Sometimes You Just Want to Say “Hey!”

I’m in solid reflection mode this week (actually this month) and I’m sure it has a lot to do with being 40.  Ack.  Now you know.  I’d hide it forever if I could, but since my oldest has just finished college, it’s more embarrassing to try and pass myself off as mid-30s then it is to just embrace being 40+.  It’s great to look young(ish) for your age, but no one wants to be mistaken for the Original Teen Mom (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but for me, high school was angst filled enough as it was…).

I wandered onto this blog >> http://40goingon28.blogspot.com – completely at random – and thanks, of course to Twitter (but we’ve firmly established my social media obsession already).  So I wander onto this really cool blog, about a really cool city (I’m originally a Bay Area gal, doncha know), and find that here’s someone who’s managed to stay on the edge of hip, even at 40.

Oh, yeah, for sure, not a claim to fame, there are plenty of others.  But not as many as I’d like to think, and I lost my calling card somewhere on the road between 35 and 40.

You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to figure out what to wear to a rock concert at 40.

So I’m reading this uber cool blog and flipping channels and Fight Club is on.  I’m not a die hard fan, but I enjoyed it when it first came out.  Which led me to thinking about Trinity, The Matrix, women-as-strong-role-models and how cool that whole entree into the 21st century Mod Life was.

Yes.  Yes!

Where’s the place in the world where I can be a 40 year old mother of four, urban transplant to suburban, art & science loving writer, and still love Fight Club?

Where, I ask you.

Don’t know?  Me either.

But that’s where I want to live.

I’ve never been super cool, or super hip, so I really shouldn’t put that much pressure on myself.   But if you’re young, take heed, one never gets over the urge to at least try to be somewhat edgy (whether that’s trying to be the opposite of cool or trying to pretend like you don’t care or sitting on the stoop posing as a hipster) – there’s an inner you that never goes away.  Even when the world views you as something other those aspirations.

In another life, I’ll choose to come back as an actress (another dream I never pursued) and spend my days being every cool character they can think to put up on the screen.

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Is 50 the new 20?

It’s no secret that we’re all living longer.  That our collective expectations, of when one should be considered “fully” an adult, have adjusted drastically.

20 years ago, 11 year olds were babysitting and walking to the store for mom, 18 year olds were starting careers, and men and women were starting families at the ripe old age of 24 or 25.

Now, 13 year olds have babysitters, 21 year olds are moving back home, and if you’re 35 and not married, your friends will say “Well, not to worry, families start at 40 these days…”

At what age does adulthood fully set in these days?  Hard to say, but I’m at a loss for words every time I see the trailer for the lastest Meryl Streep flick – Hope Springs.  Starring Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as a couple trying to rekindle their marriage and their love, the tagline runs something along the lines of:

Hope Springs, finally – a love story for adults…

Finally.  A love story for adults.  Because those other love stories featuring “kids” playing at love (even though they’re 30) don’t really count.  Because now we expect you to be a solid 60 before we’ll consider you worthy of mature decision making?  Have we reached the point of 40 being the new 18, where 50 is the new 20?

Wandering through my days (I really don’t wander as much as I intimate in my blog, but it sounds more youthful doesn’t it), anyway as I run through life I am struck by the fact that young adults, in their 20s and 30s are encouraged to be more youthful, put off “growing up” for a longer period of time and Enjoy Life.

As if there is zero enjoyment in putting down roots, establishing one’s self, and embracing a family life.

As if there exists no reason to get a job at 30 and work at said employer until one retires.  (Of course, this is no longer a reasonable expectation, or option, in a world where employers will slice out a large chunk of their staff without hesitation, forethought or remorse.  A world where employers are no more loyal to their employers then a major sports team looking to make salary cap room for the latest celeb free agent.)

But is 60 really the new age at which one can be called an adult?

Have we gone that far?

No wonder my 9 year old doesn’t feel the need to make up his bed or take on the responsibility of cleaning his room (not that I let him get away with that, but all I hear is “Mom… none of my friends have to do this!”   Is this true?  Is he right?)

And if so, what am I doing here?  I should be out skateboarding, or hanging at the Apple store, picking out the next gadget to beg my mom to buy for me (she being only a decade into adulthood should be happy to comply right?).

I know it is just a movie, and sappy taglines are par for the course.

But…

There’s a long stretch of life post college and pre-pre-retirement age.

I’d love to see us stop writing off mid-life as insignificant and embrace it for it’s worth.  Mid-life is that wonderful time where you’re old enough to know better and young enough to Just Do It!  Mid-life is that time where you’re still learning from an older and wiser generation, but you’re also coaching a youthful set toward the goal of Life in Full Living Color.

Mid-life is the time where you can consider a new career, a new hobby, a new way of doing things and you’ll still have half your life to enjoy that new venture.

Mid-life is wonderful!

Baby Boomers have been usurping our vision of life since, well, since they appeared on the scene 40 or 50 years ago.  Angry, mad as heck, and shouting “Dont Trust Anyone Over 30/Authority/the Man/Your Mama…”  Then they swapped out Hippie for Yuppie and activism for MBAs and began to Seize the Day (read: they made a lot of money, bought a lot of real estate, and they’re fairly well set).  Never mind the dust left behind for the rest of us.

Baby Boomers have been trampling on Gen X’ers day in the sun for, well, for all of my life.

And now they’ve crowned themselves the official Adults in the room.

That’s life.

Meanwhile, please excuse me, I’m headed to the mall and then off to see NKOTB (that’s New Kids on The Block to you adults)…

The Freshly Pressed Viewpoint (or How to Go from 0 to 60 on a Whim)

So wow.

Yesterday I work up to work on a new blog post & check my blog’s stats. Stats I now realize were meager beyond belief. I’ve had this blog for several years, started it back in my blogging days (way back about three years ago, which is like 20 eons ago in dog years). I started this blog because I intended to gripe moan commiserate with others on my yearning to travel (a lot) and my lack of traveling (a lot). When you really *get* into social media, the first thing that hits you is d@mn look at all that great stuff I’m NOT doing. And oh, what is that uber-cool looking place? And wow, you live what kind of life where?

This is followed by the Google or Die phase, whereby you spend an hour (or 2 or 3) googling random exotic or remote locations that seem appealing around the world and reading about various lifestyles that allow certain people to blog all day long and taunt others with their coolness (read: the work and live anywhere life). Nice gig, if you can get it. And then you log off and go sit in the corner and lick your wannabe-them wounds.

This can not be good for your psyche.

So you stop reading about said lifestyles, only to realize you don’t have much to blog about.  Not really.

Unless you go back to blogging about current events, espousing your opinions on said events, tweeting and sharing those posts to any and all comers, hoping that your viewpoint matters simply because you wrote it.

Yup.

I spent several months (give or take several months) being a blogger that was noticed (in certain corners) for writing stuff (sometimes witty, sometimes not) about new tech trends (mainly social media) and it led to some interesting opportunities and connections (for a minute).

In the meantime, I was raising four kids.  Running a household.  Trying to work a part-time stay at home job as an ESL teacher.  This was an awesome gig.  Talking to people around the globe.  Learning about new cultures.  Sharing my wisdom of language (I like to share knowledge doncha know).  And the juggling began.

Turns out, I’m not a very good juggler.

So I threw the balls in the air and caught the most important ones and let the others fall to the ground.  The biggest one to fall was the blogging.

That was in 2009.

And that was ok.

For awhile.

But I’m a writer at heart (I was scribbling on a notepad in the womb I believe).  You can never get too far away from the things that are your calling in life (believe that).  So the household has matured and things calmed down a bit, and I still can’t afford to live the *remote* *wandering* life, so I turned back to the one thing any yahoo (like me) can do from any corner of the world (any corner being that place that I’m not traveling from).

I started back to blogging.

It’s been all of two weeks.

And I wake up Friday morning, thinking of all the things I need to do, blogging wasn’t on the top of my list actually.  But I had an urge to login and think.

Lo and behold.

There it was.

The Last Thing I Expected To See

You can imagine my surprise.

Ok, maybe you can’t.  Let me explain.  I’m an early riser (really early) and I think I mentioned I’m a mother of four, so early mornings are when I have ME time.  Extremely important in the life of a mother.  This time involves really important stuff, like sitting by the window, quietly and doing… nothing.  This is really important stuff here, you see.  So I rarely log into my blogs early in the morning.  But yesterday I did.  And I’m glad I did or I would have missed the whole *big* event.

So I’m rubbing my eyes, thinking I’m seeing things, and yet there it is.  Me, Freshly Pressed.  So I let out a big *whoop*, waking up the family, and the kids rush over to see what’s the big deal.  They peer over my shoulder at the screen, look back at my excited face and say…

“What’s for breakfast Mom?”

Yes, I’m a pretty big deal in our household now.

The oldest is more than old enough to get it, but he’s so old he wasn’t up for the big *moment*.  Later in the day, I did get a “That’s pretty cool Mom.”  That was good enough for me.

And of course my husband was appropriately excited/pleased/encouraging.  “That’s awesome Babe.”

But never mind.

I’m still thrilled.

It’s not about the stats (although I went from 21 views as my daily high to a whooping 1.7k+), and it’s not about the bragging rights (can I get a job as a big time writer using Freshly Pressed as my calling card?), but it’s about the fact that someone (I’m assuming it’s a person and not just an algorithm or some such thing) somewhere noticed my blog post.

Wonder how that works.  In the hallowed halls of WordPress.com.

Someone goes through random post tags (I’m guessing here), reads through a couple dozen/hundred/thousand(?) posts.  Finds a few they like and forwards that on to …  Who?  The Editors.?  The Team?   The Freshly Pressed Selection Committee.  (Can you see how much thought I’ve put into this?)

And the Committee upon further review, selects just one to highlight.  At that moment.

And the winner is…

Well, it was a big deal to me, and I want you to know I appreciate your being here and hope that I’ll live up to the Selection Committee’s judgement.

That I’m not just a one hit wonder.

I’ll try.

I’ll do my best.

Full Disclaimer:  I am the Wandering Dreamer.  You do get that, right?

Ok.

But in the meantime, thanks for being part of my 15 seconds of *virtual* fame.

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P.S.  If you’re thinking “Pfft. It’s not THAT big of a deal.”  I hear you.  I thought the same thing the day before I got pressed

The Simple Psychology of Your Social Networks

Facebook.  Are we friends or aren’t we?  Like a BFF, wondering if she’s been replaced, facebook connections (whether from real life or not) will run the deepest and be the most hurt if (more like when) you decide to “unfriend” them.  Those darned decisions, right?  It seemed like a good idea to “friend” your entire family… at the time.  Until you realize Cousin Sally shares TMI (too much information) and Aunt Betty is trying to “friend” all of your friends to sell them cactus juice from Sedona.  And, oh by the way, if you are “friends” with your boss, may the force be with you.

Twitter.  Don’t tread on me.  Your Twitter followers will expect that you pick a style and live with it.  Like, forever.  If you tweet about Bob Marley, Hipsters and Donald Trump’s hair this week.  Don’t expect to talk about existentialism, Requiems and Star Wars raves the next.  I’m just saying.  Pick a voice.  Embrace it and love it or the followers will be few and far between.

LinkedIn.  Otherwise known as Recruiters R Us.  A haven for job seekers and those who seek them.  And in a strange online recruiting meets Hunger Games kind of way, it’s addicting to have a profile.  If you feel so inclined, you can try and socialize with your network.  Let me know how that works out for ya!

Reddit.  Hardcore techs only need apply.  If you dream of uploading code to Source Forge, this is the place for you.   While the conversation is fun (usually) and informative (almost always), the core users of Reddit take their posting habits very (very) seriously.   Srsly.   Techie lite?   Speak only when spoken to…

YouTube.  Haven for mass, off-topic comments.  The premier video watching hangout for all generations online.  Loved by mass marketers, big brands, brass bands, and chart toppers.   The comments alone are enough to keep you entertained for weeks on end.  Fair warning: not for the faint of heart.

Google+.  The sleeper.  Like an indie movie that never got it’s day in the theatrical sun, G+ is the “quiet as it’s kept” go to space for early adopters.  It’s the one place where Silicon Valley celebs might actually +1 you (the equivalent of a virtual high 5).  And you won’t find Grandma lurking around the corner.  Subtle circles allow for less emotion over who’s following or un-friending whom.  You will find the most amazing real life photography around, G+ actually gives Tumblr a run for it’s money there.  It may not have the masses of a Facebook, the obsessive retweet or get lost atmosphere of Twitter, nor the see and be seen necessity of a LinkedIn, but Google+ is the least likely to leave you lying on a couch, arm over head, moaning about declining Klout scores.

That’s where you’ll find me, hanging out, relaxing after a long day of like, comment, tweet, blog, rinse, repeat…

Wait, you say, what about MySpace?   MySpace?!   What are you… a rockstar?

The Parent-As-Pseudo-Blogger-Who-Yearns-To-Travel

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My Four Wonderful Kids

Hello.  And yes, I’m being lazy today, or so you might say.  I’m wandering through your dreams, looking for connections to my own, so that I might post your interesting life as something I’m….

Aspiring to.

Hoping to.

Live.

It.

Excuses?  Nope.  None.

Reasons?  All my own.

Shelved career met stay at home parenting needs.  Which was a-ok with me.

I think.

Except when you trample on my accomplishments.

Like getting one to eat green beans.

Like getting one to dress in clothes. Mainly ones that are clean.

Like getting one to graduate.  On time.

Like getting one to take that tether just a little bit further away.

From me.

My purpose is to prepare them for living beyond me.

And I love that.

I think.

I have the greatest unpaid worth on Earth.

I think.

Parenting when I want to backpack on two feet.

Staying home, when I want to fly as far as wings can take me.

Working in the space between Mom and He and Bothers and Me.

Not enough time for all the HE’s can do, in the world.

Placing my dreams in a box, not meant to be opened for some time to come.

How long?

Who knows?

But in the meantime, I live vicariously.

Through you.

Through the Lookingglass

If I knew then what I know now – I would have gone through the looking glass years ago…

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