I understand when you’re in your 20s this may be easier said then done. For many of us, our natural instincts are to pull away from our parents and push toward independence. But there needs to be a balance. Some people never resolve parental issues and their parents die and that’s that. Only they’re left with all the things they didn’t say. And then there are those who lose their parents when they’re all too young. I had a friend who was only 24 when she lost her mother to cancer. She grieves this loss every day. Fortunately, both of my parents are still alive, and we are close. But it wasn’t easy to get here. Living nearby helps – although some would argue it’s better to be far away. Whatever your situation or age, it’s important to get to know your parents and help them get to know you. While they can be your biggest judges and critics, they can also be your hugest supporters. Because they’ve been around longer, they also typically know more than you do about most things (even though they may make you want to scream sometimes). But don’t just take my word for it, here’s an excerpt from The Learning Network (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/how-close-are-you-to-your-parents/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0) in the New York Times: “Our research shows that the closer bonds between young adults and their parents should be celebrated, and do not necessarily compromise the independence of the next generation. Twenty-five years ago, young people sought advice and help from naïve peers. Today’s young adults may be savvier than their predecessors; they receive advice and help from middle-aged adults with greater life experience and material resources to offer.” And now I’m going to contradict everything I just said. On the other hand, every one has a time in their lives where they bond strongly with their parents and also a time when they don’t. For better or worse, this has been my experience. But it doesn’t have to be yours. Can you think of ways you can spend more time with your parents today?
Word to the wise: If you think your parents are going to be around forever, think again. Make the most of the relationship you have or improve the one you don’t. You’ll be amazed at how much better life gets when you do.
What’s your relationship with your parents like? How can you improve it? 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.”
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.”
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.”
My mother, a wise woman when it comes to looking amazing for her age, always used to say, “Take care of your skin and it will take care of you.” Well, I didn’t do a great job of that in my 20s. After a night of three Long Island Iced Teas, two (three?) Kamikazes, a Jell-O shot and dancing until 4 a.m., passing out on my bed was priority number one. Taking off my makeup when I barely could say my name, not really a priority. And of course, if I had someone of the opposite sex stay over, I certainly didn’t want him to see me without my makeup – even if I looked like a raccoon when I woke up. Luckily, by the time I turned 30, I wised up. Probably because that’s when I noticed those first few lines on my face in the mirror. After that, I made it a point to wash my face every night before I went to bed – no matter how tired I was or who stayed over. I think not skipping my skin care routine in my younger years has helped me skip the Botox in my later ones.
Word to the wise: Wash your face and put on a little moisturizer before you go to bed. If you can do it most nights, you could look pretty fabulous in the decades to come. And maybe instead of spending your money on Botox, you could spend it on a vacation.
What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things All Young Women Need to Know.”