Tag Archives: life

A Voice of A Generation

20 Feb

“I’m the voice of my generation. At least I’m a voice. Of a generation.”  — Hannah Horvath, Girls

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Whenever I watch Girls — which, if you haven’t seen it, is a funny, often shocking, bitingly well-written show on HBO about four twenty-something girls in New York — I have the following three thoughts, not necessarily in this order:

1.  CRINGE!
2.  I am SO glad I’m not in my 20s (especially my early to mid 20s) anymore!  This is one of the rare times when my age, 33, sounds like the perfect age to me.
3.  Wow, Lena Dunham is a damn good writer.

Lena Dunham is incredibly impressive because while the show (and its predecessor, her film Tiny Furniture, which is like Girls‘ unfunny indie cousin) center on characters played by Dunham that are clearly drawn at least in part from Dunham’s life, Dunham herself is obviously a lot more put together (or at least a lot more focused) than her character Hannah.  If Dunham purports to be confused and struggling twenty-something, then she’s a twenty-something with a Golden Globe and a show directed by Judd Apatow – not too shabby.  I can only imagine how amazing it must feel to have someone, especially someone with so much cache, really “get” the appeal of your voice and your point of view and decide to get on board with it.

I laughed aloud watching this week’s episode where one of the characters, Ray, commented that “when people say they want to be writers they just want to eat and masturbate.”  It suddenly occurred to me (hello, Captain Obvious) how many people are aspiring writers.  Especially in L.A., if you go to a coffee shop I guarantee that among the college kids and grad students with their laptops, you will see at least one dude working on his screenplay.  (I was tempted to write, “You can’t swing a cat without hitting an aspiring screenwriter,” but that expression is kind of gross.  Sorry, Noodles.)  And now that blogging is so easy that anyone can figure it out, people can get their worldview and their writing out there instantaneously.  But among all the ordinary “here’s what I did today” writing out there (guilty as charged!), there are some real standouts, and Dunham is definitely one of them.

I think what Dunham does so incredibly well is just what Hannah Horvath says — she really speaks to and encapsulates the experience of a particular generation (or at least a particular white, New York-dwelling subset).  I think I’m on the young end of the prior generation, so I can’t attest to whether Girls is true to life for today’s twenty-somethings (those crazy kids!  Ok, now I sound old), but it certainly comes across that way.  And maybe that’s what I’m aspiring to do as well.  Maybe I won’t be the voice of my generation, but I can be a voice of a generation, right?

While Dunham’s girls are trying to find jobs, boyfriends and generally figure out what to do with their lives, many of the “girls” in my generation have jobs and/or husbands (and in many cases, kids) and now we’re all trying to figure out how in the world to manage our lives.  What kind of job and work schedule do we have?  Do we work full time, part time, flex time, are we stay at home moms?  If we have kids, what do we do for child care?  How do we focus on our marriages and our partners when we are also so focused on our kids?   Not the sexiest,  most glamorous, or most titillating issues in the world, perhaps, and maybe not the stuff good TV is made of, but these definitely the issues that keep me up at night and I know I’m not alone.

Recently I joined a Facebook group of other moms who attended the same women’s college as I did.  The group has grown to a couple hundred women, all of whom attended sometime in the mid-late 90s to the mid-2000s.  People post questions and get a flurry of responses from moms who have been there before — it’s a really awesome resource and I love reading the posts even if Lucy isn’t experiencing a certain issue yet, to sock away the information for future reference.  Last week one woman posted saying that she’s unhappy with her current work/life balance and wanted to know what other peoples’ work arrangements consisted of.  She received about 40 responses from every variation from full-time work to stay at home moms.  I found it so fascinating what a vast difference of opinion there was with respect to the desire to work outside the home or not, even among women who attended the same school at approximately the same time.  One woman admitted that she finds playing with her kids really boring.  Another said that she couldn’t imagine working outside the home and being away from her three small children.  One woman described herself as a “reluctant” stay at home mom who regretted having left academia when her son was born, and another expressed that she wished she could afford to stay home.

But despite all the differences between these women,  absolutely nobody makes judgy or condescending remarks (which, if you’ve ever looked at any online mom resource, you will know is quite a feat).  I’ve written before that one of my biggest pet peeves — at work, with parenting and in life in general — is when women cut each other down instead of supporting each other, so it’s wonderful to know that I can pose questions in this forum and receive nothing but positive encouragement and advice.

I must say…. if this is my generation, I’d be honored to be a voice of it.

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The Old Me

15 Jan

Bob Porter: “Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.”

Peter Gibbons: “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”  

– Office Space 

A few months before Lucy was born, at the prodding of my law firm’s marketing director, I joined a formal networking group.  It meets in Westwood the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 a.m., and is comprised of lawyers, CPAs, real estate agents, insurance brokers…basically anyone who provides a service.  The point of the group is to build relationships with the other members for the purpose of eventually referring business.

When I was first approached by my marketing director, I was reluctant, to say the least, to check this group out.  It’s part of a larger networking organization of which many partners in my firm are members, and it just seemed overly formal, overly blatant about getting business referrals, and just generally not my cup of tea.  (I love people, but I hate when it feels like schmoozing.)  So for many months, through the spring and summer, I put off attending a meeting.

Finally, in late summer, I sucked it up and drove out to Westwood in the early morning.  I was happily surprised that not only does the group include other young people and several other women, but everyone was extremely warm and welcoming.  Then I faced a quandary — did it make sense to join a group knowing that in a few months I’d be having Lucy and begin a 6-month maternity leave?  But I figured (not knowing whether this was overly optimistic) that this would be a good way to retain some small connection to the working world during my leave.

Understandably, I missed the November and December meetings.  The November meeting was just three days after Lucy was born, and even by the December meeting (at about the 1-month mark) I just wasn’t in the frame of mind to be donning business attire and leaving the house in the morning.  I wasn’t sure I was going to attend this month’s meeting either, but when I received an email from the group leader that attendance at this particular meeting was “strongly encouraged,” I decided to bite the bullet.  I arranged for my mom to come over at 8 am to be with Lucy when Hubs went to work.

Then this morning, I almost bailed.  Last night was not the easiest with the little bean, and I woke up exhausted.  I had planned to hop in the shower no later than 5:45, but I ended up feeding Lucy at 5:30 (Hubs had handled the 2:30 a.m. feeding and I didn’t want to break his deep sleep), so I ran out of time.  The best I could do was comb my hair into a bun, and I looked and felt like a disaster.  Still, I put on a black pantsuit (yay for being able to button the jacket again!), some black heels that I haven’t worn in months, and hit the road.  On the way I thought to myself, “It’s not too late to go home and try to get some more sleep…”

But as it turns out, going to this meeting was the best thing I could have done for myself today.  I wouldn’t have expected this since I don’t even know the people in the group that well, but today I felt more like “myself” than I have since Lucy was born.  I have become so hyper-focused on Lucy and on mamahood that I really needed that reminder that I have a career and a life outside of Lucy, too.  I studied and worked hard to become a lawyer and I get satisfaction from it.  So while there are certain things about my job I don’t love (billable hours…) there are things I do love (the intellectual challenge, the camaraderie, the problem solving).

Before Lucy I always thought I would want to continue working outside the home, even if I had a choice not to.  Then Lucy came along and I fell so in love with her that I thought maybe I would really want to be a SAHM if I could.  But now I’m realizing my first instinct was right.  I love Lucy, and I love being a mom, but I’m not cut out for staying at home full-time.  Along with my feeling of relaxation, I’ve also been feeling a bit like my brain is turning to mush, and today helped!  Of course, attending one morning meeting is quite different than a full-time job, and I know I will have a tough adjustment once I do return to work.  But it is nice to have a way to gradually ease back into that world before I have to jump back into all the deadlines and stresses that go along with it.

When I came home, I shared my thoughts with my mom, who agreed that it’s important for me to maintain my career.  Always wise, she said the following:

It may be very hard to think about, but although Lucy is the most important person in your life, you won’t be the most important person in her life.  And that’s how it should be.”

I apparently taught my mom that lesson early on.  At the tender age of 8, as she loves to recount, I wrote her a Mother’s Day card with the sentimental note, “Just think — only 10 more years.”  In other words, I was envisioning my departure from the house before I had even left elementary school!  It’s so hard to imagine when she is just a baby, but Lucy may very well be the same way, and I need to be able to laugh about it.  I think that will be much easier to do if I hold on, to some degree, to the “old me.”

Out and About

13 Jan
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This isn’t my house…

Today was our first time ever taking Lucy out, other than walks around the neighborhood or trips to the pediatrician’s office.  Our friend T. had us, and our friend O. and her family, over for brunch for her to-die-for waffles, along with eggs, sausage and bacon (actually, turkey sausage and turkey bacon, which was surprisingly good and bacon-y).  This totally hit the spot — as I mentioned previously I lurrrve breakfast foods and adore going out to brunch but I haven’t done so since pre-Lucy.

T. has a daughter who will be 2 in March, and O. has a 4-year-old son and a son who will be 2 in April, and a baby girl on the way!  T. and O. exclaimed over how tiny Lucy is, and Hubs and I had fun watching the other kids play and thinking about what it will be like when Lucy is able to run around with them.

T. also made her killer red velvet cake and I got to blow out my candle.

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Because 33 candles is a fire hazard.

Hubs and I were admittedly nervous about our first excursion with Lucy, but this was a good way to get our feet wet (baby steps, so to speak).  Soon enough we will be out and about with her all the time, so we need to get used to it!  Among other things, I start Mommy & Me classes in three weeks, which I’m sure will be fodder for future posts.

Time to watch the Golden Globes.  Normally I don’t care, but who can resist Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as co-hosts?

33 + 1 Day

12 Jan
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Happy birthday Mommy!

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.  -Emily Dickinson

I can already tell that I am going to have to make a serious effort if I want to accomplish my resolution to blog every single day!  Don’t get me wrong — I love to blog and I’m committed to it, but life definitely gets in the way.  It’s amazing how quickly a day flies by with Lucy.  Today we did some cleaning up around the house, Hubs took down the Christmas tree (if any fire marshals are reading this, don’t worry — it’s a faux tree from Target), we took a walk to do some errands, feeding and playing with Lucy in between, and boom, it’s 4:30 pm.  

My birthday evening ended up being exactly what the doctor ordered.  Perfectly low-key, but more fun and festive than the average evening.  Lucy was all dressed up in an adorable outfit that one of my friends gave her for Christmas (photo above) and was in a good mood, the food was delicious, the company was great, and as a special treat for myself, I decided to have my first glass of wine since I found out I was pregnant in March.  (I confess that I felt slightly buzzed after one small glass!  Can you say lightweight?)  Since I’m pumping milk to feed Lucy (yet another future blog topic — I swear I’m going to get to all these at some point, dear readers!) I’m not going to resume drinking except for special occasions, but it was nice to be able to enjoy it last night.

Normally I have misgivings about my birthday, but this year I feel for the most part very content with where I’m at.  Bring it on, 33!