Archive for April, 2011

How Not to Act Old

April 18, 2011

You’ve probably heard the saying, “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.” We know that as we age, there is a risk that our fountain of youth will become clogged with the sands of time and a sense of humor is a good plunger to keep it unstuck. Fortunately, now that I am extremely…..uh….mature; I find that I have many things to keep me laughing and they’re all on my body!
I could easily become depressed when I think about how my skin now has a relaxed fit, my bra size is a 38 long and if a strong wind were to hit my upper arm flaps, I could achieve lift. But, I try to keep the elf in mysELF and maintain a sense of humor about the whole process. Therefore, I have chosen to rename some aging characteristics. For instance, I now call my cellulite “texturing”, my age spotting is “highlighting”, and I have chosen to think of the extra skin on my upper arms as “angel wings.”
I have also learned to be fine with my age and to know what I can no longer pull off. For instance, whereas I used to squeeze myself into jeans that needed to be zipped up while lying on my back; I no longer have the inclination, or the agility to do the tight pants tango! I have retired my halters and tube tops due to the fact that my breasts themselves could be called “tube tops.” The tee-shirts reading “So Many Men and So Little Time” now take on a different meaning, so they’ve been tossed. But I’m still not ready to wear the ones that announce, “I’m still hot…it just comes in flashes now!” Part of not acting old is not trying to act too young. Having a young spirit is great but stuffing a middle aged body into the same clothes you wore when you first got pimples just makes you look like an old person trying to look young which really just makes you look older. The trick is to feel comfortable in your own skin. As I said, mine is now fitting more loosely, so it is actually quite comfy.
Technology is a definite age giveaway. If you don’t keep up, you become a technology dinosaur….a Technosaurus, if you will. If you are wondering if you have fallen into this category, here are some guidelines to help you to know for sure. You might be a Technosaurus if you still own cassette tapes and a matching player. You are definitely a Technosaurus if you have an eight track player. However, this does not apply to owning albums and a turntable on which to play them. This just makes you retro and that is cool. You might be a Technosaurus if you think a Blackberry is a new kind of Marie Callender fruit pie. You might be a Technosaurus if you think that Twitter is something that only birds do and that Skyping is the act of birds winging across the sky while they are twittering. You might be a Technosaurus if your Smart Phone outsmarts you. This can be manifested in it using auto correct to edit your texts; causing you to send messages reading “I could hardly contain my excrement!” rather than I could hardly contain my excitement!” You might be a Technosaurus if you send texts which are set in grammatically correct paragraphs and are punctuated properly. This means that you are not up on the latest text abbreviations and you think that lol is short for lollipop. If that is the case, well OMG you ARE a Technosaurus!
It is important to remain on the cutting edge in business so the older person needs to make some changes. A colleague suggested that I add a menu to my business phone voice mail to make me sound like a major player. That way, people would have to press a number to speak to one of my staff. What most callers don’t know (until they read this book) is that I am my staff! I work from home. The only other potential staff members in my office have four legs, a tail and fur. My new foray into technology is presenting webinars. I will begin them as soon as I can perfect aligning my head with the webcam so participants aren’t hearing a session presented by talking eyebrows.
The important thing to remember is that as is the case with most things, attitude is everything when it comes to aging. We can either become bitter or better. There are some things that improve with age; wine and cheese, for example. Seriously, when we are teenagers, we are completely run by our hormones and are constantly worried about looking the right way and saying the right things and being with the “right” people. With age comes the wisdom to know that the people who are worth our friendship don’t care how we look and they will be the ones who will laugh with us when we stick our feet in our mouths and say the absolute wrong things. Actually, the older we get, the freer we should be to feel young. After all, we’re in pretty good shape for the shape we’re in!
To wrap up this topic, I have formulated a list of “Do Nots” to keep you from acting old:
• Do not step out of your house (even to pick up the newspaper or the mail) while wearing only your granny panties and a bra. This applies to women AND men.
• Do not eat your evening meal at 4:00 in the afternoon.
• Refrain from using the terms, “boss”, “hip”, “bitchin’” “far out” or “groovy” to describe something that is really great. This marks you as a child of the sixties. Also refrain from using “phat,” “fierce” “awesome” and “dope,” as these words said by a person over twenty just don’t sound right; particularly if the person is wearing plaid Bermuda shorts, a loud Hawaiian shirt and sandals with socks.
• Do not wear sunglasses over your bifocals. Choose one or the other.
• Do not pull up next to a car playing rap music and yell at the driver, telling him that he is going to damage his hearing and what kind of music is that filthy rap, anyway? And don’t turn your classic rock radio station up to the max to try to drown out the rap. Really really loud “Doo Wah Diddy Diddy” is no more pleasing to the ear than really really loud P. Diddy.
• Do not remind a young woman that the tattoo of the dainty little flower on her upper arm will one day become a long stemmed rose when her skin begins to droop and understand that the teenage boy with the nose ring doesn’t give a rat’s posterior that you think he looks like your Uncle Ed’s bull.
• While riding in a car with another person, avoid reading every sign, billboard and road marker out loud. On even a fifteen minute road trip, this may trigger violence in the other person and you may find yourself on the side of the road.
• Take the words, “In my day….” out of your vocabulary.
• While ordering in a restaurant, understand that the waitress or waiter does not need to know why you’re not ordering bacon and buttered toast. Your cholesterol numbers are your own business and of no concern to your server. And please remember that no one at your table, even your best friends, needs to hear what onions do to your digestive track.
These are just a few to get you started. Aging is inevitable but acting old is optional. I hope we all can remember to be grateful that we’re still alive and kicking and that there are good things to be experienced at any age. Just remember to keep in touch with that little child inside of you and make sure that he or she still comes out to play. There is a difference between being childish and being childlike, so don’t ever let anyone tell you to grow up!

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“Slightly Irregular” is a Good Thing!

April 11, 2011

The other day, I was shopping and came upon a display of underwear just piled up on a table under a sign that read SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR. Intrigued by the possibilities of irregular underwear, I shuffled through the pile, wondering if I would find bras with three cups or panties with sleeves. I was surprised to find seemingly normal underwear with no distinguishing characteristics.
When I asked the sales person to explain to me the meaning of the description, she said that this was underwear that had hidden flaws, but no one was really sure just what they were. All she knew was that the factory had labeled them as slightly irregular, so the store marked them at half price and set them out on a table. I inquired as to whether one had to be slightly irregular to fit into them, and she said she didn’t think so. So, I purchased five pair of slightly irregular sets, wondering if the irregularity was that they would fall apart while I was wearing them or perhaps spontaneously combust in hot weather.
You’ll be glad to know that I have worn my new underwear and everything is just fine. Now maybe that is because they are only SLIGHTLY irregular as opposed to totally irregular; I can’t say. All I know is that I got twice as many slightly irregulars as I would have been able to purchase had they been regular and full price…and they have served me well.
Am I trying to extract a life lesson from my underwear? Well, yes…in a way, I am. The point of this is that we sometimes plan for ourselves, a life that is perfect; and there is nothing wrong with visualizing perfection. But, the truth is that perfection really doesn’t happen very often. In reality, our lives are usually slightly irregular and when they are, we tend to discount the value of the imperfections. We focus on what’s wrong and mistakenly assume that everyone else is focusing on the imperfections, as well. We label ourselves as a failure or lock in on what we did wrong, rather than what we did that was right. We discount our not-so-perfect experiences and cast them off as useless.
What I have learned over the years is that sometimes, in hindsight, it is difficult to distinguish between the good days and the bad days. I guess it’s because I have gotten more out of my bad days. My not so perfect, “slightly irregular” experiences have been the ones that have caused me to reevaluate my goals, put things into proper perspective and reaffirm that I will live through failures and disappointments.
We need to learn that one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to set goals and strive for success, but one of the most harmful things we can do is to give into a sense of failure if we fall short. In striving for perfection, we learn to accept and even embrace our imperfections.
So ends my “life is like slightly irregular underwear” story. I hope it makes sense to you. I leave this topic with one final thought…while it’s nice to have lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, we can also benefit from slightly irregulars. And who knows…Victoria’s secret might just be that she is “slightly irregular.”

Don’t Fool Around

April 1, 2011

Happy April Fool’s Day to all! I was never very successful at playing April Fool’s jokes on anyone because apparently, I am not as clever as I always wanted to be. I remember, at five years of age, being so excited about my big plan to trick my mother into thinking that I had turned into a chicken. I just knew that I could pull this off because I had thought it out so thoroughly. I even sneaked some eggs from the refrigerator and put them in my bed. My plan was to sit on them, cluck loudly and make all kinds of chicken noises in the morning to wake her up. In my head, she would come running down the hall and be totally surprised that her youngest child had suddenly morphed into a fowl. Then I would jump up and yell, “April Fools!” and she would be extremely relieved that she would not have to keep her offspring in a chicken coop. In my head, it worked. In reality… not so much. I sat on those eggs, in my bed, for an hour. I cackled and scratched and did my best chicken impression…but nobody woke up. So, after a while, I fell back asleep and when I awakened hours later, I found that my nest had been defiled and my eggs snatched to be cooked for someone’s breakfast. This all happened right under my nose…er, my beak…and I never woke up. My amazing joke had “laid an egg”, so to speak. Funny thing is…I don’t remember anyone even questioning me as to why I was lying in a pile of eggs. I was a strange child. My daughter thinks I just had an unusual idea of breakfast in bed!

Today, on April Fool’s Day, I am thinking about how many other times I have tried to fool people; myself included, into thinking that I am something or someone that I’m not. I don’t think I’m alone in this. We all have our times of wearing masks and pretending. We do this out of fear, insecurity, lack of confidence and any number of other reasons. There are times when we just don’t feel that we’re good enough the way we are, and we want to be accepted, so we abandon our authentic selves and try to fit into someone else’s mold. I think most of us have learned that while this may work for a while, it soon becomes uncomfortable because it’s not real. It’s like wearing shoes that are stylish and look fantastic…for a time, we can pull it off, but ultimately, our feet begin to ache and blisters appear. Your ideas, thoughts, opinions, talents and experiences are your own and they are worthy! It’s very liberating to realize that you don’t have to be addicted to pleasing other people or gaining their approval. My friend, Lillian Coury, recently reminded me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Shakespeare’s line, “To thine own self be true” really does make sense. Of course, we should strive for self-improvement and we want to put our best foot forward. But we should always make sure that it’s our own foot! If you stick with your authentic self, you’ll never have to remember who you pretended to be!

And I’d advise against pretending to be a chicken at any time.