A Moment of Truth: She Woke Up (Not) Pregnant

Just when I got a moment’s respite from spending my 20s freaking out about my career (how I miss those days of being under-utilized and free to surf the internet), it seemed that my 30s hit and brought with them a new existential crisis: babies. It was like one day I woke up and realized that I was in my 30s, single, and childless.

Sure, I had in fact, noticed the absence of both a life partner/husband and offspring (unless…wait…nope I didn’t leave them in a store somewhere. Cool.). But it wasn’t until I turned 33 that I felt like I looked in the mirror for the first time and saw myself wearing the metaphorical clothes of a single person and thought “I’m not sure if this get-up fits me as well as I imagined.”

New York Magazine recently featured a piece called, 25 Famous Women on Childlessness. We’re all so fascinated with whether or not women can have a fulfilled life if they don’t have children, so it begs the obvious question: what does “fulfilled” mean? I don’t think everyone should have babies–especially after having been a nanny for a bit. Kids are hard work. Not everyone is emotionally or mentally equipped to be a good parent (yet the barrier for entry is sadly low). Not to pull a Nancy Grace on you, but there are far too many Casey Anthony-like stories out there that prove the point. So I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who maybe shouldn’t have been parents and *maybe* should have done something else with their lives. But realizing that you don’t want to be a parent after the fact is not like “oops, I’m not really suited to HR.” What I’m saying is that if you have the option, you should maybe consider what color your parachute is before you go down that particular vocational path.* Continue reading

Potent Quotable: On the Shore

photo credit : Zach Frailey

on the shore: 9/13/14
by: Faith McCormick

When the storm starts to settle
And the tide finally subsides
When contemplation replaces consternation
And fears are stilled and peace resides
In the stillness and the quiet
I walk with gentle step
With a heart open and empty
To see what the storm has left
On the shore of my heart in glistening array,
The vibrant delicate shells of memory await,
To be treasured, carved, gathered, and displayed
The shell that once held life now sparkles in the sun
A glistening reminder that beauty can follow death
Life will be redeemed and Love’s battle finally won

 

This was written as a reflection on memory and loss. so often when experiencing grief we are overwhelmed by the waves and the seeming emotional storm. eventually, the storm subsides. and as the pain recedes, often we are left with the joy and beauty of sweet memories to cherish and savor, much like after a storm on the sea, shells are washed to shore to be collected and memorialized.

The Growing Season: After the Honeymoon

This is the first installment of the second part of The Growing Season. For other installments, click here.

How long does it take culture shock to wear off? I wonder for the one hundred and thirty-ninth time since we left New York, this time from the checkout line at Target. The woman in front of me, checking out at the register, appears to represent the seventies both in age and era: she waits until her items are totaled and only then reaches into her Dooney and Bourke purse, pulls out the matching checkbook case, and proceeds to write a check. Using the ultramodern credit card scanner as a rest, she painstakingly writes out her total and signs her name. I imagine her adding, in the “For” column, a description: “groceries for the week.” Then? She flips to her ledger and enters the check for her records. Five full minutes later, her check is processed and she and her cart are headed toward the door. And I am pulling up to the register, scanning my Amex, and wondering how the hell I ended up here.

Here is actually only 250 miles from where I was born and raised, and my haughty attitude could be used as evidence against me in a courtroom if they ever decided to make Moving to New York and Developing an Attitude a traitorous offense. Only five years ago I was standing in similar lines, paying little attention to time and other people’s lack of hurry—that was just the way the world I knew worked. Then I moved to the city and, apparently, became somewhat of a supercilious asshole.

Or maybe I just miss it. Continue reading

Photo Phriday: Back to Forest Hills

“You can take the girl outta Queens but you can’t take Queens outta the girl.”                                                                                                                           -Source: Many

queens-324I grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. It had been many years since I returned for any length of time. I still know the streets by sight and can navigate around the neighborhood effortlessly. Save for a few changing storefronts, everything appeared mostly the same. Familiar landmarks anchored me. The park. The ice cream store. I was six years old again.

queens-129 queens-008 Continue reading

Party Non-Sequiturs: Talking to Someone You Haven’t Seen in a While Edition

Hello! It’s good to see you again! Did you miss me? I definitely missed you. What have you been up to lately?

Yes friends, after an extended hiatus, I am back writing for the Wheelhouse. It was a good break, full of learning, growth, and not as much sleep as I would have expected. Thanks for asking.

Long-time readers of the Wheelhouse know that I have often written about the pains of small talk, and provided tips for how to navigate those party non-sequiturs with fun, serious, and interesting questions – some jokes, some actual conversation gold nuggets. Now, my return to writing has provided me the chance to tackle one of the hardest conversation types out there: the person you haven’t seen in a long time but are now forced to talk to in a casual manner.

We’ve all been there, right? You happen to run into someone you haven’t seen in years, and while you may initially be excited to say hi, you quickly realize that there may have been a reason you didn’t stay best friends forever with this person. It’s not that they’re a terrible human being or anything (hopefully), but the circumstances that once brought you together have changed, and that connection is that much harder to reestablish.

So you have a choice, you can either pretend to get a call and start staring at your phone, or you can attempt to engage in conversation beyond the question I asked at the beginning of this post.

This is also an option, but let’s hope it never comes to this. Via condenaststore.com

If you choose the latter, here are some questions to get the conversation flowing:

  • What’s the most significant event that happened to you in the last X years? Why was it significant?
  • If they moved to another city, ask them what took them to that city originally and if they are still involved with that endeavor.
  • How upset are you that David Mitchell was left off the short list for the Man Booker Prize?
  • Point out a mutual friend in the crowd, and make up a brief update on that person to see if they call your bluff.
  • Point to a person you don’t know, pretend you do, and try to pass off the plot of Bambi as their life story.
  • This year has seen a rise in conversation about misogyny. Between Elliott Rodger, #YesAllWomen, and most recently the high prevalence of women-hating in the gaming world, do you think it’s time for a serious change in the way men and women perceive and interact with each other? Try and ask this in the middle of light-hearted conversation to throw them for a loop.
  • If the Bambi plotline doesn’t work, try Toy Story 1-3.
  • What do you think was the song of the summer?
  • Do you ever think of me, late at night, and an unexplainable longing takes hold of you? No? Just me then…
  • If you could go back to [year you first met] and change one thing, what would it be?
  • Should Obama strike ISIS without the approval of Congress?
  • Ask about their new local sports team (again, only if they moved).
  • Were you surprised that Chris Pratt turned out to be a bankable mega-movie star?
  • Start asking them about something that you know didn’t happen with them. When they say they don’t remember or it wasn’t them. Press a little further. Keep going until they either walk away in disgust or break down and admit that it was them in an effort to be polite. Kind of like this:

You get the point. Try and engage the person to talk about their life now in a meaningful and interesting way, and you’ll both come away from the conversation glad to have run into each other. But whatever you do, don’t say you’ll hang out with them soon. You’re not here to lie, either to them or yourself.

And feel free to use these questions on me the next time you see me. After all, it’s been a while!