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A Guy With Literally Zero Science Background Was Just Made Head Of NASA

Posted: 24 Apr 2018 07:31 AM PDT

Non-Scientist Jim Bridenstine is new head of NASA

A man who’s vastly unqualified for the job was just made the head of NASA because President Donald Trump seems determined to destroy the country in every way possible. NASA is pretty freaking into science, so it’s beyond ridiculous that Jim Bridenstine was made administrator of the space organization.

And this isn’t a “he’s a Republican so people don’t like him” thing. Lots of Republicans loathe this guy, too. Not only does Bridenstine not have any qualifications for the job, but he’s also an all-around terrible human. He sucks so much that other politicians wrote a letter about how much horrible he is to avoid him becoming the head of NASA. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wrote a letter on Oct. 26 urging their colleagues to vote against Bridenstine becoming the highest-ranking official at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration.

“Rep. Bridenstine's background makes him an extremely concerning choice to lead the critical agency and its 19,000 diverse employees,” Murray told Washington Blade. "Rep. Bridenstine's denial of climate science and consistent opposition to equal rights for women, immigrants and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals should disqualify him from consideration.”

It’s a huge deal that this dude is a climate change denier considering NASA is the primary government organization tasked with studying our beloved planet. Plus, he has no management experience of a large organization or business. He literally meets none of the job qualifications.

Before Trump nominated him to run NASA, he “led a small non-profit organization into hefty financial losses,” the Daily Beast reports. Translation: He’s really bad with money, which should disqualify him from the job AGAIN since NASA has a budget of $18.5 billion, about 18,000 federal workers, and more than 60,000 contract workers. But Bridenstine isn’t just bad with money; he’s shady AF. Apparently, some of those “losses” at the nonprofit – the Tulsa Air and Space Museum – came from Bridenstine spending the organization’s money on a company he co-owned. “This could have jeopardized the Museum’s status as a tax-exempt organization,” Marc Owens, an expert on tax law and former head of the Internal Revenue Services’s non-profit compliance division told the Daily Beast.

His mismanagement of the museum’s funds was so bad that he was accused of lying to the IRS on a form, kicked out of his position, and criticized about his time there when he ran for Congress in 2012. “The finances and certainly the financial reporting were arguably the worst they had been in recent years,” Jim Bertelsmeyer told The Tulsa World. Bertelsmeyer, a former petroleum executive, is a board member of the museum. “While I respect Jim's service to our Country as an aviator, I can't imagine how he is qualified to run a Congressional District if, in my judgment, he can't effectively manage our Air and Space Museum.” Bridenstine is a classic example of failing up. He failed at the nonprofit then made it to Congress, and now he’s headed to NASA.

Republicans had the chance to do the right thing. Several members of their party spoke out publicly against Bridenstine running NASA. But when it came time to vote this week, the GOP embarrassed itself again and handed another unqualified white guy a job he’s completely unprepared for.

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3 Words I Won’t Say Anymore

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

My intent is to raise my daughter to be kind, to think about other people, and to be inclusive. I also want her to be confident enough to throat-punch someone if warranted. I'm not advocating violence, of course, symbolism only. At the young age of 10, we are already figuring out how to navigate the complex world of the differing sexes. It's very unsettling to watch the entitlement and assumptions of the boys around her. I find myself having to coach her in the art of "dealing with it," which is why, it's important for her to be confident enough to stand up for herself and throw punches whenever they are needed.

It is my responsibility to teach my daughter how to confidently exist in this world and make zero apologies for being. My lessons will not only come from what I do and tell her, but also, and possibly just as importantly, from what I say.

What I say as a mother, but also as a professional woman, matters. My words have the potential to become my daughter's inner voice. The words we choose can also unknowingly impede us in the workplace. I am dedicated to make sure that what my daughter hears from me has a positive impact on her today and for years to come. Learning these lessons now, will hopefully help her stay true to herself and minimize the likelihood she will get in her own way as a woman.

There are certain words we use far too often and usually without even thinking. Simply, these words need to be removed from our vocabulary. The three words I will no longer say are: perfect, just, and little.

perfect |ˈpərfikt| adjective. Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

I admittedly use it often. Whenever my kids show me something they created, designed, wrote, whatever it is, I often find myself saying, "I love it! It is perfect!" When I throw around the word perfect to describe them or their creations, I am unwittingly sending a message of perfectionism. I've been there, and seeking perfectionism is not pretty. Prefect is an unattainable, unrealistic, and frankly, a totally unnecessary trait.

As a parent, mother, adult, educated person, I see no place in my life for perfection. (Perfect people are rarely fun.) I know I am not perfect and wouldn't ever claim to be, so, what message am I sending my child every time I tell them that their whatever is perfect? Am I giving her the skills to handle mediocrity?

The word is unnecessary and there are countless replacements for it. Additionally, I know it's a word I should stop saying because I rarely hear a man say it. Men don't call things “perfect” and they are entirely comfortable with that. Men offer suggestions when needed, and offer tips for improvement without apologizing for it. The last time I heard my husband use the word, he was describing my pre-baby boobs. In this one instance, he was right — they were pretty dreamy.

just  |jəst| adjective. Simply; only; no more than.

Generally, any time you put just in front of a statement, it becomes belittling. You rarely hear someone say, “It is just tuberculosis,” because using the word just modifies what you are saying into something meaningless or devalued.

It is also an unnecessary modifier.

As a woman, especially in a professional setting, I have stopped using the word. As women, we do not need to justify anything we do. Saying or writing things like, “I'm just checking in…I'm just following up…I was just about to say…” get in our way. We have to maneuver through this world the same as everyone else; therefore, we do not need to justify what we do, write, or say.

You want to know another reason why we should stop saying it? Because men don't say it. Men don't email me and apologize for following up. Men don't excuse themselves when talking. Men don't apologize for sharing an opinion. Therefore, we don't need to do this either.

little |ˈlitl| adjective. Small in size, amount, or degree (often used to convey an appealing diminutiveness or express an affectionate or condescending attitude).

Please, women across the stratosphere, stop using this word to describe your life. There are endless words in our beautiful language that can be used to describe things related to me or my family. Yes, technically my son is little, but only by the standard that he is the shortest member of the family. Outside of a conversation about the actual size of something, there is no use for this word. “Her little bag…his little friend…my little family…a little creation.” It's a modifier that is used, often out of habit and it's unnecessary and sounds condescending. Even worse, when we use it on ourselves, it's apologetic.

What we say affects what we do. What we say affects how we are perceived in the world. If we change the way we think about these words, and change the way we use them, it might just change the way we interact within the world. If these changes help me, and they have, I can only hope they will also help my daughter.

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This Is The Real Reason I Volunteer At My Kids’ School

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

I was leaving my daughter's elementary school the other day when a mom I know called out to me.

"Are you always here?" She rolled down her window and leaned across the front seat of her van.

She was right. I am at my daughter's school a lot. I take the time to walk her into class each day. I volunteer in her classroom once a week. I am currently a leader for one of the after-school programs. I attend or chaperone as many of the school field trips I can. I show up to as many of the parent-invited school programs my schedule allows. And I have made it my job to get to know the school's principal, my daughter's core teachers, and her peers.

My first grader walked ahead of me, and I poked my head through the passenger side window of my friend's van. "It feels like it," I told her.

She complimented me on my patience with the kids and my willingness to give up so much of my time, which was nice to hear. But while I do love working with the kids and getting to know my community, I let her in on a little secret, my real motivation to sign up and show up to all of the things:

"Someone has to show these kids what queer looks like," I told her.

She laughed and then nodded. She understood. I am fortunate to live in a pretty open and accepting place, but, among their classmates, my kids are still the only ones with two moms. And none of the moms look like I do. I am the mom who is mistaken for the dad of the family. I am the mom who doesn't look like any of the moms or women in children's books or television shows or movies. I am the men's clothes wearing, short haircut styling, gender-nonconforming woman who confuses the kids at first glance. But I don't mind.

Because for every kid who tells me they thought I was my daughter's father, for every kid I hear whisper to a friend that they are pretty sure I am a girl, and for every kid who asks me if I am indeed a girl or a boy, I am given the opportunity to have a conversation. I am presented with the opportunity to teach beyond the heteronormative and LGBTQ-limited or exclusive curriculum.

I am able to confirm what these kids are thinking: I don't look like the women they are used to seeing. I tell them I like how I look. I remind them that there is no right or wrong way to express your gender. The important thing is to respect what makes people feel good. Just by being present and myself, I am reframing what these kids perceive as normal. Not only does it feel normal and routine for me to help with their writing assignments each week, but I am normalizing our queer family and my masculine appearance to these kids. I am normalizing being different.

I also show up for the kids who either live with or have bigoted adults in their lives. I show up for the boy with the dad sporting his NRA hat and All Lives Matter T-shirt. I am not saying these parents are any less the parent I am. I am not saying that a dad proudly denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement with his clothing doesn't love his kid with the same fierceness I love mine, but I am saying he may be closed-minded.

This parent was at the same after-school program I was, and I admired that he was there for his kid. But based on the side-eye he gave, he wasn't there for me. He looked at me too long and hard. I could tell he didn't approve of my rainbow beanie hat. I knew he was judging my men's jeans and my anything-but-ladylike appearance. As much as he was likely resenting my presence, I was judging and resenting his too.

I smiled and waved at him just the same. But internally I reminded myself why I spend so much time volunteering at my kid's school: I am the representation I didn't have as a kid. I am the representation of queer culture, family, and people I wish to see more of in this world.

There are kids being raised in homes that don't like people like me, or at the very least disapprove of my "lifestyle." There are kids who will someday come out and be like me. Whether I show up or not, there are already students at my daughter's school waiting to come out and identify with one or more letters of the LGBTQI+ rainbow of possibilities. I am very aware that I may be the only representation of diversity and openness that some of these kids are experiencing.

I am also very sensitive to the fact that I may be providing hope and strength for some closeted kids who don't have anywhere else to find it. Sure, I want kids to be able to string a few coherent sentences together, but it's more important to me to help kids find a way to love themselves and to accept and love the differences in others.

I didn't have anywhere to look for these things when I was a kid. All I saw was bigotry and reasons to stay hidden. I eventually found my way out — out of the closet and out of the fear of being gay — but I wish I would have learned from an early age that there were people like me. I wish I had seen the side of diversity I am showing my daughter's classmates.

Sometimes you need to be the representation you wish to see in the world. So I show up.

I'm always here.

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Institutional Racism Destroyed My Education — But I Won’t Let It Hurt My Son

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

"You've been here before!" is a sentence I heard more times than I could count, as a child. I didn't know what it meant at first, but with time it made sense. I just knew things others my age, and often older, didn't know. The questions I'd ask often puzzled and frustrated adults. Strangers and relatives alike were amused by my correct use of "emaciated" by the age of seven. But to me, it was a necessary word for someone who aspired to be a veterinarian. I programmed TVs for relatives, trained dogs, and read Black history encyclopedias for fun. Happiness was synonymous with engagement.

My love for learning resulted in me being slightly advanced but easily bored. At home, I could satisfy my curiosity with a book or by asking my mom or grandparents a million questions. However, in school things were very different.

In the classroom, the goal was maintaining order and discipline. For Black and brown kids, it's important not to get used to creative liberty and freedom because the world will likely strip it away later. We had strict schedules, limited bathroom breaks, and we were expected to conform.

It didn't help that I was intelligent and inquisitive. It was ok to be “smart” — one who succeeds within the customs. But there wasn't space for kids like me. Inquisitive children are a threat to order. It did, however, matter that my questions made class discussions drift off topic. "Why do we have to stand in line in alphabetical order,” I'd ask my teachers. The response being dirty glances and annoyance. "Because I said so," my teacher would respond. Because they decided my intentions were malicious, they wasted no time treating me like the statistic I was expected to be.

In Texas in the late nineties, corporal punishment was common — especially in low-income schools. Nearly every morning for an academic year, I was called into the principal’s office for talking too much. I can still remember the paddle, which felt huge to my young brain. I can't remember the color, but I remember it had holes to grip the skin upon impact. The principal delivered the swats without emotion and often without words. There was an understanding that I'd caused myself and him the inconvenience. For me, it was one of many reminders that I was a problem to be solved. Almost daily, I received anywhere from four to ten swats. By the end of the school year, I was numb to it all.

To the education system, I was another Black youth on the path to nowhere. In reality, I was just an under-stimulated child. My kindergarten experiences set the tone for my educational journey. My engagement in class discussions was often overwhelming. I knew the material and challenged the class norms with my questions. That infuriated some teachers and resulted in further punishment.

By second grade, I'd spend hours of class time standing at the front of the class and "placing my nose in a circle" on a chalkboard. One day, in particular, I stood with my nose in the circle and heard the class being told to ignore me as though I weren’t there. I felt ostracized and problematic. Other times I would frequently spend 15 to 20 minutes holding books in the "chair" position, as punishment. The goal was to embarrass me to the point of breaking and remind me that “different” wasn't allowed. In some ways, they succeeded.

Elementary school was filled with paddles, time-out, and behavior plans. I internalized the message that I was incapable of success due to my background. Low bars set from teachers and harassment from other students due to my awkwardness taught me I wasn't unique to teachers, but didn't fit in with other students. I didn't have the structure that the gifted kids had so I didn't make it into the program.

I didn't want to be a classroom distraction anymore. Instead, I retreated and started to withdraw from classroom engagement.

The desire to disappear magnified as I was bullied through nearly every day of fifth through eighth grade. In history class during 7th grade, I was afraid to speak because two girls publicly called me "N.H." for no hair every day (since mine was short) and corrected anyone who called me by my real name. I developed social anxiety. Each morning, I'd be sick in the bathroom with diarrhea because school scared me.

In high school, I attempted to get over my internalized pain by chasing guys. I'd stopped trying, and my grades were lower than they'd ever been. Each morning before school, I was frozen with panic attacks and had to prepare myself to enter the building mentally.

I'm not the first child to be socialized by the education system that they aren't unique. Now, at twenty-five, I read stories of children being disadvantaged by the same forces. I wish I could say my life improved because the school saw my value and decided to turn around, but it didn't. Instead, I got into a fight while trying to confront my ex-boyfriend, who was spreading rumors about me and ended up expelled from school.

But getting expelled was the best thing that could have happened to me. The judge looked at my record and grades and reassured me for the first time in forever that I was an intelligent child. He required me to attend a community course for young girls and told me to do better. And I did.

I finished out my senior year in an affluent school district where they treated me like a person. I had control over my schedule, and despite hesitancy, they advised me to go to college. I had permission to be myself again, and I excelled.

One counselor's faith, one conditional college acceptance, six dean's list letters, and one cum laude graduation later, I'm nervous again. I worry because at two years old, I see many of the signs of curiosity that I was punished for in my son. He immerses himself in things that interest him and to the wrong person, it will be interpreted as ignoring authority. He likes running and screaming and singing. And I won't ever be comfortable with him being robbed of a quality education like I was.

I feel tears gather as I watch him run in a circle singing Moana loudly and proudly. I don’t want that quality to leave him. And I'm already fighting for him to keep it. As he gets older, I plan to reinforce the importance of individuality and creativity. I'm already searching for schools with teachers that can accommodate differences, particularly those who aren't afraid to use a creative approach to teaching and won't allow their biases to color how they see him. And if I can't find a place where he can be himself, I'm willing to go the homeschool route.

My son is lucky to have a mom who has seen first-hand the way the education system treats those who aren't considered worthy of the resources for a good education. Those messages stuck to me and I battle imposter syndrome often despite a paper trail of success. If I can help it, my son will never be exposed to the collective mistreatment youth of color experience in the education system. He will never know the feeling of literally being beaten for being eager to learn. My experiences have made me an advocate for educating others on the importance of diversity and potential causes of achievement gaps. And if it goes well, many other kids won't either.

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I Never Considered Myself Lucky Until This

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

Today I woke up determined to be an awesome mom. I work a lot, and my little boy often gets stuck with what's left of me after multiple jobs, which is the equivalent to a negative 6 on the mom scale. But today was going to be different. Today was our day.

This morning we got gussied up, then drove down to McKinney to see a car show, and hit up the petting zoo. That was cool, he loved it (as long as I held all 35 pounds of him in my no-muscle-having arms). Still, it was a success. I should have thigh-sized biceps when I wake up tomorrow. Sweet.

We drove back to Denison, he took a nap, and I was on a roll with owning the mom gig, so I decided that I would take him to The District in Durant, which is a huge arcade for kids. Cool, right?

As we were leaving for our date night, we stepped onto the porch and I turned around for two seconds to lock the door. I was mid-sentence telling myself that I was proud of the mama in me today (for the first time in ages), when Hayden decided that he suddenly knew how to fly. It went like this, "You are killing it today, little mama, you go gir–…. shit."

I turned around just in time to watch my baby swan dive six steps down, straight to his head on the concrete. Awesome.

I have been working in the medical field for about six years and I've seen every kind of cut, skin tear, goose egg, and stage 4 bed sore imaginable. I love treating that stuff. When it's my son? All medical knowledge flies out the window and I turn into a wide-eyed madwoman. He really didn't cry; instead, he screamed bloody murder for about three minutes, which seemed like 30 minutes. I wanted to scream with him, but I didn't because I had just used up all of my crappy mom allowance for the next month of Sundays.

Since this isn't the first time I've failed him this way, I've learned that after a baby hits their head, you should technically keep them awake for a couple of hours, watch for caving in their skull, vomiting, and fever. Since I couldn't let him go to sleep, we went on to the arcade. I thought it would cheer him up, and keep his mind off the accident. That was dumb.

He surely had a pounding headache — not to mention a case of the terrible twos, and the fact that there were hundreds of people running around acting like a mob of extras from the walking dead. The ones who weren't running were spending their time giving me dirty looks for the way his battle wound looked, and asking questions that just screamed, "What the hell happened?" Good times.

Fast forward three hours, one cheap prize, (spend 40 bucks on tokens, go home with a tootsie roll), and 10 interrogations later, we're finally home in the driveway. He's napping in the back, and I'm taking 10 minutes to soak in the quietness that I enjoy about as often as I find four leaf clovers.

Though I have searched, I have never found a four leaf clover.

Luckily for me, even though I was a bad mama today, Hayden doesn't think so. He thinks I hung the moon, and he's getting really good at telling me to kiss his boo-boo, and then acting like it never happened immediately after. I know he still hurts — he just face planted into concrete after diving off of steps. Hello? Yes, he hurts badly. So how incredible is it that he pretends to be fine, knowing that's what I need? How rad is it to have a kid who will put away his tears to assure me, the adult, that he's alright?

I'll tell you, it's pretty dang incredible; he's pretty dang incredible.

Some days, you gather every ounce of energy and strength in your body to be a better than average mom. And some days, no matter how hard you try, you're still going to be an epic failure. However, all days, your child will still love you.

So here's to the moms who strive to give their kids the best childhood humanly possible, even when nothing goes to plan. Here's to the ones who spend two hours toiling over an old stove in the kitchen, just to watch their toddler spit dinner out, and throw it across the kitchen. Here's to sweeping that mess up six days a week, and still feeling like you suck when you skip that step once and set them down, just to watch them slip on the eggs and roll around on the floor crying for twenty minutes. (Yes, that too happened this morning).

Here's to the mountain of laundry that we never finish, the wet towel we accidentally left on the bed, and the pile of dishes we can only tackle if we use the more-precious-than-gold nap time hour. Here's to doing that, only when the dishes no longer fit in the sink. Here's to kissing the boo-boos knowing that we could have prevented it, if we were just a little better, a little faster, a little more mom-ish.

Here's to the criticism we receive from people who couldn't walk a minute in our shoes, and knowing that nothing anyone could say could top our own inner critic. Here's to the exhaustion, the stress, the mess, and the more than worth it love.

Here's to never finding our four leaf clovers until we had children.

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Why ‘Having It All’ Is Hard AF

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

I'm running into preschool to drop off my toddler daughter Gabi, attempting last minute to get her to brush her hair for the umpteenth time and reminding her not to discuss her predilection for public flatulence with her teachers/classmates/random strangers ("Mama, I just farted!"). I walk into the classroom, help her wash her hands, and get her settled into her seat for group breakfast.

That's when it happens: I'm reminded that "having it all" can be really shitty sometimes. Gabi's teacher chides me not so subtly that we are late in sending in her baby picture for a group project. I promise her (read: immediately send myself and husband a reminder text in ALL CAPS) that we will send it in today.

On the way out of the school, I bump into “that” mom who constantly walks like she's floating on a cloud of hippie/earth mama-vibe, her two-year-old strapped to her chest and her older toddler calmly in tow, looking like she just smoked the world's best joint and everything is right in the world. Earth Mama, who happens to be a stay-at-home mom, asks me when she'll see me at the next Parent Meeting or if I can volunteer for an upcoming field trip.

My stomach sinks and I feel crappy for a hot second. As a full-time working mom with an executive job at a Fortune 500 company, leading public relations for an entire region, my time is severely impacted with back-to-back meetings, events, travel, and community involvement on nonprofit boards.

Here's the deal though: I love working (yes, I said it! Cue collective gasps!). I am happier and more fulfilled because of it. I've known since the early days of maternity leave that being a stay-at-home mom was just not for me. Props to those who do it and do it well, but it's not me, and I am okay with that. I am a multi-faceted individual: a mom, a wife, a friend, a public relations professional, a passionate communicator, avid wine drinker and bleary-eyed coffee gulper (in no particular order), and I wouldn't change it for the world. When I do have free time, I choose to spend it with my family, have date nights with the hubs, or take care of myself with a little "me time."

Does it suck on days when I am on work trips and miss out on fun moments like Gabi's first school trip to the animal shelter? Yes. Is it hard when I get videos during the work day from our nanny of my youngest daughter Mica's latest milestone, like a new word? Heck yeah. But I appreciate those individual moments more because I can step outside of each one to really see and value them. I want my girls to know that they can have it all: they can shoot for the stars, reach for their dreams, pursue their education and careers, grow as individuals, and have a family on top of it. Will the road be hard? Sure, but it's ever more rewarding because of it.

On a recent Career Day at Gabi's preschool, she wore a shirt with my company name on it and proudly presented to her classroom that she wanted to be "just like Mama" when she grows up. She told them all about what I do and how I get to hang out with celebrity basketball players as part of my job. These are the moments where the day-to-day struggle of "having it all" makes it all the more worthwhile. I know my girls see me and have the understanding that they too can accomplish whatever they put their minds to.

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Why I Hope My Daughter Doesn’t Grow Up To Be Like Me

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

"Mommy, I wish I was you."

My 4-year-old says this to me a lot. She stares at me longingly and says it when she loves my shoes or my nail polish, or wants my sparkly necklace, or because she’s in awe of my ability to tell other people what to do. It’s sweet and cute, and so lovingly flattering, but it crushes me inside. What she doesn't understand is that more than anything, I wish I was her.

She is stubborn and fierce. She never takes no for an answer. (One of many traits that will serve her well in life but makes parenting her an incredible daily challenge.) She won’t let anyone tell her she can’t or that she isn’t good enough or big enough. She is unapologetically herself. She sings loudly on the train because she is proud that she knows all the words and wants to show off. She is confident and smart, and keenly observes and tries to process the world around her. She wants what she wants and won’t settle. (Again: daily challenge.)

I watch her mimic the way I talk, the things I say, the way I handle her brother or stroke her cheek. She wants a bag that looks like mine, and wants to push a stroller the way I do. It breaks my heart because I don't want her to be me. Sure, I yell and occasionally people listen, and I do have some really great shoes, but I've lost so much of that fearlessness and spark. I’m always worried about something. I don’t have time. I don’t have energy. I have resentments. I let too many things stop me. I settled for a mediocre job and a mediocre relationship.

I wish I never took no for an answer. I don’t know that I would’ve screamed and chased older kids who took my ball like she did, instead of standing still and crying. She is mighty, strong, and spirited. She finds joy in the silliest things.

And maybe I even used to be her. It’s hard to remember anymore. This girl who refuses to wear pajamas, who thinks she's one of the teachers in her class, who loves Daniel Tiger more than life — she is my hero. This pipsqueak who taught herself to count to 100 so her older brother couldn't say he was better than her, this girl who is proud of her accomplishments, this girl who listens to her body when she's full, she is who I want to be when I grow up.

I hope that she never loses this fire, and that nothing and no one will take it away from her. I hope that throughout life, through mean girls, and hard tests, and unpredictable boys, and new and scary challenges, I hope she stays true to who she is and knows her self worth. It’s not easy.

She makes bedtime each night an endless excruciating negotiation process, but when she finally settles down after pages of stickers, and piles of books, and cups of water, and too many stuffed animals to count, I know she’s going to change the world.

Baby girl, I wish I was you.

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45 Lessons From The First 45 Years

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:00 PM PDT

I turned 45 recently, and I suddenly feel like a mom on the D-list. I am officially stalking 50 (hey, you always round up, right?), and half of my life is over, if I am fortunate enough to make it to 90. (My mom died at age 64.)

I am—gulp!—a middle-aged woman. But what does it mean?

If I am carded, it's only because it's store policy. Some not-so-smart people refer to me as "ma'am" instead of "miss," and I earned a frown line giving them my signature perplexed response. Gravity is mercilessly pulling in the wrong direction. Every bagel I consume (or even think of eating) winds up on my thighs. I wonder when I will get my first gray hair. I worry about preserving my health.

Late at night, as part of my involuntary, anxiety-provoking daily recap before I go to sleep, I find myself taking stock of the first 45. I've lived an action-adventure-suspense-comedy-horror-romance that any Hollywood screenwriter would struggle to retell. I have had blockbusters—the birth of my beloved son; the dizzying euphoria of falling in love with my husband after a brutal divorce; fulfilling my mom's dream of penning a children's book— and rotten tomatoes— an excruciatingly painful miscarriage; the betrayal of my "best friend" of 25 years; and the ultimate devastation of witnessing my mother's soul-crushing death after a long, valiant battle with ovarian cancer.

Through it all, I have learned, and I have always managed to dust off my star for another sequel.

Here's 45 takeaways from the first 45 years:

1. Envy can creep up like bad underwear. Re-adjust yourself.

2. Believe in what you're selling.

3. Check your past baggage before you take flight with someone new.

4. Marry for love. It's the only way your union stands a chance in this wild world.

5. Don't forget about your own dreams while you're so busy helping others achieve theirs.

6. Take that step. It's the only way to move forward.

7. Don't all-out ban carbs, no matter what the scale says.

8. When someone shows you their true colors, believe them the first time. Don't try to paint them differently. You're not Picasso.

9. Play music that matches your mood. And turn it up.

10. Salt is a cure-all—tears, sweat, the sea…or bag of chips.

11. Help your children become who they are. Don't pressure your kids to be what you wanted to be. You have your chance. Give them theirs.

12. Too much pride won't get you anywhere. Ask for assistance if you need it.

13. Give yourself time to transform. The soul of a butterfly is a caterpillar.

14. Be unapologetically bold.

15. Know your worth. Don't ever compromise it.

16. You need to be selfless at times, and you need to be selfish at times. Find the balance.

17. Old friends should be treasured. New friends should be welcomed.

18. Always remember your truth. Believe in the sanctity of your spoken and written word.

19. Live in hope.

20. If work is always a four letter word, find another job.

21. Have the intestinal fortitude to persevere. Obstacles be damned.

22. When in doubt, caffeinate.

23. Only apologize if you need to. Do not say you're sorry for other people's mistakes.

24. Love relentlessly. Passionately. Fearlessly.

25. Treat yourself to a facial once in awhile. You deserve it.

26. Grief is the price you pay for love. Fighting it is futile. Death changes your DNA. You will never be the same, and that is okay.

27. Don't worry about something before you have something to worry about.

28. Never lose your sense of wonder. 

29. Anger is a day-to-day tenant. Don't make it a permanent resident in your heart.

30. Life is funny. Laugh at yourself.

31. Don't be the kind of person who has a fake laugh.

32. Write love letters.

33. Try to fight fair, and concede valid points.

34. Embrace your flaws with a warm hug. They're yours. Own them.

35. You set the standard for how you will be treated. Aim high.

36. Nourish yourself, in every way imaginable.

37. Don't spew verbal venom that will permanently damage a loved one. Scream into a pillow if you have to.

38. Always be grateful you woke up this morning.

39. Good friends are therapists without the co-pay. Don't devalue them, no matter who you're with or what you have going on in your life.

40. Stargaze.

41. You're only as old as you act. Savor your silly!

42. What other people think of you is none of your business.                                          

43. Time is not on your side. It never is. Cherish it.

44. You are your own brand of magic.

45. Smile. You've got this.

What have you learned from your first 45?

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45 Lessons From The First 45 Years

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