We’re on the cusp, the precipice, the edge of a new year and if that’s not dramatic enough for you, we’re starting a new DECADE! Time to make those long-needed resolutions, since a new year is a new beginning, right? Sorry, but I’ve never been a new year’s resolution type of gal, although if it works for you, that’s great. To me, the calender really has nothing to do with making changes or alterations in your life; for me, it’s usually about a mid-year mess or a first quarter fiasco, or an autumnal re-assessment. In other words, the need to alter one’s course is rarely so convenient as to occur smack dab on January 1, unless you’re not that serious about your issues or you are a big, fat procrastinator. Plus, drunken or hangover-induced life decisions are rarely coherent or remembered on January 2, which results in the consumption of a cheeseburger and fries and a pitcher or two, of beer …. or maybe that’s just my personal experience.
The ability to commit to life changes when they’re needed is a valuable skill, that most of us take our sweet time developing. It could be cultural; we tend to be reactive, rather than proactive, in this country. Let’s look at it differently; rather than relying on the calender for a life reset, listen to yourself, all year long . I am a bit of a ‘drifter’ when I drive, mainly because I spend a lot of time looking around at more interesting stuff than asphalt. When you drift over onto the shoulder you hit the “zipper”, which is that strip of bumps or grooves, that immediately alert you via noise and tire chatter, that you are no longer between the lines. So, pay attention to the “zippers” in your life: conflict, health issues, unhappiness, money worries, or just a general feeling of ‘somethin’ ain’t right’. Identify the problem and begin to get back inside the lines; be proactive all year long, rather than putting it off until “the New Year”.
I know, kind of preachy and annoying on a day of celebration. Next year, I’ll try and do better.
Happy New Year! Welcome 2010.
I am about to make a shocking admission to all of you: I’m a middle-aged woman who doesn’t worship Oprah. Hold on……I’m waiting for the lightening bolt….because for a woman to say that she’s not on Oprah’s team, is the equivalent of coming out against oxygen. But, I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Oprah and full disclosure: I rarely watch her show anymore, but do catch one once in a while and I pick up her magazine a few times a year. Having said that, I’m well aware of Oprah’s mission to make us all ‘just great’ and that’s where the problem comes in for me. Oprah’s a smart cookie, so she KNOWS that if we all begin to love ourselves, as she proposes, we’ll have no use for her and her empire! Which is where the cynic in me kicks in. Oprah KNOWS that we’ll never love ourselves enough to dump her. How does she know this? Because Oprah, who is worth billions, has houses all over the world, is one of the most famous people in the universe, is hugely influential, perhaps to the point of electing a president, still doesn’t really like herself all that much.
“Oh, Jane, how can you say such a thing”!!! Well, because, she’s gained back a bunch of weight (again), she is on a constant search for enlightenment, either through some cleansing program, or another spiritual ‘guide’, or she’s buying stuff. But, even as she tries to fix herself, she realizes that the collective self-loathing among lots of us chicks, is enough to keep her Oprah brand in business for decades and that’s not necessarily a criticism, since many of her followers love that about her; she’s flawed like us! Well, yeah, but she’s NOT like us and that brings me to what I love about Oprah: She’s RICH, RICH, RICH!!!! Fabulously wealthy in a way that none of us will ever know. But we could, if we put in the time, effort, sacrifices and toughness that it takes to achieve her level of success.
Here’s another thing to love about O: she’s made many other people wealthy (and I’m NOT talking about her BFF, Gayle…that’s a whole other topic). Oprah’s empire has created literally thousands of jobs, she’s created other empires for her chosen ones (Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Rachel Ray, Nate Berkus etc.), who in turn are creating jobs and wealth for others. There is a great show, produced by CNBC, called “The Oprah Effect,” where they actually trace the billions of dollars that Oprah is responsible for creating for others. Oprah is the pebble, plopping in the pond and her effect and influence, are the rings in the water, radiating out from the pebble. As her fellow empire builder, Martha Stewart (love her, too) would say, “that’s a very good thing”.
So, while I’m not necessarily buying what O is selling, I’m in awe of her power, her cult of personality and her smarts! She realizes that her influence is probably at it’s zenith, demographically, which is why she has created these other superstars, to carry on her legacy and grow the cash flow. I’d be willing to bet that for women under the age of 35, Oprah, is only a blip on the radar and so, her decision to end her show in 2011 is brilliant. She’s going out on top and will concentrate on her cable channel and create even more ‘little Oprahs’. Oprah is a one-woman stimulus package and for that, I LOVE HER!
I see a therapist. I like her quite a lot, even though we’ve only been meeting since September, when I decided that my ‘issues’ had become unmanageable, without a pro involved. And she is a pro; like any decent therapist, she asks a LOT of questions, which I really like, because like all bloggers/radio hosts/substance abusers, we love to talk about ourselves and will pay pretty good money to do that. She’ll ask things like, “why do you think that is”, or “why did you react that way” or “what was his/their/your reaction” and like everyone, who seeks approval, I do my best to squeeze out an answer to all of her questions, plus, I have a problem withholding information, which is why I blog and am on the radio. But, sometimes, she’ll ask me something and after rolling it around and squinting my eyes a little and kicking my shoes off, I just have to blurt out “I don’t know”.
Three very scary words for a control freak/know-it-all, like me. Ouch! What? I…. don’t….. knoooooooow. Did that come out of MY mouth? Heresy! But, that’s what I’m working on. It’s why I’m there, chatting with a therapist; to become comfortable with not knowing/controlling/analyzing EVERYTHING. Ever feel that way? That if you admit that you just don’t know something, you’re powerless or useless or even worse, not too bright? It’s beginning to dawn on me, that letting loose with an “I don’t know”, is actually kind of comforting. Sometimes, I want to shout it and alot of times, just saying it, actually makes me smile, even chuckle or maybe even giggle! I DON’T HAVE ANY FREAKIN’ IDEA is admitting that maybe someone else does and you would be wise to shut your piehole and listen for a change because you might learn something about yourself, or even better, someone else.
For some reason, I woke up the other morning, thinking about ‘shape-changers’. WHAT? I know, I thought the same thing, emerging from the fog of sleep, but I think it could be tied to some of the current movies, featuring teen-aged vampires and sorcerers, involving characters that can change from one being to another (mostly werewolves, it would seem, with VERY toned bodies). It got me to thinking about all of us mere mortals and how, as we go through our lives, we evolve into different beings.
Think back through your time on Mother Earth; you were an infant (probably not a very interesting one, at that), a toddler, then grade school, middle school (ugh!), high school, etc. For me, when I look back at my ‘shape’ as a teenager, or more particularly, the horrible shape of most of my 20s, I literally don’t even recognize that person. Who the hell was that, staying out all night in clubs, drinking and driving, blowing off work, smashing up cars and listening to the Thompson Twins???? There are kernels of me that I recognize; usually the awful, selfish ones, that still exist in my middle-aged ‘shape’, although to a lesser degree on most days. But, there are also some passions and talents, that I let go of as another shape moved in. I think that since I was such a mess during that time, I rejected everything about that particular ‘me’, which may have been a bit hasty.
So, what’s your shape, right now? Are you happy with it? Is there something you might want to draw on, from one of your other shapes, that could bring you joy or fulfillment or a better job or a better relationship? Would you like to shape-change over the next few months or years, into something that fits you a little better at this stage of your life? That’s exactly why I began this blog; in high school and college, I wrote; for myself, the school paper, for classes. In fact, I started out as an English major and morphed into broadcasting and journalism, fully intending to be a TV comedy writer, but I shape-changed into a radio reporter and then into a talk radio host, where writing was replaced by talking (which I’m pretty good at, by the way…you can listen to Podcasts of my radio show here) and not so much actual writing anymore.
Life is static and there is nothing wrong with looking back to former hopes, talents, and goals, as you inhabit your current shape and move toward the next one. All of us have those bits and pieces that were us, in another shape, that we may have abandoned or stuffed away because they no longer fit with who we had become. Dig around, unearth those seeds, those kernels of joy, talent, passion, mastery, or fun. Leave the bad stuff, where you sloughed it off years ago. You don’t need that in your current and future shape; it’ll just make your butt look big and nobody needs that!