Monday, August 15, 2011


I love open houses. I’m nosey and it’s a chance to go into someone’s home and see what
they’ve done with the place. I have a tendency to drive by houses I really like frequently
to see if they ever get put on the market so I can see the inside.

I get this from my mom and so far this characteristic has been harmless. Until the other
day when my mom sent me a text message about a house they were looking at. In a
matter of 20 words, she went from describing a great Craftsman to the possibility of
moving into it.

What the…?!?!

My parents are not old by any means, but they are approaching retirement age. From
what I can tell, once my sister is out of college, they’re done. Its something they’ve
always talked about and I can see them traveling a lot.

They often come back from their vacations and talk about what it would be like to retire
there. Personally, I’ve always seen my parents retiring in New England somewhere, in a
cute little Cape Cod-style cottage or a Colonial revival. Or even in a little beach cottage
on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

No matter where I pictured them retiring, for some reason it never occurred to me that
even though they wouldn’t be living in their house in Long Beach, someone else would.
Someone else would be living in the house I grew up in, the house with all my memories.
It’s a weird feeling, like someone is intruding or something.

Part of me would want to make sure that whoever moved in never changed anything. The
kitchen is gorgeous shade of deep red: leave it! The house is screaming for antiques: fill it
up! The laundry hall has super cute clothespin hardware on the cabinets and a glass door
with “Laundry” etched into it: leave ‘em!

My parent’s meticulously take care of their house; I also worry that someone may move
in who doesn’t take care of it at all and that would be the saddest thing of all.

No matter where you move or live or how old you get and have a family of your own,
you can always look back and think of your parents’ house as “your house.” If they move
into another house, that one will not be my house.

The thing about family, though, is no matter where they are, it’s home. They decided against that particular house but that doesn't mean they won't pass on the next one. If they do, I’m sure I’ll love their new place. And after raising the three of us kids for almost 30 years, they deserve a place to call their own.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rambling thoughts: Accepting Average

Confession: When I was 13 years old, I had a PartyLite candle party. Nobody came. Seriously, it was me and my mom and the PartyLite rep. I still have memories of going to the window in the kitchen every 5 minutes until an hour after the party was supposed to start. The snacks were sitting on the table, untouched; the ice melting in the punch bowl. Finally my mom placed her order and we packed it all in. It was 10 years before I threw another party of any kind. Ironically enough, it was a PartyLite candle party and a lot of people came. But still to this day whenever the idea of throwing a party comes up, I am overcome by anxiety and revert back to my 13 year old self, staring out the window in my parents’ kitchen. So I don’t have them.

So by trying to throw a party and not having any guests I viewed that as a failure. And now, by not throwing parties anymore, does that mean I’ve accepted failure or given into fear of it?

Lately, I’ve been suffering from feelings of self-doubt and hits to my confidence levels. By lately I mean, months and months. My husband is very good at assurance and telling me all the good things a girl needs to hear, but let’s be honest, he’s a tad biased and I know that.

Recently I tried something new. It has so far been remarkably unsuccessful. (Thus the hits to my confidence level.) And now I am at a familiar crossroads: do I accept failure or give into the fear of it and move on?

Which brings me to my next, semi-related, point:

I’ve never been what I would call “exceptional.” I’ve always been pretty average, I think. I was not popular in school, but I wasn’t exactly getting shoved in lockers either. I was just sort of there. I don’t have an advanced degree, I’m not going to run for political office or start a billion dollar social media company or star in a movie. I’m not exceptionally beautiful (except maybe to this guy… )

and I’m not really all that important (except maybe to this guy…)

I also have a problem with comparing myself to others, which adds to my feelings of inadequacy. But I feel a bit reassured to know that I am not the only one who does this. I am also fully aware that this is part of the reason I feel this way at times.

I have a very active imaginary exciting life where I’m good at everything and I win awards and everyone loves me. In reality, I’m average.

So the question is, are we supposed to accept average? I’m not saying we should be perfect; that’s impossible and the drive to perfection will drive you crazy. But is alright to be average or is that just settling? Shouldn’t we be always trying to better ourselves?

There are a lot of inspirational quotes out there about “the only failure is not trying” and “failing isn’t falling, its staying down” etc, etc, etc. But you can only hit so many road blocks in your life before you just want to turn around and go back home to what is safe.

I have no answers—I’m just thinking out-loud. I have a great life: supportive family, a wonderful husband, the most amazing son, a job I enjoy, and a house of our own. I really have nothing to complain about. So that’s my question: Is it enough to “have nothing to complain about”? Should we be OK with being average so we don’t fail? Or should we keep going, push past any sort of grand scale unsuccess and keep doing the things we enjoy even if nobody else cares? Or do you risk deluding yourself into being more confident in your abilities than you actually are?

Is it OK to accept average from outsider’s perspective but consider yourself a rock star in the confines of your own home? Or should we strive to be exceptional in all aspects of life in every situation?

Just thinking out loud...