(As many of you know, we do a regular feature here on the site called Life Lessons; a series of questions designed to give us a better look at you and, in some cases, give you a better look at yourself. As is customary, I kick off each new year, answering them myself. So here is the New Year’s version of Life Lessons.. featuring Good Enough Mother. And if you would like to do them, drop us a line here; we’ll get the questions right out to you. Tab through the arrows to read my take on the last 365 days and what I hope for the next).
*Are you happy at the moment?
I do TRY to be happy. I believe happiness is an inside job and therefore MY job is to make ME happy. But truth be told there are things that get in the way of that effort. Typically I try to recognize them for what they are, deal with them and move on. Example: the times when I’m overly-tired or at night, are when I feel most hopeless. When I’m exercising in the morning, I feel powerful. So basically a big part of my happiness is managing my physical self.
*If you could go back and say anything to your
16-year-old self now..what would it be?
Well, I would say several things:
*No one will believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.
*There are no shortcuts in life; stop looking. Just do the work.
*Your ship will come in but it will be because you rowed it in.
*Your parents know what you are up to; remember they were 16 once too.
*Failure is not the opposite of success; it is the steppingstone TO success.
*You are not fat.
*You are smart. You are strong. You are worthy. You have a right to be on this planet and what you say matters. Question the motive of anyone who would have you believe otherwise.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I guess the most important thing I have learned this year is that life is fluid. I used to think that everyone (present company included) goes through hard times. Then that’s it; it’s over and back to the good times again. What I have come to understand is that life and business is basically a series of expansions and contractions. Last year, I was expanding; this year I’m contracting a bit. If I hold on tightly through the ebb, I will see the flow again. This I know.
*What do you most want to
achieve in the next 12 months?
Listen.. I have a kid getting ready to go to college. I have a mortgage and I like to eat. I would love for the wild monetary fluctuations that come with working for yourself, to moderate a bit. I would also like to take more personal time. I hate working so much; for my own creativity, I need more navel-gazing time.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
This is going to sound counterintuitive but here goes: I believe the secret to happiness is fully breathing in every, single experience, both good and bad. Processing those experiences on a visceral level helps us learn and grow and anyone who has done any growing knows that it is a painful process. So the trick is to soak it in to all the fibers of your being. Even the bad stuff. That’s my secret to happiness. That and red wine. And staying away from assholes. That’s pretty much it.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I don’t really have a ritual but the things that make me happy are pretty simple; a beautiful spring day, vacation, good company. I guess that’s an involved way of saying I try to be fully present. I try to understand and appreciate the fact that there is beauty in the struggle. As much as it sucks (and it sucks mightily at times) I remember that I am learning lessons I never would have had I not been tested. I mean that.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I don’t traffic in regret because I do believe you learn from every experience. Even the bad ones; they’ve provided invaluable tutelage on what NOT to do again.
*What’s the most important lesson
you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I think a couple of the biggies are:
*Actions have consequences. Know that and own them.
*You have to save yourself. No one owes you anything and no one is as invested in your future as you are.
*Never give up. Everyone is tested. It’s not whether you walk though the fire; it’s HOW you do it that matters.
*What bad habit would you most
like to change about yourself?
I need to be more disciplined. And organized. Which is somehow related to discipline. From cash to the clothes in my closet, 2015 means everything gets hung on a hanger or put in a drawer.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage
what are you most proud of in your life?
I probably said this in 2014’s, Life Lessons but the thing that I am most proud of is that I am still standing. I’ve absorbed some of life’s body blows like a damn champ and am still here to tell the tale. I keep going because I know this is going to be a helluva story when it is written.
*When were you happiest?
I’m almost 52-years-old so I have experienced a lot of happiness in my life. In fact, the joyful days FAR outweigh the tough ones. That said, high points include the day I got married, gave birth to Casey and Cole. Oh and while I love all of these people, truly one of the happiest times for me is when I am traveling. Alone.
*What ten words best describe you?
I’m sure there are a few of the 4-letter variety but here’s the clean version: Funny, irreverent, loving, loyal, compassionate, daring, impatient, smart, driven, resilient.