Archives for category: Double Dog Dare You

You’re 12-years-old and it’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel? I’m sitting on the floral love seat in the living room reading Nancy Drew chapter books.

How did you envision your life as an adult? I had plans to be a professional ice skater.

Ask yourself what you want. It can be hard to admit. Admitting means change. Admitting means you’re not completely satisfied with a lifestyle that others might find appealing and out of reach, making it seem like you’re greedy or hard to please. Not at all. I had the goals to graduate from college, move to NYC, work in the retail industry, get a good apartment, and build a network of friends outside my hometown. I met challenges, but I achieved my goals by age 26. I’m happy with what I have accomplished, but now I need more goals. I’m in danger of coasting along.

Once you know what you want, check your attitude. Act like you’re talking to a young child when you consider your options. Be realistic, but supportive. Think like a scientist and refuse to say “I can’t” until you’ve explored your options. Man on the moon, people. If you believe that it really happened. NASA put a man on the moon, but you can’t change your city/job/passion? Give all risks a fair rating. Will pursuing a goal negatively affect your family or well-being? No? Then it’s not terribly risky. And most importantly, give yourself more credit. You have a tool box filled with experiences, common sense, contacts, and passion. This idea of yours is more feasible than you think.

Have a friend read this part to you. Close your eyes. It’s October 2023. Where do you live? In a city? Near the ocean? In the mountains? What does your house look like? Do you have a family? A dog? How do you spend your days? Would the 12-year-old inside you be happy with the choices you’ve made?

Open your eyes. What do you need to do today to be happy in 2023? What steps will you take in the next year? In the next five years? And in the next ten years?

We’re an honest version of ourselves at age 12. Life distracts us, can make us jaded, and it can make us realize that professional ice skating is hard! Eff your adult perspective and make plans the way any 12-year-old would: with excitement in your eyes and an open mind. Best of luck! Let me know if I can help!

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When I’m running ten minutes late for work I save time by leaving the house without a shirt. Not really. The train that pulls into my subway station at 8:37 delivers a white male in his twenties who does not wear shirts. He is pale, plump, hairy, and alternates between a black leather vest and a light wash denim vest. It doesn’t bother me. The first few times that the train pulled into the station the doors opened and he walked off the car he was wearing the unbuttoned black leather vest. The best conclusion (or the most entertaining) I could make was that this man was on his way home from working at a kinky bar/sex dungeon.

Then he started wearing the denim vest. People can surprise you. I had a label, a reason, an understanding. Then he wore a denim vest. I’m having trouble imagining the denim vest at his previous place of employment. It’s harder to wipe down.

What if he chooses to live shirtless? When we pass during our morning commute he is  on his way to a regular 9-5 job. Once he is one block from the office he puts on a shirt. He is being honest with himself: he hates wearing shirts so he doesn’t wear them.

Do you honor your truth regardless of social norms? Eff the labels in your head. No one pays attention to shirtless man because it’s New York and they’re used to seeing him every morning. They recognize that his lack of shirt does not impact their lives.

Listen to your truth and honor it.

“And I can’t change-even if I tried. Even if I wanted to…”

My cousin Rachel was a beautiful bride. No one was surprised: she’s beautiful while reef fishing in old shorts and a tank top. Rachel and her husband Bryan are solid, kind, hardworking people. In both speeches and passing comments I heard the buzz phrase “beautiful bride” many times throughout the day. Once Rachel and Bryan return from their honeymoon in Antigua, how will her beauty and his handsome features (I have your back Bry) help them build a life together? This is not an antiquated business transaction in which her beauty enhances the contract.

Why am I droning on about the commonly used phrase “beautiful bride?” Sometimes the “normal” things couples discuss when planning a wedding (buying a dress, picking a reception venue, tasting cakes) are not useful past the wedding date. No matter how delicious the cake, it’s not an accurate representation of the relationship.

A friend of a friend has an 18-month-old infant. This brand new mother initiated a divorce from her husband because in the past eighteen months, he was only willing to change his child’s diaper twice. For those of you who enjoy math, that’s 0.001% of total diapers changed.

I imagine that the new mother was a beautiful bride on her wedding day. Did she ever ask her fiancé if he had it in him to be a hands-on parent? I’m not sure. Did her soon-to-be ex-husband assume she would handle all diapers, potty training, homework help, etc. as he said his vows to her in his handsome suit? Conversations worth having pre-wedding.

Bryan is the kind of man who will change diapers. Rachel is a smart woman. In my opinion, she has chosen well (that’s what guests do at a wedding-they give their opinion on everything). It is likely that while raising children they will both have careers. Will they split “second-shift” responsibilities close to fifty/fifty? That’s their decision to make.

Just keep in mind when planning a wedding or even dating someone for longer than a month:

1. This is the first day of the rest of your life. For most of you there are more days ahead of you than behind you.
2. “Now we know that women can do what men can do, but we don’t know that men can do what women can do.” Gloria Steinem

Eff the diaper funk!

In the good old US of A, the word “pilgrim” conjures the image of a white man with belt buckles on his shoes sharing a turkey meal with used/abused Native Americans… Heavy junk.

Here is a picture of my friend Jeremy. Surprise, he is a pilgrim! Jeremy is originally from Sydney, Australia and he is a travel pro. He recently completed the pilgrimage in Spain with multiple names:  St. James’ Way, El Camino Santiago, and La Voje Ladee. The name La Voje Ladee was given pre-Christian history when it was just a trade route because the road appeared to follow the Milky Way in the sky.

Many of the pilgrims were in search of answers. Jeremy was one of them. He spent 35 days contemplating life along the trail. I have a lot of questions so hopefully he has answers. When a funk has you paralyzed, there is something to be said about physical movement and travel. Get out into the world and eff the funk! Read the rest of this entry »

The exhibit “Picasso Black and White” opened two days ago at The Guggenheim Museum in New York. I went today and I have a newfound appreciation for the artist. From my limited exposure in the past, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t a fan of his work. So many cubist paintings of disproportionate faces. Not my scene.

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My friend Tai is kind and warm-hearted, but she also embodies the qualities of the archetypal, gritty New Yorker who powers-through anything. Very eff the funk. Originally from Colorado, where she received her degree in photography, she claims that she liked shooting urban, gritty scenes before moving to NYC. For Tai, the work and satisfaction is in the nitty-gritty details. The day I followed her around Soho and Greenwich Village while she shot on her Canon she was using expired film so that the colors in the picture would be over-saturated.

We live in the age of Instagram (don’t hate the player, hate the app: Text-Only Instagram), but as Tai points out, “Having an Instagram account doesn’t make you an artist.” What does make you an “artist?” Putting in the time and effort. Do you focus your energy and invest time in your passion(s)? One of the reasons I started this blog is that I enjoy writing. It had been over two years since I wrote anything and I needed an outlet. I try to work on drafts for upcoming posts at least a few hours a week but the ebb and flow of everyday life can be so diverting. Sometimes I write in twenty-minute spurts while riding the subway. Without the time commitment, my blog would cease to exist and the quality of my writing would surely revert to sloppy, short-hand slang. Eff the funk and give your passion(s) the attention they deserve!

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The opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics were bizarre. The intent was to teach an overview of the history of the UK but the execution was off. Personally, I think that made it more enjoyable to watch. Once the performance reached the industrialization age I commented, “It’s strange they left out that whole imperialism thing.” The Olympics are about celebrating your nationality on a global playing field. If asked, the Queen Mum might declare that this is not the appropriate time or place to discuss negative events from the past (I mean present?). When is the appropriate time?

During my recent trip to Berlin we spent time both acknowledging the past and celebrating the present. Eff the funk and dig up the past so you can live free from the ties that bind you. This will mean something different for everyone.

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I’m headed to Berlin in three days. This is my first trip to Europe. I decided to brush up on my history since I could only remember a few general WWII facts. Berlin’s history is dark and as a result, it’s citizens are conflicted about their collective identity. Which events/buildings/sites should be memorialized? Which should be buried in the past?

Imagine experiencing multiple traumatic events in one lifetime with your siamese twin: you want to deny these events occurred and your twin wants to talk about them often in order to find some peace. You are constantly trying to negotiate which part of your “story” is real and how that affects your identity. Heavy subject matter.

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I overheard someone complaining that her apple wasn’t very fresh at lunch the other day. June isn’t peak apple season in the northeast region of the US. If there is a demand for apples in the off-season, most grocery stores will supply them. Whether they are fresh is a different story. Below you can see a guide for fruit (applies to the greater New York area) that I swiped from the FreshDirect website. I love those guys.

Push yourself out of the funk of eating-food-that-tastes-not-so-great-but-is-supposed-to-be-healthy. Eat fruits and veggies that are in-season for your local area. (Click the image to see a larger size) Healthy food can taste good. Promise.

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Next March, my cousin Rachel will walk down the aisle and say “I do” to her fiancé Bryan. She’s one of three women I know who met her husband through a dating website. Pretty darn cool.

In reality, dating websites can be a lot of work (trial and error) and the experience can be discouraging. The whole goal is to get you out of your love funk, not push you further in so Rachel has agreed to share the 411 on what worked for her.

 The lovebirds: Bryan & Rachel

NUMÉRO UNO: INVEST TIME & ENERGY

Q: How would you describe your experience with online dating before you met Bryan?
A: Honestly, I went out with a lot of really nice guys with only a few losers and weirdos thrown in to make for some good stories but it was hard finding a nice guy I was excited about. As someone once told me, “you’re not buying a horse.” Just because someone was nice, had a good job, a car, loved his family, etc., it didn’t automatically mean we had chemistry.

Q: How many dates do you estimate you went on total?
A: I would say around 50 over the course of a couple of years.

Q: Which dating site did you use? Positive/negative things about the site?
A: I was on Match.com and a free site called plentyoffish.com. I found that I preferred match.com. My theory was that if the guy had to pay for this, he was taking it more seriously. Also, plentyoffish.com has a “looking for an intimate encounter” box that a lot of guys checked and was an immediate turnoff.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for someone who is new to online dating?
A: Go on lots of dates. It’s a numbers game. Like I said before, I met a lot of really nice guys but had to keep looking until I found a really nice guy I clicked with. Also, always talk on the phone at least once before you go out. It’s amazing how much you know about a person after a phone conversation. If they seem awkward on the phone, a date will be torture!

Q: What was the biggest learning curve you had to adjust to?
A: I had to remember that I don’t really know these people or what’s going on in their lives and I had to stop taking things personally when they didn’t work out. My exact words after my first date with Bryan were “he was nice but I’m not going to hear from him.” I was on a date with someone else when he called two days later.

Q: Which activities are ideal for a first date with someone you meet online?
A: I always liked going to dinner. If we hit it off, we went for drinks after, if not, “thanks for dinner!” After all of those dates, only one guy ever made me pay for my own meal so I was always up for a free dinner. If you’re not sure about the guy, keep it shorter and go for coffee.

NUMÉRO DOS: SELL YOUR UNIQUE BRAND

Lots of people like the beach and Italian food. Who cares? Unless you surf regularly or make a mean meatball, someone reading those facts in your profile will breeze on by without a second look. Figure out what sets you apart from the crowd and then promote it. You are a brand and you’re searching for your target market.

Do:

-Be honest with yourself and your potential matches

-Present yourself in a positive light

-Post at least three photos

-Make an effort to separate yourself from the crowd by showing your “best side”

-Edit your profile if you aren’t catching any fish

“Do” for profile photos: geek out/ham it up a bit to show your personality, appear to be approachable, leave a bit to the imagination when it comes to clothing

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Don’t:

-Be rude. If someone sends you a message and you aren’t interested the standard is to not respond or respond with a kind “Thank you, but I don’t see us as a match.”

-Post unflattering photos (think about lighting, wardrobe, etc)

-Be offended if you initiate contact and the other person isn’t interested. Do you want to force yourself on someone or find someone who wants to pursue you?

“Don’t” for profile photos: wear sunglasses indoors, wear work clothes/seem too into yourself, make it look like you aren’t interested in monogamy

NUMÉRO TRES: WATCH YOUR STOCK GROW

Try to keep in mind that stock at a start-up company doesn’t appreciate overnight. We can’t all be Google. You need to make it clear to the public that you’re ready to engage and then prepare to grow from the resulting experiences. Now get out there!

Additional references: Remember Priya from the MBA post? She heard I was writing about dating and recommended I read the book “Attached” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. I haven’t read it yet but that shouldn’t stop you!