Saturday, August 30, 2008

Give It a Twirl

People often choose unhappiness over uncertainty. I know too many people in jobs or relationships that drain them, yet they are afraid to make a change. We were much braver as kids.

In sixth grade, I wanted to be a baton twirler in the worst way. I practiced on the front lawn for days. Clunking myself in the head several times didn’t dent the dream. I had never tried out for anything before, but I was just as excited as I was nervous. As my mom dropped me off at try outs, she turned to me and solemnly said, “Don’t feel too bad if you don’t make it.” She clearly thought I didn't stand a chance. With motivational words like that, what kid wouldn’t want to take on the world? Where the heck was my "You can do it!?"

Instead of slinking back in the car to go home and avoid certain humiliation, I remember feeling sorry for my mom. I knew then I’d rather suck at baton twirling than be that pessimistic. I was already ahead of the game. And with that, I kicked baton butt.

During the Thanksgiving parade, I dropped my baton at the very top of the steepest street and had to chase it down through the band to the bottom. But instead of sitting at home, I had marched. It wasn't pretty, but I was a baton twirler.

As we get older, it seems harder to take risks. Now, I fear success just as much as failure. Success often entails more change than failing. I dislike change - even when it's good. Things will be different - unknown. But I'll be unhappy if I'm not successful. So will it be unhappiness or uncertainty?

The stakes are higher. There is less time on the clock. That's all the more reason to take a risk. Not initiating much needed change makes us passive aggressive martyrs. We blame our responsibilities and imagined constraints for not changing. But that’s crap.

My most important responsibility is my children. I want them to lead full and happy lives. "Show don’t tell" is an effective journalism rule that should be applied to parenting.

This is clearly a hurdle of the human condition. There is even a saying - "a bird in hand, is better than two in the bush." Maybe not - if your bird keeps crapping on you. Time for a new tweetie. Some situations are unhealthy. I say, choose uncertainty.

Take things for a twirl.

Disclaimer to avoid disownment: My mom has always been tremendously supportive and optimistic about my writing. She is just a risk-averse English teacher and was never a baton twirler.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

High Thread Count Sh#t

It took four years, but it was inevitable. I said shit instead of sheet tonight on QVC. Wouldn't you like a silky soft shit?

It really wasn't a Freudian slip. It was a very nice sheet set. Say "sheet set" four times fast. Not so easy is it?

It's a tough job folks. It's not all yummy cookies in the green room and hanging out with Joan Rivers. I have challenges.

On the upside, maybe I'll end up on You Tube or Talk Soup. Well, I've got to go get the marbles out of my mouth. I'm back on at 5 a.m.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Secret Vette Girl

One of my friends has done the classic mid-life crisis guy thing - bought a Corvette to drive just for fun. Just three problems. It's 10 years too early, she's not a guy and she's got a retirement fund to fill. But I get it. Sort of.

I'm not a car gal. I never noticed what a guy was driving back in my dating days. In fact, I was kind of leery of guys with really nice cars. I thought maybe they were trying to distract attention away from some sort of personal defect or they were spoiled rotten. Both are bad. I do remember when Roy - (my friend to this day, despite his defects) - pulled up to our high school in a DeLorean. I thought it was a little cool - the doors, anyway. But I would never have admitted it.

But I digress. Ever since high school, "Secret Vette Girl" has LOVED driving. So for her, this makes sense. I know she is a little concerned about her investment. My friend has never been very good at denying herself a want and sometimes this hasn't worked out well. However, this time I will steal a line from Oscar Wilde....

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

I don't think he was just referring to money. I think he also meant emotions, spirit and passion. We should consider living outside the preconceived notions of how we are "supposed to live." I hope she'll look at this expenditure as symbolic of a bigger investment in herself. Give more than you think you have - to yourself. It will always pay off. Live large, lady - but do it in every way. Pedal to the metal.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

No Impact Exercise

Inspired by the comments to my Iron People blog, I tried to begin my new exercise regime last night. I watched kickboxing on FIT TV while eating a Skinny Cow ice cream cone (after a beer).

I know I'm not off to a great start. Tonight the treadmill! I must learn discipline. It's sure to be an invaluable tool when applied to my writing. Wish me luck.

Just Flush

A good friend asked me to post a blog asking all of you, my faithful readers, what one should do when one’s life is in the toilet.

My advice is flush. Don’t let it stink up a good day. Her whole life isn’t in the toilet, just the things that weren’t working anyway. Let’s call it crap, or if you prefer, waste. It’s the stuff she doesn’t really need – relationships that didn’t have enough nutrients, things she couldn’t control and other negative toxins. Of course, when a bunch of things go wrong at once, it can seem rather messy and unpleasant. But oh the relief of fresh starts that comes soon after.

Now, that I’ve beaten her initial metaphor to death. Perhaps you have some more practical advice.

Just click on comments and share your insight.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Iron People

Why is everyone running? Suddenly, it seems as if all of my friends are hitting the road. It started with marathons and has progressed to triathlons and other forms of sadomasochism.

They’re diving into waters where dead bodies are routinely found by the Philadelphia police and getting lost in the back woods ala “Deliverance.”

Is it about running away – from bills, kids and other responsibilities? Or is it about running to something – unfulfilled dreams and the such? Is it a coincidence that we are all just turning 40?

My friend Meg says it’s about personal satisfaction. I feel personally satisfied after 20 minutes on the treadmill once or twice a week. I celebrate with wine and ice cream.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in fitness. I actually enjoy select portions of it. And I have to admit my friends are beginning to look like Mr. and Mrs. Buff Brick Shithouse. But is it sustainable? Is it worth the hours and the injuries?

What am I missing? Please tell me…