This article was originally posted on mindbodygreen.
As I approach my 35th birthday, this article spoke to me. Enjoy and live, love, learn.
Today is my birthday. It seems like a good time to reflect. I've had some amazing life experiences, but learning from these experiences has been perhaps the most rewarding element of my life.
I used to think that being happy was everything. After all, I had overcome clinical depression, extreme anxiety, eating disorders, and drug addictions. Crawling through the darkness, I made happiness my full-time mission. But on the climb toward my 35th birthday, I’ve started to see beyond the happy.
I’ve learned the power of feeling my emotions instead of resisting, running from, or numbing myself to them.
I used to think goals were super important. They make effort seem rewarding. But sometimes when they come to fruition, we realize our achievements were more about the journey than the destination. Now, my "goal" is to embrace the journey and celebrate whatever experiences I have along the way.
I see the shift in my goals as a result of finally embracing my authentic self. Today, I can be happy even when I am sad. I no longer run from my sadness or moments of despair. I’ve learned the power of feeling my emotions instead of resisting, running from, or numbing myself to them.
In fact, self-awareness is the best gift I could ask for. But it came from me. It results from a constant dedication to self-improvement, whatever that means to me in a given moment. It comes from wanting to be better than I was before — not from a place of ego or fear but from compassion and self-love. When you truly love yourself, it's easier to see imbalances in your life.
When you can become your own friend, life is magnificent. And when you can allow yourself to be where you are, instead of where you think you should be, freedom prevails.
I’ve learned how to let go of expectations and allow myself to be more in the journey. The secret is to embrace each moment as if I had chosen it. Whatever the moment contains, there is a great gift awaiting discovery. The ups, the downs — it's all life. We can feel it all, and feeling is living.
35 things I've learned over my 35 years:
1. The more you love yourself, the easier it is to see imbalances in your life.
2. The key to getting anything you want is patience, timing, and trust.
3. The things we cling to out of fear prevent us from growing.
4. When you can allow yourself to be where you are instead of where you think you should be — or even where you want to be — freedom prevails.
5. What you are experiencing is part of a bigger life plan.
6. When you stop focusing on the problem, the problem tends to go away.
7. Feeling like you don’t have a choice is a choice.
8. The results we strive for aren't as valuable as the experiences along the way.
9. We may not always get what we want, but it will always be what we need.
10. One small step at a time consistently creates monumental results.
11. What is meant to be will always find a way.
12. What we resist in life will always persist.
13. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean either of you are wrong. Contrast brings clarity and compassion.
14. You can’t compare yourself to others and be happy at the same time.
15. Confidence comes through action. The more action steps we take, the more confident we will be.
16. Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.
17. All rejection is protection. It’s always this or something better.
18. There is timing to everything. If you are pushing and working hard and it isn’t flowing, it isn’t the right time.
19. Nothing is ever wasted. Everything you’ve done has put you closer to where you want to be (whether you know it or not).
20. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to anything. And there is no magic bullet.
21. Your heart knows the way. Trust it.
22. Your passion will lead you to your purpose.
23. Your dreams are the invisible architecture of your life. They matter.
24. Most of the time, the thing you're looking for comes to you when you stop looking.
25. It’s not selfish to follow your heart — it’s an act of respect and appreciation.
26. Gratitude brings abundance.
27. You always get what you focus on.
28. Most of the time we create our own suffering through expectations.
29. Insight is worthless unless you take action.
30. You always have enough time, money, and energy for what is truly most important to you.
31. Nature heals.
32. Joy is the best barometer for success. The more joy you feel, the more successful you are.
33. It’s OK to not know the answers. We learn the way on the way.
34. How you do anything is how you do everything. All parts of your life are connected.
35. Deep down, you already know the truth.
My mentor and dear friend Aimee who I've spoken about before has always been a beacon of positivity and strength. Through ups and downs (we chat daily), she has been a sounding board of intellect, compassion and wisdom. I would say from time to time "How are you so wise?" and "Wow, you really made me feel a lot better, thank you." She would answer that along with experiences that I had not yet been accustom to, she had someone helping her along her own path.
"A therapist?" I asked.
"No, a life coach," she said.
"Oh, interesting.....," I said.
As time went on and it was clear I wasn't easing up on myself for those things either out of my control or within my control, I decided that with Aimee's blessing I wanted to give this life coach a try.
IT REMAINS THE BEST DECISION OF 2016.
I set up my first call with Danielle Dailey, who has an array of clients from all over the world. Danielle Dailey is a Certified Life Coach from Quantum Success Coaching Academy (QSCA), which bases its curriculum on the Law of Attraction and was certified in 2011 as a Licensed Heal Your Life® teacher based on the philosophy of renowned motivational author, Louise Hay. Through her company, Dailey Life Coaching, Danielle leads workshops and works with clients one-on-one to help them manifest their best life through positive visual imagery and self-acceptance.
I told Danielle that I needed to work on my self-love. For too long, I've allowed external circumstances influence my outlook or dictate my mood. Sure, everyone has bad days now and then but I was beating myself up relentlessly with feelings of hurt, pain and guilt. Before long, I was allowing those feelings to consume me daily, only causing more hurt. Basically, I was my own worst enemy.
"Are you really ready to switch the way you have been treating yourself your entire life?" said Danielle.
"Absolutely. I can't live like this anymore," I said.
And then the work began. And it has helped me manifest what I want out of my life: unconditional love, positivity and joy. Danielle hears my affirmations daily and those I AM, I TRUST, I DESERVE statements have certainly helped me transcend those words into a life free of judgement, fear and negativity.
It's a work in progress. You don't automatically retrain your brain and behaviors overnight. But with Danielle's guidance, I'm certainly making strides.
She sent me this a few days ago and I wanted to share it because it is so powerful in how we approach self-love.
People can encourage you to feel loveable, but they can’t make you feel loveable. Making sure you feel loveable is your job, not someone else’s. The more you get to know yourself, the more you know what makes you happy. And the more you do what you love, the more your life turns out just the way you want it too. There is so much more to life than trying to be someone else’s idea of who you are. Life is all about having fun, but first we must let go of self-judgement and false beliefs of what we should be.
This post is dedicated to Aimee and Danielle, two beacons of light in my life. Thank you.
I was chatting with my colleagues, Barry and Mady, today about how "cool" we were in our 20s. We had a good chuckle and I wanted to document it because it is pretty damn funny if I say so myself.
20s: Only accept VIP invites to a club and hang out with the Black Eyed Peas, RiRi and Chris Brown.
30s: Only accept wine as my drink of choice and hang out solo or with a friend - two at most.
20s: Spend the weekend at the pool with girlfriends, music blaring, flirting with boys and drinks.
30s: Spend the weekend staining my fence, weeding, or shopping at Costco and Lowe's.
20s: Meet cute boys out at bars or clubs and have one month flings, only to move on to the next.
30s: Swipe right for future boyfriend and if you are lucky, maybe future 6-month boyfriend.
20s: Make it a point when going out to make men pay for your drinks or get them for free from "industry friends."
30s: Live comfortably and pay for your own drinks (and maybe his) because you're a #girlboss.
20s: Accompany celebrities to the Vanity Fair party after the Oscars.
30s: Accompany my CEO to a tech interview after pitching media all day.
20s: Take vacations every weekend to Hilton Head, Miami, Key West or Chicago.
30s: Take vacations when your family plans and pays for them.
20s: Go out for drinks: Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays.
30s: Get out of the house Friday and maybe Saturday if you're lucky.
20s: Have Michael Yo, Giuliana Rancic and the stylists of Gossip Girl on speed dial.
30s: Have handyman, plumber and Dad on speed dial.
20s: Own a few nice pieces of furniture and spend most money on clothing and going out.
30s: Own a few nice pieces of clothing and spend most money on home furnishings and improvement.
20s: Tell your therapist, "I'm SO boy crazy, I have no idea what's wrong with me!"
30s: Tell your therapist, "I realize I really do want a boyfriend when I have stuff to do around the house like pressure washing."
20s: Have TV watching parties with girlfriends when Sex & the City, Laguna Beach and Temptation Island air.
30s: Watch Law & Order: SVU, Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley episodes alone.
20s: Get carded.
30s: Get carded. (Had to put this one in here!)
I'm the first one to tell you that if you are passionate enough about learning a new skill or field, the only way you're going to get the experience you need is to jump in head first.
Following my departure from TV news and the field of broadcast journalism, I did so first with public relations. I didn't have a PR degree nor did I have any previous experience of working in-house at a fashion, e-commerce or tech company. But that didn't stop me (and many former journalists!) to learn the ropes.
6 years later and I'm doing the exact same thing with business development. Here are my tips to increase your chance of leveraging yourself into a new department alongside an already very successful operating unit.
1. Recognize it. In 2014, I realized that I had a passion for BD. At that time, it was that self-awareness that got me thinking about a potential new skill set. Shout out to Blake Barrett for being the individual who had me intrigued.
2. Timing is everything. You are best set up for success if you are able to contribute to what the company needs from you. Being hired for a particular role should encourage you to knock it out of the park in that capacity. You can't explore other opportunities if you don't have meteoric success in the role for which you were hired.
3. Get the right support. There will be those who tell you "you can't" and others who will tell you, "you can." Listen to the ones who say "you can" and find the support you need to be successful in that particular skill or field. If you don't have the confidence or support to do the role, it will be difficult to break in.
4. Get in the game. Almost immediately after I received support from my COO and the BD team, I jumped right in. I started sitting in on calls with business development directors, reading contracts and learning product work-flows. (I can say that the time spent negotiating agreements has been by far the most interesting!)
5. Do it. After I felt well-versed enough in the product roadmap, value proposition and implementation, I started actively looking for new opportunities and partners on my own.
Well, it has been a mere four months and I'm proud to say I've closed my first retail partnership and led an internal business development program (you'll hear about on August 9th!) that has been one of my most ambitious activities to date.
So as my favorite childhood poet, Shel Silverstein said:
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
Its been a year since my Papoo passed away. It doesn't feel like a year, more like a month. I still think of him every day and can feel his hand holding mine. Each time I drive around the Eastside, out of habit I grab for my phone to call Papoo.
I know he would be incredibly proud of me this past year and wish he could have seen the exciting things happening in our family. For me personally, it was buying my first home and becoming a director at Porch while taking on business development responsibilities.
With a big grin on his face he would have said "My darling girl, who loves you?"
Papoo, I miss you.
You may have heard these statements before from family or friends. I know I have. Kudos to Jennifer Aniston for emphasizing to the world that her path is her's and her's alone. Women are too often scrutinized solely on the choices they do or do not make maritally or maternally.
"You don't want children? Are you really that selfish?"
"Still single huh? You just haven't met the right one"
"Don't you want to get married?"
"Living with someone is a big mistake. Men will just use you and never marry you."
It's 2016. Stop defining us (and I mean me as well) based on our marital and/or maternal status. Take a look around at women making incredible achievements in the fields of politics, technology, and more and CELEBRATE us - don't tear us down or question our path.
We may have our FIRST female president in Hillary Clinton.
A friend, Amanda, has co-founded a company dedicated to delivering products to the developing world.
My boss and Porch's Chief Operating Officer leads our partnership with a Fortune 50 company, Lowe's.
One of the richest women in the world, Oprah, has changed media.
Let me start by saying that addressing gossip is something I have never done. I don’t like to give energy to the business of lies, but I wanted to participate in a larger conversation that has already begun and needs to continue. Since I’m not on social media, I decided to put my thoughts here in writing.
For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of “journalism,” the “First Amendment” and “celebrity news.”
Every day my husband and I are harassed by dozens of aggressive photographers staked outside our home who will go to shocking lengths to obtain any kind of photo, even if it means endangering us or the unlucky pedestrians who happen to be nearby. But setting aside the public safety aspect, I want to focus on the bigger picture of what this insane tabloid ritual represents to all of us.
If I am some kind of symbol to some people out there, then clearly I am an example of the lens through which we, as a society, view our mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, female friends and colleagues. The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty. Sometimes cultural standards just need a different perspective so we can see them for what they really are — a collective acceptance... a subconscious agreement.
We are in charge of our agreement. Little girls everywhere are absorbing our agreement, passive or otherwise. And it begins early. The message that girls are not pretty unless they’re incredibly thin, that they’re not worthy of our attention unless they look like a supermodel or an actress on the cover of a magazine is something we’re all willingly buying into. This conditioning is something girls then carry into womanhood. We use celebrity “news” to perpetuate this dehumanizing view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance, which tabloids turn into a sporting event of speculation. Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical “imperfection”?
The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing. I used to tell myself that tabloids were like comic books, not to be taken seriously, just a soap opera for people to follow when they need a distraction. But I really can’t tell myself that anymore because the reality is the stalking and objectification
I’ve experienced first-hand, going on decades now, reflects the warped way we calculate a woman’s worth.
This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status.
The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time... but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children. In this last boring news cycle about my personal life there have been mass shootings, wildfires, major decisions by the Supreme Court, an upcoming election, and any number of more newsworthy issues that “journalists” could dedicate their resources towards.
Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.
We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies.
I have grown tired of being part of this narrative. Yes, I may become a mother some day, and since I’m laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let you know. But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe. I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.” Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being congratulated by friends, coworkers and strangers alike on one’s fictional pregnancy (often a dozen times in a single day).
From years of experience, I’ve learned tabloid practices, however dangerous, will not change, at least not any time soon. What can change is our awareness and reaction to the toxic messages buried within these seemingly harmless stories served up as truth and shaping our ideas of who we are. We get to decide how much we buy into what’s being served up, and maybe some day the tabloids will be forced to see the world through a different, more humanized lens because consumers have just stopped buying the bullshit.
Wow, did this article speak to me. Kudos to the writer for being so incredibly transparent. I highlighted in bold the conversations I have had with myself or another party. Despite the fact I've never married, I certainly share the same sentiment as the writer as she self reflects on her role in and out of partnerships.
This article originally posted on the New York Times.
By: Karen Rinaldi
By the time I was 33, I had already been married and divorced twice. There were no regrets. I loved each man I married and carry with me great affection for them still, even though the end of each union came with its own pain.
My first marriage fell apart when my husband’s struggle with sexual identity manifested itself in lies that eroded my trust and ultimately ended his life.
It was the early days of the AIDS epidemic. When he discovered he was H.I.V. positive, he lied to me about his secret life with anonymous men and blamed his infection on my previous boyfriend.
He admitted the truth only after we received the good news that I had tested negative. I was tested every six months for the next two years and lived with the terror that I would seroconvert. We divorced, but he asked me to be the keeper of his tortured secret, and we remained close until the day he died just before his 33rd birthday.
I married my second husband after only one date. I had been so wrong about my first, I wondered: What would happen if I married someone I didn’t know?
I was testing the universe.
He was handsome, strong, accomplished and funny. But after a few years of dating backward (we married without knowing each other and spent the next three years becoming familiar and intimate), I realized I couldn’t live with him. He was possessive, and my need for freedom didn’t make for a secure marriage. He referred to me as “my wife” even when speaking to my own father.
Besides the two marriages, I cohabitated with two other men and dated others. A serial monogamist, I found that at every turn I was constrained by issues of, well, maleness. There was a kind of inherent dominance that tipped the balance of power away from me, and I often felt I was playing a role.
Money was often a factor in these early relationships, and eventually I came to believe in these unassailable truths:
1. If the man made more money, then you were doing things his way.
2. If he was broke, he resented your ability to support him.
3. If there was economic parity, he made sure you knew who was really the boss.
Once, when I was breaking up with a long-term boyfriend, my therapist asked me why I was anxious. “Is it because you are afraid you will be alone?” he asked.
“No,” I told him. “It’s the opposite. I am afraid we’ll break up and there will be another right behind him.”
My mother tried to figure it out as well. “Why have you had so many failed relationships?” she asked.
“You see them as failed,” I told her. “I see them as successful, but finite.”
It was the finite part that felt most right. She has been married to my father for 60 years, which some may call successful. While I love my parents dearly and respect their endurance, I didn’t want to repeat their dynamic.
She had a lifelong fear that he would cheat on her. He monitored all of her spending. He had a social life outside of the house. She didn’t do anything without him. Their marriage was based on an age-old patriarchy, and they didn’t see anything wrong with it. I did not wish to live my life similarly.
Once my second husband moved out, I was resolute about never getting married again. I bought myself a coveted band of gold with sapphires from my favorite jeweler that I put on my left ring finger and wear to this day.
I cherished living in my village apartment alone; lovers could come and go as I pleased. There were no schedules or egos to contend with. I was happy. Resolved only to having children, I needed a plan.
I was already supporting myself. I figured I would manage as well with a child, so the idea of being provided for was moot. Besides, I preferred having my own money and therefore my own agency.
The notion of protection was not only outdated and unnecessary, it was an idea that had failed more than it had succeeded, both historically — men have never really been able to protect women from other men — and personally. As far as procreation, I needed a second gamete and I would be on my way to motherhood.
I called a friend and asked: “What’s a man for, really? If not to provide, protect or procreate, why do we need them? Face it, it’s the end of men.”
She laughed and admitted it was a confusing time. After many long conversations with her, I decided to conceive with a willing gay friend and committed to being a single parent. The only questions he and I had to decide on were: To baste or not to baste? Or do we do it the old-fashioned way?
Because life does not work according to plan, I then fell in love — most inconveniently — with a man who was married and had a family. We had grown close as confidantes. As a friend, he told me about the problems in his marriage and difficulties in his career as a writer. I told him of my frustration with coupledom and my plans to parent alone.
The fact of his marriage was initially a welcome barrier to the possibility of a romantic relationship. Once we became lovers, he told me he didn’t want me to have a child with my gay friend. Instead, he wanted me to have a child with him and share our lives together. An affair I had entered blithely had turned messy and emotionally wrought.
That shouldn’t have come as a surprise: What affair isn’t messy and emotionally wrought? But it shattered my sense of certitude about what I wanted. I had finally shaken the binds of convention I had been raised to accept. Now this.
My father interjected this time and asked, “Why do you make your life so complicated?”
I only objected to the word “make.” I wasn’t trying to complicate things; I was trying to simplify them by figuring out something essential that eluded me. What did I need a man for?
Clearly I kept coming back around to that strong pull, one I couldn’t reason away. Was it an atavistic urge? An evolutionary imperative? I didn’t buy that.
Still, my attraction to men and my desire for a deeper connection with a partner was as unavoidable as my need to breathe. I loved living life by following my own compass, and yet somehow this had entangled me in a monogamous relationship again, one with major consequences.
I still had doubts that women and men could live together in anything approaching harmony. We had a long way to go to become equals, both in the world and in the home.
And the historical and political implications were personal for me. I was certain of three things: I didn’t want a husband, I did want a child, and I wasn’t sure how it all stacked up.
Twenty years and two children later, I am still with that same man. I don’t need him, but I want him in my life. He doesn’t protect me from others, only from my worst instincts. And as far as procreating, well, we did it the old-fashioned way and that will never get old. When I made him promise never to propose marriage, he said, “O.K. … ”
Ironically, six or seven years into our relationship, our accountant persuaded us to head to the town hall. Marrying allowed us to capture the tax benefits that marriage confers.
My husband and I still don’t know the year and date of our civil ceremony without consulting our marriage certificate, wherever it is.
We have shared the joys of raising our two sons and his two daughters with balance and grace — except, of course, when we have failed to find either balance or grace. But we have muddled through.
I go to work every day and he stays home to write. He does laundry and cooks during the week. I do the same on the weekends. He takes care of our home. I pay the bills.
He is comfortable in his masculinity and doesn’t need to remind me of who is boss, because in our relationship there isn’t one. Our lives are shared at every level and I realize now what a man is for.
He is a true partner. He is a lover and a friend. He is the father of my children and the only one in the world who cares about the minutiae of their lives like I do.
What could be better than that?
I don't care how much you earn, I don't have any friends who pay full price for clothing and fashion these days. And it seems like we are not alone.
Today, according to CNN:
"Ralph Lauren (RL) was the latest big brand name consumer company to announce layoffs, saying on Tuesday that it was looking to cut about 1,200 jobs -- 8% of its full-time workforce. That news follows recent layoff announcements from Macy's (M), Nordstrom (JWN) and Walmart (WMT). Several other retailers -- including Gap (GPS), Sears (SHLD) and J.C. Penney (JCP) -- have announced plans to shut stores, which could lead to even more retail employees being let go. And then there are the bankruptcies. Pacific Sunwear and Aeropostale both filed for Chapter 11 protection in the past few months. And Sports Authority is going out of business. Much of the pain in retail is due to the upheaval in the apparel industry. According to data from the U.S. government, nearly 13,000 jobs have been lost at clothing and clothing accessories stores in the past three months."
A few year ago, I tallied up the amount of money I spent on clothing and almost threw up. My parents had always told me that that shopping for excess clothing was like throwing money down the toilet. It took me a decade or so to figure that out. Perhaps it was because I was in the fashion industry (or so I tell myself now)?
According to my Mint budget, my shopping habits have dramatically changed to furniture and home improvement vs. restaurants and clothing.
Like the economy and trends indicate, putting your money into real estate (buying a home) or remodeling an existing property will make you money, not lose you money.
Retail has changed. As long as we live in an Amazon Prime world, those retailers that accommodate the customer by offering unique services and competitive pricing will survive.
I truly don't know the last time I set foot in a mall. But I can count the last time I was spending hundreds of dollars at a Lowe's or Costco.
It's every weekend.