A LONG WAY TO GO

This week’s #Let’sBlogOff topic is: What one thing did you really want when you were a kid?

When I was 5, I longed for consistency and fairness. I had multiple stuffed animals and it was heart wrenchingly important that each had their turn in the rotation to sleep directly beside me. Otherwise, I was hurting their feelings. This was a very weighty responsibility for a 5-year-old to self assign. I was just strange that way.

When I was 10, I longed to grow up faster – to be 14, like my brother. To be allowed to run around with him and his friends and be “cool,” instead of being told I was too young. (Lord, when was the last time someone told me I was too young??)

(See? Totally cool. The tank, the socks…the bolo tie I think he’s wearing with the tank…Okay, maybe I was too young to judge correctly.)

When I was 12, I longed for peace. I wanted mom and dad to get a divorce. I was tired of going to sleep at night to the angry sounds downstairs. (I have told each of them this, so I’m not opening any new scabs.)

At 14, I longed for familiarity. My folks actually divorced and no one really knew how to deal with it. The change cost me (not to mention them) friends we’d known all our lives. Our new home situation was now something other parents didn’t want their children around. Then again, mom DID let me watch Three’s Company, and Soap, so maybe they were right to be protective.

Around the age of 16, I yearned for acceptance. I wanted to be beautiful and would have traded my very soul to be popular. Instead I was awkward, shy, self-conscious and an absolute sheep. I should have longed for a brain, like the Scarecrow. (Sometimes the greatest gift is actually NOT being accepted. Take a brief dance break and cue Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” or Pink’s “F-ing Perfect.”)

At 18, I longed to be 15 again. That was the last summer I didn’t have a job. A little notice would NOT have gone amiss, people. Something like, “Enjoy this one, because it’s the last!” Seriously.

At 21, I longed for independence, freedom, adventure… Barring that – important things like long hair, a Corvette and a tan.

By 35, I realized I’d left too many things to chance. Somehow I thought things I longed for would happen if I just continued to breathe in and out every day: To be a good wife and mother. (At some point I realized this may not happen in the preferred order, but I didn’t let myself even speculate on other possibilities.) To be a famous author. To produce “Out of Africa,” (Okay, so that was already done by someone else, but I still wanted the credit for it.) To have close friends (and be a good friend in return). To make my parents and family proud. To contribute in a meaningful way. To have no regrets.

Some of those longings have been satisfied over the past (unintelligible mumble) years. The majority are going to require a bit more tending – to say the least. They will require serious work, personal risk, courage and perseverance not equaled since the stuffed animal rotation of ’72-’74.

Wish me luck.

Maybe I should have just written about the pony I wanted at age 7 and left it at that. Or my current longing for all those naps I skipped.

To see what others have written on this Let’sBlogOff topic, Click HERE.

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THINGS I MISS

The other evening I was visiting with my lovely and talented blog topic muse, Max, and we started talking about things we miss from our childhoods. As a child of the 70s and 80s -heavily influenced by reruns of the 50s and 60s, it turns out TV and the people who were on it topped the list, along with a few odd items. (For instance, has anyone seen my sense of optimism lately? I think I misplaced that in the early 90s.)

I miss Johnny Carson. And the Carol Burnett Show. And Saturday Night Live. (The one that had Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Gilda Radner in it.)  Oops. Sad face. I miss Gilda too.

I miss after school TV like Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. (Re-runs all, but new to me.)  While we’re at it, I miss getting home before 4:00 in the afternoon.

I miss phones that were actually connected to the wall.  With a little effort I could get half way down the hallway, as long as I kept a tight grip on the receiver.  If I didn’t, the cord, which was stretched almost to the point of ripping out of the phone itself, would fly straight out in the air – smashing against both walls of the hallway before  landing with a crash on the kitchen floor.

I miss Miami Vice, (or more specifically, Don Johnson,) the Solid Gold Dancers, and the SANE Mel Gibson from Mad Max. I miss Bosom Buddies (Tom Hanks in drag), and sometimes, in a tiny corner of my heart, I miss Star Trek and my first crush – 1960s William Shatner.

I miss the Hustle (and disco in general), Boston (the band), Asteroids, mood rings, records, and summers off.

I miss getting exercise by simply existing – riding bikes to the lake, walking to a friend’s house, playing frisbee in the park – that sort of thing. The only way I exercise now is if I pay a gym to guilt me into it.

I miss my love of Hollywood and all things celebrity. REAL stars, like Katherine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis, John Wayne, Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe. The advancement of Kate and Jon Gosselin, Snooki, and Paris Hilton to celebrities signaled the end of my Hollywood-itis. Plus, they all started sharing their THOUGHTS about politics and the universe. Who told them they could speak without a script?

I miss my first car. My green ’78 Mustang.  White top, white leather interior. I never should have sold it. A 20-something-year old boy ended up with my pristine Pony-car and did unmentionable things to her. The last time I saw her, one side was totally smashed. Pony deserved better.

I miss feeling that everything was easier. Friends, relationships, “work,” decisions, EVERYTHING. Of course, back then, someone else was in charge of me and I just had to do what they said. (More or less.) I wonder if my mother would like her old job back?

There was just something more comforting about those days. Maybe it WAS because we were kids. Maybe it was a simpler time. Maybe we had fewer choices, thus more satisfaction.

Or maybe, just maybe… Johnny really DID make everything better.

Here is the clip I always think of first when I remember the Tonight Show. My parents and I laughed so hard we cried. Enjoy!