Baby Bird Syndrome

Ah, the wonders of nature. A little baby bird emerges from an egg, it is fed and nurtured by its parents, and then one day, it grows its feathers all over and becomes too big for the nest. So, what happens? Does it watch its parents closely so it can learn how to fly? Does it hop along on a branch before finally taking wing? No! Mom and Dad shove their little son or daughter right over the side. How’s that for encouragement?

And most of the time, the little baby bird either flutters a little and finds the wind under its wings, or it plummets to the ground and chirps for days, until it finally figures out how to get itself out of this mess.

Now, you might think, Wow, rude, Mom and Dad! You wouldn’t even allow it to pack its stuff? Or you might think, It was time. Everybody has to grow up, and nothing helps you to grow up like the fear of falling out of the nest.

But what happens when that scenario hits a little closer to home and that little baby bird is actually a full-grown adult college graduate?

This is a situation that we are seeing more and more with our tanking economy. Students return to their home base before making their way out into the world because it’s all they can do to stay afloat with collegiate debt. And in nationwide polls, most parents have said that they don’t mind that their child has come home to roost. I mean, if your parents are anything like mine, they usually don’t mind the company. They like the extra help and someone to schlepp around with.

But the weight of it all for that little baby bird or human well…it weighs on you. You feel like a loafer. You feel like a mooch. And worst of all, you feel like a fat baby bird who refuses to fly and would rather sit in the nest watching Jerry Springer! at all hours of the day. There’s this awful guilt that you aren’t living up to your full potential because you’re grounded, in a way.

Which is why bird parents and human parents sometimes push their children out of the nest at some point. It absolutely forces them to make a decision, and the baby is able to start his or her life on his or her terms.

But there are also parents who would rather see their baby’s feathers fully grown in before they’re  encouraged to fly. Which is okay, too.

The point is that it’s fine to do either. It’s okay to strike out on your own and it’s okay to just strike out. As long as everyone is happy with the situation, then you need to feel like it is acceptable too, guilt or not.

Just remember that if you’re feeling a bit like you’re taking up too much space in the nest, think about what it will feel like to you and your parents when it’s empty. Enjoy the time you have together.

Procrastinators! Read This…Later

It’s a disease (or a gift?) to be able to postpone things to the last minute. But, I wouldn’t even call it postponing because that implies some sort of effort…hmm…oh, well. I’ll think of a synonym later…

Yes, we’ve all been victims of procrastinating both large and small projects, and of course, science says writers are repeat offenders. This is not news to me, as you’d expect. For it wasn’t that I didn’t want to write about whether Hamlet was actually “mad” in his eponymous play in high school, it was simply that I wanted to do other things more. Like watch full marathons of Say Yes to the Dress and analyze why pretty girls chose ugly dresses.

And procrastinating is a habit that seems, as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, as unbreakable and insurmountable as other unhealthy routines like smoking cigarettes or eating junk food. And it’s not without its perks: the adrenaline high of completing a project or finishing a task as the deadline is closing in, as the wire pulls taut around your neck, is simply exhilarating. Why else would we do this to ourselves time and time again if we didn’t get some strange pleasure out of barely getting things done?

Of course, this was my mantra in college. At any given time, I was so tired from staying up studying and writing that I was almost completely awake and energized. I lived in a constant state of finishing a paper only to start another one a few hours later (one I had known about for weeks). Then, when I was removed from the gentle hands of the American educational system (I can hear you chuckling through the screen) and into my study abroad experience, my procrastinating only worsened. At finals time, I wrote two 15+ papers in the span of 24 hours. (Of course, I’m sure you’re all skeptical and unimpressed by this because this is all coming from the girl who writes daily, but this is the part where you gasp in amazement for dramatic effect.)

I convinced myself that I didn’t have “time” for papers, and I let it all go, until I sincerely did not have any time to write my papers.

But today, in life’s infinite wisdom, and through the tried and tested methods of age, I have come to the following conclusion about procrastination: the homework that is known is better than the homework that is yet to be done.

Meaning this: do a little bit each day and you won’t feel so bad about putting it off.

Because here is the rub, keeping with the Hamlet theme earlier, if you know you’re a procrastinator, then you shouldn’t kid yourself about it. You shouldn’t even begin to tell yourself that you’ll start the project early when everyone knows you’re lying. Just accept that it is a part of your identity. For example, Clark Kent is a huge part of Superman, even though it is the dorky, not-so-awesome side. Procrastination is the Clark Kent to your secret superhero identity.

So, embrace your procrastinating side. However, plan for it. If you know you are going to procrastinate, then make sure you have enough time to do so. I promise, the looming feeling that you get when you think about a project or issue that you have to resolve is so. much. worse than actually pulling yourself away from wedding shows and just doing the thing. Then, when it’s done, you’ll feel accomplished, and you can reward yourself. With more wedding shows.

The point is, don’t spend so much trying to change your ugly habits. Instead, make them work for you.

To All The Teachers In My Life (And In The World)

It’s September 1st.

It’s that time again. You’ve double-checked your supplies, your outfit, your class schedule. You take deep breaths, but you still feel some anxiety pressing in that keeps sleep far behind a high fence that you can’t seem to reach.

And I’m not even talking about how your students are feeling. This is you. The elementary, high school, even college teachers/professors who must once again return to the classroom for another year. This is you.

But what I am about to say is for you.

I loved school. It was the only thing that I was truly good at. I liked obediently reading and working on homework assignments. I liked the relationships I forged with teachers who saw that I truly liked to learn. I loved filling my head with new things and applying them to new scenarios.

So, thank you, teachers/professors. Thank you for spending a little more time each night creating your lesson plans and perfecting them. Thank you for getting up early to be in the classroom before homeroom. Thank you for pushing back and caring when you did not think that you could give another drop of yourself. Thank you for going beyond the roles of teacher/professor and delving into the realms of friend, parent, disciplinarian, role model, but most of all, supporter of dreams. No one asks you to do what you do or to make it stand up to your personal standards. Worst of all, you are rarely thanked besides a week where you can get a few dollars off what you need to buy for your classroom.

And truly, my thanks cannot be enough. But I hope you keep going. In the face of angry parents. In the face of misunderstood students. In the face of adversity.


I hope you remember that you are appreciated and loved. Have a great year. You’re going to be terrific.