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10 Things I Wish I Knew When I was 30

  • 1. You are not old. Your eggs are not rotting. You will get married and have children, and you’re not “almost 40.” Just wait till you’re 40. Or, worse yet, 47…
  • 2. Stop being so wistful and hopeful and get a career that actually is lucrative. It may be all fun to be an artist now, but if you’re one of the very few who “make it,” even if you’re truly talented, it won’t be fun when you have to reinvent yourself in ten years and wonder why all your friends have people who report to them, and you’re entry level.
  • 3. This follows #2: Money matters. Yeah, I know; I know. “Happiness is what’s important; money isn’t.” Giiiiirl, I used to think that, too, when it was cool to live in a fifth floor walk up studio in NYC. Not so cool when you have two children to support, a mortgage, a car payment, and bills. Get a real job. And, sadly, money makes the world go round. This was a hard lesson for me.
  • 4. Divorce totally sucks. So, be very mindful of red flags and any other issues before you get married. The choice to marry someone is actually huge. And, even if you’re 30, panicked, and want to be like all your friends and get married, don’t just insert groom/just add water with whomever you’re with at that age. Be picky. Wait. Be prudent. Be wise. Listen to your instincts.
  • 5. Following #4, don’t have kids if you’re not in a happy marriage, because they are not a bandaid, and it will make divorce all the more complicated, as you will forever be joined with the father of your children. And, if that happens, then be nice. It’s more important that you coparent well than hate your ex. Your kids need both of you, and they want to love both of you.
  • 6. Don’t begrudge having to go to another wedding at age 28. You know why? The invites will stop soon, and then you’ll miss the free booze, dance floor, and revelry of weddings! They are so fun! Later on, they are far and few between. Worse yet, you are no longer at the “single’s table;” you are the overweight aunt in the corner, who is dancing to Brick House. #justsaying
  • 7.Start botox by age 40. If you catch the wrinkles early, it’s easier to fix than later when you have indents in your forehead and wonder why you look extra terrestrial.
  • 8. Following #7, wear sunscreen. I know it’s fun to get tan, and you look better, but either go get some Jergens Glow or spray tan, instead. Getting sunburnt will age you, create wrinkles, and can cause skin cancer. It’s real.
  • 9. Most problems at 30, in my experience, are not as bad as problems at 40. So, be conscious of that and chill a bit. You’ll wish you didn’t waste the youthful time agonizing. Go out with friends, or on a hike, instead, and have a good time.
  • 10. I mean, maybe don’t listen to other people (like me- ha!) Follow your gut and “the whispers,” #oprah. You will land on your feet. It will be okay.
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The Upside of Being Too Busy

Today, I found my phone in the refrigerator. Middle shelf. Yes, I had been running around like a maniac, hurdling over the dog, trying to get out the door for work when I realized I didn’t have my phone. Uh-oh…the panic set in. This is like leaving without clothes on. I mean, I HAD to find it, and fast. I leapt up the stairs, two at a time, huffing and cursing. Frantically, I ran back downstairs, pulling drawers open, rummaging through bags, turning round and round, like a robo-vacuum.

Then, it occurred to me: hey, I was making lunches, and maybe, just maybe, it’s in the FRIDGE! And, there it was. I couldn’t take a photo of it, which I thought to, because I was laughing, because I’d have to take it with the phone!

This story leads me to my initial thought when I sat to write this blog: I’m doing too many things at once. I am thinking about like 15 different things simultaneously. Part of this is inherent to my job in public relations and marketing, where I have multiple accounts I work on each day, shifting back and forth between them with different tones, voices, styles, and needs. Each account uses a different part of my brain.

My brain hurts, sometimes.

But that’s not always a bad thing. I like that I have to think at work, in particular. When I was an actress in NYC back in the days of yore (imagine me hunched over, telling this story in an old lady voice), I used to temp as my day job.

Me telling you about being an actress

The 8-hour temping days were seriously painful, because I was doing work that my goldfish could do. I remember I’d show up as the new “temp for the week,” sit in whomever secretary’s desk I was replacing, and look around.

I’d notice her pink, raspberry-scented Victoria’s Secret lotion, the photos of her kids, her pilled cardigan hanging over the back of my swiveling desk chair, and her change of shoes under the desk (some sort of beaten up flats). People would by-and-large ignore me, but sometimes there was a nice “coworker,” who would ask me about my life or say hi and bye to me. I was kind of like the fly on the wall. I don’t blame them for not wanting to get to know me, as I was there merely temporarily, hence the name “temp.” The days would drag on and on, and some days, I’d only be given the tasks of making copies or stuffing envelopes. Other days, I’d be given more “difficult” tasks, like writing correspondence. They were always AMAZED at how the office chimp was actually skilled, a graduate of a good college, with significant work experience.

Anyway, I digress. My point it this: I am elated to have a real job now that I get to use my brain and, even, that I sometimes feel harried! I’d rather that than staring at the clock, or trying on someone else’s Payless flats under the desk.

Me as temp with augmented chest

So it’s not all that bad when you’re too busy and leaving your phone in the fridge.

Perhaps I should invest in a phone leash.

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Pandemic Pod Panic: Is Your Social Life Causing Angst?

Have you spent more time worrying about your–and your child’s–social life since the pandemic hit? If so, you could be suffering from Pandemic Pod Panic, aka “P3” (I just made this up). I read this interesting piece in the Boston Globe that detailed how many of us have been gripping about how we and our families are left out of social activities during this time of social distancing and isolation. Is this you? I have been guilty of it, I must admit.

First off, let me define a Pandemic Pod, for those of you not in-the-know. It’s essentially a small cohort of families who have stayed together and played together throughout the pandemic. The Pod subscribes to the same level of concern about COVID and, for the most part, interacts socially with an equal level of discretion and safety. Some pods may have more stringent policies when it comes to traveling by airplane, riding the school bus, or dining indoors. Others may be a little less rigid and feel those activities are okay. Typically, what one pod member believes, so does the other. This is why there is not much cross-pollination of pods! And there can be apparent judgment of pods that do not think–and most importantly ACT-alike. This is sounding like a cult..

Let me be clear: I am not judging anyone here. And no one’s beliefs are wrong. Unless they are not mine. Wait, joking! No, I mean, be safe, people. Obviously.

Anyway, back to the topic at-hand: Pandemic Pod Panic. I have noticed that I don’t see or talk to some of the friends that I used to since last March, the onset of COVID. This has caused me to wonder if it’s because of something I’ve done, or how I choose to live during Covid, or if it’s just something about them wanting to isolate. Some of it, too, is because we don’t run into each other at soccer, for example, or during school activities.

I don’t really know. I think we can only assume that it’s that, but who knows!? This reminds me of my recent blog post, Too Many Friends = Too Much Drama, and the feeling of being back in high school. And then, when you find out that friend you don’t see or talk to is actually hanging in her own pod? Then you panic: is it me? Why am I not in that pod? Are we no longer friends?

COVID is killing more than our spirits–it’s killing friendships! (insert scary music)…

Um, that’s a little drastic.

Now, aside from myself, I sometimes wonder about my kids. My son, for example, isn’t as social as my daughter. He basically has lived like a sand mole in the basement and on video games for a year now. Well, that’s not entirely in isolation, though, because he’s on a headset laughing his head off with friends. I’ve wondered if he should go outside and play with our neighbors, but he really has no interest, and I get concerned. Like, is he antisocial? Is he going to have friends when this is all over? We can’t really invite people over who he hasn’t seen or been “podding” with, and hence the P3 begins (Pandemic Pod Panic)

I have been fortunate to have a nice group of friends in my neighborhood, and we have been kind of like our own Pandemic Pod. Our children are the same ages and have played since the pandemic hit. Similarly, we adults have met around the firepit and had some wine and been able to socialize while social distancing. But I have heard others lament that they don’t have those opportunities and feel left out. This sense of isolation is magnified when they see it posted on social media–revelry around a firepit with friends. In the Boston Globe piece, they recommended not posting those types of photos to social media so others don’t feel left out.

Wait. But I only post so others feel less-than, right???? (Insert Mean Girls voice). Just joking.

Anyway, what are your thoughts and experiences with this? Have you felt left out, or judged, or worried about social nonsense during the pandemic? Maybe we are just bored! Perhaps this is self-manufactured stress.

🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🥴🥴

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A Brand New Day #quarantined

It’s only 10:00 a.m. and I’ve gotten, “I’m bored” already. I also said something I never thought I’d say, including, “Want to do something fun? Here, take the vacuum, and suck up all the crumbs that are under the couch cushions!” I mean, I think it’s fun? And, honestly, I had a decent time doing it, but she didn’t think it was amusing. My house is actually getting very clean and organized. Oh, except for when I spilled the entire pot of coffee on the floor because I was busy reading a text message.

The two worst parts about the spill: wasting coffee that is in limited supply in my house (only bought three bags while hoarding groceries in the market), and using up some paper towels. I do have to say, Bounty got it right–it does really absorb. Props to them! I mean, I’m being conservative in my usage of these paper products (fold the toilet paper, guys, and only one square at a time), because just one paper towel was able to soak up the entire pot.

I’m creating an agenda for the day, and it looks something like this:

  1. Go outside in the yard.

That’s where I stopped. I can’t really think of anything else to do.

I’ve become somewhat of a Forest Ranger, as one of our activities is taking the wagon around the neighborhood and collecting sticks and dry wood for a fire in the fire pit. It’s sort of like a low-budget lawn clean-up for my neighbors. I mean, honestly? I might have to start leaving invoices surreptitiously in their mailboxes, ‘ya know, just to get some extra coin when times are tight. That will go over well at the block party this summer. If there is one.

Me
“Hey, guys, need a lawn clean-up?”

Here are a couple more highlights from today (oh, and remember, it’s only 10, so today has barely started):

  1. I got yelled at by my son for stockpiling the freezer, because it flattened out the ice cream sandwiches (i.e. breakfast)
  2. Our dwarf frog, Gill, has gone missing. I am not sure if Pearl, the goldfish, ate him because she too is hoarding food, or if he jumped out. It’s kinda grim looking for a frog skeleton
  3. I am wearing another smoke-show of an outfit: pink fuzzy Job Lot pants (who knew JL had such great fashion choices?), Ugg boots (for going back and forth between inside and outside regularly), a scrunchie (guys, they are back in style. No, they are), and eye concealer. I might do a videocast, but I’m worried too many men will start stalking me. I mean, could happen in this gear.

Speaking of men, it’s hard to be a single mom during the quarantine, because there is one of me and two of them, and I don’t have another adult around to talk to. Please comment though and tell me if I’m wrong. Like, are you all going nuts with your partners? Wait, I’m having a pity party right now. Hold, please.

The kids have FaceTimed their friends, and speaking of parties, I do have a #Zoom party later with some friends, so that should be fun! Right around pour time…Another good idea for everyone to connect.

Well, enjoy your day. I know I’ll continue to enjoy mine! #stayhome

 

 

 

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Al’s Camp: How to Thrive at Home in Uncertain Times

 

imgres-1It’s funny. I was going to start this blog about three weeks ago, before all this COVID-19, and when I didn’t have as much childcare fodder to share. And, now, due to school being cancelled, and it being basically, shall we say, summer, I have much more to talk about! It’s summer vacation in my house! Whee! So we started camp: Al’s Camp. That’s right. You may not have heard of Al’s camp (?), but it’s pretty darn fun, and I could use a little coin right about now, so if you want to sign up in advance, I can give you my address and just go on and send a check.  And, fun fact: Al’s Camp is not just for kids; it’s also for adults. It’s kinda like those yoga retreats…Kripalu? I mean, sorta, minus all the B.S. Here is how Al’s Camp goes:

  1. Just wake up when you want and, really, it’s totes okay if you stay in your pajamas all day. Know why? Because mommy is in fuzzy blue penguin pants that she got for Christmas at Job Lot and a one dollar clearance sweater, size XL, from Walmart.  And, also? We/I don’t have to keep doing laundry that way. Right? Yes, let’s be sustainable and not waste water, and we will just turn those suckers inside out and wear lobster bibs while eating so as not to stain. Shut ya’ dresser drawers. PJ’s only.
  2. Devices are allowed while mommy is working–or just until the retinas are a solid red. We  have testing in the first floor bathroom to see if eyes are bloodshot. If so, we will all take a break in the backyard and play Rover-Rover, I Hope Your Eyesight Isn’t Over. With parental permission, we can apply Visene, but we need those permission slips in STAT.
  3. The special meal we cook is something called “Hodge Podge.” What’s that you say? Yes, you may have missed that page in Gwyneth Paltrow’s #Goop cookbook, but believe-you-me, it’s solid. It really is a composition of: whatever’s in the fridge that the kids want to eat, coupled with some sliced apples, carrots and peppers. Totes healthy! So we got them veggies in there (and I don’t mean just veggie chips (’cause those are a staple around here), and we have child satisfaction at a 10 with like a Dannon Cotton Candy Smoothie (guys, no, it’s a smoothie, so it has to be healthy even if it’s cotton candy flavored. Um, can we say natural flavors??)
  4. Happy Hour starts right at five (for those of us who are 21+ of course). That’s correct. As soon as I hit shut down and log off from working remotely on the computer, I head straight for the fridge and get it going. Oh, and there’s so much to choose from, because mommy had to stock up. And not only that, she had to take off her sommelier beret and lower her wine standards, and sophisticated palette (hah), in the quest for quantity over quality. I have embraced the magnum of vino, which I heretofore had no interest in, lowered the bar, and accepted my lot. I now am fine with it. I taste fruit forward, cement, cherry balls, you name it. All in that magnum. Lower the bar, people. It’s not that bad.
  5. We have a moment of mindfulness at dinner when I lead grace. I encourage all chewing to stop immediately but am okay with like a piece of chicken or a macaroni being hidden under the tongue while we give a quick shout out to the higher-ups.

So that’s just a quick snapshot of what it’s like these days around here at camp. As we share in our social distance, it’s helpful to see how others are carrying out their lives and offering suggestions. Please feel free to print these out and share them with others! And defs call get on the wait list for the second session of Al’s Camp. It’s legit filling up fast. Not even joking. Serious.

‘Til later, stay safe.