Beautiful: Inside & Out

Beauty

Is the goal today to look like we haven’t aged at all?  Do we all really want to stay forever young?  I understand the desire to age gracefully and to create healthy habits in order to have a long and fulfilling life, but at what point do we take those simple desires and distort them into something else?  Is there a line that can be crossed?  Yes, I believe so, but I realize that line is different for each individual.  

I turned 41 in December in of last year and I have fully come to the realization that I am going to have to start putting forth a little extra effort when it comes to staying fit and looking fresh.  Long gone are the days of skipping lunch and going for a quick jog to bring my weight in check.  I have to make more changes more often to drop that extra few pounds.  Also, long gone are the days of a quick splash of water on my face, light moisturizer and lip gloss before I head out the door.  My beauty routine was once very low maintenance and it has definitely upgraded over the years.

I have watched people in entertainment get face-lifts, lip injections, butt implants, Botox, fillers, lipo-suction, permanent make-up and lets not forget the many different skin care products and diet and exercise programs promoted.  It would be easy to spend every last penny of your paycheck on just looking good.  It is also scary to look at some celebrities who have completely ruined themselves with the massive efforts to fight age.  So how do you really make the choices of what is worth investing in for long term benefits without ending up looking like a completing different person or a freak of nature?  

I am a researcher and like to study, I will devour articles from multiple websites, magazines and other resources to find out information on different beauty products and procedures that interest me.  I have come to find a routine that works and I feel comfortable with.  First of all, sleep, exercise and water are your best friends no matter what age you are.  Getting a good nights sleep, drinking a large glass of water upon waking and 30 minutes of cardio is how I start my day.  Then I jump into a warm shower, loofah & shave and after, I always moisturize.  My skin care routine involves eye cream, moisturizer, and vitamin C oil for the day and eye cream, moisturizer and Retin A cream at night.  I use a very light cleanser that removes my makeup and a toner to help prepare the skin before I apply the anti-aging products.  I also brush my teeth twice a day and floss every night.  Yes, I believe dental care can effect the aging process.

I drink lots of water and try to fill my plate with mostly fruits and veggies three times a day.  I have recently cut out between meal snacks because I tend to over eat when snacking.  I do eat meat but mostly fish, I love eggs and I try to moderate my dairy and grains.  I definitely see the benefits of a vegetarian diet when it comes to health and anti-aging but I love life and want to enjoy and not feel deprived in any area so I just practice balance and moderation.  I do drink alcohol, but I am perfectly capable of having a couple of beers with pizza or a burger and be done.  A glass of wine with piece of fish and a salad is one of my favorite dinners!  Moderation is key!

When it comes to cosmetic procedures I am very new to this area.  I like the idea of looking fresh, but still natural and recognizable.  My doctor has explained that a great skin care routine is important along with diet and exercise and plenty of water, but at the end of the day you are still going to have laugh lines and wrinkles if you are enjoying life and spending any amount of time outdoors in the sun.  I love to be out in nature and as a natural redhead I have my share of little freckles and some degree of sun damage and wrinkles.  The Retin A process is great for peeling away the top layer of dead skin and after about of month of using this product you can see a more glowing and less lined and wrinkled face looking back at you in the mirror.  However, there are some deep forehead lines that were still hanging around and the only real fix is Botox.

I have not yet had my first Botox injection, but I plan to get it done in about a month.  I am focusing on just the forehead lines.  The doctor has explained that Botox just freshens your look, but when people start getting fillers they can start changing their look.  The decision to schedule Botox was not an easy one for me, I have contemplated it for some time and I admit, not only do I have fears of a reaction but I don’t want to seem superficial or shallow.  I know looks are not everything, but the end of the day, this is the only face and body I will ever have so I am going to invest in it.

Honestly, I like the way I look and do not want to completely transform my face.  Taking pride in how you look should start with your own happiness and self-esteem, but it can also be good for your relationship with your significant other.  When you take good care of your body with a healthy diet and exercise, along with taking extra steps to be beautiful for yourself, it is naturally going to cause your significant other to notice and appreciate the effort, maybe even inspire them to also be at the top of their game.

Men should invest in good skin care as well…a good moisturizer and eye cream really is not something to be embarrassed about.   I get a crazy response from some of my guy friends or guys I have dated when I suggest something they think is girly. If you tan before a vacation, use skin care products, teeth whitener, getting a manicure and pedicure, use hair products…all of that is really no different than going to the gym on a regular basis.   A man who puts a little extra effort into himself is just sexy, trust me, farmers and cowboys need face moisturizer just like the rest of us!

I often write about good character, self-improvement and learning to grow and be a better person.  I think a well rounded individual understands the key to a fulfilling life is to be happy with the inside and the outside…the whole self.  It is not a bad thing to invest in your outside as long as you are making efforts to invest in your heart, soul and the betterment of relationships and the world around you as well.  We all deserve to look and feel beautiful!

With love, health and beauty for all…

Stacy

 

 

 

Advertisements

Coping with Stress

over-stressed-at-work-6-practical-steps-to-help-manage-stress-in-the-workplace-136420001847303901-170731162022

When you start to live a truly full life it can be exciting and rewarding.  I have a full-time job managing a busy counseling office, full time college completing my counseling degree, part-time waitress & bartender at my boyfriends restaurant, a mom of a teenager, a sweet dog and 3 lazy cats, paying the bills & the mortgage, trying to stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine, keeping up my look with hair, nails and fashion.  From self care to balancing work and school and financial responsibilities it can all add up to a lot of stress!

Research has steadily proved that stress is one of the leading causes of health problems. The need to deal with it has become more of a need to just cover-it-up and avoid by incorporating things that may not be any better for us than the actual stress itself.  Some of us eat more because of stress, some smoke, some drink, increase caffeine intake, some take medications (maybe you do all the above)… all to deal with the stresses of life.  When we adopt these bad habits we are actually just making matters worse.  After reading and listening to thousands of books, articles and research journals I have experimented with many different methods.  In this process I have come up with a few that really work for me and are much healthier.

  • Routine

When I first started my personal journey to de-stress my life I found the number one tool was having a routine.  Having consistency in your life makes life much easier and less stressed.  Important routines are morning and bedtime routines.  Having a certain time you go to bed and wake-up each day will not only give you the proper rest you need to fight off sickness, but it will make life feel a lot less chaotic.  I can tell when I stay up too late the night before and it throws off my routine the next day.  I don’t want to get out of bed and then I feel rushed when I finally do motivate at the last minute.  Planning out what you will wear and what you want & need to accomplish the next day is a great way to mentally prepare you before you go to bed.  Have a routine of washing your face, brushing your teeth, adding a nice night cream to your skin and listening to a meditation at the same time every night.  Also, (as most of us already know), reduce your screen time and remove technology from the bedroom as much as possible so you are not tempted to stay up late watching TV or getting on your phone.

Once I get up in the morning I like to exercise first thing and then shower and ease in to my day with a light breakfast, morning news and a cup of coffee while I get ready.  I listen to an audio book on my drive to work and I like to get in my daily water intake as I go through my morning.  I drink water upon waking and throughout my workout, then another bottle after my workout while I am getting ready and then a third bottle on my drive to work.  I usually have half my water intake complete before I even sit at my desk in the mornings.  Having routines at each part of your day can be very beneficial.  I have a routine I go through once I arrive at the office as well, to insure I am as productive and efficient as possible.

  • Preparation

The next valuable tool I have learned and applied in my life is preparation.  Being prepared saves you time, money and frustration.  Have a certain place you always keep your phone, keys, wallet/purse and other important items so you are not always looking for them.  Lay out your workout clothes/shoes and work clothes/shoes for the next day so you don’t have to waste time in the morning looking for them.  If you have a certain travel coffee mug you like make sure it is washed and next to the coffee maker the next morning.  Check your calendar the night before and prepare by making a list of any errands or special events you need to take care of in your day so you are not caught by surprised or miss something important.  People who follow certain diets do meal preparations so they have healthy food choices, this is a great example of how being prepared can keep you on track.  Walking yourself through your day the night before is a great way to do a mental check-list to be sure you have everything together.

  • Organization

Organization goes along with preparation in a lot of ways, but it gets a little deeper.  Anyone who have recently read the book or watched the show Tidying Up knows how helpful and refreshing the look of a truly organized home can be.  A clean and organized home can drastically reduce stress in life.  Be diligent about cleaning out pantries, closets, dressers and cabinets.  Throw away or give to charity what is not serving you anymore.  I have slowly been doing this in my house and it does create a better feeling when I come home each day and go into my kitchen to prepare a meal.  Opening the kitchen pantry and refrigerator to see it clean and neatly organized is very rewarding and encourages me to cook more instead of eating out.  Having my closets and dresser neatly organized with clothes I love motivates me to immediately put away my laundry instead of leaving it in the basket or piled on a chair in my room.  Organizing my bathroom has been the most helpful, having makeup and other beauty products neatly separated in baskets makes getting ready each day a breeze!

  • Mentality

Lets be honest, you can have routines, be prepared and organized and still have mountains of stress.  Your mental capabilities really come in to play when the going gets tough.  Are you a Negative Ned/Nancy or a Positive Paul/Pam?  Your brain and thought processes are like muscles in the body and you need to be honest with what process you choose when shit hits the fan.  Are you instantly thinking the worst and giving up by pulling the covers over your head, or are you a person who tackles the tough stuff head on with grit and determination?  You can train your brain to handle things in life just like you can train your body to run a marathon.  For many people, once they adjust how they perceive the world around them then their entire lives change.  Your mental loop can make or break you in high stress situations.

I am taking an online class and I had logged on to take a quiz.  The quiz allowed me 20 minutes to answer 15 questions and as soon as I hit the button to start the quiz the page just froze.  The quiz would not load on my lap top and I felt the panic rise within me because I had no idea if the time was ticking away on the quiz as I was waiting for the page to load.  It took me 15 of that 20 minutes before I was finally able to get the quiz to load on my computer and I then had only 5 minutes to answer 15 questions!  Needless to say, I did not do well on the quiz and for about 5 minutes I felt frustration, anger, and stress.  However, instead of going into a complete meltdown I simply emailed my professor and explained what happened and went on about my evening.  My younger self would have let it ruin my whole evening but the fact is, shit happens and sometimes there really is no matter of preparation, organization or any special routine that is going to stop the flow of shit.  That is when you have to be able to depend on your mental strength to logically evaluate the situation and decide if you have truly done your best.  There is no sense dwelling on things if you have sincerely tried and done all you can do.  Acknowledge your anger, frustration or any other emotions you are having and then move on.  Never feel bad for being emotional but never remain in that emotional state.  Allow yourself to cry or vent about the stress in your life and then let it go or do something about it, but do not be the person who constantly cries with no action or effort to fix it.

  • Wise Choices

Last, but certainly not least, take responsibility for choices you have made in life.  We all make mistakes, we may rack-up debt and have financial stress, we may not take care of ourselves and end up sick, only you know the truth of why some stress is in your life.  Owning your role in it is a bit of a relief in itself.  Once you stop pointing fingers you can focus on what steps to take to remedy the issue.  One of my favorite quotes comes from Andy Stanley:  In light of my  past experience, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?

I believe the main goal in life is not to just survive but to thrive.  In order to do this we must constantly learn and grow as individuals.  When a person has something to strive for they are usually happier and healthier.  Having hopes and dreams that you choose for yourself can be invigorating.  Do not focus on what others think you should do, not even what may be considered the right or wrong thing for you to do, instead ask what is the wise thing for you to do?  Nobody else knows what you want in life better than you and if you are unsure maybe you should explore those questions.  Making choices for yourself instead of living the hopes, dreams and expectations of others can relieve a lot of stress.  Without a plan you cannot possibly know where to start and that can be stressful.  What do you want out of life?  Are you making the wise choices to make it happen?

In conclusion, stress is just part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over your life.  To keep a healthy balance it requires really knowing yourself.  Your routines, level of preparation, organization and mental strength will be different from everyone else.  Don’t add stress to yourself by trying to take on a morning persons routine if you are a night owl.  Be realistic and create a lifestyle that works for you!

With love, health, happiness & less stress

Stacy

 

the librarian, a Sunday short story

It was kind of creepy the way she held her finger to her mouth and stared me in the eye.  Just that blank stare and silent gesture that instantly made me sit up straighter and listen for words that were unspoken.  She taps her heels on the floor to get my attention.  Her hair pulled back in a loose bun, a couple of tendrils falling over the edge of her glasses,  she looked over the top of them to make eye contact with me.  Her finger perfectly manicured but no jewelry, just a simple watch on her wrist.  Her lips a very light pink, but she made no attempt to make the pucker often seen when someone is trying to say shhhh.  After what seemed like an overly extended look and pause she returned her eyes down through her glasses to the book she was reading.  The title hidden against the desk.  I could not take my eyes off her perfect posture and her classic style of dress; a black pencil skirt with a white blouse and black heels.  She had this all knowing look of wisdom and yet something made me feel uneasy.  I moved to leave the large table I was sitting at to walk towards her desk.  I felt drawn to her.  As I approached, her eyes did not leave her book, but I knew she was very aware of my movement.

I stopped at the shelf closest to her desk and pretended to scan the books. She suddenly snapped her head from the book she was reading and looked at her watch.  Her movement startled me and I quickly grabbed the first book from the shelf that caught my attention.  She rose from her seat as an older lady approached, a few soft whispers were exchanged and the older lady took the seat behind the desk.  I had to follow, she grabbed her jacket, shoved her book in her bag, and headed for the exit of the building.

I watched her go out the door and down the steps before I left the exit myself.  She walked quickly in the heels and was pretty far ahead of me; it was like she was on a mission. I looked down the first street to my left to see her already two blocks down and turning to go inside an apartment building.  It was one of those beautiful buildings with the large windows and I could see her just inside the ground floor apartment.  She seemed so upset, dropping her bag to the floor, she leaned her back against the wall sliding down with her head in her hands as if she were sobbing.  Books and plants lined the window ledges and made it hard to see.  I instantly felt uneasy about myself for having followed her this far.  What am I a stalker?  I turned to walk back from where I came.  The wind blew so cold through me and I pulled my coat tighter.  I stopped to grab a coffee before arriving at my own apartment.  I was so cold from the walk I decided to take a hot shower and change into some comfortable clothes.  I crawled into my bed and quickly drifted off to sleep.

Sundays are my favorites.  This is my first weekend, in I don’t know how long, that  I have completely to myself. I grab an apple from the bowl in my kitchen and decide to actually check-out a book at the library today, instead of just being a weirdo watcher.  Laughing and shaking my head at my own ridiculous behavior the day before.  As I walk, I realize it is probably too early for the library to be open just yet and I feel my curiosity take over again.  I take the detour down her street.  I stroll along the opposite side of the street from her apartment and lean against the tree across from her window.  She appears with her bag, a travel mug and a newspaper.  Her face intently looking at the paper as she walks to work, so absorbed in whatever she is reading that she doesn’t notice me in step with her on the opposite side.

She suddenly turns to go inside a small door in the alley off her street.  I cross to follow her without thinking.  The bell of the door dings as I enter. Where did she go?  Hello?  My own voice sounding so foreign.  Sirens from outside jolt me back to reality, what am I doing?  I quickly turn back to the front of the shop and run out the door so fast I can barely hear the bell in the wind. A cold gust hits me in the face, chilling me to the bone. As I walk to the end of the street I feel sick and dizzy.  I want to go home but the library is closer.  As I go up the stairs and through the entrance I rush to the bathroom and run warm water over my hands.  The warmth of the water is soothing and I take deep breaths, in through my nose and out through my mouth.

After I calm down, I walk to the same shelf I pretended to scan the day before and grab the book with the dark blue cover and gold writing that had caught my attention.  The older librarian is sitting at the desk and looks like she is almost asleep.  I decide this book of poetry will be interesting for the day while soaking in a hot bath and drinking hot tea.  I absolutely hate winter and being cold.  I manage to force myself passed the street and head directly back to my own apartment.  I don’t even allow myself to look that way.  Once I am in my apartment I place a tea pod in my Keurig and start the water in my bath.  I undress and grab my book and cup of tea to head for the bathtub, light a couple of candles and add some oil to the warm water.  Sliding into the water stirs the scent of thieves oil and instantly takes the chill from my body.  I grab the book from the floor, there is a dark blue, silk marker placed towards the back of the book.  I open to the page and begin to read:

You walk the same path day after day, you search, but cannot find your way.  You are often curious and a little bold, but become uneasy and end up cold.  You chose this book to open your eyes, to help overcome the repeating lies.  You follow yourself or who you used to be, you keep looking closer, but refuse to see.  Close your eyes and count to three…tap tap tap her heels make you look, the time on her watch made you grab this book.

I slam the book shut and throw it onto the floor, pulling myself up from the bath I grab for the towel, a chill enters the room and every hair on my body stands on end.  I pull my robe on walking out of my bathroom, leaving the book behind.  I cannot believe what I just read.  I think I must be losing my mind and decide to take a valium and a nap. I wake  what feels like only a few minutes later to find it dark outside.  I realize I have wasted an entire Sunday sleeping.  I go to the bathroom to pee glancing at the book laying on the floor and vow to return it to the library first thing the next day.

The next morning I head out the door with book in hand and head straight for the library.  As I come to the street I refuse to look that way I don’t want to give in to curiosity  again.   As I hurry across, on a mission for the library  to get rid of this book my world goes dark…the pain comes quick, people are yelling, dizziness, sickness, the sirens in the distance, but I only see the gray sky above me, then I hear the tapping of heels towards me that catch my attention…she leans over me, with her glasses and her loose bun….its so cold I try to say, but my voice sounds so foreign, she stops me from trying to talk by holding her finger to her mouth…shhhh.

 

What Does Healthy Mean to You?

When I hear the word healthy it conjures a certain image in my head of me walking my dog on a nature trail with sunshine, fresh air and backpack full of healthy snacks like apples, granola bars and baby carrots with humus.  I think of yoga on the beach with a great tanned, toned body and my long red hair blowing in the ocean breeze as I clear my mind of all the stresses of life.  The truth is, looks can be deceiving when it comes to health.  There are actually individuals that fall into the healthy weight category and smoke, drink excessively and eat nothing but junk food.  Then there are individuals outside their healthy weight category who don’t smoke or drink, but may struggle with food.  It is absolutely possible that the person first mentioned is much more unhealthy than the individual who just looks outside what we picture in our minds as healthy.

It seems we all have this preconceived notion of what we are supposed to look like and what we should be doing to look a particular way and lead that particular lifestyle.  The truth is, we are all unique and what works for one person may not work for you.  We have morning people and night owls, we have people who eat like crap and never gain a pound and those that just smell a chocolate chip cookie and gain 5 pounds.  The key is to listen to your body and what it is telling you about everything from your water intake, sleep schedule, and energy levels, even what kind of food you crave can tell you something about what is going on in your body.

I have learned that early to bed and early to rise is a motto that actually works for me, but will probably never work for the man in my life.  I like breakfast in the morning, a average size lunch and very little food for dinner and he seems to be exactly the opposite.  I am more motivated to complete work projects, errands, and chores around the house when I first start my day and wind down as the day progresses.  My boyfriend is a guy who likes to sleep in and pick up momentum around noon before phasing out later in the evening. I am in my forties and he is in his fifties so these are patterns that are most likely set in stone for who we are and we should take that into consideration when creating a schedule & routine for our lives.

People who try to force themselves to get up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym when they are night owls, preferring to sleep in and skip breakfast, are probably never going to stick with that early morning routine.  We all read the articles about successful individuals who suggest getting up early and tackling your day with the gym and a healthy breakfast and go to bed early in the evening, but if that is just not who you are then you cannot force it or you will be miserable.  My boyfriend is a perfect example of a man who made his lifestyle work around his needs.  He owns a bar/restaurant that is only open in the evenings.  This gives him the ability to sleep in, go to the gym, and run a few errands as he eases in to his day and by afternoon he is hitting his biggest work load.  When he is just getting warms up around 4 or 5 p.m. I am just ending the biggest work load of my day and heading home.  I have found when I work at the restaurant in the evenings to help my boyfriend with his business I am exhausted when I get home and usually head straight to bed when he is capable of watching at least an hour of TV.

Even on the weekends, when I am not at the office, I find myself getting up early in the morning instead of sleeping in.  In winter or when it is dark and rainy outside I tend to find myself sleeping in and wanting to hibernate a bit more, but usually I am up and going no later than 7 a.m. on weekends and no later than 6 a.m. throughout the week. My boyfriend can easily sleep in to 10 a.m., which I am somewhat envious of.  The truth is, I like my routine, I feel more efficient and less like I am wasting my day when I get up early and do all kinds of things before noon when my boyfriend hasn’t even got going yet.  I have heard him say more than once that he feels like he has wasted a day, especially when we first started dating and he would see me getting up early.  In the passed 3-4 years he has started getting up earlier and going to bed earlier, not sure if that is my influence, his age, or the fact that he has started going to the gym more regularly, probably a combination of all.

At the end of the day just ask yourself if you feel rested, nourished, accomplished, productive; are you fitting everything in to your routine easily or do you feel tired and like you are forcing yourself through life?  The goal is to find your own path and enjoy each day to the fullest.  If getting up early to read or watch the news while sipping coffee is important to you then make it happen.  Our personal routines are important to having a healthy and fulfilling life and it doesn’t have to be the same routines that everyone else is doing.  We are all unique and what makes you feel healthy and happy may not be the same for your significant other or anyone else.  We don’t have to look a certain way or follow a certain method to be healthy or happy.  Just do you!

With Wishes of Health & Happiness,

Stacy

The Shift

Dr. Wayne Dyer is a wonderful motivational speaker and writer that will inspire you to look at your life in a different way.  This movie is free on YouTube and worth the watch.  I also suggest his books.  Currently I am listening to his audio book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Living the Wisdom of the Tao.  His focus comes from living your life fully from a place of love.  Enjoy!

 

With love & inspiration,

Stacy

Perfection Is Not Real

Forget talking to your kids about Santa or the Easter Bunny.  Lets talk about what really matters, the fact that being perfect is not real and the constant effort to get there is exhausting and futile.  The other night I started watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and something she did made me cringe because I remember being that girl!  The effort put forth to always look perfect by getting up early and applying her makeup so she would look flawless to her man.  I remember going to bed with my makeup on in a similar effort.  In the beginning we all try to put our “best face forward”  but at what point do we take it too far?  At what point do we sacrifice being true to ourselves and our relationship for the appearance of perfection?

Trying to create an image of perfection can be seen everywhere, especially with social media.  People always posting the great vacations, new bodies from working out, those overly posed beach pictures in a bikini doing a meditative yoga pose or, the famous, overly filtered selfies.  The need to create the image of effortless perfection seems to be important to so many.  The truth is we all just want to be loved and accepted exactly the way we are but there is a catch to being to satisfied with where you are in life also.  The truth is, there is always room for improvement in some area of life and we should all strive to learn and grow daily.  However, to constantly learn and grow means taking risks and making mistakes and ultimately….accepting imperfection as reality.

I am not saying the first couple of months of dating a person you should allow them to see you at your worst just to see if they are really as in to you as they say they are…but it is probably better for them to see you at your worst and still accept you than to put out the constant effort of little miss perfect for months to just come down with the stomach flu and realize he is a superficial jerk.  I have found that most men who are worth the time do not really expect or want perfection anyway.  They want to see the silly side, hear the embarrassing stories and share in awful hangover moments when your fake eyelashes look more like windshield wipers the next morning.  Isn’t the goal to be best friends with your forever person?  So if you can’t laugh at yourself with them, then what the heck is the point of the relationship?

Take the pressure off, allow yourself to be human, vulnerable and don’t be afraid to own your mistakes and admit when things are hard.  Accept others as they are, we are all unique and beautiful in our own way.  Maybe perfection is much like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder; it doesn’t fit one exact standard set in a magazine or on television show.  Maybe perfection does exist just like beauty and love….it can be found in all of us. So look for the love & beauty in all things this new year, and together maybe we can create something a little bit closer to perfect.

Stacy

 

 

In Your Own Time

As a woman who decided to complete my education in my late thirties and continue into a Masters program in my forties and plan to finish my doctorate before 50, I am a bit of a late bloomer.  I graduated high school, pushed myself through junior college to get an associate degree out of the way (even thought I had no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up), was married by 21, had a baby at 23 and divorced by 28.  Needless to say, I felt pressure to be everything as quickly as possible and in the process I made some mistakes.  In a nutshell, I felt this need to conform to societies expectations and timelines.

Being 40 when you graduate with a BA degree is kinda looked at like…’well yeah most people accomplish that in their twenties soooo…good job at finally catching up to the rest of the world with a degree you probably will not ever use’.  I chose to complete my degree in psychology and continue on with my masters in mental health counseling and hope to move on to my doctorate.  The consensus about psychology degrees seems to be that everyone loves the classes because they are interesting and a lot of people get the degree, but many just go on to get a job that does not relate to psychology at all.  So, not only am I going back to school and going through this big career change later in life, but I am also faced with the idea that the path I have chose is looked at as a bit of a cake walk that won’t amount to much.

Not to mention the other timelines pushed on me….what, only one child?  What? You got divorced 12 years ago and you never remarried?  You have been dating a guy three years and you haven’t discussed marriage?  You are going to end up alone with 17 cats, a degree you can’t use and one child that will never call home…end of story.  Yes, all of these things have been said directly or joked about by both friends and family, even my parents.  At what point do you just say fuck it!  I am definitely not the normal girl and honestly, I don’t know that  I want to be.

I have been a lot happier since I have started following my own timeline and stopped worrying about what everyone else thinks.  I will admit, knowing there are many out there who may think that way makes me even more determined to prove those false narratives all wrong.  By the way, who is to say that lady with 17 cats isn’t livin’ the dream?  Live your life by your own timeline and don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

With love to all the late bloomers in the world,

Stacy

Not Hot Enough

I was told a story that left me a bit dumbfounded over the weekend.  It really left me a bit scared wondering…are there a lot of men who really think this way?  I was discussing a past vacation and words that were shared between two males who were discussing their relationships.  One of the men stated that he felt it was only a matter of time before his relationship ended because he just was not satisfied.  He went on to say his girlfriend was just “not hot enough” and he just wanted to earn a lot of money and have a hot, sexy young women on his arm.  This couple eventually did break-up and the guy still often talks about how he misses her and what a great girl she is.  I defended this guys reasons, (the reasons he told me anyway) but I realize now he was saying the nice, sugar coated and logical reasons that a reasonable person could support.  Then when someone clues me in to the selfish and completely ugly truth of how he really felt I am now feeling shocked and disgusted.

This woman is sweet, funny, smart, well educated, successful, had a beautiful home and drove a nice car, she is beautiful, active and in great shape, she was honest and took care of him and you could tell she was really crazy about him.  I thought about her and what she brought to that relationship versus what he brought to the relationship and it just left me feeling more disturbed.  I can understand and be a bit more accepting if a twenty-something says I just wanna be rich and have a hot sexy young woman on my arm, but when you hit 50-years-old and you still think that way there is a problem.  I understand that there is no shortage of grown men and women who are looking for superficial qualities like good looks, money, and a flashy car and that is all they care about.  I just didn’t think it was so common that I would actually cross paths with one of these people.  I am further disturbed by the fact that this guy seems so normal and was actually enjoyable to talk to and I would have never guessed that such a superficial asshole was lying just under the surface.

I wanted to make sense of his words by thinking…people say things they don’t really mean, especially groups of guys drinking and having fun without the ladies around.  Maybe he just spouted off those words and doesn’t really feel that way when it really comes down to having a relationship.  Surely everyone by his age understands that in order to have a truly loving and lasting relationship it has to go beyond money and looks right? Unfortunately, the truth is, our society markets young, hot. sexy women and rich, successful men as the ideal.  Is there not some kind of logical, realistic balance in there somewhere?

I want to stay in shape and be healthy.  I think having respect for myself and my relationship means taking care of myself, my kid, my career, my bills and constantly working on personal growth to bring more to the relationship.  I feel that my significant other does the same.  However, at the end of the day I want my man to know that if he gets some awful sickness and loses all his hair and needs help to the bathroom that I am going to 110% be there.  I don’t think people who only think about money and sexiness will ever understand that kind of love and devotion and I feel sorry for them.

I often speak of the importance of relationships and what it means to truly love and accept someone.  It amazes me the number of people who are over 50 who still do not understand.  If you can take away only one thing in this life I would ask that you take a look at who you surround yourself with….are they all just beautiful on the outside or are they beautiful on the inside too?

With love (inside and out)

Stacy

Negativity

Negativity is a dirty word.  It is also sneaky and can jump into your world without warning.  It can come in many forms as well, people, places, situations, experiences, thoughts and words.  I like to think that most of the time I avoid it pretty easily.  I have managed to create a life that surrounds me with positive people, places, and things that I love.  So yesterday when I went for a drink after work with a girlfriend I never would have imagined how negativity would find its way in to my world by the end of the night.

A guy friend of hers joined us and what started out as nice conversation and a few drinks took a turn very quickly leaving me shocked at the words being said.  When a random person who you don’t even know makes an ugly comment and resorts to name calling it can leave even the most positive person feeling dirty.  I drove home and felt like I needed a shower and a good nights sleep to forget about the negativity that crossed my path.  My friend warned me that his behavior was not unusual and I know that his words really had nothing to do with me but it still left me feeling tainted.  What is worse is I didn’t sleep well, I felt such a bad vibe surround me and it has followed me into the next work day.  I woke tired and feeling ill and realize, maybe I have surrounded myself with such good vibes that when a truly negative person infiltrates my zone it affects me on a much bigger level than it used to.

When I have a weak moment and allow a person to get under my skin it is frustrating to me because I work so hard at trying to maintain a happy, healthy life in every aspect.  We should not let the behavior of others destroy our inner peace.  So today I am working through the negativity that seems to have hit me harder than it should have.  I am going to nurture myself with beautiful music, making a list of things I am grateful for, eating very healthy and drinking plenty of water and tonight I will meditate and pray before I go to bed in hopes that tomorrow my positive vibe will be restored.

Image result for negative people

With love and positive vibes sent your way…

Stacy

Live High

Take a moment to ask yourself what kind of people you surround yourself with.  Do you look at your friends and co-workers and instantly feel like you are doing great in life because they are couch surfing, pay-check to pay-check, smoke it if you got it types?  If so then maybe you need to raise your standards.  If you are working to be better each day then surround yourself with people who will push you to be better.  People who have great jobs and are constantly educating themselves, growing, and learning through new projects and ideas.  People who have great relationships with equally awesome, motivational and inspirational people who take care of their bodies and minds by surrounding themselves with goodness.

What we consume mentally, physically, emotionally, nutritionally and socially are all part of our overall health.  If you are around negative people who feel they are stuck in a dead end job or relationship and constantly bitch and moan about it but never take action then maybe you should re-evaluate your friendships.  Surround yourself with doers not wishers.  You can be a person who sits on the couch drinking a six-pack and thumbing through a travel magazine talking about all the places you wish you could visit or you can create a plan on what it will cost to take that trip and go buy an awesome new set of luggage.

Live high with people who choose to actively progress up the ladder of success with words and actions.  Be with the people who talk about the great trips they are actually taking, not just the trips they wish they were taking.  Surround yourself with people who are actually writing the books, going back to school, showing up at the gym everyday and volunteering their time….not those that just talk about those things.  When you surround yourself with people who are living high on life they will automatically raise you up to their level.   Nobody wants to have to face a successful group of friends who are talking the talk and walking the walk everyday unless they are doing the same.  Raise your standards and surround yourself with those you aspire to be more like and in turn you will see your life change.

To living happy, healthy and high…

Stacy