In the Mailbag section of my site I answered a question from a woman who is worried about becoming financially dependent on her spouse if she doesn’t work.If you’ve been reading my writing for even a short amount of time, you already know what I told her:
All people who have children are dependent on their partner. Because being a single parent is a million times harder than being a team. No matter who is making the money.
And I will tell her to get married by 30. And I will tell her no one can hold onto a full-time career that is on an upward trajectory and also take care of kids. The only people on an upward trajectory after age 40 are people who are not primary caregivers.
Wendy commented that I always give the same advice.
It’s true. Because I’m right. But I’m sick of being right. It’s time to move on. I have never talked with a parent of fifteen-year-old kids who disagrees with any of my advice. It’s just you have to get there to see that the advice is right.
But now I’m thinking, what is the advice for the parents with a fifteen-year-old kid? I should write that stage of adult life. I don’t actually know what’s true. I’m just learning that now, with my own fifteen-year-old kid. But at least I’d learn something about myself while I wrote the post.
It seems that if I want to write for people who are too old to care that women cannot have it all, then I could just write about myself. I am that demographic, after all. But I can’t write anything about myself. My whole life is off limits right now.
I can’t write about the Farmer because I know you think my whole not-marriage has exploded, and I am picking up the pieces, but actually it has not completely exploded. It’s more like a minefield, and I’m in the process of organizing humanitarian demining methods for minimizing collateral damage.
You can imagine that Geneva convention guidelines do not include week-by-week commentary on a personal blog. So I can’t write anything about that. At least not now.
The New Yorker has an article about how people are moving into vans and taking pictures of themselves in great places and doing yoga on the roof of the the van, and being hot and tanned in some beachside parking lot doubling as a trailer park.
For me that’s a social media branding instruction kit. People want pictures where life is perfect so they can fantasize about tossing it all away and living in heaven.
The problem is that this social media marketing scheme also falls into the category of fucked-up people who are not-yet-parents thinking they can win at some game that involves taking the best pictures of a life that is, aside from those pictures, totally vapid. It’s the purview of Gen Y. And I’m sick of it. And my new target audience of parents with fifteen year old kids is sick of it, too. (Though I can’t help thinking some of them might be hoping their kid could get in a van and take selfies to put themselves through college.)
You might be expecting me to write about cello. After all, most of my life has been consumed by cello lessons or rearranging the non-cello part of my life to accommodate cello lessons.
How it works is that now I count as a media outlet that needs to adhere to Juilliard’s media guidelines. So those photos I took from inside the building are the last you’ll ever see on this site; it was against the rules.
And it turns out people are contacting my son’s teacher to say that not everyone has to give up what we gave up to get to Juilliard.
WTF? I would really like to dissect that. Does it mean that I’m just more stupid and incompetent than the other parents whose families gave up so little?
But we will not be dissecting that here. Because I’ll just make enemies at Juilliard and then it’ll be a minefield, and my son will be sick of wearing protective gear to go through a life of bombs planted to contain his mom, and then he’ll go off to Europe and take lessons with a teacher who speaks no English, and he’ll fall in love with the teacher’s daughter and they will move to an obscure city that is not obscure to European music snobs, and I will never see my son again without paying full price for plane tickets to see him perform.
So, okay, cello is out. I can’t write about that.
Well, she used to put up with anything. You can tell how serious Melissa is about a guy by how much I can write about him. And you will notice you have heard nothing from me. Right now Melissa is staying at his place every night while still paying for her obscenely expensive apartment in San Francisco in order to make herself feel like she hasn’t moved in with another guy before she had a ring.
That makes me feel better. Because something you know about when you have a fifteen-year-old kid is that you think you are going to change, you have big hopes for changing, blah blah blah. But no one changes.
So Melissa is in a holding pattern right now. She calls me and asks me when I’m going to do a podcast with her. She sends me articles like, Podcasts are the New Xanax. And I wonder, what is the new alcohol? Because I am already so sad that I can sleep any time I want. I am so shut down that I am almost just walking in my sleep.
I am a good drunk. I could be an alcoholic and then write about it. Which brings up the fundamental problem of blogging. This blog works best when I am telling you what I’m learning, while I’m learning it, because then it’s so raw that I don’t have the time or energy or wherewithal to cover it up.
But now I have to cover up everything. Or ignore it. Write around it. Like, maybe I’ll do a whole post on land mines. How to write your resume to get a job in a minefield. I bet I could rank pretty high for those search terms.
I shaved my legs today.
I remember when I was purposefully not shaving my legs, when I played professional beach volleyball and it was the off season. My vacation was a vacation from having to constantly be well groomed for photos. I told my aunt I was not shaving my legs and she said, “That is so stupid. You will look back on this time and remember how beautiful your legs were and regret that you didn’t shave them.”
Maybe she’s right. I’m not taking chances. I am already missing so much. I don’t want to miss any more.