QOTD: Who We Used To Be

I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not

Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.

We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.

JOAN DIDION

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The Eroticism of The Unknown

Dear Diary,

Olivia Wilde recommended a book about parenting so I went down to Powells to try and find it. There were two copies left. A nice older man pointed me towards the bookshelf in the back, beyond the children screaming, to a quiet place in the parenting section where the childless can still plead ignorance.

The book is called Mama Tried and I bought it for ten dollars. I started reading it on the car ride home. I’m not pregnant and I’m not having a kid and I’m not trying to have a kid and I only know like two people who have kids so I have a pretty strong degree of separation between myself and parenting. Let’s not make this weird. You read books to learn new things and I know nothing about parenting.

That seems strange to me because I write a blog about sex and sexuality and relationship dynamics and as I tiptoe ever closer to my thirties, parenting is rapidly becoming a pretty important component of that. I have to wonder – at what point between trying to figure out my career and my relationship and how to wash my hair so that it’s not too greasy or too dry am I supposed to learn how to keep an infant alive?

I feel like the best time to get my feet wet is now. When I’m not responsible for another living, breathing human being. When I’m years away from even having to register for the exam.

I don’t want to presuppose that parenting is something that you can learn from a book. I’ve heard you can’t. I’ve heard that books about parenting mostly just make you feel anxious about how you’re parenting. I guess the book is less functional and more erotic. It’s the magazine under the bed you sneak looks at because it doesn’t quite belong to you yet. I get all wide-eyed like how do cloth diapers work and is swaddling literally a baby burrito?

 

It doesn’t provide me any answers but it gives me a glimpse into some kind of unique horror story. Is this the honey in the trap? The sleepless nights, the dazed-eye look, the promise that it’s so wonderful as you walk crooked down the hallway, middle of the night, nipples bleeding, stomach stitched, screaming I really love my children(!) waiting for the next one to take the bait.

Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know.

More later,

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7 Tips for Killin’ Your Career in 2018

2018 is Your Year

Doesn’t 2018 seem like the future? I mean, it’s literally the future. For a few more days, anyways. So why not say fuck resolutions and make some solid plans instead? The future is waiting.

Re-write your Resume

The best time to write your resume is when you don’t absolutely totally one hundred percent have to write your resume. Writing resumes is terrible flesh burning torture. It’s the same thing as filling out a dating profile. No one is going to read it anyways. A few tips for your fresh, brand new resume: (1) include a few accomplishments per job, (2) make sure that you use past-tense for every job you’re not currently working (3) don’t list basic, unspoken skills like “can type” or “knows how to use a computer” (4) gently tailor your resume for each job you’re applying for! You can frame one accomplishment to look good for two entirely different jobs.

Re-evaluate Your Current Job

Do you come home at night and cry? Do you feel trapped, under-valued, under-appreciated? The best time to look for a new job is while you already have a job. Now is the time to plan your exist strategy. Re-write that resume and start looking for something new. When I was looking for my last job I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but spending a few hours a day reading job descriptions helped me flesh it out.

Unhappiness isn’t the only reason you may want to look for a new job. Maybe you’re not advancing in your career anymore, maybe you’re not being paid fairly, or maybe you want to try something new!

Stop Applying For Jobs You’re 100% Qualfied For

Someone wise told me once that you should never apply for a job you’re 100% qualified for. You won’t learn anything, you’ll get bored, and you probably won’t be making as much money as you could.

It’s OK to find a job you’re super comfortable at and fully qualified for if that’s what you’re looking for. You can find new ways to improve that position/job by generating your own challenges. But for any other circumstance, a job that you’re slightly underqualified for can give you an opportunity to grow and thrive.

Express in the interview that you’re highly qualified for XYZ bullet points, but you aspire to learn XYZ on the job. Every interview should be two-sided – they’re interviewing you, but you’re interviewing them, too.

Find Your Power Outfit

You don’t need a lot of money to acquire the perfect power outfit. Spend a few hours cruising Pinterest looking at work outfits and then head out and see how the clothes fit and feel on your body. I’m still trying to figure this one out and my work wardrobe consists of a strong mix of Banana Republic work pants and beat up chucks.

Start Reading Up 

You don’t know what you don’t know! Sometimes reading books doesn’t teach me anything aside from how little I know about something. Head to the local bookstore and browse the general business section (or whatever more specific career path you’re on) to see what there is to know. You could learn a new skill, become empowered to have tricky conversations, or learn more about yourself and your interpersonal abilities.

Keep A List Of Your Strengths & Weaknesses

One thing I started to do at my new job was create a list of all of the things I was learning how to do (software! skills! management techniques!) so I could remember how far I’d come after a year. I’ve sort of dropped off of that (it’s like journaling, difficult to do on the daily) but what I did manage to get down thus far reminds me that I’ve been making progress. Keeping track of weaknesses also reminds me that there are still things I need to learn. It’s a marker of when and how to ask for help.

Ask For The Promotion & Make Your Intentions Known 

Your boss should know what your intentions are at your job. Transparency is good because it will get them what they want, and you what you need. If you want to learn more about XYZ, ask for their advice on how you can achieve it. You can even try this if you’re your own boss. Where do you want your business to go? How are you going to make it get there? Make a list and present it to yourself. Can you properly articulate how and why you want to hit those milestones? If not, maybe you’re not fully prepared to reach them yet.

 

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Finding Gratitude: Get To Vs. Have To

The two hardest days of the week for me are Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday is hard because it feels like Monday all over again. I’m exhausted from Monday but it’s not even mid-week yet. Thursday is hard because it feels like the end of the week, but I still have one more full day to go.

Every time I’ve started a new job I’ve felt the same emotion: pure elation. I carefully detail tabbed binders with well organized notes and processes. I anticipate new skills I’d like to learn. I wake up early and try to look my best. Then, a familiar wave, crashing, crashing, crashing…

Suddenly things that I used to do for fun seem completely tedious.

When I first applied to college my degree was graphic design. I never took a single course in graphic design. I realized one day, shortly after the term began, that if I had to take courses in graphic design that I would no longer enjoy it. I think most normal people chase their dream through to completion with something called determination.

Luckily, as it turns out I have had more than one dream.

When something feels like a “have to” – it’s kinda scary. There are suddenly consequences. If I don’t do this thing… xyz will happen.

A task that I used to do for fun looks daunting. Easier to avoid. I’ll do it later.

So I try to think of my have to as a get to.

I did this the other day on my commute to work. I’ve been taking the bus to work instead of driving, which at times can feel completely miserable. I have to wake up early, I have to go all the way across town.

Today I tried thinking of it this way: I get to use public transportation because I can afford a bus pass in a city that I love. I get to wake up early which means I get to see the sunrise which means, well, if you want to boil it down I get to be alive.

But we’re getting a little abstract. Most days I just try to focus on this mantra: I am ultimately in control of my happiness.

I know I have it pretty good, but things still get hard sometimes. And it sucks to sink deep in that pit of “ugh – I have to” about things you enjoy doing.

My goal for gratitude lately has been to focus on all the silver linings.

So far it has removed a lot of the pressure. Instead of feeling loaded with consequences, the tasks feel loaded with opportunity. It sounds kind of cheesy, but I know I’m in a place where if I do something difficult and it’s not totally perfect, I’m going to learn from that, and that’s just a part of doing something you love. You get the opportunity to get better at it.

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Life as a Woman

I’m going to transition male to female. As a cis woman, what bits of advice could you offer in the day to day living as a woman, that I haven’t clue about and really would help save time, money and stress? Be as expansive as you want.

I thought a long time about this question because my first instinct when someone asks me “what does it mean to be a woman?” has always been kind of negative. Help rise up others. Try to not get in the way. Be quiet and know when to speak and when not to speak. Dress right for every occasion. Look pretty. Be smart but not in a way that intimidates others.

Gender means nothing but it’s also in everything. We construct ideas of gender. What’s normal or what’s not normal. I say I “suffered” as a woman and that’s what it means to be a woman. But that’s not right. You’ve suffered too. We all do in different ways. I think you might know more about gender than me because you’re asking yourself these questions: what does it mean to be a woman? I didn’t start asking myself these questions, changing the narrative of womanhood, until the last couple of years.

I haven’t fully figured out exactly what being a woman means, but I know it’s not about being quiet and helping other people be happy at the expense of my happiness. To me being a woman is more about finding confidence and an inner truth to who I am as a person. 

A lot of the silly answers I came up with are things that any person could know already and I don’t want to sit here and be patronizing like “did you know you should take your makeup off before bed?” because – well – everyone should wash their face before bed, and maybe you already wear makeup, and maybe you don’t want to wear makeup, and why are these my assumptions to make? 

Be prepared to be completely overwhelmed by messaging towards woman. Not necessarily in a bad way. Every magazine will be shouting at you THIS IS WHO YOU CAN BE. For a long time I feel like we (women) have looked at those messages and tried to make ourselves into this one concept. I feel now, the media is becoming more diverse. Now when I open a magazine I don’t see it as a guide book. I see it as options. What do you want to look like? Who do you want to be? Here are some suggestions to get the idea-juice flowing!

I guess what I’m saying is, what do you want to know about my lived experience? Cause it’s just mine. I hope yours is different! I hope you get the joy of making your life exactly what you want it to be. I think that a lot of the details of living day-to-day as a woman will begin to appear to you as you go through these motions. And that’s probably pretty hard, but hopefully very freeing and fulfilling.

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How To Date Yourself and Be A Better Partner

Can you date yourself to become a better partner?

For the past few years relationship experts have been talking about how unhealthy it is to rely on one person to meet all of your needs. Some needs are met by our romantic partner/s – but other needs aren’t. That’s why we have friends, family, acquaintances, game night buds, baristas, doctors… I’m getting pretty literal, but you know what I mean.

At the center of this network, this community, is you.

Here are some ways you can date yourself that might help you become a better romantic partner:

  1. be true to yourself, aspire to be your best self
    • When you go out on a first date, a nice general rule to abide by is be yourself, while also putting on your best face. For me that means making a conscious effort to both know who I am and deeply show that I care who that other person is. When you’re dating yourself you can always take the time to check back in and think “if I was sitting across me at a table, would I want a second date?”
  2. take the time and effort to look nice 
    • In a long term relationship people, bodies, and styles will change with time and age. Making an effort to look nice is about what makes you feel your best. For some people that’s just a quick face wash, some moisturizer and some jeans. Others prefer being creative with makeup and fashion.
  3. care for yourself, be your number one ally
    • Looking good doesn’t always equate to feeling good, especially if you’re battling depression, anxiety, or another condition that deeply impacts your state of mind. It’s tricky because if you are depressed it can be hard to reach out to get help. In relationships we always want our partners to care for themselves as much as we care for them. Try and build up a support team with the resouces available to you. You can start with inexpensive methods like going on long walks, meditating, or listening to funny podcasts.
  4. consider dating landmarks: are you helping yourself grow, or holding yourself back?
    • In the last 5-10 years, how have you grown, and how have you changed? One of the biggest roadblocks to growth is internal. Fear of success. Procrastination. Distraction. Pure, sweet, delicious avoidance for things that are just easier. Don’t let your relationship with yourself stiffle your growth and development as a person.
  5. try new things by yourself
    • Trying new things with a partner is fun. Learning something new together can be a great bonding exercise. But trying new things by yourself is also a great way to further your own growth. Especially if you’ve always wanted to learn something your partner isn’t that super into! Growing and developing on the side, apart from your partner, gives them new and exciting things to continue learning about you as you continue to evolve as a person.
  6. take yourself out on a date 
    • Dates aren’t just for couples. You work hard and you love yourself. Take yourself out for a treat: a happy hour snack, a glass of champagne, a movie, a new sweater. Go frugal and take a nice walk, window shop, write some letters to friends, journal, read a book. I took myself out to my first solo movie this year and it was one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done solo. It felt like a private screening just for me.
  7. have tough conversations, challenge your bullshit
    • I’m constantly telling myself bullshit stories about what’s real or isn’t real. I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I’m this way, I’m that way. We lie to ourselves and then those lies get passed on as truths to others. Learn to get better at seeing your own bullshit, challenging your own bullshit. We do this in our relationships because it’s easy to see when someone else isn’t being completely honest. But it’s much harder to see it in ourselves and then make change happen. Challenge yourself. When you hear yourself say “I can’t do this thing” try to do it. See what happens.
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Five Tips for Maintaining Your Hobbies When You’re Really Busy

I used to write upwards of 3-5 posts per day when I first started blogging. I was publishing around 100 posts per month; the amount of blogs a small company with interns usually churns out. Everything is different now.

When I got my first job I was still able to blog fairly regularly but I started to wonder how to better negotiate my time. You have to do that all the time when you get really busy. Negotiate your time.

Can I have three hours today for writing? Now here’s why I think I should have three hours today. It’s really going to show you results, Lorelei. 

With my new job, I’m even busier, so here are some ways I’ve been able to maintain my hobbies:

Drop anything that’s not incredibly important to you

The first thing I did, first due to lack of choice, was drop off my freelance work. I was no longer seeking new clients and any marketing I had been doing for my own work went away entirely. This put into perspective how much energy running your own business really takes. I realized I was no longer interested in chasing that career path so I slammed a big pause button and let it go.

Your hobbies are your life

The things that I enjoy doing the most are the things that naturally become a part of my life. Falling asleep reading a book or drawing while I watch television. These hobbies were most important and I didn’t struggle very hard to keep them afloat. There’s the simple truth, and sometimes a hard pill to swallow. When something is important to you, you’ll naturally make time for it. If you’re not making time for something, if you don’t want to make time for something, maybe it’s not as important as you think it is.

Make tech-free zones, tech-free times

My goals is to eventually have a drop spot by the door where my technology departs for the evening into little sleepings pods with chargers. Phone, laptop, iPad, kindle, bluetooth headphones, anything with a gentle buzz when you go near it. I think learning how to fight the itch of “what am I missing?” is healthy. When I intentionally go an hour or two without my phone I realize just how much I can truly accomplish. Time seems to double and my productivity goes up.

Devote yourself to one or two things

Some people want to dip their toe in a little bit of everything and be a little bit good at all the things. I’ve been trying to separate myself from this and focus on the hobbies that get joy from, not the hobbies that other people think I should try. Go back to basics. What makes you happiest to do? Spend a whole week just devoting an hour or 30 minutes a day to that one thing.

Write a to do list every morning

Create a mental reminder for yourself to do your hobbies by creating an abbreviated task list for yourself each morning. Jot down any important pieces of work you need to do and then write a little reminder for yourself that your hobby is its own piece of business. Create. Write. Read. Play Golf. Play Chess. Paint. Run. Cook. Add anything that will help you direct that hobby. A recipe you’ll make, a goal for your hobby (finish that painting!) or a new personal challenge (8 minute mile!)

 

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How We Set Up Our Joint Checking Account

We did it, guys. We set up a joint checking account. We are sharing our finances. I’ve had a couple people ask how we set it up and how it’s been working since we started so I’m sharing a pretty detailed breakdown of what we do. It’s easily customized based on what your expenses are! How do you and your partner handle money?


1. List your recurring shared expenses

Our recurring shared expenses are:

  • Rent
  • Electric
  • Comcast
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Apple iCloud
  • Spotify

For each point we broke down how much each person would pay for that thing. For everything except rent we split it 50/50 down the middle.

2. List your recurring shared expenses pt 2

The above items are fixed and recur every month, on an automatic basis in most cases. But there are a lot of other things we spend money on together that aren’t on that list.

  • Groceries
  • Eating Out
  • Entertainment
  • Shared Home Purchases
  • Our Kitten
  • Gifts for Friends
  • Laundry
  • Gas

3. Set a Budget

For part two we set a budget. We looked at how much we usually spend on groceries per month and then determined what would be a good place to try and stick to. Then we figured out, for each bullet point, how much each of us could contribute to that budget. Sometimes one partner might care more about one category than the other. Sometimes one partner might make more than the other so it makes more sense for them to add in a bit more money. Discuss until you come up with numbers that feel pretty fair on both sides.

Between these two lists, and after discussing a budget, you should each have an individual number that you will be contributing every month to your joint expenses.

4. Optional: Savings Account

I really liked the idea of putting aside a set amount of money each month for shared savings goals. Big ones for me are travel/vacations, an emergency fund, and larger house items (furniture.) You can tuck this money aside and watch it build until there’s enough stocked away for x-emergency or x-fun thing.

5. Budget What’s Left

After I had a number for our joint account, I subtracted that from what I make each month. Whatever was left was “my money” and I created a separate budget for that. This is where my money usually ends up:

  • Individual bills
    • Health bills
    • Credit card payments
    • Phone bill
    • Other various payment plans
  • Books
  • Craft supplies
  • Blog fees
  • Happy Hour with friends (when J isn’t with me)
  • Eating dinner or lunch out (when J isn’t with me)
  • Snail mail (stationary, pens, greeting cards)
  • Gifts for J

6. Set up a Recurring Transfer

You could go straight to your workplace and have the direct deposit go to two different accounts. I’ve gone the other route and have all of my money deposited into my personal account and then transfer over to our shared account. Because I get paid every two weeks, I divided my share by two, and make two transfers each month.


So far our system has worked very well. It’s nice to not have to think about who paid for what and when and have to transfer money back and forth through Square Cash. It also created a really nice feeling of partnership. We’re working together to save money, we’re working together to spend smarter, and we’re enjoying the money that’s in our account, together. Ultimately this step into togetherness is why I was interested in the shared account, to begin with. The fact that we share mostly similar ideas about money and are both working full time made a big difference.

I always thought people who fought about money were silly. Money isn’t worth an argument. The older I get, the more I see how important creating clear ideas about money is. It’s wrapped into how we want to live our lives, how we want to grow old, how we feel about being prepared.

Don’t belittle these conversations and don’t run away from them. Think of them as multi-faceted conversations about what you feel is most important in your life and what kind of life you want to have with your partner. Then start preparing to make that happen as best as anyone can.

Have any questions? Need advice? Submit now!

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My Ultimate Fall To Do List

What’s on your list? Have suggestions to make any of mine better? Leave ’em in the comments! (Crossed out means I’ve done them this year!)

 

  • Get a new pair of rubber boots [1]
  • Go pumpkin picking[1]
  • Get hot apple cider
  • Make mulled wine [1]
  • Make pumpkin bread
  • Create a fall door wreath[1]
  • Finish re-watching Stranger Things S1
  • See a horror movie in theaters 
  • Take a long walk in the rain
  • Watch the Swifts fly in [1]
  • Re-watch the original IT mini series
  • Gather pinecones from the park for free decorations
  • Make roasted vegetables
  • Watch all the fall television    
  • Do a corn maze
  • Throw a football
  • Make fondue 
  • Make pumpkin pie 

 

  • Make pecan pie
  • Throw a classic thanksgiving dinner
  • Write ‘thankful’ letters to friends
  • Plan a 29th birthday party 
  • Create a cozy blanket bed to cuddle in with the windows wide open
  • Go to the coast
  • Make butternut squash soup
  • Go to a winery 
  • Re-learn how to knit
  • Break out the wool socks
  • Journal (regularly) at night with hot tea
  • Go to a haunted house 
  • Hand out halloween candy to kids
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Ways to Prevent Your Coworkers From Finding Out You’re a Scared Little Girl Hiding in Adult Costume

Buy Adult Pants

Drive to the furthest Banana Republic, Gap or J.Crew from your home. Turn off your phone so you can’t be tracked. Find a salesperson and with hushed voice, ask what the most adult pair of pants they sell is. When they direct you to the pants, make up a lie like “these aren’t quite as adult as my last ones I bought on my business trip to Guatemala but they’ll do.” Guess your size. You gotta get the fuck out of dodge.

Drink black coffee

Proclaim loudly throughout the day the following series of coffee related phrases:

  • I totally can’t work until I’ve had my coffee
  • This is only my fifth cup
  • I don’t even know what creamer is
  • I have a tattoo of an aeropress on my left asscheck
  • I need to make my late afternoon coffee run
  • I prefer a light roast because it has more caffeine

Have a desk plant and a photo of yourself and your significant other (your ex-boyfriend or platonic male exchange student friend works) in a custom frame from an actual frame shop where you know the name and beard style of the man who opened the store

If someone asks you what kind of plant it is, just laugh hysterically like they’re the biggest idiot you’ve ever seen. Swivel your chair in the opposite direction. Practice swivel first so you don’t accidentally swivel all the way around to face them again.

Utilize words like Utilize, and the following

  • life plan
  • retirement
  • ira
  • accomplishments
  • scope
  • direction
  • contract
  • client
  • management style
  • due process
  • google calendar
  • document
  • warmly
  • connect
  • partner
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