Writing Challenge Day 9: Your feelings on ageism

Ageism, for those who don’t know, is discriminating against someone because of their age.

Despite the fact I married a man more than a decade my senior, I do hold onto a bit of ageism, simply because my professional experience has not been positive with the 60+ crowd; it’s not their age, per say, but their performance.

My trade is in a fast paced, technology driven and detail orientated career in the medical field. Intricate. Fast. Accurate. Pushing high volume workloads, using highly specialized machinery, and managing expectations of doctors/nurses is a skill you need right up there with using a computer mouse. Through the different gigs I’ve had over the years, I’ve found that most of the older population can’t keep up.

Many times they bring in people who are retired from a smaller facility where “Go! Go! Go!” is not in their vocabulary. Other times they hire people who haven’t worked in the field since before I was born (before computers were common place and everything was paper). They can’t survive. They become overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks and the veteran younger ones have to come in and save the day.

At one job I went bonkers (granted, I was so burned out I was crispy), when they hired someone who couldn’t identify the most basic concepts of the department – it was the equivalent of teaching my mom to do my job. THEY HIRED THEM BECAUSE THEY WERE A NICE PERSON. Which they were – they were wonderful – but this relic could not perform the job to the lowest standards needed or without help. It wasn’t entirely their fault: they didn’t have the experience or the knowledge. And yet, management thought they were a great addition to the team. Never mind that I had to run my department as well as theirs because they couldn’t keep up with the demand.

Granted, there are exceptions to every rule. I worked with several older colleagues who could run circles around me.

I don’t believe in not hiring the 60+ crowd – by all means, give them a chance! But in that 90 day evaluation period, if they not performing to the set standards, then they need to be let go. I would feel the same for a 20 something straight out of college.

Bottom line: it’s ain’t the age, it’s the miles. If you can do the job well, you’re a great addition to the team. If the struggling requires you to have a six month internship to run the department, perhaps this not the job for you.

Writing Challenge Day 8: A book you love and one you didn’t

While my all time favorite author is Clive Cussler (love me some adventure), I recently got turned onto Charles Todd, the author of The Bess Crawford Mysteries. These books take place in England during World War 1 and through his writing I am transported back in time. It’s like a time travel vacation as I fall down the rabbit hole of these chapters. Superb writing, characters, story line, plot twists – I can’t say enough good things about it! I’ve read the first two books in the series and I’m about to start the third as soon as I get some other non-fiction reading out of the way.

It is very unusual for me to stop reading a book because I don’t like it. Even if it isn’t my cup to tea, I  at least soldier on to finish it. This did not happen with “Confessions” by St. Augustine. I was into it for the first couple of chapters about his early life. Did you know he had a child out of wedlock? But then it just started going on and on and on….and I’m not exactly sure what it was about. I got lost. I wasn’t pulled into the narrative anymore. I found myself skimming and that’s when I knew I had to stop. At this point in my life, there was nothing holding me to the words he wrote. And so, I had to put it down (read: I deleted it off my Kindle).

Writing Challenge Day 7: What tattoos you have and if they have meaning

I have two tattoos. I had them done in the downtown of my college town at the age of 24, several months apart.

The first one, a Christian Fish on my lower back, was a very simple design I had found on the internet. It symbolized my dedication to my faith. It was simple, bold, and I could show it off without much trouble. And it hurt a lot, but I did it for me and only me.

My second tattoo happened on a whim. With my move to the east coast imminent, I felt the need to do something crazy before leaving my home. And so, I got a biohazard symbol tattooed on my left hip joint. It’s small, about the size of a quarter, and it’s swirled with blue and green pigment. I received a medical degree from the college I attended and was knee deep in a medical career at the time I got it. It just seemed fitting. I have no plans to ever touch it up – I’ll let the sun, age, and time do it’s thing. I still love it. It reminds me to be crazy once in awhile.

Well, more crazy than my normal level of crazy.

The ink sums me up well: I am a biohazardous follower of Jesus and am labeled as such.

Ici. Hier. Here.

10 years ago I found myself standing at the pinnacle of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was a telling moment. My traveling companions, who were friends from college, were not compatible with me. My easy going personality and adventurousness clashed with their plan-every-moment-eat-every-2-hours-we’re-going-here-now-because-I-said-so-and-your-opinion-will-not-be-taken-into-account mode of travel.

It was also in that moment, on the highest deck of the tower, with a bird’s eye view of Paris that I knew I had to do something. I was a recent college grad working in a town that was nothing more than a dot on the map. I had been taking that year to get my life in order, to get out of the “do loop” of ex’s, sex, and the depression that ultimately followed. I learned to live on my own terms by myself; I got healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As painful as it was at times, I grew strong. And so, it was then that I decided to leave everything I knew behind and find my beach. If I was going to live out my life alone, I at least wanted it to be somewhere beautiful. It also gave me a chance to start over, far away from the wreckage of high school and college.

I needed to move south, on the east coast, on the ocean.

This realization defined Paris for me. Within 4 months of returning, I had a job and moving company booked. And here I am.

With the attacks in Paris, my heart breaks for the beautiful city, its people, and its inspirational forces of art, life, and food. I cannot understand or even begin to grasp how anyone could cause so much devastation and loss of life on purpose. The terror and the tears of those who lost loved ones will echo in that city for years to come. My husband of 7 years hasn’t been to Paris yet – it’s on our list – and I feel the need to get there sooner than later before the EU becomes anymore unstable.

Hang in there, Paris. You’ve overcome so much in your history; this will only fuel your fire to make you stronger.

View of the mall from the Eiffel Tower.
View of the mall from the Eiffel Tower.

Writing Challenge Day 6: Someone who fascinates you and why

A lot of people fascinate me for many different reasons. I am amazed at most people in some way, shape, or form. But today, I want to tell you about someone who fascinates me because she is so out of my little realm: Draya Michele.

I’ve never seen any of her movies or her reality TV show. I stumbled upon her by sheer accident when I first joined Twitter earlier this year. Her image found its way onto my suggested feed. While I consider myself 110% hereto, I was simply blown away by her bikini picture. She was such a beautiful woman with an incredible (albeit surgically enhanced) body.  And so I decided to follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Girl has got some serious gumption, tackling movie rolls, tabloid stories, headlining parties in dresses I dream about, and living life. I enjoy her “F*ck you, this is how it’s gonna be” outlook on life; perhaps because I lack that in my own. I have no earthly clue how she looks so alluring in every picture, whether she’s got a naked face or is in full professionally applied make up. I know because of social media I am getting an extremely filtered view of her existence. Nonetheless, I’d love to sit with her over cocktails at a beach and talk about life. I doubt we’d be friends because I can’t hang with that lifestyle, but I’d still love to get to know the real unfiltered Draya.

I then come to find out that she is behind the bathing suits at Mint Swim, which I drool over constantly. The only reason I haven’t purchased a suit from Mint Swim is because of the return policy: my gorgeous pear shaped body is notorious for not playing nice with bikinis I buy online. Also, the one I want is a bit, ah, shall we say scrimpy with the material on the rear.  As much I love my ghetto booty, I don’t think the cut is “legal” at the beach I frequent most. I keep telling myself I’ll buy one for my text tropical vacation.

Writing Challenge Day 5: A Place You Would Live, But Have Never Visited.

This is an easy one: Europe. While I have travelled the Eurozone, there is still so much I have not experienced and have only scratched the surface of the lifetime total of five weeks I’ve spent there.

I’ve never been to Cornwall or Nice or anywhere in Italy and Greece; and yet, I believe I could live there with relative ease. What I love most about European lifestyles is their ability to live. They enjoy good company, good food, and have the ability to slow down and take in life, something us Americans usually skim over. Their cafes serve amazing coffee in porcelain cups, not paper. The close proximity of towns and transportation infrastructure makes having a car extraneous; walking somewhere is normal and encouraged, whereas most Americans would go off in a huff if you merely suggested they walk a half mile and not drive.

And high tea in England! How amazing would it be to stop your afternoon and sip a cup of fine tea with a small pastry creation and perhaps some conversation. That’s the stuff life is made of right there.

Writing Challenge Day 4: 10 Interesting Facts About Me

  1. I’m a follower of Christ; American Theology makes me gag, however.
  2. I want to write as well as Robin Masters – to have a large Hawaiian estate and employ an ex-Navy intelligence officer to do security and an ex-British Army Sergeant Major to be its caretaker.
  3. I live my life on a 24 hour clock and in Celsius.
  4. I love taking unscripted road trips, especially the haphazardly thrown together variety.
  5. I have a fondness of rum and unique cocktails tailored to the season/location/event.
  6. I am a coffee connoisseur – if you don’t grind the beans or use real creamer and sugar, I want nothing to do with it.
  7. I’m a May-Decemberist and wouldn’t have it any other way.
  8. I could eat sushi for lunch everyday.
  9. I’m a Prussian-German-Danish-French Quebecian-Lemkos mix.
  10. When I was in the 3rd grade, I set out to write the great American novel.  Spoiler alert: I never finished it.

Writing Challenge Day 3: Your 1st Love and 1st Kiss

Coincidentally, he is one in the same.

Not one to kiss and tell, for this discussion his name will be John. John Doe.

It was a typical midwestern autumn evening the first time I saw him and he was a few years older than me. I watched him for several days during rehearsal for a play. It wasn’t until someone yelled, “John!” from across the room, and he appeared with an annoyed, “What?” did I know his name. I found his surname printed in the program. It was clearly attraction at first sight.

John was, by most standards, not good looking. He was a conglomeration of recessive traits, pale acned skin, with a tall lanky frame, and sparkling crystal blue eyes.

By the by, we eventually were assigned to work together on a behind the scenes project and we hit it off pretty well. We flirted incessantly all through the cast party until one of the other actors made a comment. We started talking in the halls before classes began in the morning; he always managed to sneak up behind me and slam my locker shut. We also stuck around after classes to chat. He wrote me a long, sweet love note in study hall which I still have in a box somewhere in my parents’ house.

After about a month of intrigue, we finally decided we were a couple. “Meet me backstage,” he said after school one day. I did.

Up in the storage lofts was a couch that fell out of the 1970’s amid other long forgotten props. We hung out up there talking, which eventually lead to kissing. And more kissing. And lots more kissing after that. I was his first kiss and he was mine. Technique wise, it was beyond terrible, neither of us had any idea of the mechanics; however it was one of the most beautiful memories I have. That secret moment was a world of our own. Oh, to be young and unrehearsed again!

We met up there several times after to make out – that’s as far as it went. Our relationship started to get weird at the two week mark. John was struggling with it; he came from a divorced family, school was difficult, and I could feel him pulling away. He broke up with me on the stage, with the fire curtain down. I was upset, but waited till I was safe in my room to cry about it. I always figured we’d get back together, but he was firm about that not happening. Still, I had hoped.

Years later, we eventually kindled a friendship over tennis and the occasional emails. Our respective colleges were nearby and one night I stayed over at his place – we spooned, no kissing – after we saw a play together.

John became that cool guy friend who didn’t mind cuddling while watching movies. I began to seriously date my college sweetheart and he fell hard and fast for a friend of mine. He dated my friend for the better part of a year and lost his virginity in the process. She dumped him for the “I need to find myself without you” excuse and there were rumors she cheated on him. I never substantiated those rumors. I still want to deck her for the way she carelessly tossed him aside.

A very broken and depressed John spent the night bawling at my college apartment, trying to make sense of the devastation she had wrought in his life. I watched him progress through all the stages of grief in the following weeks.

I got dumped by my serious boyfriend around the same time, with the same circumstances. We became each other’s comfort, which morphed into a very physical friendship that went on and off for the next few years. He made it quite clear we would never become more than friends and balked whenever I mentioned otherwise.

The whole thing ended without fanfare. He kissed me good-bye, full on the mouth, as he did so many years ago backstage. I had made the decision to move to North Carolina in effort to re-start my life. I met my husband soon thereafter.

Over the years, we’ve lost touch. I sometimes wonder about John. What are his triumphs and struggles – his career, his life – as he’s nearly 40 now. Our paths may just cross again, if there is a rip in the time-space continuum.