jilla27@gmail.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A NUMBER OF OPTIONS

So tomorrow is a big number for me on the birthday scale, at least it seemed big back when I was a teenager.  Back then, to me a woman in their mid-fifties had permed, gray hair, wore stretch pants, and dangled with one foot in the grave.

Do I ever feel that way?  Well, there are days, but luckily, very few so far. But enough about me, let's take a look at some people who've "thought outside their age-box."

How about endurance swimmer Diana Nyad?  At sixty-four, she accomplished what very few could do, no matter their age.  Her fifty-three hour swim from Cuba to Florida would've knocked out just about any twenty-year-old. What a woman!

Or Laura Ingalls Wilder, who published her first book at age sixty-four (see, I'm young by her standards!) 

And Nelson Mandela was seventy-five when elected president of South Africa.

Now let's have a gander at the Rolling Stones.  If you'd have asked them when they started performing if they thought they'd still be hopping around on stage fifty years later, they'd have laughed in your face and said they wouldn't even be alive fifty years later.  Yet, here they are, rockin away!

Then there's the other end of the spectrum - children absorb so much at such a young age, learning more now because we no longer assume they're too young (to read, do math, learn a second language...) Our expectations have changed over the years now that we understand what sponges their young brains are.

Look at Louis Braille, who was a teenager when he invented the raised dots system, known as Braille, and became a teacher of Braille at nineteen.

Jaylen Bledsoe, fifteen, started his own tech company that specializes in web design and IT services, when he was thirteen.  His company is now worth about $3.5 million.

When Ryan Hreljac was six and heard about children in Africa walking long distances to get water, he raised money to build a well for them.  A year later, Ryan's first well was built. Over a dozen years later, Ryan's Well Foundation has completed nearly 700 projects.

If someone told these people they were too young to accomplish great things, they obviously didn't listen.  Good for them!  Do we let the numbers on our driver's license dictate our accomplishments, our dreams, our lives?

Is it all based on what we perceive our life should be at a certain age?  For example, I don't think I had envisioned hosting both pimples and chin hairs at age fifty-five! (What?  Was that TMI?)


So, I'm curious (yes, I've been told I ask too many questions!) If you had amnesia and someone asked how old you felt you were, what would you say
?  And why?



Monday, October 6, 2014

Controlling the Control Freak


On any given day I might worry about ten things—nine of which I have absolutely no control over. Yet nothing stops me from trying to "fix" these concerns of mine. I blame my dad.  We could both be professional worriers, if there were such a job.  As it is, we just drive everyone around us, and ourselves, crazy.

I’ve always felt we control our future, to a certain extent, and to sit back and do nothing to help things along, fix things, make them better… will get you nowhere.  So if I want something bad enough, I pretty much give it my all.  I might not get what I want, but I give it my best shot.

Yet things don’t always turn out the way we want, no matter how much gusto we give them. Because we all know the rules:  Life's not fair.  And we better just accept it.  Fine, I say, as I stamp my foot.  And yes, I’m well aware of the Serenity Prayer, in fact I have the part “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” printed out for myself at home and work.

It doesn’t make it any easier. I'm not big into serenity.  Type A all the way. Give me some problem and my brain becomes like a dogs, focusing on "ball, ball, ball" concentrating on that one thing so hard I might lose sight of the big picture.  Might. 

Because really, I'm smart enough to count my blessings, know that 95% of the world has it wayyyyyy worse than me (and my family), and that life is really pretty damn good.

And I also know when chocolate chip cookies are handed out; they are not all created equal (see me getting revenge on my older brother, photo below). But if it were the other way around, that would be okay.  I know how to bake more.  It's the rest of the uncontrollable nine things on my list I need a little help letting go of. :)

Do you see yourself here?  Are you a worry-wart?  Control freak?  Or are you one of those people who will never die of a heart attack, a go-with-the-flow-no-concerns person?  My husband is one of them.

Which drives me nuts.  Ooh, I need to add that to my Not-Fair-list-of-Things-I-Can't-Control!