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.
Are you willing to accept help?
May 12, 2014
A guy I went to college with knew -- before our freshman year was up -- I was only there to finish what I’d started. I was majoring in civil engineering, supposedly -- but mostly I majored in late nights drinking coffee at Denny’s. Many of our friends eschewed studying for partying. I put off homework for -- what? -- hours of pondering what made people act the way they do…and cracking up at the twists and turns of the latest fun conversation.
That should’ve told me a lot about myself, but it didn’t. My friend knew someday I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing now.
I didn’t know that!
Why hadn’t he told me? Oh, but he had. He’d told me constantly what made me unique, and what kind of work might be really fun for me. I didn’t hear a word of it, apparently, because I soldiered on and got that engineering degree as if it was a life sentence.
No, wait. I take that back. I heard my friend. I just wasn’t ready to believe him.
My college pal helped me see myself more clearly, eventually. That’s what friends are for.
Do you know what you need most?
May 11, 2014
Life is a lot of work. Ever noticed that?
It’s one reason I found Darrell difficult to resist. He’s such a hard worker I swear every time he picks up the phone to make another pitch I vow to be a better person.
Every time I tell him that -- often daily, sometimes more -- he tells me the same. We’re almost in a contest to see who can do more for the other. Good thing. We’re so buried in deadlines it doesn’t take much in the way of an interruption to throw off the whole week.
“I wouldn’t want to be in business with someone who didn’t pull her weight,” he told me once. “Can you imagine the resentment?”
No. I can’t.
Because I’m married to him.
If you’re making a list of qualities you hope the person you marry will have, don't forget to factor in his work ethic. Looks fade, life will eventually throw you the occasional curve if not toss you over a cliff -- and you could do worse than team up with someone with an abundance of grit.
Who lifts you up?
May 10, 2014
Of all the ways people have described me, incisive feels the best. I even like how the word sounds. I’d love to deserve that description.
To the extent I do, I blame Darrell. A smattering of friends. And mostly, Katie. She keeps me sharp.
A while back I told you I was taking a class, of sorts, to help me polish the skills I need in a new job. One gentleman wants to help me beyond the confines of the class. He isn’t helping within those confines, I keep teasing him, but whatever. He’s relentless in his insistence we work together more closely, and it’s creeping me out.
And yes, I realize it’s possible he reads this blog.
I’ve already told him he’s creeping me out, though -- so we’re cool. And I did it so nicely he continued to insist we…see each other outside of class! Oh, well.
Katie’s the reason I took such a direct approach. When I practiced on her what I’d originally planned to tell the guy -- something to the effect I’d found another coach, but thanks so much anyway -- she balked. “You’re taking the class to get coaching,” she reminded me. “You need to tell this man the problem is him.”
When did she become the grownup? Oh, that’s right. She’s been setting me straight since she was four.