Aub’s Little Instruction Book
Same time, different place
A year ago today I was getting ready to lanquish on a beach on the Mediterranean. On my way to Marbella, Spain, for a little R&R, I remember the worries that weighed on my mind, the people that I missed, even the things I had to do. Though I knew how quickly things could change, I was pretty sure that at least some of those important things would remain the same.
Once again confirming the fact that I truly don’t know anything.
It’s funny how something, or someone, can be the end-all, be-all and that we can’t imagine our lives without them in it. We are a people of habit, quickly getting used to our own personal customs and patterns, that any slight variation is received as a somewhat substantial change. Such that when something of true substance happens, a break-up, a move, a death, we tend to see it in catastrophic terms, feeling foolish for not anticipating or having the foresight to guard ourselves from the hurt.
That’s life for you…one surprise after the next.
I wonder where I will be a year from today…hopefully not sitting under flourescent lights in my workspace, the faint sound of a drill signaling continuing renovations buffered only by the thunderstorm that alerts us that Spring has arrived in Atlanta. Who would have thought, last year, that in a mere six months the safety and security of our country that we had always known would be questioned in an instant? I’m sure that while I was sunbathing on the rocky beach, daydreaming about my 2.5 kids and forthcoming SUV with my then-man-o-the-moment (yes, we all do that…), my self-mandated clairvoyance didn’t include the tragedy that was about to ensue.
So again, I ask, I wonder where I, where we, will be a year from today. Wrapped up in myself, my job, my friends, my oh-so-hectic and dizzyingly full love life, it’s much easier to imagine things as we would like them to be as opposed to what could happen. Guided by the mandate that anything is possible, I prefer to believe in the future that includes me sharing fame, fortune, and frozen margaritas with people known to me as Gwynnie, Julia, and Jenn Pitt. (Not to mention their other halves, or my future suitors like Tom, Josh, and who can resist a Mr. H. Ledger?) I would much rather see myself as the new author of a hit column on Cosmopolitan.com, being saught after by the folks at Maxim (for my scathing wit and quick, albeit sometimes dirty, mind), or being able to go on mini-vaca’s on the spur of the moment, a result of my flourishing bank account.
Try as I might, wish as I will, I can’t predict the future. People, some sadly and some with no regret, come and go in our lives like the revolving door at the Ritz. (Then again, I think it’s automated and glass, but you get my drift.) So my wish would be that my friends would remain, adding new ones to the random gang of alco-philes and social-ite-ish ones that we at least attempt to be, that we continue to seek challenge and intrigue and new experiences, and that no matter where we are, we remember where we’ve been.
So, see you next year… Same time, different place.
PS: Check out the pictures from Kelly’s shower weekend in Raleigh…we’re buff, beautiful, and blitzed! (ha!)
Right here, Right now
We want it, and we want it now.
That’s pretty much the mantra for us living in the “naughts”, the gen x-y-z-ers that we’ve been told that we are. Convenience is key and without it, we’re lost.
Just about everything can be done while sitting in your car, sitting at your desk, or from the comfort of your own (heavily down-comforter/feather-bed-filled) bed. Banking, shopping, you name it…the less we have to do, the better.
We’ve begun to expect these “conveniences” of life as our de facto standard of living. Resultantly, when one is taken away or malfunctions, our temper rises, our frustration escalates, and we’re sent packing back into the paper-trail world of the 80’s.
Point in case. Just started a new job (as you know), and instantly I was thrown from a world where many were proud to be known as the technophile nerds that we are (were) to a place where technoPHOBE has a whole new meaning altogether. Found myself in a place where people will walk across the office to talk to someone instead of (gasp!) sending an email. This from a girl who has been known to IM her officemate. (Come on, you’re guilty too.)
The concept of Palm Pilots are still relatively new, and my wireless email? Lightyears ahead. Sending me back to the pen and paper concept of a DayPlanner. (Granted, it’s my overpriced Kate Spade one that is TRES chichi and TRES bulky.)
You win some, you lose some.
Yet to get to the basis of this, we have to realize that we’ve grown up in a society that is all about instant gratification. On-demand movies, groceries being delivered to your home, instant messaging and online banking are the way of the future and face it, that future is now. We’ve been so accustomed to simplification, reducing our effort from moderate to semi-nonexistant.
This is nothing new, though…improvements to our society, ways of making things easier, is called progress. Who takes the stairs when you have the ease and convenience of an elevator? Who writes letters anymore (besides me), when emails and phone calls instantly connect each other?
As much as we are moving forward, it’s important to retain some of our traditions that are threatened with extinction. The Post Office, for example, is in such a budget crisis that they are considering raising stamps 3 cents this summer to make up for their losses. Besides the scare of Anthrax that dramatically affected mail traffic, this trend has been going on for the past 10 years. People just aren’t sending letters anymore.
I think that, in itself, is a tragedy. While I embrace my Blackberry organizer, my cell phone, and the power of the Internet, the power and meaning of a letter can never be replaced with a point-and-click facsimile.
Still, progress will continue…but I’ll take a tangible love letter over a sweet email any day.
Have a great Friday…off to the great state of North Cakalaky to celebrate Kelly’s upcoming wedding,
I’ll blame it on that.
The catch-all most-hated day of the week, upon which we blame everything from tardiness to tiredness, Mondays, to me, are a day of regroup.
Time to think about the weekend past, plan for the one ahead, catch up on all that was left undone last Friday, and generally, just get back into the “swing of things.”
I usually write here on my website on Mondays, having a lot to say about all that I did, said, heard, and thought over the weekend, as I’m usually brimming over with my opinions on one thing or another.
Lately, though, I feel I’ve entered a rut. Like the beach at low tide, I seem to be all dried up.
How sad. My epitaph could read “Here lies Aubrey. Ran out of creative thoughts at age 25…almost.”
Hmm. I had hoped for something a little flashier…
But I digress. There’s little more infuriating than writer’s block, especially when I don’t HAVE to write on the site. An essay being due tomorrow at 5 is one thing, but writing for the sheer pleasure of it, the release of putting my thoughts out there, that’s another thing entirely. I may not know what my opinion on Trans-Border Data flow is, but I sure SHOULD have an opinion on something!
So, as an exercise in possible futility (similar to the exercise in subtraction that is commonly known as balancing my checkbook,) here are a list of my likes & dislikes. Consider it one of those annoying email forwards where you have to fill out your info and then send on to everyone you know, or else fall off a totem pole and die. (Only w/o the grave consequences and prolonged sighs by those receiving this in their inbox..) And, being me, why not make the questions a bit more fun… a little self interview that we’ll call “Aubrey in a 5-question nutshel”l…
1. What is the most annoying part of your day? Having my fingers and toes be numb after sitting at my sub-zero desk for less than 10 minutes. Heat is a good thing.
2. If you had to rush out of your burning house, what three things (not counting Sebatty, Sillyman, and Pantha) would you rescue? My jewelry box, my photo albums, and my journal. Girly? Yes. Irreplacable? Yes again.
3. If you could be a famous tv/movie star, who would you be at the following ages: 5, 12, today? At 5, I made my parents call me Joanie (from Happy Days.) That Chachi was a hunk. 12? Probably Paula Abdul-esque person. Today? Meg Ryan or Reese Witherspoon, and yes, b/c she gets to make out with Ryan Phillippe. Lucky girl.
4. Tragic flaw (a la the days of the Odyssey and Homer and hubris): Impatience. Am just now learning to let things take their own course. As you can’t push a horse to water, some things you just can’t MAKE happen, despite how much you want them to.
5. Fame or fortune? Neither…happiness. (Though if the happiness was caused by either or both of the previous, now, who’s to scoff at that???)
AAH. See? Insightful after all. Though I can’t swear I have a steadfast opinion on Democrat vs. Republican (sorry Dad), I do know that chocolate beats vanilla hands down, a good heart beats good looks, and that tulips can just about brighten my day, any time.
Off to go watch my new DVD (my fav, of course),
Do you ever look at your life, evaluating what you have, what you don’t, and what you wish you could change?
Sure, we all have our imperfections that we tend to concentrate (fixate!) on…from those 5 pounds we’ve been trying to lose for 5 years to the way our second toe is longer than our first (legend has it that means we’re royalty!), we put a lot of emphasis on our shortcomings.
We make New Years Resolutions, give not only food, but habits, up for Lent…any chance where we can to try and reform ourselves we at least try to take.
Yet the question remains…what would happen if we DID lose those pounds, WERE more patient, or really DID give up caffeine? If we were the person that we wished to be, would we still be “us”‘?
I’ve got mixed thoughts on this one…a few of my “wanna-be’s” are small things…making my bed every day, watching less tv, reading more books. All relatively do-able, and all (so far!) are going pretty well. But the larger desires…being in a Hollywood movie, having a better singing voice, finding true enjoyment in running (instead of the temporary endorphine high), well, those are somewhat significant.
Looking back, I learned as much from my mistakes, my failures, my losses than I have from my successes. Though at the time the small letdowns seemed extremely important, I learned to heed my parents’ advice and imagine if they would be important to me 6 months or a year out. (Yes, I remember thinking that not making the All-Star softball team in 4th grade was a life-changing event, but, shockingly enough, I seem to be doing ok…) Hindsight is 20:20…
As we continue to grow and add to the cacophony of experiences that collectively represent our lives, we need to find a good balance of acceptance and self-evaluation. Change is inevitable…friends get engaged and married, we leave one job to start another, we move across town or even across the country. Figuring out what is important and what is secondary allows us to prioritize our needs, wants, and helps us make attainable goals for us to reach. In the end, saves a lot of stress and self-doubt.
So, until you see me in a big-screen flick or hear me as Tina Turner’s backup singer, I remain, simply,
Fate or folly?
Do you ever sit back and look at your life and wonder “How did I get here?”
Was it the choices we did make or the things we avoided? Was it the good decisions or the bad? Was it our mistakes, was it our successes, was it our failures? What brought us to where we are, right this second?
Are we ruled by fate, following a predetermined plan that eventually ends somewhere, doing something, with someone? Does our life follow an invisible dotted line in the sand, with both its ups and downs, leading us to our fate, our destiny, our life?
Or are we fooling ourselves?
Is fate folly?
As I sit back and assess my life (so far), I can resolutely say I am not at all where I ever expected to be. The Aubrey I envisioned at 5 or 10 was NOT sitting in front of a computer, spouting off words like “User Interface Diagrams” and “competitive assessment;” instead, I would be twirling through life as a ballerina or saving lives as a doctor. I would even be writing stories…much greater than the “Teddy Bear Mysteries” that I started in the 4th grade after a bout of the flu, a present of a blank book, and a predilection for Nancy Drew Mysteries. But regardless, I’d be writing.
I’d probably be dating a prince, living in luxury, and taking care of a whole boatload of animals…from hamsters to dogs to giraffes. (I was even a dreamer back then.)
Yet something changed along the way, just don’t know when or where. There’s even books about this that define this introspection as a “Quarter-Life Crisis.” Now, I’ve read that book and though it seems to depress me more, it does pose a few good points.
First, our generation is faced with so many choices that we’re often transfixed by indecision. We grew up being told we can do everything, so when it’s time to choose, we don’t know where to begin.
Secondly, in the midst of all of our indecision, people my age graduated in the height of the economy, where jobs seemed to literally fall at our feet. We were in the midst of a web-boom, where you had the luxury of job-hopping if your current one didn’t exactly fit your fancy. Then, CRASH! went the economy, and many of us have to now change our frame of mind from “I hate my job” to “I hate my job but it’s better than nothing.”
So we’re told we can do anything, we begin to do a bit of trial and error, and then, BAM! Better stay at what you’re doing now before you’re out on the streets, with only your palm pilot and your Prada’s to give any glimmer of your “former” life.
I often consider doing something rash, impetuous, spontaneous. I’ve been faulted with this in the past, not fully thinking through my decisions, but I wonder. If I were to up and move to LA or NYC, would it be my destiny? Would I be fooling fate? Or would I be the fool all along?
I don’t think I’m the only one thinking through these issues…many of my friends are experiencing a similar quandary, not quite happy, not quite sad, but a whole lot confused. We put disclaimers on our happiness–“I’ll be happy when I [fill in the blank with ‘get a boyfriend,’ ‘get a new job,’ ‘lose five pounds,’ or any of many other various contentment clauses]” Putting a contingency on our very happiness is wrong, yet to get out of our respective “funks,” we need to identify what it is that makes us happy.
Not happy for a day, or even a week. What makes our (forgive the cheeseball reference) soul sing? What puts a smile on our faces? What did we think we would be doing at this age when we were kids…and why aren’t we doing it? Figuring out where we are, what we’re doing, and whether we’re happy to be doing just that is the first step. Figuring out where we’re going is the hard, but necessary, second half of this equation. Not a “I’ll be happy when I write my first novel,” but more like a “Writing makes me happy; I choose to pursue that and my end goal is to write a novel.” We often drift through life, continually looking for tomorrow, for the gold at the end of the rainbow that we fail to see the beauty in the experiences, the colors of the rainbow in all their glory.
They say “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” I say that “Life is in the experiences.” We, or at least I, need to take a step back and appreciate what is happening WHEN it is happening. Fate, Destiny, whatever you want to call it…let’s leave that to someone or something greater than us. Why not concentrate on the things we can affect, the experiences we can have, the lessons we can learn. I think it’s time to notice the colors in the rainbow.
Wishing you a happy day before Valentine’s Day…whether you get flowers, candy, a card, or just a smile from your co-worker, have a great one.
Been thinking about dreams a lot lately.
Could be due to my recurring one about math class, not being able to find my locker (or know my combination if I do have the slightest idea where it is!) and not being able to graduate without the class (that, for some reason, I never once attended.)
My somnabulist stories also often include running…not TO anything or even FROM anything…just running for the sheer pleasure of it. In the past, I’ve won marathons, 5k’s, 10k’s, and magically, I never am winded or tired…just exhilerated.
Then there’s the vertigo dreams, where I can’t either go up/down a ladder, cross a bridge, take another step on shaky ground. Those are my least favorite ones of all, as the fear sometimes seems to permeate into real life, much to this former-heights-lover’s dismay.
Funny thing about dreams…some people (like me) remember them in great detail, such that they’re a mini-story/sitcom in my nighttime naps. Others find it strange that I can go on for 1/2 hour about some long, involved, generally senseless story that often involves famous people (other than me, that is,) or talking animals. (Brandy, yes, I’m talking about “Nancy Pantsy.” The rest of you, never mind…)
I’ve been the half-sister of the Olsen Twins (or do two halves equal a whole?), the half-sister of Portia de Rossi (though my Mom must have given birth to her when she was about 8), best friend of Julia Stiles (hung out at my house in Ohio a lot) and was invited to Utah in April with Julia Roberts (was in a very cool gondola-taxi-invention at the time of the invitation!)
Where do we come up with these ideas? Our subconscious must be working overtime…from thinking that someone was in my house (they snuck in and lit candles…I was oh-so-scared of this aromatherapy-based-stalker!) to calling off my wedding at the last minute, my dream-life is definitely progressing in a more exciting manner than my real one.
I’ve always wondered about those people that we make up in our dreams…you know, the random guy that we’re dating (who you’ve never seen before in your life), the girl in the taxicab in NYC that you got in a all-out catfight with. Why is all this creativity sequestered to our REM-cycles?
My friend dreamed her teeth were falling out…scary, but then again, my hair was falling out in my dreams a few months ago. (FYI, neither one has positive connotations…) I’ve found that “Morning Dreams” (you know, the ones you have after being awakened and then falling back asleep) are as weird as they come…and that both the good and the bad things that happen to us in real life subtly sneak into our dreams. After September 11th, buildings kept falling down around me, and trying to find my family was both difficult and seemingly futile. They’ve picked up a bit since then, but must admit that every now and again, I wake up crying in the middle of the night.
People say that their dreams often come true…I’ve definitely had weird instances of deja vu, but as of yet, I’ve not won a marathon, am still an only child, and am waiting on that call from Julia. But hey, once a dreamer, always a dreamer…so tonite I’ll try and dream about some candy and over-priced flowers for Valentine’s Day. You never know when one will come true!
Happy Monday, everyone…and happy Valentine’s Day Week!
ps-For those of you dying to check out what your messed-up dreams mean, check out swoon.com!
Sticks & Stones
They’re stronger than actions, they’re worth a thousand words, and while sticks and stones can hurt us, they can’t.
We often take them for granted…our vernacular changes with the years. Whereas something was groovy in the 70’s, it was phat in the 90’s. Some words, however, last the test of time. Things have been “Cool” for years…from my parents’ time (back when horse and buggies were still around!) up through today. Being considered uncool was a death sentence in 3rd grade, leaving you to spend recesses with only your own company as amusement. “Uncool” today can run the gamut from that scary guy you went on the date with last weekend to the anti-drug ads–regardless of the context, uncool is out.
We go through years of “Vocabulary Building” exercises…suffering through the spelling of “plethora” to the meaning of “surreptitious.” We build our own languages, secret codes, and invent words that only our tight-knit group of friends understands. We conceive nicknames for each other…some as terms of affection, some, not so lucky. Yet language is weaved throughout our lives, no matter what language it is we speak.
As the magazine-writer-wanna-be that I am, and as one who has a tendency to spend a GREAT deal of money on stamps and who loves to send letters and cards (to either many of your delight or annoyance!), I love being able to use language–written, spoken, or otherwise–to share my opinions & views. So, for all you bibliophile nerds out there, and all of you who share our secret language and know what the “email dance” is, (yes, you two know that I’m talking to you budding ballerinas!), I offer you the greatest word-site around.
Not a “word-a-day” site that I still regret signing up for when they send me words like “gargantuan” (duh.) but one that is amusing, addictive, and…well, I’ll just let it speak for itself.
Right now, right this very minute, stop clicking “Send/Receive” on your Outlook Inbox. Stop doing an emode.com quiz. Take a break from your SheSheMe obsession for a couple of minutes, and those shoes at Neimanmarcus.com? They’ll still be there in a little bit.
Right now, go to http://www.pseudodictionary.com and do yourself a favor.
There you’ll find such exciting words like “Eatopia” (the pleasure of eating), “Sexified” (getting dressed or preparing yourself to look sexy), and my new personal favorite, “Hottie McHotHot” (logically, a good-looking person.) After years of debate, you’ll learn that your “Boo” (girlfriend or female acquaintance) is similar to your “Shorty” (young person or attractive female). No longer will you question the proper usage of “porchclimber” (cheap wine, or wine that is consumed throughout the course of the evening), and you’re sure to use the word “fatty boombalattie” (either a term of endearment, to be used with friends who are NOT overweight, or, well…you girls know who I’m referring to!) in your next conversation. Now, not all of these are rocket science, for example, “Hump His/Her/Its Leg” means, well, just about that. Though it won’t necessarily take the place of Webster’s, this dictionary o’ slang is sure to increase your vocabulary, one way or another.
So, brandishing one new word after another, I’ll “conversate” with ya later…