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Describe your life at the time of your 30th birthday…

10-year-old E:

At the age of 30, I’ll be all grown up. I’ll have a husband and two kids, a boy and a girl (the girl will be named Samantha), and like ten cats. I will work as a veterinarian — or maybe a pediatrician — and we’ll have a house in New York City and take the subway everywhere. I will also take ballet lessons and watch a lot of Broadway shows.

I will have watched Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” concert without my mom fast-forwarding through the bad parts. No one will have ever found out about that homework page I didn’t finish in first grade and threw out instead of getting my mom to sign it. I’ll have my own Prodigy account and Aly and I will send each other hundreds of emails each month and IM everyday. And I hope my husband can cook, because I can’t.

15-year-old E:

Marriage? No way! Kids? Hell no! Everything society expects me to do, I’m gonna do the opposite.

18-year-old E:

My accounting professor says some accounting majors start at $80,000 right out of college! $80,000!!! Who needs a husband when I can make a ton of money working on my own. I’m gonna have the coolest apartment in New York City and I’ll drive a baby blue Mustang convertible. I know it’s hard to park in NYC, but I’ll be making so much that I’ll just pay for my own spot.

My English teacher keeps saying I’m gonna end up an English teacher or writer. Pssssh! They don’t make any money. Just wait and see.

I definitely won’t have any kids. They are such a pain in the ass. Constantly crying and moaning for things.

21-year-old E:

If I work my arse off, I can make partner in ten years.

Oh, and I met someone; I think he could be the one. [blush] He is so cute with an adorable smirk and that just got out of bed hairstyle that really takes him 20 minutes to perfect. Oh, and he’s British. He sounds just like Hugh Grant. Actually he kind looks and acts like him too. They both have narrow faces, stretchy skin and are kind of awkward.

Where would we live? I don’t know. I would love to live in London, but he loves NY. Maybe well have a house in both places. Did I tell you how cute he is? Let me show you a photo!

23-year-old E:

If I am still working as an auditor when I am 30, please shoot me.

Now, go away it’s busy season and I need to add a 2,546th column to my spreadsheet and decide between a kosher burger and a bologna sandwich for dinner.

I’m serious. Bugger off!

25-year-old E:

Published. The next Sophie Kinsella. No, no! Bill Bryson. If I work as a travel writer I could get paid to travel. How cool would that be? I could give up having an apt, and just live out of my backpack. I’d be one with the earth, bartering the clothes I sew on long train rides to pass the time for food and travel tours. I could find a land I adore and build roots there as an animal activist or offer accounting advice for third-world communities.

Whatever I do, I WILL publish a book by the time I am 30. I will HATE myself if I dont.

The boy? Eh, things with the boy aren’t too great right now.

29-year-old E:

Where will I be when I’m 30?

Well, I am a writer, but not yet a published author. However, I don’t hate myself. I work in NYC but have lost the desire to leave my backyard in the suburbs. One cat, not ten. No idea how to sew clothes, or barter for that matter; I can’t even use eBay.

I run half marathon(s), can put my legs behind my head in yoga class and ride black diamond trails on my snowboard. I drove across the US and walked across England. I haven’t been to a dance class in years, I rarely indulge in broadway shows and I’ve jumped out of a plane 25 times. I’ve learned to cook — and bake — and I work in an industry that would make 10-year-old-“I only eat foods that come covered in ketchup or tomato sauce” E wrinkle her nose. I’m obsessed with cheese. I’ve see Madonna in concert four times — but have still not watched her “Like a Virgin” tour.

I’ve fallen in love, and back out again. I’ve tested my morals, and been deceived and trampled on. I fight for what I want but I never ignore my intuition. I have surrounded myself with supportive girlfriends who constantly inspire me to achieve more. My family has stood by throughout 29 years of irrational decisions and picked me up when Ive fallen. My friends and family tolerate and love me; I will forever feel indebted to them. I’m single. I’m fulfilled. But I still wonder about my Hugh Grant.

I put way too much pressure on myself but love myself too much to change. I am a control freak who gave up control; everything I’ve experienced in my life was at some point unexpected. And I am absolutely loving the ride.

Oh, and I DO send Aly hundreds of emails a month, and we iMessage almost everyday.

Happy 30th Birthday to me! In true tradition, my girls honored my big day with a few of our favorite things… cheese, cured meats, pesto, bruschetta, crackers, lime tostitos, cava, wine, vodka, Reese PB cupcakes and a trip to my favorite restaurant for mojitos and empanadas. Couldn’t have been more perfect… and the celebration will continue next month when we all head to CANCUUUUUN!

I am excited for this new decade and feel confident that there are many experiences and lessons waiting to help me grow.

Happy Birthday to me!

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K and I pre pig-out!

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From the looks of my Facebook news feed, the fall endurance sports season is in full swing. All weekend friends and organizations were busy posting support and cheers for those participating in marathons, triathlons, charity walks and other races. Among those were my Hamptons marathon TNT teammates. GO HAMPTONS TEAM! Special shoutout to Ines, my running buddy who ran her first half in 2:20. I hope I come close to such an awesome time!

In the spirit of the season, I jumped on board completing my longest run yet — 11 miles — on Saturday and then heading to Westchester (at 530 am, mind you) to cheer on my friend Kenny while he completed his second triathlon.

My run is not much to talk about. I trooped it from Bethpage State Park (kinda in the middle of Long Island) down to the Massapequa Preserve and back. It was tiring and hard and I definitely didn’t fuel enough. I felt really sluggish with 1.5 miles to go, like REALLY sluggish, but I only had a Gu packet left and I really didn’t want to deal with digesting that with such little distance to go. (I remember when I couldn’t run a mile and now its a “small distance.” ha!)  I toughed it out and promised to better stagger my fuel next time.

My 11-mile route!

Today’s event was much more exciting. The Westchester Triathlon counts as an Olympic qualifier (not sure what that means, but you can imagine the caliber of contestants it attracts) and includes a .9-mile swim, 25-mile run and a 6.2-mile run. And Kenny rocked all three.

the crowds getting ready to hit the water!

Kenny's wave is off! GO KENNY!

our boy heads off to find his bike!

the bike lot emptying out fast as all the athletes take off on the second leg of the race!

Team Swierupski Cheer Squad (in uniform) waiting for him to round the corner of the run portion! (we estimated him to finish at 2:39!)

there he goes... finishing at... wait for it... 2:39!!! WOO HOO!

the recap! tell us about Kenneth!

It was the first Tri I ever attended and a lot of fun to track down and cheer for Kenny along the way! (I also enjoyed cheering for all the TNT teams.) He ran it in 2:39:something — an awesome time. We watched people continue to cross the finish line as we drank celebratory beers.

His cheer squad was very proud. I mean, he’s a triathlete… how cool is that? (And look how cute he looks in his unitard… his girlfriend is one lucky lady!)

 

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Four years ago a tradition began.

After a delicious Italian dinner and Crème Brule dessert at Mediterraneo (on 2nd and 66th) to celebrate my friend from elementary school’s 25th birthday, the birthday girl, her roommate and I ventured off into the night in search of Christmas. It was the first week of December, the time of year when Manhattan’s midtown dresses up in its finest to welcome the holiday season. So for hours we wandered empty streets gazing at the twinkling lights, dancing characters and shimmery 5th avenue accessories in the closed-up store windows.

Just like that, the “Birthday-Christmas Tour” custom was born.

When it came time to plan this year’s surprise birthday she-bang I knew just what to sign us up for: The Amazing NY Race, Holiday Edition. Put on by Pogo Events, the scavenger hunt event is a team race around the Big Apple mimicked off the reality TV show, The Amazing Race. The events does take on different themes throughout the year, and I was tempted to go for the NY Desserts edition, but a tradition is a tradition.

So one crisp Saturday morning after receiving instruction alongside 20-something other teams, some dressed in costume and one with their own theme song, Francaise Fille (the b-day girl), AAA, K and I headed into the city to chase down Christmas –– after fueling up with a delicious French breakfast of quiche, omelets and crepes at La Grainne Cafe, of course. (It’s on 21st and 9th, and I highly recommend it. Triple thumbs up!!!)

(Our dessert crepes: Creme De Marrons, Clement-Faugier chestnut cream with creme fraiche; and Fruits Frais, mixed fruit with strawberry sauce.)

 

Here are some of the highlights of the hunt:

For the first task we were given images of a handful of NYC landmarks that we had to locate, visit and document with a photo. The movie-themed Gingerbread sculptures at the Le Parker Meridien (56th between 6th and 7th), the giant piano at FAO Schwartz (5th and 58th), the Central Park ice rink where we needed a photo of us pretending to skate, and the L-O-V-E outside some building on 6th where we needed a photo of us holding hands with ten strangers, were just some of the places on the list.

This kept us busy till 2 o’clock, when we needed to return to our departure point to face a road block (We had to name as many Christmas movies in two minutes as we could think of.) I note: Christopher Street is very out of the way from midtown’s Christmas magic.

The second half of the scavenger hunt was a list of holiday items and scenes that we had to find and document with a photo that included all team members. Some of the highlights were: a Christmas window display (hard to see, but there is lights and tinsel in the window); building a snowman; wearing tinsel (we ticked a lot off our list in this convenience store); a giant candy cane; jingle bells; and all the reindeer names (the book ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – how brilliant?).

We didn’t win in the end, but we all did, at different points in time, rate the day something between “awesome” and “best day ever.” (The best rating came from the birthday girl herself, who ranked it “best birthday” both at the height of adrenaline and the morning after.)

You know what the funniest thing about this tradition is? Francaise Fille doesn’t even celebrate Christmas. She does, however, have more holiday spirit than most people I know, and dedicated many Black Fridays to helping my family decorate our Christmas tree. Ho ho ho!

Merrrrry 28th Birthday!!!

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas may be over but the holiday came with many fabulous memories that are sure to last throughout 2011. Santa Claus, for one, spoiled me rotten: Mom and Dad Claus hooking me up with a Canon SLR (boost in photo quality to come). The best gift, however, was spending the last five days hanging out stress-free catching up with family and drinking and eating more than I thought possible. And with 18″+ inches of snowy winter wonderland outside, the last 24 hours included three puzzles, two movies and an alcohol-inspired walk to the pub followed by midnight shoveling party!

The biggest fan of the 2010 blizzard is, by far, Dora my Christmas-loving kitty who spent the entire day stalking the birds looking for food in the frozen bird-feeder and displaced bugs crawling on the 3′ high snow drifts. Each time a bird landed, her paw slapped the glass sending it off in a tizzy. When she wasn’t sitting in the window sill, she was cuddled under the Christmas tree — a place that served as a safe haven from my 3-year-old cousins who like to show their love with a tight hug around the neck.

To commemorate her first Christmas, Dora was invited to join in the celebration at her Grandparent’s house, and to meet her aunt and uncle (my parent’s cats), Jasmine and Oreo. She had no idea what she was getting into.

True to her curious personality, as soon as she found them, she followed them slyly wanting nothing more than to play. Jasmine on the other hand wanted nothing but to get away, and Oreo, well, he just wanted her to know whose house it is. But even though he is twice her size, my little munchkin stood her ground hissing at his advances as she attempted to slip out of sight under the couch.

Here she is watching Jasmine go outside. She’s thinking, “Mom, why can’t I go?”

Overall, the visit went well and she was invited back to spend the weekend when I go away in a couple weeks. By this time the Christmas tree will be down so she won’t be able to play “How high can I climb before getting caught?”  (She made it to about 5′ before she knocked off a glass ball and I had to drag her out of the branches by the scruff of her neck.)

Dora wasn’t without pressies either. Santa delivered her a perch so she can further her bird-watching hobby, and Aunt Azzy wrapped up a stuffed teddy bear on an elastic string and a packet of cat nip.

Cat nip doesn’t seem affect her too much. Not sure if she’s immune to the cat nip or she’s just got so much energy naturally that we can’t tell the difference. Either way, she loved rolling around in it.

 

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas as much as Dora and I.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday celebrations, hiking through the snow and the remainder of 2010!!! What a year it’s been…

 

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I wrote about my friends. A lot.
And with good reason! They are fab!

This morning I received this in my inbox from my oldest (as in length of time we’ve been friends) girlfriend…


They Teach It at Stanford
“I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture
was on the mind-body connection – the relationship between stress and
disease. The speaker (head  of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among
other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his
health is to be married to a woman whereas for a  woman, one of the
best things she could do for her health was to nurture her
relationships with her girlfriends. 

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems
that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life
experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to
create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat
depression and can create a general feeling of well being.  Women
share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities.
They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about
certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes.
Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes.  But their
feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our
sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health.  He
said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our
general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising” we are doing
something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with
friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively
engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain
quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to
our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat
yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something
good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo, let’s
toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it’s very good
for our health.”

Thank you to my ladies for being as wonderful as you are! I need you like I need to go for a run…
but you are so much more fun than a run!

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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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Another As Told To…

Today I received the following from my roommate. After my recent post about the joys of living with my grandma, I think its only appropriate for the third lady in our household to speak her piece.

The Nomadic-Roommate
By Azadeh Zeyghami

Roommate AAA and myself on our last day in London together...

The Nomadic-Roommate appears to live with you but in actuality is never there. You may see reminisce of their existence, for example, laundry drying, toothbrush, stacks of mail suddenly disappearing from the staircase and reappearing in the trash.  They are often quiet, occasionally having short bursts of intense living in the same living-area as you. Only do disappear as soon as they suddenly appeared.

It is not uncommon for your Nomadic-Roommate to actually be an old acquaintances or a friend that has recently moved into your area from out-of-town or out-of-state.  They will most likely be very appreciative of their new home and promise that their living with you will only be temporary, and then stay there for the next three years!! Do choose your nomadic-friends carefully!  Unless they have substantial wealth in forms of a wonderful sense of humor, amazing party tricks, similar clothing taste and sizes or vacation home it is best to NEVER EVER invite them to ‘stay’ with you ‘until they get settled’.  In some cases they may become your dependent and no one wants that!!!

One recent case study brought many interesting items of the nomadic-roommate to light. The case-study includes one, Ms. AAA, who is a lovely and fun girl but has nomadic living sense-ability she has moved from her hometown of Wausau, to Madison, to England, to New York.  Most recently she has ‘moved’ into her boyfriends.  For those of you unfamiliar to the definition of nomadic living, the definition of nomadic-roommate is an individual whom ‘lives’ at a home-base, which is where they house most of their personal items, clothing and living essentials, and then having a smaller living space at another residence, where they might actually spend most of their time, but do not have many personal items at this other residence, this ‘other’ living space is often the nomad’s significant-other’s place but it may also be their office or parents home.  Ms. AAA is an interesting case study as she has a New York and Wisconsin home-base, in her New York home base she keeps most of her clothing and personal items, and in Wisconsin she keeps her treasures from her childhood, mostly of books and nick-knacks.

While the nomadic roommate’s room often remains unchanged, if your roommate’s room looks like it has been through a hurricane, it is best to assume that they were looking for a single item and when it could not be found, they tore the room apart trying to find it and hence the hurricane like appearance of their room.  Or they have been robbed and you may have and you should take a look at your own room.

While your nomadic-roommate may cause you some concern or just confusion you, please know that you are always in their thoughts.  When Ms. AAA was asked about how she felt when she hadn’t seen her own roommate, she said, ‘I miss her and think of her often. In some situations I sometimes think, ‘What would E do, say, think, feel, react, smell like in this situation?’ J

Published by Nonsense Statistics and Studies for the WWW © 2010

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