This week Amanda has some tips for surviving and thriving! It’s time to think about back to school and I’m so excited. Whether you are starting a brand new school or you’re a veteran, a new year is always exciting.
Amanda’s Top Six:
1. Embrace your roommate: Not all of us may get an awesome roommate like Amanda’s. Whatever form yours takes, accept it with enthusiasm. Be the roommate you would like to have. If you have one with not such great manners, yours may rub off. If things go south, make sure you at least can say you did your best.
2. Join a club: Getting involved in things you are interested is the best way to meet people with like interests. Whether is a sorority, sports club, or church organization – sign up! Most of the people will be new along with you!
3. Get to know your professor: Don’t be afraid to talk to you professor and get to know them. Whether you need help with their course or are just more interested in the subject area, professors can give great guidance.
4. Catch your Z’s: sleep is important: You’ll feel better and be more productive with the right amount of sleep.
5. Take a fun class: If you’re happy and enjoying your classes you’ll do much better.
6. Don’t listen to your parents: Parents are great at giving advice. It’s good to listen to them and take what they say into consideration. But for final decisions, remember you’re an adult, listen to your gut. If you don’t you could end up making a choice you won’t be happy with later.
While Amanda has some great tips straight from Is This Me?, I did a search online and found this great article by Aimee Blanchett outlining what advice her older self would give her younger self about starting college. Check it out at http://www.startribune.com/the-advice-i-d-give-my-college-freshman-self/273228471/.
Being Who You Are vs. What You Do
I am who I am, not what I achieve. Nothing puts this more front and center in my psyche than being incapacitated. A recent injury and subsequent surgery left me dependent on using crutches to get around. For someone like me, nothing is worse than being immobile. When you are on crutches you literally can’t do anything except get from one place to another. You can’t carry anything so it makes it almost impossible to get things achieved. Mind you, I did my best to improvise: tying a bag to one of my crutches to carry items, transferring dishes between counters in my kitchen to get the dishwasher unloaded, sliding across the floor on one leg to be able to carry a plate. In the end I had to accept that all I could do was sit there and it had to be good enough.
When I was younger I fell into the habit of thinking I was what I achieved. I began to define myself by the grades that I made, how well I did at my job, and whether I achieved goals I set up for myself. Achievement of these goal were my self-worth. I was a doer not a beer. I became unable to just be, be in the moment and enjoy life.
Defining ourselves by what we do rather than who is an easy habit to fall into. Think about when you meet someone new. What are the first questions that you will ask that person: What is your major? What is your job? What do you do?
I had to reprogram my psyche into thinking that I was valuable just as a human being, as a person that existed. One of the best things I can do for myself when I start thinking as a doer rather than a beer is to think about what I value in other people. The first thing that pops into my head is that they are there, they are present. Just by being present they show me that they care. If I apply this to myself I remind myself that I am worthwhile just because I am present.
Woody Allen said “Showing up is eighty percent of life.” Today I try to be just present in my life, to enjoy it and the people in my life. I do set goals for myself. But achievement of these goals doesn’t define who I am. I am a good friend, a good mom, a good wife, a good business woman. I am all these things partially because of what I do but much of because who I am.
I used to be a huge control freak. My friends will attest to this, at least those that knew me in college. I had a planner (yes, a paper planner), wherein I scheduled out every minute. I even wrote down my social time. All of this planning and control was motivated by the goal of being successful in college. I felt that if I studied the right amount of time, had the perfect amount of social time, down time, and exercise, then I would be make great grades and land the perfect job. Of course all of this control masked the fear that I would not do well enough. Who for, I hadn’t quite figured out yet. Not surprisingly, the quarter I ditched my planner I got my highest GPA!
Since then, I’ve learned to let things go, although I feel like letting go was more a requirement than a choice. My husband surely would have left long ago, my kids would be maniacs, and I would always be dead tired from trying to keep up the perfect household. So, I don’t sweat that I have unfolded laundry in my office. I don’t’ care that my desk is messy most of the time. I only freak out once a week that the island in our kitchen is piled with mail. I do like my bed made every day and the kitchen clean before I start cooking. But these acts are motivated more by aesthetics and hygiene. I do keep a calendar with everyone’s schedule. This is motivated by necessity, not the need to have everything perfect.
Writing this blog I was tempted to find out how much of a control freak I still am. I found this website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainsnacks/201006/are-you-control-freak-take-quiz-and-find-out. I actually didn’t do too bad, with a score of 30 just on the high end of “you can live and let live”. I found a good article on working through control issues by Dr. Amy Johnson that can be found at http://tinybuddha.com/blog/let-go-of-control-how-to-learn-the-art-of-surrender/. She has three questions to ask yourself that may help: 1) What am I afraid will happen if I let go of control?; 2) Whose business are you in (yours or someone else’s)?; and 3) Would letting go feel like freedom?
I like the graphic below. It reminds me to put my effort into activities that are worth my time!
Happy Letting Go!
When I announced to my twelve year old daughter that it was International Kissing Day Monday she immediately bounded over and kissed my cheek. It was a sweet unexpected gesture and it had me thinking about how important kisses are to us.
There are many benefits physical and emotional benefits to kissing. Kissing boosts oxytocin, lowers stress, burns calories, improves our immune system, helps us live longer, look younger, create desire, and strengthen relationships…check them out at http://www.everydayhealth.com/sexual-health-pictures/dr-laura-berman-reasons-kissing-is-good-for-you.aspx#11.
I’m a pretty big movie buff so when I typed in International Kissing Day in my Google search engine and the top twenty epic movie kisses was the second hit, I had to investigate. The top five were:
1. From Here to Eternity (1953-the beach scene)
2. When Harry Met Sally
3. Bridget Jones Diary
4. Spider-Man (2002)
5. Gone with the Wind (1939)
I’ve seen four of the top five. I think my favorite is Peter Parker’s AKA Spider-Man’s upside down kiss in the rain with Mary Jane. Others who made the list include The Notebook, Princess Bride, Sixteen Candles, and Slumdog Millionaire (all epic in my book). You can see the entire list at http://www.people.com/people/gallery/0,,20935826_30357067,00.html. What is your favorite movie or book kissing scene?
Plant a smooch on someone you love today!
One is Silver and the Other’s Gold! 6 Things Friendships Do for Us!
Growing up I was a Girl Scout for nine years. The lyrics to one of my favorite songs from scouting went like this: “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”. That was the whole song. We’d sing it over and over, sometimes in a round. As a busy adult I sometimes find making new friends daunting. Friendships take time and I’m always wary of over extending myself.
According to everydayHealth.com friendships help us in a number of ways, several of which I didn’t expect: 1) socially engaged adults are more successful, 2) friends can help you achieve goals, 3) happiness is catching, 4) building a circle of friends makes you happy, and 5) friendships lessen grief. (http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/social-support.aspx)
Writing this I realized this is my second post on friendship in as many months. Friends are important to me and I put time into them because they enrich my life. In June I took two trips that serendipitously led me to make a number of new friends. Each of these people inspired me in different ways. I am so glad to have the reminder that making new friends isn’t hard, you just have to put yourself out there.
All the best,