On Love Day

This is for everyone, coupled or single, who isn’t experiencing this day of “love” in perfect hallmark fashion. I've been there many times.  It's ironic, maybe even horrible that on a day that we're supposed to be our happiest and feeling loved the most, some of us won't. I've felt the most alone I've ever felt on this day--coupled and single alike. I've also felt deep love on this day, though I've definitely experienced even deeper love on a random Tuesday.

On this day of “love” remember that you are always loved by someone. 

On this day of “love” know that there’s no perfect way to show or experience it. 

Celebrate it alone. Celebrate it asynchronously with the one you love. Don’t celebrate it. 

Just like love, there no one right way this day should look. 

Love isn't on a timeline.

Love isn't felt only on one day.

Love is felt when it's felt. In the way it's felt.

Love isn't convenient. (Thank God for that)

The #1 Lesson I Learned This Year

A few months ago I wrote a post about the 11 Important Lessons I Learned This Year.    Each of the lessons really deserved more than the 16 words I gave the longest one so I started to unpack them. If you know me at all, you know that rather than thinking linearly, I think in circles, swirls and stars. Given this predilection, I decided to just write about the ones I had something to say more about when I had more to say.

After a summer filled with illness I decided I had more to say about one life lesson in particular.  In fact, I'd say it's the #1 lesson I learned this year.

#1 Today is the only one you have.

New? No. Trite? Maybe. But still.

Do you live as if today is the only one?

I know I certainly haven't. In fact I've wasted at least 50 days of my life laying around, immobilized by fears, eating potato chips and watching Meg Ryan movies.

I wasted at least 1,000 days in horribly negative situations or with negative people. I lived in a city that wasn't right for 2,920 days too long before finally finding the courage--or maybe just desperation--to move across the country to a city where I could breathe myself in fully. If you stretched out all the days I've wasted being worried, stressed out by negative situations, or even just wasting my time it'd probably run across the length of the United States. I used to regret all that time I spent being upset and not enjoying the moment. But then I realized that being upset about being upset was just silly. And, it's just going to ruin another day.

This summer I contracted Whooping Cough. It struck so hard and fast that I spent maybe a couple of hours out of bed each day for the entire month of July. I soon became bored with watching movies and so I just sat in silence for hours each day. Although the realization of the importance of each day had struck in June I still wasn't really living it. Somewhere near the end of July I started living each day as if it were the only day I had. Since then I've created many small miracles in my life:

  • I wrote more in two months than I have in a year.
  • I changed my spending habits so that I only spent money on things I absolutely love.
  • I spoke my mind even when I didn't know how it would turn out.
  • I stopped dating someone I really cared for because they only brought drama and heartache.
  • I booked a trip to Seattle and Portland--my first real vacation in two years.
  • I started taking better care of myself and am even learning to cook.

Life hasn't been all bon bons and trips to paris but I have enjoyed every day. In spite of being sick or not knowing when I might land my next client I found a part of every day that was spectacular. I can truly say that I've enjoyed the journey.

How about you?

Do you live as if today were the only one you have?

If you did, what might you do?

11 Important Lessons I Learned This Year

June 2011 really sucked. Sorry. I'm doing cold immersion into this blog post just the way it happened to me. Three endings happened in rapid fire within 2 weeks leaving my life unrecognizable. It was a simply awful time in my life. Usually I might try to pass of this kind of life suckiness with a bright "I'm fine!" but there was just no getting around this particular cluster. There were times I wished I could have jumped in a time machine that would take me to one year in the future. But since that technology hasn't been invented yet I lived through it...one day at a time.

As I look back a year later ultimately my life is 10x better because of those endings and the new beginnings I created as a result. There were many insights that came to life. Thought I'd share 'em with you just in case they might be helpful to you one day. Or, this day.

1. The more control you try to assert the less you actually have.

2. Drama is a luxury. One you can't afford. Especially Other People's Drama.

3. Trying to control yourself in a relationship will kill it. Let be what it is.

4. When three separate people urge caution about a person--believe them.

5. You're always worth way more than you think. Ask for more.

6. It always takes much longer than you think. 8 times as long. Factoid from: Deep Survival

7. Self-respect isn't just important. It's the only thing.

8. Conversations that start after 11pm never end well. Don't start 'em.

9. Things just work or they just don't. Forcing something is just sheer folly.

10. Being gifted is a gift. Embrace your natural talents. This is how you'll be successful.

11. Today is the only one you have.

On Self-Respect

"Self respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth." Joan Didion

A while back, I had a conversation with a friend who said she had trouble loving herself just as she is. Well, she liked most of herself but not some parts of it. This makes me so sad. Not loving yourself in the very moment you're standing is just no way to go through life. While you may love everything about yourself except for your thighs that's still a problem. Um, because they're a part of you and you're a whole person. It's not like you can just take them off when you want to right? This is a clear lack of self-respect.

Unfortunately my friend is not alone.  Many people I suspect feel this way. I'll be happy with myself when I'm x lbs. I'll truly accept and love myself when I meet the person of my dreams. I'll be lovable when I have that killer designer wardrobe. I'll feel ready to make a big move when my revenue reaches x. It's so easy to fall prey to the someday illusion.

Admit it. You've done it right? I know I have. The thing is it's just an illusion. Once you get there you'll discover another plateau while staring off at a new mountain to climb.

The answer is not waiting until you're perfect to be present to your present, to love yourself, to have happiness. Appreciate this moment exactly as you are and exactly as things are.

Perfection is just a perception problem. That's right I said it. Your perception is off. You're not seeing the world through the right lens. Rather than rose colored lens' you're seeing it through more like a murky shade of brown. Perfection is in the moment, not in some far off artificial landmark you create.

It breaks my heart to hear someone hating on themselves. It breaks your heart when you do it too. Every time you resist this moment of you a little tear develops and weakens you. Please don't break my heart or yours.

If all of this hasn't convinced you yet, consider this:

When your parents had you they didn't think, "This baby kinda sucks but wow he or she will really be great when they're an adult. They'll be perfect when they stop pooping and eating and crying." They thought: Look at this perfect, beautiful creature we just brought into this world. He (or she) is perfect in this moment. All shriveled up, crap all over you, screeching so loud you could break some dogs ears.

Remember that the next time you want to hate on yourself or the current moment. Again, I call on the wise Joan Didion:

"To have the sense of one's intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent."

Don't wait to respect yourself. Self-respect is the foundation for success and happiness. Do it today. Actually do it right now in this moment. Just appreciate who you are and what you have in the moment you find yourself reading this little ditty.

I'll wait.

There.

Doesn't that feel much better?

Spelling Revenge

Last weekend I did something daring. Something scary.

I participated in a spelling bee.

It was the first time since second grade I had entered one. Being a word nerd and having somewhat of a sixth sense with spelling, I  was so excited for my first spelling bee. I even wore my favorite shirt. And...I was out in the second round on minute. Not the measurement of time, the measurement of size.  Oh, the English language is vexing.
 
I never spelled in public again.

Or wore that shirt. Fearing it to be my spelling kryptonite, I threw it away. 
 
This weekend I jumped up on stage at an adult spelling bee and did something I swore I'd never do again. Submit myself to public humiliation by mis-spelling words.  It may have been liquid courage that I gained from that half glass of wine I drank before it. Or, that I had no idea why I was jumping on stage except that my friend Terry Cabeen, the MC, asked for 4 people to join him. Nonetheless, there I was in the limelight. Competing in a lightning round with the winner being crowned for spelling the most words correct in 90 seconds. And I won.

Now I get to have a delicious, decadent dinner at this place.

I'm not sure the reason for this post is much more than a big old victory lap for my second grade loss but since this is a blog, I feel compelled to have a moral. Here it is.

Let go of the past.

Be here now.

And? Always jump on stage whenever they ask for volunteers. You never know what you might win.