Tag Archives: growing up

I Celebrate It All

I call myself a “cashew” for fun. I’m a Catholic-Jew I tell people. My whole life, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a multi-faith family. My mom is Jewish and my dad is Catholic. What does that mean exactly? The easiest way to explain it is to tell you that I celebrate everything. We have Christmas and Hannukah; Easter and Passover. We aren’t a religious family by any means, neither of my parents were particularly dedicated to their religions. I didn’t grow up going to church or temple nor did I have a communion or bat mitzvah (lost out big time on those!), but we always celebrated and shared the holidays together. In the end, being with family is what sticks out the most.

Growing up, I felt like the only Jewish kid in town. Not in a bad way, but no one knew what Hannukah was and in 1987 we didn’t get 15 days off during the year for holidays like Yom Kippur or Passover like kids do now. In my world, everyone went to CCD and celebrated Christmas. It never really bothered me, as I got to basically participate in what everyone else did. Plus, I got to play my Jew card. I didn’t have to go to school on certain obscure holidays and as I got older, I could take off work or leave early for the same reason. However, if I didn’t celebrate Christmas, I think I might have felt differently if I was ONLY Jewish; somewhat sad that I wasn’t part of holidays that were so commercially promoted and in your face.

When I moved to a new town, I noticed a lot of people were Jewish. There were more Jewish people here than I think I have known in my entire life. In fact, I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful group of friends and they are ALL Jewish. I am the only one decorating a Christmas tree and hiding eggs on Easter. I’m suddenly the religious minority in my adult life, like I was during childhood.

This time of year, I notice it even more, as my friends are getting ready to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (it’s 5776 in case you’re wondering). They’re cooking and making plans to visit family and it’s a whole big event. It’s nothing like when I grew up in my small mountain town and it’s kind of nice to see how people embrace these holidays. In my family, if we could make it happen with everyone’s crazy schedules, we did. We’d eat brisket and challah and dip some apples in honey (just to make my mom happy). And if it didn’t work out, we’d skip it and maybe have a “Jewish meal” some other time during the year.

Even though I am surrounded by a lot more Jewishness during this time in my life, I don’t feel any more Jewish, or Catholic, than I used to. I’m married to a man who is Catholic, who doesn’t go to church and isn’t religious himself. He eats matzoh balls and chicken soup and I eat ham and lasagna when the holidays roll around. We have a daughter who is obsessed with Christmas and likes spinning a dreidel and my hope is that is how she lives her life from here on out: spinning dreidels, decorating trees, hunting for eggs, lighting candles on the menorah and eating delicious random holiday food. And most importantly, being with family. Because that’s the way life should be and we are fortunate enough to be able to do it all. L’Chaim. Amen.

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The Art of Getting Older

My husband is about to turn 40 (holy shit!!!!). I’ve been working on plans for his birthday, which he is well aware of, for months. But of course, some things are surprises, which is why I am up past midnight putting finishing touches on things as the big day inches near.

Because he reads this blog, I can’t say too much, but what I can say, is looking through the years of the birthdays I have celebrated with him and the crazy times we’ve shared over the last 12 years, damn, did we have fun; and shit, did we get old!

I look through old pictures from events and birthdays and am amazed at how cool we were and how good we looked. What I wouldn’t give to look like my 30-year-old self again! What was I complaining so much about? I didn’t have wrinkles, lines on my forehead or crow’s feet. And my man had hair.

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Looking back, I smile and laugh and think about how much fun we had. I’m reminded of an easier, more carefree life. Our biggest worries were paying rent and where we were going out Thursday, Friday AND Saturday nights. These days, we struggle with medical issues of friends and family, balancing mortgages, bills, and raising children. While it’s also a happy life, it’s a much more adjusted, focused and sometimes complicated life.

Don’t get me wrong. We still get our party on. I mean, we ARE Lemieuxs. There are plenty of weekends we forget about expenses and the mundane issues of every life, but I’d be lying if I said, after looking back so much at the “old days,” that I don’t miss them. I mean, who wouldn’t?

Those days will always bring a big smile to face and belly laughs when I can’t remember them because it was just that much fun. And while growing up sucks, (Geoffrey had it right – “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid…”), I wouldn’t trade them in for the world. But it’s still fun to relive the memories.

Responsibility Ain’t Much Fun

I haven’t always been a responsible person. When I was in college, I racked up a lot of credit card debt charging Cluck-U and beer. I snuck out of the house and made  my poor parents crazy. I’ve gone without health insurance because it was just too expensive when I didn’t have job. There’s a lot more in the irresponsible vault, but we’ll stop there, as I’m sure you get the drift.

With age, comes wisdom and the understanding of responsibility. I learned to pay my bills on time and that all that extra money I was paying in late fees could go to cute new shoes.  I learned to give respect to get respect. And I will never go without health insurance, no matter how much I have to pay for it (even if I come full circle and go back into debt for it!). But in the midst of becoming the now responsible human  being that I am, I  wonder what good it has actually done for me.

Don’t get me wrong…I have a roof over my head, money in the bank, no debt and great friends and family. I even scored a job in this less stellar economy. But at the end of the day, when I take a long hard look at the big picture, being responsible hasn’t been all that fun.

While I was unemployed, I wanted to travel the world, take some of my time off to explore new and unchartered territory. I wanted to visit Greece and Paris, Amsterdam and Italy.  I wanted to just pick up, break my lease and live somewhere else – another state or something, just to see what it would be like to live outside of the only thing I have known – Jersey! Instead, I took Responsibility Road. I looked for jobs, honored my lease and took smaller, inexpensive trips. I did hit Cabo with some girlfriends, so don’t feel too bad!!

I’ve always tried to live my life with no regrets. I’ve always said, “I could die tomorrow, let’s just do this! What good is money if you’re not going to spend it?” And trust me, many times I do, and I really go the distance! But I look at what being responsible over the last few months has gotten me: a job outside my industry and passion, a husband so determined to work that hasn’t found a gig, a house that we bought that we could no longer purchase because we were jobless, passports waiting to be stamped with dreams of exploring what the world has to offer.

I know this is a stepping stone as we get older and a fact of life. It could be so much worse. I just miss the days of being a little less concerned about being so responsible!

What I Want to be When I Grow Up…

Before losing my job or trying to find a new career path, I always wished that I was doing something else. Doesn’t everyone? I always believed that the grass was greener on the other side. Isn’t it?

Since losing my job (oh, and we can’t forget the job I got but was taken back), I have been contemplating what my next step will be. Maybe this is the time to really delve into my writing (trying to do that). Maybe I should volunteer or give back somehow (applied to be a volunteer – I worked for Red Cross, I know how valuable volunteers are!). My mind is running aimlessly and endlessly.

Having been unemployed before, I understand the value of having this “free time.” The last time I lost my job, I was about eight weeks away from getting married. While I still interviewed and tried to find a job (I even landed a gig six days later but it wasn’t for me…is there a pattern here?), I also came to the realization that I had the opportunity to finish planning my wedding and start fresh on the employment path just a few weeks later. This time around, it’s a little different.

When my husband lost his job, I told him this was his opportunity to do a lot of the things he always wanted to do that he couldn’t because work got in the way, such as travel, play guitar, see family and friends. Of course, you’re still looking for work, but at some point, you burn out after hours at the computer, networking, phone calls. If you’re unemployed, you know the drill.

There is so much I want to do and be right now. It’s so confusing. I recently turned 31 and while I am still young (in my eyes at least), I feel like I have lost this huge opportunity to start something new, which I know is outrageous. I would completely discourage someone from that state of mind if they told me that.

So here are some of the things I have wanted to be since I lost my job and even while I was pitching stories and being the media maven that I have been for the last eight years:

  • Writer
  • Lawyer
  • Doctor / Surgeon
  • Detective
  • News Reporter
  • Reality TV Star
  • Radio Announcer
  • Actress
  • Postal Clerk
  • Scientist

While some of these occupations are completely attainable, some are so out of reach given where I am in life; at least that is how I feel. For example, if I wanted to be a doctor, I would have to be in school for like eight years and by then I would be almost 40 before I’d even be a resident or something. How would that affect my plans for the future, for a family, how would I pay back all those student loans? And let’s not get into the math and science aspect. I work with the other side of the brain, which brings me to the detective and scientist.

Sometimes I think I chose the wrong career. Communications is so broad; I wish I had a more definitive specialty. But I have excelled thus far and maybe my skill set can help someone down the road somehow, including myself. Maybe it’s just time to “nut up” and try something new and different. We’ll see. In the meantime, while I wait for Hollywood to call, maybe I’ll brush up on my math and science (and reruns of CSI and Law and Order can’t hurt either, right?).