Friday, December 31, 2010

I have to blog is New Years Eve, after all...

On this, the last day of the year twenty thousand and ten, there are three things to be done:

1. Make resolutions for next year, that more often than not, won't be realized.
2. Look back on the year and realize what was, or was not, accomplished. 
3. Don't have "big plans" since any big plans will never live up to the hype.

Good grief, I sound cynical.  I'm really not in the bad mood that these statements indicate.  I actually feel quite positive about the New Year. 

With this blog, which began more than 2 years ago, I've always striven not to get too deep into my personal issues, because, frankly, they're not interesting to anyone other than me.  That, and they're not funny, and my blog is way better when it's funny. But I feel the need to put some of this in writing so I can hold myself accountable later on when I'm re-reading these entries. 

I have one resolution only for 2011, and that's to get my weight under control. It feels like everything else would resolve if I could just do this. one. thing.  The problem is, I make the same resolution every year, and have for as long as I can remember.  It's a sore subject for me, because I'm a pretty disciplined girl when it comes to most things.  I got myself out debt, I set myself on the career path I wanted, and in most everything, I've done what I put my mind to.  Yet I cannot seem to conquer this one.  I took the big step of asking my doctor/np for help, but I'm not sure that's going to be enough.  We'll see.

2010 was a year of personal change.  Professionally, lots happened, but this was the year where my life became about more than work.  And I'm not alone in that.  It must be a mid-30's thing, when women who've made their lives about career suddenly start to want more.  For several friends, it's meant babies and the happy discovery of love.  For me, it's meant moving into a house and getting a dog.  Prosaic, huh?  But along the way, I worked through a bad mood that lasted several months.  That's gotta count for something.  :) It's strange to not be in motion in some way - either by seeking a new job or moving to a new city.  I've lived her for 6 years.  For the first time in a long time, I don't know what's next.

Tonight's plans are emblematic of my life at this point - an evening spent with two families, kids and all, and me the lone bachelorette.  I'm used to this, but that's not to say it's easy.  I'd like to think it takes some moxie to find fun among couples and their kids, when in some ways everything they are is a reminder of what I don't have.  I spend a lot of time as the fifth or third or seventh wheel: the one that makes hostesses stress about finding a table for an odd number, or the one who screws up the seating arrangement at a formal event.  That's always bothered me, because I know some pretty damn awesome people who are coupled up, and I don't want them (or me) to feel strange about hanging out.  I suspect much of the angst about this is in my head.  But regardless, I'm looking forward to this NYE, with chili and board games and friends.  It's not Times Square, but really, who wants to freeze your ass off with thousands of other frozen asses?

I do have a wish for 2011, though.  I wish we (the collective we) could do better - not even good, necessarily, but better.  No one likes to be told to do better, but we should.  We can.  Imagine if we all took the money we spent on...I don't know...our text messages, maybe...and gave it to someone who needed it.  Or imagine if we took the hour we spend waiting in line for overpriced coffee each month doing something for someone who needs help. We could accomplish some amazing things.

Ok, enough idealism.  It's time to party, or in my case, go buy fixings for a party.  Happy New Year, all!  Thank you to those who have read my blog, you few, you mighty few.  :)    See you in 2011.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Paying for things we get for free, or "one comment = one canned good"...

Once in a while, in the midst of my usual cynical inner ranting about the general selfishness of humans, I hear a story that rocks my world.  Today's came from a friend in Madison, who posted on her facebook page that a man (dare I say gentleman?) after receiving free tickets to Four Seasons Theatre's The Spitfire Grill (I should have linked to Four Seasons a long time ago - I've fixed that, at right), paid for the tickets because he didn't want to accept them for free.

Now, if the show had sucked, maybe he wouldn't have paid.  But I choose to ignore that fact.  I'm trying to remember the last time I deliberately paid for something that was given to me for free.  I'm not sure I ever have. Why haven't I?  It's not as if the things I was given had no cost associated with them.  Of course they did.  Someone put time, energy or even actual money into them. And yet, for some reason, I got them for free.

If you think about it, we expect to get a lot of things for free these days.  Free concerts, free lights on the downtown square, free parking, free shipping, free bags on Southwest, free exchanges, free eating for kids under 12, and giveaways left and right.  It's nothing new to say that when we give things away, we imply there is no value to them, even though there most certainly are costs associated with them (and yes, I know, cost and value are NOT the same thing).  Yet over and over and over, we do it, especially in the arts.  Sometimes, we're thanked, but more often than you'd think, the seat goes empty.  For the person who got the tickets, there's nothing more to think of.  For the artist who played to an empty seat or the marketer trying to make her sales numbers, though, that empty seat lingers in memory.

I see a parallel here to the internet, which has, for me, been illuminated with clarity over the past few days.  Comments, Reply-tos, tweets, facebook a lot of ways, these are free communications.  They don't cost the author much, if anything, and eventually they just fade away into the quagmire of digital communications.  But for the recipients, all of these free reactions will linger.  Someone reads that flippant comment.  Someone is on the other end of that snarky email.  Someone follows the things written on that facebook page.  And someone, often more than one someone, has to figure out if, and how, to respond.

What would happen if for every online comment, reply-to email or retweet, we put a penny in a jar?  Imagine...we could see the "cost" of our incessant need to comment and share every moment of our lives.  I'll bet we could cure a few diseases, or at least preserve a historic building or two.  And who knows, maybe we'd make our fellow man happier, like that gentleman in Madison. His action is the stuff we should be sharing.

So, in that spirit, I'm going to donate 1 canned good to NWA Foodbank for every comment I get on this post. Seriously, I mean it!  So go ahead and comment, then share, retweet, and spread the word!  And this time, that comment (even if it's snarky) will have value - to someone who's hungry!  Thank you in advance, and thanks to that gentleman in Madison.  He certainly made my day.