Dating: Gen X & Gen Y Sitting in a Tree…

September 30, 2010 at 7:35 am | Posted in Relationship Woes | 10 Comments
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I’m pleased to present my first guest blog post from my friend Dez from Dezolutions.  Check out her blog for a fun, motivational account of the trials and successes of reaching your goals.

“You’re acting like a CHILD! Stop it! What do you know about life!?”

“Stop telling me what to do! God, you’re not my boss.  I know MORE than enough about life!!”

Sounds like the typical fight between parent and child right?

Wrong.

These were the types of fights I had with my boyfriend. Like any normal healthy couple, we argued. The difference? We are 10yrs apart. These arguments just came with the territory of dating someone older.

I was 20 and he was 30 when we met at work. We didn’t start dating till I was 21, and we haven’t stopped. Almost 6yrs later and many milestones crossed together, we have certainly grown to respect our different generations.

Boyfriend had traveled the country, and other countries, worked hard on his career as a successful artist, seen his share of all sorts of lifestyles and cultures and had a beautiful daughter.

While he was building his foundation, my biggest concern in 1999 was finishing my chemistry homework and making sure I washed my softball uniform. Our brains were clearly not on the same page.

When we met, we both had concerns about the age difference. Is 10yrs really that bad? We have a completely different letter for our Generations! But, we decided to give it a try, and we learned a LOT about each other over the years.

When he would try to explain something to me, it was hard for me to empathize. I’d only ever lived with college roommates before, never a boyfriend, so not only was he my first live-in boyfriend, but he was also my first real roommate (in terms of splitting the bills, paying rent, buying food, respecting space).  He had roommates for years before me. It wasn’t that I was inconsiderate and messy, it was because I was naive and clueless. “You mean, I can’t just eat peanut butter out of the jar and move his stuff around without asking? “ Totally foreign to me. It took many YEARS of practice till I finally realized how to properly live with another adult. It’s all about respect, from both ends. He realized I was a newbie, and I realized I had to smarten up quick if I didn’t want to annoy him anymore.

We also had a dog together. A WHOLE other set of confusions. I’d never had a dog, ever. My family were cat people. But I LOVE dogs. I had zero clue how to take care of one. “You mean I have to get up and take her out 4x a day!!? AND feed her!!??” Oh man, cats were so simple. Just give’m a box to pee in and box to eat from, done. So, first time roommate, first time live-in boyfriend AND first time caring for something that relied on you 100% to live. Talk about a boat-load of responsibility thrown onto your lap. I tried to master these 3 new areas of my life AND work 40+ hours a week AND go to school full-time.

I must say, I think I did a very good job. With a patient Boyfriend, who sometimes…wasn’t always patient… made it worth trying hard for. He wasn’t the only teacher in the relationship. I brought  a lot to the table as well. I was book smart, I knew a lot about finance and business management. I knew how to communicate, network and make friends quickly. I know how to plan for the future and put strategy into motion to reach our goals. He didn’t need any help on keeping himself young, but I’m sure I helped a little bit 🙂 And he has since traded in his cargo shorts and band T’s for some well-fitting jeans and button downs. I’d like to think I had a little influence, but he is one snazzy gentleman.

There were lots of disagreements, but also, lots of communication. We may not always agree, but we respect each others opinions.  It was important to know, that we wanted to make things work. With any long term relationship, that’s what it takes… work. Not all the time, but its a key factor. Most of my family members have large age differences in their relationships, I guess I was just used to that. Even previous relationships, I always dated 6 or 7 yrs older.

So where are we now? I’m 27, he’s 37 and the 10yr difference now, is almost non-exsistent. I’ve done a lot in these past 6yrs. I’ve traveled a bit around the country (went to Italy right before i met him), worked hard on my career, finished school, challenged myself, learned SO many new things, and became a better roommate. His daughter is now 15, and as beautiful as ever. I love her so much, and we have such a great time together. I love his entire family and vice versa, they tell me all the time 🙂  Sadly, our first dog passed, and grieving over a huge loss, definitely brought us closer. We have a new doggy-addition, her name is Gabby, she’s 4 now and sharing the responsibility of a living creature is one of the best ways to form a strong bond.

Even though he has a 10yr head-start, we may not be on the same page all the time, but we’re definitely in the same chapter. We had a variable that not too many couples had. But we work well together, we’re happy, and without all that bickering and head-butting we’d never be as close as we are now.

So as I approach 30…he approaches 40, I’m proud to say, his birthday cake candles, will always burn down the house before mine 🙂

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Fly Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

September 21, 2010 at 7:40 am | Posted in Life and Living | 3 Comments
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I was walking my dog one morning last week the way I always do – with my eyes barely open, my hair a mess, and in my pajamas. We always walk the same route, with very little variation (dog owners know that dogs run on routine – when you break that routine, you will have a very confused and neurotic dog on your hands).  On this morning, there was an outdoor cat doing what cats do. Well, for my dog, it’s true what they say about their feelings towards cats. Whenever my dog sees a cat, instinct takes over and the cat’s life is at high risk. So I decided to turn down another road to avoid confrontation.

It was on this road that I felt a sudden prickling on the top of my foot.  At first I thought it was just a weird pain that I got from moving my foot in an awkward way, but when I lifted up my pants I saw a bee harvesting my foot. I shook it off, but it was too late. I had been stung.

I was completely shocked.  I totally forgot about bee stings.  I haven’t been stung since I was a child.  I remember the constant summer worry about bees. All children were aware of it. They were told to stand completely still when a bee was around.  I also remember exactly where I was the last time I got stung about twenty years ago.   I was at the pool, standing by the water on the grass when the bastard came up and got me in the back of my thigh.  I don’t really remember the pain, but I do remember that children in general don’t usually handle pain well.

With all this in mind, I tried to act cool.  I’m an adult now. It’s just a bee sting. I’ll be fine.  Let me tell you, it hurt!  I was putting ice on it and trying to get ready for work.  I can’t call out sick for a bee sting, right? That just sounds ridiculous. But my foot was swollen to twice its size. I couldn’t put much pressure on it and had to elevate it when I got to work.

It’s now days later and my foot is doing much better.  I have just started wearing normal shoes again. But I know I’ll be fine.  I know you must think I’m being such a baby, but when was the last time you were stung?  To me, this was a reminder for when I have kids that bee stings hurt, so when mini Dana comes crying hysterically to me with a swollen limb, I’ll be able to relate to her pain.

Taking On The World’s Problems – Or, At Least Pitching In

August 26, 2010 at 7:33 am | Posted in Career Moves, Life and Living | 34 Comments
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Girl Scouts!

There are a few experiences from my childhood that I now recognize as opportunities to support the greater good.  The first was my experience as a Girl Scout (Brownie Troop 1678 represent!).  As a Girl Scout, we did lots of fun activities – we camped, we played games, we held bake sales and of course sold the famous Girl Scout cookies (I was a Samoas fan). I was so young I didn’t know that I was part of a larger movement to empower girls, to expose them to the great outdoors and to the larger world around them.

The second experience that sticks out in my mind was my father’s involvement with the Road Runners Club.  As a member, he ran in 10 marathons in New York City, and countless 5K runs, etc.  He usually raised money for cancer, having lost both parents to it.  His last run was for heart disease, an illness he conquered, but that’s a story for a different day.

I didn’t hear of the phrase “non-profit” until I was older.  I didn’t really know about the millions of people working to solve the world’s problems, until I became one of them.  I’m lucky enough to know this world now, but I know a lot of people still don’t really know it.

I wanted to do more than collect a paycheck from a cause that I worked for and believed in.  I wanted to start giving back.  There are so many problems in the world, but little by little, we can make a dent.  A few years ago, around the time when I got my dog, I found a cause I was truly passionate about.  With all that my dog gives to me, I was compelled to give back.  I have chosen to direct the majority of my support to the ASPCA, an organization that works to protect our pets. There are many organizations that do similar work, but I chose ASPCA because their message is simple, not too extreme, and as a national organization, they have a wide reach.  As I get older, I hope to be able to give more, and perhaps choose a few other worthy causes to regularly support.

What the non-profit world does best is to create a community of hope, from the youngest supporters to the oldest.  Who we donate to often relates directly to a pain we suffered or an inspiring experience.  What we support, what we work to change or improve or advance, defines us and gives us a greater world to live in tomorrow.

What do you do to make the world a better place?

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