99. 29 Things I Learned by 29

July 6, 2023

The following article may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. This doesn't cost you anything, and shopping or using our affiliate partners is a way to support our mission. I will never work with a brand or showcase a product that I don't personally use or believe in.

The following article may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. This doesn’t cost you anything, and shopping or using our affiliate partners is a way to support our mission. I will never work with a brand or showcase a product that I don’t personally use or believe in.

I’ve learned a lot in my 20s

In the last decade, I’ve had some of the most incredible accomplishments in my life. From saving my first $100K, starting this company, hitting #1 on the business charts as the only female-focused financial education podcast at the time, to my inclusion in Forbes 30under30 –– there’s so many big wins.

But my 20s were not perfect. Not by a long shot.

I went through some of the hardest personal trials I’ve ever faced. Heartbreak. Failure. Grief. All of it.

As I walk into my final year of my 20s, I wanted to share some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a business owner, educator, and human. Lessons like:

  • The importance of building a community that’s both supportive and holds you accountable

  • What you risk losing when you let other’s approval override your internal compass

  • Why you should definitely make out with that hot Irishman

Thanks as always for being here.

– Tori


Feeling Overwhelmed? Start here!

Our HYSA Recommendation

Order Financial Feminist Book

Become an investor and join our Investing Community, Treasury, with Investing 101

Behind the Scenes and Extended Clips on Youtube

Leave Financial Feminist a Voicemail

Financial Feminist on Instagram

Her First $100K on Instagram

Take our FREE Money Personality Quiz

Join the Mailing List


[00:00:00] Tori Dunlap: Financial feminists. I’m so excited to see you. If you are new here, welcome. We have a kind of a touchy feely episode today and I’m really excited about it.

[00:00:08] My name is Tori. I obviously host the show. I am also a money expert, a entrepreneur a Timothee Chalamet obsessed person, and a New York Times bestselling author, which I will never fucking get tired of saying. And if you’re an oldie but a goodie, welcome back. Today is exciting because next week, next Monday, I turn 29 years old. I have joked with multiple friends that 29 does not feel like a real year. I don’t know why. 28 didn’t really seem real either. There’s something about, like, 27 that feels real and 30 that seems real.

[00:00:38] But something about, like, 28, 29 does not feel real, and we talked about this on a previous episode, but a lot of people like wait till these milestone birthdays to celebrate or to share their learnings, and we’re like, no, we’re not waiting till 30. We’re going to do 29. We’re going to celebrate 29. We’re going to celebrate every single year after 29.

[00:00:56] How many times am I going to cry today? I’m just so thankful. I was preparing for this episode and writing down, we’re doing 29 things I’ve learned as a 29 year old, and I was writing this on a plane and got a little teary thinking about… All of the things I have learned and just how life is shaped so differently depending on certain decisions you make.

[00:01:18] This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about for the past year. Life is full of these, like, this is all going to sound fucking cheesy. It doesn’t matter. All life is full of all of these little decisions and little moments, you know?

[00:01:29] I just sometimes think about, oh, what if I hadn’t shown up at that bar at that time and sat in that seat and didn’t meet the person next to me? What if I, you know, had chosen to take this class in college? What if I had studied abroad somewhere else, you know? And it’s just… So beautiful and crazy to think about all of the different opportunities that you get in life by just making a slightly different decision.

[00:01:55] And also potentially how different your life would be if you made a different decision. And it’s not better or worse, it’s not like I’m regretting my choices. It’s just really interesting to think about how incredibly beautiful, not only life is, but this opportunity to constantly Zigzag, if that feels right for you of just, I’m going to make a different decision or, I’m going to reflect on the decisions I’m proud of, and I’m also going to reflect on the learnings of the decisions that I’m not so proud of. That thought really colored all of my prep for this episode of thinking about the things that I want to share with you and thinking about the things that I I learned and wish I knew sooner, but also I’m so glad I learned at the exact time I learned them.

[00:02:37] Today’s episode is going to be a bit more vulnerable than maybe a normal episode. And I ask for your trust and holding space for that. And I would love, especially if you’re listening on Spotify, for you to share the things that you may have learned as you’ve progressed in your life. I’m just so thankful you’re here.

[00:02:55] I want you to know that. We say that every week, but I’m truly so grateful you’re here. We couldn’t do this show and support the team and support our community without your support. So, just thank you for being here.

[00:03:08] Okay, let’s get started. First of all, number one, I have learned that life happens from you, not to you.

[00:03:18] I think it’s very easy for us to believe, especially during times of trial and tribulation, that life is happening, at us or to us. And really, life is coming from us. Not only, capital L life, right? This, you as a living, breathing individual, but the way you’re living your life, the happiness and the joy and the gratitude and the beautiful gift that you are to somebody else, but also all of these things that end up happening in our lives that shape who we are.

[00:03:53] We are not being attacked by life, even though it may feel like that sometimes. But truly, when you start realizing that you are the person that’s allowed to change your life. You are the person who’s, who’s moving through. all of these choices and decisions, that becomes very freeing and to not believe that life is constantly trying to bring you down and trying to attack you, that instead, you are the life generating force that’s moving through the world.

[00:04:25] So, I think that’s the first thing I learned. It’s a quote, I believe, from a poem, but I’m going to be honest, I heard Timothee Chalamet say it. Life happens from you, not at you, or not to you. And I was like, that is very poetic, and gosh, he’s somehow hotter for being so poetic.

[00:04:41] Number two. The majority of my romantic relationships ended because I knew who I was, and my partner didn’t. This is something that took me a while to figure out, and I learned in my mid twenties. I had multiple long term relationships, especially my first real relationship end very abruptly.

[00:05:07] I have told a story of one of my partners who broke up with me out of the blue and asked if he could be friends with me and I was like, no, you’re not going to see me again. The next time you see me will be in the New York Times and I’ve always been a petty bitch. But that was one of my gosh, I think three or four relationships that I had that just ended abruptly.

[00:05:30] And I kept thinking I doing something wrong? Like, is this me? I, I feel like I’ve been a really supportive partner. I have showed up in these relationships. I feel like I’ve been vulnerable and, you know, held space for their vulnerability. And then an interesting thing would happen, which was something dramatic happened in their life.

[00:05:49] And they fe
lt weirdly threatened by me. This is the thing that you start to realize if you are somebody who knows who they are and knows their worth and their value, is that people who don’t see their own worth and value will feel threatened by that. Not because you were threatening, but because they see you standing in your power and it makes them realize just how powerless they feel.

[00:06:18] There are certain people who will rise to the occasion, who will go, Oh my gosh, what can I learn from this person? Right? If this person knows their worth and their value so innately, and I don’t, how can I use that as a tool for growth and opportunity? What can I learn? Right?

[00:06:33] And I’ve seen this as well online. There are plenty of women who have commented on our videos being like, you know, you brag about your accomplishments a lot. It’s really tacky. And I’m like, I want to celebrate the wins that I have, the wins that our company has, and if you feel threatened by that, there is nothing I can do.

[00:06:54] That is not a me problem, that is a you problem. Like, I want you to feel the level of confidence and satisfaction and joy and, proud of yourself feeling that you are okay showing up as your full self and playing big. And I found that with the majority of my romantic relationships. And dating men that they often ended because I knew who I was and they didn’t.

[00:07:20] I think it’s so important when. Relationships end when you have this life transition. Right out of college when that first relationship ended, I was very, very heartbroken and spent hours, days, weeks, months going, What did I do wrong?

[00:07:39] And that’s healthy to a point, right? You need to take accountability for anything you might have done. At the same time, I was so focused on, you know, how was I not enough? And then realized, oh, it was because I was so enough, I realized, I realized I was, I was so aware of my own worth and value and this other person hadn’t reached that part in their journey yet and saw that as threatening.

[00:08:05] So if you’re going through some sort of transition, definitely take stock of all of it. And also realize that not everybody is going to see your worth and your value, unfortunately, as the beautiful thing that it is. And if they don’t, that’s not a situation not a relationship, not a partnership. That will last long term because you deserve to not only know your own worth, but have other people see it as well.

[00:08:31] Alright, number three. Judging people is a waste of your time, and it just makes you a dick. I grew up in a pretty judgmental household. I grew up with family members who had a lot of judgments about a lot of people. And also, things were very black and white. Things were very black and white. If you did this, you were a bad person.

[00:08:53] Or if you did this, you were a good person. And that has been one of the hardest things to break and still is something that I am not great at. I have to constantly check my sense of judgment all of the time. Whether it’s about you know, someone getting drunk, someone you know, having What I might have once considered, like, you know, scandalous amounts of sex.

[00:09:18] I just grew up in a very, black and white household. People who did drugs were bad. People who had casual sex was bad. And especially in my early 20s, that was constantly something that I encountered. Was, people living their normal people lives. And I realized I liked myself way less when I was very judgmental of people, and very judgmental of people’s choices. And as long as they weren’t hurting themselves or hurting somebody else, I don’t get an opinion about their lives. Just like I wouldn’t want somebody else to have an opinion about my life.

[00:09:49] And so this is something that I’ve learned and constantly have to remind myself of. Because just with, the way I was raised, it is almost ingrained in me. And so, unfortunately, I think my default often is to judge people. And then I have to make an intentional choice to say, Hmm, is that entirely accurate?

[00:10:06] Or is that helpful? Or is that kind? And when I’m judging people, the answer is always no.

[00:10:12] Number four, money does buy happiness. You knew this was coming. I’ve talked about this in my book. We’ve talked about this on the show. This is a narrative that’s meant to keep you Plain, small, it’s a narrative that’s meant to keep you from pursuing money. Money 100% buys you happiness. Now, if you’re trying to find, contentment by buying a Ferrari, of course, that’s not going to work, right?

[00:10:36] It’ll work for a bit. Like, don’t get me wrong, it’ll work for a bit, but… The general sentiment is true, right? That things outside of, a stack of paper are the things that are joyful. Your relationships, your own self worth and, and all of the beautiful things in nature and life.

[00:10:53] But at the end of the day, Money buys you stability, and safety, and the ability to purchase small luxuries that make life worth living, and I would argue that’s pretty fucking close to happiness. It also buys you the ability to say fuck off to situations that don’t support you. Situations where you don’t feel valued.

[00:11:14] Money gives you the opportunity to do that. Money opens up every choice and opportunity for you. That means that you get to choose what you want in a society that constantly wants to choose it for you. So money fucking does buy you happiness.

[00:11:31] And anybody who tells you differently it’s just, it’s just bullshitting you. Number five, make your playlist by season. This is my favorite thing. I actually learned it from an ex boyfriend. Make your playlist by season. I’m a huge curator of playlists. I love it.

[00:11:49] It’s one of my favorite little activities is discovering new music and adding it to playlists. And when he and I first started dating, he would make, an autumn 2017 playlist and then a winter playlist and then a spring playlist, summer playlist. it’s such a great thing to do for a couple of reasons.

[00:12:05] One is that it gives you right. Some structure. It gives it like this amount of structure. That’s really nice. I find that three months is a good amount of time. If you’re newly obsessed with a song after a couple months, you probably are way less obsessed with that song. And so it’s a good amount of time to be like, cool.

[00:12:24] I was into that song. I listened to it a lot. And now I can like. Move on to another set of songs. The other thing that I didn’t realize until I literally started accumulating years of playlists with the structure is that it serves almost like as a journal or a time capsule of my specific time. So I will have songs that I’ll listen to and I’ll be like, Oh yeah, it’s this summer I was in Europe and I was listening to that song or I heard it for the first time, like I was just thinking, i, the first time I heard the song BOTA baddest of them all was in New Zealand with Christine last year. And so it went on my playlist for like fall winter of last year. And so now every time I listen to that song, especially on that playlist, I’m like, oh yeah, I heard it at this place at this time.

[00:13:08] And so it’s a beautiful, very passive way without any additional work of cataloging your t
ime. I’ve been like, oh yeah, I heard this song in this place. I have loved doing this, and my Spotify is public, if you search my name, you will find every single seasonal playlist, I think, back through, like, 2017, I have like six years of seasonal playlists and I love going back and listening to, you know, yeah, winter 2018 and seeing what Tori in 2018 was listening to.

[00:13:37] So, that’s something that I’ve loved doing and learned that just really worked for me and maybe it’ll work for you too.

[00:13:45] Oh, this one, guys, this one, this one, this one. Number six. Love is not expressed in grand gestures. It is expressed in small moments. We get fed this idea of love, especially romantic love, as the, boombox on your shoulder at two in the morning, or,

[00:14:06] I think about Gilmore Girls and, you know, how Lorelai gets proposed to with, what, a thousand yellow daisies. And those are beautiful, and I think everybody should have, like, at least one big romantic gesture, like, big display of love in their life, because there’s something so magical about that. But, in reality, that is not how love is expressed.

[00:14:27] And I have to remind myself of this all of the time because I am, I’m a romantic and I am so obsessed with media and there are some times that I want big romantic gestures and I want like these huge decorations of love. And there is something so beautiful about quiet love. I have been pretty private about my relationship and I’ll continue to be, but my current partner reminds me of this all of the time.

[00:14:55] He is so loving and so caring and so kind, but you can almost miss it because it’s in these small, small moments. It’s in the remembering a friend I’ve only mentioned once, remembering their name and their partner’s name. Because he cares. It’s, when I am too lazy to get up, it’s him without grumbling and without complaining going and, grabbing me

[00:15:22] a glass of wine. It’s him holding space for me and never feeling ashamed for me or, or never blames me for how big my emotions are. There is something so beautiful about that. There’s something so beautiful about that. And whether it’s romantic love, love between friends or family, I think love is these small, small moments that That if you’re not looking, you can almost miss.

[00:15:51] And this is something again I have to remind myself of is what the media has fed me is these grand gestures, these big declarations of love, these huge moments, right? And we think, oh, this person, I will know I love this person when they do something crazy for me. I have realized I have loved. Again, whether it’s romantic partners, friends, family, like I have felt this like my heart getting heavy with the amount of love I feel for people in these really small moments of them remembering something I said, or, you know, taking my call at two in the morning when I just need somebody to talk to, or Seeing, you know, my face across a room and, and smiling at me and just looking at me with, with so much love and care, like, those are the things you’ll remember.

[00:16:38] With Christine it’s like laughing so hard that we fell over, I’ve never felt more love and it’s something again I have to remind myself of. So find those little, little quiet moments. in your relationships and create those moments for other people. Again, it doesn’t have to be grand gestures.

[00:16:59] And I would argue for most people, it shouldn’t be. That’s not how love is expressed for most people. It is consistent showing up and loving, loving intentionally and typically very quietly. There’s something so beautiful about that.

[00:17:18] Speaking, oh this one’s also going to make me cry speaking of love, I have realized that boys will come and go, but your best friends will stay. Men will come and go, or your romantic partners will come and go, but your best friends are not going anywhere. And I say this especially with men and my relationship with Christine.

[00:17:40] I have told her many, many times and I cry every time I say it.

[00:17:48] Yeah, men have come and gone, Christine has stayed. It’s extremely easy when you get in a new relationship to become completely obsessed with that person and to ignore the rest of your relationships. Not only is that not what we should be doing, but it’s not going to make anybody’s relationship better, whether that’s the relationship with your romantic partner and definitely your relationship with your friends.

[00:18:12] I’ve also, I’ve also just realized, like, if I’m waiting for a perfect relationship in order to do things with that person, like, if I am waiting to, you know, either find somebody to be in a relationship with so I can travel or I’m waiting on my romantic partner to have a free schedule in order to travel.

[00:18:34] You will become resentful and frankly that just is not, that, that just sucks. I am so thankful that Christine and I, we literally just booked our friend moon for this year. We have made a commitment to each other that we will go on a trip every single year for the rest of our lives. Like what a fucking beautiful gift.

[00:18:52] What an incredible gift that is. I love the people I’ve dated. I love the person I’m dating now. But, men have come and gone. They’ve come and gone. Christina stayed. My other friendships, especially with women, have stayed. They have been consistent. They have been the ones who have been there.

[00:19:11] They are the ones who show up. I actually just went to my partner’s sister’s graduation and they had this huge party because her and her six best friends and housemates obviously when college ends, they’re all going their separate ways.

[00:19:26] And the party was not actually about them graduating at all. It was about the separation of, of these seven women. And I went up to her after, they’re all crying and I went up and I gave her a hug and I told her, I go.

[00:19:38] You know, there is something so powerful about the relationships that you have with these seven women. And I literally told her, I go, I love your brother. I love him so much. But like my best friend, like she is my favorite person in the entire world. She’s my favorite person in the entire world. And these are the kind of relationships that are so incredible to hold on to.

[00:19:59] Love your partners if you choose to have them. Of course, I’m so thankful for all of that. But man, I’m thankful for my friendships, especially my friendships with women. I’m so thankful for them.

[00:20:10] Number eight, make a home that you love. It’s worth the investment. It is so worth the investment.

[00:20:17] I love coming home. I have realized over the years that I am not nearly as extroverted as I thought I was. I don’t want to leave my house. I’m literally recording this from a hotel room in New York and I love being in New York and I’m happy to be here. And I’m also like, God, when can I go home? Like create a space that you love, create a space that you love.

[00:20:38] And also take, take it slow. When I first moved into my house where I signed my lease last year, I didn’t have very much furniture because I sold it all to go travel. And so I came home to a pre
tty empty house. I had a couch, I had a bed, and that was pretty much it. I didn’t have a coffee table, I didn’t have a rug I wanted, I didn’t have like, I didn’t have a bookshelf, I didn’t have any of that.

[00:21:03] And I felt this need of like, Oh, this house is empty so I need to fill it all in the first two weeks. And I’m really glad I didn’t, because I got to choose intentional pieces that I loved, that I discovered, that were like, full of memories. I found This, like, bookshelf that’s also a, like, clock. I’ve never seen anything like it.

[00:21:22] I found it at an antique store. I spent probably more money than I should, but it feels so unique, and I’ll have it for the rest of my life. It was so worth the time and the money I spent, because, for me, I’m in my house so much. I want it to be someplace that I love and someplace I return to often. Make a home that you love being in and it’s worth the investment, right?

[00:21:44] It’s worth spending maybe a little bit more money, but buying pieces that bring you joy and also are quality that will last for a really long time.

[00:21:53] Number nine. Oh, this one. Setting boundaries and keeping them will be the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Setting boundaries is fucking hard. I didn’t know the word boundary until like five years ago. Didn’t know it. Was not familiar.

[00:22:06] Had no idea. Setting boundaries with other people is so hard. Setting boundaries with yourself is also incredibly difficult, but no one talks about that. No one talks about, like, everybody talks about setting boundaries. I don’t know how many people, like, talk about keeping them. I can set a boundary and then if somebody challenges that boundary, it is so easy for me to be like, no, just kidding, it’s fine.

[00:22:28] If you have truly a boundary set it

[00:22:33] and then keep it. Even when people don’t like it. Most people will not like the boundaries you set. They won’t like them. Whether that’s your friends, your family, your partner, yourself, you are going to constantly have to reaffirm those boundaries and reaffirm their importance. That’s what a boundary is, right?

[00:22:56] And the response to your boundaries is not something you can control. and is completely out of your hands. You can set a boundary and have somebody react completely poorly to it. That is not on you. That is not on you. That is their own shit. That is their own shit. I had to learn this the hard way.

[00:23:15] Because people who are not used to other people setting boundaries will not understand them at first. It will take many, many times hearing them, and maybe not even then for somebody to actually respect them. So no, if you are doing this and it’s difficult for you right now, I see you. I see you. It is so difficult to not only set boundaries, but to keep them.

[00:23:36] Number 10, make out with the cute fucking Irishman. Who cares about your fucking ex? I had just gotten out of like my three year relationship and I was ready to move on, quite frankly, but it was two weeks later and literally this guy I met studying abroad was in town in Seattle.

[00:23:54] I had a crush on him at study abroad. I was in Ireland. I met this guy. He was beautiful. Oh my God. And then he happened to be in Seattle for a summer and I had just broken up with my other boyfriend and literally. We went out on a date and we did not, it was kind of like one of those where you’re like, Oh, let’s just meet up and then it becomes a date, you know?

[00:24:15] And I just, I felt guilty even though I shouldn’t. I felt like I, you know what? I’ll correct that. I felt like I should feel guilty. And so I didn’t make out with him even though I very much wanted to and I look back and I’m like, you know what, you just should have fucking made out with him.

[00:24:30] You didn’t owe your ex anything. Make out with a fucking Irishman, Tori Dunlap.

[00:24:36] Okay, number eleven. Entrepreneurship is not the dream you thought it was.

[00:24:42] This is something I will continue to explore on the show. I want to be very clear. I love my job very much. I love our team. I love her first 100k. I love all of the things we’ve been able to produce. We’ve talked about it before. Even your dream job is not always a dream. And there are many times, especially over the last six months, where the idea of working a nine to five job actually sounded pretty f*cking good.

[00:25:08] The ability to shut my laptop on a Friday, in theory, to not have to carry my work with me into the weekend. The amount of emotional mental labor I do constantly thinking about HFK, I can’t even tell you. I think one in two thoughts I have is probably about, about running the business. And when my head hits the pillow at night and I’m trying to fall asleep, I’m just thinking about the business.

[00:25:30] Thinking about marketing the business, thinking, thinking about how do I make money in order to pay people’s bills? Like, that has not stopped for, what are we at? Full time it’s been three years, four years. I love running a business, and at least at this time in my life, I am not interested in going back to a nine to five.

[00:25:51] However, anything you’re trying to glamorize, whether that is entrepreneurship, whether that is working a nine to five job there is a very unglamorous side of it too. For all of our wins, and for all of our successes, and for all of the really, really highs, there have been the lowest lows.

[00:26:08] Literally last week I just needed to just be away from it all. I literally shut myself in my closet and just cried, just cried for about 45 minutes about the pressure that I sometimes feel about being an entrepreneur and trying to do the best I can for our team and trying to do the best I can for all of you.

[00:26:28] And that seems to be happening more and more frequently. it’s really difficult to navigate. So if you are an entrepreneur out there or want to be an entrepreneur, you’re a soon to be entrepreneur, please know that there are so many beautiful things about entrepreneurship. There are so many beautiful things about running your own business and making an impact and doing what you can to change the world.

[00:26:48] And there are also some really, really difficult days. There are some really, really fucking difficult moments, days, weeks, months, years. I think it’s important to be honest about that. It’s important to be honest, as much as I’m thankful to be an entrepreneur. There are some times where, yeah, that nine to five job looking real good, not having to worry about, about a bunch of different things looking real good to me. So, yeah, good to, good to highlight.

[00:27:14] Okay, number 12. You cannot please everyone, nor should you try. Speaking of entrepreneurship, there are plenty of people who do not like the work that we do, who have a lot of opinions about how to run a business. I cannot please them. I cannot please everybody in my life. I cannot please everybody who follows Her First and Her K.

[00:27:30] I cannot please everybody, and me trying to please everybody is just going to make me miserable. It’s just going to
make me miserable. Yeah, I feel that’s it. We can move on. Like, don’t please everybody. You’re not going to be able to do it. And the sooner you release yourself of that, there’s something so beautiful and powerful about that.

[00:27:49] All right. Number 13. Vegetables can taste good. You just need to know how to cook them. I grew up thinking all of my vegetables are disgusting. I literally, the joke was I would eat corns and carrots and the carrots couldn’t be cooked. I would eat raw, like baby carrots and corn. Those were the only two.

[00:28:07] And I think, is corn a fruit? No, it doesn’t have a seed. I don’t know. Those are the only two things I would eat, or the only two vegetables I would eat. Until I learned that you can roast vegetables and season them with things besides just like salt and pepper. You can put paprika and cumin and ginger.

[00:28:21] And I remember the first day I discovered that Brussels sprouts tasted good and I was like, What a whole new world. So vegetables can taste good. You just probably need to roast them or put them in the air fryer as opposed to steam them.

[00:28:35] So vegetables can be tasty, you just gotta know how to cook them. Cook your vegetables properly.

[00:28:41] Fourteen. Working out should bring you joy, and should remind you of your strength. Something I thought is that working out was a punishment. Working out was meant to make you feel skinny. I talked with Sadie Lincoln, who is the CEO and founder of Bar3.

[00:28:57] Bar3 is the thing. This is not sponsored in any way. Bar three is the thing that made me love working out. And the thing that made me love feeling strong and getting sweaty and just feeling good in my body. Because it was the first time that I went to a workout, or at least that I felt like I was working out for a reason that wasn’t to get thinner.

[00:29:18] Or because it was like some sort of requirement, right? Working out is there to build your strength and honestly, for just for like your mental health. Yes, it’s there to limber up your joints and to like, help you physically. But I get more mentally out of a workout. I sleep better. I feel better.

[00:29:38] I just show up better in my relationships. Working out is not there to make you feel skinny. It’s not there to make you feel ashamed. It’s there to bring you joy. It’s there to remind you how good movement feels in your body, whatever that movement is, whether that is running or Zumba or barre or yoga or just stretching, right?

[00:29:56] But it’s there to bring you joy and to remind you of your strength, not there to minimize you or to make you feel ashamed.

[00:30:04] Number 15 eels are disgusting and are the grossest thing on earth. Eels are disgusting. That came out of nowhere, I’m sure, for you. I, my biggest fear, other than death, is eels. I hate them.

[00:30:20] I hate, I hate them. It was like God, Mother Nature, the universe, was just, they just had the worst day ever. And they’re like, you know what we can do? We can make an underwater snake, terrible already, that can also electrocute you. No, thank you. No, thank you. I first learned that I hated eels on a trip to Hawaii when I was 15.

[00:30:47] And we stayed at a hotel that had an eel farm. Like, I need a place where eels can, like, grow and propagate. No, no, thank you. And I had this completely irrational fear that one of them was going to jump out of the water and, bite me. I hate them. I think they’re disgusting. I cannot look at a photo of them.

[00:31:07] Now, they taste great. For many years, I would not eat them. I would not eat eel sauce or eel on a sushi roll because I was like, I don’t want that thing anywhere near my body. It does not deserve.

[00:31:19] That disgusting little thing does not deserve to be eaten. And then I discovered it was actually really good tasting.

[00:31:28] I know somebody in the comments, if we post this video is going to be like, eels are great. Eels are my favorite. They’re going to yell at me. No, I’m sorry. You’re wrong. Eels are disgusting. Eels are disgusting. They’re gross. They’re not cute. All right, moving on. 16.

[00:31:43] Stop weighing yourself. Stop weighing yourself.

[00:31:48] That number is not a determination of your health at all. That is not a helpful number that just makes you feel like shit, or at least just makes me feel like shit. I haven’t weighed myself in probably three years, maybe more than that. And when I go to the doctor’s office, I ask them to not say the number out loud and I actually turn, I turn so I can’t see it.

[00:32:10] And then I, I will go on the scale. Yeah. It’s not a helpful number. It just makes me feel like shit. It is not a good determination of how I feel, how healthy I am. It is just a number. There are plenty of people who weigh what some people might consider to be a lot, but they’re the strongest fucking people I’ve ever seen.

[00:32:31] I just hate this idea that this number on the scale has anything to do with your worth as a person, but honestly, it’s not listen to maintenance phase. Like you listen to any episode of a podcast, you do any research for two seconds and you realize that like your weight not only typically just makes people feel like shit, but is not a good determination of how healthy you actually are.

[00:32:52] So if you are at all triggered by that number on the scale, stop weighing yourself. Get rid of your scales. It’s just not worth it. It just is there to make you feel like shit.

[00:33:01] All right. Oh, number 17. I will talk about this more in a future episode. So I will just say it and then explain it briefly and we’ll talk about it more in depth.

[00:33:16] Grief is not meant to be muscled through. It’s meant to be sat in. I went through a very tumultuous personal time at the end of 2020 and into 2021, and I was grieving very deeply. And I thought, okay, things will just get better. And I just got to muscle through it. I literally have journal entries from that time where I was like, you just got to muscle through it, get a muscle through it.

[00:33:41] And it finally occurred to me after nine months of torturing myself, that discomfort and grief and all of these really difficult emotions are meant to be sat in and embraced. I cannot control them, nor should I try. Instead, I should just sit calmly and allow the storm to, to race around me and to figure out what the storm wants to teach me.

[00:34:09] You just got to sit in the discomfort. There’s something so beautiful about the release of control in that and just understanding, okay, we’re just going to sit here and we’re going to, we’re going to feel all the things and we’re going to just feel like shit for a while. And that’s okay. That’s okay. All right.

[00:34:28] Next one. We talked about this with Catherine Schaeffler. Who is a therapist and an author on a recent episode, and I love it. Accountability versus punishment. We’ll link it down below. Accountability is, I want you to be better because I love you.

] Punishment is, I just want to see you burn. Right? And for me, I think about this a lot with like, Internet cancel culture and the deep fear that I have that and honestly, it’s not even a fear because it’s, it’s happened is that people will not have grace for me or for any potential mistakes that I have and that instead people will just want to see me burn as opposed to seeing, you know, I want you to be better, I want you to be better.

[00:35:08] And so I am making, I’m keeping you accountable as opposed to like, I’m punishing you. This also applies to ourselves, right? Accountability is full of care and understanding and the need and want for yourself or somebody else to be better.

[00:35:25] Punishment is just there to, to make you suffer or to make somebody else suffer. And we often think, okay, I need to punish myself in order to motivate myself, or I need to punish this other person in order for them to understand how much they hurt me. That doesn’t help. That just makes people feel like shit and minimizes them to the point where often they’re so scared that they never do anything again.

[00:35:46] Accountability is different. Accountability is I want you to be better. So I’m telling you that this thing hurt me or for me, like I’m setting these goals and I want to be accountable to myself and I’m not going to punish myself if I don’t achieve them. But I am going to keep myself accountable because I want me to be better.

[00:36:00] So accountability versus punishment is something so powerful. And it’s something I’m going to continue to be thinking about because it Yeah, it was a really, it was a really good perspective from her. Number 19. You

[00:36:14] will often regret it when you cheap out. I don’t mean like staying at the Four Seasons instead, but there have been many a time that I have just tried to find the cheapest hotel possible, especially for a vacation. This literally just happened to me. I had a speaking engagement in Chicago. We had a week off for like her first 100k quarterly break, and I was like, Oh, I’ll go to Miami.

[00:36:38] I’ve never been to Miami. I just want the beach. That sounds fun. And I found the cheapest Airbnb I could find that was still clean and had good reviews. And I showed up. And it was beautiful outside. If you look to the right, you can see the beach. And if you look to the left, there was this huge Walmart.

[00:36:55] There was this huge fucking Walmart. And in order to get to the beach, you had to walk 20 minutes, which was fine. But that was not the experience I wanted. I wanted to look out and see the beach and walk like two minutes and be like toes in the sand. And instead, I chose the cheaper option and regretted it immediately.

[00:37:15] I have often regretted when I’ve cheaped out. Even now, even as someone who, is a multi millionaire, my frugality takes over more than I’m willing to admit.

[00:37:25] And I end up regretting it. It’s not like one or the other. It’s not like we stay in this really cheap place or we spend 2, 000 a night at a hotel. It was just like, I have never regretted spending like 100 more. Or 50 more. Especially when you’re like, you have a certain expectation of what this experience looks like in your mind.

[00:37:44] I had a certain expectation of my week off a couple months ago when things were really stressful of just like, I am just going to lay by the beach all day. And then it was like, I was not able to do that. And I was so upset with myself.

[00:37:59] There’s something to be said about things that you will use all of the time or experiences where you’re celebrating something of. Picking the option that’s slightly better and also slightly more money because you will have a better time. You will have a better time. Number 20. This is easy and simple.

[00:38:20] Wear sunscreen every day, even if you don’t think it’s sunny. Sunscreen every day. That is the number one cause of aging. Wear your sunscreen. Didn’t know this.

[00:38:30] I did not know that you were supposed to wear sunscreen every day until I got into skincare and people were like, that’s the biggest thing is it’s like moisturize and wear sunscreen. If you are not wearing sunscreen every day, yes, even in Seattle where it rains all the time, you need to wear sunscreen every single day.

[00:38:42] Wear your goddamn sunscreen. Okay. 21. Travel is not about how many countries you check off a list. I talked about this with Jo Franco, who’s a travel expert. She was on Netflix. She’s a friend of mine. She came on the show, I think it’s episode 13 or 14. And in the early days of me traveling where like Instagram travel was all the rage, it was like, how many countries could you visit, right?

[00:39:06] How many countries could you check off a list? And I realized that one, that’s just not what should motivate you. Two, it’s just because you go to a country for a day, right? Imagine again, I’m in New York right now. I think about this all the time. Imagine if somebody came to the United States, if you’re listening and you’re us based, right?

[00:39:25] Imagine somebody came to the United States, went to New York for a couple of days and we’re like, cool. I saw you United States. Like it’s, there’s no way, right? There’s no way, especially the U S being as big as it is, of course, but there’s no way that you get the entire, like United States experience just because you went to New York or LA, right?

[00:39:43] I’ve traveled extensively through Italy and I think about if people just went to Rome and they were like, okay, I checked the country off the list and better traveling that way than traveling. No way. But I have so much loved and embraced what’s called the kind of slow travel movement.

[00:39:59] This is how Christine and I travel because we learn the hard way. Our first friend, Moon, we went to Costa Rica and we tried to see that entire country and we spent the entire time in the car. Like we spent the entire time in the car. Last year, when we went to New Zealand and Australia, we literally only went because we knew we were not going to have enough time to see everything and see it properly and also have the kind of like relaxing trip we wanted.

[00:40:22] We didn’t even touch the South Island of New Zealand and we were in Sydney for two days, we spent the majority of our time, we spent all two weeks in New Zealand in the North Island and only in two places we went to Raglan, which no one’s ever heard of it. We found this beautiful Airbnb and we stayed there and then we went to one of the major cities and that was it.

[00:40:45] That was it. And we were so thankful we did it that way because it actually felt like we were able to more experience the country, the environment around us, get to know people. We went to trivia at pubs in New Zealand twice. We did that twice and I’m so thankful we did that. Traveling is not, how many states can you check off the list, how many countries can you check off the list.

[00:41:08] For me, there’s something so beautiful about intentional time and understanding like, you know what, I’m not going to be able to see everything. And if I am privileged enough to have the opportunity, I will come back. But, I have made so many more m
ore memories that I appreciate and value just by staying.

[00:41:25] In one or two spots about being intentional about where I go, about not, you know, flying to Europe and trying to hit six countries in six days. Like, that’s just a lot. So if you’re able to have the flexibility, be really intentional about where you go. I would much rather spend six days in one country than six days in six countries. I would much rather do that.

[00:41:48] I just posted about this on Instagram, actually. It’s something that I’m still exploring. Alcohol does not have the appeal that it used to. This is a new revelation to me in the past couple weeks or couple months. I’m still drinking, but I am not drinking nearly as much.

[00:42:06] And there have been more and more days where alcohol has been available and I have said no. I just, I’m in New York for a, for a women’s entrepreneurship dinner. There was an open bar last night. And it was free and I, it was like, Oh, hell yeah, free alcohol. And then I thought, how do I want to feel?

[00:42:23] How do I want to sleep? I have not slept well for days. I have not slept a lot the past couple of days. And when I’m traveling, I’m already dehydrated and I already don’t feel great. And like, do I want to pump my body full of alcohol? The answer for me was not, the answer was that I’m okay.

[00:42:39] I stuck to ginger beer and water, and it was a hundred percent the right call for me. It was great. And if you want to drink, also great. I had a couple friends over for dinner two weeks ago. They bought a really good bottle of wine, and that felt good for me then, too.

[00:42:52] I’m just becoming more and more curious about my relationship with alcohol. And about how I want my body to feel. I’ve realized more and more that I don’t want to drink as much as I used to. And of course that may change and I’m open to that. I’m just becoming more curious more curious about how much I’m drinking, when I’m drinking the kind of default of, Oh, you go to a restaurant, you order a drink.

[00:43:14] I’m just being more intentional about that. We have future episodes on the show that talk about this too. We have my friend Kelsey, who is a entrepreneur and also is sober and helps other people get sober too. And, and talks about, you know, the, the impact that sobriety has had in her life.

[00:43:28] If you’re curious, if you’re sober curious, stay tuned for that episode, cause we’ll talk about it. Oh, this one. I forgot I wrote this one. I’m going to repeat this one. This one is a riff off a quote by Glennon Doyle that I kind of adapted for my own life. A girl becomes a woman when she stops being an obedient daughter. I’m going to say that again. A girl becomes a woman… When she stops being an obedient daughter, I don’t know about you, but I have parents who believe that respect and obedience are the same thing. They are not the same thing. I can do something different than what you want me to do and still respect you. I can make a different decision than you might make or that you might want to make for me. And also still respect you and there is something again, so beautiful and powerful and fucking difficult about making a decision that especially your parents don’t want you to make again.

[00:44:40] I want to keep my privacy and my family’s relationship out of out of the internet and out of all of this. But again, I will tell you without telling you the whole story that this, this is hand in hand with setting boundaries, the hardest thing. The hardest thing to learn and has caused a lot of drama and rifts in my family and has been very, very difficult to navigate.

[00:45:03] But I would rather choose what I believe to be my truth and what I believe to be the things that I want to do and the life that I want to lead versus obedience. Versus making decisions that are expected of me, even the ones that don’t feel right.

[00:45:20] Something is so powerful. about choosing yourself and choosing the life that you want and making the choices that feel right to you, even if they don’t feel right to somebody else. I would rather have you choose yourself and choose your own truth than conform, be obedient, and regret it.

[00:45:38] This is 24.

[00:45:39] Your journal is there for the mess, not for someone to read later. We’ll have a follow up episode about this. I journal pretty much every night. And I for many years did the thing that I think a lot of us do, which is like, this journal is me performing how good of a writer I am. I’m not like egotistical enough to think like, Oh, maybe somebody is going to find it, like publish it.

[00:45:58] But like, there is this certain like weird expectation of like, you want to read back this journal in a year and be like, wow, I was so well spoken or, Oh, I like, this was so, this was so well put your journal’s not for that. I would argue like if you want to like stretch your creative writing chops to something else, your journal is there for your fucking mess.

[00:46:18] If you are embarrassed by like what you were going through, if you have the sense of like a little bit of cringe, you are journaling correctly. If you read it later and you’re like, wow, okay, she was going through a lot. Great, great. My journal is there for me to be the messiest version of myself, for me to be like, wow, I’m so anxious today.

[00:46:37] I’m so I literally, this was like 2020. I had this like health thing where they ended up sending me to like a spine specialist because they thought I had some sort of brain injury and I was freaking the fuck out. I was freaking the fuck out. I had no information. I, I am empathetic to myself of why I was freaking out, but like, there was no reason I needed to freak out this much, but I was, that was how I was feeling is I was like, Oh my God, what if I, what if I had brain cancer?

[00:47:02] What if I had a brain tumor? What if like my spine has been fucked up forever? I was like, so panicked and then literally a week later, everybody was like, no, it’s fine. Like you’re completely, you’re, you’re healthy. You’re fine. But that was how I was feeling. And so that’s what my journal entries were for that period of time.

[00:47:15] As I was just like, I am so fucking stressed. I’m scared I’m going to die. That’s okay. That’s what your journal’s there for. It’s there for the mess. It’s not there for perfection.

[00:47:23] For me, it’s there to process my emotions, for me to talk to something, talk to somebody, and get it all out on the page so that I can start either calming down or organizing my thoughts or showing up better. Don’t be embarrassed if your journal’s a mess. That is what it’s there for.

[00:47:41] 25. I am not nearly as extroverted as I thought I was.

[00:47:45] I learned this. Yes, I am outgoing. Yes, I am a theater kid. Yes, I want to talk to you and perform and, and be in social situations. And like I was saying before, I also just want to go home. I just want to go home. Again, I was at this dinner last night and that was so fun. And then probably an hour or two hours in, I was like, Oh God, I just want to be alone.

[00:48:06] I just want to be alone. I just want to like lie on the gro
und moaning. That sounds great. And I have, done multiple speaking tours in the past year and met all of you and signed your books and that’s been so great and I’ve loved that. And then I get to the hotel and I need multiple hours just by myself and typically a whole day the next day to just recover from that.

[00:48:27] I thought I was extroverted. Typically I would have identified , as an extrovert. I actually think I get. I can’t take most of my energy from being alone or at least like quiet time with my partner or with Christine and that’s okay. I thought as a theater kid I had to identify as extroverted.

[00:48:42] I think I’m way more introverted than I gave myself credit for. Okay, next, Stretch. Stretch, every day. I often miss this. My body is broken. I have a lot of chronic pain. My lower back hurts literally every day, regardless of like what I did that day. It hurts. I have gotten in the routine over the past year of stretching every single day, typically in the morning.

[00:49:04] And it takes me a couple minutes. I just like do a couple cat cows. I do my child’s pose. And it’s just, my body feels better. My body feels better when I stretch. But it is one of those things that I think we just put off or we forget about, and I feel worse when I don’t do it. So stretch your body, stretch your body.

[00:49:22] And if you’re on an airplane, get up, move around. I cannot recommend that enough. I get aisle seats for a reason. So I can get up and go stretch. I can get up without bugging anybody. And I typically will go to the bathroom sometimes, and I don’t even need to go to the bathroom. I just need to feel something.

[00:49:39] That trip to Australia, I hung out in the back with flight attendants for two hours and heard a bunch of fun stories. And also it was just, I just needed to get up and move. Stretch every day. Okay, we’re almost at the end. Stay with me. This next one will save you countless arguments. It will make your relationships better.

[00:49:58] If someone is stressed and they’re coming to you, especially romantic partners, ask, do you want me to help or do you just need me to listen? My partner and I always ask each other this question and I’m not great at it sometimes. Sometimes I try to help because I just want this person to feel less pain, right?

[00:50:17] When someone’s stressed, how can I support you right now? Do you need, I think the New York Times put it it was like help, hug, or hear. It was like, do you want my help? Do you just want a hug? Or do you just need me to listen?

[00:50:32] Right? Do you need me to hear? So incredibly powerful. I have to remind myself all the time, my way of showing support might not be the support that that person needs at that moment.

[00:50:43] And honestly, pretty much typically isn’t. So always ask. And then, sometimes when, you know, my partner or a friend of mine will try to help, I will kindly tell them, Hey, I really appreciate you trying to help. But like, I don’t need your help right now. I just need you to listen. Christine has to check me on this all the time.

[00:50:59] If she’s listening, I’m so sorry. You know, I will often try to help her because I want her to feel less pain. And she’ll be like, Hey, I see what you’re trying to do and I appreciate it, but I just need you to listen. And it’s a great reminder for me.

[00:51:12] In that vein, assume positive intent always, especially with strangers and the people you love the very, very most.

[00:51:27] Most people are not out to actually make you feel like shit. I think all people, I don’t know if there’s anybody out, I mean, I’m sure there’s somebody, but like, I don’t know anybody who like purposefully tries to make somebody feel bad or make somebody feel terrible, or if somebody fucks up, or like, if you don’t agree with a decision somebody has made, assume positive intent, assume that they were either just trying their best, or there’s information you don’t have, or whatever.

[00:51:59] There’s something again, so powerful about saying, you know what, okay, we’re going to, I’m going to assume that that thing that somebody said that really just fucking hurt me. They did not mean, they didn’t mean for it to hurt me because they probably didn’t. They probably didn’t. Assume positive intent always, always, always of your coworkers, of people you follow on the internet, of your romantic partners, of your family, of your friends, of yourself.

[00:52:25] Assume. Positive intent.

[00:52:29] Finally, finally, finally, finally, number 29. Let them titties out. Let them titties out. Kristen and I were talking about this before. I grew up in a house that was like, wear a cammy, put a Cammy under it. I could have another hundred k if I had a nickel for every time.

[00:52:46] my mother told me, put a Cammy under it. I don’t mind a good camisole, that’s fine. But I didn’t realize that I had curves and tits until about six years ago. Didn’t know. Had no idea. Had no idea. And didn’t know how to dress to my body type, and didn’t, I didn’t understand any of that. And, we’ve also been We also have just been shamed for anything that might be deemed sexual about ourselves.

[00:53:09] Whether that is breasts, or an ass, or curves, or partial nudity, or full nudity, we’ve literally been told as women. Like, again, you’re asking for it, right? We’ve been told to cover up in order for other people to not sexualize us. Literally the cover art of this podcast, them titties out, baby.

[00:53:28] And I love it. I love it. And if somebody chooses to sexualize me, that is not my problem. That is their problem. If somebody chooses to feel so aghast at the fact that sometimes I don’t wear a bra in videos I make and you can see the outline of my nipple that everybody has. Everybody has nipples. And I’ll say the word nipple.

[00:53:46] Everybody fucking has nipples. If you are upset by that, that is a you thing. I said that like three times in this episode, but like, really, most problems are like, if you’re upset, that’s on you, like, there’s something so powerful for me about owning what my body looks like about owning my curves about not feeling ashamed about not being concerned that somebody else might sexualize me if somebody else is sexualizing me, that is not my problem.

[00:54:10] And frankly, Yeah. Typically that’s pretty gross, just, again, no judgment, let people, let people dress the way they want, let people live the way they want, and my titties are going to be out. And if you are the pro titty committee, welcome, excited to have you. All right. Those are the 29 things I’ve learned.

[00:54:30] I’ve learned many, many other things, but some of the things I wanted to share with you and highlight I know this was a longer episode. I appreciate you staying with us. I actually kind of like it. It was kind of fun to do a solo episode that was this long. If you also want to share some wisdom for me, if you have things that you’ve learned that you would love to pass on to someone in their 20s, please feel free to tag us on Instagram at herfirst100k at financialfeministpodcast.

[00:54:55] If you’re on Spotify, you can comment it down below. I’m just really, reall
y fucking stoked to be another year older. Hopefully another year wiser and really appreciate your support of everything, of everything we do and of everything we are and of everything I’m trying to be. So I appreciate you being here and thank you for listening and I’ll talk to you soon.

[00:55:17] Bye.

Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap is an internationally-recognized money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori quit her corporate job in marketing and founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. She has helped over one million women negotiate salary, pay off debt, build savings, and invest.

Tori’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, the New York Times, BBC, TIME, PEOPLE, CNN, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, BuzzFeed, and more.

With a dedicated following of almost 250,000 on Instagram and more than 1.6 million on TikTok —and multiple instances of her story going viral—Tori’s unique take on financial advice has made her the go-to voice for ambitious millennial women. CNBC called Tori “the voice of financial confidence for women.”

An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.

Facebook Group