Friday, July 12, 2013

Going Over the Top

I came home from my daily 3.6 miles of walking this morning just in time [insert sarcasm here] to view a PROPOSAL PLANNERS segment on The Today Show.  It was one of those surreal moments when you find yourself sitting at the foot of your bed, in mid-tennis shoe removal, and you hear what the reporter is saying about hiring someone to plan your marriage proposal, and you're all, "NO WAY!"

I mean, admittedly, I've just walked around a 0.6 mile course 6 times, so there is the off-chance that I have lost some oxygen that should have gone to the brain thus rendering myself incapable of processing what I am hearing, but still!  A man must now hire someone to plan a proposal for the woman he is pledging his love to?

I get it.  I am old .... and single .... and, yes, I am crotchety, but when did simplicity go out of vogue?

What is she talking about, your asking yourself right now, aren't you?

I am saying this ...

Everything we do in life, according to societal pressures, we'll call them, must be on this ridiculously grand scale ... a grade A production that would put the old Ziegfeld Follies to shame ... and by the mere mention of that old fashioned reference, I am proving my out-of-dated-ness.  I get it.

But today, we can't just get engaged.  No just asking some one to marry them is passé. Instead, we must have this HUGE production, wherein the Vienna Symphony does a flash mob concert on the steps of Union Station, while your soon-to-be-fiancé, who has hired Beyoncé to help him with his dance moves, does a free-style modern dance while the Joffrey Ballet backs him up, as flame throwers spell out the words WILL YOU MARRY ME?  I mean, by the time you've sunk that much money into the proposal, what's left for the wedding ... or, ummm, I don't know, the life following the wedding, because, here's a newsflash: That life? The one that lasts 50 or 60 years (hopefully)?  That is what really counts ... not the skywriter you hired to impress your beloved into marrying you in the first place.

And if that wasn't enough, then you must out-do the girls before you with outrageously priced wedding gowns, ones that you've watched on the countless wedding dress shows on TLC ... dresses that cost more than your first car ... or your current one ... or the boat you've always said you'd like to have ... one day ... only one day will never come because you will be paying off that Royal wedding from now until your 25th wedding anniversary ... if you make it that far.

And who wants a honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls.  I mean, that is sooooo 1955.  Jamaica?   Soooo 1995.  No, we need to go to Fiji!  Or rent the villa on Richard Branson's private island.

Then there is the family.  I mean, we can't just get pregnant any more.  Nope.  That's not enough.  We have to have an elaborate ruse in which a gigantic stork is rented for the weekend and trained to go to each one of the soon-to-be grandmothers, delivering little bundles of joy, wherein, when they unwrap the aforementioned bundles of joy, they find all sorts of grandmotherly items hinting at their impending rise in life stations.  Of course, you've hired a Hollywood film crew to capture the whole thing, because you want to make sure it gets on Youtube to receive those 500,000 hits all in one afternoon.  That shows popularity!

If announcing the pregnancy wasn't enough, then we must have a big reveal party!  Yes, lets do that.  I mean, we can't just inform everyone that, "yes, we're having a boy, and we're super excited."  Nope, to fully inform everyone of our grand jubilation regarding our impending parenthood, we must assemble a large cast of characters to come and eat blue cupcakes because that will be great fun.  And yes, by all means, let's make sure this gets on Faceboook and Youtube.  Popularity and all.

Then we must have pregnancy photos done by professionals because it's not enough to remember how big and huge I was while I was cooking this kid.  Nope, I've got to pay obscene amounts of money to someone to do it for me as well as to announce my due date, because babies always come on those due dates, don't they?

Hospitals are now making room for large parties with catering services for extended family to come and party with the mommy and daddy-to-be while waiting for Junior to make his or her appearance in this excessive world.  Because, lets face it, nothing says party, like 18 to 20 hours of labor, right?

And just when you thought that your life was over ... you'd done everything excessive that could possibly be done to announce to the world that you are soooo very important, then that kid turns one, and by golly, we MUST make that an event to remember, so yes, let's hire Barnum and Bailey to come and be a part of the circus-themed birthday party, and yes, let's have 20 bouncy houses and face painting and live African elephants and sky-high cakes.  I mean, a kid only turns one once, right?

******DEEEEEEP  BREATH********

I realize that I will most likely catch a lot of flack for this as many of you reading my rant have been caught up in much of this craze, and make no mistake about it, it is a craze. 

I blame our collective need to obsess over celebrity.  We want the life of a celebrity.  If we can't have it, we'll make it up as we go along.

I blame part of it on our need to one up the next person.  "I don't want them thinking I can't or won't do for my child. "



I blame part of it on our desire for always wanting more ... and bigger.  I can't raise my children in a three bedroom home.  Good gosh now!  I must have a four and five bedroom home ... insert McMansions here."

I blame part of it on PINTEREST.  Pinterest makes us all think we are party planners.

I blame  a lot of it on our desperate need to be popular.  If I throw a grand party that I invite all these people to, they will see how amazing I am ... how put together I am ... how much I do to make life amazing for those around me ...

Whew!  I am just exhausted typing that.  It is exhausting being perfect ... only ... no one is.  Appearances of perfection?  Only skin deep.

What happened to simplicity?  And where did the bar go ... you know the one ... the "Oops! We're sorry; you've just hit the over-the-top-ceiling." 

I'm not saying it isn't fun to celebrate a person and their life. Birthday party it up, but when you extravagantly lavish upon your child when he or she is 3, what are they to look forward to when they are older?  And, what are their expectations when they are older?  In essence, there is an expectation that you've set up for yourself to go bigger or go home, and when does that stop?

And for those that you are hoping to feel inferior to your perfection?  You aren't.  In fact, the opposite it occurring.  You're worrying yourself to death over doing it more over the top than last time ... while those of us that just don't care are embracing the simplicity of this life. 

Listening to the birds wake up with the sun
... the water lapping on a foggy morning shoreline
...children laughing as they run through a sprinkler
...crickets chirping at dusk
Watching the sun slowly slipping below the horizon
...a butterfly float effortlessly above a dewy daisy
...leaves shiver in a great oak as the breeze gently blows through

At the end of your life, however far you are blessed to take it, will it be the extravagant reveal parties and birthday parties and crazy Pinterest-inspired theme parties you threw that you will be remembered by?

Or will it be the gentle appreciation you had for this life?

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