I’ve always been a tomboy, so I don’t own a handbag. Anthony Bourdain was my Kate Spade. I join millions of people who feel sad and confused by his passing.
What’s been most surprising in the aftermath of his death, is listening to people talk about how they yearned to be him. Not just ordinary people like me who packed their suitcase every Sunday evening and jetted off to some far corner of the globe seeking adventure, worldliness, and perhaps some degree of escape. But famous, capable people who’s lives seemed Bourdainian already from their intellect, creativity, and status to the resources they could summon to curate any one of his experiences for themselves (complete with celebrity cameos).
I guess it’s true . . .
“You never really know someone’s insides from looking at their outsides.”
It got me thinking about our tendency to put other people and their lifestyles on a pedestal.
Maybe it’s simply a case of admiration laced with a touch of envy—or a Harry Met Sally scenario—“I’ll have what he’s having.” There’s certainly no harm in that. None of us can avoid the occasional feeling the grass looks greener on someone else’s side of the fence—or at least on their Instagram page.
But I suspect it goes deeper.
People we admire possess qualities we covet. In Bourdain’s case, we loved his brilliance, curiosity, creativity, rare talent, passion for life, humor, sense of adventure, good looks, swag, crustiness, empathy, honesty, writing talent, voice and even his suede Clarks boots.
He was like a human word cloud floating above our heads. We could see him and all we aspire to be through a kind of glass ceiling, but we couldn’t figure out how to break through and harness those attributes and adventures for ourselves.
He was always up there, and we were always down here.
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“Sunday Sermon” is a post I write periodically based on conversations I had with my mom growing up (read more below). My mom passed away on a beautiful October day last year. That morning, she ate a delicious breakfast (her favorite meal of the day), read poetry with her two best friends . . . then off she went.
As my sister said, she probably felt she could be more help to us kids in our messy middle-aged lives if she was up There instead of down here. My sister was right. That would have been so “Mom.”
This morning she delivered her Sunday Sermon to me, just in time for Easter. No joke. A random encounter with a stranger on a path I walk every morning let me know she had something to say.
And . . . she knows it’s Easter, so she made is short, sweet, and hopeful.
As I walked my normal route this morning, a gentleman approached from the opposite direction—-baggy shorts, sweat jacket unzipped to reveal a wrinkled t-shirt, white socks pulled up high on his calf. He was lumbering a bit, but making it happen.
Walkers are friendly people and I’m in the wellness business, so I caught his eye and greeted him . . .
“Good morning! How are you?” I said.
For a moment, nothing but the hint of a cordial smile. Then as we passed each other . . .
“Uh . . . well . . . I’m recovering.” (then a chuckle)
You all know how I feel about people making an effort . . .
“Excellent!” I said, “It sounds like you’re moving in the right direction!”
Have you ever considered the words and phrases you use around your wellness efforts may be contributing to your resistance toward lifestyle change?
My husband and I worked under the same manager early in our careers. When she handed us our paycheck at the end of each week, she always smiled and said, “Here is your reward!”
I remember how we used to walk away feeling amused and a bit befuddled by her choice of words. After all, we had just labored for 40 long hours to earn that “reward.” A simple “Thank you for your efforts” would have felt more appropriate.
Don’t get me wrong. We loved our boss and our jobs, and knew her words weren’t meant as a slight. But they never failed to put a damper on the most important day of an employee’s life—-payday!
I was reminded of that story this week, as I found myself listening to the words people use when they talk about their wellness efforts. Here are a few examples:
It isn’t news that having a supportive, like-minded, wellness buddy increases your chances of long-term success when trying to make positive lifestyle changes. But connecting with just the right person can be like posting your profile on Match.com and hoping for the best.
You need someone who will get you out of bed before the kids get up, but won’t be too perky at six in the morning. They also need to enjoy similar activities, but can’t be better at them than you are.
Most of all, your ideal wellness buddy would offer support and compassion when you stumble along the way or get discouraged when results don’t come quickly enough.
Yesterday, I received an alert from Pinterest that “green bean casserole” is trending this week.
I guess the great race to the holiday season is on!
Like many of you, I actually felt panic set in the day after Halloween when my morning Starbucks arrived in . . . say what? . . . a GREEN cup! After last year’s controversy, all I could think was, “How could they do this to us? We asked for snowflakes and reindeer!”
There’s no doubt the holiday messages come earlier and earlier each year, and they can do a number on our wellness if we’re not careful.
While many people EMBRACE their white peppermint mocha in a green cup and begin to make detailed to-do lists around holiday occasions and gift giving, there are others like me who tend to ESCALATE seasonal stress until we arrive at the New Year in an exhausted, overfed, underexercised heap.
If you’re feeling the rumblings of holiday stress in the form of sleepless nights, anxious days, and waning wellness motivation, maybe you’ll join me this year and press the pause button for a moment.
There’s plenty of time for us to get on board with Santa’s happier helpers, and set in motion a healthier approach to seasonal stress.
Here are my top five tips to help you EMBRACE the holiday season ahead: Read More