Embracing 50: age is just an illusion

Embracing 50: age is just an illusion

 

Age is an illusion

Or is it? As a freshman in high school, I thought the seniors were old…and by seniors, I meant the 17 and 18-year-olds!   I would panic when a senior even looked at me and my young self, as the age of 18 was technically an adult! Furthermore, someone in their 20’s was fricken ancient, which made anyone near 50 a senior citizen!  Needless to say, back then, I  was also that woman who was not going to get married, nor was I going to have children. I was going to complete my Ph.D. and take care of the world.

Ah, best-laid plans, right?

My 20’s

This decade was an extension of my teens, albeit while attending college. Looking back, I can’t imagine how I would have prospered if I had actually studied more and partied less. I honestly don’t know where the energy came from, as all I did was worked, studied and went out. Repeat. And repeat again.

The transition to adult employment was less tragic than I would have imagined. It turns out I was pretty good at what I went to school for (who would have thought). And amazingly, I could live easily it up at night and work all day! I moved into my first apartment, purchased a pack of smokes and a six pack and consumed both while sitting in front of my giangantuaous platform tv watching Beverly Hills 90210 (I didn’t smoke, just like the independence). Suddenly, I was a somewhat self-respecting grownup who paid my own bills and was fast realizing that there was more to the world than going out and being social.

My 30’s

As my friends began to settle down, I was still in denial that settling down was for me. I surrounded myself with others who loved to live life to the fullest and enjoy the world. I worked, worked out (less as I began to work more) and went out.  It was during one of those nights out that I picked up the phone and left a message for a long lost crush of mine (yes, it was one of THOSE calls). We all have that “one” that never leaves our mind or our heart. And after dating on and off since we were 16, we made the decision to move forward…together.

This was a challenge for this wild and independent girl. Now I was sharing a bathroom with a boy!  lol And we were making plans for a future…together (gasp)! Thank the Lord that he was patient and understanding because anyone who knows me also understands that I am not the easiest person to be around.

We got a puppy…together…it was the ultimate commitment in my book. That is until he proposed.

My Mid 30’s

Chad and I were married at the same time that some of our friends were getting divorced. It always seemed as though I was in a different life stage than those around me, which was probably true, since I was the one to do things my way. About the time that Chad was settling into his profession, I decided to go to graduate school, still thinking I would pursue my Ph.D. I did get my Master’s; however, I stopped there, as our priorities changed when we had our first son at the age of 39.

For the midwest, 39 is really pretty old to be having a baby. So not only did we endure the whole “Advanced maternal age” comments within my chart, my body was pretty shocked at what I was asking it to do.  This pregnancy knocked me on my ass and bedrest soon took me out of the world, but it was all worth it.

And this woman who wasn’t going to have kids? She became a stay at home mom.

The 40’s

So, if 39 is old to have a baby, our prayers were answered when we had our second son at 40. Truth be told, this decade is a blur. Two babies, four dogs, three moves to two different states and three different homes. Multiple surgeries, multiple injuries, hormone changes, weight changes…blah, blah, blah.

My 40’s were dedicated to my failing body and raising my boys. For someone who was never going to have a family, I can’t imagine my life any other way. I don’t believe we have kids to teach them the ways of the world, I believe we are given children so they can teach us. Watching the world through my children’s eyes is simultaneously amazing and terrifying. These boys reminded me there is more to the world than what I was focusing on, and thank God for that.

This is 50

50 is a time of rebirth for me. The boys are getting older and more active, just like their mom. 50 is when I give myself permission to be selfish and focus on me. It’s time to get back to basics by making my wellness a priority and learning to say no to what doesn’t feel good. It’s a time of discovery and soul searching. If you need help on this journey, please see this previous blog post I wrote.

For me, it’s a time for reflection and asking God where He wants me. After seeing so many of my family members and friends leave too soon, I vow to never take a birthday for granted. Where I used to cry on my birthdays, now I embrace the opportunity for another day with my loved ones. So, thank you, Lord, for your work in me.  I am excited to see where you lead me next as I step out of my comfort zones. After all, God has never left me through this adventure and I trust He knows the next chapter of my story.

I just need to stop trying to take control of the journey.

 

 

Wellness…there is no magic pill…or is there?

Wellness…there is no magic pill…or is there?

Wellness

Girlfriend (or guyfriend),

It took time to put on weight. Getting out of shape didn’t occur overnight, furthermore, you didn’t become a couch potato within a week. I know you want to get in shape quickly, however that probably isn’t going to happen.

Why?

Because there is no magic pill.

However, there are some things that can help. Ready?  Here are my recommendations for improving your overall wellness.

Water

THIS IS ESSENTIAL! Too many people substitute sugary drinks for water. Doing this sends you on a crazy emotional and energy roller coaster! For a short time, you have energy burst; followed by the crash, which sends you into a cycle of doing it all over again. Your sugar levels spike, you become full of cravings and you want to sleep while drinking more sugar!

Stop the madness! Drink water for improved overall wellness. I always tell my customers to aim for 1/2 their body weight in ounces per day. Add Crystal Light Pure, lemons, or cucumbers. Just drink your water! By doing this, you will decrease your hunger, minimize headaches and actually feel more energized!

Sleep

Ask virtually anyone you know how they sleep and I can pretty much guarantee that they will tell you they don’t. Furthermore, few people make it a priority. With to-do lists that stretch five miles long, we tend to stay up later and get up earlier. But what happens in between those hours?

Nothing.

Nada.

We can’t turn our mind off. Every little anxious thought comes to mind and we lie there wondering how to complete everything on our to-do list. If you need help turning off those old tapes, check out a previous blog post I wrote. We think about the project we didn’t complete or the upcoming opportunity. We put together our grocery list and try to figure out when we will fit in time to even see our spouse.

Lack of sleep creates added stress and increases our level of cortisol. An unfriendly little hormone that likes to hang around our middle. try setting a schedule and sticking to it, meaning go to bed and get up at the same times every day. You may also try Melatonin, another little hormone that tends to decline with each decade and a little bit help the sleepies come quicker.

Move

Get

off

your

ass.

Remember going to gym class in school? Why did they have that class? It wasn’t to torture us (although I am convinced that some of my gym teachers enjoyed that). They were trying to instill the importance of movement and exercise for our overall wellness. We have had this ingrained in our heads since we were in kindergarten, yet somewhere on our journey, working out became a chore.

Make yourself a priority. Studies show that walking around the block can raise your endorphins. Step out into the sunlight and get some Vitamin D. Take a Zumba class, ride a bike, or walk your dog. Do something. Exercise is critical for your emotional and physical health and will help you decrease stress levels, thus decreasing your cortisol levels. An added benefit is that movement will help you sleep better.

You are what you eat

I remember this tag line from my childhood. At that time I thought it was bunk and looking back, I would have been Nacho Cheese Doritos and Diet Mountain Dew! It took me many years to realize the truth behind this tagline though. When I eat like crap, I feel like crap and have minimal energy. What you put into your body is critical and will determine how your body looks and feels.

I am still not the best nutritional eater and I rely on supplements. Again, you have to do your homework and know what is in those supplements. I look for non-gmo, no artificial fillers, and a reputable company. Today, there are so many options, it is often difficult to know where to start. If you need help, go here and look around to see some viable and bioavailable options.

Accountability

Share your goals with your friends and family. Writing them down and declaring them helps to hold you accountable. Opening yourself up to others also provides opportunities for them to support you. Remember, you are not on this journey alone, nor should you try to improve your overall wellness on your own.

We are stronger together.

Own it

There is absolutely nothing in this blog that you have not already been told. You know what you need to do and all of the external influence and motivation will not help you if you are not doing something for yourself. Improved wellness begins with one little change and builds confidence and self-love. When that one little change gets comfortable, add another.

There is no magic pill, however, stay tuned for something that may be the next best thing!

 

Motivation is intrinsic, or is it?

Motivation is intrinsic, or is it?

Resolutions

December typically draws out a feeling of regret from failed resolutions. Humor me and take a moment to look back upon 2018 and assess your goals. Now, be honest with yourself…did you meet them? Why or why not? For me,  this year was tough. I did NOT meet my business goals. Furthermore, here’s the hard truth. I did not meet my business goals as a direct result of not working hard enough. Ultimately, I wasn’t focused enough on what I wanted.

Ouch.

But that’s the truth. It wasn’t the lack of someone’s help or the result of my team not working. Consequently, it was me not doing what I needed to do to make things happen. So let me ask you again, did you meet your 2018 goals?

Motivation

On a positive side, I did meet some wellness goals, so that’s a win. However, I digress.

In truth, I used to wonder why people weren’t internally motivated. Naively, I also used to think that I could externally motivate people to make the changes they needed to. However, now I know better. Today, I realize that I can’t change anyone any more than someone else can make changes for me. That really sucks.

It sucks because I have many amazing ideas. I am chock full of motivation and inspiration. Furthermore, I may believe in you more than you believe in you, probably because I am not bogged down by the same old tapes that you are repeating.  I see through the bullshit to who you can be if you only trusted yourself to make it happen. If only I could do the same thing with myself.

Intrinsic

When you were learning to walk, you didn’t quit trying every time you fell down.  You got right back up and tried again (I love this analogy). That desire to move on two legs was intrinsic…it came from within. Somewhere in your life, you began to doubt yourself and those doubts are what is keeping you from reaching for more.

Tell those self-doubts to fuck off. You were created on purpose and you are NOT an accident. You have a purpose. What are you passionate about? Where are you when you feel the most alive? That’s what you need to do. Trust me, you aren’t too old and it isn’t too late. Dig deep, say some prayers and go for it. God wouldn’t put it in your heart if He didn’t want you to fulfill that dream.

Goals

It will still take work. You have heard the old cliche, that it begins with a dream. That’s true…however after that dream comes goals. Goals are brought to life when they are written down, so take a moment and free write what you would do if you weren’t limited by your own self-beliefs or current circumstances.

Now, write a workable time frame next to those goals. Be honest with yourself about what you can achieve and feel free to break the goals down.

Take a look at what you have done. You, my friend, have just created a plan for your dream to come to fruition. That takes courage and many people do not even get this far in their planning.

Go make it happen and let me know when you hit your first goal!

5 Easy Steps to #beabetteryou

5 Easy Steps to #beabetteryou

#beabetteryou

As am empowerer, I am often asked how to lose weight, feel better, and/or get in shape. Honestly, the answer is different for everyone. Subsequently, there is no quick fix, magic cure or secret formula. Furthermore, the answer most likely isn’t in what you are doing, rather, it is more likely what you are NOT doing.

Wtf? That doesn’t make any sense, right? Just hang with me here and see where I am going with this.

OVERSCHEDULED

Look at your calendar. Immediately stop what you are doing and look when your next full open hour is.

For many of you, it is late tonight, after the kids are in bed and you have cleaned up the house after a long day. Even more of you may say this weekend after a scheduled event, while others are not open until next Tuesday night at 7:00.

How does looking at your calendar make you feel? Happy? Anxious? Annoyed? Ultimately, the answer to feeling better isn’t to schedule more for others, rather, it is to schedule LESS.  Finally, it is in doing less for others and above all, scheduling more time for you.

5 steps to #BEABETTERYOU

  1. Make yourself a priority. Women have the most difficult time with this one. We are raised to serve others and for that reason, it became the norm to be scheduled every minute of the day. STOP the madness! Repeat after me: you cannot give from an empty cup(read more about this in a previous blog post). Subsequently, if you are constantly doing for others, you will have nothing left in reserves. You have to fill up you in order to help others!
  2. Learn to say NO. Why does telling someone no feel so bad? It isn’t personal, it’s essential. Ultimately, you teach others how to treat yourself and when you can’t learn to say no, and eventually, people will ask you for everything. Sound familiar? Saying no to a few things just means that you will have enough energy and focus for the activities you choose to say yes to.
  3. Sleep. Don’t laugh, I really mean this. Go to bed at the same time every evening and awaken at the same time every day. If you listen to your body, it will tell you how much sleep you need. Your natural circadian rhythms will guide you when you are in tune with them. Hence, sleep deprivation leads to increased stress, increased cortisone levels (think increased belly fat), and increased crankiness and furthermore, none of these situations create a pleasant person. Undeniably, that project will still be there tomorrow morning, and you will certainly have a fresh pair of eyes and a clear mind to see it for what it is.
  4. Increase your water intake. Unfortunately, that coffee doesn’t count as water, nor does that wine. Above all, water is essential to maintain hydration levels, improve digestion and can keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. While in contrast, too little water keeps you feeling sluggish and may give you headaches. Ideally, you should aim for ½ of your body weight in ounces per day.
  5. Put yourself on your schedule (in pen). Open your calendar again and schedule time at the gym. Make a nail appointment. Get a massage or try a float at the local Float Center. Get back to nature with Fido for a nice long walk. The fresh air will work wonders on your tired body and soul.

Let it Go

The world will go on without your hand in everything…and people will still like you and ask you to participate in activities. Saying no doesn’t make you less of a servant. It creates a strong foundation for which you can serve.

“In today’s rush, we all think too much – seek too much – and forget about the joy of just being: – Eckhart Tolle

Don’t be an asshole…try compassion

Don’t be an asshole…try compassion

Are you an Asshole?

Wow, that’s a brutal opener, isn’t it? The question stands though, are you an asshole?

An appropriate answer could go something like this: “well, I guess it depends upon who you ask”. And while there may be some truth to that, it’s unfortunate. Human nature has proven again and again that we tend to lash out at those closest to us, at those we love the most.  The social worker in me says that we do this because we feel safe with them and can let our guard down. The wife and mother in me thinks that is a cop out. Shouldn’t we model compassion for all?

Compassion

When engaging with an asshole, the last thing we want to use is compassion. I get it. One riled up person often creates another riled up and pissed off person. Click To TweetHowever, what if you could diffuse the situation? Often times, being aware of our own behavior can assist in de-escalating the increasing anger of others…hence the expression “killing them with kindness”.

However, what happens when compassion doesn’t work?

That’s when we check our boundaries.

Boundaries

This is where it gets tricky. We want to be compassionate without becoming a figurative or literal “punching bag” and that isn’t always an easy thing to do. For many of us, we need to remove said asshole from our life before we realize how toxic the situation truly was. It is only at that time that we can look back and recognize said person for what they are…and thank God that we had the fortitude to remove said person or ourselves from the situation.

As adults, this is difficult to do, therefore, imagine the pressure our children go through. It can be difficult to empower our children to set appropriate boundaries when they witness adults being assholes to one another. This is where it becomes our responsibility to role model both compassion and setting boundaries.

Role Modeling

I have two boys who view the world drastically different. One of my boys doesn’t personalize anythings while one of my sons is very sensitive and tends to personalize the behavior of others, often resulting in relationship issues with his peers. He is compassionate and wants to resolve any conflicts passively. While I commend this approach, it also sets him up to become the product of ridicule from his classmates and we talk about establishing appropriate boundaries. Essentially we have discussed the following:

  • Show compassion, we don’t know what others are experiencing and perhaps he is acting out.
  • Ignore him. Focus on YOU and don’t allow him to have any control over your time at school.
  • Talk to the teacher about the situation.
  • Punch him…while this is not politically correct, if my son has demonstrated the above coping skills and things have yet to change for him, where else can he take this?

My point is this: it is difficult to teach our children how to deal with assholes when they watch everything we are doing. Let’s try a different approach, shall we?  How about we show compassion to others when we want to become angry and lash out. We need to give ourselves time outs to cool off and demonstrate appropriate interactions with others.

After all, when I call it a day, I want to believe in my heart that I wasn’t an asshole…nor did I punch anyone.

Thoughts?

 

Let your voice empower

Let your voice empower

 

What’s in a story?

Everyone has a story to tell, however, too many of us silence the screams before the words are recognized or released. We downplay the significance of our experiences and tend to minimize the emotions as we smother them. We fail to see that our story is what makes us who we are, that each of our chapters is creating a beautiful tale to be shared with others…that perhaps our story will empower and give hope to someone else who is experiencing something similar.

We deny ourselves our voice when we deny our story. When we let the silence separate us from others, we inadvertently create voids rather than implementing building blocks. We create distance from those who could lift us back up. Unfortunately, with each building block, the walls become higher and our ability to reach out to others fades, leaving us feeling alone.

Lift one another up

What if we lifted one another up by releasing that voice and sharing our story? If we derived hope from one another? What if by reading someone’s story we learned how they overcame adversity and conquered their fears?

Wouldn’t that give you hope also? How empowering for the storyteller to know that their experiences are helping someone else while the benefactor gleens a spark of hope.

Hope for a better future. A chance to move forward and tear down those walls, brick by brick and word by word. With each release, a bit of light comes in and with each ray of light, there is a larger bit of hope. This is what we are doing. We are sharing stories and sharing hope.

Empower

Empowerment occurs when we use our voice. We speak up for yourself and we speak for others. Empowerment isn’t just a word, it holds the ability to provide hope for others.  There is a lot of power in that word when you use it wisely.

How will you empower someone today?

Do you have an empowering story to tell?  Send me an email and let’s chat about getting your story out for others to read!