Notes to my Self

Notes to my Self

   Just the other day, while I stopped to catch my breath after a 40 minutes’ walk on the treadmill, it occurred to me that I was checking the mirror on the right wall beside me, constantly analyzing my gym outfit, checking the few (to be read not so few) kilograms that I need to get rid of, judging myself still for each and every one of them.

   Therefore, I made this note to my Self: Do not judge, you are not that 20 year old girl – with fresh eyes and slander body, you are not that almost 30 year old woman who prepares for her wedding and is desperately trying to lose a kilo or two so as to look her best on that day. You are an almost 40 years old woman who is also a mom that one day decided to go back to the gym and get her stamina and strength back. Now all she needs to decide is to feel good.

   Even if I drop a few (wishful thinking: not so few) kilos, I will still be me and not that 20 years old girl in the corner, who will have to undergo 2 decades of experiences and transformations before coming into her 40s. Before being like me.

   It reminded me of a phrase attributed to Oscar Wilde – but later proven to belong to somebody called Gilbert Pereira: “Be yourself; everybody else is already taken”. The guy is a genius! Yes, everybody else is already taken, and you do not need to be a double! Who needs doubles anyway? Well, I would need an extra pair of hands sometimes (I bet you do too!), but, other than that, I would not appreciate a double to share my child’s kisses, my bed, my life…

   But you know what is difficult? The real big deal is to know who you truly are! This is where all those fears and insecurities come from. This is what makes one look in the opposite corner of the gym, constantly checking the mirror on the right wall analyzing one’s gym outfit, checking the few (to be read not so few) kilograms that have piled up, judging oneself for each and every one of them.

   Knowing who you are and knowing who you want to be – and that is not the 20 years old girl in the corner there! Because I am almost 40 and I have scars to prove it. I have the scars, but also all the riches that 20 years of life that I lived more than she did have given me. When she was born, 20 years ago, I was the girl in another corner, in another gym and somebody else was looking in the mirror on another wall.

 Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

“We are all broken … that’s how the light gets in.” (Hemingway)

We are all broken … that’s how the light gets in.” (Hemingway)

   Is anybody around here perfect? Am I perfect? No. By no means, I am not. Should I be? Well, this is another story, one that has been on my mind for many years. What is perfect, after all?

   Remember my last blog post? I said that rather than getting out of the comfort zone, we should aim to enlarge it, to expand it with each experience that we live, with each step that we take. Because seeing it like that makes me want to do more. In my eyes, the equations look like this: getting out = to leave; to expand = to include, to add, to grow. And ultimately what I want for myself is to grow.

   Much the same way, my idea about being perfect is not going to be – probably – the same idea that the majority of people share. But you see, to be perfect is not my goal. One definition of perfect (the first one that popped out in my Google search) is “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be”, or, in other words, to have no flows. Nobody can have all qualities or characteristics… Who said the you need to be tall and blonde to be perfect? Or that you need an MBA? And having no flows whatsoever does not even seam human to me. Perfection, much as beauty, is “in the eye of the beholder” (Shakespeare).

   So, I‘d rather take Hemingway’s side on this one: each and every one of us is “broken”, none of us are perfect (and no standards apply). We are build broken, imperfect and incomplete – and the only thing that we need to do is to let the light get in. This is perfect enough for me.

   Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

I may not be there. Yet.

I may not be there. Yet.

    Decision is a process of mind, which occurs each time you need to set a course in your life and set sail. Decision taken and action – consistent, coherent and yes, sometimes painfully hard. So often we drive our judgment to mimic learned patterns: we all do it! We have been trained – much the same way the monkeys in the circus learn how to play tricks. And after years and years in school, college, university we face the reality: we are not really equipped to decide anything. This is how we end up stressed out, burned out, put to the ground … And it takes years to reverse the process and learn how to really decide. That is if we even become conscious of all of this.

   Because the final decision must come from the heart, not from the mind! Sure, rationalizing is part of the process. Sure, analyzing is in order. But if we do not follow our heart – as it is the heart that seeks happiness, wellness and all that good vibes – than analyzing and rationalizing are not enough.

   Do we fail if we un-decide?

   Because from the perspective of my own up-bringing and education, un-deciding – or, in other words, changing your mind and changing course, is failure and a big fat NO NO.

    I am almost 40 now, and I just recently learned that it is OK to come back to a decision and say: It is not working, it was wrong for me, it is not worth it. Instead I will do this … The idea is to put something in place – the idea is not to annul, but to replace. To add value to your life.

    A while ago, I came across the concept of unschooling, which is an educational method that builds the entire process of education around the child and the child’s own developmental and learning needs. Unschooled kids learn through their day to day life experiences and this means playing, doing house chores, personal interests, travel, books, family, mentors and social interaction. The child himself/herself initiates the activities and leads the process. And by doing so, the adepts of unschooling say, the child will become better prepared to face life, it will have a baggage of knowledge which is practical, based on experiences and not based on memorized, unnecessary stuff. The gifts that God or Nature gave to that child will be amplified. He or she will be an artist, if art is what that child is gifted for or a scientist, if science is what he or she cares about. If a child becomes interested in science, than this is what he or she will choose. Once the path becomes clear, nothing will stop that child to undertake more formal, traditional education.

   Well, I am almost 40, I have two bachelor degrees and I decided to get unschooled. “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).  And there is no formal way to do that: you need to decide and un-decide. You have to live. You have to lose a certain amount of the learned behaviors and you need to be authentic. Lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana

Rough days

Rough days

    Unquestionably, once in a while, everybody has rough days. You know, those days when you open your eyes in the morning and wish that it was evening already, since even before getting out of the bad you know that the agenda of the day is full, that you will probably eat lunch too late due to the endless meetings that you are going to have, and, on top of that, at the end of the day you need to go to the supermarket for food and other much needed stuff… And you get out of bed at 6 o’clock in the morning and you begin your daily routine, always in a hurry: boil water for tea and coffee, get breakfast started, wake up the rest of the family, clean after breakfast, put some make up on to cover the dark circles under your eyes and … run.

    Outside it has been raining. The city looks so gloomy and miserable… Halfway to the kid’s school you realize that you forgot to pack his lunch … And you start ranting – looking at your significant other and the poor kid: “you need to get involved more, don’t let me be the only one struggling with all chores, you (that is the kid) need to be more responsible and so on and so forth ….”. All around you, hundreds of other cars, finding their way in the same old, grey, gloomy city. All around you, hundreds of similar scenes unfolding.

    I could go on telling you more, but I think that by know the picture is quite accurate and you have an idea of the kind of days I am referring to.

   So: what do you do when things get a little tougher?

   Looking at the clouds and admiring some old buildings that I pass by every morning on my way to work, it came to me that it is a question of choice: either I can choose to be miserable the entire day and continue on that path of negativity or I can choose to have a good day instead.

   Yes, it is that simple! You have the power to change it all. You need to stop, take a deep breath and state with all conviction that you going to have a good day. Find a solution for kid’s lunch (stop at the nearest store – if you have time, which I did not – or give him/her a little money and trust that he/she is going to make the correct choice regarding the purchase).

Than smile to your significant other and to the kid and say that it is going to all right, you can handle it.

   Take a deep breath again and this time ignore the rain. Spend a little time being grateful for all the wonderful things in your life. Start your day at the office with your favorite treat – mine is coffee and maybe a small piece of dark chocolate. Those e-mails can wait for a couple of minutes.

   I find that particularly when I am having such a challenging start of the day, my environment is very important – the way that my desk is organized, all the small objects that I brought form home and that trigger pleasant memories – like a small, colorful box where I keep my post-it cube and other paper accessories, or the small turtle I purchased during the summer holiday a couple of years ago, all of that is very important. Because here I am, in front of my computer, sipping coffee and day dreaming for a couple of minutes about the wonderful, still to come summer holiday.

   Than take a piece of paper and get organized – your good day can begin! Like Maya Angelou beautifully put into words: “This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.”

Until next week, lots of sunshine to you all!

Near 40 Dana