Saturday, June 28, 2008


Did you feel it?  

I sure did.  No, you probably didn't.  It was internal.  

A quake that is still sending small aftershocks through my body.

It's happened before.  Four years ago was the biggest.  That one nudged my whole self.  It did not take me off my foundation, though some believe it has.  It just caused a crack. 

Crack.  There it is again.  Crack.  

A rift that some do not take the time to understand.  A crevice some refuse to bridge.  And in these post-internal-quake moments I find myself shaking in my core at what might come next.  The places these cracks might take me, my family.  

Please give me strength to see past these cracks myself, to build my own bridges, to keep people close beyond differences - and more friends like this.  

Monday, June 23, 2008


21 has always been my favorite number.  So it shouldn't be a surprise that when I opened my dashboard to change my countdown calendar the result was 21.   21 days that is.

21 days to the change from 20-something to 30-something.
21 days and then I have to chose a different age bracket on surveys.
21 days and I'll be the age I first remember my parents being.
21 days and I have to put 30 into the treadmill at the gym when it intrusively asks for my age.
21 days and nothing will change, and yet everything will.
21 days and I'll be 30.

I've known for 29 years that I'd turn 30.  Or at least hoped I'd turn 30.  Back in the day 30 was old age.   (I'm not really sure what 'day' that was - but it makes me feel better to type it.)  This past year the realization of turning 30 has sunk in more and more.  Days to my birthday pass by, friends turn 30, clerks at the store comment when asking to see my id....

I'm not afraid to turn 30.  I'm not afraid to leave my 20's.  Surprisingly.  I tend to be more of a status-quo person so the fact that I am looking, anxiously, towards a change is new.  And that's the point.  Turning 30 opens up a new decade of life to live.  The loves lost, bad decisions, hard lessons, long nights of soul searching, and general uncomfortableness in my own body that were a part of my 20's have concluded. 

Sure I'll soul search in my 30's, I'll need to get used to my 30 year-old body (Susan brilliantly posted on this), I'll lose love, and make bad decisions.  This time I get to do it with 29 years of knowledge.  With that knowledge comes a sense of empowerment.  It is as if July 14th will come and in waking up I'll shed the layers I built in my 20's in order to rebuild in my 30's.

I'm starting off by making my 30th year as experience-full as possible.  In totally me form I've composed letterhead (including a logo! yes, I crack myself up) which I'm using to write letters to all my family and friends.  I'm asking that instead of gifts they help me create an extraordinary year.  Build a memory with me, share an experience, broaden our relationship, etc.  

I recognize the reality that July 14th will roll around with little change.  The boys will wake up and beg me to make them breakfast.  E will head to work - and then on a business trip later that week.  TJ will still be across the country. My letterbox full of 20 year-old memories will still sit on my shelf.  I'll still cry at commercials and get nervous that when I dance in my house someone might be watching.  I'll get disappointed at myself and laugh at myself a little too much.  Those things might not change this decade either.

Still, in 21 days I will take a deep breath and plunge into this next adventure in life.  30.  And I hope for 10 years of good perspective, meditation, and interaction.  I have a feeling my 40's will be here before I know it.  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Consider yourself served...

It would seem there is a little bit of confusion in the world still about the difference between service and selfishness. Or maybe it's just the world that I am surrounded by.

I had an interesting conversation today with a friend. One of the things we talked about was how often people, we were talking specifics but it's true in general, label something as service when the real motivation behind it is selfish.

That was wordy. What I mean is: Person A does something with the intent of getting something and yet labels it as service.

I found myself reviewing the claims of service our friend has made over our relationship - and then I stopped myself. Because of course I've done the same thing.

The more I got thinking about this the more I hated to realize how often ulterior motives play into behavior. Maybe it's because I wanted to justify my selfish service, but I hit upon something. The hybrid of service and selfishness.

Self-serving. Now if only I'd come up with that first.

Like a hybrid car self-serving combines the best of both selfish acts and service. You've done a little bit of good but you haven't relieved the problem of dependence on ego lubrication.

For example I became an aunt for the first time yesterday (see, that's a self-serving statement). I would love to hop in the car under the premise of going to see Adeline Joy. The truth is that the reasons for going would both be to celebrate her birth, be with the new parents AND celebrate my new auntiehood, bask in the warmth of holding a new baby, and sneak in visits to all my friends.

The dirty little secret for me about self-serving isn't that I do it, or that it exists. It's that people decorate it up and try to pass it off as service. At least when someone is being really selfish they usually don't dress it up. In fact most selfish people are quite honest. Too much sometimes. But at least you know what you're getting.

Self-serving acts of "service" drive me crazy. It's the person who does nice things for people and then tells all her friends about it. Or who reminds you of a "favor" granted in order to ask for reciprocation. I have no problem doing nice things for people who do nice things for me (or even people who don't). I trust that when I need help people will reach out because of how they feel for me, not because they think they have to.

Maybe self-serving is too restrictive of a title - but it seems fair to me. Just don't gift wrap it as something else. Last I checked, none of the appointed saints actually lobbied for their own sainthood.