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We all have career questions and each week on Skimmed from the Couch, the scheme's co-founders, Carly Zaken and Daniel Weisberg, go deep on career advice with those who've lived to hear from leaders like Susan Rice as they talk about the good stuff, like growing a team to the rough stuff, like leading through times of crisis, learn how to negotiate, land a job and build your network, even if it's all virtual.
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The cut, the cut, cut, cut, cut, the cut. The cut. God, this music brings me right back to the 80s. How old are you?
No, but I remember watching this, you know, at 13, the cut podcast team, which is to say Alison Jazzmen, Parker and I had a remote movie night to watch 13 going on 30.
I loved this movie because my parents told me that I was 13 going on 30 all the time because I was a smart ass weight. Jasmine. How old are you?
I'm 30. Oh, my gosh.
I know I'm the baby.
You are the baby. I'd be OK.
We're basically all the same age. But this week I'm turning 30, which feels like a huge deal to me, in part because of 13 going on 30.
You know, the funny thing is my whole life, I think because of this movie, I was super Antonette. I was like, when I'm 30, I'll be, yeah. 30 and 30 and thriving. But now that it is breathing down my neck, I'm terrified and like, I don't know, I don't know how I feel about it. Yeah. I did 30 feel like a big deal for you when you turned 30.
No, I think I was still like scrambling into like the same things I was doing at like 28, 29. I think it hit my mom like going to talk to my mom about it. Like when she turned 30, she was like pregnant with me.
And I was like, oh, I don't have that milestone.
My 30th birthday was really sad. I really wanted it to be thirteen going on, thirty themed, but it happened during covid and it was just so wow. But it was the moment. It was almost like night and day my mom started pushing me about kids, you know, and it was like a flip switch.
I really do not want to start thinking about if I should try to have kids or get married or settle down, whatever that means. I'm just really grateful for where I am right now. I've been so lucky and I just want to keep focusing on work and all my friends and having fun. And I think that's why I wanted to revisit this movie 13 going on 30, because this movie was the earliest impression I had of what 30 meant. And it showed me that being 30 was fun and glamorous and exciting.
And there wasn't that element of fear or pressure or anxiety, at least from what I remember of the movie.
OK, I haven't seen this film since I was 13. Yeah.
When did this movie come out? 2004. If you haven't seen 13 going on 30.
It's totally fun. It starts in the 80s and we meet Jenna Rink on the day of her 13th birthday.
New life as a teenager, Jenna Jenna has invited all the mean popular girls from school to her party. But as soon as they arrive, her best friend Matt proceeds to be a total weirdo and starts dancing alone to talking heads.
OK, I'm the person who has been talking heads at a party and I read the bloody shirt that Jenna gets embarrassed by Matt and cruelly teases him in front of all the popular girls.
Do whatever you want, Matt. It's not like I need a play by play.
And that's when the popular girls turn and play a mean prank and lock Jenna in the closet at her own birthday party.
I hate you. I hate me. I hate everybody. And that's when Jenna makes a wish. I want to be 30 like a mantra.
She repeats 30 and flirty and thriving 30 and 30, 30 and thriving.
And magically Jenna gets her wish.
She wakes up as Jennifer Garner, 30 years old, mom with amazing cheekbones and a closet full of designer shoes. She's a kick ass job, is a big time fashion magazine editor, a schedule packed with parties and a massive condo that I would definitely redecorate.
It's decorated like a hotel.
Is that what the circle wallpaper. There's no personality to this apartment. Yeah, magazine.
People have no actual taste. How dare you? We have a taste. That's us. No, I'm kidding.
We are technically magazine people now kind of Jasmine and Parker and Alison and I have to a way, lesser degree kinda ended up sort of living Jenna's life just in that we're all single and living in New York City and working in media.
I'm obsessed, bitch. I'm just as successful as this bitch is.
OK, but making it work in media is not what the movie makes it out to be.
How come we don't get cars sent to us to pick us up and take us to where I'm going to blame covid. But then the film took a turn from the way I remembered it when I was 13, I was mostly struck by this exciting fantasy of adulthood, like that was my salient take away.
Wow, 30 and 40 and thriving re watching it now, I realize I had more or less forgotten the entire middle part of the movie, the part where Jenna realizes that her older self has become a narcissistic, conniving, vindictive bitch who has focused so narrowly on building her glamorous life that her existence is ultimately shallow and empty and that she doesn't have anyone to share it with.
And this is always the pensión movies, right, but romantic love is the antidote to a vapid materialistic existence. So Jenna goes searching for her childhood friend, Matt.
Oh, there's our boy, Maddy. Matt and Jenna reconnect, and he helps Jenna remember the core of who she really is, apart from the superficial world of her job.
And they fall in love. But it's too late. Matt is about to get married to someone else.
Look, I won't have you be late. Go home.
On Matt's wedding day, Jenna cries and wishes she could have made different choices. Which is when she's transported magically back into the closet at her 13th birthday party. She leaps out, kisses 13 year old Matt smack on the lips.
That's great as my house. Right.
And together they run right into a flashforward of them at 30, getting married to each other.
How does she know that after that moment, they'd be together forever? And they bought a house by the house?
I reckon when I saw this as a kid, I found this ending satisfying and reassuring.
But re watching it now, I found myself overanalyzing it, wondering if the ending was actually totally at odds with the rest of the movie.
Like in this new revised future where Matt and Jenna end up married. Does Jenna still work for the magazine?
What about her cool career and her experimental wardrobe and all the parties like that was all the fun stuff in the movie, all the stuff that I wanted to be and that I still want to be. I want all the exciting, thrilling parts without being selfish and shallow. And I don't know if this is truly possible. It's honestly something I lose sleep over. And it's something that's been weighing on me more and more recently, every time I hear about another friend who's getting engaged or buying a house or having a kid or any one of these milestones that just seem eons away from where I'm at.
And it just makes me think like. Am I the bad Jenah? Well, I certainly also look back at my shallow life full of regret, and it will be too late. I mean, yeah, I know it's a movie, it's just a movie. I know it's just a movie.
Were the writers as they were writing it, were they incorporating were they inspired by their own experience of being 30 or just even like their their own dreams, about their own dreams, about being 30? Yeah, only one way to find out. Right.
Were you like twenty nine when you were writing this movie? How old were you.
I think we were twenty eight. Twenty nine. Yeah, something like that.
Josh Goldsmith and Cathy RESPA are the writing team behind 13 going on 30.
So Josh and I had dated for a long time. We had a breakup. A little bit before about wrote the movie, and then we got back together and then we got married. So I think that we had maybe that in our minds that you could make a change and pivot. It's so interesting, you know, like I'm I'm about to turn 30 and hearing about where you are at writing this movie.
I'm like, oh, my God, you are writing a movie. You're about to get married. Holy shit. Like, you are doing all of the things that one is supposed to do. It seemed like your life was sort of snapping into place.
Well, we were working really hard at that. We were just all about these projects that we loved and we were dating and spending all of our time together. So our life was very consolidated. I think you're looking at it basically. This is.
But did you have any any like. Existential angst about crossing over the threshold of 30, for sure, you know, to sort of begin to accept yourself as an adult is a big process.
Yeah, I believe there was a line where she comes to that for the first time as an adult and says, you've got to help me figure out what happened to my life.
I don't know. I was just what happened. And he's like, I get it. You've turned 30 and your whole life is like Cosmos and, you know, fancy shoes and now you're having a meltdown. And there was some reality to that that we felt at the time. One of the interesting things about writing a movie like this is that this could play as a movie about a 30 year old at a crossroads, having a meltdown.
So what did your 30s mean to you?
I think our 30s were about getting married. It became really I think about family for us. I think a lot of people have that experience and there is that crossroads where you start thinking about them when you start thinking about who you want to spend the rest of your life with. And that is really caused assess.
And you're kind of scaring me.
Actually, this was kind of exactly what I did not want to hear. Like I really did not want to hear the your 30s are about pivoting away from friends and career, but maybe that's the truth.
And I'm just trying to stay in my twenties forever. But Josh and Kathy did it.
I mean, they made great work and they had kids and it seemed like they really didn't have to choose between work and life if you define having a life by having a family.
But I do truly feel like being 30 now is very different from when Josh and Cathy were 30. You know, I saw the stats.
Obviously, marriage rates are down, birth rates are down. People have more job insecurity than ever.
Caitlyn Schaffer is the author of But You You're Still So Young, which just came out this year.
And it's about how the 30s, what we think of them, how we talk about them are changing now that we have more student debt, less job security, lower wages and this big fat pandemic to magnify all of it.
But the steps and they are they aren't that comforting when you're still looking around it, say like what your mom's telling you or other people's social media posts and thinking and doing this wrong.
And that's the thing I really appreciated about your book, that you're like it's not about the stats, it's about a feeling. And I feel that's so viscerally like I know philosophically I really don't care. I know philosophically that I don't care if I get married or have kids.
Listen to me, try to convince myself.
And yet, like, it's just yeah, I know I don't know what it is, but Kaylie knows what it is.
In her book, she describes how sociologists in the 1950s distilled the big looming decisions of adulthood down to a five step checklist.
And they are number one is completing school. Number two is leaving home. Number three is marriage. Number four is becoming financially independent.
And number five is having kids completing school, leaving home financial independence, marriage and kids. You cannot rattle off this list without seeing how you stack up, but those are the five steps.
And in the fifties, most people had checked these off in their late teens or early twenties and then nineteen seventy five. Forty five percent of people had checked all five of those boxes by the time they were thirty. But then as you follow it down, in 2006, only twenty four percent of people have checked that off by age thirty four.
But why is the mythology from the nineteen fifties is still so pervasive? That's a great question because I was really confused too, as I kept asking myself, why do I keep looking toward this nineteen fifties model? I grew up in the eighties. You know, it shouldn't matter to me at all. It was thirty years before I even started growing up. There's a sense that things were easier in the nineteen fifties, which if you were white and you were a male, they certainly were.
If you had these five steps it was easier and it was a script.
This is clearly not an adequate reason to hold onto this list. Like there's no good reason why this mythology persists, especially now that all the items on the checklist have become prizes. I mean, they're not steps anymore. They're luxurious.
Yeah, that's that's the flip side of this. So on one hand, it's really cool to say we have choices. But you're also sort of wondering, do I not want these things because there's no way I can achieve them. Sometimes I do let myself dream. When I pass a brownstone with beautiful light fixtures in the windows or I see a cute, chatty little kid in a funky outfit, and I just wonder. What would that be like? Could I ever afford that?
Could I afford it as a single person? I mean, they're matters of money, yes, but to what degree are they about priorities and saving and planning ahead, you know, to sort of continue with this Carrie Bradshaw line of inquiry, to what degree do these changes in life just sort of happen? And to what degree do you have to plot them out in advance? I don't know.
I don't know how urgently I need to interrogate all these questions. So I'm not going to. And I just hope that this doesn't keep me stuck as the superficial narcissist, emotionally stunted version of Jenna. At the very least, one source of comfort was that when Kathleen asked neurologist's whether or not delaying these big life decisions does keep one sort of. Emotionally stunted. It turns out the opposite might be true, there are neurological benefits of keeping your life open if you do keep doing things that are new and unexpected.
Your brain keeps growing and changing and helps you react better to uncertainty and keep pushing yourself. And the less your brain is settled, the better it is for growth.
I'm curious if 13 going on, 30 played into your research at all or what your thoughts on that film are.
I mean, I love that movie and I do think. Yeah, like, she she wants to be 30 and it's seen as a really good thing when she's having fun, right? Yeah. She she enjoys her adulthood.
I mean, was there a precedent for that before 13 going on, 30. Seeing people like excited and amped about being in their 30s?
I think we're living it to be honest. Like honestly, like this is new. The way we're living through our 30s now is is very new.
Of course, now I'm wondering like how much of this shift was caused by the film by like a generation of kids like me who are, like, excited about turning 30 and now we're we're doing it.
I don't know what if it all was. Do you think there's anything to that? Yes, I do. Really?
I know it's not healthy to base one's life on fiction, but this version of 30 and 40 and thriving wasn't really an archetype for me before this movie. I mean, my mom always said that the 30s were her best decade, but that was the decade she married my dad and had me. So I think I've just been scratching my head about what the best decade is supposed to mean. Is it the first version of Jenna's life or is it the entire second half of the film where Jenna regrets all the time she frittered away?
Does it have to be some neat either or choice? And if this movie impacted me so much, I cannot imagine what it meant for the real life actor who played young Jenna Christa B Allen. She's about to turn 30 herself. We catch up and use this moment to assess. After the break. If you're having trouble meeting your goals, folks at work or if you're feeling stressed and are having trouble sleeping, better help is here for you. It's not a self-help class.
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Better help Dotcom. The cut. Is it better l.p dotcom. The cut and join over one million people in charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced, better health professional. If you love food, I want to tell you about another show from Transmitter Media called Rebel Eaters Club..
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Listen now. And your favorite podcast app or Rebel Eaters Club Dotcom. You know how some people, as they grow up, their faces sort of morph and change and other people have the same face and just grow bigger? Chris to be Alan is definitely the latter. Like, if you are a fan of 13 going on 30, you could probably still recognize her in the street. I'm Krista.
I am an actress of 20 years and I'm a content creator. And I guess most people know me for playing young Jenna in 13, going on 30. I played the 13 year old version and now I'm a bit closer to 30 because you're twenty nine, right? I am. I am too. It's so weird.
It's because, like, I started working my job. I have now when I was twenty two and I thought I was super young. Then you started working the job you have now. I mean. Yeah. How old were you when you started acting.
I guess I was around eight. Yeah, about eight. Yeah. I'm curious how you felt about your age in your in your work.
Because I always felt. Like, weirdly, like I had a chip on my shoulder, but also kind of proud that people always underestimate me and I always kind of prove them wrong and I feel so weird now, just being an adult, talking to you, another adult, and we're just like two adults. Do you know what I mean?
Like you feel? I totally do. I totally hear you. You know, I would say that my my driving force for a long time was, you know, when I was very young, it was people doubting me. And you have a lot to prove. And it really has happened in the past year or two where I no longer really feel like I have anything to prove. In fact, I really don't feel that I have anything to prove.
Christa's IMDB page is pretty stacked. She played young Jennifer Garner again in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. She was on the ABC series Revenge, and you can see her on various TV, movies and series.
I've worked consistently, but but I now feel that I don't want to leave it up to chance so much, which is why I'm doing a lot more like work with brands and building my own sort of, you know, presence on social media.
Chris, Debbie Allen has almost 400000 Instagram followers. You can see her lounging in a peach colored slip in an avocado colored kitchen with luminescent skin and vivacious houseplants, promoting nail polish and body wash and stainless steel mugs. She's hustling while she's continuing to do remote auditioning. Krista is a working actor and she does not hide her grind.
I don't come from a rich family. I don't come from a business family. I don't you know, my family are blue collar workers and they have a lot of respect for what they do. And I have a lot of respect for what they do and they have a lot of dignity. But in the world that I'm playing in, you are essentially a small business and you have to know how to run your small business. And nobody taught me that.
And so now I feel that I've had to go on that journey on my own. And through what I share on social media, I feel like I can empower others to to do the same in some way.
Yeah. Yeah. How do I put this, like as I approach 30, I know in my soul that I am happy and I like who I am and I kind of just don't give a fuck anymore.
And yet there are still these sort of external markers that I look to for like I mean, apparently so.
Sociologists in nineteen fifty determined that there are five benchmarks of being an adult and they are completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, getting married and having a child. And I just find myself like looking around at my friends, like looking at movies like anytime I see a celebrity I'm like, how old are they, how far. Like just even though I know that I shouldn't care and like, truly in my soul don't care, I still care a little bit.
And I wonder, like, how you feel about 30 minutes or like if you. Yeah. How you feel like you measure up right now.
May I ask which of those benchmarks you've completed.
Yes, sure. Well, I left school. I left home. I am financially independent.
I am weirded out that I am like nowhere close to being married.
And the funny thing, like I wasn't a long term relationship in my mid 20s and I was like, you know, I'm just spending my whole 20s in this relationship.
I got to live a little bit while I'm still young, which is so funny because we broke up when I was twenty eight and then as soon as I turned twenty nine, I was like, time is running out.
Like it just went so quickly from being like I'm still young to like time is time is out. And again, I don't believe that in my soul. Like the rhetoric, like the mythology is so strong. Right.
I don't know where, where, where are you measuring up in your in your mind.
Look, how I measure up is I never went to well I went to community college but never got a degree. I dropped out of high school when I was 15. I tested out of high school when I was 15, went straight to college, did that for a while, then, you know, just focused on work from there on out. I am financially independent. I have lived on my own for since I was eighteen. I'm single and childless, so, you know.
There are only a couple of ways that I don't measure up, but I don't feel in any hurry to meet those benchmarks, I'm always really inspired by those quotes circulate about the people who kind of start their career in their 40s or, you know, they didn't make their first major move or start their first major company or something or write their first book or whatever until their 40s. And it's the harder part is just sitting in silence for a while and figuring out what that is.
I honestly think that's the hardest thing for most people and it's the hardest thing for me. Because once you see what it is that you want. Then it's just about breaking it down into tiny steps to get there, but having your eye on the prize is that's the harder part.
I don't know what the prize is. I really don't like all my life.
I just wanted to make a living working in radio. And now I do, just like Krista wanted to be an actress and she is.
But of course, like Avery, you idiot, you're never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever going to be able to just hit cruise control on existence, even if you're lucky enough to hit a goal or cross something off the big 1950s life checklist.
I think that you when you're when you're young and younger, like 13 and looking at your future, you think you just have this idea that it will be you'll be magically together at the age of 30 and you'll have this fabulous life writers, Kathy RESPA and Josh Goldsmith again.
And then when you're approaching 30, like we were when we were writing it, it's not magical, like you're still working it out. And so I feel like you're always looking for a magical future where it's all going to be together no matter what age you are.
Did you guys have, like, images of yourself when you were 13, what you imagined yourself to be at 30, what you like an image or like what you imagined to be doing? Hmm.
I'm telling you, so much of it came from this movie. So you thought you were going to be a magazine editor or just like the scene of her, like walking around the city in a flirty little sundress like that? Like that's what 30 year olds do.
I don't know. What was your vision?
I had a very specific one, and it was drinking a martini at a fashionable high end airport bar or like hotel bar.
And I had and I had a very sleek ponytail and it was straight down and I just looked fabulous. And and I was there by myself just waiting for a man to come up to me and just sweep me off my feet and like but I didn't need him because I was going somewhere on a plane.
What about you, Allison? Mine was way more basic.
I was just like, I'm going to have. Four kids, two of them are going to be twins. I'm going to like have some horses going to be married, horses, twins like.
Oh, I thought if I could go to midnight movies in New York, I. I was a teenager, like when I was like 13 and that was my dream. Like I wanted to grow up and be able to go to the Angelika whenever I wanted.
We're not too far away from our well except for you, Alice, and everybody else isn't too far away. I'll put mine after 40. I'll put off my horse aspirations. Funny thing is, we've got time. It's true. We've got so much time. And I feel like we're just like forcing this clock.
Mm hmm. Yeah. No, of course, I don't expect everything to magically change with the flip of a digit. Nor do I really think that I'm running out of time. It's just that when I close my eyes and think about it, my biggest dreams right now truly are like good dancing, dress up and make out with someone. I mean, that's definitely a year of lockdown getting to me.
But I pretty much just want to be flirting and thriving.
And I can't seem to let go of the idea that one day later I will get hit on the head with the adult stick. If you could rewrite anything about the movie now, what would you change?
In some ways, I think that the movie really has a very clear message about trying to make the right choices going in. And you won't have to go through what you went through in order to find Matt and find the right way to go about your life.
In retrospect, being a little older, I kind of feel like everyone's going to make those mistakes.
I have a little in that way maybe in the movie and maybe making those mistakes are OK.
So you think Jenna couldn't go back in time and correct her behavior?
She just kind of like move on and, you know, find someone great on Bumble and like, have a good life.
Someone like Matt. Maybe not. That's right.
I just kind of like those qualities. I think we used to joke like they end up together. They break up during college. They didn't want to tell the audience that we that's our that's our vision of it. So what's the lesson in the movie?
Listen. I think the lesson in the movie is appreciate your your weird friends who will always be good to you.
Listen, I'm still not totally sure what lesson I got from the movie, but I will totally take this one for my 30th birthday party.
I made Thai curry for a bunch of people and it was 30 flirty and Thai curry.
Because I think even though I'm 30, I still have this idea of what 30 is.
But I'm not that. But I feel fine about it. I feel good about it. I feel great about being in my 30s, too. I'm all right about it. Here, here. Welcome to the club, Avery. Thank you, Betty. Thanks, guys. No, this is this is this is this is perfect.
The Cut podcast is made by Bob Parker, Jasmine Aguilera, Alison Barrenger and me and I have some super bittersweet news. This is Alison's last episode with the show. I don't know if you know this, but the podcast team is kind of a super group. And Alison has her own project, which is honestly one of my favorite podcasts out there. It's called Bodies and it is a poetic, heartfelt, intellectual journey into the mysteries of our bodies and their quirks and their ailments and their needs.
Highly, highly recommend it if you haven't heard it. And Alison leaves us to go make season three. So Godspeed, Alison. We are so excited to listen and we miss you terribly. The show is executive produced by Hanna Rosin, Stella Bagby and Nishat Koloa, mixed and scored by the great Joel Robbie. We are a production of New York magazine. Subscribe to support all the amazing work they do at the cut dotcom slash subscribe.
And if you'd like to give me a really nice birthday present, I would love it if you recommended the show to a friend.
It'd mean a whole lot. I'm a very tough woman. Thanks for listening.