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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Portrait of a Thirty Something: Amy Adams

Our next Portrait of a 30-something is my friend and former roommate, Amy Adams. Amy is a world traveler as well as a travel blogger. She recently got back from an epic trip around the world where she went to Israel, New Zealand, Hawaii, Oslo, Turkey, Barcelona, and Athens all in the span of two months. She did it all for less than $4500 for TWO MONTHS away in over 7 countries including flights, lodging, food, and any tourist activities and souvenirs, so she’s a great person to talk to about going on an amazing trip without breaking the bank. Amy writes about her world trip and all of her travels on her blog, This Borderless World.

Amy formerly worked as a concierge in a hotel. She was also a flight attendant. She’s had travel in her blood for quite a long time. But this summer, Amy has been the queen of staycations. She’s walked almost every New York bridge from the Queensboro to the Brooklyn to the George Washington this summer, and she’s also constantly inspiring me by going out and exploring a new area of the city, or a new museum, or even a new cemetery! She just never stops!

Read more below about a 30-something who proves that life never has to be boring and that there’s always more to explore!

Name/Age/Location: Amy Adams/31/Queens,NY

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

When I was 19, I came to the US with no plan, minimal possessions, very little money and the most excited, motivated, positive and enthusiastic attitude imaginable! The possibilities were endless and I was tremendously excited about being in the country of my dreams.
In hindsight, I love that free spirited, fearless, independent girl who did what she wanted, listened to her own inner voice and was never discouraged. After almost ten years of living in the comfort and security that a traditional life offers,  I’m doing a complete 360 and wanting to revert back to that solo traveling, wanderlusting free thinker! I like her better than the make-up wearing, brand name clad, conventional girl I became. My 30’s reiterated in the clearest way possible that life is fleeting… so live your truest life. I’ve wholly embraced this new (or rather old) concept and I’m very excited about where this takes me.

What do you NOT miss about your 20s? 

My 20’s were exhilarating and thinking back on it now is exhausting but worth it! Circumstances lead me as far north as Vermont, and then to the Deep South for a few years. Then I lived up and down the eastern seaboard until finally landing in my dream city! I wish I had arrived sooner but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world!

Looking back, what shouldn’t you haven’t been afraid of in your 20s? 

I’ve never had a nuanced existence- people either loved me or hated me. For the longest time I tried to reach this middle ground… which can only be described as “normal.” But I realized very quickly that I don’t do normal. Thinking about getting insurance or wondering when I should do my laundry or feeling the need to rush home and watch tv (instead of experiencing life) makes me sad. I was a risk taker in my 20’s and I miss that fearless, rebellious, and independent spirit! Everyone keeps saying you need a plan and you need a goal but I’m opting to live in the moment! No goals, no plans, no expectations, no limitations!

Any surprises about what your 30s are like? 

My 30’s have been incredibly edifying. I’ve been waiting for a while now to get excited about wanting adult things like a home, family, car, and a two week vacation. But I’ve come to realize that is not the life I want or the one I was meant to live. I’m one year in and I’m more optimistic and invigorated than I’ve been in years. I’m embracing my identity as a nomad. I feel younger, more energetic, humbler and psyched for a future unknown!

What do you find most challenging about this decade? 

At first I abhorred social media and believed it eliminated the possibility of establishing any type of relationship organically. Now I’ve come to realize it’s in fact enhanced the chances of meeting more people and making meaningful connections. It’s all a matter of perspective. Social media can be used for good or evil… which is empowering.

What are you most looking forward to? Be it tonight, next month or ten years from now! 

Living in the moment- every moment! And never ever letting other people’s ideas of a proper and perfect life affect my idea of my perfect existence. I also know there are like minded folks out there with similar unconventional attitudes and I’m excited to meet them!

What would you like to hear more about regarding the thirties? What articles would you like to read? 
I’d love to read about unique 30-something year olds who follow their own paths no matter what. I want to see people who listen to their hearts and drown out all the naysayers! I’m especially interested in those who “didn’t succeed” (according to societal standards) but are still on their own true path! I regard the persevering types as the most successful, interesting and inspiring. The most influential people on this planet died poor without a ton of support. They really are the wealthiest of all for they’ve truly taken ownership of their lives. That type of wealth can never be squandered!
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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! 🙂

 

 

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