Tuesday, October 24, 2006

To Be or Not To Be

A lot of people do a lot of crazy things to get a date, a partner, a spouse... pretending to be something they're not is one of the more common things, I suppose. Some people may do it unconsciously-- morphing into this picture perfect model of what they think the person they're trying to impress wants. Some people do it purposely-- to literally "catch" (or as I like to think of as more of entrapment...) a significant other (I was watching a really bad MTV reality show recently and a high school cheerleader proclaimed that she was going to major in M.R.S. in college-- meaning "Mrs" as in, forget about going to college for trivial things like, oh, I don't know, learning something that might sustain you through your life; but rather, "I'm going to college to get myself a husband." Uh, yeah.).

Ever since that book, "He's Just Not That Into You" came out (and yes, I read it-- partially because of the buzz-- that guy is really funny; and partially because I didn't actually buy the book; three people sent it to me. Thanks, guys. I get it. I choose bad men), I feel like the dating scene has gotten even crazier. And not in a good way. I have some friends who have taken it all to a new extreme, and rather than giving a relationship a chance to breathe and grow instead, everything is up for scrutiny and the most insignificant gesture, word or text (and don't get me started on texting-- I think that is one of the downfalls of modern day romance) is interpreted to mean that "he's just not that into me," and the person moves on. In a lot of ways, the book has been liberating for a lot of women who date losers-- it's not "me" that's the problem; it's "him"-- yadayadayada. But I think in a lot of ways, too, it has given a whole generation of neurotic women an easy "out" to regress into the fantasyland of fairy tales and happily ever after. Not good.

But to the point of this post, I was thinking earlier today about some of the people that I've dated or been interested in, and I was trying to figure out if there was a rhyme or reason to the attraction... and then I boiled it down to the somewhat successful relationships vs. the ones that didn't go anywhere... and the ones that sort of stalled were (and note that I'm generalizing here) always those where I felt inferior or I felt they were inferior in some way, shape or form, be it intelligence, talent or otherwise.

So, here's the question of the day: If we are to focus on one topic of the almighty inferiority complex, for a relationship to work, do/es:

A. Two parties need to be equally matched, in their intelligence, manner, sensibilities and the like.
B. One party needs to be smarter/more adventurous/more outgoing, etc. than the other.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good TV that Nobody's Watching

Well, I guess some people are watching it, otherwise it wouldn't still be on the air... but in this case, I'm talking about House. I took the sage advice of GCC and upped my netflix subscription while on bed rest, and as a result, I'm finally able to catch up on the 100 or so movies and tv shows that are currently in my queue (I was one of those crazy 1 movie at a time/unlimited people-- but I don't have a lot of time, and couldn't see spending an extra $8.99/month when I knew the movies were just going to sit there!) But now with three movies at a time, it's a like a little surprise in the mail everytime I open the mailbox (errr... everytime whoever's getting my mail for me on a given day gets my mail... presently my parents).

In any case, I'm now catching up on what I missed of Season 2 of House-- a great, great show. A team of NJ-based diagnosticians solve the unsolvable diseases that are killing people all over, well, New Jersey. Lead by the incomparable Hugh Laurie, putting on his best Yankee accent, the shows are entertaining from beginning to end. The curmudgeony Dr. House (played by Laurie) is so inappropriate and misbehaved that you can't help but love him. Laurie carries the show... I don't know that with another actor the at the helm that it would be as effective. Although Robert Sean Leonard, an oncologist and Dr. House's only friend, is certainly a nice piece of eye candy.

Onto other T.V. news, I've been hedging on making a comment on Meredith's debut on The Today Show (as my friend Christina noted in a recent comment), and it's only because I'm sheepishly eating my words... she's actually great, and I've been enjoying her much more than I ever did Katie (although, truth be told, I was never a big Katie fan...). You can actually take her seriously when she's delivering the news (unlike her predecessor), and she seems to have such an easy rapport with the rest of crew-- almost as if she's always been there. Quite interesting. But I'm happy to be proven wrong-- like I said, I do love my Today Show-- the better the talent, the further we are away from a format change.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bed Rest

I had all of these fantasies about bed rest-- that I'd lounge in bed all day and people would bring me my favorite foods, make sure my water glass was refilled and I'd finally have time to catch up on the 20 or so books I have piled next to my bedside table, on my "to-read" list. Well, so far the first couple things are true (thanks, Mom and Dad and the trusty nursing staff at Northwestern Hospital). And even better, my hospital room, and now my apartment, has become a virtual florist (thanks Aloha, Noa & Nea, Jen, Eddie, Salomea, Jeff, Lynn & Cam, Aunt Anne & Uncle Dan and the Daves, Harry and Tucker, and Kristina, Emmet & Will for the gift basket of goodies). And I love flowers... such a nice excuse to get lots of them.

But lounging has yet to come to fruition... nor has reading. First, I failed to consider was the whole pain thing. Doesn't lead to much of doing anything except grimacing everytime I move (and I thought it was bad pre-hospital). Second, any act of movement, including sitting up, exhausts me. So by the time I get to a seated, or god forbid, standing position, I'm ready for another nap. None of these things lead to easy book-reading; or even magazines for that matter (and my Conde Nast Traveler, Chicago and Real Simple have been painfully neglected for the past few months). Magazines are too heavy to lift.

So instead, I just sleep... and sometimes get up to slouch around the apartment (hunched over, mind you-- it's very attractive) in order to give my poor tailbone a rest-- sharp, shooting pains in your backside from lying down too long?!? How come no one told me about that?!). And between snoozes, watch movies and tv downloaded from iTunes (thank you, GCC)-- the only thing that seems to be able to capture my as of late gnat-like attention span. My mom keeps reminding me that I had major surgery 4 days ago, so I'm bound to need some recovery time. Okay, okay. But that doesn't negate the pre-surgery fantasy I had of long walks in the park, enjoying the Fall weather (that is apparently near end, as the high at the end of the week is expected to be 39. 39!?! My poor Hawaiian family), and reading. Reading! Can't a girl catch a break??


To the last reeeaaallly long post-- I did have one ulterior motive for my "30 friends for 30 years" project-- that it would potentially spark people to tell the people who they love/admire/have been inspired by, just that. To "spread the love" so to speak-- in a kind of "Pay It Forward" kind of way (terrible movie; great concept). So, do that.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Out of Commission

So, I'm going to be out of commission from the blogging world for a few days (hmmm... as is the norm as of late, so it seems), but this time for much better (but much less interesting) reasons. Cryptic as it may sound, I'm leaving you with a looooong post to tide you over. Deep breath.... aaaaand GO!

I've been thinking a lot in the last few years about my friends and family and people in general-- how certain people come into your life, and how you learn something from every encounter... be it good, or bad... and that even the seemingly bad things can have something good come out of it. Like opening a door to meeting new friends that can change the course of your life (you know, the whole, "whenever a door closes, somewhere a window opens.") Whenever I really start thinking about these things, it makes my head spin... how such little, seemingly meaningless decisions can have a huge impact on who you meet and who you grow to be. For me, one of the best examples (and those who know me well know that I talk about this ad nauseum, so apologies in advance) was choosing a small, liberal arts, relatively unknown (by California standards, at least) college. It opened, and continues to open, so many doors for me... and I made the best friends of my life there.

I guess all this to say, I really think that there are people that you are meant to meet. I'm not one to believe in destiny, necessarily... I strongly believe that you have control over your own destiny, as dictated by the decisions that you make. If you think about the millions of people in the world, and who your friends are today... what is it that brought you together? At some point, we all made a similar decision... where we went to school; whether we were grunge, granola, nerd or "b.p.;" where we lived; what our career was going to be. And along this decision tree, we picked up people and connected with them, if you will... and, for the ones who stuck, something in our mutual souls recognized one another... be it from a past life (if you believe in that sort of thing), a kindred spirit, or maybe even a future life. I really believe that there's something in our make-up that has a say who becomes a part of our lives. Suffice to say, when I saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," I thought the writer and I shared part of a brain in relation to the theory that no matter what the hell you do to try to get someone out of your life/brain/heart, including literally erasing them, that person will always find a way back in because for some reason, something beyond your control, is dictating the "who" of the what-where-why-and-how.

Sometime last year, in the midst of one of these fits of connective thought, I began to think about the amazing people that I am lucky to call "friend" and wondered to myself when the last time I told them, if ever, what they meant to me. And then I started thinking that for all the time we spend doing mindless activities (for me, watching tv), or running around for work, or just trying to get through our lives, why don't we tell people what they mean to us when it still matters? Before it's too late and you're left wondering if they knew? This was validated for me in that I didn't really and truly know what my friends thought about me-- good or bad; constructive or destructive. And of course, no one ever wants to know the bad things, but sometimes I think that if I did, it would help me be a better person... I think everyone has some room to grow in that department. Sure, I know people think that I'm "sweet" and "nice" and maybe too "accomodating." But how does that really differ from the hundred other people you pass on the street? Is that what I'm going to be remembered for when I'm gone? And are the people that I love and admire most in the world going to think that all I thought of them was that they were "smart" or "motivated" or "kind?"

From this launched what I informally called my "30th Birthday Project." I figured that for a landmark birthday such as the big 3-0, I needed a landmark endeavor. Formally entitled "30 Friends for 30 Years," I spent about 4 months thinking about and writing letters to 30 people who I admire, have influenced me, and affected change in my life-- be it good or bad. Some were family members and friends; others were mentors and teachers-- present and past; I even wrote to two people who I have haven't talked to in probably more than 15 years... one which I mailed, one which still sits in my desk drawer because I couldn't find her current address.

Each letter was two-sided-- one side generic, talking about my intention for the project and how appreciative I was to have been lucky to have these people in my life. The second side was a list of unique qualities, specific to the individual that, I admired, had influenced and affected me, or inspired me to be a better person and the person that I am today.

I'm not sure how it may have impacted the recipients, or if it did at all. I heard back from a hand full of them, but my goal wasn't to solicit any sort of response-- it was really and truly my birthday present to myself that I didn't want reciprocated. It was important to me, even if perceived as overly-emotive or cheesy, to tell people what they meant to me. I think that the only opportunity that we have to have any lasting impact in this world is through how we treat and affect other people. I think one of the most important lessons that I learned two years ago when a college friend was killed in a car accident is that life is too short not to tell people how you feel about them... no matter how cheesy you think you'll sound, no matter what you think other people might think of you, no matter how scared you may be. LIFE IS TOO SHORT. Erin's life, and her tragic death, taught me above all else, courage... courage to tell people that I love them and why, and I guess, really, to live-- wholly and without reservation, embracing every experience for what it brings you. It may not necessarily always be good-- how could you ever truly know good unless you have experienced bad? But by taking some risks and putting it all out there, you're going to land on something great someday in return. Just consider the people in your life. What better representation is there of the people we are and the people that we want to be than the people that we surround ourselves with?

I warned you that it was going to be long... I guess I'm waxing nostalgic because I'm nearing my 31 birthday... don't worry if you weren't one of the "30" (as Emmet has taken to calling it)-- or even if you were and didn't want to be! You still have time to make it in for 40.