Why Turning 30 Doesn’t Actually Suck

Why Turning 30 Doesn’t Actually Suck

Right before I turned 25, I had a massive quarter-life crisis. (Because who doesn’t this day and age?) I was deeply afraid of getting older, which was rooted in the idea, that I thought my life was increasingly passing me by. At that moment, I believed I would never make more than my measly nonprofit salary, that I would be stuck where I was forever, and that I would end up a spinster with eight cats. One night in particular stands out in my mind. It was two weeks before my big 2-5, and my baby brother was visiting me in DC. We were celebrating at a Christmas party, and after several drinks, I started tipsy-crying about my life being over, because I was turning 25. My sweet, just turned 21 year old, brother walked me home in the freezing weather trying to convince me otherwise.

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On the metro in DC with my brother right before my quarter life crisis took on full force. His facial expression says it all – he has no clue how to deal with me.

By the time we returned to my house, he had even less of a clue as to how to deal with my breakdown and went to get one of my roommates/best friends. Having recently turned 25, she tried rationalizing all the reasons my life would not end, simply because I was growing older. Of course I didn’t believe her. I now look back at my 25th year as one of the most important so far. As painful as some of those moments in 2009 were, it’s the year I met and fell in love with Eric, the year I co-founded Collective Action for Safe Spaces, and it is a year marked with an immense amount of personal growth.

Looking back on that year, I can now see, that I had two choices to make:

1.) I could continue to wallow about getting older or; 2.) I could take action. At the time, I didn’t realize I was making a choice between the two.

The idea of turning 30 used to scare me. But I’ve realized when you are fully living, age isn’t scary. Getting older is actually a beautiful process.

One of the things Eric taught me early in our relationship was, that age is just a number. (If you ask him how old he is, he’ll probably turn to me and say “Babe, how old am I this year?” Because he truly does not keep track of his age.) The result – people always think he is at least five years younger than he actually is. I’ve been 30 for just over three months, and I’ve loved every second of it. Even the shitty moments. My mom used to tell me there is wisdom in age, which caused me to roll my eyes at her. My mom is right though, there is wisdom in age.

Here are some of the realizations that made me actually appreciate getting older:

1.) Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to write-off all the ways they wronged you. You can take time to process and then rebuild. There are people in my life I thought I’d never forgive, let alone re-build a relationship with. What I’ve learned is, that sometimes when you open the door of acceptance and forgiveness just a crack, the other person might surprise you.

2.) There is so much of our past within our present. And that is OK. I feel strongly, that we should always strive for living in the present. But there is no way to deny our past. It is in us, it makes us who we are, and there is no way to run from it. This means we have to learn how to accept the past, make sense of it, and integrate it into who we are. The life experiences from your past make you unique. We all have shitty-shit in our past. It doesn’t have to define the rest of your life.

3.) When both people in a relationship truly love each other and are willing to do the tough work to compromise when necessary in building a life together, you can get over almost anything. There are certain things I believed relationships could never survive- until I experienced a healthy, committed relationship. People who love one another are capable of hurting each other. But when both people are willing to own up to their mistakes and do the necessary work, a relationship can recover and even become stronger. It’s never easy, and it sometimes takes a lot of therapy and healthy amounts of communication, but the hard work is worth it. In my younger days, I thought the “right” relationship was “right”, because it was easy. Now I realize how wrong I was. A committed relationship takes much more than just love, passion, and ease to make it work.

4.) Just because your metabolism slows down doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. I was recently joking with a woman, who also just turned 30, about how we used to eat anything we wanted, and never workout, without gaining a pound. But you know what? I had my fair plethora of SUPER unhealthy body image issues in my 20s. At times, I abused diet pills, and I sure as hell wasn’t worried about what I was putting in my body. The realization that I am not exempt from the dreaded metabolism slow down, has forced me to contemplate my body image in healthier ways. I think about the things I eat. I’ve found fun ways to workout that I actually enjoy, and I have a slightly better view of my body. I also look back on pictures of my early to mid 20s and call myself crazy for thinking I was fat. Lesson of the day – in 10 years, I will look back on pictures of me in my 30s and call myself crazy for thinking I was fat. So find ways to accept your body now and focus on being healthy- not skinny.

5.) Connection and community are vital to a healthy existence. I started to realize this, when I was doing community organizing and activism work in DC. I began to recognize how important the strength of a community was in order to affect greater societal change. This also translates to each of us as individuals. Your own personal sense of community is important. The world is a much better place, when you have the support and love of friends and family. If you crave community connection, go out and seek it. Also, it is OK to cut out the negative/toxic relationships in your life. Just try not to burn bridges, because you never know what the future holds, and how your life interactions can come back to haunt you. Eric loves to quote Mark Twain to me, whenever I start stressing about my age:

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

And you know what, he is right. It’s never EVER too late for you to make healthy changes. It’s never too late for you to accept who you are and appreciate your body. The number is not important, but how you life your life with integrity ensuring your values and action s are in alignment. Work everyday to live a fulfilled life. Take action instead of waiting for things to happen. When you allow your life to be guided by these standards, then you will discover, that age truly doesn’t matter.

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It’s Only A First Draft

It’s Only A First Draft

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For the last seven months, I worked with several clients to help them develop their writing skills, craft blog posts, create social media content, and pitch articles – all while I was falling deeper and deeper into the depths of my own dark hole of writer’s block.

Here’s a glimpse into my wordless world:

Me: “OK. Today, I’m going to write. I will write EVERY day for at least an hour, and it’s going to be awesome.”
While in the shower lathering my hair: Words are freely flowing through my mind. I mean, I’ve practically written out the entire blog post in my head. All I have to do is sit down and type it up. I think, “OK. I’ve got this!”
Sitting down at my laptop I think: Where oh where did those words go? Vanished. I have nothing to say, nothing to write. What the crap am I doing with my life?
The rest the day: I spend the remaining part of the day writing for my clients and not myself: “Why can’t I do this for my own work? Dammit.”

Then it starts over with me going to bed promising myself, tomorrow will be the day, that I finally write again.

Countless blog posts and business projects have been sucked into this black hole such as:

29 Things I Learned From My 29th Year
Death’s Ability to Transform
Why Work/Life Balance Doesn’t Actually Exist

…along many more.

I’ve learned a lot during this process. We start these negative cycles, and they feel nearly impossible to break. Nearly. What I know now is that we are our own source of biggest resistance, but it can be challenging to recognize this when we are in the thick of it.

And that’s where I was…in the thick of it all.

2013 was by far the hardest year of my life. It wore me down, beat me up, and spit me out so often, that I felt as if there was nothing left inside. I started to question EVERYTHING. Life, death, love, what I was doing, and my purpose.

Here I was, planning my dream wedding, traveling the world, and getting to do the work I loved in amazing places like the jungles of Costa Rica. I was living the life Eric and I had worked so hard to create, and yet, I felt miserable. I was lacking purpose. I felt a deep sense of loss of connection to myself and the world around me.

Then, sometime last fall, I came across this Rumi quote: “What you seek is seeking you.”

When I read those words, I felt things shift. It has since become a daily mantra for me. I often go through the day with this quote running through my mind on repeat.

“What you seek is seeking you. What you seek is seeking you. What you seek is seeking you.”

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Lessons from the Jungle: Creating Alignment In Your Life

Lessons from the Jungle: Creating Alignment In Your Life

 

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Practicing airplane pose at Blue Osa.

I just wrapped up a month of working and living in the jungles of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. I was there to help the incredible Blue Osa Yoga + Spa as they work to grow, while Eric helped them with their photography and videography needs.

Going into this opportunity, we had little expectations beyond the fact that it would be amazing to live in the jungle for a month, working alongside wonderful people, at a place we really believed in. What neither one of us realized is how much we would get back.

Just one day after our arrival we were invited to take part in the week long yoga retreat Flow, Align, & Restore.

When you are doing five hours of yoga a day for six days, it’s hard not to have multiple transformational moments and epiphanies on the mat.

The biggest transformative moment came to me after Alain (our fearless yoga leader) said this about alignment:

“When we align ourselves we provide a space for growth and change.”

Proper alignment in yoga is important to minimize the risk of injury, maintain the health of muscles, joints and internal organs. With each practice, you are stretching these parts within their limits and slowly building strength and flexibility. Without alignment we do not give ourselves the room to grow, change, and advance on the mat.

This led me to think about alignment off my mat and in life. I asked myself if my values are in alignment with the way I am living. I realized that there are some big areas in my life that are out of wack.

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Adventures in Online Surfing: women’s movement, dating, and worst case scenarios.

Adventures in Online Surfing: women’s movement, dating, and worst case scenarios.

Whoops. I missed last weeks “Adventures in Online Surfing”. Living in the jungles of Costa Rica and working for a yoga & spa has seriously messed with my sense of time.

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Working in the women’s movement for five years, I witnessed a whole lot of divisiveness between race, age, and class. Watching how the movement continually divided women lead me to become very disillusioned. And while, my feminism an activism is still a huge part of me, this disillusionment is one of the causes of me stepping away from my job as a director at a national women’s org. I’m so happy Mikki Kendall #solidarityisforwhitewomen is gaining attention and sparking a national conversation. I hope it’s the start of many larger conversations. Whether or not you consider yourself a feminist or work in the women’s movement I encourage your to read this article on Bitch Media.

My biggest takeaway came from this, “How accurately can mainstream feminism reflect the voices and experiences of all women when the loudest voices with the largest reach are white, educated, cisgender, heterosexual women who rarely, if ever, lift women of color up with them? White feminists who’ve carved out nice careers and comfortable livings thanks to a movement that excludes women of color, failing, in almost every instance, to understand intersectionality, instead relying on women of color, as Kendall tweeted, to be used as “teaching tools & resources, not actual people.”

A reminder for entrepreneurs out there who struggle with pricing and negative money mindsets around selling their work.

I’m obsessed with this project, 40 Days of Dating. If you haven’t already heard of it and need some entertainment, check it out.

Sometimes we just need a little bit of inspiration to give us a kick of motivation.

After traveling and living without certain things/trying to live with less so I can make more room in my life for what’s important, I totally respect this project.

If you are scared to make that big leap, here’s some inspiration for if those worst case scenarios come true.

What links where you reading this week? Share in the comments below.

Coming up next, we’ll be talking comfort zones, alignment, and how to decide what business to start.

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Flying Fearless: Why Taking Risks is Necessary

Flying Fearless: Why Taking Risks is Necessary

 

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I’m 10,000 feet high in the sky, flying above the Costa Rican jungles, gripping my fiancé’s hand so hard, I’m positive it’s going to break. As the plane jolts after hitting a major patch of turbulence, I look out the window at the storm clouds and I think to myself, this is it – we are going down. Thoughts of plummeting to my death in a fiery crash flash through my mind. What’s worse, if the crash doesn’t kill me, I’m sure something in those jungles will.

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I close my eyes and try to convince myself we are not going to die. That somehow I will survive this 45 minute death-defying plane ride, and it will all be worth it. My thoughts drift to Amelia Earhart. I think, if she can fly solo in the 20’s and 30’s, I can handle this flight.

Although Amelia Earhart disappeared during her attempt to circumnavigate the world, I find some comfort in the fact, that she died doing what drove her. She was on a mission and following one’s passion is always risky. The alternative of risk is that things will forever remain the same.

The plane is so small you can see everything the pilots are doing.

We all have to take various levels of risks in order to live the lives we want.

Yes, there is a chance I could die in a plane crash. But doesn’t the risk of it outweigh the alternative? If I never fly again, I’ll miss out on so many of the things I dream of accomplishing.

I can’t tell you that my anxiety completely disappeared before the plane landed. Being on the ground never felt so good.

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My ‘thank goodness I’m on the ground again’ look.

I also can’t tell you that I won’t freak out on the plane rides in my near future.

What I can tell you is that the two 45 minute plane rides in the small crop duster type airplanes I had to take to get to the Osa Peninsula were without a doubt 100% worth it.

Not only have the last two weeks been incredibly transformative for me, I have also meet some incredible people, made lifelong friends, saved baby sea turtles, participated in a week-long yoga retreat, trekked through the jungle, swam in the ocean, and have had the fortune to do the work I love the most by helping Blue Osa  with their marketing efforts.

So the next time you feel like the risk isn’t worth it, ask yourself about the alternative. What happens if you don’t take that risk?

I challenge you to look into the areas of your life, dig deep, and take a risk.

Start that business.
Book that trip.
Buy the one way plane ticket.
Go sky diving.
End that toxic relationship.
Go on a road trip.
Apply for a new job.
Ask for that raise.
Try the new thing you’ve always wanted to do.
Ask someone out.
Challenge yourself to do what you think you can’t.
Take a chance on love.
Go on a solo trip.
Make that move.

Whatever you do, just take a risk. It is in doing so that we can find the change, happiness, and fulfillment that we seek in our lives.

Remember that you don’t have to be fearless, you just have to have the courage to try.