About Skiing the Moguls

Let me preface this by saying, I don’t ski. I’ve never skied.  I frankly don’t do much that could inflict bodily harm or injury on myself through my own volition.  It’s just one of those little rules I try to stick to in life and so far, it’s served me pretty well.

But I am an avid Olympic watcher so that, naturally, makes me an expert on all things winter-sports related. And I’m fascinated by any event that includes moguls.  While I get that it adds to the complexity, I can’t imagine wanting to excel in a sport that is all about obstacles.  I’m sure, however, that the feeling of accomplishment is great.

I’ve been quiet here lately because I’ve been dealing with some moguls of my own.  I keep hoping for a straight, smooth ride where I can enjoy the scenery going by and feel the wind in my hair…but I’ve been twisting, turning, dodging, and crashing instead.

One way or another, though, I’ll get down the mountain.  

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About Going to Bed with Jimmy Fallon (and a Smile)

Jimmy Fallon took over the reins of The Tonight Show last night.  At first, I was sure I would not be able to stay up and watch because I hadn’t slept the night before but hooray for a second night of insomnia!

I have an unreasonable love for Jimmy Fallon.  I think he is a hoot and I love the creativity and fun he brings to whatever he does.  But last night I was reminded that I also appreciate the man that he seems to be.  The show opened with him genuinely thanking those who came before him, those who journeyed with him, and those who stood by him today.  It wasn’t a sappy outpouring but seemed to reflect his gratitude for all that he has been blessed with and his knowledge that he hadn’t gotten to this place, this show, this pinnacle of television success, without the support of so many people.

And then he made a promise to work hard every day to ensure that when you watch The Tonight Show, you go to bed with a smile on your face.

That really struck me and I so appreciate the sentiment.  How many nights do you climb into bed and replay the events of the day on an endless loop?  And how many days is that loop full of the things that went wrong, the situations you wished you’d handled differently, the words you wish you’d said or wished you could take back?  How many nights does the ever-growing to do list swirl in your mind, along with your inner critic trying to convince you that there is not enough time, there aren’t enough resource, that YOU aren’t enough?

But what if you didn’t let that happen?  What if you wrote out your to do list and got it out of your head?  And what if you told your inner critic to quit it and you turned off the endless loop playing in your head?  What if, instead, you simply thought of this quote I love from Ralph Waldo Emerson, watched a little bit of The Tonight Show, and went to bed with a smile?

Source:  www.electricfairground.com

 
What if?

Pain Makes You Beautiful?

Back in my college radio days, there was a band called The Judybats that my friends and I loved.  Every time they came to town, we were there – partly because we loved them and probably partly because I fancied the bass player, just a little bit. One of their songs was called, “Pain Makes You Beautiful”.

This song has been playing in my head for the last couple weeks.  I’ve mentioned before that I deal with chronic pain issues but quite honestly, I don’t let that define who I am.  Most the time, I can manage the pain and very few are the wiser as to what I am dealing with.  But for some reason, February usually wreaks havoc with my body and this year seems to be no exception.

And so that song is on a constantly loop in my brain.  But here’s the thing.  Pain doesn’t make you beautiful.

Pain makes you cranky – that irritating relative who overstays her welcome with whom subtle hints to take a hike don’t work.  It can make you feel less and left behind, when you can’t do everything your friends’ are doing or when you need to cancel plans to take care of yourself.  (Side note:  real friends who love you?  They get it.)

It makes you reevaluate your day. It makes you tentative.  What can I do? What shouldn’t I do?  What will lessen it?  What will increase it?  If I walk over there, I might slip on the ice.  But if I go over there, I have to walk through the snow and fall.

Pain makes you exhausted.  Your sleep is obviously impacted but there is another, often overlooked and misunderstood component. Interestingly, people with chronic pain conditions often don’t present with the same symptoms another might in the doctor’s office:  high blood pressure, increased pulse rate, etc.  Instead, because pain is a consistent state, the body works exceptionally hard to maintain stasis.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone to the doctor for a pain issue and she’s been amazed by my blood pressure (which can also make them think you are drug seeking but that is an entirely different story.)  Mustering the energy to get through the day can be a challenge.  Quite honestly, all I have wanted to do lately is eat fattening foods and laze around (and for the most part, that’s been my default.)

The list of what pain does to you physically, psychologically, emotionally, and even spiritually can go on and on.  But from my perspective, there is more than one way to look at pain:

It can make you creative.  Activities you take for granted when your pain is managed need workarounds when it’s not and, for some tasks, you need to be very creative and find what works without significantly increasing pain.  It makes you try things you’ve never tried before – for me, that’s been vitamins and supplements, and different types of exercise.  I’ve got a million tricks in my arsenal these days.

Pain, especially chronic pain, can make you empathetic.  When someone tells me their back went out or they hurt themselves some other way, I understand in a way others might not.  And I can readily share my resources and workarounds.  I can share my experience and my thoughts on pain. Everyone’s situation is different but I like to hope that my experience and attitude can impact others positively.

But most of all, it can make you strong.  It can make you resilient.  I believe that each day you get through, fighting an invisible foe that no one else sees (and that some don’t believe exists), is a good day – proving that you are more than your diagnosis, that you are so much more than your pain.

*And before you jump down my throat:  Yes, I realize that there are different kinds of pain.  I get that everyone is different.  I understand that everyone experiences pain differently and has different ways of coping; my intent is not to minimize that for anyone but instead to present my story and hope that serves as encouragement for someone who is struggling today.  

About Birthdays

It’s my birthday.  I’ll leave it up to you to guess which one – careful!

Birthdays are a big deal to me.

It’s the one day that is uniquely yours, a celebration of you being on this earth.  It’s a running joke with my friends that I really prefer to celebrate my birth MONTH (truer words were never written) but it’s all part of that.  I haven’t had the joy of some other landmark celebrations that others have:  wedding festivities, anniversaries, housewarmings, those sorts of things that cause folks to rally around and shower you with gifts, cake, fun and frivolity…so I hold my birthday sacred.

Some of the gals I grew up with and our hunky waiter…fun at its finest!

Admittedly, my high expectations haven’t always panned out.  Usually, the best laid plans are thwarted by the snow that inevitably falls in February in the northeast portion of our great nation.  (Seriously, INEVITABLY. For my 40th, I even pushed plans back until March…and it snowed.  In March. At the beach.)

We fought through it and strolled the boardwalk and basked in the sun on the deck 
in the cold anyway, because that’s how we roll.

 

This year, my dearest friend is stubbornly holding the winter weather at bay long enough for me to get to her for the weekend.  And I simply can’t wait.

Time with those you love who love you right back is a balm for the tired, world-weary soul.

About Dropping the Ball

I’ve been crazy busy at work lately.  I had some hard deadlines and felt like monkey wrenches were thrown in at every turn to seriously derail my progress.  My biggest fear throughout, however, was dropping the ball on another project.

Today, I found out where it dropped.

I knew it would.  Sometimes it is inevitable, you know?  When I started catching up on the things that had to be set aside while I was putting out fires, I realized a deadline was missed.

My first reaction was honestly to freak out.  I felt a pit in my stomach.  My jaw clenched and my thoughts started racing.

How many times has something gone wrong – either within or out of your control – that set you into a downward spiral?  Even a minor error can easily be the first step to letting your inner critic remind you of ALL the other ways you’ve “messed up” in the recent past…or, best yet, the not so recent past. You know – that time four years ago when  you forgot to cancel a subscription to something and ended up paying full price for it.  Or six years ago, when you didn’t respond in time and got shut out of a conference you were required to attend for work.  Before you know it, a litany of mistakes and personal struggles are brought to the forefront of your mind in living color.  Suddenly, that molehill becomes a mountain.  Fortunately, there’s an inner sherpa in every one of us who knows the way down.

I took a deep breath and started to work through some important questions that can really be applied to many similar situations:

What can I do to fix this?  I couldn’t unmiss the deadline but I could still submit the document and hope it would still be accepted.  Next, I made a plan of how to approach and help those impacted if it’s not.

Is the world going to come to an end?  No.  (Some might act like it will but really? No.)

Will this matter in three months?  Six months?  A year?  No, no, and certainly not (except that I’ll be sure not to miss it a second time.)

I could spend the rest of my day, my week, agonizing over the fact that I made an error.  Or I can move on and deal with the next thing on my list.  Guess which one I’m choosing?