Why a Stranger Isn’t Strange to Me

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Photo Strangers

First, we acknowledge each other as we pass by each day. Then, we smile and wish each other a good day. Next, we share a few comments about the weather, finally introduce ourselves and begin to make small talk. This is my how my relationships started with my walking friends; strangers that I’ve met while walking the same route each day.

First, there was the young woman who left the corporate world to become a dog walker (the same mother that left the room crying when she announced her career change, now introduces her as her successful entrepreneur daughter). It was the colorful set of keys hanging from her belt that sparked our initial conversation. Because she was out in all kinds of weather, she was tuned in to the National Weather Advisory 24/7 and became my personal weather forecaster.

Then, there was the striking, older couple who would take their morning constitutional; she, always wearing a stylish hat and he, looking like Santa Claus and sporting a carved cane (only for effect, his wife would say). After running into them at a couple of charity events throughout the city (including Big A’s* grammar school), I would instinctively look for a lovely hat whenever I’d enter a venue. I’d never know when they would pop into my life next, surprised to see him on a local TV station interview (turns out he was a famous Chicago area writer) or as Mr. Wiz’s* customer at the Mercedes-Benz dealership.

Finally, the gentleman that would be up so early walking his dog was always so cheery that I’d find myself smiling and continuing on my route with a newfound spring in my step. One of his daughters was the same age as Big A, so we started comparing notes and swapping Millennial one liners. A chance meeting in our neighborhood with our spouses has since led to a wonderful friendship.

A stranger is just a person that you haven’t gotten to know yet; take Miss Rye Bread. Once, when Big A was a little boy, we were walking back from the grocery store and decided to stop at Woolworth’s. One of the cashiers, a young Filipino woman who seemed a bit stern, noticed our loaded cart and cheerfully said “…Why don’t you leave your cart here. Don’t worry, I’ll watch your rye bread…,” noticing the loaf balanced at the top. For years, we would say hello to Miss Rye Bread on the street, visit her in whatever area store she was working in and never failed to surprise her when we’d sing Happy Birthday to her on her special day.

Nowadays, it’s not that strange to interact with strangers. Thanks to the internet, we date them, room with them, vacation in their homes, stay in their spare bedrooms or on their sofas, rent their cars and pay them to host us for dinner, along with other guests (who are also strangers).

As a child, I remember being told never to get into a car with a stranger. Then, Uber came along and I became totally confused. Now, Uber is currently developing new technology whereby cars will drive themselves. That means that when you’re picked up, there won’t even be a stranger in the car with you. Now, that’s strange.

As a self-taught expert in “strangerology,” I have found that it’s the age of the passerby and not the size of the city that dictates the eye contact level. The younger the passerby, the more likelihood that they will be tuning out the world around them, either by wearing ear phones or by walking, head down, transfixed by some form of social media (the latter technique should not be attempted by amateurs).

Attempt this next exercise at your own risk. There’s no chance for a repeat relationship. It’s just the flash of a human connection, a one-time opportunity for a relationship, the gift of a personal link from one to another. Try it; smile at a stranger as you pass them by and see their countenance change as if by magic. It will change their day and it will make yours!

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother, Daughter & A Soul Bearing Secret

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It was Christmas morning and JC* was 10-years old. Back then, it wasn’t unusual for children to expect only one gift awaiting them under the tree (how that exploded into the shopping and gift giving frenzy of today is a topic for another post). The fact that she was living with her grandmother since her parent’s divorce did not seem to impact her celebration. She was an independent, resilient child and Nana was always fun to be with.

Nana finally awoke and the celebration began. The fast process of unwrapping only meant that JC had more time to play with her gift: a beautiful, white teddy bear. It was love at first sight and for the next couple of days she spent day and night with her new friend. JC thought she was the luckiest little girl in the world to have the only white teddy bear in the world. In part, she was correct; teddy bears, which were first produced in the early 1900s, were named in honor of Theodore Roosevelt and were usually brown.

It was a day later that Nana mentioned that JC’s aunt and cousin were unexpectedly coming to visit for the day. …’’I don’t have a gift for your cousin, Ruthie. She’s about your age, so let’s just give her your teddy bear and I promise we’ll get another one for you tomorrow…”

Before she could react, the doorbell rang and a few minutes later, her teddy bear was in the arms of Ruthie, a bratty little girl that she remembered not liking the last time she had met her. Prompted by her mom, Ruthie mumbled a quick thank you, threw teddy on the couch and ran outside to play. JC’s lips quivered as teddy left the house that day, being dragged on the ground and then thrown into the trunk of the car.

Nana kept her word and the next day they were up and dressed early to go teddy bear shopping, downtown. She always made outings special and this time announced they would first stop at the bakery for a sweet bun. Fortified, they traveled from store to store, only to find no white teddy bears in stock. Finally, Nana decided they needed to settle on a brown teddy bear and made the purchase. JC tried, but could never play with that brown teddy. The crushing feeling of disappointment left her with a lump in her throat and a pain in the pit of her stomach that never really went away.

All these years later, these memories would come to the surface and take hold of her. She found herself sharing this story with family and friends, as if retelling it over and over would somehow free her. Why was there a white and a brown teddy bear all of a sudden sitting on JC’s bed? They looked out of place against the sleek sophistication of the modern décor. It happened they were recent gifts, lovely gestures; the white one from her daughter-in-law and the brown one from a male friend, who like Nana settled for a brown teddy when no white ones were available.

A couple of weeks later, after enjoying dinner together, JC all of a sudden, teared up and confided in me that the adorable duo were wreaking havoc on her emotions. Each time she entered her bedroom, she would go back in time and relive her parent’s divorce, bouncing back and forth from her grandmother to her aunt’s homes, the quiet strength that she wore like armor. She couldn’t just give them away, but realized they had to go…, but where?

The answer came to me immediately. When I dropped her off that night, I brought the teddy bears home with me. Now named Blanca and Castaña (the words white and brown in Spanish), they are delicately wrapped up and awaiting their introduction to JC’s great- grandchildren, along with the story about their spunky, resilient great-grandmother who was tough enough to endure all of life’s heartbreaks and smart enough to know when it was time to bear her soul and let go of the past.

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

Moving Mania: It All Depends What State You’re In

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Where is everyone going? Whether it’s housing or job related, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in every 8.5 people are relocating.

I’m not sure how it all started for me. Somewhere between a curiosity about a peripatetic lifestyle, longing to eat dinner with my extended family every Sunday and meeting Mr. Wiz* (who was a “retail brat,” moving with his family each time his father was transferred), it just happened. Once it did, I took pleasure in the fact that, with each move, the slate was wiped clean and I had the opportunity to start over and reinvent myself.

When I look back, each experience had its unique qualities. I tried to find the best of every city, made it my own while I lived there, then happily moved on, tucking those memories away into the layers that formed who I am today:

  • Mr. Wiz moves from Cleveland, Ohio to a Park Avenue studio in New York City. We start our sales representative business together. Business cards look great, but no one is invited to his cramped quarters.
  • Little by little, Mr. Wiz is moving his belongings to my place in Mohegan Lake, New York. He presents a spreadsheet at dinner one evening, showing me that we could afford a New York City showroom for our business if we move in together: deal done!
  • Our Mohegan Lake rental goes co-op. We spearhead our fellow renters to unite for better purchase terms and are relieved to find out that the young couple with a new business who are turned down for a loan is not us.
  • Executives from an English company fly over for the day to meet us and offer us both a position. It’s too good to pass up and we’re off to Lake Bluff, Illinois.
  • A Chicago company with a subsidiary in Arkansas sweetens the pot just enough and our next stop is Heber Springs, Arkansas.
  • Mr. Wiz excitedly surprises me with his idea to buy a historic building in nearby Mountain View, Arkansas. Once a car dealership, it’s now utilized as a warehouse by the company he is running. We scrape the black paint off the windows and experiment with selling their products at the upcoming Bean Festival. Fifty thousand tourists crowd the little town, we sell out, renovate the building, move upstairs and our store Mountain View Mercantile is born.
  • Once Big A* is born, we are starting to wonder where he will go to school (Arkansas is not high in its educational rankings) and missing family and friends. We head back to Merrick, New York, a suburb of N.Y.C. and home of my parents.
  • As hard as we try, we just don’t seem to fit into the suburban lifestyle. This time, rather than have the job dictate our new city, Mr. Wiz decides that we should first choose the city and the job will follow. We choose Chicago and after a few phone calls, he is offered a position there.
  • From our city rental, we move to a city condo.
  • We move two more times within the same condo building. It’s a win-win; Mr. Wiz gets to gut and renovate and Big A and I are happy not to have to leave the area.
  • We (J.C.*, Mr. Wiz and I) decide to put our Chicago condos up for sale. They both sell quicker than expected and before we know it, we are in Austin, Texas, signing leases for rental apartments.
  • Our heads have almost stopped spinning. Once we get our bearings, I’m not sure what will be next.

The word moving is defined as “to change one’s place, position or residence; to make progress; to advance.” In one way or another, I hope that I never stop moving.

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

I Danced with a Man with No Legs (and Other Inexplicable Moments)

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Photo Inexplicable 2Coincidences? I like to think that things happen for a reason and if you take the time to analyze each situation, you will come up with its rationale. What I first thought were rather strange occurrences were really just wonderful experiences in disguise:

When I read about the dance in the church bulletin, something told me to get out of my comfort zone and go alone. My first husband and I had just separated and I was feeling sad and lonely. A young man with a great smile asked me to dance a couple of times and then we sat and chatted. I complimented him on his dancing skills and he said “…Not bad for a man with no legs….” He then went on to tell me that he had lost both legs in a motorcycle accident and had been fitted for prostheses. He opened up about how he was determined to not let that accident change his life. I listened in awe, embarrassed by the drama I had created in my mind over what now seemed like minor issues that I was facing. I never saw him again, but after that evening I resolved to get back to positive thinking and get on with my life.

Before I deleted my Facebook profile, I decided to look up one of Big A’s* pre-school classmates that had suddenly popped into my mind; I’m not sure why. I just wanted to glance at her home page, which is visible to all, without having to “friend” her. I was so happy to see that she had recently gotten engaged. The next morning, the hair on my arms stood straight up when I saw an email from her asking for our new address so she could send us a wedding invitation.

My dad had just died and I had put his business card in a frame at my bedside. A great marketer, he had created the persona of the “Gentleman Roofer.” I loved seeing the picture of him in a bowler hat, smiling back at me from the card each day. I awoke one morning and was amazed to see the metal frame of the picture sparkling! Though the technical reason was the combination of the sun hitting the frame just right and the movement of the ceiling fan, I like to think that it was my dad letting me know that he was OK.

It was my dad’s birthday. I kissed the little frame at my bedside and asked him to give me a sign that he was all right. As I walked to work, I was startled to see a can lying in the street near the curb, across from the convenience store. I rolled it over with my foot and gasped. It was a can of Progresso Wedding Soup, my dad’s favorite. I picked up the can, carried it lovingly to work and enjoyed it slowly for lunch, thinking of the times we would cook together, even making our version of that same soup.

Be open, be attentive and look for signs all-around you. Slow down enough to let the little surprises in life astonish you and enjoy the inexplicable moments.

 

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

 

Unfriend Me, Please; Unsure About Social Media

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I am still harboring some old tech fears that I am dealing with. Once, when Big A* was a little boy and I was home alone on a dark, rainy afternoon, I heard mumbling sounds coming from his bedroom. Seems his “hungry” Tamagotchi (his handheld, digital pet) had awakened his Furby (his electronic robotic toy). My motherly instincts were at odds with the fact that these were not the most attractive of pets and I panicked.

Now that I am a Blogger, I felt that I had to get up to speed. Everything I read said that Facebook was my road to success. Armed with every idiot’s guide printed, and attending all the classes available (I am now on a first name basis with the entire staff at my local library), my Type A personality, which insists I know everything about a topic before I proceed, was not helping the situation.

But, then I thought of that old Nike slogan “Just do it!” and decided to proceed. I did get waylaid when I felt it necessary to check my phone and accidentally hit the FaceTime button, seeing my face, as I guess it looks first thing in the morning. I’m not sure how long it will take me to get that image out of my head.

I was not intending to get too chummy with Facebook; just create a business page for my blog and be on my way. But, it seems that in order to have a business page, you must first create a personal profile. With no way out of it, I put together a cryptic assemblage of non information and still felt uneasy, hoping not to hear from the lunch ladies at my grade school or all the insurance salesmen I went to high school with. I thought it would be fun to look up a few people, but I felt as if I were peeking through their blinds and watching them without them knowing it.

Now all I had to do was convince my Facebook friends to like my business page and I was all set. My finger hovered over the friend finder, realizing that this one click would start an avalanche of friend requests, newsfeed posts, photos, videos, status updates, algorithms, etc. and I just couldn’t do it. Instead, I deleted my business page and my personal profile.

I’ve read that many celebrities have decided to sign off all social media (George Clooney said he’d rather have a colonoscopy). Some very successful bloggers have stated that they focus on what matters to their readers, forgoing social media, stats and follower updates.

I thought about a trend that’s caught my attention lately; the plus-size model who’s challenged the fashion world, the rap artist who gives away his music away on the internet free of charge. There’s an underlying inclination out there to not follow the rules. It’s not as much a movement, as an individual gut feeling of independence, of knowing yourself and what works best for you

Would you jump off a bridge if the 1 billion Facebook users did? Or, would you happily float, unguided and unfriended, seeing where the current takes you?

Pictured: Seen on a wall in Panama City, Panama- “I don’t have Facebook. My life is real”.

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the home page

Think Tiny and Live Large: Inspired by the Tiny House Movement

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Live in a 500 square-foot home (or maybe even smaller)? While I don’t think that I’ll be joining the tiny house movement anytime soon, I have been inspired by their take on simplicity and downsizing. If they can reduce the size of their homes, why can’t I use their principals to scale down my mind’s overload?

As the size of the average single family home in the United States increased, so have our stress levels. And, as our to-do lists swell, our anxiety escalates. How do we keep all the aspects of our lives in check? Maybe scaling down is the answer. Here’s what I’m doing to get myself to think tiny:

Cleaning the cobwebs out of the attic. 
Just like a cobweb, my worrisome thoughts were entangling my mind and creating a constant uneasiness. After reading How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie, I realized that I was wasting precious time and energy agonizing over what I had no control over. Utilizing his simple techniques, I soon was able to reduce my anxiety.

Practicing the Container Store theory.
Enter the mecca of organization and its friendly staff will assure you that there is a place for everything and everything has its place. This reminds me that when I have too much on my mind, I need to try to compartmentalize my thoughts. Just like separating kitchen gadgets into little plastic baskets for easy access, I’m learning to focus on one thing at a time.

Remembering that the design is in the details.
Each tiny house is constructed with the utmost focus on space and creativity. Likewise, concentrating on whatever I am doing at the moment and paying attention to every aspect of it allows for a Zen state of mind. Try this simple exercise: next time you wash a dish, tune out the world and relish every part of the process. Just as I did, you’ll realize the benefits of practicing this in other aspects of your life.

Reminding myself that you take yourself with you wherever you go.
Add wheels to a tiny house and you have the advantages of a traditional, well-built home and an RV all in one. Once you have worked to develop a more compact and efficient thought process, you can be a bit creative and see where it takes you. I like to play “negotiation,” planning a day that includes a little treat that I promise myself and can look forward to once my to-do list is completed.

Tiny house dwellers seem to share a sense of well-being, believing that exchanging quantity for quality allows them a certain freedom. Wouldn’t it be great if we could reside in that same liberated state of mind?

 

 

 

 

Unearthing the Paths to Positive Thinking

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Visualize, materialize; It is a basic fact of psychology that you will become what your mind pictures. Why is it that some people always seem to have things go their way? Is it good luck or have they mastered the art of positive thinking? In its simplest form, achieving optimism means being hopeful and confident. That’s not always easy, but by understanding the basics and with the help of some mental exercises we can learn how to develop this skill (think of athletes).

The concept behind positive thinking is that people’s thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of their lives (whether they are aware of it or not). In other words, if we picture concepts in our conscious mind, it will impress them within our subconscious mind and put those thoughts into action. Since it is believed that affirmative thoughts are more powerful than negative thoughts, our focus should always be on what we want, rather than what we don’t want. it is important that our affirmation (our goal stated in a short phrase) is always stated in the first person, in the present tense and in the positive.

Though the fundamental principles are the same, my favorite sources each present them in their own style and I would like to share them with you.

After discovering his book The Power of Positive Thinking at a young age, I was fortunate to have heard Reverend Norman Vincent Peale preach at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. His words could sting or warm you and magically seemed to give each audience member around me a personal message (as noted by their reactions after his sermons). In his book, his warm, folksy way of explaining his concepts includes lots of actual examples (the fact that they are not current does not seem to matter) and is very unintimidating. His focus is on one’s outlook to life. I like his analogy of emptying your mind (imagine emptying a wastebasket) to relieve the clutter of tired thoughts. Every page reminds you that enthusiasm is the self-releasing power that helps our personality focus on the matters at hand.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is a bit more analytical, but I like her use of the straightforward mantras: “ask, believe, receive; if you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand; thoughts become their physical equivalents.” Byrne bases her theories on the Law of Attraction, which states that the universe is governed by a matching of frequencies of a person’s experiences with their thoughts. A suggested exercise seemed easy: think of an old friend or a certain place and see if it somehow comes back into your life. The fact that it actually worked has given me a deeper sense of belief.

I first heard of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) from a friend in the military. It’s founder, Gary Craig, had initially utilized his technique on soldiers suffering from post-traumatic syndrome with much success. EFT is considered to be the psychological form of acupuncture. According to Chinese medicine, acupuncture works on the meridian system, the pathways that supply energy throughout the body. Instead of needles, you stimulate those major pathways by massaging and tapping them while repeating your affirmation. It is the powerful combination of the physical and the mental focus on the pain/problem/issue at the same time that brings results. During this simple process (I practice it during the three minutes that my tea is steeping each morning), the affirmation should be something that you really want, but should also be realistic. Craig recounts the influence of advertising slogans on our psyche and suggests we also use that same method of repetition and motion by repeating a made-up slogan or changing the words to a song to also reflect our affirmation.

It is amazing how once you “tune in” to this process of consistent, positive thought, it will direct you to find a way toward your goals. You must let it flow, even if It leads you into new directions. Many goosebumps later, I can attest to reflecting on a path that has unwrapped itself slowly before me with some twists and turns, but always so similar to the original plan I had created for myself.

Though this all might seem a bit mystical, it’s really just a pact between you and yourself to dedicate a few minutes a day and teach yourself to maneuver through life, capitalizing more on your senses. The very personal nature of the exercise, the discipline, the fine-tuning will transform you from the person you are today to the person you would like to be.

 

Write to Make It Right

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Which pen should I write with today? It always takes me a while to decide. I review my collection of pens carefully, rolling each in my hand and deciding which has the best fit. Thin or thick point? Blue or black ink? I’m finally happy with my choices, so I dive right in, opening my notebook and feverishly writing. My thoughts are spilling forth so quickly that I can just about keep up. Once finished, I proof read it over and over, agonizing over the proper grammar and just the right words to use. And, when it’s perfect, I read it out loud twice. Then, I rip it up into tiny little pieces and throw it away.

In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, the need to maintain history and culture, disseminate knowledge, form legal systems and correspond were all motivations for writing. My motivation is much simpler; I use it as an emotional outlet. Pouring my heart out onto those pages is the healthiest way I have found to release me from feelings that might haunt me if I let them.

As a teenager, I thought of myself as quite cunning. I had devised a way to keep a diary that was 100 percent secure from ever being read. I would use this practice as an extension of positive thinking by writing a letter to a friend and telling them of my good fortune, detailing what it was that I wanted to happen. My anger, jealousy or sadness would be directed to its source with every element itemized and accounted for. Every decision I contemplated was documented on a folded sheet of paper noting pros and cons at its top.

As time went on, the subjects became more complex, but the ritual remained the same. The pen preferences make the process something special. The actual writing forces me to gather my thoughts and disciplines me to be precise and thorough. The ceremonial feel of reading the words out loud and then physically ripping up the paper always gives me a sense of power, of being in control over the situation (whether I really am or not).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Meeting Mr. Right Goes Wrong

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That’s him! I stopped short at the newspaper stand that I passed each day on my walk to work down New York City’s Fifth Avenue. There, with a sultry smile on the cover of GQ (Gentlemen’s Quarterly, the men’s magazine) was a photo of a young man. He had a short business haircut, wore tortoise shell rimmed glasses, a pinstripe suit and had that debonair look about him.

Many years ago, my marriage to my high school sweetheart was sadly coming to an end and once it did, only one of the many friends we had ever spoke to me again. Since I had to kick-start my life all over again, I decided to also interview for a new job and I was now the New York salesperson for a housewares company. As I would always do, I put my energy into positive thinking, closing my eyes at night just before bed and viewing the details of my life as if I were watching myself in a movie. I imagined myself successful in this challenging, new position. I saw myself meeting someone who looked just like that GQ cover.

I was excited to be attending my first trade show in Chicago, but disappointed that my boss would soon be leaving the company. When he had put his replacement on the phone to say hello a few days prior, I was startled. His voice was deep and he sounded as if he were at least 30 years old! The fun was over and I could already tell that he had no sense of humor. When I had written “…Does anyone really read this? …” in the middle of the long, detailed sales report that I had to turn in weekly, I had received a phone message from him stating only that ..”Yes, someone is reading it…” Uh oh, I was not off to a good start.

I arrived early at the show, making sure that the displays I had set up the day prior were perfectly in place before the company executives arrived. As I was finishing up, a deep voice behind me said “…Hello, Linda…” It was the voice on the phone and as I turned around the GQ photo came to life, complete with the same eye glasses and suit! Not one to usually stammer, I started to stumble over my words and quickly decided it was best to just stop talking and shake hands.

He left the next morning, but not before letting me know that he would be flying into NYC in two weeks and asking me to make appointments with the top department stores so he could meet them. By this time, I was feeling confident in my position and looking forward to him getting to know my customers and for me to get to know him a bit better.

The two weeks arrived quickly and I was excited to see him again. I planned to impress him with my professionalism, which took a turn for the worst when, as we strolled down Fifth Avenue, I fell on the sidewalk and lay there on my stomach in my new suit and matching heels. A crowd formed around us as he helped me up. I tried to brush it all off as I brushed myself off, quickly cleaning the blood off my knees with my spit and trying to turn the rips in my hose off to the side. Fortunately, the day continued without another hitch.

The next day, the rain did not deter us and I was feeling great in my new matching raincoat and hat. I was impressed that he wanted to stop in at one of those ritzy Madison Avenue jewelry stores where ringing the bell lets you in and I felt so elegant as we entered. Then, as I looked down, the water that had gathered on the brim of my hat hit the jewelry case and all the security alarms in the store started to screech. As we were quickly escorted back out to the street by the security guards, all I could think to say was “…Lunch?..” Needless to say, it was better for both of us that his trip was coming to an end, since I could not have imagined what calamity Day Three might have had in store for me.

My sales increased and our relationship blossomed. We were a great team; I kept track of all the details and he would “wing it,” creatively putting deals together. A few years later, we would decide to open our own sales representative agency and our first product line would be the housewares company that we had met at.

Through all these years together, life with Mr. Wiz* has never been dull. The adventures just seem to continue. My heart still skips a beat when I see him dressed in a suit and he’s always been there to pick me up (literally and figuratively).

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Bloomer Benefits

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When I think back, JC* may have been a bit concerned when I dragged out my Patti Playpal doll and all her accessories every Saturday afternoon. She’d suggest that my friend come over or would drive me to her home, maybe sensing that a 13-year old girl should not be seen dragging a three-foot tall doll down the street, for fear that she would receive taunts from fellow schoolmates. By the time, I had moved on and Patti had moved from my bedroom to the basement closet, my girlfriends were well into the dramatic boy stage. And so it continued…

 

A late bloomer is defined as a person whose talents and capabilities develop later than others, but eventually catch up and in some cases, may even overtake their peers. At a young age, I realized that, in order to be comfortable in my own skin, I had to accept that I was just a tad behind the curve and make it work for me. I began to think of it as the gift that kept on giving. I decided that watching and learning from others takes patience and it was that patience that would ultimately help me to forge success. And, when I combined that with positive thinking, it would create a powerful force.

 

It’s not easy telling yourself that it just wasn’t meant to be. Though this is the last thing you want to hear at that moment, when you look back, you can usually trace the pattern of how one event led to another and ultimately worked out for the best, even when the ending may have been far different from you had originally imagined.

 

There have been many instances when I had to remind myself that, eventually, my time would come. No surprise that most of them occurred during high school. I didn’t make the kick line squad until the second time around and then became the captain. I was too shy to utter a word at the sorority teas and was the only one of my friends that did not receive an invitation to join. I begged JC to accompany me to the mall and hide in the shadows as I walked in and out of every store, looking for my first job. I always felt clumsy and awkward, constantly falling over my own feet.

 

I cannot believe that this is the same person who later spoke at bridal fairs on behalf of Wedgwood China, was interviewed on a TV morning show about her book and successfully walked 500 miles through Spain on The Camino.

 

Is brown the new black? Is 60 the new 40? I don’t have to worry about that right now. By the time it’s resolved, I’ll probably just be catching up with the trend. I’ll wait to see what blooms next and take it from there.

 

 

 

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page