Do you really need another drink? No. No you do not. Read More...

One cannot deny that a good spirit uplifts the spirit. As the saying goes, “alcohol doesn’t solve problems, but neither does milk.”

Sometimes a good drink feels good or makes the good great.

It takes the balancing skills of a cocktail server to enjoy just a few drinks, though.

One’s never enough. Two or three are perfect.

After two drinks or three drinks, though, your smartest brain cells go full-Kanye. By morning, you’re bound to have done or said something you regret.

Another saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” As I have lots of hindsight, let me show you the way as we determine how many drinks is too many.

You’ve had enough to drink when you think texting your ex is a good idea.

Even if you can text an intelligible sentence, there’s likely nothing you will text an ex with the loose tongue of the turnt and burnt that will improve relations with your former relation.

You’ve had enough to drink when you forget what year it is and you think calling your ex is a good idea.

The only person who ever benefited from calling an ex is Adele.

You are not Adele.

Alas, none of us can be Adele. It’s a harsh reality we all must deal with – that and that contacting an ex is rarely a good idea.

You’ve had enough to drink when you think “calling out” your friend is a good idea.

How many drinks is enough? Well, what are you about to say to your friend?

An alcohol-inspired war between friends is never fun unless you’re Canada and Denmark.

It’s never a good idea to have a few drinks and then “get real” with your BFF. If this emotion builds inside you after kicking back a few, there are clearly issues to address. The further away from your last drink, the better you address those issues.

You’ve had enough to drink when it takes you three days to recover.

While your tolerance to alcohol may not change as you age, your tolerance for drinking does. Sorry, friends, a fatty liver can only withstand so much.

As you age, hangovers hang longer and longer, making it harder and harder to adult. If you notice a pattern of nighttime partying thwarting daytime adulting, you need to ask yourself how many drinks you should really be having — and maybe cut back.

You’ve had enough to drink when going to Denny’s sounds “awesome.”

If you’ve had enough drinks to think that going to Denny’s belongs on the ongoing list of 1,000 awesome things, you’ve had enough.

Unless you’re going to a Chinese restaurant, if you start heading toward a restaurant with pictures on the menu, start heading home.

You’ve had enough to drink when Taco Bell sounds like a healthy alternative to Denny’s.

Pictures on a menu notwithstanding, if you think a 7-Layer Burrito sounds like a healthy alternative to a Denny’s Triple Stack, you’ve had enough.

If you’re that hungry, go home, eat whole wheat bread with honey, down two aspirin and a pint of water and go to bed.

You’ve had enough to drink when you think a 2 a.m. visit to the ATM is a good idea.

As Chris Rock so wisely opined, “There’s never a good reason to be at an ATM at two in the morning!”

No matter how good your conceived plan that justifies an early morning ATM-stop, you’ve had too much.

Keep driving until you get home. Do not pass go and do not collect $200.

You’ve had enough to drink when you need a “kick stand.”

How many drinks is too many? When you start approaching it from the other end. Do you need a “pick-me-up” to put yourself down? Like adding letters to math, one problem doesn’t make the other easier.

You’ve had enough to drink when you’re the last one standing.

Being the last one standing is often a reasonable goal. Such is victory in war or soccer or family dinners. When you’re the last one at the bar or party and you’re still slinging a few back, you’ve had enough.

You’ve had enough to drink when you start reenacting scenes from Jackass.

Drinking causes the loss of cognitive reasoning. When it seems reasonable to perform stupid human tricks, it’s reasonable to think that you’ve had enough to drink.

You’ve had enough to drink when the street looks like a comfortable place to lie down.

It’s a law of physics that the more you drink the lower your center of gravity. If your center of gravity gets so low that it’s physically impossible to not lie on the ground, bar booth, or your Uber driver’s back seat, you’ve had too much to drink.

You’ve had enough to drink when you steal random street signs or event decorations.

If, in the morning, you wake and there’s a street sign waiting for a spot on your wall, or if there’s a life-size Samuel Adams sitting in your living room, you had too much to drink last night. It’s time to re-evaluate your life choices — and how many drinks is enough.

You’ve had enough to drink when your dance moves include moves you typically wouldn’t even do with the most intimate partner.

If you think you’re reinterpreting Dirty Dancing or twerking with strangers, you’ve had too much to drink. If going to bed isn’t an option, at least go sit in the corner, baby.

You’ve had enough to drink when you become richer the more you drink.

Everyone likes to be the life of the party and the easiest way to become the life of the party is to pay for the party. If you catch yourself increasingly saying, “This round’s on me!” you’ve had too much to drink.

You’ve had enough to drink when Amazon makes deliveries you don’t remember ordering.

Late night shopping with a bottle of wine and Amazon Prime is fun. And it beats watching reruns of The Gilmore Girls.

But if you start receiving packages you didn’t order and it’s not Christmas, put a breathalyzer on your computer.

You’ve had enough to drink when as a “non-smoker” you smoke.

Do you “only smoke when drinking?” Put the bottoms down when the fags come out.

What do you think? What’s a sure-fire sign that you’ve had too much to drink?

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You can control more about your life than you think you can. Are there limits? Read More...

Once in a while, we present LIVE! Stay tuned to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

J.D. Roth joined LIVE! to talk about the amount of control we have in our lives. Do you feel like things never go your way? Are the circumstances in your life beyond your control? If you just allow life to happen to you, you will not get what you want. Take action and choose your direction.

But there are certain things you may not be able to control, like the actions of other people. But you can control how you respond, and to an extent, how you feel.

J.D. is the founder of Money Boss.

Listen to just the audio by using the player above.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato

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The controversial Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator may not be perfect, but it’s fun. What’s your type? Read More...

You’ve seen the quizzes online. You may have even completed a personality assessment. I’ve taken this test many times since I was a teenager, and I’ve always received the same result. Consistency is just as good as accuracy, right?

This test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), or one of many adaptations. It’s designed to provide some insight to your personality type — a definition of how you tend to react in certain situations and possibly how you view the world.

Why do we care?

The test results are an effective icebreaker. When you know your type, as indicated by four letters representing four dimensions of personality traits, you have a shortcut to providing people you meet with a quick understanding of yourself. When an “INFP” meets an “ENFJ,” they each know a little bit more about each other. A little.

But it there any scientific proof that people fall into on of sixteen categories? It’s sketchy.

Does it matter? As long as you’re not using the results to guide decisions that affect people’s lives, there’s nothing wrong with a little entertainment.

This is huge in the corporate world.

The full Myers-Briggs evaluation goes into significant detail, well beyond the four assigned letters.

My work group, while I was working at an insurance company, spent two days taking the full evaluation, including “Step II,” and meeting with expert consultants to review how our personality types related to our interactions with co-workers and affected our ability to be productive for the company.

The consultants proctor a test that is supposedly more complete than the free online quizzes. They offer results that go into much deeper detail, primed for discussion about how we can all get along better in the office. Step II goes on to show how far on each dimension’s spectrum you happen to fall. For example, while I classify as “introverted,” it’s not an extreme identifier. I fall very close to the border between extraversion and introversion.

This is a lucrative industry for the Myers-Briggs Foundation, named after the two researchers who saw Carl Jung’s ideas about psychology almost a hundred years ago and dived deep into the subject (without any training in psychology — which was not as widespread a field of study as it is today).

For me the tests have been reliable, providing the same result (INFP, if you’re keeping track) time and time again, but I may have “learned” how to answer the questions in the test in such a way to produce that particular result. It’s not that hard to figure out.

Psychology Today points out that many self-evaluations like this produce unpredictable results. Its popularity endures because people like insight about themselves and others, and the MBTI conveniently categorizes (and generalizes) everyone into what appear to be sixteen distinct buckets.

The sorting hat has spoken.

Reviewing the category descriptions is like reading a horoscope or going to a fortune-teller. You’re bound to connect and resonate with some comments within your evaluation and say, “Wow! This totally sounds like me!” Here’s what one popular quiz has to say about my personality type, INFP, also known as “The Mediator” sometimes and “The Idealist” other times. “The Healer” shows up for INFP, as well.

INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

Wow! This totally sounds like me! I have passion! I’m often calm and reserved! I always look for the good in people! I’m special and part of a select group! There’s a good chance it sounds like you, too.

INFPs like me would probably be sorted into Hufflepuff.

Here’s another:

INFPs struggle with the issue of their own ethical perfection, e.g., performance of duty for the greater cause. An INFP friend describes the inner conflict as not good versus bad, but on a grand scale, Good vs. Evil. Luke Skywalker in Star Wars depicts this conflict in his struggle between the two sides of “The Force.” Although the dark side must be reckoned with, the INFP believes that good ultimately triumphs.

Wow! This totally sounds like me! I identify with Luke Skywalker!

Of course people are going to like and share the Myers-Briggs evaluation and results. Every single one of the 16 possible personality types focuses on positive traits and makes the tester feel good!

There is not one negative comment in any of the evaluations — and in real life, there are certainly negative personality traits that get in the way of collaboration and success.

The official MBTI experts call these definitions tendencies or preferences, not hard rules, so even if the descriptions don’t exactly represent one’s personality, they can still claim accuracy. If the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is armchair psychology or even junk science, asking about someone’s type is still slightly better than asking about someone’s astrological sign. And learning anything about someone’s personality allows you to relate better to them. This is beneficial at work and helpful in your personal life.

Let’s break it down.

What's Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?

The first letter in the MBTI can be an I or E, and this represents extraversion. Like any of the dimensions in the evaluation, you can fall anywhere on the spectrum from “totally introverted,” through “something in the middle,” to “totally extraverted.” But these words don’t mean what you think they mean. To be extraverted means you draw your energy from socialization and being around and interacting with other people. Introverted people tend to be able to interact and socialize just as well, but need time alone afterwards to recharge.

The next dimension has “intuitive” on one side of the scale and “sensing” on the other side, represented by N or S. Those who tend towards sensing rely on information provided to them through their five senses to discover truth. Intuitive people go beyond sensory stimuli, finding patterns that reveal truth when interpreted.

In the third slot, the T stands for thinking and the F stands for feeling. You might as well ask someone if they’re “left-brained” or “right-brained,” because this is the same type of categorization. How do you make decisions? If you try to rely on logic most of the time, you’re a “thinker,” but if you go with your gut, you may be a “feeler.”

Finally, subjects are categorized into buckets that depend on whether they’re evaluated as “judging” or “perceiving” (J or P). Judging does not mean judgmental, but it does represent a preference for to-do lists, schedules, and closure. People with a perceiving preference are spontaneous and like having many possibilities open.

The result is sixteen unique combinations, and each has been given “names.”

16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Take the test.

Keeping the limitations in mind, you can still use a test to learn a little bit about your personality and get a morale boost if you’re feeling down. Understanding yourself is one of the keys to being a successful adult. Maybe it’ll be a good conversation starter. It probably won’t fully define you.

Try this test at Psych Central. It won’t take very long.

Return here and share your personality type!

You never know when you’ll connect with someone over their personality type.

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Just because you’re thirsty, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to jump into dating at the end of a long-term relationship. Read More...

A week after my now-ex-husband asked for a divorce, a man approached me on a platform in Philly just as a train arrived. “I noticed your eyes,” he said. “Do you mind if I sit with you on the train?”

The train doors opened. I smiled and shrugged. He sat down next to me. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation. He asked for my number, and if he could see me again. A voice in my mind urged me onward, “He’s cute! He thinks you’re attractive! Say yes and show [redacted] that you have plenty of other options too!

I realized that I wanted to say yes because I wanted to get back at someone — and that’s a surefire way to crash and burn. Instead, I took a deep breath, briefly explained that my husband had asked for a divorce only days before and that I didn’t think I was in a good place.

He pulled out a piece of scrap paper and a pen, scribbled his number, and handed it to me as he slipped out the door. “He’s an idiot. If you change your mind, give me a call.”

Still, I knew I wasn’t ready to get back out there. After I thought about it a little, I decided it was a good idea to swear off dating at the end of a long relationship.

1. You’re not the same.

Any relationship changes you. But a long relationship? It transforms you into a different person over time. You might be fundamentally the same at the core, but you are still different. By the time my ex asked for a divorce, 13½ years after we said “yes” to our covenants at age 22, I was almost a completely different person.

Time changes you. Experiences change you. Having children changes you. Being with someone for more than a decade changes you. Hell, just being with someone for a year changes you. You aren’t the same person anymore, and you need to rediscover the new you before you start dating again.

Charging into dating or starting a new relationship before you’ve gotten to know the new you is dangerous. Swear off dating until you have a chance to figure out who the new you is. I’ve always enjoyed alone time, but I took it to a new level in the months following my divorce. I wanted to know who I was — and if I even liked her.

2. You need time to grieve.

Divorce is one of those things that involves the stages of grief. Even if you weren’t married, and even if your relationship was two or three years instead of more than 10, you might still need to allow yourself space to grieve. You don’t get that if you launch into dating and a new relationship immediately.

For the most part, I’m over the divorce. I’m healthy. I’m happy. I enjoy being single. (Maybe I enjoy being single too much.) But there are still days that I feel sad about what could have, should have, might have been. But at the beginning, there was a lot of sadness, loneliness, and anger. I was in no state to be a good partner in a relationship, and certainly not ready to explore dating.

It made sense to swear off dating while I grappled with my new feelings, allowed them to hold sway, and then heal (mostly) up. I will never be the same. I will never approach another relationship the same way. But allowing myself that space means that I am more likely to be open and honest when the time comes.

In fact, getting through those emotions, and allowing that space without the pressures, obligations, and distractions of dating and potential new relationships allowed me to be more honest with those around me.

3. You need to figure out what you want.

Swear Off Dating After a Long-Term Relationship Ends

Because you are a different person, you want different things. After the end of a long-term relationship, you might have a better idea of what makes you tick. Or you might not have any idea at all.

I know I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Did I want to get married again? Maybe just date around for a little while? The things I admire in a partner are different from the things I admired in a partner a few years ago.

Take time to reflect on what you liked and didn’t like about your long-term relationship. What would you do differently? What could you have done better? And what traits matter most to you in a partner? What traits do you want to develop so you are a better partner?

I decided to swear off dating until I had a better handle on things. It took several months. Then I dipped a toe in by using an online dating service. But once I broke my wrist, then left for the summer, that whole thing fizzled. But I made some amazing connections over the summer, met interesting people, and learned a few things about myself.

Now I’m trying to decide whether I want to bother with dating and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to move in with anyone ever again. But who knows? That could all change.

It’s not just about you and a partner, either. It’s also about what you want your life to look like going forward. I’ve got a son I need to usher through high school and a newfound freedom that I love. Do I want to change things up with by tossing someone else in the mix? Plus, if you don’t know what you want out of life, how do you know if that person you are dating actually fits into the picture?

Figuring out what you want is an ongoing process, and time changes you, even when you’re not in a relationship. But before you start dating again, it’s a good idea to at least think about a few things, and generally establish an outline of where you stand.

You don’t want your dating experiences or next relationship to suffer because you haven’t taken the time to get reacquainted with yourself or figure out what you want from life. Swear off dating, even if it’s only for a month or two, to give yourself time.

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Whether in love or your career, whether you control it or not, you’ll probably pivot at least once in your life. Read More...

At some point during my third year of college, I started to suspect something wasn’t right. The path I set out for myself for the prior six years wasn’t quite satisfying me. A young man of many interests, the prospect of spending a lifetime focusing on being the best I could possibly be at one calling — teaching music — became unappealing.

Sure, teaching music is a wonderful path. The lasting impact teachers have on hundreds of lives is incomparable to most other roles and careers. I, however, felt strongly at that time that by following that typical career path and by putting as much of my life into my job as I expected would be necessary, I wouldn’t have the kind of fulfillment I was looking for.

My first major pivot.

While in college, I pivoted my approach. After several attempts to fit a minor course of study into my schedule, I settled on a minor focused on nonprofit. It was a pivot that I now see as a good move because it helped shape the projects I take on today and gave me more paths towards living a life of doing important things.

The pivot is the key to not just success but survival. If you’re a professional athlete, focus on sharpening your broadcast skills so you have an opportunity for a “second act” once you can no longer compete — especially if you aren’t one of the few superstar athletes who could publish a memoir people would buy.

If you run a business, a pivot could be revolutionary. It’s a fundamental change in the nature or strategy of the company. Nintendo is known for video games and gaming technology, but the company launched in the 19th century making vacuum cleaners and playing cards. The executives saw the birth of a trend very early on, and in 1966, turned to video games and never looked back.

It was a massively successful pivot.

There’s nothing more pivotal than the life of a serial entrepreneur. Take one business to a certain point, exit that business through a sale or merger, and move onto the next project. In the same vein, I’ve seen people develop successful businesses, and once they’ve gone as far as they’d like to go, they’ve begun their next business selling other entrepreneurs on the ideas that led them to their initial success. “You, too, can be a success, just like me! I’ll tell you how. Buy my e-book and take my online course!”

Adaptability is the key to a successful pivot.

Pivot Your Way to a Better Life

Adaptability is one of the most important adult skills. If you’re too set in your ways and not amenable to change, you can be guaranteed that life will pass you by, and if you’re after happiness, it may prove to be elusive. You’ve got to be paying attention to today’s trends, predicting the future, and have a keen awareness of your skills.

Tim Tebow’s now a baseball player. A podcast company called Odeo became Twitter. Jessica Alba went from actor to entrepreneur — and if that’s not a complete pivot, at least it’s diversification.

Pivots in your personal life can be even more monumental. Moving out of a toxic relationship could be the best pivot for your long-term health and happiness. The list of famous relationship pivots is too long to include here.

Pivot successfully with five steps.

Here’s how you can prepare for a successful pivot, and you can expect to have at least one major pivot in your life — more if you want to be as agile as possible, increasing your changes for success and happiness.

Are you ready to make a pivot in your life or career? These are five important steps.

Pivot Your Way to a Better Life

1. Focus on being a generalist with as much enthusiasm as a specialist.

Take the time to explore your interests and learn about related areas. Although people no longer tend to work for the same company from the moment they can work to the moment they retire (or die), there still is a strong trend to stay in the same field. Often, a strong career requires a highly specialized degree, and that education takes a long time.

But a great education prepares students for adapting to the world, whatever it might bring. Use time in college to experiment with different paths, especially if you are talented in or passionate about a variety of fields. Gain experience working in areas you wouldn’t normally consider. Practice solving problems of all types.

There’s a danger when people become experts or become immersed in a narrow field. So many mortgage brokers — trained to be nothing more and without other marketable skills — found themselves out of work during the credit crunch period of the last recession.

Multi-faceted experience gives you a level of employability first of all, and beyond that, the potential to take your income into your own hands through building your own business, consulting, freelancing, or otherwise honing in on entrepreneurship.

2. Open your mind to new ideas.

It’s possible you discover an important pivot by saying yes to interesting opportunities. While it’s important not to distract yourself from the job you are doing, closing yourself off to signs that the world is changing around you will be disastrous.

Find interesting people — or anyone doing work in something that interests you — and ask questions. Get acquainted. Learn from them.

3. Guide yourself by a broad vision.

Corporate mission statements are often specific, and direct a company towards the type of work they do. Sometimes these mission statements change, but the overall vision remains the same.

Your vision should be broad. What kind of world do you want to live in? The answer to that can be your vision. And when you pivot, even if it’s from one career path to another, it can still fit in with your vision of the future.

But don’t feel bad if it doesn’t. You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to follow a path that has no relation to the journey you started. That’s an inherent benefit of being an adult.

4. Predict the future.

Easy right? It’s not impossible. You don’t have to be a fortune teller to get it right. You just have to pay attention to the little details, and have a good grasp on human behavior, using history as a guide.

Keep an eye on the world around you, because that’s how you can learn to spot minute changes that signal the shape of the future. For example, not many people accurately predicted the latest economic recession with significant advance warning, but once the recession was apparent, it was relatively easy to figure out what some of the world’s biggest concerns and trends were going to be in the coming years.

5. Plan your pivot as much as possible.

Pivot Your Way to a Better Life

If you want to jump into the pool’s deep end, you should probably know how to swim first. If you don’t know how, you may struggle, and your basic need for survival may be the only force preventing you from drowning. Maybe.

Prepare with knowledge and practice, and your chance for survival increases. Reduce the risk of the pivot by doing research, talking to others who have made similar moves, and setting up your personal support system.

Your support system includes friends and family who want to see you succeed with the changes in your life. There will always be doubters, though. You may want to ignore them and remove negativity from your life, but that’s not always the best idea. Even critics might have a perspective worth considering — not all, but some.

But you do need people who will cheer you on and provide moral support.

Create a timeline. And depending on whether you like the sink-or-swim challenge, either you give yourself no option but to keep trying until you succeed, or give yourself a back-up plan. Build that into your timeline, but don’t be afraid to adjust or adapt — or pivot — as the needs arise.

Whether it’s part of your plan or appearing by surprise, your life will include at least one pivot. Take control of your pivot with preparation and planning, and be ready to pivot at any moment. Look for the opportunities.
You never know what kind of success or happiness is out there if you move only in one direction and ignore your peripheral vision.

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Is it time to bail? Here’s how to tell if you should move on right now. Read More...

You’ve stressed about doing a great job so you can stay employed. It seems like a terrible idea to ditch your job when you worked so hard to get where you are.

But sometimes you need to move on, no matter how much time and energy you’ve invested in your job. Here are a few signs your current position has run its course:

1. The environment is toxic.

One of the biggest reasons to ditch your job is due to a toxic environment. If you are dealing with harassment, bullying, or you are concerned about the legality of some of the company’s practices, it’s time to bail. Don’t stick around if there are serious problems.

2. You aren’t growing.

Many of us like meaning in our work. In fact, one of the hallmarks of today’s young job-seekers is that they expect a job to offer meaning. While it’s possible to find meaning in practically any job, no matter how crappy, it can become wearing if you don’t feel that your work leads to personal growth and feelings that you are impacting the world for good. If you feel like you could progress and make a positive contribution elsewhere, start looking.

3. The company doesn’t match your values.

Maybe the company isn’t doing something illegal, but you aren’t sure that the mission and values align with yours. It’s hard to feel good about working at a place that doesn’t mesh with your personal mission. Ditch your job if you feel the cognitive dissonance is becoming too great to manage.

4. Your skills aren’t utilized.

Are you proud of your skills and abilities and wish your company would use them? Perhaps your boss doesn’t recognize your skills, or maybe you are in a position that isn’t compatible with your abilities. The struggle to continue may drain you emotionally. Start looking for a job that offers you a chance to use what you know.

5. You’re at a dead end.

Trying to climb that career ladder, but there’s no place to go? It’s time to ditch your job. If you want a position that allows for the possibility of advancement and you’re stuck going nowhere, a shift to a company with room for progress might make more sense.

6. The job isn’t secure.

These days no job is secure. However, there are times that might be less secure than others. If you think layoffs are coming, now might be the time to update your resume and brush up on your interview skills. Don’t wait until the ax falls to get ready.

7. You’re want something different for your life.

Sometimes you just want a new challenge. Maybe you’re ready for the freedom and flexibility that comes with being self-employed. Perhaps you’ve changed your expectations for your life. We’re all on a journey, and when you’re ready for a new direction, your current job might not fit.

Before you leave your job.

Don’t get fired up to ditch your job and give noticed tomorrow, though. Once you realize it’s time to move on, you need to have a plan in place. Are you in a financial position to leave? What are some of the challenges you will face if you no longer have a job?

Whenever possible, build up an emergency fund and think about how you will handle benefits. You need to be ready for what’s next before you take that leap. While it’s not always possible to be completely ready, do what you can to get ahead of the curve.

There’s no reason to stay in a job that doesn’t fit with your life. Start preparing now so you are ready in the event you decide to ditch your job.

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Afraid to be by yourself? Embrace it! Being alone does not mean being lonely. Read More...

I’ve always been an extrovert. An outgoing, party-loving, talk-to-anyone extrovert. During college, I wanted to hang out with people constantly. Even when I was doing something quiet, like studying, I preferred having a buddy.

That changed when I moved to New York for a summer internship. I lived in the dorms at Columbia University and had roommates, but they were mostly quiet and preferred to stay in.

I learned to love being alone.

It’s not that I had to be alone. I had friends who were in town that summer. At first, we mostly stuck together while exploring the city. Then I started to realize that if I wanted to experience New York on my terms, sometimes I’d have to do it alone.

I started to see weekends as my solo adventure time. I looked through my guidebooks to pick which museum, flea market, or gallery I wanted to visit. Then I’d pack a book and my Metro card and take off. I started saying no to friends asking to hang out. I relished my time alone.

How did this total extrovert learn to love being alone?

Here’s what I did:

Find things that no one else wants to do.

It’s easy to have company when you all want to do the same thing, but sometimes you’re the only one who wants to go see the latest Marvel movie five times in theaters. No matter how self-conscious you feel, force yourself to go.

In New York, I went to movies, restaurants, and concerts by myself. There were times I would have preferred company, but I didn’t want to miss out on experiences because no one else wanted to go. I was forced to learn to love being alone.

There are few things more empowering than taking charge of your own happiness. When you let being alone stop you from doing something, you’re really letting fear take over – the fear of looking awkward, feeling uncomfortable, and worrying what outsiders might think. Doing things by yourself can help you get over that fear.

Make a list of the benefits of being alone.

Sometimes it pays to have a friend or two with you, like if you’re splitting an Uber or walking home after a night out. But other times, having company is a hindrance.

At restaurants, it’s easier to find a table by yourself than as a group. If you’re shopping, you don’t need people to wait with you while you browse and compare two nearly identical pairs of pants.

While living in New York, I learned that I loved being in control of what I was doing. I could take as much or as little time as I wanted. If I hated being somewhere, I could leave and not feel pressured to stay because I was with other people. I could change my plans at the last minute and no one else would be affected.

Bring something else to do.

Every time I do something by myself, I bring a book with me. If I have to wait, it can keep me entertained in a more rewarding way than checking my phone.

For people just starting to do things by themselves, a book can make you feel like you have purpose. You’re reading, not awkwardly people-watching at a new coffee shop. You can also bring a coloring book, a journal to write in, or even your laptop so you can watch Netflix while you hang out.

Having something else to do, like reading, will keep you from feeling like you’re just a loner out in public. When I’m on vacation with my husband, we both bring books to restaurants so we don’t feel pressured to always talk to each other.

The final step to learning to love being alone is to go out and simply try doing something by yourself. I’m still an extrovert who’s always down for “Game of Thrones” watch parties and weekly trivia nights, but I also relish catching up on “Veep” by myself, playing video games alone, and painting watercolors while everyone else is asleep.

I still want to be with friends.

But sometimes I want to be with myself even more.

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Don’t be afraid of getting old. I don’t even care about having bigger boobs now. Life is better! Read More...

When I flip through my monthly stack of women’s magazines, I see the same message over and over again: aging is bad. You should try to stop it, prevent it and reverse it. And here’s how you can do it.

But I’ve recently realized that I actually love aging.

Let me first point out that I’m only 27, so my experience with getting older is limited. But after the turmoil of my immediate post-college years, getting older has been awesome.

Every year seems to get better. I get more financially stable, my husband and I get along better, even the furniture and clothes I have slowly get upgraded.

But it’s less about material stability and more about how secure I feel in my own skin. The older I get, the less I care what people think about me or what I look like.

In high school and college, I really wanted bigger boobs. Because, really, what girl with a B cup didn’t?

Recently a friend told me how she went on a certain medication that amplified her rack. I told her jokingly, “Oh, I’d hate to buy new bras all over again.” But truthfully, I don’t want a bigger rack. I’m comfortable with what I have, and it’s taken me years to get to this point.

I also have spent the majority of my life hating my pale white skin. I was teased for looking like a vampire or a ghost, and I’ve always been jealous of those with natural tans. But after getting the worst sunburn of my life a few weeks ago, I realized how much I liked my ivory skin. Tan skin looks great on other people, but on me, it looked like mud I couldn’t wipe off.

The things I cared about, even a few years ago, seem petty now. Who cares if I don’t have a perfect flat stomach? That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t wear a bikini and feel good about it. Why should I worry about wearing my husband’s PJs to the grocery store?

My priorities seem clearer with age. While I still want people to like me, I’ve started to worry less if they don’t. I can’t make everyone happy and I shouldn’t spend my time trying. I feel less of a desire to badmouth and judge other women. The more comfortable I feel with myself, the less I’m threatened by other people.

I see how happy, successful and comfortable my older relatives are. My mom has always been secure with herself, but now I truly realize that she DGAF. I see other women I admire who embrace their age, but continue to be active physically and mentally. They don’t see their age as a hindrance, and that inspires me to keep trying new things and getting better.

While many of my peers see their 30s as deadline that they hope to avoid, I’m looking forward to them. Granted, I miss being able to stay up until 4:00 a.m. and get up at 9:00, but I don’t miss wanting to be like every other girl I knew. I miss the lack of bills that I had in high school, but don’t miss constantly worrying about boys who didn’t care about me.

One of my favorite movies, “Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears,” tells the story of three best friends. The first half of the movie follows them for one year in their 20s. The main character meets a man who tells her that life really begins at 40. “40?” she tells me. “I’ll be an old lady by then.”

The second half of the movie sees where they are 20 years later, as the main character finds out, even at 40, it’s never too late to start a new life.

I would always joke with my parents that if life began at 40, then they were just toddlers. But now I see that life, love and self-awareness all get better with age. And I’m looking forward to mine.

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