Monday, April 25, 2016

The Hourglass

The sand in the hourglass isn't moving too quickly, but the levels on the top dips lower as each grain passes through. 

The room where the hourglass sits on the small side table in the corner is ornately furnished. The type of room where one would never lament a few hours spent in its company. 

The sand continues to fall in its inconspicuous and nearly silent way, but one doesn't mind its steady slowness. 

The room has several windows. Providing light and a lovely view. When the window is open, birds can be heard; wind, waves, and the whisper of a bigger, brighter world. 

The door is locked. But the sand in the hourglass isn't moving too quickly. And there are so many things in the room to do.

The library is vast and wonderful. Filled with books on every topic. There's beautiful artwork too. Stirring and emotional. Easy to spend time studying and learning. All for the sake of edification. Turn on the record player, listen to the melodies of whatever you wish.

Drown out the quiet fall of the sand. The sand isn't moving too quickly. But the door is locked. The view out the window unchanged.

You've read the library a hundred times through. You've stared at the paintings again and again. Memorized each record track by track. The room is beautiful. But you can only rearrange the furniture in so many ways. 

The view is lovely. But the sunshine beckons to you. It's no longer enough to hear the wind--you want to feel it. Feel it before the sand drains completely. 

The sand in the hourglass doesn't fall too quickly, but now there is plenty on the bottom piling up. The room is stifling. No longer is it enough to keep the window open. The room feels smaller. Each hour is spent in the same way. 

What's beyond the locked door?

These books are too familiar. There are permanent indentations in the frequently sat upon furniture. The sand in the hourglass isn't falling too quickly, but dammit, it's still falling.

The wind howls and beckons; the sun shines and like a siren it calls. If only you could feel the elements just once on your own skin. 

Every shelf has been dusted and cleaned. It's all been organized and reorganized. There's a well-worn favorite path about the room, but no square inch is unfamiliar. 

What's beyond the locked door?

Perhaps just another room. Perhaps just a little more access? Not a full egress to the outdoors. The unknown is tantalizing. 

The sand moves--not too quickly. But it is draining. Are these the only walls you'll ever see? The only books you'll ever read? It's a glorious room, but is this all there is ever going to be? 

How long can you enjoy the comforts and pleasantries of the only thing you'll ever experience before it becomes a cage? A cell. A sentence. Unbearable.

The sand isn't falling too quickly, but you resent it falling at all. Before you're ready. Before there is a chance at change.

The view remains the same. The walls still your prison. The weather is untouchable. Would that you could escape! The beyond is just out that window and heartbreakingly unreachable.

The door is still locked and the sand is still falling. What joy then from the delights of the room? This room is no more capable of providing happiness. Escape is the only solution.

The door must be unlocked. The key must be found! There has to be an exit. The sand will still fall, but at least behind the scenes.

It's isn't falling too quickly. But you'll be damned if you have to sit and watch it.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Catalog Dating

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single person, who no longer wants to be single, will be asked, "Have you tried online dating/Tinder?" I remember when online dating became a thing. I was still in high school, but it was a scary practice whereupon you had to wade through profile after profile wondering if the person on the other side of the monitor was telling the truth about what they looked like, where they worked, and their criminal background. Everywhere you looked, people were counseling against it. Those that were the pioneers of this new technology were ridiculed or mocked. They came up with creative backstories because meeting online was not something to be proud of. Now, things are different. No one knows how to approach a stranger unless they have already swiped right, exchanged horrible back and forth meaningless text messages, and provided, at least, a headshot as a means of being able to recognize them at a lunch date. It's almost nothing to be propositioned by a complete stranger, just because there really is no risk for the person making the proposition. What's the worst you can do besides saying no? And while I'm sure there are scores of reasons to try online dating and/or Tinder (the first and foremost being that it really is the ONLY way to meet new people), it's created this phenomenon of Catalog Dating. The problem with Catalog Dating is that it doesn't really allow for human flaws and character. It's like flipping through a furniture website or a store catalog looking for a couch or a side table. If you were to see a couch in a catalog that was a little banged up-- maybe the legs were scratched or the upholstery torn, maybe you just didn't think one of the colors would tie into your table lamp--you would continue scrolling. You would never order something from a catalog that wasn't 100% in perfect condition. Why would you? You can't sit on the couch, or really visualize how it will fit into your space, complement your other furnishings. And if you can't do that, then it's best to keep looking until you find the one that you can visualize working out. And sometimes that is great. There are plenty of people that get some really amazing things off of online shopping. But other times, we find out that we didn't measure the size correctly or the color wasn't represented correctly on the screen. Sometimes there is just a problem with shipping. Maybe the construction or material quality is lower than what was represented on the site. The point is, online shopping for men or dates generates these expectations of perfection. And if we don't see perfection, then we move on to the next thing, which means that all of us are missing out on some probably really good options. Remember when dating was more like walking through a consignment shop? You're walking through this placed housed with things that have stories and histories and character. No, not everything is great. But every once and a while, you stumble on a table with so much character that it makes your pulse quicken. You can see easily how it will sit just so across from your fireplace and against your window. Sure, there's a few nicks and chips in the wood. It could probably stand to be repainted, too. The handle might be a little worn, and if you had found this in the catalog, you would have certainly ignored it. Instead, you're giddy and excited. This is just the thing you need to complete your space. So you take it home, give it a little TLC, and its a match in heaven. You don't demand perfection, because you don't expect perfection. You got it from a consignment shop, where you lose all expectations of perfection and are just looking for the thing with the most character and the thing that will fit in your home perfectly. The answer is yes. If a single person, who no longer wants to be single, is asked "Have you tried online dating/Tinder," they are inevitably going to say yes. We've all looked through the catalogs. We've all seen what is being offered. But sometimes it is just a lot more interesting and fun to try a little more organic method.

Friday, December 18, 2015

#HeForShe Recipe

A photo posted by #HeForShe (@heforshe) on
Two of my coworkers were enlightening another of how our fathers empowered us as young girls so that we could grow to be confident, strong women. Growing up, I often heard how proud my dad was of me for being smart, getting good grades, and being a good big sister. He and my mom entrusted me at an early age to help care for my younger siblings and let me make all of my own decisions, supporting me each step of the way. I was blessed to grow up knowing that I was not limited because I was a girl. And that I could do whatever I set my mind to. It has made me the uncompromising, demanding (but only in the best of ways--I think) person I am today. With expectations that might be a little too high.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Why I'm Glad I Didn't Marry at 19

I know that I blog about how dismally sad that I'm not married and I'm childless and all these other things at the age of 30. But the truth is, I am infinitely more grateful that I didn't get married at 19.

At the age of 19, it's hard to have a true understanding of what real life is like. 

If you're lucky, you graduated from high school with little to no challenges. You weren't struggling to find creative ways in which to meet your basic needs. Shelter, food, and clothing were provided. The hardest thing I had to do was find a way to balance my part-time job, some homework, and wake up at 4:30 a.m. for early morning seminary. Once, I ran out of gas on the way to Edison. Once, my tire went flat at midnight on a country road. This was all before I had a cell phone. See? My life was hard.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to move out of my parents' house, and into an apartment. This is where it became critical to learn how to pay my bills. I had to balance my needs (rent, food, tuition) with my wants (those pants that fit because I wasn't actually buying food and that double-feature movie procrastination day). I lived a bunch of kids my own age and to varying degrees of success. Some of my roommates were gems that developed into long-lasting or lifetime friendships. Others were straight up trials, that helped me figure out how to deal with difficult people.

Life has been one barrel roll over a waterfall after the other. From my cars falling apart at the most inopportune times, to health or family challenges, and job changes, it seems like nothing is ever easy. That there's always something. And it always happens at the worst time.

But inbetween the trying times, there's the trips, the laughing fits with your best friends, the cozy meals, and the exploration of the city/state/country or the world. If I had been married at 19, I would have missed out on so many amazing experiences that have colored my life with happiness. I would not be friends with any of the men and women that I associate with now. It was during the ages of 19-25 that I really was developing into the person who I am today and to have been married during that time would have changed so much. And I'm not convinced it would have changed for the better.

At 19, you're still trying to figure out who you are. 

How can you possibly know who you are if you have never lived on your own? If you have never dealt with anything outside of your comfort zone? If you have only a few years of part-time employment experience, and spent the rest of the time in a classroom studying things that you're guaranteed to forget instantly?

There's so much to know. And so much to experience. Trying to figure out a way to support a young family before you've learned how to support yourself seems ludicrous to me.

At 19, you haven't had enough relationship experience to know what you're doing.

I equate picking a spouse at the age of 19 to blindly picking out a boat before you know what kind of water you'll be in.

And honestly, it doesn't hurt to test out some of the boats, before you know how they'll handle the crash of the waves, or the bends in the rivers. Do you really want to take that rowboat into the open ocean? Or try and fit that cruiseline down a mountain stream?

Sometimes you choose correctly. I do understand that. But at 19, how can you have really had enough experiences in relationships, to know you're making a choice that you are going to be happy with 10 or 20 years from now? In what other scenarios is is appropriate to just pick the very first thing to come along and go with it in full confidence?

I think it should be illegal to marry before the age of 25. (Ok, maybe 24.)

This seems extreme, but I really believe it. Even in Mormondom, where we expect everyone to save sex for marriage, I think that it doesn't hurt to experience a little bit of life outside of college, outside the realms of these very temporary blips of our life stories. Once you've graduated, and found at least the first step in the ladder of your career, things start to settle. You start to realize that life is always going to be crazy, and if it isn't one thing, it will be the other, but you'll have a strategy with how to deal with it. You'll know how you handle all kinds of life situations, and know what kind of person you'll need in a life partner in order to help you be successful. Or in helping you become a better person.

I believe that every relationship you're a half in, should help you become a better person. If there are people that are dragging you down, then you shouldn't continue with the relationship. But if you don't know what kind of person you are, then you don't really know where to set the bar! And it should be equal. You should be encouraging those around you to be better people and to grow in some way. If you don't know who you are, then you won't know what kind of influence you are on other people, either.

There are sometimes I wish that I were married, and that I had begun this other stage in my life. I get tired of what I feel like is ACT I. Marriage and babies would be my ACT II and I do feel like I'm ready for that scene change. But the thought of starting ACT II at the age of 19 would have been a huge detriment to my story. There would have been too many plot holes, and too many characters cut. Yes, ACT I has been long-going, but, I wouldn't cut anything from it. It makes me sad to think that there are so many that do without truly weighing in what they are losing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Birthday Month Part 2 - The Biological Clock

Posting about something that you logically know is ridiculous, but can't help how you feel anyway, is always conflicting. On the one hand, you don't want your most inner thoughts and feelings public. And on the other, you can't imagine going another minute without making sure that someone knows exactly how you are feeling. When you write on a blog, you make yourself vulnerable and open to others' judgments, their advice, and their criticisms.

Of course. I've always been one to lay it all out there, regardless of what someone else is going to say.

Which is why, when I was sitting in a team meeting the other day, and my coworker had finally had it about my complaints about my upcoming birthday and snapped at me, I shrugged and nothing changed. Despite his reassurances that I'm fine, and that I have nothing to worry about, I don't really believe him.

Despite the fact that most of my friends have hit this upcoming milestone, does nothing to assuage my own fears and anxiety about it.

I turn 30 soon. Less than two weeks away and I am freaking out.

I don't want to freak out. I would love to enter into my 30s gracefully. But instead, I feel like the reluctant cat being dragged into the bathwater. I'm trying to grab at anything that will give me more time, and Time just keeps pulling me right along and out of my 20s like it's no big deal.

That's what everyone would have me believe, anyway. That it's no big deal. That so far, their 30s have been THE BEST. Any maybe that's true for them. And maybe it'll be true for me. But I'm having a hard time accepting it. Especially when it comes from those who have married and started having their babies (or not having their babies, if that was their choice). Of course being 30 is no big deal when you have your partner in crime to be there with you.

The problem is that when I turned 24, then 25, 26, and then 27, I said to myself, "It doesn't matter that I'm not married. That I haven't started having kids. At least I'm not 30." Every year that things haven't happened the way that I wished them to, I've reassured myself that I have plenty of time. That I'm not 30, and therefore, it was OK to continue on. That somehow things would be different by the time I hit this particular date.

But nope.

I can't say that things are really much different at all.

And so I'm panicking. Because even though I could probably transfer all this dread and worry onto the age of 40. "At least I'm not 40!"

I worry. I worry because the last decade has gone by SO quickly. And if it has happened once, who is to say it won't happen again? And how can a decade blow by and nothing change?

“Today we tell girls to grow up to be or do whatever they want. But the cultural pressure to become a mother remains very strong; rare is she who doesn’t at least occasionally succumb to the nagging fear that if she remains childless, she’ll live to regret it.” —Kate Bolick 

I wonder if I were raised differently if it would matter so much. People are quick to accuse the fact that I've lived in Utah for the last 11 years, watching 19 year old girls marry; or that I've been raised Mormon where the emphasis on being a wife and mother and a part of a perfect little family unit; and that is why I am so hung up on all of this.

But I find that hard to believe as a full explanation. My earliest memories are of me mothering my younger siblings, writing stories about two lady bugs that fall in love and have babies. Playing house....

Being a wife and mother has always been something that was important to me.

I wish I could be content with the thought of not. I wish I could be strong enough to be OK with the idea that if it happens it happens and that is great. But if it doesn't happen, then that's great too.

I'm not though.

What happens if 40 comes, and everything is the same again? Then there is no hope. Even my doctor told me, "If you were turning 40, then I'd be crying with you." I just can't seem to leave the timeline of events alone. No matter what I do, I can't negotiate with Time to give me more. I don't want to go back to when I was younger and more naive. I don't want to have to relive the years where I wasn't quite sure of who I am, or remake some of those same mistakes. But I do not want to be 30. Not yet.

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