Too old, too young, just right.

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Until recently, with a birthday mere months away ending in “0”, I have struggled with a Goldilocks complex: too old, too young…

Just right. Finally.

I think we’ve all had those moments after a near disaster averted, a crash that didn’t happen, an MRI that comes back clear, where we think “Thankyouthankyouthankyou! I’ll be better. I’ve learned my lesson. I get it now. I’ll appreciate what I have soooo much more.” But like speeding, our gas pedal quickly gets floored as soon as the cops are out of sight.

It’s always been a race against the clock for me. More, more, more. Faster, first, go. Young, younger, youngest. I was the youngest in my graduating class, started college at 16, worked immediately in a field where age is prized. I remember being grilled on the witness stand once about my credentials by a defense attorney. He said there wasn’t any way I had enough experience. I did. Won that case,  channeling some serious Dr. “Bones” Brennan, with relish.

Blessed with an apparent baby face, I was recently told by a supervisor “You look like you’re 10!” Let’s be clear here, people, telling a 40 year old they look like they are 25 is a compliment. Telling anyone over the age of 8 that they look like they are 10 is condescending, rude, and generally to be avoided.

Visiting a parent on a locked memory care unit, an Alzheimer’s ward, for the past two years has changed me though. I’m no saint, lordy be, far from it. I often dreaded these visits. It forced me to examine the end stages of life. Harsh, heartbreaking and life changing. Suddenly though it didn’t matter if I looked like I was 10, the fact that I knew who I was became the only thing that mattered. It wasn’t about someone challenging my credentials, I could answer all the important questions: where I was, my name, and the people I love.

Perspective matters.

Perspective, it can’t be bought, is often painful in the acquisition thereof, but so needed.

I’ve seen some of the young beaten down by circumstances appear so very old, and then I have watched some octogenarians with the loveliest spark, lighting the way to aging gracefully.

You are just right, in this moment. Be a goldilocks. Blow out the candles. You are just right.

Keep sharing moxie.

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Getting it wrong…feels so right.

 

I have been a rule follower my entire life. I was a good student, graduated early, got a job, went to grad school. Blah, blah, blah.

Somewhere along the way I lost my voice.

I’m certain it wasn’t one pivotal ground shattering moment. These things often happen by degrees, tiny losses that accumulate into something more. There’s a chestnut that I often pull out in therapy sessions…I’m going to share it with you for free (because I like you): listen to your gut. It won’t lead you astray. Listen to the little niggling voice that says “Yo-ho matey! Not o.k.” or alternately, “Yes, yes, yes!!!”.

I recently built a house which was, and remains, a money pit nightmare. If I’m being honest, one of my biggest mistakes was that I was so afraid of messing up that I couldn’t commit to anything. I was a builder’s daily dose of pain. I vacillated between being pushy and then folding like a card table. “Move the wall here, change the stair case, oh, forget it.”

In the end, my daughter complained that I didn’t pick out any colors in the house. (See her room and my hallway above). Beige isn’t in her color palette. When it comes to decorating, like many other things, she is bold and decisive.

I am smart, but bland.

I have reached a pathetic precipice where I don’t want to pick out a color for my stinking walls, because I don’t want to get it wrong.

Oh my. This is a sad state of affairs.

The only thing I’ve been getting wrong is my life. Here’s to adding color, literally and figuratively to your lives, people. Claw your way back. It starts with paint color for me, prosaic, I know, but it leads to other things. If I can pick a paint color and hang something on my walls that screams “yes, yes, yes!”, then maybe I’ll be ready for more. One day soon I can apply for that dream job. Writing this blog has been a step towards…something.

You like Harlequin novels? Stop hiding them under your bed. School supplies light your fire? Line up those post-its with pride. Want to go on a road trip? Map it out and save your change. Maybe then, you can move onto bigger things, too. I get it, I sound a bit like Oprah here. Life your best life and all that, but she didn’t become a billionaire by eating bonbons.

Lot of quotes out there about a life un-lived, I have little to add upon the great writers in this regard. Your voice is important. Find it. Pick a color. Not worrying about getting it wrong…feels so right. 

Keep sharing moxie.

P.S. Hello to my first fan, from England, whoever you are! Cheers!

 

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Phone Detox

IMG_6585Picture yourself here, with a drink in your hand. It’s warm and there is a slight breeze. The people you love are running around playing. Ping! You look down at your phone. It’s an email from work and instantly you’re upset. You’re back in your office. And your pina colada sits there melting while you type a response.

Confession: that’s me, folks. A couple of weeks ago I was in this beach chair and I caught myself wasting time on a work e-mail on vacation. This is , admittedly, 10 kinds of pathetic. To add insult to injury, I’m a mental health provider.

PHYSICIAN HEAL THYSELF…

I have a few vices, like many others, they are as follows: caffeine, chocolate, wine, and…my phone. On the spectrum of maladaptive human behaviors or indulgences, I’m pretty small fry. The phone though? It’s getting to be obnoxious, even to me.

I’ve given up caffeine before. I’ll bet many of you have, too. The first few days are rough. Gah, the headaches can reduce you to tears. Going on a phone detox is similar, minus the physical pain. You don’t know what to do with your hands. You want to click through pages and stay caught up, but you resist. Or, even better, you’re in a place with no reception, forcing you to look up and around at other people.

My husband and I vacation differently. He wants to exercise every day. I want to read with a fruity drink in my hand. I’ve decided I like my husband and my kids more on day 3 of a vacation. They would say the same. I can’t run off to the Caribbean every week, so I’ll add that I also like myself more when I don’t have a phone in my hand…constantly. I’m working on it.

Some day I may look back on this beach moment as “hitting bottom”. This is where I realized how ridiculous the swirling whirling shitstorm of work and constant connectivity really is. I’m back to my real life now. I still carry a phone, but I am looking forward to next weekend for Easter. I have a planned three-day phone detox. Won’t you join me??? I’d love to hear how you feel after three days of being unplugged. I’ll still be consuming a load of Cadbury mini-eggs, my Caribou coffee will be present in my cup each morning, and a bit of wine will be in my glass at Easter dinner, but I won’t have my phone on. I think it’s a fair trade. One can’t cut out everything all at once. Right? Yes, that’s right.

Keep sharing moxie. Really! Send your friends to http://www.sharingmoxie.com so they can join the fun. A giant shout-out to my four new followers from Brazil! Olá! Obrigado!

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Me: day three of vacay. Much better. Don’t be a ninny like me, leave your phone at home (or at least in your room) when you go on your next vacation.

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Embrace life like a three-year-old

Every age can be pretty awesome, but I think the three-year-old population really nails it. Here’s a top ten list of why everyone should have a preschooler in their life.

  1. They radiate happiness (and anger, and joy, and frustration in quick order). Just leave the camera on long enough and you can watch nearly every emotion ripple across their face.FullSizeRender (35)
  2. Carpe diem? Seize the day? A 3 yr old lives it. This kiddo wakes up every morning and yells, bellows might be a more apt description, “Look Mom, look, it’s another day!”. This is said with genuine excitement as in “Woo hoo! Can you believe it?”. It truly doesn’t matter if it’s a snowstorm or if he’s in Jamaica. This kid is thrilled that the sun has risen once again.IMG_6545
  3. Magic is real. When else would you ask for a live penguin for Christmas and be certain it’s a slam dunk?
  4. Life is full of big events and small ones and a three-year-old will narrate Every. Single. One. “Why are you in the bathroom? Are you going potty? Can I look? Can I flush? Why are you looking at me? Why can’t I watch? I like to watch. Don’t shut the door. I WANT TO TALK TO YOU!” All. Day. Long. One could start to feel like a superstar getting this much attention.
  5. Super duper helpful. See exhibit A. My assistant finished their job decorating for Christmas in record time. Keep it simple, people.

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 6. Naps.Sweet Nectar of the gods. Nap time. For you, too.

7. You can buy costumes and dress them up. It’s 50/50 on whether said costume  will be met with enthusiasm or regarded as a medieval torture device.

FullSizeRender (30)8. Preschool concerts are the best. You always have one nose picker, one crier, one loud and proud singer, the waver, and the commentator. One hopes that your kid doesn’t embody all of these roles at once. Children’s sermon is a wild card with the preschool set, but that’s why people sit up and pay attention when the kids start answering questions.       FullSizeRender (34)

 

 

 

 

 

9. The biggest gig they have going all year is their birthday and Christmas. When you’re feeling overwhelmed thinking about the 200 e-mails you have to answer it’s great to stop and listen to them invite and bar their sibling/friend/cousin from their birthday…in 6 months.

10. Let’s be honest, a 3 yr old hasn’t been knocked down by life. They’re still pretty fresh from God, but they can talk, emote, learn, and explore in a way that your rusty crusty brain has forgotten. They are bright shining lights and it’s pretty awesome to bask in their glow.

Here’s to all the preschoolers. The three-year-old set is out there nailing this thing called life. We could learn a thing or two from them.

Keep sharing moxie!

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