What’s Best

When you have something or someone that you love, you want to dote on them. Spoil them. Treat them right.

Like if you have kids, you want to make them happy. If you have a partner, you want to make him/her happy. Even if you have a dog, you want to make him/her happy.

So, you feed them. You buy them nice things. You spend time with them.

But you end up overfeeding them. Buying them too many things so you’re out of money. Spending too much time with them.

If you really loved them, you would want them to be healthy. And do what’s best for them.

And what’s best for them is not always what they want all the time. Sometimes, it’s more about what they need.

It can be tricky. It can hurt. And it can feel like you’re not loving them as much as you should.

But if you’re doing what’s best, you’re doing it right.

Love,

Bailey

Night Reader

I grew up surrounded by books. I became an English major, and I’m even trying to write my own.

This weekend, I spent a whole night discussing books with a great friend. A whole night.

And it all comes down to one turning moment in my life: my parents read to me. I wrote my college essay on the beauty of my Dad coming up to my sister and me’s bedroom and bringing the book we picked together from the library only days before. Whether it was Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, my Dad always read to us at least a little every night to give our mom a break. And when our eyes started to flutter close, he would check on us to see if we were still listening. And the next night, he would inevitably have to go back and reread parts that we had missed.

I can’t say anything about my math skills. Maybe if I had rehearsed my timetables at night, I would be better. But I can say I’m a good reader.

So, if you do anything for your kids, make sure you read to them. They won’t forget it, and neither will you.

Love,

Bailey

You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Tonight, we’re going to talk about our feelings.

No, seriously.

You can work to swallow them, hide them, or even pretend that they don’t exist. But feelings are a part of us, and without them, we’d all be Cybermen.

(Personally, I like to sing to in the car to expel my emotions. Performing a concert live where no one can hear me sing the wrong words and notes makes me feel like Beyonce, and we all know that no one can hurt the queen’s feelings.)

It was during one of these solos inside of my car that I realized something about one specific emotion: anger. Anger is unlike any other feeling because it is so fleeting. It transforms too quickly to envy, fear, sadness, or even apathy. We don’t really experience anger all that often, at least not in its purest form.

But when we do experience anger, and here’s where my revelation comes in, we are not angry in the way that we have made ourselves believe. Have you ever realized that when you are angry at someone or something it’s because they didn’t do what you expected them to do instead of being angry at them for what they did? Isn’t anger then simply surprise and confusion?

Think about it. When you were younger and you did something wrong, oh say, stuff a lot of tissues in the porcelain throne to see what would happen (like I did), you can probably remember that your parents were pretty angry. Or at least, you could probably guess that they would be very angry if you did such a thing. Why? Because you did permanent damage to the toilet? Maybe. But they could buy another one. Because you purposefully tried to break something? I guess, but you were just a kid.

No, it was because you weren’t acting as your parents were expecting you to act. I don’t know why, but most parents simply assume that their children will wear halos and do what they are told. And everything we know, from fairy tales to television shows, tells us that this is not true. So, kid goofs off, parents get angry, kid gets punished, kid promises never to do it again (with variable results).

Think of another situation. What about when you forget to buy something for your anniversary with your partner? Why does he or she get angry, you ask? Not because they really wanted a present, and not even because this is probably the fifth time you forgot. (Although, yes, it is probably the fifth time you forgot and that sucks for the other person.)  But the reason they are probably angry is because you are not acting as they’d expect you to act. 

Consider one more scenario. You have a best friend. You develop feelings for him or her. Then, when you build up the nerve to tell this person, he or she tells you that they are not interested, but they would like to stay friends. You, in turn, are angry. So, you declare yourself eternally in the “friend zone” (which does not exist) and proceed with whatever course of action that scorned lovers take. But really, you guessed it, you are only angry with your best friend because he or she did not act as you expected. This causes feelings of mistrust and hurt, and that’s understandable. But it isn’t your best friend’s fault for being honest with you.

Essentially, you need to evaluate the situation the next time that you find yourself angry at someone or something. Most often, you will find that you are angry because things didn’t go the way that you were expecting them to. And if you are going to be angry about that, then you are going to be angry for the rest of your life.

Do Adults Exist?

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I am a recent graduate with a full-time job. At this time in my life, this is the oldest I’ve ever been (obviously) and the first time that I’ve ever felt like an adult (not so obvious). But am I an adult? Truly? You tell me. I wear a blazer, I drink tea daily, I complain about bills, I come home exhausted. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.

So, how did you know you weren’t a kid anymore? Did you realize it the first time you moved out (right before you moved back in)? Or did that familiar sense of dread and responsibility wash over you the first time you had to call and make your own doctor’s appointment? (Truly horrific.)

In many species in the animal kingdom, a child becomes an adult when it has reached sexual maturity. But in form, the adult is just a larger version of its younger self. Or, as Dylan Moran so poetically puts it: “You’re not really an adult at all. You’re just a tall child holding a beer, having a conversation you don’t understand.” And he’s absolutely right. On all parts. Except that height thing. I’ve always had a little bit of trouble with that.

So, really, I am a child of a height that is similar to a child’s actual height, holding a cider, (I don’t like beer) having a conversation that I not only do not understand, but I am not interested in.

How do I know this? How do I know I’m not an adult? Mostly because I have spent the last week absolutely ecstatic for the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2. I’ve listened to the score for 4 hours straight today, and I have teared up listening to it at least twice. Sure, all children’s movies are sort of designed with adults/parents in mind, but not enough to warrant me going to see the sequel at midnight, without a single child in tow. And if this were the only instance in which my immaturity has shined through like a lighthouse on a dark, dark sea, I might entertain the notion that I am working towards adulthood. I’m not there, but I’m getting there. I’m going out to sea.

But I’m not sure I want to keep going if the goal is adulthood. And you shouldn’t want to, either. I want to keep the shoreline in my sights.

I’m not here to pass judgement on you. I’m sure you enjoy your black coffee, and I’m sure you enjoy making your Excel spreadsheets. But when was the last time you truly felt something? Or were passionate about something? And I’m not saying that you need to like kid’s movies in order to be a kid. You simply have to acknowledge that you feel strongly about something. You simply need to put your own needs before others, just for an hour or two.

Don’t get me wrong; I have had positive experiences so far in “adulthood.” I get to go to bars, I get to call and order things from infomercials, and let’s not forget that I get to do what I love and get paid. But I’m not convinced that this is adulthood. I’m not even sure that true adults exist. I think people who are adults in every sense of the word aren’t really living, and therefore, they can’t exist.

The truth is, if you keep one foot in childhood, if you keep your sense of curiosity intact, if you keep your passions present in your life, you won’t really grow up. Not in the Peter Pan or Michael Jackson sense of the expression, but in a sense that matters.