40 Years of Wisdom

In five days, I will be forty years old.

The twenty-one year old Christina would probably be in awe of a few things, like the fact I’m not a size 0 anymore and I quit smoking cigarettes and my husband is in the other room…

As I was driving home from work last tonight, I was thinking of the coming of this new era for me and some things I’ve learned along the way, like when I was six and I backed my little legs (both of them) up against the exhaust of a newly parked 1970s motorcycle muffler.

You can see #6 below for the lesson learned on that one because I decided to list my “words of wisdom” in order of age, taking some creative license with the first couple seeing as I’m not quite sure I remember being two.

Each of these lessons have remained important to me to this day so I thought I’d pass them on in honor of turning forty. I hope you enjoy them… and the little stories I included along the way.

40 Years Of Wisdom

1. Breathing is a most important thing.

2. My mother makes me more at ease than anyone in the world.

3. I love my family but my brother and I are very different.

4. Playing outdoors is a really fun way to spend your time.

5. School is interesting. But I question if all rules need to be followed…

6. Engines are very hot and second degree burns are no joke. The scars have lasted to this day so point being – Be Aware Of Your Surroundings.

7. We all make bad judgements. Such as being in second grade and pooping your pants and not doing anything about it until you get home… (TMI?)

8. Teachers can be very effective. Thank you Mrs. Riordan. We all hoped to get your class!

9. I love my family, with props to my father who works very hard for his family and my Aunt J. who speaks her mind bluntly but has a heart of gold.

10. Life can suck and be beyond your control.

11. I am different from many other people I come across.

12. Fight for what you want. A big thank you goes to my parents for allowing me to make the choice to go to public school rather than private Catholic school for seventh and eighth grade.

13. This monthly interruption of your body is a thing all women must go through. Men do not. (Which begs the question, would men want to if it meant they could experience childbirth? Talk amongst yourselves…)

14. Boys are fascinating and the dark-haired, tall ones seem extra appealing to me… I am one of those with a type, considering all three of my long-term boyfriends (with one becoming my husband,) were dark-skinned with dark hair and had a height of 6’0 or above.

15. My parents and I will not always agree on things.

16. Driving = freedom with responsibility

17. I am much better writing essays than I am solving math problems.

18. College = freedom with responsibility

19. Friends can be your family too.

20. Whenever I try to fit in, I end up sticking out even more. Faking things just isn’t in my blood. (Sorority life was not for me, though I did meet some amazing girls when I lived in for the year, and one of whom has become a best friend for life.)

21. Drinking Alcohol = freedom with responsibility. (Bonus lesson learned – no matter how much you win, you will lose to the house overall when playing video poker in casinos in Vegas BUT you will likely have a lot of fun doing it while drinking free watered down cocktails at one in the afternoon so it’s important to question first if you’re okay with that.)

22. Difficult choices bring lots of pain. Make them anyways.

23. The road of post-college life is not straight. Not. At. All. And you are the driver so don’t let anyone else take the wheel.

24.  Servers make a lot of money in Los Angeles. But you earn every penny by directly dealing with people who are hungry and been sitting in traffic for two hours to go ten miles.

25. Age creeps up on you. But question, what’s really in the number?

26. Making films is the main thing I want to do in life, though I adore the hell out of writing and should do something about that.

27. Fulfilling a life goal is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can go through. I made my first short film after working odd film jobs for years and just talking about it without doing it. (I have now made seven, played at festivals around the world, write about filmmaking and have a feature script getting some nice attention, which hopefully will lead to making it as my feature film directorial debut… stay tuned!)

28. The years of life go by fast. (Oddly, 28 was a hard year for me. I was tested plenty by the universe and did not pass them all…)

29. My father is my biggest fan. And I am so very lucky to have him as a father. (This is around the time I finally realized it.)

30. I am not always as in control as I think. It’s important to see things as they are, not as I wish them or want them to be.

31. I am not perfect. And neither are all my choices. And I do not have all the answers like I thought I did at 21.

32. My parents are my true best friends.

33. Love comes in all forms. (My nephews taught me how to break down the wall I built, not wanting others to get too close… that is until they entered my life.)

34. I can be the change I want.

35. I must try. I must earn what I want. I must be honest with myself. The rewards will come. (They honestly do!)

36. True love does indeed exist. And holding out for it was one of the best choices I ever made.

37. Relationships take work and are not one-sided. Being in one means thinking beyond oneself. (Ask my husband, as this is not always easy for me but he shows me how through his own actions Every Single Day.)

38. Positive energy begets positive energy. Period. Just try it. You get what you put in. Yin and Yang. Cause and effect.

39. Marriage is a journey, not a destination. And when two people support each other, the sky is the limit.

40. Breathing is a most important thing. (And aging is inevitable.)

Am I an asshole?

I need a lot of alone time.

Definitely more than the average person and probably even more than the person who thinks they need a lot of alone time. Ask anyone who has lived with me, dated me or well, tried to get to know me.

I’m not saying this as some badge of honor. Oh no. It’s a problem and I know that.

But it’s me.

I like to spend time alone. I need it. As weird as it sounds, I’m still getting to know myself and without time alone, I don’t feel entirely free to do that.

Is this different from others? Or am I just more vocal about it? I seriously don’t know but hell, I’m coming clean on my blog right now.

I need a lot of alone time.

Do you?

Someone once said that if you can’t spend time alone, than you’re hiding something from yourself. Wait… Is that just a thought I had from all my philosophy study? I seriously don’t know. But I struggle with original thought when I study from the masters. Are we not to build upon them though?

I digress….

I need a lot of alone time.

But what do you do when that need hurts those you love?

Which side do you fulfill…?

Pause for a moment.

Today, I was talking to my father. Not about this. Not at all literally BUT in the conversation we were having, he asked something about living in reality….

And I was struck!

(Not the first time my father said a statement seemingly simple and yet, so therapeutic….)

Have I adapted to the fact that I am no longer living as one? Married, you are living as two. Individuals, yes. But choices no longer are your own because of the commitment you’ve made to another individual…

What then, if you need alone time?

Is that selfish?

Are you an asshole?

What say you?

Yes, you heard right. My husband and I have decided not to have kids.

I get it. I’ve been married for almost two years now; I’m about to turn forty next month; and I adore my nephews and niece.

I understand the need for some to ask me: “Are you going to have children?”

What I don’t understand though, is the unasked-for advisement that comes next, after I’ve confirmed the fact that they did hear right – my husband and I are not having children.

It’s a choice. We weren’t told we couldn’t have them (though the odd thing is, since neither of us have ever tried or been in that situation, we don’t really know if we actually could do it naturally… but I digress.) Let’s put it this way. We could have all the money in the world and we’d still be making this decision. It’s not the expenses, though that IS a freaky thought these days.

So, what’s the reason? Everyone wants a reason. And we’ve thought about it, because, well, we want one too.

If I had to say a main reason, it would be that both of us want whatever time we have left on this planet to be spent how we want, not how it’s best for offspring. See to us, having a child is THE ultimate responsibility and to be frank, we’re choosing to go another way.

Call us selfish. That’s fine. We are in this regard. But isn’t it great that we know this about ourselves, therefore making it a good thing we aren’t bringing children into the world? And if you really think about it, what we’re doing is… well, the smart thing.

But oh, the advisement….

I’ve heard everything… passionate pleas to give it more thought, details on how to freeze my eggs (for when I come to my senses no doubt), stories of regret, sermons on my “duty”, stares of awe…

On the flip side, however, I do get the occasional high-five and/or big smile of understanding. Those rare souls are rays of sunshine, not because they’re of similar mind (some have children of their own, like my parents!) but because they see it as a choice.

And isn’t that the whole point?

Children are a choice we make with our bodies. Or welcoming those from other’s bodies into our lives.

And in my opinion, this choice should be taken extremely seriously.

I know my husband and I do. Very much. Hence, our decision…

(One final thought for now in case it comes up… if my choices don’t adhere to your religious beliefs, please know you can take comfort in the fact that I have to deal with any consequences you think will come, not you. Also, don’t forget that if YOU have children, THEY have to deal with YOUR consequences. Why not focus on that?)

 

 

 

Keep the faith

The past year has been rough for me, in terms of navigating my career. I’ve been struggling with finding avenues to get film financing for my feature and my latest short documentary has not been getting love from the 2017 film festival circuit.

Now, I know people have it a lot worse. I’m not comparing. I’m only saying it’s been tough for me within this context.

Many times when I meet other indie filmmakers/writers, we ask each other, “what do you do for money?”

See, it’s incredibly difficult to make a living as an independent filmmaker, especially for those of us who have opted to live in Los Angeles, which in my opinion is the epicenter of filmmaking. Rents are high and competition is stiff.

But this is not my first time at the rodeo. I’ve been making short films since 2006 and have toured the festival circuit for many years with various films. Some of my films have earned distribution. Some, not so much. Regardless, I’ve put my heart and soul into each and am proud of them.

But this year has been tough. Competition is fiercer than ever, especially with iPhones being capable of producing quality work. The barriers of entry are opening and that is great but there is a glut of content and it is growing increasingly difficult to have one’s voice and work heard among all the noise.

So, where does that leave us? The artists of the world who have something to say and are trying to figure out ways of getting it heard….

Pretty much left to our own devices.

But in my opinion, now is a time of innovation, fast moving technological growth and change. A shift in power is emerging and the monarchs are falling from grace, as blunt talk and transparency prove them to be the false leaders that they are.

I’ve learned it’s best to plant one’s own seeds and tend to them until they grow instead of putting your seeds in another’s basket.

Personally, I have been planting seeds all over. The dry spells have been insanely difficult and I have a long way to go but I plant, nonetheless.

And suddenly, some of the seeds are starting to sprout. Some are ones I planted years ago.

I’ve found if one heeds nature, and listens, answers will arise.

Just as I was starting to think about if it was time to switch gears and go after a more stable gig like copywriting or something, I received an acceptance for my feature film script to a popular film festival screenplay competition (I can’t say which one yet!) and one of my article pitches was accepted from a website I currently write for.

I won’t go on but my point of all this is to say that it is always worth it to keep trying for what you want because you never know when your seeds will become plants of their own. So….

Plant those seeds.

Tend to them.

And believe.

Because they will grow….

#neverletanyonetellyouotherwise

 

 

Structure

As a freelance writer/filmmaker who waits tables three nights a week, my schedule is all over the place. I find myself working at random hours, any day of the week, and the line between work and play is often blurred because of this.

This morning, while on a walk at the beach thinking about the changes I want to make in my life and myself, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I need more structure.

This minimal-schedule of mine that changes weekly is no longer working for me. And it’s time to change that.

So on Monday, I’ll be starting a new job.

In my home office.

My hours will be 10 – whenever I have to go the restaurant M/T/W and 10 – 8 TH/F. (yes, 10am because come on, there are perks to working from home.) Weekends will vary but I will try to use that time for errands, a second yoga class, seeing family and friends and well, anything else I want while balancing work occasionally.

My loving husband is fully onboard, which is great because he also works from home…. (perhaps that will be a future blog…hehe)

Isn’t it interesting how we change over time?

I once thought the lack of structure in my schedule kept my creative juices flowing and allowed me to work whenever and wherever I wanted but I don’t think that any longer. In fact, if I’m being honest with myself, it has likely hurt my focus and attention.

Stay tuned for more info about my new job. Will I love the schedule or hate it? Will it help my focus and work productivity level? Will it help me break bad habits by no longer blurring work and play? Will it overall make me a better person?

Will it make me happy?

I don’t expect to find answers right away but please, join me as I share my discoveries in future blog posts. And feel free to come along for the ride with your own changes and keep me posted in the comments!

 

Why I’m happy my husband and I waited five years to become Facebook friends

I met my husband, Don, on Labor Day 2012 and sparks flew as we walked for hours around Manhattan Beach, talking and getting to know each other. This was followed with a drink by the pier and a couple more hours of conversation.

Talking to Don was like talking to an old friend who suddenly came back into my life. It was like we knew each other but didn’t. And he somehow made me believe true love did indeed exist.

So when a few months into our relationship I asked Don to be Facebook friends, and he declined, let’s just say I was most certainly thrown for a loop.

“How dare he?!” “What in the hell!” “That’s it. It’s over.” 

These are a few things that ran through my head when he told me he didn’t want to be Facebook friends. And then a big one sank in….

What in the world is he hiding?!”

Now, up to this point, Don had not done a thing to make me distrust him and in fact, he did a lot of things that made me trust him, so this was mind-boggling.

The next night we were together, probably within fifteen seconds if I know myself, I unleashed on him. I questioned him and our entire relationship.

I simply couldn’t understand how we could date and be falling in love and yet he didn’t want to “friend me” on social media.

Then, he said something calmly and uncomplicated.

“I don’t want to get to know you through Facebook.”

My inner rage was jolted. And as though it was controlled by a gas-stove dial, the flame went from bursting to barely there.

He had a really solid point. And I liked it. I respected that he didn’t want to learn about me through a social networking service.

So I agreed. We would not be Facebook friends until we were ready.

There was one stipulation though – I would be able to see his page whenever I wanted to, under his login. Come on people, I’m no fool. But he not only agreed, he also invited me to do so right then and there.

Which, of course, I did. But after that, I’ve probably asked him to look at his page maybe five times in the five years we’ve been together. And that was only to see pictures.

Now… flash forward to last week.

After being married for a year and a half, I turned to Don while we were grabbing a drink before dinner and said, “Babe, you think it’s time we become Facebook friends?”

He gave me one of his adorable side-tilted smiles and said, “You want to? Let’s do it.”

He sent me an invite ten seconds later.

And then I realized, after all this time, it’s really fun to suddenly get to see each other’s Facebook life. Not that it’s much different from non-Facebook life, but it is its own entity and I’m not sure Don realizes it, but he discovered a whole new way for us to get to know each other.

Flow of Flying

rushing, packing, night before if smart, morning of it not. time is key. unless you travel with parents. then them against you. three hours early or ten minutes before boarding… rushing regardless.

drop-off war zone. luggage wheels flexed. lines. security. lines. questions. gates figured out. sometimes after a few tries.

check-in. phones out. id’s ready.

sitting. waiting. relieved. anxious. technology or sleep?

flight delay. wtf? or boarding. yay! lines. pushing. rudeness. smiles.

seats made for children. uncomfortable. taxi’ing. time moves slowly.

take off! finally. reading. time check. sleep. time check. uncomfortable. time check.

landing. 10mph. phones out. claustrophobic. bags everywhere.

wheels flexed. lines. attendants.

people in all directions. gift shops. phone calls. bathroom time.

baggage claim sometimes. hopeful. waiting. eyes peeled.

taxis. uber. friends. family. chaos. exhaust. cars and you.

till next time….