Friday’s Focus—There’s One on Every Corner

My father-in-law used to say, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got them.” And they do. Whether it’s good or bad depends on what side of the opinion you’re on. Sometimes it’s neither but there’s still a comment that didn’t have to be made. I’ve let people’s opinions knock me off my course and hurt me. I believed what they said because I thought they knew better, had more experience = knowledge and I’m sorry now. It’s hard to stay true to your own compass at any age but especially when you’re a teenager or young adult.

One such person was a professor I had in college. I was an art major and he was not only my professor but also Chair of the Department. I knew his reputation early on, but he taught many of the classes I had to take and so there was no way around escaping his classes or attention.  Soon enough, he showed himself the tyrant that I was warned of. One afternoon, he went around the room critiquing each student’s assignment from the previous week. He stopped in front of mine and completely tore it apart telling me I had no idea what art was and I had no talent. This was the latest in a series of derogatory and humiliating criticisms I heard from him.

His comments of my work and  my abilities was particularly harsh, and I decided I was done. That was my last art class and I changed my major the next day. Reading that, you may feel I was weak to have done so, or just not passionate enough to stay with my art. Trust me, I thought the same things about myself then.

And so do the kids who are told they are stupid and can’t learn anything; the young adults that are told they’ll never make anything of themselves if they don’t have a job; the girl who’s told she’s not pretty enough until she loses weight; the boy who won’t grow up to be a “real” man because he doesn’t like sports.

I didn’t believe in myself enough to stick with it. It’s not about pride—it’s about believing that you can do something and if not now, then one day. This can be taught to us only so far by our peers but there’s also something within each one of us that needs to recognize it and own it. Sometimes we do, but it’s not until much later in our lives.

It’s never too late or too early to believe in yourself and what you can do. I bet there is something each one of us was told we couldn’t do or be, which changed the directions in our lives.

Every day, every hour, every conversation, every argument, every person you meet, every relationship you’re in and every situation that presents itself is an opportunity and a chance. Take it, run with it and believe in yourself.




Friday’s Focus—Eating Out of the Box to Make Healthier Choices

Waiting in line at the grocery store the other day (a very l-o-n-g line, between the Sunday sales and an impending snowstorm), I had a lot of time to people watch. I absent-mindedly watched a woman in line next to me as she unloaded her cart with item after item of something that was either a paper product or some type of processed boxed, bag, or frozen food. Processed. Every. Single. Food. Item.

I get it—snowstorm = snacks and sales = stocking up. As I discretely looked around at other shopping carts, I saw more of the same except here and there peeking out were a bunch of bananas; fresh eggs were in the cart in line 3; and apples and a Club savings-size flat of blueberries in the cart right behind me. Now you’re talking!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I didn’t have some boxed or bagged items of my own, but I don’t rely on processed foods and I believe that our bodies deserve better.

Next time you go shopping or even just to pick up a few things for dinner, think twice when you reach for that box, which promises you dinner in 10 minutes. The long list of ingredients on that side panel is not an invitation to dinner but rather an invitation to bad health and poor eating habits.

Do yourself a favor and let today’s focus inspire you to stop eating out of the box and begin to make healthier choices.

Have a good weekend!
Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…