Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to have some special people in my life do some very nice, unexpected things for me. And wouldn’t you know it, I was all out of thank-you cards. In my 20s, I think the only time I sent a thank you note was after a job interview. Thankfully, I realized how important it is to be thoughtful. I also learned that a hand-written thank you card not only acknowledges the person to whom you are thankful to; it also acknowledges how special you are. Just taking the time to buy and write them shows that you are grateful and acknowledge the giving of others and opens you up to receiving more. I know that’s waxing a little philosophical, but I couldn’t help but think it when I finally bought three sets of stunning cards at Papyrus. There’s something to be said about going into the store, which I did. Here are a few you can check out online:
While it may take more time and effort than simply shooting someone an email or text, I think it’s worth it. In fact, I’m looking forward to when I’ll have to go out and buy some more.
Word to the wise: Bring more gratitude into your life by buying some really nice thank you cards – and sending them. If you’ve ever received one, you know what I mean. It makes my day and it will make someone else’s, too.
Have you written any thank you cards recently? Who were you thanking and why? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
They say it’s hard to know who your real friends are. And they’re not kidding. Whether you’re single or married, the love and friendship of close female friends is not a luxury – but a necessity for survival. Like air or water. It’s good to know early on the difference between an acquaintance and a true friend. It’s taken me a long time to learn and appreciate what those differences are. For example, a true friend:
- Applauds your successes
- Tells you the truth (even when you don’t want to hear it)
- Encourages you to be your best
- Holds your hand and hugs you when you cry like a baby at practically every song at a Diana Krall concert, especially this one, “Just Like a Butterfly That’s Caught in the Rain:” http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xn42tQkKzw
- Eats carbohydrates with you, although they appear to have been banned by the entire female race
- Makes you feel like you hold a special place in their heart
- Shows up – even when they may not feel like it
- Tolerates your quirks and your cooking
- Supports you in ways no one else can
These are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think of the women I’m fortunate enough to count on my left hand. In a recent Huffington Post article, Lena Dunham’s character in “Girls,” Hannah Horvath wrote, “A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance.” The article further stated, “We’d argue that this sentiment holds far beyond the confines of university. The women in your life are there for all the serious stuff, like health scares and accompanying you to the funerals of loved ones, as well as the moments that make you laugh until you can’t breathe. You can tell them the deepest secrets about yourself and your family, and count on them to pick up the phone at any hour.” To read more, check out http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/10-reasons-nothing-like-female-best-friends_n_3874647.html and see how their list compares to mine. So here’s a special shout out to my friends! (And you know who you are). May we continue to be there for each other through life’s triumphs and tragedies. You might want to give a shout out to yours, too. Word to the wise: Know who your friends are and keep them close. It’s not easy making friends and as we get older, it can be even harder. Cherish the ones you have and foster and grow those friendships that you think have potential. What’s special about your BFFs? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
This idea comes from my stepmom, another very wise woman. She has a friend who started this tradition in her 20s and decades later, these ladies still get together to play cards. If you’re not into cards, it can be bunko, a book club, wine-tasting night or anything that you and your friends enjoy. It’s also nice to take turns hosting. That way each of you spends time at the other’s places. The main thing is, that you stay connected. I wish I had a group like this when I was in my 20s because I miss a lot of the friends I had back then. And maybe if we had done this, we’d be like my stepmom’s friend, still in touch and building on years of memories and friendship. Fortunately, I have a great group of women in my life now and we have been getting together for happy hour from time to time. Since some of us recently moved, we thought it would be fun to have happy hours at our houses, where the host provides the munchies and the guests bring the beverages. While not a traditional game night, it will get us all together in a more relaxed and intimate setting. As time goes on, we may even play some games. Here are a few fun ideas: http://www.brit.co/game-night-ideas/. I just might have to get “Anomia:” ‘Take advantage of all the random information floating around in your head with this game that requires you to face off with other players and race to give a correct answer to the question on your opponent’s card’.” After a few glasses of wine, all of us may have a lot less random information in our heads and hopefully a few good laughs. Make it a point to get together with the girls in your life. It’s good to know they’re there for you and you for them.
Word to the wise: Keep your friends close. Establishing a routine with your friends now can give you comfort and stability for years to come.
Got some ideas for game nights or how to get them going? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
In my teens and 20s, I was a notorious guard let-downer. At work, in love, and with every new person I met. I was often told that I wore my heart on my sleeve. While being open to all experiences was at many times enriching and joyful, it was also hurtful and disappointing when someone stomped on my heart or betrayed my trust. When you’re young, it could be argued that this is a right of passage. And eventually, you’ll learn to keep your guard up more. Or maybe always, depending on how many times you’ve been through the ringer by the time you hit 30. Some people have developed strategies Sun Tzu would commend to protect themselves. Although even he might argue that the walls we make to keep other people out often wind up keeping us locked inside. But the thing is, as I much as try not to, try so hard not to be that girl who lets her guard down, I still do. Because when it gets right down to it, would I rather be the person with the fortress around my heart or the one who lets her guard down from time to time to discover new friendships, deeper intimacy, the possibility of true of love and, of course, a world of hurt. Yin and yang, as it were. I will say that if you’ve just been stomped on, it does help to keep plenty of Haagen-Dazs in the house. But going for a walk or reading a book can work just as well. So can a conversation with a good friend – even though you know they’ll tell you that that’s what you get for wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Word to the wise: It’s good to stand watch, but sometimes you have to listen to your heart. While it may not always be right, at least you know you have one.
What do you think about letting your guard down? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
This thought came to me as I recently left Urban Outfitters with an item that I knew would give me immeasurable pleasure – a portable record player. When I saw it in the window, it called to me with its bright orange case and light tan handle. Plus, it played albums and 45s. But, I didn’t know how much it cost. All I could think was, please, don’t let it be more than $100. I nervously waited in line, hoping this precious possession would soon be mine. When I got to the register I knew one way or another, it was now or never. I asked the clerk, “How much?” She gave me the answer I was looking for: “$99.” I practically skipped out of the store. When I got home, I grabbed some 45s and was delighted to hear a sound I hadn’t heard in years – the needle scratching against the vinyl. And that’s when I started to think about happiness and how little money it takes to truly make one’s self or others happy. Another recent example is New Year’s Eve. I remember in my 20s we’d go out and blow way more than $100 for what usually turned out be an evening that was worth way less. New Year’s Day was even better because there was the requisite hangover, worn like a badge of honor. This year, I stayed home, broke out a bottle of champagne and had a new neighbor over for some frozen appetizers. Cost: about $30. And we had a great time, sipping and nibbling while watching the ball go down in NYC at 9 p.m. And then there’s one thing I’ve been wanting for years and finally went to amazon.com to buy – a chess set. Cost: $29. Happiness quotient when I receive it: Priceless. Wait, that’s the MasterCard commercial. So take a moment and think about how you can make yourself or someone you love happy. Big expensive stuff is great, if you can afford it, but what do you really need?
Word to the wise: Bling isn’t always the thing. Achieving happiness is. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but $30 in your pocket could be everyone’s. Spend wisely and you’ll never have to worry about buyer’s remorse.
Can you think of anything you bought or did for $100 that made you happy? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
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.”