Category Archives: Reinvention Inspiration

Stories, quicky ideas, and little nuggets when you need it.

Resolutions are for people who can’t figure out that Cindarella is ruining your life.

I don’t make resolutions.

If you do, I don’t judge (I can assure that I’m far too occupied judging other things like religions, mass exodus to the suburbs, my extended family and people with more money than me. So don’t worry, I’m not judging you.)

What I make are lists of things to accomplish, not resolve to stop, become or change. If you’ve peeked into my blog before perhaps you’ve bumped into my “About SandyB” page and learned about my List, which is fine, because I like that page and it’s there for you to read, comment on or make fun of- you choose. Again, I won’t judge. Word on the street is that I’m well liked by most, except by people who take themselves too seriously. You don’t like me. You know who you are. In fact, you’re so self-absorbed and serious right now you think I’m talking about you at this very moment… don’t you?

So anyway, I really don’t have the energy to make resolutions. Far, far too much work.

In my experience I’ve determined that resolutions are a set up. If you gain anything from this post, I hope it’s a little insight into why you should not make a resolution that begins on January 1, 2010, at approximately 12:01 a.m. Instead, reserve this time for recuperating from a champagne-induced coma that started somewhere between Auld Lang Syne, your second vomit and swearing out loud to your friends that you’re “never going to drink this much again.” Yes, save those precious early moments of the New Year for that, and not for making ridiculous resolutions.

You know you’re not going to follow through on them anyway. That’s why we keep making the same fucking ones every year:

-Lose those 10 pounds that won’t budge

-Spanx your curvy silhouette

-Stifle your stutter

-Learn to love his mother

-Ignore mom’s idiosyncrasies

-Make better use of time at the office and stop reading blogs all day

-Quit smoking

-Find a job worth loving

-Start writing a book

Why are we really in such a hurry to change our selves? (This, no less, coming from the girl on a quest to reinvent- I see the irony here, slightly). But hear me out: Rather than trying to change, I propose we put that energy into creating the experiences in which to grow.

(Are you gagging yet?)

Seriously, this isn’t my attempt at any sort of self-help. Just the opposite, in fact. I propose that for 2010 you remain the same; just keep plugging away at the person you are, rather than putting all of your energy into the person you want to be, which can be pretty useless if you’re trying to miraculously change yourself at the stroke of midnight.

Stop trying to be Cindafuckingrella.

You want to write a book? Create the experience by sitting down each day and hammering out a page a day for 10 days.

You want to lose weight? Create the experience by not pulling up to the drive-thru at lunch. And drink more water for Heaven’s sake.

You want a job you love? Create an experience for your prospective boss by not having spelling mistakes in your cover letter and actually engaging in intelligent conversation during your 20-minute interview. Avoid using words like, “um” “absolutely” and “most definitely”. Nobody likes a keener.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

I’m not trying to change myself- it’s happening whether I want it to or not; it’s probably happening to you, too- but I am trying to be more conscious of the experiences I have that are inevitably making me a different person. This blog holds a List and account of those experiences.

For the upcoming year, I plan to be more myself simply by resolving to not resolve. For once, I plan to just get caught up in the experience.

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Is she really writing another list?

I know this isn't a pointsetta, ivy or mistletoe, but it's a little photo Rob took for me while we were honeymooning in Greece last year. I look and it and remember that, with time, anything is possible. And I'm grateful for that.

Merry Christmas you wonderful people!

This time last year my life was very different. And today being such a milestone holiday – I mean, most of us can’t remember what we were doing last July, but we know where we were last Christmas –  I’d like to take a few moments to list (oh, how I love lists!) the following things that make me feel warm, tingly and loved (’tis the season!):

1. Wicked oatmeal, every day, stirred, mixed and made by Rob.

2. A sister whom I adore more each day I know her.

3. A mate who loves me, truly.

4. A space to call my own, right here.

5. Wonderful strangers who stop by my little ‘ole blog to chat. Thank you.

6. A job where I write, edit and read.

7. Yoga. You’re like riding a bike. Once you learn, you never forget.

8. Penelope the cat.

9. A dress that makes me feel pretty and reminds me, above all, that being myself is a wonderful thing.

10. Blogs and coffee. xoxo.

Chat soon lovelies.
-sandyb

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A Christmas story about work, politics and teenage romance.

The holidays can get quite political, especially if you work in an office.

Where I work there are editors and designers. I’m one of the editors. For the most part the designers hang with the designers and the editors hang with the editors, whether it’s chit chat around the water cooler (which, by the way, we actually don’t have, but it’s proverbial in this case, so let’s go with that) or apres-work drinks, there is rarely any blending of the two tribes.

And then there’s me.

I dabble in both groups because I’m social and find the people I work with each offer something unique and valuable, whether it’s insight into my work as an editor, shooting the shit about our industry or just sharing a mutual addiction to Starbucks. I make it a point to get to know everyone. I believe that, if you try, you can find something in common with anyone, so sticking to any one group is, well, ridiculous and immature. Much like high school, but with paychecks.

But apparently, as I learned yesterday, I can’t expect everyone to feel this way. At least not all the time.

I was left out of one of these groups this week (the group I’m more social outside of work with, ironically) and couldn’t seem to figure out why. I was pissed!

On the whole, this really is a non-issue because work is work and in no way, I feel, does this reflect the way my coworkers feel about me. That would be silly. I know they like and respect me. However this small (yet stinging) incident reminds me that work is a breeding ground for politics, especially over the holidays. Like it or not. Politics, after all, is simply the way we relate to each other in any given environment.

When there is an outing with the designers I’m always invited and have even been to their homes for parties, which I love. They’re a fun and creative bunch, always willing to let loose- I’m so right there with them. (Read: performed the yoga “Crow” pose last week while nursing a wine buzz at one of the designer’s apartments last. No regrets). So it surprised me yesterday when I learned that they, the designers, and one editor (who also dabbles between groups) pitched in to purchase a Christmas gift for our boss- the very boss we all mutually feel intimidated by, at the best of times.

“Gotta say, I’m a little hurt, feeling left out,” I confess to one of the designers, after I find out the purchase has gone down. “I really don’t know what to get him and would have loved to pitch in on the gift.” (I should tell you that he, our boss, got us all gifts, so I’ve been contemplating the return-gift for two days now. Ugh.)

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she replies.

“Ya, well, put yourself in my shoes” I say, firm. “Why didn’t you guys tell me?”

She squints at me a bit and is thoroughly apologetic. I believe that. But I’m still left feeling awkward and, well, a bit like the kid left out at lunchtime with nowhere to sit. Oh, and I’m holding a plate of meatloaf.

To add a little insult to injury, just before the gift purchase happened, I asked the designers and the one editor who accompanied them where they were going (It was lunchtime, and I do love a lunch outing). They said, “to buy gifts for our staff” and said nothing of their collaborative plan. My point here? They made a decision to not include me in the plan and, in the end, I have to accept that. For them, it made more sense to stick as a group (with the exception of the one editor whose professional role in our office is to bridge the gap between editorial and design anyway.)

In the end, no hard feelings. I was simply edited out of their plan.

I learned something important though, and there it is (finally the point!): Don’t take office politics to heart; don’t try to understand them; and don’t analyze them. Just be aware that they, politics, do exist. Even at Christmastime.

I’ve filed this experience under “What I Know for Sure” because it’s the best way, I think, to keep track of what I’m learning this year, as I approach 30. I want to remember this lesson. Also, I want to pass it on to anyone who stops by and so kindly reads my blog.

In fact, I liken these lessons I’m gathering to the time I dated an asshole. I was in high school. It was awful, he was a jerk. But I remember thinking to myself, ‘Well, I’ll now know a frog when I see one and I’ll also know how to spot a prince, too.’ Good lesson to have learned so young and early on in my dating life. I did spot the prince and married a wonderful man.

So… along with politics + holidays + work = teenagers with salaries and bylines (and, really, it’s not personal) I also realized that everything I ever needed to know about the workplace and romance I learned in high school.

Win.

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What started as a little birthday tradition- a List- is no longer just for my diary anymore.

When this happens, it’s the best.

Every now and again I get a track back, email or heads up that another person, usually a blogger, has created a List of his/her own.

This sends me sailing, just over the moon! More than anything my heart’s desire is to connect with other people.

I’ve been one of the lucky ones to have had the opportunity to connect with others through my many (many!) jobs over the years- the yoga community I’ve taught in since university, the articles I’ve published, the events I’ve helped plan and yes, even the crappy telemarketing stints during the summer of ’01 (those formative years is where I picked up my caffeine habit, which I hold close to my heart now.. true story.) But connecting with other people about the Birthday List (newly dubbed, by the way) has been a totally new experience to share.

And with that, here are a few fabulous others who have their own “Before I Turn… List” going on. Go click and get inspired (I dare you.)

xo
sandyb

skinnydip.ca

symphonicdiscord.blogspot.com

alittleawesome.wordpress.com

supreemthoughts.blogspot.com

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Hey, pay attention to me!

A picture of: Today, when I thought of you all and this post, this is what I was doing. Just because.

Stuff I Know for Sure #1

What I know: Nobody cares, so get over it
Let’s break it down real quick: This isn’t as negative as it sounds. Although I’ve blown-off my share of idiot people and comments in my short life, the truth is I DO care about what people think, sometimes to a fault. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that I’m not alone on that truth either. Right? We’re only human, after all, and come pre-packaged with flaws (Yes, even me. Crazy, I know). But I’m learning, more so since embarking on the journey that is my List, that whether it’s wearing what I want, saying what’s really on my mind, taking risks like jumping out of planes or nude beaching it or, in earnest, standing by my decision that pickles and mayo do, in fact, go together, in the end what I think is my own opinion… and really, nobody cares. You know why? Because most people have their own opinions to sort through and are probably paying less attention to my blunders than I realize. In the end, thinking that others are thinking (or judging ) my every move is just ego talking, while insecurity eggs it on- like two Frat Brothers, one who farts over a butane lighter and the other who encourages it. See, nonsense.
Here’s how I figure it: Most people care about what they’re wearing today, their own career, misadventures, problems, troubles and bad examples of “haute cuisine”. So ya, people have their own lives to pontificate. Trust me when I say that when you’re doing your thing, no one is watching, so go for it, balls to the wall. But, and I must insert this caveat: Do “your thing” with confidence, authenticity and kindness and people will notice you, which can be a very great thing, especially when the person noticing you is someone you’re noticing right back. That’s just called being inspired.
The bumper sticker worthy take home message: live, like nobody’s watching.


I have an question AND since everyone has been comments shy lately, I’m hoping you’ll come out to share your answer to this:
If you thought no one was watching, what would YOU do?

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This is what relearning what you’re made of looks like..

Whoever said that the little things add up to be big things was right.

Amidst the beautiful and fluffy pillows, surrounded by the Happiest Place on Earth, I started to cry. And my husband just looked at me and then he hugged me, hard.

“What can I do?” he asked.

To which I replied, “I don’t think there’s an easy answer. But I need to fix this on my own.”

I cried hard that afternoon, released. I cried to so hard I sobbed, and strange noises came out of my throat, from deep, deep inside.  Ya, it was one of those cries.

So what had me so up in arms? Near devastation?

Frustration.. with myself. With friendship. With dreams. With time. With indecision. Frustration with frustration. You know the feeling I’m talking about? It’s the worst, and so exhausting, and in that moment I finally collapsed. So many little things had just added up to one big thing – one very big cry. But why then? All I can think is that when you finally just give yourself a moment of pause, a second to simmer down, some things will just inevitably boil to the surface- like the way a cold hits you while you’re vacationing in the tropics or you crash early on a Friday night after a week that’s worn you out – when you least expect it, when you’re the most vulnerable, the little things will add up and you will react. Just part of being a silly human, I guess.

But this post isn’t about my sadness though, it’s about my hope for better things to come, because they always do.

I’ve learned, in the last few months especially, there is no amount of money, there is no neighborhood, no trip, no fancy job, no designer handbag and no amount of yoga that can fill the gaps you’ve allowed to separate you from your life.

I’ve learned that as charmed as life can be, as mine is, there is so much more I want to feel, to be, to understand. There really is no limit to happiness, but for some reason I thought there should be- I thought, long ago, I had reached my quota and run out of happy. “This is it! This is as good as gets and you really should stop striving for more, you silly, spoiled girl. You’ve done it all for a gal your age, so just be content already!” That little thought added up to one very big cry.

You see, for some time I’ve lived by those limits, even though I knew there was so much more I could do, could be, and that meant not always living as authentically as I am programmed to- not being fair to the things that make me tick.

During this reinvention of mine I’ve also learned that living against the grain is one thing – a good thing – but living against your own grain is not. Inevitably you will turn into someone else, someone you don’t quite recognize anymore. Someone who cries at the Happiest Place on Earth.

And so there, amidst tears, pillows and my husband’s arms, I’m gave myself permission to enjoy the things I deserve when they finally come to me, because I know, deep down, they will.

Since that cry, I’ve decided to make some changes. I’m ready to be myself again. That day I relearned what I thought I knew, but had so obviously forgotten:

I have a say in what goes on here.

I hope this post inspires you, even a little bit, to ask yourself today, “Am I being real with myself?” And “If judgment, criticism or fear were not hindrances, but fuel for my dreams, what would I do with the next year of my life? Really.”

But I must tell you, when you ask yourself this, bring tissues. And some fluffy pillows.

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I blame the Magic Kingdom for adult crying fits, over-zealous children, baby barf and the five pounds I gained in four days.

So, Florida.

It was a lot of wonderful things all at once, with one very significant sandyb-style break-down, which I’ll dish about in a momento.

For years, I’ve wanted to take Rob to Disney World. I went there twice (three times?) as a child and swore up and down that it really was The Happiest Place on Earth. The happiest? Can’t say for sure at the young ripe age of 29, but it certainly has it’s perks, including being old enough to drink AND ride the Tea Cups. Amazing.

So.

Finally my husband selling his soul to Corporate Canada (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “America”, but anyway) paid off in a big, fancy way: we ate well, drank much and hot-tubbed on the company tab while visiting the Sunshine State. Wow, dreams really do come true.

Things were going swimmingly, just swimmingly, when suddenly, on the hotel bed, following a day of Disneying, amidst the plethora of pillows, down comforters and 500-thread count sheets, I started to cry. And not just any cry, this was an ugly cry. The real deal.

“What’s wrong?” asked my doting husband, to which I replied among gobs of snot and tears, “Nothing.” (obviously).

But there was something very, very wrong with me. There has been something “off” for some time in fact, but it’s something that I chose not to give a lot of consideration to because I didn’t want to fuel it – I didn’t want to dignify it with a reaction. But ignore something long enough, like a tax bill, credit card statement, hang nail or screeching kid (all equally annoying to my soul), and eventually it gets so you just can’t ignore it anymore. In fact, your attempt to shrink it with a dose of neglect will inevitably only make it bigger.

So there I was, at the Happiest Place on Earth, a slobbering, blithering, sniffling mess (bibbidi, bobbidi, boo) and my poor husband without an inkling of an idea what to do with me. Worse? I didn’t know what do to with myself, although I did have an idea (OK, I’d been having whole brainstorm sessions) about why I was so beside myself, so unable to cope in that moment, so unreasonably irrational and messy…

…Phewf. Need a breather. Be right back to tell you the rest. Prom-ise.

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