One of the things I talk about pretty often is not believing in Happy Endings. While you may be aghast at the thought…let me shed some light on my thinking and why I’ve chosen to be a Student 4 Life.
I don’t believe in happy endings.
First, fairytale happy endings are not happy endings at all. All fairytale happy endings just stop when the going got good or hit a high point. It’s a happy moment, but not a happy ending. Life goes on and it will not always be a picturesque scene with the perfectly cued music in the background. Cinderella had to learn how to live with Prince Charming and manage a castle, after all.
Second, I believe that our spirit goes on forever…therefore there is no ending. I am an eternal being that will never reach the end so therefore I’m not waiting for my happy ending…I better figure it out right now. If I can’t be happy right now then what’s the point? This fosters the belief that it’s ok to be happy today and not save it for a tomorrow that might never come.
Third and last, I always want to be becoming or arriving. I don’t want to become or arrive because that denotes an ending. I want to enjoy the journey not just the destination. Tim Ferris talks about mini-retirements in his book, The 4-Hour WorkWeek because he doesn’t want to arrive at retirement. He wants to enjoy life in the here and now. I like that idea.
If yesterday is gone and can only be used as a learning tool and you can’t touch a tomorrow, what does that leave us?
If you aren’t happy today, then what’s the point? There is something to be grateful for and happy about every single day, period. Even when going through hard times, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for and happy about. (Yes, I’m pretty sure that was a PollyAnna moment right there.)
Because of all of this I would like to dub myself a Student 4 Life. I always want to be striving for and learning new things. I want to be in a constant state of becoming. At this point in my life I believe I’ve shed the caterpillar part of me and have become a butterfly, but my journey doesn’t stop there.
I want to add more color to my wings.
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I’m Not That SpecialStan Lee – “Well, you just think about it! You just sit down or walk around and probably have a big, dumb look on your face and you wonder, “What would I like to read? What kind of character would interest me?” I’m asked a lot what tips I would give to other writers. The truth is: I don’t know any tips. I can’t think of a single tip. Now I’ve been writing long enough to have met an awful lot of writers who sit down at their computer or whatever and say, “OK, now I’m going to write the story for young ladies, aged 17 to 26.” I don’t have a clue how to do that. I don’t know what other people want. So the only thing I can say when answering that question is: Please write stories that you think are great. Write to please yourself. That’s how I’ve always done it – not because I’m so desperate to please other people, but because I feel very genuinely that if I really love a story, then there must be a few other people out there who would love it, too. I’m not that special.”I took this excerpt from (believe it or not) my December’s Costco Connection monthly magazine. It is honestly one of my favorite magazines for articles and business tips! You never know where you’ll find the inspiration you are looking for and didn’t know you needed.As you know, I absolutely love movies and I have collected all of the Avengers, Captain America’s, Thor’s and now recently Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man and Stan Lee is the creator of them all! How wicked cool is that? When I saw that Costco had conducted an interview with him I was really excited to learn more about his story, but what he said above truly touched me.I write this blog not just to hear myself talk, but because I’m guessing that there are others out there like me who need a repetitive dose of positivity in their lives. I’m not that special. I write because I truly enjoy the process. I write because it feels like I’m leaving a legacy of my thoughts and way of thinking. I have looked forward every week to sitting down and putting my words in print for the world to see…unapologetically and crazy authentic.
How do you create positivity in your life?
Gumption, Bandaids, Slapstick, “Wash, Rinse, Repeat”.The first thing you need is GUMPTION. By definition, gumption means courage and confidence. This is not only faith in yourself that you are capable of hard things, but a continuous amount of courage and confidence in one’s self to accomplish the things you set out to do.The second thing is a lot of BANDAIDS. My husband and I help coach the local high school mountain bike team and I always tell the kids that it is not a matter of if you will crash, it is only a matter of when. From newbies to pros, everyone crashes. If you can accept this fact before your journey even begins and keep bandaids at the ready, it makes the falls more tolerable.The third thing is SLAPSTICK. Now this is the one that I am not as good at as the other three…I admit it. You must be able to laugh at yourself or at the situation. You need to solidly believe in horseplay. Give yourself permission to laugh and be happy. We were meant to be happy! Don’t forget that once you find that happiness to share it with others. And as James Altucher advises: If you’re having a bad day, just chalk it up to a bad day, don’t make any major decisions during that time and wait for it to pass.The fourth and last tip is to WASH, RINSE, AND REPEAT. Repetitiveness is the key to learning anything. Practice makes permanent. You must practice positivity. If you don’t even try it out you’ve already lost the battle with negativity. I promise that if you practice baby steps that you will soon be walking, running, and then sprinting with positivity.I admit that my thought process is not within the “norm” of what you may be used to hearing, but it is uniquely and authentically me. I’m guessing that a few other people might relate, love it, and be able to incorporate these steps into their lives for the good of themselves and ultimately the good of those around you.
Practice Makes PermanentIn the end, I believe that Stan Lee IS special. I believe that YOU are special. We are all unique and the only ones here on earth that can fulfill our potential to the best of our ability. My goal is to have you believe that you are capable of more than what you may think. Collect your gumption, a box of bandaids, your sense of humor and practice it over and over again!
A Letter to My GramBeing Sad and MadOur name for her was “Gram”. She was my mother’s mother who was born September 3rd, 1926 and adopted from an orphanage in Los Angeles when she was 5 years old. Her adoption records are sealed and so we might never know who her birth parents were, but the couple that adopted her were ever so kind and she grew up with loving parents in a beautiful home with lots of opportunities.She married, had four children, two girls and then two boys with a big gap between the girls and boys. For example, my uncle was in kindergarten when I was born and he had to bring something to class that started with the letter ‘B’. He brought me because I was a baby! She had a love for horses, dogs, and cats and made the best snickerdoodles you ever tasted. She always had cars that were fast and usually red even though she didn’t drive them fast. She didn’t have a lot to say, but I loved it when she laughed.Her house was always neat as a pin. We visited her more often as children and she always came to our house for Christmas bringing McDonald’s gift certificates for all of us. I have pictures of her at a few special occasions such as my 8th grade graduation and when I was first married. I remember meeting her for lunch at the Smorgy or The Depot in Oroville, CA for lunch.She was not what I would call a playful grandma like my mother is now for her grandchildren. In truth, it is because my Gram was not very involved that I believe my mother has been so determined to be in her grandchildren’s lives and is doing an incredible job…she makes me exhausted! Being a new Gram myself, I appreciate her efforts even more.This last Sunday morning I received news that my Gram had passed away. I was surprised that I was sad. I was more surprised that I was mad. Over the last 15 or so years, my Gram had alienated every single one of her family members and any friends she may have had.I am mostly sad over the years that were already lost. I am mad that she let this happen. I am confused because I simply don’t understand it all. I’ve sent birthday cards every year, emailing her on her birthday as well. I sent Christmas cards, all with no response.There will not be a funeral, no one would come. She pre-paid to be cremated and have her ashes spread over the fields where some wild horses roam around the place she last lived.In the wake of her passing the last few days, I have thought much about the circumstances that brought her to such a sad place. How awful it must have been to lead such a small and selfish life. It also got me thinking about all the good she brought into this world.She was an excellent mother to her children. She sewed beautiful dresses for my mom and aunt. She took them on camping trips and supported them in all they did. My aunt had excellent advice to remember her how she was and not who she became. On that note, I add a story she wrote to her granddaughters when I was 12 years old. It shows how much she cared in those days to be a wonderful Gram.She was my last living grandparent. I am her first grandchild and oldest granddaughter. I am here because she lived. I am grateful for her love of life in her younger years. I am grateful for her quiet moments. I am grateful for the afghan she crocheted for me. I am grateful for a couple pieces of jewelry she thought to give me about 20 years ago. I am grateful for her talent in the kitchen and what I hope I have inherited of her talent for storytelling.Thank you for being patient as I write this on my blog this week. I promise to have some more uplifting thoughts next week, but such as in life, there are ups and downs. Please take a moment after reading my Gram’s little story, The Day My Dolls Danced, and get in touch with someone you haven’t talked to in much too long. You know who it is…please do it. Leave a mark…no, leave a legacy.May 13, 1983To my sweet granddaughters: Lauri, Holly, Heather & Sarah.In this, the Springtime of your lives, may you still enjoy a fairytale.Much love from your “Gram”
THE DAY MY DOLLS DANCEDIt had been a long and busy day but the house sparkled and the clothes were washed and put away. There was an apple pie fresh from the oven, warm and spicy, for special dessert that evening. There was some time left before I needed to start dinner so I decided to take a little rest. I went into my bedroom, took off my shoes, closed the drapes and lay down on the bed.As I always do before closing my eyes, I looked at each of my little dolls, 14 in all, that stood on the shelf above my vanity. There was another larger doll that stood on the vanity. They were all dressed elegantly in long gowns of pink, blue, green, yellow, and lavender and I had given each of them a name; Jasmine from Japan, Heidi from Holland, my Irish girl Colleen, Cherie from France, Ann from Israel. Joining them were Leah, Honey, April, Sarah, Shirley, Lauri, Heather, Sunshine, Holly and my tall Southern Belle – Elaine. They were my little girls, dainty and sweet and beautiful.My eyelids grew heavy and just as I was drifting off to sleep I heard faint tapping sounds coming from where my dolls stood on the shelf. To my astonishment, the tiny ladies had come to life and are taking off their shoes! I wondered if perhaps I were dreaming but I lay very still and waited to see what would happen next.After each girl had removed her shoes she placed them side-by-side in the exact place that she stood on the shelf. Then one-by-one they tiptoed to the ends of the shelf and let themselves down the turned posts on either side of the mirror to the vanity below. Each girl in turn went to a small cart of silk flowers that stood on the table, selected a flower that matched the color of her gown, and laid it at the feet of Elaine, as though she were their queen. Elaine smiled and nodded to each lady in acceptance of their tributes.After their acknowledgement to their queen, the girls became carefree and playful, darting among the bottles of perfume and playing hide-and-seek with one another. While they were occupied with their games, I very quietly turned on my radio to music that seemed to match their bright spirits. They were startled and seemed almost fearful at the sound. Then, quite suddenly, my vanity became their stage and I was about to become an audience of one at a Ballet of the Dolls!Their tiny bodies moved with charm and grace and their joy at dancing was reflected in the sweetness of their faces. I was completely absorbed in the performance when suddenly, outside, a dog barked rudely. The dancing ended abruptly and the little ladies glanced my way, but I stayed very still. I was hoping they would decide it was safe to continue to dance, but the spell was broken. They scurried to put everything back into proper order. One-by-one, they returned to their Queen Elaine, curtsied and picked up the flowers and put them back in the cart, then made their way up the turned posts to the shelf. Each girl returned to her own pair of shoes, slipped them on, smoothed her gown and hair, smiled sweetly at their queen, then became motionless once again.Quietly I turned off the radio and marveled at the sight I had just been privileged to see, and hope that sometime I will see them come to life and play and dance on my vanity once again. Perhaps I had just dreamed the whole interlude. It would be quite fantastic to see dolls come to life and dance on the vanity. It must have been my imagination working overtime.Several days passed and one evening as I prepared for bed, I noticed a tiny object lying on my vanity. I picked it up and discovered that it was a shoe! I was very excited because I realized that I hadn’t been dreaming and it wasn’t my imagination and that my little ladies did really come to life after all! I laid the tiny shoe carefully on the shelf above, turned off the light and went to bed. I wondered if, perhaps, they would dance this night.The next day was house-cleaning time and as I reached up to dust the shelf where my girls stood, the little shoe was not there! I carefully picked up each doll and to my amazement, their shoes were all on their feet! They had indeed come to life and danced again while I slept. I felt a little sad that I hadn’t seem them. However, my ladies had known that once I had watched them dance and play, for as I turned to dust my radio, there, lying on the top was a lovely silk flower, a gift from my little girls!
Embracing (ALL OF) YouI’m a ball-baby, a boob, a serious cryer. I cry when I’m happy and full of love. I cry when I watch movies. I cry when little things have added up over time and it brings a sweet release that only crying can achieve. I cry when I’m sad and I cry when I’m mad. I am a cryer.I know I’ve written about my sweet husband a bunch, but he made me see my crying in a different way.Several years ago (more than I want to count, actually) I was crying over something or other and throughout my whole life I had fought being a cryer. In the midst of my frustration and more crying I told my hubby, “I’m sorry, I’m going to learn how to control this, I will figure this out and I won’t be such a boob”. What he said changed not only my view about my crying, but in every other aspect of my life.He said, “Sweetheart, I’ve known you for a long time and I believe this is a part of you that I don’t think is going to change. I think that you are a cryer and that’s ok.” WHAT??? It’s ok to I cry?I had always seen my crying as a negative that I needed to change to a positive. The thought had never crossed my mind that it was simply a part of who I was and that it was perfectly fine to embrace that as a part of me and MOVE ON.Since that time I have never worried about my crying. It has even made me view other people’s crying in a whole new light. Here’s an example: My daughter was having a particularly hard day yesterday and she stopped by my work for a “cry session”. She apologized for half a second and I just told her to let it all out. She did. She knew I was a cryer and she knew that I would understand.Being a cryer and embracing that part of me has made me empathetic to others and has made me see other parts of my life that I viewed as negative, as just a part of who I am today. I love that!There are still things that I want to do, accomplish, and be. But this one moment in my life has changed my view of who I am and has led me to accept things about myself that are just fine, thank you very much. 🙂What can you embrace in yourself starting right now as being a part of what makes you uniquely you? Recognize it, own it, embrace you. Change what you want, keep what you want, but embracing you is a beautiful step towards freedom. Love to you, my tribe of Lemonader’s!