Category Archives: Life Lessons

25. Abortion is not a form of birth control.

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Contrary to Romeo Void’s lament, a girl in trouble is not a temporary thing. No matter what the outcome, if you’re that girl, it’s ???????????????????????????????????????with you for life. While I have may have done many unwise things in my teens and 20s, getting pregnant wasn’t one of them. And even though I haven’t experienced an abortion firsthand, I speak from the experience of my friends. A few of who have had more than one abortion by the time they were 25. Case in point: A dear friend of mine got pregnant in her late 30s and wasn’t sure she wanted to keep the baby. Because she’d already had three abortions, she knew if she had another one, she might never be able to have children at all. So she kept it. All I knew was I couldn’t face myself if I had to have an abortion. So I did whatever I could to avoid a situation that would be unbearable for me. And bottom line, there was absolutely no way I was ready to have a baby. But in the heat of the moment, all of this is quickly forgotten. That’s why I’m on the pill and have been for years. Of course, if you’re really smart, you won’t tell guys that. Because unless he’s your boyfriend and you know for a fact he’s not cheating on you, it pays to be safe. As in make him wear a condom anyway. It protects you from other things, too. And when you’re on the pill, you’ll never have to worry if it has hole.

Word to the wise: There are plenty of ways to protect yourself and you’re the one who has to do it. Unless, of course, you don’t mind having an abortion or two. Or giving your baby up for adoption (see “Juno”). Or keeping it even though you’re not ready. None of these are attractive options and much harder than choosing a method of birth control and using it. And if you’re still not convinced, just watch an episode of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant.”

What are your thoughts on this touchy topic? Any personal experiences or experiences of friends you’d like to share? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

24. Doing laundry on a regular basis relieves stress.

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Unless of course, it’s your new Pottery Barn duvet cover, which doesn’t appear to have any washing instructions. As long as I???????????????????????????????????????? can remember, I’ve hated doing laundry. Especially when I lived in apartments where you had to go downstairs with your over-stuffed basket (socks and underwear falling off the top) and then walk what felt like a mile to the laundry room. As if that weren’t bad enough, it always seemed to be raining on those rare occasions when I did decide to make that trek. Oh, and lest we forget about all those lovely people who take your wet stuff out of the washer because you happened to get there two minutes after the machine completed its cycle. So back then, I had an excuse. Although I wonder if I had attempted to do laundry more often if it would have been less stressful. Like one load a week instead of 10 loads in one day. I think while less efficient, given the amount of effort it took to get to and from the laundry room; it would have been worth it. When I did finally get an apartment that had a washer and dryer hook-up, guess what? I still did 10 loads in one day. And it was such a chore. I finally realized that doing one load a week is much more manageable. And now, I have clean underwear all the time (mostly).

Word to the wise: Always having clean clothes (not to mention clean underwear) feels nice. And looking at a half-full laundry basket instead of one that’s brimming over the top won’t make you feel half empty.

So is doing laundry just about doing laundry? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

23. Online banking is da bomb and you should use it daily to keep your budget on track.

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I apologize for my use of the phrase “da bomb.” I’ve been told never to use that expression. Or “Gettin’ jiggy with it.” Apparently, ????????????????????????????????????????I’m not convincing when I say either of those things. Regardless, online banking is not only da bomb, it saved my financial life. Really, when it gets down to it, it saved me, too. Back in the days when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, a.k.a., my 20s, I had to balance my checkbook the old fashioned way, which often took hours. And adding insult to injury, I was always off. Usually by at least $100, which might explain the amount of bounced checks I had back then. Because balancing my checkbook was always so frustrating, I stopped balancing it altogether. I never knew how much money I had, or in most cases, didn’t have, and this made me very anxious and worried. Paying bills was a drag, too. I never seemed to have enough stamps and writing checks that had the potential to bounce was pretty depressing. Then online banking came along and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I could check my balance every day! And it was always right! I even get email alerts when my balance falls below $200 (like today). This has had a profound effect on how I spend and save money. Online banking made taking control of my finances easy. The power it’s given me is immeasurable. You should be tapping into this power, too.

Word to the wise: Take advantage of everything online banking has to offer – and besides, it’s free! And check your balance every day. Pay all your bills online and you’ll know how much money you have left over for everything else the minute you hit the “Submit Payment” button. Look at your spending habits and see if there’s a way for you to save or to save more. Most banks have these cool charts that show on a monthly and yearly basis the stuff you spent money on and how much. You’ll find that if you totally get into it, online banking really is da bomb and you’ll feel like da bomb because you won’t be as worried about your money.

Has online banking changed your life? How does it help you with your finances? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

Having sex with fewer people is much more fulfilling.

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Boy, I sure wish I’d learned this one before I turned 25. Not that I could be compared to Gene Simmons, but I certainly was no ????????????????????????????????????????angel. And while some of it may have been fun, most of the time, I felt empty and unfulfilled. Inside, I always wished that each one would be the one. And as the years passed, all of these encounters didn’t bring me any closer to what I really wanted – a loving relationship with my soul mate. I recently watched an indie film called “Tiny Furniture,” which was the precursor to the HBO series, “Girls.” Honestly, it made me melancholy and quite sad. I thought young women had come so far and weren’t doing the stupid stuff that I did. Or at least not as much of it. All this talk of “Girl Power” allowed me to believe that we were above degrading ourselves for some loser guy. That said, if you still want to have “fun” and think you can handle it – all I can say is be safe. But also, be honest with yourself about what it is you really want.

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself about your friends with benefits relationship or other casual encounters: http://www.yourtango.com/experts/donna-davidge/casual-sex-good-idea-you

Word to the wise: A good lay is just a good lay. It won’t keep you warm at night, especially after the door closes and someone says they’ll call and they never do.

What do you think about casual sex? Do you think these experiences hurt or help young women? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Should Know.”

21. Pets are a huge responsibility and they deserve to be treated well.

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Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m an animal lover. And they might even tell you about my cat, Mr. Chew-Cha. ???????????????????????????????????????Because he’s a big part of my life. What I can tell you is that I really wasn’t ready for the responsibility. But my mom decided I was, so right about when I turned 38, she dropped Mr. Chew-Cha on my doorstep (whose shelter name was “Hobo” by the way). Immediately, I tried to get rid of him. Because I liked to travel, be footloose and fancy-free and I was single and had no ties. After putting up flyers with the clever headline “Hobo Needs a Home” and emailing all my friends, it was clear that Hobo and I were stuck with each other and that he needed a new name. But at no small price. I love him more than life itself but I do miss my freedom. You see, I’m the kind of person who knows that he misses me when I’m not there. And that he’s always home waiting for me. And most important, that he depends on me for everything. I don’t think I got that as much when I was in my 20s. Fortunately, I really didn’t have pets back then and my roommates never really wanted any. So some poor animal didn’t suffer because of our late hours and lack of responsibility.

Word to the wise: Think long and hard before getting a pet. Do you really have the time or desire to give them the love and attention they deserve? You need to be fair to yourself and fair to them. Pets can bring great joy into your life, but you need to be at a place in your life where you can bring them great joy, too. Here are some thoughts for college students considering getting a pet: https://vet.osu.edu/education/responsibilities-pet-ownership, which unless you’re a complete hermit, I wouldn’t recommend.

Do you have a pet? Ever seen some of your friends who have them and wonder why they do? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

20. Your boyfriend doesn’t need to know everything about you.

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Many have told me that my life is an open book. As clearly, writing this blog would indicate. And I’ve also been told that I wear my???????????????????????????????????????? heart on my sleeve. These are not terrific qualities for attracting and getting a guy – or keeping him. There was an expression I heard once, and I apologize in advance for the language – but it goes like this: “Only show a man half your ass.” This is an incredibly wise saying. Why? Because honestly, men really don’t want or need to know everything, and I mean everything, about you. You should always have some things you keep to yourself. Not only does this help you maintain your independence, it also makes your guy wonder from time to time what you’re up to. Or what you’ve been up to. Nothing wrong with that. This concept, unfortunately, is even harder for most of us to do today because of Facebook, Twitter and what I call the social networking palooza. Everyone seems to be sharing way too much. But that doesn’t mean you have to, too.

Word to the wise: Let him spill his secrets. When you share less about yourself, the more he’ll share with you. And that’s a secret all wise women know. Here’s some more interesting thoughts on this mysterious subject: http://ezinearticles.com/?Mystery-Solved—How-to-Be-Mysterious-and-Keep-Him-Wanting-More&id=3031693

How do you feel about keeping a bit of mystery in your relationship? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Should Know.”

5. Facebook is your enemy.

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Look at me. My life sucks. All of my “friends” are always going somewhere exciting, have boyfriends who are willing to take lots of pictures with them and throw really fun parties they don’t invite me to. Reading these posts can incite me to throw a party of my own – a pity party. But then I remember that I went to Italy last year, fulfilling a lifelong dream, and hey, I’m working on writing this blog and getting a book published. And then, well, things start to look up a bit. Maybe if I posted some of that on Facebook, I’d feel better. Someone might even hit the “like” button or make a comment. Wow, I could start feeling really good about myself again. And then whoever reads my posts might feel just like I do when I read theirs. Hmmmm…

Word to the wise: Have a life outside of Facebook. And know that just because people post that they’re having the most wonderful time in the world, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. Or if it makes you feel better, they are.

What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

4. Facebook is your friend.

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Look at me. I’m oh so popular. I have hundreds of friends (ok, more like 70) and 25 of them (ok, more like one) liked the post I just added five minutes ago. No comments – yet. Oh wait, and it’s my birthday, too? I almost forgot. Look at my wall. Pretty impressive that everyone remembers me on my special day (not to mention that Facebook sends them all a little reminder, but that’s beside the point.) This is all pretty overwhelming considering I was never that popular in high school, except for my drama and choir friends. Which should give you a pretty good idea of just where I fell on the popularity spectrum. But on Facebook, I’m a superstar. Someone just tagged me in a photo. Everyone is saying how beautiful we are. Damn, I’m feeling pretty good about myself today. Facebook is my best friend, ever.

Word to the wise: Facebook can be your friend, if you have a life outside of it. It’s nice to know that someone, anyone, cares that you went to Zumba last night or had a roast beef sandwich for lunch. And birthdays aren’t too bad, either.

What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

3. If your roommate’s boyfriend is a former felon and she doesn’t know what he was in jail for, move out.

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True story, I kid you not. My final roommate (and the following will give you an indication of why I’ve been living alone ever since) used to bring guys home from bars. We had two bedrooms and we shared a bathroom and a shower. Good times. Especially when strange dudes would sleep over. Like Butch, the felon (and yes, that was his real name). I was told that he served time, but my roommate didn’t know what for. Butch was quite a character. I remember how it creeped me out the way he would look at me before I would go for a jog. Yes, I was wearing shorts and a sports bra, but that wasn’t atypical jogging attire, unless you just got out of the slammer and haven’t seen a woman in five years (just speculation). And get this, according to my roommate Brittany, whose name I’ve changed to protect the stupid, when they went out to dinner and it was time to pay, he would have her go out to the car and start the engine. When he would get in the car, he’d tell her to step on the gas because he had just skipped out on the bill. I believe that’s what they call a “dine and dash.” After hearing about this incident, I moved out pronto.

Word to the wise: When it comes to roommates, know when it’s time to hold ’em and when it’s time to fold ’em. Because your safety and well being come first. You shouldn’t allow any roommate to put either of those things at risk. And if you can afford to live alone, that’s the wisest thing you can do by far.

What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

2. Lots of credit card debt is no way to go through your 20s.

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Let’s see, I was 27 years old, making $27,000 a year and I had racked up $13,000 of credit card debt. I think that’s a lot even by today’s standards. It got to a point where I couldn’t keep up with all the payments. Credit card companies were constantly  calling me at home and work, even asking to speak to my boss. I felt like I was the world’s worst person and there was no way out. But I just couldn’t resist that dining room table for my new apartment or getting front row seats for Sting (Molly Ringwald was three rows behind me) or going out to dinner every night or that oh-so-cool black leather jacket. You get the idea. That was the fun part. The not-so-fun part was paying it all back and re-establishing my credit. After three years of working with Consumer Credit Counselors (and sending them a $250 money order each month – a small fortune when compared to my salary and other expenses), I paid off my credit card debt.

Word to the wise: Even though I learned an invaluable lesson, I wouldn’t want to go through that again. And you shouldn’t either. Today, the credit card companies trust me again and the offers keep rolling in. But now, I know better than to trust myself.

What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things  Young Women Need to Know.”