What Are Some of the Smallest Baby Step Lifestyle Changes You’ve Made in Your Thirties?

It’s amazing how habits take shape and slowly, incrementally change the structure of our lives. I feel like it’s usually not the big, sweeping ‘grand decisions’ made in bold statements that change our lives (ie most New Years Resolutions, most “I’ll never drink again!” statements, most “no more sugar for life” proclamations, etc), but actually the small changes made in private moments and repeated again and again that actually make a major long term impact.

In the past year, I’ve made a few changes- most of them arbitrarily or unpremeditated. But these particular changes have slowly but surely changed my everyday patterns of thinking and feeling. Here’s a list of the ones the made the biggest impact.

1. Deleting the Facebook app from my phone- I did this in a moment of pain and anguish on election night back in November. I mean, you get it. But I never put the app back, and that in turn has me going on Facebook a whole lot less. Which in turn frees up a lot of my time. Which also in turn really tones down a bad habit I have of comparing myself to others. I still go onto Facebook and read stuff and post things, but the amount of time I spend on the site has decreased immeasurably. Results of deleting Facebook app on my phone: I feel happier and have more time. And I still have Facebook so I don’t even feel any weird “I deleted my profile feel sorry for me” stress or Fear Of Missing Out.

2. Starting to make green smoothies full of vegetables – I’ve made green smoothies on and off for a few years now, but it’s only recently that I followed nutritionist Kimberly Snyder’s basic recipe for her diet staple: the Glowing Green Smoothie. This smoothie is made up of all vegetables with the inclusion of an apple, almond milk or water, and some stevia. She includes a bit more fruit but I’d rather eat that fruit separately. This smoothie is the equivalent of having something like three or four salads before lunch, without all that annoying chewing. The ingredients of my smoothie, if you want to try it, are a head of romaine, either a bunch of celery or a large cucumber, a handful or two of spinach leaves, a handful of cilantro, an apple, half a lemon, stevia to taste, ice, and a bunch of almond milk or water. Results: I put a TON of nutrients in my body before I have time to think about anything or eat a bunch of nonsense food. Therefore my mind feels clearer and my body feels happy.

3. Tracking my spending- I wrote about this in the post How Tracking Money is Like Weighing Yourself and then again in The Anti-Budget Budget In Your Thirties. I began using the app Goodbudget to track each and every dollar I’ve spent. I started this back in June, and it was very painful. I didn’t want to track every dollar because I felt like I knew where every dollar went already, and the whole thing felt tedious and filled me with guilt whenever I spent a penny. However, after about a month and a half it all got a lot smoother and easier. I realized exactly where my money was going each month and that small purchases really add up to way more than I thought. I swear I’ve saved a ton of money simply by writing down my expenditures- because I think about where my money’s going every time I spend it. And I feel more accountable for a purchase if I know I have to write it down and it goes into my monthly total.

All of these small activities have added up to big change in my life. Are there any small changes you’d like to start or have recently begun? Don’t worry about those big, scary changes- concentrate on a little tiny change every day, or even every other day. Don’t underestimate what seem like small tweaks- they add up.

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Social Media and sometimes FOMO in your Thirties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Facebook and My Self Esteem

So, tonight I was watching the awesome “Master of None” – comedian Aziz Ansari’s new show, and I decided I wanted to post about it on Facebook. But I kept second guessing myself. I thought: Is anyone really interested? Does anyone even read my posts? Am I yelling into a vortex that this is how I spend my Friday nights, Netflix and pizza? And will anyone “like” this post?

The last two things I posted on Facebook got exactly ZERO likes. For having 762 “friends,” that was surprising. I rarely get zero likes. For some reason, that really bothered me. I wondered why no one was liking my posts. They weren’t terrible; it’s not like I was posting pro-Donald Trump messages or advocating for the NRA. One of my posts was a link to an article on friendship, and another was a quote from one of my favorite movies. When no one liked them, I felt invisible. I’ve always told myself, “Who gives a shit about Facebook?” and pretended like I was holier than thou, but then, I found out that clearly I care.

The thought of having these “zero” likes would float to my head every once in awhile this past week. I wondered why the quote I posted didn’t resonate with anyone. Or why no one could relate to the article I posted about friendship in adulthood.

But then. Tonight, as I posted my Aziz Ansari TV show plug, Facebook asked me if I wanted to keep my privacy settings for posting as “Only Me.” I sat there, looking at my computer screen, feeling like a dummy. Because I had inadvertently made my last posts completely private, so that only I could see them.

As I sat there, I realized just how much I let Facebook affect my self-esteem. The whole time, I thought the “world” was ignoring me. And yet, it was my administrative mess-up.

So for awhile, without me realizing it, my only audience was myself. But as corny as it may sound, there’s something kind of beautiful about that.In the same way when you feel most isolated (after a break-up or a friendship ending), you learn to dive a little deeper into your own reserves and find you’re stronger than you think.  You become your own rock, not because you want to, but because you’re forced to.

What did I learn from all this? That at the end of the day, we are our own most important audience.

Let’s impress ourselves.

How to Drive People Crazy On Facebook In Your Thirties (and Not the Good Crazy)

Sure, we’ve referred to the thirties here at OMG I’m Thirty as the “giving zero fucks” decade, but occasionally, it helps to give a fuck. If you’ve achieved the holy grail of giving zero fucks in your thirties, maybe skip this social media post.

However, my fellow still-fuck-giving-thirty-somethings, we’re the Facebook generation (and now the Instagram and Snapchat generation (because we’re cool enough to keep up with the young kids’ technology)), and we have a responsibility not to completely and utterly drive each other crazy on social media. You know it happens, I know it happens, and we might as well talk about it happening. We’re the generation that had social media foisted upon our otherwise Wow-I have- A-Real-Life-Computer lives. And now social media is everywhere and we can’t get away from it (well, we can, but that requires the willpower of an olympic athlete and/or the home set-up of a cave-dweller).

So without further ado, here’s a rant about the latest and greatest social media that has everyone I meet annoyed. (Disclaimer: most of this is a joke. Sort of. #KiddingNotKidding.)

  1. The Humble Brag– I think most people are guilty of this one, including myself. Think about how you’d react to something yourself before you post it. Putting up photos of yourself holding wads of money and writing: “when you want something bad enough and you put it out there, all of the universe conspires to help you” annoys most people. This was recently a real post from one of my Facebook friends. I hope she isn’t reading this.
  2. The Gym Selfies– “Can’t stop, won’t stop”, “Go ahead tell me that I can’t and I’ll show you that I can.”, “They said she couldn’t, she said watch me.” Okay, we believe you can. Can you just go do it and stop letting us know? Sigh.
  3. The Million Baby Posts- This one doesn’t really annoy me, but some of my friends have de-friended people for it. No more than a few photos of your baby a week, unless the baby was just born, please. And ‘a few’ is generous. At the very least, make an album and put them all up at once.
  4. The Vague Negativity Posts: “Ugh…”, “This has been the worst day :(“, “The darkness surrounds me.” These are intensely negative yet unspecific posts, and they scream ‘attention seeker!’ At least tell us what happened in the original post so we don’t have to ask! Or wait.. was your intention for us to ask? And please don’t reply after we ask: “I don’t want to talk about it.” Just no.
  5. The Non-Humble Brag: “I have the most amazing boyfriend ever!” “I’m so lucky I’m in Paris with my magnificent boyfriend and the cutest dog ever…here are all my photos!” “I have the best job that you’ll never get and I just got a raise!” Okay, we’re probably all guilty of this one in not so many words. But try to be conscious of all the green-eyed monsters this will awaken in your Facebook friends. If you post more than 2 brags a week, you’re cut off.
  6. The Bait and Switch: “Sometimes when no one’s looking I like to cover myself in Nutella and roll around on the carpet.” Woh, really?! But when I like or comment on your status you tell me ‘Psych! This is to raise awareness for Green And Blue Strep Throat Syndrome Disorder. Now you have 24 hrs to paste this post as your status or you’re a terrible person who doesn’t support the cause.’ Oh nooooooo you didn’t!!!
  7. The “I’m Gonna Leave Facebook, Goodbye World” post. Just leave, please. Go silently into the dark night. The world will keep turning. It’s very likely I won’t notice you’ve left.
  8. The Plethora of Selfies. I really don’t like selfies unless they have someone else in them…or unless they’re at least showing off a cool background. Maybe once or twice in a little while you can indulge your selfie obsession… but not all the time. This is super duper extra bad if it also falls into the Gym Selfies category… and I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. Pun intended. Please tone it down. Ugh…
  9. The Random Invite.  We haven’t seen each other in 7 years and you’re inviting me to your Best Gardener Award Ceremony in Spokane, Washington. Really? I’m obviously not gonna be there, I live in New York and you’re not really my friend. Come on now.
  10. The Constant Positivity Poster – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”Do what makes you happy.” Shut up. We get it. You’re happier than me. Ughhhh… whyyyy???
  11. The Do-Gooder Evangelist: “If you’re not a vegan you’re going to hell.” “Candy and makeup are full of toxic chemicals and you’re gonna shrivel up, get terrible pimples and cystic acne and die soon, horrible make-up wearing candy eater.” Sometimes I love beautiful vegan touting posts, or posts promoting clean eating or animal welfare. But they need to be worded wisely and non-judmentally. Tread lightly. Not everyone is as saintly as you. Take pity on us mortals.

So that’s what I have for now. Haha, I’m gonna go humbly brag about this post on Facebook now. And then maybe post something politically polarizing.

What drives YOU crazy on social media?

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Single in Your Thirties? Here’s How to Ruin a First Date

I just saw the funniest Facebook post today about how to ruin a date in only 5 words. Everyone was commenting with suggestions, and a few of them were quite genius.

In this technological modern age, there’s more online dating happening than ever before, which basically translates into more dating happening than ever before…or at least more online penpal-ing? But anyways, with the amount of dating going on nowadays, a ridiculous multitude of dating horror stories have arisen. Of course, there are lots of really good dates, and even great dates, but the funniest stories usually come from the crazy dates. From constant texting to Facebook stalking to misrepresentations on Tinder, the dating arena’s a lot more like the wild west than it ever was before. And I realized recently that there’s a whole lot more semi-blind dating happening now than it ever has in the past. OkCupid, Tinder, Hinge (have you ever even heard of that one??) and plenty more dating apps have brought a whole new series of strange events and bizarre occurrences…at the very least! But don’t be scared- interesting dating stories are happening to anyone who’s brave enough to put themselves out there! And it’s all kind of awesome.

There’s a lot I can say about dating, and I will talk more seriously about it in another post, but for tonight, just sit back and enjoy some absolutely terrible first date comments that may just make you laugh till you cry.

Here are some of the best suggestions for how to ruin a first date in just 5 words. Enjoy!

The Obvious Issues

  • It’s not contagious anymore…hopefully
  • Honestly, your friends hired me
  • They haven’t convicted me yet
  • I know where you live
  • My lawyer says no kissing
  • When will this be over?

The Family Issues

  • You remind me of mom
  • My curfew is at 9
  • What’s your sister’s phone number?
  • My dad’s on his way
  • By the way, I’m married
  • My current wife is missing

The Political/ Cultural Issues

  • Have you considered Donald Trump?
  • I don’t believe in education
  • My role model’s Kim Kardashian
  • Ann Coulter is my hero
  • Theater is like live TV
  • I don’t believe in independence

The Technology Issues

  • I already Facebook stalked you
  • Those Tinder photos weren’t me
  • Wait, I’m tweeting about this
  • I’m only 40 pounds heavier
  • I just bought your domain
  • Hold on- texting my ex

The Seems Like Maybe Red Flag Issues

  • I figured, hey, free dinner!
  • You are really rich, right?
  • I’m high. Everything is funny
  • I only speak in rhyme
  • Yuck! I hate all foods
  • I heard you were desperate
  • Hurry! I have another date
  • I got that waitress pregnant
  • No one else was available
  • Meet my psychiatric service dog
  • My biological clock is ticking
  • I think I love you

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How to Talk to A Grieving Friend in Your Thirties

Sheryl Sandberg wrote a beautiful statement today on Facebook about mourning the death of her husband. He died very suddenly in a tragic accident on a treadmill while they were on vacation in Mexico.

The statement was made after she came out of 30 days of intense mourning for him- a tradition in Judaism known as shiva. Even though it’s been 30 days, I can’t imagine her pain is anything less than fresh and intense, so I’m amazed she put out an incredible brief on Facebook so early on in her grieving process.

Sandberg’s statement is incredibly sad, but it’s also helpful as well as brave. I remember trying to talk to a friend last month whose grandmother had recently died. I didn’t want to upset her and I didn’t know what to say, so I ended up shamefully trying to avoid her until I gathered up my nerve to speak.

Even now, in my thirties, I feel like I never really know the right thing to say to a grieving friend, or relative. But there are definitely better things to say than others.

Sheryl has some great ways to approach (or not approach) this difficult subject. Here are a few:

1. Don’t tell your friend that it’s going to be okay

“A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not.”

2. Ask your friend how he or she is doing today instead of a simple “how are you doing?”

“When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.”

3. You don’t have to reassure the other person in order to empathize

“When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth.”

Other things to say to someone who has lost a loved one include:

– Simply addressing the situation: “I heard your _______ died. I’m so sorry”

– Be genuine: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care”

– Offer support: “Is there anything I can do for you?”

– Be willing to just sit and listen with compassion.

Things NOT to say include:

-“I know how you feel” – You can never really know how the person feels.

-“They’re in a better place now.” -You never know if the person you’re talking to believes this.

– “It’s part of God’s plan” – This can cause the person to get angry and actually say something like “What plan? I wasn’t aware of any plan.”

– “You need to get on with your life.” Grief moves at its own pace. This statement is unlikely to help anyone to actually get on with their life.

Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable and devastatingly sad yet extremely positive statement, Sheryl. I’m sorry for your loss and am extremely sad for you and your family.

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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?

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Facebook Nostalgia in Your Thirties

I was on Facebook tonight saying happy birthday to a friend when I accidentally clicked the wrong button and was suddenly transported back to 2011.

Time traveling back a few years in Facebook time brought me to London. I was visiting my then-boyfriend and was very excited to see him. I scrolled down and watched myself quote Pablo Neruda a half dozen times, recommend 3 “brilliant” plays I don’t remember seeing, sit backstage jittering before going onstage and performing, invite people to donate to numerous kickstarter campaigns, and link to The Onion as much as I could humanly link. I also posted a few things that I would laugh scoffingly at now such as “Happy. Peaceful. Joyous.” Gag.

And then there were a few things that I would absolutely still post now, including all my travel/work updates/stories such as “In Mexico City trying to work but failing at Spanish language. Thought people here spoke English but was sadly misinformed. Now being laughed at by customers as I read Espanol verbatum from product brochure.”

I was actually about to write a post for this blog when Facebook dredged up these strange throwbacks. The darn site ended up keeping me on guiltily for an extra 30 minutes, as I nostalgically read over post after post dated all the way back to 2010. I hadn’t seen any of them in years, yet, for most, I remembered exactly how I felt when I wrote them.

Though I’m prone to nostalgia anyway, Facebook has a special way of pulling up sentimentality in me, I’ve been on the site since college, and now that I’m thirty, it’s become this time capsule of so much of my young adult life…but in these strange little quippy bows that aren’t exactly how things were at all.

It’s funny to think that a lot of the younger generation isn’t really using Facebook anymore but has switched platforms to other social media… such as Instagram and …god knows what else. Haha, I can’t think of the new forms of social media. Am I really getting old? WhatsApp and Snapchat come to mind, but they’re not really social media… It’s kinda sad/kinda funny how unaware I am of the new wave of Social Media apps. And I’m usually a pretty techie person…

I actually went and looked up “Facebook in your thirties.” I wanted to see if there were articles about Facebook dying off in the younger generation while still being a mainstay of this one. Instead I ended up coming across article after article about how Facebook just introduced a new nostalgia-inducing feature called “On This Day.”  Apparently there will be a new button on Facebook, similar to Timehop, that’ll take you back to what you did on this day last year…and up to 4 years ago. This new feature was introduced March 24, otherwise known as ‘today.’ Pretty ironic, huh?

When I Facebook time traveled back to 2011, I didn’t push the “On This Day” button. I don’t even have the button- it’s apparently rolling out to users in waves and it’s not on my computer yet. I just happened to accidentally click into the past on the exact same day that Facebook rolls out a new nostalgia feature. Sometimes life can be funny like that.

But then again, life always has been sort of funny, hasn’t it?

 

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Are You Sick of Blue and Black, White and Gold? Or still fascinated?

In case you’ve been under a rock (and it happens to the best of us), there’s been a major viral sensation going on since Thursday night easily dubbed Dress-Gate. It nearly broke the internet. Or at least my Facebook feed.

Is the dress blue and black or white and gold?

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This debate divided the internet so fiercely last night that everyone from Mindy Kaling to Kanye West to Taylor Swift to top researchers on colorblindness from universities all over the world have weighed in…and everyone seems to disagree.

Some people even saw the dress change colors from white and gold to blue and black or vice versa right in front of their eyes! These people include my very own mother.

And my social media experience today consisted of comments like:

“Am I on acid? This thing changed color!! Woh!!”

– “You are not on acid. The same thing happen to me. I saw the picture today at work it was gold and white, I looked at it again with my wife and it was gold to me and blue and black to her. Then we scrolled up the page and it changed colors colors back and fourth several times. Crazy”

Then today I received a phone call from my brother and I was shocked to hear him ask at the end of our conversation: “Oh yeah, blue and black or white and gold?” I had my response ready (I see blue and black). But man, if my brother, who could care less about colors of dresses, said he’d been “researching this fascinating phenomenon all morning,” then it really must have hit a nerve with everyone.

But why such fascination over a dress?

My guess is that not believing our eyes here is kind of equivalent to seeing a ghost. Or suddenly time traveling. Whether or not you believe in ghosts or time travel, if you haven’t experienced either of these things your entire life, and then suddenly do, it’s a major shock. Whether or not we consider ourselves “pretty open” human beings, by our thirties, we pretty much know the limits of our physical senses. So when we see or experience something we didn’t believe existed before, we kind of freak out.

In this case, we experienced something normal (viewing a photo of a dress) and then freaked out that our trusted friends or relatives seemed to see a completely different dress. BUT HOW CAN THAT BE??!

It’s now been proven that the dress is blue and black, whatever that means. The company that makes the dress said so themselves:

“We can confirm #TheDress is blue and black! We should know!” http://t.co/qAeIIHzJxkpic.twitter.com/kkxjUbmgI3

— Roman Originals (@romanoriginals) February 27, 2015

There have been various explanations for the differences in how the dress colors are viewed, but I have a feeling none of them are truly satisfying anyone right now. We’re still too busy being fascinated about our newfound five sense discoveries that can be had even later in life.

No matter what your age, stay open to new information still to be found out about your body and senses. Never assume you know everything about yourself. We’re probably not even close to discovering all that’s out there.

Though hopefully ghosts aren’t some of those things…

And if you’re interested in more info about Dress-gate, here are a few expert theories on the phenomenon:

“Your interpretation depends on several factors, such as which part of the figure you attend to.” -Dr. Joseph Toscano, Villanova University Department of Psychology and an expert in illusions.

“This photograph was probably taken on a phone camera and is very poorly exposed. It depends if your retina is interpreting this photo as over or under exposed, or more scientifically if your rods or cones are dominating the image interpretation.” -Dr. Reena A. Garg, an Assistant Professor of Ophthamology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai

“It can be slightly different in different individuals and the spectrum of wavelengths dedicated to any color could be slightly shifted in some people.” -Dr. Steven Galetta, the chair of the neurology department at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“I’ve studied individual differences in color vision for 30 years, and this is one of the biggest individual differences I’ve ever seen.” Jay Neitz, a color-vision researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Wired.

“It has to do with the tiny cones in the back of our eyeballs that perceive colors in a slightly different way depending upon our genes,” -Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent.

Business Insider has even has a great way for you to see both color schemes. Check it out- it’s like  finally decoding one of those crazy optical illusions you couldn’t figure out as a kid.

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The Occasional Inspiration of Social Media

I wrote a bit about social media and how it can get you down in my post “That Time You Hated Positivity in Your Thirties.”

Sometimes I attempt to take breaks from Facebook (this is hard) because it can occasionally get me down. Seeing too many selfies on my Newsfeed can be the emotional equivalent to eating handfuls of Doritos…I just feel kind of queasy afterwards. Workout selfies especially bother me- they just feel icky somehow.. exceptionally self-involved…and I even enjoy working out.

In my thirties, I am now super aware of the time suck that can be social media. As powerful a tool as social media can be, it can also be the junk food of our adult lives. I’ve had Facebook as a part of my days during all of my twenties, and have regretted countless addicted hours spent there. :p

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But to each their own. I understand that some people want to take pictures of themselves sweating off their weight in the gym. And other people love to “#hashtagblessed” everything that happens in their lives. And sometimes when I’m shaking in -6 degree weather, I hate that people love to post dozens of photos of their tropical vacations. However, I know that I post a lot of travel updates, and sometimes a bunch of happy warm weather trips too, and am possibly annoying a bunch of acquaintances accidentally. I know I can’t censor everything I want to say for fear it’ll upset someone- EVERYTHING will upset SOMEONE.

Also, since I can easily block annoying posts from my feed, I’m usually quiet about them. I’m only writing about them here because this is my blog, and I feel like I can secretly tell you about all the things that bother me :p

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But I’ll also tell you about the social media posts that don’t bother me. My friend Tiffanay posts a lot of inspirational quotes that never seem to drip with phony positivity. They always ring extremely genuine and honest. It’s hard to put my finger on why they inspire me. Maybe it’s because I know her and I know how honest and genuine she is personally. But her Facebook posts always make me feel peaceful inside and calm me down.

I’ll copy a few here. Let me know what you think. Do you get annoyed by social media? Or do you have a passion for it?

And thanks, Tiffanay!

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That Time You Hated Positivity In Your Thirties

Have you ever had someone say “cheer up” or “smile” to you? Did it annoy you at the time?

Have you ever wondered why you can’t constantly be happy and peaceful? Why do circumstances always come at you and change your happy perspective for a bit? Why can’t you get back that peace you felt a minute ago or yesterday or last week or last year?

I used to think, “all I want is to be strong all the time. And I feel strong when I’m positive and happy. So I want to be positive and happy all the time. I wish I could figure out how to always be peaceful and happy every moment of every day.”

Or I’d think, “I don’t know how so-and-so does it. He/She seems so peaceful/happy/blessed/lucky all the time on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. How is He/She always so happy/magical/overjoyed in His/Her status updates? If only I could be stronger, I could hold onto this kind of happiness/blessedness/unicorn-ness all the time!”

The older I get, the more I have moments of clarity about this kind of happiness and strength. I actually think that true strength doesn’t lie in holding onto smiles and cheer all the time, but in recognizing that feelings come and go in waves. And waves go both up and down.

The other day, I was saying to a friend of mine “I just want to be strong, and I’ve been so happy lately. But today I feel shaken by outside circumstances, and I can’t hold onto the strength I felt yesterday. What do I do?” But as I said it, I realized that in a way I was stronger than ever. And I didn’t really need to do anything. I’ve begun to recognize the waves and ride them, even when they’re occasionally jarring and scary.

Constant happy-joy-joy positivity, especially on social media, annoys me because it seems fake. There’s a notion that ‘putting on a happy face all the time’ is the absolute best thing to do. I don’t really agree.

Not that I think being negative is good. But as I enter my thirties, I think the best spot to be is ‘positive but honest.’ You can still be positive and admit you’re scared. You can still be positive and feel weak. You can still be positive and cry. And you can also be positive and happy.

Life happens. Circumstances outside you happen. It’s okay to admit they get to you sometimes.

Ironically, the more you can ride the low feelings and let them be, the better you’ll ride the high…and the happier you’ll be anyway.

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Is There No More Ikea Furniture in Your Thirties?

A friend of mine sent me an article last night saying, “Hey Laura! I saw this and thought of your blog. I don’t know if I’d consider it true, but it strikes me as funny.”

The second I saw that it was a HuffPo article, I was already laughing to myself and getting out my multiple grains of specifically stored HuffPo/Buzzfeed salt. I wrote about a Buzzfeed article- Best Things About Being in your Thirties- The Lists– where I disagreed with most of their list (as did almost all of the commenters who went as far as saying the list made them want to “crawl into a hole and die.” Inspiring stuff.) HuffPo and Buzzfeed have a ton of articles on the thirties and if you read a bunch of them, what’s hilarious is actually that they kind of make their own stereotypes and use them over and over in all their articles. It’s the wacky “Buzzfeed/HuffPo Thirties Universe.”

The article my friend sent me was: “What it’s like to turn 30 in 3 Hilarious Charts.” Let’s go over these hilarious charts and see what we think about HuffPo’s Thirties accuracy 😉 Below is chart 1:

 

o-WHATS-ON-MY-FB-900Ok, this is pretty true…though sometimes I feel there’s still a couple selfies too many making their way onto my FB Newsfeed. But overall, I get it. Lots of babies. Lots of weddings. Less parties.

Moving on, here’s Hilarious Chart 2:

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Haha, I definitely agree with the wedding one, and the vomit one is probably about right…but HGTV? I actually had to think about what that stood for for a second..but then again, I’m not super house and home centered.

Speaking of house and home, here’s the next chart, labeled: “And, finally, some awesome perks of being 30? No. More. Ikea. Oh, and zero f*cks given.” 

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What’s up with HuffPo and Buzzfeed taking Ikea out of the thirties? Ikea is still very much alive and well, thank you HuffPo. Everyone I know agrees….are we out of the life-beyond-Ikea loop? Did people start buying $800 shelving and I missed it? My friend and I agreed that we’re perfectly happy with our Norse god named furniture that breaks down once every 2-5 years. We just buy a differently named Norse god next year. Problem solved.

The shoe thing is absolutely true. And thank god for that.

I’m on the fence about parental advice. Sometimes very much yes. Sometimes very much nooo.

Giving no fucks is wishful thinking. Less fucks perhaps. Definitely less fucks about shoes.

Thoughts? Do you agree with these charts? Find them hilarous? And is anything so true it’s sad? Please weigh in below.

 

 

 

 

Best Things About Being In Your 30s- The Lists

Ah, the ubiquity of Buzzfeed lists…love ’em or hate ’em, they’re all over Facebook and Twitter, and links to them seem to pop up everywhere. But are Buzzfeed lists (or lists along those lines) just click bait, or can they actually tell us something about our lives?

Jane and I are always looking for lists of descriptive thirties traits, findings and meanings- anything thirties related really- and when we do searches for the thirties, invariably there’s a Buzzfeed list or two right on Google’s front page. So today I read through a Buzzfeed article titled “27 Underrated Things About Being In Your Thirties.”

As I read through a list of statements and memes capturing those statements, I started to feel more and more confused and anxious..mainly because everything seemed so perfectly tied with a big red bow, and my life didn’t seem to be where it should be compared to the list. My god, it’s Buzzfeed! BUZZFEED! Buzzfeed shouldn’t make you upset!  But yet, dammit, it did.

And it wasn’t just me! The comments below were achingly funny and painful..starting with someone saying, “This made me feel a whole lot worse about my life.” Which was followed up by 186 likes and a whole lot of agreement, including “You are not alone, friend. I’m really depressed now about everything every other 30-something is having/doing that I’m not” and “I’m 40, and most of this just made me want to crawl into a hole and die.”

So below are some of the statements that stuck out at me. Try not to want to crawl into a hole and die. You’re not alone, friend 🙂

3. Chances are that you’re making more money now.

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I’m making more money now, yes, but I know a lot of people who aren’t, and this statement still made me nail-bitingly nervous.

4. Which means you can afford actual furniture that’s not from Ikea.

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What? ALL my furniture is from Ikea! Ikea is AWESOME! (Ok, IKEA isn’t awesome, but it is frigging CHEAP!) And what is that Soho loft pictured above with the vintage-chic walls and exposed brick? I mean, come on now!

8. You give zero fucks, so you dance however you want!

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Umm…not yet at that ZERO fucks stage…maybe LESS fucks? And me dancing however I want wouldn’t be good for anyone..

10. At work, you’re not some assistant bitch anymore, you’re a BOSS.

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Though I know people who’ve climbed the career ladder and match this description..I also know lots of people who are assistants, or who still aren’t sure about their career yet.. I am not necessarily a BOSS, though I am self-employed, so maybe this fits me more than I believe..I can play around with it..

12. Any dating you do is less messy, because you know what you want and you demand it.

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Umm, no?

13. And you wind up in much healthier relationships.

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Hmm…this one just feels presumptuous. Also, this is such a random photo! You think it’s the author? Are these people two random celebrities I don’t recognize?

17. You’ve found a group of friends who are the most amazing people you’ve ever met.

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Also a random photo. And I think the author got this idea from a Sex and the City binge…in fact, this photo should’ve been Samantha and Charlotte and Carrie and Miranda. The thirties are where I hear the most gripes about LACK of friendship. People are all like ‘where have my friends gone??’ Umm, babies, marriage, moving, high-stress jobs, people giving ZERO fucks…these things steal friends…

24. You’re no longer afraid of change…

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Damn it, change is STILL the the boogeyman in the closet for me! The people who aren’t scared of change don’t know the horrors of when it jumps out and grabs you! It’s so big and bad and mean sometimes…

I’m only sort of kidding here… but change still = mucho scary.

But all jokes aside, when it comes to figuring out what the thirties are to you, I want to just say: Beware of Buzzfeed lists! And stereotypes! And bragging disguised as positivity! And funny memes that are actually bragging disguised as positivity hidden in sadness wrapped in stereotype! (As fun as they may sometimes be.)

Sending Hundreds of Invites to Your 30th Birthday

There’s this NY Times article that both normalizes the 30th birthday and simultaneously makes it a lot more intimidating.

The writer starts by letting us know that the 30th birthday has now become an occasion to celebrate, complete with champagne and festivities. There’s no more need to be embarrassed or to hide from this landmark birthday. Great news! The 30th has become a cool rite of passage-  the contemporary sweet 16.

Then the article takes a strange turn and inflates the birthday party to epic proportions, with celebrations so huge that entire Facebook friend lists are invited from different stages of life (the piece is from 2003, so FB isn’t referenced…but 600+ people were invited to these birthday parties using some means of communication…and I’m impressed this was done without Facebook, actually). For some of the parties, there are invitees from the “life stage”s of age 0-6, 6-18, College, Post-College, and Work. These behemoth blowouts strike me as more overwhelming than the 30th birthday itself.

I mean, I’m glad that 30th birthdays are getting to be more cause for celebration than intimidation, but I don’t think that making my birthday party into a networking event would make it any more fun. In fact, that kind of party seems terribly uncomfortable. I don’t think I’d know what to say to the hundreds of people I hadn’t spoken to in years. That is, if they even showed up.

I’m happy to celebrate with the same close group of friends I always celebrate with. For me, having my favorite people still with me after all this time is good cause for a party.

The Difficult Simplicity of You Celebrating You

Have you ever wanted to become somebody else?

Perhaps you’re at a party and a friend starts telling hilarious jokes or pulls out her best French accent. You suddenly wish you knew more jokes or had a fun accent ready to go as well.

Then you’re scrolling through Facebook and you see an acquaintance with a perfect bikini body who always seems to be drinking Mai Tais in Cancun. And/or you’re slammed with post after post of perfect engagements or amazing job titles. You wonder why you’re single and pasty white from lack of beach time fun..and also, how come you never tried to become an opera singer? Why didn’t you have the idea 10 years ago to begin computer programming or get an MBA?

Jane recently wrote about five things you should leave behind in your twenties. “Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated” slammed me in the face as the hardest lesson I’ve grappled with this year. It’s a difficult lesson when you’re constantly unsure how to celebrate yourself…because you’re not exactly sure who it is you’re celebrating.

I’m an extremely curious person and I’ve spent a lot of life wanting to be everyone at the same time. I’m in a state of constant wonderment about other lifestyles, other careers, and other ways of living. I make decisions about who I am slowly and carefully…and as I’m trying to pick a lifestyle from an endless array of choices, I ignore the lifestyle I’m already living. The hardest person for me to see has always been myself.

As I’ve realized this in my absolute latest twenties, life has gotten slightly easier. Maybe I don’t have to be the person who has tons of jokes up her sleeve or can command a room with a party quirk…maybe I can keep my natural ways of being a great listener and observer instead. That’s more the person I organically am.

And when I turn away from Facebook for awhile, and alternatively enjoy a morning mediation, I even feel comfortable alone with myself in the moment, far away from the stress of who I might become.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve had trouble knowing how to celebrate yourself. A major key is to find the difference between two desires: the desire to better who you are and the desire to become a different person. One desire is healthy and will push you forward (even though it may feel scary and difficult at times), but the other desire will scatter your energy and throw you out of balance …because it isn’t you.

Bettering yourself can mean anything from embracing your natural tendency towards unique clothing choices to signing up for a half marathon because you love running to letting yourself feel confident while remaining silent. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not naturally sarcastic, or naturally size 0, or a naturally a great software developer.

Yes, of course you can change, but it’s easiest to change into the best version of the self that comes naturally, easily, when no one is looking.

Celebrate that person, no matter where and who you are right now.

 

 

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