Life Lessons, Parenting, Ranting, Social Media, Uncategorized

Things I Miss.

I complain about social media a lot. And I complain about technology and all of the negative aspects of it.

I also spend approximately 80% of my day on my technology or social media.

It’s a complex, toxic, love/hate relationship, right?

But, seriously. I see how problematic it is and I see how beneficial it is.

It especially worries me for my child’s generation. I fear we’re creating a generation of zombies and dumbasses since these neat little gadgets have become our children’s babysitters (and I am guilty AF).

So, this got me thinking. My childhood was so much less complex and so much more boring.

I miss…

…the days of staying outside and playing until the fireflies told us to go home.

…the days when the terms “helicopter parent” and “social anxiety” weren’t widely known or acknowledged.

…the days of having a phone plugged into the wall and the cord would be all stretched out from trying to walk from room to room.

…the days of Super Mario Bros. being the only form of screen time.

…the days when MTV actually played music videos and The Real World had actual content of college kids making something of themselves, discussing real world issues, instead of just getting wasted drunk and fucking.

…the days of simple seated portraits being an acceptable form of photography, opposed to all of these fancy locations with the wind having to blow in the right direction.

…the days of cell phone minute packages so we actually had to care about how much time we spent on the phone. (I had an Erikson and then a Nokia, FYI.)

…the days of writing notes in class and folding them in the most creative ways possible.

…the days before texting was a thing and people actually had to speak so things weren’t lost in translation.

…the days of not knowing where someone was because they didn’t have a cell phone yet.

…the days of spelling things out with numbers on beepers.

…the days of spending summers reading Sweet Valley High, The Babysitters Club, and Ramona books.

…the days of flannels and grunge clothes that didn’t show ass cheeks.

…the days when The Kardashians weren’t societal icons and middle school kids weren’t so concerned with make-up and lip plumpers.

…the days when rock music actually existed.

…the days when people actually had to have talent to make a healthy living instead of just playing mindless games on YouTube.

…the days when infidelity was the biggest scandal in government.

…the days when bullies actually had to be a dick to your face instead of hiding behind a keyboard, both adults and children.

…the days when selfies weren’t called selfies. They were just pictures you took with your disposable camera and hoped for the best; had them printed and then shoved them in an album.

…the days of rewinding your favorite song in that yellow Sony Walkman.

…the days of actual humorous sitcoms. (Remember T.G.I.F.??)

…the days when the most violent video game was The Legends of Zelda.

…the days of not knowing everyone’s eating, drinking, pooping habits, their political affiliation, and what inspirational quote they’re living by for today via Facebook.

…the days when we all weren’t instantly gratified by every.single.thing. because every answer to everything is in our hand.

And that’s just to name a few.

I’m starting to feel every ounce of my 40 years of age, saying things like, “Well, back in my day, we had an ETCH-A-SCKETCH and that was it!!”. But it’s true. My generation was so much better off than recent generations, I do believe. We were forced to be creative. And we even had actual books and libraries and encyclopedias. Nothing was instanious. Everything required a little bit of work. Mind blowing, right?

We just had a simpler life. Period. They were simpler times. Or so it seemed.

All of this technology is supposed to be making our lives so much better, so much more convenient, and sure, in many ways it is. I love Google Maps, instead of paper maps, and I don’t miss having to find a pay phone. But it certainly has complicated our lives in so many ways.

The irony isn’t lost on me that you’re probably reading this on your smart-technolgy, linked off of a social media site. I get it. As I stare at my child sitting on the couch watching YouTube on our TV.

I get it.

I love it just as much as the next person. I’ve relented to it, allowed it to meld right into my life, for sure.

Perhaps every generation says this, and I know it’s all relative, but I sure do miss the good ole days. I have officially reached the age of saying so.

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Getting Old

This is 39: A Warning for the Younger Crowd.

In 11 days, I will turn 39. I need to talk about this.

I remember being an elementary school kid in a Chicago suburb in the early 80s and watching prime time TV,  briefly tuning into a show called Dynasty. These were the days of no remote controls :::GASP::: so changing the channel was some what of a grueling task, walking all.the.way. to the TV, clicking the dial endlessly through non-cable TV. Nothing was on one particular evening so I paused on this Dynasty show. I distinctly remember thinking, “what’s with all of these angry, old white people?”. They all had grey hair, fancy clothes, big houses…and they were all very angry. These horrible few moments of watching this show started to form my visual of what growing “old” and becoming an adult would look like for me: I will have grey hair, I will be rich, and I will be angry. I decided at this moment that I did not want to get any older than 40.

Everyone seems to make a big deal about turning 40. Everyone wants to feel their feelings about that age. Understandably so, but nope, not me. I need to talk about 39. Let’s face it, 39 is really the last year of being “young” so this is kind of a big deal. Somewhere along the line, perhaps it was during the Dynasty era, 40 became “Over the Hill”, only to be celebrated with black balloons and tombstones, but 39? Nope. Not there yet. At 39, I’m still ascending up said hill.

But, 39 sure does look and feel a hell of a lot different that 29 and it’s literally a lifetime ago from 19.

My Body:

At 19, I wasn’t really even aware that I had a body to take care of. I was knee deep in college life and all of the peer pressures that came along with that. I was abusing my body in different ways: smoking weed, malnourishing to stay skinny, ignoring any need of sleep…you know, the usual. Shit, I was even working a Hooters to prove a point that “HEY, I am young and free and dumb and it’s somehow still feministic that I’m flaunting my boobs!!!”. It was a glorious, naive time.

At 29, I was more cognizant and realized that I might have to start taking care of my body in some form another..but at the end of the day, it could wait another few years because I was, after all, still in my 20s. Sunblock be DAMNED.

At 39, I’ve never been more aware of my body, and not in a good way. Shit is falling apart.

-I’m acutely aware that my need for “cheater” eyeglasses is in my near future. You know, the ones at Walgreens for $7.99 with the fun leopard print frames? Yeah, those. Twice within the last month, I’ve caught myself struggling to read something that I should have totally been able to.

-My reproductive organs are literally falling out. I’m not shitting you. My periods have become so angry that I have constructed a warning sign that I put on my front door every month that simply states “KEEP OUT”. My hormones rage so much that I never know which personality I will be from day to day. And what the fuck is perimenopause? Well, I have that and it sucks. A hysterectomy is in my very near future, along with those cheater glasses. Perhaps those glasses will come with my pre-op packet at my OB’s office?

-Speaking of vaginas, what the hell is up with peeing myself these days? Maybe childless 39 year olds know nothing of this but childbirth has wrecked my bladder for the long term. It went from, “Hmmm, I think I have to pee” in my late 20’s to, “HOLY SHIT, IF I DON’T GO TO THE BATHROOM RIGHT NOW PEE IS…OMG I HAVE TO SNEEZE”, and now there is pee running down my leg. Fuck that.

-And speaking of bathrooms, IBS is a real fucking thing which is apparently tied to the aforementioned reproductive organs falling out. If you don’t know what IBS is, good for you. Google it. And Fuck you, Jamie Lee Curtis, and your Activia yogurt. Fuck you for being right about needing to eat this shit. Only I can’t because I’m lactose intolerant. Sigh.

-That sunblock I skipped in my 20’s? Yeah, it mattered. Sun spots are not as attractive as a sun tan, apparently. And no, Aveeno Sun Spot Corrector, no, it doesn’t work in “just 4 weeks”. It’s been 4 fucking months since I started bathing my face in you twice a day and these sun spots are only getting uglier. And “laugh lines”? Laugh lines are not a thing. They’re called wrinkles. And I have them. I also have a zit the size of a mountain on my cheek so… that’s still keeping me looking young?

-Although I’m the same weight that I was years ago because genetics are on my side, it sure looks a lot different hanging on 39 year old bones. Things sag that really shouldn’t, and that is what it is, but what really bothers me is shopping for clothes. I’m met with such pathetic eyes if I walked into H&M or, God forbid, Forever 21. I feel the judgement of, “Awww, this woman is, like, 40 pretending to be 25. That’s sad.”. But seriously? I don’t know where to shop. I’m stuck in between wearing these awful, high-waisted button up shorts from Charlotte Russe that show my butt cheeks and these retirement style Bermuda shorts that extend down to my knees from Chico’s. It’s very concerning.

-Working out is actually necessary if I want to reduce the jiggle by about 10%. Yoga is my fitness routine of choice but one wrong move and my body becomes such an asshole. My joints will ache and my muscles will get sore within 30 seconds of overdoing. I also consider cleaning my house a workout now…but that might have always been the case.

My Lifestyle:

At 19, my lifestyle was what you would expect. See above. Late nights, dance clubs, Raves (because, well, the 90’s), studying, working: rinse, lather, repeat. My friends were basically anyone that would do these things along with me. Surface relationships were aplenty but it was also so very, very important to me to fit in; still in that high school mentality.

At 29, I had slowed way down, sure, but I was still game for frequent dinner parties, concerts, and sleeping in was still an option that I took every single weekend. I had gym time several times a week and time for friends. I still took friendship break-ups really hard and was so concerned with everyone liking me. Still.

At 39, pretty much everything has changed in this realm.

-I haven’t seen the inside of a dance club since wearing body glitter and putting my hair in tiny cornrows was still en vogue. My social life now consists of play-dates with five and six-year-olds and their moms. Evening plans are a bit scary because it cuts into my yoga-pant-wearing, Netflix time. The best plans are canceled plans at this age. No one needs a social life when you have 10 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy to watch. Meredith Grey and Christina Yang are perfect gal pals.

-On the subject of friends, I have to say that friendships are much more meaningful. Now, these girls are lifers. They are “ride or die” friends that have been in it for the long haul, listening to me complain about everything from bowel movements to parenting woes. These are not shallow relationships. Thankfully, I have quite a few friends that have been in it with me for 20 years or more. At this age, there’s no time for games, whether it’s a romantic relationship or a friendship. I surround myself with those that want to surround themselves with me. It’s simple at this age. I care much less of what people think of me and cherish those that have stuck around through some really shitty periods of my life. Having a best friend that will analyze my child’s latest bowel movement with me because she’s just a neurotic as I am? That is a real, lasting, quality friendship.

-Meeting new potential friends is now like dating. You have to, like, converse and feel out commonalities. This is totally different than my younger years. For example, if a potential friend doesn’t have children, awesome, but I know I might not have a lasting relationship brewing, mostly because I turn green with envy that she’s still living like a 29 year old and I am pretending to be Luke Skywalker for the 100th time in a day. This becomes a potential issue.

My Career:

At 19, I wanted to save the fucking world. I was a social work major and couldn’t care less that my salary potential was $20,000 a year. Nope. I was going to make a difference in the world! Who needs to pay bills??

At 29, I wanted all of the money. All of it. I had long abandoned my social work stint and went straight to the most fucked up, money making field I could find: medical device sales. Who needs to save the world? I just needed to save myself from being broke!

At 39, I’m back to wanting to save the world but I’m now really understanding that I have to also pay my bills. My professional self has matured. And by matured I mean I have drank the corporate Kool-Aid and I shut the fuck up and do my job so I can sustain a nice lifestyle for my daughter and me.

~~~~~~~~~

Overall, 39 sounds pretty shitty, reading back through all of these thoughts. I’ll tell you, it really isn’t. Yes, at 39 I’m adult-ing. I have no choice but to adult and that sucks. Life tends to start throwing you some crazy shit in your late thirties….but it’s humbling and there’s something very welcoming about knocking on 40’s door. It’s an arrival of sorts, closing the door to a childhood almost. I know myself better now that I ever have. There’s something so freeing in that.

So, here’s to my last year of my younger years. You will find me celebrating at the 5pm early bird seating and I will certainly be in bed by 10pm.