Friday, July 3, 2015

Along With The Golden Ticket, Comes The Fork In The Road

My latest column in The Laker.

When you're a single parent, you don't take risks with your income.

I realize most parents and people in general would rather not take financial risks, but when you're the only breadwinner, you have to make sure you know that rent/mortgage, utilities, food, childcare, clothing, shoes, haircuts, medications, sports fees, school fees, a summer trip to a water park if you're lucky, and … and … you get the picture, will be paid, because you're the only one paying it.

Once you reach a certain salary level, it's hard to go back, so you'd better enjoy your chosen profession.

If you change employers, and explore your industry's opportunities and continue to educate yourself within your niche, you're constantly ensuring your salary is increasing or at least maintaining.

I'm one of these single parents.

For 22 years I worked in the IT industry as a software instructor, software tester, business analyst, knowledge management/documentation specialist, and finally finished as a courseware developer for military aircraft systems.

I've run meetings, led teams, produced results and quality products.

Ms. 9-5 corporate professional. And don't forget … Mom.

All of that came to an abrupt halt last fall, when I was laid off after over nine years with the same organization.

I think most people were surprised by my reaction to the news that I would no longer have a job.

I wasn't angry.

I wasn't sad.

I wasn't worried about the future of my family.

Maybe I should have been. I probably should have been. I know my mother definitely was … is, but I wasn't.

In all honesty, I looked at the situation as my golden ticket.

When you have a job that pays your bills and supports your family, you can't simply quit that job if you no longer enjoy it.

You can't leave a good paying job to pursue something that may be in a totally different field and down a different path, and doesn't offer benefits!

Even if you've always wanted to try something 'new', that you believed you could be successful at and really enjoy, you can't let go of that income.

That security.

However, when you've worked for a company for a few years, and they suddenly let you go, you're also entitled to a severance package. Not that it lasts forever, but it does give a bit of breathing room.

And time to explore some options.

Because you see, to be honest, I really don't want to be Ms. 9-5 corporate professional anymore.

I'm good at what I do, but it's never been my true passion.

This. Writing, in some form, is what I've always wanted to do. That's why I started my blog all those years ago. People liked what I shared. And it felt great to connect with them and earn a few perks along the way.

But I always wanted more. Still do.

I want to do something like this, freelance writing, as my 'job'. But how do I get that, when I don't have experience, because I've spent the last 20yrs maintaining?

And so, along with the golden ticket, comes the fork in the road.

I'm pushing 45 and don't want to be living the corporate lifestyle for the next 15 or so years that I have left to work 'full time'.

I want to try something for me. Incorporate my interests into real work. Turn my passions into a paycheck.

But … I do still need a paycheck.

I'm still a mom and I still have two children to provide for.

So in the past few months, I've started writing this column to get myself 'out there', I joined the board of directors of the Rehtaeh Parsons Society, because I strongly believe in what they're trying to do for our youth and I want to be involved with their efforts, and most recently, I was an extra on The Trailer Park Boys, which is currently shooting Season 10.

I didn't know until the last minute, it would be the scene with Snoop Dogg and Tom Arnold. And I'll admit, that was pretty cool!

No, I've never done anything like that before. First time as a background actor, first time on a set. But as I was applying with the casting company, I figured, why not?

Life is about taking a few chances, welcoming new adventures, and traveling new paths.

The big question is … can I make a living at this freelance work?

I hear it's possible. I've read it's possible.

But when you look at sites like Elance, which is designed to cater to freelancers, and you see ads that want 500 word articles and will pay $2 for them, I'm thinking … NOT A CHANCE!

Not a chance that my time and talent is worth that little and not a chance that I'll make a living at this, if that's the going rate for freelance work.

I do think I'm talented, and I do think making an enjoyable living is achievable, outside the 9-5 corporate box.

I'm at the fork in the road, and I really want to follow the path that my heart is pulling me down.

But as the golden ticket severance runs out, as they tend to do, will the need for a 'stable' salary' and 'job security' (if there even is such a thing) pull me down the opposite path, back to the 9-5 reliable corporate niche, out of necessity?

I really hope not.

I guess only time will tell.

So,if you happen to be in the market for a fantastic freelance writer, I know just the girl!

Oh, and don't bother looking for me in the scene in Trailer Park Boys. I was in the crowd at the back, but it was a rockin' good time for a days pay and new life experience!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Everyone Was Offering Snoop Dogg Weed ... So I Offered To Cook Him Dinner

Last fall I went to work one day, only to leave a few hours later no longer employed.

Laid off ... after almost 10yrs with the same organization.

I have a post coming up soon, my latest column for The Laker, which describes how I handled this, and life after the layoff.  

That's not what today's post is about, though.

Today is about an adventure I went on BECAUSE of that layoff.

Those of you who know me personally, especially since childhood, may remember my love of being on stage.

7-8 yrs old

Senior Year

Sometime in my 30's

Yeah, the little girl who loved to write, and act, ended up Ms. Corporate Professional, working in IT and training.

Go figure.

One thing the layoff did provide, was a bit of time to explore my options.

Did i want to go right back to work, doing what I was doing?  Or did I want to try something new? Something totally different.

Then I saw the casting call, looking for background actors for the taping of a new season of a well known TV series being filmed here in Nova Scotia.

I had signed up with Hennessey Casting awhile back.

I filled in a profile.  I sent the required pictures.  Nothing professional, just 'regular' recent shots, because that was all I had.

And then I did nothing.

I didn't apply for anything for a long time, partly because I couldn't exactly take time off from my 'real' job, to 'have fun' for a day as a background actor, and partly because I didn't really think I'd get picked for anything, as I have no professional acting experience.

A few weeks ago though, I saw that call, for a show that my younger boy absolutely LOVES.

Holy Crap!  I've done some pretty interesting things over the years in my career, but if I was picked for this ... the boy would LOSE HIS MIND!

I went to the casting website, read the requirements, took a deep breath, and clicked ... APPLY.

And then I waited.  And didn't say a word.  To anyone.

I didn't want to even say I had applied for anything, so I wouldn't have to hear the 'Ohhh sorry you didn't get it', if nothing happened.

So I waited.  In silence.

And then, a few days later, the email came.

"Congratulations, you are now BOOKED as a background actor on Trailer Park Boys"  

(pic below wasn't actually included with the email
 - just one of my favourites)
 Pic taken from HERE.

Holy Crap! I was picked!

Yes, the boy lost his mind.

Now ... what was I going to wear?  ACK!

The night before I was due to be on set, I got another surprise.

I would be in the same scene as guest stars Snoop Dogg, and Tom Arnold.

Um ... WHAT?!?!?!?  And once again, HOLY CRAP!

Much of Nova Scotia was abuzz about the fact that Snoop was in town to be on the show.

People were stalking the set most of the week, hoping to get an autograph or at least catch a glimpse of the famous rapper.

And then came the Buzzfeed headline, 'Snoop Dogg Is In Small Town Nova Scotia, And Everyone Is Offering Him Weed!' 

Alright, so everyone knows the man likes his herb.  But ... really?

Come on, 'Scotians!  Be a bit more original!

I decided that if I happened to get the chance to talk to him, that's exactly what I'd be! 


So the day came, and off I went to Truro, the location of the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park

The biggest thing I think I learned about background acting that day is, it's A LOT of waiting around.

After we signed the paperwork and met with wardrobe ... we waited.

Because I had an afternoon call time, (thank you casting Gods!) we waited for the cast to finish the morning shoot.

There was waiting for everyone to have lunch.  Myself included.

It was catered and really good, but I could hardly eat.  I didn't want to be on camera with food in my teeth, and no dental floss!

There was waiting once we got to the specific location where we were shooting with Snoop, Tom Arnold and the rest of the TPB crew.

This was also the time you were assessed by the hair and makeup people and given your prop and instructions.

And then you waited some more.

And then they said ... 'OK Background, you're up!'

I can't tell you what we did, or what, exactly, the scene entailed because of non-disclosure agreements, and well ... I don't want to spill secrets and piss off Ricky, Julian and Bubbles!  Or Snoop!  Or Hennessey Casting!

You'll just have to watch Season 10 when it comes out on Netflix.

But I CAN tell you ... it was a pretty awesome experience, and a great day overall! 

And yes, I did meet Ricky, Julian, and Snoop Dogg.  And chatted with 'T' out in the parking lot when we were finished.


You think I'd leave there without at least meeting a couple of my boy's favourites, if at all possible?

PFFFFTTT!!!! Right!

Let me be clear in stating that I did NOT bug the cast during taping.

At all.

I didn't go near them.

And yes, the majority of them were there. And this close!

But just because I had never done anything like this before, didn't mean I didn't recognize the importance of professionalism on set.

And we had been specifically warned by the casting company, 'NO PICTURES' on set unless we were given permission!

Since I want to work with this organization again, I followed the rules. 

I took no pictures.

That's not to say others didn't snap a picture of me. With friends.

I waited until we were completely finished for the day and when I saw some of the cast hanging around, casually talking to people in the room, I went over.

I spoke to 'Ricky' (Robb Wells) about going to school with his brother many years ago.

I spoke to 'Julian' (John Paul Tremblay) about what is REALLY in that glass.

And then I approached Snoop. 

He had been there for awhile, but I could see him slowly making his way towards the door, and I knew my boys would never forgive me if I let him go without at least saying hello, so it was now or never.

I waked over and said, 'Hi!'.

Then, because the dude is REALLY tall, I stood up on tiptoe, and whispered in his ear, 'I hear everyone in Nova Scotia has been offering you their weed.  Well, I'm going to offer you something different!'

Oh get your minds out of the gutter, people! It wasn't anything inappropriate!

Although I'm sure he also had no idea what I was about to say next.

Since I was no longer at his ear, he looked down at me through his shades and asked, 'What's that?'

I said, 'I'm offering you a home cooked meal.'

He looked surprised and said, 'Ohhhh I haven't had THAT!'

'I figured you hadn't!', I replied. Then continued on ...

'Just think... home cooked beef and broccoli stir-fry ... or tavern style ribs in the slow cooker aallllll day, covered in BBQ sauce ... so much better than take out!'

I could almost see his mouth watering through the smile when he said, 'That sounds GOOD!'

'I know it does.  Now ... those casting people have my information ... you want that home cooked meal ... you find me.  I'll make you dinner.'

And then we took a picture together and I walked away.

Everyone was offering Snoop Dogg weed ... So I offered to cook him dinner.

The man was offered weed by every Tom (not Arnold), Dick, Harry AND Jane in town.  He's not going to remember any of those people.

But ... guaranteed nobody else offered him a home cooked meal while he was here (unless, perhaps, a cast member who lives here full time).  

THAT he'll remember!


Of course, I can't tell you if he took me up on my offer.  Because I did promise him 'NO PAPARAZZI!'  Nobody would even know he was here.


And that was it. That was a wrap.  I waited for my paperwork to be complete, and then left.

As I was heading to my car, I was introduced to and had the pleasure of chatting with 'T' (Tyrone Parsons) for a few minutes. What a nice guy!

All very nice people, including the rest of the background cast and crew.

Overall, it was a great experience.  Something I would most definitely do again.

And as luck would have it ... I DID!

I was back on set at the Trailer Park for a another day the following week!

Different scene.

Don't bother looking for me in the Snoop episode, though.  

I haven't seen the finished product, but I was at the back of a crowded room, so chances are you won't see me.

But keep an eye out for the chick in the red shirt ... just in case!

Oh, and Snoop ... you missed out on the ribs, Dude.  We had them this week.

But the offer still stands, next time you're in town.  


P.S.  Thank you to 'the powers that be' for giving me the go-ahead to publish this post! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Comment Of 1000 Likes

I may as well start this off right away by saying, I'm probably going to get some flack for this post.  

I'm going into this knowing that not everyone is going to agree with or like this one.

And that's OK.

Humour is subjective. 

Have you ever said something, or written a comment, that after you'd said/written you thought, 'hmmm ... that was damn funny, but is probably going to offend someone and get me in shit.'  

But you still can't help but think it's funny.

Yeah.  Me too.

I had just gotten out of bed one morning last winter. 

I didn't have to rush out the door anywhere, so I grabbed my coffee, and did the one eye scroll through Facebook while slowly trying to wake up.

Within seconds, I saw it.

A meme that was posted on Drea de Metteo's page.

For those who aren't familiar with Drea, she was affectionately known as 'The Junkie Whore' (aka Wendy) on Sons Of Anarchy and of course mafia princess 'Adriana' on The Sopranos

I like her.  I think she'd be cool to hang out with in real life.

After reading the meme, I let out a, 'HA!', and then without even thinking about it, I started to type.  And then hit, ENTER.

I was being a smartass, and thinking about the fact that both Drea and I have ex-husbands, when I said what I did.

And then I forgot about it.

Until the 'likes' started coming in.

A steady stream of likes.

Oh don't get me wrong, there was lots of dislike for my words also, and accusations of bitterness and bitchiness.  Yes, those are there, too.

But the comments in response to mine also contained quite a few 'Yup!', 'Agreed!' and 'Me, too!'.

And just the other day, 6 months later, that comment hit over 1000 likes.

HA!  Really?  I feel like I should say thank you!

I can honestly say that's the first time that's happened to one of my Facebook comments.

And I can also honestly say, there was no bitterness or bitchiness intended, 

I never did specifically say I was referring to *my* ex!

That was an assumption made by the internet.

It's been 11yrs, people!  It's all good. 

In my half-awake, lack of caffeine state, I just thought it was funny and thought if Drea actually read her comments, (after seeing her sense of humour through her posts), SHE would find it funny, too.

I never even really thought about the rest of her followers.

I had only had two mouthfuls of coffee ... I wasn't thinking about anything yet!

I don't want to post the meme here, because there's a big 'ol *F*-word right in the middle of it, that definitely jumps out at you, and I know some of you are reading while at work, or have little ones hanging around, and we wouldn't want the boss or kids to walk by, and take that big 'ol *F*-word personally! 

So if you'd like to see the meme, and the comment of 1000 likes at a more appropriate time, you can find them HERE.

I think you can figure out which comment is mine.

But don't read more into it, than it really was.

Agree with me, don't agree with me, find it funny, don't find it funny, think I'm a terrible person ... whatever. 

I still think Drea laughed. And that was my sole intention.

Other than more coffee.


P.S.  Before you send me hate mail, YES, I know it goes for ex-wives, too, of course!

And if I reeeeaaaallllyyyy thought the ex was that bad, I wouldn't be letting the boy go live with him in another province for the summer, would I?  

No.  Didn't think so.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Words To Die For?

My latest column in The Laker.

Last week, I was looking at one of those meaningless, time wasting, online lists that are so popular lately, when one of the headlines over in the sidebar caught my attention.

It said, 'Yet another Bangladeshi blogger hacked to death'.

It didn't really matter to me where they were from, what my brain registered was 'another blogger hacked to death'.

Wow. I realize there are many serious issues happening all over our world that are important, and require our time and attention, but this one jumped out at me as a 'must read', because I figured it had to be a bogus article, and … well … I'm a blogger.

(Pic from a previous column)

Who would go around killing bloggers? And so viciously!

People who don't agree with bloggers who speak out against Islam, according to the article.

Three bloggers had been attacked and killed, two of them leaving their homes in the morning, on their way to work. According to other articles, the actual total is nine bloggers.


And people wonder why I don't tackle the 'tough issues' when I blog.

I've been a blogger for over eight years.

At one point, I was referred to as 'one of Canada's top bloggers', but I can honestly say I haven't put the time and effort into it the last couple of years that I once did. Certainly not enough to retain that 'title'.

When I started out, it was uncharted territory. People were posting pretty much anything and everything, but there were definitely a few hard and fast rules for most.

Don't say anything that would get you fired or piss off your family, and keep your anonymity at all costs.

And if you can't/don't follow Rule 2, refer to Rule 1!

Some followed these rules. Some were public figures immediately. And others revealed more and more of their personal lives, with pictures, as time went on.

In the beginning, you never saw a picture of my kid's faces on my blog and it's still VERY rare you'll see one now that they're a teenager and adult.

I also had a couple of personal rules as well.

Don't bash the ex, and don't use my words to hurt my kids in any way.

For eight years, I've kept my blog 'light' and hopefully humorous, entertaining, sometimes educational, and meaningful.

At least, that's what I was shooting for.

It's not that I don't have an opinion on the 'hot' topics plaguing our society. I do! Strong ones!

But am I going to put them out there in a public forum, for the entire digitally connected world to read, and judge and possibly react to? No.

Not because I'm afraid to express my opinion, especially among my inner circle, (anyone who knows me, probably just chuckled at that remark) but because as a single parent, the fear of someone harming me or my children, in any way, to 'get back at' me for something I've said, or an opinion I've expressed publicly that doesn't match with some psychopath's, has kept me reserved with my thoughts.


If something happens to me, what happens to the kids. Or worse, what if something happens to the kids.

Plain and simple. It all comes down to a healthy does of paranoia.

And yes, I do say healthy, because if you remember the headline above, 'Yet another Bangladeshi blogger hacked to death' ... I don't want to end up as one of those bloggers.

Are my views of the world that extreme that I honestly think someone is going to track me down and hack me up in front of my house one day? Or target my children? No. But I also know this world can be pretty messed up.

People DIE for their views and opinions. And not only in Bangladesh.

Have I written about things that I feel are important to me, and other members of society?


I've talked about mental health, suicide, losing both a pet and a parent, teenagers and alcohol, bullying, and a whole slew of other topics, including zombies.

And yes, when I really DO believe in something, I'll go places I'm not supposed to, like breaking the law, and writing a post about Rehtaeh Parsons during the publication ban on her name.

But, I will never do so in a way that would intentionally aggravate or antagonize anyone.

Never wanting to poke the bear. Never wanting to attract the Psychos.

Because while I do love my blog, and it will always be my outlet and release, and my posts are important to me, are they words to die for?


And that will never be my intended audience. Not for my blog, or even my column.

But if I can make you smile, keep you entertained for a few minutes, and sometimes maybe even teach you something new, then I'm happy with that.

I don't have to change the world with my words, I just enjoy sharing my little korner of it with those who occasionally want to stop by.

Please leave machete at the door.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

That Generation Gap Just Got A Little Bit Smaller

I was putting the dishes away, staring out the window, not really thinking about anything specific when I heard the first notes coming from the younger Boy's room.

I haven't watched this show in a very long time, but I immediately flashed back 20 yrs, to cleaning the apartment, with this on the stereo, afternoons at the lake, with this on the stereo, touring around 12 states on the honeymoon, with this on the stereo, and flopping on the couch every week, and enforcing the 'Thursday Night Rule'.

"No phone calls, and no visitors after 9pm, it's Thursday Night Lineup!!!"

Friends. Seinfeld.  ER.

Seriously.  If the phone rang after 9pm, it went to voicemail.

Every Thursday night, from the very first episode, we watched and grew up with the Central Perk crew.

They were in their mid-20's.  I was in my mid-20's, and although they were all still single and I was getting married and having babies, we connected.

I think it's safe to say that cast and that show connected with an entire generation.

And earlier this week, I think the generation gap in this house just got a little bit smaller, when I heard the F.R.I.E.N.D.S theme coming from my son's room.

I dropped the dish and cloth on the counter and knocked on his door, and opened it to find the show just beginning.

'You watch this now?' I asked with a big smile.

'Yeah, they were watching it at Joe's* one night, and I liked it.' 

That made me smile even more.

I don't know why it should surprise me that my kid likes a show I used to love.  It was a great sitcom.

It also made me a little nostalgic for a minute, for those long ago 20's and somewhat carefree days.

But ... if the tradeoff is now getting to sit on the couch with my kid, laughing at the FRIENDS cast, and hearing Ross whine, 'We were on a break!' together, I'll take that deal.

I wonder if he knows about Smelly Cat yet?  Must find that episode!


*Joe ... not his real name.  Of course.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

How Do You Fix A Broken Mind?

My latest column, in May's edition of The Laker ... 

How do you know you're losing your mind?

I don't mean a scenario where one day, you wake up and your mind completely snaps and you go on a murderous rampage for no reason, or you trap and eat your neighbour's cat for dinner, with a nice Chianti.

I'm talking about those times that you can't, for the life of you, think of the word you want to say.

I'm talking about those times that you're in mid-sentence, and have no idea where you were going with the conversation.

I'm talking about letting the dog out one night, and suddenly realizing you have no idea how long you've been standing there with the door open, staring at the stars, in the cold.

I'm talking about not being able to remember the name of the hair colour product, that you've used for over ten years.

I'm talking about reading the directions on how to cook something, getting to the stove, and having to turn around and read the directions again, because you can't remember what you just read.

I'm talking about the times your child says to you, 'Hey mom, remember the time when ...'  and although you reply with, 'Oh YEAH', and smile and nod, you silently realize you really have no idea what they're referring to.  And it makes you sad that you simply don't remember.

THAT'S the type of 'losing your mind' I'm talking about.

I have experienced every single one of these scenarios.

I'm 44yrs old.

Yes, I understand our brains change as we get older. We forget things.  It's a natural sign of aging, and the natural progression of 'getting old'.

But when should you start to worry that what you're experiencing is not only a natural symptom of age, but perhaps the warning signs of early onset Alzheimers, which affects people in their 40's and 50's?

My grandmother is 90 yrs old. Over the past few years, we noticed a drastic change in her personality.  Little things at first, like being forgetful, or not having a sense of time, or who she was talking to.

But now, it's full fledged dementia.  She has no idea where she is, she has no mobility, she can no longer speak, and she no longer recognizes her children or grandchildren, and won't accept affection from any of us.

While I love my grandmother dearly, I hate seeing her like this, and I worry.

I worry that given the issues I have with my own memory, I'm seeing into my future, and it scares the crap out of me.

I didn't really spend too much time thinking about my memory loss, until I recently watched a movie called, Still Alice.

If you have someone in your family suffering from Alzheimers, I HIGHLY recommend seeing this.

It was a fantastic movie, about a smart, professional, educated woman struggling with early onset Alzheimers, and her journey through it with her family. Someone who was considered 'young' and who was completely taken by surprise by the diagnosis.

As movies tend to do, it made me smile, it made me laugh, and it made me cry.

But it also made me think.

About myself.  About my future.  About my mind.

I'm scared. There.  I've said it.  I'm scared to end up in a chair, completely immobile, and unaware of my surroundings or my kids. 

I'm terrified of losing, myself.

And I'm scared that it's already started.

This morning, I was having a conversation with the boy, and mid-sentence, I couldn't think of the word I wanted.

This was not the first time this has happened.

I knew what I wanted to say.  I knew EXACTLY what I WANTED to say, but I just could NOT get that word to formulate in my brain, and come out of my mouth.

Perhaps I've just been thinking about all this too much lately, because I started to cry.  I didn't mean to, it just happened because I was frustrated, but I think it scared the boy.

And I don't want to do that.

So after he left, I got online.

I searched for 'symptoms of early onset Alzheimers'. 

And then I made a phone call, and booked myself into a free Memory Clinic being run by True North Clinical Research.

I go in three weeks.

I've never done anything like this before, so I have no idea what to expect.

They asked me a few questions over the phone to determine WHY I wanted to do this, and although they said that these types of symptoms can be brought on by stress, or even worry about HAVING dementia, they still thought I should come in based on what I told them.

I'm happy I made the appointment.  If nothing else, they will tell me how my brain is functioning in comparison to other 44 yr olds.

And I'm still scared.  I'm scared of what else it might tell me.

But I'd rather know for sure, what may or may not be going on in my brain, so I can finally stop worrying about it.

Breaking a bone, dislocating a shoulder, having a cold, even many diseases can be cured and fixed.

But, how do you fix a broken mind?

How do you fix losing yourself and the person you once were?

How do you hold on to the memories, that you feel are like grains of sand, slipping though that hourglass and the sand is running out, and you have no way to flip that glass to keep things flowing.

I don't want to be an empty hourglass. 

Photo by Salvatore Vuono and taken from

I'm terrified to find out the answers to these questions.  But I'm more terrified of doing nothing and not knowing.

So one way or another, I'm going to find out!

I suggest that if you have ANY doubt about your mental health, you should, too!

And with any luck ... I'm just getting old naturally, and the neighbour's cat is safe for a few more years, yet!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Judgmental Generation

My latest column in The Laker ...

My mother is a Baby Boomer. 

I'm a Gen X'er. 

My boys are Generation Z. 

There's also the Y, and Post War Generations, and I'm guessing many before that, which I haven't looked up the labels for.

Each generation has seen change, progress, and failure and each has experienced it's own joy and heartache.

But there's another Generation missing from this list. It hasn't yet been given its 'official' label, although it's been around for quite awhile, and gaining momentum every year.

It's a group of people that are an amalgamation of EACH of the most recent generations; Boomers, X'ers, Millenials, and Gen Z's. Not so much the Post War kids.

They have strong opinions, on a variety of topics, and are living in a time when the internet has made it possible to share their every thought, on every subject, and how they would have done things differently, and more importantly, better.

This, my friends, is the
Judgmental Generation.  And we're in it.

It's fine to have an opinion on something. And it's perfectly fine to express that opinion, and even disagree on opinions.  As long as it's done in an mature, rational, non-threatening way.  

It's possible to disagree with a person's idea, without attacking the character of that person in the process.  

It just seems that the more and more news stories I read online, that happens less and less.

We talk about bullying in our schools, but all it takes is to read the comment section of one 'controversial' story online, to see it runs rampant among adults also.

Yes, many say cruel and judgmental things, and hide behind their anonymity, but others really don't care if you know who they are, as long as you're hearing what they're saying.

People don't even necessarily read the story, let alone in it's entirety. They grab the headline, and then let fingers fly with beratement, calls for imprisonment, (or beheading/impalement/death depending), all the while stating how they would have handled the situation much better.

All of this came to a head for me personally with the story of the little boy in Ontario, who wandered outside during the night, and froze to death only feet from the door of the apartment building he'd come out of.

Of course my heart broke when I read that story.  I'm a mom, and a human being, and I have empathy.

My first instinct was to feel bad for the grandparents who were caring for him, and for his parents, who had to wake up to their entire world crumbling, through no fault of their own.

My first instinct was not to head to the nearest online news story, and try to crucify them in the comments.

ALL of them!  Not only the grandparents, but the parents, also.  Who ... again ... weren't even there!

That's what I mean by this Judgmental Generation.  Those who, instead of simply reading the article and thinking, 'What a sad story', and moving on, will say things like, 'Those parents didn't even deserve to have that child! And they should be charged' 


There was one comment I had to reply to.  I couldn't help myself. 

It was, 'Who lets a child that age walk around in the middle of the night anyway?'

Well, really, let's think about that for a second.  Nobody.  Most parents, grandparents, whoever is in charge of that child would have been asleep at 4am when the child wandered out. 

Why?  Why do people do that?

While someone is IN their moment of crisis, that's not the time to kick them. 

Yes, I know, there are internet trolls everywhere, and if you can't handle it, stay offline.

But I don't want to stay offline.  I want to be able to see that people can discuss societies issues without tearing each other apart. 

There's no need.

If you feel you're part of this generation, stop it.

And stop telling people how you would have done things differently.  There really is more than one way to do something, and yours, although YOU may think so, isn't necessarily the best.  Get over it.

So many people judging.  On your clothes, lifestyle, food choices, how you raise your kids.  It never ends.  And really, if you're living your life as a good person, not harming others ... none of their opinions matter.

But they're going to give it anyway.

You have to be a strong person these days, to survive this new generation. They'll rip you to shreds if given the opportunity, but thankfully, weaved in there among the judgmental, are the compassionate and kind and caring and helpful.

THAT'S the generation I want for my kids, and theirs, and yes, my own.

All I ask is just take a minute, and take a breath, and think for a second, before sending that comment/response/rant in that indignant, self-righteous, judgmental tone.  Is it really deserving?  No? Then don't.  Leave them alone and don't be that internet troll.

Don't be part of that Judgmental Generation.  

Let's all try and be a little better than that, for the next generation's sake.  

And our own.