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Why Taking Chances is the Key to Happiness

Dear readers, these recent months have been tumultuous, for me and for many of those closest to me. My brief dismissal from – and subsequent reinstatement to – the ranks of the Kensington Chronicle has inspired me to look back on how much my personal and professional life has changed since we first launched the online edition of the Chronicle three years back. With that in mind, I’ve re-read all of the online editorials that I’ve written (with the exception of some of my recent pieces that don’t really fit that description). And this trip down memory lane has made me come to a startling realization: I had no conscious idea of how much of my life up to this point had been driven by fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. For a while, even fear of acceptance; specifically, with regards to my sexuality. On that front, we’ve born witness to incredible milestones, rousing opportunities to declare loudly and proudly that “love won.” But my biggest stumbling block in finding a romantic partner has not been my sexuality. While I’ve been alone for most of my life, and feared on some level that I’d end up that way, a part of me has also been afraid of falling in love in the first place. It’s taken me 30 years, give or take, to learn that it truly is better to have loved and lost; that rejections and setbacks are survivable, and are in fact the only way for us to grow as people, the only way to find that person with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives. A proper paring truly does make two people better than the sum of their parts. I’ve seen it with my parents, George and Mary Darling. I’ve seen it with Wendy and Peter; Michael and Lily; and now, I think, with John Smee and myself.

John, woefully, has already found himself on the receiving end of my relationship hang-ups, and I am so grateful that he has elected to give me another chance. I realize now that the way I treated him in the aftermath of the Chronicle sale had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. And I’m happy to report that now that we’re over that hump, we’ve emerged all the stronger for it.

I’m also grateful for my siblings, Wendy and Michael. That sibling relationship can ebb and flow, but I now know that it will never break. As different as we are, they will well and truly always be my best friends. And that knowledge alone is enough to get me through even the most difficult of days.

In the past, I’ve buried myself in my work, sometimes at the expense of every other aspect of my life. Now, this was in part because I’m a workaholic, and always will be; I’m simply wired that way. But it was also a way of distracting me from the other parts of my life that I found lacking; anything to avoid staring into the abyss of crippling loneliness that my self-imposed isolation was driving me inexorably closer to. But if I’ve learned anything from my recent brush with unemployment, and my blissful reconciliation with John Smee, it’s that being a newspaperman isn’t everything. Our jobs don’t have to solely define us, any more than our sexuality does. Being assistant editor in chief of the Kensington Chronicle is something I do. But John Darling is who I am.

I once wrote that “Growing up isn’t what it used to be.” And I do believe that our generation has some obstacles in our path that no prior generation has ever had to deal with, obstacles which at times can seem insurmountable. But I also believe that nothing is truly insurmountable. That we cannot allow fear, or a culture that undervalues us, to disillusion us into inaction. That we must be steadfast in our refusal to let anyone tell us what we can’t do, least of all ourselves; life is hard enough without putting roadblocks in our own path to happiness. We have to not get so hung up on finding “the one,” but at the same time be open to love when and where we find it. All at the same time striving for balance between all of these different pieces of our lives.

Growing up has never been easy. And it was never meant to be. But I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends and family with whom to muddle through it. And I couldn’t have asked for a more tolerant, nurturing, magical place to do it in than Neverland. I love you all, Neverlandians, each and every one; and every day, you find a way to remind me of just how much I am loved. As long as we all continue to fight for that feeling, then Love truly has won. And if people like us have anything to say about it, it always will.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on April 18, 2017

Neverspeak Weekly 7/28/15

Ten Delicious Decades! As mentioned last week, the Jolly Roger Soda Ship is celebrating its 100th anniversary tomorrow, July 29th. The crew will be hosting an all-day party at the shop with yummy treats and music from Fish Girl Pond. In addition, shop owner Aimée Jolie will be posting an extensive history of the shop, chronicling its decades-long presence in Neverland and it’s ever-evolving role as a gathering place throughout the tumultuous twentieth century in America.

Reality Bites. Since the return of Jas Hook and Wendy Darling to Neverland, some Neverlandians have been tuning into the JHMedia Livestream to learn more about the company (and feed their curiosity about the power couple). Last Thursday those same Neverlandians witnessed a shocking confrontation between Hook and Neverland’s favorite son Peter Pan. Peter came across as, for lack of a better word, a bully. It will be interesting to see how he handles his new notoriousness.  Is the play really the thing?

Get me to the Church… Sarah-Jane Lakewood set a date for her nuptials to fiance Alfie. Neverlandians, mark your calendars for August 15, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Should be a hot ticket! As in literally very hot. August in Louisiana hot. Lakewood says invitations will be going out soon. Don’t give her honeymoon advice if you want to make the list!

Changes of Heart (and Location). Teresa Delacruz has relocated to New York City with her boyfriend Neal. Though everyone will be sad to see less of her, we wish her the best with her new life. And if you’ve stopped by Neverland Books lately, you’ve probably noticed that Mia Rivers still has not returned to her post. You only have to look so far as her tumblr to find that she’s currently residing at a crossroads between Neverland and Denver.  Though not always an easy thing to do, try to follow your heart where it leads, Mia!

New Sheriff in Town. G. Harrison Lestrade has been offered the job of Neverland’s Deputy Sheriff pending a background check. But, since he comes directly from the FBI, that shouldn’t be a problem! While we’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of Neverlandians, we are excited to welcome him and accountant Wesley Parsons (who’s looking for a roommate!) to the community full time.

Local Blues. Neverlandians were dismayed to read last week’s editorial in which John Darling, assistant to the Editor in Chief, opened up about the Kensington Chronicle’s financial difficulties. As a recent hire, this gossip columnist found the the article especially distressing. However, it’s been encouraging to watch Neverlandians gather around the paper in support. Many citizens have pledged to pick up subscriptions and the Neverland Care Center guaranteed that copies of the Chronicle would always be available in its waiting room. Keep supporting local news!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on July 28, 2015

Put That Fear On Its Rear

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

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 Ask Wendy, Dear Darling
Posted on August 5, 2014

Millennials in Neverland

Right around the time that most of the so-called millennials were partying like it was 1999, psychologist Jeffrey Arnett coined the term “emerging adulthood,” which, appropriately enough, would come to describe the epidemic of protracted adolescence that is quickly becoming the most defining trait of my generation. In the eyes of the world, the generation of people born after 1980 seem either unwilling or unable to grow up. Some people blame it on the overinvolvement of so-called “helicopter parents” who hover around their children so ubiquitously that they never learn how to deal with adversity themselves. On the other hand, many reactionaries are ready to diagnose our entire generation with narcissistic personality disorder. As with most important issues, I believe the whole thing is a lot more nuanced than that.

In a lot of ways, the youngest members of the Kensington Chronicle family are prototypical millennials. And in a few cases, it’s not even an exaggeration to call it a family, since, to the extent that we are employed at all, myself, my brother, Michael, and my sister, Wendy, all work at a newspaper which just happens to be owned by our dear father. You might think it’s a pretty cushy setup, being poster children for nepotism at our dad’s small business. And you’d be right, up to a point. But it doesn’t do much to impress upon us the importance of responsibility and financial independence. I talk a good game, but KensingtonChronicle.com – at least so far – is like the red-headed stepchild of the print publishing division. And I’m not saying that all of what my siblings and I do for the Chronicle is incredibly work intensive, but when you boil it down to dollars and cents, our salaries don’t amount to much more than a pittance, certainly nothing even remotely approaching a living wage. Wendy, Michael and I are all in our mid-to-late 20s, and the only way that we can afford a place of our own is because we’re splitting it three ways. And this isn’t because our father is a penny-pinching miser, either: it’s because there’s simply not enough money to go around.

I think this is a good example, in miniature, of our generation’s seeming inability to grow up. Secondary school is now a requirement for any young person who wants to be competitive in the shrinking job marketplace, a hurdle which was not present even a generation ago. The good news is, this makes us the most educated cohort of young Americans in our country’s history. But on the flip side, with our schooling now extending into our 20s at least, the onus of crushing financial-aid debt that many college students find themselves under at the outset of their post-college careers, and a recession-culture job market that underpays and undervalues their more-than-qualified workforce, is it any wonder that my generation appears to be floundering? That it takes us years to start families, not only because we can barely afford to take care of ourselves, but also because the rat-race to stay above the poverty line is so all-encompassing that it renders us ill-equipped, from the a time-management and emotional-growth standpoint, to even know how to carry on healthy romantic relationships?

In Neverland, it is particularly difficult to cast off the chains of childhood, due in no small part to the fact that magic is, in one form or another, part and parcel to our everyday lives. In fairy society, youth is famously a prerequisite for holding any position of power – a fact which our fairy friend Tinker Bell very vocally laments (though I dare not print her age, lest I see my own “emerging adulthood” cut tragically short). And Peter Pan, our cartoonist at the Chronicle… Okay, it’s possible he actually does have narcissistic personality disorder. But it’s equally possible that young people are simply narcissists as a matter of course, and that as our generation is forced to hold tight to the reins of perpetual adolescence, so, too, do we cling to that particular excess of youth. But fear not, people of Earth: we are not, in the final analysis, a generation of lost boys and girls. Your millennials are, in fact, growing up; It’s just that growing up isn’t what it used to be.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 12, 2014

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