Writing Prompts: Thoughts on Ageism

Today I get to talk about my feelings on ageism. It comes at kind of an interesting time, as more and more every day, I become aware of how old I am. There are a myriad of ways we face this in all walks of life.
I keep looking in the mirror and staring at the random grey hairs that pop up. There are laugh lines that I’ve never had before around my mouth. My body shifts and tightens in different ways than it used to. None of these are inherently bad things. I actually got the grey hairs in my 20’s. I’ve just been dying my hair all this time. The laugh lines have developed since I’ve moved to California, so I’m thinking that means I’ve been happier for doing that. My body is shifting and tightening because I still give it a run for it’s money and it’s holding up so beautifully. I’ve never been more in touch with it than I have been now. Sure, I could be more consistent with dance and yoga and all of the things I’ve let go of because I work to much. So that’s what I’m aiming for. Balance. I’m of the mindset we are only as old as we make ourselves feel. I believe in a mind body connection. I tend to focus on nurturing positive thoughts and tendencies there. And as I’ve gotten older, I haven’t noticed to much of a problem. But that’s because I look considerably younger than I actually am. What if I didn’t look younger?

I’ve never had a problem relating to people older than me. I’ve always valued the experience and advice that someone older can share. Some of my best friends are older than me. I’ve always dated older than me also with very few exceptions. In fact my 10 year relationship was with someone who was 10 years older than me. As I’ve gotten older myself, I’ve found that I’ve become that for others in my circles of life. “Mama Jenn” as someone so aptly put it. Feels kind of weird, only in the sense that I hope my experience and advice is sage and helpful. Because sometimes I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing in life. But it’s all a circle. We all share many of the same experiences, and yearn for many of the same things.

Yet somehow, if we get to the nitty-gritty of it, there is a problem in our society with ageism. Whether it’s in the workforce, or there’s a problem with supporting those who are getting into their twilight years, I think it boils down to the problem being a lack of respect and care for our fellow human being. For including them in our lives and thanking them for the progress they’ve given us, that we continue to drive forward, generation after generation.

On the flip-side, we discount those of ideas and opinions of our youth, deeming them “too young” to know better, when they very well may hold the keys to evolving the human race. We fail to hold them accountable to ideas and ways of functioning in society because “Oh they’re just teenagers, they’ll grow out of it.” No, they won’t. Not if you don’t teach them.

Then there are the “mid”-aged, which is where I’m beginning to climb to. Which is fine. Overall, if I’m one of those sturdy sorts to live till she’s 85, I still have some 40-odd years left. We appear to be in the peak of things. Supposedly, we get the best pick of everything. And to a certain extent, societally speaking, that’s true. We can be the most driven, but we can also be the most defeated. Exhausted by the efforts to drive change, jaded by the state of bureaucracy that we vowed we would change in our youth.

To me ageism is akin to a popularity contest, designed by a patriarchal society of white male privilege that is so prevalent in many of the “-isms” we have today. (i.e. racism, sexism, classism etc…) Many people may take issue with the way I just phrased that, but it’s how I view things and if you look back in history, you’ll see it to be true. There are many things in my life that some would not deem privileged, but the truth is, despite the income/education/female inequalities I’ve experienced, there are others who suffer far more simply for being born in the wrong place and the wrong time. It’s not a balanced system. So it’s my responsibility, to use what little privilege I have, to stand up for those who need a voice. This is what we ALL should be doing for each other.

This system should be abolished. We need to focus on human relationships. We need to stop passing judgement, and start passing LOVE. We need to remember compassion and empathy. We need to create space for EVERYONE to grow and become who they want to be, even into the long shadows at the dusks of our lives. We need to take care of each other. But that starts within us. We need to be that change within ourselves first before we can enact that anywhere else. Release the fear and guilt we carry in our  lives, the entitlement that people “owe” us anything, and replace with love, empathy and a question of what do we “owe” to others?

We would not only eradicate ageism, but ALL of the “-isms” that are present in this world.

So what have YOU done today that you could do differently? How could you have spoken differently? Taken things less personal? Let go of ideas that you no longer needed but were clinging to out of fear?  Who could you have spoken out for when needed?

Just something to think about.

 

 

Writing Prompts: Book Talk

One might say I’m really dropping the ball on this. But I’m just gonna keep rolling with it and get through all the damn prompts. Ideally more consistently, and daily, after today.

In the interest of keeping up on my blog, I’m shifting this from Facebook to here. Plus, these are actually fun prompts that I should be posting over here anyway.

#8 – A book you love and one you didn’t.

Well hmmmm. That’s a SUPER hard one.

*comes back after putting away laundry for 10 minutes. *

Damn. Seriously, this is tough.

I can tell you for sure the book that is most disliked on my end was a book called “The Girl in the Box” by Ouida Sebestyen.

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It has traumatized me since I was a teenager. In fact, I didn’t even finish the book. Most who know me, know that:

1) I ALWAYS finish a book, no matter how long it takes.

2) I never read the ending first.

This one was so depressing, for pages and pages, that I had to skip to the end to see if it ever ended. It didn’t. There was no resolution. The whole book was going to be torturous to read and there was no end in sight. So I turned the book back into the library, forever haunted by the knowledge that this whole book was about a girl who got kidnapped and was never rescued. She was left abandoned in a box and still alive at the end of the book. I will never read another book by this author, no matter how brilliant it is deemed to be.

So now I have to pick one that I love…..hmmmmm…I can’t pick just one favourite. I’ve mentioned some of my other favourite books in a previous prompt, so I’ll add something new here.  517mee7CTTL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_“Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier.

I read this first when I was a teenager. It was such a haunting book, with all of the plot twists, intrigue and romance you would imagine.

DuMaurier’s style of writing inspires visions of rich, beautiful images, haunting memories and sleek sophisticated characters. The movie was great, but the book was better. Truly one of those books that stands out in my mind as I think back. It inspired me to read her other books which I thoroughly enjoyed also.

 

So there you have it.

 

Writing Prompts: Fascinating Folks

Missive goal: Someone who fascinates me and why?

While there are many people who fascinate me, I think I have to narrow it down to the one man that has shaped a HUGE portion of my life: Walt Disney.

 

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This is one of my FAVOURITE pictures of him – taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt

My fascination with Walt came to me at a very early age. You see, rumour has it, that I was conceived on a trip to Disneyland. It has been embedded in my psyche from a very early age. It was considered my safe haven, my home away from home. It made sense, in the moments that I couldn’t physically BE in Disneyland, I read all the stories and books they based their movies and attractions on. And that included the books of how Disneyland came to be. And then from there, it became about reading books on Walt Disney himself. I became more and more fascinated as time went on. What made him tick? How did he come up with all of his ideas? What was his life REALLY like (behind all the sappy syrupy image that the Disney Corporation now feeds the public)? What happened after he died?

It made sense that as soon as I could, I got a job at The Disney Store. It opened the door to my many other adventures with Disney, and as far as work experience goes, to a now, 19 year relationship with the company.

When I moved to LA, the first thing I did was start to visit all of the places he lived, worked, played, and moved to. I am still working on that list. It’s very long and some things haven’t been so accessible to me. For instance, Clifton’s was a place he would frequent. But it was closed and then they renovated but now, finally, it’s open! So that’s on my list. And the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps tour that ends in his Apartment over the Fire Station on Main Street – haven’t done that yet either. Not that I need the tour – of the MYRIAD of books I’ve read, I already know many of his routines and walks around the park. But what I would pay the money for is the opportunity to see his Apartment. I have yet to see the man’s Apartment. Grr. Yes. I know I work there. But no, I have not found the opportunity yet. It will happen though. Worry not!

Now I suppose if he were alive, I’d be considered a stalker. I’d like to think that I’d be a very polite one though. I wouldn’t snap any “unauthorized” pics, or interrupt his dinner or anything. That’s not how I roll – I am the Queen of Etiquette after all. I would just hang out in the park and see if I could catch a glimpse. Maybe even shake the man’s hand, or *gasp* get to work with him on some crazy brilliant project like E.P.C.O.T. (and I mean the REAL E.P.C.O.T., not what took it’s place after he passed)

This is enough for now. It’s made me think that maybe I should start a blog page documenting some of the spots I’ve been etc….hmmmmmmm

TTFN.

Writing Prompts: Bucket List Destinations

It’s two in a day again – I went to bed early last night and forgot to get this out!

The assignment: A place that I would live but have never visited.

This is, by no means, a fully comprehensive list of where I would love to travel. It would be hard to narrow down since I have so many places I want to go. And I’ve never been there, so have no idea as to whether I would really like it, but if I were to imagine I liked them, here are my top 10. Some of these are just “wants” but some of these are because these are places in my ancestry that are rooted there and I would love to visit and explore all of them.

1. PARIS, FRANCE

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I have ALWAYS wanted to go to France, for as LONG as I can remember. So much so, I even learned French. Still haven’t made it there yet though…

2. STIRLING, SCOTLAND

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Because who wouldn’t want to study abroad in a castle?? And a beautiful medieval town….

3. KENMARE, COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND

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It looks quaint and quiet and charming, especially being on the bay. I always imagine it to be lovely. And oysters.

4. LONDON, ENGLAND

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BECAUSE LONDON!!!!

5. GRUYERE, SWITZERLAND

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Well, Gruyere is one of my favourite cheeses, but I’ve always felt this place looked GORGEOUS. I feel like anywhere is Switzerland would be fine by me!

6. ANYWHERE IN NORWAY

I always see pictures of Norway and am absolutely floored by how gorgeous it looks. GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS! Who wouldn’t want to live there?

7. ROTHENBERG, BAVARIA, GERMANY

Because this picture, history, beautiful, and CASTLES!

8. STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

The amount of history here would keep me occupied forever.

9. CASTLE DOUGLAS, SCOTLAND

There are only ruins of the actual Douglas Castle at this point, but the town looks charming and modern all at once.

10. ANYWHERE IN WALES

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Because Wales looks beautiful and how could you not want to see all of the places like this?

Writing Prompts: 10 Things I’ll Tell You About Me

10 interesting facts about myself? I’ve always felt “interesting” is in the eye of of the beholder. But I will endeavour to choose the best facts I can come up with that seem interesting enough. I hate to be rote and just list off, but I’m lacking the brainpower today. Here we goooooo…

1. I used to drive a bus. Way back in the day. Mostly because people thought I couldn’t. So I made them lose their money when they bet I wouldn’t pass my DMV test. Hah!

2. I’m a sucker for anything lightshow/fireworks/lazershow oriented. I love sparkly lights.

3. I used to spend so much time reading as a kid, that my parents limited me to only reading after 7pm on the weekdays. Keep in mind, my grades weren’t suffering. They were just afraid I was becoming anti-social. Which, in a way, might possibly have been true. But I didn’t care and still read all the time anyway when they weren’t looking.

4. I have a tattoo that I got when I was 18. It’s two roses intertwined in a circle, which is a symbol of one manifesting their twin soul mate.

5. I love interior design and am known for reorganizing my house 3-4 times year.

6. I love fancy hotels. I love the designs and walking around the grounds. Especially the historic ones. It explains much of the first 10 years of my career working in them.

7. Dancing is my outlet.

8. I’m a LOT geekier than I let on. You see, back in the 80’s and 90’s, being a geek wasn’t the “cool thing” like it is now. I learned to hide it well to avoid the merciless teasing that true geeks had to endure.

9. My CD/Music collection numbers in the thousands. It’s a serious addiction for me.

10. I’m a classically trained singer.

There are lots more I suppose. But that’s some fun stuff I thought of off the cuff today. I’ll write more in depth on tomorrow’s post. 🙂

Writing Prompts: Romantical Firsts

So today’s assignment: My first love and my first kiss; if separate, discuss both. (My goodness, these questions sometimes make me feel like I’m signing up for some kind of dating event.)

These were two very different occasions actually. I won’t say any names here, just because this is online and all that.

My first kiss happened when I was 16. I worked at a pizza joint in high school and so did he. Even then, I was kind of a loner when it came to dating. Translation: I didn’t. So when I met him and we hit it off and it just kind of went from there. I’m afraid my tendency to remain a loner in the dating world eventually got in the way of things, but my first kiss was a very sweet and very romantic experience. He’d had 11 roses delivered to me at work “Just Because” and he was always the utmost gentleman. At the end of the night, he delivered the 12th personally, sealed with a kiss.

The first person I fell in love with? That’s a much more LOADED answer. If you know me, you already know the whole story. Now, keep in mind, there were some HARDCORE crushes that happened before that. But when I was 18, I met a man who became a “First” in many things. We started dating when I was 19. I ended up staying with him for 10 years.

Unfortunately it didn’t work out for a wide variety of reasons. And I learned the hard lesson of being in love with someone who wasn’t quite in love with me. To be fair, I’m sure he loved me. But I don’t know that he was ever IN love with me. If that makes sense. We had a lot of adventures and were very close and it was a very rocky road when I made the decision to go my own way and break up with him. Thankfully in the following years, we’ve found a peace about it all and it’s all in the past at this point.

A very sobering experience for me, when viewed in the frame of many other things happening in my life at that time. The way that it impacted my life was profound. It was a HUGE learning experience at the very level of my soul. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to go back to do things just a touch differently. But then I remember that if I did that, I would risk rewriting my entire history and there are moments I’ve had since then, that would have never come to me otherwise, and I never want to erase them. I would not be who I am, I would not know what I know, and I would not have gone through many things in life that led me to where I am now.

Until tomorrow mes amis!