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Neverland Without Wendy

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This week, I thought I’d write a follow-up to my last editorial about my sister Wendy leaving Neverland.  In the run-up to her departure, I was so gung-ho about what this career move meant for Wendy that I barely stopped to think about how her leaving would affect me.  Now that a couple of months have passed, the impact of her flight has begun to stick out in stark relief.

For instance, before now I don’t think I ever consciously acknowledged just how important Wendy’s presence was in the ecosystem of our apartment.  When it was me, Wendy and Michael living together, there was a delicate balance to the universe.  Now that it’s just me and Michael… Well, he and I are both still alive, so I guess things aren’t as bad as they could be.  And don’t get me wrong, I love my brother dearly, but I never quite realized the extent to which he is incapable of doing almost anything for himself.  Wendy was always as much like a mother to Michael as a sister, and now those motherly duties are falling to the only sibling that yet remains.

I’m also feeling Wendy’s absence more directly.  When you’ve seen someone day in and day out for as long as you can remember, it’s difficult to describe just how much of a void you feel after they’ve gone.  And while Wendy and I were decidedly diligent about keeping in contact on a daily basis in the immediate aftermath of her departure, as the weeks wear on I fear we have both been woefully remiss in maintaining this level of communication.  Wendy’s sojourn to the big city marks the first time that any of my siblings have been absent from Neverland for this length of time, and I’d be lying if I said that I’m entirely equipped to deal with the situation.  To one degree or another, Wendy had been helping me muddle through almost all of the things I struggle with as a prototypical millennial, and with her gone, I must admit I’m starting to feel a bit like a ship without a rudder.

That said, I guess you can’t really expect your loved ones will ever learn to fly if they always keep one foot in the nest.  I suppose on some level I always understood that Wendy’s life post-Neverland couldn’t begin in earnest until our beloved hometown had receded sufficiently into her rearview mirror.  The toughest thing about encouraging your friends and loved ones to follow their dreams is that sometimes said dreams take them worlds away, and threaten to make your once-entwined paths finally and inevitably diverge.  I can say, categorically, that Neverland is not the same without Wendy, and I have no doubt that Wendy’s life has undergone a concomitant change as well.  I only hope that, in the final analysis, the old axiom about change being good turns out to be true in this case.  And I suppose, so far as that goes, only time will tell.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 15, 2014

Time to Travel

ask-deardarling

DEAR WENDY DARLING,
I love your videos and I hope I could get some advice from you. What should you do if your family doesn’t approve of your career choice? I want to work in the travel industry because ever since I was a kid, I wanted to see the world. It’s what I love to do. But it just seems like my family doesn’t understand. I know they mean well but it still hurts that they’re unsupportive of your dreams.
-NIGHTSHADE

HELLO MY DARLING NIGHTSHADE,
The travel industry sounds absolutely amazing!  I myself have been traveling a lot recently and let me tell you…the world… is… INCREDIBLE!  There is so much out there to explore, see and EAT! Some of the food I’ve had has made me seriously question if I ever knew what love was before.  I may have gotten engaged to an éclair in France. Our love was short…but delicious.

200 s Time to Travel

But you and I both already agree that traveling and seeing the world is AHMAZEBALLS…the problem is your family doesn’t think so. There are usually 3 main reasons family members don’t support a career choice.

1). They think it’s unstable and you won’t be able to support yourself on it!

This is the problem faced by many people, especially those who want to pursue a career in the arts.)

2). They are worried it’s dangerous.

My brother Michael once said he wanted to join the army…my mother was a hysterical wreck at the thought of her baby boy in harms way.

1369430201 Time to Travel

Luckily, Michael’s short-term memory is…lacking…and he quickly forgot he wanted to join the army and decided he wanted to be a “guy that trains dogs to do cool stuff like…stuff…that’s cool.”

tumblr inline mqeukmXgVq1qz4rgp Time to Travel

3). They think the job will take you away.

Which the job you want will literally do just that!

The travel industry is a pretty stable and decent paying career…so I don’t think it’s #1.  Now, travel can be dangerous, so there could be a bit of #2 in the mix.  However, I’m going to put my money on #3.  I’m betting you and your family are pretty close, and they don’t like the idea of you being so far away so often. In a lot of ways, it’s very sweet…BUT…it’s also not their life.  In their heart of hearts they want you to be happy, and if working in travel makes you happy, then in the end (even if they don’t like it now) they will accept what you do and be proud of you (but in the beginning maybe snag them awesome souvenirs from your travels to let them know you’re thinking about them…and call home regularly!) Remember, life is a short and precious gift, and doing anything less than what makes you happy is a waste of that gift.

Till next time My Darlings!

ALWAYS YOURS,
WENDY

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on August 15, 2014

Put That Fear On Its Rear

ask-deardarling

DEAR WENDY DARLING,
Your videos are amazing but I had a question. I am actually afraid of growing up and getting out into the world, and you seem like you are really excited to get out there, so how do you do it?  Have the guts to get out there and try new things I mean?
SINCERELY,
CAT

HI CAT!
Thanks you so much! I’m so glad you like my videos!  Oooh, trust me there is nothing easy about growing up and getting out there and trying new things. In fact, I’ve found that all the biggest decisions in life come with a nice side of doubt and fear.  For me, I use the fear as a motivator, as a challenge, as a dare! Instead of letting it hold me down I let it propel me forward.

shark Put That Fear On Its Rear

But really, My Darling, in the end it comes down to what makes you happy.  I have people in my life who are completely happy living the same way day in and day out… and they’ve shown me that there is nothing wrong with that because they are HAPPY!  Me, I need to try new things, see new sites, to push myself and experience the unknown to truly be happy.  Life is short and it is precious and you shouldn’t waste it either pursuing or not pursuing things that don’t bring you joy.  If you find something that will make you happy, even if you know it’s a big and scary change, I promise you that you’ll find the strength to go for it.
UNTIL NEXT TIME, MY DARLINGS!

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on August 5, 2014

Remote “Ask Dear Darling”

ask-deardarling

Hello My Darlings,

Change is often difficult…sometimes it’s down right heartbreaking…but change doesn’t always have to mean the end. I promised you before I left that I’d always be just an email away, and I plan to keep that promise. So while I’ve started my job in the big city, I shall still be doing my “Ask Dear Darling” weekly advice column for the Kensington Chronicle…at least in the interim until they find a new columnist. So, My Darlings, what can I help you with today?

Always yours,
Wendy Darling

(Note from the Assistant Editor-in-Chief, John Darling: Please direct your “Dear Darling” inquiries to the form in the sidebar of this page.)

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 31, 2014

Flying the Coop

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As most of you loyal “It’s Dear Darling” viewers probably already know, my sister Wendy has left Neverland for a cushy job in the big city.  Working at JH Media really is a dream job for her, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  And if I’m being honest, I’ve kind of seen this coming for a long time; because, while my dream is here, Wendy was never going to be able to reach her full potential in Neverland.  And don’t get me wrong, if I got an offer to be a newspaperman for a prestigious paper in the big city, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have to think long and hard about it, but in the final analysis, I am perfectly happy climbing the ladder here at our local paper.  Because sooner or later our dear father George Darling will have to retire (though I daren’t tell him that!), and I can’t imagine the Kensington Chronicle without a Darling at the helm.

However, “It’s Dear Darling” was essentially the pinnacle of what Wendy would have been able to achieve at the Chronicle, and I’ve always known that she’s destined for bigger things than that.  Which is not to say that it was easy for her to leave.  It takes a certain kind of person to leave behind her parents, her siblings, her friends, and make a new life for herself hundreds of miles from the place she’s called home for her entire life.  The Kensington Chronicle’s own Peter Pan likes to fancy himself an adventurer, but for my money there is no braver soul in all of Neverland than my sister Wendy.

I do sometimes wonder, however, just what is the cost of pursuing your dreams?  As I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times before, as I toil day in and day out to make my professional dreams a reality, the refrain “What’s love got to do with it?” keeps coming up more and more frequently.  Indeed, Wendy’s departure has threatened to tear her own burgeoning romance asunder, making me wonder anew if personal and professional satisfaction truly are mutually exclusive propositions.  Juggling a career and a serious relationship has seemed like a bridge too far for many in my generation, and I think it begs the question, “What do you do when you have two dreams that are at odds?”  And I suppose I don’t necessarily have a good answer to that question.

That said, when confronted with this choice herself, I believe Wendy came at it from a particularly refreshing angle.  Some might say she chose professional aspirations over love, but I don’t exactly see it that way.  I rather like to think that she’s elected to believe that, in situations like this, love finds a way.  That distance can make the heart grow fonder, and true love can endure even the harshest trials.

So for all of you Neverlandians out there wrestling with this same choice, weighing the pros of following your dreams against the cons of leaving your old life behind, remember that your friends and loved ones will support you, whatever your decision.  And pulling up roots for the big city needn’t be a sad commentary on the state of things here in Neverland; sometimes, the grass really is greener on the other side, and the only way to begin your new life is to go where your dreams take you.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 29, 2014

Fly Away With Me

Whenever I need a little lift, I love slipping into ModCloth’s Ornithology Wiz Top. It feels like butterfly wings whispering against my skin and the vintage print makes my heart soar. In this case I paired the silky flowy top with my cream cardi, aqua cropped skinny jeans and nude wedges. Just the pick-me-up I needed this week!

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 23, 2014

College Means Cookies

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DEAR DARLING
I’m fixing to go to college. What’s something important to remember about getting out there in the world on your own for the first time? Also, good luck with your job applications!
-BRITTANY

OOOH BRITTANY
I’m so excited for you! Going off to college is such a magical and special time.  For many people it’s the first time they are away from their family and friends, the first time they get to make all their own decisions.  Want cookies for dinner? YOU HAVE THOSE COOKIES!

oprah cookie College Means Cookies

But college is also a lot of really hard work. It’s long hours both in and out of the classroom and there’s a lot of pressure to succeed… and I want you to succeed… I want you to work hard and get the skills and education necessary to make your dream come true, but if there’s ONE piece of advice I can give you, one thing I’d want you to remember, one thing I wish I’d done differently… it’s make sure you have fun.  I worked tirelessly to get “straight A’s” but let me tell you, no one cares if you got an ‘A’ on that math test or a ‘B’ they just care that you have the diploma.  I missed out on a lot of fun by staying in my room to study for test that have zero barring on my life right now.  I missed out on making memories so I could make an ‘A+’ instead of an  ‘A’ and I don’t even remember what class it was for.  As I said, My Darling, I’m not telling you to slack off.  It’s important to work hard in school and get good grades or you’re just wasting your time, but if all you do is work you’re also wasting your life.  Have a wonderful time, Brittany, I’m always just an email away if you have any problems.

Till next time My Darlings!

P.S. Beware those student loans! They’re like signing your soul away!

signing college loans College Means Cookies

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 18, 2014

Patriot Games

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When Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” premiered back in 2012, the show’s disillusioned cable news anchor protagonist, Will McAvoy, voiced a much-talked-about rant bemoaning a bubbly college girl’s claim that “America is the greatest country in the world.” When Sorkin, with his characteristic lack of subtlety, went on to use McAvoy as his mouthpiece to rebuke the flag-waving college student for being part of the “worst period generation period ever period,” all the “West Wing” alum wound up proving was that while he may still have his finger on the pulse of Politics with a capital P, he is years behind the times when it comes to generational politics. If anything, recent studies indicate that millennials have more in common with Sorkin’s Will McAvoy than the writer seems to realize.

In fact, a 2014 Pew research report alleges that only 15% of U.S. millennials cling to that outmoded worldview of blind belief in American exceptionalism. Indeed, my generation has grown up in an era when “patriotism” itself is seen as a dirty word, with the perception of having more in common with “fanaticism” than many of us are comfortable with. And millennials seem to be profoundly aware of their own bias in this regard; it’s now common practice amongst those in my generation to celebrate holidays like Independence Day by taking to their social media platforms and posting images of over-the-top, stereotypical Americana, accompanied by the appropriately ironic hashtag #merica.

That said, I would vehemently deny that my generation’s lack of traditional patriotism equates to Anti-Americanism. As usual in situations like this, it all comes down to semantics; While MTV has not necessarily always been a bastion of political adroitness, a recent poll that they conducted arrived at a markedly different conclusion from the Pew Research Center, simply by coming at the issue from a different angle. Millennials may not see patriotism as an “unquestioned obligation,” but 86% of millennial respondents to the MTV poll reported that they were proud to be an American.

On my sister Wendy’s @ItsDearDarling Twitter account, she has a feature called #DashOfDarling, for which she posts almost-daily inspirational or thought-provoking quotes. Back on Memorial Day, she posted a Mark Twain quote which I think gets to the heart of the matter: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” In a world where the all-seeing-eye of the internet and the 24-hour-news-cycle lays bare the skeletons in all of our politicians’ closets, millennials are redefining patriotism as knowing when to support those in power and when to question that authority. And in that context, advancing the ‘merica meme isn’t so much a commentary on our nation as a whole, but rather a scathing look at the wilfully uniformed segment of our population that would rather engage in unreserved nationalism than draw their own conclusions about the state of the union.

I should add that the same Pew Research report that has prompted many in the media to trumpet that there is a generation gap in America patriotism shows that 55% of millennials believe that our country’s “best days are ahead,” an optimism that outstrips that of many of our predecessors. And that’s one sentiment in Sorkin’s “Newsroom” opening that I think the majority of millennials can actually get behind: Whether or not we believe that America is currently the greatest country in the world, we do cling unflinchingly to the belief that “it can be.”

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 12, 2014

Is He In To You?

ask-deardarling

DEAR DARLING,
My best friend recently moved to a new city, and she’s having trouble with dating. She’s met a few guys, but they’re either distant or putting on too much pressure. She needs some advice on how to tell whether guy is actually interested. I’ve been off the scene for almost fifteen years, so I’m no help. Can you give some pointers?
-LEIGH

HI LEIGH AND FRIEND OF LEIGH!
Congrats on moving to a new city! That’s so exciting! With that move comes a lot of new adventures, and one age old one if you’re single, DATING! But when you start out on that dating journey how do you know a guy’s intention? How do you know if he really likes you or if he just wants to…umm…park his car in your garage? Well, while there is really no sure fire way to tell, here are some tips.

1.) PRESSURE: If the guy is pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do…or aren’t ready to do then…

lemon dealbreaker Is He In To You?

2.) DATES: What kind of dates is he taking you on? If the dates are always at night, always one on one, and his main objective seems to be to get you drunk then he probably has only one end game in mind!

3.) TIME: How long have you known this guy? How many dates have you been on? How often is he contacting you before or after dates?  If you guys have been going out for a couple of weeks and the guy seems like he’s genuinely putting in the effort to see and talk to you (and not just at night on dates) then you may have found a guy who is genuinely into you!

Bottom line, FRIEND OF LEIGH, if a guy isn’t putting in the time and effort to show you he likes you, or is trying to pressure you into something you aren’t ready for…then he’s not the kind of guy you should waste your time dating, and definitely not the kind you want parking his car anyway!
Till next time My Darlings!

 

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 4, 2014

Can You Force Love?

ask-deardarling

DEAR DARLING,
There is a guy I really really like, we went out a couple of time, and I enjoy being with him. I think he enjoys being with me. But nothing happened. He told me he was focusing on his work. I really think I am the one for him and he is the one for me.
What can I do to make it happen?
I am so afraid of what could happen if he rejects me and that it breaks our friendship.
Can you help me, Wendy?
-BLEU IN NEVERLAND

OH BLEU,
If only we could make love happen! Life would be so much easier then. If we could just point a magic wand and yell, “ACCIO LOVE!”

dear darling accio Can You Force Love?

But unfortunately that’s just not how life works…and to be honest, love wouldn’t be as magical and special if it did.  All you can do is respect his wishes, stay friends, and see if things change naturally…BUT don’t put your own life and heart on pause waiting for him! Keep both open, you never know where or when love will suddenly appear…just like magic.
Till next time My Darlings!

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 4, 2014
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