So I Paid Off My Student Loans- Part 1

If you’ve been following this blog for the past few years, you may know that I’ve been on a quest to pay off my student loans since… basically forever. Actually, for the first few years after I graduated, as my debt amount surged while interest piled up, I simply lived in hopeless despair. I wondered what magical miracle would occur that would enable me to pay off more than $100,000 (yes that 6th zero belongs) worth of debt – and for undergrad only! I’m not even a doctor or a lawyer or even a prosperous business person- I have a DRAMA degree, for god’s sake! And that $100,000 total is with ONE YEAR PAID OFF ALREADY by mom and grandma! So even with a whole year of school paid off, plus some financial aid, my loans were STILL that much!

And the loan kept growing, even after college ended, because in the first few years after graduation I’d decided that since my interest was high on the smaller of the two loans (one was for around $86,000 and the other was $14,000), I’d put the smaller loan on forbearance (effectively deferring it) and not pay it for awhile.

I know now that this is BACKWARDS thinking- it’s a really bad idea to put loans on forbearance unless you’re absolutely desperate and have no other choice. To be fair, most people put loans on forbearance because they have no other choice- I myself was the definition of desperate- so the warning is probably unnecessary. But forbearance is a horrible sneaky trap that only punishes your future self while your current self breathes a very temporary sigh of relief. I got the 14k loan down to 11k with a lot of blood sweat and tears, and then put that loan on forbearance for a year. When I started paying it again, after only one year of deferment, the loan had GONE BACK UP to 14K! As if I had never made a dent! The experience was both sickening and horrifying.

NYU is even more expensive now- disgustingly expensive. Somewhere around 70K a year expensive. It’s wayyyy overpriced, and pricing seems to only be only going up. The thing is, many colleges are following that same path of being completely out of line overpriced- the problem is not just NYU. To be fair, I really enjoyed my NYU program- I had private conservatory training in all aspects of acting, directing, and theater, and the 4 years were pretty amazing. It’s not a bad school. But the loans afterwards all but buried me- and I don’t recommend anyone ever taking on that kind of student loan debt. Ever. Even if  you’re going to medical school or something that should fast track to a lucrative career, I’d still advise you to think your finances through very carefully.

In a blaze of glory I finally completed my last student loan payment this February, 2018. I still can’t believe it. I remember the day I hit ‘send’ on that last payment- I cried. My body shook in front of my computer and nothing made sense. The student debt that had hung over my head for so many years of my early adult life was finally gone. It felt like a miracle- but it wasn’t. It was the result of an incredible amount of work and very carefully calculated planning. Even making very little money per year, I finally did it. I did it.

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I did it! In the next post I’ll tell you how…

 

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Our New Video Series!

Laura and I have been talking about creating an OMG I’m Thirty video series for awhile.  We took the opportunity of being in the same city for a brief stretch to shoot our first one together. Hopefully one day I will be able to consistently identify where the camera lenses is on an iPhone!

Hope you enjoy!

What Happens In Summer

July is always a month of pondering for me. It’s one of my two favorite months of the year – with the other being August. I love summer- it’s my hands-down most treasured time of year, and with the glorious sun, the heat-like-hugs, easy-livin, sundresses, outdoor eating, endless walking outside, barbeques, lying in the park, being in nature- I just feel a sense of love and peace.

In the very beginning of July, though, there’s always a slight angst to my mental state. My usual work-travel schedule slows down and I have a pretty long work break, and that gives me time to think about all the things. I strongly believe that most of us, myself very much included, go around using work busy-ness as an excuse to not think about other parts of our lives and address deeper issues that may be going on. Big questions come up for me in July,, such as: “what am I doing with my life?” (Easy). And “how can I make way more money doing something different than what I’m doing now?” crosses my mind about a million and four times. Also “will I find a life-partner connection at some point in my life?” You know, the simple stuff.

I feel like it’s important to let the angst play out and to face the questions, instead of covering them up with even more busy-work. I try not to run from the angst, and instead to relax into it as much as I can, and know that it’s okay. It’s okay to question things. In fact, I believe questioning is crucial. On the other side of a repetitively angsty feeling is usually an important task and the path to some real change- but there’s the risk of possibly being uncomfortable for a bit.

Of course, you don’t want to simply have angst and anxiety run rampant through your mind. It’s important to slow down sometimes and change the subject- to walk into nature, meditate and let go,  feel the sun on your face, listen to the ocean, eat good food with good friends. If anxiety comes up, let it be okay and eventually relax into it. The goal is to let the big future questions wash over you while still enjoying the now- even the silliest little details like cute dogs or long walks with cool trees.

Summer is a good time for all of this.

 

The Loneliness of Being An Expectant Mom

I’m nearly 6 months pregnant, and while I’m more excited and physically comfortable now than I was during the first 3 months, there’s still a feeling of loneliness and fear that’s been pervasive the whole time. To feel alone during one of the most universal of life journeys is an odd feeling.

I know this is not many women’s experience. They have close friends with infants and toddlers who live nearby, or they live near a mother, mother-in-law or sister who can offer guidance. Or, they just generally have more friends with children.

I don’t have any family in Los Angeles, and most of my friends here are writers and filmmakers who don’t have children.  I mention they are writers/filmmakers only because many of my artist friends have had to make the choice of their art over having a  family. Children are expensive and time-consuming. Most of us have day jobs with salaries that leave us living paycheck to paycheck. Also, being a writer demands a lot of you; not only your time, but your mental space and kids take up a ton of mental space.

So, I find myself sometimes dreaming of venting over a mocktail (more on that word later) to a pregnant friend about everything – not just the good, but the fears, anxieties, stress and not to mention, the constipation, heartburn, you name it…

And speaking of mocktails…oh my, how I miss a stiff cocktail. Especially one in an icy glass with something citrusy and vodka. It doesn’t help that I unabashedly love drinking. The whole bar experience is one I love and miss tremendously. Of course, I still often find myself at bars, for events, birthdays, etc., but I get the special pleasure of watching other people drink while I try to trick my brain into thinking my seltzer water with a lime is doing the trick (It’s not doing the trick). One friend who struggled with drinking told me that he drinks tonic water with ice because the flavor somehow fool his brain into thinking it’s alcohol. Well, my brain is not easily fooled, thank you very much. I wish I had one pregnant friend who could come with me to a bar and we could bitterly commiserate over our ‘mocktails.’ Also, the word ‘mocktail’ – ugh. They’re aptly named as they just mock me with their non-alcohol, high calorie nutritional nothingness.

I’ll pause right here to say – I have great friends – and for that, I feel extremely lucky and grateful. But it would be nice to talk about it all at length – to speak about the experience as it’s happening and hear that experience validated and understood.

I have one close friend who has a son who’s closer to 8 years old, and a friend who just gave birth (which I am grateful for!). But the friend who just gave birth lives pretty far from me, so it’s not convenient.

Part of the reason it also feels lonely is not simply that I don’t have other women near me going through a similar experience, but because I’m changing. Me. The person I know best of all and whose consistent, reliable likes and dislikes comfort me. Intellectually, I’m aware that I won’t be the same person in 3.5 months, but I can’t say exactly how I will be different.

People tell me I’ll make “mom friends” and I hope I will. I know there are mommy and me groups, yoga, etc. But we all know how challenging it is to make friends in your 30s and older anyway. People are already so set in their friend groups.

I did try a pre-natal yoga class and awkwardly tried to make conversation with other moms, but it was strained, and most of them already had their ‘groups.’ I could spend more time on online forums, and I keep meaning to do that – so maybe that’s an option.

Once the little dude is here, it will probably be easier to meet new friends. But for now, it sure seems like I’m in a bubble. Maybe I should be easing into the lonely feelings when they come, and know the little guy in there probably feels pretty lonely and scared too…

Perfect Is the Enemy of Good, or the Nirvana Fallacy

Welcome back! Well, I’m kind of saying welcome back for us- for you I say thanks for hanging in there! I know it’s been quite awhile since we last wrote (Jane posted our official welcome back last week, but I want to chime in as well and say THANK YOU to you guys for once again reading!). I’m really happy to be writing here again! It’s serendipitous that I’m in Orlando right now while writing this, because the last post I wrote for OMGIm30, back in January, was also written in Orlando- and was actually about Orlando.

One of the reasons I took a break from writing was that my work travel schedule had gotten completely insane (my busiest travel time is January-May). Another reason was that I felt like I wanted to revamp the site and fix a bunch of issues with wordpress. One of the issues we’ve been having is that people who view our site on mobile devices have trouble subscribing to our email list, so if any awesome tech nerds are reading this and have ideas how to solve this through wordpress, please drop us a line at omgim30@gmail.com. It would be really appreciated!

Anyway, there’s a lot of other tweaks to the site I’d like to make- but the real writing issue wasn’t the tweaks or the travel- it was that I was waiting and waiting for all complex things in my life to be done and fixed before I started writing again. I was really waiting for perfection before I could resume. And that’s where I started thinking “the perfect is the enemy of the good.”

..Which is a famous phrase, basically coming down to not completing a task because it feels impossible to complete perfectly. An example of ‘perfect being the enemy of good’ is not publishing a blogpost because I felt like it could be edited another 3 times and was not sure it was absolutely perfect. Another example is putting off writing any posts for months because I didn’t feel like my life or schedule was perfect.

This whole concept is closely related to the Nirvana Fallacy, where tasks aren’t even STARTED because they’re regarded as ‘imperfect’. A good example of the Nirvana Fallacy  is someone saying to me, ‘why bother being a vegetarian if you’re not fully vegan? If you still eat eggs and dairy, you harm animals anyway. Why not just eat meat too and screw it?” Or even someone saying “sex ed classes don’t work because kids are still going to have unsafe sex.” Sigh. That’s the Nirvana Complex in action- where you shoot something down that REDUCES harm because it doesn’t COMPLETELY eradicate harm.

How much does the pursuit of perfection overshadow the pursuit of good in your own life? When have you found yourself trapped in the Nirvana Complex as an excuse to not do something you think is important? Here’s to us all going for it anyway! And welcoming in new beginnings!

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Imperfect rainbow in Orlando. Still a good rainbow, even though it’s above a McDonalds.

And…We’re Back!

So, it’s been exactly 5 months since we’ve written, and we apologize for that abrupt and unexpected hiatus! I wish we had a good reason for it, but really, it just kind of happened. One week of no writing rolled into two weeks of no writing, and the next thing we knew – it’d been months without a new post. We’d talk about getting back to it, but there was never a solid plan.

But in May, Laura and I took a girls trip to Cabo, Mexico (see below!) and got to talking about the blog, and what we wanted to accomplish. We both decided we really want to just have fun and experiment, and write about topics we’re interested in.

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For me, that means writing about a lot of the new life stuff happening for me. Namely, I’m getting married and having a baby. (And to all those single ladies in their 30s who are scared of not meeting someone and being able to have a baby before they can’t anymore, a reminder that I was single at 34. So you just never know). I’ll talk about that more in a future post.

Stay tuned. We’ll be posting more and can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

The Beauty of An Orlando Parking Lot Run

Even though two nights ago I literally got zero hours of sleep, I decided to go for a run tonight. “I’m in Orlando,” I thought, “I can finally run outside.” Since I’d had to wake up at 4:30am for the flight to Orlando, I figured I might as well get a little ‘Orlando time’ in. After all, I’d been working inside an Orlando convention hall for 11 hour days, two days in a row. The outside world had to be better than that.

But it wasn’t. The second I was outside, I ran into what amounted to a giant parking lot lined with stores and hotels. There wasn’t really anywhere to run that didn’t put me onto a highway or into the sides of parked cars.

So I decided to move in a circle. “That’s Orlando for you,” I thought, picking up my pace. My first racing loop was around 8 minutes, and I wanted to run for at least 30. So I began a second loop. I found a side road that was maybe almost a sidewalk which ended eventually but added depth to my loop.

It was dark outside but still warm and a light misty rain began to fall. It felt really good to be outside. I ran past dim windows with people playing pool, a Hooters with staff hovering by the cash register, a Disney Gift shop, a ‘supermarket’ that mainly sold soda and beer. I ran past our cheap Comfort Inn pool- which had a waterslide that was built into a fake rock. “This is really the Orlando experience,” I thought. And I laughed, and I ran. And a light, sticky happiness filled me up inside.

I felt happy to be in the heat, in the misty rain, listening to my Spotify Discover Weekly, running by the side of the road, past a Denny’s and a Cici’s pizza. I felt happy to breeze by the window of a tacky Irish Pub with not one, but two Cornhole games outside. I felt happy to be outside in Orlando, past another one of its lit up fountains, in all the glorious tackiness which I usually roll my eyes at.

I don’t know why a smile hovered on my lips instead of a breeze of complaints. I don’t know how that Orlando parking lot remained beautiful for the dusky fade of a half hour. Who knows. But I guess that happens sometimes. It happens.

 

 

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Just Because the Outside is Green doesn’t Mean the Inside Isn’t Ripe (Or, Those Deceptive Bananas)

Do you ever feel like you’ve made a ton of progress in an area, and then time goes by and maybe some tragic moments occur in your life and you forget all that progress ever occurred? You can’t remember what it felt like to feel accomplished in that area. You feel like you must have completely backtracked. No matter how hard you try, you’re not sure you can get back to the place where you once were. Everything feels ungraspable and transient.

I was handling some green bananas on my windowsill this morning, and was struck by  progression happening even when it can’t be seen or felt. Let me clarify. The bananas had been sitting on the windowsill for a few days, and I had bought them very green to begin with. Yet their color hadn’t changed- it was still the same off-putting green I had seen originally in the grocery store. I don’t know what was defective about the bananas’ coloring, if anything, but when I picked one up, it was soft. And when I peeled and ate a green banana this morning it was perfectly ripe and sweet on the inside.

I’ve been at a bit of a spiritual loss lately. There was a death in my family, and I recently went through a break up, and there’s been a lot of holiday rushing around. I’ve just felt confused and a bit off-center. I’ve meditated almost every day, but I still don’t feel back to center for whatever reason. I’ve tried to accept the uncertain and off-center feelings rushing through me, and let them run their course, and that is as always a difficult thing to do. I like to feel happy all the time, as you do, certainly. But I know that it’s normal for other feelings to come into play, and I try not to block them or push them down. Still…it’s hard not to ask questions like: ‘am I spiritually going backwards?’ ‘Am I losing all of the progress I’ve made?’ ‘Will I ever feel centered again?’ ‘Will I ever feel grounded again?’

I look at the perfectly ripe green banana in front of me and observe that progress occurs naturally underneath an exterior that can seem stuck in a rut. Sometimes you just have to trust that somewhere deep inside, things are working themselves out.

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How To Never Grow Old in Your 30’s (Or, This is Really About Eye Creams)

If you ever read our post at OMGIm30 “If You’re in Your 30s, You’re Not Old,” you’d know that we believe that the 30’s are an extremely youthful decade and nothing to get down about.

So if you’re worried about being old, we’ve got your back, and don’t want you to worry. That said, we might as well all take precautions about getting old LATER in life as we can. (Though, honestly, there is no LATER…I know 60 something and 80 something year olds who are still quite young. And when you meet people like that, you’ll know that it really is an attitude…a youthful glow.)

But if you’re worried now about the physical aspects of getting old as well as preventing aging skin, I want to bring up one expensive adult purchase that I’ve really gotten into in my 30’s: eye cream.

Eye creams can prevent and/or solve many issues associated with aging skin. These are: dark circles under the eyes (too much adulting? Or let’s be honest…partying?), puffiness (a really good cry? adulting again?), or eye wrinkles (darn smiling for more than 30 years).

And ya see, I’m a big smiler. I smile for work. I smile when I’m off of work. I smile way too much- because when I don’t I have Resting Bitch Face. So I think I’ve accidentally trained myself not to stop smiling. This constant smiling can cause lines around my eyes, which is something I’d like to prevent in my youthful 30s decade. So I’ve gotten into eye cream- something I’ve always put on my “Ridiculously Way Too Expensive” list in my 20’s, but now have put on my “It’s My Damn Face So It’s Worth It!” list in my 30s.

Also, eye creams aren’t always as expensive as you think. We found an amazing page on Reviews.com that has a list of eye creams with natural ingredients, from the very expensive to very affordable. Here’s the link to find the best eye cream for you. This list is great, as these eye creams have all been tested and compared and are highly recommended by multiple dermatologists and a ton of skincare research. I’m personally making my way through this list, though before I found it, the eye cream I’ve liked is Shiseido. Now I’m using Biossance from Sephora, which is amazing and really new. It hits the spot with my puffy eyes (I’m a stomach sleeper), plus smile-caused eye-crinkles.

I like how this list eliminates eye creams with questionable ingredients or packaging- I definitely lean towards putting more natural ingredients on my face. The reviews.com eye cream research really narrows the eye cream list and divides the creams according to their perks (dark circles, wrinkle prevention, or puffiness).

We’ll have more recommendations for anti-aging as we go— and it’s not all products. Attitude, quality sleep, stress reduction, eating well, and more all contribute to youth well into your 90s! So enjoy your 30s, try some eye creams if you like, and stop saying you’re old for goodness sake!

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You Have To Play to Win! (Not a Lottery Ad)

There have been a lot of moments lately where I’ve felt like giving up something that I was previously excited about. You may relate- this is fairly common:

Step 1: You think up a great idea for a project, or for some new undertaking- a lifestyle change, a new diet, a new job, a new attitude.

Step 2: You begin this challenge with gusto and verve, ready to go.

Step 3: Progress is fast and furious- you’ve really got something going. What a good idea you have! Go you!

Step 4: Progress halts. Movement is tough. Are you moving backwards?

Step 5: Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe you aren’t the one for the job.

Possibly distraction moves in. Another task takes the place of this new creation. Scrolling Instagram for hours seems like a great idea. Netflix calls loudly. Procrastination ensues, followed by giving up.

BUT: if you quit the game before you’ve played, can you win?

Last month I decided to create a bunch of Budget Planners. I began to sell these budget planners on Amazon, and none really sold. I immediately got discouraged, and stopped making planners entirely for a short while- leaving my project half completed.

Facebook feeds were scrolled. A lot of email got deleted. But then, in a sudden burst of clarity, it became apparent to me that I had to play to win. And I hadn’t really played- I had only started. Even if my books aren’t successful, the steps to playing are clear: continue even when a downward dip sets in. Making the creation that does well isn’t the end game. Putting more out there is the end game. Continuing is the end game. Growing is the end game. And that’s the trick that keeps me playing. If my books do well, great. If not, back in the game. Even if they do well- back in the game. The game continues on. There are many more projects/creations/jobs/mentalities/habits/endeavors/people to play with. And there are many more downward dips ahead- but that’s normal. There are also uphill catapults!

Don’t stop!

 

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The 2 Minute Swim (or How I Learned to Run)

Sometimes I like to brag that I’ve run a half marathon.

This is only half true. I haven’t run a “real one”- one that was timed and had a medal and a finish line and all of that exciting gold stuff, but I’ve run a half marathon on a treadmill. I took pictures of my mileage. As evidence. Okay, maybe that’s not even impressive at all. Whatever. But I did it.

So I can run. I run a lot, sometimes 4-5 times a week, with 30 minutes of running being my bare minimum for a workout with running.

I really like running, actually.

However, during my first running workout- excluding gym class in grade school- I didn’t even run for THREE MINUTES. I’d never run as a workout before because I didn’t really do any kind of workout before. I thought exercise was against the nature of my body. This really meant that I gave up on my running career before it started in order to pursue my fated path of couch potato extraordinaire. Alas, it was not to be.

The first time I whimsically decided to work out, I told myself I would only run for two minutes…and I barely made it! When I got to one minute and 30 seconds, I almost had to stop. But I kept going, and made it to two minutes, and then turned off the treadmill and walked away. For the next few days, I did the same thing: two minutes of running and then walking away. After that, I upped my challenge to three minutes for a week or so, and then to 5!

Suddenly, I was running for 5 minutes straight, and then 10! It probably took me a few months to get to 30 steady minutes of running, but everything came from that first 2 minute run! My success really boiled down to allowing myself to change only 2 minutes of my life.

When I jumped in a pool last month at an Orlando hotel, I tried to swim a bunch of laps, and quickly got exhausted after maybe a quarter of one. I haven’t really tried to swim in years. Actually, I’ve never really swam laps- maybe once. I don’t really know how to swim, for that matter.

And as I took a choking, water-tinged breath in the Olympic sized pool, a vision of my first 2 minute run from long ago popped into my head. I allowed myself some mercy. “Just 2 minutes of laps today!” was my mantra, as I swam a wholehearted 6 feet or so and then gasped for air. But I went back under and swam my 2 minutes- and then another 2, and then another. I don’t know if you’d really call my swimming “laps” or “skilled” for that matter. But there was movement.

And sometimes a little movement is all you need.

How To Never Get Bored In Your Thirties

I’m almost never bored. I feel like there’s always something new to do, and a multitude of things that I’ve been wanting to get to. Sometimes I think I might be bored for a second, but then I realize I’m just not thinking about all the activities and projects and entertainment I want to play around with. Boredom is likely a symptom of poor planning. If you set yourself up to catch boredom in it’s tracks, you can either use the extra time for easygoing, contemplative moments, or put the time towards something you’ve been wanting to do anyway.

Start a list and write down a bunch of things you’d really like to do but never seem to have time for. My list includes:

  • Watch YouTube Videos on new hairstyle/makeup ideas
  • Practice singing (the word practice can easily be replaced by the word ‘start’)
  • Get out that dusty paint set and finally paint!
  • Organize Retirement Account
  • Rush a Broadway show
  • Study Turbo Tax for self-employed individuals so you can fire accountant and do your taxes yourself (hopefully my accountant does not read this blog).
  • Relearn Italian
  • Journal (I have many prompts for this, though freestyle works too)
  • Cook a new recipe from my huge and glorious vegan cookbook
  • Watch tutorials on basic Photoshop techniques

There are many more items on this list. When I’m done with my original To Do list (I’m somewhat of a to do list-aholic) I can look at my long term list and there’s always something big and/or interesting I can be doing that doesn’t include browsing Facebook or Instagram for hours (which does happen and is almost never happy-making).

Here are some other suggestions for stopping listless boredom in its tracks, effortlessly:

  • Start a list of tv shows/movies you want to watch that are currently streaming. When you’re bored, begin!
  • Make a list of people you’ve been wanting to call more regularly and finally call them! You have time!
  • Make a list of books you want to read…and finally start reading them!
  • Start a list of pampering moments you can give to yourself (face masks, hair masks, bath time, anything goes!)

I use and am obsessed with Wunderlist for all my to do list needs… this blog isn’t specifically affiliated with them in any way although I wish it was.

Here’s to never being bored again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Unrequited Love Really Love?

Most of us have felt it. That horrible, gut-wrenching feeling, where we love someone who doesn’t love us back. Some of us have even been in full blown relationships where unrequited love has reared its head. What I’m wondering is: Is this ridiculously maddening kind of unrequited love actually love?

There’s a lot of debate on this subject (google it), but here’s my hunch: it depends. Whether your unrequited love is actually love depends on how well you  know the person you’re deeply in love with- not just how long you have known them for or how much you’ve heard about them, but how much you truly know about who they really are.

When unrequited love occurs in situations where you only know a person on the surface or haven’t known the person for very long, it’s usually not love, but lust or attraction.

A counter thought to this that is more of a paradox: if you feel deep love for someone who does not love you back but you feel joyful simply loving them without receiving their love in return, this is true unconditional love. In this case, the type of love where you feel pain from not having love in return is actually not love, but attachment. Therefore a type of love needing no love in return wouldn’t truly ever be unrequited love because it wouldn’t need to ever be requited. In fact, the object of your love wouldn’t even need to know that you love them for you to reap the benefits of this love. You could simply let the love blossom within yourself and enjoy all its benefits on your own.

 

 

October Fools Month

We turned 3! This blog is officially 3 years old as of October 2nd- my birthday. I turned 33 and the blog turned 3. Lots of 3s going on right now. Which I feel is appropriate for a blog about your 30’s.

In honor of our 3rd year, Jane and I had a discussion about the purpose of the blog and some new things we want to try and play with. So October is kind of going to be April Fools Day – or April Fools Month, really. We’re not going to prank you- necessarily- we’re just going to experiment with different and possibly weird styles and topics.

Some of the changes may be unnoticeable, and some may be out there. Some posts may have exactly the same topics and tones as before. We honestly don’t know exactly what will happen. But we’ve turned off the comments for now so that we can feel as free as possible to bring you our deepest and strangest thoughts and desires without censorship 😉

And this will likely extend throughout November and December as well, so it’ll be more like October Fools Month times 3! But we’re excited to play around and hopefully you’ll like it and will be inspired to try new things too!

For those of you who’ve been with us for all three years, thank you so much! And for those new to following OMGImThirty, we thank you so much for following us and hope you’re having fun!

 

Rebirth! How Beginning Something Can Feel Like Labor Pain

When I first start something uncomfortably new, I have major resistance to it. And not just slight, nervous resistance. Sometimes my body wages an all out down and dirty guns blazing battle to stay the way it was before.

This can manifest as anything from a mild depression to serious nausea or absolute panic. When these kinds of intense feelings arise, I’m easily sidetracked by the feelings and may not even realize they’re arising from the new activity or habit. I simply start dedicating all my mental space to “solving” the bad feeling(s),  instead of working on the new habit- which is precisely what my fear is trying to trick me into doing.

A bunch of alarm bells go off in my mind. When I finally trace the uncomfortable feelings to the new habit, I of course want to quit my new habit and go back to the old way I was doing things. Sometimes quitting a new thing is the right choice- the new habit may not be right for you, or it may not be the right time in your life for that challenge. Other times, staying the course just a little longer allows the feelings to pass and enables you to grow more than you ever thought possible. The hardest trick of all is to know when to continue and when to quit.

When I first started tracking every dollar I spent, using the app Goodbudget (Which I talk about in detail here, I felt vaguely nauseous every day. I felt this unreasonable, irrational panic for what I thought was no reason. I couldn’t figure it out. I’m not the type of person to get panicked or anxious for no reason, so I tried to track down the source of these feelings, and would you believe it took me more than a week to figure out it was my little money app??

So I’m walking around with these unreasonable feelings of depression and nausea and I can’t figure out where they’re coming from until one day I realize they’re stemming from fear and guilt as I write down where I’m spending my money! Once I realized that the panic was coming from my new money habit, I was able to actually relax a bit, the feelings slowly subsided, and now I have zero panic about using Goodbudget to track my spending. Instead, tracking my spending makes me feel empowered, and I’ve been tracking money for over a year now.

There’s a huge range of new habits that can trigger what I called “Labor pains” in the title -since you’re birthing what’s essentially a new version of you into the world. I’ve never been in labor personally so for the sake of experience, I’m going to call these pains growing pains from here on out. Some likely candidates for growing pains (and what have triggered them for me) include a change in exercise habits, dietary habits, spending habits, a relationship or a relationship status, a job or within a job. Also, tracking or attempting to become aware of any personal habits can possibly trigger new growing pains- so journaling or meditating or getting a Fitbit or going to therapy or seeing a new doctor or opening up to someone for the first time may cause strange new feelings to arise- and these feelings can occasionally be confusing or painful or uncomfortable.

It’s up to you to decide whether you want or need to push through these feelings and find out if there’s growth on the other side. It’s a hard call and I respect you immensely whether you take on the challenge or make the conscious decision that it’s not the right new step for you right now.  These kinds of growth challenges in our thirties aren’t at all simple.

I guess that’s why they call this adulthood, kids.

 

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Panic In Your Thirties!

Have you heard of that band, “Panic at the Disco”? Well, I keep thinking of their name lately and how I feel panic in my thirties! 

I remember reading an article on Jezebel about how the thirties are your ‘do-or-die decade’ and that idea has always stuck with me. The gist of the article is that the thirties are your time of life when the stakes are so much higher – that what you do in your thirties will set the stage for how the rest of your life might look.

But no pressure, people.

Ha. A lot of pressure actually. For me though, the pressure for me has morphed into panic. I’m 35, and I feel like I’ve made no serious inroads in my career and I have no kids – two things in my life I really want.  Obviously, it comes and goes and isn’t a permanent state of being.

However, there is a big problem with panic. See definition below.

Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.

“Wildly unthinking behavior.” Yes. Been there, done that. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.

So what’s the answer? Well, I can’t say I’ve figured it out yet. But I did read something in my weekly horoscope by Chani Nicholas (best horoscopes ever, btw), and it resonated perfectly for the subject of this post. So here ya go:

“Pause instead of panicking.”

Love it. Slowing down always helps me.

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