with Lynne and Leslie
Tag Archives: happiness

2017 was really awful. Taylor Swift personally had a good year. So did I. Fight me.

by SweetMidlife

 

 

 

We were happy in 2017, happier than in 2015. And that’s true.

This is Leslie! In 2015, I lost my husband Scott, making 2015 the worst year in my life so far. It handily beat 2012, the previous title holder and the year my father died. 2012 was also the year that Barack Obama won a second term and the year that my nephew Alex, a human so unspeakably cute that he may not be human (shhh!), was born. So good things happened that year – some wonderful things, but the overall mood, for me, was crappy, because my daddy died. Does that make sense? It was a bad year for me, but that doesn’t negate the good things that happened.

2017, in general, has been a dumpster fire for much of the world. As a newspaper reporter I’m not supposed to get into the political nitty-gritty (hello ethics!) but it’s not political to say that neo-Nazis are bad, murder is bad, racism is bad and not supporting health care for needy kids and old people is evil. 2017 is also the year that Roy Moore, a man who thinks that life was peaches when my ancestors were slaves, got defeated, that monsters like Harvey Weinstein got called out and some heads that needed toppling got toppled. Personally, it was the year that I became vegan, lost 10 pounds, continued to have a great relationship with my mom, who moved in with me to raise my son, got some health stuff under control, celebrated the first anniversary of my child’s adoption, rekindled my relationship with my father-in-law, who got to meet his grandson, and finished my first book.

That  is a good year. It does not negate the dumpster fire, but it does shine a nice light in the distance. Apparently Taylor Swift, a woman of whom I am not a fan but whose success and hard work are undeniable, had a good year, too. She released a hit album. She successfully sued a radio host for groping her, gave strong testimony and took her place in the pantheon of women who said #metoo, when she didn’t have to. She also just had a birthday, and wrote on Instagram that she could not have had a better year. She didn’t say that everything was great. She didn’t say “Screw you people.”

She said she had a good year. And people freaked out on her. They called her tone deaf and privileged. And maybe she is. But she’s also a person who’s made buckets of cash for writing about the crap in her personal life. So y’all gonna drag her when something goes right? She wasn’t talking about y’all. She wasn’t saying everything was awesome. She dared to have a great day. Let her live, OK?

2017 has been the worst for a lot of people that I love, with personal illnesses and scary uncertainty for jobs and livelihoods. The overall scope of this year might be a dumpster fire. But there are victories. There are good days. And if one of those people said “This amazing thing happened to me today” and some stranger said “You’re evil to be happy at all because polar bears are dying” I would fight them. We can be aware and vigilant in this fight against evil. But we can also celebrate the good days. Because we have them. I did. So did Taylor Swift.

Hopefully we will have more of them soon.


Happy, Qualified

by SweetMidlife

Howdy! Lynne here!

Yesterday, my son wasn’t happy with me. I had put him in his room for quiet time, which I hoped would morph into nap-time, because he needed it. He had a few toys in there, but when I picked up the stool that he climbs on to look out of his window, he kinda freaked out.

“I NEED it!”, he shrieked,

“I’m sorry. I’m taking it.”

“But I NEEEEEED it (shriek, cry, confusion, hubbub)”, he whined.

“No, honey, you don’t. Have a good quiet time.”, said me, as I closed the door.

And as I went to put the stool away in my office (or the place that my husband calls “The junk room”. Working on that), I had a very brief moment where I thought about leaving him the stool. He would be able to see outside, and he loves talking to the birdies, and watching cars go up and down the street, and telling the bugs to get off of the window. He would be so happy. But he would also be working himself up so much that he wouldn’t be able to relax, and then the chances of him actually napping would be very, very slim. So I went back in my room, with him protesting from across the hall.

Yep, not happy with me at all.

I am 3 years into this parenting thing, and sometimes the strangest thing happens, and I have talked to friends with small kids and they have gone through the same thing. It’s when your kid is mad because you are making him put on pants, and you think, “Well, he’s upset, and he’s cute, so who’s going to say anything if he goes to the playground in a shirt and a Pull-Up?” Then I remember that I am the parent, and I get to say if he wears pants or not, and I make him get dressed, and if he’s mad, he’ll get over it, and be sliding down the sliding board in no time, pants and all.

Because I do everything I can to make sure that my son has a happy life, full of love and support, and entertainment and toys, and treats and faith, and friends and family and music and donuts. But that doesn’t mean that he is going to be happy WITH everything that happens.

Sometimes he can’t have a lollipop for breakfast.

He still has to go to the potty when he gets up, whether he wants to or not.

If he won’t stop banging his tool box on the table after I told him to stop, then I am taking it. And I just paused to do this because this JUST HAPPENED.

And I won’t get the balance right all of the time, and sometimes I am probably too lenient, and other times I need to learn pick my battles.  I am working on it. I am still learning. But this way he won’t be a jerk. And he will learn good things. And we will all be happier in the end.

 

Our current state: happy AND happy with his after breakfast lollipop and plenty of Nick, Jr.

Our current state: happy AND happy with his after breakfast lollipop and plenty of Nick, Jr.


The Happy Dance

by SweetMidlife

Hi friends! Today, we are thrilled to have a guest post from our friend,  writer, survivor, and bright light Jennifer Alhasa. Today, she writes about happiness.

The Happy Dance by Jennifer Alhasa

As I embark on a new life in LA, I’m determined to feel good. My marriage just ended and I’ve manifested 2 day-jobs to pay the bills. I’ve got a few new friends and a big, beautiful backyard. Not too shabby so far. That said, separation’s hard on a soul and so is starting over. So what, during this difficult time, can a girl do to get happy? And, more importantly, what does that even look like?

 

 

Some secrets of success so far:

1)      Forget the big picture; collect magical moments – A brisk bike ride in the summer sun. A Pisces Princess in sparkly shoes. Hot sea-salt baths and deep dreaming at day’s end. Divine!

2)      Cry more – Sounds counterintuitive but getting grief up and out’s the first step to deep peace. Take a note from toddlers: flop on the floor for 5 minutes and see how fast you bounce back!

3)      Just be – In a culture addicted to doing, it’s not that easy. I say step away from the machines and bid busyness good-bye. A few minutes of quiet-time works wonders!

4)      Follow joy – That’s right: If it feels good, DO IT. If not, stop should-ing yourself and just say “No.” It’s pretty simple but not always easy. Lucky for us, practice makes almost-perfect!

5)      Move – While oh so appealing, turning into a couch potato only makes matters worse. Limit screen time and try something sporty instead. Hit the gym, pool, court or track and get your blood pumping. It’ll make you feel (and look) far more fab!

6)      Make Play Dates – Just like parents do for kids, we’ve gotta book in advance these days. Hatch a plan for some fun with your best guy or gal pal. It’s a wild, wonderful world and there’s no reason to go it alone!

7)      Get Outside – Nothing soars a spirit like nurturing in nature! Soak up some snow, rain or shine and get glee going in the great outdoors. Have you hugged your tree today?

8)      Fuel Your Body – No matter what’s going on, you’ll function better with a well-oiled machine. Limit sugar, alcohol and caffeine and get more greens. Opt for whole foods and if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. That said, dark chocolate is a gift from God!

9)      Laughter really is the best medicine – Watch a fave flick, silly sitcom or phone your funniest friend. Throw on Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Dave Chappelle or Margaret Cho. Who ever makes you LOL the hardest wins! 🙂

Dance on, my friends, DANCE ON!

Jennifer Alhasa shines love & light for a divine life. Want some? Visit her at http://jenniferalhasa.com/.

 

 


Happy 2014: Our Sweet Midlife resolutions to you!

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here! It’s so weird how fast 2013 went – I swear I just got used to not writing “2012” some time around September, and now I have to get used to a whole new year (#firstworldliteracyproblems). It’s been a year of some change for us, including a move, some family deaths and births, some scary times in various industries that affect our families, and the disturbing cuteness of Lynne’s son. I mean, it should be illegal. Like, Cuteness Jail.

Since we’re still alive and we have no choice but to swing into the new year, we’ve decided to just say “Screw it” and greet that sucker with open arms. That means, hopefully, some great changes for this blog, for us, and hopefully for you:

– We resolve to be more consistent in this blog, meaning that unless something really nutty is going on (and we’re sending threatening glares at our family to not do anything nutty) we’re going to post every day. That means we’re going to have to find new ways to express our worldview, which is people who aren’t as young as we used to be, not as old as we hope to be, and not as fabulous as we can be but trying to get there every day. That also means some occasional chiming-in of our friends and writers we admire as guest bloggers. If you like us, tell some friends about us, so they can like us too!

– We resolve to stop calling ourselves fat and generally give ourselves a break. We got some stuff we’re working on. But how can we teach the little ones to love themselves if we can’t do it?

– We resolve to finish what we’ve started, no matter what. For Leslie, that’s her novel. Foe Lynne, that’s a play and some other creative projects. Yell at us until we do it, y’all.

– We resolve to call our grandmother more.

– We resolve to be present in the moment, to stop texting while talking to people, to be present in each bite we take, to make eye contact and not make people feel like we’re wasting our time talking to them.

We enjoy sharing our weirdness, enlightenment and crankiness with you, and we look forward to keeping it up. Have a lovely New Year’s Eve, and many lovely days to follow.


Five reasons off the top of my head to have joy, right now

by SweetMidlife

Yay.

 

It’s been a rough weekend. The George Zimmerman verdict was disappointing, if predictable and probably the right thing given the sketchy prosecution. Talented Corey Monteith has died. I may have completely over-pointed on Weight Watchers yesterday, because bread pudding is delicious death.

But I opened my eyes this morning, still healthy and alive, still married to the love of my life. I need to find reasons to be happy right now, and they’re everywhere. Here are five off the top of my head:

– I am not stuck in the “Big Brother” house with those bigoted sobbing mean girls.

– I have a whole season of “The Newsroom” on demand to watch.

– I have brand-new rose gold flats that I got on sale at Nine West for $29.

– I went to church for the first time in months yesterday, and it was awesome.

– We are attending my mother’s graduation for her Masters in nursing at 65!

 

See! Five reasons against angst, against despair. What five things do you have?


Happy Birthday, Baby

by SweetMidlife

Almost a year ago, I became a mommy when I gave birth to our son.  Everything in my life up to this was preparation for being his mother.  Everything that I have ever learned about patience, about sacrifice, about commitment, about sleep, about selfishness, about selflessness, about faith, about anything.  All of that was shoring me up for where I am now. And it’s a journey.  And I daily get it wrong, and then right, and then keep going. I know that this year has been a whirlwind and a marathon all at the same time.  The first few months both whizzed by and took forever. There have been growing pains, which are good, and heart pain, like losing my dad a month after Alex came, which was awful. I feel like my life is like an accordion, always in motion, squeezing out the music, some of it sweet, some a bit questionable, but all of it ultimately with a beat you can dance to.  Oh, and I have also learned more about love in the last 365 days than I had in the 41 years that came before.  Watching my husband watch our son smiling, and then smiling the same smile back, is amazing.  Seeing the joy that he has brought my family has been wonderful. And just being with him, watching this little person who is whole and complete but growing and full of possibilities as he gobbles up the world around him like he does Cheerios? It’s everything. I am grateful for the privilege that it is to be his mother and to share the same space with him, and I thank God that he chose me to do that.  So grateful.


Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Bike. Or Yoga Mat. Or Whatever.

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

 

I like to workout. I am not always successful at keeping it up, because sitting on the couch and watching TV whilst eating snack-type foods is an appealing activity. So I find that I am most likely to stay consistent in my working out when I belong to a gym, because then it is costing me something to just sit on the couch with said cookies instead of using my membership.  Also, my favorite part about the gym is classes, because I like the group experience, and if there is something scheduled that I can be at, I am more likely to go.  It’s fun being a part of a bunch of people with the same goals and whatnot. Classes are challenging, though, and there are some that I do better at than others.  And that’s okay now.  It didn’t use to be, though. Sometimes, my eyes would wander, and I would look at the other class-goers and compare what I was doing to what they were doing.  And that’s fine if I am looking to see if my form is the same as other people, since in some classes, having the wrong form can cause injuries. No, I am talking about comparing my actions to others to see if I was doing it as well, or if I was doing it better.  I would get insecure if everyone else in the class could do all of the reps, and I could only do some, and I could feel myself looking for people who were doing “worse” than me.  This made me feel better, strangely, but then it made me feel guilty, and then it made me feel like I was missing out on the workout. Which was what was happening. Then last year I was in a spinning class, and as the instructor was telling us to stand up, or sit down, I saw an older woman who just sat, never getting up when the class was.  At first I thought, “She needs to be doing what the class is doing”, but then I looked at her face, and she didn’t look like she was lacking, or trying to keep up with anybody else. She look satisfied. Like she was getting the workout she wanted. And she didn’t care what anyone else thought abut that. Oh.

So, I remember that now when I take classes and can’t do what everyone else is.  I’m not saying that I shouldn’t challenge myself, or that I shouldn’t eventually try to do the ab exercises on my toes and not on my knees.  But I can work up to that.  What’s most important is that I do what works best for me, and when I master that, I will get better. And feel better.  When you focus on your own stuff, your own stuff gets better, and stuff is more fun.  Mind your own stuff.


The Meadow on the Other Side

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here. Today’s post is kinda God-heavy, so while this is not a religious blog, per se (I have never written the phrase “per se” before and it feels good), this is what I am feeling today, so I hope that it helps you, wherever you are.

A few years ago, I was in a relationship that was breaking up. Perfectly good guy (and I am friends with both him and his now wife), but we were not for each other.  It was getting obvious that it wasn’t gonna work, and one day, not long before it ended for good, I had a vision/daydream/saw something in my head, and I am as sure now as I was then that it was from God. I saw (in my head and not for real because that would have made it an hallucination and this would be a different story) myself standing on one side of a nasty forest that was dark and had trees with sharp barren branches, and there were scary owls and it was all over a desolate, scary place.

I knew that this was going to be what the break-up was like. Painful and no fun. But then I saw, on the other side of the darkness, a meadow with green grass and bluebirds singing and butterflies flying and blue skies. And I knew that this was going to be the peace that I had once I worked through the heartbreak, and that I was going to be okay eventually. The thing was, though, that I had to walk through the painful part to get to the peace. That sucks. But I knew that God was telling me that He was going to be with me the entire time, and we would be more than okay. We would be good.

 

I have told that story to friends over the years who have gone through break-ups, loss of jobs, and other unpleasant things that they had to endure, but with the promise of something better at the end.  Well, my family and I are going through a break-up of sorts: the loss of my Dad. And it sucks. It is painful. It is heartbreaking. Leslie and I decided the other day that we are over him being dead, and that it’s time for him to stop playing and just come back already.  But nothing will bring him back, not on this side of heaven.  So we grieve.  But I was just reading this devotional/Bible thing that I read every day, and today it was about how God doesn’t promise that we will live problem-free lives. Actually, pain is a part of this life. But before you leave depressed, what God offers is to walk through it with us. Which is when God reminded me of that meadow.  And He told me that this pain, this grief, is something we are going to have to go through.  But we won’t go through it alone, and there will actually be some joy on the journey to go with the suck.  And there is a meadow on the other side.  It’s green, and bright, and there is joy, and there is peace, and there will still be a longing there.  But we will be good.  And so will you, whatever you are walking through.  I know it.


Go You! It’s Your Birthday!

by SweetMidlife

I wrote a thing a few weeks ago about things you never, ever get too old for, like Easter baskets.  So, here is another one.

Last week, Leslie and I (for anyone reading this blog for the first time, it is written by twin sisters) turned 41, and we each celebrated in our own special ways.  I took myself out to lunch and read a good book on my new Kindle (thanks, husband), and that night, we enjoyed the free birthday pizza and a free birthday movie rental because I signed up for various and sundry things.  Then I went home and watched “The Muppets”. And Leslie spent the day enjoying a beachfront hotel with her husband and friends (that’s how the South Floridians do it).  We both freaking enjoyed ourselves.  We come from a birthday-appreciating family. One of my aunts used to celebrate 1 day for every year she was old.  We do birthday dinners. We buy gifts. We dig birthdays.

So obviously, in my opinion, you never get too old to celebrate your birthday.  Maybe you take the day off, or maybe you go to dinner, or you go on vacation, or you rent a Redbox, or your kids take you to McDonald’s.  It doesn’t really matter WHAT you do, or where you go, or if you go anywhere.  But in my opinion,  it’s an awesome time to celebrate you, and the blessing it is to be alive for another year.  And if it’s your friends or family members who are celebrating, it’s a cool time to acknowledge that you are glad they are here by calling, or even sending out a FB message.  All that to say, we get so freaking busy we don’t take the time to slow down and revel in the birthday-ness of it all, and that’s a shame.  I am giving you permission, if you don’t do it at any other time,  to just take some time when your date of birth next rolls around and just do you, whatever that means.  You deserve it.


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