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As I was writing my last blog post about my New Year’s Resolutions, a fifth resolution came to mind: Stop pretending I hate being “plugged in.”

This thought came about as I was walking across the train station parking lot while finishing up the blog entry on my phone. So I have a confession… I have a slight addiction to technology and I’m a sucker for social media.

I had no choice really. Just like Prince William, being born into the royal family with no option other than to one day be King. I was born at the beginning of what has since been titled the “Millennial” generation to a computer systems’ analyst with a hobby of collecting computer parts. I was the only kid typing my book reports in first grade and by fifth grade I had figured out way too much about the capabilities of the Internet, which at that point was serviced through Prodigy. (Yes, were talking pre-AOL days here.)

Remember this kids?

So really, I was born into it. A whole society on the brink of plugging their thumbs into an socket with my dad among the ringleaders. I had no choice.

Nowadays, I often comment about how much I dislike being “plugged in” all the time. I am washed over with a sense of peace and relaxation when I travel abroad or just outside of cell phone range. I even feel quite relieved when I forget my phone at home for the day, free from the expectation of instantaneous response.

On top of that, Facebook irritates the hell out of me. It causes arguments and resentment, adding aggravation to my already stressful lifestyle. Secrets cease to exist — even if you choose not to share yourself on this network of false pretenses, someone you know will share a piece of yourself for you. Imagine all the photos you are in that you have no idea are out there.

Seriously, I hate being plugged in!

But I love it at the same time! I am ready to admit that as much as I love to think that one day I will create my own ‘unplugged’ world, I will not. Especially now that my mobile communication capabilities have advanced to a whole new level by joining the iPhone cult.

I love being able to blog on my WordPress App (where I am writing this from at the moment), stay up-to-date on the array of food/dating/girlie/travel blogs listed in my MobileRSS App and Skype on with my long-distance ladies on-the-go.

Not to mention, as much as I roll my eyes at Facebook, the majority of my blog hits come through FB and Twitter postings (I have no grievances with Twitter and don’t think I ever will — the majority of the events, recipes and blogs I enjoy I’ve found through Twitter. It’s a gold mine of enjoyment with little fallout!) Additionally, the amount of help and support I get from my online network, with regards to career questions and inspiration, raising money for charity events and further connecting with people I’d have never have the opportunity to communicate with otherwise, is remarkable.

With that said, I am proud to be an Millennial.

I may be extremely — and I mean, extremely — impatient, speak in 140-character sentences filled with acronyms and have an ridiculously low threshold for boredom, but so do all my peers, so we’ll just continue to keep each other busy.

I vow to quit complaining about my use of technology and recognize it for the pluses its contributed to my life.

Wait, I’ll BRB… my email alert just ‘dinged,’ a push notification popped up, its my turn at Scrabble and I need to restart my playlist.

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I stumbled across a blog the other day that got me thinking: Off the Market and In The Moment. Its 25-year-old author took herself off the dating market for one whole year in order to live in the moment. Her reasons, and I quote, “1 – to break the detrimental relationship habit of trying too hard and subsequently losing myself, and 2-to take a step back so as to keep from looking back. Because when I started thinking about how much time I invest while dating someone, and then analyzing and re-analyzing (and re-analyzing) after the door to our future shuts, and THEN wondering when Cupid would look kindly on me again, I finally realized that I was missing my own moment…” “… I am a 25-year-old single living in one of the greatest cities in the world!”

When I first read this I noted “25 years old.” My internal cynical bitch thought “Umm, what do you expect to have found by 25, eh?” and “What else is there to do at that age other than live in the moment?” Then, my opposing Piscean fish spoke up reminding me to look at the situation from a less critical perspective and understand what she is doing. That’s when the phrase “analyzing and re-analyzing (and re-analyzing)” highlighted itself. That’s the best part of relationships, why would you pass that up? ha!

It is also the best part of break-ups. Yes!! There is a good side to break-ups: you are free to analyze that ‘son-of-a-bee-otches’ shortcomings, and if you are feeling mature, your own shortcomings. It sometimes takes a few days… weeks… months… to mature to that latter stage (usually the length of time directly reflects the significance of the relationship), but it’s the best part. Once you are done figuring out everything that was wrong with him, and in certain cases, diagnosing a possible mental disorder, you get to decide what the hell is wrong with you? After all, you dated him, did you not?

This is when we grow up, become better people, prepare ourselves for the next emotional overhaul, both because we had the courage to self-reflect and rip apart our faults and because we demanded ourselves to learn from them.

Dedicating a year of your life, and publicly documenting it, to getting to know yourself is pretty cool. I like this gal’s thought process. Thirty-something-year-olds may roll their eyes at her being 25, but no one but her can understand her experiences and where they have brought her. So much has changed for me since I was 25… in all aspects of life… and that has taught me not “I know so much more now,” but rather, “OMG, if the last 4 years taught me that much, what will the next 4 hold?” My brain hurts thinking about it.

High-five to living in the moment. A small part of me thought ‘maybe I should dedicate some time to focusing on me,’ then I remembered, ‘Wait! That’s all you do!’

Between spending time with my friends and family, exploring NYC restaurants and watering holes, snowboarding, yoga’ing and running to stay physically and mentally fit, working full-time+ and creating two blogs (plus this!), I’m not sure I have anymore time to dedicate to me. Apparently I’m too busy.

On a side note, read the articles Off Market Girl posted here. I happen to adore Tracy McMillan‘s book so I instinctually defend her, even if her post does kinda ask for criticism; Jessica Ravitz‘s rebuttal however screams anger, along with ranting every excuse in the book.

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My morning ritual consists of tea, an egg sandwich and scanning my two favorite blogs: 20-Nothings and Foster Dogs in NYC. I read Foster Dog entries until my eyes start to leak, and I usually X-out 20-NOTHINGS with 7 million thoughts of agreements, arguments, relationship tactics, self-improvement promises and blog entries swarming around my head. This girl gives me a run for my money when it comes to analyzing my 20-something life. Touche Jessie Rosen!

Last Friday’s entry, Why we’re guarded, or at least, why I was, got me a-thinking. (Surprise, surprise!) It is a topic that I have devoted a lot of “analytical hours” to, and one that still sharply pokes my subconscious every once in a while.

We all have a guard that protects us from any number of vulnerabilities. As Rosen states, and I agree, “The way I see it you can be guarded as a result of an experience, guarded as a personality [attribute], or the very dangerous combination of both.”

I was both!

It wasn’t until I had my guard ripped off — is it “away?” not sure how to word this metaphor – that I realized I was even wearing one. I knew I had a guard up with regards to particular relationship situations (i.e. trust, honestly, blah, blah), but it actually covered so much more than that.

Yet, ever since then, allowing myself to be vulnerable is like laughing; all it takes it a little thought and I can put it out there, causing people to stare.

It feels fantastic!

What I disagree with in Rosen’s post, is knowing if someone is worthy of letting your guard down. I understand the point. However, I don’t think letting your guard down is a ‘gift’ for someone else — worthy or not. It is a gift to yourself.

Letting your guard down not only lets a piece of someone else in, it let’s a piece of you out. It’s opening your book, breaking the spine and reading aloud your story, curse words and all. Sure, there are going to be some people who will respond with a face of fear and mad dash in the opposite direction. This is when we have to make a decision: Do we close it back up and seal it tighter than before, or do we sit there and smile?

Isn’t it so much more fun to smile?!! Sealing it up is just taking that personal-self and keeping it, well, personal! And that B&Gs, is the best way to never let anyone get to know you. What do your girlfriends say when you are desperate to meet someone new but doing nothing about it? “PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE!”

My thought is that if the person runs away, it probably wasn’t a good match — whether it was the first date, fifth date or one-year anniversary. But if they sit there and laugh with you, on date one, there’s no turning back!! Doesn’t everyone deserve the chance to experience that?

What I noticed when I finally had my guard ripped away was a sense of relief and contentment. I had nothing to hide, nothing to fear and a lot more to give.

It was absolutely terrifying! And I’ll tell ya, it wasn’t a pretty ending… at first. Yet, down the road, it was a fairy tale. I discovered a way to create a sense of fulfillment that no one can provide you! It’s a confidence booster!

It’s not to say that having a safety net isn’t always beneficial (yeah, yeah, you know me, always two sides), but I think when it comes to love, it causes more harm than help!

One of its biggest flaws, in my book, is its ability to muffle communication, hindering your relationship from reaching a certain level of connection — wherever it is you want it to go! No connection and sh!t falls apart, let me tell ya! (From experience!)

I think a second flaw is the constraint it has on your ability to fulfill your own happiness. If you don’t “open your book,” no one, including yourself, is going to know what you want and need. Eh?

I think its a big cause for “settling:” It can instill a fear of moving on and not finding something/someone else. It can blind you from recognizing that you and your partner do not share the same ideals and needs. And worst of all, if you don’t know what you need, you can’t look for someone who can give it to you!

Mind over matter is apparently the key to everything these days. So I guess if you choose to see vulnerability as a positive characteristic, it will be. If not, enjoy the ride!

What about you? Do you keep your guard up? And if so, what is it protecting you from?

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Two days ago The New York Times opened a proverbial can of worms with its article, What Is It About 20-Somethings? Considering 20-something’s knack for voicing an opinion on anyt topic, this has gotten the attention is deserves. There is a summary of the article on Lemondrop.com: 10 Signs You’re a 20-Something, According to The New York Times.

As expected, Lemondrop.com sought out their star guest blogger and 20-something spokeperson, Jessie Rosen to share her thoughts. It was, in my opinion, an objective and well-put rebuttal. Here’s what the 20-nothings blogger had to say: Dear NY Times, Here’s Why I Haven’t ‘Grown Up.’ Love, a 20-Something

As soon as I read her rebuttal, 10,000 things went through my head. So I commented with the most prominent. I was surprised to receive in my inbox this morning, more than a dozen or so notifications for follow up comments. Not all of them are positive. Although I have the upmost respect for a good debate, I felt as if I was somewhat being attacked for being a mooch off my parents and blaming my fear for not growing up. Yes, this is what I stated — that I think fear is a big cause for 20-somethings delay “growing up.” I also stated that it all depends on our definition of growing up! But I don’t think my personality shined through enough. (Or there are just a lot of angry people out there!)

I took a significant amount of time responded to the comments. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to want to post. (I have tried a couple times and have not yet receive the conformation email.) Looking at the 19 or so pages of comments though, I guess they could be a bit backed up.

Rosen also posted a link to the comment on her own blog: 20-nothings. At the end you’ll see she asks for other 20-somethings to share their rebuttal. Here are my thoughts to her (which I emailed):

Hi Jessie,

First of all. You offered an excellent, objective and thorough response. Well done!

As I commented on your Lemondrop post, I think a lot of it has to do with fear. I say this as a 28-year-old, who within three years of graduating undergrad, had already returned to university to change careers, and subsequently took a $22,000 pay cut to start an entry-level job in a new industry at the age of 26. Talk about taking my sweet time getting to “adulthood.”

In the area I grew up in (a middle class suburb of Long Island, NY), kids in my generation, and those following, were held to very high standards. Among the group of girls I grew up with alone, we all played sports, took dance/gymnastics lessons, played an instrument and achieved top grades in school. We weren’t threatened to do well; we were raised by parents who wanted us to live up to our fullest potential. The more exposure they gave us towards different avenues of life, the more opportunities we would have later on. It wasn’t that if we failed our parents would disown us; it was that we never learned to accept failure within ourselves. My parents in particular were proud of my accomplishments — and they showed it. I received flowers at my recitals, ice cream after my concerts and little gifts for making honor roll. I forever appreciate their support. At the same time, they both have Masters degrees. College was never an option — I was going — and grad school was subtly expected, as was a prosperous career. The thought process that I inherited was one of “Great job; now what’s next?” And this is what has kept me motivated to continuously raise my personal bar of success as a “20-something adult.”

Trying to live up to a standard of perfection can instill a concept of fear. What if we fail? What will we do if we don’t get top grades? What’ll happen if we don’t get into a top college? Will we get a good enough job? What if I don’t find Mr Right? When will I get married then? Being afraid to fail at these expected milestones leaves us stalling. But being part of a generation that was expected to outperform not only our parents, but our peers, by the time we could walk, well, what do people expect? When a blunder awards you a scarlet letter, why rush? We need to make sure we do it all right before we do anything at all.

Another point this brings up is “chasing our dreams.” One of those high standards is following what your heart wants — even if it takes ten years to get there. Our parents generation (mine were baby boomers) didn’t have as many options, or at least they weren’t aware of them. They chased dreams to a certain point, at which they then changed their path in order to make ends meet and follow the ‘get married, buy a house and have a baby’ norm. Well, with that ‘norm’ thrown out the window, there is no reason to change our path. If we’re happy, stick it out! It’s all what you consider “adulthood,” in my opinion. If adulthood is just that — having a family and a house with a white picket fence and a minivan — than go and get it. But just because my norm includes getting published, adding my stamp to the world while experiencing all it has to offer, it doesn’t mean I am less grown up. I am just  as responsible as those of my friends with husbands and houses. I just chose to focus my ambitions and efforts in a different direction.

My question is, what is so wrong with that??

Elizabeth L Hatt


What are your thoughts? Does the 20-something generation need to grow up?
Or has the definition of grown up just changed?

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Last week I was inspired by 20-Nothings, Jessie Rosen, to go on a diet: Suze Orman’s Cash-Only Diet, that is. And with one week down, I did pretty well. I have $20 still left in my wallet. Not sure if it was a result of the spending limitations, or, more likely, sheer exhaustion, but the past week was pretty tame on the social front. I spent more days/evenings at home than I have in a long time. I’m sure this helped the cause.

My first thought when realizing I had $20 left was “Oooo, an extra $20 for next week!” But I felt somewhat guilty thinking that way. Isn’t that cheating the program? I decided to take it a step further, and to save any money that is leftover at the end of each week. Therefore, this morning, I transferred $20 into my savings account and will withdraw $20 less when I hit up the ATM later. What I will do with the savings I am not sure. I did not embark on this project to save — not yet at least — but, rather, help pay down my debt. For now I will let the savings [slowly] accumulate and just enjoy looking at it — that will be my reward. And then if I decide I need something that doesn’t fit into my weekly budget, or fancy buying something for someone special in my life, I’ll have some extra cash, and not be tempted to touch the plastic.

Good plan? I think so.

I was surprised both at how easy and hard week one was.

It was easy because once limited to only the money that was physically in front of me, I realized how little I really needed. An avid debit card user, I was always aware of how much was in my checking account when I swiped, but actually having the money in front of you changes its value. You are forced to physically watch its depletion.

What was hard about it was changing my view of cash. I always saw cash as a perk for getting the little things on a daily basis — egg sandwiches, ice cream, a new bottle of shampoo (actually, I usually swipe at pharmacy stores). There were certain things that warranted cash, and that was all I would use it for. When seeing a wad of cash in my wallet last week, my initial thought was, “That’s a lot of egg bagel sandwiches,” not “Hmmm, I could buy a new pair of hiking sandals with this!” Who pairs for shoes with cash?

Hiking sandals. That brings me to the other hard part: Holding back.

The same as when I went on the Master Cleanse and every item of food looked delicious and left me pining, every piece of merchandise that passed my view enticed me. Coupons and newsletters flooded my inbox with discount yoga classes, sales on shoes and novel gift ideas. I know I would have fought the urge to buy many of these things no matter what, but there were some that I, if possible,  I wouldn’t have given a second thought to before typing in those magical numbers.

Some of the hardest things to pass on were:

  • $69 for one-month unlimited yoga, in today’s NY Groupon
  • $25 for $50 of apparel at the Gap (I hate the Gap since they began designing all their clothing to rip within weeks, but I still have weak moments and believe the Gap owes me after my years of loyalty.)
  • $90 all-terrain sandals that would be fantastic for my upcoming cross-country trip and any spontaneous warm-weather hiking we decide to embark on
  • $?? for some gift ideas that I have to wait on till my I have a fresh wade of cash in my pocket

On that note, week two starts today. I am a bit more nervous this week. I am going to Rhode Island to visit a friend this weekend and one of our favorite things to do together is eat… and one of my favorite places to shop and blow my budget is supermarkets. This is going to take constraint. But I have the willpower.

Here we go…

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One of my favorite blogs to follow is 20-Nothings by Jessie Rosen. As she describes it in the dek, “The nonsense we occupy ourselves with on Gchat, in complete sentences.” Now, why didn’t I think that of that?

Anyways, I started following her a few months back when she popped up as a guest blogger on Lemondrop.com and been hooked ever since. Today I read Rosen’s most recent entry.

The Story of My Guest Appearance on the Suze Orman Shoe

No bloody way.

I read her previous Lemondrop blog about embarking on the cash-diet and thought to myself, “Cash? Wait, is that the paper stuff hiding behind the plastic cards in my wallet?” But she was clearly on to something.

I read everything that she did and decided — and maybe it’s just because I need to prove to myself that I can — to embark on my own cash diet. Now, the major difference between Rosen and myself is that she limited herself to a certain amount of cash in order to accumulate a savings. I will be limiting myself to, well, all my cash. For me the point is to lay off my CC’s.

This is all part of the ‘pay off my debt’ scheme that has been in progress, or let’s say, transforming, for the past year and a half. It started when I took a weekend job, but the 7-day-a-week thing took its toll on me — physically and mentally — so I bailed after I paid off the first round. Then I got comfy and racked it all back up again. Now I’m playing with ideas; for example, helping out at the drop zone on the weekend, but since they are willing to pay me with discounted skydives it really doesn’t help the cause. So I’m still looking for a spot-on method. When I find one that works as quick and seamless as I’d like, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I made a stop at the ATM on the way out through the train station today to set myself up for the week…

But just in case, I think I’ll leave my debit card home tomorrow.

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This guy is spot on:

From Seth Godin’s Blog: Exploration and the risk of failure

People seem to be in one of two categories:

  • Those who seek stability, affiliation, work worth doing and the assurance it (whatever it is) will be okay.
  • Those who explore, need to know that failure is an option and quest to make a dent in the universe.

You can be in either category, the world needs and rewards both. But pick a brand and a job and a posture that matches your category, or you’ll fail, and be miserable until you do.

Hint: there is no category of: “does risky exploration, never fails.”

This is so true. And I am definitely in the second category…
I just hope “failure” is never an option when I get back in to skydiving.

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