Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Thirty Chronicles: The Panic

it could be worse. i could be turning sixty, i suppose. thirty is definitely still young, relativism aside and included. lots of energy left; i’m ambulatory and alive. health, family, friends, security and self-esteem. good stuff in there. no need for this birthday to latch onto my radar like this, but i must confess that it’s thrown me into a Huckabees-esque existential conundrum.

i thought it wouldn’t matter so much, that the turn of the decade would pass through me seamlessly. but i find myself in funkytown lately, unhappy with father time. i hear people around me saying “embrace it” and “be thankful your twenties are over” and “better stuff lies ahead.” and i believe all of that. yet still. still.

thirty’s a bit heavy. i’m taking inventory and coming up short. i’m realizing that i’m still far from the person i’d like to be. i find myself drifting into the fantasyland of where i thought i’d be by now, but am not. and i can’t seem to reconcile the discrepancy. my father always tells me, “it takes a lot to make you happy.” perhaps he’s right.

i know that two years from now, turning thirty will seem as insignificant as turning 28 did two years ago. i know that the grand scheme of life will forget this thirtieth birthday and scoff at the anxiety it’s caused. it’s only as big a deal as i make it. the problem is my attitude, not my age.

the problem is that my crappy genetics had me sprouting gray hair at 19, meaning that i have to color my hair every 6 weeks, otherwise it would look all salt and pepper. the problem is that when i told a coworker about my upcoming birthday (this June 26), she guessed that i would be turning 33, meaning i probably look much older and she tried to underestimate my age to be kind. the problem is that i can no longer fall into the “cute” category anymore, given my gray hair, laugh lines and crows feet.

it sucks that in the twenties, one is “maturing” and “growing,” though once thirty comes, it’s only downhill “aging.” it sucks that my body is already beginning its decay, given my cervical cancer scare last summer, to which my older girlfriend Dee remarked, “welcome to your thirties.” and – i gotta say it -- it sucks that it’s different for men and women.

could i possibly complain anymore? yep, i can and will. this is the first post in a multipart series chronicling my thirtieth birthday.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Sun Is Shining

so much so that i got quite the sunburn during my yard sale last weekend. why didn't i use sunscreen? because i don't own any. that's a mystery to even me. it's not like it's hard to find and purchase. but it never entered my radar to get a bottle, even though i had been planning this yard sale for weeks and even checked the weather to ensure it would be a clear day on saturday.

keep in mind that i'm a russian jew, meaning i only come in one shade: pale. so a little sun on my siberian skin turns me into toast pretty fast. for comfort, i've been buttering my crispy self with raw aloe cut from the plant just outside my door. that soothes so nice, but stinks like shit. was it worth it? hells no! i made a paltry 27 bucks at the yard sale and no one even bought the most expensive items that were on display -- the old bookshelves i had in my room. at day's end, they were donated right back to the same thrift store i bought them from two years ago.

another bummer is that my dry cleaners burned down. they had a great two-for-one special and could turn around your order in a day. how sad it was to pull up to the storefront and find a cardboard sign that read "Closed do to fire" in the window. after wincing at the spelling error, i peeked in and saw the charred floor and machinery. i couldn't believe it. how does a dry-cleaners burn down when it's situated two blocks from the west hollywood fire station and in the same strip mall as the always open and popular 7/11 on santa monica boulevard?

seemed fishy to me. this is the part where i should report that my journalistic instincts kicked in, causing me to embark on a watergate-esque investigation into how my favorite cleaners caught fire given its seemingly fireproof location. naturally, i would have concluded that the owners were arsonists who did it for the insurance money because they are russian and them russians are a corrupt bunch. phew, glad i didn't have to bother with a thorough journalistic investigation to get to my sound conclusion. it's nice to always have the answers to everything ahead of time.

at least that's what i thought as i drove away. then a few troubling realities started entering the picture: the flammability of cleaning supplies, the fact that i was russian and not a corrupt arsonist. i slapped my own hand in self-disgust, then surveyed the area for another cleaners.

i love proving myself wrong. it's almost as good as having other people do it for me, though it's way better because it really helps me trust myself to always make the right decision.

the good news is that i got another clear pap, which makes two in a row since my little cervical cancer scare late last summer. my crappy little car also passed its smog test, which means registration for yet another year. and i'm freelancing up a storm, which means more money to waste and less time for getting into trouble. and the shining sun is doing wonders for the bougainvillea all around los angeles.

otherwise, i could use more sleep and less responsibility, and more aloe for my burn.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Notes to Self

• finish getting your bedroom in order. it's starting to look nice now, with a new bed and new bookcases, a fresh splash of paint on the walls. all that's missing are the new dresser and nightstand. don't lose motivation and settle for that crap dresser you've had since college. keep hunting and the right items will pop up like they always do.

• pay more attention during meetings at work, even though you'd rather be anywhere else. stay focused and engaged in your work. that way, when people ask you a direct question in a meeting, you'll have heard what was said and won't look like an idiot when you ask them to repeat it.

• get that FICO kit you've been meaning to get since the start of the year. how much longer are you gonna sit on it? it's so simple to order.

• argue less with Mo. it's been too much petty bickering lately, and you know it's not all his fault. stay calm and genuine when you argue. make your point, apologize when appropriate and keep your pride and defensiveness out of it.

• get your ass to the gym more. you were doing so well before and now you're starting to again indulge in the sweet treats left all around the office. fear the office ass. you don't want to look like that super fat chick in Meeting Planning.

• throw out that pack of cigarettes you recently bought. don't start smoking again like before, and don't fool yourself into thinking social smoking doesn't make you a real smoker. how many times have we been over this before?

• try to be more upbeat. you're truly a lucky duckie with much to be thankful for. never lose sight of this and pour it into being more positive, because your pessimism is unattractive and people don't enjoy your negative remarks. it's not cute. it's sad.

• return the DVDs you rent to the store on time, so you won't have to pay late fees each week. or look into getting a Netflix subscription, loser.
(and there you go being negative with the "loser" thing. why can't you do anything right? i just said to quit being negative and you default to it right away. sheesh, when will you learn? no, no, you are a winner who's lost her way. you'll get back on the right path soon enough. slow down to rein yourself in. you're ok. you're ok.)

• set aside time each week to write the thing you want to write. you know, that thing you think will legitimize you as a writer, since being a legitimate writer is your life's dream.

• don't worry so much about money. remember that it's not the key to happiness and that saving takes time -- you won't have your dream house overnight. you're not destitute nor homeless, and the things you're eyeballing you merely want, not need.

• quit wasting time making elaborate to do lists and start doing some of the shit on them.