Advice To The Young ‘Uns

8 08 2008

A bunch of the cool kids are having birthdays today and are getting well wishes on Twitter. It got me to thinking that I was sneaking cigarettes and had already been through Watergate when they were not on this planet.

Getting older isn’t really a problem. I’m old enough to know better but too young to care in a lot of respects. Hit 40 and you will find that all the things that bothered you at 30 don’t matter much anymore. You find a place where it’s more than all right to just be you.

Ahh, there are issues, mind you. Chin hair (what the hell is up with that crap and ain’t it sexy.) Two cups of coffee in the morning and not the whole pot I used to drink because if I did I would spontaneously combust. A sense of mortality, and why I didn’t just become an obit writer, I have no idea. Explaining to the 23-year-old in my office that I call my car Steve Austin after The Six Million Dollar Man television show and not the wrestler whom I believe is nicknamed Stone Cold.

Do I look my age? Yeah, although I’d like to say I didn’t. Do I act my age? Well, that is relative, isn’t it? Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. Depends on the day and if the voices in my head are yakking at me. They don’t listen very well.

Although Michael Silence sent us to our rooms earlier this week as he tried to drum up a mid-life crisis, I only feel the effects every once in a while quite honestly. Sometimes I am braver than I was in my younger days (which could constitute being very stupid) then other times I’m more careful (which could constitute me being a wuss.)

I’ve realized I’m neither the best at anything, or the worse, I just am.

So, you young ‘uns having a birthday, Here is some advice from Newscoma. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Do things you are afraid to do. Don’t listen to Bill Hobbs and eat more fruit.

You’ll thank me for this later, I assure you.

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Stumbling Through Menopause

16 05 2008

Boys, I want you to go here and look at this picture while I and the women folk talk about some important stuff about our lives.

As I get older, I find myself going through the same thing my mother did about 20 years ago. It’s called, da da dummmm, menopause. First of all, it exists. I’m not going to be one of those women that says “Menopause was never a problem for me.”

I cry foul on that one.

Our bodies are changing, we see that we have lived more than half our lives and while we are not old, neither are we young. We are. It’s a transition.

And, my friends, we are fabulous but it’s part of the process of life.

By the time women, and I guess I’m just speaking for myself here, hit my 40s I started pondering the meaning of life a bit more. I could honestly only think about what I had not done in my life not the accomplishments I have fought tooth and nail to get done. I got a bit tired, I wasn’t feeling as well as I did even five years ago. I found myself somewhat detached from who I was really was.

Who was I? Who am I now?

And, as I’ve said before, I’m too tired for an affair and too broke for a red sports car. Yes, I had, and still do sometimes, hit the middle-aged crazies. Of course the middle-aged crazies hits men as well. It’s pretty much a non-gender thing.

We talk about here on the tubes about different waves of feminism, of how women and men’s lives differ as they grow older and the fact that our bodies completely, or at least it feels like it, betray us. It’s a bond women have. Men have bonds too but I’m not a guy so I can’t comment about that.

It’s like our bodies say “Hey make a baby” when we are in puberty and we learn to deal with that part of being a girl and then when you hit 40 it turns right around and says to us “I changed my mind” and on top of that I’m going to make you feel all nutso for awhile. KThxbai.

I have talked extensively to a couple of woman who are going through the same conundrum of juggling emotions, our professional lives, our sexual identities and feeling like poo all at the same time. It’s good to have conversations about real things instead of ignoring them. The reality is that it’s a messed-up thing, that emotions are different and that it’s almost like we find ourselves wondering what we are going through much the same way we did during puberty. And we don’t have the lives of our mothers and our grandmothers which were so different than what we go through now. We have to take care of ourselves financially. There is no white knight on a steed coming into save the day.

And, women need to take care of each other even if it’s just listening to the grim fact that we ain’t getting any younger.

And it’s not all bad.

The uterus is a weird thing campers. I don’t have mine anymore as she was a bit bitchy but we’ve talked about that before.

Now with all of that said, for anyone who hasn’t experienced all this stuff, it’s not fun.

I don’t think people can understand how daunting it is to wake up in the middle of the night sweating like a goat until you’ve been through it. I can’t explain how I was sitting at my desk doing some work earlier this week and felt like my body was being microwaved from the inside out. It’s hard to convey in words to people who haven’t gone through it.

Why do I bring this up? It’s on my mind, that’s all.

I have to tell myself although I’m aging and there is gray in my hair, I’m pretty groovy. I may not look like Cindy Crawford, but I never did anyway.

I am just me.

There’s only one of me so that’s of the good.

And I’m not dead yet.

H/T of the photo to the lovely Aunt B.





Annoying Autobiographical Pause #350

12 04 2008

I haven’t been blogging much this week as I’ve been as stressed as an individual could be. There is so much I want to catch up on and I’ll get to that, but first of all I want to discuss the power of stress.

First of all is saying it out loud, “I Worry Too Much.” My name is Newscoma and I am stressed. Admitting it is the hardest part I hear.

There, I said it.

The last few years have seen my stress levels go through the roof. I’ve been working on about a few different things simultaneously to make sure my future is not spent in a barn drinking jungle cat crap coffee, which apparently you need a lot of money to do.

Stress is a weird thing. I think you have to look at the causes of stress and dissect what you have control over, and what you don’t.

Let’s break it down:

  1. I think the nature of the economy and it’s impact on all of us individually can create stress. Jobs are lost, work performance is being watched more heavily and with downsizing, there is the stress of whether or not having a job, will totally mess with your good life.
  2. Back in the fall, I was sent to get a “stress” test that my health insurance denied. The 10 minutes I spent with the cardiologist cost me $900 dollars, which health insurance also didn’t take care of. Needless to say, this has gone untreated. I could have gone to any blogger I know or the guy at the convenience store I see every other day. They could all tell you that I was, indeed, stressed. I’ve decided to use Pagan means in the future where people can just give me a glass of catnip tea and tell me to listen to some Beethoven to destressify. This would, in this day and age of modern medicine, be just as effective as being stressed over medical bills. I am considering cancelling my health insurance and just getting a major medical/cancer policy and leaving it at that.
  3. Thinking of making major changes due to outside influences is probably the route I’m headed. It’s the only thing I can think of to do.
  4. I have developed an invisible twitch in my eye. Homer and Squirrel Queen says you can’t see it but it’s happening non-stop. I said I had stink-eye in the past. Apparently it’s true.
  5. Self-medicating one’s stress is not a healthy thing to do.
  6. Actually, blogging doesn’t stress me out. I like blogging. Panicky news people stress me out, but blogging doesn’t. I find it invigorating.
  7. Over at Lifehacker, I read this sentence. “Know when to quit: Don’t stand for employers, friends, or lovers who treat you badly. Decide how much of yourself you’re willing to put into a relationship, job, or activity; when you cross that line, walk away and don’t look back.” I’m putting a lot of thought into that right now.
  8. I’ve taken on two additional jobs recently. I’m wondering if freelance work is the way to go. I’ve freelanced in the past. I liked it. It didn’t stress me out too much. I’ve always worked on deadlines. I actually am okay with them.
  9. I get this.
  10. Make sure that “people” who deliberately try to stress me out and are “drama queens” are now excised from my life. Not needed, not wanted and take it somewhere else. Mabel has never bitten anyone but I can train her to do it.

So, bear with me, kind readers. I’m making some changes. Hopefully it will be a blessing. I’m not going to kill myself by being so stressed. And I’m looking at ways to deal with it.

If you have any suggestions on how to destressify, leave them in the comments or shoot me an email at newscoma at gmail dot com.





I Write Letters

18 12 2007

Dear Santa,

I know I’m old to some folks by certain standards and me writing you this letter really shouldn’t be your priority right now. Goodness, I bet I’ve probably gotten the naughty stamp time and time again by you and your elves, but I’m human and I make mistakes.

The things I want this year are very simple actually. I wish to have a bit more energy to get things done. That would be nice, as I get a bit more worn out than I used to. And I’ve been a bit emotional in the last couple of days. I go through this. Some of it is missing some things in my childhood that epitomizes Christmas for me. A loss of innocence, I guess. I’ve done good this year not to go Turbo Scrooge, so I guess that’s good.

I’d also like some patience. Patience is of the good. In the past few days, I’ve had a bit of a lack of that and found myself down-right cranky yesterday. I heard a lot of complaining and it just made me about as irritated as a weasel on acid. I finally just had to get up and walk away, but unfortunately the dark cloud over my head followed me. I ended just making my very own self have a bad evening and I feel really bad about it as I was just grouchy. So, some patience please.

Also, I’d like a dose of trying to understand my neighbors and not to judge them. That’s usually a good rule.

I’d like my family and friends to have what they need and some of the things they want. That would be nice. Please give Homer some time for rest and rejuvenation, the nieces continued compassion and hope for a better future, Big Daddy some love and Squirrel Queen anything her heart desires. Please give my friend, The Stewman, some good news and some days of feeling good.

And, for me, please give me courage to take some risks. I’ve been taking more lately, but on the other hand, it’s hard. I guess no one ever said it would be easy, but I get scared and double-guess myself. So courage is also on my list.

If I could have any random thing for Christmas, I’d like three nights, four days away with Squirrel Queen where all I would have to do is nothing. No responsibilities. That would be nice. I’m thinking the mountains or the beach. It’s your call.

I’d also like a democratic president, but that’s not your doing but the will of the American People so I guess we have that responsibility.

You see, I’m a bit full this morning with things I don’t understand.

Well, thanks, and give those reindeer a treat from me. I’ll have your scotch (neat, right?) waiting for you next Monday night.

Yours truly,

Newscoma





Walking Through Fear (And Newscoma’s Brand New Gig)

1 12 2007

I work with a lot of people that are younger than I am, although that has little to do with what I’m about to write about. I don’t think that the word “fear” has an age limit on it. But I have heard them talk about the topic a bit on the subject that Shaun Groves addressed in a post this morning about this post, which is called “The Nasty Four-Letter Word that Keeps You From Writing.”

Fear affects us all more than we care to admit, and it’s especially insidious for writers. Writing online is one of those activities where you’re really putting yourself out there, and the critics are always waiting to pounce. But as we’ll see below, failure and mediocrity are not the only things we fear.

Most fear works at the subconscious level and manifests itself in the form of procrastination and writer’s block. We want to write that novel or business book, start that killer blog, release that article or white paper that boosts our business authority… and yet we keep putting it off.

I don’t like to waste time on regret, because, well, it’s a waste of time. But looking back, I see I’ve wasted so much time in my writing life because I let fear hold me back.

And the truth is, every time I push myself in a new direction, I’m still afraid. I don’t think that ever changes—it’s just part of the game.

The key is to not let it stop you

I’ve written a couple of books. I don’t let anyone read them, so I get the fear. I wouldn’t even know where to start to get them published. That’s why I respect Kathy T. so much as she just put her mind to it and has released one book and is looking on releasing a second. She’s fearless. I like that.

I actually started a blog in 2001 and I didn’t continue it because I didn’t think it was good enough. When I started this blog, I got through that. I would read folks like Aunt B., Sharon Cobb, TV on the fritz and think to myself that I couldn’t write or articulate like they did.

I didn’t think that anyone would give a damn about what I had to say. When I realized that I was doing this for me and was just as happy as a clam when I was getting about 15 hits a day, I realized I had denied myself a great deal of joy. Now that I have folks visit and then I go to visit them, I have been given a great deal of happiness that I would have never imagined.

Joy is a good thing.

With that said, over the years I’ve stopped myself because I didn’t feel “good” enough. But, as I’m looking at celebrating two years on this blog at the end of the month, I’ve realized that I really did deny myself so much.  Those three people I read long before I blogged are now people I have met that I really like and enjoy.

I guess the thing is that deciding to be fearless is about one of the toughest things I’ve done. I am pretty transparent on this blog, although I admit that I’ve toned it down over time. I don’t vent about the job like I used to (which was pretty stupid but, of course, I didn’t know what getting Dooced was two years ago either.) I enjoy it more than ever because I’ve been able to be realize I don’t have to please other people, just myself.

About a year ago I decided that I needed to do something everyday that just scares the crap out of me. I try to do that, and it’s opened a bunch of doors. I’m writing this to you this morning because recently I took a walk out of my comfort zone and I just got my first regular paid blogging gig.

Yup, I’m getting paid to write at Teevieo. My first post went up this morning and I can read in it how nervous I am about it all. It’s just a side thing but it’s important to me, and I’m glad I walked through the fear and attempted to move forward. I hope you will come and visit me over there sometimes. I’ll be writing there about three times a week. Don’t worry, because I know you were biting your nails, I’m still here as well. Hopefully in the next little while, I can find some more cajones to get me to other new and exciting levels.

Fear is an amazing thing. Now that I’m older, I have found that I’m not letting it paralyze me like I did 20 years ago.

Now back to your regular scheduled Newscoma, already in progress.





A Time Capsule

30 09 2007

Dear Oldest Niece;

I’m watching you grow up. It’s amazing. It’s fantastic. You are turning into a beautiful and kind young woman. Makes me feel a bit old, actually.

With that said, if this blog were a time capsule, there are a few things I want you to know. Things you might not. Things that probably won’t even make sense right now in your young life on this planet, but I need to say these things anyway.

First of all, when your grandmother died, before the day I even knew what a blog was, I wrote out her history for you in a small journal. It’s locked away and you can have it when you get older. There were things I wanted you to know, small items of who she was and little details.

Her favorite song was “All in the Game” by Tommy James. Your grandfather is quite partial to “American Pie” by Don Mclean. Music is important.

Read at least one play by William Shakespeare and try to get it. For me, it was “Julius Caesar.” Then go read something totally fluffy. It all balances out. I tend to lose myself in goofy television shows like Lost or Doctor Who. It keeps the buzz of the real world out for awhile and it helps. But read. It’s important. And, always look at learning something new, even if you don’t want to. You never know when it will come handy to have.
Have a favorite poem. When your mother and I were kids, your grandmother would read the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to us aloud. Read out loud. It’s cleansing. Also read “To Kill A Mockingbird” at least twice. Scout is in all of us. Living in a small-town, books will open up a sometimes very condensed, noisy world where there isn’t very much to do.

I want you to know if I could teach you any lesson, it would be to be kind and to be an Ambassador in good faith to those things that you believe in and to people in general. Pick your battles carefully. Sometimes you won’t win them, but don’t let that set you back. It might for a time, but just embrace the pain as well as the victories. This is how you move forward.

It all passes within in time, suffering and joy. But it all comes back around.

When you get angry, walk away. If you are furious with someone, try to at least understand where they are coming from. You might not understand the static coming from walking in their shoes, but you might at least find compassion. Compassion for others is important.

Don’t do what others do because you think you should. Do what you know is right for you. Don’t just join the pack. In a pack mentality, people tend to eat their own at times. Find your own path.

If you upset someone else, make sure that your inner self didn’t take action for harm. If it did, apologize to them. Then make amends with yourself.

It doesn’t matter what society tells you to look or act like. Be yourself. People say cruel things. Don’t be one of those people. You have control over that.

Life is always not fair. Your great-grandfather told your mom and I many times that Mr. Right died along time ago. He was right. But, this isn’t a bummer. It just is what it is and in the long run, you will appreciate the good that comes your way.

NO ONE, and I mean no one is going to take care of you in a pinch. They will love you, they will protect you, but if you are ever alone in an uncomfortable situation where your parents or I am not around, all you have is yourself. The things you know are right or wrong, your intelligence and your heart will protect you. (And, if not, I will take a bat to someone. Yeah, I’m non-violent and all but a bat and a mighty swing from Mama Bears and Aunt Ticks can teach a good lesson.)

Hide nothing, yet tell little when it comes to people you don’t know that well. Transparency is important, but don’t talk just to hear yourself prattle. Learn from your Aunt Tick (Newscoma) With that said, remember, if it appears to be taboo, it probably is. Listen to your gut. Keep your cards close at hand, because when you ch0ose to give one of those cards away, it’s a gift. Yours to give, the person you choose to receive.

If you do something incredibly stupid, forgive yourself. Just try not to do it again. (Once again, learn from the master of this, yours truly.)

Do something everyday that scares the hell out of you. You will be afraid, but do it anyway.

Like yourself. This is important.

Be playful. Have fun. Embrace the good. Try to look the bad in the eye and move forward. There are times in anyone’s life where they are victimized. Deal with it, learn from it and then move to the next step. Don’t let others define who you are.

If someone is a smart ass and says deliberate things to you to get a rise out of you, remember, if you let them, they win. Ignore it.

Being a rebel with a cause is worthy. Being a rebel without a cause is chaos.

There is more. Much of it is written in a small gift to you, and one to your sister, when you get older.

One more thing, know that I love you if you were my own child.

Love you kid,

Newscoma/Tick