Friday, September 13, 2013

29 Life Lessons + Observations from a 29-year-old

As I sit here and reflect in my 29th year,
we are literally days away from the dreaded August -
my birthday month.

Normally I look forward it- 
I love the planning, outfit selections, and coordinating
that go into birthday plan celebrations.
 But this year is no ordinary year.
This year I celebrate my 30th birthday...
I know.
Some sort of sick joke right?

1. Pink lipstick is timeless. I don't care how old I get, it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Pink lipstick makes me feel invincible. Somehow the world just makes more sense with me in it. I might tone down the shade to make it more age-appropriate, but odds are the color is with me for life. 

2. Men will come and go. Godiva is a constant.  Trust me, I wish it wasn't so - but Godiva has seen her fair share of boyfriends come and go. While we are working on refining the quality and calibre of courting gentleman, lady Godiva has been the one constant for me since I purchased her the year I graduated college (2006). In my 29 years on this earth, that little dog has brought me more joy than anyone will probably ever know. 

3. Sleeping in is not overrated. I have a one and a half year old nephew who I visit once a month down in D.C. While there, I literally get ZERO sleep because once he is up...the HOUSE is up! I love that little guy like my own and I enjoy every second of my time with him, but its always nice to go back home and embrace the quiet.  I also have a lot of friends married with kids at this point and even though they say they wouldn't change it for the world, they say to value your sleep NOW. One day, I will have a family of my own and not be able to hit snooze 4 times, lazily read a book in bed till I feel like getting up, or have the luxury of sleeping past 10am, so until then - I am stocking up on BEAUTY SLEEP. Zzzz!

4. People read my blog. Who knew?! Last week I was working at Prime and a friend who I haven't seen in a long time, at least 5+ years came up to say hello. We started chatting and she casually mentioned, "Yeah...don't you have that blog?" So wait, people OTHER than my FAMILY members read this thing? I was shocked/blown away/stoked simultaneously. So let me get this right. This girl who I don't keep in touch with from junior high, who I see every blue moon, whom I'm not friends with on Facebook knows about my blog AND reads it? That definitely made my night. I hope there are more like her out there. That would be super cool. =)

5. August 31st. This day always meant a lot to me. For one, I was born on my grandmother "Ginga" - Marie Fitz Yarmosh's birthday. Birthdays are special days to begin with, but sharing the day made  it feel even more special because she made me feel like a gift. Ginga passed away earlier this year at the ripe old age of 90 years old. This birthday will be different because its the first one I won't be sharing with her here on Earth. I want you to know I miss you Ginga.

6. Birthday Cake Oreos. In my 29 years, I've overcome all sorts of temptation. I've bypassed Reese's Peanut Butter Cups at 7-11 when I'm PMS'ing. I've turned down the top layer of  buttered popcorn at movie theaters, which clearly is the butteriest. And I've given away (unobligingly) my last Sour Punch Straw to a friend in need. However - whoever dreamed up this little cookie concoction is the devil himself because I've never been able to turn down Birthday Cake Oreos. Complete lack of self control. So life lesson #6, its okay to surrender yourself to something that makes you happy.

7. Princess Diana.  This day also marks the death of Princess Diana. I can still remember a family member walking into my birthday party extremely distressed and telling us all to turn on the television - something tragic had happened. We all sat around watching the coverage throughout the party, which turned a celebration into a very somber mood. Years later, I'm still devastated.

8. Traveling. If someone asked me where I would be in life on my 30th birthday, my answer would definitely have included marriage, a house my husband and I could furnish and grow old in together, and babies to fill it. I always pictured myself being a younger mother, with at least 3 kids at this point in life. I look at most of my friends married by now with growing families of their own and definitely know my time is coming - but the best way I know how to fill it in the interim is traveling. Traveling has brought me so many life experiences that I probably wouldn't have been able to partake in if motherhood came knocking sooner. I've been able to travel to England, Ireland, Scotland, Whales, and next year, I'll be heading to the South of France. I sum up my love of traveling with this quote:

9. Bucket Lists & Such. A recent thing I find myself doing is making endless lists for myself, which is both liberating and daunting. Liberating in that I'm forcing myself to do things I've always wanted to accomplish - great (ex. skydiving) or small (ex. try 5 new dessert recipes). Daunting in that I don't always have the time, energy, and resources to do them all in the time period I've set for myself and I wind up feeling discouraged that I'm falling behind. I am wondering if this is an age thing - that the older I get, that I am somehow psychologically feeling some sort of time crunch I've never felt before. While lists keep me organized, ambitious, and driving forward, I will have to keep a watchful eye that I don't over-list myself to death. 30-year-olds need rest. :)

10. Wow. When did I become a big girl? Sometimes I say no to a second martini, because I don't want to be hungover the next day. Sometimes I turn down happy hour because my shower needs to be bleached, the floor swiffered, or the carpet vacuumed. Sometimes after I'm all tucked in comfty and cozy, I get back up because I forgot to brush my teeth or put my anti-wrinkle cream on. And sometimes I'll even turn off Toddlers and Tiaras and choose the news or a political talk show over it. These are just a few examples of 'paranormal activity' and strange happenings in my life. These things freak me out. What is happening to me?

11. Bills. What are all these bills, when did they leave under my parents name and transfer over to me, and WHO THE HELL IS RACHEL YARMOSH?

12. Changing Palettes. Is changing palettes a sign of getting old because if so, don't tell me. All these things I swore I would never touch, I've found myself including in my diet. Eggs and even egg whites - gasp. Blue Cheese - I mean, the stuff has blue mold growing on it and I've performed exorcisms on people actually demon-possessed to include it in their diet, but yes, these days, I enjoy a little blue cheese in my salad. Mushrooms - ewww. They are fungi, I thought - never in a zillion trillion years. Eat them cooked now with steak, quinoa, etc like they were going outta style. Seafood? I was bratty enough to stuff a towel under my door in high school and not come out the rest of the night for fear of fish air contamination whenever my mom made it for dinner (thats a true story, ask her!) But now, I've slowly but surely been trying things. Crab cakes, not bad!  Baked clams, not horrible! Rock shrimp tempura, ok fine- if I'm drunk enough. The point here is - my palette is expanding. I wonder if you can un-do your taste for something, like birthday cake oreos. Because that would be super.

13. Endless learner. My parents like to joke and say "If 'student' was an occupation, we're pretty sure you would have found your life calling" which makes me smile because its true. I love learning and I love being a student. Whether its learning how to knit, tackling a new skill (maybe I'll take up sewing or learn to play an instrument!), brain exercises on my favorite intellectual stim site 'Luminosity', or adding a new experience to my repertoire of knowledge, learning feels good. I hope I never get to the point when I check out on personal growth and new learning experiences. If I do, someone do me a favor and pull the plug.

14. Spinalmenigitis. Not many people can say they've overcome something as life threatening as spinal menigitis. In fact, I am pretty sure the rock solid determination and mental strength I have today is directly correlated to overcoming this fatal infection.  I have the spirit of a fighter. When you're up against the odds and win, that experience never leaves you. I am a miracle baby - the fact God spared me for a purpose he is still spelling out for me is not lost on me. At all.

15. You're never too old for a girls night out. "Thats really all they want. Is some fun." I think Cindy Lauper got that right. Whether I am single, dating, or married - one thing doesn't change. I love me a night out with the girls. Just as men need time off from their woman to watch some sports with the boys, engage in their fantasy football leagues, wing night or whatever other lame activities they find themselves into - us girls need some apart time too. Whether out for a coffee or mani/pedi date, shopping, or coconut martinis + the dance floor at Honu...I will NEVER turn down an opportunity for some girl time. Time apart is good, its for the sanity of all parties involved. Plus, the world needs to see my dance moves; I don't want to get rusty. How else am I supposed to keep my Dougie fresh? #twerk.

16. Importance of Family. Anyone who knows me, knows how important family is to me. We're a bunch of goofballs. My brother might be the funniest guy I've ever met in my life. My Dad walks around in a bathrobe and slippers, drinking Dr. Pepper, eating sunflower seeds and quoting the Bible. My sister is a hippie who is constantly growing, changing, challenging, and finding herself. My mom is my best friend, travel buddy, sounding board, and taught me everything I know (if you want to know why I can cook, clean, keep a beautiful home, and throw a fabulous dinner party...look no further). And don't even get me started on my Aunts & Uncles and cousins. We're one big hot mess...and I wouldn't change a thing.

17. Challenging myself + Goals I can't friggin' sit still. Its like every minute I waste sitting around, I could have tackled a new challenge, explored something new, or gone on a new adventure. Even though this is an exhausting way to live, until the dynamic of my life changes (marriage, kids, family, etc) this is HOW I CHOOSE to live my life. And for anyone that knows me, you know I'm pretty relentless/unstoppable/ambitious/ [insert goal-oriented adjective here]. For those of you who don't know, running is new to me. I didn't run track in highschool, I don't have a history of runners in my family, and I certainly was not built to be a runner - I am short with only so much legs to work with and I have the knees of an 80 year old woman! BUT I was challenged to run a half marathon, which I knew the person who challenged me didn't think I could do. Well, they were wrong. This September I will be running my 5th half marathon and training to run a full one before 2015. I want to encourage you all out there to dream big, challenge yourself, and keep pushing your limits. When I began running in Fall of 2009, I couldn't even run a mile. Now I am running a row. D-R-E-A-M Big.

18. Job (Marketing + Social Media) It's not a job - its a lifestyle. When I began working as a part-time consultant for savvy apps in 2009, I was doing I.T support for them. Social media was on the up and up with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all being major staples in the social media diet. As other social sites have popped up, businesses have realized the importance of having their name out there. They want to people where the people are- where customers congregate, where they hang out... and people are on social media. All day. Every day. Well surprise surprise, enter stage right, the Social Media Queen Bee. I had been on social media throughout college - starting on MySpace (when that was all the rave!) and Facebook (when it was available to only those with college email addresses) and even LinkedIn. Now add Google+, Instragram, Pinterest to the mix and you can see why having a Marketing Director come on board for savvy apps was not just a good idea, it was essential. I'm really lucky to not just work for such an innovative, cutting edge, creative, and cool company but really love what I do. While I miss children and teaching, marketing for savvy apps enables me to play on social media all day to get our brand and message across. And what's to complain about with that? :)

19.  Technology. While on the career topic, I'll have you know I've come a long longgg way in my 29 years technology wise. Before coming on board with savvy apps, I was good on the computer - but my technology savviness pretty much ended there.  For the longest time, my favorite mobile device was my trusty Sidekick! Make fun all you want- I loved that phone. While everyone had their stylish Blackberry glued to their hands (making it earn the title of 'Crackberry')  I was on my neon lime screen sidekick, happy as a clam. I remember visiting my brother in D.C and he would torment me. "When are you going to get rid of that laptop?" he'd say, referring to my clunky oversized Sidekick with the flip-out keyboard. I was also using a Dell P.C which came with my degree from Sacred Heart University, a gift for the 30K a year my parents dropped there(Umm, thanks?!) This thing had a new virus every week, was in repairs more than it was in my office, and I think I sprouted a gray hair by the time it took to load up after being restarted. But now- in 2013 I have all the gadgets a nearly 30-year old girl could possibly need. I've got a MacBook, I've got an iPhone, I've got an iPad, an iPod and a glorious Apple Thunderbolt display (monitor).  Who knew I'd ever be into Apple products? These days it seems I'm the Apple Queen. And suddenly I'm the cool kid on the tech block.

20.  Being an Aunt.  One of the great joys of my life has been the arrival of my nephew, Samuel. They say you never know how much you can love until you become a mother - well I beg to differ. I think the same can be said of an Aunt. It's all the joy of motherhood with none of the responsibility! :) The love in my heart has grown (and nearly overflowed) at the arrival of this beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed, sweet little boy in ways I never thought it could. Watching my brother and his wife raise a family - one they plan on expanding much bigger (yay to more nieces & nephews coming) is one of the most fulfilling experiences and I'm so happy to be part of the adventure. :)

21. Long Island Girl. Living on Long Island for the majority of my life has spoiled me! I think I will always need to live on the water - whether thats the ocean, a house on a lake, or a yacht (thats a quite literally interpretation of living "on" the water, but I'm not ruling anything out). I've lived by the water far too long to not have it in my life now. We've grown attached and I see that love affair continuing long into the future.

22.  Nostalgia of Childhood. I grew up with a very imaginative father. He was always dreaming up adventures, games, and ways to entertain my cousins and I as we were growing up. Some of my favorite childhood memories center around some of these activities - like the "batcave" (a ceremonial Batman song when we passed through a densely tree-covered street that looked like a tunnel on the way to my Aunts house in Kings Park), fireplace night (a HUGE weekly cousins sleepover where we loaded up on junk food and candy, Dad told stories around the fireplace and we stayed up laughing and giggling all night in a sugar-craze until we passed out in the wee hours of the morning next to the fire with tons of pillows and blankets), the 'Hills' (where Dad took us to a extremely hilly section of Long Island and gave us our weekly thrill as our stomaches dropped on the deep dips, and we laughed till our stomaches ached), the Clubhouse (a treehouse Dad built us in the backyard that we absolutely adored) and tag in the neighborhood (Dad setting up bases and mediating when cousins called each other out, some of these tag sessions lasting hours until we literally exhausted ourselves!) Some fathers are hands-on, and our Dad was one. He spent as much time as he could with us, always amusing, entertaining, and ensuring we knew there wasn't anywhere else is in the world he would rather be than spending time with us. And we did. We knew.

23. You don't have to make Art to be an Artist. I've always been creative.  As a girl, I loved doing crafts, being involved in Drama Club and performing in plays, cooking, reading and writing, and even making my own puppets out of socks and then dreaming up crazy puppet show productions. I think its the left-hander in me- the creative dominant side of the brain having its way with me. However, I've realized that my creative ability extends far beyond just creating art as we know it (paintings, drawings, pottery, etc) How I live my life - from the interactions I have with people, to the way I decorate my home, to the parties I plan, to the meal I cook can all be artistic. You don't need to create art to be an artist. You can live and breathe artistry. And that's what I wake up every morning thinking and how I go about my day. You can make life more beautiful by not just making art, but living it.

24. Self Improvement. As I've become old(er), you might think one might slow down...but I'm just heating up. No self respectable girl gets lazy and loses momentum now - I'm entering into my Dirty 30's where my mojo (whatever that is) is fired up - which means I've got to look good, feel good, and trick the body into a dormant state.  You can never take too much biotin (hair growth), wear too much anti-wrinkle cream (hello youthful skin), become too toned ( future #trophywife) or bleach your teeth too much (cue: Vanna White smile). And thats how I feel about that. Now where's that honey banana oatmeal facemask recipe?

25. Reflective, not Reactive. When I was in my high school and college years, I was not flexible. At all. I had a temper, which could easily be triggered. I was quick to anger and slow to forgive. Fast forward 10-15 years and I don't even think I recognize that amateur of a girl. Over the past 10-15 years a woman has emerged in her place who is wiser, more dignified, and graceful. When people anger me, I don't throw a temper tantrum, exchange hurtful words, and wage war. I quietly exit the scene, reflect, and decide whether the person/situation is causing more grief than peace in my life. Unfortunately, some friendships have expiration dates and not everyone is meant to make it to your future. I encourage you to try and frequently review the people you allow to infiltrate your life and decide how they influence you. I handle situations so much more maturely now and I think this is a combination of age, life experiences, and just plain ol' good judgement of character. When someone hurts you, wrongs you, or drags you down - first, turn the other cheek and forgive them. Then - be reflective, not reactive. Its the difference between being resentful and angry, and having peace in your life. Namaste.

26. Movies. Potential suitors, if you're not movie buffs - please EXIT SCENE. We definitely cannot date. If you don't enjoy going to movies, having movie nights in, and/or don't have a ready supply of movie quotes available and ready to trigger at any applicable time, we're not soulmates. Growing up, movies were embedded in our home culture and movie quotes were frequently exchanged as normal conversation. Classics involved "What About Bob?" "Clifford" (no! not the Big Red Dog, the one with Martin Short. I don't know why we found that movie so funny, but we used to laugh so hard my rib cage ached the next day) "Billy Madison" "Groundhog's Day', among others. I hope to one day incorporate "movie night" into my own family and force my children to love these same classics! Our movie collection is like a family heirloom practically!

27. Faith. For someone so OCD, I don't leave a lot of things open to chance, so if you want to know what grounds me, keeps my head high and my heart open - well, it comes down to faith. Faith is such a freeing thing because it allows you to find peace in things beyond your control. I want so many things for myself - world travels, a doctoral degree, marriage, children, a beautiful home to decorate, bucket list items checked off. You can drive yourself crazy trying to plan out or predict the future: Will I ever get married? Will I get the opportunity to have kids before I get too old? How will I know if he is the right one?  What if...what if...what if - seriously, you can drive yourself nuts! But my faith that God will  direct my life and everything will happen when and if its supposed to gives me this amazing peace that I wish for everyone to have in their lives.

28. Cousins.  Growing up in a large family has many perks- lots and lots of cousins! Since my Dad is 7 of 9 children, I have 30+ first cousins, about 15 second cousins, and the list keeps expanding. Over my 29 years, its been amazing to watch our relationships with each other change. From running all over the neighnorhood playing tag, setting up our first business venture together - the Lemonade Stand of all lemonade stands to >> FAST FORWARD, cocktail dates at swanky bars in NYC and "Glamping" in the Adirondacks - an annual trip we've set up, its been amazing to watch us all transition from a close knit group of kids to adults with careers, marriages, and children of our own. Anyone who comes from a large family knows how easy it is to lose touch with each other because there just isn't enough time in the day to fit in visits with everyone. Its hard to keep in touch as you get just kind of gets in the way! Jobs and kids eat up time. It's harder to coordinate schedules. BUT, I don't feel that way with my cousins. We MAKE time, where time doesn't exist. Visits and catching up with each other are priorities and I think its a testament of how special we are to each other that today we are just as close as we've ever been. Love all you knuckleheads! :)

29. Relationship with God. Last but not least, my relationship with God. I put this last for a reason- not because its least important, but because if I want you to remember ANYTHING about me or have learned anything from this post - it's that my relationship with God trumps all of these. I grew up in a conservative Christian home, with values that coincide with that upbringing. In a chaotic world, God IS and always will be my foundation. I realize the extreme discomfort this may cause people of non-faith and trust me -I've rubbed people the wrong way many a time for standing up for what I believe in. I'm okay with that. I don't push my religion on anyone, but at the same time I am unashamed and unapologetic about being a Christian. I am not perfect, and I fall short in many areas of my life - so I am the last to judge anyone. But I am always praying for forgiveness, praying for wisdom in my life choices, and praying to be better. I pray the same prayer for strangers, friends/family, our political leaders that govern society, and our world.

And there you have it.

This blog post was started in early August
and obviously was supposed  to go up prior to my 30th birthday,
but it was important to me to accurately describe
so many of the things that have contributed to the
evolution of Rachel over the last 3 (gulp- omg 3)--- decades!!!
I am not good at rush jobs,
so I appreciate you bearing with me.

Thanks for reading...



  1. Beautiful -- Love you, love your outlook and view of life -- xxoo

  2. Nice! Just one point, If you are speaking as a 29 year old, then you are in your 30th year on Earth. A 1 day old baby is deemed 1 year old, so we are on Earth and experiencing our "BDay + 1" year every year of our life. 29 years old = 30th year on Earth, 30 years old = 31st year on Earth. Just sayin... :)

  3. Hello John, I think this is a pet peeve of yours and I think you need to write a book about it. I am speaking from a 29 year old perspective because that is how old my birth certificate says I am. Until this age format changes, you will have to just deal. Namaste!


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