7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 160)
Yesterday I turned 35. To celebrate, let’s get all reflective!
- If you are older than 35, tell me about what you were doing at this age. How do you feel about that time of your life? Anything you’d do differently?
- If you are younger than 35, tell me about what you want your life to be like when you’re my age.
My husband and I ended up in a long conversation about ventriloquists the other day (still not sure how that happened). Anyway, the upshot of it was that we ended up rediscovering Señor Wences. I hadn’t seen this clip of him on The Muppet Show since I was a kid, and I was delighted to find that he is every bit as charming and talented as I remembered him being:
After all the drama, the proclamations, the descriptions of not wanting to eat or sleep, the excessive use of caps lock, I didn’t end up watching Downton Abbey this weekend. I was behind on my writing schedule, so I used the time I had carefully blocked out for throwing myself all over the television to write instead. THAT is how seriously I am about this February deadline. (Fellow Downton Abbey fans just gasped and started fanning themselves.)
As I’ve mentioned before, my agent doesn’t want to talk to publishers until we have an A+ draft, so I am not under contractual obligation to have it done by that date. However, I think I’m actually more dedicated to the deadline than I would be if my main pressure were a contract with a publisher. Since our family has made sacrifices for me to get the extra time I need to get this done, I want to make sure I don’t drag this out any longer than necessary. I hate the idea of having to go to my husband and mom and mother-in-law on February 21 and say, “Hey, you know how I made that big pitch about how I could use some extra help for a few weeks? And how any sacrifices would be worth it because it would allow me to wrap up this project by today? I have some bad news about that…” I feel like one way I can show my appreciation for their efforts is to take the deadline I promised them very seriously. And in this house, it does not get much more serious than skipping the first episode of Season 2 of Downton Abbey.
I recently stumbled across a heated discussion where people were asked to state their annual income and then say how rich or poor they felt. (The link is here, but there’s some strong language. To give you an idea: Some people wrote in and complained that they felt very poor despite making high-six-figure incomes. Others were allowed to respond anonymously, with no censoring. You can imagine what kind of commentary that elicited.) So anyway, I was surprised to hear people talking about making $350,000 a year and feeling “so, so, so poor”…but then I wondered if I’d really be as content as I think I would be at that income.
I once read that your desires adjust to your income level, and that “at all levels of income, the typical response is that one needs 20% more to be happy.” I’ve thought for a long time that I wouldn’t need any more income if we just had X amount…and I laughed when I did the math and realized it was 20% more. It made me realize that as long as I’m in the mode of “Coveting Things You Want that You Can’t Afford,” I’ll never feel like I have enough. If we did get more money, I would just buy those things I’d been pining over (larger house, newer car, etc.), and then our budget would be maxed out again and I’d come up with new things that I want but can’t afford.
I know, I know, this is an incredibly obvious concept. I think what shocked me was when I saw that I’m really not all that different than a millionaire who feels poor. I thought of myself as being in a totally different situation than someone who makes a zillion dollars and still wishes she had more…but really, we’re both people who can’t seem to get it through our heads that we have more than enough.
Election season is in full swing! And that’s the last you’ll hear about it from me. I remember back in the Fall of 2008, I would occasionally get comments like, “Umm, you do know that there’s a hotly contested presidential election going on, right? Just wondering since you haven’t mentioned it once.”
I’m naturally apolitical, and I don’t think that it’s within the scope of this blog to talk about politics anyway. So if you’ve been looking around for a blog that can enlighten you with nuanced analysis of the upcoming primary season and its implications for the November ballots, you will find this site to be deeply disappointing. But if you were just sitting there wondering, “What blog could I read in 2012 that will avoid the topic of the election entirely and focus on God and poop fates and scorpions instead?”, drop everything, subscribe to my RSS feed, and prepare yourself to be blessed.
My current read is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It had been on my wish list for a while, but I finally bought it after coming across this fascinating interview about Skloot’s process for writing the book. As a writing nerd, I was dying to see her finished product after reading all the details of how she weaved the different narrative threads together.
The book is wonderful. Very well done. It reminds me of Born to Run, which is also excellent and very similar in structure. It’s made me realize that I adore that particular genre, which I think of as “nonfiction that educates you about an interesting concept while weaving in colorful personal vignettes about the people involved, including the author’s own story of researching the book.” Is there a more concise term for that? It’s a combination of textbook-style info and memoir. Maybe “infoir”? “Memfo”? (Clearly I am up too late.) Anyway, if you come across any other books in that genre, let me know!
I leave you with this: an image of what happens when you’re the fifth baby, and three of your older siblings are little girls:
Have a great weekend!