Adventures learning about life, art, and entrepreneurship.

Posts tagged ‘frustration’

We The People?

I keep seeing these things going around Facebook. You know what they are, because you’ve seen them too. Stuff like:

– “If you’re an American and a Christian, you’ll do/believe/say X.”
– “The Democrats are fools because of such-and-such.”
– “Republicans are idiots because fill-in-the-blank.”
– “Liberals are the devil’s spawn because…”
– “Conservatives are bigoted blah-de-blahs…”

So, I am here to say this:

Stop it. All of you. Those of you that are creating these Memes, GIFs, and Posts, AND those of you who are re-posting them. I include in this request our Elected Officials who are posting rude, obnoxious, and vitriolic Tweets.

KNOCK. IT. OFF. Seriously.

Creating and perpetuating stereotypes like these is unhelpful, inaccurate, and only worsens the division that is tearing apart our country on every level.

Throwing around insults is not something done in the spirit of cooperation. So, to those of you on Facebook and Twitter I know and love, I’m telling you this behavior is beneath you. And from our elected officials who are acting this way, it’s not only appalling and hugely unprofessional, but should not be tolerated by those of us they supposedly serve.

Whether I am Christian or Jewish, Muslim or Sikh, Buddhist or Atheist is NOT the sole indicator that I am or am not a compassionate and loving person.

Whether I am a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or Socialist is not the sole indicator that I do or do not care deeply about the well-being of our society, healthcare, children, abortion, poverty, social security, LGBQT rights, global warming, or any other important current issues.

What I AM is a Human Being, living on this planet, in this country, with other real, live, Human Beings. People who breathe, and live, and work, and struggle, and love, and raise families, just like I do.

– Having compassion for others is how I was raised. It is what a large majority of us are taught from infancy.
– Being proud of my country is what I was taught.
– Living in harmony with my community is what I was taught.
– Having RATIONAL discourse with others who may or may not agree with me is what I was taught.

When we stereotype and sling insults generalizing a portion of the population, what we are doing (intentionally or unintentionally) is dehumanizing OTHER REAL PEOPLE. This makes it easier for us, because “they” become a faceless mass to spew our anger and frustration on. We cease to look at those we target as other people, who may also be angry or hurting. The Internet has been fantastic for helping us do this. We never have to face anyone we bully and dump on anymore and can remain oblivious. Safe in our anonymity behind computer screens.

What we seem to have forgotten is that the way we carry and present ourselves sets the example for our children. THEY see us all the time – there’s no hiding who we really are. How will future generations act, and what methods will they use to problem-solve in the future, based on the poor examples we are giving them now?

We are not solving anything using current methods, and potentially causing vast amounts of hurt and damage to our people, our government, and to our country as a whole. Your actions MATTER, on a daily basis, whether you realize it or not. So please, think long and hard about what you are putting out into the world.

Because what goes on the Internet lasts forever.

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What’s Going On?

So if you are an American woman in your forties, like I am, you may have seen a recent article called “The New Midlife Crisis” (http://www.oprah.com/sp/new-midlife-crisis.html). Even if you don’t follow Oprah.com, it has been getting shared through Facebook so quickly you can practically see skid marks.

The author, Ada Calhoun, asserts that women in their forties are going through midlife crises – a term that was previously reserved for middle-aged men. She’s got examples and statistics to back it up, too. Ms. Calhoun states that the reasons for this are multi-fold – environmental, societal, psychological, and even medical. But, because of women’s historical need to “keep it together”, the manifestations of the female midlife crisis can be much quieter than a man’s – almost secretive or insidious. So, people around us have no clue what’s going on, or why we are doing things possibly considered erratic or unusual.  The quote I think best sums up the feelings she describes is the following:

“Midlife is when we need to take care of everyone else while we are our most tired, to trust ourselves when we’re most filled with doubt. What makes it worse is that many of our midlife fears are well founded. We may, in fact, die alone. Our marriages may never improve. We may never get the number of kids we hoped for. We may never save enough money to make the retirement calculators stop screaming. We may never do a fraction of what we thought we would do in our career.

At 4 a.m., this is the loop in my head. Then, I remind myself (again) of how insanely lucky I am. It could be so, so much worse.”

The article explains why so many 40-something women I know are making changes in their lives, with varying degrees of risk. Starting new hobbies, traveling to exotic locales, changing careers, starting businesses, freelancing, writing blogs, and so on. It may also explain why people I know who have been together for twenty years or more are splitting up. We are looking for fulfillment on a deeper level, sometimes without even knowing what that means for us, or the far-reaching repercussions it may have.

Now, while it is a relief to know that I am not alone when feeling this way, I wonder… is this a purely American thing? Or is it going on in other countries where economies and lifestyles are similar? Could it be that the freedoms and choices we have really made things worse, and more pressure-filled, instead of better? Are women in cultures with less choices and freedom experiencing midlife crises as well? Furthermore, what can we do about it? Identification and discussion may be the first steps, but without follow-up, it’s hollow and ineffectual.

On the up side, the author does state that these feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction eventually change with age. But do you really want to wait until your 60s or 70s to feel better about your life? That’s an awfully long time to wait it out!

I thought “The New Midlife Crisis” was a fascinating read, and personally it resonated pretty strongly. But do you agree with Ms. Calhoun, or do you think she’s making a mountain out of a molehill? Is this something that women around the world are dealing with today? If you suspect you are going through a midlife crisis, how are you handling it? Let me know what you think.

Impatience, Aggravation, and Frustration

Some days (or weeks) things do not gel, no matter how much you would like them to. I try to keep in mind that these are first world problems; they are not earth-shattering, and should not get me down. But it doesn’t always work.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that I have all the essentials of a good life. I’ve got a roof over my head, food in the pantry, and a fantastic husband I love dearly. But, when you finally decide to go after a dream, you want things to happen – like NOW. You know? And when things don’t fall into place as quickly or smoothly as planned, well… let’s just say I have never been a very patient person anyway.

So, what has me griping, you wonder?

I am still waiting for my firing that should have been completed by last Friday. Since I do not have my own kiln yet, I have paid a studio for use of theirs. Which I am not allowed to run. So far, it looks like firing won’t even be completed by THIS Friday. Needless to say, I am currently not impressed with their service.

I am also using new glazes for this firing. Without familiarity of how they finish, or how much these glazes run, self doubt and paranoia are intensifying more with each passing (unfired) day. I am having visions of glazes running down kiln shelves, and ending up with a batch of the ugliest pots known to man. Could it happen? Sure. Is it a realistically likely scenario? Probably not. Does knowing this stop me from thinking it? Heck, no!

What would keep my mind off these things is throwing more pots. But it’s been so rainy and humid lately that I can’t get my recycled clay to dry out enough into a good throwing consistency. For every day I get of beautiful throwing, I seem to get another two of yucky, over-wet recycling mess. And throwing a few dozen plates just won’t do it for me.

Adding to that the usual personal finance issues, some new extended family issues, and another day that looks like rain – we can safely say that I am having difficulty maintaining a positive attitude today.

Sigh! Hopefully, some of you out there know what it’s like. And those of you hitting roadblocks (large or small) while following your dreams can know you are not alone. I’m not looking for pity here, but needed to vent a little. Venting, in small doses, sometimes makes it easier to move forward.

As my grandmother used to say, “This too shall pass”. I would just like to add to that bit of wisdom “Please hurry up already!”.