A Day in the Life of A Teenager

We all know Teens are difficult for the most part, but I promise you this…you will never know just HOW difficult until you actually get into the thick of those teen years. Emotions are all over the place, everything is to the extreme – “I’m having the worst day of my life!!!” to “He is just the most amazing, perfect, cutest guy I’ve ever met!!”. Nothing is ever – “Okay, so today isn’t so great, tomorrow will be better. Or at least I’ll try a different approach.” None of that. It’s the worst or the best, it’s the most perfect or the crappiest.  Always extremes. It wears me down. Every day it seems I come home or wake up to some catastrophic event or the biggest miracle ever. Teen years are honestly a ride on a roller coaster, a very loopy, fast one too. So many times, I’ve wanted off just to have a little normalcy and quiet in my life. Was I ever like that? That bad??? Man, if I was then I owe my mother a huge apology.

Watching teens deal with life as it is today, I’m so very glad to be at my age. Teen years are difficult but then throw in all the technology we have today and they’re running on overload constantly. They have their computers, tablets, videos, smartphones, etc. So many ways of keeping connected that they don’t know what it is or how much of a relief it can be to disconnect. To actually go for a walk without their phones, having some quiet time and actually not know what the other person is doing for a period of time. As far as I’m concerned, disconnecting from all that technology to give yourself a chance to recharge and really get with your inner spirit is an absolute necessity. But I can’t seem to tell her that. I’ve tried showing her by example and so far that’s not doing squat. I’m just really hoping that she’ll wake up one day and realize that the world and her friends aren’t going to disappear just because she turns off once in a while.

On the flip side, being a parent dealing with a teen today is no walk in the park. As I said, earlier, it’s a damn roller coaster ride. Everything changes so fast. One day, she’ll have a specific problem and we’ll discuss it…the next day, I’ll probably still dwell on it and try to come up with ideas or possibilities to deal with that problem. Then I’ll bring up my ideas or thoughts only to find that it’s old, old news. “Oh mom, that was yesterday. It”s nothing now.” O K   why am I stressing then? Oh and when I give advice or suggestions – it’s resoundingly rejected for the most part. There’s just no way, I, could possibly understand what she’s going through. Right, I suppose I popped onto this earth just as I am without ever going through the growing process and maybe learning a thing or two along the way??

Teens have it rough, I won’t deny them that. But, as parents of these teens, we also have it rougher than our parents did just by going along with them on this ride.

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Childhood fears

Had a little incident the other day. I’m sure if you were anywhere around me at the moment, you would have either laughed your ass off or wondered what in fresh hell this crazy lady was doing.

I needed to go to the store. All innocent and nice, right….  Well, it turned out to be quite an ordeal for me. For most of you, it’s probably nothing, for me it was close to heart attack level.

I went out to my car, needing to go to the grocery store for a few things. Get in my car, start the car up, roll down the windows… because I absolutely love the fresh air. I’m pulling out and getting on the road when I feel, or rather sense, something on my thigh. Mind you, I’m wearing those capris – the kind you see women jogging or working out in. Skin tight, body hugging. Anyway, I kind of sense something on my thigh and look down. My heart rate immediately ratcheted and my breathing became ragged all in the span of a few nanoseconds. There was one of the bright green locust sitting on my thigh. About an inch and a half long. Now, as far as I’m concerned Locusts are Grasshoppers. They’re alien looking creatures that jump. Key word- JUMP.

Here’s a little background – when I was little and I do mean little. Probably around 4 or 5 or so… I happened to see one of those huge grasshoppers out on the lawn. Whether you want to admit it or not, they are kind of fascinating to look at, with those bright yellow, green colors. Well, I remember leaning over to get a closer look at one and the dang thing leaped. Yes, it jumped, which is basically what they do. It jumped right inside my shirt. FREAKED me out. It proceeded to latch onto my chest and crawl around. Being such a young child, I, of course, thought this creature was going to eat, kill, or do some horrible bodily harm to me. I remember running, screaming for help. I ran over to my grandmother’s house, which was next to my own. Running back over to my house, trying desperately to find my mother. All the while this thing was crawling around on my body. My last memory of this instance was that I finally found my mother, where I do not know, but I do remember ending up inside my house and this grasshopper had finally jumped out of my shirt, off my body, whereupon my mother deftly disposed of it with a fly swatter. With this particular memory burned and I do mean BURNED into my memory – I tend to steer clear of these insects.

So with this little tidbit, you can imagine my utter horror at finding one of these perched on my thigh, in the car no less! It took some willpower for me not to just jump out of my car without braking or parking it first, but I did. Although I didn’t wait till I found a parking lot. What I did was pull over on the shoulder of the road immediately, fling open my car door and jump out on the road. Thank goodness there wasn’t anyone driving by at the moment. I’m actually standing in the middle of the road jumping up and down trying to get this locust to either jump or fly off. It doesn’t. All I know is that I really didn’t want to have to touch it with my fingers. I kicked, jumped and shook my leg – all this in the middle of the road, mind you – to no avail. The damn bug simply started crawling around to the back of my thigh. My heart rate was ratcheting and I could feel myself beginning to hyperventilate. Desperate and knowing that there was no one else to come to my rescue, I knew that I had to take desperate measures. I needed to actually use my hands. Horrors! It was either that or the creature was going around to the back of my leg, which would have been much worse for me. So, I literally took a deep breath and tried to make my fingers brush the thing off. It really was hard. My whole body had gone into a flight mode from this BUG, that I had a really hard time making my fingers actually make contact with this locust to flick it off. All I had to do was just barely feel the spikiness of it’s legs and such and my hand would recoil with revulsion. However, my rationale finally won over. I knew that it was either now or never and I needed to actually hit it with my fingers. Well, I finally did and it came off. Whether it flew or dropped off, I don’t know. All I know is that it came off and I spun around to get back in the car as quickly as possible to speed off so that it wouldn’t (couldn’t) jump back on.

Rationally, I can look back and realize how foolish I was. After all Locusts aren’t dangerous, neither are Grasshoppers. But, my mind has that one instance where I absolutely panicked as a little girl and it just refuses to let go of it. Anywhere I go to this day, if I see a grasshopper or locust, I will take a wide path around it (behind it preferably)  to avoid any possible incidence of having it jump in my direction.

I just know that this is something that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life. I can tell myself that I’m being silly and it was just something from my youth… but I’m pretty sure the fear is ingrained and I’m always going to have that semi-panic mode whenever I see one of those things. There are some experiences that one gets as a child that just never goes away. I’ll always have one of those fascination/revulsion reflexes with these insects for the rest of my life.

That All Knowing Eye in the Sky…

Creepy!

Opened up my mail and I see this picture of my car along with a fine for not coming to a complete stop at a red light. Ugh, like I really need to be paying out 158.oo. I’ve been working so hard to try and get ahead of that paycheck to paycheck thing and here this ticket shows up and puts me back. Not cool at all!

But that isn’t what Im feeling creeped out about. Getting a ticket – Okay, so fine. I guess I screwed up and turned after only coming to a rolling stop. There were no cars and I needed to get to work. Next time I’ll definitely be more careful.

No, the creepy part is seeing me and my car photographed in on the paper that they sent me. To know that I’m being watched without really realizing it. It kind of brought home that we truly have arrived in that Big Brother age where we are watched just about 24/7 no matter where we are, with the only exception being when we are in our own homes. I have mixed feelings about it. There are so many instances where surveillance cameras have actually pinpointed a criminal or caught on to some outrageous act that shouldn’t be condoned, that’s where it’s really good to have them around. However, it does feel rather like I’m being violated when I see myself or my car on camera. When I looked at my car on that little piece of paper, I wondered just how many other instances I’m captured on camera. No matter how you look at it, it’s rather embarrassing to think of it. It’s almost as if we need to walk around looking fine and saying cheese all the time in public.

It’s kind of sad, I’m old enough to remember times when we could go be goofy, crazy and just be ourselves without wondering if there’s something watching. It’s almost better to have an actual cop show up with flashing lights to give you a ticket right then and there than to find something in the mail weeks after the fact. It just feels weird. You know?? It’s just better to be punished for something at the moment you’re doing the “crime”, rather than weeks later when you barely remember it. I guess that’s the age we finally arrived at. It’s been talked about for years. Movies have been made regarding the whole Big Brother watching thing for years. Now, we’re truly here and I”m not so sure I appreciate my privacy being invaded like that on a daily basis.

I’m sort of amused at the moment as I write this because I’m realizing that I’ve arrived at the point where I can reminisce about the “good ol’ days”. I used to laugh at the older folks for always talking about the past. “Just move on and get with the present.” I would always think. Today, I’m realizing that yes, the past was a simpler time. It was a time when we could just let loose and have some innocent fun without so many people being evil. We could play and be ourselves without wondering if something or someone is watching.

You know what, I realize times change. Things are different and will continue to change as the years go by, but I honestly wouldn’t trade my time for anything. Being watched and captured on cameras all over town just isn’t that appealing to me and I’m sure it’s only going to get worse in the future.

 

Losing Ground

I’m back.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. It’s amazing how little life events have the ability to wipe out any momentum you’ve built up in your daily routine. I was doing good for a while there… had a regular running schedule, eating healthy and I felt good. Then just one thing happens and everything snowballs and here I am starting over again. So aggravating.

My mother became ill to the point where I needed to go over and check on her daily. I was driving her to her appointments and doing all the shopping for her. Plus trying to take care of her place. Don’t forget I’m also a single mom to a teenager. Teens require attention – lots of it. Did I mention I’m also an only child? Everything pretty much fell on my shoulders these past couple of months and I had to put myself on a back burner. I tried to keep up with the running, but I was so tired and stressed that most evenings I’d just come home and vegetate for the little time I had before crashing.

I’ve had a chance to really see how stress can have a huge impact on your life. It really does put on weight, cause depression and illness. Too much of it and I can see people giving up. Not that I’m anywhere close to that, it’s just been an eye-opener for me to see just exactly how much of an impact an illness within the family can have.

Things are looking up now, mom is recovering nicely. It’s Summer which means “no school, no homework”, which translates to less stress (temporarily) for me as a parent. I’m working on getting my momentum back. There’s this app called “Map My Run” that I’ve downloaded to help me track my running progress. I can see where I’ve lost a lot of my stamina from before, but I’m building back up to it. The app is actually kind of cool if anyone wants to check it out.

The one thing I’m really taking away from this whole experience is to maybe try and reach out to anyone who is stuck in a much more serious situation with ill family members or a struggling single parent trying to juggle several things, and offer help in any way possible. It seems too many people have isolated themselves from one another, leaving some individuals who may not have a large support group to fall back on, to flounder about on their own. It’s really difficult for those people who find themselves in a situation where they’re taking care of an older and younger generation while still struggling to hold down a job and pay their own bills. Not to mention the stress that can get overwhelming at times.

I hope this blog wasn’t a downer for some of you. My intent wasn’t to moan and groan about my plight but rather to show how stress can really drag a person down if they don’t have other people to reach out and assist. If this blog has convinced just one other person to reach out and offer help to someone they see struggling, then I’ll feel like I’ve made a difference.

Meanwhile, I’m back out there again…running.