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On Being Thirty-Something: How to Decompress fully

I just visited the National University for Natural Medicine nunm.edu .  I am exploring becoming a Naturopathic Doctor.  It seemed natural enough.  It was awesome, though really, I believe I would be certainly lucky to through the program.  An expensive ticket to a legitimate career.  A huge decision and over 100,000 debt potentially.  Whoa.  This all brings me to On Being Thirty-Something: how to decompress fully.  Firstly it is a skill and a choice one has to make.  Here in Portland, Oregon you could just visit the nearest marijuana dispensary, there are approximately a million: https://weedmaps.com .  I don’t like relying only on substances alone to chill me out however.  So the question remains really.  Sorry I have no perfect solution, only more questions about how to decompress fully, I mean really fully so you can begin again with a fresh outlook when such huge decisions abound.

Back to the expensive school tour… my smart test taking self was perking up the whole time ,getting excited to do something challenging.  On the other hand my gypsy vagabond self was feeling pure intimidation.  I wondered how my creative self would survive?  I am an artist and by giving in to a traditional career am I giving up?  Does boredom come hand and hand with responsibility?  I believe these are all questions thirty-somethings face when big life choices come looming and pressing in your field of vision.

Over and over I wonder why becoming older makes you so stressed out.  I have to believe it has to do with money.  We start to fully understand how money impacts our health and freedom and creativity.  Mr. Money Mustache is one dude that I think has  cultivated an amazing perspective on personal wealth and engineering an efficient and low stress life:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ .

Some great discoveries today pertaining to health:  I have an android phone so the Cronometer App. is the best macro and micro nutrient tracker I have come across: https://cronometer.com/

Thank you for reading, in further posts I will attempt to more fully explore the ideas of decompressing fully and taking on big life decisions.

Read my first Blog post here

On Being Thirty-Something: “Most Productive Years”

I just was on Facebook and I saw a high school friend of mine was turning the big 3-0.  In the comment section there were a plenitude of older women with enthusiastic comments such as “Enjoy every moment of it, your thirties are your most productive years.”  I loved reading this.  Yes it seems like this might just be true, finally tuned in to what you know is important and finally feeling enough pressure to act with abandon, like your life depended on it (because it does!)  Part of being thirty-something I am coming to realize is about having to claim space and allow yourself the tools you need to get going on what your work is.  Whatever work this might be.  If it is children, if it is art, or music or medicine, or a combination of all of these things it is a time to make room for your energy to flow into what you care most deeply about.  There is no room for second guessing.  As I was hanging on to every word of my favorite doctor: Dr. Rhonda Patrick,https://www.foundmyfitness.com/ , who I have already mentioned in this blog, I realized how much trust and abandon she has with her research and her commitment to what she is doing.  She is making a huge impact in the field of aging, health and fitness.

There is simply no room for hemming and hawing.  This seems impossible.  No doubt she must hem and haw from time to time.  But really it comes down to a simple approach that involves holding your space.  Not letting anyone or any self loathing or fear of getting older encroach on this very important time, your thirties.  I should repeat what the kind lady said in the Facebook comment about my friend “The most productive years of your life.”

A few of the things that I have stumbled upon while making the transition into my thirties have been:  feelings of reduced self esteem, of guilt and depression, of negative thoughts about my body and appearance, health concerns, financial insecurity.  This list seems quiet overwhelming and pretty negative, which leads to more feelings of “why isn’t life working out yet, or why does it seem to be getting harder?”  Many of these things when going through a major life transition like turning thirty-something require a lot of courage and compassion.  I believe all of these things are real and important and legitimate worries but I know that each one of them can be improved and can down the line lead to many great outcomes like “my body and my appearance are not perfect but I will let myself be loved completely”, or “I am struggling financially, to I have learned how  to manage my spending and my money so I feel a sense of relief and security”.  All of the negatives that may be looming out there post twenties life are the seeds of something that may not be the exact same sources of happiness in your younger years but can be new sources and can bring great joy and satisfaction. The trick may be that in your thirties you have to decide that your weaknesses that you cannot necessarily control can be your greatest challenges and sources of potential joy and strength.

One great exercise to try and tease out tease out and start to deal with these challenges would be to first write down all of your weaknesses and points of stress in your life.  Now, make a bubble around each word or sentence ( leave plenty of room to write around the bubble.)Image result for writing bubble chart  Now write words that these words remind you of, anything, just stream of consciousness.  Next make a list of the happiest things in your life and proudest things and do the same thing write stream of conscious words and thoughts around these things.  Now compare the two.  Finally, next to each negative bubble, write one passive thing and one active thing that you can do to change your idea or behavior towards the negative bubbles.  For example on bubble might be  “My skin isn’t as healthy as it used to be”  next to it an active thing I can do that I know improves my skin is running three times a week.  A passive thing I can do is to reset my expectations and my standards of what my skin should look like, and I could do this by looking up pictures of older ladies with really wrinkly skin (which looks really beautiful actually) and starting to shift my mindset.

One part of ageing in this culture is feeling bad about it.  We need to start to embrace it truly and early to really flourish, to feel comfortable with who we are and not impede who we can become and who we need to become!

Thank you for reading.

On Being Thirty-Something: Transitions

A younger friend of mine who is 26 made an interesting point to me while we were discussing getting older and self-help and transitions. He said that he related to what I was going through becoming a thirty-something year old in that it was a transition. He described that musical theater people often go through a similar transition from their younger twenties to mid-later twenties. For them he said it is common to lose interest in musical theater and to face a sort of identity crisis at that point. Becoming thirty-something is essentially a major life transition. We try to sneak into it. I hoped and prayed nobody would notice or care. Meanwhile our inner landscape is being completely bushwacked and replanted, trying to prepare the soil for new seeds to grow based on what we have learned over the past thirty years, intentionally or not. The pressure to stay the same seems intense to preserve our looks, to be happy and have fun and be beautiful and have a beautiful life. It starts to become obvious that these expectations are complicated, especially as you reach your thirties. The fact is getting older is not seamless. There needs to be ample time for transition. Just like moving to a new city, or ending a relationship, or losing a loved one.

I believe that bravely and clearly defining and demanding time for yourself to appropriately transition to a new life stage is a good idea. Instead of hoping nobody notices and ignoring it. The weirdly quick process of funerals and grieving for loved ones is a good example of how we culturally like to quickly move on and gloss over and get happy again. When my grandmother died I still remember how strange it felt to only spend two days with my family and half of the time rushing around finding funeral outfits for everyone to wear.

It feels scary to face a transition because it means nothing will ever be the same again. When you are thirty-something your past self is who you were when you were twenty-something. You have to take responsibility for who you are right now and decide how you want to grow.

There is a really cool project made by photographer Stephanie Domingues on what thirty years old looks like around the world:
http://mymodernmet.com/stephane-domingues-being-30-yo/
Continue reading “On Being Thirty-Something: Transitions”

On Being Thirty-Something: Becoming Stronger for good

Being thirty-something means that there are ways that your body begins to change.  This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to come to terms with.  The resilience that you once knew your whole life starts to change.  Depending on who you are you may be more or less sensitive to stress.  Drinking and trashing your body doesn’t work as well as it used to. The good news is its possible to protect yourself and build up your strength and  resilience.  Being thirty-something is the perfect time to solidify and protect your body and mind.  One of the most surprising and interesting things about being thirty-something is that you begin to gain a sense of time.  During your twenties time seemed endless and health seemed endless and possibilities seemed endless.  This sense of time not being infinite, and health not being infinite is very scary in a lot of  ways.  Being thirty-something means carrying a certain sense of loss for at one time being able to be so carefree.    Your body’s cruise control was set on healthy and now you have to chose to set it there.  One of my favorite health and fitness experts is Dr. Rhonda Patrick  her website has so much amazing information find it here:  FoundMyFitness.com 

No matter if you were terribly depressed inside it could still look good on you.  Being angsty and smoldering under the surface could be attractive.  I saw a girl shopping at my store the other day who was wearing a shirt that said “Not Happy”  She had her nails done down to sharp points.  She was cute, her skin was perfect and she was just doing her thing, clearly her look was a statement to fit into a social group.   When you are thirty-something being depressed inside and angry at life cannot be taken so lightly.  It begins a snowball effect that can impact your digestion, your self esteem and your looks.  Being thirty-something means there is no hiding who you are on the inside.  This is why it is so crucial now to go deeper into who you are internally.  Twenty somethings are to a great degree all about looks, and they come super easy even though at the time you may have been self critical.

Its not a time to deny your ego or deny yourself.  Speaking as a woman, it is easy to feel this insidious ping on your self-worth as you go about your business.  From looking in the mirror and seeing imperfections that didn’t used to be there, to maybe not being the younger woman in the room men draw their attention to.  It is time to assess these things and realize the real impact it has on your own beauty and self-worth.  One small thing that I like to do as a step to building resilience around these negative habits is to every time I look in the mirror say “I love you, you are imperfect, I love you”.

There are many more concrete ways to build resilience and depth I will continue to address in this blog.

 

On Being Thirty-something: No Shame

Being thirty something is a whole new world.  It really is.  It starts with acknowledging this and having absolutely no shame about this fact.  For many of us it becomes shameful all of the sudden to be over thirty.  You and others start to qualify your status with other expressions like:”She is thirty [something] and she looks so good!” Or ” can you believe he is thirty [something]?!”    Well these expressions might seem flattering at the time in a way, but it implies that it is surprising in some way that you are so lively or energetic or simply look great.  When in fact something that I realized after turning thirty is that thirty something years are lively, energetic and we look good!  I was blindsided by this cultural oversight.  Here is a small story which demonstrates this ubiquitous attitude, I literally overheard this when I was working at retail job in Portland Oregon:  One male coworker said to a female:  “You look like you are dirty or something”, and then she replies, horrified, “I thought you said I look thirty-something”  and he laughs back,  “never, you will never look thirty something.”

At  the time I was about to turn thirty, these two people were just a couple of years behind me.  I got really red and it made me feel ashamed of who I was becoming.  A thirty-something.  I’m sure many people have experienced some sort of shame around this issue.  By no choice of your own its like you are being downgraded by our society in some way.  This is a powerful force to contend with.   It is a reflection of how terrified everyone is of getting older.  And it is totally annoying.  It is distracting and almost completely wrong.

One of the many issues that crops up when reaching your thirties is acting age appropriately.  This is really difficult at times when you feel way more energetic and capable than you are supposed to as a thirty-something. There is a huge difference between clinging to your youth and clinging to your life.  Clinging to your youth is what people like to call disparagingly the Peter Pan Syndrome.  Clinging to your life is doing you: living to your full potential and doing what you set out to accomplish in your short time on earth.  Its tricky honestly to understand the difference at times.  I would say the Peter Pan syndrome is rooted to clinging to old habits and feeling slightly awkward and like people around you are not really respecting you for some often unidentifiable reason.  The other way the way forward after your twenties is living in a way and choosing activities that point you towards helping you become increasingly comfortable with who you.  Being thirty-something demands that you live with a new energy,a different energy than in your twenties.  It is an energy that you have to create and also to find by being connected to who you are on a much deeper level than before.   This is going to be a central theme on this blog:  Solidifying and protecting your body, energy, mind and your potential.

Above photo by Dennis Stock  1968

https://pro.magnumphotos.com/Catalogue/Dennis-Stock.html

Start with your Body’s History

I have been obsessed with health and nutrition for as long as I can remember.  There was a time when I was too obsessed and was another teenage girl under-eating and over  exercising.  I was so confused by my own body really.  It seemed like I had no control and I didn’t know what would happen if I just let go and really try and let my body take the lead.

Fast forward to today.  I believe my late twenties and early thirties have been a sort of second puberty.  In that I feel like I don’t know my body completely and to be honest I am scared shitless sometimes because I don’t know how and when it will fail me.  Looking at this pattern of distrust in relation to my body I just wonder now that I am in my thirties I want to feel confident and free of this nagging feeling.  The feeling that has been implanted from a long time ago that your life ends when you turn thirty. Or at least it was a hazy and vague territory that I was totally unprepared for.

In another post I will go into detail about this awkward stage, the transition from twenties to thirties but for now the point is that now I know life sort of begins again when you turn thirty.  I am perpetually shocked by how this feels and really is the reason I began this blog to explore what it means to live the rest of your life with the knowledge that potentially you could live for sixty more years.

Being thirtysomething has helped me gain a new respect for longevity and given me a renewed reason to find health and stability in my body and above all trust that I am not falling apart and that I have the potential to live a long and fulfilling life long after my twenties fade away.

Hello Thirty Somethings

Hello thirty something!

I am writing this blog as a guide and commentary on how to be thirty something years old.  I am struck by how after my twenties life did not end.  Actually it seemed like a whole new world, an uncharted territory I felt unprepared for.  Being twenty something was like having the world at my feet, the possibilities were endless and overwhelming.  These years just flew by as I gobbled them up with an energetic and wild instability.  Manic highs and lows and a strong sense of direction that was pulling me into adventure for the sake of adventure.

How do you smoothly transition into becoming a more mature and confident version of yourself in your thirties?  I personally hit a wall.  I had a quarter life crisis, some people call it the Saturn Return.  Honestly as a friend of mine put it, it was like a second puberty.  All of the awkwardness and confusion seemed to come flooding back.  I talked to many people that seemed to be experiencing something similar.  A general dis-ease with their life, with themselves.  This blog is a way for me to understand and live this transitional period from your twenties to your thirties.  There is no roadmap out there so I thought I would attempt to create one.  A way to become mentally and emotionally strong and unflappable as we continue to meet new horizons in life.

I am looking for your help and insight too so we can become the stable, mature and confident people we would like to be ( if that is indeed what you want as well).

Sincerely,

Angela Mae