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A 50-Year Legacy

feet-out-windowI was  hanging out my office window, which is on the second floor of a rehabbed old house, when the thought struck me: “Is this really going to be my legacy? Is this the way people will remember me?”

To provide some perspective, my office sits directly across from the Catholic church, next door to the Presbyterian church, catty corner from the public library, and less than a block away from the town square. Since I have a corner office with two windows, I almost always having a view of something interesting happening

From nuns doing the Macarena on the front steps of the Catholic church, to numerous political protests, to pedestrians being hit by cars (yes – pedestrians  and cars plural – it happens more often than you might think), to the priest wearing a skirt (he swears it was a kilt), I have a great vantage point – and some pointed commentary – on all of it.

I also have an insatiable curiosity, which means when I have questions or concerns, I simply fling open my office window, lean out, and yell to whomever I think will answer.

My colleagues and the regular passerby have come to consider this normal.

But on the particular day in question, I was yelling at a stranger whom I’d never before seen. He was walking an adorable, large, white fluffy dog, and I felt compelled to meet him (the dog – not the man).  So, I opened the window and asked.

The dog looked around confused. The man looked around confused. And, realizing that neither of them knew from where the request was coming, I told them to look up. They did, and I was invited to come on down for a meet and greet.

That’s when the thought struck me. “This might be how some people will remember me – as that crazy lady who was compelled to yell at a total stranger in order to meet his dog or who shouted questions from a second story window at the church custodian across the street.”

And then another thought struck me – “Who cares? At least that is an interesting way to be remembered.”

I’ve been thinking more and more about such things recently.

That’s because today is my 50th birthday.sunset

I am now a half a century old.

Statistics show that I have more years behind me than I have in front of me. My potential to accomplish great things will become more and more limited as the next years rush by me.

In other words, dreams of becoming the next great American novelist are now fading in the same way that hopes of suddenly blossoming into a great beauty faded at age 25.

But these superficial desires have been replaced by something far much more realistic.

Fifty years of living have taught me that life isn’t about my being embraced, or even appreciated, by the rest of the world. Instead, it’s about embracing and appreciating the world I’ve been given while, at the same time, never accepting that it can’t be improved.

It means I will probably always laugh too loud and talk too much because my enthusiasm can be overwhelming. It means my innate desire to share everything I’m thinking and feeling will always require my friends, colleagues and acquaintances to tolerate listening to yet another “Trina story,”  and it will mean I will always break into song whenever a song lyric is used in conversation.

It also means I will cry too much, defend the underdog, rally against injustice and never, ever let someone else make me feel guilty about my beliefs.

And if all of that, along with penchant to make friends with every dog I encounter, yell out of office windows, and constantly stop to take a photo every time I think the sky looks amazing, then so be it.

That is my legacy,  and I consider my life well spent.

The Update

windows-updateWhen I was a child, I gave little thought to 50-year old people. Why would I? On the rare occasion when I did consider them, my thoughts were limited to the idea that they were really old and knew all they needed.

In just over a year, I will be 50, and most of my friends have either reached that milestone or are very close.

I no longer think  that people in their fifties are particularly old, and I am quite aware that everyone needs to learn more.

Personally, I am still seeking answers to those things I’ve never been able to understand. For example:

  • Why does the trip home always take half the time as the trip to get there?
  • Why do the people who hurt us the most also teach us the most?
  • Why does life speed up just as we begin to truly appreciate it?
  • Why do we cry when we are happy?
  • Why  are we are the most comfortable in our own bodies at a time when our bodies are starting to fall apart?

But none of these is nearly as pressing as the question that has recently been consuming my thoughts: “What is the purpose of Windows Updates and why do they always occur when I most need my computer?”

Last week at work, I was using my laptop during a meeting when I lost access to it.

The reason? I had postponed installing the Windows Updates far too long, and Microsoft had decided that my time was up. The updates took control of my computer with absolutely no consideration of my needs.

I should have known better since, just the night before, my personal lap had done the exact same thing.

But this was work and the meeting was my first obligation of the morning. I turned on my laptop, started the meeting, and then the updates began.

For almost an hour, I muddled through while my computer processed “essential updates.”

I have absolutely no idea what these updates were because when laptop finally began functioning again, everything seemed exactly the same. Exactly.

Maybe that’s the whole point of these updates – they are some kind of digital Botox so the operating system appears immune to the effects of aging.

Or maybe the updates are a gimmick intended to convince Microsoft users that they are using the most up-to-date software when nothing is really changing.

Or maybe I don’t understand technology.

None of this mattered, though, when I was stuck in a meeting without access to my computer.

Instead of hiding being the screen while tapping on keys, I was forced to pay close attention to what everyone said and take notes the old-fashioned way: with pen and paper.

Which got me thinking about all of the updates in my life.

At times they may seem intrusive and unwanted, but sometimes they are absolutely necessary.

Sometimes they make us stop and think.

Sometimes they make us do things a bit differently.

And sometimes they make us appreciate those things we usually take for granted.

All of My Lives

I felt a bit like a cat with nine lives as I glanced at my watch on Friday night.

I hadn’t recently escaped a serious accident or overcome a life-threatening illness.nine lives

I was just sitting in a high school auditorium watching my son and his friends turn what was intended to be a serious ceremony into something that more resembled a comedy routine. He and his fellow senior marching band members were supposed to be “jacketing” the freshman, which involved putting them into their uniforms for the first time.

As the antics on stage wrapped up, the band director made a short speech. He told the newly inducted band members that they now have a ready-made family as they start their high school journey.

At that point, I could feel my eyes begin to water and my chest tighten. What seemed like only yesterday, my son had been one of those freshmen. Now, in a few short months, he will be graduating from high school.

As I sat in that auditorium, I promised myself I would do all I can to treasure the next few months and the memories that have yet to be made.

That’s when I glanced at my watch and realized that more than 300 miles away, my 30 year high school reunion had just started.

As my son was animatedly and comically stepping into his last year of public education, my classmates from three decades earlier were reminiscing and remembering that time in our lives.

I had absolutely no regrets about choosing to celebrate my current life rather than a previous one.

At the same time, the poignant reminder of the quick passage of time is what made me feel a bit catlike.

My high school years are part of a past life.

I long ago left behind the girl I was in high school.

She existed in my life before college – a time when I learned to form my own opinions instead of parroting the most popular ones.

She existed in a life before I stumbled and failed at numerous adult relationships.

She existed before I learned to keep my mouth shut in order to survive horrible jobs with mean-spirited bosses because I needed a paycheck more than I needed to be happy.

And she existed before I became a wife, a mother and a person who strives to live a life of joy rather than one of fear, to speak out for compassion instead of accepting misunderstanding and to take risks rather than live with regrets.

I’ve only arrived here after surviving several lives during which I let fear win, silence overpower truth and safety override risks.

But I’m here now, and I’m sure my present-life friends and colleagues wouldn’t recognize or even believe whom I was in my life as an 18 year-old.

I can only hope the same for my own children. Although I love them dearly as they are today, I don’t want them to live the same life forever.

Last Friday, as I watched my incredibly goofy son on stage, I also knew that boy won’t always exist.

Life isn’t supposed to be static.

It’s about adapting to change. It’s about seeking out and enjoying as many experiences as possible. It’s about developing new relationships. Most of all, it’s about embracing the inevitable fact that, while nothing stays the same, each moment and life stage should be appreciated for what it can provide.

I wish I could give that advice to the me I used to be, but I can’t. All I can do is share it with my children.

Whether they choose to listen is up to them.

Something tells me that, in their current lives, they probably won’t listen or understand.

But someday, in one of their future lives, they’ll know exactly where their mom was coming from.

The Grocery Store Age Test

grocery cartI was in the check out line at the grocery store the other day when I realized that I’m officially old. The signs were right there:

10.  Other than Kate Middleton and Prince William I had no idea who any of the young, beautiful people on the cover of magazines were or why I should be interested in their lives. Even more telling, I had no  interest in finding out.

9.  As I made faces at the cute baby in the cart in front of me, the cashier asked her mother for her i.d. to buy alcohol. When the mother proudly said she was 24, I realized I was old enough to be her mother and the baby’s grandmother.

8.  I also bought a bottle if wine, but the cashier didn’t even bother to ask for my i.d. In fact, I’m pretty sure she  rolled her eyes when I asked if  she needed to see it.

7.  I wasn’t wearing makeup or contacts, and the old paint-stained t-shirt I was wearing wasn’t the least bit flattering.  I didn’t care how I looked, but the 24-year-old mother in the cute sundress gave me a look of sympathy.

6. The even younger woman in pajama pants behind me in line  paid no attention to me or the clothes I was wearing. I, on the other hand, couldn’t understand how wearing pajama pants was acceptable but my paint-stained shirt wasn’t.

5.  I asked the cashier to do a price check.

4. I was buying raisin bran.

3. I was actually jealous that the 24-year old in front of me was buying Captain Crunch.

2. The cashier called me ma’am.

1. The bag boy warned me that a couple of my bags were really heavy and I should be careful when lifting them or I would hurt my back.

I could have left the grocery store wondering how I had become one of  “those women.” Instead, I left feeling proud.

I am one of those women who has enough experience to recognize that I can’t be defined by what I wear or what I buy. Instead, I am defined by years of experience – as evidenced by the lines around my eyes. I am defined by the words I say – and more importantly the words I don’t. I am defined by how I react to life circumstances – both good and bad.

Most importantly, I am “one of those women” who realizes that the truly important moments and people in our lives are never captured on the glossy photos in magazines. Instead they are captured in the angry, sad, jealous and joyful moments that those of us who are described as “those women” can use to teach the next generation.

If  that makes me feel a bit old, I’m  o.k. with that. And if that means I have to tolerate being called ma’am on a regular basis, I’m o.k. with that too.

After all, “those women” understand what being called ma’am really means.

 

 

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 330

agingA friend recently told me the best advice she ever got from an older woman was  to stop doing things out of obligation and start using your time doing things that make you happy.

While I completely appreciate these words of wisdom, I’m a mom. That means I still spend a lot of time doing things out of obligation because I want to make sure my kids have their needs met and are able to enjoy their youth.  That also means I spent a lot of time carting kids around.

Before I was a mom, I remember rolling my eyes at women who referred to their car as a taxi. I still do.

Now, I prefer to think of my Jeep as my Window into the future when I will be able to use my time the way I choose.  I know this because, as I was transporting kids yesterday, I passed a car with a canoe and a kayak tied on top.  I glanced over at the driver expecting to see someone much younger than me. Instead,  the driver was much older.  A short time later, a car with bikes on the back sped by me, and this vehicle was also driven by someone who appeared to be around retirement age.

Observing people who are using their time the way they want makes me smile. Seeing all the opportunities still ahead of me makes me smile even more.

Day 330:  Not Letting Age Slow You Down  Day 329: Raindrops on Roses

Day 328: Old Newspapers  Day 327: When My Pets Get Attention  Day 326:  Odd Little Distractions from Every Day Life  Day 325: Wearing White before Memorial Day Day 324:  Avoiding a Poison Ivy Rash  Day 323: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  Day 322: Breezes Blowing Through my Kitchen Window  Day 321: Iris Gardens  Day 320: Ginger’s Ridiculous Wardrobe  Day 319: Wildlife in My Midst  Day 318: Teamwork  Day 317: The Golden Rule   Day 316: When Weather Cooperates  Day 315:  When Humans Respect Nature  Day 314: Books We Pass on to Our Children Day 313: Wildflowers Day 312:  The Right to Vote Day 311: Staying True to Your BeliefDay 310: Doris Day and “Que Sera Sera” Day 309: Lessons Learned from Motherhood  Day 308: When a Difficult Problem is Solved Day 307:  Living Near Hills and Mountains  Day 306: Recognizing How Far Women Have Come Day 305: Creative House and Yard Decorations Day 304:  The Power to Forgive Day 303: Marrying Someone Who Always Knows How to Make Me Smile  Day 302: People Who Sport the Breaking Bad Car Magnet Day 301:  The song of the whippoorwill  Day 300: Coming Home Day 299: Clean Water Day 298: Blue Bells Day 297: Listening to Books When Driving Long Distances Day 296: Walking in the Woods Day 295: The Warm Sun on My Face Day 294: Turning Loud Shoes into a Conversation Item  Day 293: Seeing Something New in the Every Day  Day 292: Dreams Day 291:  “What a Wonderful World”  Day 290: Softly Falling Petals During Spring Day 289: Home king with Love Day 288: Coloring Easter Eggs  Day 287: The View From Above Day 286:  The Wisdom of Mr. RogerDay 285: The Princess Bride    Day 284: All Creatures Great and Small  Day 283: The Legend of the Dogwood  Day 282: Sleeping with the Windows Open  Day 281: Four Significant Birthdays in One Year Day 280: Discovering Great Music Day 279: Funny Names for Wi-Fi connections  Day 278: Sad Cat Diary Day 277:  The Smiling Cow  Day 276: Celebrating 16 years of motherhood  Day 275: Seeing Potential in Our Children  Day 274: Stained Glass Day 273: Naturalization Ceremonies Day 272: “Let It Be” by the Beatles Day 271: Sharing Meals with Great Friends Day 270: Daffodils  Day 269:  April Fool’s Day Day 268: Acoustic Music  Day 267: Country Roads  Day 266: Sunsets on Pamlico Sound  Day 265: The Sound and Smell of the Ocean  Day 264: Crossing the Bonner Bridge Day 263: Mark Twain Quotes Day 262: Old-fashion Fun Day 261: The Far Side Cartoons by Gary Larson Day 260:  Nostalgic Theme Songs  Day 259:  Appreciating Life’s Rewards  Day 258: Awkward Conversations With Strangers  Day 257:  The arrival of Spring  Day 256:  Being Saved by Buffy the Vampire Slayer  Day 255:  Thoughtful Husbands Day 254:  The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow Day 253: When Kids Want to Clean  Day 252: Conversations in Cars  Day 251: Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day  Day 250: Bonnie Bell Over-sized LipSmackers versus Egg-Shaped Eos Lip Balm  Day 249: Watching Those I Cherish Sleep  Day 248: Getting Back on My Bike after the Longest Winter  ay 247: “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.”  Day 246: Multiple Reminders of Beauty  Day 245: Being Nice to Total Strangers Day 244: The Perfect PhrasDay 243:  Little Girls With AttitudeDay 242: The Soup Nazi  Day 241: Contagious Smiles  Day 240: Oklahoma  Day 239: Dr. Seuss’ Persistence  Day 238: Over-Dependence on Spell Check  Day 237: Only 28 days  in February  Day 236: Genuine Signatures  Day 235: Television Personalities Who Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously Day 234:  The Words “Happy Birthday”  Day 233: Teenagers Who Care about Their Grandparents  Day 232:  “Morning Has Broken”Day 231: Avoiding Jury Duty  Day 230: Melting Snow after a Long Winter  Day 229: Hungry Teenage Boys   Day 228: Having a DreamDay 227: Mispronunciations  Day 226: Awkward Animal MomentsDay 225: Shaking Hands With Scott HamiltonDay 224:  Having an Office With Windows Day 223: Watching Our Children Mature  Day 222: Getting the Upper Hand Over Life’s Challenges  Day 221: St. Teresa’s Prayer  Day 220: Children Who Are True to Self    Day 219: Frosted Sugar Cookies Day 218: Children with a Global Perspective Day 217: Enchanted  Day 216: Having a “secret weapon” Day 215: Jack and Diane  Day 214: The Volkswagen Beetle Day 213: Moments that Can’t Be Recreated  Day 212: “The Soul” Quote   Day 211: Rubber Ducky  Day 210: Tracks in the Snow   Day 209: Finding a Penny on the Ground Day 208: Kids who Use Their Manners  Day 207: Reminders of Warm Sunny Days  Day 206:  Dogs Playing in the Snow  Day 205:  Descriptive Phrases  Day 204: Arsenic and Old Lace  Day 203: Reminders of Resiliency  Day 102: Stephanie’s Ponytail Day 201: Being Asked to Help  Day 200: Boys and Their Toys  Day 199: The Most Important Person  Day 198: People With Courage to Do What is Right  Day 197: Being Pleasantly Surprised by My Children  Day 196: Being Told I’m Young  Day 195: Good News  Day 194: Meaningful Eye Contact   Day 193: A Sense of Accomplishment Day 192: Growing Into the Person I’ll Someday Be  Day 191:  Matt Groening  Day 190: Tuning Out Bad News and Tuning In to What We Enjoy  Day 189: Parents Who Encourage Independence  Day 188: Watching Young Minds at Work  Day 187: Funny Phone Calls  Day 186: Healthy Lungs  Day 185: Reality Checks Day  184: Coincidence  Day 183: Lame Attempts to Go Retro  Day 182: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 181: Goofy Childhood Memories  Day 180: A soak in a bathtub  Day 179: Optimism  Day 178: The Year’s Top Baby Names  Day 177: Reading on a Rainy Day   Day 176: “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey  Day 175: Watching the Torch Pass  Day 174: Converse Tennis Shoes  Day 173: Family Acceptance  Day 172: Christmas Day 171: The Mr. Grinch Song  Day 170: Positive People  Day 169: Watching Movies From my Childhood With My Kids  Day 168:  Jealous Pets   Day 167:  Family Christmas Recipes  Day 166:  Church BellsDay 165:  School Holiday   164: Unexpected Grace  Day 163: Letting Go of Things We Can’t Control  Day 162: Anticipating a good story   Day 161: Hope  Day 160:  When Dogs Try to Avoid Embarrassment  Day 159: Surprises in the Mail  Day 158: Kids who aren’t superficial  Day 157:  A Garage on Winter Days    Day 156:  Real Christmas Trees    Day 155: Being a Parent   Day 154: Selfless People Day 153:  Nelson Mandela  Day 152: Memorable Road Trips  Day 151: Great Neighbors  Day 150: Oscar Wilde’s quote about being yourself   Day 149:  Love Letters  Day 148:  The first day of Advent  Day 147: The Breakfast Club   Day 146: Marriage and Shared Anniversaries 145: JFK’s quote about gratitude  Day 144:  Watching My Dog Play   Day 143: Having my Family’s Basic Needs Met  Day 142:  When Our Children Become Role Models  Day 141: Random Acts of Kindness  Day 140; People Watching  Day 139: Sharing Interests with My Children  Day 138: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Best Advice  Day 137: Weird Human Behavior about Garbage  Day 136: Postcards from Heaven  Day 135: Mickey Mouse  Day 134: Generous Souls  Day 133: I’m Moving On  Day 132: A Family That is Really Family  Day 131:   A Personal Motto  Day 130:  Mork and Mindy  Day 129: The Bears’ House  Day 128:  Veterans  Day 127: Doppelgangers  Day 126: Letting Life Unfold as It Should  Day 125: The Constantly Changing Sky  Day 124: When History Repeats Itself   Day 123: The Love Scene in The Sound of Music Day 122:  Helen Keller  Day 121:  The Welcome Back Kotter Theme Song  Day 120: Sheldon Cooper  Day 119: Having Permission to Make Mistakes  Day 118: A Diverse Group of Friends  Day 117:  Family Traditions Day 116: The Haunting Season  Day 115; Life Experience Day 114:  Changes  Day 113:  The Wooly Bear Caterpillar  Day 112: The National Anthem  Day 111: Parents Who Care   Day 110: Good Friends Day 109:  My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss  Day 108:  A.A. Milne QuotesDay 107: Spending Time Wisely Day 106: Parades  Day 105:  The Peanuts Gang Dancing   Day 104:  Sharing a Secret Language   Day 103:  The Electric Company  Day 102:  Doing the Right Thing  Day 101:  When Siblings Agree  Day 100: Being Optimistic  Day 99: Trying Something New   Day 98:  The Sound of Children on a Playground  Day97: Good Advice  Day 96: Red and white peppermint candy  Day 95:  The Soundtrack from the Movie Shrek Day 94:  Accepting Change    Day 93:  True Love     Day 92: Camera Phones   Day 91: Bicycle Brakes    Day 90:  HeroesDay 89: The Cricket in Times Square  Day 88:  The Grand Canyon  Day 87: Unanswered Prayers Day 86: Apples Fresh from the Orchard Day 85: Being Human  Day 84: Captain Underpants  Day 83: The Diary of Anne Frank  Day 82: In Cold Blood Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry  Day 80: The Outsiders   Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment Day77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness   Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart   Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green LightsDay 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious  Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer  Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs  Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s VictoryDay 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids  Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His MasculinityDay 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of HayDay 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still RememberDay  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessonsDay 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment   Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles  Day   3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs  Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

Why Being Imperfect Rocks

It’s that time of year again.

This is my self-indulgent birthday blog during I reflect on what I really learned during the past year.imperfection

And this year, I learned more than I did my entire time in high school. But unlike high school, I didn’t receive any grades to indicate whether or not I passed the tests I endured.

Instead, all I have to show for my efforts is the realization that being imperfect actually rocks.

After spending the early part of my life avoiding anything I was afraid I couldn’t perfect then spending the remainder of my life thinking I’d gotten over that, this year taught me that neither effort was particularly relevant.

Life isn’t about our potential for perfection or our ability to avoid it.  Instead, it’s about our ability to bring out the best in others.

People who are focused on themselves can’t do that.

During the past twelve months, I observed people who were so determined to impress others with their knowledge and abilities that they ignored the facts right in front of them.

I witnessed people being belittled so other people could indulge in their own need to feel superior.

And I experienced the raw grief of witnessing something meaningful being slowly torn down piece by piece because an individual couldn’t admit he was better at talking a good game than actually implementing the plays.

Most of all, I realized that if I were perfect, I could have fixed all of that or prevented it from ever happening.

Instead, as an imperfect person, all I could do was comfort those who suffered, listen to those who felt ignored and express grief about lost opportunities. And I did all of those things while complaining about other people, constantly sharing my opinions and calling out incompetent individuals with inflated egos.

So while trying to do my best, I still revealed my imperfections.

But I also learned that striving for perfection is impossible and pretending not to care about falling short is self-indulgent.

But imperfect people who simply strive to do their personal best while cheering on others each day really is what life is all about.

And that is why imperfect people who really do rock.

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 138

I’m getting to the age where people start complaining about problems associated with getting older.inferior-quote

What we generally don’t do is express gratitude for 1)  the fact that we have been granted the time to grow older and 2) how much we’ve grown emotionally and spiritually through the years.

For example, I used to worry about whether I was living up to other people’s expectations and what other people thought about me.

To counter my concerns, I taped a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt to my mirror:  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Those are words to live by, and I’m thoroughly convinced those words helped me improve with age.

Because of that, Eleanor Roosevelt’s best advice always make me smile.

Day 138:  Eleanor Roosevelt’s Advice

Day 137: Weird Human Behavior about Garbage  Day 136: Postcards from Heaven  Day 135: Mickey Mouse  Day 134: Generous Souls  Day 133: I’m Moving On  Day 132: A Family That is Really Family  Day 131:   A Personal Motto  Day 130:  Mork and Mindy  Day 129: The Bears’ House  Day 128:  Veterans  Day 127: Doppelgangers  Day 126: Letting Life Unfold as It Should  Day 125: The Constantly Changing Sky  Day 124: When History Repeats Itself   Day 123: The Love Scene in The Sound of Music Day 122:  Helen Keller  Day 121:  The Welcome Back Kotter Theme Song  Day 120: Sheldon Cooper  Day 119: Having Permission to Make Mistakes  Day 118: A Diverse Group of Friends  Day 117:  Family Traditions Day 116: The Haunting Season  Day 115; Life Experience Day 114:  Changes  Day 113:  The Wooly Bear Caterpillar  Day 112: The National Anthem  Day 111: Parents Who Care   Day 110: Good Friends Day 109:  My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss  Day 108:  A.A. Milne QuotesDay 107: Spending Time Wisely Day 106: Parades  Day 105:  The Peanuts Gang Dancing   Day 104:  Sharing a Secret Language   Day 103:  The Electric Company  Day 102:  Doing the Right Thing  Day 101:  When Siblings Agree  Day 100: Being Optimistic  Day 99: Trying Something New   Day 98:  The Sound of Children on a Playground  Day97: Good Advice  Day 96: Red and white peppermint candy  Day 95:  The Soundtrack from the Movie Shrek Day 94:  Accepting Change    Day 93:  True Love     Day 92: Camera Phones   Day 91: Bicycle Brakes    Day 90:  HeroesDay 89: The Cricket in Times Square  Day 88:  The Grand Canyon  Day 87: Unanswered Prayers Day 86: Apples Fresh from the Orchard Day 85: Being Human  Day 84: Captain Underpants  Day 83: The Diary of Anne Frank  Day 82: In Cold Blood Day 81: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry  Day 80: The Outsiders   Day 79:  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Day 78: The First Amendment Day77: People Who Touch Our Lives   Day 76:  The Rewards of Parenting    Day 75:  Improvements   Day 74:  Family Traditions   Day 73: Learning From Our Mistakes  Day 72: Live Music  Day 71:  Sleeping In  Day 70:  Grover  Day 69:  A Good Hair Day   Day 68:  A Sense of Community   Day 67: Kindness   Day 66: Living in a Place You Love   Day 65: Gifts from the Heart   Day 64: The Arrival of Fall  Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green LightsDay 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious  Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer  Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs  Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s VictoryDay 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids  Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His MasculinityDay 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of HayDay 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still RememberDay  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessonsDay 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment   Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles  Day   3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs  Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

365 Reasons to Smile – Day 69

hair normsI used to pride myself on being low-maintenance.

When we were in our twenties, my husband described me as a granola girl. That was his way of saying I didn’t spend much time or energy on my appearance.

I still don’t spend much time on my appearance, but I do spend a lot more money on it, especially on my hair.

I blame that on my father’s “prematurely grey” gene.

Having grown up with a mother who had never dyed her hair (she still hasn’t), the idea of doing so was tantamount to eating store-bought cookies in her house. It was something you just didn’t do.

And yet, I took the leap and did it anyway. And I’ve never regretted it.

At first, I said I’d let the grey show when I turned 40.

That didn’t happen, and now I don’t know when or if I ever will.

I have a hair stylist who is a color genius.

I’m willing to fork over the money for a few highlights and to risk a slightly different hair color because she always makes me feel like a million bucks. Thanks to her, almost every day is a good hair day.

And that always makes me smile.

 Day 69:  A Good Hair Day  Day 68: A Sense of Community  Day 67:  Kindness   Day 66: Living in a Place You Love  Day 65: Gifts from the Heart    Day 64: The Arrival of Fall

Day 63: To Kill a Mockingbird   Day 62: Green Lights Day 61:  My Canine Friends  Day 60:  Differences   Day 59:  A New Box of Crayons   Day 58: Bookworms  Day 57: Being Oblivious   Day 56: Three-day Weekends  Day 55:  A Cat Purring  Day 54: Being a Unique Individual   Day 53: Children’s Artwork  Day 52: Lefties  Day 51: The Neighborhood Deer   Day 50: Campfires  Day 49: Childhood Crushes  Day  48: The Words “Miss You”  Day 47:  Birthday Stories   Day 46: Nature’s Hold on Us  Day 45:  Play-Doh   Day 44: First Day of School Pictures  Day 43: Calvin and Hobbes  Day 42: Appreciative Readers  Day 41: Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote   Day 40:  Being Silly  Day 39:  Being Happy Exactly Where You Are  Day 38: Proud Grandparents  Day 37: Chocolate Chip Cookies   Day 36: Challenging Experiences that Make Great Stories  Day 35: You Can’t Always Get What You Want  Day 34:  Accepting the Fog    Day 33: I See the Moon  Day 32: The Stonehenge Scene from This is Spinal Tap  Day 31: Perspective  Day 30:  Unlikely Friendships  Day 29: Good Samaritans  Day 28:  Am I a Man or Am I a Muppet?    Day 27: Shadows  Day 26: Bike Riding on Country Roads  Day 25: When Harry Met Sally  Day 24: Hibiscus   Day 23: The Ice Cream Truck  Day 22:  The Wonderful World of Disney   Day 21: Puppy love  Day 20 Personal Theme Songs     Day 19:  Summer Clouds  Day 18: Bartholomew Cubbin’s Victory Day 17:  A Royal Birth    Day 16:  Creative Kids Day 15: The Scent of Honeysuckle   Day 14: Clip of Kevin Kline Exploring His Masculinity Day 13: Random Text Messages from My Daughter     Day 12:  Round Bales of Hay Day 11:  Water Fountains for Dogs    Day 10: The Rainier Beer Motorcycle Commercial Day 9: Four-Leaf Clovers  Day 8: Great Teachers We Still Remember Day  7:  Finding the missing sock   Day 6:  Children’s books that teach life-long lessons Day 5: The Perfect Photo at the Perfect Moment     Day 4:  Jumping in Puddles   Day 3: The Ride Downhill after the Struggle Uphill    Day 2: Old Photographs Day 1: The Martians on Sesame Street

You Can Learn a lot of Interesting Things in 46 Years

I’m doing things differently for my birthday this year.

When I turned to 29, I was so busy comparing myself to others I thought I hadn’t achieved much. When I turned 35, I wondered why I hadn’t lived up to my potential. And when I turned 40, life got in the way of celebrating.

But I’m turning 46 this week, and instead of worrying about what I may or may not have achieved, I’m embracing everything I’ve learned.

I’m not talking about facts or skills. I’m talking about all the things I’ve learned by really living life. Those lessons that came from experience. Those lessons that have shaped who I am.

 trina as a babyFive Facts Before Age Five

1. Screaming, whining and complaining often get you attention, sometimes get you what you want but never make anyone feel good. Smiling always makes people feel good.

2. Dry dog food does NOT taste just like cereal. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that it does.Trina in outfit from Chile

3. Accidents happen when you are laughing uncontrollably with friends.

4. Never trust five year-old boys with scissors, especially when they have little sisters with pony tails.

5. Fashion isn’t everything. Attitude IS everything.

Ten Tenets By Age Ten

Trina First Grade1. You can keep a caterpillar, but you can’t keep the butterfly it becomes.

2. Boy germs are really quite harmless.

3. You will always regret being too afraid to slide down the fire pole.

4. You will never regret staying in at recess to finish the tissue paper corsage for your mom for Mother’s Day.

5. Sometimes people cry when they are happy. But even if they are happy, they probably still need a hug.Trina and Charlie Brown

6. Your world can change every time you open a book and read.

7. You have the potential to change someone else’s world every time you pick up a pencil (or a crayon) and write a letter or a story.

8. A dog will always keep your secrets. Always.

9. When you get a present you don’t like, you have to smile and pretend it’s exactly what you wanted. This most likely means you will get more presents you don’t like.

10. Using your imagination is much more entertaining than watching television.

trina 8th grade honor societyEight Adages of Adolescence

1. Being true to yourself can be very, very difficult. But pretending to be someone you’re not is even more difficult.

2. Boy germs may be harmless, but they are also very interesting.

3. Don’t try to grow up too fast. Acting like a kid is actually more fun than acting like an adult.

4. Life is all about change. If you resist it, you’ll just be angry and disappointed. You might as well embrace change and adapt.trina 10th grade

5. There is nothing like going through a hard test together to unite people who have absolutely nothing else in common.

6. There will always be people who think they know who you are. All that counts is that you know who you are.

7. Creativity is a necessity if you’re going to break the rules.

8. If you listen to what other people say about you rather than to your inner voice, you’ll never be happy.

A Collection of Collegiate Lessons

Trina at O.U.1. There is absolutely nothing better than finally discovering people who think like you think.

2. There is absolutely nothing more educational than living with people who are completely unlike you.

3. First impressions shouldn’t count for much at all. You can never predict the people who will support you when your world is crumbling.

4. At some point, you just have to stop worrying about people who don’t like you and simply surround yourself with those who do.Trina deciding the evening playlist

5. There are times when  you have to forget about achieving anything meaningful and just embrace the moment. Life is about creating memorable moments.

6. Fashion CAN be an attitude.

Eight Pieces of Wisdom from Adulthood

Trina at the river1. Your past will probably catch up with you, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

2. The most beautiful moments are often the most quiet ones.Trina in the Rocky Mountains

3. Acting like a kid is still more fun than acting like an adult. If you forget how to act like a kid, all you need to do is buy some Play-Doh.

4. If you’ve lost contact with someone who meant a lot to you, have faith. People who are really important will probably reenter your life at some point.

5. A lot of really incompetent people achieve positions of power, but that doesn’t mean others don’t recognize their ineptness.

6. Sometimes failure is the best thing that ever happens to you.

7. Never EVER stop dreaming and believing in possibilities. Just because something doesn’t happen when you want it to happen doesn’t mean it will never happen.

8. We often hate how we look in pictures. But, years later when we look back on those pictures, they will definitely make us smile.