Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thoughts on Being a “Grown Up.”
When I was very young, I thought grown-ups had it all together, just by virtue of being aged [keep in mind that “aged” to me could have been as young as 9]. This belief followed me until fairly recently, I’m afraid.

The word “old” to me, always meant experienced, mature. All the cool people I knew were older than me. I saw it as a good thing. I aspired to be old. I couldn’t wait until I was a grown up. No one told a grown up to clean their rooms or go to sit still in school for boring classes. They had complete freedom. They could go places. They could go to work. They could pay for things with credit cards.

Now that I am technically a grown up, it is very cool, no doubt. But, at the same time, it can be kind of terrifying. I don’t feel grown up. Sure, no one tells me to clean my room, but I’d better get that rent check in on time. EVERY month, no less. I didn’t take into account the responsibilities that came with the freedoms I envied. Sure I no longer have to sit in math class for an hour. Now I am responsible for bills with very real consequences should I miss them. I no longer have to go to school, but I have jobs, which actually are WAY cooler than my school ever was.

But there was something about the security of growing up. Sure, I longed to be an “adult,” like the cool people on TV or just people I admired in life, but I always felt secure. Perhaps I was naïve, but I never worried about bills or jobs, except for when I was playing “house,” or Barbies.  Now that I’m older, they’re not as fun as I remember.

My dreamy boyfriend says that people do not actually grow up. They stay the same person they were when they were young. I do agree with that, to an extent. Sure, I may know a little more than I did when I was young, I’ve got a few more experiences under my belt. [Though, every once in a while I get an urge to go back in time to beat some sense into the high school me]. I hope I’m a little more sophisticated than I was when I was younger, but I still feel very much the same person as when I was a kid. I see grown up versions of the kids I used to babysit; they’re the same too.

The best example of this is the Monica character on Friends, when she and Ross were competing to be on the Dick Clark New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show. At long last Ross and Monica were able to fulfill a lifelong dream of being dancers on the show. They had practiced for years a routine for just the occasion, accompanied with the same childhood excitement.

I love watching her slip into her childhood effervescence, from her otherwise sophisticated character. At one point, Chandler says to her, “Ohh, you’re still just a little fat girl inside, aren’t you?”

The reason I find this so funny is that I know I slip into my childhood persona just like Monica. I wonder if others do too…
c. 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You are Special

From Max Lucado’s You are Special

And all day the Wemmicks did the same thing; They gave each other stickers. Each Wemmick had a box of golden star stickers and a box of gray dot stickers. Up and down the streets all over the city, people spent their days sticking stars or dots on one another.

The pretty ones with their smooth, fine paint, always got stars. But if the wood was rough or the paint was chipped, the Wemmicks gave dots.

The talented ones got stars too. Some could lift big sticks above their head or jump over tall boxes. Still others knew big words or could sing pretty songs. Everyone gave them stars.

Some Wemmicks had stars all over them! Every time they got a star, it made them feel so good! It made them want to do something else, and get another star. Others, though could do little. They got dots.

This sounds a lot like most work situations. Actually, it sounds like any group or organization-type situation. There will always be the stars; and well, the slightly duller rocks too. It’s easy to find our worth in how much we are performing, how much we are producing, how much we are shining.

In fact, I would wager to say that most of us go through life making sure that we are getting more stars than dots. It’s normal. Who doesn’t like positive reinforcement?

Awaiting the verdict, will I get a star or a dot, can be very stressful. It’s not bad to want to excel, to do a good job. We compromise ourselves when we don’t. It’s when we start to base our value on the number of stars or dots that become a problem.  Some days we just aren’t going to shine, and what then? Are we less of a person?

Our worth is great even if we aren’t producing, performing, or shining.

My boyfriend and I entered a contest to win a radio show on the local radio station. We made it to the top 10. We didn’t win. [I do think we were the best]. We knew it was out of our hands. We just weren’t the right fit. We were disappointed and we could have concluded that we were huge dots.

Instead, we are going to keep trying, keep shining, pursuing different outlets and avenues. We are not going to let failure or the threat of a brown dot dissuade us from being the stars we are. And neither should you.