Saturday, May 19, 2012

Letter to my 20-Year-Old Self,,, At 30. .

Letter to My 20 Year Old Self…. At 30.


Dear 20 Year-Old- Self:


These past ten years have been quite a roller coaster, and in many ways, I'm very happy to see my 20's GONE. Because in many ways, at least now…… I know. I simply know. And there is something so inherently soothing about that. I'm turning 30-years-old (!!!) in just a few hours and I only wish I had the wisdom I have right now at 30, but only at 20 years-old instead. Man! Would things have been different! I love that I can put this decade behind me… and I know I’m not the only one. I wish I could say that I look back at most of my twenties with nostalgia, reminiscing of the “good old days,” but I don’t, and I won’t.

My twenties were a decade filled with worry, about everything! Leaving my sheltered teenage years—I really didn’t know how good I had it. Adulthood was a rude awakening and I feel obligated to share the dreadful experience so that others never feel alone the way I did.  

Oh! If I could only tell myself at 20 how much I regret stressing out over every-single-move I made back then and worrying if it was the “right” one, I would. I wish I could shake that 20-year-old who still lurks within me and tell her that it’s OK to make mistakes, not know your college major, not to be certain that a $150K law degree was worth it, to reconsider half the choices I made, I certainly would. I would tell her to "chill-out" and go to the beach that sunny day in July with John Campo and his friends instead of study in the gloomy NYU Law Library for the LSAT. (the NYC Black out happened to be that day, and I wound up walking 5 hours back home to Queens the minute I got to the Law library.)


Today, as I embark on my 30s, my life is short of remarkable. I have an amazing husband who loves me more than words. Together, we have the cutest and most playful little puppy and she brings joy to all around her. My relationship with my parents is happy and healthy. I love my college prep and tutoring business, which I opened on credit cards years ago (more on that later), with no clue as to how powerful it would become and how many lives it would affect. I’m also a powerful divorce attorney, handling an average of 50 cases each year (which started with one- my own!).I can honestly say, that at thirty, I could not be in a happier place than I am in now. Every single part of my life feels complete, personally and professionally, and I am ready to welcome and embrace my thirties.

My transition from my sheltered teenage tears to the twenties hit me over the head-- hard. Leaving high school and going to college then figuring out what grad school to attend, then picking a career and choosing a husband on top of it all were some of the largest life decisions I ever hope to have to make. I now get why “Friends” a show about a group of lost twenty-somethings, became a hit TV show and perhaps one of the best shows this century. The twenties are certainly roaring --- to kick your butt.


As I am about to truly reminiss in this letter to my 20-year-old-self, I must confess that I was scared sh*tless as I approached my twenties. However now I can finally sigh relief because never again will I have to experience that stress and uncertainty of the unknown.


While I can’t turn back the clock, I can at least write a letter – a list of things I know now at 30 that I wish SO MUCH I had known at twenty.

I’m also writing this letter specifically for the kids at the Kweller Prep, so many of whom look up to me and think I have it all together…Well, I didn't and I don't.

Please know that I too have flaws! I too stressed out over the SAT’s and had a long road before I chose my college major, wound up in law school, and made massive life choices.

I feel like I'm about to write the "Always Wear Sunscreen" (look it up if you
don't know it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQlJ3vOp6nI&feature=related song ... Well here goes.

My Preface ends, and my story begins ….


WHAT I KNOW NOW AT 30, THAT I WISH I KNEW AT 20.

I spent so much of my twenties STRESSING OUT and freaking out. College Major? Double Major? Choosing a Major? Where was my guidance when I needed it???? Where was a place like Kweller Prep???? Law School? Business School? Teaching School? Masters in Education? MBA? Taking a semester “off”? How about a year saving the rain forest, or at Teach for America, or soul searching in Israel or India. The options seemed endless.

My personal decisions were not any easier to make. Boyfriends, husbands, exes, friends, acquaintances, keeping in touch and losing touch, becoming a home owner, becoming a business owner….getting engaged, married, separated, divorced and then trying to start all over again (easily by removing all old facebook pictures!!) Dealing with my parents health problems as an only child, learning that I can respect them although their advice can be so wrong… Launching a highly successful business in the midst of an economic recession, making more money than I had know-how or experience to do with, Leaving New York, moving to LA, and then moving back to become bigger than ever. That’s just a sampling of my twenties.


So here is the list:


WHAT I WISH I KNEW AT 20:

1. RELAX! I thought that I needed to have my ENTIRE life figured out by 25. My 20's were filled with "adult" panic and anxiety. Where will I live? How will I pay rent? What will be my career the rest of my life? I need to choose now what I will do the rest of my life. There is no way I can drop out of Law School. Evan Bailyn dropped out of law school. He seems so happy now. I should have worked with him! II love editing college essays! It seems as if 1/3 of my class is dropping out of law school. I just don’t know if I should be at the school of Education at NYU. I don’t see myself as a school teacher. I am really scared that I am not making all the right choices.   My-parents-will-kill-me-if-I-drop-out. We have already spent so much money.  Everyone will “talk.” My-parents-will-kill-me-if-I-drop-out. Didn’t I want this? My-parents-will-kill-me-if-I-drop-out. I took the LSAT three times, but now I’m reconsidering law school? I HATE PROPERTY LAW. My professor is 180 years-old. How did all these dumb guys wind up as professors of Law? I can teach this class better than them. I think my real estate law professor HATES people.

As if professional struggles weren't hard enough, I had to figure out my personal life... Who will I marry? How many kids will I have? If I’m not married by 25, my-life-will-be-over. I need to hurry up. Everyone is right, my clock is ticking. It seems that everyone is dating and marrying except for me. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just figure life out? MUST marry by 25. I must have kids by 30. My clock is ticking. My boyfriend keeps telling me we should wait, but no one else seems to be waiting. He and I are simply not on the right page. We aren’t even in the right book on the right page. But I mean he is Jewish, and tall, handsome and a lawyer, and I guess he “fits the description.” Isn’t this what I am supposed to be looking for?  I think this is right. I’ve invested three years with him, how can I possibly start over? Where are all the cute guys in college and law school??? I want my tuition back!

I currently own at least two dozen bridesmaid dresses. When I tell you everyone I knew was getting married by 25, I meant it.

Now back to my professional concerns… the following were regular voices in my head: I can’t drop out of law school. Everyone will think I am a failure and my-life-will-be-over. What will I do? I need to take the GMAT to get an MBA? What?????!!!!???? I haven’t studied this stuff in years. How can I switch out of law school? I am so incredibly unsure about this. I am making really expensive decisions. I feel so guilty-  am I wasting my parents’ money? Will I really be a lawyer? Why am I not happy with law school?

Three years later and many late-night conversations with my parents….new voices… If I don't pass the bar exam on my first try, my-life-will-be-over! Law school is so boring. I'm too creative to be here. I'm going brain dead. If I drop out of law school the last year, my life will be over.

Voices voices voices …if I’m not married, in a big house, with kids and massive savings in the bank, my life by 30, my-life-will-be-over. over…over.... over .....over.... over!

I wish soooooo much that I had just stopped to smell the roses on my twentieth birthday. Instead, my twentieth birthday was filled with ANXIETY.  I was nearing college graduation from NYU, with no clue what to do afterwards. My boyfriend back then was such a sweetheart, but he was clueless about his future as well. We were the blind leading the blind. We were both superbly confused about making life decisions.  

Everyone around me throughout my twenties seemed to be in this constant state of personal panic. People around me were getting engaged, breaking off engagements, going to law school, dropping out of law school, getting into med school, dropping out of prestigious pharmacy programs, oye! those years were filled with facebook status changes... : "it's complicated" was the only constant in everyone’s lives. The blind, leading the blind, leading the blind….


Graduation from college brought us into a state of near hopelessness. Perfect honor roll students with stellar grades were going to work in the family jewelry business. Huh?  These kids ---with awesome grades ---are working in their family businesses? I just don’t get it. They didn’t need NYU for that!!!

But then what about me?

I didn’t have a family business to revert too. My mom was a school teacher and she instructed me to stay far away from that—arguing that the public school system is full of bureaucracy. My dad worked as a clothing store manager on Delancy Street and advised me to stay miles away from the “schmata” business. So where was my GUIDANCE??? (LOL Where was a place like Kweller Prep back then???). So there I was, a college graduate—the first one in my immediate family to attend a top university—and I’m looking to my parents for guidance and all they can tell me is what not to do… to not do what they did. Great! Talk about being a lost soul! So I did what any academically smart kid would do… stayed and went to law school.

THE NEXT CHAPTER BEGINS

I’m going to pause to make clear that today I have ZERO regrets about going to law school. I only regret the path that brought me there. I also felt extremely misled about how hard it would be to find a well-paying job upon graduation from college without strong (and arguably unfair) connections. I had a rude awakening and reality check out of law school as well and the high salary I would make. The year I graduated, a class action law suit was filed by law students suing their respective law schools for inflating and skewing data promising much higher salaries upon graduation. I was part of the suit too. I got duped as well. 90K a year starting salary my a$$.


So now, I'm turning 30 within the next few hours, and I decided to STOP-- yes! stop! and reflect on this past decade, and the only thing I realized that is certain is ....uncertainty. Yup, the ONLY thing I understood down this road of life is that man plans, g-d laughs. I've never been so happy to come to that conclusion. Yes, it’s OK not to know. 20-year old self, I wish you had been OK with that.

I sincerely thought that if I didn't have LIFE entirely figured out by 25, I'd be a hopeless soul. Kaputz! The black sheep in the family! I’m a first generation American. And damn! The expectations of me were so high! I grew up with all these family dinner time stories about how my parents escaped persecution and gave up everything and anything in their homeland to give ME (born ten freaking years later!!!!) more opportunities and to have a better life. As if I asked them to do this? Gees, I was born with a guilt trip. So many tales about how they had to struggle with language barriers and cultural changes and all of this was done just for my sake. Ouch ouch ouch. The roller coaster started from birth. Great expectations were made, and I was pre-destined to become a professional, happily married, contributing member of society.

Most of all, I was expected to lead the way for my younger cousins and to never doubt my choices.

Admitting to uncertainty was equivalent to failure.      
                                        
I can honestly say I had second thoughts about EVERY SINGLE CHOICE I MADE THROUGHOUT MY TWENTIES. I played an evil chess game, except not with horse figurines, but rather with my life.

2. JUST DO IT. Stop over thinking and just do it---  I wish I could go back in time and remind myself of those three beautiful words, “Just do it”—just go to Europe for the summer, just don’t go into work today, just buy the designer shoes! Just pick a college Major already!!!!!! I literally analyzed every single college major under the son (with my wonderful gd-sent father who suffered along with me and my indecisiveness—there is honestly no dad in this world better than mine)

If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have gone away for college, to an ivy league, lived on my own from 18, instead of going to NYU. I loved NYU, but I should have maybe tried out Cornell, or maybe done a semester at UCLA. I 100% regret not doing study abroad. There were a million reasons not to go (money, money, money) but I should have found a way.

Additionally, I went back and forth between going to law school and business school a million times. My poor parents, I put them through so much of my indecisiveness. They simply didn’t know how to help.

I did not attend NYU graduation. Neither did my boyfriend back then. We felt robbed. I felt like someone should have held up a road map saying THIS-IS-WHAT-YOU-DO-NEXT with fine-tuned arrows. But instead, here I was in my early twenties-- graduating from NYU, a semester early, with nearly perfect grades, “cum laude.” At age 22, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I had so many interests. I thought I had to pick one. I felt like I was under so much pressure to decide. I wish I had just made quicker decisions and just jumped right in.. I mean you never know until you try, so you might as well.

The only people who really got a raw deal were my parents, who missed out on taking graduation pictures with me.... because I didn't go... 20 year-old-self, you were so stupid!  So much money was spent. So much time. I wish I had just done stuff- without analyzing and psychoanalyzing so many of my choices.

I remember when I graduated from college, for the very first time, I was so scared. Everyone around me was like, “Ok, what’s next?” Well, the job market was bleak. NYU career services jobs were paying only $40 K a year, and I had too much ego to take a “low paying job” after graduating high honors and early from NYU. I was a snob, and too much pride to workk for $15 or $20 an hour, regardless of the “benefits.” Who cares about a 401K anyway? What’s the next step? I really didn’t know.

Working at a law firm btw, didn’t turn out to be any better. I lasted 6 months at a corporate securities law firm in the Chrysler building before I quit—nice big window office and everything. I was bored to death.

Conversely, I genuinely enjoyed and was highly entertained working at the immigration law firm, Zhang and Associates. They helped Phd Candidates legally get into the United States via study visas and NIW (National Interest Waiver) Petitions. I was very supportive of the cause. But the long hours at Zhang & Associates were killer—over 12 a day. All I remember is how nice they were and fed me dinner after 7:00 pm, but the free meal wasn’t enough to keep me there past 11:00 pm-- no matter how much I loved Paninnis. I felt really bad for leaving that job too. Guilty, actually, because I knew they really needed me, but it simply wasn't for me.  I didn’t quite know back then that I was meant to be an Entrepreneur. I just knew I couldn't stay there forever.

Getting jobs, switching jobs, keeping jobs, quitting jobs—I was a pro at confusing my parents—both of whom worked the same jobs for over thirty years.

There came a point when my relatives asked my parents, “What is Frances up to?” and they would respond with, “I don’t know.” Yeah, those days sucked.

3. THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER. GET OVER IT.

My best friend is a CPA, and I am a LAWYER. We both look at our other mutual best friend, a PHARMACIST, and wish we were her. Yes, we have these phone conversations saying how we wish we were pharmacists. Go figure. We are happy, but her grass looks so much greener. With “easy” work hours, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, health benefits and plenty of vacation time, a 401K and pension plan, we both have times when we wish we were pharmacists. Then again, sometimes pharmacists wish they were us. The grass is always greener. You will never win

By thirty, I’ve learned to let my puppy pee on the grass and to move forward.

 
4. MY PERSONAL LIFE: ADVICE TO WOMEN: SET HIGHER STANDARDS WITH MEN, WITH LIFE, WITH LOVE.
I read the book "The Panic Years." I also read the book "Quarter Life Crisis." I lived through both. Stupid girls like me buy these books-- they serve an almost medicinal purpose. The 20 something self help section at Barnes and Nobles is a gold mine. I'm so happy now, so in love, and married to the man of my dreams. He told me the second day he met me that he would marry me.

We eloped a few months later. He is my truest love and real soul mate. It did not come easily.

Prior to meeting my now husband, I had a big huge expensive flashy wedding with someone else who I didn't love in my 20's but rather really wanted to be married by 25. He didn’t love me back either. It’s like, all our friends were getting married, so shouldn’t we?

I dated so many guys, and my ex was a lawyer and just what my parents wanted. A Jewish Lawyer. Check, Check, Check.

Why I hung out with my ex for three years waiting for him to "pop" the question, I will never know. But I did.

What I really wish I knew when I was 20 was to have the self-esteem and the confidence to not sell myself short. I was so stupid back then. In fact, the only smart thing I did was have the strength to leave a stupid, embarrassing, and expensive situation. Did I mention expensive?

Why do so many women sell themselves short? What's wrong with us??? You need to respect and love yourself before you can respect and love anyone else. It's just a fact. How can you ever complain that you need to be appreciated when you don’t appreciate yourself?


I think what I learned most of all from going through a divorce was that I can overcome anything- from being alienated by certain unsupportive married friends to the immense humiliation of my huge wedding that hit papers and magazines but lasted shy of a year. To say my life was hard the first year post divorce was more than an understatement. 

The epiphany 

I remember very well when I decided to move to LA. It was June in NY, the kids from my tutoring business were all away for the summer, and I was left all alone... To think. and there I was in my office.... Thinking.... I remember feeling really badly for myself. On one hand, I knew I accomplished everything I wanted with my education, me career was starting to take off, and I had over 6 figures of savings in the bank from a business I built only a year prior. At this rate, I would be a self-made millionaire by 30.

I knew I wanted more, and personally, I was unfulfilled. I took a huge leap of faith and decided to shut down my highly profitable tutoring business after its first year and move to California. I had visited LA for years every summer and just lived being there - and all that LA had to offer. Here I was, separated, with savings, heading off to the “happier coast.”

Long story short: It was in LA that I met George, my now husband, who proposed to me the very second day we met. Again, I took a leap of faith. I knew in that very short time that something about him was right for me.  I didn't accept his proposal until 2 weeks later and very soon after we moved in together (leap leap leap). 

I never would have met my soulmate had I not acknowledged I made a mistake marrying my first. It's ok. I screwed up, but I learned such great lessons along the way. My ex used to say he was a square and I was a round and something about a square not fitting in to a round peg. 

My ex wasn't a bad guy, but he just want the right guy, and I needed to be OK with that and decide to wake up and move on. 

It's ok to make a bad decision: 

Today, I would never change who I am with or take back any steps that led me to my soul mate. I'm stressing this because I made an extremely difficult series of decisions in my mid-twenties. Many of these choices caused me to lose friends (who I later learned were never good friends to begin with) and learn to be OK with admitting I made a bad decision. I can't tell you how hard it was to go back into the dating world, to move across the country, to leave family, to give up an extremely stable lucrative career and business simply because I was not personally fulfilled.  But I did all that and more. Those choices made me stronger than even I knew I could be. 



5. LOVE HAPPENS WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT. Oh, how I wish at twenty I had believed in this. Everyone says this, but I never thought to believe it. I am such a planner. I’m a plan-aholic (Is that even a word?) I tried Jdate, millionaire match, "shidduchim" and attended every jewish singles event under the sun. It wasn't until I was 100% content with being and remaining single, that I surprisingly met my now husband. When my "real" husband and I met, and we had an instant, almost magical connection. We fell in love when I wasn't looking and I was just focused on work.... then boom! he walked into my life (or rather I walked into his office).

He is my truest partner in every way. We think alike. We are both workaholics, we love driving to artichoke and mamouns after midnight for pizza and falafel. So much planning and so many bad dates, so much soul searching. I will never take what I have now for granted. I wasn’t one of the “lucky” ones to find love in high school (actually it took about ten years after). I think what helped me most in meeting my husband was knowing myself well, and that took time.

I regret so much in my twenties stressing out over who to marry and listening to such stupid advice “Hurry up, your clock is ticking and true love doesn’t exist”. It does. I found it, and I have it. If anything, all that bad advice was a detour. Thank gd I am where I am today and I am with who I am with today.

AGAIN I wish so much that at 20, I had just chilled out and not listened to the "elders" about how love doesn't exist, how I need to be married ASAP, how my clock is ticking, and how the whole family is eagerly awaiting my wedding. My twenties were filled with pressure to have life all figured out- every last detail, personally and professionally. Thankfully, that decade of panic is gone.


I learned more lessons going through a divorce at 25 than an encyclopedia of books could ever write. I re-evaluated friendships, re-examined old ones, and learned Lesson number 5.

6. YOU DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PERFECT 

Divorce hit me particularly hard. I was 25, an NYU grad, a law school grad- I even passed the NYS bar on my first try. I was always a straight A student, amazing friend and loving daughter.

Divorce was, in many ways, my first failure. I'm sorry if I sound really arrogant, but I'm being honest. It's like-- here I was at 25-- the perfect daughter (an only child can do no wrong), devoted friend to so many (over a dozen bridesmaids and 250 guests-- not bad for such a small family) and a deep down perfectionist in every feasible way. 

I have no doubt that I made the right choice to divorce my partner back then. I’m beyond happy and know I'm with my soulmate today. The truth is that my ex and I should never have married in the first place-- he didn't want to-but  my clock was ticking so I pushed and pushed for a wedding. 

The excruciating experience of divorce matured me in ways I never knew. I learned how incredibly backwards the family court system of New York truly is, that even a rabbi can give you misguided advice (he blamed me for not being able to keep peace in the home "Shalom Bais" and that I am at fault for the marriage being bad) and that a lawyer who you pay 2k in advance to handle a simple uncontested annulment can immeasurable  screw up (I wrote an awful online review of her but to cleanse myself of bad energy since took it down).  Perhaps the lesson with the lawyer was that I never should have paid her in advance to begin with. 

But from something very bad, I learned something good. I'm really proud of the FK law group, which I formed shortly after going through the Queens family court system and waiting 3 years to dissolve a mere 10 month marriage.  At FK, we really help people simplify the divorce process and specialize in helping both men and women obtain a Jewish divorce ("Get") to easily remarry. It was really important to prevent others from going through what I went through and in 2011, when my divorce (actually an annulment) was finalized, began the formation of what is now an outstanding matrimonial small law Practice in NYC. (See www.FKLawGroup.com)

I think what I learned most of all from going through a divorce was that I can overcome anything- from being alienated by certain unsupportive married friends to the immense humiliation of a huge weddings that hit papers and magazines but lasted shy of a year. To say my life was hard post divorce was more than an understatement. 



THE EPIPHANY

GET UP AND GET GOING 

I remember very well when I decided to move to LA. It was June in NY, the kids from my tutoring business were all away for the summer, and I was left all alone... To think. and there I was in my office.... Thinking.... I remember feeling really badly for myself. On one hand, I knew I accomplished everything I wanted with my education, my career was starting to take off, and I had over 6 figures of savings in the bank from a business I built a year prior off credit card loans. 

I knew I wanted more, and personally I was unfulfilled. I took a huge leap of faith and decided to shut down my highly profitable tutoring business and move to California. I had visited LA for years every summer and just lived being there - and all that LA had to offer. Here I was, separated, with savings, heading off to the happier coast.

It was in LA that I met George, my now husband, who proposed to me the very second day we met. Again, I took a leap of faith. I knew in that very short time that something about him was right for me.  I didn't accept his proposal until 2 weeks later and very soon after we moved in together (leap leap leap). 

I never would have met my soulmate had I not acknowledged I made a mistake marrying my first. It's ok. I-screwed-up, but I learned such great lessons along the way. My ex used to say he was a square and I was a round and something about a square not fitting in to a round peg. 

He wasn't a bad guy, but he just want the right guy, and I needed to be OK with the fact that I chose the wrong guy and decide to wake up and move on. 

7. IT'S OK TO MAKE A BAD DECISION 

Today, I would never change who I am with or take back any steps that led me to my soul mate. I'm stressing this because I made an extremely difficult series of decisions in my mid-twenties. Many of these choices caused me to lose friends (who I later learned were never good friends to begin with) and learn to be OK with admitting I made a bad decision. I can't tell you how hard it was to go back into the dating world, to move across the country, to leave family, to give up an extremely stable lucrative career and business simply because I was not personally fulfilled.  But I did all that and more. Those choices made me stronger than even I knew I could be. 



8.  YOUR FRIEND'S WILL CHANGE. My mother always said this. She could not have been more truthful. As your interests change, so will the people who you surround yourself with. VALUE THE ONES WHO STICK AROUND DESPITE THE CHANGES. Cherish them. You have no idea how many "instant" friend I had when my business took off and how many were MIA when my personal life went sour. The real friends are the ones who stick around, despite the marriages, the kids, and the bar exam. Sometimes, the only real friends you have are family. Some "friends" are only there during good times, some are only there during bad. Some disguise themselves as friends, but in reality, they are emotional vampires (another great book!) and get pleasure off hearing your troubles. Cherish the keepers.



I'm still friendly with a lot of people from my childhood, but now I have more common-interest friends than ever before...my interests have changed, and in many ways, so have a lot of my friends. My parents, however, have still stuck around, which brings me to lesson number 4.

I have changed friends during the following times in my life: Graduating from NYU, graduating from law school, when getting married, when getting divorced, and then getting remarried. I didn’t do it with malice, but as my interests changed, so did my friendships and people who I chose to be around with. Some people simply didn’t make the list anymore. My largest change of friends occurred as my business, Kweller Prep rose to fame. You would be surprised how many green eyes that arose. I always used to be happy for my friends and their success.  But I learned the hard way that very few were truly happy for mine. I have heard on so many occasions that your truest friends are your family. That’s right, but even some of my family grew green eyes as Kweller Prep evolved.

 
9.YOUR PARENTS ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. This lesson was sad to learn. I love my parents, I love other people's parents. I deal with parents every day. “Parents” os about 1,000 kids sustain my lifestyle and help pay all my bills-- After all, they are the ones signing their kids up for test prep. But sometimes, parents are not always right.

 
PARENTS MAY WANT WHAT IS BEST, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THEY DO NOT ALWAYS KNOW WHAT IS BEST.


In fact, they are oftentimes wrong. Parents, infrastructurally, have good intentions, but their advice can only apply to their limitations. In general, people will limit you by what they understand to be true and their own ambitions and plans for you in life. What frustrates parents is your ability to keep digging for more. They offer well meaning, but sometimes detrimental advice. It’s normal for a parent to say “I want what is best” but sometimes they don’t know themselves what is best.

When I opened my tutoring business, I opened it on credit cards. My parents did not speak to me for three weeks. Oh, and joy, I was separated too! I slept on the couch in the office and used every dollar generated from students to build and expand. The business wound up being very successful, with over 400 students enrolled by the end of the first year. I was a hit on the search engines, had thousands view my you tube and my blog was at the top of SEO searches,

My dad, one year later, told me that he used to think he was always 100% right, but after seeing me succeed in business, he realized he was 100% wrong. I cried during that conversation. He was finally on my team with this “crazy tutoring idea.”

I learned lots of lessons opening my business. It’s on another blog. See: Lesson’ learned starting my own business:

http://kwellerprep.blogspot.com/2011/11/lessons-i-learned-about-launching-my.html . I almost didn’t open, I closed and then reopened! It was a long road! My parents, who love me very much, almost talked me out of a life dream.


10. LOVE YOUR PARENTS, RESPECT THEM, BUT SOMETIMES, FOR SANITY'S SAKE, LISTEN TO THEM WITH ONE EAR OPEN. Out of respect, don’t talk back to your parents. I REALLY REGRET FIGHTING SO MUCH WITH MY PARENT IN MY TWENTIES, I wish I had let so much go. Now, when my parents say something I disagree with, I wait five minutes. I learned that my parents got a lot a smarter as I got older. This is not always the case. When one of my best friends from high school’s parents divorced shortly after she finished college, she barely spoke to her mother ever again. Sometimes, that’s OK too.

My parents are very humble people, Russian Jewish immigrants, whose own parents were concentration camp and holocaust survivors. They live a very modest, humble existence, and are not entrepreneurial in any way. They are afraid of the social media websites and are convinced that whenever you talk on the phone about taxes, the government is listening. The first designer bag I bought myself at fifteen, my parents yelled at me for three days about how I was careless with money.

IF YOU WANT TO LIVE EXACTLY LIKE YOUR PARENTS, DO EVERYTHING THEY SAY.

Otherwise, get mentors.

11. THE MOST REWARDING THINGS IN LIFE ARE SOMETIMES THE SCARIEST. I remember my hands shaking when I signed the lease for my first office, then they shook again for my second. I was terrified when I went before the judge and settled my first court case. I eloped. I adopted a puppy. My greatest pleasures in life now are the ones that started out with fear and uncertainty. I’m kind of used to it by now.

12. SPEND MONEY ON YOURSELF. Coming from Russian immigrant Jewish parents major decision, I grew up hearing so much about survival stories etc. that when I had my first taste of success, I actually had to learn to spend money! Yes, it was actually a skill I never knew. My now husband taught me to do this and it was not easy. I had to learn to buy designer brands, to opt for high quality, high prices, and high end. To get my hair done regularly, to always be manicured. Loving yourself is a skill and takes practice. I had to LEARN to love myself, to go to a jewelry shop and to buy myself a gift. I barely showered during finals in law school. I wore the same green sweater for two months while studying for the bar.

13. EAT THE CAKE. Diet soda, Diet cookies, Splenda, stevia, wheat thins. 100 calorie snack bags. I wish I had just learned to enjoy and to eat the cake. I wish I could tell myself at twenty that the eating the cheesecake was ok. I love cheesecake. I truly regret giving up so much birthday cake.

14. MY LAW DEGREE WAS WORTH IT. Man, did I struggle with this one! Three grueling years of law school, an LSAT and a BAR. I don't know how I did it! I passed the NYS bar exam on my firsst try. It was the most difficult test of my life, and I didn't see daylight for three months. I have been out of law school for three years now, and I can honestly say that it wasn't until I won my first case that I really saw the value and power of my law degree.

 I also set up my entire tutoring business with my legal knowledge, and i'm very grateful for that. I set up my own corporation, registered my own non-profit 501c3, and created and "bullet-proofed" my own employment agreements, non-compete agreements, and non-solicitation agreements. I think I wanted to drop out of law school every week while I was in law school. In my twenties, I was so young and so restless. I definitely sleep better at night knowing that I have a law degree. 20 year- old self, the torture was worth it.

15. Last but not least, always wear sunscreen.

To conclude, I am ready to embrace my thirties. I am so happy that my 20s are done and over with. Now I know. Thankfully, now I know.

 

 

 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQlJ3vOp6nI&feature=related

 


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