Category Archives: The Life and Times

5 Parenting Tips you Won’t Find in the Books – With Love, your 17-year-old son.

[Dear parents: As you read this, try to look at these tips with an open mind. I’m not writing just to help teens, but to hopefully help you develop a better and easier relationship with your own teen/young adult.]

The struggle

I’m sure every parent has been through it, that lovely phase of teenage years into adulthood. Sure, being a teen is fun, but as a 17-year-old kid who has had more “real world” experience than most, parenting a kid like me can be a bit…challenging. So today, let me help you – help you because just as I’ve come to realize that a few things that I’ve been taught and that I’ve rolled my eyes at are true, today I want to give you, the parents, some tips from the kid you’re trying to parent that might make your eyes roll into the right direction.

My “teen” experience and yours – they aren’t the same.

Tip 1: Don’t parent your kid based on your experiences as a teenager. One of the things that teens hate to hear from their parents is: “I was your age once too”. And sure, it’s true, you were, but did you live through the same things I do? Were you a teenager in the last 5 years? Did you have threats of school shootings and bullies that could get to you 24 hrs a day? Did you have the expectations of looking like or being with an Instagram model? No? So, with all the current events going on and the technological and social situations, our shared experiences basically start and stop in two places: puberty, and growing pains (general figuring out life stuff).

In other words – just because you COULD HAVE made SOME of the same decisions as your kid (substances and following trends), that doesn’t mean you know everything about them and their experiences now.

Right now, your kids are just growing and figuring life out, just like you had to, just like your parents had to – and you turned out great so trust that we will too.

Insider tip: The number 1 thing that teens need isn’t a false understanding of the struggles we go through – it’s the reassurance of love. So, as long as we know you love us to death, we will make you proud. Just do us both a favor and let us figure out our potential and trust that we’ll ask you or someone else for help if we need it.

**That doesn’t go to say, however, if you see your kid making bad decisions constantly, it’s an obvious sign to ask them what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Help your kids on things that potentially put themselves and others in danger, but for small issues, trust that you’ve taught them to figure it out.

Crime and Punishment (in two parts)

Tip 2: Punishment is NOT the solution for addiction. This is a HUGE one. Like many kids in my generation – I got into vaping during my sophomore year, and I obviously kept it a secret from my mom. But the way she handled it when she inevitably caught me – is something I will always be grateful for.

Don’t get me wrong, the first time my mom caught me with a vape she punished me – but soon after that she realized that wasn’t going to help – so she tried something that did.

The last time my mom caught me with a vape was the last time I used one. Why? Because instead of punishing me she opened up to me and we had a conversation about it. She said that I wasn’t in trouble and that she wanted to help me stop. And just from her saying that – that was all the help I needed. Seeing my mom in tears telling me she wasn’t going to yell or punish me, and that she wanted to help me stop it, motivated me enough to quit vaping for good. It took a week to get myself off of it but after that, I was done and I’m never going back. And since then, I’ve even trusted my mom enough that when she asked if I’ve ever smoked weed, I answered honestly, and when she explained to me that it’s obviously not good and asked me if I ever plan on doing it again – I confidently and truthfully said no, I’m not.

The takeaway: Doing things like this with your child builds a huge amount of trust and can help in other aspects too. Teens realizing that their parents want to help them instead of “hurt” them (punishing them) will automatically understand and trust their parents more.

Tip 3: Punishments are necessary but try to think about what (and when) certain punishments work for your teen. For me, when I get punished it’s the same thing: I get my electronics taken away. This might not seem like a big deal for some, but keep in mind (tip #1) that most parents today didn’t grow up with these things, and that for kids in today’s world, they make a big impact on our life. SO, while we may not NEED these things to live, we do need them to sustain our way of life and stay connected.

[And to anyone reading this thinking, “yeah – that’s the point, that’s why it’s called a punishment,” and I hear you. But just like punishing your kid struggling with addiction might not work – using the same punishment every time we have any minor or major slip up also doesn’t work. Not to mention, when a parent gets mad, they can call their friend or talk to their spouse but without that technology, we don’t have the support to work through our drama and do better next time.]

And after a while of getting the same punishments, it just becomes routine to us. We learn how to deal with it and work around it instead of evolving and thinking about the reason we are being punished. So instead, mix it up – try taking away something that they haven’t realized is important to them. That way, when the time comes that they need it, they won’t have it and they’ll think to themselves: “Wow. If I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be in this situation”

Sticks and Stones Definitely Break Bones – But Words they REALLY Hurt Me

Tip 4: If you and your child are in an argument, and there is something you want to say in the heat of the moment that could make it worse, don’t say it. I’ll keep this one short because it explains itself – In certain situations, saying something heated and in the moment can really upset and hurt your kid and if they are in a spiral they’ll spiral even more out of control. We know you’re human, but this is just something to keep in mind. 

Last one, and every mom’s favorite/the most important

Tip 5: Teens may act out and make terrible decisions, and you may fight with them more often than not, but deep down inside, they always love you more than anything. I was a terrible teenager for a few years. I had just started my teenage years when my dad died, and I can admit that I lashed out at my mom and never listened to her. But whenever we got into an argument, I always wanted to apologize immediately after, and most of the time, I felt like garbage and I tried to change.

When it comes to mothers and sons, the worst sight is your mother crying. And just because your kid acts out or is mad at you I can promise you that you aren’t doing that parenting thing wrong, and your kid knows you love them and you do the things you do because you love them.

At the end of the day parenting always has room for improvement, and no one does it perfectly. That’s the wonder of it all. But as a teen who wants to do better and knows how teens learn best hopefully, you got some things out of this, and you really go and use these tips in your parenting journey.

For All of Us We Must Not Forget

alley architecture building city
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For those who had traumatizing pasts, embarrassing pasts, disappointing pasts, shameful pasts, for those who are not lucky enough to remember your pasts due to illness or harm, and for those who are no longer here on this earth to do so either, this is for all of us!

Its okay to not talk about the past but its not okay to forget about it and act like that part of your life didn’t exist. Some pasts can be scary, uneasy, even traumatizing, so its completely okay to not want to talk about them but what is not okay is erasing them, forgetting about them, acting as if moments did not happen. The pain they brought has happened, an outcome came of it, but you made it to this point. The point where you get to stand here and say “THAT moment happened, THAT pain was endured, THAT was THAT”. Call it tough love but something most need to hear and others need to view from a different perspective. 

I’m not going to sit here and say cliché things like “the past is what made us to what we are today” and yes while that holds a good amount of value I feel as if saying that quote makes pasts always seem so bad. That being said yes some peoples are but there are also people who’s pasts were not bad. And to be quite honest I wish we could see more positive pasts without people calling them privileged or lucky! I am sorry that some people had such horrible pasts that have made you incapable of not being happy for others who did not! What people need to realize is be lucky your here to remember a past, to be able to be here and to have grown from a past, some souls out there never got that chance for a past.

But no matter what your past WAS, if it was something painful you were put through or if you were the person inflicting pain and hurt on others; it does not matter. This isn’t to discredit or devalue some peoples traumatizing pasts, its for people to know that its okay to not talk about things you did not like or make you feel a negative way; but we must never forget them. Lessons were taught and events occurred that pushed you to where you are now (some might not be at a good place right now but give it time). So please stop thinking its okay to forgive and forget, that nothing good can come from remembering the hard moments, when in fact someones everything now came from those moments. Our past has everything to do with our present and future. Think about it- if we only talked about whats ahead never wanting to recognize what happened how would we know what to reflect off of?

You don’t have to talk about your past, you don’t have to think about it all the time either but we must not forget. We are lucky enough to get the chance to reflect and remember!

Why children are the best hype team you could ever ask for

need a quick self-esteem boost? hang out in an elementary school for a day

Think I’m joking?  Let me tell you a bit about what I experience at my job…

To start, kids see everything.  And believe it or not, they understand everything too.  It may be in a different way than adults, but they understand.

And they REMEMBER.

Upon first meeting, you might be greeted with a “whoa, you’re really pretty,” and “wait, how are you not married?? You’re so pretty!” and so the first few minutes of the school day turn into life lesson time.

After that, they’ll ALWAYS comment when you change your hair, or your nail color, or wear different shoes, or get a new sweater (or wear the same one two weeks in a row – oops).  But they will also always tell you how much they love having you around.

Seriously, they’ll always compliment you.  It might be 30 seconds after they threw a pair of scissors at you, but they’ll do it.  How many of your adult friends do that??

(hopefully none of them throw things at you.  if they do, please find new friends).

IMG_5969

When you’re absent for just a day and you come back to swarms of “where were you?” “why didn’t I see you” and “I missed you!” And when they see you leaving for the day they holler from across the room “bye! I love you!”

From time to time, they’ll call you ‘mom’ or ‘dad,’ and get embarrassed when they realize their mistake.  Just last week I had a first grade girl call me ‘mom’ by accident, and when she noticed, she just said “well I love you like I love my mom, so same thing, right? anyway can you help me read this word?”
Unphased.

Sometimes they’ll just tell you they want you to be their mom instead of who they have now.  Then you need to discuss how they love their mom and just wish for you to be in their lives, which you MUST promise you will be ‘forever and ever’ before turning back to the task at hand.

Image result for pinky promise

Or when you get to work with your hair up and no makeup because you just couldn’t get out of bed in time that morning, and a student says to you “how do you look so gorgeous today?” and you cant help but smile.

Because they aren’t just your normal friends being polite, they genuine believe it.

Maybe there’s that preschooler who ALWAYS asks to see what color your coffee is (because that one time you brought in matcha tea and it was green, her face was absolutely priceless).  And eventually they notice when you come in lacking said coffee cup, and ask if you need to go run out and get one before we start class because they know how much you love it (and how it keeps you ‘happy’).  So the sarcastic first grader offers to watch your class this morning while you run to the coffee shop – as if you’d let him be in charge for but a second.

When they use their free time to write you a book (with only pictures, of course) but their face lights up with pride when you smile and ‘read’ it with them.

Do your adult friends write/draw you personalized picture books for fun?  No?  Hmm.

IMG_5982

Or when you finally change out of that sweater and wear colorful clothing, your whole day is filled with 2nd graders saying “I like your pants, I like your shoes.” They, naturally, start mimicking each other so you end up with 15 kids spending 3 whole minutes of class just telling you how much they like your outfit.

When they see you in the morning and their tiny little legs wind up and start running over to you, huge smile across their face, and you brace for them to ram into you in an attempt at a big hug.
How many of your adult friends give you running start hugs so you can embrace and lift them off the ground, all while giggling like it’s the best thing that’s happened to them all week?

IMG_2140

With my job, some days I have to be a caring mom.
Some days, I have to be the strict mom.
Some days, I have to be the typical teacher and make them actually learn a thing or two.
Some days, I have trouble getting out of bed so early in the morning, to wear one of these hats for 25+ children, that aren’t even my own.
But by week 2, they feel like my own, and they make me want to get up every day.

They have their tantrums, and defiant moments.
They have their sick days and sneeze on your face.

But they never fail to do some small thing, a small act of kindness, a small sentence or the tiniest hint of showing you how much they love you.

You – their surrogate parent.
You – their caretaker for almost 10 months of the year.
You – the one they come to and listen to and love with their little hearts, because they know you love them right back.
You – who knew you wouldn’t be able to get through they day without at least one of them making you crack a smile.

Because as much as we love our adult friendships, working with children gives you the most adorable, no-strings attached hype team for life.

And I think we could all stand to learn a bit about this kindness and love from the tiny humans.

baby children cute dress
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To All the Boys…

… I’ve been distracted by while I was just trying to run some errands …

Adulting and single, but not quite ready to mingle?  Me too girl, me too.

It’s a weird limbo – I’m at an age where I could totally be looking for a serious relationship, but also know I need to focus on other things.
(You know, like my career, my incessant travel bug, crumbling student debt, that sort of stuff.)

I’m not actively looking, but open to it if someone worthy comes around.  But then again, is there anyone truly so wonderful that I would redirect my future plans?
(Actually, yes.  That person is and will always be Chris Pine.  For sure.)

Image result for chris pine

You know how it kind of seems like the only attractive, Grade A guys on Earth are in the movies now, and thus are unattainable to mere mortals like us?  I realize I’m not looking for a husband right now or anything, but let’s be honest – I can’t be the only one lacking contact with age appropriate ‘men’ with at least the maturity level of, well, myself.

I can’t find them in real life, because scripted and rehearsed romance is totally more what I’m looking for right now.  The latest girl crush, fyi, is Noah Centineo; and he actually starred in the film that inspired this post.

Image result for to all the boys ive loved before

Three cheers for cheesy teenage rom-coms!
(I don’t agree, though, for the record.  My current crush is activist Cameron Kasky.  But that’s beside the point.)

So, my girlfriends and I popped open a bottle of wine and shared stories about our own personal celebrities: the men we pass by on our every day adventures.  Here are our stories about the ones we are thankful for because they keep life a little interesting.

Like back in August, when I went to get a new tattoo with a friend of mine.  My artist came out to ask me a few questions, and I did that thing you see in movies where the girl totally tunes the guy out because she is so focused on how attractive they are?  And suddenly I just hear “hello Earth to Lex??” and then they have to repeat the question?  Except it wasn’t cute like in the movies – it was embarrassing because it was real life and it was me.  So when he went back to finish the sketch my aforementioned friend turned to me, looked me straight in the eye, pretended to wipe something off my chin and says “hey dude, stop drooling would ya?”

Embarrassing? Yes.
Comical? Affirmative.
But am I complaining? Absolutely not.
I got a new tattoo while making small talk and flirting with a very cute man, so all in all, great day.1533326060535

Or while I’m tucked away in my corner at Starbucks doing homework, and there’s that fluctuation of cute guys walking in and my mind goes right to the movies as if he’ll just come on over and sit down and strike up a clever conversation.  As if we’ll laugh and fall in love as time goes by and suddenly the store is closing before we even realize we’ve been there for so long.  When in reality I may get a smile, mini hand wave, and I’m left with endless possibilities of fake conversations running through my mind.

(But of course there are also the older men who direct their gaze over, even if they’re sitting there with who I can only assume to be their wife.  I divert my eyes and hope I don’t need to throw any punches, but hey it keeps me alert.)

Did I mention the cute police officer busy directing traffic?   I realize we all have places to be but do you mind if I just stop right here and cause a jam?
Instead I’ll wave and that’ll be that.  Maybe I’ll see you later at Starbucks, hopefully, if the universe thinks I should have a good day.

person holding cup of coffees on table
Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Or that one night I was out at a bar with my friends celebrating birthdays, and we’re all sitting down with a few new guy friends, right?  Right.  So we’re laughing, having fun, and one of them looks at me and says “watch this.”  A few seconds later he hands me a FLOWER made from a NAPKIN and naturally I thought it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  Does this really happen to people?  Is this just birthday luck?  Who is this guy?  Did he also just hand me a ring he made from a dollar bill?
I need another drink.

If you think I wore that dollar bill ring and carried that flower around all night you are absolutely correct.
If you also think we never got in touch again after that night, and have since just gone our separate ways, then you are also absolutely correct.
(For the record, there are video tutorials online for anyone who wants to learn either of these fun (and easy) party tricks.)

And at the autumn fairs when my girlfriend and I are walking around desperate to find cow-spotted overalls, asking every cute guy working the games or food booths if they have seen them anywhere.  Hey, maybe we find them, maybe we get a double date out of it.   Either way, it’s win.
(It’s really a win when the guy lets your little cousin win the goldfish no matter what, even though none of us are really that great at throwing the bouncy balls into the small fish bowls.  Oh, then he offers to find you a job.  Good man, but no thank you.)

woman standing on metal fence near boy wearing black cap
Photo by Amanda Cottrell on Pexels.com

Or on the commute to work, I pass by a cute firefighter on the train.  We don’t speak to one another, but we exchange a single head nod and mutually understand that it replaces all niceties and small talk.

Just past that hero are the men in suits travelling to their finance desk jobs.  How riveting.  I think about how they could set me up for life and I could have my beach house and travel and never have to do my own finances.  But, then again, are they really worth my time?  I can settle with secretly admiring, and judging, them from a few rows away.

Or the ever so precious teenager that works the register at Target, right as the sale on bralettes goes live.  Poor timing for him because, I’m sorry, but us 20-somethings cannot pass up a bralette sale.  He turns bright red as he has to handle the lacy bras, like he is so embarrassed to be touching anything that isn’t a video game.  Just know that you are adorable and you made me giggle all day long at the thought of this encounter.

woman winter gloves winter clothing
Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

We could talk about my personal favorite: the lingering eyes at the gym.  When I go over to the ‘heavy’ machinery where I need to share the equipment with these boys who are so clearly always skipping leg day.  When I just go over, adjust the weights, and quickly glance around to see a handful of these people looking at me as if I don’t belong, as if I shouldn’t know how to use this stuff.  As if there’s no way I could have played collegiate athletics before I became washed up and had to do these drills at 5am every week.
(Silly boys.  Surprise!  I squat more than you do.)
But their faces when they realize I actually know what I’m doing, that I don’t need a spotter, and have better form than most of them?  Well, that’s priceless.  It’s the little things, right?

(for the record: i’m kidding.  this is not my favorite.  please don’t actually watch women exercise.  I know you love to record yourself lifting, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no one actually cares that you went to the gym.  so mind your own beeswax, please.)

two woman doing exercise
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Nonetheless, shout out to all of the men that keep us on our toes as we roam through our day-to-day life.  The ones that are polite, kind, and give us a little hope for the future of mankind.  And here’s to all the women I can turn to and tell these stories with, and for everyone who shared with me their own encounters so I could put together this piece.

It’s still amazing to me that I can run into so many people, and meet so many strangers, and yet I still have not run into Chris Pine.  Maybe someday, if the universe thinks I deserve a good week.  Until then, bad rom-coms it is.

 

I’d like to order a “F***boy”

If you’re not looking for a hook up nowadays, good luck dating! We have seem to be stuck in this F***boy generation, you know what I mean. That generation where dating is sending nudes, sliding into DM’s, swiping left and right, being selected based off of a picture (even if it is not a picture of who you really are). Its a sad time, its a time where the saying “its whats on the inside that counts” could not be more wrong! 

Sorry hopeless romantics, unfortunately this is the sad reality we live in. Its an interesting time where being overweight but not too overweight is sexy and if you don’t have all the right curves in all the right places you’re-looked over; BUT while being told its okay be confident in who you are. Then we have all these sub groups and titles, by the people who scream the loudest “DONT LABEL ME”…. all very confusing. Any-who then we get to the infamous “F***boy”. 

You may ask yourself “what really is a “F***boy”?” And how can I get one?” Wwwweeeelllllllll let me tell you!

A F***boy is what we refer to as a guy who is only looking for sex and will do ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING to get it. This includes lying, cheesy lines, spoiling you in compliments, giving you a fake sense of love, paired by talking to 5-8 other girls, saying the same things to them, guilting you into feeling bad about saying no, being emotionally unavailable, and to top it off he is a PRO at ghosting! Now doesn’t that sound appealing? Doesn’t that just sound like the kind of guy you want to be with! And the worst part about it all and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors! The nerd can be a F***boy, the jock, the quiet one, the funny one, even the friend! So good luck picking which are and which aren’t! Though I will say not all guys are F***boys, just about 82.458% are.

Some tips on how to spot the infamous F***boy is by posting a very flirty picture on social media, wait a few minutes and bam, they will flock! But how to pick which one you will waste the next 2-3 months on, well thats easy! They’ll be the one that keeps blowing up your phone till you give them attention, then slowly become distant! After that comes the nudes, then the hook up, then the lovely questioning yourself. With such questions like, “I don’t know what gave them the idea I just wanted to hook up! why aren they leaving me on read?” And that is when you know you have bagged a successful F***boy!

Will that be cash or credit? 

In all honesty everybody, respect yourself, if a person wants to chill so badly based off of aspects of your body, that is no reason to spend time with someone. If you stand by what you feel is right for yourself and someone has an issue with it, let them go. Respect is everything in any type of relationship, don’t let anyone tell you what you want; in fears of losing someone that was never really yours to begin with.

To the Men Who Spoke at My Fathers Funeral

I don’t remember much about my father dying, I guess that’s because I wasn’t there – but I don’t remember much of him being sick either – some would call that a blessing. I just know I wish I was there for him when he needed me most…

Don’t get me wrong I know the bad stuff, the boxes of food to go through his feeding tube, the sounds of him keeled over the toilet in the morning, how worried my mother was – and the looks on family friends faces.

Yeah, I guess when it comes down to it I don’t remember much about my father dying, and come to think of it I don’t remember much about his funeral either – but what I do remember is one voice – the voice of my coach.

So a little background about me, I was raised Quaker and the definitions on that will most definitely appear on another post but what that means for this one is that funerals for us are not Like funerals for Christians, Catholics, Methodists or Jewish people. No, because in our service we focus on the person’s story.

Look at 14 you never think you’ll be sitting in a dress at your fathers funeral, you never imagine that your mom won’t let you wear black or that your friends will show up to support you – but as a Quaker, you could never be more grateful of all the amazing stories that are shared when a loved one dies.

The stories I heard then. At my fathers funeral were and are some that still resonate with me today. I couldn’t be more thankful for those times because no matter how painful. Those are the stories that keep the lost and allow them to remain here with us.

wrong do it again

it hurts to be wrong but it hurts more to do nothing

The moments I have least expected in life usually drove me to one of three places – the gym, a church [of some kind], or the police station. If you don’t know me that list might tell you a lot – so let me explain.

The Gym

The gym is the place I go when all else goes wrong. When I lose someone, something or myself – I run, when I’m anxious or angry – I lift, and when I’m sad, well then I combine the two above and end up in bed for three days with achy muscles.

But what does this say about me?  It says – I hate having a lack of control, I hate being helpless, I hate standing still and there’s no way you can do any of those while holding 100+ pounds over your head.

Church

I don’t need Jesus, but he and I have been known to bro up from time to time. In the past few years, I have rediscovered a connection to something bigger than me – and while I am not fully ready to call it God – I do know that there is something about a beautiful church, about the art, the people, the universality of it that makes me feel small yet infinitely more than I am. [And if that confuses you – good, I am in the same boat.]

The Police Station

Let it be known that I have never been arrested – I do, however, have an uncanny ability to bear witness or be an advocate for those who have victimized. Translation – I know the precinct well but not in a negative way. This obviously has its pros and cons but playing the roles I have – I wouldn’t change that – because I was always where I needed to be.

Like I said, it hurts to be wrong but it hurts more to do nothing. Putting ourselves in situations that make us think is normal. In each of the three places above, I have been more thoughtful than everywhere else. The reason being – these are the best places to think, to go, to digest the things that occur that we least expect.

Putting situations that make us think is normal – but it doesn’t come without regret, it doesn’t come without a doubt.

“did I make the right call?”

“could I have handled that differently?”

“what if he/she was telling the truth?”

“what if I could have saved him?”

Enter the phrase – wrong, do it again.

Growing up when we didn’t do a chore right my mother would look at me and my brother and say, “wrong, do it again.” but sadly life isn’t like chores and neither is loss or the law. When things get hard you cannot always recognize that it is wrong and you certainly can’t do it again – but history repeats and eventually we realize that by continually doing what is right – you won’t regret the decisions you make because you know they are of the best intentions.

In the end, it isn’t about the questions – it is about the places we find the answers and while mine might or might not be ordinary – it is how my mind works, and so far it has benefited my own personal growth.

We ruin everything, apparently

So really, I just got curious.

Why does everyone think my generation is ruining absolutely everything?                  What exactly did we, as millennials, destroy for the rest of society?

Can we truly ruin anything if literally all we do is attend an overpriced college, go out to bars, and then work 40+ hours a week for minimum wage just to try to pay back our loans and eat food and live in an up-to-code very humble abode?

Cue the family get togethers, where I am always hit with an “oh when are you moving out?” or “oh, you don’t have a boyfriend?” or the best one: “you’re moving back to your hometown once you finish school, right?”

Uhm, no, Susan, right now I’m pretty focused on not being in debt for the rest of my life?  And also maybe keeping some of my civil rights?  And also finishing my education?  And maybe travelling because once I start my career I’ll probably never be able to retire?

For reference, to be considered a millennial you would have been born between 1981 and 1996 (currently ages 22 to 37) — so really, I’m the very tail end of it; I’m talking 2 weeks away from being a ’97 kid.  But by the way they are being judged, I’d rather be a Millennial than a Gen Z.  Plus, the years vary slightly depending on where you look for the information, but this is a pretty good range to go by.

Here are just a couple dozen article headlines that lay out what my generation has, in fact, killed: (and my initial reactions to some of them)

How Millennials Ended the Running Boom (2016)

Millennials are killing gyms, too (2016)

How hipster millennials are killing the Big Mac (2016)

“Promiscuous” Millennials are Killing McDonald’s (2014)

Millennials are killing chains like BWW and Applebee’s (2017)

(because we run out of money and can only afford take out)

Millennials are killing the beer industry (2017)

Now millennials are killing marmalade (2017)

Did Millennials Kill the 9-5 Workday, or Just Point Out it’s Dead (2016)

(actually, Meghan, I work 7-4 + overtime)

Have Millennials Killed Serendipity? (2017)

Millennials are killing the dinner date (2016)

Millennials are killing relationships and we should be concerned (2015)

Why aren’t millennials having sex? (2016)

(you clearly haven’t visited a college campus, or bars, or clubs, or copy rooms recently)

Here’s How Millennials Have Killed Crowdfunding (2016)

(you sure? Remember the time we started a funding page for KYLIE JENNER)

Did Millennials Ruin the Olympics? (2016)

Millennials are Killing Lunch

(this is actually a 51-second video)

Millennials have officially ruined brunch (2017)

(excuse me do you guys think we don’t LOVE food??)

Millennials aren’t eating cereal because it’s too much work (2016)

(sorry but I can’t eat that in the car while I’m rushing to work late because I stopped for Starbucks)

Well done millennials – you’ve officially ruined handshakes for everyone (2016)

(I’ve always been more of a hug person anyway)

Millennials are killing the napkin industry (2016)

Have Millennials Killed Hotel Loyalty Programs?

Millennials are allegedly ruining hotels for every other generation (2016)

(at least this one gives us ‘allegedly’)

Millennials are Killing Department Stores

(another video! but really – help me, I’m poor)

Did millennials kill the hangout sitcom? (2018)

(for the record, F-R-I-E-N-D-S is my favorite show)

Millennials Are Destroying The Next Generation and It’s Ruining America (2017)

(that’s just… wow …harsh)

Are Millennials Killing the Car Industry? (2018)

(SORRY BUT THE T IS CHEAPER)

Why are Millennials Killing Their Bosses? (2015)

(I’m sorry but all I can imagine here is Charlie Day saying “no one’s going to pay you to be a husband, unless you marry Oprah.”)

(and if you don’t understand that joke we can no longer be friends, sorry)

Millennials’ Wanderlust is Killing the Canadian Tourism Industry (2016)

(don’t they just have waterfalls and maple syrup, anyway?)

Millennials are Killing America: Part 1 (2016)

(this was published in 2016 and I am still unsure where part 2 is)

Millennials don’t like motorcycles, and that’s killing Harley’s sales (2017)

(ya’ll are the ones who told us they’re dangerous, you know)

And, my personal favorite:

How Millennials (Almost) Killed the Wine Cork (2016)

(TWIST OFFS FOR THE WIN)

restaurant bar glass glasses
Photo by Timur Saglambilek on Pexels.com

So, there ya have it.

People think we ruined it all.  From McDonalds to hotels, gyms to marmalade, I can’t really go anywhere or do anything without being judged or questioned simply because of the year I was born.

If you’re really that upset about us eating avocado toast why don’t you just go buy them all so we can’t, sound good?

Plus, aren’t you the ones who created us a couple decades ago?…

Please, just leave us be.  All we want is to feel like we just might be able to retire someday.

And remember, these are just a few handfuls of headlines I pulled from Google.  If you want more, trust me, there are more.

All I want is Happiness

I used to think I had life all figured out, then I realized I’m only 21! I used to think all I needed to do was go to school, get my degree, them BAM I’d get hired, find love, be independent, and then life would be good. Thats it. I would peak, be happy, and that would be that. But the more I imagined that scenario I realized that its not that easy, even for the rich an famous.

Think about it, a lot of people strive for money, fame, health, looks, etc. But after growing up with money and in poverty (long story),

“I realized I just want to grow up to be happy.”

But the funny thing is, is that I don’t know what makes me “happy” anymore. For a long time it was money, then finding love, then just my friends, and then as all of those things faded away I was left standing there empty handed, by myself but yet still not unhappy. Interesting right? All the concepts I thought brought me joy were gone yet I was still feeling okay! Don’t get me wrong it sucked and hurt to lose them, but I still made it out alive and was fine. So I was left standing there, to ask myself again what makes me happy.

We spend our whole lives striving for things and concepts we think we need but what if we all kept it simple, what if we all just just lived!

So while I’m racing to find out my purpose and who I am, I realized that, that is what life is. It’s figuring out who I am as an individual, but I can’t find it in 21 years, or 50, or even 75. Sure as live goes on we grow with others and all sorts of ways but in the end, it’s only you who goes on alone. As scary as that thought is, its true,

it’s reality.

Life is about the memories and moments I create, the paths and roads I pave through out, and most importantly the relationships build from start to finish.

“With every relationship I build that fails, I realize something about myself, I find more of myself I didn’t even know I had. It’s like a wake up call that I didn’t know I needed. Some are painful, some are quick, but each one teaches me more and more.”

“It’s like lives most powerful lessons are brought through pain, but finish in strength.”

Everyone and everything alive only has a certain amount of time on this Earth, and the scary part is that not everyone realizes that, so we all sit here being alive but are really any of us living? And I wish I could tell you how to “live” but the truth is, is that living is a concept that is different with everyone. That maybe instead of over thinking on how my life will be great as time goes on and I “figure it out” that,

life would be better if I just lived in the moment!

Ya know? And just let life happen and I’ll figure it out on the way. Don’t forget the hard times, and don’t call them the bad times, but realize that those are part of life. Those are the parts that help us figure out life and ourselves the most. Moments define our lives, memories define our lives, but if we keep trying to find or create them we slowly start to forget why we want them.

“You know its funny, growing up I always feared death, but I think what I really fear is not living when alive.”

So what if we all stopped taking life so seriously and just lived, took chances, risks, and just went with it. I mean the more you think about it, we were all just a random pick of life, you never know what kind of story will come when each one begins.

If she cries pretty

If she cries pretty

Do you think they will hear her tears

Like a stampede of elephants

Rather than a whistle in the wind.

If she cries pretty

Do you think they will finally notice her

Notice her scars

Notice the times she caused herself harm wishing she was good enough for any of them

If she cries pretty will she finally think herself worth it

Or will she just continue to be left

Utterly and completely confused.

What it means to be ‘Lonely’

It isn’t about Physically Being Alone

It is a desire for companionship. A need to have someone else around to quiet the silence and add a voice to the room. It’s about being so anxious that you are stuck – or so depressed that nothing makes sense. and at the end of the day, all anyone wants in this world is to be loved so why are we so quick to misunderstand those who cry or shy for help? Why are we so slow to understand what being lonely means in this country, and more importantly – in this age of social media.

What people don’t understand about loneliness is that it was never about physically being alone. It was a feeling of not being understood, a feeling of solitude in crowded rooms because you couldn’t explain what it was like being trapped in your own head. Feeling like – the only ones who appreciate you are the people who enjoy your twitter feed – being lonely isn’t about being quiet or physically alone, it’s about being heard when we say that a room is full BUT WE FEEL EMPTY.

See when you have anxiety…

You don’t need to be alone to feel lonely. When you have depression – you don’t have to cry to be sad. No matter where you wear your heart – being lonely, being sad, being scared, has absolutely nothing to do with being what someone else thinks defines any set of emotions. It has to do with you, and those like you all around the world.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association in America (ADAA):

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. (click for more)

And what I find most interesting is that despite these statistics – most people feel alone at one point or more in their lives – but few people actually reach out when they notice it. See truth is – it is hard to admit when we are scared, hard to open up to the crowd to yield to the traffic that comes with admitting we aren’t perfect – and being lonely may not be synonymous with being alone but it also doesn’t mean that the fix lies with throwing us to the wolves and the crowds. Being lonely and being alone are different – and so are the ways of treating those emotions.

At the end of the day, I am 1 of 40 million – and not just because my mom told me I am…

But maybe you are too and while we might not be perfect – we are who we are meant to be and sometimes – that means being perfectly and terribly lonely.

 

 

A Letter to the Girl I Used to Be

You felt so small, so insignificant, so powerless – and me, I was merciless. I gave you no credit for the time you took to heal. But what you didn’t see – your story was no different than the rest. You made sacrifices – to yourself, to your friendships, to others – you gave up what it meant to be you to be liked, to feel powerful, to feel sexy – not knowing that you had it all inside of you all along.

Little girl you were no different than the rest. You followed trends – submerged yourself in passion projects, you kissed boys you shouldn’t and blamed yourself for things that weren’t your fault. So to the girl who was sad – who cried in front of the mirror, I will not apologize for refusing to pity you – but I will apologize for letting you hate you.

See the girl I used to be – is really just the girl I USED to become what I am today – and she was three things that inspired me

  1. she was scared
  2. she was strong
  3. she was broken

and I couldn’t be more grateful because if I could say one thing to the girl I used to be I would say it like this and it would come in three parts

  1. thank you for being scared – for worrying the world would hate your tears. for wondering if they would like you when you no longer had more muscle than the girl next to you. for being afraid to truly look at yourself in the mirror. Thank you for being so petrified that you wouldn’t be enough – because when the fear finally passed – when you finally learned to walk away from the dark rather than being scared of it – baby girl that is when you finally began to move on.
  2. thank you for being strong – for having a brave face. For cracking jokes at the wrong time and for looking powerful people in the face when they treated you as lesser. Thank you for having the strength to say the wrong things – to be the odd man out, and to support people when no one else could. Thank you baby girl for being strong.
  3. Thank you for being broken – for looking at your cracks like curves, for hating your rough edges and rounding their corners to make them beautiful again. Thank you for refusing to be whole – for splitting yourself across oceans and leaving parts of your heart in countries that helped you to heal. Thank you for being broken baby girl – because this woman wouldn’t have found her way back to being whole again without you.

There is a point in our lives where we realize that the person we were then – allowed us to rise to where we are today. And while I have written many a letter to the person I will be – to the person I have not become yet – what I needed to do was thank the girl I was. and maybe that is true for all of use because maybe like me, your story wasn’t as special as you thought it was, maybe you weren’t as broken as you thought you were, but it was real – all of it was real and no one can take that from you. So maybe instead of blaming you (the you that you were then) maybe you should thank yourself for what that person sacrificed to allow you to become the person you are today.

I am not always proud of the person I was – but the person I am today, well I’ll be damned if she isn’t working toward being the best version of herself.

Be proud of who you are – be proud of yourself baby girl – because one day [maybe today] you will look back and realize how truly amazing you are.