WANTcast 035: The Recovery Myth, Part 2 – Lynn Chen, Actress + Activist

WANTcast 035: The Recovery Myth, Part 2 – Lynn Chen, Actress + Activist

Body The Recovery Myth the WANTcast

I am so proud to bring you THE RECOVERY MYTH: a new four-part miniseries by WANT sharing real-life stories, smashing open misconceptions, and shining a light on what recovery from an eating/body-related disorder or addiction REALLY looks like.

I’ll be talking to experts, healers, and real-life recoverees answering some of the top recurring questions I’ve gotten from you over the last few years. Not just questions about recovery itself, but about the befores, the durings, the afters, and all the in-betweens that can sometimes seem like you imagined them.

To be clear: the point of The Recovery Myth is NOT to prescribe a roadmap or provide a neat-and-tidy picture of what recovery looks like. The point is to dispel myths surrounding recovery and gain multiple perspectives to provide a more inclusive, holistic, and ultimately helpful view of what it looks like to go from the darkness into the light.

In Part One, we debunked the seven biggest myths and misunderstandings surrounding recovery (read + listen here). Today on The Recovery Myth, I’m talking to Lynn Chen, actor, host, blogger, and activist. (If you’ve been following along for a while you probably remember her from episode 4, where we talked about learning how to accept what is, and then moving forward from there.)

Today’s episode with Lynn exceeded all my hopes for this series. Super raw. Somewhat controversial. Intensely personal. Whether you’re in recovery, know someone who is in recovery, or in the midst of your own two-steps-forward-three-steps-back personal journey, I encourage you to not only listen to the episode but SHARE it and TALK about it. And let me know what it brings up for you…because the conversation cannot and should not end once the outro music starts to play.

WANT LYNN:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download |Support the pod by shopping on Amazon via this link

Show notes:
Lynn Chen
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Youtube

Lynn’s WANT Woman spotlight
NEDA
The GOOD Fest (use WANT10 for $10 off)
The 7 biggest recovery myths


Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

Know someone who might need this miniseries? Forward it along and let them know you care.

Know someone who might be able to contribute something unique to the conversation? I’d LOVE to meet them. IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS GONE THROUGH AN ED/ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE (**AND HAVE SUCCESSFULLY RECOVERED), OR ARE AN EXPERT IN THE FIELD, shoot me an email at katie@womenagainstnegativetalk.com and we can get to talking.


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The Recovery Myth: 7 Common Misconceptions About The New Normal

The Recovery Myth: 7 Common Misconceptions About The New Normal

Body Community The Recovery Myth Tips + Tools

So many of you have asked me questions about eating disorder “recovery.” How to get there. How to stay there. How to exist there.

I’ve avoided writing about recovery – like, really writing about it – for a while. Not because I haven’t wanted to, but because I’ve seen others do it and either face scathing criticism from experts or get unwanted attention and get pinned AS an expert. That’s what being hyper-aware of the internet will do: make you worry yourself into inaction.

I feared that some doctor would read or hear my words and rip me a new one. I feared someone would view my words on recovery as this panacea for basically any and every eating/body issue they’ve ever experienced. I feared WANT would become a recovery-specific movement and was wary of diving in as our community was still finding its legs. Because I am no expert.

But now? Now we’ve got our legs, and now they’re damn. strong. We’ve gotten to the point where I feel it would be irresponsible to NOT address the dark, extreme turn negative self-talk can take, head-on. Especially because I’ve been there.

~

When you’re coming out of a dark place, any solution can seem like THE solution. Nixing the one trigger from your life or following the one pearl of wisdom can feel like you’re finally on the right track. But it’s never the case. Contrary to what most people who haven’t experienced addiction or body/eating-related disorders (which are, many times, just another form of addiction) think, the most vulnerable time isn’t always when you’re IN the darkness. The most vulnerble time can be actually when you’re actively trying to move toward the light.

Recovery is a three-steps-forward, two-steps-back kind of deal. One moment you forget how you could have ever given so much energy to your disorder, the next you’re sideswiped by an inauspicious trigger and you’re suddenly in shackles again. And the main thing I’ve realized in talking to you all about this…is that recovery is still a hazy concept until you’ve gone through and past it.

For all these reasons and more, I am so proud to bring you The Recovery Myth: a miniseries by WANT sharing real-life stories, smashing open misconceptions, and shining a light on what recovery really looks like.

I’ll be talking to experts, healers, and real-life recoverees answering some of the top recurring questions I’ve gotten from you over the last few years. Not just questions about recovery itself, but about the befores, the durings, the afters, and all the in-betweens that can sometimes seem like you imagined them.

To be clear: the point of The Recovery Myth is NOT to prescribe a roadmap or provide a neat-and-tidy picture of what recovery looks like. The point is to dispel myths surrounding recovery and gain multiple perspectives to provide a more inclusive, holistic, and ultimately helpful view of what it looks like to go from the darkness into the light.

A few disclaimers:

– The Recovery Myth is a four-part series. Once a month, we’ll dive into The Recovery Myth on the site and the WANTcast, culminating in the first week of October for Mental Health Awareness Week.

– I’ll be focuing primarily on eating/body-related disorders, but will also be touching on substance abuse, as they often stem from the same place mentally and emotionally.

– I know that I’m not the authority on recovery, and I think you know that, too. But like I said above, I am incredibly sensitive to the fact that darkness can drive us to latch onto any answer as THE answer and can create codependent relationships. I am not here to provide anyone with definitive answers, nor am I here to be anyone’s crutch. I AM here, however, to maybe spark a conversation, maybe open some eyes, and ask the hard questions that someone maybe might not feel brave enough asking. And I’m hoping, it can maybe help someone feel powerful enough to seek the change they wish to be. Although, spoiler alert: you’re already powerful enough.

Spoiler alert: you're already powerful enough. Click To Tweet

So, where do we go? Where do we start? The myths themselves. Totally not an exhaustive list (because the whole never-ending exhaustive list is…exhausting), but let’s kick this off by talking the most ::facepalm:: inducing ones of all.

Here are 7 common myths surrounding the concept of “recovery:”

Myth #1: Recovery means getting “back to normal.”

Ever heard the phrase “you can’t unsee it?” You “can’t unsee” your experiences with an eating disorder or addiction. That doesn’t mean an ED or addiction is a life sentence. Kind of like a relationship gone sour, you can either let that relationship dictate your narrative or you can view it as something that led you to become the person you are today. Recovery isn’t so much about getting back to normal as it is about the process of creating a new normal. In this new normal, the disorder or addiction is still a part of your story – it just is not the defining chapter.

Myth #2: Recovery is a set of definitive answers and a straight path to success.

Recovery is like taking three steps forward and two steps back. Then five steps forward and one step back. Then eight steps forward and four steps back. Over and over and over again. Until those steps back become smaller and smaller and smaller and eventually non-existent. No one formula works for everyone, and no one path is linear.

Myth #3: Recovery is all about changing what you DO.

Yes, your relationship with food, exercise, and your body desperately need to be healed – but you can’t To-Do-List away a paradigm shift.

For a good long while (think years), I did just enough to convince other people I was trying to get better. That I was trying to be the person I once was. It backfired really badly. I would eat in secret. I would not eat for an entire day – yes, even if I was hungry – in order to consume a large dinner and “show” people I was back to normal. I created rules, regulations, strategies, and stipulations that no one could see from the outside.

In reality, an eating disorder is NOT about the food. It’s never about the food. It’s about the mindset, the control, and a larger problem desperately trying to be fixed. The food, the substance, the exercise, WHATEVER it is, is symptomatic, not causative. Which is why saying things like Just Eat, Stop Eating, Don’t Exercise, or Don’t Drink aren’t just ineffective, they’re insensitive. It’s also why, as the person trying to recover, you can’t simply address the surface-level stuff and call it a day. The real healing happens in parts of your head and heart that no one can see.

Myth #4: After you recover from an eating disorder, you’ll never think a negative thought about your body again (but if you do, you’ve relapsed).

There is a difference between relapsing and being human. We all have up and down days when it comes to the way we feel about ourselves or what we see in the mirror. The difference between negative thoughts and a mental disorder is that with the latter, those negative thoughts dictate your every move and start to steal your voice, your space, and your life away. Like I’ve said before, you can have moments of not liking your body but still loving your body. That’s normal. What’s not normal is when eating disorders steal the love away. Learning to create a new normal in life also means creating a new normal when it comes to how you deal with discomfort.

Myth #5: If you don’t look like you have a disorder, you don’t really have a problem.

LOLz to this ignorance. It’s not just young women – young, white, heterosexual, and middle/upper-class women, to be trope-specific – who develop eating disorders. It’s not just underweight people who are in danger. It’s not just those who have broken homes or relationship friction. Men, women, and non-binary folks of all ages, races, socioeconomic statuses, backgrounds, and body types can and DO develop eating disorders. All the time. To generalize is to deny a huge chunk of the population a chance at being seen. According to NEDA, “In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified).” It’s not about what you or your life look like, it’s about what’s going on underneath. No one is immune to developing an eating disorder.

Myth #6: The hardest part of recovery is abstinence.

The hardest part of recovery isn’t necessarily when you’re first learning how to stay away from or replace the behaviors you once had. The hardest part of recovery can be when you think you’re on the right path and then get sneak-attacked by something you didn’t realize was a trigger. That’s why it’s called a trigger. You don’t see it coming and it hits. FAST. The recovery dance can feel like a risky one. Triggers everywhere. And not a lot to trust. But then again, building trust often times feels like the riskiest feeling of all. And just like building trust in a friendship or romance, the biggest risks reap the biggest rewards.

The biggest risks reap the biggest rewards. Click To Tweet

Myth #7: You need to be at your lowest low in order to seek out recovery 

I read an eye-opening fact today on The Endometrisis Coalitions Instagram account stating that the “Stage” of endometriosis doesn’t dictate the amount of pain the stage causes. Someone with Stage 2 endo can have more severe pain than someone with Stage 4 endo. I immediately thought of eating disorders and how, often times, people think they or their loved ones are not “bad enough” to need recovery. But just like with a chronic illness or a feeling of grief, no one person’s experience is more or less valid than anyone else’s. What’s going on underneath the surface is what counts – and if it’s affecting your life for the worse, it warrants intervention.

~

To be completely transparent, even though I technically fit the bill, I have a very hard time identifying with the word “recovered” and calling it a day. Because it barely scratches the surface. My “recovery” looks like way more than a Before And After photo (which is why you won’t be seeing any of those on WANT). It’s not that think the word, or concept rather, has gotten a bad rap…it’s just gotten the wrong rap.

To be “recovered,” by society’s standards, insinuates being saved by something or someone. And let me be clear: YOU NEED TO ASK FOR HELP. Call. Text. Reach out. Book the appointment. Have someone book it for you. Just involve others. Humans are community-driven creatures. We need each other, in our highest highs and lowest lows.

But no matter how much therapy you go to, treatment you have, or self-help books you read, the only person who can truly save you…is you. It’s a choice that comes about with a lot of support, but is spurred into action when you finally say no to your crutches and YES to your capabilities.

Let’s let go of the old ideas that we can get back to who we once were once upon a time. Let’s start to think of RECOVERY as it really is. Something better than once upon a time: becoming the you YOU know you’re meant to be.

 

Know someone who might need this miniseries? Forward it along and let them know you care.

Know someone who might be able to contribute something unique to the conversation? I’d LOVE to meet them. IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS GONE THROUGH AN ED/ADDICTION/SUBSTANCE ABUSE (**AND HAVE SUCCESSFULLY RECOVERED), OR ARE AN EXPERT IN THE FIELD, shoot me an email at katie@womenagainstnegativetalk.com and we can get to talking.


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WANTcast 028: On Fixing Others, Food Issues, Forgiveness + Feeling Fly As F**k (No Matter What) with Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant

WANTcast 028: On Fixing Others, Food Issues, Forgiveness + Feeling Fly As F**k (No Matter What) with Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant

Body Community Love the WANTcast Work

If you’ve been following along with WANT for a while, you’re probably already familiar with who I’m about to introduce you to – at the very least just because I talk about her all. the. time.

I'm fly as f*ck no matter what. - @jessicamurnanes Click To Tweet

Today’s guest is Jessica Murnanewellness advocate, podcast host, and creator of the One Part Plant movement. She’s the author of a brand new cookbook, One Part Plant, and the host of two wildly successful podcasts: One Part Podcast and The Cookbook Deal.

After being diagnosed with endometriosis and receiving a pretty crazy ultimatum from her doctors, Jessica decided to try overhauling her diet to see if she could heal herself naturally. Fast forward to today, and Jessica now has zero of those debilitating endometriosis symptoms and follows a full-on plant based diet.

If Jessica looks familiar, it might be because she’s been on WANT before. First in an interview, next on the tenth episode of the WANTcast, and then lots of guest appearances here and there as she’s become a dear friend and a person I feel is truly out there changing the world, on and off-line. In Episode 10, Jessica talked about her brand new cookbook deal, and we casually mentioned her coming back to do a “Part Two” episode…

WELP, little did we know how much could happen in just one year. I won’t ruin it for you, but I’ll just say her newest podcast’s subtitle is “Also, The Weirdest Year Of My Life.” That should say it all. I knew we’d have a lot of ground to cover, but what we ended up talking about most actually wasn’t the year or the cookbook – it was everything else in between. Her candor, humor, and heart are hallmarks of why her OPP peeps adore her so much…and why her cookbook became a #1 New Release on Amazon after only a day. A DAY.

One Part Plant is so much more than a cookbook – it’s a memoir slash self-help guide slash ode to all the reasons eating “one part plant” can enhance your life from the inside out. Think I’m exaggerating? Check it out here and we can start a little OPP cooking club from afar.

There's power in forgiveness. - @jessicamurnanes Click To Tweet

This episode’s title could have been the longest thing ever, because we truly covered so much good ground. In this episode we talk about caring about being “cool” vs just liking what you like, food issues and Jessica’s past with not just what put in her body but how she viewed her body, toxic relationships and the need to “fix” others, her relationship with her husband and what makes a healthy relationship in general (especially when you come from having body/food/fixer issues), the crazy way her new Cookbook Deal podcast panned out, asking for what you need personally, professionally, and financially, her beef with people who say they’re “too old” for things, the barometer to use when you’re deciding whether to say yes or no to a project…oh my goodness, I should probably just stop there so you can listen for yourself.

I’m honored to have her on the WANTcast again and pumped to see what she does next…

…oh, and just for some context: we begin this episode discussing something her husband does for her every year on her birthday: an eight-day lead-up entitled “Murnanukkah.”

WANT JESSICA:

Listen on iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the pod by shopping on Amazon via this link

My relationships are at their best when we both feel good about what we're doing. -@jessicamurnanes Click To Tweet

Show Notes:
Website
One Part Plant on Amazon
One Part Podcast
The Cookbook Deal
GOOD: A Wellness Festival (that we’ll both be speaking at – and holding a VIP workshop together!)
Tour dates
Instagram (and here!)
Facebook
Twitter
Terry Walters
Monana episode of Friends
Younger
EDNOS (or OSFED)
Me on One Part Podcast
All photos by Nicole Franzen

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Jessica’s message is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!


Ain’t Nothing But A Number: Cameron Diaz On Longevity + The Years You’ve Spent Becoming

Ain’t Nothing But A Number: Cameron Diaz On Longevity + The Years You’ve Spent Becoming

Body

Around age twenty eight, I began experiencing something new: the You-Don’t-Look-A-Day-Overs. You know what I’m talking about. The strangers, mostly women, who when my age was revealed to them, would gasp in awe and tell me I didn’t look a day over twenty two. Or twenty three. Or nineteen.

My relationship to age has always felt different than those around me. When I was younger, I was a pretty typical preteen/teenager – I loved that I looked older than I was. This meant that I was automatically talked to like an adult instead of a child. The reactions back then were more You’re-Onlys than You-Don’t-Look-A-Day-Overs. Sure, there were the uncomfortable looks from men and my own personal struggle between wanting to shop in both the Juniors and the Womens departments of the store. But for the most part, age to me felt like maturity – like a sign I was worth taking seriously.

Around my mid twenties, the way I looked stopped changing year after year. This was around the time I transitioned away from acting – which was funny, since I had always gone to auditions and been told I looked either too young or too old for the characters I was being called for. Finally, the way I looked and the age I was had leveled out. And I LOVED it. What’s more, I found it fun – confidence-boosting, dare I say? – to speculate how I’d change decade to decade. I didn’t wish I was older, but I also didn’t wish I was younger. I was happy where I was, and excited to see where I would go from there…

So you can imagine my surprise when I got my first You-Don’t-Look-A-Day-Over. I remember it clearly: I’d just taught a cycle class. Sweat flowing. Zero makeup. No frills. Just me. A girl came up and introduced herself to me, asking how long I’d been teaching. When I told her it was close to a decade, her eyes widened and she gave me a once-over. She told me I didn’t look a day over twenty three.

I didn’t know what to say. So I just smiled.

The best way to age healthfully is to live fully. - @CameronDiaz Click To Tweet

Using a change in appearances – or lack thereof, in this case – as a compliment has always sat weirdly with me. The media’s obsession with youth is part of the problem, sure – but the bigger problem is how we talk about age, and the subtext of what we’re really talking about when we talk about age. Why do we associate getting older with the worst case scenarios, when in reality we’ve got the wisdom, life experience, and self-knowledge to make every single day a best case scenario? What are these comments about how “young” we look – or are supposed to look – doing to our internal monologue about how we are “supposed” to be as the years go on?

When someone marvels at how old I am (and I’m only 30!), it makes me wonder if I should rethink my positive relationship with my metaphorical tree rings. I love my laugh lines. Should I not??

And then I stop. It’s just like any sort of negative self-talk – where confidence is synonymous with narcissism or vanity, and it’s a lot easier to connect over what’s wrong than what’s right. I refuse to do this. Why can’t I love where and how I’m at right now?

It’s for all of these reasons (and more) I was so excited to read Cameron Diaz’s The Longevity Book. Cameron has created something really special: a no-holds-barred conversation about aging and our relationship to it, a conversation that is way too long in the making.

In this book – and the excerpt below – Cameron dives into what it means to age not just gracefully, but with downright pride. Because we can only ever truly love ourselves if we’re down to love ALL versions of ourselves, every single year a little more than the next.

I’m honored to be sharing Cameron’s words here today – words I wish we heard more. Already planning on buying this for every woman in my family for Mothers’ Day (act surprised, mom).

Here’s Cameron:


WHEN SOMEONE asks you how old you are, what do you say? I know that there are plenty of women in my line of work—and many other fields in which young people rule the roost—who like to trim their age back a little bit because they believe it makes the people around them feel better when they say they are younger. We live in a culture that celebrates youth, and none of us are immune to the pressures of wanting to seem forever young.

But one of the reasons I wrote this book is because I believe that we would all be a lot happier, feel a lot better, heave a big sigh of relief, if we could just answer “how old are you?” with the truth. Without fear. Without hesitation. Without shame.

Because I believe that age is a marker of achievement.

Shouldn’t we be congratulated for all that we’ve accomplished over the decades instead of being asked to pretend that they didn’t happen? I think those years are a part of what make us the people we are today. I think we should get to keep them, all of them, and proudly. Every time I celebrate a birthday with people that I care about, I think about how blessed I am, how lucky I am, what a gift each year is. That’s why I celebrate. Because I have lived long enough to have learned these lessons, to have earned these relationships, to have discovered all these new layers of myself that I didn’t know existed years ago—or that hadn’t yet developed.

Longevity is a gift we should all be celebrating. - @CameronDiaz, @thebodybook Click To Tweet

Longevity is a gift we should all be celebrating. The more years you have enjoyed, the more time you have lived, the more chances you have been given. Chances to take on challenges, to explore possibility, to create your life’s story. Time to forge meaningful connections with others—time to love deeply, to be hurt deeply, to become a role model for all the daughters and nieces and granddaughters and sisters and young friends in your orbit.

So I would like to propose a new way to think about getting older. I would like to boldly suggest that we take those years back. No hiding. No apologizing. No deleting. No erasing.

Instead of dreading whatever the magic number is for you, decide now to honor it and to own it. Let’s push the midlife crisis off a bridge and throw ourselves a party instead. The midlife celebration: a personal holiday that celebrates the journey we’ve made to get here, and the unexpected places we have yet to discover.

Because the best way to age healthfully is to live fully. To take care of your body and your spirit in this moment, where you are now. You can spend your energy on love and not on worry. You can love the world, you can love the people around you, and you can love the person you have spent all these years becoming.

Yourself.

cameron diaz the longevity book women against negative talk
Did you love this as much as I did? Check out more from Cameron here, here, or on her site OurBodyBook.com.

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Photo credit: ourbodybook.com
All assets reprinted with permission

Self Love And Smog Checks: On Not Being A 30 Under 30.

Self Love And Smog Checks: On Not Being A 30 Under 30.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

I was convinced I’d be a 30 under 30.

I didn’t know what I would do. I didn’t know where I would be. But I knew, in my heart, I was here to make a difference. And to me, there was no better indication that you’d “made it” than seeing your name beside 29 other change-makers who were yet to hit the 1/3rd of life mark.

If I’m being honest, I really wanted to be a 25 under 25. THIS would have really been making it, I thought. Some people have quarter-life crises. I’ll have a quarter-life celebration instead!

But really…if I’m being TRULY honest…I was really hoping that by some miraculous turn of events…I’d beat ’em all to the punch and score a 20 under 20 spot. THESE were the “fresh-faced youth” that were “changing the world;” the ones I knew would be leaders that lasted my lifetime. I remember being at sleep-away camp when I was 11 years old, and literally tripping over a copy of my bunkmate’s Teen Magazine. I looked down and locked eyes with the cover stars, the “Teens To Watch.” I’ll be like them one day, I told myself…

I think all ambitious kids do it. Probably moreso if they’re a creative of some sort. I was an early bloomer in a lot of ways. I was drawing faces and shapes before most of my friends could hold a crayon. I devoured books and educational cassette/video tapes, which got me enunciating eloquently before I even knew what either of those words meant. I instinctively looked inward instead of facing outward, and I had a habit of self-examining even when it was scary to do so. 

But when it came to stereotypical “success”…I don’t know. Most of my life, success had always been defined as being “the best” fill-in-the-blank. The best artist, the best singer, the best actress, the best daughter, the best partner, the best friend, the best at life. There were only two kinds of people – the prodigies and then everyone else. If you’re not striving to be a wunderkind, the world asked me, then what was the hell are you even doing?

And so being successful, for me, became more about being liked than being myself. I tied my worth to my praise, and my praise to my victories, and my victories to my worth, and back around again. If I could only make one of those Under lists, I thought, I would have concrete proof I’d “made it.”

~

Welp, I’m one day away from 30, and I’m not on any under-30 list. I’ve passed through 25, 20, and teendom, and in no age range or scenario have I ever been touted by anyone as someone “To Watch.” I’m yet to know the feeling of a global pedestal, and if Oprah or Forbes hasn’t called by now, there’s not a good chance they’re gonna show up in the next 24 hours.

What I’ve gotten in the last thirty years, though, is way better than my name on some list of people roughly around my own age (and the subsequent pressure you inevitably feel to maintain that “buzz” as you move from Person To Watch to actually being watched). I’ve built a person. A living, breathing, beautiful, flawed, brilliant, WHOLE person. Instead of being caught up in accomplishments, I’ve built a solid base of fulfillment. My refusal to conform to what might be normal – everything from career plans to dating – has brought me the kind of success you can’t see. The kind of success that stops me in my tracks and makes me think, “Holy crap, how did I even get here?” That sort of success isn’t tied to a paycheck, a person, or a nod of approval. It’s the kind of success that only I really truly know, because it’s the feeling of knowing myself on such a deep level that I know I can weather both the highest highs and the lowest lows.

That’s not to say entering my Third Decade comes without butterflies, though. I remember when I was ending my freshman year of high school, I feared entering into my sophomore year and blending into the crowd. I was known as one of the “cool” freshmen (read: not-actually-stereotypically-cool-in-the-way-freshmen-think-they’re-cool) in the theatre clique, and feared that my unexpectedness was what made me exciting. Without being known for being way more “mature” than a normal ninth grader, what was I?

Now, the same types of fears bubble up – I’m just more mindful about how I approach them. My ties to the idea of “youth” are not so much linked to the aging process as to whether or not I’m still…cringe…special. Almost all my close friends are a good five to fifteen years older than I am. I’ve been told my entire life that I’m an old soul and so much more mature “for my age.” So what happens now? What if I blend in?  What am I if I’m no longer an exception to the rule?

I’ll tell you what I am. I am not held back, that’s what I am. I am not using my age as a crutch or as a reason someone else should like me. I know now I can fill that head-and-heart space with something much more productive to love about myself. I am not my age, I am my soul. I am not an exception, I am my own rule.

I am not an exception, I am my own rule. Click To Tweet

I might not be leaving my twenties on any fancy-schmancy list, but honestly, I don’t care anymore. I don’t need a list to approve of my trajectory, and I don’t need to feed into the idea that in order to be Great, I need to be The Best. Because really, there is no “Best.” And as Sarah Robb O’Hagan brilliantly states in this video, this sort of “Participation Award” culture of awarding greatness by decade creates a false notion that there IS actually a Best and that Best is on a timeline, one that’s becoming increasingly shorter.

I want to live on my own timeline. And I want to live the life that’s the Best for me. End of story.

In the meantime, I have learned a few things to get me started…



30 Lessons In 30 Years: A Non-Exhaustive List


1) ASK FOR HELP, and take people up on their offers when they offer to help. 
I’ve learned that if I don’t know how to do something…it’s not that I WON’T do it, but I get tripped up over not knowing HOW to execute, it’s that I move SO slow. There’s a difference between moving slow and being cautious, and moving slow out of fear. I move slow out of fear. I finally came to terms with my natural way of being, but instead of sulking about it, I now immediately do something to counteract it. Now I know that just because my default is to act one way (slow, fearful, solo), doesn’t mean I need to make a drastic change to move forward in work or life…I just need to ask for help when I’m feeling on shaky ground.

2) In the words of the musical Rent, FORGET REGRET. Regret is a useless – and fabricated – emotion. How absolutely freeing it feels to live without regrets. Regret, to me, is a byproduct of a forgiveness and empathy deficit. When you’re able to forgive and have empathy for others, you’re able to learn forgiveness and empathy for yourself (and vice versa). You realize you were making the best choice you could in the circumstance you were in. LISTEN: On Listening As Service With Ben Mathes

3) If you own or lease a car, know the dates and costs to anticipate. Smog checks (your DMV renewal will have a notification on it – all you need to do is find a gas station or service outpost that says “Smog Check” and they’ll know what to do), drivers license renewal, car payments, and if you’re leasing, disposition fee. Knowing these won’t make the costs go away, but they WILL make you a lot less surprised when they pop up (and provide a little more impetus to keep some “shit happens” money lying around).

4) Money ebbs and flows. Accept that there will be extremes. No one extreme defines you, and no one extreme is forever. READ: Spending, Saving, Asking, Making: Let’s Talk About Cents, Baby

5) Keep a journal. A written, pen-to-paper journal. Write notes back and forth with your friends, and save them when you can. They’re like relics of who you once were and how you came to be.

6) Friendships are born EVERYWHERE. Don’t worry about so much about making your closest friends in your age group, career field, school, what-have-you. Community can come from ANYWHERE. And also, It’s okay not to have a stereotypical “best” friend – or a lot of friends. You will find your people, but only if you’re committed to being your own “person” above all else (instead of trying to fit in with someone else). READ: Being Afraid Of The Friends That You Need

7) Be kind to people – all people. Or at the very least, empathize, because we’re all human. Cynicism, backstabbing, manipulating, and just plain making fun of others are all things that get under my skin. I’ve been on the receiving end of all four, and more. It was hard to be kind sometimes. But kindness has always gotten me farther – and doesn’t leave me with that sick feeling in my stomach that I’m sending out negative energy to someone else in this world. Pettiness and negativity fester in the body, and letting them live out in the world is very different than letting them GO. You can be kind to people while still being firm, direct, and self-protective. Kindness is only a liability when it’s an excuse to not stand up for yourself. Saying no and being kind are not mutually exclusive. Speaking up and being kind are not mutually exclusive.

8) You can appreciate the advice of those you love without feeling like you should (or NEED to) take it. The people you love want what’s best for you. And what’s best for you is usually the least risk-averse option. Or maybe it’s not the least risky, but it’s the option they’d do in your position. Or maybe they wouldn’t do it per se, but it will lead you to be the person THEY want you to be. It could be a parent or a romantic partner. What is right for someone else isn’t always right for you, and vice versa. That doesn’t mean either option is “wrong.”

9) “Vulnerability” is your greatest asset. Show your entire self to the world.

10) The reality of the situation at hand is different than the emotions you associate with it. Feel it all, but learn to separate the two.

11) Learn to listen to your body, even when it would be easier to listen to a friend, or magazine article, or even a doctor. Tapping into how my body feels has been one of my biggest successes of my life so far. Your body never lies.

12) Exercise out of love, not punishment. READ: It Moves With You: The Right Way To Exercise This Season.

13) Read things that make your brain flex, listen to music that makes your heart hurt, watch films that make you think deeply. It’s exercise for your soul.

14) Love is so much more complicated than it seems. Surface level compatibility is awesome, calling you out on your shit should be a given. You want someone who is in the ring with you no matter what – sans jealousy, codependency, or worst of all, conditions.

15) In the words of Michael Pollan, “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The only modification I have to this is…don’t let society tell you what is too little or too much. Our bodies are ALL different – different activity levels, physiological make-up, etc. – so we all need different amounts of energy to live our lives. READ: Defining Diet On Your Own Terms

16) Your heart never forgets your dreams, so dream wisely. READ: The Dreams We Woke Up From

17) It’s okay to not want to let go, or be scared to let go – but don’t be so scared of the unknown and the other side of letting go that you DON’T let go. Just because you’ve invested in something for a really long time doesn’t mean you’re indebted to it.

18) Be proactive, not reactive.

19) We all learn the same lessons, just not at the same times.

20) Family, blood AND chosen, are the most important. What constitutes family? They’ve got your back no matter what (and you’ve got theirs).

21) The hardest (and scariest) things to do are usually the right ones.

The hardest (and scariest) things to do are usually the right ones. Click To Tweet

22) Buy trendy or “adventurous” stuff at thrift stores like Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads. Invest in staples and classics. Just trust me on this one.

23) Your gut never lies, but your brain gets easily confused. READ: Using Your Intuition vs. Being Triggered

24) Move somewhere new that feeds your soul. Getting a taste of new perspectives and new scenery opens up new parts of who you are.

25) You really do already have everything you need…you just might not know why you need it yet.

You already have everything you need...you just might not know why you need it yet. Click To Tweet

26) When it comes to your career, do you. If you want to switch jobs, cool. If you like working in an office, cool. If you work better from home, cool. If you’re someone who thrives off of multiple odd jobs for maximum happiness, amazing. There is no one archetype for professional (or personal) success.

27) You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing. Do what’s right for you. And just because someone else is doing it (and you’re not) is not a reflection on your worth as a human being.

28) Don’t drastically change something about yourself to follow a trend. Physical or otherwise. Very thankful for my thick eyebrows now, but I wasn’t in 1998.

29) Know your personality type. Take this test. And know that the way you are is MORE than enough. LISTEN: On Being an Introvert + HSP

30) Your life is not a clock to beat. Remember those game shows where participants would have to rush through a maze while there was a clock counting down the seconds in the background? Way too many of us live our lives that way. Everyone is on their own unique path. Just because your friends are getting married or having babies or are CEOs of their businesses DOESN’T mean you have to “keep up” by checking off those boxes yourself. When you honor your own timeline and move forward fearlessly on that path, your life opens up in ways you’d never ever expect.

Your life is not a clock to beat. Click To Tweet

And just like that, a whole three decades are done.

Cheers to the next chapter.

The Purdy 30s (because why would I manifest dirtiness?).

The Adventure Decade.

To laughs, love, highs, lows, and every single thing in between.

And hey, if all else fails…there’s always the 40 Under 40.

 



LISTEN TO MORE HERE: 30 LESSONS I’VE LEARNED IN 30 YEARS

WANT Yourself:
Which one of these lessons resonated with you the most?
If you’re over 30, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
And under-30s…what’s the ONE thing you want to work on the most in this decade you’re in?
Shoot me a comment below – I’ll consider it my birthday present :) I love you all.

 

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The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

The WANTcast Season One Finale: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power the WANTcast Tips + Tools

And just like that, it was the Season One finale.

As you probably already realized…this episode is a little different. It’s just me today. I’m gonna try something new. It just so happens that by the time a lot of you listen to this, it’ll also be my 30th birthday. I decided that today, I’d jam about 30 lessons I’ve learned in 30 years. I know. A little headline-y. But hey – I always love reading those lists, and hearing what others have to say about the lessons they’ve learned, so I thought maybe you’d like to, too.

Honestly, as I was thinking about it, there is a LOT of overlap in the lessons I learned in season one of the WANTcast, so it seems fitting to honor the end of Season One with this episode. Some of these are pretty deep (think body image and life choices), some are a little more trivial than others (stuff about smog checks, for example), but in the moment, they ALL feel huge.

My hope is that this can help someone else through their first three decades – and maybe, just maybe, set the tone for what kinds of lessons open up to you from here on out no matter what decade you’re in.

WANT Yourself:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon like you normally do

Show Notes:
WANTcast archives
Benjamin Mathes episode
Kirsten Potenza episode
Ashlee Piper episode
Jessica Murnane episode
Kate Northrup
Many Lives, Many Masters
Using Your Intuition Vs. Being Triggered
I Love You And I Like You: The Ebbs And Flows Of Body Image
The Dreams We Woke Up From: An Ode To Transitions

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

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