My eleven year old daughter likes to share “Life Lessons” with me when we are on long road trips, and she drops little pearls of wisdom like “If you only focus on the negative things that happen to you, like that you stepped in dog poop and got it on your new boot, you’ll miss the positive things. You could have gotten poop on both boots!” Yes, she’s amazing. You’re welcome.
Now that I’ve been around the bush forty six times, I’m basically a wise, rather sage-like being (hardy har har), and I thought I’d share a few of my favorite life lessons that became especially clear for me this year. I hope you dig ’em. I also hope you learn them long before age forty six. But if not, it’s never too late, boo. Here goes:
- You can eat too many pickles. Trust me on this.
- If life takes a sharp left when you wanted to go right, just hang on, you never know what might be around that corner. Like donuts, there could be donuts.
- You don’t actually have to mow your lawn all that much. Hi, neighbors.
- It’s important to experience life out from behind the camera. To be in it. To not get stuck trying to capture the memories in a photo. This is a hard one for me. I have very few photos from my childhood, or of my mom and I, and I am a bit photo obsessed with my own kids. But I’m chilling out a bit in year forty-six. I know they’ll remember me and all of our moments. With or without photos. If not, I’m TOTALLY haunting them. That’s right, kids. Start locking those memories in if ghost Ma ain’t your thang!
- Frose is the bomb diggity. I can’t get the accent on the e, but you get me.
- Be with people who really see you.
- Smile more. It doesn’t matter about that crooked tooth.
- Sometimes your heart will get broken. Sometimes you will break a heart. Both feel horrible.
- Funny can fix almost everything. Except heart break. You need crazy glue for that shit.
- That belly roll, that loud laugh, that way you can’t leave the house without fixing the couch cushions, the way you crack jokes at a funeral, the way you lose your keys, purse, phone, every single day, the way you act all tough but truly want to be protected and taken care of – – it’s perfection. And the one who sees you, will get that.
- Stay close to people who make you feel good.
- Stay away from people who make you feel as though you are broken and damaged, or hard to love.
- Be kind. Especially to the unkind.
- Listen to your mother. Really listen.
- Hug longer. With both arms. Mean it.
- Kiss like it might be the last time. Every single time.
- Tell people how you feel. Be vulnerable. Even if you don’t know what their response will be, say it.
- Eating the icing out of an entire row of OREOS is not a smart decision.
- Eating the peanut butter middle out of all the Pirate oatmeal cookies is a smart decision. No regrets.
- I can cook. I just don’t really want to.
- I can order take out like a mofo. Embrace what you’re good at.
- Talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you love. Watch how it changes you.
- You can fit every single thing in the dishwasher.
- Washing dishes by hand is for chumps.
- The laundry will never be all done, and that’s okay.
- Worrying about whether you’re a good mother, means you ARE a good mother.
- You don’t have to keep people in your life who make you feel bad. No matter who they are.
- You’ll turn into your mother. Whether you want to or not. I sponge stains off my kid’s clothes. I can’t remember the correct names of anything so I make shit up. And I hate asking for help. Thanks, Ma.
- Weed your garden. The actual garden, and the metaphorical garden of your life. Keep the people that make you grow towards the sun.
- Embrace the things that have happened to you. The obstacles, the adversity. If it happened, it was meant to happen. Focus on what good came from it, or what it may have saved you from. There is always something.
- When you are uncertain, pause. Just pause. Sleep on it.
- Lessons can come from joy as well. Remember this. Lately some of my best lessons have come from joy.
- Meet people where they are. Don’t expect someone to change to be more like you. If you love them, simply meet them where they are. Complete acceptance is a gift. Give it to others; give it to yourself.
- Don’t let fear be your loudest voice. Let love shut that effer up a little.
- Never settle for anything less than you deserve. Ride or die, baby.
- As my bestie Oprah says, “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” Ask for all of it. You deserve it.
- There is true love that is exciting, secure, safe, romantic, and fun. Always, always wait for that kind of love.
- Accept the wisdom of children. Some of the lessons my children have taught me have been life changing. Life. Changing. There could always be more shit on your boots.
- Love yourself more. Nope, even more. There you go.
- Do what you love. Even if other people don’t understand, or think it’s foolish. They’re probably not your people.
- You are good enough. Right now. Right in this moment. And always.
- Don’t ignore the red flags. If something feels wrong, it is. Pay attention.
- Let it go. This applies to all the things. Except pie. Hold on tight to the pie.
- Don’t be afraid to start over. Live the life you want. Sometimes I start over weekly. Sometimes daily. Okay, okay, hourly.
- Life is less what you make it, and much more how you take it. Find the funny. Find the lesson. Grow.
- Sometimes when you feel as if you’ve lost yourself, when you’re wandering around in the middle of nowhere, thinking Sweet Baby Jesus, how did I get here? Did I hit my head? That is exactly when you will find yourself.
I’d love if you would share some of your life lessons with me. Leave a comment, send me an email, by carrier pigeon if you must. I’ll soak ’em all up with love and pie, and I know year forty six will be FIRE (as my awesome teenager would say).
With a high five and some cussing.
An oldie but a goodie…originally posted in August 2010 on my first blog, The Colie Chronicles, which I wrote for nine years, almost daily. It remains so close to my heart because of the people it brought my way, and the laughs we shared. Read on and let me know if you want me to share a few more flashbacks.
So I woke up this morning, clearly bat shit crazy, and decided to go for a run. I leave for Italy in a month and I plan on eating and drinking A LOT, and I can’t afford a new wardrobe, so evil exercise it is. I tiptoe to the bathroom and get myself all geared up and then tiptoe back to the sleeping husband. I poke him to tell him I’m going for a run. Just so he doesn’t wake up and think I was abducted in the night, and to prevent me from arriving home to find him blowing up the celebratory balloons (because I’ve finally gone missing without him having to slowly poison me – which I’m quite certain is his plan).
The husband gave me a crazy squint squint look…one eye open…trying to focus on my lovely glowing face at 6:30 am…then he looked over at my side of the bed and looked back at me hovering over him…squint squint squint again. Yes, I said I’m going for a run. A run! No, you are not dreaming. If I’m not back in an hour, call an ambulance.
It’s a beautiful sunny morning, the city birds are cawing, the street is quiet and peaceful…and off I go. I start out walking because let’s face it, I don’t want to drop dead from a heart attack before I even reach the end of my driveway. That would be embarrassing. I really should have asked the husband move my body a kilometer or two away from the house before calling 911. I’ve got my music playing and I’m so impressed with myself that I’m practically skipping.
I reach the path between the houses and I set off running. I’m all, “oh yeah, who won the 100 meter dash in 1980!!??” Yeah, that’s right, I did! Mmm hmm. I was all that and a little red ribbon back in the day, folks. This adrenaline rush lasts for all of 7 seconds. Then my feet start hurting. Must be why all those fit peeps stretch first. Silly me. I forgot to stretch. So I stop and stretch against a telephone pole. I’m feeling all lean and mean. I’m checking out my shadow and thinking, not bad Colie, not bad. I set off running again and I pass a couple walking their dog and I’m all “Wheeee hoooo! I rock!” Those losers are only out walking at this hour to prevent the dog from pooping in the house. But not me, baby, I’m running just because. Just. Because. Check me out. I choose to run.
It’s about now that my inner dialogue begins to change…Oh sweet baby Jesus.
Whoever invented running is clearly in cahoots with the devil. Time to walk. Breathe and walk. Quite sure I forgot to breathe. Breathe, breathe. Breathing is important. I have a pain in my right shoulder. Frig. Is that a sign of a heart attack? No, I think that’s the left side. Okay. Why did I buy these cheap ass sneakers for my big flat Flintstone feet? My arches hurt. My god. Is that my knee cracking? How old am I? Man, I really hate sweating.
Shut it woman.
I turn up music.
I am blasting Eminem now – thinking how I love it when he lies – okay, getting kinda distracted now. I swear to you I am dancing as I walk – head bobbing – skipping a little bit – hands in the air – a little Flashdance-esque run in place from time to time just for fun…I’m finding myself quite amusing…okay, I’m good now. Ready to run again. I’ll run to that street corner…yep, I’m running…running…my shadow looks like it knows what it’s doing. Hey! I’m taller in my shadow…that’s cool…crap, that corner seems a bit far…maybe I’ll just run to the parked car. Right in front of me…okay, made it to the car. Sweet cabinet making Jesus. I need another pole stretch. I spot another dog person. Look at me stretching. Dog walking dude probably thinks I run. Maybe I’ll run past him? Yes, yes I will. Look at me go. Sucka. Okay, he’s gone.
Oh heavenly walking.
I’m now bee bopping along to a little Dixie Chicks (shut up) and then there’s a break in the music and I hear a wheezy old man behind me – holy frig. I didn’t even tell the husband my route! My mother always taught me to tell someone my route! What if I’m murdered out here by the heavy breather and buried in his back yard? I would really hate to eat dirt. I whip around, ready to give him the don’t mess with my stink eye, only to realize that I am the heavy breather. Turn the music up louder.
Maybe walking on the first day out of the gates is a better idea…much better than eating Fruit Loops, right? And then I see this man running up the hill that I’m walking down. He’s running UP the hill, people. He’s checking a gadget on his wrist and he’s all sweaty and fit, and so I have no choice but to trip him. Okay, not really, but I thought about it. Freaking show off.
I decide to run again and off I go down the hill…I make it to the next pole and have a little sit down on the curb. I’m just sitting there enjoying the morning, smelling the roses, soaking up the sun. Who am I kidding? I’m dying. I briefly contemplate calling the husband to come get me. Serious question – how did Forrest freaking Gump just start running? That shizz was NOT realistic people.
I’ve been gone about 45 minutes by now and with some musical encouragement I manage to walk/dance my way home. When I stroll into the house the 6 year old sweetly greets me with “Mommy, are you running because you’re fat?” and the 2 year old leaps into my sweaty arms and smooshes my face. Both just so happy I’ve actually returned alive from my walk. And honestly, it was touch and go for a while there.
Oh oh oh! I also rode the exercise bike tonight. Who AM I?
I won’t be able to walk tomorrow but I’m determined, so, if you see me sitting on the curb outside your house or stretching on a pole near you, give me a little “RUN, COLIE, RUN!”, won’t ya?
Or you could invite me in for Fruit Loops. That’s more my speed.
2018 update: I still don’t run. And at this point, even if someone was chasing me I’d probably be all, meh, I’ve lived a good life. I’ll just lie here and make it easier for ya.
Forty five is weird, yo.
I’m working really hard on embracing getting older. On accepting myself, just exactly as I am.
Today marks eight years since I’ve had my mother to talk to, and I so wish I could ask her what she remembers about the days when Barbie and I took a dip in her bath water…
When I was a little girl, I remember getting into my mother’s bath water AFTER she bathed. I would play with my Barbies while she got ready to leave for work as a bartender, our face cloths laid out on the sides of the tub as beach towels, and the tub the Barbie’s ocean; I can still smell the Ivory soap and her Patchouli perfume, and remember how I longed for my cheeks to be bronzed and glowing like hers. Yes, she “highlighted” long before all the YouTube beauty gurus taught us how.
As I got older, I realized I was basically bathing in the filth she washed off her own body, but at the time, it was perfection.
And then last night, I was soaking in my bathtub covered in bubbles, reading my wet puffed out book, and my daughter popped in to tell me three random riddles, because a peaceful bath is non-existent with children, and I am totally okay with that. After a far too lengthy discussion about why I cover my boobs with a cloth, and how she is not impressed with inheriting my nipples, she asked to get in my water, after I got out. At first I thought…oh Hells naw. I’ll run you a new bath. And then I thought…hmmm…my damn water bill has been outrageous, and it never killed me when I was little…so yes, my sweet girl, you can hop on into my dirty bath water.
While she bathed – which included a full 360 naked spin with legs in the air – we talked about make up, and skin care, she told me funny stories about her friends at school (who are pure awesome), she razzed me about my dating track record, and she asked me to put her hair into braids for curls the next day – and I wondered what my mother and I talked about when I was exactly my daughter’s age, taking a nice long soak in her bath water.
Today marks eight years since I’ve had my mother to talk to, and I so wish I could ask her what she remembers about the days when Barbie and I took a dip in her bath water. I cherish that time that I got to spend with her, just the two of us in the bathroom. My kids almost always come in the bathroom with me when I’m getting ready for work, or getting ready for anything really. My daughter swiping on my lip gloss, telling me my brows look super fly. My son complaining about how the hair spray makes him unable to breathe, and usually playing basketball in there at the same time. It’s not a very large bathroom and some days it drives me crazy to have all three of us crammed in there. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that those are our moments.
I hope you will take some time today to enjoy those little moments, my sweet readers. For, as they say, someday you may look back and realize that they were actually the big moments.
I calmly got out of my car, walked over, and punched him in the throat. Then I walked back to my car with swagger that could rival Walt from Breaking Bad when he blows shit up…
My sister called and invited me to a restorative yoga class and because “Namaste home ’cause I’m busy eating my kid’s Toblerone bar”, did not seem like a good enough excuse to not leave the house, off I went.
I had no idea what to expect of restorative yoga, I imagined all my rusty bits getting an undercoating, or someone sanding away at my bootie to uncover my 25 year old ass, maybe chopping my hair into a mushroom cut, restoring me to my original condition. But, no. It’s not that kinda restoration.
Just as we placed our mats down, wisely at the back of the class, a man walked in with a giant duffle bag and set up camp in front of me. He pulled out every piece of yoga equipment known to (wo)man, and some things I’m not certain were part of yoga at all. I looked on expectantly, waiting for him to pull out a puppy, or a small child. Then he constructed a wall of yoga items around himself on his mat. Another woman asked yoga man if we’d actually be needing all those things, and he was all “Oh yes, you’ll need props for this class. You’ll definitely need a belt.”
A what now?
I give my sister the “What the frig do we need a belt for? My yoga pants stay up just fine!?” look, and she gives me the “I have no freaking idea” look. Yes, we’re telepathic. We then give each other the “sweet baby Jesus” eyes for the 10 minutes before class started…but my mind was open…my body in need of restoration…
Then class began and I forgot all about duffle bag yoga man and I entered blissdom. Yep, that’s a thing. #Blissdom (Let’s start it trending).
Let me tell you about restorative yoga, people…there are eye masks; there are head rubbins; there are cozy blankets to be tucked into. COZY. FREAKING. BLANKETS.
There is BLISS. Dom. #Blissdom
The instructor was a phenomenal woman, with a beautiful, bold, blue mohawk. At one point, I was lying down under the blanket she kindly tucked me into (I mean, come on!), with an eye mask on, blanket rolled under my neck, a big comfy pillow tube thingy under my knees (why yes, that is the proper yoga term, just ask duffle bag yoga man), breathing….just breathing…feeling better than I have in a very long time…and then she asked a question.
Do you want peppermint oil?
And then – brace yourselves – the instructor rubbed the peppermint oil on her hands and then she rubbed it into my temples and my hair. And she gave me a freaking head massage! Only myveryfavoritethingintheentirefreakingworld!
We lay in this blissful position for a few more minutes until she told us to slowly sit up, and as I removed my eye mask, I discreetly glanced over at my sister. She appeared to have just seen heaven, and probably Ryan Reynolds was there, baking cupcakes. Her hair was all poufed out and crazy-like, and she obviously got the head rubbins too. A minor burst of hysterical laughter ensued.
The class continued on with one more blissful relaxing pose after another, until we ended with the most touching Celtic prayer I’ve ever heard, which we initially spoke, and then sang. The instructor’s voice was so beautiful that it made me cry. I couldn’t sing the prayer after I heard her sing, because her voice struck me to my deepest core, and all I could do was stand there with my hands in the heart position, as I let the tears stream down my face. I felt restored.
In the end, you sing the prayer to yourself, then to the others in the class, and lastly, you send it out to someone who needs healing. It was magnificent. I hope it reached you.
So, that’s where I’ll be once a week. Being restored. Mind, body, and soul. Because sometimes, you just have to put down the Toblerone bar, as delicious as that nougaty chocolate is, step out of your comfort zone, and step into the light.
Also, we didn’t need a belt.