Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Epiphany Time....

So what is perfect and why are we all trying so damned hard to achieve it?

Putting all spiritual discussion aside, let's just have an honest airing of a reality check. Not one of us currently walking this round ball called Earth is perfect. None. Not even that newborn over there, his screaming is bothering someone, hence - imperfect.

So, we tell children to "be themselves" and that it's ok "if everyone is different". (Aside: This does not hold true for primary education in America, unfortunately. With the standardized testing ruling the pocketbooks of the education administrators, everyone needs to be the same. Even if they aren't. Lying is encouraged. Learning, sadly, is not.)

Anyway, we feed out kids these lines then suddenly, about puberty, we start telling them they aren't good enough. They are doing it all wrong and if they don't change - they will be failures as adults and human beings. Mind you, two weeks prior we weren't declaring winners and losers at T-Ball because God forbid our kid be a loser.

Then we become young adults and go to college where we get the startling dose of reality that, Hey we are NOT all winners. You can (and probably are) a loser at something. Sometimes it's academia (more and more these days) and sometimes it's sports and sometimes it's social skills. Regardless, we suddenly think our parents were right and we are doing it all wrong.

We begin to buy self-help books, read deep philosophical texts and discuss politics like it's our job. Women start worrying about their bodies (which until now they've abused and used as collateral in the bargaining of life) and whether they are associating with the right kind of people for their future careers and families. Men start worrying about money and toys and having the biggest ones. (Strangely, this is much like little boys, so they don't change as much at first.)

Then at about 26 or so, regardless of where you are in life you suddenly have this epiphany. If you could just be perfect at everything you try (mind you, the main lesson here is - don't try everything), then you will have suceeded. We start climbing that corporate ladder like it leads to God. We bat our eyes and try to attract the person we deem to be the best of the best in the significant other pool. Men suddenly start wondering if they will be old fathers and around 30 decide they want a nice girl to settle down with, but they can't find any because they've trained themselves to look for bad girls (who in theory are more fun).

Women, having been involved with too many men looking for bad girls, give up playing the role. If they are married, they start really nesting or maybe decide it's time to add a career to being the perfect mother. (A lot of kids get lost in the shuffle here, sadly) Single women, who usually have a career by now, find themselves reluctant to be vulnerable to men (I might be projecting a bit here, but whatever...)

Regardless it all boils down to this underlying need to have it all, to be perfect, to get there first, fastest and with the most... everything.

The thing is, we miss so much on the way. We miss the best part of the ride. What's that? The part where you are happy - not content, not biding your time - but genuinely happy with where you are RIGHT NOW. Even if it's enroute to something more, less or different, this moment in time may be your last in all honesty and it should be your best.

I think that's what we miss. Instead of trying to be perfect, we should try to make the time we are in right now as perfect as it can be.

And I didn't even have to read a self-help book to get to that knowledge.

Note: The epiphany came when I was staring in the mirror trying to find something wrong with me. My hair was done and looked ok, my skin is clear, my curves (though generous) are in all the right places and were decently dressed. In all, I should have had no complaints and as I wasted 20 minutes trying to find some, it occurred to me that if I could just be happy for right now instead of worrying about an hour from now and the possibility that some stranger might see me and might see something wrong with me, I could go outside and enjoy the day instead of sitting inside staring at a piece of glass searching for faults. (Like that run on sentence, do ya?)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dove Promise Messages Update

DPM #9: Go against the grain...


Honestly, who wrote this, Dr. Atkins? What do you people have against a little hearty oat or yummy wheat? I know we're a carb-phobic society, but honestly aren't we taking the hypocrisy a little far when this is wrapped around a piece of dark chocolate?

... it gives your hair volume. Yes, if you brush against the grain, your hair will appear fuller and more beautiful. Why this advice is on a piece of chocolate is beyond me, but hey if you're not gonna eat right and hit the gym - might as well have pretty hair right?

... to remove lint.
... to remove body hair.

You know, for as ridiculous as "Go against the grain" is, I could do this all day. It's funny. Being serious for a half-second, going against the grain is alright if you think first. Know that the "grain" is often the accepted societal norm and going "against" it usually has consequences. Sometimes this turns out well, "Women can vote! Diseases cured! Men stop wearing tights!" but it can also turn out to be something that causes contention. See: Hitler, Marilyn Manson and Saddam Hussein for further information. Sometimes fighting the majority rule is a negative. (For all the Manson fans, this of course excludes you and your idol. *wink wink*)

DPM #10: Get your feet massaged.

Yes sir! Or Ma'am! Whichever, I'm on that like white on rice. Finally a useful DPM.

Two Lies and a Truth

1. I have never shopped at Abercrombie and Fitch.

2. I have worked as a cold-call telemarketer for a charity.

3. I have never lied about my current marital status.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hello 2008!

It's a new year folks. 2008. Wow, isn't it exciting?

OK, I can't pretend anymore. Maybe it's hitting my 30s or something, but each new year seems less exciting than the last. I've got a good job, almost no debt, the best dog ever, good friends, a great family and reasonably decent health. I have no complaints. I travel, enjoy various hobbies and in general enjoy my life.

So... each new year is, eh.. another year. Maybe I need to take my own advice and update my goals list. I've achieved most of mine (save the marriage and kids, but hey that's not a solo production) and find myself... bored.

Bored at 32. That's frankly, pathetic. So, I'm going to institute some new goals and a change of attitude. I don't do resolutions because those are like white lies you tell yourself and you should always be honest with yourself. Lie to other people if you feel the need, but never lie to yourself. So, resolutions - out.

New goals for then next five years - much more plausible.

1. Go back to school. I'm considering culinary school because I am entertaining the idea of becoming a pastry chef. I have the aptitude for it as a layman, with a little training I would be phenomenal.

2. Travel and learn a new language / improve an old language. I think it's time for my Japanese to become fluent. That may take a while based on my current command of the language. I also have a vague desire to learn Gaelic. We'll see about that.

3. Redo my entire wardrobe and house decor. Maybe my boredom comes from being too comfortable in the things I've had for literally a decade. I need to evaluate and make a plan.

4. Stop just paying for that Bally's membership and use it. My brain is sharp but the rest of the muscles in my body are probably atrophying. It's time to invest in myself physically.

5. Expose myself to new groups of people. I've become the cliche. "Can't teach an old dog new tricks." Not that I'm an old dog, and I can learn new things - but not if I keep going to the same places with the same people.

5 goals for 5 years. Seems reasonable. I feel better having made the list. In fact, now I have work to do. Hey, 2008 is looking up already!

Dove Promise Messages Update

DPMs: (5-8)

DPM #5: Make a list of your dreams...

...because when you're older it will help you clearly understand why you're a failure. Nothing like a bulleted list of all the things you never had the nerve, money, time or initiative to do, right? Ok, sarcasm aside, making a list of goals is NOT a bad idea. Goals - NOT dreams. See the difference? A goal is something you plan to do, you can work towards it with milestones that end in achievement. Dreams are fantasies that revolve around luck, supernatural intervention, and / or large piles of money. Making a list of dreams is for kids, grown-ups make goals.

DPM #6: Wink at someone driving past today...

Great. Now I'm responsible for some old man totalling his car cause you told me to flirt. You people need to be more specific in your instructions because frankly, that's just dangerous. Not to mention bad driving advice in general or haven't you ever been told to "KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD".

Edit/Update: Someone brought to my attention that this DPM could be directed to a pedestrian to wink at a person driving past in a car. All I can say to that is (insert hysterical laughter). Seriously, who pays attention to the targets... er, I mean people on the sidewalks. I'm in a car, baby, and I'm looking at the other people in large machines that can kill me. You can throw eggs and carry signs, but otherwise - you stay on the sidewalks, I'll stay on the streets and out of the crosswalks and we'll be just fine. If I catch you winking at me, I'm gonna think you're a carjacker and nobody wants that drama in their life. As for the times when I'm a pedestrian, I always have the right of way. Winking at drivers will just get you run over - Welcome to DC.

DPM #7: Smile. People will wonder what you've been up to...

...or they will think you're deranged because you go around smiling like a lunatic all the time. They will wonder what you've been up to, alright. "I wonder who he killed, chopped up and buried in his basement today?" That's what they will be wondering. Unless it's Christmas or you're doing the pained "I'm at the mall and surrounded by mouth-breathing morons who can't read a map and don't know what they came for" grin, a pleasant look on your face is enough. Maybe even a small smile. The big smiles and cheese eating grins - just say no. Save those smiles for people that deserve it. It shouldn't look like you're trying that hard to have a good day.

DPM #8: Laugh uncontrollably... it clears the mind.

...or makes you look clinically insane. See the above message advice and pay close attention. If smiling for no reason makes people look at you funny, laughing out loud uncontrollably for no obvious reason will get you committed. Don't believe me? Try it in a crowd sometime. Call me first, I like to put those types of moments on You Tube.