No One Told Me….

whisperThe older I get, the more I find irony in the phrase that “knowledge is power”, while so very much of life is based on trial and error.

We spend approximately 16 – 18 years of our early lives in school.  Learning, testing, gaining skills.  Then we are out in the “real” world.  And over time, we begin to learn how little we know about that real world.  News flash:  it doesn’t get easier the older we get.   Much of what we learned in those first 16 years starts to fade, replaced by effort and experience.  As a matter of fact, as life takes us through increasingly new and challenging experiences, we start mumbling “no one told me about this part.”

For a while, we rely on the generations before us to impart their wisdom upon us. But what happens when those generations pass, and we are left…well, with our own lessons?  What then?  Are WE suddenly in the role of the wise elders?  Wow, that’s a frightening prospect.

For all the “help” books that are published every year, along with lengthy manuals and doctoral theses, and the trillions of YouTube videos and Google searches, there still seems to be a lack of being able to just tell me like it is – short version.  There’s no Cliff Notes on how to raise children, how to survive teen angst and making college decisions, what to really expect in caregiving for elders, how to stay happy in 20+ years of marriage, deal with budget stress, handle job changes late in life, and – here’s the biggie – cope with our own aging.  Now, please, don’t start flooding me with books to read.  I know there are many great authors, therapists, doctors and motivational speakers out there who would love to tell me how to handle any of the above.  But what about the REAL story?  The stuff we learn from our mom, our aunts, our BFFs – and, truly, the things we learn by just making our own mistakes?  There’s no greater solution, like it or not, than trial and error.

Every now and then, when we are lucky, a big lightbulb goes off, or someone has the bravery and experience to honestly tell us like it is.  Sometimes this is in the form of a comforting friend who has “been there done that”.  Other times, that wisdom comes from being willing to ask questions to the right people.

I had a big fat lightbulb moment this morning and it changed my whole attitude for the rest of the day – in a good way.  And it prompted me to want to shout this wisdom from the rooftops to all the other R.W.’s out there who are experiencing the same thing I am.  Ok, well, this isn’t a rooftop, it is a blog post. Kind of like I’m whispering in your ear.  It’s safer this way, as I would probably get arrested for spouting weird crap that only I find amazing from the top of a building…. But I digress..

First, a bit of background.  All of my doctors are women.  I have absolutely nothing against male doctors.  It is just that I have found that, especially later in life, female doctors totally “get it.”  They are the ones who will tell you kindly and gently what you need to know like a friend, they have likely experienced it all too, but they have the years of medical knowledge and skill to actually back it up when the rest of us are pretty much winging it.  I am also lucky that at this point, all of my doctors are totally awesome.

This morning I had a check up with my Oncologist.  A lovely, wonderful woman.  After the usual exam and discussions about menopause, she asked if there was anything else on my mind, any questions, concerns, etc.   Let me pause right here.  Far too many women, especially in our younger years, are hesitant to ask questions or to say “well, you know, this has been bothering me…”  I’m not sure why we hold back, but we do.  Maybe embarrassment, maybe the feeling of “that’s not important enough to bring up”, maybe a bit of head-in-the-sand syndrome, who knows.  But with age comes confidence, so I have moved comfortably into the zone of sharing with no fear.  I told my Dr. that I was feeling frustrated that I couldn’t shed this extra 10 pounds I’ve been carrying around for a while.

She leaned back and told me the following.  (You younger women reading this, bear with me – this is good for you to know too).  The average woman between the age of 47 and 55 gains an additional 7 – 10 pounds during those years.  And they gain a tummy roll, even if they never had one before, and even though we all hate it.  That tummy is not all about being fat.  It is keeping us healthy.  Seriously.  It is there to assist with hormones and providing estrogen our bodies need as we head into our menopausal years. The Dr. even told me that our tummies help fight osteoporosis… and women who have that bit of extra weight and that stomach pooch live longer.

I’m sure I looked at her as if I had just heard “I love you forever” from Adam Levine or George Clooney, or that she had just handed me a winning lottery ticket.  I said “Really?  Wow, you just made me feel so much better!  I never knew that!”.  She smiled and said “You need to learn to love your tummy.”

Ok, so maybe for many of you this is either old news, or no big deal.  But for me, at that moment, it was that slice of “no one ever told me that”, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I swear my mood boosted to level 10.

By the way, for any men who have hung in here long enough to read to this point, please take note as well.  Don’t be critical or discouraging if your mature lady’s shape has changed… she is going to be healthier and live longer because of it.  (Not like your donut belly, by the way.  Yes, we do notice it. We are just too nice to point it out.)

I realize her information does not give me license to give up eating my salads, stop exercising, and become a sloth on the sofa who eats chocolate cake every day.  BUT, her information did something vitally important. It made me feel a whole lot better about myself. It also made me think about all of the other R.W.’s out there who could use that good information and mood boost and feel better about themselves too.

Because, in the end, all of our knowledge gathering, trial and error, and figuring out “why didn’t someone tell me about this” moments are not about becoming experts at everything, or geniuses, or Wonder Woman, or even the best ever caregivers.  Life is all about just doing the best we can. Getting through each day, making it just a bit better for ourselves and those around us.  And that is exactly what Dr. S. did for me this morning.

To celebrate, I’m going to try really hard to follow her advice and appreciate my new form.  And I may just grab a handful of m&m’s for my tummy… you know, just to say thank you.

 

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Little Things

emptyIt’s been another long day of work, child care, home maintenance, family issues, yard work, laundry, errands, food prep – you name it. Finally you are ready to climb those stairs at the end of the night, doing all your last “going to bed” activities: putting the dog out, clearing the table and counters, setting out items for the morning, checking on children, shutting down lights and locking doors. Bone tired, you just want to climb into bed, read 2 pages of a good book before you fall asleep…and suddenly you remember. You stripped the sheets off your bed that morning to put them in the wash.

Raise your hand if you just groaned and said “ugh, I HATE that!”

We R.W.’s can take on big issues all day long… Work deadlines? Bring ‘em on. Family emergency? Traffic control and ambulance mode, we got it. Baby sitter cancellation? Multi-tasking momma’s on it. Spouse loss of job? Ready with compassion & strength. Relationship issues? That’s why we have BFFs and ice cream. Sudden major schedule change? Ready to turn on a dime.   We spend a lot of our lives coping with the big stuff “all in a day’s work”. But sometimes, it’s the little things that set us off.

That’s not to say that we don’t know how to not sweat the small stuff. We juggle small stuff in and around the big stuff all the time, never losing our firm grip on our coping skills. But sometimes, when we are just plain worn out, those little things can turn us from Wonder Woman into either the Wicked Witch or Cinderella BEFORE her glass slipper. I call those little things our AYFKM: “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” moments.

Let’s revisit the bed sheet issue. It’s likely that not only is your bed bare and needing to be made up, but you likely have wet laundry still in the washing machine, all the way down in the basement at 11:00 at night. AYFKM?

Or how about when you’ve spent 90 minutes in the grocery store, list and coupons in hand, trudged all the way home to unload and put everything away, only to find out 10 minutes later there was something else the household needed. AYFKM?

For any of a million reasons, you are running late in the morning and need to get to an important meeting. You slide into your car, throwing your bags in the seat next to you then realize your gas tank is on fumes because you neglected to stop for a fill-up last night. AYFKM?

Your bladder woke you at 1:30am, after which per usual your brain kicked in to worry about premature death, global warming, and weight loss. After 45 minutes of restlessness, you finally drift off to sleep. Only to be woken 20 minutes later to the sound of your pet or child puking with no warning. AYFKM?

And therein lies the primary issue that contributes to our downfall. Whenever these moments happen, we are tired. Exhausted. Spent. Stick-a-fork-in-us-done. We have spent our days bravely and powerfully handling major challenges and crises while playing the role of family coordinator until we ourselves are running on fumes like our cars. So in those moments, we are reduced to our alternative personalities and either start cursing like truck drivers, or end up weeping in a bathroom stall.

It’s just gonna happen. After all, ladies, we are always tired. And there’s always going to be some little thing that just for a moment takes us down.   But that’s ok, because we can take heart in knowing that at that exact AYFKM moment, there are at least a dozen other R.W’s nearby experiencing the exact same thing.

Then we can pull up our big girl pants, laugh it off (preferably over a glass of wine with a BFF), and vow that the next time, we’ll get out fresh sheets right away. So when we think of the old adage ‘you’ve made your bed, now lay in it’, we can smile and think: Yes. Happily, I will.

 

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Travel Reality

womens roomI spent the past week traveling… first for work, then a couple of extra days for leisure and fun.   When we R.W.’s go out on the road (or air), we have to live via the mantra of “expect the unexpected.”  We do our very best to plan ahead and be as prepared as possible, yet the only thing that is guaranteed is there will be events for which we did not plan, or that are out of our control. For example:

No matter how much we’ve over-packed, we will forget something. Or there will be some item we wish we had brought with us, but didn’t.

There will be a crying child on the airplane.

There will be someone coughing and hacking and spreading their germs near us – perhaps in an elevator, at a restaurant, or on public transportation.

At some point there will be a food item and no way to eat it. For example, a bag of trail mix that won’t open (with not a pair of scissors in sight), or a cup of yogurt with no spoon, or a soda with a cap that won’t come off.

The available WiFi will be sporadic at best, and will crap out mid-way through an important email or when attempting to post the perfect picture on Instagram.

There will be a required visit to CVS or Walgreens. — for something. Like allergy medicine, band-aids, tweezers, Airborne, bottled water, a magazine, sunscreen or chocolate.

An impulse purchase will be made for an item that will never be used, worn, or played with ever again upon arrival back home.

There will be at least one minor crisis back home that we will have to handle long-distance as if we are air-traffic controllers or online M.D.’s who are always on call.

A full un-interrupted night of sleep will be unobtainable due to temperature issues, elevator noise, other guests, foreign food & drink digestive issues, or lumpy pillows. But that’s ok, because R.W.’s never get a full night’s rest at home either.

In my travels this week, I determined there is one particular microcosm of an environment that is an especially good example of consistent inconsistencies, to which we need to be best prepared for the experience: public restrooms.

When stepping into a public potty, we can be guaranteed that:

They will smell. In unappealing ways.

There will be at least one toilet in a stall that is not flushed and/or is plugged.

There will be at least one stall that will have run out of toilet paper.

The auto-flush toilet will flush at an inopportune time.

At least one of the auto faucets at the sinks will not be working, causing us to wave our hands around like some sort of bad magician, while the auto soap dispenser gets confused and keeps squirting out soap all over the sink.

The hand air-dryer will either be too weak to do it’s job thus causing us to shake our hands or wipe them on our pants, or so strong it is deafeningly loud and threatens to remove skin, OR the nearby paper towel dispenser is empty, thus causing that odd two-step of holding our bags under our arms or between our knees, holding our dripping hands out in front as we shuffle to retrieve a towel at the farthest location in the room.

And of course, let us not forget the most common factor: there will be a line. The awkwardness of the women’s restroom line is not unlike riding in elevators – we must decide whether to avert our eyes, do a nod-and-smile form of greeting, or strike up a friendly conversation – all while casually trying to peek under doors to find available stalls and hoping to get one that does not have a plugged toilet or lack of paper.

The joy of travel is that at some point we return home, to our own private, familiar environs where we feel a bit more in control and can manage expectations. Well, maybe not really in control, but at least we will have our favorite non-lumpy pillows, maintain the cleanliness of our own surroundings, refill the toilet paper roll and flush when appropriate.

That’s right, Dorothy. There’s no place like home.

 

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Blinkin’ Power

jeannie-and-meA few years ago, The Marist Poll asked Americans what super power they would most like to have. More than a quarter would like to have the ability to read people’s minds, while the same number of folks wanted to be able to do time travel. Other top picks were the ability to fly or be invisible. Apparently more men wanted to time travel while women were the ones who most wanted to read minds.

I can’t say as I particularly want any of those superpowers. I certainly don’t want to read minds, because – yikes – I am weary enough listening to my own thoughts all day. Time travel I suppose could be cool, I have occassionally thought going back in time could be fascinating as long as I knew I could get safely back to the current again. But being able to fly or be invisible? Nah.

My superpower wish dates back to when I was a young girl, and in some ways is more simple. One of my favorite TV Shows was I Dream of Jeannie. I rather desperately wanted to be able to blink and make things happen. So much so, that I would roam around the house practicing this craft – sadly to no avail. Even at a young age, I could see the convenience of this power, and to this day, it is on the top of my list of Cool Things I Wish I Could Do.

Like all super powers, it would be important to not abuse the priviledge. I promise, I wouldn’t. Well, after of course blinking enough money into my bank account to pay off all debts and never have to worry about paying bills again, and after blinking all my loved ones to good health, and lastly blinking about 10 pounds off my body, well, THEN I’d only use this power for simple good things, and I wouldn’t ask for too much. I know better than to try to solve all the world’s problems. Even Jeannie couldn’t do that in her day.

Instead, I would use my mystical nods for those times when I just need a helping hand – err, blink. When I’m running late in the morning, one eye squint could get me dressed and out the door. Too weary to tackle a sink full of dishes? Boing, done. Paying the bills and balancing the checkbook? Piece of cake without even thinking about it. Cooking dinner when I get home late and am tired, putting away laundry, popping over to visit a friend… all worthy moments for the power blink. Just think how handy this could be. In a hurry to get ready to go out? No more dealing with impatient men waiting for us, because we’d be fasther than them. Bad hair day? Blink. Gorgeous. Broken heel on your favorite shoes as you are headed out the door? Bing, fixed. Lunch stain on your blouse? Ta da, gone. Every time-consuming chore we hate could be accomplished quickly and effortlessly.

I thought of Jeannie again this evening. I had planned to go to the gym for a workout, but ended up deciding to skip it. Why? Well, it was snowing. But my decision was not based on road conditions (which weren’t too bad yet), distance (the gym is literally across the road from my work), nor even because I was low on energy. It was because I had to brush my car off. Go ahead, call me a spoiled brat, but that is one of the winter chores I hate the most… leaving work when it is cold, dark, and windy out, and having to wield the snow brush. After taking several minutes to get my car cleared, I knew that if I spent an hour or so in the gym, I would have to brush the car off all over again. And I just didn’t have it in me. Instead, I headed home and opted for a home-basement workout, which is substantially more boring, uninspiring and devoid of all motivation. So just think if I had my favorite super power. My car would have been cleared off in a second, both times, and I would have been much more enthusiastic about hitting the gym. In other words, having the FOTB (Force Of The Blink) would actually be healthy for me.

I’m willing to bet that in most cases, when given the opportunity, the majority of Real Women would give up the chance to run faster than the speed of light, or be able to lift a volkswagen, or be undetectable – all in favor of a way to make life just a bit easier. To be able to cut corners and save energy. To take just a few things off our plates.

Sure, SuperMan could leap over a building in a single bound. But Samantha Stevens could clean her house with a twitch of her nose. Which would you rather be able to do?

 

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Perambulate and Ponder

sunset febI’m a walker. When I was young, that was the phrase we used for friends who walked home from school versus riding the bus. But now I mean simply that I take walks. Virtually daily, I get out for a walk at least once, sometimes twice. In the morning before work, or during my lunch hour, or on a weekend afternoon, or in the evenings before dark – I’m taking my daily stroll.   I know there are many of you RW’s who are also out there stretching your legs. Some of you take it to the next level, doing lengthy hikes, climbing mountains, or running marathons. I will once in a while add in a brief jog until my knees remind me that is not a worthy option. Fine by me, I’ve never enjoyed running. But walking? You bet.

When the seasons get warmer, and the days get longer, I add in my other favorite outdoor activity, bicycling.   I am a fair-weather biker, but I’ll walk during almost any weather – as long as it isn’t hazardous or truly unbearable. When I can’t get out for walks, I don’t feel good. I feel more tired, my back and knees get stiff from sitting, I have less patience, and I grow weary of stale air. I need the diversion of getting out, even if it is only for a short 20-minute loop.

If I walk near home,  my faithful companion is my fur-kid, my amiable Lab. Often during lunch breaks, I’ll walk with a couple of friends. Other times, I’m solo. It really isn’t about the exercise as much as it is about head clearing and fresh air breathing. My pup is getting into his senior years, so our outings have become more of a meandering amble – certainly not a cardio workout by any means. With my friends I pick up the pace, but those walks are more about chatting and catching up. And when I’m out on my own, I move along and ponder.  I do some of my best thinking when I’m out walking or biking. Besides, that’s what we women do. We think. ALL. THE. TIME.

Sometimes I will ruminate over issues or challenges, working things out one step at a time. Sometimes I’ll write in my head then come back and translate it into my laptop before I forget the words. Other times I’ll make up stories about those who live in the homes I pass, and identify them by the dogs who live there. I think that fluffy Samoyed’s mom works from home. That bouncy boxer is trying to herd his busy family. The twin pugs are waiting for their teenagers to come home. That cute retired couple likes to garden and pamper their cat.

The best walks, however, are when I’m not deep in thought on any one particular thing.   When I can just let my mind drift, clearing my head of day to day stuff. I soak in my surroundings and hop randomly from thought to thought. I look at the views, watch for birds, thrill at blooming flowers… and invariably my gaze travels down and I have one recurring frustration: why is there litter?

Seriously, I’ve never understood why litter is a thing. What makes someone think “gosh, I’m going to throw my trash out into nature.” ?   And what really gets me, is doesn’t it take more effort to roll down your car window and hurl garbage out of a moving vehicle than it does to simply toss it on your floor then throw it away when you reach your destination?

Maybe my befuddlement is because I grew up with the Don’t Pollute campaigns of the 70’s and 80’s. That crying Native American in the Keep America Beautiful ads is forever engraved in my memory banks. As a little girl, I felt guilty tossing an apple core into the woods. I remember my Dad picking up soda cans along the road.   Besides the why, I ponder the what…because over time that seems to have changed. Sure, there are still gross lumps of fast food containers, but it seems the majority of the ugly trash items now are liquor bottles. Like crocuses popping up in the spring, empty Nip bottles gather in clusters in seemingly oddball areas.  nips

There’s a plethora of them down the road from my office, between the road and a ball field. There’s another assortment of them along a farmer’s field at the end of my street. My first initial reaction used to be “darn partying kids.” But I wonder, is it really teenagers pulling over by a field, slurping down tiny bottles of booze then throwing them in a heap in a ‘yeah, we’re cool’ statement? Or is it a few alcoholics taking quick swigs behind the wheel (yikes) then hiding the evidence in plain view before they go home? And weirdly, the most popular varieties seem to be vodka and Fireball. Why?  Oh, so many questions. So much disgust.

Luckily, there is still more natural beauty in my walking world than there are discarded booze bottles.  And as I continue my journey, I’m reminded that we have a choice in life. We can get weighed down by the poor judgement of others, and dwell in the small ugly moments that can trip us up along the way, worrying about how to cope, OR we can look up, take deep breaths, appreciate the good in life, and decide how to continue to make it better.

And be open to learning new things… like my dog’s favorite lesson to follow your nose, even if it means crossing back and forth across the street a dozen times during one walk.

 

 

 

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Olympics & Oreos

olympic loungeOh look, it’s time for me to grab a couple Oreos, put my feet up, and watch unbelievably remarkable feats of athleticism on TV. Gotta love the Olympics. After the first five minutes, my guilt about curling up comfy & cozy under a blanket while those crazy people risk life and limb to prove they are the best, fades… after all, we each make our own choices, right? And, let’s face it, those athletes are not normal people. They are, with all due respect, freaks of nature.

Oh, sure, those cute ads during the commercial breaks about “you can make your dreams come true if you drink milk” tug at the heart strings, and “if you believe in it, you can make it happen” is motivational.  But I’m sorry, these athletes are not like the rest of us. I mean, really… with each Olympics, the bar of amazement and perfection raises higher. The competitors are in a level of peak physical condition the majority of us will never even get close to experiencing or working hard enough to reach. Beyond that, these people have seemingly no fear — only drive, passion and a ridiculous amount of energy. Even more incredible is the number of them who have come back after accidents, injuries and trauma to do it all over again. “Yeah, ok, so I’ve torn my ACL three times, but what the heck, I feel better now, so let me go speeding down that mountain again.”  While the rest of us mere mortals would be all “Nah, I’m good, I’ve got a nice spot on the couch.”

I’ve noticed something else this year too. They are all beautiful.  Come ON. Just look at these people:

vonn_lindsey_150x250     ligety_ted_150x250    Speedskating_Davis_Shani-150x250   kim_chloe_150x250

and of course, there’s this guy:

pita tonga

As if all that isn’t enough, for the most part they all seem to be really nice. In interviews and in comments before and after their events, they all seem excited, grateful and although confident, not snobby.  They are tweeting cute and funny things about being hangry.  Oh, I’m sure there are a few tremendous ego’s among them. Can we blame them? How could you NOT develop an ego when you are young, gorgeous, a world-class athlete, with lucrative offers of sponsorships and celebrity endorsements being offered, and – oh yes, you may just be one of the tiny fraction of the population who happens to have a large gold medal hanging around your neck.

So here the rest of us sit, watching these athlete superhero’s cavort around on mountains, ice and in the air, making us feel even more normal and regular and… well, real than ever. A couple of years ago, during the summer Olympics, I posted some thoughts about some activities that I thought we RW’s excel in on a regular basis that could be our own Olympic events. Once again, now as I watch Chloe Kim fly 10 feet in the air on her snowboard, and Mirai Nagasu land a nearly impossible spinning jump while on skates, I ponder our great successes.

What if medals were awarded for events like the Multiple Grocery Bag Carry as we struggle with bringing bags in from the car, or the Kitchen Speed Clean after dinner? How about the Balance and Agility Course between laundry area and bedroom? Then there’s the Mind Like A Steel Trap trials as R.W.’s everywhere remember birthdays, school permission slips and what to thaw for dinner all while tracking deadlines at work.  The follow up event to that is the Multiple Pet or Child Household Feeding Program. And my favorite, the bonus round for extra points, the 60 Minutes or Less Workout . Those pro’s may be skating or skiing the equivalent of five marathons, but we pull off an astonishing few minutes on a treadmill followed by ten whole sit-ups. Darn remarkable.

As for looking like some sort of Sports Illustrated Cover Model, well, we’ll leave that to the Special Ones we are watching on NBC. We show our pride in ourselves for each day that we manage to wear matching socks, underwear that’s not falling apart, a blouse that looks somewhat ironed, and on top of it all, pull off a good hair day.

We all deserve gold, silver and bronze medals for our own Olympic events. We too deserve to have some sort of bling we can wear to show how outstandingly regular, normally human, and amazing we all are.

I do recognize, however, that I need to rethink my planned Medal Ceremonies.  I keep eating the medallions.

Oreo-Olympic-Medal1

 

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Be That Woman

lucyI went to the bank at lunch time today. Yes, I actually went inside to interact with real humans to conduct my withdrawal and deposit business instead of pushing buttons on the ATM machine. Ever since our debit cards were compromised, I’ve gone back to my “old school” ways and have opted for human contact. It’s remarkably pleasant to be greeted by a friendly face, be able to verbally explain what I need done, and walk away feeling confident that my identity was not stolen.

In our digital age, where virtually every interaction is turning into a faceless transaction, taking the extra few moments in our day to be around humans can be astonishingly refreshing. Sure, too much humanity all at once in a crowded mayhem-like environment can be less enjoyable (like a busy subway system or a super Wegmans), but in small doses, we can be surprised by the satisfaction of interacting with living, breathing beings. When I walked into the local branch of my bank, it was quiet and calm, with light music playing. There were just a few other customers in there at the time… likely most others were outside using the drive through or the ATM. One man was finishing up with one of the bank Tellers, another man was waiting just ahead of me, and one older woman was visiting with the other bank associate.  Yes, I said that correctly.  She was visiting.  She clearly was a regular, as she seemed to know the bank staff all personally. Within an instant, I could sense that she was a character. Dressed in funky boots and leggings, with curly unruly hair, she was talking with the bank Associates about mutual acquaintances, about a shopping experience she’d had recently, and about the local theater she used to work at before retiring. I don’t recall her ever saying anything about banking business, but the Teller seemed to be working on some sort of transaction for her, so there must have been a purpose behind her visit besides social.

OK, so true confession time. In my usual beat-the-clock, everything in my life has to be done in warp speed mode, my initial reaction to this woman was an internal eye roll and sigh. I mean, come on, really, must you just hang out and chit-chat? Some of us are on our lunch hour. Soon another Teller opened up an additional window, right next to where this woman was holding court, and called me over. I had waited maybe four whole minutes. As soon as I walked up to the counter, I started to change my first impression of this other customer. The women working there were obviously happy to see her, and enjoying the visit. She had an infectious happiness about her, like she was the kind of woman who embraced her own unique style, and truly enjoyed every person she interacted with in life. She had a big personality, and I started wishing I could get a better view of her without staring, and wanted to see what fabulous scarf or top she had on under her winter coat, which she had shown off to the Teller. I began imagining her working at the theater — the perfect environment for her. I bet she was charming and fun. Instead of considering her odd and annoying, I suddenly wanted to be more like her.

We all spend far too much time rushing around, head down, brain chock-full of issues, worries, what’s-next problems, and stressing over deadlines and how full our plates are. On top of all of that, we strive to look pulled together, attractive, and conduct ourselves in a “normal” way. For the most part, we attempt to blend in – feeling like we are getting away with some sort of risky behavior if we simply add some fun hair color or great shoes. When we do have interactions with strangers or distant acquaintances, we generally remain in our comfortable, polite yet distant zones.

Why? Why are we afraid to be memorable?   Shouldn’t we all dare to step out of our comfort zones more and be like that woman at the bank? Many of us seem to think that we have to wait until we are older to have the freedom to act like we want. That seems like a colossal waste of fun.

I’m not suggesting we all start coloring outside the lines with our makeup, wear our pajamas 24-7, pierce bizarre body parts, or act batsh-t crazy. Nor am I saying that our stresses and strains aren’t real, and I realize none of us can be perky and carefree every day. But why not let our true colors and personality show a bit more? Why not be engaging and friendly and even a bit quirky?   Yes, there will be some conservative folks who may roll their eyes or whisper about us, but that’s ok. Just smile and wink at them, because you at least made an impression. Let’s see the ATM machine do that.

As I headed back to work, I thought about other RW’s in my life over the years who have dared to be memorable and unique. We all know women who feel so comfortable in their own special, individual skins that they naturally exude confidence and charm. They aren’t afraid to march, in their multi-colored funky heels, to their own drummer and brighten the days of other people in their lives. Just thinking about each one of them made me smile.

Because, simply put, they are unforgettable. Kind of like bank lady.

 

 

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