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Abandon hope…. all ye who enter here….

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A change in perspective

I used to spend so much time here, putting my thoughts to “paper” and publishing for anyone to see. My kids are only 6 and 3, and there are so many stories to capture about them.

Maybe things like Facebook have ruined that for me, where I can dash off a thought whenever, instead of composing something more … interesting … than I do now?

But I don’t even know where to (re)start. My oldest is in kindergarten and I don’t know for sure what’s okay and what’s not anymore. Will he enjoy my stories about him? Be mad that I put them online, opening both of us to criticism? (I got a lot of flack from attachment parents for that one.)

I used to feel compelled to write. Like something wasn’t quite right in my life unless I was putting pen to paper. Now, after I’ve hit 40, I’m just not sure I need to chronicle everything. Who will care in the end? My grandkids? My great-grandkids? (I would have *loved* to discover an old journal from a relative – but who knows if there will be anyone in the family like that down the road?)

It has to be for me, or not at all. So I’ll write when I feel like it, try to put down some fun thoughts that I think my boys will enjoy later, and try not to pressure myself too much. I have enough of that in other areas of my life.

The problem with blogging

Social media killed my blog. It’s true. Facebook and Twitter are so quick. I can fire off a quick thought, a funny observation, or as many non sequiturs as I’d like. Them BAM I can get right back to work without missing a beat.

But blogging’s not like that. It takes time to think about things. Develop the story you want to tell. Add photos to make it interesting. It takes work.

And I am inherently lazy. Yes, lazy. I’ll take the easy way out just about every time.

Take a whole hour to sit and think about what I want to say? Organize my thoughts? Make sense to people? What’s that? I’m all about the brain dump, baby. Vomit it all out there and move on.

But that’s not what people are looking for. They want you to DO something. Make them laugh. Think. Cry. Give them something useful to act on. I have a lot of cool stuff in my head (I think), but getting it out through my fingers has become almost impossible for me.

Then again, I can’t remember the last time I picked up my paper journal and got everything out either. I’m stuck. There’s so much jammed into my brain that I just don’t know where to start. So it stays in there until it disappears into the fog of my memory. Lost forever.

There are moments I don’t want to forget. And then there are others I wish I could.

I miss writing. I’m not really sure what I want this place to be. But it’s my space and I’ve poured out a lot of my soul over the last 10 years. And I’m stubborn. I just can’t quite quit yet.

So the problem with blogging is this: it’s me. That’s my blogging problem. Just me.

A blank screen and some free time

I keep wanting to write. I have occasional thoughts of “Oh, I should write about that!” only to get busy, or forget about it, or waste the thought on FB instead. My writing has fallen very low on the priority list. I remember when I just HAD to write or I would go crazy. And now? Time flees my grasp, my kids are growing, and I’m not capturing life as I would like to.

It all goes by so fast and my memory is so horrible that if I don’t write it down, I eventually won’t remember it. And I so want to remember this time in my kids’ lives. In our lives. Even as it’s hard and crazy and messy and loud, it’s ours. And I have such a tenuous grasp on it all anyway. It floats through my fingers only to dissipate with barely a sound, a soft whisper of “You’re going to miss this when it’s gone,” before it really IS gone.

I’ve always been an observer. A recorder. Whether it was on paper or via camera, I had a compulsion to document things. If I don’t, then I’m afraid it didn’t happen. Why am I so desperate to leave a record, an “I was here!” for future generations to see? I guess maybe I always wished that I had found an old diary of a distant relative from years past where I could have a glimpse into what her life was like. Her hopes, dreams, loves.

I guess I want my kids to know that there was so much more to their mom than changing diapers, driving them to school, kissing scraped knees, or being their jungle gym. Don’t get me wrong – I love being that to them. But I am SO much more than that. I’m not quite sure what that is, because it’s tough to define yourself as more when you’re down in the trenches of mothering.

It starts by doing a better job of taking time for myself. I’ve been working a lot of hours recently and I haven’t taken enough time to care for myself, my relationship with my husband, or my friendships. I’m working on changing that. And it actually starts this weekend, by going out with a girlfriend yesterday and spending some time writing today.

I still have a lot of work to catch up on. That hasn’t changed. But I just have to know my limits. Wearing myself out isn’t going to help me work better, nor is it going to help the quality of my work. And with recent health developments, it has become even more important that I take care of myself. So it starts now. Wish me luck.

On hiatus

I just can’t seem to gather the motivation to blog. I am really busy right now with freelance clients and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for my own projects. It is what it is.

I’m not ready to kill this blog. I’ve had a blog since 2002, and this domain name since 2003. But I’m fooling myself into thinking I have time to blog. I don’t. So maybe if I take the pressure off I’ll feel like coming back. Especially since I have a trip next month and I might want to blog about it & load up some pictures while I’m there. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ve had a pretty good run. Time to move on to other things for now. See you on the flip side!

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Kid philosophers, man

Frankie-smile-10.08.12Today is picture day at the school. My son has such a great smile. I reminded him to smile nicely for the photos. And here’s where the conversation got interesting.

“Mama, are you going to take the pictures today?”

“No, buddy, I’m not the photographer.”

“Well, what are you going to do?”

My son has noticed that mommy’s been sad the last few days. I might be having a midlife crisis, brought on by the prospect of being unemployed around the holidays. Again. Or maybe I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Someone asked a question on FB the other day and it made me pause. It was “Are you making a living doing what you’re good at?” I don’t know. Do I want to continue to look for work along the same lines of what I’m doing now? Am I topped out at what I can do without some more schooling? WTF am I good at?

So I was honest with my son: “That’s a good question. I don’t really know, honey.”

And then this kid, who never fails to surprise me with what comes out of his mouth, said the most profound thing he could. And blew my mind.

“Why don’t you just be yourself?”

Out of the mouths of babes, no?

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Gone in an instant

“Time flies” has become such a cliché, hasn’t it? But how else do you describe the way time picks up and grows closer to warp speed the older you get?

20120707_151429I still remember how much I wanted to start school when I was little. My brother would head off to the bus and I had to stay home. And now, in a twinkle, it’s my son’s turn to start school. About 3 weeks ago, we heard from the school that they would offer transitional kindergarten and that we should take a look since our oldest qualifies.

I hadn’t expected to walk down that path until next year, knowing he misses the birthday cutoff by about 20 days. An now, suddenly, that reality is thrust in my face. The reality that he’s growing up. That he WANTS to go to school. That time is going more quickly than I like. That my time of influence over him is dwindling and other people will at some point have more influence than we do. That I have to let go. That he’s such a sweet soul and is going to face difficulties with his speech and being a bit behind the others. That other kids can be cruel and no matter how much I want to protect him, I can’t.

That was brought to my attention last night in stark, painful reality. And it almost ended in utter tragedy.

We went to dinner last night with the daughter and her boyfriend. We hadn’t hung out together in a while, so it was nice to visit and have a good meal together. After we said our goodbyes, we went to the car. We were parked on the street, and it’s a busy one headed out to Shelter Island. While we were getting the little one ready for his seat, the oldest was impatient. We had asked him to stand on the sidewalk for a moment and then I was going to walk him to his door, since it’s the one street-side. As we were dealing with M, the wee one, F jetted out in the street.

My heart stopped as both John and I yelled “STOP!!!!” as loudly and forcefully as we could. There were multiple cars speeding by.

He stopped at the edge of the car, just a split second away from getting hit. Our future without two sons flashed before my eyes and I almost lost my dinner right then and there.

Daddy had a long, stern talk with F about being careful and not running into the street. And as I put M in his seat, I said a silent prayer of thanks that he stopped. That he listened for once (because sometimes he keeps going and we have to say stop more than a few times). And that we didn’t have to deal with the “what ifs” that came perilously close to coming true.

And so today, I am hugging my kids a little tighter, grateful for every hug, every mess, every moment. Because it can be taken away in an instant. And we came way too close to that last night.

I can’t keep him by my side forever. I know that. But it doesn’t make it any easier sometimes, this letting go. One of the things we have to get good at as a mom, even as it breaks our hearts to do so.

In spite of all that, though, I do want him to have fun, learn, and make new friends as he starts off on a new adventure, a new phase in his life.

Oh, the places you’ll go, son.

I’m a social media manager and I’m NOT 25

There’s been a lot of debate going around the past month or so about whether a social media manager should be under 25, over 25, newly out of college, a seasoned professional … you get the picture.

The kerfuffle started when a new college graduate wrote an article on NextGen about why all social media managers should be under 25 (linked above). And what a firestorm that started. Heavy hitters came out of the woodwork to respond to that one (just go look at the sheer volume of comments). There were many good, thoughtful comments telling the author that her article wasn’t terribly well thought out and, well, ageist. But then a lot of the comments started becoming quite ageist themselves. Most of them had good points, but that doesn’t mean there still wasn’t a lot of “come back when you’re older” attitudes being thrown around.

I remember when I turned 30 and felt that *finally* people were starting to take me seriously and listen to me when I had something to say. Before that, I had a lot of ideas that I thought were good or could work (in whatever job I was working – it wasn’t SM at the time). And I basically got the equivalent of a head pat and a “that’s nice” response.

So I know where the author was coming from, in many regards. You can have mature 25 year olds, and you can have some that seem like they haven’t even hit their teens yet. Everyone’s different.

So here’s an idea.

Let’s stop judging so much by a person’s age and instead look at their actual experience. Or listen to their ideas. They might have some good ones. Sure, they might need help in executing them (hell, I think I still need help in executing much of the time), but why not give them a chance with some mentoring and guidance?

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007 and Facebook since it was still college-only. That alone doesn’t qualify me to be a Social Media Manager, but the rest of my knowledge and experience certainly does.

The age debate still rages and each time it pulls me back to remembering how I felt just 15 short years ago, wondering if I’d EVER be taken seriously. So let’s not discount someone because they may be young. Or old. Or in between. Look at the individual and you might be pleasantly surprised.

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How to feel old in less than 5 minutes

taped pageWant to feel old in a hurry? Go to a fast food place. Any will do. The younger the workers, the better. Have your meal ring up to $19.99. Make a comment about bursting into a Prince song. Get a blank stare. Tell them it was probably before their time. And then hear them tell you that their mom likes that song. See? Instant old fart. This may or may not have happened to me in the past few weeks.

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decorated keyboard

decorated keyboard by lola goetz
decorated keyboard, a photo by lola goetz on Flickr.

I am currently loving Washi Tape. Like, a lot. I saw something like this on Mary Ann Moss’s blog, and she had seen it somewhere else. I was waiting for someone working on my computer, so while that was going on, I decorated my keyboard. In addition to the numbered tape, I had a few different types of alphabet tape. This was the result. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but it’s fun in the meantime.

Category: babbling  3 Comments