Quarterlife+


My last post

Posted in Aging,Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on July 4, 2016
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Okay, well this is my last post. This is my last post here anyway (kinda). I started this blog when I was at the peak of not having a clue as to what I was doing with my life. I didn’t know what I wanted and I didn’t know myself. Talk about a being a warm body of confusion, huh?

At the ripe old age of 31 now, I am happy to say that I do have a few more things figured out. I am most proud to say that I have grown a great deal. One of my cousins once told me that being in my 30s would be so much better than my 20s. I think I’m starting to see what she means. In my 20s, I was trying to see how and where I fit in. Now, I’m more focused on trying to see what makes me happy and how I can make that a constant.

With that shift in mindset, I feel like this blog doesn’t quite fit where I’m at anymore. For this reason, I’m starting a new one that more closely reflects where I’m at right now and where I see myself going. The timing just seems right. Everything was turned upside down in my life thanks to that March flood where my family pretty much lost everything. (And yes, we do have flood insurance at our new place.) I’m also into a few new things (that I will discuss as soon as I can, I promise).

So, for those of you who have been following my journey, thank you. I ask that you please stay with me as I enter this next phase of my life. My new blog will be as follows:

ashleyfranklinwrites.wordpress.com

When everything is up and running, I will post there (and cross-post here for a bit).

 

Where’d I go? And more importantly….where has time gone?

Posted in Aging,Family,Life by Ashley Franklin on October 5, 2011
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Disclaimer:

How ignorant of me to disappear from my blog for like….ever and then come back acting like everything is cool. So, where have I been? I moved around a bit, but within the same state. I’ve juggled around my jobs, acquired a new one, and paid more attention to some old ones.

It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about. I’ve had plenty of things I could have written about, but thought it best NOT to write about them.  In my opinion, that takes true discipline. I didn’t want to be one of those people who angrily writes something while in the midst of a situation and then later regret every word of it. I feel pretty confident now in my ability to freely write without remorse. Besides, there are a few things I’d like to get off my chest, so to speak, which means I’m going to have to start blogging more often.

In other events:

My little sister is about to turn 18. I remember when this chick was peeping at me after she was born. Now, she has the audacity to become the age of an actual adult. WOW! I’m so proud of her and terrified for her all at the same time. What will she decide to do about college? Will she decide to work? Will the economy screw her over? Will she leave from home soon? Does she want to marry and have children sooner or later than life? I wasn’t thinking about all of this when she was only just 17. But now, 18 is rapidly approaching in a few weeks. If this has me starting to feel old, how dirt-like must my mom feel? Awesome! 

I’m not sure what all the future will hold for her. She was a pretty cool/ odd/ interesting/ hilarious kid, so she has the makings of a fantastic adult with a lot of quirks. (The best kind to have around.) I just hope that whatever choices she makes, she makes them because they make her happy. At the end of the day, if you’re not happy with yourself, what does it matter if you’ve made others happy in the process?

My grandma is my best friend

Posted in Aging,Life by Ashley Franklin on January 29, 2011
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What makes your best friend your best friend?

A couple weeks ago, I was on the phone with my grandma (mom-mom as I like to call her). The fact that we were on the phone wasn’t anything special. I talk to her everyday-at least twice. She works part-time. I work from home. I didn’t realize mom mom was my best friend until this particular conversation. It went something like this:

Me: Mom-mom, you’re the only person I talk to everyday. Well…that I don’t live with.

Mom-mom: Yeah, well why do you think that is?

Me: I don’t know. (long for no reason pause) Wait….Mom-mom, are you my best friend?

Mom-mom: You’ve got it! (insert grandma chuckle)

I’d never given it much thought. My grandma–my best friend? How does that happen? I started to wonder if this was normal. Then, as fate would have it, I saw a Humana commercial. If you haven’t seen it, it features a bunch of kids hanging out with their grandparents. And as you can imagine, at least a few make the same declaration about being best friends with their grandparent.

And why wouldn’t she be my best friend? We talk all the time, she gives me encouragement, she tells me when I suck, knows me better than practically anyone else on Earth (versus the other planets, right? lol) and is just plain awesome. Mom-mom has always been my favorite person on the planet. Maybe that’s why I’m so surprised to realize the extent of it. Maybe it has taken me just this long to come to the realization of what a best friend really is.

It used to be someone I shared a bff bracelet with. Then it changed to someone I could convince to go along with any foolish idea I had. Now, it’s someone I know cares for me beyond a shadow of a doubt, wants the best for me, won’t hesitate to tell me when I’m wrong, and pushes me to become a good person. Add a dash of a few decades of wisdom, and that has Mom-mom written all over it.

 

Almost 30…more thoughts: Aging, Gravity & Boobies

Posted in Aging,Life by Ashley Franklin on September 17, 2010
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I will be 26 next month, and I’m FAR less stressed about it then when I was about to turn 25. I don’t know why, but I was really having something  like a breakdown as i approached 25. Maybe the fact that I made such a big hoopla about 25, 26 has been totally downgraded to a sane level of anticipation (minus the dread). But, I can always count on TV to get me thinking-this time about aging.

In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up to a George Lopez episode (the sitcom not the talk show). It was George’s mom’s birthday. I think her name is Betty. (It’s actually Benny; thanks E&D!) To make a long story short, they had a roast where they joked about Benny’s boobs losing the battle with gravity each year she aged. Rude, right? So that got me thinking, what about me is decreasing as I get older?

I don’t look old. I still get carded when I go see rated R movies. The other day I was walking through the park and a spirited group of kids playing catch yelled “Hey, watch out for that kid!” There I was, married and easily a decade older than them. I opened my mouth to say something, but I changed my mind. After all, I found it somewhat funny. All of my body parts are still in their appropriate hemispheres, so I’m not battling gravity yet. What I have noticed, however, is that I’m becoming increasingly impatient. Okay, I”ll admit, I didn’t really notice it myself. I’ve actually had a couple of people bring it to my attention.

I’m not really sure how I feel about becoming noticeably impatient. I think there’s some good and bad about it. I’m less tolerant of stupidity, but I’m quick to fly off the handle at little things.  Maybe I’ll grow into a good balance of impatience, if that’s even possible.

Another thing the George Lopez episode brought up was that men look better with age. They become distinguished. Distinguished? Does that mean old but sexy? Is George Clooney still considered a sexy old guy? That’s something I vaguely recall hearing a while ago. What about that old guy that played James Bond? I have no idea which James Bond movie it was or the name of the actor. To avoid being blatantly tacky, I just did a Google search “old guy in James Bond movie” and Quantum of Solace came up. I guess that’s the movie, and Daniel Craig is the actor. There. Now I feel less tacky. At any rate, is the distinguished gentleman thing a fact, or is it just a different category to place old guys that were once hotties? Better yet, is there an equivalent for women?

My husband is pretty hot now, so if I have to look forward to him getting older and hotter, how lucky/annoying is that?!  I do know one thing though, I’ll be damned if he transcends into another degree of hotness without me.

Hear the tick? It’s my biological clock.

Posted in Aging,Life by Ashley Franklin on August 17, 2010
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Occasionally, I feel like there’s a time limit on my ovaries. Sometimes it’s due to my own power of suggestion. Other times, life sends me a small dose of sarcastic hilarity. Recently I got one of those Gerber life insurance things in the mail. Gerber, apparently, thinks that I should be planning for the future of my child (and preparing for its death as an adult). First, though, shouldn’t I have a child?Surely, I should at least be pregnant. And that got me thinking: Am I late?

Isn’t the double meaning of that question fantastic? I love it. Facebook constantly bombards me with ultrasounds, baby announcements, and chronicles of parenthood. It’s not that I don’t care. But, are you more special than I am because you’ve decided to reproduce at this time and I haven’t? Where’s my list of congratulations for still choosing not to be pregnant?

Gerber thinks I’m late. Sometimes I feel late when the same people I used to party with in college are spitting kids out left and right and announcing it to the world on Facebook. But, then I see all their griping in their statuses and I feel better. Last time I had “that yearly checkup,” the gynecologist said “Oh, so you’ve never been pregnant?!” Is that like a “Way to go!” or “Wow, that’s surprising!”? Either way, I gave her a good guffaw.

If I should happen to embark upon parenthood in the near future, will I make grand announcements on Facebook? I doubt it. But, whether I do or don’t, it won’t make me any more special than you.

Girl Power over snow towers

Posted in Aging,Random Experiences by Ashley Franklin on February 17, 2010
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Well, girl power is pretty much all we had for snow storm number two. Well, I think it was snow storm number two. At this point, I’ve lost count. Amazingly enough, it’s snowing again. I’ve lived on the east coast my entire life, and I’ve never seen this much snow. NEVER!

My folks were out-of-town for the last snow storm, so guess who that left to shovel the walkway? If you guessed me and my 16-year-old sister, you’re correct! Now neither of us are frail, we’re some pretty “sturdy” girls. However, we are not that tall. I vow that I am 5’0 and she declares that she’s 5’2. The snow piled up from two storms coupled with the wind blowing all the snow around, there was spots where the snow was all the way up to our unmentionables! Seriously, some body parts are NOT meant to be frosty.

We shoveled enough snow to be able to use the walkway and reach the street. All of my siblings had off all week. I still had to go to work. I was jealous. That’s neither here nor there. What was amazing, was how out of shape I realized I am after shoveling snow. My back was burning. My knees ached. My shoulders hurt.

Alas, I’ve discovered my next project: I must get myself together and detour off this obvious road of fatness. Well, it wasn’t just the snow shoveling that gave the idea. It was just the icing on the cake. I was looking at myself in the mirror and was displeased. When did my back mutate into a caterpillar back? How old am I again? Unacceptable! So, it looks like I need to make a plan of attack before the fat keeps attacking my back….and the rest of me. I love sweets and I love potatoes. I know I would be a lot better off without them, but what should I replace them with? I tried quitting cold turkey, but went through withdrawl from sugar cravings. I gave in.

Love is an action causing verb

Posted in Aging by Ashley Franklin on December 30, 2009
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This year I want to make a New Year’s resolution that I can stick to. I want my resolution to be something that will not only better myself, but make a positive impact on someone else as well. While I do want to lose weight this year, to me, that’s not resolution worthy. I think a resolution should be something you can easily do but you still have to put effort towards. I don’t even remember what my resolution was for last year really. I do remember beginning the year with certain goals in mind, but they were goals I’d made for myself before the New Year. I guess it’s a good thing they weren’t resolutions because I didn’t adhere to a couple of them.

Last year I’d unofficially resolved to remain love abstinent. Thanks to a certain Southern gentleman, that didn’t quite happen. I must say, though, that I put up a good fight. Being in love this time around has been an eye-opener. It’s shown me what I’ve been missing, what I may have had and never known, and what I need. If nothing else, I’ve learned that love isn’t really an emotion. It’s a way of life. It’s an active way of life. Just like anything else you dedicate yourself to, you have to stay committed. Being an active participant in love has not always been easy. Anything really worth having is hardly ever easy.

I mean, what is love anyway? I’m sure Webster has a definition, but still. This past year, my definition of love has drastically changed. Love is hope, compassion, trust, fear, honesty, and faith. Love is everything that is good. It is everything that works towards being good. Love is everything but perfect.

I’ve found that it’s hard to love someone in a bubble. You can’t really be bitter towards or disinterested in the rest of the world and magically find the ability to fully love a single person. To love one person, you have to have some practice at loving others. Well, you should at least have a proven track record of being highly tolerable of others. (Sometimes it’s all about baby steps, you know.)

Why don’t I consider love an emotion? I think that would make love an effect. Aren’t emotions effects? They happen because something causes them, right? To me, that makes love seem too helter-skelter. I think love is methodical. You may not know it at first, but once you’re in it, you can look back and see the signs that it was coming. But if love isn’t an effect, that means it is a cause. The actions and efforts put forth between my Southern gentleman and myself are love. The effects? All those other overwhelming emotions that when we add them up, we name them love.

Thinking about my love life got me thinking. Maybe I could put this to use in other ways. Maybe there’s something to that love thy neighbor thing I’ve heard about so many times before. If I could tap into that same source of love that I discovered once I began talking to my Southern gentleman, just maybe I could transfer some of it towards others. It feels awesome loving my Southern gentleman. Imagine how great I could feel if I showed a little bit of love towards others (obviously not on the same level as I do him, but a little love just the same). Maybe I could add a few more smiles to the world. Smiles are a pretty good effect in my opinion. All I need to do now is figure out how to love others. A few kind words or a helpful hand seem like a nice start.

Love is a verb. It’s an action verb. Maybe you like that more than when I suggested it was a cause. Then again, maybe they could mean the exact same thing.  My resolution for this year is to love.

Life choices.Basic addition.College reflections

Posted in Aging by Ashley Franklin on November 10, 2009
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rubik's cube startrubik's cuberubik's cube finishedMy little brother came home with this Rubik’s cube from the dollar store. We all love the idea of being able to get things cheaply for a dollar, but the key word to keep in mind is cheap. He’s all excited about this Rubik’s cube he bought, and I couldn’t understand it. I don’t know why it’s ever a good idea to buy a toy that is utterly frustrating, but he thought it was a good idea.

Maybe three days went past and the cube was in pieces. He’d turned it one too many times and the whole thing fell to pieces. My sister, who likens herself to a Mr. Fix It, dedicated her time (really the time it took us to get to church-about twenty or so minutes) to fixing it. She did succeed in putting it back together. All the pieces were there, and you could turn it without it falling apart again. Was it really fixed though?

Rubik’s cubes can be solved mathematically or by sheer luck. I’m pretty sure if math is involved that there’s a certain way it should be done. For that reason, I highly doubt that the cube is fixed. It looks fine on the outside. It’s functional. However, it will never be quite right.

Life is about choice. We all make choices knowing that there is going to be an outcome. My days of high school physics told me that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Yet, in life it seems like sometimes the reactions aren’t equal. They seem a great deal bigger than those initial choices.

Let’s take college, for instance. The first choice is whether or not you choose to go. Where you choose to go largely depends on your finances, your major, location, the school’s reputation, and parental opinion. For some, parental opinion doesn’t weigh in big. For others that may be under eighteen when going to college, parental opinion can turn into parental control. Once you’re in college, you make and lose friends, add and drop classes (or in my case majors), pick and choose advisors, etc. There are tons of choices leading up to the day you earn your degree, which you receive if your choices add up correctly.

I went to a small liberal arts college, not fully by my own choice. I had almost every major in the catalogue and sported several matching advisors. Some days I went to class, and some days I didn’t. (I’ll admit I usually didn’t go to class if it was raining. I’m not a fan.) I teetered between being insecure and overly confident on a daily basis. I made good friends, and I pushed away great ones. I’m glad to say the best ones are still around. I laughed. I loved. I cried. I hated. I picked a major I was good at. Many things fell apart in college, but I got through it. I graduated.

I was functioning. I even went on to graduate school with the major I’d picked basically during my junior year. How I graduated in four years is still a mystery to most. Things were looking good on the outside. I guess I hadn’t put the pieces back together as well as I’d thought. Things just wouldn’t add up. I was pursuing a graduate degree in a subject I was good at. I was completely unhappy. It didn’t make any sense. Reading and writing was no longer fun. It was mechanical. It was methodical. It was uninteresting.

I was in a two-year program, but the expectation was to continue to the Ph.D. I just had to get through the first year and everything would fall into place. The second year came, and midway through I realized I was wrong. I was in the midst of budding scholars housing a passion for their interests. I hated teaching. I hated the classes. I wasn’t too fond of some of the professors. It looks like I didn’t put things back together correctly when they had fallen apart.

My brother made the choice to spend his dollar. He may have felt that the would find a great bargain if he went to the dollar store. He chose the toy. He chose when and how to play with it. In the end, he lost. He now has a toy that looks good on the outside but can never live up to its full potential. These are the results of the choices he made. That’s life.

Birthday blues and quarterlife arrival

Posted in Aging by Ashley Franklin on November 1, 2009
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The weeks leading up to it were rough, but it finally happened. I turned 25. The world didn’t end, and a giant stamp didn’t come from the sky simply to stamp me with a label of “You Suck!” Bad things usually happen on my birthday. If a bad thing doesn’t happen, a disagreeable thing usually happens to take its place. It usually takes the form of my being sick, a family member being falling ill, dying, or being near death, or some other form of bad news. Every year I tend to just wait around and see what will happen.

So when I got to the Philadelphia airport and my 6:45 am flight was postponed an hour for what I think was due to a shortage of flag people to direct the plane to where it needed to be, to me. My layover in Memphis was for a little over an hour, so I’d nearly lost hope of making my connecting flight.

Where was I in such a hurry to go? Well, who wants to spend their birthday without their boo? Certainly not me, and I didn’t. I made my connecting flight, and got to where I was going safe and sound.

The days I spent celebrating my birthday went off without a hitch. However, I will be completely honest. The thought did cross my mind several times that the plane was going to crash just to spite me and prove my birthday sucks. I’m so pleased to have been wrong.

So it looks like I’ll be taking this 25 year-old thing one day at a time, just like any other year. What have I learned so far? To not put such stringent limitations upon myself. The things I thought I would have accomplished by now, quite honestly, I haven’t accomplished many of them. But in that same sense, lots of things have happened that I never counted on. I never thought I’d be living in Delaware. I had imagined myself living the vicarious lifestyle of a writer in a big city with no strings attached. Then, the attached strings were relationships and children. My priorities have changed drastically, so why have I been holding myself to the same expectations?

Life Questions, No Answers

Posted in Aging,Kid Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 16, 2009
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What time is it?
4:27.
4:27?
Yup.
What’s that mean?

If anyone knows the proper response I should have given this child, please let me know. I had nothing. I had no witty remark or logical response for a five year old, and I have nearly a twenty year advantage of thinking  on him. I took many college courses before I got around to questioning the meaning of time and its relativity. Some questions are just harder to answer than others.

It’s kind of like “What’s good with you?” What kind of question is that? First of all, let’s come up with a standard definition of good as it’s used in this question. This isn’t your regular good. This is good as a life qualifier. How are you supposed to quickly come up with a response for that in everyday conversation?

“What have you been up to?” is just as bad. You try not to panic as you come up with a response that makes it seem like you don’t suck as much as you think you really do. It’s one thing for you to think it about yourself but another to give someone the ammo to think it about you.

I guess what I’m starting to realize is that  maybe the problem is with the questions and not the answers.

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