Christina 3.0

30th bday

I celebrated my 30th birthday on Saturday, and it’s still hard for me to believe that I’ve been alive for three decades. 

A week prior to my birthday, National Public Radio smacked me right in the face with the gravity of being alive for three decades with its coverage of the election conflict in Iran…they constantly referred to the fact that the level of unrest and public outrage over the current election had not been seen in THIRTY YEARS – the reporter continued to put extreme emphasis on the fact that it had been since 1979 – THREE DECADES – since that level of public protest.  I turned the radio off.

The morning of my birthday was a little rough, no tears, but no jubilation.  I felt like I was in a fog, with intermittent interruptions from loved ones calling to wish me a happy THIRTIETH birthday. 

I needed to find grounding somewhere, so I headed over to my parents house.  I wasn’t sure what I would find that would ground me there, but I just had a feeling that it would be there…I got to the house kissed my mother, father, grandmother, and cousin and then I started rummaging.  I took out photos of my mother when she was pregnant with me, looked through my baby book, perused the headlines from the newspaper that my mother saved from June 20, 1979…and then, an amazing thing happened, I was looking through some of the cards that my mother kept from one of her baby showers and I found the following note:

For we were born because it was time, and we die in accordance with nature.  If we are content with whatever happens and follow the flow – joy and sorrow cannot affect us.  This is what the ancients called freedom from bondage.  There are those who cannot free themselves because they are bound by material existence.Chang Tsu

DS Download:  This message, given to mom on a note card, dated 1979, was right on time, 30 years later – June 20, 2009 – as I was grappling with my material existence, dealing with a slight fear of leaving my 20’s, having anxiety about the perceived responsibility that comes with my 30’s…that message got me right together.

Later that day I went on to watch old home movies of my parents, young and in love (before they even thought of having me), footage of them at Hampton Institute (yes, Institute), grandparents, aunts, uncles…I saw footage of some of my earliest birthdays.  I digested memories; precious memories that I keep with me always, but that were good to actually be able to see on my father’s old movie projector (think opening sequence of Wonder Years).

I left my parents house feeling clear headed and 100% relaxed.  Later that night I was 45 minutes late for my birthday dinner, and I didn’t even have a meltdown…at the after party at Policy I danced from the second I got into the door, not taking a moment to obsess about the time that others around me were having – I was determined to soak up the evening and enjoy it.  I woke up the next morning feeling like Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady when she sang I Could Have Danced All Night

On my 30th birthday, I got exactly what I wanted…I was surrounded by love.  For all of my friends that are turning 30 this year, I wish the exact same for you!

Giving Credit Where It’s Due

I have to take time to discuss my newfound respect for the athletic abilities of professional dancers.  This weekend I attended my girlfriend’s bachelerotte party and we got quite the lesson in professional dancing, it was definitely a work out! 

I should have known something was up when the invite told me to bring comfortable but sexy clothes to work out in.  I packed my gray under armour pants and a green tank top, I was ready for whatever work out that I was confronted with – or so I thought. 

Upon arrival at the dance studio I noticed that the storefront was normal enough, it touted ballroom lessons, and work out sessions, but when I walked in I immediately noticed a divided ballroom – 13 floor-to-ceiling poles on one side, and plenty of ballroom space on the other!  I got the feeling we wouldn’t be using much of the ballroom space.

The bubbly instructor greeted us with a huge smile as she began to shout out the house rules with the meticulousness of a drill sergeant.  I loosely paid attention to what she was saying – I was immediately fascinated by the floor to ceiling poles.  They evoked dueling images of Firemen, and Demi Moore in Striptease. 

As I was looking at the poles, I thought, this will be fun – kind of like, playtime…I walked toward the pole to give it a test drive…but like a quarterback cut down by the opposing teams linebacker the instructor immediately hemmed me up and said that we had to warm up first!  She was not playing…i stepped away from the pole.  

I immediately got the impression that this wouldn’t just be about fun and play, we were about to get a work out. 

Surely enough, the hard work began;  the instructor took us through squats, lunges, bends, side stretches, rotator cuff rolls, leg lifts – when were we going to get to the twirling around the pole part???  And then finally it came, she taught us how to do the fireman’s twirl.  While not a natural, I was able to get a couple of spins around the poll…I hope this isn’t evoking any images of yours truly as a sexy little thing.  Let’s just say that by the end of the class I felt like I needed a bandage on my right ankle, and some icy hot for my right rotator cuff!  As of this morning my back is killing me and it’s hard to lift my hands over my head – yipes! 

DS Download:  While in that class I gained such a respect for professional dancers from a performance and an athletic standpoint.  I just couldn’t hang, physically, with some of the stuff our instructor was teaching us…her instructions on climbing the pole evoked memories of me not being able to do a pull up in grade school;  the movement she showed us in which you lay on the floor (stomach to ground) and make a wave movement with your body reminded me that I’ve never been able to do a real push up; and, I definitely needed some knee guards for the sexy crawl she was trying to teach us – ouch!

I am certain that mastering the skill of maintaining sexiness while simultaneously executing athletic moves on pole is an art…and after that class, I’m sure it’s better left to the professionals.  But, every now and then, when you’re with good girlfriends it’s nice to take a couple of lessons.

“Why Aren’t You Married?”

**warning:  this is a long one, read it when you have some time.**

This entry is for La La Grey Bouvier

At the most basic level, the “Why Aren’t You Married?” question makes sense.  Although extremely off putting, the question is the most immediate way for a man to communicate to a woman that he’s extremely curious as to why a beautiful woman is still on the market.  Once you drill down to the intention, one might see how a man could think it’s a complimentary question…but alas, it’s not that simple. 

We are all aware, that past a certain age (my goodness, I’m not sure what that age is), being on the market comes with certain life experiences that could have led you there…perhaps you’ve been married before and are currently single, perhaps you have children and don’t have time for a relationship at the moment, perhaps you’re career focused and haven’t made the time…or perhaps, you’re crazy – which I think some men are trying to deduce from that initial question Why Aren’t You Married?  It’s as if some men think that by asking the question they will be able to weed out the less desirable’s right there.  Do they imagine a woman saying, “I’m not married because I’m crazy”?

If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably lived long enough to know that most crazy women AND men are at least savvy enough to not admit to their craziness when prompted.  Unfortunately, most times you don’t know someone is crazy until they’re in stocking feet and adult garanimals banging on your front door.

But I digress.  

I was compelled to write this post for two reasons 1) a girlfriend of mine specifically requested that I confront the Why Aren’t You Married? question 2)  I’ve been asked Why Aren’t You Married? several times, and each time I’ve had a visceral reaction to it that I haven’t quite been able to articulate, so here goes…

The problem with posing a question in the following way “Why Aren’t You (fill in the blank)?” is that it immediately implies that you’ve not done something that you should have already done…watch this:

• Why aren’t you on your way to the restaurant?
Implying:  You should be here by now, because I got here on time.

• Why aren’t you ready to go?
Implying:  You should be ready, we said we were leaving at 5.

Go back and look at the questions above – both of them are accusatory and would inspire a testy exchange or an argument of sorts (I’m not there because I’m in traffic, calm down!!; I’m not ready to go because the day got crazy and I got a late start, what gives!!).  So, it stands to reason that the question Why Aren’t You Married? might inspire the same type of response. 

The question implies that one should be married, even if that’s not the questioner’s intent.  Because we are adults, we cannot pretend that we do not have to consider the implications of the questions that we ask.  Implying that someone is not where they should be (unless they are your child) in most cases is inappropriate.  And, implying that someone is not where they should be when it comes to relationships and matters of the heart is even more inappropriate. 

DS Download:  When it comes to love, who is to say where someone should be?  In this lifetime, everyone is on their own path and although it’s tempting, we all have to resist the urge to rate our lives according to someone else’s.

I think it’s important for all non single people to know that single people are 100% aware of the natural progression of things.  We understand that in pretty much every culture, children are ideally raised to go out in the world, make a way, find a partner, and settle down with the person that inspires them.  Most single people are still in search of that inspiration, and would not like to be reminded that to date, that inspiration has eluded them.     

Many of us were raised with the following adage – it’s not what you say, but how you say it – and I definitely think that saying is applicable to this discussion.  The curiosity behind the question Why Aren’t You Married? is definitely okay, we’re supposed to ask the right questions and get to know each other; it’s the wording of the question that is not okay.

To my un-married/single brethren, the next time you get asked the question forward him this post (shameless self promotion), 9 times out of 10 he has NO idea that the question is off putting.  I would also re-iterate that the intention behind the question is just to get to know you better – it’s just a lazy shortcut.  Similar to men, that see you on the street and randomly order you to “smile” – they’re just looking for something, ANYTHING, to say to you.

Lastly, if you’re sitting at a bar, having a conversation with a man whose company you are enjoying and you feel that he’s about to go that route (wondering why you’re single, what your deal is etc) don’t get to bent out of shape.  If you like the gentleman, be proactive and offer up some information (yes/no I have or haven’t been married; I’m single because I haven’t found the right one; I am crazy etc), it’s natural that he wants to know more about you. 

After you’ve proactively shared information about your relationship background, switch the conversation to him and use that as an opportunity to learn about his background and why he is single….when he reluctantly replies that he’s not single, and that he chooses not to wear his wedding ring because he doesn’t like jewelry, feel free to politely walk away or slap him in the face – whichever emotion you feel first!

Good luck out there.

Countdown to 30

This morning I woke up with the following thought flashing in my head:  Countdown to 30.  As I proof read this post, and read that first sentence over, and over again, I have to admit that it causes some anxiety.

It was as if Countdown to 30 was flashing in my mind like a traffic warning or a blinking neon sign.  The thought that I will be 30 in 19 days is crazy.  No doubt, it’s a blessing but it’s a change of gears.  I often say that I never pictured myself in my 30’s.  I think I imagined that I’d be in my 20’s forever…I also never imagined that college would come to an end, but surprise surprise, here I am in the real world. 

Three decades of me.  It’s as if I’m trying to introduce my twenty-something self to my thirty- something self…that’s one hell of an introduction.  So, allow myself to introduce myself (if you were an Austin Powers fan, you will understand that…perhaps, I just dated myself).  Although my two selves haven’t formally met (we’ll officially meet on June 20th ) I think there are some requests that my 20 year old self would like to make of my soon-to-be 30 year old self.  In preparation for the meeting of selves, I think it would help if the following requests were at least considered, because a Christina divided against herself cannot stand (Seinfeld reference, a la George Costanza).  

SO, here goes, perhaps one of my eight readers will be able to relate:

My 20 year old self would like to request the following…

•   The immediate halt of the graying of my hair, with a specific request that that be reserved for my 40 year old self.  My 20 year old self really feels that the current sprinkle of gray hairs on the front right side of my head is enough…seriously

•   Less severe hangovers.  My 20 year old self distinctly remembers when one night of indulgence did not require an entire weekend of recovery time.  This is a) making me look lame, and b) making me look like a 30 year old, in front of the 20 year olds that I know!

•   That under any and all circumstances I will resist the urge to tell a teenager that I remember them when they were just a little baby.  Even though it’s true, it’s just too much of a reminder that you’re 30.  At all costs, RESIST THE URGE!

•   The end of minor gym injuries…random knee pains and back aches are just cruel and ridiculous reminders that I’m aging…really, I get it.

DS Download:  The truth is that I’ve relished 29.  I could still claim that I was in my twenties…I was holding on – kind of like that pair of pants that you know you shouldn’t wear anymore or the shoes that you need to let go of.  For some reason, some things are just hard to part with.  In the next 19 days I will continue to squeeze the last bit of life out of 29.  If someone asks me how old I am in the next 19 days I will say without flinching – 29…I won’t let on that I have one foot in 29 and one foot stepping into 30.  Good Lord Willing, I will go into 30 with grace, and take everything that comes with it in stride…at least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself over the next 19 days.