Wiggle Room

smiley faces on a pair of feet on all ten toes (VERY SHALLOW DOF

It’s Day 6 of our Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge.

Today’s challenge might be the most difficult one yet for you diligent doers. Today’s task is to relax the reigns a bit and give yourself some wiggle room.

What?” you ask. “We’re just getting started and you’re already going soft on me?”

No. I’m just reminding you that we’re all human, stuff happens, and sometimes we have to open ourselves up to the possibility that we might not always have control over what gets done when. I call this moving at the pace of grace.

For example, while my brain had a list of what I would get done today, my body had an entirely different idea.

You see, last night I made the mistake of eating something that didn’t agree with me. At all. I tried walking it off and then sleeping it off, but somewhere around 1:49, 2:37, 4:18, or 5:55, I knew this was not an ignore it and it will go away situation.

Still I attempted to override my belly’s protests and go to work anyway.  A few hours later I found myself back home in bed.

Faced with the reality that I would not get nearly enough stuff done at work or at home, I decided to look at it from a different perspective.

I work at being as healthy as possible. I seldom think about how having an illness or a chronic health issue might hinder my ability to get stuff done, not to mention affect my attitude about having to do it in the first place.

But today, I got to feel what it’s like to try to bulldoze my way through some very specific physical and emotional feedback. It wasn’t one bit fun.

Whatever was going on in my digestive track wasn’t responding to more demands. It did, however, respond most favorably to rest and relaxation.

I am a certified eating psychology coach.  I encourage people every day to listen to and honor their body’s wisdom.

Practicing what I preach was today’s biggest challenge. I might have totally overlooked it if not for today’s forced detour.

What about you? Where might you relax the reigns on your expectations of yourself or other people? What unexpected situation brought about an insight or experience you may not have gained without it? How can you be kinder and more responsive to the feedback your body has for you?

Share if you dare in the comments below.

 

 

 

Obsolescence or evolution?

Vintage typewriter and phone office

As I reached for the last couple of pumps from the only mousse that makes my hair look thicker than it is, I lamented the inevitable obsolescence of almost every product I love, from shoes to health care products to television shows. My Body Full™ instant bodifier has been discontinued, leaving me to begin the quest for more magical mousse.

I know this is nature’s way of preventing me from staying stuck in the last millennium. But after searching high and low for products that work for my particular makeup, I wish my favorite things would stick around longer. Kind of like how I wish swim suits would be available in stores during the summer.

I like to think of myself as an early adopter, one who is quick to embrace new ideas, try new technology, leap and learn to fly on the way down.  But the truth is, when things change so quickly and so often, it’s hard to get my bearings.

In theory, I love the idea of apps that make my life easier. In reality, if I can’t find my phone,  I won’t be able to find the list I organized and color-coded and filed under such a clever name I can’t even remember it.

I make supreme efforts to set myself up for success. Yet I’m easily distracted by all the bells and whistles that guarantee it. By the time I get all these systems in place, I’m too perplexed to do the actual work. (Learning curves can last a lot longer than one might think.)

This morning I embraced the idea that creativity coach Eric Maisel taught me a long time ago.  I simply must create in the middle of things. There is really no other way around it if I want to get anything accomplished or, in my case, written.

Life is too messy or busy or random to declare, “These are the only conditions that I can birth this baby” – whatever this “baby” may be.  As we all know, babies have been born in taxi cabs, bistros, and barns. And these babies have gone on to do great things.

So I will complete the blog post I started when I still had mousse. I will also renew my WordPress site for another year and update the look of it while I’m at it.  I’ll write another chapter for my How to Get Your Groove Back course. I’ll write before I book a flight and hotel room for next weekend.  I’ll write in between unclogging the shower drain, potting some plants, walking the dogs, enjoying a camp fire, and attending a graduation party. Because this is how life guarantees I continue to evolve.

I am incredibly curious about any number of things. In order to fully explore them, I have to cultivate the conditions for them to take root. This means continually letting go of things, ideas, relationships, products that are heading for obsolescence, whether I think it’s time or not. It means taking the time and making room for what matters most.

All any of us have to do is look through a high school yearbook to realize the wisdom in letting go of what we once believed to be fashionable, cool, or important. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted the path that brought us to where we are today.

Maybe it’s that mystery that motivates us to keep tossing our caps in the air year after year as we transform inevitable obsolescence into ongoing evolution.

Promising Future

My best advice to 2016 grads?  Resolve to evolve. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.

Feel free to share your best advice in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re Not Getting Older, You’re Getting Better

Colorful sparkler, close-up.

It was the early seventies when I first heard a commercial for Loving Care reassure me, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” At the impressionable age of 7 or 8,  I had high hopes of getting older and better.  However, it’s taken me decades to truly appreciate the wisdom of this bit of marketing.

Contrary to popular belief, getting older does not mean stepping off a cliff into an abyss of aches and pains, memory loss and incontinence, age spots and unsightly facial hair. These things may or may not come with the territory, but they definitely don’t define what I’ve come to see as this grace period I’ve grown into.

I went begrudgingly into my forties. I was attached to being relatively young, reasonably attractive, and readily available. I feared crossing the threshold into middle age would catapult me into oblivion. I assumed I’d immediately become invisible, undesirable, and unemployable.

That was not an appealing option.

The better option was to own my throne and step into a Queendom of my own making. The world needs more Kings and Queens, grown up men and women who know who they are, understand what they have to offer, and are not afraid to contribute to the well-being of the world. Instead of depending on the world to define them, who they are defines the world.

We live in a youth-obsessed society. Letting go of the goodies surrounding princes and princesses isn’t easy. We’ve all grieved our glory days. Yet every age has its upsides. Unfortunately, we tend to focus more on the downsides the further on down the road we go.

As founder of the Midlife MacGyver Movement and an enthusiastic advocate of Getting Your Groove Back, I’m here to put a stop to all the trash talk about aging.

As I settle into my fifth decade, I’ve never felt more confident about my ability to move about the planet, share my ideas, open my mind, inhabit my body, learn from those who are different from me, relax into the unknown, and trust my ability to handle whatever happens next.

I’m living the dream, albeit a very different one than I imagined when I was half my age. If someone would have suggested to my younger self I’d be living where I’m living, doing what I’m doing with the people I’m doing it with, I wouldn’t have believed them. And yet if I connect the dots, there’s no doubt I would be here now.

I recently read an article by Ramit Sethi called Why Successful People Take 10 Years to “Succeed Overnight.”  It caught my attention in part because I’ve always joked it’s taken me 40 years to achieve overnight success. And by “success” I mean the way I measure it these days. This, too, is very different than I would have defined it even a few years ago.

Sethi talks about the underappreciated power of sequence and using the domino strategy to take one small step.  Like dominoes, that first small step is followed by a little bit bigger step and so on, creating the momentum that can ultimately move mountains, or at least very large dominoes. He explores the invisible scripts that run and often sabotage our lives, and how the treadmill of disappointment can derail us right when we’re on the verge of a breakthrough.

If you’ve lived long enough, you’ll recognize where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve strayed. And if you’ve learned anything, you’ll know without a doubt, you’re not just getting older. Fortunately for all of us, you’re getting better.

Today I embark on another trip around the sun, chalking up another year to experience. Of the many things I’m grateful for, one is getting to show up in your inbox unannounced and share stuff that catches my fancy.

Thanks for reading and allowing me to do the thing that makes me feel the most alive and the most vulnerable.  Open a vein and let the words pour out.

 

 

 

No Matter What – Day 12

If you’re just joining us, find out how to play the No Matter What game below today’s post.

The word "WHERE?" written in vintage wooden letterpress type.

G: If you lost your address book and contacts on your phone and computer how upset and inconvenienced would you feel?

P: My phone and I have an interesting relationship.  Although I greatly appreciate it and all of the amazing things it can do, I am not defined by it nor do I rely on it the way many people do.   Because of that, I misplace my phone a lot.  Consequently this is not something I get too worked up about.  I usually find it when I’m ready to be found.

Without a doubt it would be a nuisance to have to start from scratch and re-establish my contacts.  But just like going through my closets, my office drawers, and my latest goals, sometimes my contacts need to be updated.

Granted, I usually reserve this for “special occasions” known for inciting emotional upheaval, such as moving or losing my wallet, the house keys, my job, or my phone/address book.

When this does happen, I have to look for the silver lining, the deeper meaning, a compelling reason not to have a meltdown.

And here’s what I’ve come up with.  As long as I have not lost the people themselves, it’s merely a matter of inconvenience.  As long as I have not lost my why, I will eventually find my way. (Michael Hyatt has a great quote about this.)

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What about you?  How would you answer today’s prompt by Gillian?  Join us in the No Matter What Game by adding your response in the comments below.  Or contact Gillian at www.gillianpearce.com and have her send you your very own creativity prompt.

No Matter What – Day 11

And we’re back for Week 3 of the No Matter What Game.  To find out more about it, see details below the post.

Portrait of an attractive surprised young woman

G: You’re on holiday. You go for a swim in the pool. Later that evening you notice the bottom half of your hair has turned green. What do you do? 🙂

P:  Gillian has been on holiday this past week and I wondered if this happened to her.  She said it happened to her daughter and apparently the antidote is tomato ketchup.

This reminds me of a little incident that happened to Bob just before leaving for Arizona a few years ago.  He has a buzz cut and, curiously enough, when his hair gets too long it starts growing in a pattern that resembles the cut popularized by Julius Caesar.

I insist that he let me cut his hair since it’s my idea of an intimate Patrick Swayze/ Demi Moore making pottery moment like in the movie Ghost.  I’m pretty sure Bob feels like a new recruit entering boot camp saying sayonara to his freedom and any chance of having a good hair day again in his lifetime.

Having said this, he’s pretty trusting that not much can go wrong with the guard on.  And though he asks me every single time whether the guard is on, this day he did not.

His hair was exceptionally long (for him) and I knew we had a problem the moment I took the first swath down the middle of his head.

Wow,” I remarked.  “This seems super short.”

Then came the question, “Do you have the guard on?”

“Interesting that you should ask.  Oddly enough, I do not.  I’m sure i can just blend it in.”

I’m sure you can’t.  But I can wear a cap.  No problem.”

Spoken just like the guy on The Bachelorette who let the girl do some whack job hair cut on him and then acted like he didn’t mind having it broadcast on national television.  (Not that I watch that show, but my niece does and happened to be visiting when that episode was on.  I think I needed so see it to remind me I have the real deal with Bob.)

Had the situation been reversed, like the time I got a few moles removed from my face right before going to a Michael Bublé concert, leaving me with Band-Aids all over my face so when Michael came down from the stage and into the crowd and saw a woman with Band-Aids all over her face he was temporarily shocked into silence, I might have reacted differently.

It’s unsettling when the outside image doesn’t match what we know to be true on the inside.  That happens to me frequently.  I feel all frisky and perky like I’m twenty-something and then I happen to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wonder, “Who’s that woman?

But here’s the deal.  I love being the age I am, no matter what I say to the mirror on those days when I haven’t had enough sleep, fun, or fiber and it shows.

I love the wisdom that comes with having been around for a while and understanding how things work, how quickly things can change, and how I can choose to accept things or let them completely freak me out.

I will now answer the question because when Bob was proofreading what I wrote so far and gave me permission to print a story that involved him, he pointed out I hadn’t  answered the question. So, here goes.

If it really upset me, I would find a professional to help me remedy the situation. Of course, being on holiday throws a kink into the mix.  We all know how long it takes to find a hair stylist who gets us and how much longer it takes to trust them to color our hair.

However, in this case, I’d have to trust someone.  Either the person on Wikipedia who posted the ketchup antidote or the stylist at the nearest salon.  I’d go with the stylist.  Unless his or her hair was also green.

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I’d love to hear your comments below.  If you’d like to play along just answer the prompt in your own words and leave them in the comments below or keep them to yourself in a journal.  If you’d like the world’s best coach Gillian to send you your own set of daily prompts, contact her at www.gillianpearce.com.

No Matter What – Day 8

It’s Day 8 of the No Matter What Game.  To find out how you can join in, see details below the post.

Crowd of Diverse People

G:  Pick two different coloured crayons (or something similar) at random. Tell us something related to each of the colours.

P:  This reminds me of an exercise we just did at Staff Development Day on Friday.  Twice a year our three colleges come together for day of reckoning and reacquainting.

To prevent us from staying in our comfort zone and sitting with people we already know at our own campuses, the organizers planned a mixer where we sat with others from across the district.  We were then asked to find four things everyone at our table had in common besides working at EICC.

While it was easy to come up with things all humans have in common, I was really hoping we’d dig deep and discover some uncommon commonalities.  Since one of the people at our table teaches Intro to Psychology, I felt certain we had a reliable life guard should we decide to wade into deep waters.

Sadly we stayed in shallow waters, which is always safe at a public pool.  (And a public school.)

But this goes against my nature.  Being the Queen of Quirk that I am, I never play it safe at the public pool.  I’m the one with the zoomers, hand gloves, goggles, and nose plug swimming slowly but steadily in the lap lane in a polka dot one piece.  I show up equipped and ready to make the most of the experience.

In the beginning, it used to make me feel a wee bit self-conscious.  One of the great things that has happened to me at midlife is I stopped caring so much what everyone else thinks and started daring to be my own brand of brilliant and beautiful.

This doesn’t mean anyone else agrees with me.  It just means I’m freer and have more fun than I used to.

This also means I don’t follow directions well and like to make exceptions whenever possible.  So, instead of relating this post to colours (if you are reading this the UK) or colors (if you are reading this in the US) or I’m not sure which spelling you prefer if you are in Australia, I decided to just write no matter what and see where we drifted.

I’m also committed to getting to bed early tonight so this is where I leave you.

Please feel free to answer the prompt in your own way and post it in the comments below. 🙂  Or if you’d prefer Gillian to send you your own prompt, email her at http://gillianpearce.com or https://www.facebook.com/gillianpearcecoach.

No Matter What – Day 2

Cute 4 months old baby making a funny surprised face

Okay, it’s Day 2 and the game goes like this.  The world’s best coach Gillian gets to ask me a question and I get to answer because my commitment for the next 30 days is to write no matter what and hers is to coach no matter what.

You are invited to play along as well.  Find out how below.

G:  What has been the most surprising/unexpected thing about your life to date?

P: Short answer – everything!

Specifically:

  1. Life got infinitely more interesting once I turned 40 and has gotten increasingly better every year since then.
  2. After living in many exciting and beautiful places, I now live in a small farming community approximately 65 miles from where I was born.
  3. I also own my house and have a “real” job.  Oddly enough, I now I find this exciting and beautiful.
  4. I had clung to a dream so long that when it finally came true it took me awhile to realize I’d outgrown it.
  5. I got engaged when most people were having grandchildren.
  6. I changed my entire life by changing what went in my mouth (in terms of eating healthy, whole foods) and what came out (how I used my words).
  7. Relaxing into the moment makes my life so much easier than stressing into it does.
  8. The universe really does have my back. It will meet me half way. Sometimes I only have to go the extra 1/4 mile.
  9. It often takes 50 years to become an overnight success. Practice, practice, practice.
  10. Having the approval of thousands of people I may never know is not nearly as important as loving those in front of me.
  11. Pets make the world a better place.  So does Amazon Prime.
  12. Cleaning up my act has consequences.
  13. I had no idea how scary it would be to write “raw“.  This kind of “ask me anything” writing is terrifying because it demands a deeper truth.
  14. Invisibility is not a superpower.  Vulnerability is.  Gratitude is.
  15. My body – everyone’s body – is a wonderland. Mine is my oldest friend and ultimate ally. I cannot afford to ignore, abuse, or otherwise shame it.  Becoming a Certified Eating Psychology Coach was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  It healed the wounds unconsciously inflicted over a lifetime.

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If you’d like Gillian to play the No Matter What Game, contact Gillian at http://gillianpearce.com  or https://www.facebook.com/GillianPearceCoach/ to set up your daily prompts.

I’d love to hear your responses to Gillian’s question of the day or my answers.  Please leave your comments below.