6. Ask Question. Listen.

On December 31, 2017, my grandmother passed away. She had 92 years of life and experience. She lived through prohibition, The Great Depression, World War II (and many others), the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement of the 1960’s, the birth of modern technology and so much more. She was able to watch the world change drastically through her many years of life. And oh, the stories I am sure she had.

When I started this project, I asked my mother to get my grandma thinking about her piece of advice. Unfortunately, I never got to ask her myself. This piece of blog advise is something I suppose she is passing on to me postmortem. Ask questions and listen to stories. Hidden within those stories you will learn about history through people who have witnessed it first hand, you will be provided with gems of advice and you will have something to hold on to when that person is gone. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I did not ask enough questions and I did not listen to enough stories. As with so many things in life, we take them for granted and only truly realize what we have after it has left us.

So while this post will be short, I believe the message is strong. Sit and talk to those who are special to you in your life. Few things, if any, last longer than a story, longer than a memory. Write these down, so when you begin to forget you can look back and when you are gone these stories can continue. If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles ask them questions. If you are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles write your stories down. Nothing is insignificant, it is a glimpse back to your life before what is now. Something to cherish, learn from, laugh about and hold on to.

Grandma, I am sorry I did not ask more questions and listen more carefully. Despite this, I do have some of your stories with me and I am lucky enough to still be able to hear the stories that you have passed to others.

“I wish I had realized that family history is a perishable commodity. It disappears with time, as memories fade, and as loved ones pass on. I wish I had known that the most important aspect of family history is preserving a record of the present for the future.” -Guy Black

And one of my favorite quotes from The Doctor.

We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? -Steven Moffat

 

This is Thirty.

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5. Come Get You Some!

I know what you’re thinking, Erika! Where have you been? Sorry, it has been a while. But even though I have not been writing, doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. But, I’m willing to bet what you’re really thinking is… what in the world is this advice? I’m just gonna go ahead and let one of my dearest ruggers take it from here.

When I was getting closer to 30 I had lost my job, broke up with a long term girlfriend, and moved back home. Through all of the sadness and upset days for me, I didn’t know if I would ever be happy again.

Then I realized that I hated my job that I was let go from, that me and my ex girlfriend were never a good match, and moving home wasn’t so bad. It was a chance to make up for missed time with my family, get back in touch with good friends, and figure out what I wanted.

Along with that within this time, I started my own business as a consultant for new sports franchises. I helped new professional soccer teams in the USL set up their front office and revenue generation programming for the first year in USL as a professional soccer team. And all of these teams have gone on to have major success with USL and I realized it made me most happy at a job to see the success of others that I could share in. So I started to figure out what I wanted in a job.

There was a specific day where I remember that things really changed for me. It was on November 7th, 2014. I went from Long Island to the city for lube wrestling rugby party. It was when I realized I was back in my element. I was doing what I wanted. Having so much fun! And realized if I wanted to be happy, I had to be me and come get me some!!! What I wanted.

So after that day I was contacted by USL. I was lucky enough to write up my own job position for USL as the Director of Club Services, took the position and started my 2nd life and second chance to live life the way I wanted to. I took that and loved my job. I worked as hard as I could but didn’t overdo it at work. I knew I needed a life too. I took that and within two years I helped to grow the USL to places no one ever thought it could be and because of all the hard work I put in, in 2 years, I went from a Director to a VP of Club Services and with that came the raises and the excitement that is just one part of my 2nd life.

When I moved for the job, I went onto Tinder looking for some fun. I met a girl on there. I told her I was just looking for fun and she said she was looking for a meaningful relationship. I told her she was on the wrong site for that, but we should go on a date and see where it went. I said who cares if it doesn’t go well I want this date and want to have some fun. I’m being honest about it and she knows what I’m looking for. I am going to come get me some. On the first date, we went to dinner. I realized after we hung out in my car until after 3 in the morning, knowing I had to wake up in two hours to get up for work, I realized maybe there is something here. So I decided to go out on another date and then another date, then another date. And we dated for about 7 months and she convinced me when we were going to go home for Thanksgiving to go to the Macy’s Day Parade. When I decided to go I knew that I would have never done this for anyone else. I realized having someone like this in my life is what dreams were made of. I said ‘John, COME GET YOU SOME!’ I decided at the parade that I was going to marry this woman! I found something else that I wanted and someone that would make my life complete! And we are now married!

It’s not like everything was perfect. Within there, between the engagement and marriage, I found out I had a brain tumor. But from the renewal of the closeness of my family and friends from home and college for when I moved back home and my new future family and friends in Tampa, I knew what I needed to do. Even though I was nervous, scared and even cried a few times, I needed to make that tumor my bitch. And I did. It was removed less that 8 months ago and somehow I am back to about as normal as I ever was and am going to be.

And not too long ago, I found out that I am having a baby in January. My wife and I are so lucky to have found each other and have this 2nd life together. This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t look at what dreams are made of, live my dreams, and come get me some!!!!

COME GET YOU SOME!

Johnny ‘Chester’ Cochol

This guy is a legend. He is one of the happiest and most caring people I know. I am so happy for him and feel blessed to have him in my life. And in this story, he shares some very good lessons, all of them intertwined in a way.

  1. When one door closes, another door opens (cliche or not… it’s real)
  2. Take chances. Life will not be handed to you, sometimes you need to stick your neck out. Go after what you want and… Come Get You Some!
  3. Do what makes you happy. If you are unhappy, you are on the wrong path, people! And that’s OK…  as long as you find your way back to your happiness. We all tend to wander, but do not lose sight of you and your goals.
  4. Life will throw you curve balls, but it would be a damn boring game if it were predictable.
  5. Friends and family, the real ones, will always be your foundation, your rock. Don’t take them for granted.

We all get to where we need to go at a different speed. I am still trying to figure out where I am going and where I want to be. No shame in that because I am still enjoying the ride. But maybe, I should take a few more chances because I do not want a life of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘should haves.’

Johnny, can’t wait to see you again and sing with you…

Hey now, hey now! This is what dreams are made of! And This. Is. Thirty.

 

4. Listen to Your Body

This piece of advice does not come from anyone in particular. In fact, many people throughout my life, from my mother and on to my teammates have suggested that we need to do a better job at listening to our bodies. Since I am thirty now, I figure I should have a suggestion for myself and for others. So, everyone… listen to your body.

Somewhere along the line, I think we forgot how to do this.  But our bodies are magical and have developed and adapted in order for us not only to survive, but thrive. Too often we ignore the signals that our bodies send us and end up sick, tired or even in danger. We ignore the exhaustion because we have a deadline. We toss aside cravings because how in the world could eating a pint of ice cream actually help? And the gut feeling that something isn’t right is disregarded and taken for foolish nerves. Our bodies are designed to protect us, so why don’t we listen? That’s a question that I don’t have time for. However, I will tell you some stories about what I have learned.

For the past week to two weeks I decided to make a concentrated effort to listen to my body, heed its warnings and do so all without guilt. End results? Remarkable. For seemingly no reason at all I started to feel extremely tired sometime early last week. I pushed through it and continued on with my routine, but I longed for bed from the moment I woke up until the moment I was back in bed. Apparently that was not enough for me (hence the idea for this post) so my uterus attacked me. I had no choice but to go to work a little late and when I came home that night I decided to stay home from practice. I slept for 12 hours. Uninterrupted for 12 hours. How? I have no idea. Did I need it? Apparently. Was I a raging ball of energy for the next few days? Yes. And now my sleep cycle feels balanced.

I have also really started to listen to my aches and pains. Playing rugby is not easy on one’s body and I’ve started to notice that with old age comes more pain 😉 Since I would like my body to work even after I stop playing rugby, I am now paying more attention to these aches. All athletes have at least one of these three as a best friend: a tiger tail, foam roller or epsom salt. I have begun to utilize  at least two of these on a daily basis. I no longer give myself a quick 5 minute stretch and believe I am ready to go knock people on their asses. I take my time. I am learning not to feel rushed and to be OK with the fact that I might need to love (in terms of warm-up) my body a little bit more than a 21-year-old. I am finding that when I respect my body, my body respects me.

Food. This is a sensitive area and I am no nutritionist, but I follow some fairly general guidelines. Drink lots of water for all the reasons that people say. I try to eat healthy and make sure I have a balanced diet. However, I do not feel guilty when I have chicken wings and fries for lunch or if I buy a pint of ice cream and before I realize it, the neighbors must have eaten it–did I even have any?! Why? Because life is about balance. For the most part, I hold the belief that cravings are the body’s way of telling you that you’re lacking something. When I was in high school and had preseason for soccer, I am sure that dinner at least every other night was a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s. I was burning off a million calories and my body was panicking; it thought I was going to starve. It was screaming “Fat! Give Me FAT!” Next time you go through a phase when you have a craving for something, think about what is in that food and what your body might be trying to tell you. You just might learn something.

Emotions. I can be an emotional basket case– I am learning to accept that. However, I no longer want to apologize for when I feel sad or angry or even happy. I am a freaking human and not a robot, people! Sometimes I just need to cry. Why? I literally haven’t the slightest idea, but I do know that most of the time I feel better after I do– so apparently there was something cathartic about it.  Do I have days when I am so happy and vivacious that people want to kill me? I certainly do. Do I also have days where even rainbows and unicorns would want to hide from me? Sure thing. Maybe our body releases pent-up energy in different ways. Maybe there is some subconscious memory that makes us cry on a random Tuesday afternoon. Maybe our body is just trying to remind us to feel. Either way, listen to your emotions and feelings. Deal with them as best as you can, accept that they are there and move forward.

I think if we took a bit more time and paid attention we could be happier and healthier. My fourth goal for 30 is to better listen to my body. And with any luck I will still be listening  at the age of 90.

This is just the beginning. This is thirty.

If you listen to your body when it whispers….you won’t have to hear it scream.

3. Break Routine in Small Ways

Guess who’s back! This was a bit longer of a break than I had expected, but c’est la vie. I had a great vacation, my best friend got married, I settled back into post vacation routine and got to visit my long-time friend, Jacquelyn (are you happy now)?! However, this past week I started to implement my mother’s advice to me.

My mom suggested that I begin to break routine in small ways. She shared with me that it can help to refresh my enthusiasm for day-to-day living. Some of her suggestions for breaking routine were as follows: walk to work using a different route, try a different flavor ice cream or go to a different grocery store. My mom pointed out that the possibilities are endless and these little variations allow us a different point of view each and every day.

To be quite honest, I think I chose a pretty awful week to try this advice out. Seeing as since I am just getting back from vacation and I am trying to re-establish a routine, mixing it up seems quite silly. However, if you’ve met me, I am sure you can agree that I am not all too conventional or logical at times– so what the heck?! I started mixing things up by changing out my eating habits. Now– this may have a little (a lot) to do with the fact that I was just in France and the wedding I was in was half French, but breakfast became bread (baguette) and Nutella. Normally for lunch I will have chicken and some vegetables. However, since I was trying to add variation and vacation has you eating like you will die tomorrow (carbs, carbs, fat, sugar, grease, MEAT & all the alcohol)… my lunch became vegetables and fruits. My snacks were cheese and almonds. Dinner has never been set, but this past week it was bread and cheese! I actually found that I was more satisfied and full throughout the day. Maybe I am on to something…

The next variation I tried was taking different routes to the train station. Usually I am on auto-pilot when I walk to work. I turn at the exact same streets, cross at the same streets and on most days I have my walking paced out so I don’t have to stop at lights. I don’t know if I am impressed or ashamed about that. So, I took different routes each day this week, which in turn had me stopping at traffic lights and almost getting hit by cars. It made me get my brain in gear much sooner than I normally would in the morning. Also, my friend Melissa would like me to point out that varying routine (specifically walking) will help me not to get abducted by a serial killer and she was right– I have not been abducted this week!

I tried to change some other small things about my day such as working out (really I was just too lazy to do it) and the order in which I completed my tasks at work. Now, to be quite honest, these variations did not make my mundane rituals much more exciting. However, what it did do was what I said before, make me think more. It exercised my brain and I had to be more alert. Some variations were more enjoyable such as the eating, other variations just put off what I would need to do anyway (work variations). This advice has helped me to realize that we do tend to get stuck in routines (or ruts) and it is important to spice up our life (hey Spice Girl fans). This is certainly advice that I will continue to implement when I find myself dragging my feet as I walk through life. Because life should be exciting! And maybe someday while I walking a different route to work I will happen across a $20 floating in the air (wishful thinking) or the first tree succumbing to autumn. By going into a different grocery store I might find that ever elusive Tamarillo and be able to make the most delicious juice ever. You never know what can happen by changing your habits. You never know what might happen when you make yourself available to mini adventures. You never know what you can learn by asking 30 people for advice. You’ll never know if you never try.

This is Thirty.

“Sometimes chaos is the very thing that deliberately shakes up our neatly ordered world’s in order to get us out of the neatly ordered ruts that have kept us stuck.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

“As I discover, everyday is an adventure…so do what ever the Spirit tells you..don’t do things out of drudgery or obligation…each day will unfold as it should…stay restful and try not to be in a hurry…there are things that can wait, and things we don’t really need at all…don’t be a slave to the everyday routine…we’ve all been programmed to do things, “just so”..try to shed the programming…you will be surprised how some things that hassle our minds aren’t really important at all. And most of all, go out and heal with nature”
― Angie karan

PS: I did a horrendous job at keeping an impatience log. However, I have been trying to be mindful of what makes me impatient. There is still more to come for Advice #2.

PSA

Hey All!

Just wanted to let you know that life has gotten a little hectic and I haven’t been spending as much time on this project as I should be. Planning bachelorette parties and vacations–oh my!

Once I get back from vacation– I am getting straight to work on advice #3–from the woman who brought me into this world! I will also update on the “impatience diary.”

Signing off for now–so I can go on an adventure. What better time for an adventure than now?

This is thirty.

If There is Something You Need to Change… Do It! (Part 1.5)

I was supposed to be working on Advice #3 this week, but life happened. However, this week was not a total waste because I have already decided on that one thing I really need to change about myself in order to improve my quality of life and my relationships with others. I must work on my patience. Just so we are all clear, the definition of impatience is as follows, “having or showing a tendency to be quickly irritated or provoked.” Yep. That is me.

I am sure this is no surprise to many of my friends and family. I can be described as many wonderful things… vivacious, athletic, smart, but patient is not an adjective that suits me. I have been impatient since I can remember and not just with others, but with myself as well. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I know that this is where some of my impatience stems from, but not all of it.

So… here is what I am going to do. First, I am going to have a “impatience diary.” Some people keep food diaries or exercise diaries, not me. I am going to write down (or try to) every time that I become impatient. I know what you’re thinking… how many pages does this diary have? I am going to log the time of day, the person and the circumstance to try and gain better insight into my patterns of impatience. The second thing that I would like to do, is go to therapy to address this concern of mine. There are plenty of self-help websites and books/articles that I could reference, but I am hoping that a therapist will be able to give me a different POV and other insights that inanimate objects cannot. Lastly, I am going to work long and hard on building the virtue that they call patience, hopefully with some degree of success.

Here are some of the reasons that I want to do this. While I am able to *mostly* appropriately handle, cope with, vent, etc. my impatience, that is not always the case. Unfortunately, it is those that I care for the most that bear the brunt of my impatience. I have often been known to say, “I use up all my patience at work.” While my employment does require quite a lot of patience, allowing myself to respond without reserve to irritating situations in casual circumstances is not fair to my friends or family. Furthermore, the frustration of being constantly irritated and impatient is not fair or healthy for me. It creates undue amounts of stress, which therefore impacts a plethora of other things–most notably my attitude. By learning how to manage and more appropriately cope with my patience problem, I will become a better supervisor, a better friends and a better version of me.

Just to give you all a glimpse into my lack of patience, below you will find a list (and by no means is it comprehensive) of things that make me impatient. Enjoy.

  1. Slow walkers. For the love of God move your feet or get out of my way!
  2. People with no concept of spacial awareness.
  3. Tourists (I feel like this is fair living in NYC).
  4. Baby Strollers. They are a.l.w.a.y.s in the way, always!
  5. When I don’t understand something as close as possible to immediately.
  6. When I have to repeat myself.
  7. When I have shown someone how to do something, yet they continue to do it incorrectly.
  8. When people brush up against me (this is not always–I can’t quite figure out why sometimes it bothers me and other times not—> impatience diary will help)
  9. When I have to wait (in almost any circumstance)
  10. Traffic (specifically in NYC)

I know that you may be thinking that some of these are reasonable situations to become impatient and I agree. However, the degree to which I become impatient is not reasonable. And if you have ever been on the receiving end of my impatience you will likely agree.

So, friends, sit tight while I begin my journey on the road to change. Please check out the blog next Sunday for Advice #3. This is my journey and….

This is thirty.

If There is Something You Need to Change… Do It! (Part 1)

This second piece of advice comes from someone I have looked up to since the day I met her.  While sat here, I was trying to think of a way to describe her in order to do her justice. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can, but I will give it a go.

Passionate does not even scratch the surface when it comes to Ro. When I think of her, I know she puts 100% into everything that she does–rugby, her relationship and once upon a time maybe even drinking. You will get to read that story below as she has been gracious enough to allow me to share her personal story. Which!.. is another example of her giving it her all–to help a friend. Ro is brave and kind and strong. She is someone I am fortunate enough to call my friend; she is inspirational, straight-forward and comic relief. Thank you, Ro, for being so much a part of my journey and for making sure I really push myself for “30 While 30.”

This post is going to be split into three parts. First, you are going to read Ro’s story, the message I took from it and my own experience with being sober for 103 days. The second part of this post will be after I complete my own 30 Day Challenge… because letting your body detox is a brilliant idea. The third part of the post may be months from now, but I won’t forget. The final part will be exploring what change I needed to make for myself to make 30 the best year yet! If you can’t tell I am stalling on this one because I really want to make this one meaningful and put more than a week into this advice.

Here’s Ro’s story.

Eight hundred and nineteen days ago, I started something I thought I would never do in a million years.  I gave up drinking alcohol.  It has been the single most difficult thing I have ever done in my 36 years of living life on this planet.  Drinking was my go to, my buddy.  Drinking was always there when I needed it.  It never let me down.  I always felt better when I was drinking.

It didn’t take me long to realize that alcohol was taking over my life in a negative way.  My tendency to make bad decisions was usually fueled by my uncanny ability to drink massive amounts of alcohol.  Often, I would wake up the next morning and not remember much from the night before, later to be informed that I had done something offensive or hurtful or both. I used to think that was funny.  Not no mo.

Like everyone else that appreciates a nice, alcoholic beverage every once in awhile, I had more than my share of good times while intoxicated.  The best, actually.  After awhile though, drinking wasn’t fun anymore.  It only fueled the sadness, frustration and anger that I been keeping to myself for the last twenty years.  I never dealt with any my shit because I always drank!  Drinking alcohol numbed me so I didn’t have to feel any of that emotion, ever.  Twenty years of binge drinking can take a toll on a person.  I eventually realized that I had become someone that I despised.  I was miserable person and I was taking it out on everyone around me.  I didn’t like who was staring back at me when I looked in the mirror.  I HAD to make a change.

 If you drink too much, you know who you are.  You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you otherwise.  If shit in your life isn’t where you want it to be… if you aren’t feeling like yourself and you constantly have a negative perspective on everything… If you are feeling depressed, like you have this dark cloud hanging over you, then try something different.  Make a fucking change.  Do better for yourself.  Make a conscious effort to not drink alcohol for an extended period of time.  Not just one or two days.  Not just one or two weeks.  Try the 30-day challenge and see how you feel.  I felt better physically and emotionally.  My perspective on life became more positive.  I was actually taking care of myself and it made me feel better so I just kept on going after day 30.  Hey, why the hell not?!  I have learned more about myself and have grown more as a person in these last two years than I have in my entire life.  Why the fuck would I go back to drinking, when all this good shit is happening to me!

When I tell people that I haven’t had a drink in over two years, the most common response I get is,  “Wow, I would never be able to do that.”   Let me tell you something.  People are more resilient than they think.  YOU are more resilient than you think.  YOU are stronger than you seem.  If you are trying not to drink, then don’t drink.  It’s that simple.  I was shocked to discover how much I drank strictly out of habit or sheer boredom.  I let alcohol control and consume my life for 20 years and it almost destroyed me.  Don’t let alcohol control you.  Take charge of your life and do better for YOU. 

PS:  Thought I would leave you with one of my favorite quotes.  This was sent to me from a dear friend on Day 10 of my 30-Day Challenge.

“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within.  It is there all of the time.”

 -Anna Freud

Just reading this is powerful. I think at one time or another, most of us have drank too much and made some pretty poor decisions. Some people can drink and others cannot, I am still trying to figure out which category I fall in. Sometimes it can be great and other times not so much. The message I get from this is simply to change what you don’t like about yourself–or what you NEED to change. This, of course, is much easier said than done. I think, though, that anything that is worth anything will push you to the edge. Change can be scary and hard, but it is a hell of a lot better than being stuck.

I boxed for charity this year and decided that I would give up the booze. For 103 days (through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and countless birthdays/parties) I did not drink. For 103 days, I also did not hang out with my friends as much as I would have because navigating in a world sober after you have been drinking in it for years is really freaking hard. None of my friends pressured me to drink, but going to a bar to watch the game and just sipping on water did not feel right and it is hard to do things that make you uncomfortable. However, I noticed some pretty amazing changes. No, I did not lose weight–very disappointed in that aspect.  I did sleep better though and woke up with so much energy. I didn’t have a headache, I didn’t have to wonder if I sent a stupid text or did something I might later regret. I did not spend money on alcohol or the drunk food or cab rides! My body also felt healthier in a way that I can’t quite describe. Now all of this may have been a combination of the new workout regimen and the no booze rule, but either way the results were pretty awesome. I was also damn proud of myself. 3.5 months was challenging and rewarding–this was just a minor glimpse of what Ro does day in and day out. Because of that (and so many other things) I have nothing but respect for her.

If any of you are looking for a rewarding challenge–try going without booze for a month. Who knows–maybe you will do it longer. Stay tuned for my 30 days sober…during rugby season!… *gasp* and also for my much needed change that remains TBD.

This is thirty.

1. Make Time for Yourself

The first advise I received for this post came from a longtime friend. What she had to say made a lot of sense.  She told me to make uninterrupted time for myself. She explained that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things for everyone else that we forget we need to come first now and again in order to stay sane. This advice may seem quite obvious and since I am a mental health counselor, it is something I often tell my patients. Self care is extremely important and frequently overlooked. Living in New York City, it is easy to get caught up with the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. There is work and working out. There are happy hours and brunch and commuting to be done. By the time I get home and I am ready to fall into bed only to wake up and do it all over again.

There are a lot of ways to make time for yourself. I try to read before I go to bed and I also have a “Thought A Day” journal that I don’t keep up with as I should. Despite doing these little things, I often go to bed stressed and fitful sleep is the result. So I thought I would try to slow things down and give guided meditation a try. For those that know me, they will understand the challenge behind this. I like to move and I have seemingly endless amounts of energy; my thoughts and my body are always on the go.

For five days I attempted guided meditation. I really enjoyed getting in tune with my breathing, but I was not able to stay still for more than 10 minutes. It didn’t help that my cat would come up and sit in my lap or put her wet nose on my leg and brush up against my hands for a petting. Despite these distractions, I found that I slept better and the first night that I used guided meditation, I did not wake up once. Even just five minutes of deep breathing allowed a sense of calm to come over my body and I reaped the benefits. Is this something that I will continue to do daily? Probably not. However, it is a tool I will use for particularly stressful days or days when I can’t get my brain to stop moving a mile a minute.

The advice that I should take time for myself is something that I will put more effort in to remembering. Alone is OK. It is not something to be scared of and it is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, moving forward, it is something I will try to do at least onece a week. Maybe one week I will book myself a facial or a massage. Another week, I will take myself out on a date to the movies or dinner. As a society, we do not put enough emphasis on spending quality time with oneself. This advice was a gentle reminder to take care of myself. I always tell people that you will not be able to take care of anyone else if you cannot first take care of yourself. Now, it is time to practice what I preach.

I will leave you with an excerpt from “How to be Alone” by Tanya Davis.

Start simple,
things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid-being-alone principles.
The lunch counter, where you will be surrounded by chow-downers,
employees that only have an hour
and their spouses work across town
and so they, like you, will be alone.
Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat-lunch-and-run, take yourself out for dinner,
a restaurant with linen and silverware.
You’re no less intriguing a person when you’re eating solo dessert
and cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger;
in fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were

Go to the movies
where it is dark and soothing
alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And, then, take yourself out dancing,
to a club where no one knows you
stand on the outside of the floor
until the lights convince you more and more
and the music shows you.
Dance like no one’s watching
(’cause they are probably not)
and, if they are, assume it is with best and human intentions,
the way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting.

This is thirty.

The Beginning

I turned 30 on June 26th. I got the idea for this blog after reading the article “Bucket List: 30 Things To Do Before You Turn 30” by  Nicole Booz. Well… that ship has already sailed. Surprisingly, there was little to read regarding the 30 things you should do while you’re 30. Thus my idea was born.

I decided to ask 30 friends, family, co-workers and even complete strangers who are all 30+ to contribute. I asked them to think of something that I should do, accomplish, learn, try, etc. while I am 30. These ideas could come from what they learned while they were 30, what they wish they had learned/done when they were 30 or what they wish for me while I’m 30. No idea is too abstract, no task too difficult. I am here to learn, to grow, to change. I am here to jump in while I have the time and the time in now. Geronimo!

Each week I am going to take one lesson, piece of advice or task that has been given to me and share it with you. Some of these may be ongoing and some I may be able to accomplish in a day. Either way, I am going to write about my experiences and the journey I am taking. I hope that I get to try new things. I hope that I get to learn about myself . I hope that I can become closer to and get to better know those that have graciously agreed to be part of this experience. You are all so much a part of me and with this idea, I honor you and your struggles and triumphs. I will write my own story with your guidance and support.

This is thirty.