Do you have good luck charms?
May 31, 2014
A while back I told you I was taking a class to help me polish the skills I need in a new job. We met for my last time on Thursday, so I brought treats -- fresh strawberries, mostly, and dark chocolate -- and next to everyone’s plate I put one of those tiny little forks I’ve seen popping up in party supply stores. They’re so cute. Darrell had sliced the strawberries into dainty little pieces, and the forks were the perfect size for the job. As the proceedings got underway I couldn’t help but notice how festive the room suddenly seemed.
Every seat was filled -- knowing there would be refreshments was an incentive to show up, I think -- and I felt part of something special. Another woman was saying goodbye that evening, too -- and we took turns presenting to the class.
Next up, the evaluations. I listened intently as my evaluator shared her impressions. She’d been waiting for a chance to do that all spring, she said -- weigh in on my work -- and I got sentimental as she admitted how much she appreciated that. “Please keep doing it,” she said. “The world needs to hear what you have to say.”
It’s the best, isn’t it? Someone looks at you and offers a heartfelt, “Please. Tell me more.” To have it happen in front of even a few people felt like quite the sendoff for a new chapter that’s equal parts scary and irresistible.
And yes, of course I saved one of those tiny little forks. It’s right next to my desk, and I look at it several times a day.
I’m not much for fancy cars or even houses. But give me a miniature of just about anything and watch me almost die of cute.
It’s a good reminder to appreciate the little things in life -- a quality which is, to me, a very big thing.
When’s the last time you made a new friend?
May 30, 2014
What do you get when much of your job is to talk with interesting people about things that matter -- in a way you’re comfortable sharing with a radio audience? You get some pretty cool friends, that’s what.
We’ve had the thrill of meeting Colleen, we’ll soon get the thrill of meeting Rich, and only last week we had the thrill of meeting Alex and Rhea.
They’re all regulars on the show, and they all leave us wanting more -- more time, more conversation, more laughs.
I started feeling better about life as it got more difficult to decide whether I was working or playing. It’s impossible to decide, now.
And retire? Are you kidding?
From having this much fun?
When’s the last time you laughed so hard it hurt?
May 29, 2014
“What’s that iPhone case doing down there?”
That’s what I wondered as I reached down to get a cooler on the floor behind some junk Darrell stores in the basement. I just couldn’t imagine how anything as cool as an Apple accessory would’ve made its way into his workshop.
Then I realized, “Oh, no! That’s not an iPhone case! That’s a bug trap!” And I was stuck to it! It was hanging off my fingers, and I was terrified. Wasn’t it poison?
Darrell’s reaction to my distress was reassuring. He looked at me. He cracked up. And then he said, “You’re the only one I’ve caught!”
We leaned on each other so we wouldn’t lose our balance as we kept laughing -- and would smile about the exchange for hours.
Why linger on a moment like that? Why mention something that silly, here?
Because if you collect enough of those moments -- in a day, a week, or a year -- I bet you’ll one day look back on your life and decide it’s been a pretty good run.
Are you getting enough sleep?
May 28, 2014
If there’s anything more delicious than a catnap on a summer afternoon, I can’t imagine what it is. But on a weekday? When there’s so much work to do? I thought the odds were zero I’d be able to forget about my deadlines for even twenty minutes.
“You don’t have to sleep,” I told myself, like a kindergarten teacher coaxing a little kid. “Just close your eyes and keep them closed.”
I don’t remember what happened next because -- duh -- I was asleep.
Are you playing a big enough game?
May 16, 2014
When I made the decision five years ago this summer to give up junk food for a year, I had no idea I was giving it up for life.
Along the way I’ve discovered something most if not all the diet books leave out, that -- if you’re anything like me -- it might be easier to swear off problem foods altogether.
When it occurs to me it’s wrong to keep this to myself, that I should be sharing what I’ve learned about eating well, my first thought is: “Yeah, right. You’re going to pass yourself off as someone who discovered something no one in the history of dieting advice has shared?”
The next thought I have is: “Oh, I know what that is! Resistance.”
Resistance is what The War of Art author Steven Pressfield says you’ll be flooded by when the thought of doing something important occurs to you. It’s why, when you have a big paper to write or a big contract to negotiate, you’re overcome by an urge to do the dishes or sweep the garage. Anything to distract you from work that really matters.
I don’t think you can beat resistance for good. It’s a constant struggle, sure as the rising sun. But you can probably keep it at bay long enough to make a difference in the world.
That’s the plan. That’s my plan. And suddenly life’s other challenges feel like a test of focus, nothing more. Which reminds me of something else I heard once: “If you aren’t playing a big enough game, you’ll mess up the game you’re playing just to give yourself something to do.”
Do you offer suggestions in private?
May 15, 2014
I worked as a waitress to pay the bills while I interned to get into radio. That’s what I tell people. But looking back, waitressing did a whole lot more for me than pay bills. It helped me heal from a divorce.
There was just something about the pace. Hard work, laughter, bedlam. Repeat. It was magic. If you’re newly divorced, I highly recommend spending at least a few nights a week in a busy restaurant. Working, that is. You’ll get all of the fun and none of the calories.
I didn’t need a stint waiting tables to help me appreciate “the help,” though. And complain about it? Are you kidding? I’ve always found it difficult to ask for more water, let alone return a hot dish that’s served cold.
So I’m embarrassed when someone I follow on Twitter, for example, trashes the service he got.
I’m not saying the waiter or the retail clerk or the flight attendant didn’t have it coming. But don’t take it to him in a public forum. You wouldn’t scold someone you love in front of someone else, would you? Criticizing someone publicly smacks of, “A lot of people pay attention to me, so you’d better behave the way I think you should or you’ll be sorry.”
If I’m so embarrassed by that kind of thing on Twitter, why do I still follow some of the offenders? For the same reason I’m still pals with a couple of women who admit they’d cheat on their husbands.
If you only associate with people who share your views on everything, I hope you’ll be very happy together.
You and yourself, that is.
Are you willing to suffer?
May 13, 2014
Ever do such a good job of looking on the bright side people mistake you for having only sunshine in your life? They respond to you with jealousy for happiness they’re sure is unearned -- as if they have any idea what you’ve been through or still endure.
Once in a while I’ve become friends with people whose first impression of me was, “She got more than her share of good things.” Often that’s because as they get to know me they wouldn’t swap lives with me after all. Not in a million.
I don’t blame them -- but I’m not railing against my challenges, either. I can’t think of a single thing I cherish that isn’t the direct result of suffering -- and years of humiliation -- as I kept finding new ways to mess up.
I’m willing to suffer, though.
Not eager. Willing.