The Internet is a beautiful thing. It provides immediate access to a wealth of information, acts as a communication tool making it easier than ever to connect with people from all over the world, and it has the uncanny ability to turn a “nobody” into a “somebody” literally overnight.
This past week, you pretty much had to be living under a rock (or never use a technology device) to not have heard the story about Ted Williams. For those of you who just pulled your head out of the sand, Ted Williams, was a homeless man from Ohio with a golden voice, who was discovered by a local videographer who regularly drove past Ted begging for money. It’s truly an amazing story of how a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser who had lost everything was given the opportunity to get back on his feet, all thanks to the power of the Internet. Voice over deals from Kraft, Cleveland Cavaliers among others began to pour in, and the once unkempt panhandler was about to collect thousands of dollars.
These are the success stories that most Americans love to share, discuss and support, including myself. Frankly, I’m tired of the reality show drama kings and queens being catapulted on to the celebrity pedestal for simply having the nerve to sleep around, get drunk and engage in cat fights in a public forum. I was extremely disturbed the day I heard that Snooki from the Jersey Shore (yes, you know who I am talking about) had “written” a book after she confessed to Ryan Seacrest that she didn’t have a formal education and had to use a professional writer to draft it for her. Hello, I would love a book deal, and I’m sure so do the hundreds of extremely talented writers shopping around their manuscripts.
Or let’s take one of the many bankrupt real housewives who decided to record a song without an ounce of vocal talent, as they earn a number one single without even taking the process seriously. I know there are thousands of struggling songwriters and vocalists working day and night just for the chance to record, let alone get a song heard on the radio.
Sure I may sound bitter, and honestly I was for a while, especially after the whole Snooki book deal announcement (shiver). Then I heard the story about Ted Williams, and I thought finally America got it right, we have anointed a “nobody” with fame who truly deserved the chance to make money off his God-given talent and I beamed as I listened to stories surrounding his newfound “somebody” status.
Unfortunately, fame doesn’t come without paying a hefty price, and sadly Ted has entered a rehabilitation center for his addictions. My heart fell, as I imagined how overwhelmed he must have felt as he received job offers that earned him more money in an hour than many of us make in month, which surely brought out the vultures who wanted a piece of his financial success, and then at his loss of privacy as the paparazzi hounded him for photos and interviews.
And in true American form, as his downfall quickly spreads through the media, we will soon forget about Ted, as we move on to the next “nobody” seeking their 15 minutes of fame. So too, will we one day forget about Snooki, as the next rising drunk girl with a gimmick finds her way onto our computers, TVs and radios. Watching Ted’s quick fall from the pedestal, I realized that the price of fame must certainly be paid by all involved even the broke housewives. Seriously!
With the passing of each year, it sickens me how fast it goes by with no more than the sound of a whisper. Yet ringing loudly in my ears, are the adults’ voices from my childhood mocking my naive frustration at how slowly my life was taking at delivering the requisite milestones of youth. However, the beginning of a new year symbolizes hope, change and opportunity which are all reasons I enjoy this time of the year. (It’s certainly not for the weather, yikes).
As most bloggers are writing posts on memories from the previous year, or what they anticipate occurring in the upcoming year, I decided that I would reflect on the things I won’t do this year. More specifically, the things that I often find myself forgetting to do until I’m reminded too late that another year is gone.
Therefore, this year, I won’t forget:
1. To find time every morning to meditate, reflect and pray. The day always looks a little brighter after spending a few minutes alone with God.
2. To tell those whom I love how much they mean to me. Unfortunately, I’m not good at verbally sharing my thoughts and feelings. Maybe a text or short email to them every once in a while could be the message that makes their day survivable.
3. To remember my dreams and goals. Life is certainly meant to be enjoyed not endured, and moving towards a dream makes the valleys not as pointless and the peaks even more hopeful.
4. To spend time enjoying my own company. Interestingly enough, living alone you tend to often be alone, but I’m usually watching hours of reality TV marathons instead of journaling, taking a walk, or enjoying an afternoon latte.
5. To be more thankful. This is definitely a thought process that can change my life, and I know it first-hand and through the effects it has had on others. I’m not talking about Pollyanna-ing life, but truly finding something to be thankful for every day, even if it’s that I didn’t oversleep. I know it’s challenging to be thankful when life is throwing me a round of one-two punches, but if I can see the small things that are good, it could help me take my blows like a champ.
Recently, I read a quote by Eric Butterworth — “don’t go through life, grow through it”. Sometimes it’s just the small changes that you strive for that make it worthwhile. Life is certainly full of ups and downs, and this year, I don’t want to forget the good things when I find myself having to weather the bad times. So I hope that your 2011 will be prosperous and full of the little things you won’t forget to do.
Oh, and one more thing…
I won’t forget that I’m too old to be climbing five foot brick walls wearing six-inch heels and a tight dress. I’ll just expect to be thrown over the wall by a guy I barely know as I expose myself to the crowd, just like I did on New Year’s Eve in 2010. Seriously!
For the past few years, I’ve made it a habit to change my Instant Messenger avatar to the Grinch as my way of letting the world know how I truly feel about the holiday season. I have several reasons for dreading the month of December which thankfully isn’t the purpose of this post. However, despite my desire to remain cuddly as a cactus until the new year, I do find myself enjoying a few Christmas traditions.
One of those traditions is watching at least one variation of A Christmas Carol. While the original is a great version, I actually enjoy the knock offs more (who would ever have thought I would recommend a knock off of anything). One in particular is Ebbie, played by the Daytime Emmy snubbed Susan Lucci, as she works her way up the department store career ladder to find herself bitter, alone and…well a scrooge. Despite how poorly acted, written and shot this adaption of A Christmas Carol is, I always settle in to watch it, at least up until the part when Tiny Tim begins singing a painful version of “Angels We Have Heard on High”.
So why do I eagerly await the showing of this classic christmas tale? Well, because of the moral. At the end, when the Scrooge character wakes up full of the Christmas spirit, and realizes that he or she should have been giving not taking, that life is too short for frugality and resentment, and that this is the time of the year to spend with your family and friends, I can’t help but get teary-eyed. I hate to say this, but I am a little like Scrooge. I don’t enjoy this time of year, but after watching that movie I remember that being surrounded by people I love and who love me is a blessing.
This past weekend was another one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season; my girlfriends’ annual holiday party. We eat, drink fancy cocktails, and laugh so hard we shed tears. I wish I could tell you exactly what is so funny, or why such an electic group of women have so much fun together, but in my heart I know it’s simply the bond of friendship. Thinking back on the year my friends endured, I realized that:
- One of us became a mother;
- Another lost a very important person in her life;
- A few of us struggled to find good jobs in a tough economy;
- Two of us worked hard to raise beautiful and smart daughters;
- Half of us fought to maintain a healthy relationship with our mothers;
- Some of us endured a lonely night or two in search of the one;
- And all of us were there for each other through it all.
So this holiday season I’m going to remember to smile a bit more as I cherish the times I spend with those I love and thank God for truly blessing us, every one. Seriously!
Smerry Christmas Ladies!
Now I’ve never been married, so I don’t know what it feels like to have a husband who works with, socializes with or finds himself in the company of single women. I’m sure if someone has trust and/or jealousy issues then this could be a big problem for their marriage. However, I do know what it’s like to find myself having to socialize with married men, mainly for professional reasons, and to be treated so poorly by their wives simply for being single. These women (bless their hearts) are clearly struggling with some issues, but it’s always in my best interest to spot them early on and then steer clear. For those who have yet to experience the chilly demeanor of a mean wife, here are a few signs:
1. You are constantly having to tell her your name. Despite having met her at more than one company function, dinner party and/or social event, your name “escapes” her memory every time.
2. You feel a sharp pain in the back of your neck from the daggers she’s shooting at you through her eyes. If I’m talking to her husband, when I feel these nasty glares darting my way, I take an extra step back away from her man and limit my laughter. I clearly will not be able to express any enjoyment while conversating with her spouse.
3. You find yourself engaged in a conversation with her where she continues to deliver back handed compliments about your outfit, shoes and/or accessories. Now, this is always so comical to me because it’s always the wives who don’t work outside the home, and spend up their husbands money who find it appropriate to play the I have more than you do game. Really?
4. You find yourself biting your tongue while she proceeds to give you unsoliciated “advice” on why you’re not married. Comments such as, you’re too picky, too independent or unapproachable seem far reaching and clearly inappropriate especially when they’ve never spent more than 15 minutes with you. You don’t even know my name, why do you care if I’m still single or not?
Now contrary to what some married women think, most single women do not want your husband. I have several married friends, who are confident in their marriages, trust their husbands and care enough to know the people he works with on a regular basis. Therefore, when the mean wives rear their ugly heads, I simply smile, nod and dish out my own dose of back handed compliments right before I say a small prayer for their husbands. Seriously.
Occasionally, a former male boss and I had would find ourselves having some rather random yet interesting conversations in lieu of working through a difficult project. On one particular day, we found ourselves discussing hair transplants and the process involved in restoring hair in places where there was none. Unfortunately, my supervisor was among the roughly 40 million men in the United States suffering from male pattern baldness (thank you Wikipedia for the stat). So naturally, he was for the procedure, while I was arguing against it since I, along with many women, prefer a man who embraces his baldness over one who fights it down to the last hair standing.
My boss was unexpectantly surprised that a young (I was at the time) single woman would find a bald man visually acceptable, if not attractive. This made me wonder if most men fighting against the battle of hair loss even realize that most women really don’t care that they are bald, and in fact many find a clean-shaven head a sexy quality in a man. However, this revelation does come with a few disclaimers that must be communicated before men start running through the streets shouting that thinning hair is the new do.
1. The combover is disturbing. I tend to think that even Donald Trump knows the attempt to hide a large bald area by forcing a handful of hair strands to cover it up is not a good look. Unfortunately, he has branded it to a point where anything different would probably result in the loss of millions of hard-earned dollars. So let’s all agree that The Donald can singlehandedly rock the combover, while the rest of balding men shave it off.
2. Bald ponytails are pathetic. I realize that it’s difficult to accept that parts of your head can grow hair like a weed while others have succumbed to a pathetic hair follicle death, however it’s truly sad to see a man who is bald on top sporting a long ponytail. It’s an oxymoron that is doing you no favors, so accept the baldness in its entirety and let it all go. Just think how much you’d save on shampoo.
3. Hair hats are stupid. Guys, I know that you think wearing a hat full of faux hair on the top takes you back to the days when you had the warmth of hair on your head, but it’s not sexy or cool. In fact, you look ridiculous and frankly it’s misleading. Whenever I see one of those hats I wonder what animal had to die to make a hat with that stupid hair style.
Since I like the look of a cleanly shaven bald head, I will use this post to personally let the balding guys of the world off the hook, and inform them that baldness can work to your advantage if you just embrace it. If you can swallow the fact that you belong to an ever-growing group of hairless men, and learn to rock it well and with confidence then you just might find yourself a beautiful woman who enjoys rubbing on that smooth head of yours. Seriously!
End note: My boss never got the hair plugs; I like to think it’s because of my exceptional debating skills.
Every year at Thanksgiving, as part of my family’s tradition, we go around the table and take turns saying one thing that we are thankful for. Then we toast each person’s statement by taking a sip of Manischewitz wine. No, we are not Jewish, but again thanks to my mother’s upbringing in the projects of New Jersey, she tends to channel a Jewish matriarch every now and again. Now, we all hate the super sweet grape wine, but the fact that it’s part of our giving thanks ritual, we refuse to give it up.
Of course, each year I’m always in such a hurry to make my required side dish that I forget to think through what I was going to be thankful for, which puts me in a panic because nothing ever seems to come to mind. When it’s my turn to give thanks, I ultimately give a general answer that involves being grateful for my family, friends and a job, which to be honest is still legitimate because without those things life can be pretty hard to manage.
However, as I’ve learned time and time again, one of the keys to finding happiness is to continuously give thanks to God for any and every thing. So this year, I started a gratitude journal where I would on a daily (er weekly) basis log the things that I was grateful for at that time. While not as consistent as I would have liked to have been, I did manage to write down quite a few things over this past year. So on this eve of Thanksgiving, I thought I would review my journal to see just how good my life has been over the past year. Here are a few things from my list that I thought would be beneficial to share:
- Thanking God for reminding me to be thankful.
- Thank You God for people who are comfortable rubbing on someone else to help relax them.
- Grateful that I’m not 16 anymore.
- Thanking God that I was able to wear my cutest shoes with no pain.
- Thank You God for rescuing the lost. I pray I’m next on your list.
- Thank You God for the incredible gift of a nephew.
- Thanking God for the beauty and calmness of candlelight.
- Thank You God for sisters!
- Thanking God for people who believe in me!
- Thankful for my mothers love, pride and encouragement.
- Thankful to live in a city that helps their own. Inspiring!
- Grateful for a Starbucks on every corner!
- Thanking God for the little things in life!
- Grateful to see the light at the end of this tunnel.
- Thank You God for kind valets who let me park in their reserved spots.
- Thank You God for your confirmation message in the package of a great friend!
- Grateful for being able to laugh when I really want to cry.
- Thank You God for not getting angry at us because we don’t pray at every meal.
- I’m thankful for the unspoken love understood between two long time friends.
- Thanking God for not abandoning me when I was ready to abandon Him.
With over 250 items to choose from for this post, despite how difficult it was, I managed to end up being grateful for having so many things to be thankful for this year. May you and yours have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. Seriously!