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Tag Archives: Resolutions

2018, as interpreted through my Spotify “Top Songs” playlist or “Barry Manilow ain’t never lied to you”

by SweetMidlife

There’s a lot to be said about the year 2018, other than “over.” Some would call it a 365-day-long dumpster fire. The more optimistic among us might say it’s the necessary sink to the bottom to inspire a conscientious climb back to a better world.

As a lifelong journalist who believes that looking at hard cold data – also known as the receipts – is an important gauge of where we were at particular moments in time, because memory is spotty and also we lie to ourselves sometimes to obscure our dumbassness. When Spotify, the popular music streaming platform, compiled a playlist of the songs I listened to the most in 2018, it seemed an intriguing way to chart where I was emotionally during the year. Music, after all, is more than just a collection of notes we like bopping to, although it certainly can be that. The songs I had on repeat, I figured, meant something to me, soothed or riled or tickled something in my chest. And Spotify doesn’t lie – I can try to be cool and current with the Top Hits of NewNextNow or whatever it is, but I’d imagine the average release date of my playlists songs is 1987. Whatever. I ain’t ashamed. Bring on the Anne Murray weepers and get it over with.

“Oh No,” The Commodores: I had this, my favorite melodramatic Lionel Richie-esque weeping-into-power ballad, on a playlist I’d made during a brief dumb dating situation the previous year because it was fun to listen to while I was happy. Once the dumbness abated and I was no longer happy with that person but working towards being happy not being with them, it was fun to belt out in the Palm Beach Post parking lot while procrastinating getting out of the car and going to work already. Sometimes wallowing is healing.

Uptown Girl,” Billy Joel: I am not the biggest Amy Schumer fan. Not by a lot. But her rom-com “Trainwreck” has earned its sweet, cynical way onto my go-to list of movies I put on while writing, because it’s well-written, funny, and features the instant classic comic pairing of Bill Hader and Lebron James. And any film that (SPOILER ALERT!) finds its final romantic reconciliation in a cheerleading routine set to “Uptown Girl” earns my love, because Schumer’s character has previously expressed scorn for both cheerleading AND “Uptown Girl.” But she participates in said routine, set to said song, because the love of her life loves those things and she knows love means sacrifice. I love that song, and I love being reminded of the hope that someone could love me, maybe, that much again.

“Here Comes Your Man,” The Pixies: Part of good parenting is making sure that your kid is exposed to good music, so if one day his taste sucks you can at least be sure it’s not for lack of trying. This here song was on a bank commercial, and my son was attempting to recreate it from his booster seat perch in back of my Prius. So I cued up the song and watched his little eyes light up. “MOMMY!” he squealed. “THAT’S OUR SONG!” Yes, my darling, it is. I win…something.

“Freedom Hymn,” Austin French: I share a Spotify account with the aforementioned kid, who likes to fall asleep to a playlist that is almost entirely composed of Contemporary Christian tunes and Andy Grammar. He’s a spiritual, mellow 5-year-old, I guess. I admit that I don’t listen to this stuff a lot if he’s not in the room, because some of it seems monotonous, but this is one of Brooks’ favorites. I don’t know what he likes about it, but I love the concept of it, that we fight against the wisdom that we know makes us free, if we just surrender to it. Me and God have had an interesting run through this morass of loss I’ve fought through, so remembering that He’s there is a big deal for me. Thanks for the song suggestion, Kid.

“No More Lonely Nights,” Paul McCartney: When Linda McCartney died, I heard a DJ explain that this song was written by Paul about the one night they ever spent apart from the night they got together until the day she died (I think he’d been detained for trying to take hashish through an airport.) I stumbled on this, a favorite of mine since 1984, and I remembered that story and started to cry, because it reminded me of every night I spent apart from my husband in the 5 1/2 years we were married, and the nights forever I’ll have to spend without him. And…it didn’t break me. The more I listened to that song this year, the more I could relish those amazing moments we shared and wish we had more without wanting to curl into a fetal ball and roll into a corner. I just let it be. And yes I’m very clever.

“Stomp!” The Brothers Johnson: It’s my go-to running song, inspired by its place on a playlist from my favorite step class in 1995 at York, Pa.’s Unique Physique. The teacher timed the “Everybody take it to the top” part for moments when we were up on the bench grooving. And it was glorious. And that bass line is some funky business.

“Brokenhearted Me,” Anne Murray: For some reason, the more I listen to this anthem of well-considered wallowing, the more it sounds like a John Legend song to me. Can’t you hear him hovering over the sad piano, leaning into the lyrics of self-acknowledged inability to move on? Can’t you just imagine him tackling the wide-eyed misery of lines like “A million miracles won’t ever stop the pain?” I can! And I like sitting in my car and imagining John and Anne just wailing and making a cross-generational selection of fans weep? Me too!

“Taking Chances,” Celine Dion and “Ready To Take A Chance Again,” Barry Manilow: You know those BuzzFeed quizzes that ask you what your mantra or theme song is? These two are my mantras for 2018 and 2019 and maybe forever, because they’re what I need to embrace about my life and my career. I used to think of them both romantically, but – and bare with me, because this is a whole mood – I am now at a point in journalism where the industry I still love is imploding even as we try to beat back the shards with new tactics but solid intention. Since July 1993, I have never paid my bills as anything but a newspaper journalist, and never imagined I would, honestly. But the reality is that this may not be available for me forever, and as I begin my journey as an author, while still kicking butt for my paper, I have to be brave enough to imagine what happens one day if things change. Also, I have always worked for someone else. Three of my dearest loves are ladies who run their own businesses, who took a chance, who, as Celine sings, jumped off the edge, never knowing if there’s solid ground below, or a hand to hold, or hell to pay. I’m not there yet. But I’m working on it. What do you say?

Today’s Overthink: That Dannon Greek Yogurt Commercial

by SweetMidlife

It’s Thursday and this is Lynne!!

Been thinking. I hope that's good.

Been thinking. I hope that’s good.

And I have probably over-thought this post and okay.

So, I have been nursing a cold the past few days, and I have been doing more sitting around than usual, and I have been reading and watching TV and allowing myself to get better while at the same time keeping my kid from jumping off of the bookcase. And more TV. And one of the things that you see a lot of when you watch daytime TV, especially at the beginning of the year, are lots of weight loss commercials. This coincides with people’s New Year resolutions to take better care of themselves, so weight loss and diet food and exercise equipment companies unveil these ads in early January like beer companies do for the Super Bowl. Yes indeed-y.

The one that started a rant for me and thus inspired this post was one for Dannon Light and Fit Greek Nonfat Yogurt. It has “The Power” by Snap! in the background, and in the commercial, a woman in an office sees a guy eating the largest cookie ever made, but because she is eating Dannon Greek yogurt and all of its healthy yummy protein, she has The Power (see what they did there?) to overcome that temptation and not want the cookie. And she takes her spoon from her yogurt, waves it like a wand, and zaps the guy’s cookie and shrinks it. Yay, yogurt spoon! Then another female co-worker comes up with HER Dannon Light and Fit Greek Nonfat Yogurt and uses her magic spoon to shrink the massive donut another guy is eating! And Snap sings, and everybody dance now, since we are in 90’s dance-music territory! And the guys look confused, and the magic spoon-armed ladies laugh and they are powerful and hooray Dannon!!

But something bothered me, and this is where the over-thinking comes in because it’s probably not that deep but here it is….

….They were zapping and shrinking someone else’s food. They were the ones trying to control their weight and feel good about it, but instead of just walking away from temptation and being happy with their yogurt, they saw someone else and derailed that person’s good time because the yogurt ladies couldn’t handle it. The ladies were the ones on the diet, not those other guys.

I get it. I do. I have been on a million and one diets, and started lifestyle changes, and I understand grasping the new knowledge that you get in a new program, and the enthusiasm that you have to have for the changes you need to make to actually stick. And you kind of become an evangelist about cutting carbs, or clean eating, or eating mindfully, or whatever it is you are doing because you want everybody to know how this can change their lives too! And it is good because those people are helped, but also easier if you don’t have to be around donut eaters because no one else is eating donuts either! But it doesn’t work like that.

Because successful change doesn’t happen, in my opinion, just because everyone has adapted to you. It happens when you learn to control your life and make better choices on your own, and then uphold those changes in the face of everybody else’s having not changed. It’s learning how to navigate your life in the midst of the real world. That’s real power. The power to be YOU and do what is best for YOU, a proud yogurt eater among the massive-donut eaters.

At least that’s what I think. But I could be over-thinking this.


You Can’t Do Anything If You Are Passed Out On the Floor

by SweetMidlife

Happy First Monday in January! Lynne here.

I won’t keep you long because I know you have a whole bunch to do. This is the first non-vacation day in a little bit for a bunch of you. Your kids are going back to school, you are going back to work, and if your work is at home, well, nothing has really changed. I just know that we are busy with the tasks that we have to do today, and if you are like a lot of folks, you are also armed with resolutions and changes that you are going to make this year and you are ready and you are going to be organized and pick up after yourself and eat healthy and workout and I am already tired after just writing that list. Because even though all of these changes are designed to make your life better, in the rush to get it all done, we forget that we’re supposed to feel better.

Like this morning, I was running around trying to get the kitchen clean and take laundry downstairs because I am pledging to keep up with housework, and our tree is still up, and my husband wasn’t feeling well so I made him breakfast, and I read my Bible devotional because I need to ground myself spiritually, and then the toddler woke up and I brought him his firetruck so he could play while the oatmeal for my husband was finishing, and I drank some water, because hydration and whatnot. But I remembered that I had been up for hours and I hadn’t eaten anything myself.

Taking these down is another thing I am supposed to do. Yeah.

Taking these down is another thing I am supposed to do. Yeah.

And if you are passed out on the floor from all of the changing, well, that’s no good, is it?

The point of all of this discipline is supposed to be a better you, right? And you need a you for you to be better. So give yourself a break. Tackle a few things, get those square, then start on something else. By all means, have goals and stick to them. But we need you around in the process, okay? Do your thing, but feel good doing it. Take care of yourself.


Here’s some happy music as you go through your day.


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