That I am beautiful. I don’t mean physically, well, sort of. I do mean it as well, but I try to remind myself everyday to always catch that glimmer in my eye and know that people out there love you. Be grateful for friends, family and life. I try to capture a photo a day of myself to be my daily reminder of being happy with all that I have been blessed with.
Hello to anyone who is still with me. I am here. Promise. I really need to be more diligent about writing. Even if no one is in fact reading, I need to commit to the writing portion so that my dreams of business ownership don’t die on me.
It’s easy to let those things go by the wayside. Life can get in the way. Or shall I say grown up stuff gets in the way. I have a job. It isn’t my dream job. But I am grateful nonetheless to have one. I am a creative person. I need to create things, to watch things come alive. To see them blossom. I am trying to be more “Sara” this year and forward, so in focusing on being my true authentic self…I wrote out a list of things that I want to accomplish before I turn 40. Shhh, don’t talk about it. I am completely in denial that I am even close to this number, but hey–guess what? I am. It seems like yesterday I was turning 30. What happened to those years? Why did I do nothing important, sacred or meaningful with those years? It is totally true what women say that they were more in touch with themselves and confident at 30 over 20 and age 40 over 30. I am finding that to be more and more true as each day passes.
I no longer fret so much about what people think of me, and more of what I think of other people. I have removed toxic people from my life and allowed people that I find inspiring to fill it. I am getting better every day at identifying those toxic relationships before they flourish and putting a serious HOLD on them and that would never have happened in my 20’s.
Ok, so I should get back to my list. I am trying this whole free-writing angle now and again–if you read it awesome. If not, that’s fine too, since this is really more for me at this point than any of you out there. If it touches a nerve or shall I say a sweet spot, lovely. I hope I can help. That’s my true self. Helping people.
So, I would love to say that I feel comfortable broadcasting my list out into the inter-web, but I am not sure I do. There are a few things on there that I would like to leave to myself and/or my husband but then again, I am not really one to hide things. OK, fine. You convinced me. I am going to publish this for all to reach and hold me accountable for my list.
Here we go.
No nasty comments.
Here it is folks.
- Fit comfortably into a size 12 or less—and STAY there
- Have another baby
- Take up Hot Yoga on a regular Mon-Fri basis
- Quit my Insurance Job
- Start my own business
- Travel to New Mexico
- Publish my book on “beauty/photography”
- Go on a Classic American Road Trip with Martin
- Take Pole dancing classes
Go vegetarian for 30 days***Update—6 days down….***
- Go to Italy
- Plan and have my “summit” event
- Visit Thailand
- Run a marathon
- Go to an actual Meditation class
- Go to the South—Georgia
- Read all of the books in my book shelf that I
bought for myself to read
- Go on a mission trip
- Swim with a dolphin
- Kiss Martin behind a waterfall
- Read the Bible
Watch the sunrise in a warm, peaceful place with
Martin **technically we did this on our honeymoom several times–I think that counts!
- Learn to speak French again
- Take a Tantric Class with Martin
- Pay off Credit Cards
- Participate in a Cancer Fundraising walk—the
- Go to Paris with Martin
Find Perfect shade of red lipstick
- Teach a class on meditation and self esteem
- Plan a girls only vacation
- Go on hot air balloon ride
- Feed the alligators a chicken
- Watch the sharks in a shark cage-exotic trip
included in this one with Martin
- Redesign The Pear Mercantile
Stop drinking Coke
- Ride the scooters in Palm Springs
- Drive/Ride in a dune buggy
- Have a family photo taken that I am in love with
- Learn Web design and graphic design
Me: Do French women wear lots of stripes? That’s how it is in the movies…
Garance: I stand witness straight from my armoire, and I’ve got my hands on: three short-sleeved striped shirts, two long-sleeved striped shirts, two round-necked striped pullovers, and one striped cardigan…
Do French women wear lots of layers? They seem to…
The French woman does “unconscious layering.” (I just made up that expression, because the French woman loves to use English phrases to sound cool.) It comes from the very popular concept called ‘$@&!-I-don’t-have-anything-to-wear-this-morning-i’ll-just-grab-whatever…’ But when dressing up, she never forgets the sexy detail, even if she’s a bit disorganized. So there goes the (too) short skirt, the tee that falls off a shoulder, etc…
Here in New York, people wear lots of patterns and prints. But it seems like French women wear mostly solid colors, is that true?
Yeah. That’s right. The French wear mostly black, but we’re known to mix it up a bit. Like for special occasions, we’ll even wear grey. Ha! But overall, Joanna, the mystery behind the French woman is that she has confidence in herself, despite all the nonsense she says.
Read the rest of the conversation on Garance’s blog. Thank you, Garance!
(Illustration by Garance Dore)
The last few months have been about being the best Sara I can be…and I am getting better at it every day. My expectation is that all of the tools I am using will continue to be second nature and I will just be super amazing in 2012. That is the goal.
So with that in mind. I will share everything with all of you that inspires me in my daily life.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
Doing something nice for someone can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world.
Start small. Start now.
- Smile when you make eye contact with someone.
- Hold the door open for the person behind you.
- Send a hand-written thank you card to someone who assisted you with something.
- Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need.
- Give a compliment about a waiter, waitress, sales clerk, etc. to his or her manager. Or write a nice note to or about your waiter or waitress on the back of your bill.
- Compliment a stranger’s appearance. Flatter them.
- Leave encouraging post-it notes in a library books and other random places. (Read Operation Beautiful.)
- Connect like minds. Introduce two friends or colleagues who you feel have something to gain from each other.
- Send flowers to someone.
- Be a courteous driver. Let people merge in front of you.
- Volunteer at a children’s hospital or nursing home.
- Donate blood.
- Live each moment with enthusiasm.
- Spend time with children and greet the world with wide-eyed wonder.
- Eliminate the words ‘hate,’ ‘can’t,’ and ‘won’t’ from your vocabulary.
- Volunteer. Get outside of yourself and help others. Your participation is needed.
- Notice and appreciate the positive side of things and share this appreciation with others.
- Send a check to your favorite charity.
- Work in a soup kitchen.
- Do one brave act today. Do it with love and for a good purpose.
- Share your talents with someone.
- Forgive someone.
- Think, speak and act in a loving manner.
- Buy house warming gifts for new neighbors.
- Introduce yourself. Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
- Inspire others online. (Check out Makes Me Think.)
- Send letters of appreciation to business owners/managers and other people who support you.
- Treat everyone with the same level of respect you’d give to your grandfather.
- Give everyone the same level of patience you’d have with your baby sister.
- Appreciate people the way they are.
- Share your lunch or a snack with someone who doesn’t have one.
- Put some change in an expired parking meter.
- Check up on someone who looks lonely.
- Tell your boss, teacher or professor that he or she is doing a great job and that you appreciate what they’ve taught you.
- On a hot day, buy someone something cold to drink. On a cold day, get them something warm.
- Create places and things for others to enjoy. Like decorating your house for the holidays or creating a piece of art.
- If you overhear that it’s someone’s birthday, go out of your way to wish them a happy one.
- Ask someone for their opinion or advice.
- Bring cookies or bagels to work for everyone.
- Tip waiters and waitresses well when they deserve it.
- Be a part of something you believe in. Those around you will notice your enthusiasm. (Read The Alchemist.)
- Leave a thank-you note for the office janitors.
- Help bag your own groceries at the checkout counter.
- Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
- Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
- Wave to a kid in the car next to you.
- Spread good news.
- Repeat something nice you heard about someone else.
- Remember people’s names and address them accordingly.
- Replace what you’ve used. For example, fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it.
- Share your umbrella on a rainy day.
- Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
- Dance with someone who hasn’t been asked.
- Call a stranger’s attention to a beautiful sunset or full moon. (Check out What Money Cannot Buy.)
- Give words of encouragement toward someone’s dream, no matter how big or small it is.
- Ask someone who enjoys cooking for one of their recipes.
- Let someone else eat the last slice of pizza or cake.
- Give someone a copy of a book that once helped you, that you think could help them
- Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
- Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
- Ask someone you see every now and then if they’ve lost weight.
- Do a little something extra to make someone else’s life easier.
- Use all the manners you learned in Kindergarten.
- Give without expecting to get back.
- Encourage others to do one unanticipated kind or helpful act at least once a week.
- Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so they can have some time alone.
- Boost the morale of someone close to you by telling them what you love about them.
- Hug a friend. Let them know how important they are.
- Look for ways to save a few extra bucks a month and then donate it to a good cause.
- Shop at your local charity thrift store. The money you spend there helps others.
- Spend a few clicks of your time at Free Rice.
- Leave an encouraging or positive comment on a stranger’s blog.
- If there’s been an accident or a potentially hazardous situation presents itself on the road, report it to the local authorities. Your phone call could save a life.
- If someone you love really likes something (a meal, a favor, etc.) give it to them when they least expect it.
- Observe everyone without judging.
- Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
- Let go of anger. For instance, if somebody accidentally cuts you off in traffic, just let it go.
- Believe in yourself with all of your heart. The universe will notice.
- Don’t be so serious all the time. (Read The Happiness Project.)
- Treat every small interaction with another person as an opportunity to make a positive impact in both your lives.
- Greed, anger and ignorance. Avoid all three.
- Speak the truth.
- Teach others how to make a difference by setting an example.
- Help others learn to be independent.
- Give people the space they need.
- Lend your shoulder to cry on.
- Acknowledge people for a job well done.
- Offer encouragement after a failure.
- Tell a good joke.
- Show others the magic in ordinary moments.
- Adopt a soldier, inmate or someone who is down on their luck as a pen pal.
- Express your gratitude to those who make your life easier.
- Tell someone you love them.
- Wave to your neighbors.
- Send a letter, email, tweet, or text message out of the blue to someone who would appreciate it.
- Open car doors for your passengers.
- Donate books to a library, daycare center or school.
- Dance with someone who doesn’t have anyone to dance with.
- Share great food recipes.
- Help a kid with their homework.
- Donate unused computer time to cancer research (and other types of research) with BOINC.
- Round up a few loose coins and put them in the next charity box you see.
- Pay for the person in line behind you.
- Do something unexpected that will inspire people and shake them out of a bad mood.
- Plant beautiful flowers in places where others can appreciate them.
- Search through your cabinets for a few cans of food you’ll probably never use and donate them.
- Be a designated driver.
- Volunteer your time to a suicide hotline center.
- Offer someone a piece of gum or candy instead of waiting for them to ask.
- Park your car further from the store and walk the short extra distance. This frees up spots closer for people who may need them more than you, and gives you additional exercise.
- Donate things you no longer use to those in need.
- Donate time or materials to Habitat for Humanity.
- Clean the house for someone you know who is too busy to keep on top of it.
- Grow your hair out, then donate it to Locks of Love.
- Drop off your old eye glasses at your local LensCrafters as a donation to the OneSightprogram.
- Don’t smoke. But if you must, don’t smoke near others.
- Generate money for the charity of your choice by searching with Good Search.
- Stop for a person waiting to cross the street.
- Support independent artists and musicians by purchasing books and albums that aren’t yet in the mainstream.
- Forgive a debt if you’re able.
- Recommend friends to local businesses who might appreciate their services.
- See the world as you wish it to be.
- Make something for someone. Bake an extra batch of cookies, draw a picture, brew an extra cup of coffee, and give it to someone for no reason other than to see them smile.
- Create a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
- Redirect gifts. Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
- Stop to help. The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help.
- Put a small personal touch on everything you do. People notice and appreciate individuality.
- Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
- Help someone get active. There’s a coworker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand. Offer to go walking or running together or join a gym together.
- Become a mentor or tutor.
- Adopt an animal.
- Contribute time, ideas, or a listening ear to other people’s passions.
- Accept people just the way they are.
- Stand up for someone. Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
- If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.
- Help the weary shopper in front of you who needs that extra two or three cents to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.
- Come to the rescue. If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, etc.
- Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them.
- Make yourself available and approachable.
- Over-deliver on all of your promises and obligations.
And yes, I realize this is a long list, but it’s really only the tip of the iceberg. Look for new and better ways every day to make the world a better, happier, and more pleasant place for everyone. If we all did just one thing every day, together we could truly change the world.
“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives. (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)
I want to honor and discuss each of these 12 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.
- Express gratitude.– When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that’s without having to go out and buy anything. It makes sense. We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
- Cultivate optimism.– Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
- Avoid over-thinking and social comparison.– Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous. If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority. Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out! If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made. What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place. If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
- Practice acts of kindness.– Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How extraordinary is that? Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on. A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin. Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.
- Nurture social relationships.– The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely? WHOA! There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with. We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.
- Develop strategies for coping.– How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character. Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable. Forrest Gump knows the deal. It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
- Learn to forgive.– Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being. You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system. You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
- Increase flow experiences.– Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
- Savor life’s joys.– Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
- Commit to your goals.– Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere. When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing. Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.
- Practice spirituality.– When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever. It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists. Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
- Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
Jacob Sokol is committed to living an extraordinary life. Today he released “Living on Purpose – An Uncommon Guide to Finding, Living, and Rocking Your Life’s Purpose.” He also loves his mom dearly.