birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

80's Flashbacks

What is "essential" changes as I age? When I was in my 20's, it was essential that I had a friend to go out with on Friday nights, essential that my hair color was that of the inside of a banana peel (read over-processed) and that my "rat tail" was just long enough to be cool. Oye.

It was essential to have beer money, a great tan, Tab and the latest top 10 cassette. In my 30's, I felt it was essential to have a steady income so I could pay my bills, buy my wine and have this thing called "cable". Then it became essential to have AOL so that I could meet guys from the chat rooms. Dial-up was essential and if I couldn't get online, I would get so frustrated I'd have to buy more wine and actually leave my apartment to meet people.

In my 40's it was essential that I found the right moisturizer, funny boyfriend and support bra. Not necessarily in that order, but I really felt I needed all three at the same time. I got a VCR but never remembered to use it, and there were too many remotes to get the DVD player to work. I mean, how many contraptions do you need to entertain yourself? None were "essential" but rather luxury items.

Turning 50 didn't register much on my radar as I was working in a different city from where I lived, no one knew it was my birthday and I ate a cupcake downed with champagne from a can. Not too shabby as it wasn't essential that I celebrated this so-called milestone with family and friends. However, now that I am 55, I'm finding it more and more essential that I am happy, that I focus on surrounding myself with positive people and experiences. I don't need to engage with "cosmic vampires" who suck the life energy out of me anymore. I disengage and move on. It is absolutely essential to my well-being that I eat healthy, sleep well, read books not facebook arguments, and get my Vitamin D from the sun, not a pill. Balance, harmony and laughter are now my essentials, although I do still use Preparation H around my eyes (no wrinkles) and I do have one can of Tab sitting in a cupboard that I longingly look at and will open in case of emergency. It is essential that I am prepared for any and all 80's flashbacks.

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