A few months ago, my life caught on fire and wasn’t able to “stop, drop, and roll” in time to save itself. Everything burned to the ground: romantic relationship, career, family, foodie friendships, and even the ex-relationship*.

Then came the stillness. I sat amid the ashes of a life that took 28 years to build only to swirl my fingers in the ashen grey snowflakes of complications and repercussions. Well, admittedly, I also, at times, viciously kicked up those ashes and tried unsuccessfully to rekindle another fire to rid myself of them. Only desperation could drive a person to light on fire things that are burnt beyond the point of no return.

And from the ashes, I decided to resurrect the life that I fiercely wanted but vehemently denied myself. Why did I tend and extinguish the fires of others but not quench my own? I missed being engaged in my charitable groups, connecting resources, meeting new people, and eating adventurously. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw an opera, discussed a book, or saw a bit more of the world.

Most of all, I missed writing this blog. If you read my Introduction, you’ll see it’s a hodgepodge mix of whatever the hell I am thinking about. Will I still write about random thoughts to contribute to my “My Big Book of Shit You Should Know”, relationships, food, etiquette, and financial advice? Yes. But, now you’ll read it from someone who was reborn with a battle scar. You’ll glean advice from a seasoned emo, laugh at my naivete, and, hopefully, resurrect your life.

Because it’s true: a phoenix rises from ashes, not fire.

– TheJackieO

*Ex-fiance did what I predicted which is to date a classless “model” of his same ethnicity who’ll probably provide the 10 kids who wont go to college that I was reluctant to have. I wouldn’t have cared except she befriended me for awhile and that’s the most uncouth bitchiest thing a “girl” (if I release her name, you’d see she barely passes) could do to a proper lady (that’s me, inside joke will be explained another time).

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In Taiwan, it is rumored that an incensed wife can claim compensatory damages from a cheating husband and even his sordid mistress.  If you ascribe to my best guy friend’s position, you too will agree that stripping his financial security is the penultimate punishment.  But, can those damages truly compensate for the baggage that the deceived wife will now carry?

Depends on whether the inflicted pain is considered a stone or a seed…

A stone is lightweight and seemingly easy to carry.  It represents everything from the smallest of infractions that an SO can commit to even the most damaging.  Oh, he looked and smiled at another girl’s butt while you’re having a “fat” day?  Yep, that’s a stone.  She never compliments your sexual prowess but salivates after looking at the lewd Abercrombie posters?  Probably a stone.  You plan a lovely anniversary dinner after meticulously selecting Farmer’s Market ingredients, buying beautiful china, and selecting accompanying music and she doesn’t verbalize her appreciation?  Definitely a stone. 

But, a stone can be carried or cast off.  This is an important distinction.  You can choose to carry the stone which will get heavier over time or you can throw it far away into oblivion.  Bonus points if you can cast if off happily like skipping rocks on a pond. 

Oh, but seeds…so infinitesimally small yet so potent.  Seeds have potential, a secret power that enables them to thrive but remain hidden.  Some people mistake seeds for “emotional scars” but they are completely wrong.  Scars serve as reminders which can easily be masked/overlooked, while seeds continually grow as a living and breathing reminder that you were hurt.  Scariest part about seeds?  You don’t even know when it’s planted but you sure do feel the pain of its growth. 

Examples of seeds?  Deeply cut wounds that play on our deepest insecurities.  He hides you from his parents and instantly hangs up on your calls when they’re around?  Seed.  She finds fault with his proportionally smaller salary and calls him out on it publicly?  Seed.  You’re neglected, unwanted, underappreciated, unloved, and unnoticed?  Don’t have your SO’s respect?  All seeds.

There is neither poison nor exterminator that can kill those seedling plants.  During a lifetime, I think everyone unwittingly cultivates a small garden of seeds…it’s just whether you have a vast cornfield of seeds.  If so, I think you are damaged beyond repair and even the most redeeming of love cannot save you. 

What now?  It’s impractical to just say, “Well, I don’t have any baggage so who cares?”  I think you try to maintain the smallest proportion of seeds to stones, cast off as many stones as you can without help, and prune the garden daily.  Decide early on what will become a seed or a stone and tell your SO. 

As for the hunters out there who are seeking?  Find someone with hardly any seeds, who’s excited to cast stones, and is open about it. 

I am literally shocked and moved beyond my greatest imagination.  Never in my lifetime did I think it was possible that Unicorns exist….ever…

And here it is: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article4116471.ece

This changes everything…Maybe there is hope for you that you’ll find a Unicorn.  Well, hope for one person at least.

As a former financial advisor for Morgan Stanley for 1.5 years and the first female to make it through the program successfully in the last 5 years, I have gleaned a lot of information about the securities industry.  Of course, I think it’s only fair to share now! 

This is really Part I of a series titled, “Secrets behind the Financial Curtain: Advice from a former FA” that I had planned to write to teach investors how to ask their financial advisors better questions.  Consider this a public service….

Excluding all financial people, I think 100% of the world has no idea that you can get a really good glimpse into the background, training, work history, and complaint history of a financial advisor from FINRA, the largest non-governmental regulator of all securities firms. 

Go to: http://brokercheck.finra.org/Search/Search.aspx

All you need to know is the first and last legal name of your financial advisor.  Even that may not be necessary because I also had to register aliases (i.e. If my legal name was in Chinese, for instance, but I go by Jackie, then I need to register both so I am easily searchable). 

After you put in their full name, you can see reports of any advisor.  It will not show anything interesting until you go to the far right and click on “View full pdf.”  That’s where all the good stuff is hiding.  🙂

You’ll see my full legal name and companies that I’m registered with.  You can see when I took my licensing exams so I wont be able to fudge my experience.  Most of all, you will get to see if there are any pending lawsuits or customer complaints against me (We were obligated to log EVERY complaint). 

Some interesting factoids:

  • My entire work history for the past 10 years is listed there.  If I had a break of more than 3 months between employment, I would have to list unemployed.  Embarrassing yes….so I had to list my short stint with Starbucks while studying for the LSAT…more embarrassing. 
  • If your “advisor” is not Series 7 licensed, he’s not a real financial advisor.  He’s one of those insurance people posing as a financial advisor.  Technically, they sell financial-related and planning products but it’s not the same.  Why are you bothering with an insurance rep to buy mutual funds?  They are not trained or licensed to do that.
  • A financial advisor that has been in the industry for more than 10 years will most likely have had a complaint or lawsuit against them.  Always ask the FA and their supervisor about it first, instead of just cutting him/her out of the running. 
  • To be honest, FA’s do really look down on advisors that jump around a lot.  If the jumps are short (< 1 year), then that means they failed their company’s quota.  If the jumps are medium (5 – 10 years tenure), then that advisor was usually offered a package deal to move firms.  Be ready to move with that advisor if you choose him/her.

Happy Searching! 

(Feel free to ask questions in the comments section.  I will answer as blog posts)

Yesterday, I was rudely reminded of a theory that I have expounded over the years in an attempt to explain relationships of seemingly incompatible couples…I have yet to decide whether it’s practical, “emo,” or just a load of crap.  You decide then. 

The Unicorn theory assumes two things about the pursuit of life and love:

  1. That everyone has an ideal partner in life (i.e. a Unicorn)
  2. The Unicorn doesn’t exist. 

By definition, a Unicorn (yes, I capitalized it…get over it) is a mystical creature of such breathtaking beauty and allure that it is universally sought after.  There’s no reasonable explanation for your gut-wrenching desire…all you know is that you want it. 

In modern times, the Unicorn is symbolic of the “soulmate, partner for life, love of your live” etc that you hope to find.  When you’re young, you imagined that he’ll at least have a car and remember your birthday.  When you’re older, you imagine he’ll have a corporate job, wear tailored suits, invests in a 401k, wears a decent watch, and believes in having a maid.  Oh, and he will also have to be loving, generous, spirited, patient, authoritative, humorous, classy, intelligent, and have common sense. 

In other words, you set yourself up…unknowingly.  You spend all this effort to create a list of qualities that you think you want…doesn’t matter whether you believe in “opposites attract” or “compatibility is the best.” 

Who do you think will fulfill them?  And in a short span of 15 years (assuming you start the serious hunt after college and end before your midlife crisis), you will actually find this person. 

I think everyone finds a dog, or a cow, or a zebra, and if you’re lucky, a horse (close enough).   And then over time, you start ignoring those ugly stripes and see luminescent skin.  You no longer pay attention to their yappy barks and or smelly utterances. 

You learn to love the dog/cow/zebra hybrid.  It becomes your Unicorn.

And if you’re really lucky, you will actually believe you truly do have a Unicorn. 

 

November 2017
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