Nike Had It Right

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Josie (9 years old): Can I sing for you? I want to know if I sing good.

Me: First, you want to know if you can sing “well”, and second, what does it matter what I think? Does singing make you happy?

Josie: Yes

Me: Good, then it doesn’t matter what other people think.

Josie: But I don’t want people to make fun of me.

Me: People will make fun of you no matter how well you sing, if they want to. That’s a reflection on THEM, not YOU. So if you like to sing and it makes you happy, then sing and ignore what other people think.

(child begins singing)

This recent conversation made me think about just how much of an impact we have on each other, and how profound that impact can be. What if I had told this child that she has a terrible voice and she should never sing? And she believes me? Could it affect her relationships with other people? Could it affect the kind of person she becomes? Would she have a child some day and be afraid to sing that baby to sleep? Our actions can be so far reaching and long lasting.

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You Should Get A Facial…and other famous last words

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I received a gift certificate to a local spa as a Christmas gift two years ago. I’m not in the habit of ‘making time for me’ but I was worried that this card had expired which wouldn’t be very considerate to the person who purchased it for me. So after reminding myself for about six months, I finally called the spa to inquire about their policy. “They don’t expire. Why don’t you make an appointment for one of our services?”

Okay now what? I’m not a fan of massages; I’ve got this weird thing about people who I don’t know touching me. Their manis and pedis were probably overpriced. Hmm. Maybe I could get a facial. I told the girl how old I was and asked her what she would recommend. “Our anti-aging facial would be best for you.” Ouch. I’m at THAT age. I stressed to the woman that my skin is very sensitive and she said they have gentle products and I shouldn’t have any problems.

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My Meeting with the Nutritionist and the Secret to Losing Weight

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I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds on my own now for about a month. I’ve been eating about 1400 calories a day and I’m pretty active. But the scale barely moves. I decided I needed professional help.

I met with the nutritionist at my doctor’s office. She is a young girl, slight of build, pretty. I can imagine how many women meet her for the first time and think “how is THIS skinny little thing going to understand my weight problem”.

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STOP OBSESSING!!!

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Oprah Winfrey turned 60 this year.  When asked if she had any regrets, this is what she had to say,

“I think the hardest part of aging really is recognizing the time that you wasted and the things that you worried about that really didn’t matter. That’s really the hardest part, that’s really the only regret that I have.”

How right she is.

Her statement made me think about all the time I waste daily on stupid, ultimately pointless things.  Example:  I have friends from out of town coming to stay with me in about two weeks.  Well, you would think the Queen of England was popping by for a spot of tea.  I instantly made a list:  1) rip up carpet in unused bedroom and replace with hardwood, 2) get all of the spring landscaping clean up done NOW, 3) mulch everything (70+ bags of mulch), 4) replace kitchen screen door, 5) fix windowsill on left garage window, 6) buy a new throw blanket for the chair in the living room because the one I have now attracts too much cat hair….the list went on, but you get the picture.  I OBSESSED about this list every spare moment I had, working outside to near exhaustion because I HAVE to get everything done in time.  Will these people actually notice that every square inch of gardening bed is completely weed free and evenly mulched?  Probably not.  Will they notice the new $30 red throw blanket on the back of the chair which seems to attract less cat hair than the other perfectly good throw?  Doubtful.  But I do this to myself every day!  Not just in this one situation.  Gotta pluck that single eye brow hair because it’s clearly out of place.  I am totally out of groceries but refuse to go to the grocery store until the zit on my forehead goes away.  Because people will hone right in on that baby and stare at it like I have three heads.  Best to starve for now.  I don’t need that humiliation.

I think about how much physical stress I put on my body needlessly.  When I occasionally do catch myself fretting, I stop and take note of my body.  My abs are tight.  My teeth are clenched (I actually broke part of a molar last year from clenching me teeth too hard – no lie – and I have healthy teeth!).  My face is in a scowl (can you say ‘wrinkles’?).  My head aches.  And who knows what else is going on internally.  We all know that too much stress is NOT good for you.  And I’m wasting it on STUPID things.  I’m cutting my life short over wondering if that vague Facebook post was about me, and feeling incredibly guilty because I ate a cupcake.

The madness must end.  We ALL need to listen to Oprah on this one.  Stop worrying about that five pounds you put on over the winter.  Stop obsessing about every single tiny physical imperfection.  Stop wondering what she REALLY meant by that statement.  Stop fretting over what others think, especially those who honestly don’t matter.  Instead, practice mindfulness.  Practice gratitude.  Be YOU unapologetically.  Laugh, be thankful and believe in yourself.  Be kind to others whether or not they deserve it.  Live with purpose.  Let go of anger and fear.  You’ll live longer and you’ll be happier.  Now excuse me while I go shopping for a new pillow case because it clearly doesn’t match the other one…..

I Can’t Believe You Posted THAT Picture!

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On my birthday, a funny picture was taken of me. I was holding up my birthday cake, and pretending to take a bite out of the entire cake. It wasn’t a flattering picture at all. And the lighting was terrible. But it wasn’t supposed to be a glamour shot. It was a silly spontaneous picture taken at home with family. My boyfriend posted it on Facebook. The first person who commented said, “I can’t believe you let him post that!” Why? Because I didn’t have any makeup on? Because my hair wasn’t perfect? Because it looks like I have huge bags under my eyes? So what?! In an airbrushed world, I wanted to be real.

The reaction to my unflattering picture left me a bit unnerved. Like we aren’t already under enough pressure by the media who tells us what perfect is, how to achieve it and what a failure you are if you don’t look a certain way, now we’re doing it to each other. To friends? Am I really supposed to believe that the picture you posted of your two year old exquisitely dressed, quietly playing with her doll in a posh, spotless living room is really what your everyday life looks like? If it is, good for you. But a more accurate picture might be that same two year old with food stuck in her hair, stains on her little t-shirt, holding her doll by the hair as she tumbles through a living room littered with toys, tissues and plastic cups. We would never post THAT picture though because heaven forbid our friends think our lives are ordinary.

As Spring approaches, we are bombarded with magazines, emails, web articles and TV ads telling us what we MUST do to be ‘bikini ready’. Unless you’re a supermodel, how many of your friends look amazing in a bikini? I went to California for a week in February and actually considered NOT bringing a bathing suit because I was winter pale and didn’t consider my body tone enough to even be seen in shorts. It was 85 degrees out there! We fought a hard winter here in the Northeast. I couldn’t wait to see the sunshine and palm trees. Luckily I grabbed my suit at the last minute. Reluctantly I wore it to the hotel pool. And guess what? There wasn’t a perfect person in sight. Everyone has “flaws”! Did I sit on the lounge chair and mentally bash myself for not looking the way I wanted to? Of course I did. And what a waste of time when I could have been doing something healthier like meditating under the palm fronds.

I’m so sick of skinny girls picking on fat girls, and fat girls picking on skinny girls. There is no perfect size! Just drop that stupid argument already, please?! If you don’t like how you look, change it. But make sure you’re changing what YOU don’t like, not other’s perceptions of what is good or bad. Be healthy. Be silly. Look beautiful. Look awful. Stop worrying about the outward appearance and instead spend your time living in the moment and enjoying the experience. Share those memories no matter how imperfect they may be. Because right now is all we have. And how sad it would be to waste that time worrying about how it looks.