Tag Archives: self-image

Alone But Not Lonely

I have been thinking a lot about being single at 57 years of age, lately.  Without going into unnecessary detail, I was briefly married a long time ago to an unpleasant woman.  I have never felt compelled to take a chance on repeating that mistake.  That is why I find myself single well after the half-century mark.

Here’s the thing:  I am not bothered by being alone.  I have always been comfortable with my own company.  I believe that this has fostered in me a certain self-sufficiency.  I answer to no schedule but that which I choose, and I find a lot of satisfaction in that.   I would probably make a really good hermit, as long as my cave had WiFi.

Frankly at my age, it’s hard to imagine having someone around all the time.  I have work, church, and friends, so I’m not planning on changing any time soon.   I am, as Mary Chapin Carpenter sang, alone but not lonely.

Solitude need not be isolation.

What Motivates You?

I strenuously exercise on a regular basis because I want to be healthy.  I eat vegan because I don’t want animals to suffer on my behalf.  I decrappify  because I want less stuff cluttering up my house and attention.  I do 90 percent of the repairs on my house to save money and frankly, because I can.  So there you have it, the motivations for four of the big ticket items in my life.

Here’s the thing:  motivation is all at once personal and situation-specific.  At the end of the day, each of us must identify that which we value and how much we value it.  For example, if you want to lose weight but aren’t willing to move a bit more and eat a bit less, you like the idea of losing weight but you aren’t motivated enough to do the necessary work.  I lost count of the number of times someone has told me they’d love to drop a few pounds, but when I suggest easy ways to start, they balk.

They are not motivated so much as they are wishful.  Well guess what, there ain’t no genie in a magic lamp here.

It isn’t just weight loss, either.  Anything that can or should matter to you (and I leave it to you to make that distinction) is subject to motivation.  And, that which is subject to motivation is also subject to its loss.  So how do you find and maintain motivation?  Here is what works for me: keep the reason I started something in mind (I keep my “before” photo on my fridge to remind myself why I exercise), I participate in online accountability groups for support and feedback, I view challenges (like home repairs) as opportunities not limitations, and I don’t let setbacks define my level of success (speed bumps are not the end of the road).

So, what motivates you?

A bear chasing a cyclis-that's motivation!

       Motivation isn’t always this obvious-luckily!

Control Your Christmas Chaos

This is a tough time of the year to pursue a simpler lifestyle.  We are inundated at every turn with commercialism and its subtle guilt tripping (if we don’t buy Grammie the most expensive widget we don’t love her).  Whether you celebrate Christmas as I do, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or something else, don’t fall into this trap.  Simplify instead with these “don’t” tips.

Don’t over-extend your commitments.  Instead spend some time considering what you are reasonably capable of doing, establish some self-imposed limits, and honor them.

Don’t give in to overeating.  Instead practice portion control, treat yourself to a few goodies instead of a whole platter, and don’t forget to exercise, even if it’s just going for a daily walk.

Don’t put on a brave face for others.  If you have a hard time finding joy during the holidays, embrace what you are feeling but don’t dwell on your hard emotions to the point where they disable you.  Instead seek out like-minded people at Blue Christmas services or support groups.

Don’t overspend. Create a list and a budget and stay within it.  Those who love you will appreciate being remembered by you, regardless of how much you spend on them.

And finally, don’t forget to be good to yourself in all things and at all times.

Make America Kind Again

There is a photo I recently reposted on Facebook.  It shows two little girls walking down a lane, one with her arm over the other’s shoulder. Superimposed on this black and white photo is “Make America Kind Again”.  You know, I’ve been thinking about that.

Regrettably on more than one occasion I have posted something snarky, typically regarding politics.  Local and national, I’ve snarked them all.  But with the extraordinary vitriol coming out of the Presidential race and many “down ballot” races, the level of nastiness has reached new heights…or lows, depending on your perspective.  And it’s not just politics, it’s also racism and immigration, poor versus wealthy, us versus them, and a plethora of other issues.  The common denominator is plain old meanness.

The people who are supposed to be leaders are not leading, they often are exacerbating the problem. Here’s the thing: for every one of the meanies out there, there are thousands of us who aren’t mean, or who don’t want to be but got swept up in the hysteria.  So, here is my radical idea:

Be kind.

Seriously, be kind.  I challenge everyone who reads this to do at least one kind act per day.  Do it in secret or post it online, but be kind at least once per day.  Buy a stranger a cup of coffee.  Tip a waitperson double.  Volunteer somewhere.  You see where I’m going with this, use your imagination.  If we all begin to act in kindness, maybe we can counter the meanness out there.

It’s worth a try, isn’t it?

Love is greater than hate.

Love is greater than hate.

The Best You Can Do

Sometimes, the best you can do, is the best you can do, and that’s generally good.  But sometimes the best you can do still isn’t going to be enough.  So what then?

Sometimes, you have to abandon what you were doing and try a different approach.

Sometimes, you have to go back to the beginning and start over with a clean slate.

Sometimes, you just have to be stubborn and stick it out until you come through on the other side.

Sometimes, despite all else, the best you can do, is the best you can do.  If you are doing the best you can do, then you owe nobody an apology.