Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to have some special people in my life do some very nice, unexpected things for me. And wouldn’t you know it, I was all out of thank-you cards. In my 20s, I think the only time I sent a thank you note was after a job interview. Thankfully, I realized how important it is to be thoughtful. I also learned that a hand-written thank you card not only acknowledges the person to whom you are thankful to; it also acknowledges how special you are. Just taking the time to buy and write them shows that you are grateful and acknowledge the giving of others and opens you up to receiving more. I know that’s waxing a little philosophical, but I couldn’t help but think it when I finally bought three sets of stunning cards at Papyrus. There’s something to be said about going into the store, which I did. Here are a few you can check out online:
While it may take more time and effort than simply shooting someone an email or text, I think it’s worth it. In fact, I’m looking forward to when I’ll have to go out and buy some more.
Word to the wise: Bring more gratitude into your life by buying some really nice thank you cards – and sending them. If you’ve ever received one, you know what I mean. It makes my day and it will make someone else’s, too.
Have you written any thank you cards recently? Who were you thanking and why? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
It’s New Year’s Eve and no doubt, many of us are thinking about our resolutions for 2015. It’s no surprise that losing weight tops all of the lists and surveys. As I got to thinking of resolutions of my own (although I stopped calling them “resolutions” years ago) I felt like I had to dig deeper. This year needed to be different. In years past, I’d write a list of goals and generally accomplish them. Last year, I flew by the seat of my pants and just had a few thoughts. One of which, was getting back into and committing to my yoga practice. Without writing it down, I was able to do that and I’m so glad I did. During the last class of this year, one of my favorite instructors imparted her wisdom regarding intentions for the New Year. She said we could make affirmations about what we want in our lives and that even if we made only one – that would be enough. I wondered if there was only one thing that I wanted in my life in 2015 and I had to affirm it, what would it be? I had an immediate idea but wanted to make sure I chose just the right words (yes, I am a writer and probably a bit of a nut). So I went online and found some nifty affirmations. I really enjoyed quite a few of these: https://www.pinterest.com/christieinge/positive-affirmations-for-women/ I actually found one that said what I wanted to affirm in a way that I wanted to say it:
I deserve relationships that thrive.
Here are a few others I thought were worthwhile:
I am willing to have my own back.
I am patient with myself and worthy of all the waiting.
I choose to let go of the OLD so that I can finally start making progress with the NEW path I want to take in my life.
In my 20s, I always celebrated the New Year in a big way and wrote down resolutions that I actually sometimes kept. I think if you’re a young woman today, it helps to think positively and visualize what you see for yourself in the New Year and years ahead. Of course, a great party to celebrate your affirmations doesn’t hurt either! Wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year. Cheers!
Word to the wise: One positive affirmation is worth 10 resolutions. As we say in the ad biz, keep it simple. And if it starts to work for you, why not try a few more?
What is your affirmation for 2015? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
Thanks to ScarJo for this profound bit of wisdom. No wonder she’s one of Barbara Walter’s “10 Most Fascinating People of 2014.” Although, I think she was quoting someone else. Needless to say, when I heard it, it hit me hard. I started to think about all the times of loss and gain in my life, including some of the hardest losses in my 20s (like the death of my best friend). But for all I lost, and gained, the balance of life usually seemed to equal everything out. Take this year for example. I lost my job at the end of July. Clearly, losses on that front included steady income, stability, health insurance, paid vacation and retirement benefits. Wow. That’s quite a few hits. But what have I gained? Well, let’s see. There’d be more freedom, time to re-evaluate what I want to be when I grow up (even though I already am), meeting new people and getting out in the world, fear of the unknown (which might not be the worst thing for a planner like me) and knowing who I can, and can’t count on. Another thing that comes to mind is all the times I’ve been in crappy relationships and finally decided to call it quits. Although I cried a lot and missed people who weren’t really all that great, I gained my self-respect, dignity and the knowledge that I deserved better. Loss does seem to be an easier thing to reflect on. Weighing the pros and cons of gain is harder. Who doesn’t feel good when they gain something? So I thought back and remembered how happy I was when I bought my first condo on my own. Woo hoo! That was clearly a big gain, by any standards. But with becoming a homeowner, I was now tied to a mortgage, making and paying for all my own repairs and coughing up property taxes twice a year. However, I am a homeowner and I love it. As this year comes to a close, let me give it up to ScarJo for helping me to think profoundly and deeply about where I am today and how I got here. I hope her borrowed words of wisdom help you as well.
Word to the wise: Now is a great time to reflect on what you’ve lost and gained in 2014 and throughout your life. Yes, it’s the holidays and boy, talk about a time filled with both ends of the spectrum. All the better to analyze and be wise.
What have you lost or gained and which do you think is easier and why? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
I was having lunch with a very mature 23-year old the other day and as humbling as it was, she seemed to know more than me about many things. I think it was Aristotle who said, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” I was fascinated how, at such a young age, she knew how old she wanted to be when she got married, that she wanted to have children and that she will easily be able to balance her career with family. She also wants to live on the beach in a beautiful home. She described how she could see herself on the balcony and could feel the ocean breeze at night. She said she saw all of this for herself and is confident it will happen. And strangely enough, I believed her. I’ve heard over the years about visualization, that you have to picture something you want in your mind and that you will get it.I always thought of this as mumbo jumbo – I am a bit of a cynic. But the more she spoke, the less sure I became of my stance on this subject. She said that if I couldn’t visualize something, it meant I wasn’t ready for it. Damn, that girl was smart. She got me to really start thinking about what I want. Some of us have the extreme fortune, like my 23-year old friend, of knowing early on how to pave the path to their dreams and desires. But even if you don’t, there’s no harm in trying. So if there’s something you think you want, try to see it. And if you can, then maybe you’re ready for it.
Word to the wise: It doesn’t hurt to visualize. All that’s required is you and your mind, which turns out, truly is a powerful thing. Here’s a little something to help you get started: http://www.qualified-lifecoach.com/Visualization.html
What do you think about visualization? Has it ever worked for you? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
I really wish I had begun my yoga practice much earlier than I did. I think it would have helped to keep me more focused and grounded through my terrible 20s. Because as hard as my life was back then, I would have realized that yoga is way harder. For one thing, it requires commitment and concentration. It also requires practice. And it can be frustrating as hell – especially if you’re not naturally flexible and can’t do the splits while standing on the palms of your hand. But the benefits, and there are many, outweigh the challenges. One of the main things I like about yoga is that there’s no loud music. In fact, as much as I love it, I find that no music is even better. There’s also something to be said for silence and the sound of your own breathing. I think one of the most important elements, and one that will get you into it for life, is finding a good instructor and the type of class you like. For me, that’s a Vinyasa (Ashtanga) flow class, which is a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. The class I take is 90 minutes of constant movement. Yet it focuses on finding peace in the poses. As one of my instructors says, “The pose should feel like a happy puppy.” Many of us laugh when we hear this because we feel more like tortured puppies, depending on what we’re doing. But maybe one day, after many more years of practice, I’ll have that experience. Perhaps if I had started in my 20s…
Word to the wise: “Warning: Yoga has been known to cause health and happiness.” For a few more words of wisdom about yoga, check out https://www.pinterest.com/pedrovalmeida/yoga-quotes/. Oh and, Namaste.
Have you ever tried yoga? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
In my teens and 20s, I was a notorious guard let-downer. At work, in love, and with every new person I met. I was often told that I wore my heart on my sleeve. While being open to all experiences was at many times enriching and joyful, it was also hurtful and disappointing when someone stomped on my heart or betrayed my trust. When you’re young, it could be argued that this is a right of passage. And eventually, you’ll learn to keep your guard up more. Or maybe always, depending on how many times you’ve been through the ringer by the time you hit 30. Some people have developed strategies Sun Tzu would commend to protect themselves. Although even he might argue that the walls we make to keep other people out often wind up keeping us locked inside. But the thing is, as I much as try not to, try so hard not to be that girl who lets her guard down, I still do. Because when it gets right down to it, would I rather be the person with the fortress around my heart or the one who lets her guard down from time to time to discover new friendships, deeper intimacy, the possibility of true of love and, of course, a world of hurt. Yin and yang, as it were. I will say that if you’ve just been stomped on, it does help to keep plenty of Haagen-Dazs in the house. But going for a walk or reading a book can work just as well. So can a conversation with a good friend – even though you know they’ll tell you that that’s what you get for wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Word to the wise: It’s good to stand watch, but sometimes you have to listen to your heart. While it may not always be right, at least you know you have one.
What do you think about letting your guard down? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
This thought came to me as I recently left Urban Outfitters with an item that I knew would give me immeasurable pleasure – a portable record player. When I saw it in the window, it called to me with its bright orange case and light tan handle. Plus, it played albums and 45s. But, I didn’t know how much it cost. All I could think was, please, don’t let it be more than $100. I nervously waited in line, hoping this precious possession would soon be mine. When I got to the register I knew one way or another, it was now or never. I asked the clerk, “How much?” She gave me the answer I was looking for: “$99.” I practically skipped out of the store. When I got home, I grabbed some 45s and was delighted to hear a sound I hadn’t heard in years – the needle scratching against the vinyl. And that’s when I started to think about happiness and how little money it takes to truly make one’s self or others happy. Another recent example is New Year’s Eve. I remember in my 20s we’d go out and blow way more than $100 for what usually turned out be an evening that was worth way less. New Year’s Day was even better because there was the requisite hangover, worn like a badge of honor. This year, I stayed home, broke out a bottle of champagne and had a new neighbor over for some frozen appetizers. Cost: about $30. And we had a great time, sipping and nibbling while watching the ball go down in NYC at 9 p.m. And then there’s one thing I’ve been wanting for years and finally went to amazon.com to buy – a chess set. Cost: $29. Happiness quotient when I receive it: Priceless. Wait, that’s the MasterCard commercial. So take a moment and think about how you can make yourself or someone you love happy. Big expensive stuff is great, if you can afford it, but what do you really need?
Word to the wise: Bling isn’t always the thing. Achieving happiness is. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but $30 in your pocket could be everyone’s. Spend wisely and you’ll never have to worry about buyer’s remorse.
Can you think of anything you bought or did for $100 that made you happy? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”