Wednesday, February 11, 2015

To My Singletons,

I accidentally read an entire article today by a woman I imagine is living in some sort of fairy-tale life or lie and, most likely, basks in the glow of this upcoming day of red-stained store aisles with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, overflowing with roses, the hoards of men quickly scanning through the card section hoping to pass off someone else's heartfelt words of poetry as their own as she is anxiously awaiting to publicly announce on social media how she is truly the luckiest woman ever (probably with a pic of her new jewelry gift on display).  Why I accidentally read the entire article is because I thought it was some type of satirical bit and I was waiting for the non-existant sarcastic punchline.  I won't mention her name because I don't want my friends to subject themselves to this nonsense, but if you see an article that begins like this, "Another Valentine's Day. Another night spent ordering in sushi for one and mooning over "Downton Abbey" reruns. Smarten up, ladies.  Despite all of the focus on professional advancement, for most of you the cornerstone of your future happiness will be the man you marry."  STOP READING IT IMMEDIATELY!!!  She encourages women to spouse-hunt in college before it's too late and warns of the "dangers" of a career before marriage and children, since after your 20s it's pretty much impossible to snag a man and your competition will have you beat then, right?  I mean, is it terribly wrong that the bad boys were my favorite part of college?-which is probably reflective of my grades during that time, but I digress.  In response to this article I'd like to point out that most of my friends (and myself) did snag our men in our early to mid-twenties.  I was attending weddings, wedding showers and baby showers on a monthly basis.  Our talks centered around our excitement of our budding lives as little wives and the perfect families we would grow.  We were living the stepford wife dream and one of us could have probably written the above nonsensical article in our haze of martial success.  But now, in my late 30's, the scene has drastically changed as some of my closest friends opted to remain single, some are now close to entering the empty nest phase of life and about half are going through/have recently gone through/are considering a divorce...and that professional advancement so many did push aside to focus on the man we would marry to ensure our future happiness (and his) has come to an end.  Kind of blows that spouse + children= happiness for all theory out of the water.  Children grow up and move on and that wedding proposal you worked so hard to nail down doesn't always pan out as forever.  The intention of this post is not to bash marriage and having children, it's to give a different perspective to those who believe or fret that this is the only outlet to achieving happiness.  Happiness comes in many forms, as does love, if you're willing to risk occasionally sidestepping the "norm".  So, to those of you feeling bombarded by this upcoming holiday vomiting romance, go enjoy your Chinese takeout, Gilmore Girls marathon, bottle of wine, comfy pjs and spreading out in the middle of your king-sized bed this Valentine's Day...you deserve every ounce of happiness you are enjoying.  You are fabulous, you are courageous and, with or without a spouse, you are loved! (but then you already knew that).  Now go relish in your happiness and prove these naysayers all wrong.             

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Aging UNgracefully

Saturday mornings are typically reserved as coffee and US weekly ME time while the kids have carpet picnics eating cinnamon toast and catching up on their favorite cartoons.  Yesterday morning was no different as I perused my news/gossip/guilty pleasure mag and came across an article about Molly Sims (the Supermodel) "exposing" the real her.  Fessing up to the Botox in her forehead (since the age of 32) every 3-6 months, the Thermage (collagen-boosting treatment) in her jawline, the daily dose of vitamins and combo of prescription skin products/cleansers/exfoliators/creams, a prescription depigmentation cream to hide spots on her face, the lightened hair and eyebrows, the mesotherapy injections in her rear to get rid of fat and the cold laser therapy to shrink her stomach and thigh areas, in addition to, wearing 2 pairs of Spanx everyday for 9 hours to regain a tight tummy.  I was exhausted just reading about all she goes through to try and maintain a younger appearance and wondering how many hours a week she must put in just to fake it and then it hit me, this is me (minus all the injection stuff) which also explains why I'm so tired lately.  There is absolutely no denying that the face/body of a 20-something nosedives into a frightening world of the unknown for all women as we near our forties and beyond.  It's truly mind-boggling to wake up every morning and find a new, 'what is that?' in the mirror.  Men seem to get better with age while we suffer the tweezing, the bleaching, the waxing, the highlighting, the teeth whitening, the dieting, the daily workouts, the mega doses of vitamins, the manicures, the pedicures, the expensive creams to avoid the overly dry skin (and when did elbows become so evil?), the Spanx (ugh, the Spanx-that you wear on a date and want to eat a steak but can't because all you really want to do is be able to take a breath) and the small fortune you spend on miracles in a bottle, like when a sales guy pulls you into a store to show you the scary lines on your face using a magnifying mirror and warns you that it will only get worse if you don't stop those wrinkles now and you walk out with a 2 oz. bottle that just cost you $200 because miracles are priceless-uh, it happened to a friend.  So today, as we're leaving a restaurant, my husband says, "Wow, I didn't realize..." (my thoughts: how great you look today, how high your heels are, how young you look)..."that you have some gray hair!".  My sweet Mom tried to remedy the situation by insisting that it was actually blond hair he was seeing but he wouldn't give in or take the hint.  Then he finishes his remark with, "I don't understand why women can't just embrace the fact that they're aging."  He's dead now.  O.k., not really, but we're not on the best of terms.  And I immediately thought of the Molly Sims article because we're kindred spirits now.  I've been exposed by the enemy, a man, and it sucks!  Truth be told, most women in their late thirties/early forties are kindred. We're all experiencing the rapid decline, we're all killing ourselves to fool ourselves so we can face the mirror without wincing, we're all familiar with the judgmental glare of the 20-somethings who know we can't compete (we're completely out of the running, they know it and we know it-and for that we collectively hate them) and we care what men think of us and we don't know why we care but we do, especially when we're called out on a beauty technicality...just 2 days away from my highlighting appointment with my hair miracle worker/salon owner/cousin Kelly.  So for the bearded ladies with the purply gray hair, the sagging bellies, lined faces and yellow teeth: I GET YOU!  I do, it's a lot of work, and maybe someday I too will throw out my Victoria's Secret catalogs (for inspiration) and allow myself to bread binge but, for today, I'm going to go out fighting every beauty battle until I've lost the war...and then I'll move to the foreign land of Tampa where I'll wear the required muumuu and own a lot of cats.                    

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Letter

I went on a dig through time into a few binders full of poetry, journals, songs and stories my younger self had written.  Buried in the stacks I came across a letter.  This letter, however, was a letter to myself from myself 16 years ago and today is the first time I've seen it since.        

Jenny,
In one hour it will be my (your) 22nd birthday.  I hardly feel that old and I hope I never do.  As I enter this new stage I'm not as excited for my future as I probably should be, I'm afraid.   I fear becoming a boring adult trapped in a stagnate life.  Growing up, for so many, means placing more importance on making money and working too hard instead of valuing the things in life that bring us pleasure and happiness.  It's important to remember not to take things for granted, the things that make life worth living.  The long hugs, thunderstorms at night, rocky road ice cream, time for a friend, crossword puzzles, bubble baths, firework kisses, road trips, the I Love You's, new shoes, campfires, an empty notebook and a pen, singing, kids, butterflies, slow dancing, the ocean, a great song, a cup of hot tea, being in love, taking risks, starry skies, a soft pillow, long talks, parties, my family, a book/quote/movie that moves me and laughing until it hurts.  May I never stop living life to its fullest potential and never give up or stop dreaming like so many others do and will.  May the good memories never fade from my life nor the people in my life who are a part of those memories.  The only thing I vow to do, as an adult, is to rid myself of all things standing in the way of my happiness.  There are many adventures awaiting me and I refuse to allow you (me) to spend our future wallowing in heartache or worry.  Live like you're 21 always, do things that scare you everyday and never allow yourself to settle.  
Love,
Your Younger Self

....Two things: 1) My younger self was fabulous and 2) I have some things to work on, but I'm on it!          

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Hashtag: payitforward

Some friends and I were out to dinner the other night and this topic came up.  After we talked about it I've been noticing this trend more and more so obviously I must address it or I'll just explode.  Paying it Forward is a cute idea and all but I have to wonder how many sit in the Starbucks line, phone in hand, excited to report to the cyber world: Just bought someone else a coffee.  Cost me $3.52.  hashtag: It'sthelittlethings hashtag:payitforward... Perhaps it's part of some bigger movement of giving to the homeless or something that I'm not understanding but I can't imagine someone in serious need of food, clothing and shelter is sitting behind you in the Starbucks line ordering an overpriced coffee and ever so thankful for the triple shot Grande Mocha with skim and extra whipped cream.  Don't get me wrong, it's never a bad thing to spread a little sunshine and show kindness to others, but why are you doing it?  Is your good deed a deed worth doing if you would lack the social acknowledgement from your friends, family and strangers?  Would you be willing to pay it forward if the #payitforward movement didn't exist?  I'm not directing this post at anyone in particular because it seems to be coming from everywhere but doesn't seeking recognition for a good deed seem to negate the act itself making your good deed nothing but a selfish cry for attention?  And Mercy, if you absolutely must tell the world how you paid it forward it isn't necessary to tell us how much you paid.  That's not a question, it's a bold fact that you're just waiting for the compliments to come pouring in.  With all this said, Please continue to Pay It Forward as an act of kindness, PLEASE give to the homeless and donate whenever and wherever possible and Please spread your sunshine for a friend having a bad day but do it because it's the right thing to do, do it because you want to do it and do it because you truly want to make someone else's day.  And, if you absolutely must have your horn tooted, just buy me a Pinot and I'll hashtag your generosity all over the social media world.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

All Drugged Up With Nowhere To Go

Ever notice that the older you get the less fun the Dr. appointments become?  I spent all of Christmas Break running 3 kids back and forth from the pediatrician for all kinds of fun illnesses but the office is a colorful, happy place with toys and caring nurses who shower the kids with attention and hugs the second we walk through the door, the kindest pediatrician ever and the kids always leave with handfuls of tattoos, stickers, coloring sheets, pencils and lollipops after every appointment.  And we're finally over the sickness hump, right?  Then I get a cough, I tell everyone it's nothing because if I say it then it's true.  I mean Influenza A + 5 stomach viruses for 3 kids + pink eye= we're done!  
...2 weeks of coughing later I find myself in a waiting room plastered with Ebola posters and a (once full) box of face masks which immediately concerns me because there's only about 3 left.  I considered joking around with the front desk lady about all the people who must come here with Ebola needing masks but decided against it as I looked around the room at mask-wearing patients and planned out in my mind how I was coming in with a little cough and probably leaving with a deadly disease, but whatever, my Mom made me go.  Luckily a nurse immediately called me back and told me to get on a scale-I start thinking about how many layers of clothes I need to shed to make it look like a weight that I'll be satisfied with and seriously regretting that blasted Christmas fudge, but she barely gave me time to take my 20 pound coat off.  3.8 pounds I've gained since Christmas Break!!  I told her it was her fault because I was still wearing shoes, and clothes for that matter,  she didn't laugh.  So now my head is thinking 3 pounds and she decides to test my pulse?  She tells me it's high..yep, you just told me I gained weight and I was sitting in a room of Ebola, did you expect my pulse to be low?  A practitioner comes in and tells me I have bronchitis and I'm wheezing.  I disagree with her because I would know if I'm wheezing.  But she assures me my right lung is wheezy-which does explain a small problem I've had breathing.  She doesn't tell me everything will be o.k. and she doesn't smile or hug me or give me a lollipop, she calls in a few prescriptions and asks me who made me come to the Dr.?  I guess it's obvious I don't pop in often so I admit my Mom is to blame and she says good.  Then calls in another prescription for cough medicine that I told her I'm not going to take.  She calls it in anyway and asks if I have any questions.  UMMM-yes!  What are all of those steroids going to do to me??  She tells me they can be scary, different people have different reactions, I won't feel like myself, I'll be angry (which will bode well if I decide to make more snarky FB comments) and I'm going to gain weight.  Nail in coffin.  Then adds that I either take these meds or suffer the consequences of this possibly turning into something more serious.  Argh!  And, as a bonus, she scolded me for being irresponsible in not having my flu shot yet.  Yeah, Thanks!  I guess I met my feisty match in practitioners.  So yesterday I thought I might die.  I coughed so hard I could hear the SOS of my lung-and now I'm on the roids.  I probably just gained 15 pounds (don't know, you'd have to pay me to stand on a scale right now), one minute I'm crying during a Twizzler commercial and the next minute I'm outside bench-pressing trucks.  BUT I'm not coughing, which doesn't matter anymore anyway because tomorrow I'll have Ebola.