Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where FDR makes a birthday wish and kooky Kramer who is a b-day wish believer, does everything he can to reverse it? It got me thinking…
Father’s Day is a mere moments away. While I can’t be physically near my father since he’s in another state, I thought I’d post an old article I wrote for him years ago. I hope you’ll enjoy it and have a Happy Father’s Day yourself!
Perhaps the greatest evidence of age comes in comparison to those around you. When I was big enough to walk, but small enough to need daddy’s hand to hold, the world was still young and so was he and I. Big hands to cover tiny fingers were what security embodied looked like. I needed him for support and he willingly obliged. As I got older, my father would run past me calling me “slowpoke” because I would always fall behind. I remember our weekly walks to the neighborhood park where I would stare at his feet gigantic in comparison to mine. To walk beside him I needed to take double steps to his one and I thought to myself that I would never be grown up enough to catch up to him. No matter how fast I walked beside him, he would always be faster. That’s how fathers should be I thought, forever.
As our pace began to mirror each other, the distance between us also disappeared. The park that I once built my childhood on had also changed. When I became an adult, the same park didn’t feel as safe. It had become the home for the homeless and filled with addicts and graffiti. Funny how so much can change within one’s lifetime.
As I left my twenties, I began to notice a difference in our walks together. I was starting to know more about life, through my education, our unshared experiences, by living in other states. Where once we raced ahead into an unknown future, now our pace grew slower to catch up for him. His knees hurt he said. His back was too sore to go on. And I was the one who said, “We’re almost home” instead of him who used to coach me on. I could tell that he was frustrated. Our bodies fail us with age it’s true. It makes me sad that life goes that way though it is inevitable.
I still walk with my father, side by side. And I am grateful for all the moments captured in the paces we’ve walked, one step at a time. I’ve realized, as I got older that it’s not how fast or how far you go, but all the pleasures of the precious moments in between.
photo via imdb
For all of you who haven’t yet watched Sex and the City 2, avert your eyes or maybe save your money and don’t watch it. I’m not a SATC hater, really I’m not. In fact, I’ve watched each episode at least 10 times (no joke!).
But alas, this is not a movie review. I’m more of a book review kinda gal. But there was something inspiring about the movie and I thought I’d share it here.
Four young single New Yorkers once strutted their stuff. These four women are not so young anymore and the majority are not even single. But what they teach us in their older age is something I think needs to be discussed.
So the glamour fades (fashion still reigns) and four hot women with once exciting lives begin to start settling in and the drama now exists only when created by them in their relationships.
There’s an important lesson here.
Life is sometimes boring. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the “sparkle,” the inspiration, the magic. Sometimes the mundaneness not just in your relationships eats at you. And if left there will eventually rot.
Here’s what I know:
- It’s okay for life to not always feel super exciting. In fact, if our lives were like the movies we’d have a heart attack at an early age from all that stress. Eventually age brings a certain amount of normalcy and that’s a good thing.
- Yet, you shouldn’t let normalcy mean stagnation. There’s a big difference between happiness, comfort and safety and sitting on a couch wasting your life away. If you’ve felt bored for several days/weeks/months even years in a row, then maybe you’re avoiding something. Fear could be holding you back from your dreams. Even my rabbit gets bored and when he gets bored, he gets destructive. You might be unconsciously self-destructing through food, TV or other mindless activities as a way to numb yourself. In that case, being aware may mean seeking therapy.
- Imperfection does not mean termination. Carrie could have sabotaged her relationship with Mr. Big (actually I’m an Aidan fan so I wouldn’t have minded it), because of her fear that their relationship after 2 years of marriage was getting too comfortable. Sometimes when things don’t seem perfect since real life is a lot more messier, unglamorous and flawed than on the movies, we automatically assume that imperfection means the end. What happens when we think that? We do things to sabotage our relationships and our lifelong goals.
- There’s nothing wrong with you. Life is about choices. You make some good ones. You make some not so good ones. You live. You learn. Sometimes you think it’s you, but it’s really the situation you’re in. Give yourself a break and be open to the possibility that there really is nothing wrong with you.
While SATC 2 left this fan something to be desired, there were a few gems in the movie. There was something less glamorous in this one and maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s time we all got real with how unglamorous, yet gloriously messy real life can be.
I have a confession to make. One of my favorite indulgences is diving into old diaries. I flip through pages like I’m reading a best-selling novel, staying up late at night to finish them. Once I grew so desperate and frustrated, I took a pair of scissors and cut open the front cover of one of my diaries because I didn’t have the patience to find the diary key.
Why am I so bonkers over 20 years worth of my own life story?
There’s a jewel in there. It’s the troubled, lost, girl who was trying to find her way through heartbreak, identity-crisis and confusion, or in other words life. When I read about her first love and then break-up, I have compassion there. I want her to succeed. I want her to love herself more than some dumb guy. I want this time to be different. And somehow I keep reading hoping to find that ray of sunshine-the courage, certainty and confidence I’m happy to wear now.
Although I’m usually disappointed and know how this story ends, I still read and reread, hoping to find some nugget of “me.” Maybe this time she’ll do what’s right for her. Maybe this time she’ll realize that she deserves more.
I think about who that girl was. I look through old photographs and see her smile. Think about how beautiful she was and how she didn’t know it.
I know she’s me. But she’s a me I’ve long forgotten. When I reread old diaries, I reconnect with her. I have compassion for her and love her. I’m grateful because it’s her shoes that got me here.
It’s weird and yet so true.
Have you ever walked back in your own shoes?
Thought back to who you used to be and what you used to believe.
One thing that rereading my diaries has taught me is that all so-called problems have happy endings. If you are patient enough and if you are kind to yourself, work hard on being more of you, you’ll get there. I only had a handful of pages to wait until my prayers were eventually answered.
The next time you’re feeling despair, remember how far you’ve already come, how much you’ve already endured. When you turn around and look back, you’ll see that you’ve already climbed that mountain and survived it. You just need to remember and have the courage to meet it once again.
photo via incurable_hippie
That’s the angel card I picked today. And it was spine-tinglingly true! Several months ago I created a wish board. Actually you may have seen the newer version. One of the things on it was a blue Nissan Altima.
I’ve been needing a car for about a year now. My old black 200sx was pushing its limits at over 100,000 miles and leaking oil. There just didn’t seem to be the time to look for one or the money to fund it. Then, this past weekend my husband and I finally went car shopping.
You might have already guessed. But there it was-a blue Nissan Altima. Just the one I had been dreaming about for months. It was above our budget so I thought it just wasn’t the right time or the right one. But I got coerced to staying at the dealers for 5 hours! Five hours of negotiating my dream car. I don’t know where the energy came from, but I was able to bring down the price of the vehicle thousands of dollars below its Kelley Blue Book value. After we left, I was hungry, tired and lost my voice, but I did it! I negotiated my way to getting my dream car.
This isn’t a story about material gain. Actually I think the car represents something more important-self-empowerment. Now every time I open the door and get into it, I am reminded that dreams can come true. I’m reminded that I am strong enough to get what I want. And that like Oprah Winfrey once said, “Your home should rise up to meet you,” my car is now doing the same.
Hence, the reason why the car was so appropriate. It brought me hope and reminded me that you really can create your own destiny. And that what you think your worth is represented in the decisions you make, as well as the people and the opportunities that you draw into your life.
It may sound corny, but believe in yourself and your dreams really do come true!
Busyness is sometimes a blessing, sometimes a distraction. In my freelance writing case, it’s a good thing. But while I’ve been writing up new magazine and newspaper articles, editing for a few new clients and firming up a few more interviews and book giveaways on 2inspired (stay tuned for that) I’ve also been doing a few other things on my own. There’s crafting, photography, and hmmm…rethinking old resolutions. In fact, I went as far back as 2008 to see what I’ve done and not done on my list. I figured 2 years should have been enough time to accomplish my goals. Let’s see…
Here’s what I wrote:
1. Write more!
2. Spend less.
3. Travel to New York.
4. Write a gratitude journal.
5. Keep a food diary.
7. Spend time doing something fun every day.
8. Create a timeline for my dream career.
9. Meditate at least weekly!
10. Be open to possibility.
Have I resolved those resolutions?
I can honestly say I could check more than half off my list. No. 1 (write more) has grown exponentially since I’ve completely no. 8 (timeline for my dream career). I traveled to New York in 2009 (what a great trip!) and #s 7, 9 and 10 are being accomplished with The Joy Diet. I’ve still got a few items on my list to work on like volunteering and keeping a food journal. But I’m wondering how you did?
Have you checked your New Year’s Resolutions list recently?
One of the zany and sometimes frustrating things about life is that you can’t plan for everything. I was lucky, for example, that I was able to travel to New York last year. This year I may not have been so lucky. Also, there’s things I’ve done that weren’t even a seed in my mind a few years ago-like photography.
My dad has always been a photographer to me. He’s done weddings before. And when I was a kid he was the only one I knew who intentionally double exposed his pictures to get a unique shot.
I never thought I could take a photo to save my life. But I was always passionate about pictures. Pictures that could inspire. Photos that like my aunt and uncle’s wedding song, “If,” (as in “If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you?”) could speak a thousand words. In a college art class, I created a book filled with photos and poetry/essays intertwined, never realizing that one day I’d do the same thing online. Thank goodness for the blog!
Well, I’ve created a gallery of photos and showed them to my dad recently. I was shocked when he said that he knew photography and knew these were good. He also said they were “quirky,” and that I broke all the rules, yet still came up with beautiful photos. Thanks dad!
But I’m still not sure. What do you think of them?
For the rest of my photos, please see my online gallery.
I pulled out a fortune from a cookie a few months ago and it read, “Your courage will reap rewards for you.” It’s a perfect statement to describe this week’s focus of The Joy Diet. In week #4, Ms. Martha had us visualizing our desires, now we have to put our money where our mouth is.
I’ve already been inspired by the Oprah show recently, when Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire, was on. This adventurous dude who is one of the most wealthiest people in the world and has his own private island, believes in going for your dreams and he does so in a way that would make most people blush, then faint. Somehow I think he follows this week’s goal to a tee.
Although I’m not Sir Branson-ready, I do feel in the mood to walk through a few first to get to my dreams. It may be the reason why I turned into Jim Carrey’s character in The Yes Man recently. Saying ‘yes’ to something I normally wouldn’t do.
I agreed to walk around my community selling ads for a local newspaper. While I’m not necessarily (I’ll use Sir Branson’s word) virgin in this area, I don’t get excited about doing it. I don’t think any introvert would. But I said, “Yes!” I took the challenge, walking through 15 shops in 1 afternoon.
I’m not going to lie and tell you my life was forever changed, cause it wasn’t. But I did get something out of it. As I willingly took the role as a salesman for the day, I saw people change how they reacted to me. While most of the people I met were kind, a lot of them (who I’ve interacted before as a consumer) went in hiding-literally not wanting to talk to me or were quick to brush me aside. I learned two things: 1) how to become a better salesman 2) that it really didn’t matter how people perceived me. I was just playing a role. They weren’t rejecting me. They were rejecting what I was selling.
It may sound like common sense, but for someone who makes a living as a freelance writer, getting rejected is a daily, soul-crunching experience. Taking a risk and getting rejected for something less personal, empowered me. I realized that like being a salesman, a writer was just another one of my roles. It wasn’t who I was. It was something I did. And in this business we call life, taking a risk, and risking rejection is the only way we can find success and ultimately happiness.
What’s the next item on my risk list?
- Writing a book
I know this one seems kind of wild and crazy. But the good thing is that Martha lets us break up the risk into small steps so it feels less intimidating. For now, I’m going to just research classes on writing books and read other books created by the publisher I’m interested in. Then see what happens next. Hey if I fall and crash and burn, at least you’ll know I gave it my all and tried.
If you really want to find joy and achieve your dreams, you’re going to have to work for it. And this week’s work is all about how much you’re willing to risk.
What are you willing to risk this week?
I’m excited to talk about week #5 of The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life: Risk. But I’m actually taking my first “risk,” by mentioning what happened to me in Vegas first. (Side note: Do you think I could possibly be procrastinating working on what’s drumming up to be the hardest chapter of the book? Quite possibly!)
But here I go. So I was on my way to Vegas when stormy weather made our tiny plane swish up and down until my heart felt like it would stop and my stomach would leap into my chest. Thank goodness it lasted only for a few minutes, otherwise I might have needed that white bag tucked in the seat pocket.
Anyway I was grateful to get off the plane and stood up quite fast when we landed. My relief was only temporarily abated, however, as a man a few rows in front of me decided that it was now safe to start shouting. He yelled from the time we stood up to the time we walked through the terminal and went our separate ways.
What was he yapping about?
He said that other people were being “rude,” because they were in a rush to get out of the plane. “People are so rude these days! Why is everyone in such a hurry? People are going to get hurt!” On and on until I eventually blocked out the sound of his voice. Mostly, I thought it was ironic that he was calling everyone else “rude.”
Here’s why God/the Universe is funny.
On the way back from Vegas, I got on the plane late, thereby having to ask the two men sitting in my row to scoot so I can get to my window seat. I was so exhausted from my trip, however, that I could barely find the energy to speak. I just stared at them instead. The guy sitting at the aisle stared back and gave me a look that if translated would say, “What the hell are you looking at?!” His friend, the guy in the middle, however, smiled and stood up right away.
Although he seemed nice, the middle guy and his aisle friend were loud and sounded rude so I closed my eyes hoping the time would pass by fast. I started to notice that the middle guy would stop talking when I was sleeping, which made me very self-conscious so I ended up keeping my eyes opened. I ordered a drink instead and was surprised with the middle guy reached up to get my drink and handed to me.
When I thought everything was going well, the flight was super smooth and my seat mates were quiet, a storm started to brew outside. Suddenly, the plane shook rapidly back and forth as if we were on the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland. I freaked and was surprised when my neighbor smiled and started talking to me. He said he was just thinking that the plane ride was so smooth, very different from his trip to Vegas. That time there was thunder and lightning and he thought the plane had been hit. We started chatting and I asked him how long he was in Vegas. He said, “Three days.”
Funny I thought. I had just gotten there three days ago too.
After the turbulence went from bumpy to nonexistent, I settled back into my seat. Soon after, I fell asleep again only to be abruptly woken up by the sound and feel of the plane dropping a few feet onto the runway.
The guy next to me turned and smiled again telling me about a time when he rode a plane to Colorado that flew in a fog and dropped down even harder than this.
After we landed safely, thankfully, I got ready to grab my stuff. My neighbor was kind enough to let me go first and helped me to carry my suitcase down from the overhead compartment. But then I heard a strange, but unexpected sound.
He started to yell at everyone saying, “Hey! No one’s going anywhere. There’s no reason to rush.”
I thought to myself,”Could this be the same guy I pronounced as rude only three days ago?”
I followed him through the terminal and heard the exact same statements I heard only a few days before. He mentioned how people could get hurt from tearing their suitcase down and asked why people were so impatient? Then he said, maybe he was getting to be a loudmouth in his old age.
It was the same guy!
I think what the experience taught me is not to be in a hurry to judge people. This guy who I initially labeled as rude and crass ended up being extra nice to me. His anger was out of concern for the people he was with and I was embarrassed for how I immediately judged him.
In the end, I truly believe I met him for a reason and am grateful for the lesson he taught me.
Are you struggling to find “the one?”
The career that combines your passion for making a difference in the world?
Well, then you’ll definitely want to stay tuned and join us here at 2inspired on March 24th! I’ve been talking with the best in the biz and wanted to give you an early head’s up on something that’s going on that day. I’ll be giving you hints every week until then, but I hope you’ll stay tuned to read about a few inspiring stories along the way. First up, my story.
I started 2inspired over a year ago in October 2008. In all honesty, I was feeling uninspired. I was working at various jobs, floundering around without any direction.
I was lost. The way, I’m thinking you might be right now.
I had a dream, but it wasn’t a possibility at that time. I was still in the mindset of working to make money, kind of like the phrase, “eat to live,” not “live to eat.”
Fear drove my life.
Yet, I was slowly being pulled to do something more. I saw it in my attraction to reality shows and the Oprah show. I read it in books and magazines. And I felt it every time I met someone and heard their inspiring story.
Gradually, my outer life began to reflect my inner one. And I wanted a way to help motivate others to live greater than they had been living. That’s the story behind 2inspired.
I’ve been on this journey with you and will continue to provide stories that will uplift my spirit as well as yours. If you’re out there, leave a note and tell me where you are on this journey and where you want to go from here. I’m also open to hearing any feedback you have on 2inspired so far.
And remember to return every week for more hints and then on the 24th for the big surprise!
I got a surprise in my inbox yesterday. No it wasn’t, “You’ve won a million dollars” letter. Although I do get those too. Instead it was information on an upcoming movie based on a true story called, “Letters to God.”
Not one to watch trailers, curiosity took hold and I sat and watched. Here’s a short synopsis of the movie and if you’re curious like me, check out the trailer down below.
A heartfelt tale of inspiration, hope and redemption, Letters to God is the story of what happens when one boy’s walk of faith crosses paths with one man’s search for meaning—the resulting transformational journey touches the lives of everyone around them.
Inspired by a true story, Letters to God is an intimate, moving and often funny story about the galvanizing effect one child’s belief can have on his family, friends and community.