Monday Motivation

Secret-25 Toady’s Monday Motivation is taken from Paul Angone’s 101 Secrets For Your Twenties. Secret #25 is one of my favorites. It reminds twentysomethings that “failing”, or not completing something correctly, is not a reflection on who we are as a person. Our failures do not define us, they refine us. They refine our skills by correcting mistakes and challenge our perspective. Are you going to look at a failure negatively, calling yourself a failure? Or are you going to change your perspective to a positive one so you can look at each “failure” as an opportunity to improve?

101 Secrets For Your Twenties

Have you heard? The secret is out! Or in this case the secrets… Paul Angone’s 101 Secrets For Your Twenties is out! If you haven’t read the viral 21 Secrets For Your 20s check it out for just a tiny glimpse through the key whole to what’s behind the door for 101 Secrets For Your Twenties101-Secrets

The best thing about these secrets is that they aren’t really secrets, they’re facts. Every single one of these “secrets” are so incredibly true! You just can’t realize it or figure it out yourself because you’re stuck in the middle of it. Paul Angone is the voice of reason who can give you that bird’s eye view into your life. He can be that voice of reason giving you the outsider’s view on the life of a twentysomething. After going through it himself why wouldn’t he be a twentysomething guru?

Each secret is told in a witty and honest way that you could finish the book in one sitting. Or don’t, instead read one inspirational secret a day for motivation. Do whatever fits your lifestyle. You can’t go wrong with these 101 secrets. Here are some of my favorite secrets:

#1 Sometimes surviving your 20s is nothing more glamorous than just holding on for dear life on the back of an inner tube like a kid being whipped around by a speedboat.

#6 Life will never feel like its’s suppose to.

#22 The grass is always greener on the other side, until you get there and realize its because of all the manure.

#52 Your ability to learn Wine 101 might be the difference between eating at the Adults’ Table or stuck in a folding chair with the kids.

#60 Our 20s are not about finding our home; our 20s are about finding the right place to build it.

#79 Knowing your Karaoke-Compatibility should be a required premarital exercise.

#99 Success in your 20s is more about setting the table than enjoying the feast.

And of course secret #101, but I’ll let you discover that your yourself.

If you don’t get a copy of this book you will certainly be missing out. Missing out on memorable stories, hilarious analogies (English class people) and seriously good advice. I know a lot of people who are already raving about this book. Check it out on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or download it!

Have you read “101 Secrets for Your Twenties” yet?

If you have share your favorite secret below!

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Paul-Angone-Author-of-101-Secrets-for-your-TwentiesPaul Angone is an author, speaker, storyteller, humorist, and the creator of AllGroanUp.com – a place for those asking “What now?” His article “21 Secrets for your 20s,” on which this book is based, has been read by nearly a million people in 190 countries. Paul studied at Westmont College and then received his Master’s degree at Azusa Pacific University. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their two beautiful girls.

Should You Move In Together?

A lot of couples move in together because it makes their lives easier. Maybe they spend so much time together anyways or they have so many sleep overs that their stuff is split between two houses; its just easier to live in one place. Or maybe they are both moving to a new city or state so they decide to get a place together because that’s easier than finding new roommates. For whatever reason it seems like more couples are living together before marriage than before.

It can be a dangerous choice if not thought out properly.

Personally, I’m not for living together. Trust me, I would love it. I’m in a long distance relationship and so badly I would love for my boyfriend to move to New York when he’s done with school. It would be easier for him to move in with me since I already have an apartment and he doesn’t know many people out here, but for me that might be risking too much. Reading “The Cohabitation Effect” chapter from The Defining Decade helped me confirm I’m making the right choice.

“…couples who ‘live together first’ are actually less satisfied with their marriages and more likely to divorce than couples who do not. This is what sociologists call the cohabitation effect.” (p. 91)

Living Together is NOT a Test for Marriage

This is a common assumption for many people, young and old. This was true for Jennifer, one of Dr. Meg Jay’s clients. Jennifer was now seeing Dr. Meg Jay because she was getting a divorce after feeling she got into the wrong marriage too quickly. Jennifer and her husband Carter dated and lived together during their twenties. As Jennifer was nearing thirty she saw her other friends marrying and having babies of their own, Jennifer started to worry that Carter would never be serious about a career or their relationship. Jennifer thought living together would be a good test for marriage. With Jennifer and Carter as an example Dr. Meg Jay explains how living together is not a test for marriage…

“They vaguely had the idea of testing their relationship, but they didn’t venture into areas that typically stress marriage: They didn’t pay a mortgage, try to get pregnant, get up in the night with kids, spend holidays with in-laws when they didn’t want to, save for college and retirement, or see each other’s paycheck and credit-card bills.” (p. 93-94)

In the same way, marriage is not  a test to see if the other person will get serious about the relationship. 

At the very least if you are going to move in with someone you need to have a talk about what that commitment means for your relationship. Too many times couples who have been living together for numerous years feel that the next step is getting married, but too often these marriages quickly fail.

Sliding, Not Deciding

Often couples move in together after a quick decision without a conversation as to what the move will mean for the relationship. This is “what is known as ‘sliding, not deciding.’ Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation…” (p. 92)

Without a conversation couples can have different motivations for moving in together and different opinions on what it means for the severity of the relationship. Research has shown that twentysomething men are motivated to make the move for chances of more sex while women are motivated for chances of increasing love. “But both men and women agree that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than for a spouse.” (p 93)

Isn’t that sad? Why are we lowering our standards? If we’re looking for love and want to be on a path towards marriage shouldn’t we be at least keeping to the same standard?

Couples still slide into moving in together, probably because they are unaware of all these know facts from researches. It seems harmless because so many people are living together. It’s the new norm to live together before marriage or even being engaged. But, unfortunately as couples slide into living together, the time starts sliding as well.

Jennifer recalls how after a couple of years she wondered what her and Carter were still doing…

“Everything about it was fuzzy. That fuzziness ended up being the mot frustrating part. I felt like I was on this multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife. That made me really insecure. There was a lot of game-playing and arguing. I never felt like he was really committed to me.” (p. 94)

Time slides by and it suddenly feels like you should be married by now. The daunting thirty deadline gets closer. Friends start walking down the aisle. Then more friends are walking down and then baby carriages start appearing. Everyone else is settling down, making you feel behind.

Lock-In

The “lock-in” comes when there is a pressure to get married due to the number of years the couple has lived together and/or age. The problem is because the couples’ lives have become so intertwined it is harder to leave the relationship than he/she thought when first moving in together. When a couple moves in together they underestimate the risk of combining their lives financially because the consequences are in the future; the future possible problems don’t seem as real or complicated until the very real complications hit them in the face.

“Lock-in is the decreased likelihood to search for other options, or change to another option, once an investment in something has been made.” (p. 96)

The investments are called “setup costs”. The setup costs can be as small as a signature or as big as adopting a pet or splitting costs for all of the furniture. Setup costs, big or small, can lead to a lock-in. Setup costs create an attachment that makes it more difficult to leave later, even if leaving will provide a better option.

This can happen because of the “‘switching costs’… the time, money, or effort it requires to make a chance.” Switching costs are what couples underestimate and are what make it the most difficult to leave.  Lets say a couple adopts a dog. When one of them has thoughts about leaving the relationship one starts to wonder, who gets the dog? Or if you have a joint bank account or credit card, how will you get out of that smoothly to support yourself? Couples stay in their live-in relationships because of the uncertainty of how to leave and the fear of what will happen to the things, pets and even friends that “belong” to both couples.

Before long someone is forcing the other down the aisle. The couple is quickly married then most likely divorcing, and leaving is becoming even more complicated than before.

Yes, I will agree that this is not the case for all couples. For example, the cohabitation effect is less likely for couples who move in together after a public engagement. I thin the key here is if you are considering living together, first be sure to have a converstaion. Find out why you want to live together and what it will mean for the relationship. Talk about what you would do if you ran into any of the problems we talked about here or how you could avoid them. Second, be sure to re-evaluate. Having the initial converstation is a good start, but you need to make sure you continue to “check in”. Think on your own to make sure you are happy and have what you want. But also make sure you are always being honest with each other. Revisiting the conversation can be a good thing.

For me, I will continue to stick with my decision to not live together before I am married. I think it is too easy to fall into a lock-in. I also worry that it could ruin a relationship, even if the relationship does not work out romantically, I would hope that we would be able to to stay in each other’s lives. Leaving a live-in relationship seems too messy and might ruin that chance of being friends, instead there could be too much animosity.

What do you think about the cohabitation effect?

 

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Dr. Meg Jay from The Defining Decade – 30 Is Not The New 20

Check out my girl, Dr. Meg Jay! She’s on TED talking about her lessons for twentysomethings.

I did a post series on her book, The Defining Decade, where we learned about the importance of using our twenties to build of future in work, family and personal life. Listen to this talk, read some of my posts, and take the time to read The Defining Decade. If you learn and act, you will be better prepared than most of your peers.

“Thirty is not the new twenty, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.” ~Dr. Meg Jay

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What To Look For in a Husband or Wife

Compatible (adjective)

Dictionary.com

  1. Capable of existing or living together in harmony
  2. Able to exist together with something else

The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay

“…being alike in ways the matter and genuinely liking who the other person is.” (p. 115)

Opposites Attract is a Myth, Look for Compatibility 

Opposites don’t attract, it’s basically a myth. When it is true it only lasts for a short period of time. The more similar people are, the better they understand each other. People who are compatible are the better match because they are alike. According to The Defining Decade, “Studies have repeatedly found that couples who are similar in areas such as socioeconomic status, education, age, ethnicity, religion, attractiveness, attitudes, values, and intelligence are more likely to be satisfied with their relationships and are less likely to seek divorce.”

When seeking out a relationship look for compatibility. Look for someone that is capable of existing in harmony with you while dealing with the pressures and stresses of “something else”, i.e. mortgages, children, being sick, being jobless, all the troubles that can come up in marriage. Because what will really matter down the road is not similarities in just age, attractiveness, education and intelligence. These are just the deal breakers, match makers create long lasting relationships and marriages.

Deal Breaks vs Match Makers

Deal breakers are easy to spot characteristics we’ve come up with on our own, usually similar to our own characteristics. These are the characteristics we think are nonnegotiable. Deal breakers help us weed out who we want to date and avoid those who we have “fundamental differences” with. Deal breakers can bring us together, but match makers will keep us together.

Match makers are below the surface. They are the qualities you learn about someone after you get to know them a little better. One match maker is personality. “Personality is not about what we have done or even about what we like. It is about how we are in the world, and this infuses everything we do. Personality is the part of ourselves that we take everywhere…”

This is why online dating sites, like eHarmony, can be so successful. Instead of asking you what you like, they base your profile off your personality by asking your how you are.

Nevertheless, it can still be tricky finding a compatible personality for a couple of reasons…

  1. Personalities are hard to label. You can’t categorize them or describe them as easily as age or education. 
  2. Everyone is different. You won’t be able to find someone 100% like you or maybe even what you dream of.

One way to help define what type of personality you have (and thus, also compatible with) is through what psychologist call, The Big Five. The Big Five is “one of the simplest and most widely researched models of personality… The Big Five refers to five factors that describe how people interact with the world: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism.” We will talk more about this in another post.

Accept Differences and Focus on Foundational Compatibilities

Although we do need to find someone similar to us we do need to accept their differences as well. No matter how similar two people are they still have differences. Every couple needs to allow their partner to be different. “How a person responds to these differences can be more important than the differences themselves.”

Any over analyzing or prejudgments brought into the relationship can be detrimental. Maybe your boyfriend doesn’t bring you flowers. Or maybe your girlfriend likes to talk about life a little more than you do. These differences are not foundational. These difference will not make or break a relationship unless you put too much negative emphasis on them. “Anxiety and judgments about these differences then lead to criticism and contempt, two leading relationship killers.”

Dr. Jay shares a story from one of her clients, Courtney. Courtney knew her boyfriend had an engagement ring, but she had a lot of little judgments about her boyfriend that made her nervous about marrying him. She was worried he didn’t fit all the qualities of her “perfect man”. Dr. Jay listened to all of Courtney’s complaints and concerns, but none seemed legitimate,  in fact Courtney’s boyfriend seemed to be husband worthy. Dr. Jay tried to help Courtney see her view was skewed with over thinking and anxiety. It wasn’t until Courtney had an accident and needed surgery that she realize she was the one in the wrong.

Courtney got into a fight with her boyfriend when her friend brought her flowers, but he never brought her any. Her boyfriend was extremely upset by this. He had been with her through the surgery and after taking care of all of Courtney’s needs. Where Courtney’s friend had not visited or helped out once. Courtney saw the error in her point of view. Her boyfriend had humbly done everything for her with no complaints. Courtney realized she needed to work on herself before she was able to marry this incredible man.

“But sometimes differences are just differences. They can even be strengths.”

I started off this post telling you to find someone who you are compatible with; to find someone with whom you are alike. But we can’t forget about finding someone you genuinely like. That’s why finding someone with matching making qualities and accepting their differences are important. You need to understand who the other person is in able to accept and love him/her for who they truly are.

We’ve also mentioned the difficulties that come with marriage down the road. Overcoming these difficulties is where your differences can be strengths. You might be weak in one area, but that could be one of your spouse’s specialties. Lets say your three kids are growing up, each in a different school. They all play sports and one is entering his/her senior year in high school. You may not be good at the financial planning for college, but maybe you are good at coordinating all the schedules. You can divide and conquer by playing to each of your strengths.

Here’s some advice from Dr. Jay on how to make a decision about who to marry…

“The same way you make any decision. You weigh the evidence and you listen to yourself. The trick is for you is going to be to listen to what matters, not to every single thing that makes you dissatisfied or anxious… There will always be differences of some kind, but statistically speaking, that’s not what will kill a relationship. It’s what you do with the differences. Do you know what the differences are going in? Have you thought about how they will affect your life? Are you prepared to bridge or even accept them?”

Take your time to ask yourself these questions. Taking the time now to do some thinking should prevent you from unnecessary heartbreak later. I hope you find this advice helpful. It can be overwhelming at first but if you take some time to clear your mind I think you will really benefit from it.

*All inspirations and quotes from this post, and post series, are from The Defining Decade and should be accredited to Dr. Meg Jay.*

Dating Down

Many twentysomethings do not take dating seriously. Dating is thought to be a time to have fun now and worry about marriage later. All the first dates and not serious relationships are practice for when you want to get serious. 

If dating in our twenties is just practice, why are we practicing bad habits that could stick?

You can be a very successful twentysomething, but still have a bad love life. You can have a career, control over your finances and a fancy apartment, but at the same time uphold a condensing life of self judgement and settling. A life that consists of a respected nine to five day job, but a booty call at night. Or an uneven relationship with a live-in partner who has no job and doesn’t pull his or her weight. Relationships can be hard work, but there is a certain level of respect and equality that should be met for both parties.

At any age anyone can fall into dating down. It can stem from what Dr. Meg Jay calls your “untold story” or settling. An untold story is like a story line in your head created from past conversations and experiences about yourself. It may depict how you view your love life and how you play a role in the dating field. Here is what Dr. Meg Jay has to say about untold stories…

“The power of these untold personal stories is that… they can loop silently in our minds without anyone, sometimes even ourselves, knowing about them. The stories are found hiding… in the gaps between what we plan to do and what we actually do, or between what happens and what we tell people about what happens.” ~The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay (p. 108)

These untold stories need to be told and edited. Stories that aren’t shared are of shame and can eat away at you left unspoken. Let your untold stories out and create a new story. Let the past out and replace those stories with the new edited you. New stories of all your accomplishments and best qualities. Share stories that you are proud of, then you will see yourself becoming more proud of yourself. Editing your story will allow you to have the strength to recognize when you are settling and how to never settle again.

Once you treat yourself with respect, others will too. 

Think about what you want and need in a partner. Take the dates you do choose seriously. Find out what traits you like and dislike. Find out what qualities you want or need in a relationship. To create good dating habits we need to switch from being wanted to wanting. Take charge of your love life! Choose your partner, don’t like your partner choose you.

You’re next boyfriend or girlfriend could be your last.

*This post, quotes and this post series come from inspirations and lessons found in The Defining Decade and should be accredited to Dr. Meg Jay.*

 

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Can You Pick Your Career and Your Family?

When you were a little kid how many times did friends, family members  and teachers ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? Since you were a little kid life was about picking your career. If someone asked you, “What type of husband/wife do you want when you grow up?”, well then I’m incredibly surprised.

In my last post on love, inspired by The Defining Decade, I spoke about the problem of how society views marriage. Society doesn’t worry about marriage until the age thirty deadline hits and then it suddenly feels like you’re behind. We should be striving for our dream marriage as we are for our dream job. Especially if the family you grew up with was not the perfect family you wanted or had internal struggles, your marriage can be a second chance at family.

We talked about customizing your life, not settling. This should apply in your love life as well. Think of the type of family you want. Think of the life you want to have for yourself and your family. Do you want a big family who is involved with extended family? Or do you want a quite little family? Find out what characteristics you want in a husband or wife. Find someone who can help you be a better you. Then there’s your future children, what type of life do you want them to have? What type of environment do you want them to grow up in?

Someone once told me to find a man with the same values as me and everything else will work from there. I think it makes sense because we should have the same basic wants then. A couple with the same values can work together and support each other. We should naturally have a relatively similar picture of what we want our futures to be.

In The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay suggests couples have “the define-the-relationship talk.” This talk will help see where you current relationship is going and see what that person’s view of the future is. If they have a view that’s completely opposite from you, maybe it is not the best relationship to be in.

This is why it is important to be smart in your twenties when it comes to matters of love. I don’t think I’ve explained what the age thirty deadline is yet… To me, it’s the unofficial expectation of society that you should be married by thirty. If you’re in a relationship now that isn’t going to end up towards marriage you’re cutting your time short. I’m not trying to pressure you into settling down right this second, I’m saying use this time wisely. Dating around can be fun, but be careful because time flies. Before you know it you can be 27 and only have a few years to date wisely and hope for the best.

“Twentysomethings who aren’t at least a little scared about their relationships are often the ones who are being the least thoughtful.”The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay (p. 87)

I think we should start getting serious about dating. Men and women should have standards. We shouldn’t date people just because they’re fun or really good looking, we should have some credentials  Let your dating experience show you what you like and don’t like, then stick only with the likes when you choose the next person to date. Let your relationships have some substance. When you have this picture and these standards, then you will be on your way to picking your family.

In my next post on love I will talk about dating down to speak a little bit further about sticking with your likes and giving your relationships some substance.