All is not lost

I’ve fallen off the wagon, stopped writing every day. And certainly stopped making sure my posts had meaning. Now I feel as though I’m doing this to see if I can, not because I want to. Maybe that’s enough? 

In these writing classes I take, you’re asked to do all of these exercises like writing up fake scenes for stories handed down. I have zero interest writing about someone else’s stories, even as a learning experience. I actually hate it. Actual hate. And I don’t hate much in this world.

This blog is like a journal, that’s why it works. And MY stories that I write about are based on my life experiences… I just need to fictionalize a bit more and they might actually be interesting to a broader audience.

April showers

Feeling lazy, and kind of resentful that I agreed to do something every day and failed at it. I’m sure it’s some big lesson about how if I really wanted to be a writer, I’d just write. Nothing could keep me away from it – not family or health or work… because I’d have drive and passion and blah de blah.

It’s grey, and rained last night like there was no tomorrow. Sideways, even. Now recovering from some food poisoning I got from leftover Indian food. So. Tired. Grateful for a body that identifies a foreign object and says GET OUT, just wish it wasn’t so violent.

Had the craziest dream about Ryan Reynolds last night. We were tight but married to other people and had to show restraint. Proud of myself in my dreams…

Another post about toilets

I mentioned something earlier this week about hating it when women leave toilet seats wet. Its gross and unnecessary. But today my problem is the actual toilet. MY actual toilet.

We came back from a relaxing weekend away in the Berkshires (la-di-da, not so fancy – we stayed in a dorm at a yoga retreat for 500 people, but the hiking was wonderful,) to find our toilet busted. Not literally – just unable to fill water up in the tank. We tried jangling the chain, closing the seal shut, etc. Plumber comes, fixes it, same thing happens that night but instead of an ongoing run like a waterfall, this one comes and goes at 2am, 4am, 6am…

This morning, he came with a new seal and fingers crossed, I’ll sleep through the night. It got me thinking, though, about how important trade and technical schools are. I’m good at MacGyver’ing things, and I would have eventually fixed the issue, but still – would have been nice to even get some basic plumbing info growing up. Or electrical. Or understanding how the gas system in the house works. Or how to clean out to a/c vent. The basics – things that we use in our day to day life. My dad did teach me how to change a tire, and he never shied away from showing me how to do other things just because I was a girl. He worried early on that because I was such a tomboy, I might end up ‘having’ to do these things for myself anyway.

Not everyone needs a college education, least of all a liberal arts one. Yes, it makes me a well-rounded person, able to carry on a wonderful conversation at a cocktail party, but can I fix a toilet when its running in the middle of the night? No.

Triggers, or annoying things people do that drive me crazy

I’ve been keeping a running list of things people do that annoy me to no end. I want to write a larger piece about this, but in the meantime, here’s the fodder…

People who believe the rules don’t apply to them. See: Asshole on the plane who refuses to put his phone into Airplane mode because “it doesn’t really matter.” Actually, d-bag, there are multiple reasons for asking people to turn their phones to airplane mode, if you’d bothered to find out. But no, those rules don’t apply to you. Let’s hope everyone doesn’t feel the same way one day and bring a plane down, just by being a jackass. I mean, would it kill you – to disconnect from your phone for like 20 minutes, and then you can get wifi and catch up on all the funny videos you missed that your friends posted on Facebook or you can, oh, I don’t know, be disconnected!

Women who don’t check the toilet seat after you pee. Listen ladies, I get it – maybe there was something on the seat when you got in, so then you had to squat, which only made matters worse. But clean it up! You’re going to wash your hands after anyway (aren’t you?) so what’s the harm in paying it forward? Also, why are y’all squatting in the first place? You know the likelihood of you catching something from a toilet seat is crazy low – and if you’re that paranoid, just put some TP down first. That’s what I do – only because I don’t want to sit on a wet seat! Again, clean the damned seat. Please.

People who think that their bodies smell best when bathed, fully, in cologne or perfume. You are wrong. Whomever told you that you smelled nice was lying. They actually couldn’t stand close to you any longer than to tell you that you smelled nice and walked away. You have a cloud of scent around you – imagine Pig-Pen from the Peanuts. This is you. Just because its cologne doesn’t make people any more likely to want to stand next to you. Opposite effect. Not to mention people who actually have bananas allergies to all the crazy chemicals that go into those body sprays (although, help me, I do miss finding a spray bottle of Jean Nate in my stocking at Christmas.)

That’s all for now but there are more brewing, I can feel it!

 

California Calling

A while back, in a fit of feeling sorry for myself, I decided that if I couldn’t spend one last big chunk of time with my son, I might leave my new husband and two bonus daughters.

So in January of 2016 I spent four glorious weeks in the Bay Area picking my son up from school, hanging out with him after school, being obnoxiously present on the weekends.

Fast forward a year+ and my son is at college in California – a decision that made me both heartsick and elated. I’d wished he would have chosen Wesleyan or Swarthmore, but he’s a California boy, born and raised – even though he has loved his bi-coastal experience. I recently came back from a visit and while its my son I go to spend time with, it is my friends who I equally need to connect with. I love my son. Deeply and unreasonably. However, there is a natural evolution to parenting… we raise them to become independent human beings that can connect in the world. To have humility and self-awareness. And eventually, to leave the nest. Whereas friendships, which we nurture and hone and develop, are setting us up for a different kind of security as we age. At least that is what I’m hoping from the friendships I have been lucky enough to have. There are periods of time when we are all busy in our tornados of life but even the brief respite of hearing from a friend can sustain me for weeks.

And then I come home, to New Jersey, where I know about one person, despite living here for almost four years. Sure, I ‘know’ my neighbors, but they’re not friends. I work in Manhattan. I spend most of my free time with my husband, traveling, or alone. Making friends when you’re old is hella different than when we’re kids, or have something in common like kids or husbands or work. I need to keep looking for new groups to spend time with, like minded people who can dork out with me.

Jackhammers and hummingbirds

Last week, I saw Elizabeth Gilbert speak about her new book, Big Magic. At one point, someone from the audience asked a question I’ve been asking myself for years. What if you just aren’t the type of person who is going to be obsessive and committed and dedicated to one thing, your whole life? Does that make you any less of an artist, writer, poet, painter, baker, banker, etc.? What if you’re good at a few things but not great at any one? Should I give up now and save myself the trouble?

One of the things the Live Your Legend group requires via self-exploration is to find the thing at which you are an expert, and be an expert at the thing you are passionate about. When Elizabeth received the question, she gave a great analogy. She explained that she is a jackhammer. For as long as she could remember, she wanted to be a writer. She announced it at a young age, and pursued it relentlessly, obsessively, admitting that this often made her unaware of many people, feelings, and things around her. She became the great writer she wanted to be. But then there are the hummingbirds. Those who bring nectar and curiosity from one blossom to the next, who find things beautiful that she might have missed. The cross-pollinators, who are inspiring in their own right, trying new things along the way. It was a kind way to answer the young woman’s question. The truth, of course, is that if this woman wanted to BE any one of those things, she probably would have pursued it by now. Or maybe she’s just flitting, floating and years from now she’ll discover she really loves knitting and open an online shop selling her wares. Or not. The percentage of people who fully commit to their craft, their business, their talent, is small – relative to the population of the human race. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, that’s not what I’m saying. Most of us are working hard, maybe even loving what we do, but we’re not all capable of being geniuses, of being the next Elon Musk or a Pulitzer Prize winner. I know – I sound like Debbie Downer but I think a healthy dose of realism wouldn’t hurt. It doesn’t have to be a depressing fact. It might actually be liberating to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves that because we live in America, we must innovate/create or die – each and every one of us. Maybe its alright to just enjoy a bottle of wine and a good meal with the people you love, talk about what’s going on in the world, plan a trip here and there, learn something new, and age healthfully. Maybe the only thing I will ever be an expert at is loving my son and my husband, or how to find the best desserts while traveling.  And that doesn’t feel like defeat, it feels like acceptance. Maybe even relief.