Thursday, August 30, 2012

Awkward: Being an Only Child

I've always kinda struggled with being a bit socially awkward.  I'm not one to approach new people and I don't make friends easily.  Part of it is that I don't know what to say to people and another part is insecurity.

I mean what if they don't like me?  It's like that nagging voice in your head that says, "Well if they wanted to talk to you, they would have by now."

Damn that little voice.

But in all my bucket list creating, live evaluating, I came to a startling realization.

It's because I'm an only child.

I'm serious, I was never one of those spoiled rotten, got the world handed to them, bratty only children.

Not only am I an only child, but I didn't grow up around any cousins.  On my mom's side of the family, I have one male cousin and he's 10 years younger than I am so we didn't grow up together.  On my dad's side, there is a few cousins but I never saw them when I was growing up.  So not only did I not have any siblings, but I didn't have any family members that were my age.  So Christmas and Thanksgiving, it was always me and a bunch of adults.

Even when it came to my parents friends.  A few of them had kids, but mostly they were older than I was.  I was always a quiet kid and a little shy, so I could easily entertain myself with a book to read or something to draw or even a movie to watch.  Adults could basically tuck me in a corner and I would amuse myself.  

Growing up, I never really had a problem with it, because honestly I didn't know anything else.  But as I've gotten older, I've realized that my lack of interaction with other kids has impacted my ability to interact with people in general.

I grew up in the early 80s.  This was before daycare and pre-school was common and my mom stayed home with me till I started kindergarten.  We didn't have play dates and I don't think I actually played with multiple children till I started school.  As mentioned, my parents had friends with kids but they were either only children like me, or were much older.  So although I didn't realize it at the time, kindergarten was the first time I really had to make friends.

Even once I started school, I was always the shy quiet kid.  Although I had friends, I was never Ms. Popular and once summer break started, I was back to the world of hanging out with adults.

Things got a little worse by the time I was 10 or 11 because there was a girl at school that didn't necessarily pick on me but was harsh and teased me constantly for a few years.  All that did was make me go into lock down.  I avoided large groups because I was afraid that people didn't like me and were only "being nice". Even now, I tend to spend time with my friends one on one, rather than in big groups except for birthdays and big events.  Even now I don't know how to act around new people so I either shut down and appear shy or unfriendly, or over compensate and try to joke.  I'm an introvert by nature but in a group, I force myself to be an extrovert and it's painful and awkward at times.

All of this prompted me to look into the issue.  Apparently it's pretty common for only children to have behavioral quirks.  I read THIS ARTICLE and had a holy shit kinda moment.  This is totally why I am the way I am.  No joke. 

To top it all off, the idea of aging as an only child has also been on my brain recently.  Think about it.  Once my parents and aunts and uncles pass away, I will have no family!!  I mean it's pretty common nowadays for people to be only children.  What if an only child marries an only child??  Their children will never have aunts and uncles, let alone cousins.  Makes me want to marry into a huge crazy Italian family.  Hmmm maybe not but you get what I'm trying to say.  I now have a fear of dying alone.  All this being single and a hermit, compounded with being an only child has resulted in a portion of my brain convincing itself that I am going to die alone with my cat.  And who's going to feed my cat when I'm dead?

What my brain has come up with in the past few weeks is astounding.

But moral of the story, if you have only one child, make sure they interact with other kids on a regular basis from an early age.  Don't drag them along to parties and events with only adults and let them occupy themselves.  Although it didn't make me unhappy as a child, growing up this way has contributed to the person I am today, idiosyncrasies and all.

Cheers,

Ash

p.s.  I know I'm not going to die alone, my brain is just in overdrive about the future right now and when that happens, my imagination goes wild.  WILD I tell you!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Bucket List(s)

So as I mentioned in my last post, I'm not too thrilled about getting closer to 30 and I'm going to create my before 30 Bucket List and my LIFE Bucket List.

I like lists.

So here's my Before 30 List.

1) Become 100% debt free
  • Cause student debt sucks

2) Complete the first draft of my book.
  •  Cause if 50 Shades of Grey can become a bestseller, I can write a book

3) Find a new/better apartment
  • Cause living in a million year old walk-up with shitty electrical and no A/C is getting OLD

4) Get a hobby
  • Cause other than reading and writing, I don't really have a hobby.  I know how to crochet, but other than a scarf for my mom I don't think I've ever actually FINISHED a project.

5) Learn a new skill
  • This may go hand in hand with the hobby thing, but I want to learn how to DO something new.
6) Stop swearing
  • Shit man, I curse a lot.

Pretty simple right?  Wanted to keep this one a bit on the easy side as I really only have 16 months to accomplish this.


And here's my LIFE List so far. 

1) Spend a few weeks in Paris
  • When I was little, one of my fave movies of all time was Sabrina.  Since then I've dreamed of spending a good chunk of time in Paris, just wandering.  Of course I will do touristy things as well but I want to go to Paris and just BE in Paris.

2) Become fluent in a second language
  • Because my parents are very different culturally, foreign languages were never spoken around the house.  I want to learn a second language well enough to be able to fully converse.  I have enough of a french background from school that it may be a good place to start.  French would also help with the whole Paris thing.
3) Learn to draw
  • I am artistically challenged.  I can sing OK and I'm pretty good with all things verbal but when it comes to visual art, I'm a stick figure kinda girl. 
4) Retire early and write for a living
  • I love writing, it's one of the reasons why I started this blog.  As I mentioned in the before 30 list, I want to write a book.  I don't know if that book will ever be published but even if I have to photocopy that bitch and give it to my friends, I want to write a book.  So my ideal goal, would be to be able to either get paid to write said book(s) or somehow become wealthy enough that I can retire early and write just for fun.
5) Go to China and cuddle the baby pandas at the Wolong Panda Reserve and or go to Costa Rica and cuddle the baby sloths at The Sloth Sanctuary. 
  • I want to cuddle cute animals, what can I say.
6) Find MY version of Inner Peace
  • I don't quite know what this is yet exactly but trust me, I'll know when I get there.
I will no doubt add to this list as I think about it more but here's a start.

What's on your bucket list?  And what do you think mine is missing?

Cheers,

Ash

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Older aka. Why I don't want to turn 29.

In a few short months, I will be turning 29.  And to be honest, I'm not entirely thrilled about it.

Jump back a few years to December 2008.

3 weeks before my 25th birthday I broke my right wrist.  I happen to be right handed.

So there I was, living alone with my dominant arm in a cast that went from the tips of my fingers to my elbow in a hitchhiker position because I had a scaphoid fracture.

**For those of you who don't know, when you typically break your arm or wrist, they do not put your thumb in the cast.  A hitchhiker position includes your wrist so you loose the use of that oh so helpful opposable thumb.

So there I was, arm in cast, no use of right hand at all and I was utterly miserable.  You don't realize how much you rely on your thumb till you can't use it. 

I couldn't pick things up, I couldn't hold cutlery to eat, I couldn't do up buttons, I couldn't clasp my bra and to make things even worse I couldn't blow my nose.  Which was important because I ended up with a bloody cold.

I ended up going to stay with my parents for the Christmas break because I was having a really hard time doing much of anything.  I remember that year that I hid on my aunts sofa for most of Christmas Day with a box of tissues and pretty much felt sorry for myself while watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. 

I was 25, the year most people have an awesome Quarter Century bash and I needed my mom to help me tie my shoes.  Actually I think the most memorable part of it was during Christmas dinner.  My mom had put stuff on my plate for me, which was awesome, but I sat there and just stared at my dinner because I couldn't seem to find a way to cut my turkey into mouth sized pieces.  I contemplated just stabbing it and pulling off chunks with my teeth but I'm pretty sure that would have horrified my family.  The all of a sudden, my dad quietly reached over to my plate, cut my turkey into chunks and went back to his meal.  I almost started crying.  My daddy had cut my meat up for me.  It was the sweetest thing he could have done but it just reinforced how utterly pathetic I was feeling at the time.
I looked THIS depressed.  Honest.

Thankfully 4 weeks later the cast was off and I could once again shower without stuffing my arm into a bread bag.

The moral of the story?  Milestone birthdays in my 20s haven't gone very well for me in the past and the closer and closer I get to 30 the more I realize that I'm not where I want to be in my life.  Funny how a broken wrist can do that to you.  That year I wanted to be out partying with my friends, not sitting at home getting my parents to help me do simple things a toddler could do.  And here I am a few years later, approaching 29 and I don't want to be in this same situation when I turn 30. 

I live alone, I work too much, I don't get to socialize much and I'm generally just a little bit unhappy.  Not woefully depressed or anything but not happy with my circumstances by any means.   I mean I've basically given up dating, not that I even have time to meet new people and I feel like my friends who are getting engaged/married/pregnant are leaving me behind. 

I can't be the only one that feels this way right??

So over the next few weeks I'm going to be working on my bucket list.  Some of it will be stuff I want to accomplish before I turn 30.  The rest will be some of the big LIFE things I want to do.

Cheers,

Ash

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cooking for One

First off, don't get me wrong.  I love living alone.  I work crazy hours and enjoy the fact that when I get home I can choose to see people, or I can choose to curl up with a book and have some peace and quiet.  I love hanging around with friends but sometimes, especially during the week.  I just want to be left alone.

That being said, the one thing that I absolutely hate about living alone is......cooking for one person.

It sucks.

I like to cook and try new recipes but more often that not I find myself doing the same things over and over.

Not only do most recipes provide at least 3-4 portions but I hate cooking a meal that results in a million and one pots that need cleaning at the end.  Especially for one person.  I mean you need 1 pan for the meat, 1 pan for the veg, another if anything involves a sauce, another if you're doing a starch.  Not to mention you own plate and cutlery after you've eaten.  Then the leftovers end up in the fridge and you either eat the same thing for 3 days or you end up throwing it in the trash.

Am I right?
Mmmm Tasty
The easiest way I have found to work around this issue, while still eating remotely healthy is the the almighty omelet.  Here's why....

1. You can cook an omelet in one pan
2. You can make it as healthy or unhealthy you want with the addition/removal of veggies (healthy) or cheese (unhealthy)
3. They're tasty
4. If made properly it is a perfectly balanced meal including protein and at up to 2 servings of vegetables.

It's the perfect meal!!

And it's fast and easy to make.  I mean it's basically a stir fry held together by eggs.  But woman cannot live on omelet alone.  I am in desperate need of one of those cookbooks that either focuses on cooking for one, or one dish meals 'cause the alternative of soup in a can does not appeal to me.

Does anyone else have this challenge of cooking for one? Ideas are always welcome.

Cheers,

Ash




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ladies and Gents, turn OFF your TVs!!

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am a self proclaimed Book Nerd. I have enjoyed reading since I was a little tater tot and the fascination with the written word has only grown as I aged. Not to say that I don't love movies and television as a source of entertainment and relaxation but I find myself reading more and more.

My mom was always a huge reader as well so choosing to read in the evenings rather than watching TV was not that uncommon. But I never disliked television.

I mean come on, I am part of a generation that can find an appropriate quote from The Simpson's for every occasion. I have seen some of the greatest shows in history come and go during my lifetime. But nowadays don't you notice that 99% of the stuff on TV is basically just....crap?

From what I can surmise, there are two distinct reason for the decline of TV as we know it.

1. Reality Television

Remember when reality television was pretty much only 'Survivor' and 'Fear Factor'? I do, and that was bad enough. I think society as a whole, took a step backwards with the advent of 'The Bachelor' or better yet 'Toddlers and Tiaras'.

Nowadays, we are are subjected to demotivating crap such as '16 and Pregnant', 'The Real Housewives of....' and various Kardashian based televised escapades.

Why people?

Do we not have anything better to do with our lives than support people who want nothing more than their 15 minutes of fame and in fact contribute nothing to society as a whole?

That brings me to my second reason.

2. Celebrities

Yes, celebrities. I'm talking about you Kim Kardashian and YOU Paris Hilton. Not to mention 'Access Hollywood', 'Entertainment Tonight', 'TMZ' and various other gossip rag news shows.

Why do we give a crap about who is dating whom,  and who got a haircut, or a tattoo or a divorce. I mean COME ON. Spend more time on your own lives and your own relationships then following some anorexic twits coke benders. I'm talking about YOU Lindsay Lohan!!

But really. Can the entertainment industry not come up with something better than multiple installments of 'CSI'?

Personally, I'm waiting for 'CSI: Alaska' or something equally ridiculous.

The exception to the rule has to be programming from AMC and HBO. Some of the best television I have seen in years has come from the likes of 'Mad Men', 'Breaking Bad', 'Game of Thrones' and 'The Newsroom'.

The question that begs to be asked is how can such varying levels of quality exist and what do we have to do to get less of one and more of the other? The simple answer is to stop watching the bad. Do yourself a favour and turn the TV off when all you can find is crap reality television. Turn the TV off and read a book or play a game or spend time with your family. Because as long as viewers support these shows, they will continue to be aired.

So support the good, but reject the bad, because trust me when I say that your brain can't afford to sacrifice any more cells to the horror that is Honey Boo Boo.

Cheers,

Ash

p.s. Can I just put it out there, that things like Toddlers and Tiaras, and Honey Boo Boo actually make me sad?  I mean most of the people watching, only do so to mock these people and that's unfortunate.  What's more unfortunate is that on shows like this, people who speak English, still need subtitles to be understood.  What is this world coming to?