Time: The Portfolio Asset that Dwindles Away

Where does the time go? The last hour, the weekend, the month, the year, your life?

How are our lives so long and so short all at once? Blink and it will be over. I want to stop blinking.

But of course I can’t. They’re right, the older you get, the faster life goes. I imagine when/if I have kids they’ll be adults in an instant. I’ll be old and grey and those I know and love will disappear, one at a time, maybe before me, maybe after I go. Who knows.

Sometimes memories paint themselves in rapid fire on my tongue, as if they were just moments ago: a road trip in college to a Michigan festival; the lights rising on the stage, specific song playing, my lips parting to begin a monologue, the words still ready to be spoken; first seeing my boyfriend at callbacks for a community theatre production, now over eight years ago, him in his long black coat pacing back and forth across the room seriously studying his audition script.

All of these moments, even further back, from high school and middle school and elementary school and even the foggy ones before, are long over, they are part of all the things that make up who I am today, yet I hunger to return to my youth to make more of it, to make something of it. To not be so afraid and sad and lost.

That’s life. I want today to make the most of now. But time ticks on. It flees from my grasp. I let it go too easily. And I know just a few of these many moments more I’ll be confronting my last breath, like we all do. How do I make more of life between now and then?

 

 

The Beauty Industry and My 30 Something Face

Vain as I am, I’ve been the type to roll my eyes at my mother who spends gobs of money on beauty products, picking up the latest serum or cream from any sales person she comes in contact with. Yet turning 30 has me wanting to follow suit. What are those? Fine lines in my forehead etched from years of being a sarcastic worry wort? And, holy crap, I see the very start of crows feet coming on at the corners of my eyes – can’t I just stop them now? Isn’t there some cream out there that will make my skin look 20 when I’m 95?

Ok, so the beauty industry plays on these feelings which are a natural part of aging. We live in a society that considers you over the hill once you’ve passed 25 (thanks Hollywood) if you’re a woman, so of course we’ll do anything to fit the part. The other day, my boss told me that I looked “tired” after I had actually a fairly good night’s rest. That isn’t a good sign. Was it my under eye bags? My pale, thinning skin? Was I going to look more tired every single day because I’m getting older? Ugh!

Aging is so strange as a woman. As a man, you undoubtedly grow into your best self through the years. Women have these strange expectations to be both old and young at the same time, especially if you work in business. I haven’t figured out how to properly address this yet. On one hand, people tell me I still look so young – and that’s a good thing (I know other women my age who certainly look older) but then I also feel like in order to be taken seriously in the work world I need to look older. I don’t know, maybe paint a few more wrinkles on my face, dye my hair silver grey and cover it up with a bad blonde dye job to be obviously old enough to make a valid point.

Before you all scold me for how BATSHIT CRAZY this list is, please remember that I get my hair cut four times a year and with the exception of one whim a year ago where I went ombre, I do not dye my hair anymore, so that’s significant savings in terms of personal care. You won’t find me at a spa. I drive a used car I paid cash for. I’m not exactly living an expensive lifestyle. Yes, I could invest that savings, but would that make my face look better?

My Favorite Beauty Products and Spending Too Much on Them…

1. Clarisonic Mia 2 ($149 kit)

I bought this $149 face brush for myself for my 31st birthday. Yes, it’s an electronic face brush that supposedly cleans 6x better than if you were doing it yourself. I’m not sure I believe that, but I do know that I’m the type of person who sucks at keeping up a routine and tends to fall asleep with a full face of makeup on. That can’t be good. What I like most about the Mia is how fast it is to get a good thorough clean across your entire face in 60 seconds plus a few extra for putting the soap on your face with some water first. It has a timer that gives you 20 seconds for your forehead, 20 for your chin and nose, and 10 for each cheeks, and then you’re done. Efficiency to inspire routine as a person who doesn’t do routine is good.

In the one week of owning my Clarisonic I’ve noticed an improvement in my skin overall. However, initially I started out using the soap that came with my package from Sephora — Philosophy “Purity” — and it made my skin break out terribly. I thought it was the Clarisonic doing that since I read a bunch of reviews talking about this “purge” that happens for the first few weeks (and subsequent articles about how the purge concept is bullshit and your skin is just telling you STOP DESTROYING ME.) In any case, as soon as I switched to a less harsh face wash my skin calmed down, phew. But do I really need to spend $149 on a FACE BRUSH? Whatever, it was my birthday.

2. Origin’s Cheeks and Balances Soap ($12)

Actually, I had this lying around in a bag of random face soaps and such that I’ve picked up throughout the years (I think it came part of a discount set so I didn’t actually pay $12 for it yet.) Switching from Purity to Cheeks and Balances made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. After a few days of my Clarisonic paired with Cheeks and Balances my face feels much better. I also have noticed that anything I put on after washing with these two products do seep in better, meaning that I need to use less of the more expensive stuff that comes after cleaning to make my face look not as bad as it would look otherwise.

3. Ole Hendrickson Truth Serum Vitamin C Collegen Booster ($48)

So I didn’t actually pay $48 for this yet. It came as part of my Clarisonic kit in a mini form and I’ve been using it every morning. I’m not sure if it does anything but it has 4.5 stars on Sephora so it must be good, amirite? It smells good anyway. It is supposed to support natural collagen production to brighten and minimize fine wrinkles caused from free radical damage, yada yada. Man, if only I worked in marketing for the beauty industry… anyway… it uses orange extract, grapefruit extract, rose hip seed extract, sodium ascorbic phosphate and ester-c.  Hey, anything to make me look not that old yet. I probably will never pay the full $48 for this product, it is usually available on Sephora.com as part of a set and you don’t need to use that much everyday. I figure it should last 3 months with regular use.

4. Ole Hendrickson Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil ($48)

Not sold on this one yet, but I actually purchased it mid last year on a whim of feeling old an a sales person convincing me this was great for people who don’t have old skin yet but want to protect skin from getting old (oh god I’m turning into my mother.) This is pretty much straight up rose hips oil, which, according to the brand, is a good source of active vitamin A and vitamin C. I prefer using the Truth Serum more than this… directions from brand say BUY BOTH and use them after each other, but the oil is kind of, well, oily, and I prefer the serum which is stickier. I am going to try both layered to see if they make any sort of difference. I wonder if Rosehip Seed Oil, Tangerine Peel Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E) would cost $45 if I buy them from a farmer.

5. Origins GinZing Energy Booster Moisturizer ($26.50)

What’s that smell? Is it a delicious citrusy fruit basket? Why no sir, it’s just my moisturizer. I’m actually mildly in love with this product. I’ve tried a ton of moisturizers and usually stop using them because they smell like a mix of plastic and ass and texture-wise feel more like watered down chalk mixed with elmers glue, so when I say I like a moisturizer it means an awful lot. This moisturizer doesn’t have SPF anything though, which sucks but is probably why it doesn’t have the consistency or smell I hate, so it means I need to buy yet ANOTHER product with sunscreen in it to actually use the most important part of an aging lady’s beauty routine. Oh well. I like this stuff. I just splurged on a set (self hanukah gift, what?) that has the GinZing eye cream in it as well as two other products that look industry and MORE OF THIS FABULOUS MOISTURIZER for $51 (see: best of both world’s set)

6. Origins Night a Mins High Potency Skin Cream ($41)

I had a sample of this stuff and it seemed to help my face overnight, but I wasn’t about to pay $41 for it on its own. Luckily Origin’s marketers were kind to me and presented the “Best of Both World’s” set for $51 (which sold out about two hours after I purchased it at Macys.com, might still be available in store) – I’m looking forward to using this every night before my moisturizer to see if it provides “naturally radiant morning skin.” #nomoretiredface — eh, whatever, I never go to the spa, I can pamper myself a little at home, right?

7. PM Moisturizer: Cereve PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ($12)

This is probably my only practical purchase of the bunch. Recommended to me from a dermatologist, the PM moisturizer isn’t fancy or smelltastical but it does its job. I wake up with a face that feels soft as butta. Love it. I should probably give up on the Origins splurges and just use Cereve’s daytime moisturizer (which has some SPF in it) but it does not make me smell like a fruit, and where’s the fun in that?

8. Neutrogena Rapid Repair Night Moisturizer ($21.99)

#becausevanity — oh god, wrinkles. Here they come. Every dermatologist on the web says USE RETINOL to fix existing wrinkles if you don’t want to go all Botox on your face. I don’t use this every day because it BURNS but pain is beauty so I’m trying it out on a fairly regular basis. Nothing noticeable yet but I might as well use the product up until its gone or my skin has melted off. Either way.

Stuff I Am Trying Out Soon Because I’m Crazy

9. Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion Treatment Toner ($48)

This stuff is supposed to help boost overall moisturizers and make your face look EVEN YOUNGER. I don’t know. Toner. Are you a marketers creation? Reviews say this stuff evens out dark spots and such. Everyone on Sephora.com loves it, I must have it. Actually, I bought this because the reviews convinced me… it’s worth it to tone with this product before moisturizer. My skin is still bumpy and red, so I’d like something that will make me appear smooth like a baby’s butt. Yes, I want my face to resemble a baby’s bottom, so sue me.

10. Origins GinZing Eye Cream ($26.50)

Bought this as part of that $51 gift set at Macys w/ the Night a Mins, more of my fav moisturizer and an overnight mask. It won’t be the full size but how much eye cream does one really need? Looking forward to trying it out. I’ll probably continue picking it up in gift sets that offer it vs ever paying $26 for normal eye cream – but who knows, a bit more crows feet and I’ll be investing in baby foreskin to keep my eye creases at bay (btw, I only know this is a thing because my mom either bought or almost bought a product which includes baby foreskin as its magic ingredient. And yes, it is a thing. And, Ew.)

11. Origins GinZing Facial Scrub Cleanser ($19.50)

Because some days you need a little extra scrub. The Clarisonic is theoretically not an exfoliator and my blackheads won’t quit. Maybe this stuff will help. Maybe I will just have more excuses to put fresh citrusy smells near my nose. Either way, I’m investing in this because Cheeks and Balances is a good daily cleanser but a few times a week my face, I think, needs a little deeper scrubbing.

Ok, so I haven’t actually paid full price for all of these items due to gift sets, but the total value/cost to continue this regime would be… drumroll please… 

$330 every 3 months (not counting the $149 clarisonic mia purchase, but counting a replacement brush needed for it also every 3 months.)

So that’s about $100 a month – which really isn’t that bad (she tells herself trying to rationalize spending $100 a month ON HER FACE THAT IS GOING TO GET OLD ANYWAY.)

I mean, I’m clearly not the only person who spends money on this stuff, so is it that bad? I don’t need all of it, but being an adult now I’m trying to get into routines and pampering myself for a few minutes a day in between working and sleeping seems like a reasonable thing to do. When I put $100 in the market one day and it goes down to nothing the next, I don’t get a smoother face, that’s for sure. #vanitywinsagain

I’m still investing over $4000 a month so I don’t feel that bad about these splurges. But being a girl is expensive, women should be paid more than men overall, not less!

 

Feeling Lucky in Love

When you grow up with “everything” in terms of material possessions and funded hobbies up to the wazzoo, your mental health issues such as depression are thought to be pure youth melodramatics. But in my ripe old-ish age of 31, I’ve found what I was missing and didn’t know I wanted. I found this thing they call love. And like the many songs that have been written about how people search for love in all the wrong places and shapes and sizes only to find it isn’t what they expected at all, here I am, a girl who thought she could never find true love, knee deep in the definition of it.

Oh, he isn’t perfect, and I never expected perfection out of another human being. But both of us lacking parents with the ability to love in our childhood have found that we can pour out all this love we have to give, our sensitive souls smiling with each instant cuddling on the couch or waking up in each other’s arms. He’s turned me into a total softie. He’s taught me that the hollow space inside my heart doesn’t need to be filled temporarily with material possessions – that I could easily be happy living the rest of my life in a relatively small space with few items, if only I would be guaranteed the opportunity to spend that time with him, being terribly silly, immaturely mischievous, and at the same time spiritually whole in the glow of his calming, zen-like attitude towards the world which combats my east coast leather-like psyche turning it into mushy clay.

But having him in my life also makes me unclear of what I want, because just 10 years ago I could only be striving for some sort of “success,” which merely meant a story my parents could brag about to their friends and our family. I didn’t have anything I really wanted. Fame, sure, but even my lust for fame was fleeting when I realized I didn’t actually like being the center of attention, I just liked not being alone. So as this love of mine developed over the past decade I started to find myself and she wasn’t who I thought she was at all, for good and bad. She was a lot less ambitious. She cared less about being smart or rich or even beautiful. She suddenly wanted a life of stability over a life of restless leaping from story to story until her final breath. After running for so long all she wanted to do was stop and fall into loving arms. And that she did.

I like to work and to be creative and help create projects as part of a team, so I’m not aspiring to leave the workforce anytime soon. I just don’t care as much about wealth as I used to. I’d like financial security, to know I can stop work when I have kids and spend time with them if I want to; to be able to have choices. But I don’t need a giant house (thank goodness because unless I’m ultra rich there is no way to afford one here) and I certainly don’t need new cars or fancy clothes. Even my vacations tend to be more on the budget side, within reason, because I feel uncomfortable in any environment that is slightly luxurious.

All I want right now, and the me of 10 years ago couldn’t believe I’m saying this, but all I want right now is a family of my own. I want to have kids, I’m sure of it, and I want to be a mother who tries her best to be a good mother and friend to her children. I want a house big enough where I can go into another room to have alone time but not so big that it has extra space to fill with crap collected throughout the years. I appreciate interior design and aesthetics but I lean much more to simplicity than I did in the past. I may be splurging on face creams to deal with my starting-to-age skin, but beyond that, I don’t really have anything I spend on. I’m so busy working there isn’t time to shop or take fancy trips anyway, which is fine by me.

So love really changes a person… I know first hand. I see how my parents, never able to love, instead continue to try to find completeness in buying lots of stuff. My father — his collections of often not-so-great art, baseball figurines, books, DVDs, et al, filling up the house; and my mother, clothes and more clothes and then random contraptions QVC convinced her to buy. Stuff. So much stuff.

Relatedly, my dad called me the other day while I was at work – I picked up as my dad NEVER calls me so when he does I figure something bad happened so I should pick up. No, I forgot, the other reason he calls (it has happened once before that I can remember) is when my general region is on the news and he worries about me. Last time, years ago, it was because there was a very low tsunami risk on the California coast. This time it was the rain storm that was causing a little bit of flooding. I told him I was fine and I had to go, but he kept talking, because he doesn’t really care that I was at work or had to go, and he started telling me that he’s going to go ahead with the purchase of a winter home in Florida… which is fine by me, they can do what they want, but again, they just keep buying stuff, I don’t think any of it makes them happy, and it’s sad but they’ll never be happy because they’ll never know love. They can’t. They’re two narcissists who only can love themselves in a twisted sort of way.

But here I am, 31 years old, and I have this guy in my life who loves me for who I am. He’s been there through thick and thin. Literally picking me up from jail (after my first-ever and last-ever DUI.) Holding me through losing my jobs and being there as I moped through periods of unemployment until the next opportunity came around. He’s just this rock, this smiling, beautiful, charming, unlike anyone else in the world rock. It’s not that I can picture spending the rest of my life with him – it’s that I cannot picture “not” spending the rest of my life with him. We’re together now, the way couples are together, but I didn’t think that was something that I could ever be a part of. I thought that was reserved for people who were more mentally balanced, people who deserved such love. Yet I found it. And it’s worth more than anything money could buy. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

 

Surprise, Surprise – it’s been a good week

I’ve been really hard on myself at work these past couple of weeks. One of my direct reports reminded me today that I should be proud of how much I’ve accomplished in just the eight-ish weeks I’ve been at the company. Putting this perspective on things made me smile. Of course, I could do more. Of course, I could be better. But work isn’t about perfection. It’s about GSD and learning from your mistakes.

Things are starting to come together. Don’t get me wrong, I have more work on my plate now than I did a week ago, and the pile of to do list doesn’t show signs of stopping. But I’m starting to get a handle on what I need to do to be successful. I’m still not sure if I can do it, but I do my best work when I know what I need to do and can focus on getting it done. When I’m not clear about the steps to achieve my goals is when I flounder. I need to just pick what to do and do it. Getting something done is much better than freezing out of uncertainty, which tends to be my schtick. Well, schtick no more.

I also am so happy that my talented friend is jumping in and committing more contract hours to helping out. He’s just a machine (in a good way.) I’m trying to get over this stupid inferiority complex where I have this deep rooted fear of bringing in people who are smarter than me because people will wonder why I’m on staff in the first place. The reality is that smart leaders hire people who are smarter than they are. I still wish I could be great at everything but that’s not realistic. It’s better to show that I can effectively bring in smart people to get the job done well.

Relatedly, I had a really good conversation with one of my direct reporters today. They have a lot to offer and I need to learn to effectively manage and nurture their potential. If I can get my shit together next year can be really good. I’m glad that I’m not expected to hire a giant team. I can focus on a few key people and try to be a good leader. That means very different things to each employee/consultant. Ultimately a good leader provides clear direction and isn’t flaky on their decisions. Once the leader commits to something they follow through with it unless they have a really good reason to change course. Make a decision, get shit done, learn from said shit, rinse & repeat, repeat, repeat, suds and all.

There is so much more I have to do to become an effective leader. I’m still terrible at communication. Somehow everything I say comes across as defensive or overly critical… unless I just don’t say anything at all. It’s really frustrating that every word that comes out of my mouth is, well, wrong, if there is such a thing as ones words being wrong. I tend to earn trust and respect via my work so people overlook my inability to communicate, but it’s going to hold me back a lot as I try to move up the corporate ladder.

A big part of what I need to work on is listening. With ADHD it is a bad habit to talk out of turn and blurt out things that I am thinking. The real reason I do that is twofold – one, because I tend to forget what I’m about to say and want to get it out before I do, and secondly, moreso, because I don’t know how to actually organically enter into a conversation, say what I have to say, and exit at the right point, without it being too late to talk about what we were talking about a few minutes earlier. Either I’m butting into a conversation too soon or I’m going back to something that everyone stopped talking about once they’ve moved on to the next topic. It’s really frustrating and embarrassing.

I wish I could be one of those people who everyone else just wanted to listen to, because everything I said was stated so eloquently that who would want to interrupt? There is someone at my company who is really good at that, and is equally as frustrated at my foot in mount disease, which I’m trying to curb significantly around them to avoid destroying the relationship. I admire their ability to just say the right things at the right time. I might not always agree with their ideas (actually most of the time I do) but I’m talking more about how they present themselves and their words.

If only I could just copy their demeanor and communications style, but it isn’t quite so easy. In lieu of giving up on being an executive I need to fix this huge challenge of mine. The other option is that I change course and, I don’t know, become a best-selling novelist, or a beach bum in a third world country. You know, at least there are options.

 

The Seven Type of People in the World

When we grow up, we have dreams of what we want to become. Some kids want to be firefighters. Others, doctors. Some want to be school teachers. Me, I wanted to be a performer. In my family it seemed like the only respectable job someone could have in order to get a lot of praise and attention was to be on stage. Sure, being a doctor seemed like a great job if you were smart and boring, but entertainment was the world I longed for. I wanted to be the center of attention, to make people laugh, to be incredibly talented and to make friends just because I was a star.

Of course, childhood dreams rarely come to fruition, and clearly I’m not an American Idol or Broadway star. God knows I sing slightly off key, I have two left feet and my acting ability is better suited for a walk-on role in a community theater production than a blockbuster film. As I grew up I realized that I would never actually be a performer so I tried out the next best thing in my limited worldview – being involved behind the scenes, designing the sets and costumes of shows, but of course that wasn’t good enough since ultimately I wanted to be performing, not backstage. I tried out directing for size, which I enjoyed more because I liked being in charge, but ultimately I didn’t have the conviction or drive to become a great director. I gave up quickly and without much remorse.

What I wish I knew what I was younger is that there are really five types of jobs in the world and generally speaking you naturally fit into one bucket. The good news is that even if you can’t do the most famous job for the bucket, there are other careers out there which maybe aren’t as renowned or as well paid, but at least enable you to be who you are deep down. And each bucket holds value in our society.

The Creators: The creators are entrepreneurs, innovators on R&D teams, designers, (certain) engineers, inventors and dreamers. Creators like to make something out of nothing. They work at startups inventing a new product, or big companies developing the next new formula that will sell like hot cakes. Creators love the unknown. They thrive in environments where outcomes are uncertain but there is a constant opportunity to make something new, or at least a variation on what already exists. Creators may be a little offbeat in their thought process, but this is something that should be encouraged and nurtured. Creators are those who change the world.

The Fixers/Analyzers: The fixers are the people who like to take something that already exists and see where it can be improved or packaged better. They are business consultants, marketers, electricians, and average business people who have moved up through the ranks to middle management. They like things fairly constant and routine, but are good at finding inefficiencies and other errors and improving processes. They are just as interested in facts as they are “what’s possible.”

The Healers: The healers are the people who care a lot about others and want to help “heal” the world. They are psychologists, doctors, social workers, veterinarians, religious ministers, charity workers, and people who have a strong desire to help others. The healers do not care as much about money as they do making the world a better place. They work relentlessly to improve the lives around them.

The Protectors: The protectors are people who go out of their way to make sure that others are safe. These people generally work in law enforcement, firefighting, or even the military and FBI. These people have a strong sense of what is right and have a drive to ensure public safety or to protect others.

The Educators: The educators are similar to entertainers as they like to perform, but to perform in a classroom with the goal of imparting knowledge on others. They enjoy broadening minds and sharing information. While some educators are similar to creators in that they like to discover information and use it to create something new, they are unique in that the core of what drives them is in educating others about what is already known, not in creating something from scratch.

The Politicians: The politicians are driven by convincing others that their point is correct. They are lawyers, actual politicians and senior business executives. The politicians are like entertainers in that they are comfortable in front of a crowd, but their goal is always to prove a point. They get a rush out of debating and winning a debate. They are detail oriented and have a love of facts, as well as using facts in a way that supports their point. They are confident, sometimes overly so, and often have a strong sense of what they think is right. This sometimes is challenged by performing certain jobs designed for politicians, such as the law, since often legal jobs require one to argue a case or point they may not believe in. That said, most politicians care more about winning than being right.

The Entertainers: The entertainers are the people who help distract the fixers, the creators, the protectors, the politicans, the healers and the educators from the hum drum of their everyday lives. They provide momentary escape from all of the bullshit that life brings. They are Hollywood stars and comedians, but they are also magicians and princesses that perform at children’s birthday parties, clowns who crack jokes in the circus, DJs and musicians and wedding singers. The entertainers love being the center of attention, but they also love to help others break away from reality for a moment in order to either just have fun or to really reflect back on their own lives and become all the better for it.

Which one of the seven are you? Do you think your job today aligns with who you are?