I feel like a slug. I looked around and knew I need to put up and trim the tree. I am heading into the second weekend of December and my house is not decorated. My enthusiasm for many of the holiday seasonal activities has been replaced with lethargy. I have no idea what I am planning to cook for the Christmas dinner, and I have done little if any Christmas shopping. I’m not gonna and you can’t make me. Let’s face it, I am tired. How do we as adults, with home life, careers, friends and so much more, stay motivated?
I was reading a post by Leo Bubutta on 16 Ways to Stay Motivated. He suggested focusing on one goal, saying it publicly, and thinking about it daily. So, you want me to tell people that I feel like a lazy bum and that I am waiting for the quarter to end so I can spend a week not combing my hair? I like the ideas, but that is not going to do it for me.
Next, I headed over to the Lifehack.org to seek some motivation for my slump. These wisdom warriors say to find the good reasons, take a different approach, recognize your progress and reward yourself. I like the reward myself portion, and now feels some motivation to make some of those cookie brownies.
This wasn’t going to do, I needed to power up my powered down motivation. I needed the master, I needed some Zen. I headed over to Tony Robbins website and for $2595, I could be seated on the first three rows close to Tony, get lunch, course materials and I could change my life. Well that’s not going to happen. I know what is going to happen.
I am going to sit down. I am going to rest. I am going to recharge my soul, my spirit and my zest for life. I don’t need to spend $2595, or have anyone tell me that I need reward myself because I am awesome; I’m just tired. I think the best way for me to stay motivated is to stay away from people who suck, suck the life out of you or those people who are needy. I am needy. I am in needy of some sleepy.
I suddenly feel motivated. I am going to go trim that tree, bake some cookies and afterwards I am going to take a nap. I am motivated to do these things.
As we age, our needs change as well as our taste. The things we require to be happy often begin to simplify as we hit some of those golden numbers in age. Our tastes in movies, food, books and even the need for basic conversation also changes. As women, we can sometimes see the subtle changes that occur and often limit ourselves to women of our age bracket and even join some exclusive clubs that celebrate our maturity. Girl talk also evolves and changes with our adulthood.
In our teenage years, girl talk revolves around hair, make up and cute boys. At this phase we love to talk about all the sex we want to have with fictional characters we see in movies and singing groups. Our favorite songs become our mantras for life. For me, I wanted to be in Control like Janet Jackson and wanted to have a Rebel Yell like Billy Idol. Donned in my double belt, a punk rock haircut and more attitude than necessary, I chatted constantly about changing the world with my words. Conversations with my girlfriends were about kissing boys, heavy petting and making it to second base.
In our college years, girl talk revolved around hair, sororities, sleep and cute men. If you are able to combine sleep with cute men with great hair, you are ahead of the game. In these years, girl talk has a huge circumference around the number of batters on base and none you are willing to allow to round to home. You discover credit cards, nice restaurants and men with good jobs who make more money than your high school sweetheart. Your conversation becomes about your goals, Sylvia Plath and Gwendolyn Brooks. You are well read and can hold a conversation with a man that has an IQ and you have learned, after conferring with your girlfriends that you are in fact, deep.
After college we begin our careers and girl talk encircles our jobs, climbing the corporate ladder and cute bosses. Late nights are spent crying into cups of coffee because you have made some really bad choices with your cute boss while you have tried to climb his corporate ladder. You are learning political etiquette, learned to shut your mouth and realized there are somethings your girlfriends do not need to know. Company retreats are not the place to get snookered and tell people how you really feel, but most of all, always wear good underwear if you are planning to strip down and jump in the pool. These stupid things your girlfriends remind you, were not too smart.
We marry, we breed, we find other women who are breeding, clipping coupons and girl talk becomes about the cheapest diapers at the best price. The 30’s are an ideal time to get back in touch with the woman we swore we wanted to be. We have reconnected with women from high school, stayed in touch with our college room mates and have gone back for a class reunion that we should have just plain avoided. We are talking dietary changes, family friendly meals all while swapping recipes and listening to each other gripe and moan about those things that are truly important, diapers. Girls night out becomes an opportunity to burn off some excess energy. We take jazzercise, yoga and attempt to do Zumba. We are consoled by our girlfriends when we find that first grey hair that is not on our head.
Girl talk is exciting as we organize snacks for football, soccer, join social groups, get a minivan or SUV and start to talk about how we maybe, kind of, should have married that other guy. Our guy is getting fat, scratching himself and still telling those same jokes from 10 years ago. Girl talk becomes about ways to get the insurance money if he met an unfortunate accident, but we don’t really want that to happen, because we love that old lug. Our parents are aging and we go from the child, to the care giver, as we deal with death, loss and sudden weight gain. Our hands are held as we go for a mammogram to explain the new lump and realize we just need to cut back on caffeine. We hold each other and cry as we come to terms with not having more children, we get another dog and start realizing that our children aren’t the geniuses we initially thought.
We are almost there, the fabulous forties. Our kids are headed off to college, who cares about the corporate ladder, we meet for tea, scrapbooking and take trips without the kids. One thing has changed and we are emphatic, we have moved away from listening to each other’s problems. Our conversations centers on splitting the ticket, sharing half of an order of anything and planning our next bus trips. It is now understood that no one wants to hear about your damned husband, your kids, or your financial situation. Our parents have become less of a joy and more of a “trying time” in our lives, and girl talk is just spent laughing.
In the end, no matter what the occasion, girl talk is meant to uplift. The moment that girl talk centers around one person, or the same problem, then it is time to move on to some other girl to talk to because the one you have is broken. Ladies, love each other and be supportive. Supportive does not mean you are an enabler, but an extra set of ears when your girls need to just talk. If you are the person who loves to monopolize the conversation about the same problem you aren’t trying to fix, please take note, your friends are sick of hearing it. Eventually, they will become tired of you, and you will find yourself alone with those same problems you refuse to address. Sadly now, you have no girls to talk to; love you, mean it.
Recently I have come across a new phenomenon that I just can’t wrap my brain around. I am simply befuddled by the enormity of the weight of this trend. This new trend is whining and complaining men. I can’t stand it and if there is anything that a woman will not tolerate is man that has nothing positive to say. I know, long gone are the days of Clint Eastwood when a man walked up to another and socked him in the face for just being a lily-livered scally-wag, but a whining man is just plain unsavory. It is an unpalatable taste that seems to linger throughout your day.
Today, I walked into my co-workers work area, and her counterpart was sitting there with a scowl on his face. No surprise, there is always a scowl on his face, but today, I just was not in the mood to hear it. I said a polite “Good Morning,” and he started in with this litany of whining. It wasn’t complaining, it was simple unadulterated whining. Before I knew what came over me, I said, “Get thee behind me Satan, you will not take my joy on this day!” My friend balked, he balked and I took a seat. You know what happened then? Yeap, he shut the bleep up.
I was not out of line and this why. My dear friend absolutely finds no joy in her job. I am constantly tortured at lunch by a shell of my happy go lucky friend, because she has been poisoned and tainted by Sir Shirk A Lot. If you constantly are being fed a diet of salt soaked food, then please expect to have high blood pressure. He is vacuuming her soul of any joy in her day by having to listen to his incessant whining. But he is not the only criminal in joy reduction in life. There are tons of people that we surround ourselves with that love to sap your joy and yet we fail to understand why we sometimes are discontent. We have these joy parasites as relatives. We have these joy sanguisuges as friends but moreover, we work alongside these joy vampires.
If you don’t like your job, then quit. No one, not any one, should have to listen to your discontent all damned day long because your set has shrunk. I have a set big enough for both of us; you can borrow mine for a day or so. It makes a woman long for the days of the old fashioned fella that tipped his hat and said, “howdy Maam!” I can even remember as a young girl watching Lady Sing the Blues, and the ever so dapper Billy Dee Williams asking, “…you want my arm to fall off?” Although he was a chain smoking cigar hack, you felt his passion and thought of him as a real man.
I say a good deal of this with a tongue in cheek attitude, but I like to surround myself with happy people. I do not expect everyone to be happy every day, but I am not going to surround myself with someone that is never happy. I am not certain what has gone wrong for my-coworker, and I am not sure who has taken a tinkle in his lemonade, but really, if the lemonade tastes a tad bit tart, then stop drinking it.
I can spend a day discussing the psychological ramifications of the effects of role reversals on the American male psyche. I can speak for hours on the impact of NAFTA and the exportation of American jobs which have taken our men out of work. I can talk about the changes the corporate workplace that put overly aggressive women in charge of men that has cause a pseudo misogamist reversal in roles that have left men feeling, well less of a man. But in the same breath, I can also speak on men who have started their own ventures and new companies by the sweat of the brow. I can elaborate on the small businesses that have started by these displaced factory workers that are building new communities. I can talk about the single fathers who have stepped up and learn about spaghetti straps and hair bows. However, none of these men are sitting behind a desk whining.
If you are unhappy, get up off your duff and make some changes. But for all that is holy, stop whining, because eventually, you will get your just desserts.
Every year we sit back and make those stupid resolutions to lose weight, eat better, save more money and be kinder to others. We never actually do it, and we are frustrated when our plans go awry. If we are to be perfectly honest with ourselves, our plans go awry because we are not perfectly honest with ourselves. If you lie to yourself then how can you expect to honor a promise that you never fully intended to keep? I am about to break the vicious cycle and start the New Year with some new resolutions. Follow along with me through my thought process.
First, I am okay as I am. I just told this to myself and I believe it. Yes, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but right now, it’s not going to happen. I am not going to beat myself up about it. I am not going to stand in my bathroom on my scale butt naked on one leg, holding my breath hoping that needle moves. It is not going to move in the opposite direction because last night I ate half the pan of brownies.I was stressed! I’m not unhealthy; I just weigh more than I should for my age and height. Hubby still likes it so I will work on making it tighter.
Next, I worked this year on changing my spending habits. I have a few bucks in the bank and I am not going to spend my money on stupid stuff I don’t need. I am not going to buy items for my friends that they don’t need so they will like me more. I am not going to buy silly crap, eat out too often, and this should save me money and also help that eating the pan of brownies thingy.
Third on my list is to find a new means to get out and enjoy the day. I am not going to say I am going to exercise more, but dammit my yard needs some work. I am going to work more in my yard which is going to tone my arms and my legs. I am going to walk around my neighbor and pick up some trash. I also have a Wii and I like to dance. Combine the two, gym membership goes away, I save some bucks, I am mobile, and again this ties back to number one.
And last but not least, I am going to finish some of these unfinished things in my life. I have started on this project, made this pile, moved this stack and created a new one. Forget this crap. I am going to buy one of those Neat Scanners. The cheapest I have seen it has been at Amazon.com. It is pricey but this will eliminate so many loose receipts, bills, stacks to be shredded while sorting it all for tax purposes.
I am just going to work a lot smarter instead of harder. I am not going to lie to myself to accomplish, achieve or attempt something that I know it is not my time to do. It is not my time because I have not done the leg work to put it into play. I am, strengthening my resolve to be better at what I do. However, in order to accomplish these things I just need to sit down and have a quiet moment.
I am starting my quiet moment now, but first, to the scale. After I finish this brownie.
- My head is telling me I don’t need that brownie but my PMS does (ask.metafilter.com)
- Resolutions for the New Year (xemion.com)
- New Year’s Resolutions 30 Day Trial (christopherspenn.com)
- I Do Not Believe in New Year Resolutions (socyberty.com)
- Pop’s Picks: The 15 Resolutions We Suggest For the Stars (popsugar.com)
Okay, Okay, I have been yammering on and on about saving money by giving a holiday gift that you can make. I have offered a few links to a few sites but have not really shared with you an idea that anyone can do at any skill level. Well here it is flavored oils, vinegars and rubs! You see these in specialty stores all the time and shop owners can charge some hefty prices. This year, you can give these über chic gifts for just a fraction of the cost.
First things if first, let’s round up those empty wine and beer bottles. Run them through the dishwasher and use some peanut butter to remove the excess gunk from the labels. Let’s start simple with a basic herb oil, most people will choose a thyme. I like to use fennel. I pulled this recipe from Allyou.com.
Springs of Dried Thyme, 2 teaspoons of peppercorns, 1 1/2 cups oil (vegetable or olive)
Place all ingredients in a pot. Warm over medium-low heat. Using a candy thermometer, check oil until the thermometer reads 165ºF. Allow the oil to cool, then strain; reserving thyme and peppercorns. Pour into bottle. Add thyme and peppercorns. Cork; chill for up to 1 month.
Pretty simple isn’t it? Now let’s really go poo-poo Chi-Chi with some rubs for steaks and chops. I usually make my own instead of paying the $4.50 a jar from the shelf brands. If I make my own I can also monitor the sodium content. Here is a simple recipe. I also like to use the little jars for preserves. Prep time for this simple gift idea takes about 5 minutes and this recipe only makes about 2 jars.
1/3 cup cumin 3 tablespoons allspice 4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne 1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, mix well and then distribute evenly in jars. Seal jar tightly and add ribbons of cute labels. I found some really regal labels on the Microsoft.com template page.
And last but not least, herbal vinegars. I picked this little recipe up from Colorado State University. These require a little more work and know how, but once you learn the technique, this is a gift that can literally keep on giving.
- 4 cups red wine vinegar
- 8 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon sage leaves
Thoroughly wash herbs and dip in solution of 1 teaspoon household bleach in 6 cups water. Rinse thoroughly under cool running water and pat dry. Place herbs in sterilized quart jar. Heat the vinegar to just below boiling point (190 F); pour over herbs. Cap tightly and allowing the vinegars to stand in cool, dark place for three to four weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain out herbs. Pour vinegar into clean sterilized bottles with tight fitting covers. Add a fresh sprig of cleaned and sanitized parsley, if desired. Store in the refrigerator. This recipe makes 1 quart.
Check back with me later in the week as I start to tackle those New Year’s resolutions you have been thinking about and know you are not going to follow. Hopefully, I can help you plan some new resolutions that are doable.
- Affordable and Thoughtful Holiday Gifts from Your Kitchen (couponshoebox.com)
- Flavored Popcorn Kit (gift idea) (abeautifulmess.typepad.com)
- Fool-proof vinegar infusions (ask.metafilter.com)