Torn between two loves

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The familiar blahs have set in again—post mini vacation—although a bit delayed this time. Maybe because I jumped right back into life with work commitments and birthdays to plan for and my online writers’ workshop to keep up with—and I didn’t have time to think: to pull out the mental snapshots of hugging my seven-year-old great niece and nephews who I haven’t seen for nearly a year. Or to recall the smell of Minnesota when the leaves begin to change and the evening air takes on a chill. But now that these memories have begun to wreak havoc on my senses, it’s as if they exist through a power of their own and I am unable to stop them. And even though I’m home now, I feel a little displaced, a little lonely. Like fragments of my heart stayed behind. I shouldn’t be surprised; it happens every time. Yet now I wonder: could I ever move back?

Do you ever feel torn between two loves?

The fountain of youth

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Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life
is to keep your mind young. ~ Henry Ford

Who would’ve guessed that Henry Ford would not only design the Model T, but also discover the fountain of youth? For years I thought I’d know it all when I hit the mid-century mark. Funny, but it seems there’s no end to what I’m learning. And that, my friends, is the secret to staying young. Because when we stop learning, we essentially stagnate. My acupuncturist recently told me I possess a ‘youthful’ energy. What a compliment, and one I ascribe to my lifestyle—of working out and practicing yoga, taking naps when necessary, participating in writing workshops, devouring books, volunteering and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Laughter is another element that I credit for my youthful energy and which sounds good at any age. Oh, and remember: accessorize with a smile.

How do you remain youthful?

Image courtesy of Keattikorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When you make a mistake: Adulting 101

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Adulting it

This past week crushed my spirit. Happy doesn’t come close to my relief at bidding it adieu and ushering in better days: Saturday and Sunday. It seems I couldn’t do anything right—opened mouth, inserted foot; committed a faux pas (or three) at work and pulled out the comparison card once or twice and came up lacking each time. Good advice from my boss: We all are going to make mistakes, and stuff is going to happen. It’s how we respond and move forward that counts. Whether our individual path is fraught with detours or includes a few scenic routes thrown in, there are no guarantees as to what our journey will look like—which is no doubt a good thing. And life is not a competition, nor a race to the finish line. After all, everyone will reach it at one time or another. However, I do think ‘adulting’ deserves more credit than it gets, like an award. Especially on Mondays.

What’s your advice for adulting it?

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Making a challenge work for you (or working through the blahs)

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It’s no surprise that I love a good challenge. I even attempt to make them harder—like the 30/30 yoga challenge I completed three-and-a-half-years ago. It didn’t just entail completing 30 classes in 30 days. I also omitted specific foods and beverages from my diet. Recently I signed up for another 30/30 and, to date, I’ve completed day six of the same regimen. But I’ve run into a few struggles with the blahs—understandably. After all, it wouldn’t be called a challenge if it didn’t test our mettle. That’s why it’s important to practice mindfulness in other areas; i.e., steal naps when your body needs to recharge, refuse to stress out about household chores, do something for your health (take a yoga or kickboxing class, book a massage or acupuncture treatment). My goal during this challenge is to strengthen my mind, body and spirit to equip me for several upcoming travel and writing commitments—with my blahs but a distant memory.

What’s the latest challenge you’ve successfully conquered?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Take it or leave it: my advice, that is

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Take it or leave it

An acquaintance recently shared how they had doled out relationship advice to a friend of theirs. I’m not proud to say I reacted with an eye roll and audible scoff, which I followed with an incredulous, You? This person became defensive in response as they crossed their arms and stared me down: They appreciated my input, thank you very much. Immediately I mentally smacked myself and acknowledged I’m probably the last person to pass out suggestions on any topic because I’m the last person to heed my own advice. It’s easier said than done, comes to mind, as well as, Do as I say, not as I do. Why is it that we oftentimes think we’re experts on another person’s situation but, when it comes to our own, we feel powerless to change things? I always come back to fear—of failure, regrets. What if we take our own advice occasionally? Maybe start with something small and go from there.

What advice would you like to test out?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The #1 way to change your life

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Following a recent set of immunotherapy injections I receive weekly, I experienced a minor adverse reaction. This involved lightheadedness and elevated blood pressure, which resulted in extra TLC from clinic staff and revised treatment plan. Afterward, I second-guessed my reaction and feared the emergency medical attention bordered on overkill. I’m sure we’ve all done it: second-guessed words spoken (which can’t be retracted), choices made that are irreversible. A post on social media reads: You’re always one decision away from a totally different life. Not that it matters if we choose vanilla over chocolate ice cream, but whether we respond in love rather than hate, fellowship versus isolation. Or we decide to ‘put up or shut up’ and accept the consequences. It’s easy to blame extenuating circumstances because it removes our own culpability, however, I think it’s time to quit dwelling on the what if’s and determine our own destiny. We still might second-guess ourselves, but we could also change our lives.

What life-changing decision will you make today?

Mirror, mirror: who’s the fairest of them all?

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Back up five-and-a-half years: During my internship with a local beauty pub, I wrote on myriad topics—particularly those that challenge the ‘seasoned’ ladies—sagging skin, spider veins, etc. Oftentimes I joke that, although I can’t stop the aging process, I plan to fight it—kicking and screaming—the entire way. With that pursuit in mind, in addition to adopting a healthier lifestyle over the past several years, I’ve met with various professionals to discuss my ‘age-defying’ options. When I recently learned how the Chinese practice of acupuncture and cupping can help promote facial rejuvenation, as well as total-body benefits, I signed on for the treatments. Granted, I believe beauty is only skin deep and our characters bear witness to the beauty within. Yet I’m excited about becoming the best version of me—on the outside yes, but also my overall health and wellness. After all, this is the only body that’s going to carry for me the next half century.

How important is total health to you?

Image courtesy of podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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