Lately, I’ve been thinking about things. Noticing things. Paying attention to things that, I never really gave a wink to before. They say when you grow up, you begin to look at things through a different scope, seeing through a more mature, more refined, more intuitive lens. In June I’ll turn 27. Ah, that much closer to 30 (sigh). No, really birthdays don’t scare me, unlike some women who associate them with aging and decay (you know the type that refuse to tell their age), I look at them as, another year on this great ride called life. The thing I do notice is, with each year that goes by, I begin to see life a bit differently, that is, put simply, from a more mature perspective. Below are a few things that, as I’ve gotten older, rank high on my priority list, things that I provide more undivided attention to.

FINANCES

If you would have asked me five years ago about investing, mutual funds, retirement or anything having to do with financial security, I would have flashed you a blank stare. Because five years ago my mind, although not completely immature, was just, in a different place. I wasn’t thinking about important issues like how to divvy up my money. I wasn’t afraid to work. I enjoyed working hard, earning things, and that feeling of fulfillment that tagged along. But I didn’t give an inkling of thought to investing some of my earnings so it could work for me later in life . I was more worried about scanning the racks at my favorite shopping haunt Forever 21 for the latest designs or checking out a new nightspot in Orlando. Obsolete things. The things that I deemed important at that time now seem so, adolescent and petty in nature. Nowadays, I think more about down the road, not just right now. That sexy top I wanted from Forever 21 the other day? Well, I took the $50 and invested it to my mutual fund instead. Score!

PARENTING & CHILDREN

These days, I find myself observing children and their parents. This is something that, I never would have noticed or cared about a few years back. But, due to my age nearing to 30, maybe it’s nature’s way of reminding me that I have this amazing thing called a maternal instinct, something that never reared its head until recently. I see parents and kids everywhere, whether it be a restaurant, mall or theme park. And I study the interaction between the two and think, what would I do in that situation? Some scenarios that have spiked my curiosity…

  • Fair skinned toddler at a theme park. Skin is rosy, it’s obvious they’ve got a little sunburn going on. Sans hat, sans sun protection. What the hell, mom?
  • Obese kid of about 7 or 8 years old, grazing on french fries and drinking soda. Not only is the kid flooding excess amounts of sodium and sugar into his system, but, he’s also setting himself up for a long list of other health issues down the road; heart disease, diabetes, hypertension to name a few. The parents should step in and encourage healthier meal alternatives, such as fresh fruit and milk.
  • Kid who stays indoors all day, due to lazy parents who think it’s easier to plop him in front of the television for entertainment than to take him outside, where he can play at the beach, a park, or chase animals. As stated in the post https://camilligence.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/limiting-tv/, kids have energy, kids need a platform to express themselves. There’s nothing wrong with spending some time with their favorite TV personality, but, in moderation.
  • I have a friend who constantly cleans up behind her child. That’s the worst thing you could do!  By constantly picking up a child’s plate after dinner or his scattered toys, you’re not teaching him anything when it comes to accountability and responsibility. Children who are old enough to eat independently are old enough to pick up after themselves, starting with picking up their own dishes following every meal, and gathering toys into a collection place, like a bin or play room.

EXERCISE

When I was in high school I would, on occasion, take the family dog around our suburban neighborhood for a jog. Then, I moved out, got my first place, and something happened. I got busy. Busy with school, work, life…the newfound responsibilities of adulthood thrust me into some kind of exercise rut. I stopped exercising, devoting more time to work and school but foregoing time for myself. Bored and restless with the order of my life then, I found that I predisposed myself to feelings of depression and listlessness. The same old routine day in day out, became mundane. But what I didn’t realize then was that there was so much I could have done to change the way I felt. Fast forward to my life right now: I live across the street from the beach. I make it a point to get out there three times a week (sometimes four if I’m feeling particularly ambitious) for a combination of speed walking and jogging for 4.5-5 miles. I feel like my day is more complete after a rigorous, sweaty workout. Not only for my mind, but for my body. I realize the physical activity I get now will thank me later, by lowering high blood pressure, decreasing body fat, and building muscle to name a few. And not to forget that rush of feel good Endorphins from the brain, making you feel invincible, unstoppable, like a driving force nothing can contain.

NUTRITION

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more conscientious as to what I throw into my mouth. You know those people in the grocery store scanning the nutrition labels? Yea, that would be this girl right here, me. I know some might think it’s a bit O.C.D, but I beg to differ. I don’t read every label but I do pay attention to salt content and fat, and how much processing is involved. I believe the closer your diet is to the Earth, the better. Meaning, fresher is healthier. A large percentage of my diet is vegetables and meat, I steer clear of anything processed or with a shelf life. Hot pockets, frozen pizzas, boxed dinners, canned vegetables, ugh. And fast food? When I was in my early twenties, I would hit the drive-thru late at night, prime body metabolism slow-down time. And not to anyone’s surprise, I blossomed to 152 pounds. Poor lifestyle choices. Oh, but what does the beauty of a new day, a new month and a new year bring? Maturation, and change. I didn’t like what I saw on the outside or how I felt inside. So I changed it. Now,I think I visit a drive-thru once every two or three months. It’s a rare occasion. And it’s usually after some alcohol consumption ;-). Everything in moderation.

CAREER

Never before has the importance of a structured, thorough education and appropriate job placement occurred to me until these dire economic times. With so many people unemployed in the States and throughout the world, it forces you to think hard about your educational goals, with attention to career choice. My parents (like many) told me, do what you love, follow your passion. Well, unfortunately if your passion happens to be art, you’ll likely have a hard time making it, as most artists don’t seem to really make bank until they die, forcing the monetary value of their works to skyrocket through the roof. Sad but true.So this has led me to reevaluate my own educational goals. Is there a market out there for what I’m studying? Something that interests me but also something that I can live comfortably off of? Because in this economic age, a career in which you can build a life from, is a necessity.

Ah, yes, the road to adulthood. A rocky, sometimes slippery and uncertain trail, but the learning on that hike, makes it all the more satisfying…

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