a few extremely extroverted friends who remain in love with their Snapchat stories and Facebook feeds, and never seem jealous or sad about the whole thing. But this post is for the people who do have this kind of anxiety, or even occasionally do. You’re not alone. And you’re not missing out either.

I don’t have an answer for social media induced FOMO except to take breaks from the newsfeed and stories from time to time. But in my moments of greatest clarity I know that the only fear of missing out I should have is of the present moment. And the most important place to be, no matter what others are up to, is always where I am now.

image

You Can Actually Do That Crazy Thing In Your Thirties

One of the biggest lessons I always learn when I’m doing something “crazy ” is that although it seems nuts at first, once I do it, I find it’s actually way more normal and doable than I’d previously thought.

Well, maybe the word ‘normal’ is an exaggeration, but the crazy things are definitely doable- a lot of times even easy! And there are others out there who are actually doing the same crazy things and will recognize you as kindred spirits.

My example right now is solo travel. People sometimes say to me, “you’re traveling alone?! That’s scary!” Or “are you lonely?” Or even, and especially back in the states, “why would you travel alone?”

But then I meet other solo travelers while I’m traveling, and I realize that that thing I’m doing that many people consider ‘crazy’ is actually nothing compared to how crazy it can get- I meet people doing 5 months of solo travel as opposed to my two weeks. I meet people doing world travel to indonesia, Berlin, Sri Lanka, America, and Japan, as opposed to my simple Japan trip.

image

Very sweet German girl I met in Okunoshima who’s traveling around the world.

 

I saw an article on Facebook over a year ago about a random place called Rabbit Island. It seemed like the coolest place ever, but there are so many cool places in articles on Facebook that I didn’t really think much of it. Plus it was far- all the way in JAPAN.

Then when I started actually planning my ‘crazy’ Japan trip I remembered this rabbit island. But still, when I looked it up, it was super remote. Even the local Japanese barely knew of it. It seemed that almost no one had heard of this island and it was far from any well known area in Japan..like super duper far.

But you know what? I kept thinking about that island. It wouldn’t stop flitting across my mind. I love bunnies. Love love love them. And I thought about how much closer I’d be to that island once I was Japan than I’d ever be in America. So I made up my mind to do what it takes- what if I actually took the crazy long all day trip to go to this island?

And go I did. 8 hours of trains later I was in a heavenly fairytale of bunnies. And it was worth everything.

And people may look at you funny when you do things that they consider crazy, but keep going anyway. You’re probably not even being that crazy. And if you are actually doing something super duper outlandishly different, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, who cares? Good for you. There’s not much new under the sun anyway.

image

People from around the world who I met at the bunny island! 

My One Piece of Advice for Younger Folks

What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

I think about this question sometimes, but I’ve never nailed down a very clear answer for myself. But a few nights ago, I was at dinner with a group of new friends of mine, who all knew each other (for the most part) from high school. I was talking to two of the guys, one in his mid-30s, and the other in his early 40s. We started talking about how hard it is to make new friends at this age. By ‘this’ age, I think the unspoken assumption was that this was your 30s and above.

It was interesting to hear men talk about this problem too. One of the guys mentioned that  the last good friend he made was a worker at his local Dunkin Donuts. They realized they shared a similar sense of humor and started hanging out. I love that story!

Our most fertile time for making friendships seems to be when we’re young and in school. There seems to be something especially fertile about the high school environment for making new friends. We’re so vulnerable and open to the world.

Anyway. Back to my one piece of advice. I’d tell myself to hold on tight to those friendships. I mean, I did and that’s the best thing I ever did, but I would have tried even harder. I had one best friend in high school who felt as close to a soulmate as I had experienced, and who I kept up a very close friendship with until our early-mid 20s. But we had a devastating falling out. Probably the biggest regret of my life was not trying harder to make that work.

But the point is – you’ll never get the chance to make friends like the friends you’ll make from when you’re pre-18. You can’t know at that age that those are the people who will be the emotional backbone of your adult life. They will be your memory keepers. So I would say to my teen self – make friends – as many as you can – and hold on tight.

Togetherness and Continuing to Find Yourself In Your Thirties

One of my favorite new HBO shows, Togetherness, just got cancelled a few weeks ago. It’s a darn tragedy, because the show was brilliant and touching and all about the thirties.

Togetherness features four thirty-somethings all in unique places in their romantic and career lives. Two of them are a married couple with a house and kids. The other two are single, with one’s career (as an actor) taking off and the other’s (as the bringer of blow up castles to parties (really) ) stalling.

Throughout the two season series, the marriage of the main couple shows some slow-building cracks and begins to fall apart. The husband quits his job as a sound designer for movies and starts driving an Uber. The wife adds a volunteer job of starting a charter school to her stay-at-home-mom life and finds some happiness and power in doing that. Hook ups happen, cheating happens, drugs happen,  moments of intense clarity happen, kick the can in the park happens, characters grow into new jobs, characters find new parts of themselves, characters find new friends, characters fight, characters crash on couches, characters crash cars. Basically, a lot of the tumult and highs and lows and crazy and silly of the twenties happens here… in a more…grown up way? It’s hard to explain it except that I recognize it, and it’s amazing how this show has managed to capture it. Characters have already grown into themselves, but they’re growing into themselves again and again and again in their thirties.

What this show captures is what Jane and I have been trying to figure out here on this blog, but haven’t ever completely been able to pin down: that feeling of starting to know who you are and then using that knowledge to go with the new version of yourself that’s already begun to develop and will develop differently again and again. There’s a fluidity to a thirty-something that grows out of a solid foundation already built earlier. Meaning: you’ve already found a lot of yourself during or right before your thirties, but that self changes and grows and shifts and then is found over and over again. The thirties are about recognizing, from the self that you’ve already found, the changes that are happening to you. A thriving thirties decade is also about being able to communicate those changes with both yourself and with others. Also it’s about recognizing that you can’t compare your life with the lives of your friends and relatives- some people will have their careers laid out, some people will be switching around. Some people will have kids, some will stay single, some will get divorced. Your road is your own.

What makes the characters in Togetherness amazing is their ability to communicate with each other (eventually) throughout the series. Sometimes it takes a complete breakdown in communication, but the ‘togetherness’ of Togetherness stems from each fiercely independent character equally fiercely wanting to reach out to one another. The early marriage breakdown in the show stemmed from very slow communication breakdowns- nothing huge or obvious, just slow cracks. The show begins with shedding light on the cracks, which have to be revealed in order to be repaired. I feel like a lot of finding yourself in your thirties is about shedding light on slow cracks that have built up, tending to them, and rebuilding again and again.

Hopefully, there will be other shows this good at capturing the thirties decade. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen Togetherness, what are you waiting for? Go watch it and enjoy!

togetherness-season-2_article_story_large

Living Far Away From Close Friends and Loved Ones

When I moved to California two and a half years ago, I left behind my parents and a lot of my closest friends. It was the toughest physical move I’ve ever had to make, because I left a robust support network to live in a city where I knew I’d struggle to make new friends. The first year was incredibly rough, I felt vulnerable and desperate to meet people. Yet, since I moved from NYC with my boyfriend at the time, I spent a lot of time with him and didn’t make as strong of an effort as I could have to make new friends. So some of the struggle could have been alleviated had I made more of an effort. But…

Flash-forward to 2.5 years of living in LA, and I feel much more contented and happy in my support network here. Having a weekly writer’s group has really helped with that, as well as meeting new people through the UCLA connections I’ve made from graduate school.

However, my closest friends are still my friends from home. And I miss them. A lot. Sometimes I don’t even realize just how much I miss them until I re-connect with one of them. For instance, I just spent an hour and a half on the phone with one of my closest friends from high school, and it felt like my heart battery was charged up again.

The more I come to face the reality that I may be in LA for quite a long time, the more I want to find ways to keep close to my old friends. And I read a startling fact about close friendships and face-to-face time that made me want to buy a plane ticket home to NYC stat.

In the book The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier written by Susan Pinker, she writes:

In a study of the effect of Internet use on social relationships in adults aged eighteen to sixty-three, Dutch psychologist Thomas Pollet found that time spent using online social networks resulted in more online contacts but didn’t translate into genuine offline connections or a feeling of closeness. Indeed, not only is online contact experienced as less fun, but without face-to-face contact, social relationships decay and are soon replaced by others… “Emotional closeness declines by around 15 percent a year in the absence of face-to-face contact, so that in five years someone can go from being an intimate acquaintance to the most distant outer layer of your 150 friends,” says Dunbar.

Isn’t it crazy to hear that emotional closeness decreases by 15% every year you don’t see your friends face-to-face? When I heard the data quantified like that, it really shook me up. Would it change the way you travel? Because for me, it makes me want to schedule more girls weekends with my friends out of town, and make sure I have a solid two-week trip home to NYC planned at least once a year. I never want to decline 15% each year in closeness with my best buds.

30 Women Around the Globe Reflect on Life at 30

International Women’s Day was just last week- March 8th. In honor of that day, Stylist magazine interviewed 30 women, all age 30, from all over the world. Here’s the link to that article: This is what 30 looks like: women across the world share their experiences. 

The women talked about their careers right now, whether they were single, married, or in a relationship, whether or not they had children, whether they were where they thought they’d be at 30, and more.

The biggest thing I noticed about the article was the discrepancy in the experiences and the voices. Every woman was at a different point in their life- some were 30 and worried about being single, some were 30 with 3 kids. Some were 30 and stay at home moms, some were 30 and running their own business. Some were 30 and worried about money. Some were 30 and worried about going outside at night because in their country they might be raped or killed. “Women aren’t safe. I can’t walk the streets for fear of being killed or raped; this is the product of patriarchy in my country.” – Sandra de la Cruz, Lima Peru.

Some were super happy with their lives while single, some super happy while married with kids. Some seemed unsatisfied while single, some seemed unsatisfied married with 3 kids. I feel like reading about all these different experiences for women at 30 really fights the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) issue that I sometimes have. I want to do everything at once. I want to experience life with my own business, and also maybe have a life learning at another company. I want to experience being pregnant and having a child, but also experience being happily married into my fifties and sixties without a child interrupting, and without the life-changing responsibilities of a child.

It’s hard to want everything at once, and to want everyone else’s experiences too. This happens to me sometimes- I’m in a happy vacuum alone, enjoying my time, but then someone will tell me about something they’ve done, and I’ll want to do it too.

The article really brought home how different experiences can all be valid and happy-making, and there’s no one portrait of what a thirty-something’s life should be like. Follow your own happiness and make your own life and you won’t miss out on anything.

1390973327_international_womens_day_wallpaper

%d bloggers like this: