Thursday, January 27, 2011


I always love listening to my 80s music. I am transported.

But every time, I ask myself, what do I miss? The 80s? My life? Me? What do I wish I still had from then? Is it the music? The friends? The innocence?

I think it's the simplicity. But not the simplicity of the time; the simplicity of our age. We were teenagers. No, I don't mean to say that this is an easy time. It's a horrible time: full of change, uncertainty, fear, emotion. We're so overwhelmed by life, and by ourselves, everything seems like a huge hurdle, and we either want to cower before it or destroy it. That's the simplicity: it's all about me. MY fear, MY emotion, MY hurdle. And although I don't know what to do with these things, I have a certain power. Teachers, parents, adults want to make up my mind, but in the end it's ME and I decide.

No, it's not simple then. But it looks simple now, looking back.

*Although it's hard to say, really. Because we always remember good times, even when the times weren't good. Especially when there are enough years between then and now. And between now and the 80s, there are a lotta years.*

We just watched The Big Chill, whose German title is The Big Frustration. The title seemed appropriate, watching it as an adult. The Frustration of Now. Now vs. Then.

As teenagers, and much more in college, we discovered ourselves. We chose who we wanted to be. We fought for our new-found identity. We were sure that we knew who we were.

But then, some years later, we found ourselves in relationships. It was no longer about ME. It was about US. And we said NO! We are not WE. I will always be ME. I am not US. And then he left. Hmph.

So we gargled the WE and then found ourselves parents. No discussion there, it's no longer about ME. It's not even about US. It's about THEM. Shit. So we ask ourselves: Who the hell am I?! I was going to change the world. I looked at the man in the mirror. I was, I was.

But now all we do is keep everyone else happy. Not at our own expense, maybe, but we've put all of our wishes, our hopes, our dreams, our EARTH-SHATTERING GOOD INTENTIONS on a back burner so that we could have a family. So where does that leave ME?!

Stripped of our privacy and without a world to save. Okay, maybe we don't want to save the world, but we'd like to relax a little. Have a drink, dance to some 80s music. SLEEP. Have an opinion that has nothing to do with feeding, raising or tolerating a toddler. ENJOY LIFE. It can't all be about self-sacrifice.

Optimistic me is sure that it's not. But I'm still not sure who the hell I am or what the hell I want to do with myself. And I DO know that I don't have time to figure it out at the moment. Maybe next year...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Light

Yesterday, instead of again trekking the main shopping strip here in Stuttgart and eating at our semi-comfortable regular restaurant, the wee ones (the two wee-est since Big Sis was at school) and I walked an extra, I don't know, kilometer (after walking about 2 kilometers), to eat at a café which was listed on the web as "child friendly." I'm pretty sure they claimed the existence of a play area and high chairs.

Was I disappointed? No. Mia and Aidyn ate a good lunch in relative peace. Because of the high chairs they made available to me? No. Mia sat on my lap and Aidyn sat on the bench next to the table. I don't know, maybe they were just hungry. My food was great - and I was able to eat it in relative peace. Because of the fantastic play area with all the latest toys for 15-month-olds? No. No play area. But since the café was EMPTY and we were sitting on a step that they could go up and down (and up and down and up and down) and near a ramp which they could go down and up (and down and up), they were occupied long enough with little effort from me that I could enjoy my food. My only regret is that I didn't have a glass of wine with lunch. But I always hate when things deteriorate into chaos (which is not unusual) and I'm sitting there sipping wine. What a mom.

But all in all the café experience was a good one. I also learned that they have Sunday jazz brunch, which sounds intriguing. But given its real-life non-child-friendliness, I think we'll have to wait a few years.

The moral of the story? We're not at the end of the story yet. But the moral to the first part is maybe: Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

What I loved most yesterday was that we took a new path. I love new paths. Even if the stuff there is not terribly different from stuff I've seen before, it doesn't matter. It's SOMEWHERE ELSE. And this was really different. I have no problem with window shopping and wishing for material things, but at some point it gets old. I left the shopping zone to find streets lined by monster stone buildings from the 19th century. Of course, I knew those streets and buildings were there, I'd just gotten so used to looking at books and clothes and shiny jewelry that I wasn't aware of all the little businesses at the bottoms of those finely carved monoliths. (Okay I'm sounding like the shallowest of the shallow but this is where habit gets you.) An ad agency, a shop selling a local artist's jewelry, an art gallery. It was inspiring! This was where people were sharing their creations with the world. And I realized that I wanted to create things and share them. I want to create, forge, build, launch! Take my ideas and make them real, then display them for everyone to see.

I realize the naiveté of these thoughts. But honestly when you feel like you're drowning in the obligations of your life, whether they're job or children or friends or whatever, it feels good to get lost in inspiration and see the illumination of your buried passions.

I was so hyped when I got home, I just wanted to talk about it all evening. But of course I got derailed by bath time and dinner and bedtime stories. And he doesn't get it anyway. He's got the job he likes and the family he loves, and and that's enough. He's not pursuing a dream, he's enjoying what he's got. The dreaming is my job.

Yesterday's little adventure was my light. Now I see where I want to go. It could be my New Year's resolution but instead I'm just going to do it.