Is Marriage in Your Future? Why Money & Education Matter

Wendy_WalshWhile marriage rates are low, wedding bells and an alter could be in your future, but much depends on if you fall into a category demographers call “marriage-eligible Millennials” – people whose marriage rates are actually on the rise.

An analysis released to USA TODAY reveals what so many of us already know: the U.S. marriage rate is low and in fact, has reached its lowest point in over a century. But this decline may not apply to you. While the economic recession resulted in the number of marriages decreasing by more than 5%, this study predicts there will actually be more weddings among the over the next two years.

The low rates of marriage are mostly related to two factors: couples eschewing legal marriage and instead dipping their toes in commitment by co-habitating and the recession, that makes couples slower at saving money for the big nuptial bash.

But the future looks brighter for some who want to get married. Not everyone will experience the decline firsthand – U.S. birth forecast provider Demographic Intelligence anticipates a 4% bump in the number of weddings from 2009. According to the study, women ages 25-34, the college-educated, and the affluent, are likelier to soon exchange vows than those with a high school education or less, younger Americans, and the less affluent – all who’s marriage rates are stagnant or steadily decreasing. In lower socio-economic classes, marriage and parenthood have become two distinct concepts and the middle-class is beginning to follow suit. But in the highly educated and high earning group, marriage rates highest and predicted to be going up.

Of course, there are the naysayers. Some demographers, including co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, fear this study may be “overly optimistic.” In a 2012 report conducted by the center, Manning and her team found that one-third of people that said, “I do” last year were not marrying for the first time, and that these remarriages were not among younger generations.

Manning also points to the fact that the average age of first-time brides and grooms is getting older each year. Three years ago, the average age was 28.2 for men, and 26.1 for women, compared to the estimated 29.2 and 27.1, respectively, by 2015. What’s more is that experts, including Demographic Intelligence president Sam Sturgeon, expect these numbers to only continue escalating – and for at least another decade.

Bottom line: Get a graduate degree, a good job and by the time you hit the age of 27, you’ll be part of that lucky group of “marriage-eligible Millennials.”

I Believe……

photo_15543_20091121Growing up as a teenager in today’s media driven society can get a little crazy sometimes. Our cell phones are attached to us 24/7 and social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.. alert us that someone has tagged us, messaged us or there is new drama. When I think of the social media applications we teens use, I think of it as our own TV News Network. Who needs CNN or FOX when we can see it almost as fast as the stations do? As I travel giving my “Girl Talks” I am finding more and more that young girls spend way more time than necessary worrying about what everyone thinks about them. Rumors, gossip and drama spread like a bad disease causing girls to second guess themselves or better yet, they are afraid to be themselves because they are being judged under the microscope of social media.

When we are little we don’t think about how mean other girls can be. Everyone is our friend and we just want to play imaginary games and eat ice cream together. Fifth grade comes around and we are given a dose of bad tasting medicine and realize girls are mean. Instead of being judged whether we can play nice together we are now being judged by what we wear, how much money we have, who has the best figure and who’s popular. Not meeting the criteria immediately puts you in a “grouping” whether you like it or not which continues throughout your school years…. UNLESS…. you believe in yourself, know your self worth, and are confident to ignore the haters and rock who you are and what you stand for. I like to call it having “Girl Power.”

Finding your “Girl Power” is easier said than done. Parents can tell you how wonderful you are your entire life and one can still feel inadequate. Getting bullied takes you down a notch and many times girls never get back up. I’ve always been the type of girl who wants to fit in and wants to be liked, but not at all costs. I found my “sparkle” in middle school and at the time it was cheerleading. I was very small and therefore was a great flyer. This boosted my self confidence and I was surrounded by others who shared the same hobby which gave me friendships that remain today. My high school years were no longer filled with cheerleading, I found theater and choir to be what made me “sparkle.” Again, being a part of a team and working together for the same cause enabled me to find great friends who shared my morals and values. My film and modeling career was my true love, but I only chose to share that with my closest friends. Once again, girls are mean and I found myself not wanting to share something that I was so proud of for fear I would be judged. That is so wrong and as soon as I figured that out I felt home free. Worrying about what others think keeps us from expressing who we are and what we are passionate about.

As long as I am making good choices and have positive morals and values, I can take my “Girl Power” and my “Sparkle” and make a difference by being just me – the best that I can be. No one is allowed to judge me except me – I believe having confidence has given me the opportunity to see my “girl power” and rock my “sparkle.” My goal through Girls Above Society and the reason I created this organization is to help empower young girls to believe……in themselves……and be the best that they can be……not what society says they should be. So, go on and get some “Girl Power” of your own ~

You Are Magnificent

magnificence-swanA question that keeps coming up from readers is “Why are we not born already knowing our magnificence? Why do we have to spend a lifetime struggling to discovery our greatness?”

In response to this, here an excerpt of an audio interview with me from several months ago, conducted by Alan Steinfeld:

Anita Moorjani: I believe that we are actually born aware of who we are; I mean, we are born knowing how magnificent we are. I feel we are not meant to lose it. We come into this world with the intention of holding onto it, and many of us come with dreams of changing the world and make it a better place for everyone. But somehow things fall by the wayside, things get in the way, our fear gets in the way, our egos get in the way. All sorts of things get in the way. That’s what it feels like to me. I was sure that I had come into this world (as a baby) with my magnificence intact, but I have been conditioned to forget it along the way. If we all remembered who we truly are, our lives would be very, very different.

Alan Steinfeld: If we look at children, I guess they do have a sense of their curiosity and wonder and then it is not so much their ego, it is what comes from outside of them that puts them in these little boxes; puts us, all of us in these boxes.

Anita Moorjani: That is exactly it. When we look at little children, they know that they are special. They are full of joy. When you know that you are loved and special, you don’t become all selfish and egotistical; which is what the popular perception is. In fact it is the contrary, you become full of joy – the way you see little children who laugh so easily. That is actually what happens, you become like a child. You laugh easily, you don’t take things seriously and you become a joy to be around. Actually you become much more giving. The more that you love yourself and the more you realize how powerful you are, you actually become much more generous because you can afford to be. You’re not afraid. You’re not afraid of keeping things close to your chest, or competing, or fighting. You know that you’ll get what is yours. So you become very generous, giving, joyful and popular. People love people like that, self-actualized people.

Alan Steinfeld: How would you raise a child, teaching them? You would restructure the whole system wouldn’t you?

Anita Moorjani: Oh, how I wish I could restructure the whole system! I would create things so differently! If it were up to me, our focus, as a race and society, would be more on achieving joy, love and health, with much less emphasis on the pursuit of money for the sake of money! I give credit to those who choose to home school their children. It is hard work because our society does not support it. It supports something completely opposite. So on the one hand, it feels like you are swimming upstream, going against the flow, while on the other hand, I keep telling people you are supposed to be going with the flow. But the flow that we have created within our society is the kind that goes against who we really are and that’s the problem. So in our society, we find ourselves amidst a lot of contradictions, with a lot of things to work against, in order to be authentic to who we truly are. But what I would do regardless, even if I had to send my children through the regular system that currently exists; I would still tell my child every single day that they are loved unconditionally. It does not mean that I will not reprimand, or tell them things that they have done that are hurtful, or point things out to them. But here is one thing that we seem to do pretty much universally, we like to instill fear in children to discipline them. And we think that fear keeps our children well behaved and keeps them safe and so on. I don’t agree with that, I think we need to instill self-love and self-respect into our children. The more a person loves themselves, the more likely they are to keep themselves safe. What keeps you safe is love and not fear.

Alan Steinfeld: Just that understanding would change everything about how we raise our children.

Anita Moorjani: That is what I believe. It is so simple and I don’t understand why our entire system is built on fear.

Alan Steinfeld: How would you teach love to children?

Anita Moorjani: I would tell children that it is ok to be different. You are not supposed to all be the same. I was bullied as a child because I was different. I grew up in a culture that was not my own culture. So I was a different race, religion, color, everything and I felt different. I felt like I never belonged. I felt like I had to work really hard to fit in. And I was completely unaware that everybody around me was unaware that it was ok to be different. So I spent my entire life feeling like there was something wrong with me. If it were up to me, I would want every single child to know that they are meant to be unique. They are meant to share their uniqueness. I would teach children to embrace their uniqueness and embrace everybody else’s uniqueness. I would also eliminate competition in schools. It only encourages us to compete, but competition at that age causes fear. It causes us to fear failing, to fear not being good enough, and needing to feel good by being better than the people around us. We don’t need that. Life is a journey, not a zero sum game. You don’t have to have losers in order to feel like a winner. You can feel like a winner and everybody can feel like a winner.

Alan Steinfeld: You know, going back to what you said before. I always felt that I was different; not because I looked different. I just always felt outside of the culture somehow and I always loved that about myself even though I felt like I never fit in. I still feel different from everyone else in some way.

Anita Moorjani: But see, that is beautiful. It’s beautiful to be different. I only embraced the value of being different after my near death experience. It took that for me realize, “Oh, I was meant to be this way. I’m not supposed to try and contort myself to make myself fit in, or make myself small, or make myself someone else. This is who I am and it is amazing and it is a gift.” And that is what kids need to know.

Alan Steinfeld: I like what you said about no competition, one ego against another. But what other real radical things would you do in education?

Anita Moorjani: I would love for kids to learn to view their bodies and health differently from the way we currently view ourselves. I would let kids know that they have the resources within them to heal. I think kids need to know from a young age that their bodies have this amazing, magical ability. A lot of kids today are getting the message for example that their bodies are unable to heal, or even grow strong, without our constant intervention; so they are becoming more and more sensitive. We are becoming extremely fearful about things like illnesses and we are passing this fear on to our kids. We are telling them: don’t do this or that, don’t play there, don’t eat that, we tell them that they must follow strict hygiene rules, and we are obsessive about cleanliness, and so on; and I think sometimes that we go over the top. You look at Western culture, we are drugging up our kids from a very young age for everything. Whereas, if you go to a third world country, kids are eating the dirt off the streets and they’re still surviving and growing up to be really strong, working laboriously long hours doing manual and physical labor. Our bodies are physically very resilient and kids need to know that. This is the reason why so many of us think that everything is going to make us sick. That is the other thing I would change with kids. I would really like them to know that they are physically much stronger than what they currently believe they are.

You can listen to the whole interview here

7 Alternatives to Punishment #1: Prevention

conscious positive parenting

Part of my mission is to help parents raise happy kids —
and have a loving and successful family.

The 7 Effective Alternatives to Punishment,
#1 You Are Not Alone

Inside this blog, you’ll discover the secrets to create a happier and more fulfilling relationship with your child.

Today’s post contains the FIRST effective alternative to punishment. Next week, I’ll post the second one.

The reason for one a week is so you can try out what you learn from this groundbreaking information. This allows you to see for yourself how well these parenting tips work.

Alternative to Punishment #1: Prevention

As the old saying goes; An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

That’s why child-proofing your life is as important as baby-proofing your space.

As a parent, I’m sure you’ve had moments when you “foresaw” a disaster that was about to occur. And if we take a moment to think about it, we can usually foresee other recipes for disasters.

Taking proactive steps to “prevent” these unnecessary stresses in your life, and the life of your child, will make a big difference in reducing the upsets in your family.

There are simple ways to use prevention.

If you know your child is going to get into the cookies, put them where he can’t reach or find them.

If giving your child a sweet dessert at night makes her stay up too late, then change your desserts habits.

If you don’t want your child getting onto your computer, then don’t make your computer so accessible for them; shut the door to your home office, or put the computer out of sight.

Planning ahead will save you SO MUCH time and energy. You’ll avoid cleaning up unnecessary messes. And you’ll avoid unnecessary upsets and needless stressing out.

Prevention is the perfect companion to Cultivating Non-Reaction.

Because often times, kids simply react to the environment you set up for them, you can set up the day to go smoothly, or be a chaotic mess. Especially if your children are similar in age, you’ll want to child-proof your house so there are duplicates of the same toys.

By having duplicates for multiple children, then there is less room for fighting over things. They’ll be less issues with sharing, because there will be two toys that are exactly the same.

When you make sure each child has the same toy; color, shape, type, everything, then you’ll be preventing a good portion of sibling rivalry.

Exercise in Prevention:

1. Tuck away anything that poses a possible hazard for your little one. Books, CD’s, Aunt Ida’s crystal vase, anything that you don’t want them touching or getting into.

Remember, this will reduce the likelihood of you losing your cool tenfold.

2. Next, do the same for anything that may make a mess … just put it out of reach.

Posted next will be “Alternative #2” of this special report, find out:

* How you can eliminate your parenting guilt in just a few simple steps (this only takes a second).

* The reason behind your toddler driving you crazy and how to prevent it.

* How a 2000 year-old practice can improve your child’s behavior and make a happier home.

* The biggest mistake you can make in disciplining your child.

You will be so much closer with your child when you start implementing these…

 

Like a fine wine we get better with age.

photo_1839_20060807On June 6th I turned 50 years old. 50 YEARS OLD! Like most other 50 years olds, I’m not sure how this happened – it feels like a blink of an eye. One day I’m a college girl, the next a young mother, and now one half a century old. How can I be 50? Most days I feel, think and act like a 24 year old, so I know it’s only a number, but when that AARP membership card arrives …

When I was growing up, I thought 50-year-old women were old; they were on the downside of life. Or were they???

I know I’m not the first half centurion to say age is only a number. We have to say that, right? Growing older can be a challenge. We must work hard at looking good, keeping our mind sharp, and maintaining our weight and health. Nothing comes naturally any more. But, to be honest, I truly feel the best I have felt in many years. I am stronger, more confident, much wiser, and doing work that I never dreamt possible. And, this transformation began at age 46! An age that most feel the best is behind them.

I think the reason I feel so great is because I never bought into ageism. Sure I joke about getting older, but I don’t really buy it! People always say 50 is the new 30, but if you look around it’s true. Middle age people are accomplishing more than ever before and doing it at later ages. Growing older does not mean it’s time to retire, I truly believe that it’s time to refire! Have you seen Roger Daltry, Mick Jagger, or Paul McCartney lately? At their age, they aren’t the grandpas I knew when growing up!

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Diane Gilman (you may know her from Home Shopping Network). When she was younger, Diane was a fashion industry “it girl”, but in later years she found herself at age 50, widowed, overweight, unemployed, and depressed. She created her DG2 brand, which was met with a negative response from fashion industry experts. She did not let that deter her and went on to create a brand that has sold more than 7 million pairs of jeans and leggings. Now, at age 66, her life is rewarding in every aspect possible.

My advice to you, don’t let age be a factor in your life. Don’t buy into ageism. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too old to embark on a new journey. Follow the example of so many people that have achieved greatness during the 2nd half of their life.

So … happy birthday to me (and to you)! To turning 50 years old I say, bring it on baby!

Whose voice is running in your head?

images-3We all have them; those voices in our head that cause fear and doubt and undermine our lives. Often, they are the voices of people who we trusted and felt safe around but betrayed that security, and in the process, created a life-long internal battle for our self-esteem. It could be the voice of a parent, love interest, or even a teacher or boss whose opinion you valued, and now their words hang over your heart. “Don’t eat that or you’ll get fat.” “Don’t bother trying that you’re not capable.”

I know those voices all too well.  Several years ago, after going through a difficult divorce, I lost my job of 12 years, and found myself raising three small children with no money.  For months I paid my bills with credit cards and when those ran out, I applied for welfare.  As I struggled through a downward spiral, voices from my past played like a broken record telling me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough.  That was until my best friend Lori called and told me she had stage four colon cancer.

I realized at that moment life was too short to listen to any voice other than mine.  I decided that whatever was playing in my head, and no matter who said it, it was time to erase the tape and live my beauty! When I did, my life changed dramatically.

So how do you erase and reprogram your positive inner dialogue…

Identify the negative and re-program the dialogue.

Write down all the negative inner dialogue that runs through your mind.  For each bit, answer this question: What was the true intent behind the statement, meaning, who made it and why? Here’s a story to help you get the gist of what I want you to do. . . .

I was working with a client shortly after her husband left her. After weeks of self-esteem coaching, she wanted to go shopping to create a new look that matched her new life. As a celebrity stylist and life coach it’s always fun to help women bring their inner beauty to life through a look that matches who they are.  After trying on several flattering outfits, however, she looked dejected and stared at the dressing-room floor.

“I have to tell you something,” she said. I braced myself because, by now, I’ve learned that clients who are making bold changes also confront even bigger fears. “I think my stomach looks terrible in all these clothes.”

“What?” I gasped. “You look incredible! You have a great body. Where is this coming from? What is the voice in your head saying exactly?”

“It’s my ex’s voice,” she confessed. “He told me that I was getting fat, and he didn’t want to have sex with me anymore.”

“What was his genuine intention behind that statement?” I asked.

“To hurt me, I guess.”

“So, it wasn’t true, right? He only said it to upset you. Do you see the difference?”

She nodded, and relief washed over her face. The inner voice that had damaged her so deeply wasn’t true, and now she saw it for what is was; a lie.

She stood up straighter and smiled, and I knew she was on her way to becoming a free woman.

Now it’s your turn to do this exercise so that you can finally be free of any shaming voices that hold you back. And even if the original intention was positive—as a way to protect you, for instance—the result may still be the same. This exercise enables you to observe this dialogue for what it truly is and no longer allow it to control you.

Clean Your Closet…And Get More Creative?

CC Image courtesy of Librarian by becaberry on Flickr
CC Image courtesy of Librarian by becaberry on Flickr

Living in my small, quaint, 1959-built house is cozy and I wouldn’t trade my house for anything (except maybe a similar version right on the beach when I retire). The only downside is that the closets are 1959-sized (read: very, very small).

I’ve overtook two of our three closets. The upside to having such small closets is that it forces you to do a purge every couple of years. As I just typed the word couple, I cracked up, since really, I hadn’t cleaned out my closet in five years until recently, tackling my closet purge when hubby JT was out of town. My closets were so stuffed that I couldn’t push multiple items on hangers around in them without shoulder strain. Ouch!

I turned on some good classic rock and began the process on a Saturday afternoon. I did the usual sorting into piles such as Donate, Toss, and Unsure. (I just make my Keep pile the clothes still hanging up in my closet, as I go through item by item.) At the end, I try on the Unsure pile’s items and usually, I end up putting them into the Donate pile. I even cleaned out my drawers.

I felt so good, which is the whole point. I now can easily find things like my Rolling Stones t-shirt or my favorite pair of yoga pants. I’ve experienced the expected feelings of relief from my closet purge, but with an unexpected benefit too. I’m more creative! 

I reason that it’s because I made more space for new things. A friend gifted me a cute jacket shortly after my closet purge. Yet, I didn’t realize that besides new, physical items that aspects or qualities I was desiring would come into my life as well. Whoa! This is interesting.

Inspiration has hit and I’ve been writing poems, song lyrics, and playing my guitar more. It’s hard to keep up with all the ideas that are downloading each day for my life, art, music, and business. I always carry a notebook with me to record them, so I don’t forget them. Creativity has expanded in every area of my life, including my writing, cooking, yoga practice, and even my beauty routine (ah, the joy of eye shadow palettes!). I am doing artwork again, using all my fun supplies. I even felt motivated to move my supplies from the basement into my upstairs office, finding innovative solutions for my small space.

It wasn’t until a month or so after that I made the connection between reducing my closet and increasing my creative flow. When I thought about it though, the connection makes sense. Feng Shui experts talk about how clutter prevents new things and conditions from coming into our lives. Law of attraction experts discuss how the universe abhors a vacuum and new things, people, or conditions have to come into our lives once we make space for them.

I asked my friend who is a decluttering professional what she thought about my recent creativity surge and she said something along these lines:  “Well, it’s all connected. If you feel good after you reduce your possessions and open up a space, you will do even more things that feel good.” This made me smile because my friend is down-to-earth and tells it like it is.

Gosh, it’s that simple? Okay, sign me up! I’m going declutter some more.

How about you? What benefits do you receive from cleaning out your closets or from decluttering? Share in the comments below.