It’s time for a review of recent blog posts just in case you’ve missed them. We call this Replay Thursday. Here are posts from Proof That proofreading blog and 60 Is The New 60 blog during the past week.
I spent part of the past weekend at a work anniversary party. At the end of the night, I realized that several times that day I had said “I’m too old for that” to avoid things like dancing, walking fast and uphill, generally exerting any extra energy. Was I making excuses? You bet I was! Is it true that I’m too old for certain things? Of course I am! Things change as you get older, bodies change, bones hurt, it’s just not as easy as it was 20-30 years ago. But seriously, dancing? There’s ibuprofen for my arthritic knees. But the chances to dance to some great music with good people don’t happen for me every day.
Arizona is pretty flat, so the chance to walk uphill and see amazing parts of San Francisco also don’t happen for me every day. I need to spend more time and energy enjoying the things that aren’t my normal than complaining about being too old. By numbers, I’m pretty old. But I don’t have to embrace being old. Life is far too short to act old and be miserable. Every day is a gift and I need to make sure to treat them like that. I need to enjoy the bows and ribbons tying up every day. I need to enjoy the beauty of life and put my damn phone away and be present and pay attention to the beauty. There are bad and ugly things every day as well, and I need to look past those–while still looking at them–to the beauty that exists. I need to stop using being “old” as an excuse for being tired, being lazy, and acting like a damn old lady.
I am not infirm–I have joint issues, but none that are completely debilitating. I need to move more to keep those joints remembering what it is they are supposed to be doing. And I just need to stop saying “I’m too old for that” because nothing will make that come true faster than telling my brain that over and over and over again.
I just finished listening to another Mel Robbins’ work–Audible Original Kick Ass. It was amazing and I need to listen to it again (and again and again), but there were multiple things she said that made me think “wow, that’s totally me.” One of the most interesting things I got from it was that sometimes overeating (and smoking – but I don’t do that) is your way of saying “F*@k you” to the world. In my case, I actually have told a coach something similar. When I’m at work, other people are basically controlling my entire day, every day. When I’m at home, my husband is making some priorities for me–like making dinner, doing laundry, etc. (since left to me I would hire a nanny for us). The only time I feel like I have complete control over everything is by what I put into my mouth. So since I have exclusive control, my brain is screaming “F*@k you all! See what I’m eating? See how much I’m eating? I don’t care. I’m doing what I want because I have control over it!”
I’m not dumb enough to think that that is the most ridiculous thing you may have heard. It is the most ridiculous thing I have heard! I am doing horrible things to my health because I’m eating the wrong things and overeating. Most of my medical issues can be directly traced to being overweight. This has definitely been my way of saying “F*@k you, world!”
I have heard a lot on podcasts and in books lately about our inner child. I think I’ve shared before that mine is named Lucy–the Charlie Brown Lucy who acts like she’s helping and then pulls the football away at the last minute. Lucy is really, really mean to me. She says things that I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. So overeating is also my way of saying “Shut up, Lucy.” But you know what? It doesn’t work. That bitch starts right up again as soon as the last bite is in my mouth. “You really didn’t need that last piece.” “You shouldn’t have eaten that.” “You’re not even hungry.” “What the hell are you doing?” “How fat do you want to be?”
Please don’t message me about whatever supplement you’re selling. I don’t want any. I need to learn a new way of eating NATURALLY. A way of eating what I NEED and not necessarily what I WANT. I’ve done this enough times that I know I don’t need to eat an entire dessert when one bite will suffice. Usually I read the description which sounds like the most delicious thing I’ve ever heard of (very good writers) but the first bite is enough to tell me while it may be good, it isn’t as great as I was expecting and it’s certainly not worth eating the entire thing but satisfies the craving. But those starving children in China from my childhood are always in there playing with Lucy while she pushes them to the front and reminds me not to be wasteful. But I would much rather throw away a little bit of food than add it to my myriad health problems.
So my 2018 word of the year–HEALTH–starts now . . . again. And I will keep starting it until I get it right. This time, I’m working with my primary care medical professional to make this happen and I am excited at the prospects. Whole food, calorie counting, water, and later we will add exercise. Anyone want to join me?
I was listening to Oprah’s Super Soul podcast with Tim Storey. One specific thing he said jumped out and hit me between the eyes–“Don’t let life knock the shout out of you.”
I believe we are all put here to make a difference in this world, to figure out why we are here, to live with passion for the good in life. That is our shout. Sometimes we forget our shout or we’ve been told to tone our shout down enough times that we actually do and it’s hard to dig deep and find it again. But find it we must! We are all born with a shout inside us that we use to make friends, find our passion, volunteer, experiment, travel–all the things we do as we’re finding our place in this world.
Some of us may have had the shout stuffed back down into us, beaten out of us, ignored, ridiculed, squashed, and basically had the development of our shout halted in mid-stream. If that happened to you, realize that it happened and then move forward. Bring your shout back into your heart and work on living your life shouting. Don’t stop working to find your shout and once you find it, shout as loud as you can for as long as you can until your shout feels free to do its thing and shout away even when you’re not thinking about it.
So starting today find that passion, dig deep and find your shout, and then SHOUT and don’t let life knock the shout of you again!
I heard a podcast recently by Gary Vaynerchuk. I love listening to him although I always warn people that his language is “salty,” but that is definitely part of his charm. In this particular instance, he was talking about complaining. According to Gary, every time you complain about something, your next response should be “AND.” As in AND what are you going to do about it?
Complaining is so easy, but coming up with a solution is much harder. Perhaps if we cannot complain without having our “AND” ready, we won’t complain as much. I know that would work for me. I like to complain about things that are just bugging me without even considering what a solution might be. It probably isn’t hard or time consuming to come up with our “AND” to most complaints.
Even big complaints need their “AND.” Complaining just makes us feel bad. It reminds us of little annoyances that are currently making us unhappy. And it keeps reminding us. It makes much more sense to complain if you must, AND . . . come up with a solution so you can be done complaining and get on with the positivity in your life.
Even though I realize this about complaining, I still complain. It’s too easy. I can simply bitch about things that aren’t going quite the way I want them to without spending the time to work on solutions. Just complaining. For the sake of complaining. Without even considering solutions. That’s just dumb and it’s not at all a good idea to try to keep myself in a positive mode.
There have been many times in my life that I have been sucked into a vortex of complaining. Where one problem in life cycles into another cycles into another and until I actually recognize it and make an effort to stop it, it could go on forever and suck me into the deepest, darkest black hole imaginable. Who wants to live like that? I certainly don’t. I want to spend my time being a positive force in my life and the lives of others. It is so much easier and more beneficial than complaining.
So let’s make a pact. Starting today, we live every day in positive mode. Have to stop for gas on the way to work because you were too tired to stop on the way home last night and now you’ll be late to work? Is that just me? For me, this is an opportunity to take a little detour from my normal route and see different things. Or I can just complain about having to stop for gas and being late to work and be grumpy at work all day even though the people I work with had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my car needs gas and I didn’t fill up when I should have. Or I can complain about having to stop for gas AND . . . decide that next time I will stop on the way home. Positive mode sounds so much better to me. So if you simply must complain, don’t forget to AND it. It will make you and everyone you come in contact with much happier.
My dad recently spent several days in the hospital after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon and connect it back to his intestine. My dad is 83. He has had back surgeries, a quadruple bypass, and other medical issues throughout his life. He admits that he didn’t expect to live so long and his lifestyle didn’t do anything to change that expectation at all. But he is living this long and he is reasonably healthy for being on this earth for 83 years.
The surgery worried me because he was expected to get notes from his cardiologist and his pulmonologist allowing the surgery. I saw the note from his cardiologist and it said he “would be high risk for a major cardiovascular event” associated with this surgery. In my mind, I was sure they wouldn’t do the surgery. But the option was letting the cancer spread. Not a good option. All of his doctors said he was a strong guy and they knew he would do OK. I translate that to say that he’s a tough old bastard. And that he is.
We waited in the waiting room for something like three hours (it’s easy to lose track when you’re sitting for hours). Doing our part for the family and obviously signaling the surgeon that it was time to come talk to everyone, my sister and I went down to get coffee for everyone and the doctor came in so we missed him. The surgery had gone well and Dad was in recovery. He was there for another few hours until they moved him to ICU and we got to see him. He was so thirsty and eventually got some ice chips and made some crude (and hysterical) comments to my mom, so I knew for sure he had made it through and was on the way to recovery. He has had some other issues at the hospital (mostly from a lack of communication by hospital staff), but each time muscles through and keeps going.
The biggest lessons from this entire experience were:
- My dry sense of humor is all compliments of my dad.
- I love spending time with my siblings. We were probably laughing inappropriately for a hospital waiting room and ICU, but we are damn funny people.
- My sister (the retired one I’ve complained about, I mean, mentioned before) is absolutely an amazing human being. She has pretty much single-handedly handled both staying with and advocating for my dad as much as she could in the hospital and taking care of my mom who is suffering from dementia. That task scares the crap out of me and she handles it like a pro. My other sister, brother, and I (the employed ones) have helped as we could, but she has carried the lion’s share of the load. I have no idea what my family would do without her.
- I need to take care of myself. Family medical histories suck. I have many health issues–most of which are caused by my excess weight (and some genetics). But I’m not doing anything right now to fix that. And that’s pretty much signing my own death warrant. I know better, I need to do better. And I will. I have too many things to do and too many grandbabies to watch grow into their own lives to screw this up.
- Hospitals are not fun places. They tell you to rest and then come in every couple of hours to check vitals, give meds, draw blood, etc. But sometimes that’s where you need to be to get the help you need. A whole lot of the experience depends on the people working there. And it is the same in life. Just be nice! You could make a huge difference in someone’s life just by smiling at them, opening a door for them, or paying for their Starbucks in the drive thru lane. Be nice!
- Love deeply and often and then tell people. In the blink of an eye, we could have lost my dad on the operating table, but we did not. I do not spend nearly enough time with my family and I want to remedy that. We often think that people know we love them and they do, but everyone likes to hear it. Unless you’re a creepy stalker, then don’t do that.
- Life is indeed a blessing. Make the most of it–every day!
My grandson recently participated in his state wrestling championship. He was #1 in his weight class last year. He was District Champion in his weight class this year. He was #1 seed for the state championship this year. But he lost the championship in the title match, making him #2 in the state of New Mexico for his high school group and weight class. Number 2. Not number 1. Number 2. And he was really disappointed in himself. But if you think about it, he is number 2! He is just one person away from being the best in the state! And he is better than a whole bunch of other people.
Honestly, coming in number 2 in a field of wrestlers in the entire state of New Mexico for his weight class and high school group is amazing. But we have put so much emphasis on winning that we all think that being number 2 is not good enough. And that is really disappointing. Number 2 is not the same as a participation trophy–it is number 2!
There is only one number 1. And there is only one number 2. While it is always preferable to win when you’re been spending so much time preparing and working and psyching yourself up to win, there is no shame in coming in number 2. You’ve still done better than all of the rest of the people in your group–except one. One person managed to do some piece of what you were doing just a little bit better, knew a little bit more, or got just a little bit luckier than you did.
I have been a “runner up” many times in this lifetime. Was I disappointed? Absolutely. Did I start judging myself with all the things I could have done better? You bet. Did I think about pouting in the corner and never participating again? Yes, I did. But I was number 2 and eventually remembered that even being eligible for number 1 was pretty damn special and was something I should be proud of.
So we should all try our best, work really hard to be the best we can be, strive to be number 1, and be happy with number 2. Number 2 is still a hell of a lot better than being number 45 and it usually takes the focus and expectation off of you while you’re working hard to be number 1 the next time. So I’m ridiculously proud of Jasper for being #2 and I know it will be additional motivation to him to work even harder to go through the process again to be number 1 next year . . . or number 2 . . . or wherever his passion and drive leads him. He’s still better than so many others and he’s the best HE can be. And that’s what’s really important.
I have seen and heard a lot lately about everyone always answering “So busy” when you ask them how they are. Like it’s a badge of honor or a status symbol. Like they are trying to one-up the person who asked them. Kind of a “Don’t even ask because I’m obviously busier in my life then you could ever be” response.
I find that I answer “Busy” a lot when someone asks me how I am doing. And I think for me it has been a badge of honor. A sign that my life has meaning. A sign that I’ve developed into someone who is depended on a lot. A sign that that I volunteer far too much and fill my plate at the life buffet (see Step Away From The Buffet Line!) to overflowing. A sign that while I’m busy, it’s something that I’ve done to myself.
I don’t really think it is a badge of honor. It is an easy answer to a polite question that tends to stop conversation cold. No one wants to hear the details about how busy you are. I’ve been trying really hard lately to respond with “fine” or “fantastic” or some like superlative because that is honestly how I am. The “busy” is the label I’m giving myself to make me feel important. I don’t think it impresses anyone to try to say I’m busier than anyone else they know–including them. I know busy people. My best friends are some of the busiest people I know. Well, maybe not “busy,” but definitely involved, depended on, and in demand. As they say “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” There is so much truth in that statement. But while it makes us busier, being busy is not how we are, it is not what we are, it is simply a description of our to do lists (which is, by the way, completely my doing and has nothing to do with the person asking me how I am).
Being busy is definitely not a badge of honor. It robs us of precious time with family and friends. It robs us of time to accomplish goals and dreams. It robs us of self love. And as much as I think I’m busy, I spend a ridiculous amount of time on my butt on my couch with a laptop in my lap. Time I could spend on the treadmill or doing the training I’ve already paid for or sending handwritten notes to people who have impacted my life or even cooking dinners for my parents. But I’m “busy” watching meaningless shows, playing stupid Facebook games, and calling it “unwinding.” I must–and WILL–stop and focus on being busy living my life and not frittering that precious time away. So wish me luck, give me support, and if you have any ideas for making it easier, please share. Because from now on, I want to be busy living life and not busy avoiding it.
It’s been a very rough holiday season for me. Not only was I completely overwhelmed with new work responsibilities, but part of getting older is that your kids are also older and have their own lives and traditions. This year, and for I think the first time in my adult life, neither of them was able to share Christmas with me. We are doing a late Christmas celebration with my son and his family this weekend, so I’m feeling better about it.
In the meantime, I feel like I have been Bitchy McGrumperson. And that made me think about how some conversations I have with friends are all me complaining. While I feel like I need to release that somewhere, holding conversations with friends that are full of my complaints isn’t fair to them or to me. I would love to have positive, uplifting conversations with my friends. And I will.
Another piece of getting older that has been really hard for me is that my husband has been going through his hunting and fishing stuff (and trust me, there is a TON of it) and getting rid of a lot of it because he physically can’t do it anymore. He’s been hunting and fishing since he was a teenager and it has been difficult for both of us to face the fact that there are things we are just not able to do anymore. Some of us haven’t admitted it yet and are doing everything possible to continue to be able to do it all but realistically there are limitations.
I don’t want to be old. It has been more obvious to me lately that I am getting there. Sharing television shows that I grew up with with friends who have never seen them (like who has never seen The Partridge Family??), hearing music by groups that younger people don’t even know, looking at a Christmas tree (or two) full of ornaments from the last 43 years that bring back a rush of wonderful memories, but remind me that I’ve been decorating a tree for 43 years. It all has come crashing down on me this holiday season.
But the new year is a chance to check in and make changes to things that make you unhappy. I just this week found a new song on my iPod that I hadn’t paid attention to before–A Beautiful Day by India Arie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZNavhGrzJ4). If you listen to the lyrics, it is an amazing message. In fact, I think it will be my 2018 anthem that I will listen to every morning on the way to work to get my head in the right place. Work should calm down some, my kids will continue to get older and have their own life traditions, my grandkids will continue to grow and start new traditions in their lives, friends will come and go, and life will go on. I fully intend to be part of my family’s traditions (by force if necessary) and I have promises of continuing with old family Christmas traditions this next year because my kids were unhappy to miss out on them, so 2018 promises to be another amazing year.
Age is something that I have no control over, but how I treat people, how I allow others to treat me, and how I treat myself are all in my control. I will make a real effort to take charge of my own life and be happy where I am. Bitchy McGrumperson can take a hike. Life is far too short to spend it bitching and complaining and feeling like others are in control of my life. Here’s to an absolutely remarkable 2018!
I heard something recently that spoke to me. It was about competition. I am pretty competitive. I want to be the best, the most available, the first one with my hand up, everybody’s friend. So what has that attitude done for me so far? It has exhausted me. I have spent my whole life being a people pleaser. I want everyone to like me. When I turned 40, I did change that attitude just a little bit and I became a little tiny bit less eager to be everyone’s best friend.
Competition is good for one thing–it makes me try harder. It made me study so that I could pass the certification exams the first time; it made me finish walking a 5K even though I had done nothing to prepare; it makes me say yes to work projects that someone else could do just as well as I can because I want to always be the one who saves the day; and it keeps me up late at night finishing tasks that I have promised to get done in the many ancillary personal projects I have undertaken–all in my quest to be the best.
I heard somewhere once that if you always say yes and you always are the first to volunteer, you’re cheating someone else out of the chance to do that job. Perhaps they’re scared, perhaps they’re waiting to see if you volunteer AGAIN, perhaps they are nervous that they can’t do as good a job as you’ve been doing. But honestly they probably can do it just as well as you can and maybe, just maybe, they can do it better than you can. They probably won’t do it the exact same way, but it will get done. I’m trying to do this now, but also don’t want to quit doing everything so people forget that I can do some of those things. I guess I’m afraid of everyone retiring me because I’m old even though I still feel like I have things to offer. But that’s not happening today, so I will work to make sure people know when I’m willing to take things on.
So exactly who am I in competition with? And what was it I heard that started this post? It was “Look in the mirror. THAT is your only competition.” That was a zinger right in my heart. I am my only competition. And my only goal should be to be better tomorrow than I am today. To do that, I need to heed the advice I have often given others (and others have given me back)–step away from the buffet line. I think life is like a buffet. You have a plate and as you go through life, you take spoonfuls of things you’re interested in, things you do–work, volunteering, passion projects, family, church, and on and on. Sometimes, you’ve piled so many spoonfuls of these things on your plate that you spend all your time trying not to let important things slip off the plate. Sometimes, we just need to step away from that buffet to catch our breath, get rid of some of the stuff on our plate, and get ourselves in a place so we are ready to go back to the buffet line.
They say life is a race and if we’re running the race while we’re juggling our buffet plate, things will spill, we will fall, and we will get up again–plate and all–to continue our race. But this race doesn’t have other runners. The only competition we have is ourselves. We are the only one carrying that plate everywhere we go. Are you carrying it as a badge of honor? Do you want everyone to see your messy, overfull, drippy mess of a plate and be envious of all the things you can do at one time? Are you doing all of them well? Are you doing ANY of them well?
As I’ve gotten further into this post, I see that I’m using “you” when this is really “me.” I’ve been there and done that and am there and doing that, so I think this is a message from my heart to my head and maybe it will help someone else come to grips with that damn buffet line. I guess I need to look again at my competition in this race called life and give her a chance to take a breath and run with a plate under control. We’ll see how the next lap goes.