Would My Dad Know Who I Am Now?

Father’s Day is a happy day for some, and a sad day for others.  And then there are those like me who are happy/sad.  My dad is gone, but I have a husband who is a wonderful father to my three boys. Now we celebrate the day spoiling him with presents, good food, ice cream, and miniature golf.

My father died when I was twenty.  I have spent more years living without him than with him.  The hardest part for me now is realizing he never got to know the grown up me.  He knew me as a child, his youngest daughter.  I was daddy’s little girl, but my heart aches when I remember how mean I was in my later teenage years.

He knew me when I was bratty and terribly moody.  I have one vivid memory of a sunday afternoon when he drove me back to nursing school. I don’t know what he said or did, but I clicked my tongue, rolled my eyes, and said something horrible to him.  Did he shush me, or lecture me about my behavior? No.  He just looked away and watched the numbers change on the elevator.

He died shortly after that. Why is it on Father’s Day I have to remember that stupid day?

If I had a magic bean that could grant me one day with my dad, would he know me when he saw me? Would he recognize my face, my voice? It’s been thirty-one years and I’m not who I once was. I’ve changed in so many ways.

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I would know him.  His deep brown eyes, his big, toothless smile.  He loved popcorn, country music, horseshoes, and staying up late to watch John Wayne and Kung-Fu movies.  He was most content reclining in his lawn chair in our backyard, smoking his lucky strikes while listening to the birds songs and the scratchy buzzing of the locusts.

I would know my father.  He is etched in my memory, cut into my heart. I’d recognize his voice, his walk, his whistling.  He’d smell of old spice and Wisk laundry detergent.

My tall, kind, patient, long-suffering, always there till he wasn’t, dad.

I think he would know me. I imagine him saying,

Sweetie, I saw it all.  Your career, your wedding.  I was there when your boys were babies – handsome kids. Will reminds me of myself when I was his age.  I saw them walk across the stage to get their diplomas.  I saw it all.  I’ve watched you all these years, and you have made me so proud. I love you.

Of course he would know me – he’s my dad. He would always know me.

I love you too dad. Miss you. XO

Me and my dad.
Me and my dad.

Originally published June 16, 2014

Secrets revealed: the surprising thing most patients dread

9 out of 10 patients would rather get a shot than step on a scale.

By far the thing most patients dread when going to their doctor’s office is getting weighed. Me included.

Unless you live in a cave as deep as Krubera, you already know –

we lead the world with the most obese individuals, 67% of adults are overweight, and nearly 30% of kids are either obese or overweight.

Yes, there’s an obesity epidemic going on around us and as much as we hate to admit it, the odds are we are part of it.

If you happen to be in the minority with a BMI of 24.9 or less, good job. Keep up the good work and tell me in the comments what has helped you keep your weight ideal.

No one likes to get weighed. But we need to do it. The problem is not going away on its own. We need accountability, education, and encouragement if we are ever going to make serious progress in becoming a healthier nation.

Our bodies weren’t meant to carry so much weight.  You wouldn’t drive your car around with 95 extra gallons of gas in your trunk just in case.  Why that would be a hazard, rob you of good gas mileage, and contribute to extra wear and tear.

The same applies to bodies.

Carrying too much weight is a major risk for heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, and a host of other issues.

Don’t dread the scale.

You don’t have to feel guilty, get angry, or make excuses.

Why not acknowledge the problem and make a choice to do something about it?

Your weight didn’t get to where it is overnight, and it isn’t going away on its own.

Eat less. Move more. Repeat.

It has been and will always be the only thing that works.

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Change: (part three) Action!

Action is a great word. It invokes feelings of anticipation, excitement, and a now we’re finally getting somewhere mindset.

The actors who take their places – The runner poised at the start line – The traveler boarding the plane –  and now you, ready for change.

In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

Stanley Kunitz

Isn’t a relief to finally be doing something? The hardest part is done, here where you are, in action, is where you were meant to be.

You’ve thought about it, planned for it, and now you are living it.

Mixed with the excitement you have a bit of fear and if you’re like me, a lot of urgency.

Ready, set, action!

I found this video on slo-mo cat physics that struck me as a sort of analogy for this action phase. From the startled eyes to the landing on her feet – I loved it.

Change is really a growth process with periods of rapid development,  low dips, high points, and maintenance (which I’ll talk more about in part four).

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Anatole France

I wish life/behavior changes were as easy as a free falling cat landing on its feet.  It just isn’t. That explains why people drop out of college, quit going to the gym, start smoking again, rack up debt, or go back to jail.

Lasting change requires motivation, a sensible plan with attainable goals, and persistence.

You want this, you’re set, now do it!  Don’t worry about later, tomorrow, next year. Keep focused on here, now.

Ready, set, action –  start the process of change.

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If you are working on changing a behavior or habit, listen to this NPR broadcast, Habits: How They Form and How To Break Them.

Need a recap? Go here to part one: why we resist. Be sure to come back next week for the final part four: maintenance.

Change (part two): Preparation

Bob Dylan said there’s nothing so stable as change.  Pre-Dylan philosopher Heraclitus put it this way:

The only thing that is constant is change.

Stable, constant.

Permanent, certain.

Whether you like it and seek it, or hate it and run from it: everything always changes.  Most change is out of our control. Consider the weather, someone else’s attitude, road conditions, home/car repairs, illness, accidents, and layoffs as some of the stuff in life we can’t change.

There is still a great portion of stuff we can.

In part one of this blog series on change I discussed why we resist change and challenged you to think about one area in yourself you’d like to change.  Go back and reread it if you need to.  You should have written down one thing. If your thing is “big” like these –

tagul

break it down into smaller, more defined short term goals.

If your desired change is to “get healthy” (good choice!) what are the smaller steps that lead to good health? Write them down and circle one.

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Start with that. It’s good to have high aspirations, but don’t set the bar too high. Think of change as a muscle.  In order for muscle growth you have to begin with a weight you can actually lift. You add on as tolerated, allowing the muscle to adapt to grow. If you start out high and hard, you will likely get injured or give up.

What it is it that you want to do? Define it. Imagine it. Put it in writing. Organize it. Gather the knowledge you need, enlist help, start equipping yourself with the tools to help you be successful.

changeYou have now entered the action phase of change. I’ll talk more about action in part three.

Preparation is key to successful change. Know what you want, and educate yourself on how to get there. In between here and there establish clear, manageable steps.

Until we meet again for some action, here’s a little Dylan inspiration…

Gonna put my good foot forward and stop being influenced by fools.

Remember. You got this.

Change (part one): Why We Resist

What makes us resist change? Why would we rather stick with a job we hate, stay in an abusive relationship, keep smoking despite illness, and endure unnecessary hardship rather than do something to make it better?

Why do we?

Is it fear of failure? Uncertainty of the unknown? Apathy?

It’s D. All of the above.

Change can be hard.  It can also be easy.  One thing is certain: change is inevitable.

change

If you don’t like something in your life, change it.

If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

Let me give you an example.

I’ve had a chronic pain condition (burning mouth syndrome) for over three years. I am reluctant to blog about it because I don’t see the point in giving something so afflictive any more attention than it deserves.

I hate it. It can be all consuming and at times unbearable. Presently, I have exhausted all management therapies.  I’ve stopped googling it as I can’t bear to read other BMS sufferers lament about how poor their quality of life is.  It makes me feel hopeless.

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Somedays I do crawl up in a ball and go to sleep.  Sleep is sometimes the one thing I can do to escape the pain.

I can give in to hopelessness.

Or,

I can change the way I think.

I can redirect my attention to something else.  Take my focus off the problem and put it somewhere else.

I can do that.

Instead of putting a spotlight on the pain and allowing it to have control of how I live and what I do, I can put it in the background.

Accept, but not empower.

That has been the one thing that has helped me deal.

It has taken me 3 years to figure out I needed to change my thoughts.

What about you?

Is the problem the problem? Or could it be how you think about the problem?

mudpuddle

There are at least two views.

A rut or a grave?

Half empty or half full?

A mountain or a mole hill?

Lemons or lemonade?

A weed or a flower?

All changes, even the ones we crave can be sad. We leave behind something that was a part of us, our life. We knew it well. Kind of like an old shoe.

Remember, If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.

Is there something you need to change?  What’s stopping you?

Today, I only ask that you think about one area of yourself or your life that you need to change.  That’s the second step to change (contemplation).  Pre-contemplation is the first step – you already experienced that when you felt the nudge to read this post.

Think about how your life will be better after you make a change.

Whatever it is you need to change trust me when I say, you got this.

We all need change.

Jim Rohn, American Entrepreneur and motivational speaker said so well,

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Next week: Preparation

7 Tips (plus 1 bonus) To Make Your Wait Times More Productive

Are you good at waiting? Not me. I have been known to abandon my handful of stuff rather than stand in a long line at the grocery store.  Redbox pains me. Even when I reserve online there is always a couple in front of me browsing and contemplating like it was a major decision. C’mon people – this is Redbox.  Aren’t there only like two movies worth seeing?

Thank goodness for Amazon Prime.

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As I write this I am waiting with more than fifty other women (yes I got up and counted) to get a mammogram.  I wait to get it, then wait to have it read, then I usually get called back for more images. Wait again for second reading. Three hours later…I’m home.

I get that waiting is a part of life.  I am prepared for today’s wait.  I can take it. Otherwise, waiting for me is torture.

Restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, drive-through banks, 1-800 customer service, airports, free delivery option, slow Internet, amusement park lines, traffic – we are always waiting for something.  Instead of  complaining or leaving, why not put that wait time to good use?

According to Ask.com,

wait times

My fellow Impatienatos, I give you

7 tips to make your wait time more productive.

  • Play cards. Keep a standard deck of cards handy. This is my secret for making restaurant waiting tolerable. There are so many quick, fun games to play you may be disappointed to see your food finally arrive.
  • Read. A magazine, book, or newspaper. Truly, there is nothing like leafing through the latest issue of Forbes or People. Or reading a chapter of that book you never have time to read. Perfect for airports, doctors office, car shop.
  • Learn a new language. Try Duolingo. You can do this in traffic, in line, really anywhere.

Aprender un nuevo idioma es bueno para el cerebro.

  • Clean out your wallet. Throw out old coupons, organize your cards, and find that loose change at the bottom of your purse.
  • Strike up a conversation. You’re both in the same predicament, why not chitchat and maybe make a new friend?
  • Write.  If I didn’t have to wait, I wouldn’t have written this post. Write a letter, a poem, an essay, or a list of things you need to do.

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  • Relax, breathe and just wait. Finally, an opportunity to do nothing.  Waiting can be a beautiful experience if you think of it as a welcomed time to slow down, put away your stuff and just be present.

I have a busy life and I know I’m impatient.  But waiting doesn’t need to be a chore.  It can be a welcomed change of pace.

Well, my wait here is over. Just under three hours and I almost (remember where I am) enjoyed myself. At the very least, I was productive and I did something good for my health. I am happy to say I got a normal result.

Do you have any suggestions that can help make waiting more tolerable, or productive?

I didn’t forget…here’s the bonus.

Bonus tip: Feed your brain with useless knowledge. This will come in handy for a game show or the next trivia game night.

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8 Zombie Inspired Habits That Lead To Happiness

Zombies are repulsive and terrifying.  They have decaying flesh, disgusting teeth, and no social skills. But they can teach us how to be happy.

Happiness is defined as a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

The zombie has no emotions, so he is neither happy nor unhappy,

he just is.

He takes each day as it comes and doesn’t worry about tomorrow. If I could pick one key to being happy, it would be the zombies way of being fully present in the moment with no worries. If you can make that a habit, you can kiss discontent goodbye.

8 zombie inspired habits that lead to happiness

  • stick together
  • don’t whine, gossip, or say mean things
  • share
  • be patient
  • don’t sweat the small stuff
  • get plenty of exercise
  • adapt to your surroundings
  • don’t be a picky eater

Happiness is always a choice. The only ones who I excuse from not being able to choose happiness are the clinically depressed individuals who are thick in the illness, not yet being treated, not responsive to treatment, or in a state of anhedonia.

Let the little aggravating inconveniences that are bound to happen to you be exactly what they are: small annoyances that are insignificant, not worthy of your time or emotional investment.

You can be unattractive, have rotten teeth, and nothing but the clothes on your back, and still be happy. In pursuit of happiness, look to the zombie.

Just don’t eat anybody.

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3 Ways To Get Noticed

You can write a better than great blog post, but if you only get a handful of readers, are you ok with that? Of course not. The point of blogging is to share your opinions, experiences, and knowledge with the world.

With a potential 3 billion people audience and 150 million bloggers worldwide, getting people to read your content is a challenge.

It starts with an intriguing headline.

Ask a question. Solve a problem. State a claim. Make a list.

Your reader has clicked in, now you need to deliver what you promised.

BAM! Get to the point.

We all scroll and skim. Trim the fat and get to the meat or we are off to the next headline before you can say, Tic-Tac Sir?

Dumb-and-Dumber

Next,

Give me eye candy.

Break up your text with cool-with-attitude pictures and images that invoke my emotions and make me want to stay awhile.

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Then,

Teach me.

Life-hack me. Tell me something I didn’t know. Give me a short cut or a brilliantly unique perspective.

Make me come away with thinking, finally, after so much digital time suck, I have found you.

There you are!
There you are!

Plus!

Give me a bonus.

Something I wasn’t expecting whether it be a tip on free stock photos or a link to Starbucks secret menu.

Most of us bloggers are small satellites in cyberspace.

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To get noticed don’t be run-of-the-mill average. Stand out even once, and your audience will keep coming back for more.

How To Tell The Difference Between a Poser and a Real Friend

Mark Twain
Mark Twain

Do you agree with Mark? So do I. Then why would you or I, or anyone else seek out people who belittle their ambitions?

That’s the five hundred and seven thousand dollar question.  Maybe because you didn’t realize until now that a certain person was making you feel small. There are many passive-aggressive and other damaged individuals in our lives that pose as our friends.

How do you know if you have a poser verses a genuine friend?

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How do you feel after you spend time with this person? Lifted up or crushed down? Posers use you to make themselves feel better.  They don’t care about you because they are the center of the universe. Fake friends say things like,

You always. You never. What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with me?Nothing. Oh, something came up. Of course you can trust me. I won’t tell a soul, cross my heart. Who’s side are you on? I can’t stand her (Oh hi Angela, we were just talking about you! How have you been?!) 

I know you didn’t seek out this person who makes you feel small.  It just happens sometimes. And you certainly don’t deserve to have your nose rubbed in your mistakes or your flaws constantly pointed out. We are all flawed.  We all make mistakes.  We are the same. We all have thoughts that would shame the devil.  No one gets away with I’m better than you attitude cause it ‘aint true.

You are a nice person, and that’s why you haven’t said sayonara to this freak yet. Life is short even when you don’t think it is. Free yourself of toxicity! If it’s family, free yourself emotionally and learn how to deal with these difficult people.

Now seek out people who build you up, who make you feel important. Genuine friends don’t place conditions on your relationship and they definitely don’t pack a knife for stabbing you in the back.  You know the pure of heart because of how you feel when you’re around them. Do you feel loved? Encouraged? Happy? Accepted for who you are?  If you do, then that’s evidence you have got yourself a real friend, and a treasure!

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As the philosopher Balastar Gracián once said, True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

As you travel through life may you know the difference between the impostors and the real deal. And in turn find good fortune, and be blessed.

My Thoughts on Social Media

Everyday I ask my self why do I bother with social media?  Why am I on Twitter? I’m not a rockstar.  Why do I write for LinkedIn? I can’t compete with the influencers. I am an amateur photographer  with less than 20 followers on Instagram and have a no frills WordPress blog. I do everything the gurus tell me to do.

  • Retweet
  • Engage
  • Converse
  • Use hooks
  • Blog regularly
  • Follow back
  • Tweet links, photos, have a Paper.li,
        and so on.
and so on.

Still, I am so small. Pale blue dot kind of small.

I think social media has been bad for my self-esteem.

Unless you are in the camp of the gurus, big star musicians/artists, famous founders/ entrepreneurs of successful companies, high Klout score tweeps- whatever that means…

Social media might be bad for your self esteem too.

How do I know this? Because I just do. I work in psychiatry. A long time ago I was a teenager in public school. I was the tallest girl in my class. No one asked me to the prom.  I’ve raised three kids. I blog. I get self-esteem.

P1130608Do you feel alone, faceless, passed over?  Have you hurt inside when a troll directed an opprobrious comment at you?  Have you felt dejected because your favorite band, artist, author, colleague, influencer never acknowledges, retweets, likes, or follows you?

Maybe it seems like all your followers or connections are eggs, fake celebrities, f-bomb droppers, spammers, or tweeps who don’t speak your language.

I say social media is a self-esteem mutilator and reminds me of high school. A place I tried so hard to fit in, but never could. God, it was brutal.  And life in the digitalsphere can be brutal – if you let it.

So don’t let it.

Get your self-esteem boosts by living in the real world, not the digital one.  Post with the intent to lift up others, and you’ll find yourself lifted too.

Surround yourself with those you love, who love you.  Be in the presence of real people. Get out, enjoy your life. It’s a vapor that is fleeting.

If you find a real friend or connection on social media, consider yourself lucky.  I am lucky.  I now realize social media is what it is and I’ll use it my way: to share nuggets of truth, inspiration, beautiful, fun things with you. If someone doesn’t like what I share, oh well.  I won’t let it crush my spirit.

I won’t pretend to fit in.  Because I don’t.  And I can honestly say, I’m fine with that.