I’ve been wanting to blog for awhile. Sometimes, just about some great product I found. (Coppertone Age Defense 70spf sunblock) and then lost (where did you go?) Sometimes about raising kids. (What’s up with age 7???) But I haven’t been able to focus on one thing that ties my thoughts together, that makes any of it worth reading. I have always been plagued by the notion of my generation. Generation X. We were “slackers” to New York Magazine when I was a teenager (80’s). Then we were aimless in our 20’s, never satisfied, taking many different roads to find our way. How I think of us, is as the first generation whose parents got divorced en masse. Mine may have been first, or maybe second at school, but within the decade, families succumbed like victims of a virus, one after another, up and down the block.
What I remember most about childhood and adolescents, was that we were on our own. I grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which wasn’t the posh uppity neighborhood it is now. I rode a public bus to a Quaker school downtown. There was crime everywhere. But we were allowed to travel alone, to unlock our front doors and feed ourselves snacks. We could roam. When we were teenagers – our parents busy with the lives they might have chosen had they not had that pressure to marry so many years before, we were in Central Park and on the Subways and on the rooftops. We did drugs and smoked cigarettes and drank and drank and drank.
But somehow, we managed to get through high school and college and start our lives.
I remember the thrill of being a free grownup with my first real job – motion picture camera assistant. Driving my mother’s old car up and down the East Coast, working on movies and doing whatever I pleased. I loved it. I remember thinking how much better it was to be a grown up, because childhood was depressing and hard. My motto when I graduated from college, (Vassar) was “roll with it.” Really, that was my plan. I met Joe, my husband on the first movie I worked on in New York. I was the camera intern and he was the first AC. I was married at 24, in a chapel in Lake Tahoe – the Fantasy Inn. Really! We eloped because having a wedding seemed too time consuming and expensive and we decided to ski for 3 weeks instead. My mother gave us 10G and we had just bought a house in Wilmington, NC – seemed smarter than a party we’d have to commit to a year in advance.
Roll with it landed us in Los Angeles (the camera union merged, and LA has windsurfing and snowboarding! Why not just move??) It landed us in Larchmont Village because some friend of a friend said to me after one night of martinis “You should live in Larchmont Village.” It helped Joe become a DP when he found a steadicam for sale when we had the exact amount of cash from the sale of our house in NC, then landed a job using it within one week. I believed I would roll into being a writer. Yes, I worked very hard to achieve this dream, writing every day since I was a child. (English major, short story writer, ardent journaller) I eventually made 2 Hollywood deals. (very small, but still) Then the kids came and with Joe working 14 hour days, often thousands of miles away for months on end, of course, I took care of them. I still wrote, but a neighbor wanted to start a charter school and so began the next unexpected fruitful path I rolled down. Now both of my kids are thriving at the school. During that time, there was also a real estate boom. A house down the street from the first house we rented was For Sale By Owner. We got a deal. We redid it then sold it at the top of the market, then enabled bought another fixer with all the wood and original details we loved. But also, costs much more to run.
Now I am here, in this century old craftsman, with my dear children, Ronan (10) and Tess (7). Joe has a great job, but has to work those crazy hours (or not at all!). We love our neighborhood and our friends and our school, which I guess makes us pretty lucky. But I am 41 and have yet to achieve my dream. I am trying to sell a completed novel, which means becoming a sales person and deciphering the world of agents and publishers and query letters (way harder than writing the book!) I am working on a second book (actually the 3rd – first one shelved). I play too much tennis, still addicted to those endorphins. We spend all of our money on ski trips. (endorphins!) And find myself craving some stability, a bigger purpose, a paycheck of my own (though I do run our little camera corp., renting lights and equipment and of course, Joe) I take my kids to all of their after school activities. I volunteer. Part of me hopes the hard work will yield the book deal I crave; another part of me thinks maybe I’m delusional, that it’s time to go back to school and get a life, that it’s time to have a more substantial plan.
The other motto I have lived by is: “Life is short.” This has kept me home with my kids, (they will only be young once; they are my only kids – life is short!) It has gotten me up to the mountain even when the kids were little and I had to spend the first hour of a powder day watching the top get carved up while I search for mittens and goggles, helmets and face masks. It reassures me that the time I spent windsurfing in my 30s was worth it because I will remember those blissful moments on my deathbed – and life is short. It helps me on the tennis court (if it’s not fun, I’m not playing – life is short) And: the rush I get when I’m in “the zone” is worth the time put in because – life is short.
But it also brings me new angst: life is short, therefore time is running out. I want to be writer. I want to earn a living. I want success and I don’t want to give up on my dream because I only get one life and it’s short. Ugh.
A blog with no focus, yes. Facebook only allows 420 characters for me to say what’s on my mind, and frankly, I need more than that. I won’t be bummed if no one reads my blog; I will be happy if they do. ☺