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Friday, August 27, 2010

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Was reading my facebook newsfeed this evening and saw a blurb from Shecky's Girl Blog about a musical band called the "Woulda, Coulda, Shouldas." I'll confess, I didn't really read the article; but it got me thinking about my own 'woulda, coulda, shouldas' just the same.

I've never been big on regret; largely, because once something's been done, you can't undo it. So what's the point of regret? Won't change anything. But, also... and more to the point, everything you do culminates into who you are. It's all part of you - so, regretting an action or decision feels like regretting yourself. Seems odd to me. Personally, I tend to just try to learn from my less-than-stellar decisions and move on. But, I like my life... maybe that helps.

It kind of raises the question, though.. would you do EVERYTHING the same if you had the chance to do it again? If you wouldn't, then does that inherently mean that you have regret? I look back on life, both in the short- and long-range and there are dozens of decisions that probably made the road I've traveled thus far a little more difficult. But to change them? That's a powerful desire... and a dangerous one, I think. For it is in adversity that character is forged; so, to want to do away with that? No, don't think so... not for me, anyway. ;)

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.” ~ Jonathan Larson

Friday, August 20, 2010

Found this in my drafts from August 2010; so, figured I'd post it...

So, I'm in my thirties and most of the people I know, went to school with, etc... they're married. Or, like me, have been married and are no longer. But we all had that day where we thought we were setting off down the path to "Happily Ever After;" only to find that 'Ever After' wasn't the same thing as forever. Yesterday, while getting brunch with a friend of mine, I picked up the Ladies Home Journal in her car. Christie Brinkley was on the cover; the article covered her fourth divorce. Four. Divorces. Surely she has to be asking herself the question that I think all divorcees ask themselves at some point: "When it comes to love and companionship; is 'Happily Ever After' really in my future?"

And on the surface, it's a tough question to answer. If you look at the statistics, the odds say it's basically a coin-toss. The 'marriage rate' is 7.1:1000 (total population) and the 'divorce rate' is 3.5:1000. So, basically, just shy of half of all marriages are tracking for divorce. And out of those that stay married? Not all of them say they'd do it again... in fact, only 85% of married women said they'd marry their husbands all over again (if they had the chance). Doesn't exactly inspire confidence in forever, does it? Maybe that's why co-habitation is on the rise in the emerging young adults of today... the percentages over doubling since 2002 (61% vs. 30% in 1992).

Of course, simply avoiding the "constriction" of "I dos" isn't a sure-fire method to eternal bliss... in fact, it might be quite the opposite. The Goldie Hawns/Kurt Russells of the world aside? Less than 1/3rd of co-habitating couples in the United States will stay in that relational state. More than half of those would ultimately walk down the aisle; and after they become Mr. & Mrs? Close to 90% will end up in divorce court before their 5th anniversary (1). Researchers surmised that this was due, in part, to a mindset that forms prior to marriage of "serial cohabitation." They cited that most people that lived together prior to marriage had done so with more than one partner prior to tying the knot; so the concept of permanence had already been distorted. But, if that's true, what does that say for people like Christy Brinkley... or people like my divorced friends and I? We've been married, we've been divorced... is our view of 'ever after' now distorted, too?? How do you know?

(1) according to a study done by Cornell and put out by Demography in 2006

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's About Your Voice...

Over the last few days, I had someone ask me why I write. After all, it's not my "job" and does anyone really care about what one person thinks, anyway? And, it's not like I'm an "expert" in any of the subjects I write in (mostly relationships, life as a single chick in Dallas/Fort Worth, parenting, and fashion). Gotta say, it's a thought-provoking line of questioning... one that doesn't offend me in the least. Here's my answer:

"The unexamined life is not worth living." ~Aristotle

I'm not a journalist by trade; don't expect I ever will be. But, I wholly disagree that I'm not an "expert" in any of the subjects I write about. Why? Because I write about
ME... and who knows more about that subject than I do? My writing is my voice on the subjects that I find capitvating. It's how I make my voice heard (1) and I personally think we all have a responsibility to examine our lives, see what we stand for, and make our voices heard. Now how you want to make it heard? Totally up to each individual - some people sing, some write, some grumble, some do it through the clothes they wear each day. There's dozens of ways to express that which you have examined; the point is that you do it. I'm pretty sure the stuff I write about isn't going to set the world on fire; but I enjoy it and hope some of you get a kick out of it as well. :) If I'm really lucky, then a couple of people will relate to something I've touched on and it'll spur self-examination... or at least a good conversation. But that's about as much as I've ever hoped for with it.

Writing has been an enjoyable creative outfit for me that's actually paid off, too. I've been given the opportunity to go to fun events in order to write about them later; and have been given free products to review and be photographed in. (2) Neither of which I ever expected when I started; but certainly get a kick out of! Mostly, though? Writing has helped create and strengthen some really great friendships. People can relate to what you share - and that's how we build relationships. And that's what I do: I build relationships, on all different levels, for a living, through networking people together through points of commonality. Guess it makes sense I'd do it for myself as well, right??

Make it a great day, folks; hope you take a chance to express your voice today

(1) well, that and my facebook; which is the vehicle for the rest of it, right?
(2) promotion rocks and God bless the marketing folks that are looking to exploit the 'everyday girl.' ;)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Series: Dating and Generation "Me" - Part 1, Background

So, in my last post, I mentioned that there were some issues with dating 'Generation Me-ers.' Think I'm ready to start working through that; so, here's the first in a 4-part series on my thoughts as of now (because I'm a GenMe, too... and it's all about me, right?? :p)...

The Basic Background Stuff
I should start with the glaringly obvious: -I- am a 'Generation Me Chick'... as is most of my dating pool. "Generation Me" refers to those born in the 70s through the 90s; and the common core of this generational population is that the needs of 'self' and the individual should come first... even above duty. This is the first Generation to have this belief as a common identity. This group has also been labeled the "Entitlement Generation" and accused of starting a Narcissism Epidemic... and to some extent? They're probably right; I know that it's a common complaint heard in dating.

Think about it, though: we've been taught, as 'Me-ers' from an early age to "Love Ourselves" and "Be All that We Can Be" (1) and "I Have to Love 'Me' Before I Can Love 'We'"... as a collective group, we're programmed to put ourselves first. Our needs, Our Wants, Our Job, Our [fill-in-the-blank]. They're not just rationalizations for past actions or things we tell those lacking in self-esteem; they're firmly entrenched beliefs 30-some-odd-years in the making.

Now, factor in those of us in our 30s and hitting 40 who've been through a divorce: this is an automatic trigger for self-centeredness, at least for a time post-event. That's not necessarily a bad thing because we need the self-reflection for change; but not all of us shift out of that. Between the two? Dating this age group can be a real challenege. We're more confident and assertive (2) than most of our previous generations... but, we're also more entitled, lazy, and miserable. Why? We're more money-focused, less willing to take personal responsibility, (3) and have a strong desire of immediate gratification... the "I WANT WHAT I WANT and I WANT IT NOW, THANKS" attitude. And if we don't? The tendancy is to abandon ship - where our 'older and wiser' generations were more prone to stick things out and working through stuff. The biggest issue I see with this is that for all our positives? The aforementioned negatives make the GenMe crew less adept at personal communication; because it's uncomfortable and noone likes that, right? Which is maybe ok if you're ordering in the drive-thru or dealing with the dry cleaner... but, not so much in a relationship.

The Relationship Background Info

And speaking of relationships, GenMes are seeing the relationship more as a temporal state-of-being and less permanent. This is best seen in the decline of the number of marriages - down 40% between 1970 and 2002. The reason for this is two-fold: firstly, GenMes have been the hardest hit generational group by divorce. Of the elder GenMes, nearly 50% have already been divorced. The younger GenMes (4) cite potential for divorce as a reason to avoid it. Around 52% of the 20-somethings have stated that they see "so few good marriages that they question marriage as a way of life." (5) And their response leads to the other reason there has been a decline in Marriage: GenMes? Are used to "trading up."

We live in an outdated society. Yes, that's what I meant- almost as soon as a new technology is released? A better one comes out that makes it antiquated. Fashion lines go out of style literally the month they're released... even our food is only good for a week or two. Life is built upon disposable, replaceable things. Our cars are traded out every few years; as are our homes. So why not our relationships? GenMes seem to agree; and so many have started down the road to what Professor Phillip Gray, chairman of the Sociology Department of the San Diego State University, as "the age of serial monogamy" - essentially, trading up to a newer, shinier relationship as problems emerge rather than dealing with them.

And that's a Ton O' Fun for those of us on the dating scene... :p

(1) Wait, that's The Army... but eh, close enough
(2) As a group.. there are definitely still some 'Beta-Boys' that fill the exception gap
(3) This is not necessarily true in the workplace; though there is more shifting of blame in a 'GenMe' than from their predecessors. This is likely because GenMes were raised with a high pressure from parents to achieve academically; which later translates into the workforce.
(4) Those in their 20s
(5) National Marriage Project, 2002

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Have You Found Him Already???

As another birthday passes, I once again get pummeled with the question ALL single people just LOVE to be asked as part of the 'State of the Union' talk, "So, you found anybody you want to settle down with yet?" This is actually a 3 part answer... or rather, there are really 3 questions in there:

Question 1: Have I found anybody?
Answer: Sure, lots of 'anybodies.' I live in one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the United States. Now factor in that I'm slightly brighter than the corner streetlamp, kinda cute, most men find me an adorable mess and a bunch of fun? Of course there's a pretty big pool of bodies to choose from.

Question Two: Anybody you want to settle down with yet?
Answer: Um, no. There's been a guy or two I can see spending more time with, but even with the cool one? Not looking for the white picket fence yet; probably because I already kinda have it.

Which leads to the unspoken compound Question Three: Why not- is the problem them or you?
Compound Answer: Neither... and Both.

There are a couple of reasons surrounding dating "Generation Me-ers;" but the foundation of the issue is that I'm not really sure that I'm looking for, or even want, the 'His-and-Her towels,' 'Let's Grow Old Together' romance. This is where most women my age and men around a decade older? Think I'm nuts.

Listen, I'm not a complete ice queen; I see the benefit behind the ideal. And 7 years ago I was all over that like white on rice. 5 years ago, I was still very receptive. The last couple of years, though? I've come to realize my life kicks 19 kinds of Kung-Foo booty. I have it made; right now I can do what I want, when I want and need permission from nobody. Which I like. When I'm done with someone? I can get up and leave to do whatever I'm up for next. This is a pretty heady thing to give up.
Would I ever? Maybe- but that relationship would be long in it's gestation and pretty fanfreakingtabulous.

There's also relatively low frustration or relationship drama in my current set-up. Guys are given a threshold level for bs and when they pass it? I pass on them. Its actually kinda more entertainment than frustration. :p When I get bored? I can find a "shiny new toy" to play with and nobody faults me because it's pretty well accepted that most of the people in my dating age-range (35 to 42ish) have significant baggage.

So, between the two? I see no reason to settle or rush into something serious that I'm likely to find flawed and want out of faster than my annual physical. Besides, I've found that when people are trying to find "the one?" They are often not being their genuine self, anyway. But that's a story for another day, another issue. ;)