Life isn’t easy. We all say it, but I’d never fully appreciated the weight of it until a recent conversation with a friend. After years of struggling to stay afloat financially and emotionally, she’d relocated, lost her livelihood, and encountered life-changing upheaval that would make even the strongest of us crumble under the devastation. Her stamina was faltering. Her bank account dwindled down to nothing and she was losing hope – fast. Despite courageous attempts to change her circumstances and tremendous sacrifices, she felt defeated and out of options. Standing on the rocky shore of her existence after years of fighting to survive, she was wondering out loud if her ship would ever come in. Continue reading
I remember taking a college course years ago, during which my very caring but objective professor explained that children have evolved from being assets to investments. “Think about it,” I recall her saying. “In the past, children worked on the family farm or contributed to the overall functioning of the household. Now, we invest in our children. We work to support them. We build our schedules around them, train them, sacrifice our time and resources for them – all in preparation for sending them out into the world, away from the family.” In essence, she was agreeing with Jennifer Senior, an author who recently said in her book, All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, that “children [have gone] from being our employees to our bosses.” Continue reading
Unemployment, mounting bills, concern about the future – with Thanksgiving around the corner, you may be wondering if you have anything to be thankful for. Despite the challenges of living in these tough times, it’s important to remember – you do.
A few days ago, my daughter was listening to music. Passing by her room, I stopped dead in my tracks at the sound of some comforting lyrics by Jessie J (someone I’d never heard of before). The profound phrase that wafted through the crack in the door was surprising in its simplicity: It’s ok not to be ok.
Ask any number of people to summarize their childhood, and you’ll hear a variety of descriptions. Our childhoods are laced with humor and heartbreak, tragedy and joy, failure and triumph – all in varying degrees. Some of our parents gave their all, though limited emotionally, financially or physically. Other parents had much to give but thought only of themselves and neglected, abandoned or abused us instead. Some of us possessed an innate tenacity and self-assurance while others harbored self-doubt and timidity. Some of us thrived, some crumbled, and some are still trying to come to terms with who we are and how we feel about the men and women who raised or didn’t raise us. Whatever our backgrounds and tendencies, though, I think our journeys contained certain commonalities; what we wanted wasn’t always what we needed, and sometimes what we needed wasn’t at all what we received. Continue reading
This week, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. One friend from high school announced that she was following her passion and moving to India to teach yoga. Another quit her ho-hum job, packed up her life in a New York minute and moved to New England to open a bed & breakfast (where she plans to perfect the art of the gourmet morning meal for her guests and long, dreamy walks along the beach for herself). Three more friends sent their kids off to prestigious colleges, another gushed about seeing his fourth Broadway show in one month, and yet another posted photos from a swank, Venetian costume party – IN Venice. And while I poured over the photos of yet another friend’s fitness competition (Yep, she lost 40 pounds AND managed to become a hard body in the process) it occurred to me: I had developed a nagging case of FOMO. Continue reading
I recently had an opportunity to see “King Lear” at Boscobel’s Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. As I took in a breathtaking sunset over the cliffs beyond the river – and brother turned against brother; sister murdered sister; and children and their father acted rashly, abusively and cruelly to each other – I considered the fact that Shakespeare’s play is as significant now as it was in his day. From the cases we read about in the news to the injustices we suffer at the hands of our own so-called relatives, it’s appropriate to consider the truism, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” The saying, of course, implies an unspoken wish that we could choose our relatives. But I have to wonder, maybe it’s a good thing that we can’t. Continue reading
Words. They can build confidence or implant doubt, heal a relationship or destroy one, generate interest or suppress it in a mere phrase. Words express our deepest feelings, sell our skills and ideas, and set plans in motion every day. Words are the basis of communication and expression, but we often don’t even think about what we’re really saying. We often forget the simple fact that words have power. I read a terrific blog post by Seth Godin today. In it, he describes how the words we choose greatly affect how we and our ideas are perceived by others. I’d like to take this idea a step further, though; I think the words we use also influence the way we perceive ourselves.
In the midst of the challenges and chaos of our day to day existence, it’s easy to forget that there’s a world of opportunity out there. Sure, we dream of alternate careers, travel, starting a new business, moving to that distant place we’ve always dreamed about, learning to play the piano. We even imagine how rewarding it would be, but at the end of the day we often file these cravings away in folders labeled Someday, Pipe Dreams or Impossible. The reality is, many of our dreams don’t have to be “out there” at all. They’re not only possible, they’re attainable with some planning and work. And the only things stopping us are two little words…. “I can’t.” Continue reading
There are times in life when everything seems to come together in perfect harmony. But there are often times when everything seems to be a mess – Nothing feels quite right, bad luck seems to follow you everywhere, and the background music of your life is an insistent cacophony of grating dissonance that announces, very clearly, “Your life isn’t working.” We’ve all been there, but have you ever wondered how you got there and why? Continue reading