The Beautiful Holidays of Your Thirties

No matter what holidays you celebrate, or where you are right now, I want to take a moment to wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for being here with us. Holidays have meant even more to me in my thirties than they ever have before, because I’m simply so appreciative of the time I get to spend with my friends and family and loved ones. I feel lucky that the holidays are a time when I get to come home, and when the ones I care about are home with me as well.

More than ever, I appreciate the time I have with people who matter to me, and I realize more and more that life is short but beautiful because of the amazing people in my life.

So for a moment let’s slow down the fast paced work clock that ticks constantly at our heels, and allow ourselves to enjoy what we know really matters. Have a wonderful season, enjoy what matters to you in your heart, and lets bring the holidays into our lives as much as we can all year round.

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Love and Delight on the Holidays

We want to send so much love to you, our amazing readers, always and especially during the holiday season. We’re truly grateful that you’re reading, and for your thoughtful comments and stories and feedback.

We love you, are honored that you’re here, and hope you continue to grow with us.

I just started reading the book “Big Magic,” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Jane lent it to me saying that it was a must read, so I’m excited to keep going with it. In the first few pages, the author quotes a favorite poet of hers, Jack Gilbert, who says “We must risk delight. We must have the courage to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”

Those sentences moved me greatly. I want to have courage to risk my own delight, despite what may happen around me. Who knew it could be such a worthwhile risk?

I hope that you too get to risk your own delight this holiday season.

Have some fantastic holidays with your loved ones, and Merry Christmas!

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My living Christmas tree, Seneca, and I

 

The Trouble With Thankfulness In Your Thirties

So Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we’re still here, facing the possible Black Friday carnage, and the insane cyber Monday heading directly our way.

We may have felt sincerely grateful on Thanksgiving for our situations and our families and our friends, but now holiday shopping is upon us, and work is crazier than ever, and it’s hard to remember the peace we may have felt for a second or two last Thursday.

I was talking to a friend about this the other day- how gratefulness slips through our fingers so easily, especially with years of built up stress and to-do-list habits. I can be grateful for a moment for one second, and then suddenly my mind will be racing with worry about something I don’t have or what I have yet to get done.

It’s extremely difficult to let go of the sometimes very painful old-feeling moments in life- those moments where we’re hit with a sad situation, or when we screw something up or feel guilty about something, or someone hurts us, and those same-old-feelings come up once again. It’s very hard to be thankful for all we have, when seemingly large problems are hitting us with 30-plus years of habitual worry once again.

However, I feel like it’s possible and actually quite necessary to feel thankful in my thirties way more than I have before. Every day I try to start again. It’s like brushing your teeth- you have to keep doing it- it doesn’t just last.

There have been some stressful work situations going on in my life lately where I’ve been angry and feeling wronged and hurt. Sometimes I’ve stewed in those emotions and sometimes I’ve expressed them and tried to be clear about what was wrong. All of that action had its place, and I think that it was good to express the problems and my feelings about them. However, after awhile, it became impossible to stew in the negative feelings anymore. I was causing myself unhappiness and grief. There was nothing to do but to concentrate on things that were still good- and there were many things to be thankful for.

I started feeling thankful for people who smiled at me when they walked by. For children who were adorable and quiet and sweet. For the cool breeze I felt as I walked to work. For the beautiful park I was able to run around in the morning. For coworkers who made funny jokes. For hot showers. For beautiful texts from my family and friends. For delicious hummus. For my Spotify playlist.

And I started to feel better.

We have so much and we forget. I think that forgetting is normal and natural. The habit of not thinking about the small stuff has been a survival tool that’s gotten us through more than thirty years of life. We want more and more- which can be great. We’re in our thirties- we have big dreams. We want an amazing career and an amazing marriage and maybe a family and a creative empire and a wonderful home and creative control and financial freedom.

And those big dreams are extremely important. Huge, in fact.

But we’ll never appreciate them if we can’t be thankful for what we have today.

Each moment is a win. Each day is jam packed with small and beautiful things. Don’t be afraid to appreciate them again and again and again- Thanksgiving is every day.

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Beautiful terrace view on Thanksgiving in Los Angeles 

Giving Advice In Your Thirties

Hope you’ve all had a restful Boxing day! Boxing Day doesn’t exist in the US, but is officially a day after Christmas bank holiday in the UK, Hong Kong, Canada, South Africa, and many other places around the world- and I know we have some awesome readers from these places who know all about this 🙂 Random trivia- the name ‘boxing day’ comes from when servants and tradesman would get their boxed Christmas gifts from their employers and managers the day after Christmas.

Anyway, this post started out as a short note about socks.

I was remembering when I was a child and would get upset about getting socks as a gift. Then adults would say to me: “when you’re older, you’ll appreciate getting socks!

Of course, I was positive they were wrong. But on my 30th Christmas, I received not one, but 6 pairs of socks. And I was overjoyed! I needed them! And I appreciated the pajamas I got too! And the scarf! Which I definitely could have cared less about earlier in life.

Which I guess means I’m a real adult now. 😉

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But anyway, as you may know, sometimes even though you’re officially an adult, you may not feel like an adult- especially when it comes to giving advice.

In the past, I’ve shied away from giving advice about money, even while I’ve been in the thick of paying off my student loans. I’m quite good at paying down debt (as evidenced by my major decline in student loan money owed, thank god) and I’ve spent hours and hours researching best ways to pay them down. However I’ve felt like there were people better qualified than me to give financial assistance.

And there are. But that doesn’t mean that people are going to find them. And that doesn’t mean I’m not at all qualified to give any advice- after all, I’m an adult. So I’ve tried my best to help people when they ask.

During Christmas, my younger brother Scott and my little cousin Justin were sitting together at one point, both playing on their phones and Nintendo 3DS’. My cousin (a junior in high school) suddenly started opening up about how he felt slightly pressured into choosing a certain major and how he wasn’t sure where he really wanted to go to college.

My brother, who’s 26, put down his game and gave Justin some advice. First, he asked Justin a bunch of questions. He inquired where Justin really wanted to go to school and what he was actually interested in studying. Then he told Justin to follow his heart but also to research everything. He said to be conscious of the money involved (my brother also knows all about student loans), but not to base the decision solely on money. It was a sweet moment.

I have no idea if my brother’s advice will have any influence on my cousin’s decision. But it made me think about how advice in general doesn’t have to come from an expert. And it doesn’t have to come at special scheduled times. Sometimes you’ll be asked for advice during holidays or at totally random moments. Feel confident that you’re adult enough to share whatever you’ve learned so far in life. You never know how much you’ll help someone.

Not Feeling It During the Holidays

Every year around the holidays, I wonder why I’m not “feeling it” the way I used to. Even though I’m now thirty, I find myself doing the same thing I did during the holidays as a teenager, and all throughout my twenties- trying to pull up an old feeling. You know that feeling. It’s that “magical holiday feeling”…remember it?

It’s an old memory now. Maybe I used to have it when I looked at the sky and was positive Santa was about to come. I guess I was awaiting something special…feeling that anticipatory glow. It came from expecting presents to appear out of nowhere…that wonderful moment of waking up and knowing something special has arrived…the feeling of barely being able to wait a moment longer. Now the closest feeling I have to that is when I open my email inbox after a long time of not checking it.

No, that’s sad. There are definitely times when I eagerly await something better than email.

But during the holidays, I guess I don’t know how to get that anticipatory excitement back the same way it used to be. So I performed my holiday traditions as usual- I got out my holiday stuff.

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My holiday soap

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My holiday socks

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My holiday owl tea mug. Yes, this is holiday related.

I lit my holiday candles and filled my room with pine smell. I made pumpkin everything. I played my Indie Holiday tunes Pandora station.

And I felt happy. I love all my little holiday traditions.

But I still didn’t get that old feeling back that I wanted so badly. So I sulked, vaguely disappointed. Every year I’ve sulked, feeling my special holiday feeling was just a hairs breadth out of reach.

And then I remembered something actors say to me all the time when I direct them in plays. They say, “Laura, I’m just not feeling it.”

And you know what I say back? I say “It doesn’t matter if you’re not feeling it! You’re not always going to feel it! Do the scene anyway! Just go with it!” I usually say this in a nice way, of course.

So with that in mind, I took a walk in Woodside at night during the first holiday season of my thirties.

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And I laughed.

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And I looked. And looked again.

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And I felt something mild, and silly, and light. A subtle feeling. Older in a different way. Something like peace. Possibly hope.

The old feeling was gone. It had been gone for a long time.

And that was okay.

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If I looked closely it had been replaced.

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Happy holidays to all of you. Let in anything you’re feeling right now. It’s okay.

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