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Dear Darling – Long Distance Friendships

Hello! Long time reader, first time writer. So, how do you manage to stay close to people when long distance is a problem? A lot of my friends are going off to college far away, and I am terrified of growing apart because of distance. Thank you!
-Ysabelle
@fandomfeline

 

Hey Ysabelle! I too have been reading a long time so we’re basically the same person, I shall now call you Michael 2. Ironically, which is the correct use of that word, Michael 1 (me) has been having a very similar problem. My sister moved away because she got a job making oodles of money doing what she loves. Which is great, for her, I guess. And your friends are probably super excited about their new schools. It’s important to give the people we love room to be happy. Sometimes that means seeing them less and even talking to them less.

You can only control you Michael 2, so do your best to stay involved! Social media has given us the ability to be close to people we’ve never even met (did you know you can tweet @ the president??) so use those super powers to stay up to date with your friends! And don’t forget the mailman! Or woman. Mailperson! They don’t only deliver boring things like important looking tax papers addressed to your brother than you keep forgetting to give him. They also deliver packages!!! There is LITERALLY nothing more exciting than getting a package. Fill a small box with a few of their favorite things, little things to remind them that you still care, and mail it out.

But at the end of the day, the easiest way to make sure you don’t grow apart, is to talk. Answer your phone, return missed calls, reach out to them, and I promise Michael 2, it’ll make a big difference.

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 29, 2015

Growing Apart

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my sister’s welcome home party, and I was struck by the melancholy realization that the older we get, the more and more quickly things change. I’ve known Wendy for literally as long as I can remember, and for so many years, whether we liked it or not, my siblings and I were inseparable. Dozens of photo albums’ worth of important milestones came and went in the blink of an eye, and I watched my siblings grow up so gradually that I was scarcely aware they were changing at all. But after she’s spent a mere 6 months, Wendy’s made herself a new life in New York City, filled with a cast of unfamiliar characters, and that realization has forced me to come to grips with just how much I’ve missed her.

Of course, Wendy isn’t the only person guilty of moving on. It’s shocking how quickly Neverland sans Wendy has become the new status quo, for all of us. Michael stepped in to replace Wendy at Dear Darling. Wendy’s duties as surrogate mother to Michael have fallen to me. Our friend Lily even took Wendy’s place as Peter’s girlfriend. The circle has closed, and everyone in it seems perfectly happy. And yet, I wonder how much of that is a carefully crafted self-delusion that we all share.

I’ve been so excited about Wendy’s book and all that that means for her that it’s blinded me to the reality of my own feelings about the void she left in all our lives. Much to my own surprise (and dismay), the reception Wendy received from both Michael and myself at her triumphant homecoming was downright chilly. And the bizarre notion of Wendy being a visitor in Neverland just brings out in stark relief how off kilter everything’s been in her absence. I’d hoped her return would bring us all closer together, but instead some things have come to light that threaten to drive a wedge between lifelong friends.

Now, change isn’t always a bad thing. I recently wrote an editorial about how Neverland’s own Jas Hook pulled himself up by his bootstraps and improved almost every aspect of his life. Though, in his case, he did have to move away and leave everything he knew behind in order to do so. And, to be clear, I don’t in any way begrudge Wendy her desire to forge her own destiny; she’s amazing, and I’m truly thrilled that the world at large is starting to see that. I just hope that Michael, Father and I factor somewhere into that success. And that our family and our friendships can stay the course in these stormy waters.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 16, 2015

Dear Darling – Major Decisions

Dear Darling,
I’m heading off to college in the fall, and am not sure what I want to major in.  I have high test scores and am interested in something Science/mental-health related.  I also really love theatre, but don’t want a degree for it.  All I want to do is help people; to make them feel better and get them what they need.  Psychology maybe? What do you think?  I’m just sort of scared of all the work I’d need to do, but changing someone’s life would be worth it. Right?
Sincerely,
Elyse Meyers

HI ELYSE, you’ve done the right thing turning to me for advice on this matter…this decision can AND WILL affect the rest of your life, and I can’t think of anyone more qualified to answer than fdskjlfadsf …sorry, I choked on a go-gurt and my hands sort of freaked out.

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Now, as an advice columnist I’m basically a psychiatrist already…a doctor of the mind…a surgeon of the soul and a dentist of the heart removing cavities of pain and replacing them with fillers of joy. (Sorry, I went to the dentist today. I got dinosaur stickers for being such a good flosser!)

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But enough about me and more about the brilliant advice I can give you. Look, I’m not big on hard work, BUT I am big on being HAPPY! It sounds to me like you know what makes you happy… and that’s helping people… and if a little hard work now will lead to a job that makes you happy for the rest of your life…

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Till next time Darlingites!
Michael

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on June 24, 2015

The Importance of Being George

In honor of Father’s Day this year, I thought it was long since time I wrote a piece on the man responsible for bringing you the Kensington Chronicle 7 days a week 52 weeks a year, my father and our editor in chief, George Darling. And how, if not for a chance meeting more than 30 years ago at the Neverland Train Station, I wouldn’t even be here.

As you can no doubt imagine, it takes a certain kind of person to run a newspaper day in and day out. George Darling is driven, organized, and knows how and when to delegate. But believe it or not, my father was not always the taskmaster he is today. Though George is loath to admit it himself, my grandfather, David Darling, has imparted to me on more than one occasion that in his formative years, my father was relatively aimless. David Darling saw his son’s potential, but feared that George was in danger of squandering it. George, for his part, wanted the freedom to make his own choices, and in those days, being groomed to take over the family business was the furthest thing from what he wanted.

David Darling was ultimately able to impress upon his son the importance of getting a college education, and George begrudgingly enrolled at Neverland University, from which he emerged four years later with a degree in English and Journalism. But this was far from the last time George and his father would engage in a heated debate about the direction of his life. Not long after graduating, George and David would have the most contentious fight of this kind to date. At an impasse, a furious George stormed off, intent on fleeing Neverland for parts unknown. But fate had other plans.

It just so happened that the woman working the ticket counter at the Neverland Train Station that fateful day was one Mary Davies. To hear my father tell it, once he locked eyes with Mary for the first time, the rest of the world faded away. She was the most beautiful creature George had ever laid eyes on, and from that moment forward, he never thought about leaving Neverland again.

For much of my life, I’ve harbored the belief that romantic entanglements are a distraction, at best. But in recent months, I’ve begun to revise that opinion. I’ve seen evidence of how the right pairing can create a union that is far greater than the sum of its parts. And this was absolutely the case with George and Mary Darling in the early years of their courtship. Now, starting a family was at the forefront of George’s mind, and he decided to put his journalism degree to good use. Much to David Darling’s relief, his son finally agreed to follow in his footsteps, and Grandfather could rest assured that the dynasty of Darlings at the helm of the Kensington Chronicle would continue, unabated.

And, of course, for my money, the most important result of the union of George and Mary Darling is their three children, myself and my siblings. I, personally, have been a newspaperman from the womb, and the paper will be in good hands when my father does decide to retire. So we at the Chronicle wish George Darling, and all of you other fathers out there, a very happy Father’s Day. We owe all of you a debt we can never possibly repay.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 22, 2015

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

The Michael Darling Dress

Wendy here, using my own personal LookBook account. But of course it’s me, because who else would have access to my computer? You might have seen me– er, my fabulous brother, Michael, wearing this Nadia Tarr dress on MY latest Dear Darling column. The shoes say “Coach” on them, and the pearl necklace was lovingly borrowed from our mom’s jewelry box.

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Posted in Ask Wendy, Dear Darling
Posted on June 2, 2014

Mermaid Lagoon

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 16, 2014

Michael Darling’s Secret Admirer

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 13, 2014

J.M. Barrie Founder’s Day

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 9, 2014

Star Wars Day

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 4, 2014

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