Christina Katz

Being Grounded Is Overrated: Getting Distance From The Inner You

I come from a land of Earth Mothers. On trips back to the West Coast -- Northern California, Oregon -- I note many hip young women are proud of their soft, rounded bellies, a more feminist 1970s standard of womanliness than the anorexic aughts. Like them, to me "being grounded" has meant a low center of self-gravity. Being solid in yourself. Tapped into the source. Unflappable. There's a problem with concrete though. It cracks over time, in quickly changing conditions, and sometimes even under its own weight. Settling into a life choice or a mindset that feels right today can suddenly be unsatisfactory two minutes into Tuesday. Ever a joined a group only to realize you simply wanted partial-membership in it?

So I've been thinking about fluidity. Imagine being a bobbing buoy, tied to a point deep below the surface of changing options.

By putting some distance between me and my center of gravity, I have room to be in a wider orbit around the inner me.

The winds and waves take me to new realms of myself. Life phases, bad hair days, culture shocks. Friend, colleague, wife. Turkish resident. Foreign employer, American daughter-in-law. Inspirational (or incomprehensible) online acquaintance. They're not always the same person and they don't want to be.

A related post by artist Rose Deniz questions how one’s worldview literally shifts as a result of location. Just like the hybrid self, living a hybrid life to its fullest extent may require us to toss the concrete plan.

In a new expat+HAREM real-time discussion series launching February 28th, Deniz will curate a live-recorded conversation spurred by this notion. Ten international women will gather at the cross-roads to ponder the freedoms of blurry boundaries, and reveal the anchors of their multifaceted lives.

What determines your present orbit, and how does it change your self-view?

I Dream Of GenY: In Sync With Today's 20-Something Worldview

If you're over 30 (OK, over 40) you probably don’t yearn to recapture 20-something days of gritty uncertainty. It’s even less appealing if you’re from the tail end of the Baby Boom, a generation gap in itself. My birth year alone meant I’d always occupy an entry-level position in that cultural generation.

Last week a visiting friend and I reminisced about our salad days in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Now Sex and the City types fill its fashion showrooms, art galleries and wine vaults but in the late ‘80s -- when our loft went Hollywood in the film Fatal Attraction and Madonna launched her naughty picture book from the basement nightclub -- it was a no man's land. Motorcycle gangs. Transvestite prostitutes. Bloody meatpackers in white coats and industrial rubber boots. You know, affordable. Plus, our landlady (a dominatrix!) didn’t complain about the party noise.

Unconventional freedom after-hours compensated for our brick-wall career prospects in mainstream media, entertainment, architecture and advertising. Unlike the disaffected GenX slackers a couple years behind us, my downtown loftmates and I refused to embrace the fact we'd never build equity with our marquee employers.

We still had our eye on the ball! Just. Needed to. Get. A foot. In. The door. No surprise the rising tide of GenY and its status quo rebellion has recently uplifted me.

Even with today’s dismal economy, the blogosphere is abuzz with possibility for young adults. A location-independent lifestyle design site launched this week challenges us to “live an awesome life on your own damn terms” while top blogs of young entrepreneurs spearhead social renewal.

The idealistic, brazen careerist mindset resonates because I'm old enough to have faced the corporate cubicle and young enough to frolic with a novel and unbounded reality.

Time travel to GenY’s brand of 20-something grit is a trip I'm willing to take. Ever felt in sync with a different generation?