One person wants kids, the other doesn’t. It isn’t hopeless but it will take some work to get through it. Here are your options.

In relationships, it’s often our differences that bring us together. A creative type might be drawn to someone with a blue collar background and a handyman skill set. A hardcore fantasy fan might be intrigued by a nonfiction lover. Even Yankees and Red Sox fans have been known to get along.

But there’s one difference that hardly ever jives with a healthy relationship: whether or not you want kids.

The need to have children is so hardwired in some people, it can be hard for them to grasp why anyone would forego the chance to pass on their genes. People on the other side of the spectrum might have trouble understanding the allure of changing diapers or going days without sleep.

It’s a contentious issue – so why do people wait so long to bring it up?

If you’re currently in this situation, it’s time to take action. Here’s what you need to do.

Discuss the issue.

It’s easy to bury your head in the sand about this topic. After all, who wants to talk about something as complicated as having children when you could debate what you think will happen on the next “Game of Thrones” episode?

Unfortunately, this is the kind of potential problem that needs to be discussed as soon as possible. If you’re a woman who wants kids and are married to or in a relationship with someone who doesn’t, you can’t wait forever. Female fertility goes down significantly after 35 and the chance of genetic disorders and other problems also increases. If you’re approaching 30, you can’t just ignore the problem for a few years.

Try talking about the question of children together and see where you both stand. If your partner mentioned a few years ago that he wants kids, it’s entirely possible he’s changed his mind since then. If you talk about your priorities early and often, there’s little chance you’ll be blindsided by a change of heart.

Couples who have been together a long time should consider seeing a therapist. They can help flesh out the issue, offer some perspective and lay out the best options for moving forward. For example, are you really averse to having a child because you’re scared that your partner won’t help shoulder the burden? Even if you’re sure you know the reasons why you don’t want kids, it might be easier to discuss the issue with a professional

For example, are you really averse to having a child because you’re scared that your partner won’t help shoulder the burden? Even if you’re sure you know the reasons why you don’t want kids, it might be easier to discuss the issue with a professional present.

Talk about other options.

If breaking up is not something you want to do, there might be a few ways to compromise. For example, you could look into temporarily fostering a child to see if it fulfills your partner’s parental instinct. Fostering is an intense process and a new home can have a permanent affect on a child, but placements are temporary and can let you both see what it’s like to be parents without making a permanent decision.

Fostering is an intense process and a new home can have a permanent affect on a child, but placements are temporary and can let you both see what it’s like to be parents without making a permanent decision.

You could also consider adopting an older child, if you’d rather skip the diapers-and-midnight-feedings stage of parenting.  If you want to start really slowly, try babysitting for a friend or relative to see how it feels before you decide to foster or adopt a child.

You can also talk to people you know who have children and aren’t afraid to share how it really feels to be a parent. These options should not be taken lightly, especially not as a direct replacement for having your own child.

Too much of what we see on TV and in film romanticizes the act of parenting and doesn’t prepare people for what being a mother or father actually means. Plenty of people want kids right up until the point where they actually have them, so make sure you’ve put real thought into the decision. Becoming a parent should be a conscious act, not a product of biological urges.

Take action.

The easiest decision to make is to maintain the status quo. Our comfort zone is soft and cozy, and disrupting it comes with challenges. Unfortunately, if you’ve discussed having a child and haven’t agreed on a decision you and your partner will be happy with, it might be time to say goodbye.

Everyone deserves to try for the life they want, whether it’s filled with babies and diapers or exotic vacations and late nights out. That’s not to say you can’t go along with your partner’s wishes for the good of the relationship, but make sure it’s a decision you buy into.

Don’t lie to yourself or your spouse if you truly can’t see yourself having kids and being happy, or vice versa. The longer you wait to reveal the truth, the worse the break-up will be.

How to prevent this.

It’s always hard to find someone you like, only to break things off because of a difference in priorities. Still, it’s a lot easier to break up with someone three months into the relationship than three years. Even if you’re worried the question will scare away potential mates, consider how much easier it will be to break up before you’ve moved in, met his parents and adopted a pet together.

Bring up your child-free status whenever you feel comfortable, but do it sooner rather than later. It never feels like the perfect time to discuss a sticky subject, so be prepared to feel awkward no matter how you approach the conversation.

Have you or someone you’ve known been in this situation? Let’s talk about it over in the #Adulting Facebook community!

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Single parenthood can be plenty of fun. Have the best dating life ever.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Are you trying to date while raising a family? It can get a little tricky. Single mom Sarah Bettencourt joins Harlan and Miranda to talk about dating as a single parent. We go over the pitfalls of learning to adjust, finding interesting people to spend time with, and how to integrate children with potential mates.

Also, the cost of dating as a single parent is financial as well as emotional. How do you find the “ROI” of your first dates? We dive into figuring out how to make it work for you.

Sarah is the co-founder of Travel Foodie Mom, The Blonde Spot, and podcast host for Monday Morning Mimosas and Nerd Biscuit (coming soon). She believes life is better when you can embrace and she does just that.

Watch the video above or listen to the audio using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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You’re an adult. Don’t let your parents treat you like a kid.

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

You love your parents. But are they having a hard time with the idea that you’re a grownup now? It might be time to establish boundaries. It might be difficult, but you need to figure out how to change the relationship dynamic to something healthier.

Concepts

  • Dangers of letting your parents treat you like a child.
  • How to learn how to adult when your parents are babying you.
  • Relationship problems that come when you don’t establish boundaries with your parents.
  • Which boundaries to set with your parents, including parenting your own children and relationships with your S.O.
  • How to ask for help and advice without reverting to being treated like a kid.
  • Tips to help you establish boundaries effectively.
  • How to identify the boundaries that need to be set.
  • Ways to offer a consolation prize to your parents.
  • Reasons to establish boundaries and stick to them.

Our DO NOWs this week focus on reviewing what’s bothering you and honestly evaluating whether or not it’s a breach of boundaries. We also talk about creating a script and practicing so that you are ready to have this difficult conversation with your parents.

A listener this week is tired of being badgered about plans for work and dating. We talk about how to help your parents understand that you’re satisfied and they need to back up and be happy for you.

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Resources

Danger of infantilizing adult children.

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Intrigue leads to date number one. It should take more than that to get a second chance. Are there signs it’ll be a waste of time?

It was the end of a great date and I needed to pop into the restroom before we went on the Cruiser Ride. I had some reservations about him, but he was so cute! He was into me, leaning in, and talking about later (ahem).

But, when I returned, he wasn’t there. I had been ghosted, but at least he had paid the bill. Now, this was the first time that happened to me. You’d think I’d be upset about it. But I wasn’t.

He didn’t leave me with the bill. Besides, I should have listened to my reservations in the first place.

Let’s be honest. Should there even be a first date?

The first time we met was at a brewery.

I was with a group of friends and he was by himself, having a drink (or two, or three). This guy, like many people in Denver, was a new arrival. Somehow we ended up having a pretty lengthy conversation about the things that you’re not supposed to talk about when you first meet: politics and money.

I was surprised when he asked me out before I left, but I agreed to connect later. I didn’t think about it deeply because clearly we were too different. The initial conversation we had revealed the following:

  • He was way more conservative than I
  • He felt conflicted about life
  • He was prone to drinking way too much while out on his own

In fact, I was amazed by some of the things he said and believed because they were the polar opposite of my own personal belief system.

In reality, I probably shouldn’t have gone on a first date with him. But I loved that he worked in the financial industry. I’m a money blogger, so I find finances fascinating. He loved to travel and so do I. He loved his family and I do too.

And, hell, he was really cute. Seriously. Really cute. I was so enamored with the fact that I met someone in real life versus online that I ignored the red flags.

He made the decision for me about the second date.

Are you sticking to your standards?

When deciding on a second date, there are a couple of things you have to get real about. Those were the things I initially ignored in my first (and only two) meetings with Hot Finance Guy.

He drank. Like, a lot. I come from a family with relatives who died from the affects of alcoholism. I am not a big drinker. The amount that he was drinking made me uncomfortable. (And I’ve lived in Paris where they drink a lot more than in the U.S.!) This was actually one of my non-negotiables. I don’t want to be with some guy who drinks like a fish. In fact, I’m amazed that he looked as good as he did, drinking as much as he seemed to.

Ask yourself the following question before agreeing to a second date: would this behavior bother me if we got serious? For me? Hell, yes! This was already an issue. And it was never not going to be an issue for me.

The second way to assess if a second date is worth it is to ask yourself if the most important parts of your values and perceptions about people are in alignment. When we first met, he shared views with me that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. He wasn’t going to change and neither was I. No amount of good nookie would change how we view the world.

He had, to me, a lack of compassion towards others that I shouldn’t have ignored in the first place. Maybe I just appreciated the fact that he was upfront and honest about how he views the world. But we didn’t agree in our worldviews. Even if we had continued dating, this would have become a HUGE issue moving forward. I was already concerned about it.

He seemed conflicted about his life in general. Who needs a conflicted grown-ass man?

Finally, he didn’t seem as interested in asking about what who I was and what I was into. I actually thought this a little bit in that first date.

As I asked questions about his likes and interests, his questioning of me didn’t seem to match. Especially after I mentioned my training to do the Colorado Trail (too much walking I think?).

If you’re debating whether or not you should go on that second date, pay attention to the other person’s interest in you. Yes, he was physically interested (I could tell) but not beyond that, and that’s ok.

Pay attention to the clues.

Being ghosted was lame, but we weren’t going to be a love connection in the long-run because we were too different. I knew that I probably shouldn’t have bothered with that second date.

I’m not saying that the people you date should be exactly like you. But if the red flags are popping up everywhere, and you’re concerned about non-negotiable habits, then it’s obvious that it’s a one-and-done situation.

At least he paid for dinner before he left.

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From money to relationships and everything in between, here’s the best advice from a panel of expert adults.

I know you won’t follow every piece of advice you’re about to read. Some of this won’t have anything to do with you, anyway. But bear with me.

That’s because I and the rest of the Adulting.tv team asked hundreds of people — some of them adults and others… “adults” — what advice they’d give their younger self. Some answered with very specific advice about opportunities they had at the age of 21. Some offered tidbits of wisdom they gained from making mistakes. Most didn’t answer at all.

Don’t worry — even if you take some advice to heart, you’ll still make mistakes in life. Mistakes are the best way to learn about yourself and how you can grow as a person.

But if you have the opportunity to avoid a few, you might as well take it. So let these certified adult experts help you.

Something in this fantastic round-up of advice will apply to you, at any age.

“21 wasn’t that long ago for me but I would say this: Choose a place to live that is inexpensive and allows you to save. Spending too much in rent can really hurt your ability to pay off your student loans, invest, and even travel the way you want to in the future.” Kevin Matthews II

“Don’t be afraid to try new jobs and careers. Like your actual life, your working productive life is a very long period of time and you’ll have many opportunities to switch and try new things. Don’t be afraid to do so, especially when you’re early and have less to risk!” Jim Wang

“Take the time to explore your priorities and hobbies, but make sure you have some buffer in your account. I ran out of money in my early 20s and found myself scrambling and unfulfilled. There is a way to be YOLO yet at the same time be responsible with your spending. Think about money as buying you time and choices instead of cool things, which was what I was most concerned about when I first graduated college.” Sarah Li-Cain

“Don’t always look to see what others are doing with money or what the current trend says you should be doing. Figure out what works for you… This also applies to starting a family, your career and pretty much anything else.”

“Don’t listen to people telling you that starting a business is the ultimate thing to do. Not everyone is built for it mentally or emotionally and it takes more than passion or an interest to make it a success. It’s more than acceptable to be an employee of someone else and plenty of people have lived great lives that way.” Eric Nisall

“Alcohol and sugar are overrated. Try sobriety and protein for a couple weeks.” Doug Nordman

“21 was just a few years ago for me, but the best thing I did and therefore the best advice I have is to start paying off debt ASAP, especially if you are single and don’t have children. I wasn’t dating anyone then, so I lived at home with family, worked 2 jobs and debt snowballed like crazy to pay off as much as I could so that someday when I got married I would be in a little less debt. It really helped, because when I got married at 23 a lot of the financial pressure was off since I had paid off about $17,000 worth of debt on my own. Also– be careful what major you pick in college! I graduated with a degree that I can’t do anything with, that I picked solely because the classes were fun and interesting. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to go back to college for a second degree to actually get a decent job.” Bailey Kay Cummins

“Trust your gut. It will never steer you wrong with jobs (if you are getting a stomachache thinking about the promotion you feel like you have to take, you’ll probably quit 6 months later), with dating (if you feel leery about a guy, he’ll probably be the sort of guy who gets mad at you for being sad), with money (if it feels like a bad use of your money, it probably is). Don’t railroad over those gut feelings.” Emily Guy Birken

“At 21 years of age I was living in a dumpy apartment in a Philadelphia slum with a year-old baby. I had a permanent part-time job and no child support or government aid. As a result, I was so broke I did all our laundry (including the diapers) on a scrub-board. Here’s what I would tell my 21-year-old self. Tough times show us what we’re really made of and what we’re capable of accomplishing. Often, we later realize that what we perceived as misfortune was actually crucial to making us the people we have become. (And in fact, that’s happened.)” Donna Freedman

“At the start of your career, move into a cheap apartment that you hate (ideally with roommates). Why? You won’t want to spend any time there. That makes it easy to skip out on luxury utilities (tv, internet, etc) and expensive furniture. Lower expenses means more cash to put towards investments. You’ll also be able (and willing) to put in more hours at work, creating clear differentiation between you and your peer group. Hustling hard early on should produce a steeper compensation trajectory. Before you know it, you’ll be on a clear path to financial independence.” Eppie Vojt

“This fall you’re going to go through the Student Union at college. There will be a Citibank representative there soliciting students to apply for a credit card. Do not stop. Flip him both birds, yell, “F YOU!” at the top of your lungs and keep walking.” Travis Pizel

Start contributing to a Roth IRA and take advantage of all the tax benefits in retirement investing. Even if you can only afford $50 a month, those early contributions really add up over the years. Just one $50 investment can grow to $749 over 40 years on a 7% annual return. Now imagine you were able to make that $50 a month!”

“When you’re young and don’t pay much in taxes, you might not be getting such a benefit from the instant deductions of a 401k or a traditional IRA. This is when a Roth IRA makes the most sense. You don’t get an instant deduction but get to withdraw the money totally tax-free in retirement, that’s contributions and all earnings tax-free.” Joseph Hogue

“Find what makes you happy and then organize your life around that. Quit comparing yourself to others. Everyone moves at a different pace and has a different focus. What’s important is that you do what’s best for you. Not what’s best for your friends or others around you. Life is much more enjoyable when you do that.” Andrew Daniels

“I know you’ve spent the last 16 years of your life in school, but don’t stop learning now. Keep learning and mastering new skills whether they’re related to your work or not.” Julie Starnes Rains

“Don’t build a life that requires a financial partner. Make your own money and make sure you can support yourself if the shit hits the fan. It’s great to HAVE a financial partner, but it’s another thing to NEED one.” Morgan Marie Quinn

“My biggest revelation after wasting four years of college and working a dead end job was learning that the market doesn’t care about my passions (which were fickle anyway); the market rewarded professions that were IN DEMAND. So my job was to find a niche in the job market that married my skills and interests with jobs that were HIGHLY needed, and that small realization changed everything for me. I no longer felt guilty for “selling out” to make money, because by choosing a career that society valued it was a win-win for everyone.” Curtis Hearn

Negotiate everything! Your salary, purchases, and business deals. It’s a muscle that needs to be built and there is always an opportunity to build it.” Alanna Jackson Anthony

“Don’t underestimate yourself. You might not think you qualify for those scholarships, but you’d be wrong. You’ll be kicking yourself to find out later only five people applied for that $5,000 scholarship and you thought 1,000 people would apply! This goes for graduate school scholarships and TA positions. Just apply.” Melissa Hoffman

“Youth is time to experiment and have new experiences. Manage your money so you can do that. It’s a better investment than grad school for most people. Be bold. But always be able to support yourself.” Teresa Mears

“I’d tell my 21-year-old self to party less. I was a neo in my fraternity at the time and basically wasted a year in school partying. My priorities were not in order.” Jason Butler

“No one cares more about your finances, your career, or your health than you do. Learn about each and pay equal attention to each one so that you have a secure and balanced life for years to come. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Life happens. Let it.” Amy Savage Blacklock

Exercise. Find a workout routine that makes you feel great and make movement part of your life every single day. I don’t care what you do, whether it’s running or yoga or lifting or walking for miles or playing rec league sports, just find something that gets you physically active most days. Physical exercise benefits your bod, but it’s also an investment in your mental and emotional well-being (and staying healthy = less in healthcare costs). Getting into a workout routine only gets harder as you get older, so start now while it’s easier to work it into your day so it becomes a part of your long-term lifestyle.” Kali Hawlk

“Take a deep breath and understand career success doesn’t happen overnight. Every day when you get to work, it is a new opportunity to impress your team and keep up the momentum. But don’t stop side hustling. Don’t be afraid to invest a few bucks in your projects and stay focused!” Eric Rosenberg

“(1) Work for experience, not income, because eventually the experience will command a far higher income. (2) Buy rental real estate instead of renting and begin as early as possible. Beg or borrow the down payment if necessary. As long as the property is positive cash flow and financed with a fully amortizing, fixed rate mortgage your financial security is just a question of time, and time is why you want to start as early as possible. Rental real estate provides inflation adjusting income you can never outlive, and there’s not many investments you can say that about.” Todd R. Tresidder

“Invest in defense industries. They seem to be doing better and better.” Mason Handke

“Jump on Bitcoin and Ford stocks. In other words, when you see a good financial deal, take time to learn enough to invest in it and do it quickly. Also, skip that whole finishing college thing. You guys know what you want to do; just get your certs and get out. The lost earning potential will eat you up later. Don’t let anyone else tell you what God wants from you. You’re smart enough to figure it out yourself. You’re going to have a lot of ‘I wish…’ moments down the road when you realize you’re letting someone else control your moral compass. Lastly, take that trip to Costa Rica. Just do it. Once you have kids and a real job, it’s going to be so much harder to do. The money’s there. Take the opportunity.” Lacey Keller Smith

Save up so that you can travel and see the world. Don’t worry about a new pair of pants or about going out every weekend. Explore this planet.” Martin Dasko

“Ironically, my 21-year-old self had more money to save and invest than my 37-year-old self. I would have told him to do that. But more than that, start a business. The barrier to entry for many businesses like insurance companies, online companies, etc. is so low, starting it young means great rewards while you’re still young instead of when you’re older like most people. But even more than THAT, be creatively productive with free time. Back then I had GOBS of free time and I did a fair amount of writing, but nothing else I did really created. I was focused mostly on entertainment. Nowadays I have all kinds of desires to continue to be creative, but no time. But if I had started something back then it would have been easier to *continue* working on my passion instead of trying to add time in my day for things I’m passionate about.” Greg Hamblin

“If you make $N per hour and can pay someone to clean your house (or other tasks) for $M per hour, and N>M, pay someone to clean your house while you work more. Now don’t forget to work the extra hours.” Brad Cole

“Open a Roth IRA.” Rhiannon Fox

“Don’t be so serious. Let things roll and have some fun. Explore more. Don’t be so afraid of life.” Joe Saul-Sehy

“Don’t get married!” Arantza Zabala

“You have another half-dozen major failures and reboots in front of you. Don’t take them so hard. Don’t bother getting complexes. Be more focused on what you can and can’t control and fight the one in spite of the other.” Rodney Staton

“Don’t be afraid. Although life can be scary, it is also worth it to face that fear. Don’t give up on your self. What most other people think if you doesn’t matter, especially those who dont like you. Don’t let those people decide your future. That have no investment in you! Work hard! Nothing is easy.” Laurie Clark-Jacobson

“If it is important, financially, it will still be there a week later. Be happy. Don’t take life too seriously.” Morgan Dayna McKinnon

“Do not look for someone else to make you feel good or happy. Try if you can to be secure in yourself. If you are looking, look for someone with same morals, values, and expectations. If your future is to be together your values will allow you to work together on any obstructions that come up. Values discussed before a close relationship, married or not, is key to enjoyment of one another.” Lenorah DeAngelis

“Jäger is NEVER a good idea. Neither is tequila. That petty thing or person you’re overly stressed about now? Let it go. It most likely won’t be there in one year and it doesn’t deserve your energy. See also: people who make you cry for stupid reasons. No one else’s opinion of you matters more than your own. Plan for all the things but don’t plan so much you can’t handle whatever is thrown at you. All those things people in their 30s and 40s tell you? It’s solid advice. Don’t dismiss it. They know their shit (or pretend like they do).” Jana Lynch

“Start early and always save a portion of your paycheck. Try to make it be the same each week.” George Morrison

“Figure out the monies. Know how much your life costs, how to minimize, save, and spend wisely. Never be without at least a month’s expenses in savings. Avoid student loans at all costs.” Lindsay Johnson Nuesca

“Find something you are really good at and make a business.” Kade Marquez

“Invest your money instead of wasting it on all the crap you’re about to buy. Oh yeah, and start a blog — the internet is not a fad.” Tom Drake

“Life is not going to turn out the way you think sweetie, but don’t worry, you are gonna make it and it’s gonna be GOOD.” Charlotte McLendon Baker

“When I spoke to a group of middle-schoolers earlier today I took them on a journey. I told them that I’ve been at my job for 10 years. And I showed them the importance of being picky with how they spend their money. I said 10 years ago, when I started my fancy pants engineering job I could have spent $5 per day on Starbucks coffee. Instead I bought Starbucks stock and now it has tripled in value! And I showed them different examples showing how those small choices made a huge impact! Crystal Hammond

“When you meet people always ask how you can help them achieve their goals, or how you can be helpful in general, and then help them. Never expect anything directly in return but forming those early bonds, and staying in touch will serve you well for your entire life.” Bobbi Rebell

“Get an IUD. ” Elyssa Jean Kirkham

“Make self development a habit. It will take you from good to great.” Felix A. Montelara

“Travel while you can! I didn’t have the travel bug back then. Once you get kids, the game changes. Both time and money are in very short supply. At 21, travel. David Leonhardt

“If you truly believe in your stance, hold firm. People will try to intimidate you, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Applies to just about every part of life.” Kay Bell

“So strange. My nonlinear, unplanned, dirt poor youth doesn’t look at all troubling to me. Maybe just… invest in Microsoft.” Dean Ferguson

“Never marry someone who makes you cry.” Sherri Bible

“Travel. Leave your bubble and visit somewhere where you don’t speak the language; it’s even better if you can live in another country for a while. When you come home, start planning the next trip. Don’t let having kids deter you from traveling; it involves a bit more planning, but they only make it better. Pay off your student loans ASAP then save; you really don’t need a lot of material items. Spend your money on experiences (see first paragraph) and save your money.” Leslie Smith

“No matter your culture, it is okay to be single in your 20s. Discover yourself rather than discovering others, as this will be the one opportunity you have to do so.” Brynne Conroy

“Research is the key to everything related to finances. From renting a place to live and the utility payments required when you move in, to car knowledge when you go shopping for a car. Building credit and how to do it right. Relationships? Be smart, don’t just jump in. Know what matters to you and make those things important in your relationships. Oh, and credit is IMPORTANT. Don’t fuck that up.” Nik Thurnbeck

“Plan well for your retirement. Put away more than you think you can. Stretch! The time sneaks up on you – enjoy yourself some now, enjoy yourself a LOT later – you’ll deserve it! Also, be as good as you can to others — don’t leave anything to regret (oh there will always be regrets — so try to keep them to a minimum) I really think that’s the most important piece of advice. Be kind, be good. Be honest. Especially with yourself. Please keep your promises — every one. If you don’t think you can keep it, don’t make it. Sounds hokey, huh? But its true. Live the very best life you possibly can every day. Respect nature. Look to nature for lessons on life. The more you look at animals, birds, and just nature around us, the more you can understand about human nature. Seek simple affirmations and actualization. The more actualized and complete you feel, the easier it is to be satisfied by the little things. Now to take my own advice – early to bed and early to rise – huh, I wish! Oh one more — Polonious – Act I Scene III – Hamlet: ‘Neither a borrower or a lender be.’ Oh boy, I really mean that one!” Shari Berman Landes

“Always be nice. And don’t sweat the small stuff.” Wendie Berman Biegel

“People will show you who they are.” Jenna Carpenter Smith

“Spend time alone. You don’t have to be in a relationship all the time, and certainly don’t judge your worth based on whether you’re single or in a relationship. Learn to love yourself first.” Chris Kilian

“Don’t pour yourself into a man who doesn’t care enough to do the same for you.” Magdalen Sheffield

“All these responsible things but also make sure you have fun and travel in your 20s. Don’t be so work focused because your 30s, if you have kids, could be very very very boring.” Christina Marie

“Never be afraid to be who you truly are. Do all the things!” Aaron Sheffield

“Don’t worry about how successful other people are. It’s not a contest, and if it were, it would be a marathon, not a sprint.” Francesca Pellegrino

“Go to Vanguard and take the spot at Mystique. You’re gonna change jobs anyway.” Sean McReady

“Life isn’t a race. There’s no rush to finish college in 4 years. It’s OK to be the last of your friends to get married, have kids, buy a house, have a career. Life is a journey to be enjoyed. You will accomplish your goals when the timing is right.” Elizabeth Buono

“Travel as much as you can and don’t be in a hurry to settle down.” Nakki A. Price

“Follow your instinct. It’s usually right. Don’t be afraid to say no.” Danielle Marone

Wait for a job that you will LOVE!! Travel a lot! And never settle!!” Lauri Kane

“First you need to know the most important investment to make is in yourself. Strengthen your weaknesses. Fortify your strengths. Sometimes maybe go out of your comfort zone. Find yourself at a job. It may pay the bills and take care of your family but something that you don’t hate going to do everyday. Start at Step 1. Investments, credit, all of that stuff comes later. If you can’t manage yourself you can’t manage the rest of that stuff. Be successful at managing yourself and that’s when those other options start opening up. That’s when you start considering them.” Colin R Gelles

“If it’s working, it’s working. A messy, backwards, or unconventional approach to something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I’ve finally learned to accept the way I live, create, and give, and it doesn’t look like anyone else’s. All kinds of people are needed to make this world work, so ignore what you’ve heard in the management, productivity, and success books. If you are working at your best and comfortable with the process, that is what matters. I wish I wouldn’t have fought against convention for all these years and just accepted my way. What a waste of time!” Linsey Knerl

“Make — and especially keep — more social connections. Your friends can become your support network (emotional and business) as you all gain more experience and responsibility.” Virginia Rich Diaz

“Listen to yourself and learn to trust what you hear.” Alan Steinborn

“And carpe diem!” Sally Dikowitz

“Try to prepare for things like illness, accidents, etc. and the possibility you may not be able to work at some time, you never know!” Pamela A. Parker

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Life’s too short to always feel shafted. If you’re not getting what you want out of your life, it’s time to change things! Let’s put your effort where it matters.

Is your life a profitable business or a non-profit? In business, everything requires a return on investment (ROI). Unless they’re required otherwise by law, companies don’t do anything without the intention of making money. Companies hire a person in so much as that person can complete a task that pays for their salary and makes the company a profit.

I know! Some jobs subsidize others, but this isn’t ECON101. We’re in Adulting701, and we’re talking about life.

Why is it that we don’t apply a similar philosophy of an ROI on our personal lives? We keep people around who suck our souls. We repeat bad habits that harm our health. We avoid opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow. We stay with the same, old tried and true to the detriment of our dreams.

That is not a business or personal model for success.

Spend time with other awesome people.

As we age, we collect people in our lives and keep them at all cost. We’re loyal and faithful and sometimes caring to a fault. Everyone has their down days and who doesn’t want to live up to Bill Withers’ standard when he sang, “Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” Aside from ending in a preposition, those are noble words by which to live.

See what I did there?

In 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talked about emotional bank accounts. Everyone has an emotional bank account, and the people in our lives are either making a deposit or making a withdrawal from our emotional bank account.

The more people withdraw from our emotional bank account, the lower our ROI. If they deduct or even deplete our emotional bank account, our ROI can be negative. That’s not okay. We want people who add more than they take so that we can be all or more than we can be. It’s fair to remember, that we’re either adding to or taking from others’ emotional bank accounts, too.

Keep people around you who make you better and whom you can help be better.

Risk living for your dream or stay stuck in a nightmare.

Les Brown said, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled.” Will you take your biggest and best asset to the grave with you?

Are you staying with a job because you have family responsibilities? Are you not stretching towards your dream because you think you’re too old, too young, not the right gender, don’t have enough experience, blah, blah, blah?

You know what they say about excuses, right?

For the longest time, I wanted to be financially and geographically independent by helping people with their money. That’s making a long story short. However, one of my mental hurdles was thinking that I was too young. Who would listen to me in my 20s? Who would listen to me in my 30s? Even when I started this venture, I wondered who would listen to me in my 40s?

When I started doing what I wanted, I began networking with others who were doing the same. Many of them were younger than me. Because I’m a master of self-doubt, I started to think I’m too old. If I listened to my internal dialogue, I had one year in which I was the optimal age to do what I wanted to do.

Mel Robbins says we’d be committed to an institution if other people could hear our internal dialogue. So, I stopped listening to my fears and insecurities and started listening to my faith and possibilities. While nothing is inevitable, I’m happier than ever and can’t wait to wake up every day to continue working on my dream.

If you aren’t excited to wake up more days than not, is it because you’re living a nightmare? If you’re living a nightmare or even a drama, what value are you getting from it?

Don’t love the one you’re with, rather be with the one you love.

“Love the One You’re With” is a badass tune, but it’s bad advice. There’s a good chance we get one life and, as we’ve learned over the last couple of decades, we can have full and happy lives alone. We don’t need someone else to make us happy and, if we think we do, there’s a problem.

If we “need” someone in our lives to make us happy, then we have more needs than love. Plus, it’s not fair to put that kind of responsibility on someone.

Only when we can love ourselves fully, completely alone, and for who we are can we receive true love. It feels unfair, but it’s true, and any relationship we stay in because we need to will be mediocre at best and, in economic terms, that’s stagnation.

Our resources are limited. We only have so much time. We only have so much energy. We can only give so much without getting something in return. What is your ROI in every area of your life and how can you get a better return?

When you figure out that formula, you’ll have more abundance than you thought possible.

We would love to hear your thoughts about your personal ROI in the #Adulting Facebook community! Hope to see you there!

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Stop obsessing about the “perfect” relationship or partner. You want to find love with a person, not an idea.

It seems perfect. True love.

But then, somehow, it all went wrong.

Maybe you desperately want it to work still. So you make excuses and find reasons to stick around. You love someone and you’re sure you’ve found the perfect one.

When you’re in this place, there’s a good chance you’re not in love with an actual person. Instead, you’re probably in love with an idea.

The idea of love.

We like to think we’re in love. The romance. The allure of the perfect soulmate. Someone who understands us. But the truth is that, in many cases, this is an idea of love. We think we know what love means, and then we try to mold the situation (and a partner) to fit that.

Or, rather than really seeing your mate as a person, you see the “potential.” You’re in love with an idea of what the perfect romance would be, and you try to make it fit.

Here are some of the signs that you’re more in love with the idea of a person and your relationship than you are in love with the actual person:

1. You envision a future with a changed mate.

Is it all about potential when you look at your lover? If all you see is the possibility that s/he will change and turn into your ideal, you’re not in love with them.

You’re in love with an idea of them. You fantasize about how it will be different when your s.o. finally finishes school or decides that camping is really fun. Perhaps you think about all the great Broadway plays you’ll see once your lover has developed a refined taste.

When you love a person, you respect their differences and that they might not like the same things – and it’s ok. You can both enjoy your activities without the need for the other. Loving someone is about accepting that they may never come to a basketball game with you or follow the profession you think they should.

2. You live more in the future than in the present.

This goes hand-in-hand with the first sign that you’re in love with an idea and not a person.

Instead of paying attention to the present and working on yourself and your relationship, you live in the future. Your future memories and fantasies are what matter most to you.

Yes, you need to plan for the future with your s.o. But you can’t live there. Especially if your constant fantasizing about what will happen makes you grumpy that the present doesn’t live up to that ideal. You need to work on yourself and your relationship.

Living in the future puts the focus on trying to make your mate into someone else, rather than helping you become a complete person in a healthy relationship today.

3. You constantly compare your relationship to other couples.

Every couple is different. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

You run into trouble, though, when you compare your relationship to what you see from other couples. When you idolize a couple for their “perfect” relationship, and you want to do things just like they do, you’re on dangerous ground.

Rather than looking at the relationship and working on it in a way that makes you and your lover both happy, you constantly wish it could be something else.

Looking at the public face of other couples is dangerous. Mainly because what looks so perfect on social media might not actually be. You like the idea of what this couple has built, and aren’t really interested in the person you’re with.

When you compare your relationship to other couples, you spend too much time looking outside, to what others are doing. Instead, you should be looking at your mate, seeing a person, and focusing on whether or not this relationship makes sense.

4. On paper, it’s perfect.

Sometimes we look at someone and, instead of seeing them for who they are, we check boxes.

Athletic? Check.

Pretty eyes? Check.

A business major? Check.

Maybe you even share a lot of interests. You both like the same music and movies. You have similar religious backgrounds. It seems like the perfect match.

And maybe it is.

But when you focus on how “perfect” all these “qualifications” make your partner, you aren’t actually seeing a person. Instead, you’re seeing a collection of characteristics that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to present to your mom.

You’re in love with an idea. The idea that you have this great match, your parents will approve, and you’ll be proud to go to all the dinners and parties with this person on your arm.

Unfortunately, just because someone seems perfect on paper, that’s not always the case. None of us are perfect, and you need to look through the traits and see the person. Sometimes, even with the surface compatibility, you’re not actually good for each other on a deeper level.

5. You find yourself changing to meet their expectations.

Maybe instead of expecting your mate to change, you start changing yourself.

Your s.o. is perfect on paper, and things are a little rocky right now. You don’t want to lose the ideal, so you decide to make some changes. If you change to meet your lover’s ideal, then things will smooth out, they will love you more, and it will be perfect forever.

Nope, nope, nope.

We can all improve as people. Progress is about being a little better each day. But that doesn’t mean you have to change the core of who you are just to please your lover and get them to stick around.

If you are with someone who places contingencies on their affection, and they want you to change into someone else, it’s not really love. And you are more in love with an idea of not being alone than in being with this person.

Not too long ago, someone who knows I’m just not having any more children said this to me: “If you find the one, you’ll want to give him a child if he really wants one.”

Um, no.

If I find “the one” he will respect that I don’t want any more children. In fact, if someone really wants children, it’s clear I’m not the one for him. We aren’t compatible.

Sticking around and trying to change who you are and what you want out of life just to be in a “perfect” relationship isn’t love.

Don’t settle for an idea.

Don’t fall prey to the idea that you need to have someone. This is what leads us to being in love with an idea instead of a person.

Instead of trying to find someone, anyone, to fill a hole in your life, start by figuring out who you are and enjoying life on your own. Once you are happy with yourself, you are more likely to attract others who are happy with themselves – including potential partners.

Look for people, and look at them as people, rather than fantasies or ideas. In the long run, you’ll have more rewarding relationships.

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