Monday, June 29, 2009

Career Choices and Growing Up

My teen aged daughters are getting to the age where adult pressures are starting to work their way into their lives.

They are being asked frequently by friends, neighbors, & teachers the dreaded question of "What are you going to be when you grow up?"

Since I still don't know the answer to that same question, I've been interested in watching my girls' thought processes as they work on their own personal answers.

When first asked that question, my oldest daughter told her friend that she plans on marrying a rich guy who will let her stay home and go shopping. Since the friend who asked her that question was of the male variety, he was a bit offended at her attitude and asked other pertinent questions like, "What will you do if he dies? Or if he loses his job so you have to help support the family?...etc."

That actually helped get her thinking back to reality and she has since decided that she wants to be a middle-school p.e. teacher.

I'm not sure how she made the leap from 'kept woman' to 'gym teacher', but it works.

My 5 year old daughter, when asked about her future she said "When I grow up, I'm going to be a woman. And I'm going to marry a man who always says 'Yes'."

I guess she liked my oldest daughter's first "career" choice.

In thinking about careers and how one decides what direction to take on that path of life, I thought of some jobs that I wouldn't mind having...and a few I would absolutely hate.

Everyone knows that a meteorologist on the news would be a fairly low-stress job. You study the weather, you make your predictions based on the years of knowledge you gained at school, and then when it snows after you promised sunny skies your job is still secure because you are dealing with 'Mother Nature' and not an exact science. In other words, you can be horribly wrong and still keep your job.

I could totally love a job like that.

What people might not know is that being something like a comedian would be really hard. Sure, to your friends you are funny. Your co-workers laugh hard enough to do spit-takes during lunch breaks at something you say. You even find yourself thinking funny things more often than not, and trying not to suddenly laugh out loud at something that struck your fancy.

But think about it. A professional comedian is always expected to be hilarious. Someone says they are a comic for a living and the person they are introduced to says "Really? Say something funny."

Talk about pressure.

Or they are on stage at a comedy club and the crowd that night just doesn't 'get it'. The best joke in his repertoire gets blank stares or courtesy laughter when two days before in Des Moines that same joke brought down the house.

Even a meteorologist can be funny in his delivery of the weather, but he doesn't get hecklers insulting his mother because his 30% chance of showers ended up being more like a 30% chance that you won't have your basement flooded in the deluge of water pouring from the skies.

I know my examples are cliche.

Everyone makes jokes about meteorologists and their uncanny ability to get the weather wrong. Those same jokesters also think that being a comedian would be an easy job--sleep late, think funny things all day, get paid to stand on a stage and make people laugh at the stupid things your brain came up with that day.

I suppose I should have picked two more obscure occupations to blog about and avoided the cliches...

But I was feeling cliche-like today, so I'm going with what works for me. :)

I'm glad my oldest daughter decided on a career to focus on. She is already a giant step ahead of me in that sense.

My kids are growing up with focus and direction. I am realizing THEY were my focus and direction, and now I need to do some growing up too.

I hate that.

I have put off deciding what I want to be when I grow up until the very last possible moment.

If I could get a job as a professional procrastinator, I would be their most excellent employee.

Until that "dream job" opens up, I guess I will figure out what I like to do and go from there.

Maybe it isn't too late to grow up to just be a woman...and teach Doug to always say "Yes". :)

(Right...and maybe the weather guy will hit 100% accuracy on his forecasts this year...)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tristi's July Writing Challenge

Tristi Pinkston--author extraordinaire and all-around fun gal--has posted a writing challenge on her blog for the month of July. Check out her blog here and see what I'm talking about.

I have accepted her challenge and have decided that my goal for July will be to write every single day--without fail--except for the week I spend at YW girls camp. During which time I will be at least THINKING of what I want to be writing...and perhaps even scribbling out notes and plot twists on the backs of paper plates.

During the month of July I will be posting on my blog about my progress. I won't necessarily count that as my writing for the day though unless it is more than just a simple blog entry. You'll see what I mean when I get to that point.

When you check out the details of Tristi's challenge, look to the link on the right of her page and go browse her regular blog. You'll be glad you did. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009


My oldest daughter has now been 16 years old for 5 whole months. These are a couple of photos of her:

She hasn't been on a date yet, and while that is just fine with me I think it is starting to bother her a bit.

Luckily she isn't thinking "What is wrong with me?" but rather, "What is wrong with these dang boys? Are they afraid of me? Do they think I will laugh at them if they suggest going out?"

She can be a bit intimidating to boys, so I vote for her response too.

I do have to admit that she was sort of asked out on a date last week but couldn't find anyone to double-date with so she had to cancel. (That is a rule single dating until she is 18...and I didn't even have to say anything to her about it. She just took care of it with no argument--shocking, huh?).

When I asked her if she called a particular good friend of hers to see if she could find a date and double with her, she looked at me like I was insane. "NO!" I asked her why not, and she replied that she is too good of friends with her and would probably end up spending most of the date chatting with her girlfriend instead of her date.

(Again, I see nothing wrong with that...but what do I know?)

When I told her that the idea of going out with a group of people you like is in part to help you if your date ends up being horrible--at least your friends would help salvage a decent time--she just sighed and said "I'm not looking for great advice from you."

Note: She did actually notice that it was great advice. From me. Her mother. The one human that most teenagers pretend to not know and are sure have no common sense. I'm writing that down here for all to see.. :)

A lot of boys like my daughter. She, unfortunately, is a practiced flirt and quite fickle. So I don't think any of the boys believe that she really likes them enough to say yes if they were to ask her out.

The advice I give her on that one is not listened to very well. (NOT a shocker)

Have you noticed that as an adult giving opinion and advice and telling stories of your own teenage years to your kids, that because you have the 20/20 hindsight your advice is brilliant and your stories make you sound like you actually had a clue as a teenager?

I don't tell many stories about my flirting gone bad. Or about when I didn't listen to my mom's advice. Or anything that I might have done at their age that I would ground them for life for if they did it themselves...

The stories I tell are more like how to act really well when you see the dumbest movie in your life and your date goes on and on about how great it was...He paid for it. It was free to you and only killed half your brain cells and took up two hours of your life that you will never get back, so suck it up and pretend you enjoyed it a little.

Or, if you ever go to a batting cage with a date and you know you can hit the fast pitch balls...but your date is struggling and not hitting any and it is making him upset because his idea to be all manly in front of you isn't working out--don't hit the fast pitch balls either. Trust me. It will only end in tears. Unless of course you never want to date that guy again. Then, by all means...smack the heck out of the ball and watch a boy cry.

I also give great dating hints like, always have at least $20 with you in case your date runs out of money--or in case you mix signals and end up being on a dutch-treat date and didn't know it until he pays for himself and then stands aside to let you pay. (Usually with this type of date, I'd be seriously looking for the batting cages....)

Another less popular hint is that if you are having a really awful time, your mom is always more than happy to get a call from you and come pick you up. Not sure if she would take that advice, but one can hope. And she knows the offer is always out there. And if it is a REALLY bad date, her dad is even MORE happy to go rescue her.

So she has that going for her. Even if right now she might not see it as a good thing.

I hope I have told her enough of my lame-date stories that she realizes that sometimes not dating is better than dating a jerk. I might have to pull out some of my better (worse) dating stories to share with her if she starts questioning herself instead of the boys.

For now, I will just enjoy the time before she starts dating. Enjoy the slow progression of gray hair instead of the influx of gray that I am sure will come when I add "Kady dating" to my list of worries. Enjoy having her think I have a clue when I dole out unsolicited dating advice. Enjoy spending time with her before it starts getting taken up more and more with friends and boys as she experiences life.

And until she starts dating, I think I'll take her over to the batting cages and teach her how to hit a fast-ball.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's All About Me

I know my previous post says 'it is all about love', but I've changed my mind.

It has come to my attention that I am not only shallow--as per described in an even more previous post--but I am also fairly certain that everything is all about me.

When something like this comes to ones attention, it isn't actually a positive and uplifting moment in time. It is unpleasant, really.

I won't mention the specifics of this particular epiphany.

I will only give 'lovely' examples of my world as I see it and why it is all about ME. I will start out easy so that you can see the natural progression of my thinking:

1. When I finally have a 5 year old who is a good soccer player--i.e. doesn't watch butterflies and only look forward to the halftime treats, but wants to play soccer and KICK the ball...and doesn't have to ease into the sport and only get good at the age of twelve...or older--I take full credit. My kid has inherited a love of this sport and is actually good. Must be my doing. Can't be because he has watched his older siblings play and is good on his own merit. Nope. It is because I love soccer so much so I have at least osmosised (is that a word?) the love into his little, learning and growing body.

2. When the Relief Society president gets up and complains (well, 'constructively criticizes' since RS presidents are all good at talking sweetly even in reprimand--which is probably why I only lasted a year in that particular calling because I couldn't master the removal of my foot from my mouth...but that is another story all about me that I won't get into here...) that "we" haven't done our visiting teaching and our numbers are down, I don't think to myself that our ward is at 30% for visiting teaching so a lot of ladies are slacking off on that particular job. I think she is speaking directly at me. It is my world after all. She is just making is sound like everyone is a slacker too so that I don't get offended and leave the church forever just because I don't like bugging the women in my ward on a monthly basis on purpose. Bugging them accidentally on a weekly basis every Sunday is more my style.

I don't think you get style points in heaven. So I might need to adjust that thinking....

3. When a family member has regrets about a life choice, I don't think to myself that I wish they had made a different choice. I wonder what I did to cause them to make that choice in the first place. What could I have done differently to make their life happier? I'm sure I am the cause of all their displeasure and pain.

I know. I should seek professional help. Expand my world to include other people's worlds. Embrace the fact that some (most) of the time it really isn't all about me. Sometimes [gasp] it has absolutely nothing at all to do with me.


If I could learn that, I think I would probably be a better listener.


I don't think I could empathize better, because right now I empathize so much that I make it personal. So really I should probably learn to empathize less.

I could--maybe...if I try really hard--try to do things strictly because I know they will be helpful to someone else, and not because it will benefit me in any way.

Now that I have rambled this far, I have realized that I can't call this revelation an epiphany. Doesn't an epiphany imply that I have discovered something and it is life changing? I'm not really planning on this being a springboard for change.

In a perfect world I wouldn't need to change. In a semi-perfect world I would see the need for change and try to accomplish that task. In MY world I see the need, weigh the pros and cons of making any kind of effort and then I probably make a few better choices and still keep the status quo for bad choices.

On a good note for anyone who wishes, feel free to blame me for any time your mouth has worked before your brain could stop you. It is all about me so I know that if I had been around, my great capacity for speaking before thinking would probably have been transferred to you I'll just expand my influence and take up that slack for you. Nice of me, huh?

It might be all about me, and you all might just be visiting my world...but no one can say I haven't been an okay hostess. Usually. Sometimes. Okay, whenever I make an effort.

Thanks for putting up with me. :)