Being a Better Kid In Your Thirties Than When You Were a Kid

Most people long for the days of their childhood- those carefree days when life was simple and lovely- but I actually hated being a kid.

I hated not having control over my life, I hated having to get up early, I hated homework, I hated the other kids who made fun of me and laughed at me, I hated feeling ugly, I hated feeling confused, I hated feeling like the oddball, I hated feeling stupid. I really hated school. I even hated elementary school. I even hated kindergarten. I think I was okay in nursery school, but after that school was an uphill battle. Well, maybe high school was a little better, but grade school was the absolute worst.

And now life is just so much better and I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been barring some occasional PTSD I still get from those old days.

Things started getting better in high school and wayyyyy better in college. And life has steadily gotten even better. Most of the issues I had as a kid are gone- no more homework, no more school, no more being bullied, no more mean musical theater program people, more understanding of the world around me, more control over my life, more peace, more downtime, more freedom, more loving thoughts about myself. And I would never wish being a kid on anyone ever. Except for the people who miss being a kid.

Because childhood is supposed to be great. Some people apparently were a lot happier being a kid than me. However, I think I’m charmed with a backwards life: my childhood happiness is now. Instead of being a happy child for 15-18 years and then being a less happy adult, I got a less happy childhood for 15-18 years and then a staggeringly happier, blissful-by-comparison adulthood. And I can say for certain that I like it much better this way.

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Was just at Harry Potter world at Universal Studios during an awesome family vacation a little over a week ago

Because I can appreciate wholeheartedly every moment I have as an adult. Every bit of free time I have now, I love that much more. Every kindness someone does for me touches me to the root of my soul because I know the depths of pain I felt from people in my past. Every moment I can choose my own work to do is staggering to me because I appreciate the beautiful freedom I have. Everything I learn now is so much more valuable because I’ve chosen to learn it. Every lovely truth seems clearer when compared to the gray confusion of my childhood.

I also feel like I’m a better child now than I ever was when I was a child. Small things delight me. I’m so appreciative of time I get to spend with my family. I love and enjoy fun desserts more. I’m in shock at how much fun I have at Disney World and Universal Studios….as an adult. I love my car trips with my family. Because as an adult, I really appreciate time I get to spend with my family.

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My brother possibly about to be attacked at Universal Studios two weeks ago

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My mom and I at the Harry Potter midnight book release last weekend..we’ve made wands

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The Lorax, who is awesome

The appreciation I have for not being an actual child anymore leaves me free to embrace my inner child as an adult. I don’t feel jaded or cynical much because I appreciate each new moment. I don’t want to fight with people I love because I’m so grateful to have them in my life. I think a lot of these traits stem from me not being as happy as a child. I’m looking to feel good now. I’m looking to play. I’m looking for ease. I want to feel the happiness of childhood as an adult and I believe that those feelings can be there when you look for them.

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I don’t know what I was looking for here exactly. 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Part of Being in Your 30s

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I’m 34 now, and I feel that in the last four years, I’m more myself than ever before. I remember when I used to feel like I had to be someone else – especially on dates. Now, I realize what a time waster it is to be anyone other than who you are. Eventually, “you’re” going to surface.

The phrase “self-possession” comes to mind. It seems a perfect way to describe what you emotionally acquire in your thirties. The Merriam-Webster definition is:

a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment. confidence stresses faith in oneself and one’s powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance, self-possession implies an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one’s powers

I love that self-possession “implies an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one’s powers.” Maybe that’s what getting older is about – learning how to harness your personal gifts. I only regret that I didn’t get here sooner. What if I had the self-possession that I have now in my 20s?

Yakudoshi – Or, Is Your 33rd Year Unlucky?

I’m in my 33rd year of life, and I can say it’s been one of the rougher years I’ve had in awhile. There’s been a lot of upheaval and transition in my personal life. The bright side is that I feel better equipped to handle these changes now that I’m in my 30s; nothing seems quite as dramatic as it did in my 20s. I’ve accepted that we all have u-turns in life, and I’m sure I’ll have more of them in the future. Strangely, they probably won’t be any less shocking when they happen.

So. Let me get to the point. I learned something fascinating this weekend. Apparently, in Japan, the 33rd year of a woman’s life is considered to be one of the most unlucky. This comes from something called Yakudoshi, which is a set of believed “unlucky” years (in a person’s life). For women, the unlucky years are 19, 33, and 37, with 33 being the most unlucky. For men, the numbers are 25, 42, and 61.

Yes, it is a superstition of sorts – based on no real hard facts. Wikipedia suggests that perhaps: “For women, rearing children and living a life of housework could cause unseen accidents and illness which again is proposed evidence for this theory.” Clearly, this stems from dated information. But still. I read that if you pronounce the number 3 (san) and 3 (san), it sounds like the Japanese word for misery (sanzan). With my own tumultuous year happening as I type this, I can’t help but wonder…Is there some nugget of truth here?

Perhaps. But, fear not if you’re still under 33! Aside from cleansing rituals and visiting a Buddhist shrine in advance of your 33rd year for blessings, the key seems to be to move slowly, don’t make any rash life decisions, and also…be grateful. As this article on Wow! Japan suggests, “Stop resisting your destiny. Leave your fate in the hands of deities. Just enjoy your troubles.”

And if there are indeed troubles, from the research I’ve done, it appears there’s a beautiful yin/yang quality to the idea of Yakudoshi. Yes, there are ‘unlucky’ years but they are balanced by great years of your life. And isn’t that the case in life, generally? There is no light without darkness. Happiness can’t exist without it’s counterweight of sadness, otherwise, what would it be but our natural status quo?

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Is Having a “Respectable” Job In Your Thirties Worth Your Happiness?

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is having a ‘respectable’ job in your thirties.

In my twenties, I’ll admit, I hustled for money a lot…I was concentrating on my “real passion” – theater – so I was working a lot of random event jobs in between the Tradeshows I normally worked..also for extra money to support my theater career. I had jobs where I worked outside in the snow and handed out orange juice. I had jobs catering parties where people wouldn’t look at or talk to me. I had jobs at bars where too many people looked at and talked to me. I had jobs dressed as a dinosaur from a video game. There were many crazy moments. And, I’ll admit, there are still crazy moments now.

But there’s something about being in your thirties where the old job hustling doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. It feels very  important to have a “respectable” job. Job titles are cool in your thirties the way everything ‘grown up’ is sort of cool. Somewhere along the line of being in your thirties, you’re supposed to have ‘made it’ careerwise, right?

Well, I definitely don’t miss a lot of the random crazy gigs I had in my twenties, especially the ones that didn’t pay well. And I definitely am way more conscious of how I’m treated by the people I work with- I tolerate a lot less disrespect than I used to. But as for having a particularly ‘respectable’ and grown up job title…well, I don’t know exactly what that means to me. Especially since I’ve always been self-employed and have kind of cobbled my skills together.

I know some people who:

  1. Have an amazing, respectable job title and are pretty happy but make way less money than you’d think.
  2. Who have an amazing, respectable job title and make lots of money, but are way more UNhappy than you’d think.
  3. And of course, there are the people in respectable jobs who make tons of money and are super happy. I guess that = the dream. Damn those guys.

But maybe the thirties career dream actually doesn’t need the respectable title. Maybe all you need is to make good money (or at least enough money) and be really happy. Perhaps in your thirties, you don’t necessarily need that respectable title after all- just make enough money and be happy enough doing it. Then go do other things that make you happy.

So I’m sort of stopping my search for the respectable job title and am focusing the search on jobs that meet my financial needs and make me happy enough. Then I’m off doing other happy-making things.

If you can make good money hustling and are happy doing it, then by all means, hustle.  If you’re happy being a theater actor, and are okay money-wise, then be a theater actor. For goodness sake, if you’re happy and make enough money being a clown at a birthday party, then by all means, keep doing that! Screw the titles and screw explaining yourself! Figure out your own life, make yourself happy, and then of course, keep afloat. Make your own title! As long as you have the money to keep yourself smiling, then go for it. Because aren’t the thirties all about giving zero fucks anyway?

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How Much Have You Forgotten By Your Thirties?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Impossible Magic You Can Do When Single In Your Thirties

There have been many times when I’ve heard a thirty-something friend of mine say “I’m getting old for that” or “I used to be able to ______, but now I can’t because my body doesn’t work the same way as it used to when I was younger.”

I’ve been guilty of saying both of those lines myself.

However, a lot of the time I realize that the things that I used to do when I was younger but now feel like are harder to do in my thirties are things that I never really liked to do in the first place.

Here are three examples:

-Going clubbing (I always disliked it, but now happily have the ‘I’m too old for this’ excuse)

-Starving myself thin (This sucked! It just felt like a necessity in my teens and twenties. Now I’m just like ‘I’m beyond this bullshit. I eat for strength, health and enjoyment.’)

-Drinking until I was sick (Umm, who wants to be sick? The proper phrasing for avoiding this now is: “I know my limits, thank you.”)

However, something I used to do when I was younger that I’d stopped doing for awhile but always liked was staying up late and getting a crazy amount done at once. You see, I’m a night owl by nature, hence I work best at night. Since the world isn’t built for night owls, I feel like what I’m supposed to do is get up at 5:30am (crack of dawn) and hammer out work. Start with the gym, maybe marathon training, and then work steadily until evening, when I should settle down with some TV and food and a reasonable 10:30 bedtime. But this is exhausting to me. What I like better is staying up late, sleeping in, dawdling for quite awhile, then getting into a routine of an afternoon gym session and working hardcore into the night.

And I recently realized that the reason I haven’t done this in awhile wasn’t because I was getting older but because I wasn’t single.

I matched my schedule to the person I was dating. I felt guilty and weird working into the night. I’d get up early and would never get as much done because I never really got into my peak work stride.

And now that I’ve been single for a little while, I’m starting to get back into the habit of making my own schedule and getting crazy amounts done at night, on my own.

So let’s add another awesome perk to being single in your thirties, or any older years: go back to doing the things you liked to do when you were younger but may have put aside for someone else. Now’s your time! You are still very young! Enjoy it!

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Tonight I went to the 24 hour Duane Reade at 1am because I needed something. And you know what? I’d rather go at 1am then at 7am because that’s the way I like to live life!

Have You Gotten More Responsible From Age Twenty to Age Thirty?

Governor’s Ball was this past weekend in NYC. It’s a 3 day music festival held on Randall’s Island with lots of amazing and very famous musicians. I was away and didn’t get to go to the concert, but I read the funniest article in The New Yorker about it. A reporter compared his responses to the festival as a twenty year old with responses to the festival as a thirty year old.

Here are a few of my favorite comparisons he mentioned:

“As I’m walking through the festival entrance, a man casually vomits before continuing on, unfazed.

Twenty-year-old me thinks, “Dope. That guy knows how to get faded like a champ!”

Thirty-year-old me thinks, “I’m concerned for the boy’s health and the general sanitation of this festival. Where are the comment cards located?!”

For the second time in Gov Ball history, rain converts the fields to swampy mud pits.

Twenty-year-old me thinks, “Whoa—even the dirt here likes to party!”

Thirty-year-old me thinks, “I want to go home.”

Perhaps in a nod to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” a teen in front of me takes shots of vodka out of an emptied out S.P.F. 50 sunblock container that she used to sneak in booze.

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Twenty-year-old me thinks, “Hello, future wife!”

Thirty-year-old me thinks, “I should inform the evening news about this disturbing trend.””

In my twenties, I think I might’ve been just as upset as I would be now about someone casually vomiting in front of me. I mean, eww! It would always be ewwww!

If it rained and got muddy and disgusting outside, I wouldn’t have ever been into it at any age, twenty or otherwise. I mean, I’m not into muddy rain. Ever. Ew.

If someone took shots out of an empty spf bottle, I would’ve thought it was brilliant then, and I would actually still think it’s brilliant now. Though now I’d probably worry that if I drank some I’d be drinking leftover SPF chemicals. Ok, umm, ewwww. I mean, I’d still drink it…

Maybe I was a boring, responsible twenty year old, or maybe I haven’t changed much, but the way I would’ve felt about the above circumstances in my twenties are basically the same way I’d feel now. Maybe I just need to loosen up, drink some alcoholic SPF, and play around in some mud. Maybe, in my thirties, I need to play catch up on the enjoyable irresponsible behavior I missed out on in my twenties.  Or maybe not.

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Help! I’m 30 and Never Followed My Childhood Dream! – Part 2

Jane just wrote How Did You Find Your Career Path? and, in the article, she mentioned a lot of people that didn’t find their career, but instead had their career “find them.” There was the writing major friend of hers who ended up working in perfume, and the film school friend who went into advertising… And then she mentioned how people’s careers usually switch approximately 7 times in their life!

I have a friend who was a drama major who got a major role in a film that turned him off from acting. He went into teaching, loves it, and never looked back. My brother, another actor, was always big into video games and tech. He got a job during college in a video game store. He’s now a brilliant manager at that store and loves his job.

I’m finding lately that sometimes what you think you want to do isn’t actually what you want to do at all. It’s almost hard to admit here because it feels like giving up something…a part of who you are. In a post I wrote awhile ago, Help! I’m 30 and Never Followed My Childhood Dream, I remembered an episode of How I Met Your Mother. In that episode, the gang all realized that there were dream career paths from their childhood that they never followed but always held secret hopes that they one day would. Lily wanted to be a painter and someone wanted to be a rockstar…I can’t remember who. At the end of the episode they realize that they want to let those dreams go because they enjoy the paths they’re currently on even more.

It’s a hard lesson, and not always the case. Childhood career dreams sometimes become reality. Or they sometimes influence what you end up doing (all that drama school helps me see tradeshows as a kind of theater that I need to organize, occasionally direct, and always play my part in, haha). Also, childhood career dreams come in and out, sometimes reemerging as a fresh passion (Janna talks about going after her dancing and acting dreams again after stopping for awhile in Portrait of a Thirtysometing- Janna Davis.)

More than ever, I think that nowadays your career is something to create and evolve with…it isn’t a straight line but- to be corny- kind of a large garden, with seasons and fresh starts and different climates. Sometimes there’s sun and sometimes there’s snow. The soil remains the same (you), but can feel dried up or moistened (those times you realized your career path wasn’t working for you vs those moments of inspiration).

I’ve even heard before from friends that the best moments of their lives were after they got fired from their jobs. They were absolutely forced to start fresh in new jobs and situations they never would have turned to before.

That’s a scary situation and I would never wish for it. I love my job and my unforeseen career path, even though it was never my childhood dream. But I feel more and more that career paths can widen and change and twist into something far different, and maybe a lot better, than your childhood self ever could have dreamed up.

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Portrait of a Thirty-Something: Janna Davis

We’re extremely excited to share our fourth featured Portrait of A Thirtysomething with you: Here’s the fantastic Janna Davis!

Janna’s a Corporate Presenter like me, and I get to work with her all the time! I’m so lucky! 🙂 Jane and I have been looking forward to sharing Janna’s interview with you for awhile, as Janna’s extremely open and very articulate regarding the challenges of both the 20s and 30s. My favorite part is Janna’s musings about still not exactly knowing what she wants to be when she grows up.

If you’d like to be a part of Portrait of a Thirtysomething, please let us know! Just shoot us an email at omgimthirty@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Without further ado, here’s Janna!

Name/Age/Location:  Janna Davis/33/Astoria, NY

Occupation: Dancer/Actor/Model/Corporate Presenter
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Janna Davis- photo courtesy of Abigail Classey at Tea for Two Photography 

What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of in your 30s so far?  

 At 30, I had recently moved to Los Angeles, where I had wanted to live since I was a child, and was finally getting settled in my career, finances, social life, faith and living situation.  A friend set me up with my now-husband, who happened to live in NY, a place that scared me and that I despised from everything I knew of it.  After a month of saying no, I finally allowed myself to step out of my comfort zone and entertain the idea of a long-distance relationship, something I said I’d never do.  A year of back and forth travel and an engagement later, I moved to NYC- something I said I’d never do- to be with a boy, also something I said I’d never do.  Two years of marriage, a roller coaster ride of a move across the country and countless hours of hard work to re-establish all of the things I would have sworn I would never walk away from to have to start from the ground up was a doozie to say the least.  Yet, here I am and all of that hard work is what I’m most proud of.  Of course, what I am most proud of was something that was initially largely out of my control.  However, I’m proud that I wasn’t so stubborn to close the door on a relationship that has been -and God-willing will continue to be- so fruitful because I felt like I had to hold onto my present situation.  In my 20’s, I don’t think I would have had the courage and faith to trust that everything would have worked out better than I could have even hoped for.
 
What do you NOT miss about your 20s? 
 
I do not miss having low self-esteem.  I struggled with body issues since I was a teenager and they were the worst when I was in my 20s and living as an adult for the first time.  While I was not fat, I was overweight to be a dancer (the career that I had trained for as a child and teenager) and I truly felt disgusting and unworthy of love.  While the eating disorders that get the most PR are anorexia and bulimia, the oft-neglected cousin is overeating, or bingeing and purging, just without throwing up.  Indeed low self-esteem can take on many forms.  Mine took the form of trying to be anorexic, “failing” when I got hungry, bingeing on a days worth of food, sometimes stolen from a roommate, and then starving myself until I got hungry again.  Luckily, with maturity, some education and prayer, I no longer suffer from low self-esteem and am happy to say that I have a healthy relationship with food.  (Although sometimes I like pizza a little too much for my own good.)
Looking back, what shouldn’t you haven’t been afraid of in your 20s? 
 

I shouldn’t have been afraid of being too old to do certain things.  I trained to be a professional dancer since I was young, and at 18 I auditioned for several ballet companies.  I did not immediately get accepted by any of the companies I auditioned for.  However, I took that to mean that I wasn’t good enough and that I wouldn’t ever be good enough.  I felt like dancers were retiring at 22 and by 18 you should have already “made it.”  This thought of being too old and not good enough carried into many aspects of my life. I would quit things before giving them much of a chance or before even starting because I thought I was too old.  Looking back, it’s actually pretty ridiculous.

Any surprises about what your 30s are like? 
 
I didn’t think that I would still struggle with a question I’ve been asked since I was a child: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  I only thought about being a dancer when I was a child and later realized that I would have to go to college and pick a major.  I still had no idea what I wanted to do as a career.  After college I started to pursue acting but still always felt that maybe there was something else that I should be doing as a career.  In my 30’s I’m dancing again, pursuing acting, working in the trade show industry and running the trade show networking group United Trade Show Talent.  At one point I thought that maybe I should abandon anything performance related and I got my cosmetology license and worked in the beauty industry.  Sometimes I still wonder what I truly want to do, or maybe I’ve found it and just haven’t realized it.  It’s certainly not a question I thought I would be asked and still asking myself at 33.
 
What do you find most challenging about this decade? 
 
It’s so trite to say, but I find it extremely hard to have balance.  As a 30-something, you’re supposed to have it all.  An established career, a house (or a nice apt if you’re in NYC like me), a significant other, time for new friends and old, time for family, and perhaps a family of your own.  I feel like I have less time than I’ve ever had and whenever I devote a good amount of time to one category, the others suffer, or I don’t have time to clean my own underwear.  I still fall asleep most nights on the couch and have to be woken up by my husband to take out my contacts, floss, and put in my mouthguard.  Life is hard (yet wonderful) and I only have my own life to take care of.
 
What are you most looking forward to? Be it tonight, next month or ten years from now.  
 
Once a week, I take a day off to celebrate “Shabbat” or the Sabbath-day of rest and get together with other like-minded individuals to thank God, sing His praises, and then later take a nap after eating Chinese food and watching The Breakfast Club.  I don’t think the second part of that is in the Bible, but it should be because it’s awesome.  I work hard during the week, so it’s necessary to be able to take a day off from all things work and realize that life still goes on.
 
What would you like to hear more about regarding the thirties. What articles would you like to read? 
 
I love learning about finance.  I feel like so many people in their 30’s already have a good grasp on finance-related issues and I’d love to start feeling like I’m confident to be able to start making wise investment choices.  Also, let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger and neither are our parents.  I’d love to be able to hear how people make time to spend with their families.  Finally, as people are choosing to have children later, I’d love to hear more about what makes 30 year olds decide to have children and their experiences after children.  

Read more about Janna below:

Janna Davis is originally from Virginia Beach, VA. After staging several full length ballets for her Barbies, it was decided that indeed, she wanted to dance.  She trained at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Academie de Ballet and at many summer programs including The Juilliard School.  She attended James Madison University and graduated double major in Theatre and Communication Sciences and Disorders.  She still had no idea what she wanted to do with her life.  So she waited tables all over the country, an experience that she does not regret as she will never take for granted the joys of eating out.  Once she embraced that she wanted to be a performer, she began dancing with ACFCLA and Keshet Chaim Dance in Los Angeles. She also danced and acted commercially and in film and television.  She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and continually training at The Sag Conservatory.  Outside of performing, she is a loving wife, a licensed cosmetologist, and has a side career as a trade show model in which she founded the networking group United Trade Show Talent.  She currently dances with Pink Pig Ballet and sings at her synagogue, Beth El of Manhattan.  She aims to share her experiences as a performer with others through writing and vlogging to use her powers for good.

More to come!  In the meantime, feel free to follow her adventures on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JannaIsGreen or Instagram: https://instagram.com/jannaisgreen/ or Facebook: www.facebook.com/Jannaisgreen

A Thirty-Something Year Old Virgin

Sex is something some people like to talk about and some people don’t.

I always thought the people who didn’t talk about it were just private people, or very conservative, or  just not into TMI, or found talking about sex to be crude. But a few people aren’t talking because they’re virgins.

Actually, 4% of the US population are virgins (according to the Center For Disease Control’s Health Statistics Report.) It makes sense that some of those 4% of virgins are in their 30’s.

I remember directing a production of Savage In Limbo in college and thinking that it’s crazy and impossible to be a 32 year old virgin. I was 19 at the time and didn’t really understand the play the way I do now. All of the 5 characters in the play are 32, lost, and frequenting the same tired bar that they went to in high school together. Not much has changed in their lives.

The 32 year old main character, Denise Savage, has never had sex. When asked what it’s like to still be a virgin, Denise says:

“In the beginning, it was just bad luck.  I’m not like you, and I got a big mouth, and well, it’s easy not to lose it at first.  You’re scared, they’re scared, somebody says: Boo, and everybody runs away.  At least that’s the way it was for me.  To start with.  But then it became a thing.  Most everybody I knew lost it, you know, over a certain period a time, and there I was, still in the wrapper.  It woulda been easy to lose it then.  But it became a thing, you know?  I felt different.  I felt like I was holdin out for somethin, sayin no, no, I’m not takin that life just cause it was the first one I was offered. So here I am.  I’m thirty-two.  And I’m still sayin no, no.  And I still only got offered the one life, and I still don’t want that one.”

Savage In Limbo is about 32 year olds who’ve stagnated and aren’t moving along with their lives. They all worry about the accidental limbo they’re stuck in, the ever-present and problematic “sameness.” But for some 30-something year old virgins, virginity isn’t accidental and it definitely isn’t problematic.

In an article I read recently, It Makes For Awkward Conversation: What It’s Like To Be A 30-Year-Old Virgin, one woman talks happily and openly about her decision to maintain abstinence. She even wrote a book about it! She says,

“I decided to write my book on my abstinence experience when people were continually shocked that I was a virgin. People’s first response after being informed that I’m a virgin is usually, ‘No you’re not,’ justifying their claim by pointing out the way I dress or my outgoing attitude. Then there are people who are confused and ask, ‘But why? You’re pretty’ as if every virgin is a virgin because no one desires them. I began to realize that my look and attitude did not fit the idea of a virgin that many had. So, I decided to share my journey and give a new face, dress and attitude to the virgin. As readers are invited on my journey of abstinence they will realize that I have had plenty of guys who were willing to introduce me to the pleasures of sex and that I have even had to suppress my own urges when my body’s desires were not aligned with my decision. I want to make it clear that there are women and men who are adult virgins not because we are not desired by the opposite sex, but for reasons that all drive the choice that we have made.”

In the comments section of the article, many virgins, men and women, anonymously write about how they’ve been afraid to share their stories, and don’t like when conversations turn to sex, because they have nothing to add, or are ashamed to talk about it, even when it’s a personal choice.

I believe that no one should be made to feel ashamed for their choice to stay abstinent- it just may not be well- understood. I didn’t know that so many 30-somethings are virgins, by choice or otherwise, but I’ve actually had more than one 30-something friend open up to me about it! If you are a 30-something virgin, don’t be ashamed or feel the need to hide! You don’t need any more pressure added to the already long list of pressures in your thirties. The aforementioned article says it best:

“The Dirty Thirty. It’s an age where your concept of what being old is has changed because you are now at the age you once thought was on the precipice of old. You are finally making strides in your career while your student loan payments are devouring your income. You are getting a grasp on your life goals and have set a plan in motion to achieve them. The idea of becoming a responsible adult begins to set in, and the pressure of settling down becomes a reality. With all of the adulthood responsibilities your thirties bring, a few women have added “maintaining abstinence” to their list.”

I couldn't find any of my  photos from my college production of Savage In Limbo (sadness), but I did find quite the provocative photo from a University of Alberta production in 2010.

I couldn’t find any photos from my college production of Savage In Limbo (sadness- they’re on my old hard drive), but I did find quite the  intensely provocative postcard image from a University of Alberta production in 2010.

The Best Foods For Your Thirties

What foods do you love now but hated before? I made a list of foods that I’m now obsessed with including:

1. Mushrooms

I used to HATE mushrooms- it’s a texture thing. Now I really love them. This is partially because of my forays into cooking- mushrooms add a ton of flavor to everything.  I still can’t do a huge portobello in a burger, though. Gross.

2. Hot Sauce

I used to really dislike hot sauce and couldn’t figure out why people were into it. Now it’s everything. It’s especially good on mac and cheese that’s too bland…like most vegan mac and cheeses.

3. Jalapenos

Like hot sauce, these were avoided like the plague. Now, I like to infuse my sauces, and even my drinks, with jalepenos.

4. Lemons

Was never a big citrus fan. But now with the whole lemon water craze, I’ve been trying lemons as a condiment…making salad dressings out of them and even squeezing them in my water glass way more often.

5. Wasabi

I must just have a higher tolerance for spicy foods nowadays, but suddenly no sushi meal is complete without this previously hated side paste.

6. Whisky

Okay, not a food, but I now seriously love me some Old Fashioneds…and I’m the girl who used to spit them out.

7. Beer

Another non-food, but I never liked beer, and for quite awhile I thought I was allergic to it. Now I’m all about it- especially craft beer and beyond …I’ll always love my usual belgian favorites but I’ve moved on to beefier porters and stouts…plus strawberry beer!

So those are the foods (and drinks) that my tastebuds have added to their happiness repertoire in my thirties.

I googled “best foods for your thirties,” and found a bunch of articles with foods that are reccomended for this time in our lives. You can check on some of them them here and here and here. Below is a summary list of the foods that repeated the most, the ones I think are best, and why they are important:

  1. Water– Essential nutrient. If you add nothing else to your diet, add more water. It’s everything, no matter what your age.
  2. Bananas– Good source of potassium. Helps with high blood pressure/ hypertension. (I love these. They’re almost an everyday occurrence for me.)
  3. Beans– Rich in antioxidants, protein, and fiber. Good for your skin. (I’ve already been adding these to everything I can for years- they’re a great vegetarian source of protein. )
  4. Nuts– Loaded with Vitamin E and B which both boost the immune system. Walnuts are known to soothe stress. Nuts are also good for your skin. And, because of their arginine content, they’re known to boost sex drive as well! Just don’t overdo it now that you know their benefits- a handful a day is plenty 🙂
  5. Fish– Full of essential fatty acids. Good source of vitamin A and reduces cartilage swelling and inflammation. For vegetarians like myself, try ground flaxseed instead.
  6. Avocados (a superfood, and quite delicious- loaded with folate for fertility, good fat for your skin, and lots of vitamins B and E). Guacamole, anyone?? 😀
  7. Oatmeal (One of my favorite diet staples- an amazing source of iron, full of fiber, plus magnesium to tame muscle stress)
  8. Leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers– full of vitamin c, protein, vitamin e, and antioxidants. Spinach, ounce for ounce, has more protein than steak!
  9. Berries: Great sources of vitamin C and antioxidants, plus they’re just plain delicious. Blueberries are the ultimate superfood.

So enjoy the foods that are great for your health, and the foods and drinks that taste even better as you get older. Stay healthy and enjoy your thirties to their fullest…even if that means adding hot sauce to everything and going for the absolute tastiest top shelf whisky! 😉

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Rereading Your Twenties

Today, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how he reread the work of a writer he used to think was brilliant. However, while rereading her work this time, he realized that she was actually quite insane and likely a sociopath in need of heavy medication.

He was rereading the complete works of Sarah Kane– a playwright that me and all my drama major friends had been completely obsessed with in college and afterwards. We worked on novel ways to stage her plays and bring her genius to life.

Her writing is littered with violent, heart-stopping moments such as the gouging out of eyeballs, urinating on beds, rape, and dead baby eating. My friends and I all loved her and thought she was misunderstood and amazing. She had committed suicide at the age of 28.

When I saw the Facebook post about rereading Kane’s work, I realized that there are a ton of things I used to love that feel different to me now. It’s almost like I have to go back and rewatch my favorite movies (which used to include Moulin Rouge but I’m pretty sure that needs updating) and reread my favorite novels (which used to include A Prayer For Owen Meany, but I haven’t read that in years).

When I used to love Sarah Kane plays in college, I was surrounded by people who wanted to ‘push the limits of theater’ and do ‘groundbreaking work’ which seemed to mandate plays that were shocking and possibly offensive. Nowadays I have different standards for groundbreaking work. And from my twenties to my thirties, I also have different standards for my relationships, friends, and work environments. A lot has changed.

Have you checked on what you’re still holding onto from your twenties that might not represent who you are anymore?

sarah kane

Portrait of a Thirtysomething- Kari Bentley-Quinn

We’re so happy to have Kari Bentley-Quinn as our next featured guest in our new Portrait of a Thirtysomething series! Portrait of a Thirtysomething asks our invited guests (in their 30s) questions about their lives and what this decade means to them.

Kari Bentley Quinn is an absolutely amazing playwright and we co-founded the theater company, Mission to (dit)Mars together along with two other wonderful cofounders. Kari and I met a few years ago through another theater group, Packawallop Productions, and have been friends ever since! Jane and I are thrilled to have her here!

Enjoy her beautiful interview below, and be sure to check out her website and say hi!  http://www.karibentleyquinn.com/

Kari Bentley Quinn

“The challenge is “how do I live as happy and fulfilled a life as possible?” At the end of the day, the person I most have to answer to is myself. I can’t live for anyone else – my husband, my family, my friends – I have to be a whole person. And I think that’s hard sometimes, but it becomes more necessary.”

Name/Age/Location:
 
Kari Bentley-Quinn/ 33/ Astoria/Woodside border, in the amazing borough of Queens (Woodstoria?)
 
Occupation: 
Playwright/Executive Assistant (proud hybrid for ten years strong!)
 
What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of in your 30s so far? 
It has to be the fact that I went back to grad school after nearly ten years out of undergrad. I am getting my MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College, and I graduate in May, which I can hardly believe. It was an absolutely terrifying thing to do, but I did it! Well, almost. Still have a few things left to do. But I am 90% of the way there. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done – mentally, physically, emotionally, creatively. I did it while working a full time job. I don’t know if I would have been able to do this in my 20s when I was less sure of myself. I also got an agent last year, so that was really nice. And I’ve had two productions!
What do you NOT miss about your 20s? 
I think just the crushing uncertainty and working so hard to have people take you seriously. The 20s are the time you’re supposed to be making a lot of mistakes, but is also the time when you become a full blown adult. Trying to reconcile the fact that you’re still young and inexperienced with making good enough decisions that your future won’t be a wreck is tough. There were a lot of wonderful things about my 20s. But there were a lot of scary and bad things, too. I would say that my early 20s were actually quite awful. My mid to late 20s, less so.
 
Looking back, what shouldn’t you haven’t been afraid of in your 20s? 
Being a failure. Not making everyone happy. Money stuff. What people thought of me. Being fat. Not working hard enough. Getting older in general. What my future was going to be like. I spent a lot of my 20s freaking out about stuff that 1. was impossible to know the end result of and 2. didn’t matter one bit. I am a huge Type A perfectionist and I think it held me back more than it moved me forward!
Any surprises about what your 30s are like? 
Yes – which is that I kind of love being in my 30s! I feel much more confident and assured in professional situations. I think I’m a way better writer and just more capable in basically every aspect of my life. I have a strong marriage and absolutely amazing friends. I also like that its totally okay to stay home on Friday night when you’re in your thirties. I have learned to value my downtime, to fiercely protect it, and to say no. Learning to say no has been super important.
 
What do you find most challenging about this decade? 
While in some ways I am much better than my 20s, I find that I have less stamina and way less bullshit tolerance. I also found a WHITE hair on my head (thanks grad school!), and while I don’t like to think of myself as a vain person, seeing the fine lines start to appear is a little humbling. I also think its tough for women to age. Youth and attractiveness are so overemphasized for young women, and as much as we all like to think we’re above it, the messaging we have received is really damaging. I really hope that we stop that in future generations.
I also am just more aware of my mortality in general. I don’t know if that’s bad – but the challenge is “how do I live as happy and fulfilled a life as possible?” At the end of the day, the person I most have to answer to is myself. I can’t live for anyone else – my husband, my family, my friends – I have to be a whole person. And I think that’s hard sometimes, but it becomes more necessary.
 
What are you most looking forward to? Be it tonight, next month or ten years from now.
 
More travel, more love, more laughter, more time off, less giving of fucks about dumb stuff. I think I’ve made good choices. At least I hope I have!
 
What would you like to hear more about regarding the thirties. What articles would you like to read?
 
I’d love to read more about the challenges women face professionally as they get older. I think these struggles change and continue as we age and as our lives change.

I’m Easily Distant…Even Now

Now that I’m thirty, I feel more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever felt in the past.

I’m eerily familiar with that weird vocal quirk in my voice I’ve had since third grade that people occasionally remind me I still have.

I know exactly what I should eat for breakfast in the morning to keep me going for at least 3 hours and not make me groggy (right now it’s bananas and peanuts butter, and/or a green smoothie plus coffee. It used to be oatmeal). Boring, but necessary for me to know.

Vegetarianism is part of my soul. I can’t imagine eating meat ever again. For now, anyway.

I’ve gone almost platinum blonde kinda by accident since the summer (I suddenly decided to dye my hair myself for the first time, and after much trial error and purple hair it just kinda happened). And I love it. Right now, anyway 😉

When I feel good, I feel really, really good. Overall my life seems to get better and better as I get older- I’ve always felt that way. I’m very much still working at feeling my best more often (I know it’s all waves), and tracking down major life goals that can help me move forward. I really want to master the subtle art of Not Giving A Fuck about unimportant things, which we’ve talked about a lot on this blog….more than once.  However, one of the things I’m really always working on, especially now that I know myself better, is being able to tell others what I need and want…after figuring out what I need and want.

It’s very easy for me to let friends, family, and significant others take the lead and pull me down their path without much resistance from me. I’m very good at going with the flow (something I really know about myself)- and that combined with a dislike of confrontation, an intense empathy for other people’s feelings, and a deep curiosity for other people’s habits and points of view can occasionally leave me feeling swept up in lives that are not my own. I can let others sweep me so far into their lives that I don’t even realize how distant I suddenly feel from myself.

I don’t know if that makes sense exactly or if it feels familiar to any of you. Or if you’ve outgrown this now that you’re in your thirties. But sometimes I’m the polar opposite of the ideal cool and collected thirty-something who doesn’t give a fuck. I used to give so many fucks about what other people thought that my life became a guessing game and I thought I was the ultimate winner of knowing what people wanted. All I cared about was making my favorite people happy and figuring out how to play their game correctly.

I doing so, I would sometimes lose what exactly I wanted and who I wanted to be. With my best friends, this didn’t really happen. But with acquaintances and romantic relationships, I would become distant from myself which would also lead to a certain distance from others. I couldn’t honestly communicate who I was and what I wanted because I myself wasn’t aware of what exactly I wanted. And once I figured it out, it felt scary to tell.

Sometimes that distance returns, even in my thirties. I find myself getting swept up in other people’s lives and dispositions once again, and I lose what I want and start to forget who I am. If I don’t stay in touch with myself by meditating, re-centering, talking to good friends, and expressing what I need, this old habit from the past seems to return.

It’s interesting that even though we can come so far by the time we’re in our thirties, those old traits from our younger days can still seem to be lurking around the corner, waiting for a time to reappear and scare the crap out of us. For now, anyway.

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Be a Part of Portrait of a Thirtysomething!

We just published our first interview series with the wonderful and talented Eljon Wardally yesterday. We learned a lot about her experiences as a thirtysomething, including that it never helped to be stressed in her 20s about where she was going to end up in her 30s, and that it’s challenging to be expected to be married with kids by 34 (agh, this is always a major issue for thirtysomethings, isn’t it? Sigh.)

We’d love for as many of our wonderful readers to be a part of this series as possible! We’re trying to shed as much light as possible on the thirties decade, and of course everyone will have different experiences. But we’ll be looking for some patterns. If you’re reading this blog, and wouldn’t mind answering a few questions about the thirties, we’d be extremely interested in featuring you! Write to us at omgimthirty@gmail.com, and we’ll talk about details 🙂

Questions we’ll ask will include the challenges you didn’t expect to face in your thirties, facets about aging you were most scared of in your twenties (and/or are still scared of), the biggest surprises about the 30’s, and more. Also, we’ll be sure to link to your blog or website if you have one.

Thanks so much for reading! Here’s to shedding lots of beautiful light on the mysterious do-or-die decade! 

Eljon Wardally

The wonderful and fantastic 34 year old playwright, Eljon Wardally- our first Portrait of a Thirtysomething interviewee! 🙂

 

 

Getting the Measles at 30- or Vaccinate Your Children Please!!

My coworker just got a notification from a tradeshow she recently worked. It said:

“We received official notice by the Florida Department of Health that an individual who attended Enterprise Connect Orlando 2015…was hospitalized with a laboratory-confirmed case of the measles. We immediately began working with the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County to assist them with their thorough investigations and notification process.

The safety and security of our staff, attendees, exhibitors and partners is our top priority. We are working closely with Florida health officials, and are following their recommendations and guidance on the immediate actions we take.”

This is a pretty messed up letter to get after working hard at an otherwise pretty typical tradeshow.

Even 5 years ago, if I saw something like this, I would have been shocked. But now I’m just angry and confused.

When I was a kid, I remember crying about getting vaccines such as the ‘measles, mumps, rubella’ vaccine, but I was dragged to the doctors office, like every other kid I knew. I’d never heard of anyone’s parents opting them out of these vaccines. It just wasn’t a thing. And I also never heard of anyone I knew getting the measles. All my friends in their 30s have never had the measles.

But now measles outbreaks seem to be happening again, and it’s not okay at all. Are future children going to be exposed to diseases that we once thought were eradicated… just because they don’t get the cure that we have in our hands?? We. Have. The. Cure. Now.

I’m a very holistic person, and I believe in alternative medicine. I use ginger tea and apple cider vinegar and garlic and lemon water to cure colds. But sometimes enough is enough…sometimes you simply need to get antibiotics or your infection won’t go away..it will get worse. In the past, before our time, you could have strep throat and then have it develop into scarlet fever without antibiotics. You need antibiotics for strep throat. Holistic medicine won’t cure it.

I get that some people are worried that vaccinations can possibly cause autism and other complications- but there’s no real proof of that. However, there IS definite proof that unvaccinated people- especially babies and children- exposed to measles WILL GET MEASLES.

So please, parents in your 30s, vaccinate your children!

Below is an amazing and hilarious Jimmy Fallon video about vaccinating your kids. Share with others.

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