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Day 4 – it’s all relative

relativeIt’s day #3 of the 2012 Hollander-Rosen family vaca at the Terra Bella yoga retreat in Glen Ellen, CA.  After a long day of hiking, eating, driving and exploring (where is the yoga??) I am sitting in our room with the pup realizing how lucky I am to have such a cool family.

It’s funny to think about that – “cool family” – those words would have never come out of my mouth say 14-15 years ago.  Back in the day I couldn’t stand to be around my parents (what teenager can?).  I wanted nothing to do with them and thought they were the strangest people on the planet.  I just wanted a “normal” family with parents that let me do whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and gave me money to do it (isn’t that what every teenager wants? No? just me. ok then…)  I definitely swore on many occasions that I would be nothing like them.  And yet I realize, more and more, how much I truly am. And I’m grateful for that.  I am a better person for it.  Sure they have their flaws, their idiosyncrasies, and there will always be those little things that irk me, but in the end they are awesome!  Turning 30 has taught me a lot about acceptance – I am learning to love those things that used to drive me nuts.  After all, as my mother in-law so beautifully said today:  Normal is relative, and my relatives aren’t normal.  What is normal anyways?

On a side note – today I got carded at a winery.  The women did not believe I was the older sibling (by nearly 5 years) and was shocked when she saw that my birth date was in 1982.  Yep, 30 ain’t so bad.

Day 3 – abundance

day3Family vaca day 2 …and we’re off to Muir Woods on our way to Sonoma.  On the way out of San Fran we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge and I was reminded of a time when my husband and I traveled to Healdsburg for a wedding back in 2009.  We crossed over the Bay Bridge and did not have enough $ to pay the toll, so we were ticketed by mail for double the cost instead.  This way we could use our credit card to pay for it, which at the time was our main source of currency.  Remembering this moment brought me to a place of gratitude for how far we have come and how abundant life is right now.  It has been a big shift to move from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance.  I am definitely still working on this, but must say it’s moments like these that put things into perspective.

In September of 2008 we moved across the country with a promise of a better life/lifestyle.  A promise of more sunshine, more fun, more $ – all around more-ness.  My husband had a promised job with a big clothing company, I with the promise of managing the yoga studio I had been working at for a couple of years.  We had promised salaries, promised positions – lots of promises.  In the end that’s all they were – empty promises.  The economy crashed the month after we moved – October 2008.  The studio I was to work at ran out of cash and didn’t open, the clothing company did major cutbacks and had a hiring freeze. Fuck. Here we were in LA in a super nice (and rather expensive) apartment, with a car lease and bills to pay and barely any money left in savings (had to pay moving expenses and 1st months rent).  So we did what any great American would do. Begged our families for money, got a roommate and lived off of credit cards for a bit over a year.  $30,000+ in debt later and we still had no idea how we were going to make it out here.  We did what we could to survive.  I worked retail, the hubby took internships and worked in restaurants.  We ate a piece of humble pie and pounded the pavement to make our dreams come true.  Looking back I can see that, but in the moment our only thought was – survive and don’t look back.  You spend enough time living in survivor mode and it kind of takes over.

3 years later and so much has changed.  Debt is down to under $5,000 total – this is HUGE! And we have money in savings with a tiny bit left over every month. Yet I still find myself regularly hung up on this idea that we don’t have enough.  So today I present these questions: “how does it serve me to think about the have nots?”  “when is enough, enough?”

I have been working hard this year to appreciate all that I do have.  To recognize how far we have come, how hard we have worked to create this amazing life for ourselves out here.  We live in a super cute bungalow with a shared courtyard and awesome neighbors that we can afford sans roommate, we have the greatest and cutest dog that has ever lived, wonderful and supportive family and friends, 2 brand new cars, less debt than a majority of this country, awesome jobs with bosses that appreciate us and recognize our hard work and we are surrounded by an abundance of possibility.

I have created an amazing life for myself.  In this past year I left a job that was no longer serving me to concentrate on my company (I own a fucking company!) that is consistently growing into something magnificent.  I have the most wonderful students that push me to grow and be a better person each and every day.  I completed a year-long certification in Yoga Therapy and entered into a 300 hour yoga teacher training program with a teacher I adore – Christy Marsden at Yoga Blend (check it out!).  I have learned the true meaning/goal of yoga (of life) is to experience more sustained joy and I am learning how to create that for myself each and every day!  I am learning who I am and who it is I want to be.  From the outside looking in, I am realizing (just now) that I have it all! Sure there will be more work, of course I would love to vacation more and be completely debt free.  But in the end we are doing alright. We are doing more than alright.  We can afford to pay for the bridge toll!! We have arrived bitches!! 2013 watch out! One Down Dog, LLC takeover coming your way!!

Day 2 – free to be


When I was younger, I thought 30 meant I was an adult.  I thought that by 30 life would look a certain way, I thought things would be easy and fun all day everyday, I thought I would have a certain amount of money in my bank account and a super awesome life that looked something like this:  a high paying career, house with a white picket fence, 2-3 kids, a super amazing husband, a range rover, released my first best-selling book, was the therapist for Madonna’s kids and had been on Oprah… at least once.

30 is around the corner …I haven’t quite figured out the career thing, I hate white picket fences, I don’t want to have children, my husband is super amazing (got that one), I don’t drive a Range Rover…thank god! have you seen the gas prices these days?!  my book hasn’t made it past page one… yet., I am no longer a working therapist, and sadly Oprah hasn’t called… yet.  30 used to seem far away; it used to seem like a big huge milestone into the world of adulthood, the world of “real life”, the end of my youth.  I thought by 30 I would have it all figured out. The truth is, I don’t.  The truth is I don’t feel all that old. Currently, I am on a family vaca in San Fran with the in-laws (parents/bro arrive tomorrow am).  Sitting around eating dinner, watching the Tigers lose 🙁 doesn’t feel much different than when I was in high school hanging out on their couch pretending to be interested in a sport I know nothing about (sorry Mary Jo).  What I’ve realized is that there is no switch that changes life from kid to adult – I will forever be somewhere in the messed up middle. And the truth is, I like that place.  There are quite a lot of perks 🙂

Growing up I thought I had to be a certain “something”, a certain “someone”. Throughout my 20’s I was always racing to “get” there.  Wherever the fuck “there” is.  I put tremendous pressure on myself and on occasion drove myself insane. (remember: I am harder on myself than anyone ever could be, ever.)  I don’t know where the pressure came from – it was just always there.  Maybe because I had super high achieving (and rather amazing, might I add) parents, and felt I had to be just like them, have what they had.  I was (and probably still am to some degree) constantly comparing, judging and feeling less than.  The MA degree, the certifications, the awesome jobs, the praise from employers/fam/friends, the accomplishments were never enough.  The focus was never on enjoying the moment – always on what I “should” be doing, on this expectation of where I “should” be.  This past year has been all about change and transformation, a lot of growth and acceptance.  I have realized that I don’t have to be anyone, I don’t have do anything.  Like Muhammad Ali said – “…I don’t have to be what you want me to be, I’m free to be what I want.”  So this year I’m going to do what I fucking want! I am going to have fun. I am going to let go of the pressure/expectation/judgment.  I am going to make shit happen and live!  Fuck the 20’s. Bring it 30’s!

DAY 1 – the beginning


In 30 days I will be 30.

I have been “writing” a blog for what seems like forever (3 years).  I have been “writing” this post for days now.   And by “writing”, I mean agonizing on whether or not to really go through with this thing.  I have feared posting a blog, feared putting things out there, feared what I might say and later regret.  And then I reminded myself:  I am doing the best that I can, with what I have, where I am.  Today marks 30 days to 30.  30 days to a new decade full of possibility. What better time to step it up and get real!?  After all, my new motto is: make shit happen.

So, here it is. The beginning…
a bit about me, Jessica Rosen:

I’m short – 5’ tall to be exact.  I look like I’m about 16 years old, and am often treated as such.  Drives me fucking crazy! I am a certified addiction counselor, yoga instructor, yoga therapist and high school teacher with an MA in Psychology.  I rushed through school, graduating at the age of 24 with no clue what I wanted to be “when I grew up”.  That seems to be a trend in my life – rushing to “get somewhere” and then rushing to the next thing.  {Note to self: turn that around in 30’s}  I am married.  My husband and I have been together on and off since high school – will be 12 years on Nov. 8th.  He has been sober for 4 years.  It’s been a rough ride, but in the end worth it.  We have a puppy named Patrick Bateman.  If you don’t get the name, you can’t be my friend (look it up!).   We live in Los Feliz (Los Angeles, CA for those unfamiliar), in our 5th place since moving out here four years ago. Hopefully we actually stay in this one.   I love what I do, I love yoga, I live to serve and I serve to live.   I like grapes and my feet are always cold (I had to).

I am harder on myself than anyone else could ever be – ever.  I want to do everything perfectly.  I have serious ADD.  My attention is mostly focused on getting in my own way.  I put so much pressure on myself I can’t function.  I am a writer that doesn’t write.  Writing makes me a bit crazy.  Things have to be perfect, commas in the right places, spelling accurate etc., and yet here I am – posting this blog with horrible grammar, and so far no major panic attack.  We’ll see what happens when I press the publish button.

I will write things I will regret.  I will say things I don’t mean.  I will contradict myself.  I will be a hypocrite. I will tell the truth.  I will make mistakes. I am not, and will never be, perfect.  I will say things I don’t mean.  I will give advice I shouldn’t give.  I will do all of this with the best of intentions and hope that you will stick around for the ride.

So by now you’re probably asking: why write a blog if it makes you so crazy?

I started this blog to take the leap into my 30’s with a bang! – to conquer my fears, to get honest and to begin to live the life of my dreams, not a life “survived” because I am too scared to live it.  I am writing this blog to explore the process of letting go of the past, setting up an awesome future full of joy, purpose and passion as I prepare to kill it this next decade. I am writing this blog because I know I can’t be alone in struggling through my 20’s wondering what the hell just happened and having no clue what this next decade may bring.  Because if I’m ever going to live my dreams (dreams coming soon to a blog post near you), I have to start writing again, and someone has to start reading it!   Most of all, because I have something to say, and maybe someone wants/needs to hear it.   Too altruistic?  Maybe, or maybe totally selfish.  I’m going to go with something in the middle.