On Being 30 & Saying No.

There are some books that you read at the perfect time in your life.

This is the case with Julie Klausner‘s book “I Don’t Care about your Band: what I learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux Sensitive Hipsters and other Guys I’ve Dated“. Klausner wrote the book right before her 30th birthday as a humorous ode to the romantic collateral damage of her twenties. The book spoke to me because at the time I was also on the cusp of my 30th birthday and like Klausner, I’m also in the process of trying to make sense of everything that happened in my twenties and pull out whatever wisdom I can from the wreckage.


Klausner compares Kermit the Frog to the modern hipster guy (“Kermit the Frog is a terrible boyfriend”) and tells the story of dating “Douche Ziggy” a self-deprecating weirdo with a penchant for crazy sex. Although the details are slightly different, some of Klausner’s dating experiences are so close to my own that it almost feels like I could have written this book. Her stories are so witty & hilarious & achingly heartbreaking that I WISH I could say that I wrote this book. However, the chapter that resonated with me the most wasn’t really about dating at all – it was the final chapter of the book that describes Klausner’s first New Year’s Eve as a 30 year old.

I wrote quite a bit about all the stuff I wanted to do before my 30th birthday and what I did to celebrate but, I haven’t written anything about what it feels like to be on the other side of my twenties. Just like how sometimes you find the perfect book at the perfect moment, sometimes someone else is able to put into words what you haven’t been able to. This passage from the book perfectly describes how being 30 feels to me:

I remember walking to the lip of the building to better see the skyline of sweet, wide Manhattan and thinking about how good it felt to exist in a negative space. I know what I was not……I thought about how lucky I was to be different from how I was before. How I used to mistake “yes” for “yay!” and the pursuit of knowledge for the possession of it. I thought about how trivial people used to be better company to me than solitude and how I’d finally earned the ability to shut out clutter-at least occasionally – and to leave self-sabotage to the kids who can’t enjoy being alone now and then”.

In my twenties I said “Yes” to so many things. At 20, I was a young woman (girl) on her own for the first time in a city that at the time felt enormous. Everything was a new experience. I was so eager to soak up all the shiny newness around me that I often mistook “NEW” for “WORTHWHILE”. I just kept saying YES, YES, YES, unwilling to believe that the fire I was playing with was hot until I reached my hand in and felt the burn.

Go to a party at an abandoned warehouse at 4am
. YES!

Take off to Miami to party for a week with a guy you barely know. YES!

Go to a bar that smells like beer pee and stand around in uncomfortable shoes watching a band that sucks. YES!

Self-Medicate. Put lots of bad chemicals in your body. YES!

Do these things because it feels better than being alone on a Saturday night. YES!

Date someone who’s your complete opposite or totally inappropriate just for the novelty factor. YES!

Practice emotional cliff diving. Settle for half-baked relationships. Be the side-chick, the mistress, the friend with benefits. Sleep with your exes. Date guys with homes that look like the set of the latest Seth Rogan movie. Do all these things even though you know you want more. YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

In the early point in my twenties I feel like I just let life happen to me. I said “yes” to so many things that at times I felt like I was Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole towards whatever new self-created chaos awaited me.

Eventually I learned that being alone felt so much better than having to deal with the fall-out of my bad choices. Somewhere in the later half of my twenties, it became so much easier to just say “NO” to situations that didn’t make me feel good.

Being 30 is about saying “NO” to all of that stuff that just no longer makes any sense.

Being 30 is about packing light. It’s about recognizing which people and things you should include in your life and which you shouldn’t. It’s about knowing what is a worthwhile use of your time. It’s about recognizing that if an opportunity seems less than awesome…its probably because it is. It’s about knowing when its OK to just say “NO” because you’ve lived enough to know there will be other opportunities that are more worthwhile if you are patient.

Being 30 is about saying “NO” to beating yourself up over all of your transgressions in your twenties. For a long time I let myself feel bad about a lot of the less than stellar choices I made when I was younger. But, life goes on. You can’t change the past. If I hadn’t done some of this crazy stuff or made mistakes I did, I probably wouldn’t have much to write about and this blog would probably be pretty boring.

Being 30 is about “owning it” – acknowledging your experiences for what they are and sharing them with others. It’s about saying “This is me…and I am OK with me”

(If you want to read a really good post about “owning it” I suggest you read this post by one of my favorite bloggers)

Being 30 is also about saying “YES” to the right things. Saying “yes” to working hard at the things you are passionate about. Saying “yes” to spending time with people who you love and who inspire you to be the best version possible of you.

Whether you’re planning an all-night dance party with friends, or booking a trip to Vegas to party with 99 people you’ve never met, Being 30 is about saying YES to having fun, 100% on your own terms.

Being 30 is about being able to say without any hesitation or regret, “I’m not putting on those uncomfortable shoes and going to that bar. I’m going to stay home and write because you know what? I don’t care about your band

I don’t know if feeling any of this stuff is exclusive to “turning thirty”. I think all of you have/will come to similar conclusions at different points in your life. For me, 30 has been the age where I have felt these emotions the strongest.

What do you guys think? Has there been a certain period of your life where you felt different that you were before? Is that time now?

30 ways to turn 30

1. Take a last minute trip to Miami. You’ve been there once before when you were 19 but, you had a shitty time. Decide that this time, you are going to do Miami RIGHT.
2. When you get to Miami, check into your hotel, head straight to the beach and jump in the ocean. The water is warm and turquoise and feels wonderful.
3. Take off your bathing suit. The water feels so damn good and being naked feels even better. It feels SO amazing that you decide to make skinny dipping a daily ritual for the next 3 days.
4. Get approached by a very drunk (crazy?) man who is yelling at you in Spanish. Say to yourself, “There’s weirdos here too… but, I can’t understand 90% of what they saying. Cool!“. Later, learn what “Maricón” means.
5. Be a tourist and decide to take a photo in front of the same thing every day.

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6. Chill out at one of the beach side cafes on Ocean Drive. Accidentally order a $32 Mojito. Realize that the first lesson of your thirties should be: if the drinks on the menu have no prices attached to them, ASK before you order. Second lesson of your 30’s: a Mojito this large will give you the worst heartburn of your life.

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7. Stay at a chic but cheap art deco boutique hotel in South Beach, that has a lobby that inexplicably smells like cotton candy and tropical flowers. Sleep on 300 thread count sheets. Enjoy the small but cute courtyard pool, lounging beds and pool cabanas. Take photos like this even though in them you look entirely too serious to be on vacation.

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8. Realize that going to Miami in your thirties means NEVER having to hear the words “We could really save some money on hotels if we just slept on the beach” (um, yeah and have our organs harvested).
9. Say no to eating cereal in your hotel room or packing bologna sandwiches in your purse. EAT AT PROPER RESTAURANTS.
10. Get dressed up and go out every night, even if its just for drinks at one of the outdoor bars.

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11. Go to Dash boutique to see if you can spot any wayward Kardashians. Realize that Dash really only has a couple racks of clothes and mostly sells Kardashian brand bottled water. Weirdsies!

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12. Spend every day wandering around the art deco district, admiring the architecture and falling in love with how everything is painted in your favorite colors (turquoise! pink! white! bright blue sunny skies!). Come to the conclusion, that Miami is kind of surreal and beautiful and wacky and perfect.

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13. Wake up on your 30th birthday to the most beautiful sunny day. Eat breakfast at an outdoor cafe. Put on a striped dress. Go shopping on Lincoln Rd. Have lunch in the Historic Spanish Village. Find the most perfect store ever and vow that one day when you are rich you will buy everything inside.

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14. Enjoy birthday drinks IN THE POOL of your hotel. The drinks are free. Feel like a pimp.
15. On the night of your birthday, have your cabbie drop you off at a “mystery location” (because restaurant/club choice #1 was closed due to 9/11). Realize when you stumble out of the cab, that he has dropped you off at Gloria Estefan’s club. Laugh a little because little does anyone know, you were a huge Miami Sound Machine fan as a kid. Remember the days when used to “do the conga” in the living room, as Much Music played on the TV and your mom made Borscht in the kitchen. Laugh even harder when you realize you’re going to spending the first night of your 30’s in a place called “BONGOS“.
16. Hear DJ Africa. Shake it to reggaeton, dance outside while overlooking Miami Bay. Realize that when it comes to throwing a party, Miami puts Toronto to SHAME. Develop an deeper appreciation for the musical styling of Pitbull.
17.Wear as little clothes as possible. Everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t you?
18. Eat lots and lots of Cuban food. Decide that you really like Ropa Vieja and Shrimp Creole (with yucca on the side). Make it a point to try it everywhere you go to see who makes it best. Also eat a disturbing number of Empanadas.
19. Go to Bayside to check out the free music and eat more Cuban food. Have one of the best Mojitos of your life.
20. Drive through Little Havana (Calle Ocho) on a scooter as the sun is setting. Realize that two white people on a scooter that says “RENT ME” across the windshield basically screams out “We’re jackasses. Please rob us“. Decide not to drive the scooter into Little Haiti as planned.
21. Learn to ride the rented scooter. It’s so much fun…until you almost crash it into a parked car. But still, its A LOT OF FUN. Make note: buy scooter.
22. SWEAT A LOT. Miami is hot.

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23. Hear one of the best lines of the weekend: “I used to be part of the Wu-Tang clan” (Um, yeah)
24. See shirts like this everyday. Debate between buying this one and the one that says “I’M IN MIAMI TRICK”. Buy neither. Take a photo instead.

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25. Have cocktails at an outdoor bar that has a POOL. Feel like you’re in a hip hop video.
26. Smoke a cigar. You’re 30. You’re allowed to do this kind of stuff.

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27. Wear a bright pink dress that you originally bought when you were 18 because it still fits and really… it’s bright pink – where else are you going to wear it but South Beach?!

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28. Get invited to a party on the roof top of a hotel that overlooks South Beach. On the roof there are waterfalls and beds. Spend the rest of the night lounging, listening to the DJ spin Deep House tracks and looking out at the Atlantic Ocean.
29. Have a total Liz Lemon moment at the airport when you simultaneously try to speed eat two Cuban sandwiches and two empanadas before going through security.
30. Conclude that even though you have more lines on your face, you are very happy that you are no longer the 19 year old girl who came to Miami the first time.

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BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.

Secrets & Bikinis & Other Pretty Things


Lack of blogging this week has mostly been due to the fact that I’ve been sick. Today I went to the doctor’s where I found out that I probably have some kind of chest infection. This would explain why yesterday I was coughing so much that I was having problems breathing properly. Not fun. The upside is that I temporarily have a sexy (?) raspy voice a la phone sex operator. Although in reality I think its less phone sex and more very nasal female Darth Vader which is slightly less hot.


Aside from not feeling 100% this past week has been full of good “firsts”:

1. I tried my very first Long Island Ice Tea (I can’t believe I’ve never tried one before. Isn’t this the kind of drink you order when you’re 19?!)

2. I learned how to BBQ and change a propane tank all by myself without setting my eyebrows on fire (also something I should have learned to do a long time ago).

3. Went to my first un-official “Tweet-up” where I met Reggie Ramone & Dashingfactor, who might I add are hilarious in person. Lots of traumatic dating stories were swapped over drinks. The highlight of the night was when I re-told Zoe’s story of “The guy who rinsed out his condom” -Quite possibly the best tale of Sex-Gone-Wrong that you’ll ever read.

AND….

4. I had my first professional article (as in I got paid to write it!) published on 29 secrets. You can click on the logo below to read the article:



I’m really excited to be working with 29 secrets and will keep you guys posted on my future articles. I’m also totally excited that this means I can officially cross off item #1 from my Birthday List.

Because I am too sick today to write about what I wanted to write about (more disturbing tales from my personal life) I’m going to share with you a few things I am EXCITED ABOUT.

(in hopes that putting some positivity out there will heal my body)

Going to THIS event tomorrow evening. I’m not a huge fan of the SATC movies. I loved the series but really didn’t feel like they needed to make a movie, let alone two movies. This is just a good excuse to get dressed up in cocktail attire, ridiculous shoes & to sip martinis (or maybe some healthier alternative in my case). Plus, Valerie from I’m Charming You is going to be there & I can’t wait to meet her! Is there anyone else from the blogosphere attending this event?

Dolce Vita‘s clothing and shoe line. Have you ever walked into a store and said to yourself “I would wear everything in here“? That’s how I felt when I went into the Dolce Vita store in Venice Beach. Their whole collection has this really great sophisticated & laid back vibe and is extremely wearable. Relaxed silk rompers (like the one below) are exactly the kinds of things I want to be wearing this summer.


This bathing suit. I saw it at the Roxy Store in LA and haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. At the time I convinced myself that I didn’t “need” it. (I have a drawer at home dedicated just to my bathing suit collection. Case and point) But, now I kick myself for not buying it. I must find a way to make this pretty coral bikini MINE.




I heard THIS song by Toro Y Moi in a skate shop in Santa Monica and fell in love. I love the 80’s inspired synths. This is the perfect sunny day, hanging out on your patio song.


This huge sense of urgency I’m feeling. My 30th birthday is coming up in 3 months and there is so much I want to do. There are jobs to go after. Trips to be planned. Writing to be done. Nude Swimming to be arranged. This is a good feeling because it is pushing me forward towards the things that I want to accomplish.


What are YOU excited about? Tell me something good!

I don’t want things to be like this anymore


OK, so here is what I have wanted to write about for a few days but haven’t been able to get out. Call it writers block or fear of “outing myself” (although you’d think I would have gotten over that by now). Here it goes:

Bedtimes have never been easy for me. My Mom always says that since childhood I have “always had a hard time letting the day go”. I was a really creative, energetic kid. I loved making art projects, building things, reading books and playing imaginary games. There was always so much stuff I wanted to do. I never wanted to go to bed. If there was more of the day left I wanted to keep experiencing it. Also, I was a bit afraid of sleep. What scared me most was the idea that I was losing control of my body, that it was slipping into the unknown, an unconscious state. I blame part of this fear on Catholicism. “If I should die before I wake”–although my family wasn’t really religious, that prayer always scared the crap out of me. A lot of nights I would lie awake in bed fearing that moment of letting go. I’d figure out a million reasons to get up out of bed: another glass of water, another 5 trips to the bathroom, did I remember to brush my teeth? These behaviors just increased my anxiety. I’d start to worry that I hadn’t fallen asleep yet and that I’d be tired for school in the morning. Because of my nocturnal activities I’d often wake up with puffiness and little dark circles under my eyes. I was deeply ashamed of my puffy eyes (which seemed way worse to me as a 7 or 8 year old than they probably ever were) because I felt like all the other kids could read on my face that there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t normal, that I didn’t get as much sleep as a kid my age should. Worst of all I felt like my behavior was out of my control.

As an adult I still sometimes have problems setting down at night or as my Mom says “letting the day go”. It doesn’t help that I actually really enjoy night time–especially living in a big city, things are quiet and peaceful at night. This is the time of the day I love to read and write in my journal. I have learned to control my behavior to a certain extent so that I can sleep better. I usually read before bed until my eyes are starting to close. Unless I’m extremely stressed about something or have had an excessive amount of caffeine that day, once I’m in bed I tend to stay in bed.

With that said, something changed about 2 years ago. My bedtime anxiety seems to be much less frequent but, when I do have anxiety it is MUCH MUCH WORSE. Instead of just getting up a few times before settling down to sleep, I’ll lie there wide awake, unable to sleep at all. My heart will start beating loudly and quickly. And if things get really bad, my whole body will get this horrible shaky feeling, like my nervous system has gone into overdrive and every nerve is firing at the same time. If I actually manage to get any sleep, I wake up feeling pretty horrible. But, still I’ll force myself to get up and do whatever I need to do, large espresso beverage in hand.

The worst part: this ONLY happens when I have something important to do the next day (an interview, an early flight for a business trip, starting a new job). My anxiety only happens on these specific occasions and only before bedtime.

During the day time I never get anxiety attacks. I pretty much take things as they come and go about my day. I don’t get nervous about going to social events, meeting new people or public speaking. People often tell me that I’m “laid back” (I guess I’m a better actress than I thought). I don’t want people to think there is something wrong with me so I keep my experiences with anxiety to myself.

I wish I could be one of those people who just rolled over, turned off the light and went to sleep. I always thought that that type of person would be the best kind of person to be. It has rarely been this simple for me. When I hear stories of people like Michael, taking extreme measures to fall asleep (ie having a doctor inject you with an anesthetic), I GET THAT. I’ve been there. Sometimes I just want someone to KNOCK ME OUT.

I’ve tried to pinpoint WHY things changed 2 years ago. Around this time I started working in my last position that I had with my former company. It was very stressful and it made me very unhappy. I know that work definitely contributed to my anxiety levels but, I can’t say it CAUSED it. The only other thing I can think of is that back in 2007 I started taking hydromorphone (after a dental surgery that resulted in bad complications). I took it again following a serious back injury in 2008. I’ve read that because Opiates give you an intense release of endorphins, when you stop taking them one of the side effects is increased anxiety. However, I never abused the drug and was only on it for about 1-2 months in both cases (and haven’t taken it since). Therefore, I think its unlikely that I’m still having side effects.

Its only recently that I have started telling a few people about my issues with anxiety. And, its only recently that I’ve admitted to myself that this is a real problem. At first I tried to ignore it, but now its obvious that its effecting my life in a negative way. On Monday morning I woke up for my important job interview (for a job I really, really want) after a restless night of feeling like a Monster Truck was driving through my nervous system. I had to face reality: THIS ISN’T WORKING AND I DON’T WANT THIS ANYMORE.

I WANT THIS TO CHANGE. This has to change.

This is my latest edition, (a very important one) to my “Before 30 List”: Find out why I am anxious and find a way to deal with it. Because I don’t want to live the rest of my life feeling like this. Its holding me back.

I haven’t figured out how I am going to approach this. Counselling? Self Help? Medication? Yoga? A combination of all of the above? I’m hesitant to go the medication route because I no longer like the idea of putting extra stuff in my body. However, I am open minded. Point blank, I just want to overcome this. I’m tired.

I also want to stop feeling like I am the only person in the world who feels like this. That’s why I’m admitting this to you guys today. The girl with the dark circles under her eyes needs to come out of hiding.

Last confession of the day: I feel way more NAKED after writing THIS entry than after revealing all kinds of details about my sex life on here. Funny isn’t it?

So, in my question today is: Is there anyone else out there? Have you experienced the same thing? Does anyone have any advice on how to approach dealing with this?


SEX


When I randomly stumbled across this photo tonight I realized that I need to add something to “my before 30 list“:

Read Madonna’s Sex book.

I know this seems like a weird thing to add, but let me give you some background information. I was a HUGE Madonna fan as a kid & early teen. Anyone who knew me back then can testify: my room was covered in posters and I had a Madonna scrap book that I think is still kicking around somewhere in my Mom’s storage room. Most importantly I had all her tapes (and then eventually CDs). I knew all the words to all the songs and used to make up dance routines (usually based on the real choreography) to an audience of zero in my pink bedroom. I was Twelve in 1992 when her book Sex came out. My Mom apprehensively allowed me to purchase her Erotica album (released at the same time), but obviously the Sex book was completely off limits.

I was always curious about this mysterious book. However, this was long before the days of the internet–the only way to see what was inside it would have been to purchase it. Purchasing it was out of the question. The book was wrapped and stored behind the desk at the bookstore, only available for purchase if you were over the age of 18. I’m sure I could have got my hands on it if I had been really resourceful. Rumor had it that a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend baby-sat for a couple who had a copy. This girl had read the book cover to cover. We decided she was a legend but also a “total PERV”. Although I was a precocious teen, I was also a good kid and I knew that this book was off limits for a reason. Plus, I didn’t want to be a “total perv” that like chick or the weird couple who owned it. Now looking back, I’m pretty sure neither party actually existed.

By the time I was actually old enough to buy the book, my interest in Madonna had waned and I had long forgotten about it.

I wasn’t until I saw that photo tonight that I was reminded that I never DID read it. But why?

It all seems kind of ridiculous now. I think it falls in the same category as skinny dipping (in the literal sense of the word). It seems like something I should have done but haven’t (despite having done much crazier things). Maybe I haven’t read the book because part of me still doesn’t feel like an adult.

So, before I turn 30 in September, I’m going to go out and find a copy of the book (preferably purchase my own copy), rip off the silver condom wrapper style packaging and read it cover to cover.

Although I’m not that into Madonna’s newer music or what’s she’s up to lately, she is still an iconic part of my growing up. Looking back, her strong, independent, no holds bared attitude towards sex has shaped the way I see my own sexuality to a certain extent. I owe it to myself to read the book.

Be an adult.

Read it. Hopefully enjoy it. Cross it off the list.

(Just don’t tell my mom)


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