NOTES TO SELF!

This is a collective of articles and vignettes about life, feelings and finding oneself.


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self improvement

The Joy of Making One Big Change Every New Year 


For the past few years, I've been a part of Coach Tony's Heavy Mental Training Program. Each January the program provides structure and advice on creating "One Big Change" in your life (instead of making a bunch of meaningless resolutions).

This program over the years has helped me achieve some of my goals and, in some cases, realize I need to change some of my goals. It has helped me be more focused, have structure in my life, be more positive and, as a result, be more productive.

What changes do YOU want to see? Do you "start" resolutions but never quite complete them? If you think some guidance can help you actually ACHIEVE your big change, then check out this program. Five days a week you receive modules and guidance. What I love is you can literally participate when you have the time and not participate when you don't because all the exercises are self-contained. The program has already helped me and I expect over time it will help me even more!

To check it out, visit: HEAVY MENTAL TRAINING PROGRAM

Coach.me VIP Program

For extra credit: Here's an article by Tony (the CEO of Coach.me) that explains just what goes into making your BIG CHANGE happen. Read it here ... good reading!

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tributes

My Friend Larry Passed Away From Parkinson's Disease

This is a tribute to my friend Larry and a thank you to social media for making our continued friendship possible. I know, that sounds crazy, but I'll explain why. And, you can read my favorite Larry story and why I will miss my friend who waged a valiant battle against Parkinson's Disease. My condolences to his family as Larry's beautiful energy rejoins the earth. Here's my tribute: 

 

A lot of people these days bash Facebook, particularly generations that came after us baby boomers. They take Facebook and social media for granted because they've ALWAYS had the ability to stay connected with childhood, high school, college and other friends to come, so it doesn't seem like anything special. But for my generation, once you left or moved from a school or a town or a job, the people that were in your life were usually out of your life. The only ways to stay in touch were by letter - and even back then, most people didn't write letters - or by phone, which was costly. 

Then along came Facebook. Now, I have many friends and past co-workers, including Larry, with whom I have reconnected. Back in the 80's, I worked on-site for my client, a group that maintained the technical manuals on the U.S. submarine fleet. Larry was my buddy in the office. My favorite Larry story is the time I came back from a break, walked into the office, said hello to Larry and he laughed in my face. I asked what was so funny and he told me to go to the restroom and look in the mirror. Back then, there was a lipstick called "chameleon" that looked like a green colored chapstick, but then turned red when applied. Apparently, when I apply a chapstick type of substance, I'm not careful! So, when I looked into the mirror, RED was smeared all "outside the lines" of my lips. I looked like a six year old that had gotten hold of mom's lipstick! 

I loved that Larry had laughed in my face. A lot of people wouldn't have said anything out of embarrassment and I would have been walking around looking ridiculous. But he was truly my friend and friends can laugh at you like that. Friends also tell friends when they have lipstick all over their face!

The best part of this story is that because Larry was SUCH a good person and, as they say of New Englanders, "the salt of the earth", I wanted to help him find someone special in life ... but it had to be someone who was worthy of this great guy. And I knew the perfect person, one of my sorority sisters, Theresa. I arranged the introduction, made Larry PROMISE to call her and, well, the rest is history. The magic happened and, to my great delight, they ended up getting married and having a family. 

Eventually, I moved away from northern Virginia and we lost touch. But then, a few years back, Larry and I reconnected on Facebook. Though I never physically saw Larry again, he became my friend again because of Facebook. For that, I am truly grateful. So over the years, he'd "like" all my political rantings, I asked him questions about his illness and what it was like and how he lived his days with it, he'd send funny videos or beautiful photos that touched him via messenger. I loved that I could be frank with him and ask questions about his disease. I know his last few years were tough and frustrating and limiting. Yet, while he probably experienced times of being down or frustrated by his disease, I admired watching how his kind and positive spirit came out in all of his musings. I admired how he didn't just feel sorry for himself, but still saw life as wonderful and worthwhile.

It was Theresa that sent me the message, in such a beautiful way, that Larry had "won" his battle with Parkinson's on March 21st, 2018. Even though our friendship had become virtual, the connection was real and I am deeply affected and sad that he is no longer with us. I am also sad for his family and beautiful Theresa - who also happens to be a pretty magnificent person that has spent much of her life caring for others. I know this loss will leave a huge hole in their lives and hearts, but one filled with wonderful memories. And I know, that I will truly miss my friend, Larry. 

 

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about life and feelings

Finding Friends

We all want and need friends, right? And let’s be clear: your age doesn’t matter.
 
As a certified Navy brat, I’ve done my fair share of being the new kid on the block. So it you’re finding it tough, here are a few hints:
 
1. I’ll tell you from experience that it becomes more difficult to find things geared to older adults (although this can vary depending on where you live). But beer cruises, bar hops, house parties, baby showers, beginning wine tasting classes (and in LA, fitness classes with body builders and budding actresses, yoga with naked pool parties, and beach volleyball) tend to be geared to people in their 20’s and 30’s. So get creative! Brainstorm and put together a list of possibilities. The meetup photography group, cooking classes at the local restaurant, NIA and other dance classes, religious and spiritual groups, networking groups, etc. Once you have your list, take on the challenge to work your way through the list while you look for that golden nugget in a treasure map. It’s there! Hint number ONE: get creative in figuring out where you can make connections.
 
2. In LA, I found it was tough. Very tough. I’d go to events and classes and, invariably, I’d think “Why am I the only person over 40 in here? There must be other people in my age range that want to do things?!” Lots of things might contribute to this, such as too much traffic and so many people that it’s easy to feel lonely. But, somewhere there ARE other people like you that want to connect. Here’s a great example: When Dale Pollekoff found it difficult making friends after she moved from Washington, D.C. to LA, she started a meetup group “Finding Female Friends past Fifty”. As of today the group has 1,370 members!!! That’s a LOT of women that probably felt like I did. So hint TWO: keep searching … they’re out there somewhere.
 
3. A recent New York Times article, "Finding Female Friends Over 50 Can Be Hard. These Women Figured It Out," points out “studies have concluded that friendships are vital to a person’s well-being, and this is especially true for older women.” If you’re having a hard time finding friends, you might decide that it’s not really that important, that you can manage on your own. But having friends IS very important in avoiding loneliness and depression. That’s why HINT number THREE is: don’t fall into the trap of giving up and not finding friends.
 
4. A couple of times I’ve worked at places or lived in places where I didn’t “belong”. A wonderful book called “Women Who Run With The Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes relates this to the Ugly Duckling story. In the end, the duckling wasn’t ugly at all; he was a beautiful swan that had simply been in the “wrong pond”. In those kinds of situations, it’s amazing how our self-talk can convince us that there is something wrong with ourselves. Hint number FOUR: Before you beat yourself up, consider that you might be in the wrong pond. If you are, start taking baby steps to change your situation and start searching for YOUR pond.
 
5. Lastly, remember that people come and go; circumstances change; people change. When we first moved to Tucson, we met a couple that we instantly loved and we vowed to be friends forever. And just as instantly they disappeared … without even a word to us. When “life” happens, it can take a while to adjust and replace. So, try to not put yourself in that position. A circle of friends that you can trust will prove golden over time. And if one of your circle falls through, you’ll have the rest of the circle to rely on. Hint FIVE: Keep building your circle of friends. Like the old song, “make new friends, but keep the old.”

 
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