Tag Archives: love

Life is Short and other things you already know…

When you get to your 30s, you realize that 10 years isn’t really that much time from start to finish. Somehow childhood seems so painfully long at times. The stretch between one birthday and the next can feel like a decade. Minutes felt like hours and hours felt like centuries. I remember very clearly sitting in class staring at the second hand slowly clicking its way around the clock. I wasn’t the best student in school, but I certainly was an excellent study of the glacial movements of a clock’s minute hand.

The last 10 years have been filled with plenty of ups and downs. My 20s had their fair share of crazy and now that I’m well into my 30s, I do feel that time of my life is over. And despite that probably being a good thing for my health and sanity, I still feel the need to mourn the departure of my extended youth. I don’t know how it happened so quickly, but it did. And just as the last ten years have passed by so quickly, so shall the next ten and the ten after that. It seems as if there is this cruel joke played on us by time, where all of childhood is leading up to this miraculous part of life where we are just-turned adults and free to be both adolescent and in charge of ever instant of our destiny all at the same time. Then, you’re 21, and, then, you’re 30 – a true adult with wrinkles suddenly etched into her skin, tired eyes and dull hair requiring specialized shine treatments to look half as youthful as you did just years earlier.

I’m less afraid of aging than I used to be. I’m still terrified of death, although in theory if my belief that one loses consciousness entirely and is just nothing for the rest of eternity, it should not be scary anymore than sad, and should not be sad any more than egotistical, as any sorrow for such departure is the same sorrow that should be poured onto thoughts of the world before one was ever conceived – but somehow that doesn’t seem sad at all, the infinity pre-dating our own birth.

Regardless of one’s sentiment towards our  inevitable mortality, we can likely agree that our time on earth is finite, and the years which we have in good health are even more greatly limited. We watch our parents age and part ways with the earth, which is horrible but at this age becomes part of the routine. Then there are the unexpected early departures — relatives who grow sick or lose their life in accidents that have no mental preparation. I’m fortunate to date not to have lost any loved ones, not even my father who was told seven years ago that he had no more than two years to live. But none of this luck can last forever. Life is this transient light which shines for only but an instant, and we must shine despite the lights of others dimming and, others, growing in luminosity all around us.

Nine years ago, I almost died. I don’t like to talk about the car accident I was in because every time I think of it I feel sick to my stomach, probably from minor PTSD. I was driving on a two-way highway when I was exhausted early one morning — I was returning from a work conference and hadn’t slept well the night before, and thought I was ok to drive home. I had just started driving only six or so months before, so I wasn’t the best driver yet either. My tire blew out, I had shifted to far into the curb in the center of the highway and my car skidded across the road and ended up spinning around and around in a ditch. I remember very clearly the dirt coming up so violently to the window as I spun to a stop, completely stunned. About a minute later, two cops came and knocked on my window. I was just sitting there – I was fine, somehow. I could have easily hit a car or truck in the lane next to me, or could have gone off a cliff if I had been on the other side of the highway, but somehow I didn’t hit anything as I skid down the road and into the dirt, completely unable to take control of my car.

I walked away from that accident with no damages to myself and barely any to my car. I was very, very lucky. I never told my parents or many people about it. I didn’t want to worry anyone. I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time, or any close friends nearby. I told myself to forget about it, and I did, expect when I think about that day, and remember so clearly the moment when I spun around in the dirt until I finally came to a stop.

And that was nine years ago, but still it haunts me. But then, as I faced death head on, I don’t recall being very upset about the prospect of dying. I was scared, for sure, but I was extremely depressed at the time and thought to myself, in that moment when I was given a second chance, who would care if I was gone? I had never felt more alone.

The beautiful thing about being in a relationship en route to marriage is that you have this one person who cares not only whether you live or die, but who would notice should you be hurt or in need of help. And, in turn, you share that responsibility and that love. You have long left the family unit of your parents and siblings, and now you’re on your own, – and being on your own sounded great until you realize that means no one is looking out for you. When you have no family nearby, when your family barely thinks to call to ask you how your doing, and when you realize they never actually cared how you’re doing because they only value you for their narcissistic supply, you value relationships more than ever.

See, I was the girl who always thought she’d never get married. After watching my parents have violent fights since as early as I can remember, I thought marriage was a bit of a joke for most types of people, especially any with my DNA. I was hopelessly broken, unable to commit or to be worthy of being committed to. The best I could hope for was a series of heated relationships which would be entertaining, to soothe over the long periods of solitude.

But then, when I met my boyfriend, I realized that I could indeed love and be loved. We had a rocky relationship for a while – as we were both immature and scared to grow up, both coming from broken homes and lacking a solid foundation of familial stability, despite deeply longing for that sense of comfort and calm.

Now, deeply in love and on the dawn of my wedding year, I see this overpriced event as the entrance to this new phase of my life. It isn’t that much of a difference from today, but it is a commitment to a commitment. It is knowing that no matter how hard life gets, at least in our health, we have each other. And, just as one never mourns the time before she was born as she would thoughts of her future passing, it’s the worst feeling in the pit of one’s stomach to imagine one day losing your love; yet the thought of life before them is nearly impossible to recall.

When I stood beside my grandmother last year as they slowly lowered my grandfather’s casket into the ground, she shouted “wait for me, I’ll be there soon,” with tears pouring down her face. I had never witnessed such visceral grief. It was real, raw, and I understood, and I closed my eyes and could see years from now myself with the same deep sadness. I wanted to comfort her but I did not know how – how do you comfort a woman who will never again see the man she loved and battled with through that love for so many years?

And in the end, life is only worth what we’ve created and who we’ve loved. In the arms of my sweet future husband I finally know what love is. I can see living with him just about anywhere and together we’d be fine. That part of my life is great now, but I haven’t gotten to the other part – the part longing to create – to maybe make a mark on this world before I leave it. I often tell myself it’s silly to want this so badly, as in the meaninglessness of life, so too is creation pointless in our blip of existence on the infinitum of time. Is someone who is an artist, writer, musician, actor or designer any more of a successful, complete person than a person working to promote software? Anything s possible at any age, yet it gets harder as you grow older and get set in your ways. As I wait for a moment of inspiration, I know I wait for a moment that will never come.

But love did come, and with love comes the sadness of knowing one day the man I love, and I too will disappear from this earth, at least the parts of us which make us human. I try, now, to value each second together, as the clock no longer ticks on as slowly as a slug making its way across a sidewalk, lacking any noticiable forward momentum from the human eye. I watch my iPhone clock go from 6am to 6pm in what seems like an instant, and holiday seasons return in what feels like shorter than a month’s timespan (didn’t the Christmas lights just come down?)

Since there seems to be no way to slow life down, I only hope I can manage to make the most of it, to fight off this curse of depression, and to embrace my consciousness’s brief stay on this unlikely little home we call earth.

 

How to Not Get Divorced and Have a Happy Marriage

Sorry, folks. I don’t know the silver bullet to a long, happy marriage. I do know that while 50% of Americans end up in a divorce, a large chunk of those who remain married do so unhappily. While marriage isn’t a requirement of a fulfilled, happy life – for many of us, having a lifelong partner is a key factor in our emotional and even financial stability. I used to be opposed to marriage as an old-fashioned idea steeped in religion and generally designed to make women a property of a man. Today, engaged to be married, I’m looking forward to that next stage of commitment. After nearly 10 years of dating, it’s time to lock this in forever.

Unfortunately, for MANY people, marriage isn’t forever. I spent last week “hanging out” with my 50-years young aunt and her either unhappily married or divorced besties. These women, all in their late 40s/early 50s, were all uniquely depressed, and the conversation reminded me why, if I have anything to do about it, I won’t be alone at that age (knock on wood.) It intrigues me how everyone is selfish by nature, and that happy marriages are largely the result of two people willing to be aware of their selfish tendencies and to compromise around many things that, in single life, would not be acceptable. Furthermore, the stress on a marriage that having kids brings is immense, and if the parents do not see eye-to-eye about this, they may be doomed to crumble – as no one wants to think about an intimate evening post fighting about their child’s behavior and what to do about it.

I grew up in a very unhappy, abusive household. My parents, now in their 60s, are still married – but rarely go a day without my father telling my mother, in a not-so-nice tone, that she’s a, and I quote, “fucking idiot.” They are not the spitting image of a good marriage or even a decent one. And both of my mother’s sisters are divorced and not remarried. This tells me a lot about the mentality in that side of the family – one which lacks empathy for others. It makes sense since the three sisters grew up with a very narcissistic mother and each of them have pretty much ended up with narcissists because it’s the only relationship dynamic which feels comfortable to them – the youngest, dating a man who is infinity self-absorbed and incapable of commitment; the middle sister, committed, not married to a man who is not exactly the warm and fuzzy type in terms of being open to people who do not fit his limited view on an acceptable human being (but maybe that’s just because he’s French); and my mother, of course, with my “can do no wrong” father who blames the world for all the problems but never can blame himself for anything.

Without self awareness, I don’t know if it’s possible for people like this to have a sustainable happy marriage. What we’re attracted to is not always best for such arduous happiness. Marriage is work, they say, and it’s true. I see some young couples I worry are headed in the wrong direction. I look at friends who do not seem to be able to talk about serious matters to each other. Friends who are married to men who are mama’s boys and who are worried that when their child is born they will be left alone to do all the housework along with childcare and returning to work. I worry about my friends who don’t talk about their finances, where one partner is stressed about work and the other is firmly committed to not worry about money or how it is spent. I worry about a couple who fight all the time with two young children present, who no longer find time to love each other, who maybe will never be fully happy, at least due to the presence of each other.

And then I look at my own relationship — nine-and-a-half  years is almost like marriage in its own right. We live together and split some of our bills, so it definitely feels like more than just dating despite nothing legally tying us together just yet. And I love him more than anything and we get into little tiffs every now and again but generally we can have open conversations about important things and we get along pretty well as long as I don’t focus too much on the serious all the time and we can enjoy musing on absurdities of the world together. I know that for my own marriage to work, it will be a lot of work. I have to change my ways – the many things I don’t like about myself to begin with, so I’m ok with that. First, I need to keep my household clean, and uncluttered. Second, I need to find a job where I can not constantly worry about getting fired and be super depressed all the time (he isn’t so much worried about the loss of the income as he is my constant bad mood about 5-6 months into any new job.) And I need to focus on trying to feel like a woman who can be desirable instead of sabotaging myself with my very low self esteem and body image. If I could do all three of these things and not chew so loudly (he is very sensitive to food noises) and be ready on time when we’re going out instead of always 10-15 minutes late, I think he’ll be very happy with me in our marriage. That’s really ALL I have to focus on doing. The rest comes naturally. Being aware of these things doesn’t mean they  are easy to do, but I know they are flaws in my character and things I need to work on anyway.

But marriages can fall apart when one person is aware of the things that upset the other person and feels they are putting an effort in to resolving these things, when the other person doesn’t make an effort or a strong enough effort to show the other person they are doing the same. This pain point in marriages can be exacerbated by the fact that so married couples just don’t talk about things. Sure, it’s easy to ask someone to clean the house, but it’s less easy for a working parent to share with a stay-at-home parent that they are too stressed out in their job and want to move into a position with less pay and less expectations. Or – things as silly as I miss when we used to get dressed up and go on dates, and now I only see you in your crappy clothes that don’t fit well at home because you’re tired all the time and quite frankly so am I. This is why marriages fall apart. People stop putting in the effort. They start becoming passive aggressive to each other on purpose or accident. That once-novel romance story has turned into a nightmare. And so many men and women get past the point of no return. They can no longer look at each other and understand how they were attracted to the other person in the first place. They long to move on to something new, something where the weight of all the years of passive aggression, poof, disappears, and they can start fresh. They can look at another person and see them not as the man who forgot to take the garbage out or the woman who was too tired from her job to be the exciting, passionate woman she once was. Starting fresh is easier than mending a wounded relationship, in theory, at least.

Divorcees are usually not happy either. Few people can manage being happy and being alone, especially after being in a committed relationship for many years. In spending time with these 40-year-old and 50-year-old divorced or unhappily married women, I wonder if there is any piece of the failings of their marriage that they see as their own faults, or if all the blame is on their former partners, or both. The common thread of conversation is that “he’s awful,” “he’s lazy,” “he’s unhelpful around the house,” et al. Or maybe there were just huge fights about how to raise the children that were unexpected which led to two people who couldn’t manage to love each other let alone spend time together. There’s a musical with a song that asks “When was Dividing Day” that is about divorce. No one goes into marriage wanting to or expecting to get a divorce, or to fall out of love. I wonder if it’s possible for two people to be so aware of their own flaws and especially the ones that rub the other person the wrong way, and to just hyperfocus on changing these behaviors as to always show the other person that you care to be the best person you can be for them. And, the second part of that is for the other person to do the same, all while being verbally appreciative of those changes in behavior, not just accepting them as part of the status quo, when the other person is still working very hard to be a better man/woman for the other person. If two people can do that, I think that a happy marriage is possible. But it requires us to go from our selfish, childish ways to becoming real adults — giving up our wants for the better of someone else, as long as that someone else is doing the very same for us. It won’t always be perfect, but as long as expectations are reasonable and two people really love each other, I want to believe it’s possible, and I want to try. I want to be the old couple that celebrates their 50th wedding anniversary with the same sparkle in our eyes that we have now when we look at each other, and see the man who I fell in love with, and who I’ll always love.

More Thoughts on Ambition, Depression, and An Otherwise Ambivalent Life

When I was a child, I was remarkably judgmental. My parents raised me as such. For them, having grown up in households with parents who were not college educated, who were bluecollar workers or clergy, who lived only slightly above the lifestyle afforded by poverty, I understood their hatred of all things they worked so hard to escape. Although my town was quite diverse, as a child I always felt better than many of my peers. My parents created and reinforced this notion. I never felt better in the sense of actually liking myself or better in that I was able to make and maintain friendships, but I was told time and again that there is a large faction of others in the town, and while I was allowed to be friends with those people they were not like us.

To be clear, this was not a racial issue, as my parents looked down upon people of all ethnicities – though, of course others “like us” – Jewish families, typically got a pass. It was horrible, and yet at the time it made sense –  was our shared values of education and working hard to achieve goals, with a general disrespect for cultures that, by stereotype and outcome, didn’t have the same type of lifestyle. It wasn’t their fault, or at least it certainly wasn’t the fault of the children, and yet there was still this sense of sameness and otherness that pervaded our view of our town. It is how I, despite being miserably depressed and empty as a child, was able to find some solace in going shopping with my mother and purchasing hundreds of dollars in Nordstrom Brass Plum shirts and pants and skirts and dresses. It is how I managed to push myself harder to get where I am today, because deep down I was terrified of becoming one of “them.” I could never truly envision myself a starving artist or struggling parent. It wasn’t in the vernacular of my limited foresight. It was the only truth I knew, which now I know to be no more truth than any other dream or goal.

We were never rich, but my mother dreamed of great wealth and my father wasted away his life eating himself fat and working long hours to provide for our family so we could maintain our illusion of happiness in the shape of comparative success. My mother would frequently go on and on about how she wished she had married someone richer, not once considering returning to work herself. That was somewhat normal of a train of thought at the time. My father, meanwhile, earned a rather high salary for his middle management consulting role, and we lived a very comfortable life. My father liked to purchase “nice” things, although I didn’t always agree with his taste. My mother, for the most part, liked to purchase whatever QVC or the Clinique woman happened to be selling her. And I grew up with this painful sense of privilege compiled by the guilt of knowing none of it was deserved. Through each year, that guilt grew stronger. When my mother made an off-putting comment about a friend at school whose parents rented instead of owned, I cringed inside, knowing that criticism was completely unjust, especially against a child who had no choice to whom she was brought into this world.

I do believe that so much of your ambition is tied to how your parents wired you for reward. My reward came from meeting and surpassing expectations of this illusion of our stability and relative superiority. If I wasn’t to be a math genius, I was to be a great painter. I had to be something better than the others. I had to be special to matter to my parents at all. They certainly didn’t appreciate when that special came with a fragmented mind and a hyperactive, mess-creating child who longed so desperately for the attention and approval of others, unless, of course, this need for approval resulted in something they could brag about.

As an adult now, having been through enough sociology classes and life to know that everything that I thought was real as a child is a complete clusterfuck of a post-war generation and immigrant family mentality tossed down through the ages, I want out of this. Out of trying so hard to prove something to someone when no one is even listening anymore. Sure, my mother still shares every thing I post on Facebook as if I had won the freaking Olympics, with pride acceptable for a 12 year old daughter, perhaps, but not a 31 year old. And in my little puddle of psyche so empty and ambivalent I kick myself together trying to find the shape of a person who has some motivation, some drive, some reason to exist beyond merely existing or earning a paycheck. And I can’t find it. I can’t find anything that tastes real anymore, except the incredible and overwhelming love which my alter-ego of a boyfriend – warm, quiet, sensitive, needing no attention or approval – bequeaths to me in ample supply.

But one cannot live on love alone. And I often think if I didn’t have this love right now, I would be so fragile, I’d have nothing to keep me going. Thank god for his kind heart, his deep compassion for all the people of the world and all that is unjust and cruel. I am happy to have a safe place to go, wrapped in his arms, far from the judgmental warfare of my suburban family home.

I don’t want to just set out to help others when I’m not ready for it yet. One can easily do more harm than good. If I fuck up in business it’s terrible for sure but, at least in the communications side of things, a fuck up here or there never killed anyone. But to dedicate my life to helping others, I don’t want to do it for selfish reasons, because that won’t go over well. I need to find something deep within me, something so true, which I can become passionately obsessed with, something which can become my intention for life. It could be motherhood. It could be psychology. It could be design. It could be writing should I ever muster up a plot, realistic dialogue and the tenacity to draft more than eight pages. For someone who writes so much as I do it should be easy, but my stunted empathy has made it quite impossible to dream up others. I’m still trapped deep within myself, this little, weak, shell of a human being who attempts to claw out of her flesh to find her guiding light.

Feeling Lucky in Love

When you grow up with “everything” in terms of material possessions and funded hobbies up to the wazzoo, your mental health issues such as depression are thought to be pure youth melodramatics. But in my ripe old-ish age of 31, I’ve found what I was missing and didn’t know I wanted. I found this thing they call love. And like the many songs that have been written about how people search for love in all the wrong places and shapes and sizes only to find it isn’t what they expected at all, here I am, a girl who thought she could never find true love, knee deep in the definition of it.

Oh, he isn’t perfect, and I never expected perfection out of another human being. But both of us lacking parents with the ability to love in our childhood have found that we can pour out all this love we have to give, our sensitive souls smiling with each instant cuddling on the couch or waking up in each other’s arms. He’s turned me into a total softie. He’s taught me that the hollow space inside my heart doesn’t need to be filled temporarily with material possessions – that I could easily be happy living the rest of my life in a relatively small space with few items, if only I would be guaranteed the opportunity to spend that time with him, being terribly silly, immaturely mischievous, and at the same time spiritually whole in the glow of his calming, zen-like attitude towards the world which combats my east coast leather-like psyche turning it into mushy clay.

But having him in my life also makes me unclear of what I want, because just 10 years ago I could only be striving for some sort of “success,” which merely meant a story my parents could brag about to their friends and our family. I didn’t have anything I really wanted. Fame, sure, but even my lust for fame was fleeting when I realized I didn’t actually like being the center of attention, I just liked not being alone. So as this love of mine developed over the past decade I started to find myself and she wasn’t who I thought she was at all, for good and bad. She was a lot less ambitious. She cared less about being smart or rich or even beautiful. She suddenly wanted a life of stability over a life of restless leaping from story to story until her final breath. After running for so long all she wanted to do was stop and fall into loving arms. And that she did.

I like to work and to be creative and help create projects as part of a team, so I’m not aspiring to leave the workforce anytime soon. I just don’t care as much about wealth as I used to. I’d like financial security, to know I can stop work when I have kids and spend time with them if I want to; to be able to have choices. But I don’t need a giant house (thank goodness because unless I’m ultra rich there is no way to afford one here) and I certainly don’t need new cars or fancy clothes. Even my vacations tend to be more on the budget side, within reason, because I feel uncomfortable in any environment that is slightly luxurious.

All I want right now, and the me of 10 years ago couldn’t believe I’m saying this, but all I want right now is a family of my own. I want to have kids, I’m sure of it, and I want to be a mother who tries her best to be a good mother and friend to her children. I want a house big enough where I can go into another room to have alone time but not so big that it has extra space to fill with crap collected throughout the years. I appreciate interior design and aesthetics but I lean much more to simplicity than I did in the past. I may be splurging on face creams to deal with my starting-to-age skin, but beyond that, I don’t really have anything I spend on. I’m so busy working there isn’t time to shop or take fancy trips anyway, which is fine by me.

So love really changes a person… I know first hand. I see how my parents, never able to love, instead continue to try to find completeness in buying lots of stuff. My father — his collections of often not-so-great art, baseball figurines, books, DVDs, et al, filling up the house; and my mother, clothes and more clothes and then random contraptions QVC convinced her to buy. Stuff. So much stuff.

Relatedly, my dad called me the other day while I was at work – I picked up as my dad NEVER calls me so when he does I figure something bad happened so I should pick up. No, I forgot, the other reason he calls (it has happened once before that I can remember) is when my general region is on the news and he worries about me. Last time, years ago, it was because there was a very low tsunami risk on the California coast. This time it was the rain storm that was causing a little bit of flooding. I told him I was fine and I had to go, but he kept talking, because he doesn’t really care that I was at work or had to go, and he started telling me that he’s going to go ahead with the purchase of a winter home in Florida… which is fine by me, they can do what they want, but again, they just keep buying stuff, I don’t think any of it makes them happy, and it’s sad but they’ll never be happy because they’ll never know love. They can’t. They’re two narcissists who only can love themselves in a twisted sort of way.

But here I am, 31 years old, and I have this guy in my life who loves me for who I am. He’s been there through thick and thin. Literally picking me up from jail (after my first-ever and last-ever DUI.) Holding me through losing my jobs and being there as I moped through periods of unemployment until the next opportunity came around. He’s just this rock, this smiling, beautiful, charming, unlike anyone else in the world rock. It’s not that I can picture spending the rest of my life with him – it’s that I cannot picture “not” spending the rest of my life with him. We’re together now, the way couples are together, but I didn’t think that was something that I could ever be a part of. I thought that was reserved for people who were more mentally balanced, people who deserved such love. Yet I found it. And it’s worth more than anything money could buy. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

 

Let’s Give Some Thanks Here

Gratitude. It’s the one thing that can turn a bad day into a good one. Thank goodness there’s one day a year that makes us stop and remember to be thankful. We should be thankful every day. I’m guilty as charged of forgetting to, as my therapist suggested, think of three things I’m thankful for every night. It’s time to make a list. Since I just turned 31, I’ll write 31 things I’m thankful for. This will take a while…

1. I’m thankful for my boyfriend who is just as alien in this world as I am, yet who completely connects on our strange sense of humor and INFP idealist sentimentality towards the world around us. Even though relationships are never perfect, I’m so ridiculously thankful that the stars aligned so I could meet him 8.5 years ago. He’s been there with me through a whole lot of ups and downs, and, other than being upset about my mess, never once judged me for who I am or my various faults. I often think that without him I don’t know how I could have survived my 20s – he is my rock, my quiet, awkward rock, who is always there to give me a hug or hold my hand or genuinely laugh at a bad joke I make because just the act of making it feels like an inside joke to both of us. And I’m thankful that even though he’s avoiding proposing to me because I suck at cleaning up and need to figure out how to remain organized for a period of time I know that one day soon we’re going to get married and have a family together – he’s going to be a wonderful father. He has that parenting gene that I never got. We’re a good fit together. A good, awkward, alien race fit together. So much thanks here.

2. I’m thankful for my good friend who is now helping me out with work projects as well. I don’t often make good friends but he is one of the only people I know IRL who actually reads this blog (because I gave him the link) that’s how well he knows me. And he also doesn’t judge me for it, which I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for him being there to help set me straight on when I’m overreacting about things at my job vs whether I should be feeling the way I do. I’m thankful for him being chill enough to not “defriend” me when I stood him up for sushi dinner because I’m terrible at being on time and got stuck at work. I actually “talk” more to him (if you count skype) than anyone else I know – usually about work stuff, but still. Bonus points that he is the magical friend who I had always dreamed of who will sing duets with me (though I’ve yet to convince him to do any broadway beyond pop.) And I’m thankful for whatever reason that he believes in me and my abilities, because I know he’s wicked smart and amazing at what he does, so it means a lot.

3. I’m thankful for my dad, even though he’s nutso :), because he gave me a lot of the crazy spunky psyche that makes me me. He thinks he’s funnier than he is but he still has a sense of humor that sparked my interest in attempting to be funny in a sarcastic way. He’s also very smart in a math sort of way, and, you can say, believed in me and my intelligence when I was young so I didn’t let myself completely fail, even when I was struggling, because maybe I wasn’t quite as smart as he expected me to be (or able to focus, yeay ADHD). And somehow I do appreciate that in his own guilt-trippy, overprotective way, he cares about me, or at least me in the sense of me “being alive” and “safe” a lot. I know that no matter where I am in the world, as long as he’s around, I’ll never go hungry or live without a roof on my head.

4. I’m thankful for my mother, even though she’s nutso :D, because she is so amazingly unafraid of speaking to anyone and has no anxiety whatsoever in social situations, which is incredible to watch. She will say any thing that comes to her mind, especially things that will embarrass you and/or others, and she will tell anyone what she’s thinking, even the janitor who came over to fix the toilet. While this trait can drive a child crazy, it’s also quite amusing to witness, especially as an adult who can turn off the embarrassment and just appreciate crazy for what it is — entertainment. I’m thankful for my mother’s artistic talent, even though she doesn’t use it any more, for her love of the arts and teaching me to appreciate aesthetics. I’m thankful that she’ll always be there to pick up the phone if I need someone to talk to (not about anything serious because the empathy is entirely missing from her personality) but just to talk to pass the time and have someone to respond; or, to have someone to have talk at me about things that don’t really matter just because I want to get my mind off of the things that do. And i’m thankful that she always welcomes me back into the house whenever I want to come home. And even though this was a double-edged sword I’m thankful that she cared so much about what I look like as – while it gave me a binge eating disorder – it did teach me how to do my makeup well and how to appropriately pose for pictures (she trained me like a dog to smile in pictures as she’s happy-photo obsessed, so I know how to take a damn good posed shot.) 🙂

5. I’m thankful for my sister who I’ve gotten much closer to over the years, even though she’s so far away. I’m thankful that I have a sister in the first place. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to witness a girl who was told she would never go to college and always struggle with her life find her passion in amusement parks and this year graduate from a state college. I’m grateful that she got my dad’s sense of sarcastic humor too and enjoys teaming up with my boyfriend to poke fun at me in a lighthearted way, and that the starts also aligned for my awkward boyfriend and awkward sister to get a long quite well (this is our close family going forward, since my bf is an only child, and a small one at that, so that’s very important.) I’m sad she won’t be able to make it to thanksgiving this year due to her internship, but I look forward to hopefully having her come out to the west coast to spend more time with me in the coming years, and having time to visit her. Plus I owe her a graduation trip to Australia or Hawaii…

6. I’m thankful for my job! It’s extremely challenging, impossible to be perfect at, and filled with lots of things that I struggle to do (details are not my forte, to the bane of anyone who has hired me for a role requiring strategic leadership and endless execution) but – I’m thankful that my boss sees something in me (and I see it too) how I can be really great in this role. I have a long way to go and I hope he has the patience with me and I have the ability to focus on the big wins so we can work together as I build myself up into the executive I know I can be. It’s going to be a bumpy road for sure, but I adore my team and can honestly say that I’m in with a group of really wonderful, talented and smart people who  are making great things happen. I need to play my role and play it well. If I can, this can turn out to be a very good thing. It’s not easy, not anywhere near easy, but since when was I motivated by easy?

7. I’m thankful I live in the U.S. and not some third world country where women are raped/beaten/hung/tortured on a daily basis as part of social norms. Even though the U.S. isn’t perfect and has to get its shit together regarding a lot of important issues, it’s a pretty nice place to live for the time being. I’m thankful that I live in a country big enough where there are so many different types of places I can choose to live – that I can come home to the east coast and witness a November snowstorm and leaves completely dropped off trees, and then return west where the sun will be shining and the hills, while not green due to the drought, will be filled with some form of foliage.

8. I’m thankful for California, for that dream I had as a little girl to one day end up in this magical place where my mom grew up chasing around movie stars, for – thank goodness – my father’s sister and my mother’s sister living in northern California to show me there is a better way to live in CA 🙂 and for my picking myself up after college with just an internship and no idea what I was doing with my life, and heading west to figure shit out. I’m thankful for that decision every day. I’m thankful that when things got really tough the year out of school when I felt completely lost and unsure of what to do, I forced myself to stick it out, I managed through a deep depression, I pushed myself into a social arts project where I met my boyfriend, and I started to build a life for myself. I’m thankful for not giving up and returning home to live in my parent’s house for the past 10 years, which could have easily happened.

9. I’m thankful for Thanksgiving – because today I’ll get to go to Pennsylvania to my aunt and uncle’s lovely home that is always so warm and comforting (she has that old American style which always looks to be out of a catalog and always feels a bit like Christmas (they are one of the few parts of the family that does have a Christian home so this may be why.)) I’m thankful for this opportunity to be here and spend time with my cousins and aunts and uncles and grandmother for what I’m sure will be a fun day of heated political debates and updates on what’s going on with everyone, plus a group of the guys watching some sports game on TV.

10. I’m thankful that my boyfriend doesn’t understand sports and would much rather go to see a play than get tickets to the world series or superbowl.

11. I’m thankful that my parents were able to pay for my college experience. I had no concept of money at the time and they very well could have told me I had to go to the state school (which was actually a good school that I got into for the same major in a prominent arts program and would have cost a lot less each year) but they never once asked me to go to the lower priced institution. While I do have privilege guilt over this, I’m thankful for being able to live in another new city for college, for not having to worry about working through my school years and instead was able to take nearly 8 classes per quarter (the norm was 3-4) and learn about a lot of different things since I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. This enabled me to find journalism, to learn that I actually adored writing and reporting, and also to explore sociological issues in a variety of social sciences classes. If I had gone to any other school I’m not sure how that would have turned out with a more limited, rigid curriculum. I’m thankful that life lead me to the freezing midwest city where I completed undergrad, and I’m thankful I managed to graduate in four years, even though I wouldn’t have minded a fifth.

12. I’m thankful for randomly finding a person finance blog when I was about 21 called “Her English Major’s Money.” Unlike the other personal finance blogs I had read, hers was not about debt. Instead, the post was on how to invest an inheritance. I grew up with such messed up ideas about money and wasn’t making a lot at the time where it felt impossible to save. But reading her blog, and then other blogs she linked out to, I realized that I could focus on investing and saving and actually aim for small goals and turn those into bigger goals. I started this blog and took my $8k out of a low-rate CD and opened a ROTH IRA (which I had not known about previously – my dad, who was a pension planner for a living, did not think to mention this to me) which turned out to be a key move since I ended up working for companies with no 401k access until my mid 20s (and not yet has one provided a match.) I’m so thankful for that day where I found her blog and something switched in my brain where I decided to get serious about money and saving. Ten years later I’ve saved over a quarter of a million dollars, even though I’m by far perfect with my money or frugal.

13. I’m thankful for reading pieces of Ramit Sethi of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich.” Even though I never paid for one of his courses (they are so expensive!) I’ve taken away his basic premise that you should not focus on saving money by giving up, say, your daily Starbucks, but instead should focus on how to make more money – making more money is always better than reducing your spend in order to live the life that  makes you comfortable (I agree with that unless your comfortable life is completely extravagant, but he’d argue then you just have to make more.) His take on the world and email marketing newsletter suggestions led me to realize that people make as much as they ask for, or at least they need to market themselves in order to earn more. Lots of people doing the same exact things in this world are all getting paid varying amounts. I’ve managed, through an ongoing turbulent road of sorting out my career, to obtain what I consider high pay that is not unreasonable but definitely is more than I could be making because I learned to negotiate hard and hold my ground, to know what I’m worth. Despite being insecure and not actually believing I’m worth that, I was able to fake it enough to get the salary I wanted. Now I don’t have to think about salary or feeling like I’m being underpaid and I can focus on my job.

14. I’m thankful for being born in 1983 – for having had the opportunity to live for a few years before the internet was everywhere. To really experience live when it was a bit slower, when people still, gasp, mailed letters and you had to drive more than 10 minutes to get to yet another dunkin donuts, starbucks or drug store. When people came home after work they actually were able to join dinner and sit with their kids and ask how their day was because they didn’t / couldn’t jump back on the computer to respond to emails and finish work for the day. I’m also thankful to have lived through this rapidly accelerating world of technology, one where now there are self-driving cars I see prancing around my neighborhood on a daily basis, for having the ability to look up any piece of information quickly using a tiny device that fits into the palm of my hand that, oh, I can also make calls on. I’m thankful how living so far away from family and friends technology makes me feel much more connected to them than I would have felt if I lived pre home internet and mobile phones. I got the taste of both worlds and I like them both for different reasons.

15. I’m thankful for cheese. Because, come on, who isn’t thankful for cheese?

16. I’m thankful for my friends from high school who I can meet up with for a day after so many years of not seeing them and we can click and connect like old times. I’m thankful that those few friends that I stay in touch with have always accepted me for who I am and accepted my role as entertainer in our group.

17. I’m thankful for shoes that fit. Especially my new shoes that I splurged on because I have shit feet and I’m tired of buying shoes that make me want to cut off my feet at the end of the day. Yeay shoes that fit.

18. I’m thankful for my grandmother who had a large family (6 kids in total) so I grew up with such a large network of cousins that I just assumed was how everyone’s family was. Holiday gatherings were really massive parties as each child of hers had two kids, so the years we all joined together we had 24 people in one house, which made for some good parties. It makes me sad to know that this isn’t how everyone grows up and that my own family – unless I start popping out quadruplets – will never be this large and vibrant (me with one sister and my boyfriend an only child.) But we’ll figure out how to make the holidays feel special with a smaller family nonetheless, and borrow some non-blood relatives to extend the festivities.

19. I’m thankful for the brave people in Hollywood who have shown that there is no one right way to be. We live in a unique era where celebrities can come out of the closet and still be successful, where the uncool is cool, where different is ok. There’s still a long way to go here in terms of acceptance, but we’re in a much better world today than we were when I was born in terms of accepting that everyone is different and that’s ok.

20. I’m thankful that I’m at number 20 because this is harder than I thought. Ok, I can’t get off that easy here… I’m thankful for sleep, because there’s nothing better than cuddling up next to someone you love completely exhausted and waking up with them still holding you close.

21. I’m thankful for airplanes which make it possible to travel and see the world in a relatively short amount of time.

22. I’m thankful for my good friend and our adventure last year to southeast Asia — life starts to blur once you reach a certain age and the only major memories are those that are from the days you were out of your normal, day-to-day routine environment. There were so many fun and exhilarating moments of that trip. Travel is exhausting for me as I admit I like routine to some extent, but it’s one of those things that make life worth living. I hope to do more of it throughout my life.

23. I’m thankful for the sun. It’s just crazy to think how that one giant star is holding up our entire world as we fall through space together at 30,000 mph (yes, that’s how fast we move around the sun guys, holy shit, that roller coaster where you go from 0 to 80mph doesn’t seem that scary any more.) But, really, I’m thankful that the universe managed to all fall together to make this very unlikely world of ours exist. For the religious it’s easy to thank god for this. For the non religious it’s just incredible to experience and be part of this wonder.

24. I’m thankful for carpeting. Wooden and tile floors can be so cold.

25. I’m thankful for my friend back west and her beautiful baby boy who is absolutely hilarious. She is an amazing mother and a good friend. I look forward to watching her child grow up into an adorable kid and a kind young man. I hope when I have my first kid we can align so she will have her second at the same time, but she’ll probably be on to her second before I’m on my first!

26. I’m thankful for oceans. Nothing in the world makes me feel more at peace than sitting on a beach and watching the waves crash to shore as water extends and sparkles out to the horizon.

27. I’m thankful for all of the turkeys that have sacrificed themselves so that way a bunch of Americans can stuff themselves silly today.

28. I’m thankful for mistakes, because without them we’d never know if we were right to begin with.

29. I’m thankful for my future children, because I’m excited to meet them, assuming I can have kids one day.

30. I’m thankful that this list is almost done because 31 is a lot of things to be thankful for. I’m also thankful for all of the pecan pie, even though I shouldn’t eat it, I’m going to eat it, and it will be amazing.

31. I’m thankful that my father, who was told he has two years to live about seven years ago, is still alive. While we don’t always see eye to eye it truly is a miracle that he’s still here and doing so well. He mentioned last night that his doctors are amazed by how well he is doing (and he goes to one of the most prestigious cancer hospitals in the world so clearly they know what they’re talking about.) I’m hoping that he is still around in a few years and doing so well so he can meet my children and so they can meet their grandfather. Knock on wood, maybe he will be a miracle, who knows. He said that his grandmother apparently had lymphoma and decided not to treat the condition, but still managed to live to 90. Her doctors noted it had somehow been cured on its own. While it’s crazy to think it, maybe our bodies are as stubborn as our wits in this family.

So there you go, 31 things I’m thankful for. I’m sure there are many more, but these are what came to mind this morning. What are you thankful for?

 

Her First Grey Hair… and Turning 31

“You have one,” my boyfriend exclaimed in a taunting manner. “I have one what,” I asked, half paying attention. “You have a grey hair,” he said, giggling, knowing that he was pushing my buttons just a few days before turning 31 (to be fair I’ve teased him re: his own grey strands for years now.) “WHAT,” I exclaimed, suddenly feeling the blood rush away from my face, breath stop, and the panic of time punch me smack in the stomach for the nth time this week. If turning 31 wasn’t enough god though to start the decolorization process of my hair as a gift for surviving another year.

Now that I’m about 31 and topped off with one silver grey hair (or, apparently, the start of one in about an inch of root) it’s very clear that in order to accomplish anything in the life of mine I must make haste. It’s so easy to get lost daydreaming about the meaning of all this and coming to yet another lapse of solid conclusion. I think back to the days when I felt excitement for the future, for moments, for all the ups and downs of life… and I try to swallow the memory of those days when there was true unfiltered anticipation and trepidation… today I’ve completely lost that part of myself. I look forward to absolutely nothing.

Maybe that is being my bipolar self yet again, perhaps I’m in a depressed phase. Or maybe this is just the way a rational person approaches life. What will the next thing that I look forward to be? A year ago I took a trip to southeast Asia with a friend and I was somewhat excited about that – it seems travel to new places is the only thing that really excites me anymore, yet I don’t like traveling on my own and I don’t actually have time to travel with work. Instead, I just am trying to be heads down, really focused on my job. I know I’m in such a fortunate place where I have a great position in a company where I actually am interested in the subject matter and I like the people I work with and I’m getting paid well. Everything is going so great. I should be extremely elated right now. But happiness is not what I feel. I feel the rush of saving money each month. The rush of knowing that I’m increasing my networth so one day I can be free – but even if I could actually accomplish financial freedom what would that actually buy me? I spent two months without a job and I was miserable and ready to go back to work by the end of the first week.

I am convinced that the next thing I’d be actually excited about is having children and seeing them grow up and go through their own phases of over excitement in discovering their new world. Yet I don’t see a life as a mother and life as a startup executive jiving together. I don’t think I can do both. Sure, some women can, but I’m barely able to handle such a high-pressure job without the kid(s) nagging for my attention and time. I’m pretty sure I’d fall completely apart trying to do both at once, even with the support of a future-husband who would be more than thrilled to stay at home.

And, of course, I shouldn’t rely on children to resolve this emptiness in my life, the hollowness in my heart. I don’t have time for hobbies but I’m sure if I had the motivation I’d figure out a way to make time. I don’t do well in a life without structure yet I’m terrible at making structure for myself. The days and months and years just tick tick tick on and on. Soon more grey hairs will pierce through my scalp, swallowing the vibrant strands which tease as the remnants of youth. Meanwhile I’m watching my always angry father fade away from his cancer and my mother continue to nag as she nags and all of life just slip past as I beg of it to stop so I can embrace it as fully as I once did, back when every moment meant more than it should have, instead of near nothing, a fractured fragment of its absolute worth.

The Thing About Growing Up

You know the feeling of being far from a place you’ve been so real to you that you can’t imagine it’s really gone forever? That is what it feels like to grow up. You may be able to go back to the physical place, but it’s gone no matter how there it is. And time itself is this strange continuum that seems to be on your side until about your mid twenties when suddenly it becomes your worst enemy, pulling you further and further away from the security of your long lost home.

Some days I close my eyes and find myself, as if it was yesterday, sitting in gym class frustrated beyond belief for my inability to climb a rope or run a mile. I can taste the fall air as we would be forced through physical fitness testing, cold on my lungs, as I failed pretty much everything besides the flexibility test. I can smell the leather of my friend’s dad’s car as he drove us to dance class, the burn in my lungs as I chased a school bus down the street in the rain yet another morning of waking up late, the dizziness of being a child and spinning around fast looking at the ceiling in our empty dining room to entertain myself, or lying on the cold floor of our game room pressing start and go of my tapes in order to write down their lyrics. Some moments are crisp while many are a blur, but nonetheless the place feels so real that I can only imagine if I try hard enough I could find my way back to it, despite knowing that I never can.

It’s not that I had a wonderful childhood. I was miserable most of the time. I was bullied by my parents and my friends. I was hyperactive and annoying and constantly trying to figure out a way to fit in. I was lonely and bored and unable to handle my own many imperfections. But there I was safe and free all at the same time. And growing up means letting go of that person you once were, the place where you’ll never truly return. You might as well have blasted off to another planet a one-way trip because that’s life, shooting you fast towards the night stars, whether you’re ready for it or not.

I used to be terrified of death — I’d stay up all night and try so hard to imagine myself not existing for a moment, and I couldn’t find the feeling. In eleven days I turn 31 and I know that life is not forever. I have twenty years ahead of me of either/and a strong career or family, and time is ticking onwards as a little part of me hungers to return to that place I once took pity on myself and hid in my bedroom, looking out the window at the tall trees swaying in yet another storm.

There were things to, like stability, which used to scare me that suddenly are what I long for most of all. I think this is because I grew up with such a theoretically stable life (despite constant wars raging in my household which begged to question if the stability was a benefit or a curse) I wanted none of it when I left home. At seventeen I left for college in Chicago and never once considered returning back permanently. I was running ahead full force, faster than I ever had in those mile runs of the physical fitness testing, trying to find comfort in change, afraid to settle down, afraid to stop before I was ready.

Even now I’m restless in many ways, probably more than the average person, but I still need the stable base in which to build from. I’ve found that in my boyfriend who has been there with me for the past nine years. He’s level headed and calm and he has no desire to run away from stability like a man running from a loon wielding an AK47. With a childhood where he had never-married parents who didn’t know how to handle their accidental child, he is perfectly comfortable with a planted life. And, despite not knowing each other in our childhood, we can look in each other’s eyes and still see that person we once were. For a second I am able to transport back to my home, but locked up in the arms of someone who wasn’t forcing me into a box of something I’m not, jabbing at me at every opportunity. With him I have acceptance of the girl who never got that as a child. With him, despite being lightyears away from where I’ve been and can’t physically return, I’m more home than I ever was.

 

Gone Girl: The Modern Marriage Commentary

The stories within a story of my life are endless. Take, for instance, my mother’s decision for us — my father, her, and myself — to go see the movie “Gone Girl” at the movie theatre for our family night activity together. I haven’t been paying much attention to pop culture lately so I didn’t know what the movie was about other than a wife’s disappearance. My mother had read the book so she had “a clue.”

If you plan to see the movie and/or read the book, spoilers ahead, fair warning. So the plot pretty much starts out with a woman and a man who supposedly fall in love at a time in their life when they’re young, self-entitled, horny, and everything is going right for them. But then the shit of life hits the fan – parents get sick, recessions crumble the economy, people lose their jobs, trust funds are tapped into – and the two lovebirds realize that they aren’t in a relationship with the person they wanted to be in the first place. The prenup just adds to the jealousy and drama once the perfect relationship falls apart. Because, as I took it, all of us are faking who we are when we’re dating and all of us say we’re not going to end up like those horrible married couples that nag and bicker at each other and have sex like route routine vs with passion and many of us do. Then one cheats with something newer and younger and more like the fantasy that they originally married, the other feels hurt, angry, and wants vengeance. For a moment they may even want the other partner to greatly suffer for the rest of their lives.. And there you have the plot behind Gone Girl, or at least the rational for it.

Well, going to see this movie with my parents, for those of you who follow my blog and understand my relationship with my parents and their relationship with each other, is a bit of a farcical plot line to begin with. Add to that attending the movie in one of those  newer “luxury” cinemas with the comfort seating and recalling chairs, and both my mother and father for large chunks of the movie falling asleep and beginning to snore quite loudly, and their golden commentary on the film afterwards, I couldn’t help but find myself cackling inside.

After the film was over my dad could in no way shape or form hide his disgust at the film. With my father there are no opinions that matter but his own. This time around I mostly agreed with him (it was a dumb plot line in terms of what actually happened and the constant elevator music to, I think, add a state of creepy and coldness to the film, was annoying as fuck, though I appreciated the social commentary.) Yet when my father has an opinion, he takes it personally. He even gets a bit angry or at the least annoyed – like, how dare anyone create a movie that’s so stupid that other people like that he has to see.

I must admit my favorite review from him of the evening was his frustration with the detective being female, as, and I quote, “that’s just not realistic.” He apparently has been annoyed for years with all the leading female detective characters souring the reality of his favorite shows like Law and Order. This conversation, of course, led into my mother noting that it is like how there are too many gay people on television these days – not that she has a problem with gay people – but there “just aren’t that many gay people” and that too isn’t realistic. I asked her to note a specific show where a gay person was written into it where it didn’t make sense (I’m waiting for her to tell me about some show in Rural Georgia where there’s a flamboyantly gay person who never gets threatened or shot, and perhaps that I could believe as unrealistic) but then she goes on to tell me she doesn’t watch a lot of TV these days so she can’t name a specific case, this is just in general.

Oh, my parents. At some point you just have to accept the crazy that is. My favorite part of last night was after the movie when we went to a cafe for dinner. Following our crepes my father ordered a pecan tarte. I asked if I could have a bite and he said ok. I noticed that there weren’t actually many pecans on top and tried unsuccessfully to secure one with the tiny piece I took off the site of the tarte. My mother then asked my father if she could have a taste. “Sure,” he said, as if it was rude of her to assume he might say no (but heaven forbid she just take it without asking, that would start a shit show.) My mother, knowing that any cut she takes will be horrible in the eyes of my father, asks him to cut her a piece. He, again in some sort of offended manner says “you cut your own piece.” She noted out loud that if she did he would say “she took too much.” He continued that she can cut her own piece and he wouldn’t get upset.

Ha.

She then initially takes a tiny bit of the tarte only to cut further into it about half way to get a piece with one of the few pecans on it. It does look like she took half the tart but I could see clearly that she just wanted to get the pecan. My father, of course, throws his hourly temper tantrum by saying something along the lines of “what the hell” and grabbing back the piece she cut with the pecan on it and leaving her with the original tiny piece she had cut. He then, as a peace offering, and to retain his belief that he’s a rational person, took a tiny pecan and put it on top of her tiny piece of the tart.

In reference to the film, I can’t imagine how my parents ever were the type of people who were young and in love. Was my mother just so beautiful and youthful when they met (she was 17 so maybe) that my father looked past her lack of ability to empathize with others? Was my father so stable and successful that by the time they got married my mother just looked past the fact that he smacked her glasses off her face on their honeymoon and broke them? I don’t know how these two were ever in love. Like the characters in the film they’re extremely self-absorbed people who instead of working together on communicating just make up their own stories, live their own lives. My dad was always opposed to a divorce — because it “hurts the kids” — while my mother was to scared to leave as she didn’t want to have to “work” another day in her life.

So here we are. Neither of them tried to frame the other for murder, though I wouldn’t be absolutely surprised if one day the result of my father’s explosive anger seriously injures my nagging mother. I’m surprised it hasn’t so far. Oh, there have been bruises and other pains, but nothing deadly. They seem to work together some how in their home of narcissism. One fight after the other after the other. It really is not pleasant to be here. I come back to spend time with family because logically I think that is what I should do. With my father dying and my mother getting older I don’t want to regret not spending the time with them – and I enjoy to some extent being in my childhood home for the few years left when it’s still in our family name. The rest of the visits are usually painful if not viewed as a sitcom and watched with an internal monologue of canned laughter.

I do worry about my own relationship and marriage – if I am to get married – and how that will play out in life. It’s easy to say that you won’t be like that, not a spiteful, angry couple, but as Gone Girl points out maybe we all turn into that a little bit. We’re so caught up in ourselves that we forget to care for the other. When times are good and there’s money and there’s security we can get through it, but then when the hard parts of life strike things start to crumble. I don’t want to be that way with my partner. I already hear the nagging going on in my head, we have our arguments, our moments of tension. I try to remind myself the value of the relationship is in the love itself, in the comfort, the partnership, the security. I can’t imagine a person in the world who could be a better fit for me and I’m pretty sure he feels the same way about me. As long as I focus on building the financial life that I want, and to save the money now versus later, to get to a point where with the exception of a major financial meltdown in the markets, I don’t have to worry about his career.

That’s why I’m so neurotic and crazy about my saving. I don’t want to ever rely on anyone else to support my happiness or security. It’s the moment we rely on someone else to do this when love cannot be the center of a relationship, it’s money – and when money is the center of the relationship that relationship will undoubtedly fall apart.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday. Celebrate. It’s All Right.

For that record, that song is way too perky for me. That said, I’m looking forward to this three-day weekend in the States to memorialize people who fought for this country and/or just sleep as much as I actually should be sleeping every night.

My boyfriend and I are celebrating our anniversary this weekend and off on our annual getaway to a state park nearby. I used to think it was silly to pay for a hotel in an area that’s less than two hours from your house, but now I like the idea of it. When you spend so much time working it’s nice to have a little getaway, even if you could have just gotten up early and returned the next morning from home Continue reading

Let’s Get Real: Sex & Power in Silicon Valley

In an industry and town which is so heavily male, in an industry where the TV show about it features an all male cast with the exception of a secretary, one has to wonder if she’s making a huge mistake by not Joan Holloway-the-second-ing it up. Sure, it’s 2014, but in many respects, the world I live in is Mad Men 2.0. I try not to think about gender as part of my day-to-day work, because the good lawd knows I’m not exactly BFFs with most women (I tend to get along better with men anyway), but ignoring the fact that I’m often the only woman in the room would be a disservice to my own take on impostor syndrome.

A good friend of mine recently joked that I should use my sex appeal to get ahead, in so many words. Not that he was suggesting I have sex appeal, more that it seems to be working for some women here. He pointed to the perky Amanda Rosenberg, 26, fresh-faced and bushy tailed and literally Googley Eyed (she works in marketing for Google Glass), who has stolen the heart or at least the genitals of one Sergey Brin, much to the delight of the Silicon Valley gossip rags. Continue reading