Wednesday 29 August 2012

FOMO is not a dirty word!

There was an article in the Huffington post that I was alerted to the other day. ( That basically painted Fear of Missing Out, FOMO as a sulky insecurity (it did have the classic line “Ten percent confess that they text during sex.” which is the topic for another blog – about how you probably aren’t having very good sex).

Now as someone who has spent the last 18 years living my life on FOMO, I take great offence at this. Fomo isn’t sitting around sour grape-ing that you weren’t invited somewhere – FOMO is creating every opportunity you can, so you squeeze as much into your one and only precious life. As I’ve said before,  Ray Bradbury put it perfectly when he said “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

One of my favourite fomo moments was when I was on maternity leave, making dinner for my then 3 year old and the tv weather man was crossing live from where a rare giant plant was flowering in the Botanical Gardens, first time in 24 years and it would only flower for one day. For the special occasion the Gardens would stay open all night. We dropped everything (put the dinner in a Tupperware container to eat in the car) and headed into town. Within less than 5 minutes of the report, we were in the car. It was probably not the best thought out plan to be carting an 8 week old in a capsule, who’d want a feed while in the queue to get into the greenhouse, and the whole exercise took over 2 hours, even though we live 5kms from the city. But that’s now crossed off the list. My three year old was the one who went around telling everyone in amazement “We just got up and went!”. I think he was more impressed with the surprising spontaneity than the big stinky plant.

My midlife crises moment was when I woke in a panic, as I realised that I would never get to see the heads on Easter Island. I know that sounds funny but I sunk into a depression as I grappled with that fact. Every thing I do now, at this stage of life, comes at a cost of missing out on something else. There is only so much time and money to go round, and with three kids there doesn’t seem to be enough of either. However, my good friend pointed out that if I wanted it enough, I’d make it happen. That to me is the driving nature of FOMO.

On the upside, while planning adventures and activities like a dervish, I see a lot of things I probably wouldn’t. I also often share these adventures with friends and I derive a lot of happiness from them. I think you can look at the facebook updates of friends and think “I’ll add that to the list” rather than “Why didn’t I get invited?” And I think the former is the true essence of FOMO – not to show off, not to be self indulgent but to get the most enjoyment out of life that you can.
As Benjamin Franklin once said “do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

Monday 27 August 2012

What I learnt from Total Recall:

By Lydia C. Lee

1. In a world with hover cars, some people still drive normal cars.
2. In a world with futuristic technology, the deadly assassins still use traditional handguns as the weapon of choice.
3. You can hold hands and shoot while under attack, as long as one of you can shoot left handed and the other right handed.
4. According to my 11 year old companions, all brown haired Caucasian women look the same. They couldn’t tell Biel or Beckinsale apart at the beginning.
5. In a world where police wear full body armour, the higher up the chain you are, the more likely you are to be in an oldschool kevlar jacket – or nothing at all.
6. In a country called New Asia, no Asians hold any positions of importance. (I bet there were a whole lot of actors disappointed to learn they still weren’t going to get speaking parts).
7. The biggest thing I learnt, was that I missed Arnie.
Now I have to stop there. I’d actually written an ode to Arnie and the cheesy hero and my malaise with what’s going on in the world. However, by coincidence, I also watched the original Total Recall last night. It’s terrible. It’s not how I remember it at all.
What I learnt from that Total Recall is:
1. Prostitutes wear 80’s aerobic gear.
2. You could swear way more than you can in films now.
3. In the 90’s future, we wear 80’s clothes.
4. Cars are still cars but square looking (big up for Volvos and Citroens).
5. Arnie is hysterical and knows it. The whole towel turban is proof of that. And escaping in a dress.
6. The biggest thing I learnt was nostalgia is like Rekall, and it implants memories and affection to things that don’t deserve them.
And there in lies the lesson. No matter how we look back on the past, we need to remember it probably wasn’t really better than today. Our memories just dress it up that way.

Thursday 16 August 2012

What Fresh Hell is this?

By Lydia C. Lee

1. Health fund office at tax time.
2. Tax Time.
3. Nothing sucks the joy out of a morning than making the school lunches for the first day back....
4. Pretty much every song in the top 40 and definitely every song butchered by the 'stars' of tv singing contest show.
5. Why does an 11 year old undo their seatbelt on the freeway? Wtf??!! Hate driving other people's kids to parties.
6. I'm sick of these itablet ads like they’re some great new friend filling our life with fun. Where's the ad where the kids hog it and the parents get annoyed?
7. Gross Public toilets. I don’t think I need to elaborate, but do those people do that at home? Will I one day go visiting a new friend and head to the bathroom only to find excrement wiped on the walls?
8. 50 shades of crazy. It's set in the school yard - and it's not talking about the kids!!! Best seller? (and I really can’t elaborate on that one!)
9. Autotune – enough already!!
10. Cinema car park on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
11. Needy friends playing games for attention - I thought I left that behaviour 20 years ago...
12. Too many 3 year olds hopped up on sugar at party…can only end badly (and loudly).
13. Is there more reality tv on at the moment than ever before? (or am I just missing the Olympics?)
14. Women’s interests media sites that really only serve to divide women. Cheap shots at easy targets to get comments…
15. Celebrities that become mothers and now seem to think that they are famous for their parenting and birthing advice. And they get attention for those comments, as if their opinion is important advice for the rest of us.
More of those moments when my brain just can’t compute the overwhelming idiocy of the world we live in will come, but in the meantime, feel free to add your own.

Sunday 12 August 2012

Home, Home on the Gun Range

By Lydia C. Lee

I have been inspired by Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom, who set herself the challenge in her 49th year, of doing 49 new things before she turns 50. (See I think it’s a brilliant idea, so that instead of becoming set in her ways, she’s setting out to see what else in life she might like.  I too, have decided to follow suit – but no set number for me, and I may as well start now, to get a bit of a head start.

Now as I have spent the last two weeks in an Olympic swirl, and encouraged by the fact that there was a 62 year old shooter amongst the athletes, I have decided to take up competitive shooting, and who knows, maybe in four years or so, I can add ‘being in the Olympic Opening Ceremony’ as one of my new experiences.

I hunted down a rifle range that has a ‘try shooting’ programme. I mentioned to my 12 year old my intentions and he asked if he could come too. I said ‘sure thing, will check the ages’. When I mentioned this in passing to my partner, he was VERY unimpressed. There is not a lot in the parenting that he volunteers input into, but let me tell you, this was it! Needless to say, this will be an adults only enterprise…

Now before you write me off as some sort of crazy gun-toting redneck or war mongering violophile, I’m not into hunting, or even practicing with the outline of a person. I’m talking the distance target like an archery target, which I might add, my partner had no issue with said son participating in when he was 9. I don’t even like ‘those’ video games and lecture my son regularly on the danger of marketing soft terms like ‘friendly fire’ that those games promote. I’m a pacifist, and would never dream of owning a gun, or having a gun in the house. I can however, see the skill in the sport. I can see it as an exercise in discipline, patience and accuracy.

So I am to set off alone on this new adventure (and I will see for myself if it was ill-thought out parenting). Except surprisingly, I won’t be by myself. I mentioned the rifle range to a number of friends and they thought it was a BRILLIANT idea. All female. One of these women is the most elegant, well spoken and artistic people that I know – Ironically, she thought taking the kids was also a great idea. It’s a reminder that we don’t all think the same, yet invariably, amongst our friends, are one or two who do, and that is probably what drew us together in the first place.  It also highlights that I harbour ill informed and other judgemental attitudes towards this particular exercise too.

So now I just need to find a date – see if it’s fun, see if I like it and see if I can do it. Now that it’s down to brass tacks, I am remembering my hilarious attempt of skeet shooting twenty years ago, on a cruise. I missed every single skeet except the last, and I found the gun hurt my shoulder with the recoil. The rifle range I'm looking at is the old Olympic site, so that might have to be as close as I get, but I can still say I did shooting at the Olympics(ite).

 I’m very keen to try it, but am also contemplating my next challenge, as forming the list may be as much fun as completing it…but for now:

Life changing new experiences (or activity I don’t need to ever do again – depending how it goes)*
1. Shooting.

Ray Bradbury said it best “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” That is my new aim, and I think they’re very wise words to live by.

*As you can see, I need a far more alluring name for my list. Suggestions welcome!

Linking with #ANewWhirl

Thursday 9 August 2012

Happiness and the Most Important Day of your Life?

I was reading a blog that had been reposted (What was the biggest day of your life? By Nita Green). The gist was that the wedding day is spoken of, prior to the wedding, as the most important day of your life, but that really, life is made up of many important moments. They then asked what was the readers most important day of their lives, and predictably, most people said the birth of my child/ren. I understand why people say that, given the focus on the birth experience these days and motherhood in general. I agree the birth of a child is a life changing one, but is it the most important day of your life? It is like saying the graduation day more important than what you learnt all those days at University or the wedding is more important than those 20 years of marriage that follow.  It is the start of something new and wonderful, but it is hardly the most important aspect of that journey. If you had one day to relive, would it really be the day of your child’s birth? Surely it would be a special moment shared with that child, when their personality was shining brightest?
What I would argue is, if the birth of your child is the most important day of your life, then any interaction with that child, as they evolve into an independent adult is less important to you than your birth experience – let’s face it, there’s not a huge interaction from the child’s point of view. For me, I would rank higher than the day of their birth, the special moments shared - the joy of playing with bubbles together as they squeal with delight, the feeling of relief and pride when my 8 year old for the first time ever, decided to finish by himself a chapter book I'd been reading to him, or the belly laugh of a shared joke with my 11 year old in a moment when we were equals, rather than mother and son. Everyday there are tiny (or great) moments that are to be cherished and valued, in the same way the special moments with your partner, 10 years down the track are romantic, kind or supportive gestures, not really memories of your wedding day.
A number of my favourite memories don't even include my kids, some don't even include my husband. The list is too many to mention and as to naming the most important?  I really couldn't even try. Happiness is hard to quantify – is one moment of happiness really more joyous than the next? Whatever it may be?
My answer to the question? The most important day in my life is today. If it's not important or special then I've wasted it.
Can you narrow it down to a single day?

Linking up this old post with #MummyMondays and #OpenSlather because the topic came up over the weekend with friends, and it reminded me I'd written about it.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

When what glitters isn’t Gold…

By Lydia C. Lee

The Olympics was originally a festival of strong bodies and sporting events to please the Gods. The modern Olympics was, in part, intended for nations come together and ‘overcome national disputes, all in the name of sport.’ Somehow, along the way it stopped being about the best athletes in the world and became a festival of national pride. Something very important seems to have got lost in the process.
Making the Olympic team is something to be celebrated – you are the top of your country in your field. Should you make the final, that is truly an achievement as you are the cream of the international crop. Silver and Bronze are not medals to be dismissed. They are not second rate. Any medal at the Olympics is a mammoth achievement and should be feted as such. How have we come to a place where athletes cry in disappointment when they get Silver? Why is the poolside press asking them questions that imply they have failed? If you have a Silver medal, you have beaten every athlete in the World except one. That is a successful campaign in my book. Our media and coverage needs to readdress their view on these Games.
This week we had a media frenzy that Leisel Jones was ‘too fat’ to win – one unflattering photo and everyone seemed to forget that she did actually qualify. She didn’t just walk out of the crowd and decide to swim, she beat the times of other Australian swimmers to get to London. She went on to make the final, being older than most of the other athletes in the event. Making the final means she’s in the top eight in her field. Let’s celebrate that – it’s a fantastic achievement.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love our athletes to get the Gold Medal. I love it when they get Silver, Bronze or make the final. I love watching events if we are in it. I also love to watch the events that we aren’t in, as I am watching athletes perform at the highest level, no matter what country they’re representing. We should be watching the finals (or highlights) of all sports regardless of whether we have a contender in it. Their skill is surely awe inspiring enough to keep us entertained? Perhaps if we watched a broader coverage, we might see success in the medals the Australians have won, rather than failure.
There is an irony, of course, that despite our obsession with Gold, the moments we remember are those that capture our hearts, and rarely have to do with winning. They are the Eddie the eagle, Eric the eel or this time, Isskana moments.  My son asked me about Kathy Freeman and embarrassingly I told him she was a great runner who carried the flag for Australia and won a lot of Gold medals, but I had to google the details of the events. Yet I remember clearly the details of Jacobellis in the Snowboard Cross, celebrating too soon, stumbling and the boarder way behind in second, shot past to snatch the Gold. Yet strangely, I don’t remember the eventual winner’s name. Steven Bradbury will be remembered for his Gold, not so much because he won, but for the story that goes with it. His glory at the Olympics ranks high in my poll of memorable moments.
Pierre de Coubertin said ‘The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.’ This was on display over the stadium at the last London Olympics, back in 1948, and perhaps it needs to be on display again. One of the UK presenters commented that he thought the Australian athletes seemed really hard on themselves, and I think that we have done our athletes a real disservice in the media.  Let’s turn it around right now – there’s still time for us to celebrate our great athletes, and cheer them on regardless of the results, or expectations.
I want to see people run fast, shoot straight and swim exceptional times, regardless of their nationality. I want to watch the best of the best. I wish our athletes all the best in their events, but they’ve already succeeded by being there. Celebrate, whatever your personal outcome, as you are already superior in your field to the 22 million of us sitting in our lounge rooms.