Sorry if this offends anyone, but I feel this way and couldn’t resist.
It’s been said that what you will probably be thinking about on your death bed is what you should be working on daily, but we all tend to get caught up in that little thing called life and forget what living is truly all about…until we are faced with that big thing called death.
Bonnie Ware is a nurse who spent several years working on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients, caring for them in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
Ware recorded her patients’ dying epiphanies in a blog called “Inspiration and Chai,” which created so much attention it prompted her to write a book titled “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.”
She writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives and how the rest of us might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again,” she said.
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but all of the men deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called comfort of familiarity overflowed into their emotions as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
Do any of these ring true with you? What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life? Maybe today is the day to forget about the regrets of the past and start living the dreams of the present and future.
Perfectly posed in the middle
Watching the Emmy’s a few nights ago, I was struck by how similarly posed almost all of the red carpet actresses were as they stood in front of photographers and fans. Its seems even the youngest and most novice of “stars” knew just how to bend their knee, tilt their head, and “smize” with their eyes. They are not alone. In fact, life today seems like one big photo op thanks to ever present cameras in our ever present smart phones.
Take a look at someone’s Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr account and you’ll see similar poses: hand on hip, said hip to the side, and hair just so. Looking good in a photo has gone big time thanks to social media, but just because you look good in the mirror doesn’t mean you’ll look good in a photo later. And we all know how humiliating an unflattering picture can be, especially if it ends up in the wrong hands or on your timeline!
So, how does one look their best when being photographed? First of all it’s important to note there’s a difference between being photogenic and being attractive and that you don’t necessarily have to be attractive to be photogenic. Whether you’re being photographed by a famous photographer or a friend with an IPhone, here are some tried and true measures you can incorporate into your next pose:
1. Think before you dress. Almost any outing these days is photographed, so always wear something you know is flattering. Pick a top or dress with an interesting neckline and a bold color usually photographs better than black or white. However, all one color is also a good idea.
2. Once you’re dressed and you’ve arrived, refuse to ever be photographed from below, as it will make you look much heavier, and avoid being photographed sitting down if possible. If you do get caught sitting down, quickly cross your legs at your ankles before being snapped.
3. If you’re being photographed outside, avoid direct sunlight as it’s unflattering color-wise and squinting makes your jawline look bigger than it is. Late afternoon or early evening are the best times for outdoor photos.
4. If you’re being photographed in a group, try to get on the end, as it’s the most flattering spot.
5. Always remember that whatever is closest to the camera will look bigger!
Now for that all important pose:
Angle your chin slightly down and forward, even though it may feel slightly awkward.
When smiling, put your tongue on the roof of your mouth. (Really! Even Heidi Klum supposedly does this!)
Turn your body three-quarters to the camera (never head on…see photos above!)
Place one foot behind the other and bend the forward leg at the knee.
Point your toe to the camera and place your weight on your back foot.
Put your hand on your hip on the same side of the bended leg.
That’s it! Now you are red carpet ready! Say “cheese!”
Fall has officially arrived, at least according to the calendar and all the ginormous September fashion magazines! I’m seriously tired of my spring and summer clothes and can’t wait to pull out my sweaters (albeit cotton ones!), pants and boots. For the most part, I’ll wear what I wore last year and the year before that, but I also like to add a touch of what’s new this season.
Photos I post here are often of the designer type, only because that’s what shown on runways. But, don’t panic! Keep in mind that these trends can be found duplicated in department stores and even discount stores coast-to-coast. You don’t have to spend a pretty penny on something as frivolous as pink fur or silver oxford shoes and as I’ve blogged many times before, I don’t recommend doing so! Also keep in mind that these new items, in my mind, are meant to go along with the tried and true classics: little black dresses, cashmere, riding boots, pashminas, etc. Let’s not totally reinvent the fashion wheel!
So here’s my “September issue” of what’s hot this fall. Let me know whether you love it, or just as soon leave it! Have fun!
Chic Sweatshirts (my daughter will love this, as she’s already sporting one of the Lichtenberg hoodies!)
Pretty in Pink
She’s so blue
Grey is the new black
Moto/Rocker chic (think leather mixed with something feminine)
Cammo (call it the “Ducky Dynasty” influence. Uncle Si must be so proud!)
Foulard print (think neckties!)
Two-tone and patch-work denim
Knee high and Over-the-knee boots
Booties of all kinds!
Curved Heels (I’m not a fan but they are everywhere!)
Sweet and Feminine
Rules to Dress By
Fashion is one of my favorite past-times, but, even if it’s not one of yours, there are some tried and true “rules to dress by” that we should all follow, regardless of budget or style. They are simple and they are fool-proof.
Here are my top 10 “Rules to Dress By:”
Do you have any “rules to dress by” that you can share? I’d love to hear them!
After two days of blissfully watching college and pro football over the weekend, I happily settled in to watch “The Miss America Pageant” last night. Yes, I admit it. I love pageants. Always have probably always will. Sound contradictory to you…this lady who loves her football but also loves her pageants?
Actually, yes, but perhaps no more contradictory than the blonde bombshell who competed as Miss Kansas last night. You see, 22-year-old Theresa Vail is a tattooed, M16 marksman, majoring in chemistry and Chinese at Kansas State University. Not your typical glamour girl, right? For the show’s “parade of shoes,” Vail proudly donned army boots. She also proudly displayed her two “tats” during the swimsuit competition…a first for the celebrated pageant. She didn’t win the crown but she certainly won the publicity title. No one seemed to be asking her about the Chinese language, her mastering of Pavarotti’s “Nessun Dorma” during the talent competition, or her National Guard membership. Nope, everyone was focused on her ink.
Tattoos are common place these days, but Vail’s unabashed display of the “Serenity Prayer” along her torso and the military medical symbol on her neck still took many by surprise and probably shocked many more. “Body Art,” as proponents call it, has achieved somewhat widespread acceptance thanks in part to Hollywood, the music industry, and many an athlete. But why then, is tattoo removal a growing industry and “tattoo regret” a growing sentiment?
Call me old fashioned but I just don’t get it. Had I gotten inked back in the day, it very well could have been a tattoo of maybe David Cassidy or an “Onward Thru the Fog” script. Years later I may have even added a take-off of the Rolling Stones’ “Tattoo You” album or the Sooner Schooner. How would any of those look on me today?! Even a beautiful snowflake or flower would look pretty ridiculous on this 50-year-old body. I remind Kristen of this all the time. Personal tastes change often and rapidly when it comes to music, fashion, and trends. Would she really want the Backstreet Boys logo on her backside today?! Maybe there’s a reason those above the belt on the backside tats are called “tramps stamps.” Actually, it’s probably just because the words rhyme, but the message is still conveyed. And, all this has nothing to do with the health risks associated with second-rate tattoo parlors and unclean needles. Is that Hawaiian flower or Chinese symbol really worth the risk?
So, at the risk of making some of you upset or angry, I’m gonna say it: my personal opinion is one that doesn’t favor tattoos in general. I have relatives and many good friends who sport them, but for me, not so much. Kristen has occasionally voiced a desire to get one, but she knows I’m against her doing so and have let her know that if she thinks she’s mature and independent enough to tag her body, she’s mature and independent enough to support herself.
As I mentioned above, many today are going to great lengths to remove previously coveted tats; a very costly, painful, and difficult procedure. Pop musician Robbie Williams of Pink Floyd fame is even quoted as saying, “I wish it was like an Etch-a-Sketch where I can wipe them all out. It would be nice to have a pure, clean body again.”
And that, brings up a whole other sensitive issue: the simple beauty and sacred vessel that a human body constitutes. God created our bodies and a tattoo is kinda like putting graffiti over a Michaelangelo painting. The original was perfect. Don’t mess with it.
In addition, if you’re tatted up and looking for a job, your beloved ink could make it harder for you to get hired. A recent study showed employers often associate tattooed workers with “reduced productivity” and may show preference for untattooed employees when hiring or promoting. These employers obviously weren’t in the music or other equivalent industries, but for the rest of us, the study is worth noting.
Now the government may be getting involved. Federal lawmakers are looking into a new bill that would make someone have to wait 24 hours before getting a tattoo through the common practice of “walk in” tattooing. Naturally tattoo artists and businesses are against any such regulation, but 48 states already have body art regulations in place.
I certainly am not one to support more government in our lives and yes, I have seen a few attractive tattoos. A simple and discreet cross does not bother me, nor does a husband and wife tattooing wedding bands on their ring fingers. I’ve always said if I HAD to get a tattoo I’d either get a globe on my shoulder (because that’s where I carry the world!) or this simple picture:
I also admit that I’ve always kinda liked Nicole Richie’s rosary tattoo around her ankle and that some tattoos are virtual works of art, like this one:
But those creepy 3D ones, anything scary or savage, or anything on one’s neck? Uh, no. “That’s a beautiful bleeding head tattoo on your arm and an awesome scorpion crawling up your neck” said no one ever. Why, why, why?
So, as the Miss America pageant perhaps proved, the issue is far from black-and-white. In fact, it’s as colorful as the sleeve on Adam Levine or the prayer on Miss Kansas.
I’m trying to have a nice, relaxing Sunday of reading the Sunday paper and watching football, but apparently I should instead be at the grocery store buying “much needed” soy sauce and catching up on laundry. That, according to my husband oh so subtly. Granted, our hamper was over-flowing so loading up the washer has commenced, but no way am I going to HEB on a busy and crowded Sunday when I can go tomorrow instead. I’m pretty sure the soy sauce can wait so here I sit, watching football and writing my blog.
I thought I knew what I was going to write about today, but while browsing through my “Blog Ideas” file I ran across something else that spoke to me. Actually, it screamed at me.
It didn’t have a title on the notes I have, so I’m calling it “A Godly Week.” It goes like this:
Monday – “Wash Day”
“Lord, help me wash away my selfishness and vanity so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.”
Tuesday – “Ironing Day”
“Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected through the years so that I may see the beauty in others.”
Wednesday – “Mending Day”
“Lord, help me mend my ways so I will not set a bad example for others.”
Thursday – “Cleaning Day”
“Lord, help me dust out all of the many faults and bad habits I have been hiding in the secret corners of my mind and my heart.”
Friday – “Shopping Day”
“Lord, give me the grace to live and shop wisely so I may purchase eternal happiness.”
Saturday – “Cooking Day”
“Lord, help me brew a big kettle of brotherly love and serve it with the sweetness of human kindness.”
Sunday – “The Lord’s Day”
“Lord, I have prepared my house for you. Please come into my heart so I may spend the day with you.”
So, there you have it. Maybe I should be more grateful. Grateful that I have a husband to annoy me about “to do’s,” grateful that I have clothes to wash and a washer and dryer to do them in, grateful that I can afford to go to the grocery store, and grateful that that very store has more food in it then I’ll ever need.
All this reminds me of this, my friend Janel’s recent Facebook post:
Thank you Janel for reminding me and thank you God for blessing me, way more than I deserve.
“The foundation you build in your 20s will define the rest of your life. Take yourself seriously.”
Meg Jay, psychologist and author of The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter and How To Make the Most of Them
I have a 20-year-old daughter so the following article I recently ran across in Forbes really hit home. It’s really, really good advice for all of us.
As with most parents, I want my daughter to have it better than I did. Within limits and devoid of extremes. I also want her to have to work for things. She’s working hard right now in college, is getting good grades and has an impressive internship with the OU Athletic Department. Sometimes though, we need to rein her in.
Take for example her apartment and living situation this year…her first year to not live in a dorm or sorority house. It’s a very nice and safe apartment with great facilities that include a workout center, a computer lab, a swimming pool and a (ugh!) tanning room. She’s quickly learning, however, how expensive her favorite salmon dinner entrees are and that having someone cook for you in a cafeteria or dining room is pretty darn nice. She’s learning more this year than ever that budgets are not always easy to stay within. She also recently started to lament about the fact that her apartment does not have stainless steel appliances and granite counters like those of many of her friends. STOP RIGHT THERE MISSY!!!! As I’ve written before, as much as we try to raise them right, young adults today expect it all.
So, when I saw this Forbes article I forwarded it right to Kristen. Whether she read it or not, I don’t know. Today, in deciding what to blog for my “Tuesday Tip,” I thought you, my glorious readers, might have someone you need to forward it too as well. Or, if you’re in the “twenty something” age group, simply read on!
“20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get”
Jason Nazar, Forbes magazine
I started Docstoc in my 20s; made the cover of one of those cliché “20 under 20” lists, and today I employ an amazing group of 20-somethings. Call me a curmudgeon, but at 34, how I came up seems so different from what this millennial generation expects. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I see this generation making their own. In response, here are my “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get.”
Time is Not a Limitless Commodity – I so rarely find young professionals that have a heightened sense of urgency to get to the next level. In our 20s we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want. Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance, and can never get back. Make the most of the opportunities you have today, because there will be a time when you have no more of it.
You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated – Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet. As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.” Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential. There’s no prize for talent, just results. Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success.
We’re More Productive in the Morning – During my first 2 years at Docstoc, I prided myself on staying at the office until 3 a.m. on a regular basis. I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone. But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours. Now I stress an office-wide early start time because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.
Social Media is Not a Career – These job titles won’t exist in 5 years. Social media is simply a function of marketing; it helps support branding, ROI or both. Social media is a means to get more awareness, more users or more revenue. It’s not an end in itself. I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.
Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person. It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities. And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home. Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.
Be the First In & Last to Leave – I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career. You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you and you do have something to prove. There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.
Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do – You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility. You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do. Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure. Err on the side of doing too much, not too little.
Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes – You should be making lots of mistakes early on in your career but you shouldn’t be defensive about errors in judgment or execution. Stop trying to justify your F-ups. You’re only going to grow by embracing the lessons learned from your mistakes and committing to learn from those experiences.
You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked – Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have. This is the most impressionable, malleable and formative stage of your professional career. Working for someone that demands excellence and pushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.
A New Job a Year Isn’t a Good Thing – 1-year stints don’t tell me you’re so talented that you keep outgrowing your company. It tells me that you don’t have the discipline to see your own learning curve through to completion. It takes about 2-3 years to master any new critical skill; give yourself at least that much time before you jump ship. Otherwise, your resume reads as a series of red flags on why not to be hired.
People Matter More Than Perks – It’s so trendy to pick the company that offers the most flex time, unlimited meals, company massages, game rooms and team outings. Those should all matter, but not as much as the character of your founders and managers. Great leaders will mentor you and will be a loyal source of employment long after you’ve left. Make a conscious bet on the folks you’re going to work for and your commitment to them will pay off much more than those fluffy perks.
Map Effort to Your Professional Gain – You’re going to be asked to do things you don’t like to do. Keep your eye on the prize. Connect what you’re doing today with where you want to be tomorrow. That should be all the incentive you need. If you can’t map your future success to your current responsibilities, then it’s time to find a new opportunity.
Speak Up, Not Out – We’re raising a generation of sh-t talkers. In your workplace this is a cancer. If you have issues with management, culture or your role & responsibilities, SPEAK UP. Don’t take those complaints and trash-talk the company or co-workers on lunch breaks and anonymous chat boards. If you can effectively communicate what needs to be improved, you have the ability to shape your surroundings and professional destiny.
You HAVE to Build Your Technical Chops – Adding “Proficient in Microsoft Office” at the bottom of your resume is not going to cut it anymore. I immediately give preference to candidates who are ninjas in: Photoshop, HTML/CSS, iOS, WordPress, Adwords, MySQL, Balsamiq, advanced Excel, Final Cut Pro – regardless of their job position. If you plan to stay gainfully employed, you better complement that humanities degree with some applicable technical chops.
Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter – It’s who you know more than what you know that gets you ahead in business. Knowing a small group of folks very well or a huge smattering of contacts superficially just won’t cut it. Meet and stay connected to lots of folks and invest your time developing as many of those relationships as possible.
You Need At Least 3 Professional Mentors – The most guaranteed path to success is to emulate those who’ve achieved what you seek. You should always have at least 3 people you call mentors who are where you want to be. Their free guidance and counsel will be the most priceless gift you can receive.
Pick an Idol & Act “As If” – You may not know what to do, but your professional idol does. I often coach my employees to pick the businessperson they most admire and act “as if.” If you were (fill in the blank) how would he or she carry themself, make decisions, organize his/her day, and accomplish goals? You’ve got to fake it until you make it, so it’s better to fake it as the most accomplished person you could imagine. (Shout out to Tony Robbins for the tip.)
Read More Books, Fewer Tweets/Texts – Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters: all breadth and no depth. Creativity, thoughtfulness and thinking skills are freed when you’re forced to read a full book cover to cover. All the keys to your future success lay in the past experience of others. Make sure to read a book a month (fiction or non-fiction) and your career will blossom.
Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big. Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment). Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term if it could mean 200% more earning potential. You’re nothing more than penny-wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income. No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life. It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.
Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It – Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business. It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity. Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible, your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure. It’s the one item that once lost, you can never get back.