Sunday, February 28, 2010

Losing My Religion

The College of Wooster requires that every senior complete a year long senior thesis. I wrote mine on the dichotmy of religion in a marriage. Always having been interested in the strains that are related to an unsuccessful marriage, this was an interesting topic to me.

Having found a copy of my thesis last month, I began reading it. I haven't read it in a while. In a nutshell, I discovered that although you and your spouse may have been raised with the same religion, your faith in your marriage can still be problematic. This is based simply on the fact that one may have had been more conservative than the other.

What happens when religion is forced upon you? I am an easy sample of this. You turn against it. And it was never really "forced." I just remember my first day of Sunday school. Too well. And begging my mom not to make me go. Dad wasn't in the picture in that memory. Dad never made me do anything when it came to religion. And when the folks split up and Dad said to us, "You know, I don't care who you marry. If he isn't the same religion, that doesn't matter to me." I always knew that.

I was in someone's house last week and observed their "funny Jesus" paintings in a couple of spots around the house. In one, he is playing soccer. They mocked it, leading me to believe that they thought it was goofy. "Did you both go to Catholic school?" I asked them. "No. But we were raised Catholic and have decided not to have any organized religion."

So what happens when you have to go to religious school against your will? You don't want it. You resist it.

I have two theories on people who become more religious as young adults:

1) They never had a sense of strong identity so this is it for them.
2) They have addictive personalities.

Too much of anything is not good. We all know that.

I was turned off from religion at sixteen. My sister told me I would outgrow it. By eighteen, when asked what religion I was, I would simply say, "nothing." I haven't practiced anything. I make christmas cookies. I have been to Easter brunch. I have been to a Chanukah dinner. I have been invited to Baptisms. I have never been to a Jewish Bris and I never will. There is something so incredibly wrong with inviting people over to watch a baby have his you-know-what chopped and then eating a spread of bagels and cream cheese. It is archaic, barbaric and wrong in so many ways.

My parents were both raised Jewish. Obviously, one more than the other. I learned as an adult that my dad's maternal grandfather went on to convert to Catholicism and had three children with his Catholic wife - all who never knew their father was born a Jew.

The Jewish population is very small. So small, in fact, that I have often times met people throughout my life who will tell me that they have "never met a Jewish person before." I am lucky I was always aware of this. And I thank my parents for exposing me to all walks of life. Because if you grow up in say, Beachwood, Ohio, where probably 90% of your classmates are Jewish, it may not be until college when you hear someone ask you that. I had someone ask me about the horns. I was prepared. my parents raised me well. My whole life, I have always been conscious that we are a minority.

More sophisticated people seem to be familiar with religion in general. They are aware of the facts of the Jewish people. Just like they seem to be aware that their Muslim co-worker may not be eating during the day because of Ramadan. (Something else I always knew about it - thanks to my Mom, who had a Muslim friend growing up).

Yes, the people who are sitting around here as I type, reading the Sunday "Times" know what a Bat Mitzvah is. They may have never been to one. But they know. Just like they may also be aware that a Hindu wedding may be partially in Sanskrit. But this is not the majority of Americans.

So, fourteen years later and I still do not associate with a religion. Or feel the need for one. And I refuse to marry someone who cannot support my anti-religion because that just won't work. Fortunately, most of the hipsters around here are all categorized as "agnostic" on facebook.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Rules, 2010

When I wrote "Everything I Learned About Relationships" in October of 2008, I wasn't kidding around. I wrote my eight rules that I try to follow when it comes to dating. I may want to add some here and there, but I am reflecting, as I did in March of 2009.

Well, now it is almost March of 2010, and I am reflecting back on my rules.

Let's reflect. Number one is about not living in the same city as your parents or your partner's parents. I still feel strongly about this. And maybe it is because I tend to date men who have bad relationships with their parents. I don't know. Look at the way he treats his mom. That's how he is going to treat you. Unresolved issues with the folks? That's a red flag.

Number two is about not dating someone who has been married before. It is ok if there are no kids in the picture. I am currently reading a non fiction book written by women who date men with ex wives and children. They all have the same complaint - she is still in the picture, even though they are divorced. Let's think about this: You are in an unhealthy marriage with children. You fight a lot. You already sleep in separate bedrooms. You get divorced. You still see each other and communicate all of the time because you have children together. You are still fighting a lot. You are still sleeping separately. What changed? Not much, other than it is ethical to date other people and you do not have to live under the same roof. (Do you sense a little skepticism of the marriage institution here?) The starter marriage is still ok with me. Practice for the real thing.

Number three states not to date someone with kids. See above. Strongly agree. There are too many wacko ex wives out there.

Next: Friends first. Definitely. Many nights, I will see what the girlfriends are up to first.

My fifth rule referred to not allowing men to do manly things for you. I am slowly failing at this. There was something really sexy about watching my boyfriend with the electric drill....

Rule six refers to not dating a workaholic. I think this is huge. Statistically, workaholics have psychological problems. They are ignoring their problems. They don't take care of themselves and tend to have health problems and strained relationships. Does that sound sexy to you?

Number seven is my rule referencing the importance of dating someone your own age. I think this is important. You tend to be in the same place.

My eighth rule is my favorite. See if your "ideal day" matches up. All this really means is that you have the same interests.

I am going to add another rule. Number Nine is an obvious one. He needs to be very sexy. He has to workout. He has to be toned/tall/dark/handsome/whatever you find sexy. You know why? Because if all you like is his personality and he starts to get on your nerves, at least he is still attractive to you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Work Obsession

I am really slowing down on the postings. I apologize. I really plan on working on improving. I have become someone that I never thought I would become.

(Anyhow, I was saying... I have become a little bit too obsessed with work and my career. My workaholic friend actually called me for career advice. After talking with her for about an hour, she told me I was very helpful. Last night, she said to me, "I did everything you told me to do and it worked!" I am thinking to myself, "Did I even tell you to do anything?" I mean, I was honored that she came to me, but I felt like she is my "rock" when it comes to anything work related.

My sister said, "You have to stop caring about work so much." My boyfriend said to me, "You're obsessed with work." Now, it's really not that bad.

There are a lot of pieces to this. I think the biggest one is that people see I am a big networker. And networking gets you places. It is a huge asset and a career builder.

All I can do is laugh when I see how I have gone from the "newbie" in my office to becoming the sole representation of our entire territory in just one year. I laugh because it's all I can do.

I hate people who say they are too busy. And I plan to dedicate a whole posting to that topic. Soon. Real soon.

But now I am going to enjoy my Sunday. My 10:00 coffee with a friend. A 12:00 birthday brunch. A 4:00 real estate advice/home staging that someone asked me to do for them. Oh yeah, and then I have to finish my taxes....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Does Having Kids Make You Lose Your Sense of Self?

After noticing on facebook that too many people use their child's photo as their profile picture, I have had enough. Is this you? Or is this your child? I am confused. I know you think they are the cutest production of all time. But, you are still you, aren't you?

And now I see that people are posting their pregnancy tests on facebook. They are actually uploading the positive pregnancy test photo. What has social media come to?

I get all my juice on facebook. I don't need to have any conversations with my girlfriends on if they had their baby or what they named it. I can see it all online.

But a profile picture is supposed to be you. I know some people sometimes have their spouse in it. Or a nice landscape. That's ok with me. And I don't disagree or think it's wrong to have a funny photo or a huge cartoon of Bart Simpson. And as I am doing my research for this posting (yes, I actually make sure I am accurate on here), I totally missed doppelganger week on facebook. I have been told I look like a lot of people. But, let's be real here. I am going to go with Anne Frank on this one. There. Done!

So what happens to a young adult when they have a child? Besides the fact that their whole life can change. No more late nights at a bar, stopping for "one more" on your walk home and having a slice of pizza. Sleeping until 9 or so. Out the door with five minutes notice to meet a friend. Yes, everything changes. But I certainly wouldn't want to lose my sense of self along the way.

It appears when parents use their child's photo on facebook that they are losing a little bit of their own identity. Would you turn in a resume and put your child's name next to yours? And their e-mail address, too? Is this is a "two for one?" If I have you, I have to have your kid, too?

Or maybe, people who do this feel a stronger identity as a parent. And must identify with that now. It makes them feel meaningful. Which is sad. I am curious on your thoughts on this one.