Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Weddings, Presumptions and Me

When the Supreme Court overturned DOMA, a friend announced that he would be marrying his partner. When I thought about it later, I started to cry. He'd always told me that even though he supports marriage equality, he didn't want to participate in the institution. I realized how he'd told himself that because he couldn't have it so my tears were of both despair for how he'd lived with that for so many years, but of course, also of happiness that he could finally have it.

We spoke of it recently. They haven't set their plans yet, and he's been joking about eloping in a foreign country. Someone else joined us to talk about the wedding, and I was amused to see how uncomfortable she was talking about it in front of me.

I think she was uncomfortable because she thinks that either (a) I don't support those who choose to get married, or (b) that I somehow feel 'less than' to couples. Both of these are just plain false.

Of course, I'm happy for my friend! Happy is too benign a word; I'm thrilled for him. The girls and I have marched in protests for equal marriage rights, I've written posts and letters and donated money. Now that it's finally here, of course, I want to celebrate with those whose lives are changed for the better!

(Which is not to say that I love weddings, but I would go - if it's local. I like wedding receptions. Those can be fun.)

As for the second, that puts me in one of those awkward positions. Being one less RSVP doesn't make me less than, but there are some who will never be convinced that I really do love being single. I think that just comes with the territory and there's little I can do about that.

Someone told me recently she thinks she's enjoying her job as an assistant because she's single, and this type of work allows her to take care of someone. And maybe that's why I don't feel less than. I take care of my kids, I took care of my actors and production team. And my other activities allow me to feel part of things; part of a Board or committee, part of a classroom, a blogger community.

Bella DePaulo has written many posts about how the single family members usually end up taking care of parents or other relatives in times of need. Maybe some do enjoy the act of nurturing, but of course, it would be presumptuous to assume that all single people are looking to feel that way. And I, for one, would be terrible at that particular task!  But I do think that might be a more palatable justification for those who have trouble believing that some out there are really okay with checking the "single" box.

I'm not trying to convince the world that no one should couple; I just want to be a voice out there that says not coupling is also a valid choice.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plans & Mission Re-Visited

As I begin this process of taking stock (again), I thought I'd take a look at the Plans & Missions I'd posted almost three years ago. I'm re-posting some of it with updates:

1-2 Year Plan: For the most part, keep doing what I'm doing. Continue to volunteer and help out where I can on projects that I care about and believe in. Continue to build relationships and not be afraid to put myself out there. (Yes, I have a big mouth, but in person, it takes me slightly longer to speak up and I'm almost never the first to introduce myself to someone new. I need to get better at that.)

I think I can safely say that I accomplished my plan. I now volunteer regularly for three organizations. Last year, I logged over 100 hours, and this year, I've far exceeded that. I have met tons of new people, and have found that at events where I don't know a lot of people, once I make that first or second contact, then it gets a lot easier for me.

2-5 Year Plan: Begin the legal steps to create a 401(c)3 for the benefit and support of single parents and single parent families. Start small projects to start getting the name out there, and write grant applications.

This has not gone exactly as planned, but I am writing grant applications now. I don't think it's realistic for me to create a non-profit while the girls are still in school. This will have to be moved to the 5-10 Year Plan, at the earliest. 

Before I create a new 1-2 Year Plan, etc., I should check in with my mission statement:

Mission Statement: My life is about people. They enrich me, and I want to do the same for them. And see a lot of musical theatre.

Well, now I'm back in the musical theatre world, and I know I want to stay there. Maybe not always in its current form, but I like how it's fitting into my life now. The rest of the mission statement hasn't changed, and I do believe that I've been living it.

So here are the revised plans.

1-2 Year Plan:  Continue to build my grant-writing skills, continue my involvement with the current organizations, and finish my paralegal certificate requirements. Continue to write this blog and contribute more to MomsLA. Completely pay off one credit card.

2-5 Year Plan: Help the girls plan their futures after high school. Get involved with a legal non-profit to do pro bono work. Pay off the other credit card.

5-10 Year Plan: Start the process for the single parents non-profit with small projects and grant applications. Write a book. Build a vacation fund.

10+ Year Plan: Continue to build the single parents non-profit. Join the AARP and move into a senior community as soon as possible! Continue to work, but evaluate any possibility of retiring in my 70's. Travel.

Even though I didn't write it down for every plan, I do want to continue being involved with at least one or two non-profits a year, and keep theatre in my life somehow always.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Attempting to Find Balance

I gave up even trying to update in July as I knew there was going to be no balance while we got closer to opening the musical that I was producing. We have now closed, and it's time to get back to real life again.

It was an amazing, exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating, terrifying and wonderful time - and obviously, very emotional. I absolutely loved it.

It reminds me, however, that there are still so many things I want to do, and time is my worst enemy.

I come across things every day that I'd like to try or support or join. I want to do pro bono work, I want to freelance write, I want to see plays and musicals, I want to spend more time with friends that I don't see very often, I want to spend quality time with my friends that I do see but seemingly in passing. I want to spend more time with my daughters, I want to learn new skills, I want to write a book, I want to start a single parents non-profit, I want to re-organize my living room!

I'm beginning to think that the best thing I can do with the time I'm now not spending at rehearsals or performances is to schedule myself more rigidly; spend x hours on y activity. Of course, that will only work so much because unexpected events happen almost as often as not that require immediate time and attention. Still, it's a step in the right direction, maybe.

Once upon a time, I'd created a goals list with babysteps on accomplishing them. Of course, that was eons ago so it's time for a re-do. So that's number one on my list of ways to spend my free time.

But tonight we have to strike the set and tomorrow I have a Board meeting so it'll have to wait until Wed., which is also Sylvia's first day back to school.

Oh well. At least it's the beginning of a plan to find balance again!