Run Fast, Run Far, Run Long…

This weekend I had an early birthday lunch with two dear friends. The waitress surprised me with a special treat to conclude our meal. We sat outside, we talked, we laughed, we dreamed, and we spent time together just enjoying the day and each other. After all these years with so many birthdays behind me, my age is just a number. Inside I still feel like I am in my late twenties, that I am invincible, and that time is on my side. In my brain that is all true, in my body that may not always be true. 

Age is a state of mind, not a number. We hear that all the time. What does that really mean? You are as old as you think you are, no matter what time tells you. If you think you are old, you probably behave like you are old. If you think you are over the hill, washed up, boring, a fuddy duddy, middle aged…no matter how you word it, you are what you think you are. Some days it is easier to feel and think younger than others. Some days our bodies remind us that we are not young and invincible anymore. Sometimes our medical tests, records, and inventory remind us that time and gravity are working against us. Eventually our bodies do fail us. It is our minds that allow us to go beyond what the data shows. 

So when does wisdom about our age move from our mind to our bodies and back again? What factors stop us in our tracks, and which ones propel us to keep dreaming forward? I think the people you surround yourself with have a HUGE impact on how you feel. If you always hear negative, limits, reminders of your past failures or frequent comments to put you in the right age group, then why are you surprised that you feel old? If you are supported by people who live life to the fullest, who bring energy, vitality, positivity and joy to the conversation, then why are you surprised that you feel like anything is possible? We are who we hang around with, add that to how you think and the combination can be inspiring or deadly. 

Somewhere in your body you know your age, and then you think your age. The two may not always be the same age. Celebrate the expertise and experiences the years have provided. Get excited about the years to come. As you celebrate your birthday don’t worry about the number of candles, instead surround yourself with people who share your excitement about the future. And run away from people who have nothing to bring but turmoil and sadness, drama and drain…run fast, run far, run long. You deserve to be as excited and happy as you choose to be, so choose wisely. It is up to you to control how you think, so run towards those who bring joy and run away from those who don’t. 

Try a Little Tenderness

Our big cat Buschi went to the vet today for his annual shots. Words cannot express how much he does not like going to the vet. When he got home, he wandered around and tried to find somewhere to rest. His brother from another mother found him and applied a little feline TLC. Some days you just need to know that someone knows you are not one hundred percent, and they care enough to stop and apply a little tenderness. 

In all the rushing around you will do today, spread a little tenderness to someone who needs it. It may be a hug, a kind word, a pat on the back, a silly joke, or a kiss on the cheek. No one ever complained that the world was too kind. No one will think less of you, in fact they may think the exact opposite. Kindness does not equal weakness. We all need some TLC every once in a while. Sp spread it generously and often, ya; never know when you will need some. 

It is true, women usually go to the restroom in pairs. This is the secret place where we share private conversations about the day, our dinner companion, emotions, or what is really happening in the meeting. We take the time to chat quickly, honestly express ourselves and check in on what our comrades in the ladies room think. You would be amazed at what women will share in the restroom, and what complete strangers will chime in on while washing their hands. It is almost as if this is our secret conversation space, when we can comment without reprise or reprimand or fear of being misunderstood. Like the moment we pass through the door we enter a sacred vestibule of womanhood. 

I have watched complete strangers share beauty tips, hair care secrets, and emotional outbursts. I have heard amazing conversations and commentaries discussed between the stall doors. I have watched women try on each other’s shoes, open their bags and share Tylenol, take away a dirty diaper and hand Mom and fresh one, and Kleenex given with a smile and a kind nod. Rain or shine, line or none, women will share amazing ideas, stories, events and life challenges within these walls. I once saw a women walk out of the restroom, to only be pulled back into the space by a complete stranger…her skirt was tucked into her pantyhose and the other woman was rescuing her from embarrassment. Laughter ensued and everyone shared their nightmare pantyhose encounter, then they all left and went back to their own lives, never to cross paths again. 

So why are we able to say things in this space that we won’t in other places? What is it about these hallowed stalls that gives women permission to squeal? Does this room remind us that we are all basically equal which allows us to stop competing with each other? After ‘paying the water bill’ we somehow know that every other woman in the place understands our hearts, our minds, our challenges and our hopes. Whether she is primping, washing her hands, changing a diaper or brushing her teeth, we all get it. Being a woman can be tough and rewarding all at the same time.

Next time you enter a public restroom pay attention to the dynamics between patrons. I cannot tell you if men have the same rules of engagement, though my husband seems to imply there is urinal etiquette. Keep your eyes open for the person who needs a kind word or rescue from a fashion fiasco. You may be the person who helps them see the reality of life and leave this space with their head held high. Or you may stop them from leaving with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of their shoe. Either way respect the space and your gender and support your fellow patrons any way you can.