I get why people like New Year’s resolutions – there’s something hopeful about them, and I guess that’s the whole point. In a way, they remind me of how I feel at the end of a doctor’s appointment – when the lab work is done, the probes are behind me, and once dressed, I begrudgingly evaluate my progress, identify what still needs to be done, and then get the hell out of there.
Sometimes I go so far as to manufacture completely meaningless resolutions, just so I have something to say this time of year when practically every conversation is peppered with the same dreaded question: what are yours?
The very word, itself, is so cold and off-putting, isn’t it? Why can’t we use something more imaginative? Like dreams, visions or hallucinations? Imagine how fascinating that conversation would be. Alas, my resistance doesn’t change the narrative, in that the question is still asked and I never have believable answers. Until now.
My daughter is just one of the experts that gave me some great dating advice. Let’s see if I can follow it.
I’ve been thinking about dating quite a bit lately for two main reasons, and they are called My Friends. The first group of Cheerleaders do lots of gushing and smiling, and say things like, “You’re awesome! You need to get back out there! Go date and have a blast!” Sometimes they even applaud.
I call the other group my well-intentioned Pragmatists, and they have a common habit of rolling their eyes, groaning, and saying things like, “Ugh. If I ever have to be out there again, just shoot me.”
Although I’m not exactly sure where out there is, My Friends have led me to believe that it is exciting but very dangerous, and generally uncomfortable. On the one hand, the thought of getting to know someone over intimate dinners and glasses of wine sounds amazing. But then I remember all my horrible dating stories from the ’90s – when lovely dinners turned into confusing goodbyes, overzealous suitors or disappearing prospects, and I kind of lose my nerve. Plus, today there’s the added bonus of texting angst and ghosting, which makes dating even more intimidating. Continue reading
A friend of mine posed an interesting question to me this morning – a spin on the normal, “What are you thankful for this holiday?” Her version was, “What unlikely things are you thankful for, and why?”
“What do you mean by unlikely?” I asked, wondering if she knew about my recent binge-watching on Netflix, or my affinity for fuzzy holiday socks.
Postcards are just one thing on my list of quirky things I’m thankful for. What’s on yours?
“I mean, what are the quirky or unexpected things that really make you feel blessed?” she said. “Besides good health, friends and all that typical stuff.”
It’s a good question. I mean, it’s easy to focus on the big things for Thanksgiving, like family, shelter … a 30% coupon at Macy’s. Pinpointing the less obvious forced me to discern and articulate on a deeper level. And I wasn’t even drinking wine.
I’m fascinated with what brings people joy, or what I like to call, the Universal Search for Happiness. There are scads of movies about finding it, exhaustive studies that attempt to define it, experts that instruct how to feel it, and umpteen songs and books that describe it.
Don’t you want it too – that feeling of weightless bliss that curls your toes and tingles your insides? That “thing” that makes you grin and giggle and glow?
“I only want you to be happy,” says the mother to the child.
“I’ll give you a lifetime of happiness,” say the lover to his mate.
“I’m tired of drama. I just want to be happy,” says the widower looking for love.
I’ve felt and experienced happiness. I’ve reveled and marveled in its power. I adore those scintillating moments of elation whenever they occur, and bask in the warm and fuzziness of it all. And while I am the first to recognize how wonderful it would be to exist in a heightened state of pure elation, I am also well-familiar with the pesky but unavoidable universal truth that always gets in the way: happy doesn’t last. Continue reading
My written words almost died. They were still taking up space in my head, mind you, just muddling around in a stew of dense, colorless gunk. But they were lifeless. Suffocated. Submerged.
My words finally came back. It’s about time.
One year ago, as my alphabet and punctuation marks became increasingly limp and useless – just stubbornly waiting to stand up and be recognized – I made a big, jumping-off-a-cliff change in my life that was more terrifying than anything I’ve ever done before. It was also enormously painful and endlessly paralyzing. There were countless days when I wondered if I’d survive. But this is what happens when you choose to end 19 years of marriage.
Oh, I spoke. I vomited stories and descriptions and emotion. I spewed out memories and realizations, exclamations and thoughts, disappointments and hurt. I conversed and shared, reflected and screamed. I whispered, sputtered and sorted out the madness and anger as depression hovered. I sought refuge in the friends and relatives who saved me, who encouraged and nurtured this oral purging that I so desperately needed. Yes, my spoken words were fine. Just fine. Continue reading
It was about 9.925 years ago that I turned 40, and made a determined proclamation:
When I turn 50, I will either be traipsing nonchalantly in Italian wine country, or lounging decadently on an exotic beach, surrounded by loved ones and celebrating life!
This week, on the cusp of my grand debut as a quenquagenarian, I have no bags packed and no passport ready for stamping. It just didn’t work out the way I planned. My big birthday celebration will consist of a smallish, self-initiated gathering of close friends at a local bar, and I’m really okay with that. Truly. I will be. Just give me a minute.
Turning 50 is a strange experience. It’s like you’re moving from one science-fiction-inspired universe into another, without complete control of your own destination, while helpless observers standby and offer advice, support … snide comments and black balloons. There’s no turning back. Ever. Continue reading
Over the past few months, no less than 15 friends or well-meaning health professionals have insisted that I include yoga as part of my health regime. And I have ignored them with style and grace. It’s not that I don’t take yoga seriously, exactly. My hesitance has more to do with the thought of practicing it with other people. In public.
My skeptical attitude isn’t due to fear or loathing. Rather, I hesitate only because my brain is similar to many other writers and creative types, meaning it never turns off and there is a constant narrative or dialogue (usually satirical), darting around in my head. So when there is a room full of people stretching, om-ing and smiling in a serene, almost Stepford Wife kind of way, well you can imagine what a gold mine of comedic skits there is before me, just waiting to come to life.
Peace Through Yoga in Zionsville, Ind., was the scene of my first true yoga encounter. In public.
It was this mindset – unfortunate or otherwise – that plagued me when I attended my first yoga workshop at Peace Through Yoga. Yes, it was an actual workshop – with other people – and for three hours.
Oh, and did I forget to mention the vision board portion of the program? You know, when grownups, armed with scissors and glue, cut out images and words representing an ideal future and create collages on poster board?
©2014 Michelle Freed
As we officially head into what many of us consider to be Pre-Holiday Crazytown, I have some bad news. You are most likely on the verge of a physical, emotional or mental breakdown.
Holidays can be hazardous to your physical, emotional and mental health. Duh!
Studies show that brain activity rapidly decreases 5-7 days prior to significant family gatherings, due to stress, overwhelming to-do lists and relatives who don’t know how to look anything up on the Internet. This means that your chances of contracting a cold or flu (and a diagnosable mental disorder) more than triple.*
Personally, I’ve already shown signs of logic and memory deterioration (example: I stored the glue gun in the oven and trimmed the refrigerator with tinsel). As an added bonus, this morning I discovered a box of nails hanging out with sandpaper and medieval torture implements in my esophagus. It’s not something I like to brag about.
The good news is that there are lots of ready-to-purchase, over-the-counter remedies for almost all pre-holiday ailments. It’s just a matter of knowing which ones to use at what time, which is why I’m here to help (hint: you might want to destroy your browsing history after reading this, should authorities or technologically savvy 10-year-olds get involved in the crime scene). Continue reading