Monday, June 20, 2011

Old People Questions

My first post as a 30 year old.  I don’t have anything monumental or revelatory to say.  Not because I haven’t had revelations and not because “nothing really changed” as many lying 30 year olds say, but because I spent all of 29 planning for turning 30. I am sure most women need at least a year of preparation for this birthday that morphs us overnight from a girl to a woman.  I used eye wrinkle cream for the first time, confirmed and reconfirmed that I still had regular “normal” periods (fear of early menopause), counted grey hairs (6) and ate extra avocados (I’m convinced they are the secret to youth). I spent an entire year “trying on old.”  And even though everyone says 30 is just a number, it comes with certain expectations that I actually subscribe to.  Such as, I expect to have answer to the questions “what do you do for a living?” and “where do you live?” and “do you plan on having kids?”  And even though those things don’t have to matter... they do matter to me and I want all those things and I have answers for the most part to all those questions but with all those questions come sub-questions that I ask myself.  “Where do you live?” turns into 'Do I want to own a home in A Town?' and  'Do I want to live in the city or the suburb' and 'What kind of down payment do we want to put down' and 'What kind of mortgage' and ewwwwwwww these are OLD PEOPLE QUESTIONS.  Other OPQ’s include: “Does your job have a matching 401k program” and “Should I be using antifungal cream on that?” and “Honey can you call the vet?” and “Who knew Sonicare made your gums feel so good?” and “Should we just get them something off their registry?”  Things have changed, I have changed, and 30 is a big deal.  Is it weird that I find solace in the fact that Kim Kardashian is one year older?

Side Note: While the weekend before my birthday was spent with much youthful debauchery, my actual birthday day included a visit to the doctor to see why I was having weird numb and tingly sensations throughout my right hip. Only old people have hip problems.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quarter Life Crisis or Becoming Unfuckable

I guess it’s a cliché experience with a cliché term. Quarter Life Crisis.  John Mayer has a song about it, books have been written about it, and “young” women in my friendship group call it endearing names like “The Dirty 30” to make it sound cute.  I have just a few weeks left of being in my 20’s and I am not taking it well.  On some days I am humbled and think, I have my health, I am in good shape, I am getting married to an amazing handsome man that I adore, I have good girlfriends a great job, blah blah blah.  If I get to a yoga class I can actually feel close to at peace with my current age.  BUT. So many of my hours are spent wishing for more time.  More time with my uterus when it wasn’t screaming to be filled with babies, more time where I just spend summers on some porch in some house in some city figuring out some way to spend my day.  But I was never that young 20 something carefree spirit I dream of having more time to be.  I worried about everything and now my 20s are ending and I just want to go back, to eat more cheeseburgers, sleep around, break more hearts, and quit more jobs at places I worked at just for fun.  Forget about resume builders and laying groundwork for “the future.”  My 20’s were exhausting and now that I realize how I could have spent them, they are gone.

So how do I enter my 30’s without dwelling in the past?  How do I enter my 40s without looking back and saying to myself, “ I should have relaxed more in my 30’s...had more cheeseburgers.”  It can't be all youth serums and eye cream from here on out...can it?

Because I am a masochist I seek comfort in the existence of moms like Kate Hudson, Kate Winslet, Jada Pinket, and Gweneth Paltrow and think well they are still young and hot and creatively's possible for me too.  So delusional I know. I know they come with a team of plastic surgeons and personal assistants but its that idea that motherhood makes you an old grown up that I am desperate to disprove.  Shallow I know. And then I realize NO!  It’s that I am on my way to becoming old and grown up, it's worse.  Its the idea that I am on my way to becoming unfuckable.  Tina Fey was just quoted in the New Yorker saying that she “has the suspicion that the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.”  I have so much to say and I realize that youth has given me a platform with an expiration date to speak from.   And feminists around the world (myself included) can forgive for this realization and are smart enough to understand that I am not articulating a right or wrong...just what is.  The approach of unfuckableness and what that means for me is scary. I spent my entire 20's trying to be taken seriously and now...well I can't help but want to hold on to my fuckability.  Worst feminist ever?

Friday, May 13, 2011

To be a child...or make one?

I have always wanted to be a mom and now that ‘it’s time’ the conundrum I face is this.  I was type A from the time I was born until about 4 years ago when I turned 26.  I was a very serious child, I always felt as responsible as a grown up, I was born feeling 45 years old.  My father was the fun-loving alcoholic and I was his strict mother constantly trying to real him in.  That mothering tendency turned into a pathological tendency to ‘mother’ everyone around me.  It also somehow meant that perfection in my mind was a realistic goal.  From the time I can remember I have always heard, ‘she is so mature for her age.’   By the time I was 26 I was exhausted. I no longer had the energy or desire to ‘take care of people’ or the desire to climb to the top of my “not for profit field” (yet somehow I still wound up being an executive director at 29). I had dated all kinds of people, and at age 25 I had fallen in love with the man I would marry, an emotionally strong character who is the opposite of draining (unlike all the other needy people I had been drawn to in my early 20s). So what’s my conundrum?  The conundrum is I am just now realizing how to be young myself.  Not in that “inner-child” touch-feely way.  Well maybe in that way, but after too many AA meetings with my father that term makes me nauseous.  I had to spend most of my childhood helping my father find his inner child which to me wasn’t very inner... the child in him was quite obvious.  In any event, I now feel like I am ready to play...for the first time.  I want to learn to sing, to create, to act, and I still have strong delusions of becoming a famous rock star/comedian/actor.  I want to take classes, try, attempt, practice, give up, fail, and just explore all kinds of creative modes and I try with all my might to “do art” without the idea in the back of my mind that I have to get it “right.”  How can you get art right you ask?  Somehow I have a way of telling myself in a very black and white way that I am completely wrong or right about things.  I am bad or good.  I have days where I am beautiful or ugly.  Apparently its an ACOA thing.  In any event... I am ‘tracking myself.’  I want to have kids not much past the age of 35 because even though its totally possible, what they told us 10 years ago about how our generation shouldn’t worry about what age we have kids, and that waiting till 40 is fine...well it turns out that’s not so true all the time and even though I have always always dreamed of being pregnant and tending to a little baby that would be all mine (ok more mine since it came out of me?), I am wondering how I am to reconcile FINALLY learning how to relax a little, enjoy being more carefree and less responsible... and know that if I want to avoid being an older mother, now is the time for me to make a child myself?  I am just now realizing that I could have spent my 20’s on a beach in Greece and my life could have turned out just fine. Instead I spent them in search of resume builders and constant fear of ‘not making it’ Whatever the hell that meant.  I thought you were supposed to me lazy, care free, and whimsical in your 20s?  And now that I realized I spent them with too many goals, too many plans, too much focus on ‘my future,’ I realize that I want to slow down, enjoy the present, take a trip to Greece, quit a job without a back up plan... but I don’t want to do all that instead of being a youngish mom.  And even if I waited a year or two, and tried to be ‘carefree’ I know I wouldn’t be able to give it all up, my security, my nest, my life that is set up perfectly to welcome a little baby into be cared for comfortably.  Does it all come down to security?  Is this warm home and healthy relationship I am in the fruit of my laborious 20s and ‘responsible’ life style? Or did my parents care-free-food stamp-relying-hippy-dippy-shoot-from-our-hip-lifestyle scare me into a lifestyle with less whims, less care-free, and less spontaneity.  Could it be a grass is greener?

Settled Suburban Syndrome

I can see how it happens...the slow inertia of ‘settled suburban syndrome.’  I can see my friends who are resisting it, my friends who are craving it, and my friends who are like me...teetering on the edge of it. I find myself straddling between monumental decisions about wedding registries (do you go with the matt easy to clean finish or the shiny polished silverware) and wondering just how many more times I need to eat pot brownies before I feel like I have really lived. At parties, I find my single girlfriends saying things to me like  “well you wouldn’t understand, you’re not single” and “wow you’re out late tonight.” I want to tell them that I spent my childhood surrounded by young people smoking weed and drinking to the wee hours while I slept, curled up on a random couch.  I already stayed up late...I don’t have to any more.  And as for me not understanding what it’s like to be single...well most of them spent their 20’s in 5 year relationships while I kissed my way across the east coast.  I defined single for over a decade and that I understand the hetero-normative lifestyle I lead today far less than the free-wheeling single world. And then there are the married friends who invite Sam and I over like we are one person.  “Do you youandsam want to come for dinner?”  “Do samandyou want to have drinks?”  “Maybe johnandI and youandsam” can go camping?”  I I am youand___?  And when did we lose the space between our names?  Did I erase it?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Keeping My Edge

How to keep my edge?  When I am angry, I can make great jokes because they transfer into sarcastic whit…but what happens if I become less angry? Can I keep my edge? Could it be that all the self help books I read, the yoga constantly telling me to forgive, to love myself, and living in A Town with all these self-loving/self righteous people is making me less funny? I’m scared I’m losing my edge.

I was at a work conference a couple years back and I was sitting next to a colleague I had gotten to know who did stand up comedy on the side.  We both enjoyed making “funny” witty comments to each other under our breath during conference sessions.  Somehow we got to funny childhoods and when I told him my parents were divorced ex-hippies and my father was a recovering alcoholic, he said “damn… your so lucky you have real material.”  And he is right, for the most part, my dad was hysterical.  He didn’t beat me or anything.  He may have gotten drunk and eaten a live spider in front of me once but I knew he loved me.  And even though my mom used to serve me tofu enchiladas with a side of maztah ball soup, it was hardly a childhood worth reporting to DSS.

Since my parents sent me (on scholarship) to private Jewish day school, I had no choice but to compare my life to the lives of the upper class Jewish kids in my class whose fathers were cardiologists and mothers were stay at home academic moms.  Jews don’t have soccer moms, we have “academic moms” who help us “FOCUS ON YOUR STUDIES!”

So I grew up pissed off.  Why couldn’t I stay with Dad at rehab (it had a swimming pool and spa) and why did I have to live in the projects (actually a pretty nice one bedroom apartment) with my mom.  Why did we have to eat “brown food” (what I called all the food at the natural food co-op my parents insisted on shopping at)?  And why the hell would I care what my teachers thought of me…after all, once you see a grown up eat a spider, all authority for other grownups is pretty much lost.

When I got to college the real anger set in.  I found out in women’s studies class that my dad was a misogynist and my hippy mom was a feminist heroine.  I thought back to every blond busty woman who had come through my father’s home when I was kid.  Holly, and Molly, and Prancer and Slut Bag.  Donna and Sally, and the list goes on. Some made me hate my mom.  Well not hate, more become disgusted with.  My mom had small boobs, didn’t wear dresses, never owned make up and drove a pickup truck.  She could never live up to the Leave-It-to-the-Jewish-Beaver moms with their synched waist floral print dresses and well lined red lips. Nor could my mom live up to my fathers breast inflated, hair tossing, 15 years younger sexually, curious and ‘oh look he has a sweet little girl’ bimbos. 

Then I found out my father was a racist homophobe.  Then I found out we are all racist homophobes (you know because of the hetero-normative patriarchy).  Then I became a lesbian (let’s call my girlfriend Sally) and got a masters in Lesbian.  Well they called it a masters of Cultural Gender Studies, but it was masters in Lesbian.  As my Dad became more annoyed with my sexual choices (BEING GAY ISN”T CHOICE DAD!) (But Jane, you have always had crushes on boys ?) I thought this proved he loved the young blond bimbags better than little old olive skin brown curly haired me.  What a great way not to compete with them and date girls myself!  Lesbianhood turned out to be mostly hand holding and 5 lb’s gained weight from a serious ice cream habit.  I was also teased a lot for my mascara.

Then on my Birthright trip I met a really hot Israeli soldier (I think it’s actually on the Birthright itinerary) and finally had good man sex.  Then I told my Dad:

Me: Dad I met an Israeli soldier, Sally and I are threw.
Dad: So should I stop going to those ‘parents of gays” support meetings?
Me: What? You were going to support meetings?  That’s so sweet. Yeah stop going, I like penis.

And then the anger started to go away bit by bit.  As I started to shop at natural food co-ops, wear less make up, and toss my hair for men… I realized how cool my parents were.  As all my friends soccer moms got left for younger versions by their retired cardiologist husbands, and ‘the only home we ever knew’ was sold by friends parents, I became less jealous of their ‘normal’ childhoods.  I may have been pissed we lived in 18 places in 18 years but my idea of my family wasn’t ever shattered when I was 18, 25, or 30, like my friends.  My idea of my family was never really solid… only now do I see it as MY Family. 

And now I live in A Town and the yoga teachers keep telling me to forgive and love and nurture and empower and IT REALLY PISSES ME OFF!  Wait… maybe I am not losing my edge after all?

Jane Doe

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blogger Buzz: Monetize!

Blogger Buzz: Monetize!
An email response to an old friend from X City who asked me to help find her friends moving to A Town (Altruistic Town) some friends when the arrive:
"I was hoping you'd know a few people of a
vegetarian bent to introduce them to."
My response: 
Just what A Town needs, another well meaning white couple who want to save the world one vegetable and bike tire at a time:)  You will fit in PERFECTLY here.  I on the other hand refuse to compost, and literally am the only one in A Town I know without a bike accept my "partner" Sam.  Sam is a man, but for some reason white liberals out here like to say partner... I think its rude... stealing from the lesbians ya know?

In any event, I have lots of friends that I don't really need or like that much and you are welcome to them.  Kidding... kind of... I do like them but you are welcome to them.  They ride their bikes (and have to tell me that they ride their bike), plant things, eat vegetables (which I do to but I don't understand having to discuss it so much...), and use the word community a lot.  They also like to use the word sustainable... but very few of them have full time jobs, so I don't understand how they sustain themselves. 

Any chance you are musicians? I am still looking for talent for my summer wedding:)

Congratulations on being the second person to move to A Town with a JOB.... your WAY ahead of the game.

If you still want to meet me or my friends (who are WAY LESS obnoxious than I) after this email... I would be happy to show you around and introduce you to some crunchy earth loving and self righteous people (including myself) and my man partner.


[in response to Jennifer telling me about entering a PhD program]
PS: Jennifer, congrats on not selling out, getting that degree, and pressing on.  I once was an intellectual... now I strive towards barefoot in the kitchen... weird how things turn out.