30 is not magical (an honest opinion nearly 6 months in)

“Fake news” seems to be a popular term today and often it’s used to deflect any type of truth or accusations but I won’t go into that.

I want to address something today that actually is fake news. I also want to blame the media for making me think that this time in my life would be magical and just wonderful.** While I know that entertainment doesn’t set the narrative for life, I believe we can all admit it does contribute to ideas we have about it. This thinking is wrong but it’s something we all do.

30 is NOT magical. 

I had hoped it would be. I dreamed it would be the upswing I had been hoping for but it’s not.

There are so many movies and shows that make it seem like reaching this milestone birthday, especially women who reach the age of 30, experience this change. These movies portray women embarking on this stage of life as finally getting it all together. Or at least, somewhat getting it together. Incredible things happen. They’re happy. They can suddenly face anything, coming out nearly unscathed. Life is working for them.

Now, I know that things don’t magically happen at the rate they do in movies or television shows but because of these things, I had expectations. From the first day of this journey, I was let down.

I had planned a birthday party. I had put hours and hours of research and planning and ideas into a party. I knew who I wanted to invite, I knew how I wanted to it look, I knew what I wanted to have to eat, and where it was going to be. I knew that it was going to be fun.

Then, my anxiety kicked in and I got scared that no one would want to come or have fun. I ended up not doing much of anything for my 30th birthday. I hate the way I celebrated it. I’m grateful that my mom was here to be with me but honestly, there was nothing about it that was very celebratory.

In all honesty, it’s been downhill from there.

First off, things changed almost immediately after I turned 30. My skin changed. I decided to change my hair to a more natural look and it’s been getting lighter by itself ever since. My attitude changed (this was self-induced, sadly). Lots of things changed and not for the better.

Suddenly, I feel like I’m experiencing puberty all over again but just the negative aspects of it. There’s an awkwardness to this age that I didn’t expect. Lots of tears. There’s also a lot of realizations and reflection that I was not prepared for. Especially the realization that I’m in a super weird stage of life.

I’m 30, single, and I’m working my tail off (though I could work harder. If you know of any very part-time positions, let me know please!)  I’m the odd man out. Literally. There is no one in the group of people I associate with who are in a similar boat. Or if they are, they are they have no leaks and both the oars.

Yeah, I had imagined my life would look different by 30 but I was (emphasis on was) fine with how it was going. Then, shortly after this birthday, I wasn’t. I wasn’t ok with anything in my life. This thinking is mostly a sin problem and I can admit that. (It’s also something I’m working on, slowly but surely.) However, looking for jobs in the field I desperately want to be back in and getting told “no”, hurts. It hurts deep. Not being able to move from my current residence is aggravating.  Feeling like I don’t really belong anywhere and not having someone who can sympathize with me or anyone to identify with is isolating. It also creates the feeling of being stuck. Stuck in any way someone can be stuck. It’s a terrible, confusing experience.

30 is not magical. It’s weird and life-changing in a way that is very opposite of any way I imagined. I know movies are stories that can evoke emotions and that they aren’t real but they do help set a tone and play into expectations. Maybe I’ve just started 30 all wrong? Maybe I should have had that party like I wanted and things would be different? Perhaps I just missed the magic of the tri-decade celebration. I don’t know.

Was there an age that you thought would be magical? A time in life that you thought would be a catalyst for a change but it ended very differently from how you imagined? Was your 30th birthday a big birthday for you? Was it another birthday that you felt was a milestone? Let me know!

 

**Please, please, PLEASE understand the sarcasm in these first statements. Don’t @ me about “fake news” or anyone/anything related to it. I’m trying to be humorous. If you don’t get that or if it rustles your jimmies: GET A LIFE!

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I like things. Who doesn’t like things?

I like a lot of things. A wide assortment of things.

What I mean to say is that I have very varied interest. Sometimes I get way more into interest than others.

I’ve always been this way. It’s some kind of family trait, I think. My dad had a wide range of interest and hobbies. So I get it honest.

I always felt encouraged to study up on anything that piqued my interest and so I have. I have checked out many a book from the library on many a topic and have Googled till my eyes got so strained from looking at a screen.

However, there are a few things that grab hold of me tighter than others and since I had planned on doing a “March Favorites” post but didn’t finish it (whoops), I decided to do a post about things I really like right now. Maybe you’ll find something you can get interested in!

  1. Comic Books/Graphic Novels. I have always liked comic characters and have spent many hours watching comic book based series (preferably Marvel. I’ve always been a Marvel girl) but I never really got into reading them. Sad, I know. However, recently, I’ve fallen in love with them. It kind of sparked after finding the complete works of He-Man when I was in Austin.  I’ve since bought one (vintage) at a shop on my most recent visit to my hometown and once I finish the book I’m currently reading, I plan on starting “The Walking Dead” graphic novels. I’m very interested in expanding my collection and reading more. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize comics are so awesome. So, if you have suggestions for any comics/graphic novels I should check out, send them my way!
  2. Essential Oils. I’ve written about this I’m sure but I’m going to talk about it again. First let me say that I don’t think EOs have mystical, magical healing abilities. Do I think they are beneficial? Yes. Do I think they do something? Yes. Can I tell you what that something is? No. I just know that if I have a headache and I use some peppermint and eucalyptus on a warm rag, my headache goes away. Maybe it’s psychosomatic. I’ve checked and I can’t really figure it out. I just know that they do indeed do something. It also feeds into my obsession with being natural and slightly crunchy. I can disinfect my counter with a combination of vinegar and tea tree oil? Yes, please! Improve my mood by diffusing something that smells wonderful? Sure! Like I said, I still don’t understand exactly how they work. I’ve read many articles but I’m hung up on the science of it. However, I still love essential oils and I think that’s a thing that I’ll stick with.
  3. 80s jams and obscure music. I love music. I always have. I go through phases when I’m really into what’s popular and other times I want to listen to the obscure artists. Lately, I’ve been going through genres. I’ve been listening to more country music (which I’m convinced is a sign of a life crisis or something) but I’ve also journeyed down the rabbit hole of 80s music. Those are bops, y’all!! Full of synth sounds, soothing voices, upbeat songs you can’t help but move too and soulful, longing, heartbreaking ballads. This is a world of wonder. There are SO many great songs from this era. I highly recommend listening to the 80s playlist on Spotify. You’re welcome.
  4. Plants. I love plants. It’s something I get honest. My mama has always had plants, my Me-Me always had plants, my aunt has a front porch that dream are made of! I currently have more plants than one girl needs but I’m always adding. I’ve suffered losses but I keep trying. I seem to have the most trouble with succulents. You’d think that wouldn’t be difficult plants to take care of but dang it, they are. I have one right now that seems to be alright. Watering can be tricky. Though I come from a long line of green thumbs, I also come from a line of over waters. Well, my Me-Me is a serial over water. I think I’m doing better though, I water on a regular schedule. So yeah, I love plants and will add more to my collection. So don’t mind my suburban jungle!

Well, that’s it! Or enough for right now anyway. What are some things that you can’t get enough of right now? What is something you’ve always loved? Let me know!

Jumping on the Train

So, I’m going to do something. This time I’m going to do it for real.

Whole30.

I’m going to do Whole30.

Not that big of a deal really because at this point pretty much everyone and their third cousin has done at least one round of Whole30.

I figured a new month, it will be payday right at the beginning, so why not! Also, I need to once again, get a jump on getting back on the health train.

I was doing pretty good. There have been some not so good weeks and some not so smart decisions. I want to do better, though. I figured doing a round of Whole30 (this time the right way) would help.

I’ve done my homework this time. Last time I attempted a round of Whole30 I gave up quickly because I didn’t prep ahead. Now, going 30 days without grains, dairy and sugar seem very doable. Those are all things I try to avoid anyway. I rarely buy bread. I’ve switched which to almond milk. I do like cheese so that may be one thing I really miss. I also try to limit sugar.

I’ve also gotten much better at planning out meals than when I tried Whole30 before. Planning out my meals helps me keep my food cost down and helps me keep on track. It also seems to be a key factor in sticking to this program. (Is Whole30 a program? I see a lot of things they say not to think of it as a diet. I understand that but if it’s not a diet, what is it?)

The hardest thing is going to be no peanut butter. What kind of madness is that? No peanut butter for 30 days? Almond butter is alright but it’s no peanut butter. But I can do this. I can go 30 days without a late night peanut butter spoon. Yes.

I plan on journaling my experiences. Those will probably be on here at some point.

I’m actually kind of excited about doing my first official round of this. Ready for that healthy jumpstart. Hopefully, this will motivate me to exercise more too. I need that. Laziness has been a problem here lately. Also, if I want to stand up paddleboard, (which I really do. I’ve been wanting to do that for years now) I’ve got to get in shape! Gotta get started on some core work so I can stand up on a board. Also, I am freaking 30 so I need to get healthy. Like for real.

Have you done Whole30? What tips do you have? Tricks? Were you surprised by the results? What are some resources you recommend? Let me know!

 

23 Drafts

I have 23 items in my drafts for this blog.

That’s a lot.

Sadly, they will most likely stay there a while and eventually, I will delete them.

Why so many? Well, there are several reasons.

The main reason is because people gonna people.

People are going to put their own inflections, and associate specific ideas with specific words and see something completely different from what I’m trying to say. The focus will be on reading into something they shouldn’t and ideas that aren’t there. That’s just how it works. I do that. We all do that.

People also watch. It’s weird.

There’s a strange comfort in knowing that people watch. It’s also frightening and frustrating.

Frustrating because I have to keep a lot inside. Well, in the drafts and in my journal. It kind of sucks.

I’m the type of person who would rather be honest and get things out in the open. I don’t believe in covering up and sweeping things under the rug.

That’s dishonest. Dishonesty isn’t ok.

It shouldn’t be anyway. It is though.

Everyone wants to keep up appearances and put on a good face. Why? Why lie like that? What good does it actually do? It makes you a better liar. Which can be a positive thing? If you’re into that type of thing.

23 drafts.

23 times I’ve started in on a subject and then stopped because I thought “Oh man, I can’t say this. Even though it’s real and honest. I can’t say it. People don’t want you to be honest.”

Just so we’re clear, covering things up and trying to make the ugly go away isn’t even biblical. Once again, it’s lying.

There is a line. Absolutely. Some things aren’t appropriate to share. Some things should be discussed in a different way. However, sometimes some people need their face put in it to realize there’s an issue. I am the most guilty of this. I often need my face put in it to have the painful realization that “Yeah, this isn’t ok and it’s time to change it.” While a post may not be ideal, someone has to say something.

So, there’ are 23 drafts waiting. 23 separate thoughts halfway written, waiting to be edited, but will ultimately be thrown out. 23 things that most likely wouldn’t make a difference but a girl can dream.

23 times I’ve stopped and thought “Is this edifying?” “Does it even really matter?” and the ever-present Christian question of “What would Jesus do?”

Just so we’re clear, Jesus just would have said it. He flipped the freaking tables over in the temple and chased those folks out with a whip. He also looked at the people that followed him around all the time and asked them many times “When are y’all gonna get it? Goodness.” (Even though he knew when. He’s the Word. Ever present from the beginning. But I digress.) He also spoke to the woman at the well, effectively telling her “Lady,  I know. I know who that dude is your living with and what he is. I see you.” However, he is Jesus. He can do whatever because he is good and eternal and my hope.

23 time

Mardi Gras is here!

If you aren’t familiar with how it works. Mardi Gras can be confusing.

Yes. Mardi Gras is one day. Mardi Gras translates to Fat Tuesday and it does indeed occur on a Tuesday. It is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is also the last day of the ‘carnival’ season.

During this time of year, which begins on 12th Night or King’s Day, there are parades and events. I’m mostly interested in the parades. I’m a Louisiana girl so parading is ingrained into me. It always makes me feel weird and extremely happy when people see our parades for the first time. It can be a shock, which I think is hilarious. Louisiana knows how to parade. That’s one the thing the whole state has on lock. We can cook and parade. It’s very convenient that those two happen to go together very nicely.

Mardi Gras is a big deal. I just wrote a love letter about it in my last post. I can’t help it. I just really love it that much. While I’m no expert, I know that there are people who are not prepared. There are some things novices need to know before hitting the parade route and I’m happy to share my tiny amount of knowledge.

If you’re going to come to the see Mardi Gras, I want you to prepared because most likely, this isn’t going to work like you think. Mardi Gras is the most fun thing you’ll ever experience but it won’t be easiest.

Here are my tips for having a fun time at Mardi Gras:

  1. Hydrate. Even if you don’t party that hard (you know what I mean), parading takes a lot out of you. Hydration is very important. You probably should be drinking more water anyway. Who doesn’t? You’ll be spending a lot of time outside, on your feet, screaming, dancing, and reaching for those beads. Please drink plenty of water.
  2. Bring a chair. There are lulls in these parades. It always happens. A float breaks down, something crazy happened, a train comes through, there’s a number of things that cause the parade to have a gap (typically there is a long lull and then a couple of shorter ones). You don’t want to be standing for those, you will get tired and your experience with go downhill. If you don’t have a chair you can bring, get a tarp. Trust me, use a tarp, not a blanket. You want to avoid contact with any liquids on the ground, for reasons.
  3. Be prepared to walk. If you haven’t had the parade experience of feverishly finding just one parking spot and trucking it at least 15 blocks, you haven’t really paraded. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one out there. The people are nice because we are all focused on one goal, “Must get to St. Charles.” Having to hike the route is something that must be experienced. I’m convinced it’s almost like an unspoken tradition. It’s a story everyone must have “We parked on (insert street name here) and walked, I didn’t think we were going to make it but we got to the route and had a great time!”
  4. You will have to pay to use the bathroom Business owners know what’s up. There are thousands of people out there and eventually, many of them will have to use the restroom. You will have to pay. Even if you go to the McDonald’s. They will want you to make a minimum purchase so you can use the bathroom. I’m all for paying for a wristband from a hotel. You can go in and out, no must, no fuss, if it gets too crazy you have a retreat and you have a new piece of parade route jewelry! Also, the hotel bathroom is cleaned more frequently than the restaurants, which helps. And they don’t smell like a parade, usually, which is nice.
  5. Pack a snack. Parades are a marathon. Especially if you are doing more than one-day parading (which, of course, you are!). Again, yes there are restaurants, food carts, and corner stores all along the route but you get a better deal packing your own. Plus, if you’re watching what you eat, packing your snacks is the way to go. There will be healthier options available but expect to fork out the dough. Again, its a case of people knowing they can get the money and so they will. It’s helpful to have the snack for the lull because that’s typically when you’ll realize you’re hungry. It will also help you to avoid the long lines at ALL the fast food locations in the ENTIRE city.
  6. Territory matters. There is an unspoken rule of territory at Mardi Gras. You do NOT encroach on anyone else’s bubble. Do not push, do not reach too far in front of someone else. Do not block the children and watch out for the old ladies because they are brutal. To the fastest hand goes the beads and all other throws. Everyone can usually keep a bubble around them approximately a foot in circumference. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FIGHT ANYONE FOR BEADS! There is beaucoup of them, trust me. Do not fight over special or signature throws. It’s not worth it and if you don’t get a signature throw, come back next year and try again. The locals and the vets know these rules. Tourist, sadly, do not and that’s where the fights break out. So just, respect the space. PLEASE!
  7. Be a friendly face. You want to catch some good things? Smile and wave. Scream thank you after you catch the throws or after the attempt was made. Sure, most of those riders are tore up from the floor up but they still appreciate a friendly face. Please see these words: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING SCANDALOUS TO GET THE GOOD THINGS!! Let them see that you’re having a good time and it will be rewarded. Be patient, be kind, and have fun. Those are the brass tax rules of Mardi Gras, really.
  8. Be ready to line dance. Music is a constant for parades. Before, during, after. Many times a couple of line dance songs are blasted, especially during lulls so dust off those moves and be ready to join in. And yes, many times, the wonderful NOPD officers posted along the route will join in. That’s probably my second favorite part of Mardi Gras.
  9. Be willing to make Mardi Gras friends. While yes, territory matters, comradery mattes too. We’re all out there for the same reason to have some fun! So, be willing to talk to the people your posted next too. Many times they will be willing to share their throws, their chairs, their ladder, or their food! Again, when the things are being thrown, don’t encroach, but in the ‘rest’ strike up a conversation. You never know, you may find your new best friend!
  10. Wash your face & treat yourself after your done with ALL the parades! There are a lot of things out there on the parade route. There are many things flying in the air. The flu is rampant. You NEED to clean at least your face when you get home. I recommend getting a soap with activated charcoal in it (I use this one from Beard and Lady, not sponsor, but a great company ran by SUPER sweet people)  so that you can get the gunk out. Also, be prepared for your clothes to smell like Mardi Gras. It just seeps in. It will stick. It’s not that it’s a terrible smell. It’s just unique. Finally, Mardi Gras afternoon treat yourself! If you can do a little at home spa treatment or if you are rolling in the dough, schedule some time at a spa the weekend after Mardi Gras. Especially a manicure or pedicure. You will want one, believe me.

Well, those are my Mardi Gras tips! I hope to see you out there on the route! I’ll be with my friends and we’re nice people. Have fun out there!!!

 

One final thing!! If you must grab something to eat along the parade route, it must be Popeyes. If you don’t eat Popeyes on the parade route at least once, much like with hiking to a parade, you haven’t had a true Mardi Gras experience

I love Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is my most favorite time of year. It is the absolute best. I love (almost) everything about it. I love the parades, the beads, signature throws, the community that is created as we cozy up to fellow New Orleanians and the tourist(Lord, help them. They really don’t know what they’re doing.)  begging for items. Most of the time it’s incredibly enjoyable. We do let the good times roll, within reason. Occasionally, words are exchanged when the bubble is invaded. But gosh, it’s fun.

Also, it’s not what everyone else thinks it is. As a Mardi Gras partaker for 6 years, I’ve been scandalized few times. The times I have been scandalized, it’s been by tourist. Sorry. I love you and I’m so glad you’re here but those things happen in the French Quarter, not on the traditional Uptown parade route. We don’t really do those things. Please, come and have fun. Be merry. Enjoy responsibly but remember that we are not a lawless city. Especially during Mardi Gras. There are rules. Sure some of the rules are a little different but we have them!

Oh, but I do love Mardi Gras. I love it so much! It’s part of my mission while I’m in NOLA (and as a Louisiana native and lifelong researcher of the subject) to help make the greatness of Mardi Gras understood. I want to encourage those who come here and are scared (that’s another post, people move here and are scared to death. Why did you even come? New Orleans is the pearl of the south, in my opinion. Like I said, another time.) to get out and take in a parade. Go out and see the sights. Maybe even walk down Bourbon Street, but do that in the daytime and look up. Don’t look in or at the windows if you don’t want to be scandalized.

Mardi Gras is a great time to put some kindness out into the world. It’s a great time to have some fun with some strangers and make memories. Sometimes, you’ll run upon a person who will share throws (probably not signature throws, though. Those are worth fighting for unless it’s an old lady. I’m speaking from personal experience.) It’s a great time to make friends. My BFF and I secured our friendship at Mardi Gras. It’s great. It’s my preferred context to get to know people in. Mostly because I’m not shy at a parade. Shy and of few words (I think) most of the time but take me to a parade and you’ll get to know the real me. It’s not too crazy but I think it surprises people.

So, if you need someone to go to a parade with, let me know! I’ll be happy to take you and show you the Mardi Gras. I go hard. I go to as many as I can and I’ll be exhausted for a week and a half afterward. It’s totally worth it though.

I love Mardi Gras!!

30

30_lightsNow, this is not an emotional post.

Suprise!

It’s an honest one, though.  In fact, you may question my sanity after reading it. I’m totally fine with that, by the way. My sanity does need to be questioned because it is questionable. Second note, this is a post about my birthday. I will admit, I’ve become obsessive with my thoughts towards this particular birthday. Some of the reasoning for that is what I’ll go into here. (I use the term reasoning loosely. Like I said, I’m ready for and expecting my sanity to be questioned.)

Birthdays. There are a lot of mixed feelings about them. Some folks love birthdays. Some hate them. Some ignore them. I, personally, love the idea of birthdays. I love the idea of celebrating life. I like participating in birthdays. I have dreamed of throwing myself a party but have never done it because anxiety is a real thing, y’all. It’s incredible that we keep up with age. It’s so important. It’s also incredible that some ages carry more with them. For example, the 10th birthday is celebrated a little bit bigger because double-digit status has been achieved! 13th birthdays are celebrated because teendom is looked upon excitedly by the ones entering it but feared by everyone else. 16th birthdays are a really big deal because, for some reason, it’s deemed fine for these semi-adults to drive (it’s not smart really, brain development, guys. They still can’t make a smart decision because their frontal cortex isn’t ready!  I know, I studied human development and I was once also 16 and dumb.) When you’re 18 you can go into bars but not drink, you can buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. Then, 21 is big deal because you can drink legally, despite the brain still not being all the way cooked. Wonderful. Then there are no more big birthday celebrations.

That is until you reach another 0 birthday. That 0 birthday happens to be 30 and lordy be, that’s the birthday I’m encroaching upon (have surpassed if you read this after January 15th). The idea of turning 30 is weird. I’m so grateful that I’ve lived this long and still have good health. I’ve never had a surgery or broken a major bone. I’ve completed school, gotten a big girl job where I have insurance and a retirement account. Nice but also weird. I don’t feel equipped to have these things. I’m not deserving of a retirement account. Who retires? How does one retire? People actually do that? Wait a minute, people actually turn 30?

What does it mean? Why does it feel like I’m waiting for something? I’m anticipating this new decade of life with a tinge of excitement but mostly confusion.

In about the last month, I have been overwhelmed by this feeling of anticipation. It almost equals the anticipation/excitement/nervousness I felt when I went to Austin for the Tour of Mythicality (yeah, I’m going to keep bringing that up. Sorry not sorry.) Why do I have this anticipation? I feel like there’s something people aren’t telling me about getting to this milestone. Is there an Ages and Stages Questionnaire? I know about development and I know that those things help. Is there one? Will it help me figure this out and make sure I’m on track for a 30-year-old ‘adult’?  What am I waiting for? What’s going to happen? It certainly feels like something is about to happen.

Am I the only one who’s felt this way about 30? Did anyone else have this experience? I know I’m thinking too much about it but welcome to the way my obsessive and anxiety wired mind work. As the day gets closer, I feel more anxious and it’s getting to be too much. I want to celebrate this achievement of getting to live 30 years on this weirdo planet but at the same time, I almost wish it would just pass over me.  I also wish this wondering feeling would go away.

It’s the weight of waiting. That’s how I can best describe it. I have no idea what I’m waiting on! I’m just waiting. Waiting for January 15th to come and for 3:14 PM to show on the clock so that it’s officially official. Maybe my fairy godmother will finally show up or maybe I’ll breakthrough on an idea I’ve been working on. Maybe that’s when the Lord will make his return (who know, I don’t think that and I certainly don’t have the ability to predict that but enough people come up with other strange reasons to set a date for that even though the Lord Christ himself said he didn’t know…That’s for another time and another place, let’s get back on track). Maybe that’s when I realize growing up isn’t so scary. Maybe I’ll finally be comfortable enough in my own skin and with my own self at the exact moment I entered this earth 30 years ago.  I’ll let you know what happens.

Maybe I’ll celebrate this day like I’ve planned.

I want my friends to gather together and eat bad food (because you only live once and bad food is a need from time to time) and go play like kids at Dave and Buster’s, where we act like fools and work to get all the tickets to get absurd prizes with, and then go out for ice cream and coffee.

That’s the dream. It most likely won’t happen because anxiety and also because I don’t deserve that. No one else wants to eat cheesesteaks and play arcade games and pick out crazy prizes and that’s fine. I’ll wait for the day to come and then I’ll wake up the 16th and see if anything has changed.

30.

A new decade.

Weird.

Exciting but weird.

 

Have you had a birthday that you waited on with great anticipation? What is your dream birthday celebration? What was your favorite birthday? Do you think milestone birthdays should change? Let me know!