I’m 30… And Here is Where My Life Is Right Now

Well, it’s officially been three months since I turned 30 years old, two months since I moved to Florida, and one month since I decided to *finally* take on the challenge of improving my life in the next decade… or so.

Mainly, my goal with the Map Your 30 Project is to prove that turning this momentous decade doesn’t have to be the end of your journey. It doesn’t have to mean that you’re now an “adult” because someone says so. In fact, only YOU can decide that. And it definitely doesn’t mean that you have to have ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING figured out. In fact, it’s totally okay if you have some (or a lot!) of growing to do. I encourage it!

So, as I begin this journey… I wanted to start with a full update about where my life actually is in relation to these six important fields that I am tackling as part of my growth in the next year or 10 or so.

Relationships: Up until this point in my life, I’ve been mostly single. But now, beyond all odds, I’ve met the most incredible person I could have ever hoped to meet–and one amazing partner-in-crime for life. Although we’ve been together for just under two months, I know that this is it and I am INCREDIBLY happy. And trust me, this big change in my life came as a HUGE shock to me!

Career: As of tomorrow, I’m back to being a freelance editor at Brit+Co. I’ll be working part-time to handle their food content, and I can’t wait to get back to it. And I’ve started writing regularly again for MamasLatinas, where I’m handling food, health, beauty, entertainment and more. Plus, I’ve got big plans for other freelance pieces… AND A BOOK.

Home: Well, the biggest change here since turning 30 and today is that I am now a resident of Southwest Florida. This isn’t really where I thought I would be at this point in my life. In fact, I am mildly conflicted about it because, when I left this area for college in New York, I told myself I’d never come back and NYC is where I belong. The only problem? I’m not really sure I feel that way anymore. For the first time in my life, I’m flexible with where I want to live. And that’s okay.

Finances: Well, this is probably one of the areas that I need the MOST work on, to be honest. I’ve never been that good at finances and I’m currently not taking in any income. That is to say, I haven’t had a paycheck in a couple of months–but as you read above, that should very soon change! Once it does, I am going to start saving for a car and… stuff.

Health: Right now, I am actually doing Whole30 with my boyfriend. Before that, my health was mostly okay but I definitely wasn’t fully happy with where I was. Although I lost 100 pounds a few years ago and have been able to keep MOST of it off, I wanted to be at a smaller size. Now I’m actually okay with my size, but I wanted to go back to eating healthier. I had fallen off the wagon of eating 80/20 (80% healthy, 20% whatever), so now I’m taking MAJOR strides towards that with this new challenge.

Confidence: I had a really great therapist back in NYC, but to be honest I haven’t been focusing on this area all that much. The most I’ve been able to do is find a pretty good support group in the area, which I am planning to go to on Friday nights. However, I’ve done a few other confidence-boosting and general “for me and my mental health” things lately, and I’m planning to continue that.

All in all, I am in a pretty decent spot with most of the areas of my life–but there’s definitely a LOT that I want to improve on, too. I want to continue to nurture my new relationship, make time for writing my book, decorate my new home, start saving money for that car I want, finally finish Whole30 and continue to build my self-confidence.

Just because I’m 30 now doesn’t mean I have it all figured out, but I’m happy that I will be doing more to improve myself. One step at a time.

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Map Your 30 Project: Why Life Doesn’t End When You Turn 30

Exactly two months ago, I turned 30 years old.

One month later, I arrived to my new (old) home in Florida.

Today is May 22nd, 2016, and I have officially lived thirty years and two months on this planet. I don’t want to get annoyingly philosophical here but, in a nutshell, here is what I learned:

We never, ever stop growing as human beings.

Or at least we shouldn’t. Constantly growing and improving ourselves is something that I have always believed in, and it’s what has driven me to this point: being officially three decades old, feeling both like an adult and like I still have a LOT to figure out, and wanting to kinda sorta do something about it.

That’s where the idea behind the Map Your 30 Project came in.

As I was approaching turning 30, I noticed one big thing happening to me and my friends. We were all simultaneously freaking out about the Big Three-Oh while also realizing that–hey! it’s really NOT that big a deal, is it? And as I approached my own milestone birthday, I started to think about all of the things I cared about in all of the different areas of my life.

Namely, I cared about: nourishing the relationships I had with friends and family, taking my writing career to the next level, creating a wonderful home life, organizing my finances (aka saving money), making sure to keep up my health goals with clean eating and exercise, and working on my self-confidence through therapy.

These six key areas of focus, I realized, are what is most important to me and where I want to grow in the next decade. So, following the spirit behind and the wholehearted belief that, HEY, just because I’m 30 now doesn’t mean that my life is made or figured out or that I don’t still have plenty of learning to do, I decided to create the Map Your 30 Project.

For the next year or five or twenty years, I am going to be doing big and little things to improve my life in these categories: relationships, career, home, finances, health and confidence. And, like the writer that I am (and because it might even help a bit with the “career” part of this project), I decided to occasionally blog about my adventures here.

While this site will remain a representation of my portfolio in general, I will also be cataloging and generally talking more about some of the other aspects of my life.

Like maybe dating (relationships), the book I’m working on (career), my new apartment (home), saving money for a trip (finances), cooking more Healthy Latin Food (health) and continuing adventures in therapy (confidence).

These are all topics that interest me, I hope to write about here and elsewhere, and I hope will maybe interest you a little bit too. And maybe, just maybe, I might even inspire someone to do their own growing, changing and otherwise improving life after 30.

Because let’s face it: whether you’re married or single, have a fantastic career or still looking for the right fit, bought a house or not even thinking about it yet, started your 401k or haven’t even figured out doing your taxes on time, regularly make it to the gym on time or get winded climbing the stairs, go to the beach without a shirt on or can’t even step foot in the bathing suit section of the store, turning 30 is just another milestone.

It’s never too late to be a more awesome person. And, as a good friend of mine put it: this is the Decade of Awesome. Welcome to it!

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The 6 Healthy Food Trends You *NEED* This Year

This was probably one of the most fun stories I’ve written in a while. Partially because it’s a topic that I am very passionate about (healthy eating FTW!) but also because I got to talk to some of the top food bloggers, writers and editors about what their thoughts were on the healthy trends we all need to conquer in 2016.

I admit: there were many other trends we all talked about, but these six are a great first start. So what are you waiting for?!

Check out my story on the 6 healthy food trends you should be trying right now on Brit+Co!

And please do me a favor and follow their sites:

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Dear Chris Rock, Did You Forget About Latinos and All OTHER minorities? 

I’ve been watching The Oscars for almost as long as I can remember. It all started with the year that Titanic won (duh) and I haven’t stopped since. I love the glitz and glamour, the Best and Worst Dressed lists, the opening monologues that make me laugh and the speeches that make me cry. But most of all, I love movies and I wait in jittery anticipation to see who won – and who lost – every year.

While I’ve been upset at some wins and losses in the past, there is a special kind of “upset” that one gets when the #OscarsSoWhite conversation comes up as it did in a BIG way (again) this year.

To be honest, I seriously considered boycotting the telecast this year… but in the end, decided that I wasn’t going to break my decades-long streak of watching. And with Chris Rock hosting, I knew that we were in for quite a show, and it all began with an outstanding opening monologue where he both criticized The Academy and made fun of the situation. It was hysterical, and totally on-point. Except one little thing…

Um, Mr. Rock, did you forget about Latinos and all of the OTHER minorities that are being ignored this year alongside nomination-worthy black actors like Will Smith (Concussion), Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation)?

As I watched and laughed alongside the audience, I couldn’t help but notice the pit forming in my stomach over the lack of diversity when Chris Rock says “we got black Rocky this year” and Whoopi Goldberg making fun of Jennifer Lawrence’s Joy in a mini-montage featuring some of the year’s top movies and hysterical cameos by black actors.

Where have all the Latinos gone?

And for that matter, where is the conversation that includes Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American and other minority actors as well? I thought the #OscarsSoWhite movement was about all of us, not just the obvious exclusion of African American actors and a host who can speak to the conversation from a personal level.

That’s not to say we’re always excluded. Last year Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Achievement in Directing for the wonderful Birdman (as well as Best Motion Picture and Best Original Screenplay). This year he won again for The Revenant, which also took home Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Leonardo DiCaprio. His buddy Emmanuel Lubezki won Best Achievement in Cinematography for the third year in a row; for Gravity in 2013, last year for Birdman and this year for The Revenant as well.

And some people indeed ARE talking about Latinos, those people being primarily Eva Longoria and her support of the Brown Ribbon Campaign, which urged those attending this year’s ceremony to wear brown ribbons to bring awareness to the lack of Latino representation in films. Plus, of course, Sofia Vergara and Benicio del Toro both presented awards during the 88th Academy Awards.

For their part, though, Chris Rock and the Oscars writers are more than happy to joke about #OscarsSoWhite, from Angela Bassett introducing Jack Black in a video celebrating Black History Month (ha!) to Rock interviewing real people in front of his favorite movie theater in Compton, Los Angeles. And while I can’t help but laugh, deep down I am very bothered by the lack of inclusion for those of us who belong to other minority groups.

What about a mention of Benicio del Toro’s performance in Sicario or…? Okay, I admit it: I couldn’t come up with another non-black minority name to add to this list, which speaks volumes about the kind of roles that simply aren’t being made available to Asian-American, Middle Eastern, Native American, Latino and other minority actors. And I understand that this isn’t something that The Academy can control, because after all you can’t give out awards for roles that simply aren’t there.

So yes, Mr. Rock, Hollywood is indeed racist.

I know I’m not the only one frustrated by this, because the #OscarsSoWhite movement has brought about real changes in the way The Academy handles things, including enacting what have been called “historic changes” that hope to diversify its membership and Cheryl Boone Isaacs’s powerful speech toward the end of the telecast in which she stressed that everyone in the audience is an agent of change and that “together we can shape a future in which all of us can be proud.”

But as we talk (and joke) about it openly all though the actual awards ceremony this year, I am left increasingly frustrated that the conversation is still not inclusive enough. Seriously, Chris Rock, did you forget about the rest of us? (And no, a single joke about Asian kids making our smart phones doesn’t count.)

I’m happy to celebrate Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala’s win for Best Animated Short Film for Bear Story and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s win for Best Documentary Short for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (about 18-year-old Saba, a Pakistani girl who was targeted as a victim of a religiously motivated honor killing and survived). And while I’m even happier to celebrate Emmanuel Lubezki’s third win and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s second win in a row – and the third year in a row that a Mexican director takes home the prize – it saddens me that The Academy still just can’t get it right when it comes to including all of us in the conversation.

As Mr. Iñárritu put it in his acceptance speech: now is our time to liberate ourselves from all prejudices and “make sure once and forever that the color of your skin becomes are irrelevant as the length of our hair.”

Here’s hoping that next year many minorities are included in Oscar categories. Or, at least, in the jokes about why #OscarsSoWhite is happening yet again…

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(Image via sofiavergara/Instagram)

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