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THE YOUNGER MAN


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If you are an older female feeling a bit insecure and bogged down by age old standards of acceptable age ranges for suitable men then do read on. This conversation was spurred on by this nagging insecurity that decided to break though after recently dating a younger guy. Prior to this I firmly stuck to my belief that love is love and age is just a number. And I still completely subscribe to this belief. However, it didn’t stop the societal chatter from breaking in and introducing an intermittent feeling of self-doubt. I hope the following conversation I had with my cousin and his perspective as a younger man dating an older woman will aid in making one thing clear… You SHOULD always always always do whatever the frack you feel like doing (as long as you’re not some psycho serial killer type) 🙂 RenderedImage-1.PNGRenderedImage.PNG

The only thing left to do now is to go forth and be unapologetically you ❤

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IT’S JUST LIFE BABE


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So I am in an interesting head space lately. I just turned the big Three-O a few months ago and all of a sudden I’m beginning to feel all sorts of social norms and expectations being imposed on me. I am not sure if these feelings are entirely of my own making or if I am indeed picking up on social cues. I have a strong feeling it is a mixture of the two.

For clarity lets get acquainted  with some facts that are fueling this fire. By the way this is going to make me cringe while I do this. Because these facts are precisely the parts of me I am far from being proud of. Also, they are the source of the flattening of enjoyment I experience when I meet someone new (a type of experience that I adore(d)). Incidentally these encounters have also become the primary source of the feelings of judgment I am experiencing. But inevitably these facts are necessary points that we discuss with strangers. And often times these are the typical facts we use to size people up to some arbitrary measure of “worthiness”. Because ultimately they do mean something…right?

  1. Age: I am 30.
  2. Housing: I have been living with my parents for the past 6 months.
  3. Occupation: Graduate Student/Misc. Job
  4. Transportation: I do not have a car.
  5. Relationship Status: Single.
  6. Financial Status: Broke AF

First of all let me say what a bizarre feeling this is to reduce myself to these categories. Like I really really hate it. Yes I would love to improve myself in ALL of these areas. Trying to do so is something I find gratifying. However, being measured up by social status indicators alone and not the journey, or the passion, or the effort that is being put into improving myself is truly disheartening. Looking at just the facts I amount to nothing short of a scrub (in the words of TLC). According to this game the only cards I hold are: I am pursuing a degree #ambitions,  and  my age is something I have no control over #life ;P. However, none of these external validators are constants. And to solely rely on them is detrimental to maintaining mental fitness. This is not a fun way to engage with myself or life. There is so much more to a person than there age, occupation, living arrangement, relationship status, and financial status. And these categories isolated out of the context of the life they belong to are far from the reasons we actually decide to build relationships beyond the first meet and greet with a stranger. That is exactly why even after knowing there is much more to me, I still struggle with shaking the feeling of inadequacy.

I have always sort of done things on my own time. Never really one to be motivated by external pressure. Don’t get me wrong. I definitely feel the anxiety pile up at times.  But that usually happens when I get caught up in the comparison game (the most pointless game ever). I guess meeting new people as of late forces the dialogue of comparison in my mind. And it does not resonate well with me at all. And that is because I am not 100 % happy with myself. I can admit that. And when I’m not at my best, like most people, I enjoy the occasional pat on the back in the form of an affirmation from someone other than myself that I am on the “right track”. Walking on the tight rope of external validation can be tricky though: it’s easy to tip right off into the deep end.

The more I look into this dialogue with myself I am quickly becoming very aware of the fact that no one can give me the validation I crave other than myself. People will have there opinions and share them just like I do. But at the end of the day the only two things that should be on my list of concerns in all of this are the following:

  1. Loving Me, Myself, and I.
  2. And showing myself compassion in the face of any perceived short coming.

The truth is you and I are already enough. I just need to remember that. Everything else is just embellishment. Do I think life would be more enjoyable if I improved all of the items mentioned in my list above. Definitely! And all I can do is try and try harder. Just not at the expense of loving myself. Loving myself is a much more fun and productive head game to play than the comparison game. And showing compassion to myself is key to healthy self-evaluation and self-improvement.  And when I think about it, I only want those in my space that want to bring more love than doubt into my life. As a result of this attitude I find my list of “close friends” dwindling and my social interactions shifting from quantity to quality. It was scary at first. But when I realized this pruning of people in my life was actually a marvelous space for growth I welcomed it with open arms.

I learned that I love myself and the possibilities in life way too much to allow myself to give these insecurities too much significance. I still have days and weeks where I really struggle with applying this mindset. I can only trust and hope that it will get easier. Sometimes I wonder if I will “wake up” in my old age and think “well S%&t, we really messed it up this time around!”. For now I’m hoping that learning how to focus my energy on creating and cultivating the most joy that I can for myself will in time help the rest of the pieces of my life come together in the best way. Let’s see shall we 😉

 

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GRATITUDE


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I realize that my life is not vastly different from others when juxtaposed to the big picture of life. It’s kind of like placing a black and white anatomical sketch of dendrites next to a sketch of trees. Ok maybe thats not the best comparison (better suited for a discussion of fractal time and self-similar processes)…but you know what I mean…Right? I know I will most likely never be able to relate to the ups and downs in my life solely from the collective vantage point of “we”. Therefore rendering me almost completely incapable of being able to go through life with total understanding and non-reactive to the moments I experience… I will always and forever relate to the good and the bad in my life from an inevitably framed mind set of “Me!”. It’s a simple truth. My life is about me. As much as I try to humble myself by acknowledging the hardships others endure or am just in awe of some random persons $2k per day lifestyle. Someone else’s ups and downs will never create the same magnitude of waves as my personal up’s and down’s. And you know what. That is more than just ok.

Recently I have been dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety due to various “issues” that have popped up in life. Some re-occuring (I should look into that) and some new. But in relation to these obstacles I have been minimizing my feelings and beating myself up for feeling stressed, anxious and depressed. I keep telling myself to SUCK IT UP because there are a ton of people out there that have it way worse than you… Or GET IT TOGETHER WOMAN (spoken in the most dramatic voice you can imagine) because there are people counting on you (like myself, family &friends etc.) But that never helps. If anything it just worsens my mood. Because it’s not about “them” it’s about me. What I’m trying to say is. Im learning it’s ok to feel crappy. It’s ok to make it about me. That’s the only way to heal. Because when you start making it about you, that’s when you find out what works for you and what doesn’t. And when you give yourself a chance to get in touch with you.. well thats when you begin to make informed choices on the next best move in the game of life for you. And when you “do you” you feel good. And when you feel good that’s when your able to truly give from a place of joy. And that is the best kind of being in my opinion.

So in an effort to “do me” I’m learning what I am about. Instead of beating myself up like I normally would (which was a result of learned behavior and expected behavior from others close to me) I have chosen to show myself some gratitude and compassion. Gratitude being the key lesson this week. Just working on being grateful for the littlest things that are in MY life makes a huge difference in how I feel and relate to moments. And as crazy as it sounds I’m also working on being grateful for the things that stress me out every now and then. Because it forces me to see some sort of silver lining; right now it’s more gray than silver but it does the job. When I’m focused on the good it’s easier for me to come up with a constructive solution to alleviate the bad. And call me crazy but when I feel good I start noticing more good in my life. And the good keeps getting easier and easier to identify. And that my friends is a result of your brain strengthening the little roads in your head that the little Joy character (you know from the movie Inside Out) likes to visits in your brain. And when your joy on the inside (physiologically) then you can’t help but reflect being joy on the outside. And at the end of it all. That IS what really matters.