Louis CK explains cell phones and sadness as only he can

Louis CKLouis CK is a 46 year old, sometimes self-depracating, often foul-mouthed comedian that I inexplicably (or maybe not so inexplicably) have a thing for. Much like my thing with Idris Elba, CK is none the wiser for it, but it makes our bond no less real to me (don’t judge me.) (Photo: Louis CK)

The clip below is from a recent visit to Conan and starts off as a rant about why kids shouldn’t have cell phones. But then it turns into something much deeper. And while I don’t agree with him that “it’s all for nothing and you’re all alone,” I know the sadness he’s talking about.

It’s a feeling of being so overwhelmed that there’s nothing to do but just feel it and let it flow.

It’s those moments when you’re alone, but you don’t want to be, or those times when, like with recent events in Colorado and Kenya, you’re faced with the sometimes cruel brevity of life.

But if your go to move has become flipping through your phone rather than really feeling something, anything, then maybe it is time to step back from the phone. And if you’re a part of the generation that has grown up and not experienced riding in a car without DVD players, satellite radios, tablets, and cell phones, then getting in touch with that place isn’t something you know. I aged out of that demographic twenty years ago, but I have, and do, use my phone as a crutch sometimes – even though it is probably the the dumbest “smart” phone ever made.

So, although I don’t usually take advice from comedians, Louis CK is the exception. From now on when I get the urge to use my phone as a shield, I will leave it in my bag, or even back at my house, for as long as I can. I’ll feel those uncomfortable moments, I’ll be the person sitting by herself and not looking into her lap and I might even talk to a stranger.

2 and a Half Lessons I Learned From Attending a Writers Conference

Palace of Versailles - Grace Wynter
I don’t like long blog posts because blah blah blah…right.  So this week you’ll read about the first two and half life lessons I learned while attending the Atlanta Writers Conference, and next week I’ll post the rest.

 

Last week I had the pleasure of attending my first writers conference. While there, I was reminded that so many of the lessons I’ve learned about writing transcend the practice of writing and apply to life in general. Sometimes these lessons aren’t new, but serve as reminders of the life we want to live. From the humbleness and approachability of a New York Times best-selling author, to the “butt in the chair” mentality of the just-published, never-been published, and everyone in between, I learned something from everyone I came across. Here are just 2.5…

 

Lesson 1: People do judge a book by its cover. When you’re the author of the book, that can be a great thing – if the cover says everything you want it to say about what’s on the inside. But as readers (and observers of life), we should be wary of judging a book by its cover alone. That judgement (the conclusions we come to about that book) is only skin deep, and we might miss out on some wonderful content just because the packaging doesn’t look the way we expect it to.
It’s a great metaphor for how we look at people who, at first glance, appear different – even very different – from us.  By focusing only on outer appearances, we bring all our history and baggage (often unfairly) into the judgment process and by so doing, miss out on potentially life-changing conversations and relationships.  Great covers are great to look at, but be prepared to value a book, not for its cover, but for its content.

Continue reading 2 and a Half Lessons I Learned From Attending a Writers Conference

My big fat European vacation and why it’s taken me two years to take it

Remember when I wrote this post about what I’d imagined I’d be doing at 40? It involved writing – a blog post, a short story, anything really – while at a cafe in Italy. But it involved a version and a vision of myself that didn’t exist back then. Even if I’d been able to financially swing the trip, in my head I just wasn’t ready.

And I am always in my head.

And my head kept asking “What if you can’t get it together?”, “What if you’re not in the shape you want to be?”,  “What if things don’t go the way you planned?”, what if, what if, what if…

So for two years I let my head talk my heart out of taking a trip I’ve always wanted to take.

This year my heart wins out.

The interesting thing is I’ve made this trip before. In 2005 I flew to Europe, alone, met up with friends and spent 3 amazing weeks in London and Florence.  So what’s so different now?

That trip was pre-40, I was in better shape and was in a completely different mindset. This time, post 40, I felt like I wanted this trip more but that somehow I wasn’t ready for it. Doesn’t make much sense does it?

So what’s changed? Why this year and why now? Because life doesn’t wait for us to be perfect, or even ready, for it to happen. Time passes while we talk about the things we want and think about the things we want. And then before we know it, we’re wishing we’d done it – whatever it is.

I’m tired of wishing and tired of waiting for my life to be perfect.  I’m tired of being so afraid of moving in the wrong direction that I don’t move at all.

My life will never be perfect. I may one day have the financial freedom I’ve always wanted, the relationship I’ve dreamed of having, and the health and fitness that’s been a lifelong struggle for me. But even if those things miraculously fall into place all at once, my life will still never be perfect. But it will always be my life. One that for all its ups and downs I’m blessed to have.

So I’m off to Europe for two weeks in the fall to enjoy my wonderfully imperfect life. It’s my own personal self-indulgence tour, one in which I plan to reawaken my senses. I even wrote my own little travel manifesto, which I’ll share next week. Spoiler – it involves being less self-conscious, more spirit conscious, eating without obsessing, and maybe even a gorgeous Italian or Frenchman or Brit…

As I plan for this trip, I wonder why so many of us put off doing the thing(s) that we really want to do. I wonder what we’re so afraid of and what separates those who “just do it” from those who don’t. What have you always dreamed of doing and what are you going to do to make it happen? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook page.

 

 

It’s not who you are that holds you back,

it’s who you think you’re not. 

When I saw this little saying on Pinterest I was all “That’s me!” Then sadder and quieter, “That. Is. Me.” 🙁

Here’s an honest list of the things I’m guilty of telling myself I’m not.

I’m not…

pretty enough, as pretty as her, any combination of statements about pretty where the conclusion is, I’m not.
smart enough
bold enough to… (fill in the blank)
that girl
the kind of person who wins things
the kind of person who works out regularly
good at math
smart enough
good enough
popular enough
worthy
young enough

Any of these sound familiar? Unfortunately, I could go on and on. And on.

So this little image I saw on Pinterest has challenged me to acknowledge the truth about the internal dialogue I entertain and begin a new conversation.  I’ve spent an awful lot of my life convincing myself of who I’m not, instead of reminding myself of who I am.

Among other things, I know that I am…

a child of God, made in his image
smart
kind
funny
loving
a good cook
creative

…and now the things that are true, but much harder for me to say out loud (or out blogged), but I will say them, over and over, until I finally believe it. All day. Every day.

pretty
sexy
worthy of being loved
a great catch for the right fisherman 😉
brave
confident
strong
powerful

Whew…

What are some of the the things you tell yourself you aren’t? And now, who are you really? Not the sum of all the things you aren’t, but all the things you are? Share your thoughts in the comment section or on WAF’s Facebook page.  And, I’m just getting in on this Pinterest craze, so join me over there too and add your visual goods to the WAF Pinterest Boards.

STOP Doing That: 3 things I have to stop doing in 2012

I’ve seen these lists floating around for the past several years and thought that I’d get in on some “Stop Doing That” action in preparation for 2012.

Your “Stop Doing That” list is just what it sounds like – a list of things you’ve made up your mind to stop doing. I’m really good at writing (and then promptly ignoring) my daily/weekly/annual to do lists. And I’ve also started to rethink these lists/goals/plans I make for myself every year only to have something else, sometimes better, sometimes not, happen. But, things I can stop doing? That’s in my control – no outside forces, no unpredictable economy, finances or people. Things I can stop doing is all me.  (Image: Spanish stop sign because sometime the signs we get aren’t always in a language we can understand)

So here’s a list of 3 things I’m going to stop doing in 2012 

1. Watching mindless television. I enjoy watching television. A lot. But there are times when what’s on TV is so bad, even a devout TV fanatic can’t watch. Yet, I won’t turn it off. It’s a time waster and a really bad habit.

2. Lying to myself about the reasons I don’t do some of the things I should do.  I’m not fooling anybody, least of all myself. My knee and my migraine headaches are my go-to excuses for not working out, but if I’m really being honest, a lot of the times I’m not working out because I’m just too lazy. There I said it. I’m not proud of it, and the feelings admitting this generates could spawn a whole series of posts, but it is the truth, and if being honest with myself moves me closer to being the person I am meant to be, then brutal honesty is my mantra in 2012.

3. Hiding, being anti-social. I talk a lot. A lot. I’m quick with a joke and can have a long meaningful conversation with a bag of flour – that’s how much I love to talk. But despite that, on most occasions, I’d choose being at home reading or watching TV over being out in a crowd meeting new people. I’m hiding out. From what or whom, I’m not quite sure.  I’ve spent the better part of the past few years hiding out for whatever reason, and in that time who’s telling how many potential new friends, relationships and opportunities I’ve missed out on. Time to stop hiding.

That’s just 3 of the things I’m prepared to stop doing in 2012 – there’s a bunch more, but later for that. What are you going to stop doing in 2012? Share in the comment section below or on the Facebook page.