May I Offer a Little Advice?

Yesterday I spoke with a friend. Her family member is ill (which I learned from Facebook) so I wanted to check in. Turns out she has a lot on her plate, plus her boyfriend broke up with her.

Lunch with friends: chocolate fondue - Not exactly a salad
My harsh response began with the letter F and ended with HIM!  I repeated this seven times. Every time she began a rebuttal with, "but...." so I proceeded to list ways that she is fantastic and she deserves better.

I need to do the same for myself. Take responsibility and focus on being happier and healthier. If you are reading this, you should know that you deserve the same.

For me specifically, this means focusing on my health and on the people who matter to me and taking the same advice I give my loved ones:
  • "Dad, you should go to sleep earlier." 
  • "Husband, turn off the TV and get fresh air."
  • "C, be more empathetic - remember not everyone is as fortunate as you."
  • "N, clean your room!"
These are things I should say more to myself:

  • No, I don't need the instant gratification of seven cookies... or thirds on dinner. 
  • Yes, even if it is only a mile or two, I should go for a run or a walk. 
  • Avoid things - or people - that tempt you into doing things you shouldn't do. 
  • Plan better and stick with it.
Most of all - don't take on unnecessary stress.  Pinterest makes all of these items look easy. None of them are - for me.

Case and point: Many years ago when my kids were both in elementary school, I was about to go to kickboxing. The phone rang - I should have just let it ring, prioritizing my exercise. But, no, I saw it was a class mom and I answered the phone to be polite. It was about something that seemed so very important at the time but from my 2015 lens is silly. The school delayed a first grade concert for a third time because of weather, so they finally called it off. The parent on the other end of the phone was incensed and lured me into the mix. So I listened to her rant, then I tried to take action, even though my own son was relieved because he doesn't like performing.  If he was happy that they canceled it, what made me get involved?

Many times I looked back at that moment as a pivotal - but very telling - mistake. A blip in my lifetime that symbolizes so much.

Last night I saw a teacher from Van Holten school. I was running, but stopped to say hello because we are friends. She informed me that Bridgewater teachers are working without a contract. I stayed and listened, but ran home. I as I ran, I realized that I had let go of so much anxiety by not following school politics anymore. Of course, this "anxiety hole" has been replaced by other stresses: work, college planning and many others. It was so freeing knowing that I wouldn't be getting involved this time.

Maybe I'm learning. But I can do more: I can be negative about changes at work, about my commute, about my messy house, or I can be positive spin or make a smart change. No one is going to do that for me.

The Borg. Image from:
http://www.startrek.com/database_article/borg-cube
I share this, not because I want to take on the task of fixing other people's problems, but to let you know that you are not alone. You too may use this advice. You too have choices. Things that are bad for me often have an unbreakable pull - like a magnetic field, a black hole or the re-tractor beam in a Star Wars film. I give in because I'm powerless. I eat the chocolate, savoring it's dark taste, taking a second bite, and before I know it I've eaten it all. I buy another pair of shoes despite the fact that I more shoes than space, watch another episode of Grey's Anatomy - or worse - drink another glass of wine (after my second or third), I get lured into someone's drama that isn't my business. You do these sorts of things, too.

What are your strategies to resist? They may not work for me, but I'd love to hear them as I develop my own. Just remembering that we live on earth - with a certain amount of free will. This is not the Borg. Don't get assimilated.

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