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Forty Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years

Forty Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years

Thanks to John Hughes, Gen-X learned life lessons early.

Today, another Gen-X’er turns 40.  Instead of crawling under my sheets and over-dosing on Geritol and  Ben & Jerry’s, I went out to get my semi-annual 20 units of Botox, then channeled my inner-Zhivago as I sipped vodka at the Russia House and reflected on the life lessons of this Breakfast Club, Gen-X’er.

1. Quality friends are more rewarding than quantity. Especially in the age of social networking, I’m thankful that I have high standards for “friending” folks, the reward is immense in support, commaradiere, laughs and well simply, “they get me and I get them.”

2. Sunscreen is the best anti-aging product.

3. International travel is essential to appreciate the wisdom of our founding fathers, and despite our government’s shortcoming’s, we live in the best country in the world.

4. Trends you thought would never come back do. You only get one shot to wear a trend. If you’re old enough to have lived through the trend the first time, you’re too old to take part the second, third time around. I never thought leggings or flipped collars would come back, but they did.

5. The more crap you have the more you have to move. Live in a small house and you’ll be forced to clean out at least two times a year.

6. Keep old love letters. It reminds you of those few, but very special people that came into your life and touched your core, for which you were never the same.

7. Keep a journal. You’ll be amazed at the strength you had when you couldn’t imagine how you’d ever survive without him in your life. Your life is a story only you can tell and over time, you’ll see that when you thought life was boring, non-eventful, you were indeed, having amazing adventures.You’ll also discover that you’re pretty awesome, yet beautifully flawed.

8. Never stop learning. This keeps your mind active and makes you more interesting.

9. There is no perfect job or utopia work place. Every place I’ve worked and will work in the future has their own brand of crazy. The trick is finding the place that gels with your own crazy.

10. Keep a diverse group of friends who are older, younger, from different parts of the country and world than you. By leaving my home state, NC, early in life, my world opened up to people and places I never imagined I’d see. Each person, each place, transformed me to see the world through lenses other than those of my traditional, southern roots. From this, I learned so much about how others view men/women, politics, child-rearing and traditions, that I am enriched daily.

11. Buying a power drill opens the door to endless household projects you can easily do yourself and makes you extremely self sufficient.

12. As much as I hate it, work out at least three times a week. I’m confident I’d be a gastric bypass candidate if I didn’t commit to this when I turned 25.

13. Pick a college major that you’re passionate about, no matter what your parents want you to do. Unless you believe your calling is to be a doctor or nurse, your major will have little to do with your job and ultimate career path. If I had buckled to the pressure to be a nurse or business major, I would’ve missed out on the beauty of Shakespeare and Jane Austen. Fast forward 17 years, I turned out okay and have worked with global Fortune 100 companies.

14. Have an appreciation for something. Just because I wasn’t destined to be a prima ballerina or the 21st century’s Ansel Adams doesn’t mean I don’t love the ballet or a photo exhibit. These are true artists and I appreciate their gifts and talents.

15. Eating dinner alone doesn’t make you a loser. It makes you a confident, independent woman!

16. After the 2nd glass of wine, all wine tastes the same.

17. With enough money, you can pay people to do almost anything for you. No longer, do I feel like I have to do it all.

18. There is always going to be someone who is smarter, prettier, skinnier than you, but for everyone of those there are countless others for which you are their ideal.

19. There is no shame in plastic surgery or Botox.

20. Your vote does count. Just look to Florida 2000 if you don’t think so.

21. A home without a cat is just a house.

22. Second chances come back for a reason, but look carefully before you leap back in, sometimes it’s a distraction to side-track you from where you’re meant to be.

23. Relationships require work.

24. Every year make goals, not resolutions. Goals are things we want to do versus resolutions are behaviors we don’t like about ourselves. I’m much more inclined to achieve what I want to do rather than change about me I don’t.  This tactic makes me feel more successful year after year. Even the little things, like learning how to sew or how to install a ceiling fan, brings me satisfaction that I can do anything I set out to do.

25. You can solve almost anything by typing your question into Google.

26. You can never watch your favorite movie too many times. I have no clue as to how many times I’ve seen The Sound of Music, but I never miss an opportunity to watch and see if the Von Trapps make it out of Austria safely.

27. Going out on New Year’s Eve is overrated. Go to bed early and wake up refreshed to a new year, feeling that anything is possible.

28. Karma’s a bitch–that stupid boy that dumped you and left you devastated for months will get his someday, and it’ll be 100x worse than what you experienced. Trust me on this one!

29. Work will never love you back, so why invest your heart and soul? Do the work, go home at a decent hour and love your life and have it love you back.

30. Contribute to your 401K as often and as much as you can. It’s glaringly obvious social security will not “secure” Gen-X’s future.

31. When you buy a house, put money down on it. This makes you an investor  and a home owner.

32. Keep up with technology. If you do, you can shave at least 5-10 years off your real age.

33. You’ll inevitably say, “I remember when…” and then feel like “when” wasn’t so long ago.

34. Don’t wait around for other people to come into your life. Go out and find them. I credit Twitter and a solo trip to China where I found people with whom I now count as friends.

35. Vacation time and flexibility is more important than a higher salary. After all, I’ve resigned to the fact that I’ll be working til I’m 80, so between now and then I need more than a couple weeks off a year.

36. There is no happily ever after. Life is more complicated, twisted and bumpy than what Disney had us believe.

37. Traditions are meant to be broken. Pave your own path, make your own traditions. Just because you’ve always done it one way doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it that way.

38. Always say “please” and “thank you.” It goes a long way in creating strong relationships.

39. Hold onto your values. Not everyone’s going to agree with you and that’s okay, it’s what makes you, you.

40. And finally, in the words of  Miles from “Risky Business:”  Sometimes you gotta say “WTF”, make your move, and every now and then saying, “WTF,” brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future.”


The Academy of Amy, Presents Top Films

The Academy of Amy, Presents Top Films

oscarIt’s Oscar night, and it’s got me thinking about those films that I never tire of and never fail to plant me into the depths of my sofa as a Saturday reserved for errands eludes me in favor of faraway places and unforgettable characters. So today, The Academy of Amy, presents my Top 10 nominees for Best Picture.

10. Sixteen Candles. Maybe not an Oscar-worthy movie, but this movie is a Gen X classic. Of course, I blame this movie for planting the seed that all your dreams come true at the naive age of 16, and that the most popular, best-looking guy in school would whisk me away in his red Porsche. Yep, this did not happen and all expectations went south from that point forward.

9. The Queen. A sucker for British royalty, I love this portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. It made me appreciate the old bitty who refuses to let Charles be King. She’s more a complex woman than I had initially gave her credit.

8. Bridget Jone’s Diary. Only single women can appreciate the beauty of this film. We all struggle with our weight, drink too much and can’t figure out men. Bridget Jones is my soul mate.

7. Terms of Endearment. This is my go-to movie for when I need to cry. It never fails me.

6. The King’s Speech. Just saw this film three days ago and fell in love. And finally, a Colin Firth film in which I don’t see him as Mr. Darcy.

5. St. Elmo’s Fire. I wouldn’t be an X-‘er if I didn’t include a film from the Brat Pack. Seven college graduates trying to figure out what it means to be a grown up sucks me in every time. They could do a sequel to this film and I predict they’d all still be trying to figure it out.

4. A Beautiful Mind. Overcoming the voices of the mind, John Nash discovers “It’s only in the mysterious equation of love that any logical reasons can be found. I’m only here tonight because of you. You are the only reason I am… you are all my reasons.” Ahhh…. this gives me hope that love can conquer all.

3. Gone with the Wind. A born and raised southerner, I’d be banned south of the Mason/Dixon line if I didn’t love this Civil War epic.

2. Dr. Zhivago. Is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Only Lara and Yuri truly know. Every time I watch this, I still can’t figure out if that was Lara walking on the street.

1. The Sound of Music. If you know me at all, this is not a surprise. A love story, WWII, singing kids, an incredible soundtrack and score, and  an escape from the Nazis makes for a great family film, and my favorite.

Does Reality Still Bite?

Does Reality Still Bite?


My Saturday morning started with an early morning showing of the 1994 Gen X classic, Reality Bites. Fifteen years later, the movie still strikes a chord and makes me wonder if we ever got over our quest for nirvana in a world ruled by Baby Boomers?

Looking around at my friends, it seems we’ve grown up. After all, we’ve moved out of sharing an apartment and rent with friends, to sharing a mortgage with a spouse. We’ve traded the Big Gulp for Chardonnay and microbrews. And we’ve moved from The Gap to jobs with companies that provide benefits to our families and pay us enough well enough to send our kids to private school. On the surface, reality doesn’t look so bad anymore. Or does it?

Today’s reality equals mortgages, child care, car payments, alimony, child support and sucky jobs. We may have grown up, but the realities fifteen years later just have a higher price tag than that of Lelaina’s $400 phone bill to the Psychic Friends’ Network.

We’re conflicted. Lelaina’s father tells her, “The problem with your generation is there’s no work ethic,” while in the same breath he tells her to “use her ingenuity.” Okay, so we find jobs that pay us well for our knowledge and skills and it pays for the stuff that our parents and society tell us we’re suppose to have, all the while the ‘establishment’ is killing our sense of creativity, and the ingenious spirit that propels us to move forward.

Troy’s fired from 11 jobs, but all he wants to do anyway is play music. He refuses to sell out, even when everyone’s telling him to get up before noon and get a job. In hindsight, he’s a trailblazer and we all really want to be like Troy, refusing to sell our soul to the establishment. His courage to pursue his passion, something that his rival, Michael, the up-tight, Saab driving, movie producer does not have is still inspiring today. After all, an entire industry devoted to finding your passion has proliferated since Troy and Lelaina fought to buck the established rules of 9 to 5 created by our parents.

Vickie’s proud of being a Manager at The Gap. She lives for the moment and for that moment she’s content with the intricacies of folding t-shirts and jeans all day, even when she’s tortured with the thoughts of dying with AIDS. Maybe the fear of dying of AIDS diminished as we married, but the thoughts of lay-offs, failure, and missed opportunities continue to haunt us. No matter what the world sees on the outside, we’re always tortured with something.

So maybe we have larger paychecks and larger responsibilities, and maybe we’re no longer in “the winter of discontent.” But in the end, we still know that reality still bites.

One of the 1 Billion

One of the 1 Billion

jackson-memorial_1432408cToday, I became part of the 1 billion people that watched the Michael Jackson Memorial. This after, an e-mail from the Staples Center, “Sorry, we regret to inform you that your registration to attend the public Michael Jackson Memorial was not selected.” Okay, so maybe I was planning to sell my ticket to pay off a credit card, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t intrigued by the hype of the event.

Thanks to an early meeting with a future client, I made it home just in time to see the casket rolling in alongside Michael’s band of brothers adorning the iconic sequined, one-glove; and all this to the tune, “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King.” A creepy, eerie feeling overwhelms me and I begin to wonder if they were implying MJ was the king or was he having a meet-up with Elvis? My religious roots tell me differently, but nonetheless it felt weird.

Okay, so that moment passes and I start to get into the “show.” Mariah Carey apparently hadn’t performed since her Glitter disaster, but I still enjoy the song.

I get a little bored with Lionel Richie and some of the speakers, so I tune into Twitter for commentary. Things in the Twittersphere were all a buzz and everything was trending Michael Jackson, MJ or Staples Center. I live alone, so I often look to Twitter to talk about things that are happening on TV. To me, this is better than any roommate or spouse because I choose the conversations I want to have. Anyways, I digress.

It’s not my nature to just sit and listen to everyone else chatting and Paxton, the cat, was napping, so I started providing my Twitter followers with my personal commentary of the “show.” Since most of my real-life friends are not on Twitter(shame on you all), here’s the transcript of my commentary.

·         Geraldo Rivera giving good points on MJ that the stars at memorial 2day did not support him during the trials of 2005.

·         Why does this memorial feel so eerie to me?

·         Do you think Michael’s body is really in the casket at the Staples Ctr?    

·         If there was this much attention for each soldier that died in combat, we’d have a new cable channel dedicated to memorial services

·         I guess it’s official now, Jennifer Hudson is pregnant.

·         This MJ Memorial stuff was pretty good until Al Sharpton came on. Thanks for the mute button!

·         Glad that the news scroll continues during MJ Memorial , so we can be privy to news other than MJ.

·         Wonder if Joe Jackson will make a final plea at the end of the service for his new recording company?

·         Holy Moley!! This thing just turned into a political rally.

·         RT @JohnRDowdy: I hope my Representative isn’t at this memorial service. There’s still work to be done in DC. #MJ Memorial

·         Looking forward to reading the book by Prince, Paris and Blanket.

·         Paris looks like she enjoys singing

·         I really need this Memorial to wrap up…I need to go to the grocery store.

·         I have a feeling that somebody’s going 2 profit from this Memorial and it won’t be his estate.

·         The family members are grabbing the mic. Joe this is your moment!

·         So did MJ’s Memorial surpass Princess Di in viewership?

Overall and regardless of my cynical, sometimes evil thoughts, I enjoyed most parts of the memorial, and I’m glad I watched. MJ is part of the fabric of Gen X, and is the Elvis of my generation—for this he gets my respect.