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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Month: January, 2013

Day 68: Things About 30

Even though they say 30 is the new 20 (or 25… or 27? I’m always a little unsure when “they” say things), 30 is way better than all of those ages. I’ve been 30 for almost four weeks now and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Knowing what you want and knowing how you want to live are different (and not equal) concepts. In my 20s, I felt guilty for not having any major career goals. It took me 30 years to realize that the how is more important than the what. No matter what I do during my life, if I strive to keep learning, smile often, work hard, and be compassionate and thoughtful, I’ll always be on the right path (cue the forest animals singing together in sweet harmony).

2. Wearing lots of sunscreen in your twenties pays off when you’re 30. It just does.

3. Mostly, being 30 feels awesome. You can look back at the decisions you made when you were 21 (which seemed like great ones at the time) and know that you’d make entirely different ones now. You’re smarter, you have more confidence and frankly, you’re just a little more tired.

4. Your friends will be in every possible stage of life. Some will be traveling the world with backpacks. Some will be pregnant. Some will have multiple children and will be the best parents ever. Some will be exhausted. Some will be vice presidents and CEOs of the successful businesses they started. Some will be starting over. Some will long for the good old days. Some will own houses and cabins. Some will still panic at the thought of committing to one place or one person. Some will be engaged. Some will be divorced. And some will be just starting to feel comfortable in their own skin. It’s amazing.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

sunsetThis is how I recommend contemplating turning 30: during a beautiful sunset while on a sailboat in Australia. 

Day 67: What’s so great about quiet?

My yoga teacher recently told our class about a conversation she had while learning to teach yoga years ago. One of the other students in teacher training asked her if she had any trouble quieting her mind while meditating. She responded that she had no trouble at all and that her mind was perfectly quiet as soon as she sat down.

In retelling the story, she laughed and said that at the time, she had no idea what she was talking about. What felt like a quiet mind was actually another form of absence; she ignored her racing thoughts and focused on something else instead (like being quiet). When she finally recognized all the thoughts and worries zig-zagging behind her eyelids, the noise was almost too loud for her to be able to sit still and feign attention.

Meditation is hard. And frustrating.

So why do we try? What’s so great about quiet?

A couple of years ago, a research study was done using “magic mushrooms” as therapy for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. The mushrooms succeeded in helping the patients feel reconnected to the beauty and sacredness of life. Their altered mindsets lasted long after the mushrooms’ effects had worn off. At the end of the article, the researcher pointed out that the great meditators of the world report the same experiences during meditation: connectedness, peace, reverence, calm.

I might inadvertently be making an argument for taking mushrooms, but what I’m trying to get at is that if we can succeed in being focused, quiet, patient and present, even for a second, we can be content. And if we’re able to be content using our own body and breath, the world is completely open to us. Stress becomes manageable, arguments fade and our relationships improve.

There are no adverse effects to meditation. None. For that reason alone, it seems worth the effort.

Day 66: Shorts

It’s going to be a short post today (heh).

Yesterday, it was 30 degrees outside. Naturally, this guy was wearing shorts.


See that pile of dirt next to him? It’s actually snow.

And yes, I am the creeper who took an anonymous picture through my car window. Where I was wearing pants.

I am proud to live in a place where people appreciate a good balmy day.

Day 65: Five Types of Airplane Travelers

I’m no expert (I don’t even use the “expert traveler” lane at security), but my recent experiences with international travel confirmed the following traveler types.

The Social Drinker
You become fast friends with all the flight attendants before the plane even takes off. If you haven’t finagled your way into first class, you’re either upgraded to business class or you have an exit row seat. During the flight, your charm, wit and amiable attitude affords you a couple of free Bloody Marys and a slew of new Facebook friends who would be happy to put you up the next time you are visiting (insert exotic land here). When the plane lands, you barely notice how much time has passed because you’ve been having such a great time with your new besties.

The Sleeper
Something about travel lulls you. You’re nearly REM cycling at the waiting gate, so it’s a miracle you even make it to your seat. You always request the window, because it’s hard for you to wake up and let your seatmates in once you’ve already gotten comfortable. You don’t read any of the magazines you brought, since you only wake up twice—once when you intuitively sense the beverage cart is passing and again when the wheels hit the ground at your destination. You have a constant crick in your neck, but you’re too sleepy to buy a neck pillow before takeoff.

The Suit-Wearer
You reminisce for the good old days (most likely before you were born), when people dressed up to travel. No matter how long the flight, you wear pressed pants or a skirt, a jacket and uncomfortable shoes. You gingerly lay your jacket on top of everyone’s overhead luggage only after takeoff to ensure no one else disturbs it. Sometimes, you opt for the luxury of reclining your seat, but for the most part, you sit straight up and type quietly on your laptop or watch the in-flight movies. You do not sleep on planes.

The At-Home-Anywhere
You have no qualms about wearing pajamas to the airport. And if you didn’t think the TSA agents would find you strangely suspicious, you would wear your bunny slippers, too. You come fully equipped with a giant pillow, blanket, headphones and pre-packed meal, plus 18 different magazines, the latest New York Times bestseller and an iPad. If there is an open seat next to you on the plane, you spread out into it and nap (Why not?). You tried to paint your nails once, but the fumes bothered your seatmates.

The Package Deal
Whether there are two of you or twelve of you, you arrive together, check in together, sit together, go to the bathroom together (unless one of you is watching everyone’s stuff), eat together and board together, differing boarding zones aside. You do whatever it takes to make sure you’re seated next to each other, even if it means giving away your window seats and the m&ms you bought in the gift shop. You socialize with others only when necessary, armed with the knowledge that everything you need is right next to you (probably attached to your arm).

Package Deal

Day 64: Spitting Plasma

Technology is so cool. On August 31, 2012, NASA spacecraft captured images of a giant filament of plasma erupting off the sun’s surface into space.

Close-up images. Of the sun.

(For  a “that’s amazing!” reference, the sun is 93,000,000 miles away and more than one million Earths could fit inside of it.)

Apparently, 2013 is slated to be a year of peak sun storm activity. As far as I understand, there’s really nothing we can do about super-powerful electromagnetic pulses headed towards our atmosphere except look at pictures of the plasma flares and think they’re kind of beautiful.

Solar prominence

Want to see the plasma in action? Check out this super sweet sun spitfire video from Space.com