Jenifer, New York, USA


I know that I came here later than most of you, but I am happy that I did.  Thirty Voices provided me with a connection to other women in my age bracket at a time when I was feeling isolated and out of sync with everyone else.  Being home with two small children seemed to exclude me from so much, but somehow, when reading everyone’s posts, i began to feel that I could do more.

I opened up an online business selling my handmade crafts, I began writing a novel, I made new friends, and I realized that I can do more than I ever realized.  I wish I had contributed more, but I have been very waylaid by the fact that I am facing having another surgery soon, as the treatment after my first surgery (in November) didn’t take. It makes me all the more grateful that I was a part of this because now, even though I have more physical limitations than I have ever had, I am still managing to find good in all the little things in life.

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It has been unusually temperate for January, and my flower bulbs are confused.  I see little bits of green tentatively poking up through the ground of my yard.  This makes it easier for the neighborhood squirrels to find (and eat) my flower bulbs. Part of me is pleased that the weather is so pleasant and Spring-like, but I cannot help but feel that this is solid proof that global warming is in progress.

We do what we can to conserve energy and be Earth-conscious. I know so many people feel that there is no point because so many people don’t bother, but I feel like that is a defeatist attitude. Most home conservation efforts save money for the household (such as high-efficiency lightbulbs).  I know that green cleaners are slightly more expensive, but they do tend to smell better, and the formulas are getting more effective than in the past. I sometimes wonder what the planet will be like when my children are my age, and I hope that more people begin to take responsibility for their own personal space, so that we can all benefit from a happier environment.

Jenifer, 34, New York

Usually, people associate small children with temper tantrums and whining.  When this happens, someone invariably says “they don’t know any better”.  It’s true, in a way – they do not have the emotional maturity to understand cause and effect, complex feelings or Mommy’s finances.  I have a four-year-old and a two-year-old.  There are many tantrums in my house.  I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that this is a phase they will grow out of when they are approximately eight to ten years of age (and that there will be a brief period of peace before they become teenagers).  Generally, I remind myself that “they don’t know better”

The thing we do not often stop to consider, however, is that there are areas where children know better than we do.  It’s true!  There is so much that we can learn from our kids!  Here are some things that  iam beginning to pick up from the wee ones:

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I have recently become aware of the fact that I interact more with my friends online than I do in person.  I don’t just mean planning things via email, either.  I actually have several friends that I have made online, many whom I have never met in person, and I feel like, at times, I spend more time “with” them than with the friends I could hop on the subway and go visit.  Some of this is due to insane schedules and lack of funds.  When i was growing up in smaller places, people spent time at one another’s homes when they wanted to be with friends.  In the city, everyone prefers to get together at a restaurant or club at a central location.  While that makes sense, it can be tough on the finances, and almost everyone I know (online or in person) is tight on cash right now.

The interesting thing to me, though, is that I have found friends online whose interests and ideas are a closer match to mine than many of my traditional friends.  This does not mean that I love my traditional friends any less, but it does mean that, with some things, I have people to talk to for the first time ever. I have been lucky to find real people online (as opposed to people posing as a persona) and to have actually met a couple of them and found that, yes, we are completely compatible as friends in person, too. But, isn’t it strange?  The internet allows us to find these people who think the same way, and connect with them, but at the same time seems to be detracting from the traditional friendships in some way.

Jenifer, 34, New York 

Yesterday I turned thirty-four. It seemed like a relatively ordinary day, but my dreams last night were proof that there was more going on under the surface.

In my dream, I was moving out of my childhood home (at least the home I spent the largest chunk of time in growing up). Everyone who is currently part of my life was there, and we were sorting through an enormous mess of stuff. I knew that i was moving to a new house, and the strange thing was, I kept thinking that there would not be enough room for all of my things, and I was aware that there needed to be extra room for my husband and kids and other Very Important People in my life to live there, too.

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I feel that life presents so many challenges, so many hoops for us to jump through – and every time we make it through one then we have something to be thankful for.  Every night, I “count my blessings” – I list things that I am thankful for.  My children, my husband, my sister, nieces, nephew, grandmothers, parents, cat, friends, etc. I am also thankful for my creativity, my home, my internet access… and often i remind myself top be thankful for the hardships I have encountered in life, because I have gotten through them and come out a stronger, more capable person who can always look back and see that I can weather any storm that life throws my way, because I have gotten through all the rest.

Jenifer, 33, New York

Ten years ago, I lost an ovary when a “pre-cancerous” (the term the doctors used) cyst took over and killed it. I went into shock and came close to dying myself. I spent my twenties dealing with many struggles with inherited problems in the reproductive system (fibroids, endometriosis, chronic cysts), and then it all stopped after my daughter was born. I have two children now, despite the fact that my former doctors told me I would never be able to conceive. I’m grateful for my children.

Without going into gory details, I noticed in May that my system was behaving oddly. I participated in a fundraising walk for women’s cancers, and was given a pamphlet about cancer symptoms. I showed a friend and mentioned to her that I was experiencing many symptoms listed. It took me awhile to make my OBGYN appointment, but I finally went. My doctor put me on hormone therapy to see if it would help, and sent me for a full workup with my GP.

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