I’ve been traveling quite a lot lately, which has afforded me excellent opportunities to both learn stuff and share stuff I’m learning. Air travel however comes with drawbacks. One of them is security lines. But security lines after a massive snowstorm when the airport closed down the night before and everyone is a little extra unhappy provide the curious mind with a perfect Petri dish for observation. Continue reading “I Have a Problem with Pedestals”
Last summer my husband and I took a bike ride along a trail near our house. I think about a lot of things when I’m riding a bike or running. On this particular occasion I was thinking about death. One thought in particular: Dying is the only obligation of the living.
Obviously, some things we cannot choose, like getting hit by a car or assaulted by a bad guy (or gal). But we can choose our response to the situation. We can decide what we do next.
I can also decide my actions. For example, I don’t have to obey laws or treat others with respect. I might go to jail and have no friends as a result–but still. I pretend I don’t have a choice as to whether or not I do certain things, like scrub the toilet or get an oil change, but I do. These decision could mean I pay a price, but they’re still my decisions.
Admittedly, sometimes I complete some of these seemingly obligatory tasks only to avoid the painful or inconvenient impacts of NOT doing the thing.
For example, I recently filled out multiple forms with my name, birthday, social security number, address, previous medical history, shoe size, astrological sign etc. in preparation for my first appointment at a new dentist. The many swear words I used throughout the whole processes attested to how much I enjoyed it.
Vegas reminds me of a little black dress I once owned. The dress served its purpose. Coupled with a pair of very swanky heels, it attracted the attention I craved. Wearing it felt like I’d stepped into a different world, one I wouldn’t inhabit nine-to-five.
But one day, when I put it on I no longer felt a thrill. The shoes hurt my feet and my back. The eyeballs that tracked my every move weren’t nice eyeballs. The dress had lost its magic. Or maybe, I’d lost interest in the kind of magic it was capable of offering. Continue reading “Fact: We Find What We’re Looking For”
Questions without easy answers abound. But we humans hate that. Our brains like certainty. Tough, complex problems without clear solutions make us very unhappy indeed. In these situations, particularly where public pressure exists to find a fast and clean answer, we’re susceptible to a type of brain elf, Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, calls substitution. He writes, “If a satisfactory answer to a hard question is not found quickly, System 1 (our fast-thinking brain) will find a related question that is easier and will answer it.”
Lying close to my son as he slowly drifts into sleep is the most cost-effective therapy I know. But I know it can’t last.
Most nights, at least lately, after we snuggle and he reads a few pages from a chapter book, I say goodnight and exit his room. Then he reads a few pages of a comic book (Garfield or Calvin and Hobbs) on his own before flipping off his reading light and heading to snooze-town. But one night recently, we turned off the lights and I stayed a bit longer. He flung his arm around my neck and nuzzled a little closer. “Tonight,” he said, “you’re my stuffy.” Continue reading “Queen in the Quiet of My Child’s World”
I’d submitted the post on January 15 and heard back from an editor within minutes. I had just over a week to prepare for my January 23rd debut. I felt both honored and excited. Who would I meet? Would my words resonate with others? Would I get evil comments or get spammed by bots promoting Viagra?
I won’t blame you if you’ve forgotten what an Awesome Nugget is. Or, if you are one of the new subscribers to the You are Awesome blog (Hi!) you may have never heard the term before. Either way, I owe you an explanation.
Awesome Nuggets make the day better. Big or small, these things surprise and delight me. I’ve talked about moths before, or about my wonderful former co-workers who honored me with all kinds of tongue-in-cheek insults. By opening my eyes to the wonder of the moment, these little bits of awesome make me feel good. Sharing them makes me feel better. Knowing they might inspire others to see the wonder around us. . . well, that’s the best of all.
We all need some good. And it’s been a minute. (I just love that phrase.)
A positive aspect about aging is perspective. I am trying to live with no regrets – something you taught me. I know you found it hard to say the words I love you. And, looking back, I realize it was both your era and personality. To put yourself out there and be hurt and disappointed is hard. As a woman now, I realize how hard your life was. Continue reading “Love Letter: Let Me Get My Coat”
In his 2010 book, Linchpin, Seth Godin writes, “The lizard brain is hungry, scared, angry, and horny. The lizard brain only wants to eat and be safe. The lizard brain will fight (to the death) if it has to, but would rather run away. It likes a vendetta and has no trouble getting angry.” I would not want to meet my lizard brain in a dark alley.
The limbic cortex, aka the lizard brain, is the part of our gray matter responsible for making it very very hard to be our best selves sometimes. It wants to keep us safe, help us survive, even help us win competitions at work or at play. But all it knows is how to react, not how to respond reasonably and in appropriate proportion to a given situation.
In the months leading up to Cheryl’s death at thirty-seven from very aggressive breast cancer, I witnessed my friend’s short battle for life. We found ourselves in the tricky situation of being close friends with children who were best friends, but also my nurse to her patient. We talked and talked, and knew it was only a matter of time until she would need to come into the hospice. The night before she was due to go home I remember begging the night staff (also my friends) to take extra care of her. She wanted to be at home and had a day with her children before she drifted into unconsciousness. She died two days later.