MASH and “Predicting the Future”

January 4, 2011 at 7:55 am | Posted in Career Moves, Family Ties, Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Relationship Woes | 13 Comments
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photo credit: http://karenhart.me

Middle school flashback.  Your body is changing and you look seriously awkward trying to fit into it.  You are figuring out which clique would accept you.  And the prepubescent boys are looking super cute.  Your world is as big as your classroom.  And let’s face it.  Sometimes class can be boring.  I was never very good at doodling.  My art even back then was writing.  So what do you do to pass the time?  Dream about the future!  This is where a fabulous game called MASH came into play.

Mansion, apartment, shack, house.  These were just some of the “choices” you’d have to make when you grow up.  Where will you live?  Other features of the game — pick 5 of each: boys you like, cars you like, colors (of bridal dress), cities, number of children you will have, and let’s no forget careers.  You create a swirl in the middle of the page, count the lines and use that number to complete the process of elimination, ex-ing out an item each time your number comes up.  At the end of the day, you end up marrying Bobby, living in a mansion, driving a red Ferrari, living in Paris, with 4 kids, and working as a lawyer.  Sounds about right, no?

Oh, how small the world was back then!  I remember literally thinking who would I marry from my middle school. MY MIDDLE SCHOOL?  How does this idea get into people’s heads?  Ok, to be fair, I actually know about a dozen people who did end up with someone they knew in middle school.  Call it small world mentality, or comfort zone, I don’t know.  I stopped dating people from my high school in like 9th grade. But something tells me when these people think back to middle school and have this same thought that I did, the person they are with now didn’t make the list.

If only our decisions could be as simple as we thought they’d be.  But what if Bobby doesn’t want to marry me?  What if we can’t afford a mansion? (HA!)  And what if, God forbid, I don’t get that Ferrari.  What ever will I do?

The saving grace of this game, in retrospect, is that it does include a category for career (in the version of the game that I played).  At least we had the idea of working for a living instilled in our minds.  But what about college?  I can tell you that I was a weirdo and I actually did think about college in middle school, thanks to my dad always saying it was the best time of his life, the movie Animal House, and my first boyfriend whose older sisters were already in college.  My Bat-Mitzvah theme was colleges and telephones (yea, figure that one out).  Perhaps if college was added to this game middle schoolers would have seen that there is a world between high school and this dream life MASH creates.  Perhaps kids would see that while there are endless possibilities, there are also realistic possibilities.  That the world is much larger than a classroom, but can also feel smaller than a locker at times.

But it was a different world back then.  The tech boom was just starting.  I remember when my friend Ilana first got AOL. We’d all gather around her computer, wait for the dial up, and stare in awe at the big box computer as it said “You’ve got mail,” in that familiar computer voice we all know.  By 8th grade we were all instant messaging, staying up to all hours having conversations with boys that were too hard to have in person.  We were just beginning to discover the greater world, but yet it all seemed like a fantasy.

So maybe that’s all that MASH is or was.  Maybe it was a just a form of fantasy.  Maybe we never thought it was ever going to be reality.  But maybe we did.  I don’t believe in destiny, but I do believe in fate, and I believe in dreams.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I still plan to dream of endless possibilities.

Control Freak

November 30, 2010 at 7:37 am | Posted in Life and Living | 17 Comments
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Ok, so this blog was founded on the idea of realizing things about life and yourself as you get older.  Well here’s one that fits right into that.  It’s something I truly never thought up until recently, though clearly others saw this in me before and are probably wondering, “how could I not know?”  So here it goes.  I am a control freak.

It’s the trait that helped me to graduate college in 3 years. It’s the trait that led me to set specific goals and deadlines for every increment of my life. At age 18, I’ll run the marathon.  At age 21, I’ll learn to drive stick shift.  At 27, I’ll get married.  At 30, I’ll be at the director level in my career.  Much of this has been reflected in this blog.  I’ve discussed how these plans have gone awry and I’ve discussed my drive to reach these goals.  I typically adjust accordingly.

I’m known amongst my friends as being the one who herds the group and gets us focused on the task at hand.  I’ve been called bossy, though I’d argue that I am a decision-maker.  I don’t allow myself to be pushed around.  I am stubborn, but I am flexible, but I always need a plan.  Even a basic direction, like “we’ll go to this block and figure it out,” will do.

Here’s the question I have.  Is it so bad to be a control freak?  Why does it sound so bad?  Would things get done if there wasn’t a control freak in the midst?

On behalf of all control freaks, I’d like to say that it’s not a bad thing.  I’d also like to take this opportunity to dispel any myths or misconceptions about control freaks.  Hey, it’s my blog, and I have control over the content, now don’t I?

Myth #1: Control freaks are uptight. Far from it.  I like to let loose just as much as the next girl.  Although I am a control freak, I can also be spontaneous and daring.  I do try new things.

Myth #2: Control freaks are bossy. The worse thing to a control freak is a person who can’t make decisions.  Control freaks simply try to help indecisive people make up their minds through logical situation analysis.

Myth #3: Control freaks are hard to work with. Not so.  Control freaks are highly productive individuals who thrive with others who are highly productive.  If there is a weak link in a group project, a control freak is likely the person to pick up the slack.

Myth #4: Control freaks are bitches. Bitchiness has nothing to do with being a control freak.  Control freaks might get annoyed if decisions aren’t being made, but everyone get irritated.  Being a bitch is a whole other discussion in itself.

Myth #5: Control freaks are insecure. Not all control freaks seek control because they feel like they’ve lost control of themselves.  Quite the contrary.  They may feel insecure in an unorganized situation, but they are not necessarily insecure with themselves.  If they are, it may have nothing to do with their control-freakiness.

Myth #6: Control freaks can’t take criticism. Control freaks strive for the best experiences and overall improvement.  Control freaks understand that they don’t know everything and are willing to learn from others.  They are not always perfectionists, but similar traits may apply.

Myth #7: Control freaks can’t take orders or instruction. Control freaks would love if someone else took the lead! As long as they were taking into account what everyone involved wanted to do (as they would) and they were organized and goal-oriented.

Myth #8: Control freaks are egotistical. Control freaks don’t think they know best. They just know how to get things done.  If you are on a tight schedule, having a control freak on your side will optimize your time.

Myth #9: Control freaks want to control people. Not all control freaks are puppet masters.  Many simply crave order, or the opportunity to create order in a chaotic situation.  Most control freaks know that people can make up their own minds, and they appreciate getting ideas from other people.

If there is anything I have learned from blogging, which sadly is something people have a hard time learning, is how to try to be nonjudgmental.  For those of you who know me personally, you can corroborate my story, and for those of you who have been followers of my blog for a while, you will know that I am not some nasty, manipulative person.  That doesn’t mean the haters won’t always come out.  Lucky for me, I am a control freak, focused on my goals.  Nothing can stop me.

Thankful in an Imperfect World

November 25, 2010 at 11:08 am | Posted in Life and Living | 3 Comments
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It’s that time of year where we are all summoned to reflect on the good in our lives.  Sometimes it is hard to do this, particularly when there is so much bad in the world.  Some things just shouldn’t be the way they are, but you can’t control everything.

We shouldn’t be in this recession.  Families that have worked all their lives shouldn’t lose everything due to a bad economy.  Families should not feel forced to sell their homes just to live.  The housing market shouldn’t be in such bad shape that people for those who really do want to or need to sell.

Children should not go hungry or suffer serious illness.  Illness and the harsh reality of poverty destroys the innocence of too many young children, not just in “third world” countries, but right here, in our neighborhoods.

Mothers shouldn’t have to ride the subway asking for hand outs proclaiming they don’t drink, they don’t use drugs and they don’t smoke cigarettes. All funds raised will help her feed her children and prepare for job interviews.  The government and charities don’t have the capacity to save them all.

Animals should not be beaten. Nobody should be beaten, but there is no one more innocent than animals.  Animals may not get equal rights to humans, but they do not deserve to be used as punching bags for disturbed humans to vent their frustrations on.  Animals give unconditional love, unless given a reason not to.

No one should feel alone.  Yes, technically we experience life and death alone, but in the in between we should be able to confide in each other.

Nobody should ever have to fight for their rights.  We should all accept our neighbors for who they are, and if we don’t like them, then just leave it alone.  We should have better things to do that to tell other people who to live their lives.

All people should be loved, and experience being in love.  All people should have the chance to find their passion.  All people should be free, and respect others’ freedom.  All people should be able to express themselves.  All people should be able to see the light, even in the dark, because the dark will never go away, and sometimes you have to face it, and sometimes you can just look passed it.  All people should have the capacity to look passed the little things.

But we live in an imperfect world, and nothing is what it should be, so this Thanksgiving I am thankful for one thing in particular.  I am thankful for another day to make it all right.

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