Tag Archives: musings

Personal Crossroads

d64912afea_2012-originalWhen I was about 19 or 20, I moved to Longview, TX. It was my first apartment along with my first real “job” on top of being 120 miles from home. It was a new adventure. I turned 21 and another first happened; I bought my first handgun and later, my CHL.

I’ve been around guns all my life thanks to my uncle, who not only taught me to respect them from a young age but also how to care for them, when to use them and when not to use them. I credit him alone with recognizing that I was very interested in firearms and instead of hiding them away, invited me to handle them and later to shoot them. He passed away many years ago but he will always get the credit for giving me a proper respect for firearms.

If you know me well, you know I enjoy the right to own firearms and add another level of protection to myself, my family and my home. If you know me extremely well, you know I am proficient in using them when the need arises. You rarely see me advertising this right on Facebook because I don’t believe it is something that needs to be advertised. You will also rarely see me join a gun debate because, again, I don’t think that kind of thing needs to be argued. I don’t check in from the gun range, I don’t post pictures two-fisting Glocks. The occasional shot of Celeste holding an M4 slips into my Facebook album on occasion because, honestly, that is just pretty (and she is proficient with it which is even more pretty to me).

Although I’ve had my CHL from nearly the day it became a law, I rarely “Conceal Carry”. I keep firearms in the cars most of the time, in the house all the time and I make sure I carry one on long trips. I rarely carry into Star Bucks or Walmart (I know the hardcore are going to balk but that’s ok) and I have not exercised my right to Open Carry even though I fully support it and enjoy the option.

Until recently, I haven’t felt like I “needed” to carry into Walmart, Starbucks or anywhere else like that. Part of this is my training, I feel I can handle myself in hand-to-hand combat well enough not to need to carry all the time. Even in a gun situation, I’ve trained and trained over the years on how to disarm someone whether they are holding a knife, a bat, a small child.. or a gun.

But… Things are changing.

I was downtown, maybe five blocks away the night five officers were killed during a protest. I was armed. I was happy to be armed but I was also happy I didn’t get caught in the middle of it and that my biggest inconvenience was getting out of downtown due to road closures. I keep reading about random acts of violence against minorities by bigots. I keep reading about racist epitaphs left at schools and little girls raped by entitled college white boys.

I keep hearing about hate.

I don’t hate much personally. There are few things in this world I will affix that title to but it seems like those things keep cropping up more and more lately. Rapists, murder of innocents, abusers of women, etc. More and more I think “Man, I should be carrying just in case”.

Perhaps it would shock you to learn that I’d prefer peace over carrying a gun. Hell, I’d prefer legalized sword carrying over a gun but we do not have either and the criminals have guns. Utopia is not possible but a better class of living is in reach if we can come together as a nation and decide to work toward it.

There is a famous and way-overused Ghandi quote; “Be the change you see in the world”. It’s splashed on meme’s, t-shirts, number stickers, tattoos and everywhere in between. It is also true.

For now, I’ll keep looking around, taking in my surroundings, remaining aware and do what I can as one person to make my place in the world a better one. I hope you will do the same and then perhaps, one day, our children, or their children will enjoy a time without war, without hate, without bigotry and with more understanding and respect of each other.

Headaches from Hell

MigraineSince my early 20’s I’ve been plagued with nearly daily headaches in one form or another and occasionally several forms at once. I’ve been diagnosed with ocular migraines (painless but annoying), Migraine with Brainstem Aura (Usually reserved for young people and mostly girls), Chronic Migraine and Tension Headaches. On occasion I also get hit with Cluster Headaches which make the rest look like child’s play. Sinus Headaches are nearly a daily occurrence for me Spring – Summer, which, in Texas, is nearly all year.  Normally only those closest to me hear me bitch and complain about these and because I have lived with them nearly half my life, I’ve just become accustomed to them. As I write this I have a Tension Headache.

Over the years I’ve tried a variety of tricks to combat these annoyances. I don’t like taking medication and especially narcotic painkillers which usually do not do much in the way of relief and tend to make me nauseated.

I decided to write this today after trying yet another approach which I’ll get to later.

Treatments I’ve found to work

Below I’m going to list treatments I’ve personally found to work for various headaches. Unfortunately some of them I’ve never found relief from aside from time in nearly 20 years.

Cluster Headaches – These bastards have no treatment. They come on fast and thankfully last only an hour or less. Less than 1% of the population suffers cluster headaches. They are debilitating to the point of near paralysis due to pain and I often faint when they come on. (Driving is fun!). Also thankfully they are rare and I can usually tell when one is about to hit. Time is the only thing that kills the pain. I’ve tried everything from morphine to NSAIDS in high doses.

Tension Headaches – These are usually at the cerebral cortex (back of the neck high up near your hair-line). These are a squeeze type pain and pulse at times. Tension headaches can last for hours and can be caused by sinuses but also by tension in the shoulders and neck. One of the more recent (today actually) treatment was to use a TENS unit for an hour. This dulled the pain immediately until the NSAID’s kicked in. Ibuprofen also tends to help as do muscle relaxers (The TENS does something similar in the area of muscle relaxation through stimulation).

Migraine with Brainstem Aura – Narcotic painkillers knock these out after while but I hate taking them. Normally a dark room and high humidity (hot shower in the dark) help these. Vision is affected with this type as well and can last after the pain resides (Ocular Migraine).

Chronic Migraine – About the same as above although dark room or a blinding mask of some sort usually help the most in these cases.

Sinus Headaches – I saved the “best” for last. Sinus headaches are something I’ve lived with the longest and most frequently. Daily for months at a time. So much so that at times I’ve been black listed from buying Pseudo-ephedrine based medication (The ones that are OTC but you have to get from behind the pharmacy and give your license for). These can trigger tension headaches as well. The pain is everywhere; back of the head, sinus cavity, under the eyes and the worst, for me, pressure in the ears that causes a similar pain to that of perforating and ear drum. Hydration is probably the number one treatment I’ve found especially when it comes to clearing the pressure in the ears. OD’ing on water during these times cleared the pressure within a couple hours. Pseudo ephedrine based treatments like Advil Cold and Sinus or almost anything with a “D” in it (Claritin D) also relieves the pressure and pain. Wet Heat also works well. I’ll usually soak a hand towel and then microwave it for a minute, let it cool a bit and press it into my sinuses. Sinus washes also help.

Summary

The above is based on my own experience. I’m obviously no doctor. Hopefully something above works for you as well.

5 Mistakes Men make about Strong Women

strongwomanI’ve been known to wax poetic about strong women in my course of blogging over the years. People generally write about things they are familiar with and while I am familiar with strong women, I won’t say I’m an expert.. on women.. at all..  As a male, to have the gall to say “I understand women” is akin to talking in the men’s room or not looking straight ahead while standing at the urinal. Men just don’t do it. Boys do. Which is why they are still boys.

I was lucky to have been brought up in a family of tough women whom I’ve written about. My oldest and closest friend is one of the strongest women I know. I have previously been married to and dated strong women. Along the way I have figured a few things out which you will find below.  I’m sure I have a lot more to learn.

1) She needs you.

No she doesn’t. Confused? She doesn’t need you. Simple as that. As a male, there is a good chance you’ve been brought up by a father who instilled male pride. That is great. If he also taught you about chivalry, courtesy and protecting your people then he is a saint. But. She still doesn’t *need* you. Women are no longer brought up to serve you. They are brought up to be independent, career oriented and self sufficient. The days of the hunter bringing home the game and the woman toiling in the house day in and day out are all but gone. Certainly some households still operate like this but not because they HAVE to, rather because they DECIDE to and believe me, being a housewife while you are out in the world at your “day-job” is a much harder job then whatever you are doing.

So. She doesn’t need you. You are going to have to deal with that. The mistake many men make here is to *treat* her like she needs you and you can never lose her. Taking advantage of a strong woman and acting as if you can get away with anything and she will put up with it is the fastest way to make her claw her way out of your life (and maybe your face along with it).

She does need you, she just doesn’t need you to tell her what to do or act like she can’t go on without you.

2) Treating her like “One of the Guys”.

Don’t get me wrong, many of the strong women I know like to be “one of the guys” but almost all of them will tell you that it should end when you leave the bar, pool hall, bowling alley, etc. When you and your lady are standing at home in the kitchen. In morning comfy clothes. Making eggs and brushing your teeth at the same time (I’ve seen this. In person), you shouldn’t be elbow nudging her in the ribs about that great hockey game you both watched last night. Yes she was screaming at the goalie louder than you, yes her man card might actually have more notches in it than yours but she is still a woman. No matter how strong a woman is or appears to be she is still the fairer sex and should be treated as such. I’m not saying coddle her, I’m definitely not, but putting your arm around her or stroking her hair instead of the elbow to rib nudge is a good start. Even if she is a bigger hockey fan then you.

Many men make the mistake here of thinking that her “one of the guys” personality is her all the time personality. This can especially happen when you’ve met for the first time in a public setting dominated by men such as sporting events, etc. Take time to get to know all sides of her and find things you adore about all of them.

3) Control Issues

Being in a relationship with a strong women is beneficial to the man who knows how to communicate and compromise. If you were brought up in a house where dad told mom what to do all the time, you probably do not appreciate strong women the way someone (like me), who grew up raised by a hard working single mom does. Strong, independent women don’t want to be told what to do. They want a partner, someone who compliments their strength with his own strength. Men who seek out women with weak constitutions usually do this due to insecurity within themselves. You’ll hear many men say “I love a strong independent woman” but then get into a relationship with one and two weeks later tell his buddies “She was too head strong” or “She was stubborn”. No. She was strong and independent and you couldn’t handle it. Simple as that. We all have insecurities but the difference is who controls the insecurities and who is controlled by them. A man whose insecurities control him will enter into a relationship with a strong woman and either be controlled by her or end up resenting her strength. A man in control of his insecurities will enter into a relationship with a strong woman and admire her courage, adore her strength and seek to build her up as she seeks to build him up.

4) The Gold Rush

I often hear “Men don’t want Gold Diggers”. Neither do women. Especially strong women. If she is out there building her career or making ends meet while you stay at home because you “can’t find a job” – eating Doritos and playing Call of Duty all day, she is going to kick you to the curb. Quickly.  A strong woman still wants a strong man who *can* take care of her, but doesn’t *need* to take care of her. Women find men who are “taking care of business” very sexy.

I have a close friend who years ago jokingly said “Nothing turns me on more than a man doing laundry”. That is a strong women who see’s a man taking care of his business. The opposite of lazy. The opposite of Doritos and Call of Duty.

5) Mr. Tough Guy

That crap you pull in the club to attract those little insecure minions? That won’t work with a strong woman. She is attracted to your strength, yes, but also to many other qualities. If you walk around all day like a peacock, it’s going to get old real fast. Strong women are still women and women have this thing called compassion that is built in. Men have it too, of course, but women are natural nurturers. There are going to be days when she comes home and just wants to curl up next to you. If you are too busy strutting around like Johnny Bravo, she’s going to find someone else who gets her softer side. On the contrary, she also wants to nurture. If you refuse to let her, say when you are not feeling well, you are taking away a natural joy that is built into her.

Hard to Handle

I’ve had many strong female friends say things like “So-and-so says I’m too independent”. Ironically one of those friends said this to me only a few minutes ago (which reminded me I hadn’t finished this draft yet!).

So, are strong, independent women “Hard to Handle”? That depends on the perspective. Instead of that phrase I tend toward “intriguing to know” or “always-keep-you-guessing personality” or even “an ever challenging intellect”. For an insecure man who is needy or wants to control the woman he is with, “hard to handle” might be the term that first comes to mind. In his case, he needs to decide if he his just not cut out to date a strong woman or address his personal insecurities and “be good for himself” before he can be good for another person.

Tips on Ice Driving in Dallas – From a Displaced Yankee

helpAs I was driving on the partially sanded, ice packed bridges to work this morning after what the Dallas Observer is dubbing “Winter Storm Cleon” (Click the link, it’s hilarious.), I was struck by how many locals just don’t know how to handle driving in this crap.

Thus I bring you:

How to drive in Dallas when it’s icing.

  1. Don’t be an asshole – This speaks for itself.
  2. Stay Home – You suck at driving in anything under 60 degrees. Get some Oreos, turn on Netflix and put on your comfy pants.
  3. Don’t ride my ass – It is you, me and some 87 year old great grandfather out here on I-35. There is no need for you to crawl up my tail-pipe. If I have to stop suddenly, which I might do anyway just to piss you off, you’ll slide right into me and I left my nice car at home just so I could let you.
  4.  Learn to Engine Break – If you drive a manual, congratulations, you are a badass. Even if you don’t, you can engine break to slow down on icy bridges if you are tailgating like an ass-hat (see #2). Down shift or in your automatic, click it down into “2” or “1”. Slamming on your breaks on an iced bridge is about as efficient as eating an ice-cream cone in hell.
  5. Don’t stop on a hill (or park on one) - Gravity sucks. Literally. And it’s trying to suck your car down that hill/ Normally that is not a problem but when there is three inches of ice on the road, all you are going to do is spin. Be conscious of where you park. Once you have some momentum going, moving up-hill becomes easier.
  6. Keep your speed consistent - You think you are better than everyone you are passing but every time you come to a bridge, your sphincter clenches up and you slow down. Stop it. You are impeding the natural flow of traffic. Keep a consistent speed and coast (that means letting off the gas, genius) over areas of ice. When you are applying energy to your wheels and hit a patch of ice, you are going to lose control. Coasting allows you to maintain control.

Communication Dynamics in the Online Community

social.media_If you know me or you have kept up with my old relationship blog,  you know I make mention of communication quite often. I believe it is the heart and soul of any relationship from friendship to marriage.  Today, our need for instant gratification through the Internet, cellular phones and other media outlets has in my opinion both stymied and accelerated our use of communication. As with anything else, advancements come with a price and in the age of Facebook, Twitter and Global news outlets pushing feeds to your phone, that price has often been lack of research in favor of pushing information to the masses quickly.

Communication within relationships has not escaped this trend. You do not have to look hard to find someone on your Facebook news-feed complaining about their boyfriend or girlfriend or asking advice for a situation concerning their marriage. In other cases all out arguments are taking place in cyberspace. In my opinion this is no more acceptable than opening up all the windows and doors in your house and having a knock-down-drag-out fight with your spouse. It is not classy and it is a terrible way to seek attention.

What gives?

So what has caused this uptrend in open air arguments on the world’s public websites? I believe at least part of the responsibility goes to the ease in which we are able to access Social Media. Twenty years ago, we were forced to “think about it “. We did not know our significant other was out at the club with his or her friends until someone called us on the wall phone or we found out through the grapevine. When we found they had been lying to us about their whereabouts, we could not just pick up the iPad and immediately splatter Facebook with anger and hate over the deceit. We had time to think about it, time to prepare our argument and in that time we also naturally cooled down which allowed us to think more rationally. Today we simply pick up our smart phone, iDevice, log onto a computer or text a friend instantly. No time to think about our response, no time to rationalize what we will say. In this, we have become children, un-thinking in our words, lashing out with knee-jerk reactions to situations that might otherwise be handled like adults.

Facebook Official

Another area where communication utterly fails is in courting. If you don’t know what “courting” means, you should look it up. When I was nineteen I had a crush on a girl within my group of friends. I didn’t have her phone number, there were no cell phones, text messages, Facebook or Twitter. Instead, I talked to her friends, found out where she worked and asked her out while she was checking out customers at the grocery store. In person. Face to face. We spent time with each other and we talked on the phone; the kind that screwed into a wall or sat on a table with a cord attached. When we had an argument and one of us hung up as teenagers do, I couldn’t text her to apologize, I couldn’t run to Twitter to spew 160 characters of anger. I had to wait until the next day. When we were “going steady” it was official because we decided it was, not because my relationship status changed on Facebook. Social Media, online dating, etc has become the go-to for beginning and ending romances with the unfortunate consequence of pushing courting to the curb.

Growing up Connected

Our teenagers have grown up with the internet and most do not have any concept of life without instant access. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it does change the social dynamic  quite a bit. Our kids no longer have to gather in the library together to study. They do it online. They no longer get together after school to hang out and gossip. All of this happens online and at times with tragic consequences. Bullying has bled out of the hallways and lunchrooms and into the chat room and more importantly, into the private bedrooms and living rooms of the victims. Where once bullying lived in the lunchroom where faculty and friends could witness and thereby stop or offer support, it has now been relegated to the victim’s private computer where parents might go unaware until tragedy strikes. It is absolutely the duty of every parent to understand what their kids are doing online until which time said child is recognized as developed enough to deal with the everyday pressures of the online community. The internet is not a babysitter and should never be used as one.

What can be done?

Our instant everything way of life isn’t going away, so what can we do to adapt? This is where communication must alter. There are extreme measures people have gone to such as swearing off social media. This won’t work for everyone. Open communication is still my favorite reprisal when someone comes to me for relationship advice. I’ve made plenty of mistakes both online and offline and I don’t consider myself an authority on relationships but for whatever reason, my friends are drawn to me with questions of “what to do”. Some of the advice I have given follows.

  • Talk. In person. – Body language and eye contact can never be replaced with text messages and Facebook statuses. The quality of conversation in person is drastically altered when you are making eye contact with someone you have an issue with.
  • Be understanding of a snap reaction. – They called you out online. In front of your friends and theirs. You are mad and your gut reaction is to retaliate. Online. Instead, contact them and ask them to speak to you over the phone or in person. There is absolutely no need to air the dispute in a public forum. Your friends do not need to be put in the awkward position of taking sides. If they refuse requests to talk in private and insist on using social media, perhaps it’s time to consider whether this person is mature enough to be in your life. Delete the status. If it persists, it’s time to block them until they cool down or come to you to discuss.
  • Don’t end relationships online if you can help it. – If it’s time to part ways with a friend or significant other and they are willing to speak with you offline, it is your duty to extend them the respect of communication. No one likes to wonder “why”. There are extenuating circumstances to this of course and you’ll make the judgement on those.
  • Plan “disconnects” – Something that some of my friends do from time to time is get together for dinner and when we sit down we place our phones in a pile in the middle of the table. The first one to pick their phone up gets the check. This can be done in a variety of ways and if you are dealing with social media issues involving your kids it can be something you do at home. You’ll be surprised at the amount of conversation spawned when everyone isn’t nose deep in their phones.
  • Utilize your online time to build offline relationships. – Social media, forums and chat rooms are amazing ways to meet people  and cultivate friendships, dating relationships, etc but they are nothing without face to face interaction. Get your online friends together for a meet and greet and get to know them offline.

There are many ways to positively utilize our online presence. The online community, just like any big city, has it’s beautiful parks and dark alleys. Navigating them in a way that brings the most positive experience to your life is something that only you can do. Trial and error are your friends here and finding your comfort zone between your online life and your offline reality can be tricky but it is achievable.

Miley’s tongue

344-rolling-stones-tongue-vector-freeWhy is a nearly 40-year-old-man posting about Miley’s Cyrus’ tongue you ask? It’s a valid question, read on!

If you have kids or even if you don’t, you are probably familiar with Miley’s “tongue face” from her recent press coverage. While reading Rolling Stone recently, I came across this little article which explains why she sticks out her tongue for pictures and *shocker*, I can relate.

Excuses, Excuses…

I’ve been interested in photography since the eighth grade and a somewhat professional photographer since I figured out I could make a little spending money on it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people yelling over a camera at me; “Kevin, stop using your fake smile!” and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been replying with “This is why I stay BEHIND the camera !”  –   I can’t smile. I just can’t. It’s awkward and more often then not I just end up making a funny face instead of trying to “smile for the camera”. It’s not that I DON’T smile. I do. Often. It’s just that as soon as someone sticks a camera in my face, I start over-compensating because I know I don’t have a good “photo smile”. I never spent time in the mirror perfecting my smile. I have to smile with my lips and face because my teeth are completely jacked up due to a bad chain of events (being corrected slowly but surely). The result is often a sneer or even a look of anger or boredom. I have figured out a few “smiles” that work for me which are not really smiles at all.

Do as I say, not as I do.

As a “somewhat professional” photographer, I often have to give advice to kids, models, clients, etc on what to do with their hands, arms and of course their faces. Being someone who has trouble smiling, this might seem ironic. Some of the worst offenders of the “fake smile” are kids. This is understandable to me because an awkward kid is exactly what I feel like when someone sticks a camera in my face. Adults have issues too as not all of us are blessed with that movie-star-grin. An old friend of mine who I’ve shot as a boudoir model, mom model and family model has the fake smile syndrome too. In her boudoir work I usually showcased her lines rather than straight on face shots because she, like myself, just goes completely jelly when faced with a camera. (She is now a photographer as well and probably deals with the same thing!) – Her natural smile is absolutely radiant but as soon as someone sticks a camera in her face…

Over the years, I’ve figured out a few ways to get subjects to relax and smile naturally on set (some of these work for me as well.)

  • Breathe through your nose. People of the females persuasion rarely have issues with this but we mouth-breathing-males spend a lot of time neglecting our nose for breathing. This also keeps your cheeks against your cheek bones which helps with your smile.
  • Set your shoulders back. In these days of computer chairs and terrible posture, people are used to being slumped over. Keep your back straight and your face and neck will follow.
  • Jut out your chin very slightly. This pulls the skin of your neck and jaw tight and makes your smile look more natural. You see all those pre-teen girls taking bathroom mirror shots on Facebook from an angle above them? This is why, it makes the face look slimmer and lips more prominent
  • Keep your lips moisturized. Chapped lips draw attention away from your smile and even after airbrushing, don’t look as natural as moisturized lips.
  • Don’t tense your jaw. I have this habit. It makes you look uncomfortable and angry.

There are many other little tricks I’ve come across or heard from other PhotoG’s but these are the most useful I’ve found that work. At the end of the day, the more relaxed you are during a shoot, the better the finished product will be. Photographers and Photo Editors are magicians with camera and software but we cannot make you look comfortable if you just aren’t!

 

Biting your own neck

LittleLionMancolorI’ve been on a Mumford & Sons kick as of late. I’m a bit of a vinyl geek and have worn out their freshman album, “Sigh No More”. I ordered “Babel” from Amazon and it’s currently sitting in my mailbox to be claimed after work but I’ve been listening to the “AutoRip” since I bought it. (Amazon is great like that if you buy vinyl from them).

One of the most well known songs on “Sign No More” is “Little Lion Man” which (in my opinion) tells the story of a bold man falling and realizes he isn’t all he believes himself to be.

I’ve listened to this song countless times and one line has always stood out:

“Now learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck.”

As a man raised almost exclusively by a woman, this has always hit home with me. To me this statement has always meant that one should learn from their elders while they can or spend the rest of their lives running in circles lost for knowledge. The guys over at rock genius.com tend to agree:

“As we know, a mother lion will carry her cub by the neck when he is young. If you don’t learn from your mother, you will be forever doomed to think of yourself as a child and even act like one.” – rockgenius.com

I learned a lot from my mother growing up but I didn’t actually know I had learned anything until I was much older. This is a common cycle I’m certain and one repeated through the ages. I had dinner with my mother last night which is always a good time. I really do not see her often enough and as I mentioned in a previous post I’ve come to terms with the fact that she is not going to outlive me. For a couple months now I’ve been coming up with a bucket list of items I’d like to ask her, do with her, etc. Some of them include:

  • Sit down with her and let her tell her story from childhood, to teens, to meeting my dad and after he passed, etc. I was there for some of it but I know there are stories I haven’t heard.
  • Travel to Chicago with her to visit her friends from youth and listen to their stories.
  • Travel out of this country with her. She’s left the US once that I know of, on her honeymoon.
  • Do several photo shoots of her in studio, out of studio, I don’t care.
  • Watch her adore my soon to be niece and her soon to be grand-daughter.
  • Have her watch me get the tattoo I have planned in her honor.
  • Take her for a night on the town to a jazz or blues club.
  • Have her cheer for me at my first half and full marathon.

There are more and some of these are extremely possible. Others are whimsical desires that her health may make impossible at some point. My mother is still strong and I get much of both my physical and mental strength from her but she isn’t the thirty-something I vividly remember twisting her ankle while jumping to spike a volleyball at a block party.

There is another song that sometimes comes to mind when I have to tell her “I’m too busy”; “Cats in the Cradle”. The difference is, my mother always DID have time for my sister and I. Even after my father passed and she had to work full time, she always made time. I have let my career and other selfish desires get in the way of spending time with the woman who gave me life. Part of this was my refusal to believe she wasn’t immortal. This must change.

Approaching 40

funny_40th_birthday_speed_limit_card-rc69ea849201d4e9180f6b16a30557f7d_xvuat_8byvr_512While I only recently celebrated my 39th birthday, I seem to be rounding up lately. Forty years. Roughly half a lifetime. Like the rest of you around this age, I’m sure you thought as I did twenty years ago that forty seemed so far away. My dad passed away when he was 42 and I was 8. I remember thinking he had lived so long. He had not. I look back on my twenties and I feel like it was days ago. I hang out with a few friends from my teenage years and we can easily and vividly recall adventures we had. None of us “feel” our age and I’m sure that is a common phenomenon.

Personally I have more energy than I remember having in my twenties. Perhaps this is just perception and perhaps not. I do find myself more concerned with things I didn’t care about even ten years ago. Things like 401k, savings, health, etc. In my 30’s it was all about finding myself which I still don’t feel I have done. In my 20’s it was all about finding my thirties.

Things that bothered me a lot ten years ago don’t phase me now. I’ve matured and yet I feel behind, a “late bloomer”. I got married in my twenties and it ended in my 30’s (we are still friends however) and while I have had my “career” since my twenties I’ve only in the past few years actually figured out where I want to go with it. instead or marauding around in an open field, I’m finally following a self prescribed path.

Stress is different now too. Things that used to stress me out now just amuse me and things I never thought would stress me out now creep up in the back of my mind. My mother’s age and health is at the top of the list. For the longest time, I was convinced she would live forever. Even after heart surgery I thought she was untouchable. I’m slowly coming out of this denial to realize she won’t outlive me.

Many things have changed in my life and I chronicle them often in my mind as  “the teens,” “the twenties”, the “thirties”. I’m sure most of you do as well. I both look forward to and accept as a challenge that which will come with “the forties”.