There was this guy. He was in his early 40s. The classic cliche. Tall, dark and handsome. He was a hard worker. He had a wife. They were together over 20 years. Their lives were changed forever one night on their way home from …
Month: August 2017
I put a post up on Instagram the other day about doing something uncomfortable in order to grow. I think so many times we get caught up in our comfort zones and we end up doing the same thing over and over and over. We just hang out in life. Nothing is fun. Nothing is challenging. I wonder why we do that to ourselves. Is it because we are afraid to try new things? Are we afraid to fail? Is it because we just don’t care? I mean, really, the comfy chair and TV calling every night is comfortable. Is it hard or risky? Not hard or risky, but definitely comfy. Do you think that makes you feel less fulfilled? Do you think that makes you become lazy and lethargic? I do. What fun is it to just exist?
I think the more we sit around and be comfortable, the more we are missing out on things. The more we are missing out on life. The more we are missing out on opportunities. You miss out on the magic. Why not take a chance? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Really, what’s the worst thing that could happen? It might not work out? But what if you didn’t try in the first place. You would never know how it might have turned out. You would never know how much you would grow from the experience.
Growing is scary shit. Doing new things is scary shit. What if it’s not uncomfortable enough? What does uncomfortable enough even mean? Uncomfortable by definition means to cause discomfort or distress. Do you feel distressed ever? Well, then that is uncomfortable enough. And by the way, who the hell can tell you what is uncomfortable enough? Not me. Only you can decide for yourself what is uncomfortable enough.
How many times have you sat in your comfy chair watching TV and then all of a sudden it’s time for bed or half a day has passed and you really wished you would have gone outside or gone out and done something. It’s like we are just washing out of life.
I’m trying to think of the last thing that I did that was out of my comfort zone. Opening a business. That was definitely out of my comfort zone. Working 12-14 hours days for the last six years. Yeah, that was out of my comfort zone, but I wouldn’t change it. Starting an online business. That is definitely out of my comfort zone and I am still learning the ins and outs of that. That is a daily out my comfort zone for sure. But I push past the feelings of self doubt. I push past the feelings of inadequacy. I push past the voices telling me I can’t do it. I push past the haters. I push past. Every single day I push past.
I want to be comfortable living uncomfortably. I’m getting there. I’m not afraid to level up.
Push past the comfort zone and try something new. Take a chance. Take a chance on you. Get out of that box and level up.
Has this ever happened to you? You are bouncing along in life, not quite happy with how you look. You think if only I could lose ten pounds I would be good. Or, you’re not quite sure you like how your legs look. You think if I could just change the shape a little bit I would be good. Or, you think if I could just tighten up my butt a little I would be good. Oh, and what about that armpit fat. If I could get rid of that I would be good. A new diet comes along and you think, hmmm, maybe this is the thing that will help me lose the ten pound and then I’ll be good. You feel like you see the light at the end of that tunnel of darkness. If I could just…
It doesn’t really work that way though. Let’s say you lose ten pounds. Are you going to be happy? What’s the next thing? If I could lose 5 more pounds I would be good. If that little bit of armpit fat was gone I would be good. You know what? That’s pretty much bullshit. Until you figure out down deep in your core, in the nuts and bolts of your being, none of that stuff is going to make you happy. News flash: there is always going to be something about yourself you don’t like, which is sad. The sooner you start accepting yourself for what you are and realize you are the only one who can examine, the only one who can dig, the only one who can root around, and the only one who can make that change, the better off you will be. Nobody else can do it for you. Until you realize that and realize the why behind it you will always be looking and searching for the next thing. You will be continually searching for the one thing that you think is going to do it for you, but in reality it’s you. You have held the key to that lock all along. We need to start accepting our bodies and stop hating our bodies. Don’t confuse your body image with your self image. Just because your body doesn’t look the way you want it to right now, does that make you a bad person? Hell no! If you don’t like the direction things are going, pivot. Try something else. Get your head right.
Take responsibility. Hold yourself accountable. You are the only one who can make yourself change. No diet, no new gadget, no new workout DVD is going to do that for you. Only you can do that for you. You are the only one who can truly make yourself happier with how you look. It can take a lot of work to change those thoughts. It can take a lot of work to change period. Once you figure yourself out on the inside the outside is going to change.
I saw this quote the other day and I think it is absolutely amazing and so true: “Value aesthetics over health and you end up with neither. Value health over aesthetics and you end up with a high degree of both.” This is so relevant. It’s so important for not only women, but everyone to change their way of thinking when it comes to their bodies. Get it figured out on the inside and the outside will come around. Your self worth does not depend on how your body looks. Period.
This is the cigarette story. This story is about sisters. Fourteen months apart sisters. Peggie and Sherry. Together constantly sisters. We had the run of a three block radius when our family lived on Euclid. We later moved to Prospect Avenue and Central Avenue was …
It was winter. It was January. It was cold and windy, like most winter days in South Dakota. It was 2003. I was spending hours and hours at the hospital. St. Mary’s, in Pierre, to be exact.
She was 50. She was an agent. I met her through work and she was gone way too soon. She was a really, really good friend.
I wrote her obituary.
On my way to the studio today I thought about her all the way down Euclid. The Eagles song, Peaceful Easy Feeling was playing. One of her favorite songs. That song was played at her funeral.
I can still hear her voice. I can still smell her perfume, Donna Karan, Cashmere Mist. I miss her. She always called me Peg.
She had cancer. It started in her mouth. A local Pierre dentist, Dr. Monty Bechtold, found it on her tongue during a routine checkup. (side note – his daughter, Cori, is one of my favorite people and she has been in my life for only five years—life is ironic for sure). It was melanoma. She had to have part of her tongue removed and had to have a lot of speech therapy afterwards. It seemed as though everything was good. It wasn’t. More cancer in her lungs. She had several surgeries to remove cancer spots in her lungs. Man, she was a fighter. She always said it was just a speed bump and that it was going to be okay. It spread from there. It was in her brain and in her bones. She didn’t have long. She had to go into the hospital before Christmas and then she was moved to sub-acute. She said that was the place where people go to die. She was a realist. I loved that about her.
She was ready to retire. In fact, the party had been planned and the date had been set. In the best interests of her federal benefits, it was decided that leave donation until the end would serve her best.
We had so much fun at work. Most people aren’t lucky enough to be able to have fun at work. We did every day. That’s how we coped with the awfulness of the job. She had the perfect Pee Wee Herman laugh. She nailed it every.single.time. We played Star Trek on the radio. Whenever she left for the day, she always said, “minyana.” Translation: tomorrow.
One of the times I was at her house before she went in the hospital, I asked her if there was anything she needed. She whispered, “courage.” That was a slap of truth right in the face. I bought her a necklace with a little charm that said, “courage.” To see someone so full of life and then to see them connecting the dots that they aren’t going to make it kind of changes the way you look at things.
Her favorite holiday was the 4th of July. Her least favorite holiday was Halloween. Her sister had died then. She loved good food and good scotch. The more it tasted like dirt the better. Yuck! We have a picture of her at the hospital in her bed, bald head, wearing her glasses and holding a bottle of scotch. She made everything fun. That’s how she was.
She had the most beautiful blue eyes and an engaging smile. She was fun-loving and would do anything for anybody. She was in the service business and she served well. She was not very fond of kids, but when I had Tayler, she loved her. She held her and talked to her and just stared at her. Tayler is named after her.
She had a friend named Nancy. I met Nancy through her. We clicked. We spent the hours together at the hospital. Every day we could see the changes. She was becoming weaker and weaker. I remember one day so clearly. I walked in and I could just see the bones in her fingers and arms. She couldn’t wear her rings anymore. It was hard to look at. There was no way I wasn’t going to be there with her though. Same with Nancy. Thick and thin. Always.
Her step-daughter, Kathy, came a few weeks before the end. She was awesome. Nancy and I totally fell in love with her. We became very, very close with her. She was a riot. She was like our own kid.
Her husband was also there, spending the time with us at the hospital. It was weird and so surreal, just waiting for someone to die. Not knowing when it was going to happen. Not knowing how long it could take. Not knowing how long it would take. She grew weaker every day. Her breathing became more and more shallow. She still knew us though. Every time I hugged her when I went to leave, and I mean every time, she always said, “You always smell so nice.”
That day, the end, Nancy, Kathy, Bill and I were gathered around her bed. The hospice people told us it was time. It was just so weird. We didn’t know what to say. We just cried. She took a big deep breath. The hospice lady said, “and that was her last breath.” Really? Nah, just kidding. She wasn’t done yet. She got us all one last time. Did I forget to mention she had a really good sense of humor? It wasn’t long after though, I think it was just a few more breaths and she was gone. She was at peace. She was free. I remember thinking that I just had to get out of there. I went and started making phone calls. She had a lot of friends and a lot of people who loved her.
The day of the funeral was cold and windy. It was snowy too. People came from all over. See, my friend, Alexandra “Sandy” Asbury, was an FBI Agent. She was a law enforcement officer (LEO). She was amazing. She was well-respected and well-liked. She was going to be missed.
The church was packed. So many people. I remember meeting her parents for the first time and her brother. Her dad was also an agent and so was her brother. It was so sad to see that pain. I wasn’t sure her parents were going to be able to handle it.
It was a beautiful service. We were all just trying to hold it together. It was hard, but we were doing it. Then Amazing Grace, on the bagpipes… I still get goosebumps.
The saying, “When God closes a door, he opens a window” could not be more true in this situation. The window he opened was the friendship between Nancy and me. We became really, really good friends and I know Sandy loved that.
Continue to rest in peace Sandy. We all miss you.