polish your reflection
July 31, 2013
No, as swear words go it was relatively tame. I’ve used it on the show, and I’ve used it in this blog.
Darrell and Katie were with me, and my friend appreciated Kate scolding me for my word choice. She hadn’t realized Katie was teasing--and neither had I. But I skipped right over this little burp. I barely paused as I continued with my anecdote.
This is a good friend. I’ve known her a long time. I applaud her for trying to keep things wholesome around the kid.
I mention it only to illustrate how far I’ve come. As recently as five years ago, I would’ve picked up on my friend’s discomfort--and beaten myself up about that. Not because I’d done anything wrong, but because she disapproved of it.
They say it sucks to get old, and “they” are wrong. Age has rewards. Now I can appreciate the standards my friends are trying to uphold--without feeling ashamed I don’t happen to share them. I can still see my friend’s daughter grinning at me when the supposedly bad word escaped my lips, and I know she’s subjected to much worse on the two-minute trip to her locker in middle school.
I used to think it was more important to be liked than to be genuine, only to realize the reverse feels a lot better.
And, ironically, it makes you more likeable!
July 31, 2013
“Advice is what you ask for when you know the answer but wish you didn’t.”
Ever heard that one?
I remembered it after a pal pointed out how much grief I’d be signing up for if I told someone her gift of a pony, figuratively speaking, had created nothing but trouble on this end. We’re not set up for a pony, we have no way of taking care of a pony, blah blah. I’d told her how sweet she was for offering, sent her heartfelt thanks in a oh-so-carefully crafted “it’s the thought that counts” note, and pretty much begged her not to send us that pony.
The “pony” arrived the next day.
Nothing. Clean up the mess and move on.
When in doubt, disengage.
July 30, 2013
That was it. That's how quickly the daughter knew this was going to be her life.
She’s a tattoo artist now, and to say she loves her work doesn’t do justice to the phrase. Her dad showed us his new tattoo, the one he promised he’d get when she got her license, and it’s beautiful.
It’s beautiful, but it isn’t my thing. No matter. That isn’t the point of this post. The point is how quickly the woman turned down any help from Dad with college. She had no interest. She knows what she wants to do with her life and she’s doing it.
She’s an artist whose work people will wear on their bodies for the rest of their lives.
I’ve always thought of a tattoo that way, but never from the perspective of the person creating it. And while you can get a tattoo removed, from what I hear the process is painful--or at least, expensive (which is also painful) (hi, Darrell!). My friend’s daughter wants to make sure that doesn’t happen. She’s serious about her art.
She lives creatively.
Her life is a work of art.
read this blog
July 30, 2013
I loved that. I loved it. It described the economy perfectly--but left you (or at least, me) feeling bouncy and inspired.
Many people didn’t like it. It was too easy for graffiti artists, for example, to add the word “pot” to the end of it and defame the whole state.
But that’s another story.
I bring it up because Seth Godin’s reverie on business as gardening reminded me of it.
If all I ever did in my blog was link to Seth’s, there are probably worse uses of my time!
July 29, 2013
Of anything Darrell and I are proud to have inspired in Katie, voracious reading is near the top of the list. I’m not talking about magazines and newspapers and blogs and tweets--though they’ve certainly provided lots of inspiration and giggles. I’m talking about books. The kind you hold in your hands and spill coffee on and put on your sweetheart’s pile so you can enjoy them all over again when she shares a passage that really got to her.
Care to swap reading lists? I'll go first. Here are a few books that made an impression on me, for wildly different reasons...
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, isn’t a book I would’ve picked out for myself. It was a birthday present. But I dare you to read it and not come away with a renewed sense of awe about life. That so many of us reach old age relatively healthy, relatively intact, is such a miracle. There are so many things that can go wrong--and when they do, spin out of control so quickly and so thoroughly--cutting short your time on this planet.
Vow, by Wendy Plump, is a study of marriage gone awry. Infidelity has always fascinated me because getting married isn’t the law. If you don’t want to forsake all others, why bother?
I read Vow for fun, as an escape from problems I don’t have. So I was surprised to have been stopped cold by this insight, that the people who seem to fare better in breakups--who recover the first, and most--are those who were dumped, who were cheated on.
Isn’t that interesting? And if you’ve noticed it among your friends, I'd love to hear why you think that is. I'll go first again. Maybe because whoever got left didn’t have a choice in the matter, so that person doesn’t have the added drain of second-guessing quite the monumental decision.
The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self, by Alex Lickerman, reminded me what it means to be a friend. I mean, what do you get when much of your job is to find interesting people to talk with about things that matter--and to conduct those conversations in a way you’re comfortable sharing with a radio audience? You get some pretty cool friends, that’s what. Alex is a perfect example of why The Career Clinic is misnamed. It’s really a show about doing what works.
Alex doesn’t just offer advice--how to go on living after the person you loved most has died, for example--he supports that with research. He also does what Rebecca Skloot did--he makes you wonder why you hated science, because he explains it in a way that doesn’t make your head hurt.
I gave a copy of The Undefeated Mind to a friend who happens to be the person who gave me Rebecca Skloot’s book. She was going through a difficult time, and she told me Alex’s book helped. What sucks the most about a friend hurting? Not knowing how to pitch in. Alex’s book helped me help her. That’s what friends are for.
The main thing I got out of Alex’s book was a renewed appreciation for how much joy people find in lives that are filled with suffering. If they can do it, so can I. And so can you.
July 28, 2013
My first thought was, “Gulp.” I felt a current of fear run through me.
And then, relief I’m still pushing myself.
Coasting saves gas--but if you’re headed somewhere boring, why even make the trip?