Monday, January 23, 2017

My FIRST Blog 'Dis'!

It may be a little obvious that I’m slightly opinionated. I can even be a little snarky. I also write many posts about ‘getting along with each other’. 

I still get surprised when someone responds on another person’s thread/post/blog/picture with hate and insults. I feel that if you disagree, you either respond respectfully or you ignore it. If you are really offended, just block the person.

What I write about here is what comes to me, whether it’s something I’m going through that I need to work out, or a strong reaction – and usually it comes from a hateful response to a post and not the post itself (even if I disagree with the original post).

Message boards provide quite the fodder for writers.

With this blog setup, each blogger chooses to ‘follow’ other people’s blogs. I get notified if they follow me, but not if they stop following me.

Yesterday I wrote a blog regarding the practice of single men fishing for single women on Facebook. Then, I wrote a SECOND one – a short and not-so-sweet version – that said the same thing, but rather bluntly. The last part of the second blog was a picture of my middle finger.

I got this comment:

"Followed you too long."

Oooh, that sounds personal!

Why do I always get surprised by comments? I write about them all the time; I said I get a lot of writing material from them – yet I still get surprised when I see them on my posts!

I disagree with this comment, as far as the fact that it violates the ‘respectful response’ rule that I practice. Even if I felt the need to insult you personally, I will do it directly.  I would have sent you a private message.  You disagree with me? Fine. You don’t like me? Again, fine. 

I have apparently offended this person, but I will not make apologies for what I said in that blog, or for the picture of my middle finger. It was as a response to the men who ask for ‘special’ (read: nude) pictures of me. What I wrote was in response to harassment. The first version was nicer, yes, but continued harassment can only be treated respectfully to a point.

Am I supposed to suffer it quietly? IS IT BECAUSE I’M A GIRL? (I had to say that! J )

I’d be kidding myself if I even thought that those the blog was directed to would actually read it, but it did need to be said.

As a girl, I get harassed constantly (I’m speaking strictly of harassment.) I go out alone quite a bit; I enjoy it. My alone-ness is not an invitation for company any more than my status as a single woman is – but that is how it is treated. I am not alone in this; I know all women go through it in some form or another. For me, for them, for us, I wrote that blog. To remind myself that I do not have to take that, and to say that it’s okay to stand up against it. We are not here to be anyone’s target. And there are some times when reactive disrespect is necessary. How many times do you expect us to say, ‘No, thank you”? There is a reason why “No means NO” became a slogan.

This person wanted to voice his/her opinion. I DO get that.  And out of respect for that person’s opinion, I tried to ‘like’ the comment – and couldn’t, which means I was blocked.

(I will NOT get into my LOVE of passive-aggressiveness right now!)

Thank you, Madam or Sir for your opinion.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Notes to the Single Men from a Single Woman (ABRIDGED VERSION)

(For the nicer, longer, less-snarky version click here.)

I am a single woman with a Facebook account. If you happen to see me there and decide to ignore the ‘INTRO’ line right under my picture that says, “Not here to make a love connection, thank you” and want to friend request me anyway, let's get a few things out of the way by allowing me to show you how things might go (your part is in bold):

Are you single?
Yes, but if this is your way of a greeting, my answer will be to block you.

Can we talk later?
Do you mean later today, next year, or later when you’re not too busy interviewing other candidates? Aren’t we talking now?

We should meet up.
I don’t know you.
But how will I get to know you?
Are we not communicating now?


[Sends kissy-face and heart emoticons]

You’re beautiful.
Thank you.
You’re beautiful.
You’re SO beautiful.

Do you like beards?

Can I meet your kids?
No. They will not be involved unless *I* am involved. I will not use them to allow more time to spend with other people. You can meet them like everyone else on Facebook does.

Why are my friends asking me if they should accept your friend request?
Uh … accident?

[Sends full-body bathroom selfie]

Does an age difference bother you?
Are you expecting me to buy alcohol for you?

Older women are hot.
a.)    I know.
b.)    If you don’t know what I want you to know, I’m not willing to train you.
c.)    Run along, little boy.
d.)    Tell your mother that.
e.)    All of the above, and [Block]

Will you send me a ‘special’ picture?


Notes to the Single Men from a Single Woman

(If this is too much for you, click here for the abridged version.)

Hello. It’s nice to meet you. I’m doing well, thank you. Yes, I slept well. Yes, thank you, I had a good week.

Are we done with the damn small talk yet?

I don’t post my relationship status on Facebook, because for many people the ‘single’ status can come across to others to be a secret code for ‘not wanting to be single’. That one word alone can attract a lot of attention. My ‘singleness’ shows in my posts: I have cats and drink wine. Duh.

There is one thing I learned from the Great Loves of my life: they seem to show up when I am not looking for it. I am not looking. Looking implies need and need implies lack. Right now, there is nothing missing from my life that I can’t get or do for myself. Nothing.

This is not relationship advice. As a single person, I am obviously unqualified to give any kind of relationship advice; but I am qualified to give a few pointers based on my singleship experience. Since I’m not the only single woman on this planet, I know I am not the only one who may feel this way.  

Every time I post a new profile picture on Facebook, I get new friend requests. Stop it. Don't friend request me because of my picture. This has nothing to do with vanity. I post pictures that I like; I’m not posting them for you. If I were the type of person that took pictures in hopes of getting certain attention from others, remember that it still stems from my own perspective of what I think ‘attractive’ is. We all have different preferences, different things that we find interesting at first sight. It’s the same way that we each have different likes in architecture or floral arrangements.

Besides, I already know I’m not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. I’m quite okay with that.

Don’t call me ‘beautiful’ more than once. If I don’t know you, that word means nothing to me, because you’ve obviously been fooled by the best one-out-of-three photo I had to choose from to post.

I will probably also think you were an idiot for not taking that into consideration.

You are beautiful. Do you think that we need to hear that? That silly word is used too much in separation – if there are two people in a room and only one is called beautiful, then the implication is that the other is not. What makes me beautiful, truly beautiful, has nothing to do with how I look. Outside of showering and brushing my hair, I have nothing to do with my looks, and my looks have nothing to do with who I am. Being called beautiful only matters when it comes from someone who knows me – me – who is not just talking about how I look on the outside (unless I’ve dressed up ‘for’ you – my effort needs to be appreciated!).

I do get that you could be interested by a picture of someone that you see on the Internet. Sometimes, if you’re not shallow, you can see something in a picture that is truly worth being interested in – outside of the obvious. If you’ve decided you want to talk to me solely based on a picture of me, your ‘interest’ is minimal. If I caught your attention with something I said or wrote, I consider that interest valid.

Don’t tell me that I ‘intrigue’ you. I don’t want to intrigue you; intrigue implies an interest based on a question that once answered will end. I am not a mystery. I don’t try to be. Don’t try to ‘figure me out’. Just let me be. Whatever you need to know about me – what any of us needs to know about anyone else – we learn without needing to ask, because it shows in so many ways.

Pay attention.

- but don’t lavish it. Don’t try to make me feel that you are 'all about’ me. I am the only one who should be that, and since you should be all about you, I will know you are not sincere. If you truly feel you are all about me, then I will know you feel something is missing from your life that you are looking for someone else to fill. I can’t and won’t handle that type of responsibility – and I will disappoint you.

If all you are looking for is a hook-up, be honest about it. If that was going to offend me, better to know earlier than later. I’d respect you more for your honesty – and if you contacted one of my friends and she asked about you, I might be a little nicer with what I had to say about you.

Pay VERY close attention to this part: We – us girls – actually talk to each other. Be very careful if your ‘interests’ overlap friendships or familial relations (if you are foolish enough to do that).

Stop ‘fishing’. If you have a question, ask. I am very direct. If I sense you are dancing around a question, I will call you on it and tell you to be straight with me. If you can’t handle direct, leave me alone. There are at least 6,999,999,999 other people to connect with if I want to – I have Internet.

The men I’ve encountered seem to have a problem with honesty and directness. I say ‘men’ because I’m talking about a specific type of interaction that I have with men that I don’t have with women. My best friend Donna will tell me she doesn’t have time for me because she wants to watch the football game or she’d rather do something else. I love that. I earnestly believe that that honesty should be part of all relationships and not just friendships.

With that being said, I believe that romantic relationships should be best-friendships. We tend to bring the best of ourselves – and bring out the best in the other person – when we want to be there. Donna doesn’t have to want to spend all of her time with me; she is allowed to have an interest in things that I can’t be bothered with. Those other interests of hers are part of what make her Donna, and I wouldn’t change any of it. I even allow her to have her own opinion, occasionally. :)   
Honesty and directness should even be a part of non-interest in someone. If someone doesn’t interest you, or if they are looking for something you don’t want – even if your interests has changed – let the other person know. People-pleasing is impossible; not everything you say or feel may be what someone else wants to hear, but it is still more welcome than a prevarication. When you are single, you are free to date/talk to/show interest in as many people as you like. If you decide you have a favorite, don’t string others along – especially not as ‘backup’. If you start getting serious with one, let the others know. By that same token, don’t be so foolish as to take on more than you can handle. A running text/message conversation with long pauses in between comments is an obvious sign of your lack of attention – or that your main attention is on something else. Tell the other person you are busy; tell him or her if you are seeing someone. You’ll hurt someone more by lying, avoidance, and that silly new cowardly trait of ‘ghosting’. (Yes, I said cowardly.)
Mother Theresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” Many best-selling books on business and self-help have explained that same sentiment in many ways, regarding both meeting with and confronting people. The basic idea is that you should be aware of the fact that one of three things will happen in either situation:
·         the situation/meeting will improve or the connection will be deepened
·         the situation/meeting remains neutral or nothing will change
·         the situation/meeting will get worse or be hurtful to someone.
As human beings in general, if we strive to maintain or better any connection we have with another and to avoid worsening our dealings with them, we can be the best and truest versions of ourselves. That is the best way of showing love and respect for others – or, at least, common courtesy. Deep down, I don’t believe any one of us wants to have a list of people we know who feel bad about us because of something we did to them deliberately. If you care about yourself and how others treat you, then be mindful of how you treat them. Always. Even if you feel you will never see them again. You never know. At the very least, we can be fair to each other.

Right now, I’m not into looking for ‘relationships’ – because I feel everything is a relationship, and I'm enjoying every different kind. If someone interests you, go with it, without pushing or putting labels on anything in the beginning. Later on, sure, go for it. Talk, see where things lead – but let them take their own direction without forcing them one way. You never know the friendship – or even valuable interaction - you could miss out on because someone didn’t meet every checkpoint on your list.

If you are genuinely interested in someone and you’re both on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever, you can scroll down her most recent posts to see a little of what she’s like day to day. This will give you something to talk about. Comment on her posts, interact - don't jump into private messaging, asking for more attention. You might find out that she has cats; if you’re allergic, that could be a problem, and you’ll save time by knowing that in advance and can cross her off the list with minimal involvement.

DO NOT GO FURTHER than a few posts – especially with pictures. The last thing I want is to see an old picture of me at the beach resurfacing because it was ‘liked’ by some guy I don’t know.  Now, I know that once I put something up on the internet it is fair game and people will look, but if I don’t know you and I find out you’ve been trolling through my old photos, I’m going to assume you’re some kind of stalker – or worse: shallow.

Another thing to consider before you waste time with old pictures on someone’s page: that picture she has been notified of that you just liked, that has just been brought front and center on her newsfeed, may have been taken by someone that was at one time special to her. Whatever thoughts those pictures bring up, whether they be painful or happy memories, they will not be associated with you, and you will not gain any points for a reminder.

Even if you are looking, be real. Talk. Get to know someone without forcing the “I want to get to know you better”.

Without an end-game.

I love meeting new people, men and women. People are fascinating; they enhance shared experiences and provide unique perspectives. The writer in me learns new ways of looking at things. You never know how a random interaction can affect you later. I will strike up a conversation with anyone around me when I have something to say (when … Ha!). For me, I’ve found that the best moments, the most intense connections with people seem to come out of nowhere.

There are great websites out there for people who want to make certain types of connections. When I feel that is what I want to do, I will join one or two. But right now, I don’t want to meet people who want to meet me if they have a goal in mind, because I don’t. I don’t enjoy conversations that play like job interviews, where I’m made to feel like I am supposed to adhere to specific parameters, and one ‘wrong answer’ could terminate the conversation.

The world is full of many different opportunities – all kinds of possibilities - that we should be open to without limiting any of them by narrow expectations. None of us know all that is out there for us to have, be or achieve. I do not have a list of requirements of people that involves looks, job or financial status, or ‘potential position in my life’. What happens, happens – because whatever it is that is allowed to happen naturally will be right.

Was this just a snarky way of saying, “leave me alone”? If you read this, then you will know I have no problem saying that, if I have to. I do not consider myself an island or closed off from the world, but I am not here for your purpose or validation. I’m saying don’t expect anything of me. Don’t look for me to provide something for you or fill a vacancy. Don’t try to be my friend. Just be, let me be, and let's go from there.

Thank you.

P.S. This does go both ways.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dear Actors, Singers, Celebrities ... I Am Sorry

I found these two lovely posts on my Facebook newsfeed a few times over the past few weeks:

Aren’t you glad you wanted to be famous?

There’s nothing better than living in a country where I can determine the value of other people by their jobs. Where I can take my right to think, say, do and be whateverIgoddamnplease and shove it in everyone’s face while telling them that they are not allowed the same.

You celebrities, you make life easier for us in so many ways. Your music, films, television shows, books, and art provide us escape when we need it. We’ve even made some of you famous like circus side-show performers because we can’t feel good about ourselves unless we trash someone else – and who better than a celebrity, who is not close enough to defend him or herself. (We have taken passive-aggression to perverted lengths, haven’t we?)

Thank you. We return the favor by not allowing you your own escape (Isn’t that right, Robin?).

One day we will decide to like you and put you up on a pedestal - but that pedestal is made of clay and sits on sand. What you give us to entertain us will only be enough for so long, so we must take away your privacy and make unreasonable demands on you. Smile for us, talk to us, give up your entire life for us. Let us chase you and hound you, and sell your used napkins on eBay. When that’s not enough, let us delve further into your lives so that we may mock you for your stupid decisions, laugh at your relationships’ ends, and insult you for being the human that your stardom apparently was supposed to have taken away from you. We accuse you of being fake, then criticize you when you try to be real. When you try to maintain what we appear to expect from you, we mock you some more for trying to remain the same.

Once you’re up on that pedestal, you are expected to lead by example – unless, of course, you have a different opinion. We want you to be good role models, and insult you when you try – but make sure to give us a good excuse for why our children act the way they do so that we don’t have to accept any blame.

We will expect you to spend your money on what we deem worthy, using the "use your status for good" theory - until it's not money you are offering.

You will not win.

I have seen the above two posts on the Facebook pages of people who post all that shit about following your dreams, being who-you-are-warts-and-all, not allowing yourself to be pigeon-holed, treating others with kindness, and even bible verses – now, I do not think those types of posts are ‘shit’, but they are if that person who posted them means that anything positive, tolerant, supportive and nice are only the rights of him or herself. One person even posted one of the above memes AND a few posts later put up a political endorsement by a celebrity. Which is it?

(It is quite a skill to talk out of both sides of your mouth, isn’t it?)

I applaud all of you; it takes courage to stand under the microscope in front of such a large audience - not like those of us who hide behind smaller spotlights and only voice opinions from behind computer screens.

We are the real actors; we pretend to love you, but we will use and then crucify you.

I am sorry.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Get Over It

I have $19.41 in my wallet, and that amount is to last me for the rest of the week thanks to a major snafu on the part of a large company that took multiple payments out of my bank account one day two weeks ago, and a second time again last week. There are two reasons I’m telling you this: one, to show my certainty in my willingness to gamble with it; and, two, to point out that one event creates a domino effect afterwards – which is part of the point I am trying to make now.

I am willing to bet that whole $19.41 – all that I have right now - that with the three words at the top of this article you have a good idea about my subject here. I even knew that those three words would get attention because of their implication.

Three words. Like I love you, they now carry a weight much larger than the space they take up on paper implies. Now especially, they can also evoke as much emotion as those other three little words, although their meaning has grown into something more hurtful, more uncaring, and more dismissive than before.

Get over it.

Something happened recently that has caused many people to be afraid. Very afraid. Had that event had the opposite result (and it very nearly did, if not for a … technicality), then another group of people would know that same fear – if their vociferous and public opinions beforehand were any indication; yet, instead of there but for the Grace of God their motto is the derogatory get over it.

When exactly did you stop caring about other people? When did you stop being able to see that it could have been you in that position?

I will ‘get over’ my financial issues after the company resolves its error in ‘the system’ which, apparently is a law unto itself, that will try three times - with no apparent means of stopping it – to make that same error a third time (I can’t wait to see what happens on Friday). I will ‘get over it’ after the bank has refunded bank fees and charges for overdraft, and when the company provides full compensation for what I have spent. Obviously, I won't 'get over it' until later.

My daughter was in a serious car accident in July. While we are fortunate enough that she will heal in time, we will ‘get over it’ after she has completed therapy, after she is no longer in pain, after she is able to go back to work, and after she gets on her feet again. AFTER the actual event.

My mother had breast cancer. There were many things that happened after the diagnosis. We shaved her head in a ‘family ceremony’, she went through chemotherapy and radiation and suffered the aftereffects – not to mention how something like that can put one’s life on hold, or worse. Tell me, if the diagnosis happened in one day, when should she have gotten over it?

A man I loved died of cancer a little over four years ago. It happened; it’s done, right? When should I get over that?

I’m asking you to get a little perspective. The people who are concerned and afraid have their reasons for feeling the way they do. Who is any of us to judge what they are feeling or how strong their feelings are? Who are you to dismiss and disparage something that’s very real to them just because you don’t feel the same way?

We – none of us – are not even able to determine what courage is in another person, because we can never know what something might cost them. We decide someone else’s measure of bravery based on our own experiences and value judgments. We never really know how much the personal price is for a soldier, an activist, a parent, or the seemingly ordinary person walking out his or her front door … anyone.

We rush to judge people, and dismiss them only based on how we feel, conveniently forgetting that they have feelings, too. Like you, other people have their own truths. If you truly believe we live in a free country, if you value your freedom of thought, then you should be able to show some respect for the freedom of others in thinking and feeling as they do. Divided we fall.

Isn’t it funny how selective we can be, even with compassion? We seem to have more compassion for the person afraid of spiders. Why is that? Why can we accept their fear in that situation?

Do we ‘believe’ that opposing beliefs of others are to be scorned? That’s a little contradictory, don’t you think?

There is one more thing that I ask that you consider, if the above wasn’t too much for you already: the event that you are telling people to ‘get over’ hasn’t happened yet. A decision was made, and a future was foretold. These people you are telling to get over it haven’t even experienced what they are worried about – they were basically told that a disastrous event was coming. If it hasn’t happened yet, how can they possibly ‘get over’ it? And, if their fears are realized, what then? Or can you predict the future – including the actions of another – and fully assure others that everything will be all right? I’m a mother, and I have trouble telling that to my children – and there’s only two of them.

If you were told that something you feared was going to happen, how would you react? And how would you feel talking to someone else who didn't understand your feelings?

Please, please, stop using those three little words. Understand the effect they would have on you. Remember the ‘other’ three little words. If you are unable to go that far then, please, just be quiet.

I love you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Is it a Good Week or a Bad Week?

I talk a lot about the idea of good and bad - that there is never one without the other – and the idea of inclusion of this and that, as opposed to this or that. I say that everything that we call ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is determined by perspective alone, and that every perspective is true.

Today I am backing that theory up in a small way.

I am having a week.

Is it a good week, or a bad week?

It started with one event: my refrigerator died.

(Coincidentally – or not, it was the same day we got our first real snowstorm. We got a foot of snow, and yes, I’d just gone grocery shopping that morning.)

Saturday night around 1:00 a.m. I smelled smoke in my kitchen – not a lot, just a faint smell. It took me a while to figure out where it was coming from, but eventually I did see it coming from the back of the refrigerator where the wires meet the compressor. I unplugged it immediately. At a more normal hour of 8:00 a.m. I called my father (an electrician) to ask for help/advice. I also contacted a few friends nearby. The conclusion was the same: get a new one.

My dead Sears refrigerator was 19 years old, and even Sears couldn’t find any documentation of it to get the specs – and I had no idea about refrigerator sizes. It took a couple of hours to make a purchase (with help from a number of people), then it was a 24-hour wait to be notified of delivery – which hasn’t happened yet and won’t occur until this coming Sunday, still 4 days away.

It is Wednesday. My refrigerator died Saturday night and I won’t have one again until Sunday.

Bad week?

Well, let’s break it down:

It was 1 in the morning, and I was just locking up and turning off all of the lights to go to sleep when I smelled the faint smoke.

·         I had a pork roast in the crock pot all day*, and I just extinguished the incense I had burning in one room and the strongly scented candle I had in the kitchen. How lucky was I to able to notice the smoke smell?

*N.B. I only told you about that because it was pertinent to the story. I don’t cook!

·         It was very late; I should have been in bed already, but I wasn’t.

·         Because of the snowstorm, I was able to put my perishables outside.

·         If I cooked like the real Italian they tried to raise me to be, my refrigerator would have been FULL, and this would have been a real loss of food. But I’m not, and it wasn’t.

I called my father for help. Dad lives 40 miles away Lynn, and was unable to come out  - not just because he has a life and his own responsibilities, either; snowstorm, remember?

·         We were able to VIDEO CHAT. I got down on the floor behind the refrigerator and was able to show him what was going on. He was able to show me what parts to check and to remove (and how to remove them). We saw the beginnings of flames when I plugged it back in for a moment.

·         I was able to contact my friends over the internet. The snowstorm didn’t stop me from getting help.

It’s been inconvenient to have to go outside for the milk every time I made myself a cup of coffee (if you know me, you know that happens a lot) – especially since I had to keep getting dressed and putting my boots on to go out. I complain about snow and cold weather all the time. All. The. Time. But, because it was cold, taking care of my food wasn’t a problem for the first three days. I didn’t even have to buy ice. The snow and cold that I complain about has been a benefit to me.

Today, the temperature went up to 60 degrees. 60 degrees on January 11! The sun is shining brilliantly and it melted almost ALL of the snow! Do you know how happy that would normally make me? This is a GOOD thing to me, normally -

 - but not this week! My milk is outside!

But I still don’t even have to buy ice, because there has been enough snow left to put in my coolers (again, the amount of food that I have to worry about keeping is probably less than most people – so it’s good that I don’t cook).

Like everything else that happens with us that interferes with routine, this will still work out in the end. And like I’m noticing more and more, there are many good things that make me notice things as ‘less’ bad than I may once have thought. Soon, I will once again be able to get milk without needing to bundle up to get it, and I will continue to not cook. More than likely, I will consider the 60-degree days something to celebrate, and bitch when the temperature drops below 30 – because my perspective will be different.

The bottom line is that things like this happen. Technically, the expectance of a happening will lessen any effect of that particular event, and it truly is our perspective that determines how ‘bad’ it is. When our refrigerator, washer, dryer … coffee machine … any appliance or thing finally breaks, our first reaction is surprise, either because the item may be somewhat new or because it wasn’t on our mind to worry about it – but think about this: we know that everything we purchase has a shelf life, and that it won’t last forever; therefore, the fact that it did break should never be a surprise. We should never feel ‘unprepared’ for it, because we know in advance.

Of course, timing plays into our reaction of an event, too. I could have gone back two weeks for this particular discourse to outline another event that happened last week that actually had an impact on my first reaction of this Refrigerator Event, but it would basically reiterate the bottom line.

Then again, too, even the timing of an event should be expected, technically. We all know that something will happen, and we know that we don’t know when. Ergo, no real surprise there, either. 

When you purchase any item, the warranty only lasts for so long – there’s a reason for that.

What does this tell us? My Refrigerator Event showed me that there are things that happen that I normally consider to be good things that were not so good for me this week, and that some things I would consider to be bad were actually to my benefit. Good and bad at the same time. This and that. Think about how many things we know will happen, even if we don’t know exactly when they will happen.

My week has been full of consistent inconveniences that all stemmed from one event. I could whine that this is and will continue to be a shitty week until I get my new refrigerator. That’s what we do; we let one thing upset everything else and color our opinions of all surrounding events. We piss and moan when things don’t go ‘smoothly’. In fact, if I told you my events of the past two weeks, you might consider this event just more of the “it’s always something” lament, right?

It is. But we know that.

Be aware of the good; know that it is always present, even when all you can see is the bad. Enjoy the good everywhere you find it - and make sure to look for it when it is not obvious to you.

Appreciate it. Appreciate all things. Take nothing for granted.

Remember, if it weren’t for the bad, we would never be able to see the good.

It’s a good week. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 - Our 50th Year (It's Carol's Fault)

My newly-turned 12 year old daughter spent Christmas vacation with her father. One of the first days of the new year I received a text from him saying her first comment on waking up in the morning was that her mother “was turning 50 this year”.

She’s had this odd fascination with my age for a long time now. It started when she realized that I am one of the oldest (if not the oldest) mothers of all of her friends. She’s lamented the fact that her mother is going to be 50 before she even becomes a teenager!

Of course – with my advanced age – I can understand this; when I turned 13, my mother had just turned 35 and she was ancient to me; I know how old 50 must seem to my daughter.

I’m sure you all just had a little chuckle at the thought of the age of 35 being old; I know I just did. I see a little 35-year-old running around and all I can think is “Baby”!

Do you remember when Marty McFly had us believing we would all be using hover boards by this time? Or what it was like to party like it was 1999 – when it was 1999?

This new year ending in 7 is the 50th year for my age group – or as I still say, “for me and the kids I grew up with”. I blame Carol D. She started it five days into this new year (how's the water over there, Carol?). Yes, I could blame Wayne and Chris – the twin two-for-one – but they are guys, and we all know it’s different for women.

“It’s different for women” is not something I always say in conversation as a general phrase. I am a staunch believer in equality, in connectedness and like spirits; however, there are differences between people that I believe should be celebrated and integrated – although in this case I am referring to the negative societal segregation that has been prevalent for too many years: women aren’t allowed to age. Don’t believe me? How many advertisements are we bombarded with for women’s hair products that cover gray hair? How many brands of makeup promise ‘age-defying results’? Men are encouraged to go to the gym to feel good; women are encouraged to go to the gym to ‘look’ good – who is the ‘Booty Max’ advertised to? Isn’t the celebrated rite of passage for the male at his mid-life crisis a girlfriend who’s just finished puberty?

But, I digress.

Hey, guys! (In Massachusetts, we refer to groups of our peers as ‘guys’.) We are turning 50 this year! Can you believe it? Or, I could just say it this way:

(Go ahead, click the above link; it's only 11 seconds long.)

Remember that? Before Morgan Freeman became God after George Burns relinquished the title - despite Alanis Morissette’s brief-stint-that-never-took (hey, she’s a woman)? Before Bill Cosby plied little kids with Pudding Pops (and slightly older women with … other things)?

Sh … It … SHIT!

I find it funny to hear myself say to my daughters, “When I was a kid … “ because that is how I still think of myself – and all of you, my peers, the friends I graduated with … you ‘kids’ I grew up with. I still call you that: ‘kids’ – despite the eye rolls I get from my daughters when they hear me say it.

That’s what you are to me – that’s what we are, still.

And ‘us kids’ are turning 50.

(Yes, I know we have a few over-achievers who started a bit early and have already hit that milestone – you all are grandfathered in under the ‘Class of ‘85’ title.)

Damn. I’m going to have to change the title of my blog!

Those last few months before age 13, age 18, graduation, and age 21 seemed to last a lifetime, yet here we are amazed at the speed it took us to get here. We are now the adults we never took seriously as children, thinking we’d never turn into them.

How lucky are we?

How lucky are we? If you are reading this, you are still here – the most obvious fortune.

But … just think … how much have we seen? More than any other generation, ours has seen the most progress and advancement – even tragedy – than any other. Our parents may have been around to see the birth and evolution of many new technologies and inventions, but we are the ones to have experienced the before and after in greater capacity. We not only saw the decrease in size of computers, but we witnessed their full integration into everyday life – we learned in classrooms without computers present how to work in jobs that required them. We are no longer ‘trapped’ at home to watch a favorite television program, or take a phone call. Our kids will never know the agony of having to get up to change the channel or enjoy the mindlessness of wrapping oneself in a telephone cord.

We are also here - not only to witness - but to take active part in the many changes in social norms. That alone makes every single one of our lives significant (if you don’t believe anything else does), because we are the ones responsible for incorporating the ‘new’ ideas of integration and inclusion into our daily lives, so that our children will know nothing but that and then they can waste less time on correcting the collective mistakes of the past.

This includes the misconceptions about aging. Do you feel old?

- let me rephrase that, because I’ve heard some of you refer to yourself that way – but usually it has to do with physical issues:

Do you ‘think’ old?

Do you feel that you think the same way your parents did? You can’t; even if you hear your mother’s words coming out of your mouth when talking to children, you can’t think the same way - too much of that norm has changed.

We are pioneers. Pioneers embark on the new; and ‘the new’ is what separates children from adults. To a child, everything is new; we become grownups when the newness wears off – yet when you look at the big picture, everything about our generation is new.

Ergo, we will not be old for some time.

We are young.

- okay:

Heartache to heartache, we stand.

(You’re welcome.)

This year signifies new beginnings; another graduation, of sorts. I will sign off with some words of wisdom we learned back before our first graduation from a man who was one of the most colorful threads of our generation’s tapestry, a man who taught us how to laugh at ourselves, and who showed us by tragic example that everything is never as it seems:


*Mr. Williams, I am so very sad that you won’t be in attendance during my first Oscar acceptance speech – but you had better be listening!