Couch Potato Inspiration

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It’s easier than ever to find inspiration. It’s all around us. Especially in this age of social media. Through the years I’ve had to search out sources of inspiration, like the little books of positive quotes I used to get at the book store and keep at my bedside to page through. Television shows that focused on how living your best life. Self help books that encourage you to go after your dreams. But now, all you have to do is scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed and you will see inspiring quotes all over. It’s easier than ever to be inspired.

I’ve said before that Oprah is my guru. I really don’t know if I would be on this path if it weren’t for her influence. I became a big fan or hers early on in her talk show years. But once she started focusing on living your best life I was sold and ate it up. As you know I was a pretty big pessimist but I didn’t want to be. I wanted to change…to be a happier person. She really helped me with this by focusing her shows on how to stop being stuck, finding my passion and what I needed to do to bring more joy into my life.

I was also a huge fan of Dr. Phil when he started out (Thank you again, Oprah) as he told it like it is and didn’t allow you to make excuses for yourself. You’re bitter and resentful because you got passed over for a promotion at work? How’s that working for you? Past behavior is the greatest indicator of future behavior. This one didn’t always sit well with me because you can change your own behavior if you want to so it’s more about the other people in your life. If someone is treating you badly they more than likely will continue to do so if you allow it. But it was the fact that he held you accountable for where you are in your life that really stuck with me. If I wanted things to change in my life I had to get rid of my excuses and do something different.

Once Oprah came out with her monthly magazine I signed up for a subscription right away and eagerly awaited it every month. I would turn to her column “What I know for sure” first every time it came in the mail. It was always full of wonderful life lessons and doing what was best for you to live the happiest life possible.

I’m also a voracious reader. Not just self help books…I read a ton of novels. The great thing about books is it shows you other ways of living. You can catch glimpses of other cultures, other points of views, other ways of living entirely. I have often finished a book and thought, wow…I want to be like that woman. She had it going on and got everything she wanted.

So here are some of the ways you can find inspiration while sitting on your couch. But once you get inspired you have to take action. I will focus on that tomorrow but for today…you can sit back, relax and get inspiration from others. Hopefully from me too! But tomorrow, it’s time to get to work. It means doing things a little differently which can feel uncomfortable at first but it will be oh, so worth it! Trust me on this.

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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The Music that Inspires

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This is one of my playlists. The one titled “Songs that Inspire” and it’s full of music that pumps me up and makes me want to go out and conquer the world! The great thing about songs is they are so repetitive and are designed to be listened to (and sing along to) over and over again. This is exactly what is needed to keep you on track with your eye on the prize whichever prize that may be for you.

I’ve often said if school was taught in the form of songs we would all be able to retain the knowledge much better. I’m not so great at recalling facts from my history class in school or calling up my comprehension of geography but I can still sing every word to a song that came out in 1982. Because I sang it over and over again (much to my family’s dismay). It got ingrained in my brain.

If you are looking for something to keep you going on a daily basis…music is the key. There are so many songs that push you toward your dreams. Songs about wanting to get to the top of that mountain. Songs about figuring out what type of mountain you want to tackle and even songs about enjoying the climb. (Thank you Miley)

Some songs I love for their great beat and the feeling I get when I hear them. Like Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”. This may be my favorite song ever because every time I hear it I just get happy. I mostly try to focus on the lyrics though. That is where the true meaning lies. I have always loved songs with a positive message or encouraged you to do great things. It is exactly what I needed to help me on my path to becoming a hopefulist. A daily reminder of what I can do if I keep at it and work really hard.

I’ve talked about before how much I love Pink’s song “A million dreams” from the movie “The Greatest Showman”. In it the lyrics are about creating a new world and designing the life you want to live. For the purpose of the movie it was about his dream of opening his museum and literally offering something that had never been done before. But you can apply these same lyrics to your life and I encourage you to do so. I listen to this song several times at day. In fact I usually listen to it the entire way to the gym in the morning on repeat to remind of where I want to go and what I want out of my life. It’s kind of like a kick start to my day and gets me off on a positive note. If you need a constant reminder of the path you want to follow….inspiring music will surely help. I will help too!

That is my hope for this blog and podcast. I want to be your daily reminder of what you are capable of. I want to tell you everyday that you and your dreams are worth it. That you can achieve all your goals and live a happy life if you just focus and do what it takes to get you where you want to go. That you can overcome any adversity in your life and still thrive. If I would have been told that a month after losing the job I absolutely loved I would be thriving and more excited about life than ever…I certainly wouldn’t have believed you. That is what is so thrilling about finding your passion and following it. But I warn you…I work much harder now than I did before. It takes work to get where you want to go. But I love it so it’s okay. I don’t mind doing what I have to do since I know it will take me down the path I want walk on. Even run on and I hate running!

I hope you all will come along with me because what I really want to do is take you with me and help you get to where you ultimately want to go. If a former pessimist like me can find happiness….I know there is hope for everyone! Now, go make great things happen. It’s Monday so start the week on fire! I know you can do it!

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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In the blink of an eye

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Just look at these two beauties! My nieces! Samantha is on the right at the ripe old age of 23 and Rebecca is about to turn 17. I’m not sure how they got to be so old. I remember them toddling around their kitchen like it was just yesterday. Or a year or so ago at the very least.

These are the closest I have to children. I have been there since the very beginning of their lives. I’ve watched them grow and seen them turn into amazing human beings. They both have a pretty smart mouth but I think they get that from our side of the family. What are you gonna do???

I don’t live nearly close enough. They live in Dallas, Texas and I live at the Jersey Shore. Luckily, they love the East Coast and the shore so they come to see their Aunt Wendy often. I thought for sure once the oldest graduated from college she would never come to visit again but she did….just last summer with the rest of the family. I was so pleasantly surprised. Cool Aunt Wendy must still rate!

I have always been known as Cool Aunt Wendy because….well, I’m cool. But we think it started one time when I took Samantha to the Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia. She was pretty small still and I told her I would buy her something from one of the vendors walking around with the balloons, toys and such. She seemed to be really struggling to choose between two different items so I told her she could have them both. And she looked at me with amazed eyes and said…”I can have two presents?” Don’t you just love em? We believe that is when I became Cool Aunt Wendy. All aunts are cool…we know this. But I think that aunts without their own children may be a little bit cooler because we can focus all of our time and attention on the little tykes!

I tried to pass on my love of the shore to Rebecca. She was very small when she came to visit me at the beach one time and I took her up to the ocean’s edge. As we stood there and ran back and forth from the rolling waves an extremely strong tide odor came at us. She backed up and started waving her hand in front of her nose because honestly, it’s not the best smell in the world but that is our shore. I was a little insulted…I told her we love that smell because it reminds us of the shore. Her three year old mind didn’t care and I let it pass.

As Samantha got a little older she would come and spend time with me at the shore on her own. Once we were hitting the boardwalk and I asked her what rides she wanted to go on. She said the only ride she was really wanted to go on was the carousel. I thought…wow, I have gotten off easy. Carousel here we come. I start heading toward it and she says, wait…it’s over here. I told her the carousel was right here. She says…no, that’s the merry go round. I asked her what ride she meant and she pointed to the Ferris wheel…a giant one in Wildwood. Have I mentioned my horrible fear of heights? The words….THE ONLY RIDE I WANT TO GO ON….echo in my head. So I braced myself and didn’t look the whole time but I went on it with her. THIS is why I am the coolest aunt ever.

Rebecca has always seemed fearless to me when it comes to amusement rides. We took her to a place on LBI when she was about 7 or 8 and she picked out the most daring rides they had. And went on them by herself. (hey, her mother was along this time…she could have taken her.) I remember watching her on the first one and thinking she is definitely going to get scared and not want to ride anymore. Nope…completely wrong. Not only was she not frightened, it didn’t even seem to phase her. She was on to the next one.

And I can’t finish without talking about one of my favorite Samantha stories. She was still pretty young and going over her words one day with my sister. She asked what sound the letter “W” made. My sister told her it was the wuh sound. Like Aunt Wendy. Aunt Wendy’s name starts with a W. She apparently looked at my sister perplexed and said, Aunt Wendy’s name starts with an A. Touche, Sam….you are correct!

These girls have added so much joy and meaning to my life. There were times my sister and I had not been on speaking terms but she never interfered with the relationship I had with the girls which I always appreciated. It’s been so amazing to watch them turn from infants to crawling around to dance class and cheer leading (yes, Sam was one of those…lol) and graduation and college. Rebecca has one more year of high school to go. I just don’t know where the time has gone. But I look forward to more time spent with these amazing women. I look forward to sharing all the events they have coming in life. Marriage, babies and extraordinary careers.

They have both added so much to my life. If you don’t have kids of your own…I hope you have some wonderful nieces and nephews to share the joys of life with because they make life so much better!

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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Sibling Rivalry

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My brother, sister and I last summer. In the order of our birth with the best looking and smartest all the way to the right! Ahh, they’re used to me and my smart comments at this point. I’m visiting my sister at her home in Dallas, Texas! I’m writing ahead of time so I’m not sure yet if I’m having a good time! I kid, I kid….I’m sure we are all having a blast! I just visited my brother in North Carolina last month so it has been quite the family affair as of late.

Siblings are your first friends and more than likely your first nemesis as well. We all fought like cats and dogs when we were kids. My brother and sister are only 17 months apart but I came along three and a half years after my sister. I usually was talked into taking the blame for most discretion’s that took place in the household. They told me I wouldn’t get in as much trouble as they would. They may have been right but it still sucked. I was known as the family tattletale. I told them it was the only weapon I had and yes, I yielded it as often as I had to!

My sister Michele and I had a love/hate relationship. She was very good to me at times and then there were instances where we tried to hurt each other as much as we possibly could. But I did feel like overall she tried to look out for me. My brother Joe, was five years older than me (technically…..4 years, 11 months and 3 days. He would be disappointed if I didn’t point that out as I always did growing up.) I wasn’t as close to him as I was my sister…mostly because he had his OWN room and we had to share one so I was forced to spend more time with her. Five years can be a bit of an age difference but overall I think we got along and I feel he looked out for me as well.

As adults we get along well and I consider myself to be close to both my brother and sister. I see them several times a year and always look forward to spending time with them. They know everything there is to know about me and vice versa. We have seen it all. We went through a lot of trials and tribulations together but we also shared the triumphs! It’s nice to know there are people in your life who have seen you at your worst, celebrated you at your best and love you through it all.

My sister has always been a big fan of mine. She has cheered on my career aspirations. She has listened to all my bad break up stories and been there when I needed to talk. I remember one time I was dating a guy who was pretty volatile and we were always fighting….on and off in our seeing each other. I remember at the time she called me everyday to see how I was. After me and said guy finally broke up for good…the calls from her started to trail off a bit. I realized she had been worried about my welfare while spending time with him and checked in everyday to see if I was okay. Doesn’t that sound like the greatest big sister a girl can have? She was also the one who told me over and over that it was okay to be single when I felt like a spinster. We’ve had our share of disagreements over the years but we have always managed to work them out.

I think my brother may think the most of me. He calls me the star of the family. He’s always been very supportive of my radio career. At one of my early positions the radio station did a research study and in it, they asked to name any morning DJ. I happened to tie with Howard Stern. My brother thought that was so great he asked for a copy of the research grid and kept it in his truck for a long time. When my husband and I got our dream house at the shore he was the first one on Facebook congratulating us and cheering us for showing everyone that people can make their dreams come true. He’s proud of me and I’m proud of him. He’s my big bro and I love him!

I don’t know what I’d do without these two. I’m so happy to have them in my life. When it seemed like there may have been no one….there were always at least two. We’ve got each others backs. It’s always been that way and I can’t see it being any other way.

Do you have a fabulous brother, sister or numerous ones in your life? It’s so cool that you all shared so much together. And hopefully you will continue to do so. Family is so important. It means so much to have people in your life that will support you in whatever you do, celebrate when you achieve your goals and help you through your trying times. Sometimes it’s great to just sit around and play cards which my brother and sister in law do a lot. We have rummy marathons and there are a lot of fun. We have made a ton of memories sitting around a table listening to music and making absurd comments that we bring up over and over again.

If you don’t have the greatest authority figures in your life…hopefully you have great siblings to fall back on, like I do. I know my life would be so different without them.

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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The disappointing daughter

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I was a constant disappointment to my mother. Right up until the day she died. She let me know how much I disappointed her by having my stepfather leave her house to her niece instead of any of her three children. She also decided to split whatever was left fives ways including her niece and nephew along with her own children. In my opinion, it was her way of saying that her niece and nephew treated her better than I did. (For the purposes of this blog I will only be speaking for myself and not for my brother or sister.) And she’s right…they were better to her than I was.

We grew up in a different time…another generation and things were different then. Kids were not considered the most important in family units. The parents were. As the children, we were to be seen and not heard, we weren’t to offer an opinion….especially when other adults were present, we knew what was expected of us and if we didn’t keep up we suffered consequences. I think it was the same in many households at the time.

What may have been somewhat different is my mother didn’t seem very interested in the lives of her children. My sisters and I were both majorettes in the high school marching band. She would usually go to a game or two a year. But she made it our responsibility to find a way to and from the many night practices during the week and the competitions and football games we were to perform at every weekend. Lucky for me my sister was three years ahead of me and once she started driving she was my ride…like it or not!

I lived at home with my mother until the ripe old age of 28 and even then I was asked to leave. I had decided to pursue a career in radio broadcasting and it didn’t pay very well. As furious I was when that happened it was indeed a good thing because it forced me to find a full time job that paid enough money for me to fund my own place. I had several different jobs all over the place before that. She said she allowed me to stay all those years because she wanted me to pursue my dream. The funny thing is she was never very interested in listening to me on the radio. One of the first jobs I was able to get on-air was doing shore traffic reports for numerous stations in our area. She never listened. She would tune in from time to time…if she were in the car and it was convenient for her but she never seemed to go out of her way to listen on a regular basis. I heard from her friends that she bragged about me but she never did that in front of me.

I had been working as part of a morning crew on a pretty popular station in Philadelphia and the show was doing really well. I was the news/traffic reporter and sometimes I would get to chime in with the other three co-hosts. I was offered an opportunity to co-host another morning show at the Jersey shore (anyone who knew me was well aware of my great love for the shore). When I told her I was moving to the shore to co-host my own morning radio show….just me and another host…an incredible opportunity, her response was, “Now you’re leaving me too?” As my brother and sister had both moved to other states. She went on to ask me at a later date before I moved why I would leave such a big show in Philadelphia to go to a small station that didn’t have as many listeners. I told her that it was paying more money for one. It would also be my own show where I would have much more input into what we discussed and how things were done. Not to mention how much I loved the shore. But I’m guessing she was disappointed that she couldn’t tell people that I was part of a popular morning show anymore because no one in that area would be able to hear the radio station.

When I was getting married my mother offered to purchase my wedding dress for me. She was giving me the same amount of money she gave my brother and sister when they got married but for some reason she specified it was for my dress. I’m not sure if she thought that would make me seek her approval for my gown or what. But here is what happened. She mentioned that she didn’t want me to wear a strapless gown. I have no idea why. I did tell her at the time that I would rather find something that wasn’t strapless either but 90% of the dresses were strapless…it was the style. I went out to shop the first time and she fell in love with a dress that had a high neck and a back cutout. I told her I liked it but wasn’t sure it was the one. I decided to look in a shop down the street from my house one day on a whim and I immediately said yes to a dress but you guessed it…it was strapless. I was there alone but I took a picture of myself in it and everyone I sent it to said the same thing….oh, that is YOUR dress. It’s so you! I asked my mom to go with me for the fitting and to put a down payment on it. When she first saw me in the dress she said in a very monotone voice…..yes, it is very pretty. In that passive aggressive way of letting me know she wasn’t happy that I didn’t go with her choice.

About a year and a half before my mom died my husband and I bought my dream house at the shore right on the water. It was something I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to pull off. I was so ecstatic I was literally glowing. The day of closing I posted all these pictures of my new view on Facebook and photo’s of us with our friends celebrating our new place. She liked one of the photo’s on Facebook so I know she knew we had closed and were official shore homeowners. I waited for six days and I still hadn’t gotten a phone call congratulating me on our dream house. No questions as to how everything went at closing. If we had moved in yet or what needed to be done before we could move in. I heard nothing from her. So on the sixth day I called her myself and asked if everything was alright and what she had been up to. Same old, same old she responded. And I really got upset. I told her I couldn’t believe she didn’t even to call to see how things went when I bought a house. I bought a house…my dream house at the shore…and why didn’t she care? I asked her why she didn’t seem to care about anything that went on in my life. She told me that I was never interested in what was going on in her life. I told her maybe that was because it’s a two way street. She did seem to be pretty upset after this conversation but to be fair, so was I. She sent me flowers the next day with an apology. I think it may have been the only time she ever apologized to me in my life. I called her and told her I appreciated the gesture. She asked me if I was still coming to Christmas dinner which was in about a week. I told her I was and she said great….I’ll see you then. Bye! She still didn’t get it.

At my mothers funeral there were a ton of people. They had to bring in extra chairs. She would have been thrilled. I collaborated with my brother and sister to write a speech that would have made her shine down with pride. It had all the wonderful elements that are supposed to go into those things. As we were preparing for the funeral I found a bunch of old pictures and was reminded of some of the happy times. Because of course there were happy times. My mom wasn’t the worst mother to walk the earth but she wasn’t the best either. But she always wanted to be adored and revered for giving birth to us and raising us. I think my mom thought she did the best she could. I think she was very self involved and her top priority was always herself. Which is fine if you are willing to admit it. But she wasn’t. In my opinion she had an attitude that we (her kids) owed her for all she did for us. It’s not that I’m not appreciative of what she did for us and all she had to go through….it’s that it was thrown in my face all the time. When really, she did what is expected of people when they have children. You raise them. But for some reason she felt that since she wasn’t the center of my universe I was an ingrate. Again, just my opinion.

But as I was, for the first time in a long time, being reminded of more of the good than the bad….I find out that her house was going to her niece and everything else would be split between us three kids and the two kids she wished were hers. She was very good to those two and they were very good to her. But she also treated them completely differently than she did me. I tried to explain that to her but she would say she understood what I was saying and continue to act in the same exact way.

I spent a lot of time in my therapists chair discussing my relationship with my mother. I didn’t call her a lot. Because when I did the first ten minutes would be spent complaining about how long it had been since the last time I called. Then she would go into all her ailments and how awful she was feeling. I was sympathetic but it’s all she ever talked about. A pleasant conversation it was not. When I asked my therapist if I should feel guilty about the way the relationship played out with my mother she said I acted the only way I knew how to survive it. I never wanted to cut ties completely with my mother. Maybe we both would have been better off if I had. I don’t know.

It’s still painful to me when I see all these wonderful postings from people saying how much they adore their mother. I wish I did. But she hurt me over and over and over again. And when I told her that she hurt me she would only ever say…I didn’t mean it that way. I guess because she didn’t mean it that way it shouldn’t have hurt me.

Complex may not be a strong enough word for some children and their parents. But don’t feel guilty about it. Any relationship, including the one between a child and parent is a two way street. If you are reaching out and not getting much in return…that is not your fault. Talking it out may help but it never did in my case. Hopefully you will have better luck if you find yourself in a similar situation. But the opinion of your mother or father is not the end all, be all. It should be taken into consideration but don’t construct your life to their wishes. This is your life and you need to live it the way that makes you happy. I truly hope you can’t relate to my story at all and will never know how a parental relationship like that would be like. I hope you have wonderful parents who made you their world and want you to be happy in spite of how it affects them. But if you don’t….you will overcome it and still be able to live your best life! Just like I have.

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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The Family you Make

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This guy! This is my husband. The most perfect man in the world for me. The first picture is from our wedding and I don’t remember what I said but I know it was a smart ass comment that he was obviously shocked to hear come out of my mouth. I think my sister got this shot and I’m eternally grateful because it may be my favorite picture of our wedding. It sums us up perfectly. Outrageous and fun. The second picture is seven years later (last fall) that we had done when our photographer friend (Studio 539) had this amazing spot for a photo shoot. Our happy little family.

They say one of the most important things you can do for a happy life is to marry the right person. My husband is exactly the person I need in my life. He lets me be my crazy, neurotic, obsessive compulsive, uptight self while being calm, agreeable and the voice of reason when I need it most.

I’ve known Joe since I was in 4th grade when I met his sister in clarinet lessons. Anne and I became fast friends and spent time at each other’s houses. This is how I initially met Joe…at some family dinner I was at I’m sure. He wasn’t someone I was necessarily interested in but I always wondered if he was interested in me. You know how that goes. I stayed friends with Anne through the years and spent many important events with their family. Babies being born, birthdays, stops on Christmas Eve. I knew her whole family and they knew me. As the years went on there were some murmurings from family members about Joe and I getting together. I think Anne thought about it as well. He showed up at my surprise 40th birthday party which Anne had a hand in adding to the invitation list. I thought this was a sure sign she had some hopes about us getting together. I admit I had thought about it over the years. But he just didn’t seem my type. And he wasn’t…thank goodness. The guy I typically dated was a lot like me. Strong willed, highly opinionated and always ready for a fight. Joe is the opposite of all that. The Yin to my Yang? Something like that.

If it wasn’t for Facebook we probably wouldn’t be together now. We were friends on Facebook and when I moved into the condo I bought he offered to help me move. I didn’t end up needing his help but I thought it was so nice that he offered. So eventually I invited him out for a drink to thank him for the offer. That first night out was a really nice time and we agreed to get together again. On this second outing for a drink I told him a story about how I love tastykake strawberry pies which are only out for a short period each year. At the end of this meeting he invited me to his house for a BBQ he was having the following weekend. I agreed to come over. But when the night came around I was going to blow it off. It was really awkward between the two of us because we had known each other for so long. We hadn’t kissed or anything at that point but I knew it was coming and it seemed weird. I was also really concerned about having things go bad and having his whole family hate me. The family I had been a minor part of my whole life.

So, the night of the BBQ came and I was going to blow it off and probably get myself ousted from the family. I was at home, snuggled in with my girl Tucker when I got a text from Joe asking if I was coming. Ugh! Now, I felt bad so I got dressed and went over. But I didn’t intend to keep seeing him. His whole family was there of course and there was a lot of “What are you doing here, Wendy?” with raised eyebrows. I was sitting with Joe at one point just chatting and he suddenly jumps up and says, “Wait, I have something for you.” He runs in the house and comes back out with……a tastykake strawberry pie. I was literally blown away by this gesture. Not only did he listen to my story, comprehend my story, remember my story but then got me something he knew I loved. I thought…okay, this guy is super sweet. I really should give him a chance. And I did…and here we are!

We have definitely had our share of ups and downs. It hasn’t been all roses and strawberry pies! But we have stuck together and we know that we always have each others backs…no matter what! There were times though that I thought maybe things wouldn’t work out. Mostly from my own issues, but we both hung in there and I am so grateful he stuck with me through my issues and decided I’m worth it. We were at a friends house recently and I’m not sure what was being discussed but I do remember hearing him tell our host that I make his life so much better. Aww…isn’t he just the sweetest? And hearing that meant so much to me because I’m sure I can be pretty tough to live with at times.

We are in a really good place right now. We are happy and have so much fun together. But it wasn’t always this way. We had issues (mostly me) in the beginning and a period of adjustment I wasn’t prepared for. But we both hung in there and worked through them but it took time and conversation. Everyone goes through periods that aren’t fun but you have to decide whether this person is worth sticking it out for. If you are married to them there was obviously something there that made you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Is that part of them still in there somewhere? Do you just have to look for it or wait for it to come back out again? Work together…it’s the only way to stay together. If they were worth it once they probably still are if you are both willing to work together. You can only control your own actions so if your partner isn’t willing to work with you there isn’t much you can do about that. But always know that you are worth being loved. If this person decides to move on that doesn’t mean you aren’t lovable. It means that wasn’t your person. Or maybe you aren’t meant to have a person (I know most people don’t want to hear that) but can be happiest on your own. There is a lot to be said for not having to compromise or worry about entertaining someone else’s interests. Unfortunately you have to get to a place where you are okay on your own before you can share it with someone else. More on that later.

So here is to the families we make! My husband and I don’t have kids but I know many of you do. An even better reason to try to get to a great place in your marriage. Or get out of an unhealthy relationship. Only you can make those decisions. Know that you are entitled to have the very best life possible and do what you need to in order to achieve it.

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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Love yourself!

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I’ve never thought I would be someone who could love myself. There were so many things I didn’t like about myself I didn’t know how I could ever learn to love those traits. I don’t even know if I would go as far as saying I love myself but I am very good to myself and I treat myself much better than I used to.

First rule, never call yourself names. Even as a joke. If you space and say or do something that may not be considered the smartest thing…never call yourself stupid or an idiot. We all have our flaky moments and it doesn’t mean you are stupid or an idiot. Saying such things sends a little subliminal message to your brain that you aren’t worthy.

Second rule, get to know yourself. I was never a very introspective person. I really just lived life day to day without thinking about it. I was never encouraged to do some self examination so I never did. When I was around 30 I went into therapy for the first time due to a break up I was going through. I remember the first day with my therapist she asked me to describe myself in a couple of words. NOTHING. I couldn’t come up with one word to describe myself. It’s not that I didn’t know the type of person I was…I just never thought about it and couldn’t put it into words. Now I can rattle off a long list of traits. I still usually focus on the ones I don’t like and I need to change that and start with the good qualities about myself. I’m honest, loyal, fun, understanding, hardworking, ambitious and many other things I’m not thinking of right now. I’m also controlling, uptight, extremely reactive, self centered, shallow and materialistic at times, a grudge holder and a bit of a know it all. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Third rule, forgive yourself for the things you don’t like and realize they have their purpose. This finally started to sink in for me when my husband and I sold our condo and moved to the shore. The condo board was giving me such a hard time over a parking spot that I had requested officially be moved and was granted permission to do so. Plus they told me they were raising my condo fees 8% percent one year and actually raised it 12%. They didn’t care what they said. They were doing what they wanted regardless. Well, I was just infuriated and I remember all those people warning me to never get a condo…that those condo boards are like little dictatorships. They were right. The only thing I could do was put the condo up for sale to let them know how far they pushed me. Most of the units had been selling for much less than we needed to break even and get the hell out of there. But I called the realtor and told him what we needed to sell it for. Luckily I keep a very nice house. The realtor even put in the listing…see this place that shows like a model home. Beams of pride flying all over here!!! I think that is why it sold in a mere five days and we were able to get the asking price we wanted. That is when we moved to the shore full time. I come back to this often as I think how much I dislike my reactive ways. In this case…it totally worked out for us. It doesn’t in most cases but I choose to remember this one!

I am also controlling when it comes to a lot of things in my life. My work, the house and how it looks, how I want my life to go. I used to be really hard on myself for this but it really means that I care deeply about the things in my life. Dr. Phil would say people are controlling because they don’t trust themselves to handle things when they don’t go as planned. I agree with that. So I need a little more confidence in my ability to handle things to let go of those ways a little bit. But I don’t think it’s an all bad trait. And when it comes to my home I think most people are somewhat impressed with how it looks. Maybe that shouldn’t be a barometer for me but it is and I feel a huge sense of pride when people admire my home.

My point is that usually even with a bad trait there is some good that comes from it. So it goes back to how you look at things. You can berate yourself for the characteristics you don’t like or you can realize that some of the good things in your life come from those very qualities. All the while, trying to control or limit them if you can. Sometimes we are what we are and as long as it isn’t hurting someone else I think that’s okay. I’m sure some of my old co-workers would dispute that but I never expect anything from someone I’m not willing to do myself. My end goal is always success so there is a lot of work involved with achieving that. I’m sorry if you don’t like the fact I expect you to work hard. I’m also willing and usually take on most of the responsibilities myself.

So give yourself a break. You are not made up of only bad parts. There are a lot of good ones and the bad ones sometimes serve you very well. And hey, you’re going to get on people’s nerves from time to time. No one is immune from that. If people don’t like you…they aren’t your people! Take some time to figure out how the traits you don’t like about yourself have made good things happen in your life. (Remember, I’m living at the shore full time in my dream house because I’m too reactive.)

And if you need help figuring these things out…ask for help. More on that later. Now go be your Badass self. Good and Bad! And have your best day yet!

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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Learn to love yourself

The Hopefulist Podcast Logo

I’ve never thought I would be someone who could love myself. There were so many things I didn’t like about myself I didn’t know how I could ever learn to love those traits. I don’t even know if I would go as far as saying I love myself but I am very good to myself and I treat myself much better than I used to.

First rule, never call yourself names. Even as a joke. If you space and say or do something that may not be considered the smartest thing…never call yourself stupid or an idiot. We all have our flaky moments and it doesn’t mean you are stupid or an idiot. Saying such things sends a little subliminal message to your brain that you aren’t worthy.

Second rule, get to know yourself. I was never a very introspective person. I really just lived life day to day without thinking about it. I was never encouraged to do some self examination so I never did. When I was around 30 I went into therapy for the first time due to a break up I was going through. I remember the first day with my therapist she asked me to describe myself in a couple of words. NOTHING. I couldn’t come up with one word to describe myself. It’s not that I didn’t know the type of person I was…I just never thought about it and couldn’t put it into words. Now I can rattle off a long list of traits. I still usually focus on the ones I don’t like and I need to change that and start with the good qualities about myself. I’m honest, loyal, fun, understanding, hardworking, ambitious and many other things I’m not thinking of right now. I’m also controlling, uptight, extremely reactive, self centered, shallow and materialistic at times, a grudge holder and a bit of a know it all. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Third rule, forgive yourself for the things you don’t like and realize they have their purpose. This finally started to sink in for me when my husband and I sold our condo and moved to the shore. The condo board was giving me such a hard time over a parking spot that I had requested officially be moved and was granted permission to do so. Plus they told me they were raising my condo fees 8% percent one year and actually raised it 12%. They didn’t care what they said. They were doing what they wanted regardless. Well, I was just infuriated and I remember all those people warning me to never get a condo…that those condo boards are like little dictatorships. They were right. The only thing I could do was put the condo up for sale to let them know how far they pushed me. Most of the units had been selling for much less than we needed to break even and get the hell out of there. But I called the realtor and told him what we needed to sell it for. Luckily I keep a very nice house. The realtor even put in the listing…see this place that shows like a model home. Beams of pride flying all over here!!! I think that is why it sold in a mere five days and we were able to get the asking price we wanted. That is when we moved to the shore full time. I come back to this often as I think how much I dislike my reactive ways. In this case…it totally worked out for us. It doesn’t in most cases but I choose to remember this one!

I am also controlling when it comes to a lot of things in my life. My work, the house and how it looks, how I want my life to go. I used to be really hard on myself for this but it really means that I care deeply about the things in my life. Dr. Phil would say people are controlling because they don’t trust themselves to handle things when they don’t go as planned. I agree with that. So I need a little more confidence in my ability to handle things to let go of those ways a little bit. But I don’t think it’s an all bad trait. And when it comes to my home I think most people are somewhat impressed with how it looks. Maybe that shouldn’t be a barometer for me but it is and I feel a huge sense of pride when people admire my home.

My point is that usually even with a bad trait there is some good that comes from it. So it goes back to how you look at things. You can berate yourself for the characteristics you don’t like or you can realize that some of the good things in your life come from those very qualities. All the while, trying to control or limit them if you can. Sometimes we are what we are and as long as it isn’t hurting someone else I think that’s okay. I’m sure some of my old co-workers would dispute that but I never expect anything from someone I’m not willing to do myself. My end goal is always success so there is a lot of work involved with achieving that. I’m sorry if you don’t like the fact I expect you to work hard. I’m also willing and usually take on most of the responsibilities myself.

So give yourself a break. You are not made up of only bad parts. There are a lot of good ones and the bad ones sometimes serve you very well. And hey, you’re going to get on people’s nerves from time to time. No one is immune from that. If people don’t like you…they aren’t your people! Take some time to figure out how the traits you don’t like about yourself have made good things happen in your life. (Remember, I’m living at the shore full time in my dream house because I’m too reactive.)

And if you need help figuring these things out…ask for help. More on that later. Now go be your Badass self. Good and Bad! And have your best day yet!

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Stop Waiting

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I am a results oriented person. It has always been about the end goal. I’m always trying to get to some sort of goal whether it be career related, relationships or even weight loss. You know how it goes….when I start making more money/get that promotion, make partner, etc things will be better. When I finally meet that wonderful guy life will be really good. When I finally drop that 10, 15 or 20 pounds I’m really going to be living. I’ll look great in clothes, guys will finally want to date me. Girls will want to hang out with me. I think we are all guilty of these types of thoughts at some point or another. Here is the problem with that way of thinking. If you are always waiting for something to happen then even when you get to your goal you don’t end up being as satisfied as you thought and you find something else to strive for; something else you need to have in order to be happy.

This was the story of my life. Even if I was having the best time with my group of friends I thought, it will be even better when I have a boyfriend. If work was going great then I would be even happier when I got a raise or got offered a job in a better market. And of course, everything was going to be awesome once I finally got that weight off. But there was always at least one thing I hadn’t achieved yet and that was the reason I wasn’t happy.

Get ready for the cliche remark because here it comes….you have to be happy with where you are right now. If you aren’t, you have to find a way to be happy with some part of your life. I remember reading a self help book once that said you have to be happy with your beat up, piece of crap car in order to get a better one. Not only happy with it but grateful for it. I thought….this guy is nuts. How is loving my crappy car going to lead me to a really cool car? I get what he was saying….NOW. But it took me a good, long time for it to click. You may not love your car but you can be grateful that you have one. Because there are a lot of people who don’t. You can be grateful that it gets you to work where you will make the money you need to upgrade. That it takes you wherever you need to go.

Once you start loving one aspect of your love you will start to love aspects. It takes practice. You have to be mindful about it. But eventually it will feel like second nature. I know this because I was able to do it. If this pessimist can change….you can too! I promise!

I was one who hated doing things by myself. I always thought I would just wait until I had a boyfriend and then we would do everything I had been putting on hold. In my late 20’s I dated a guy and although he was a great guy I refer to him as my couch potato (I just had a Dan Quayle moment….there is no E on the end of potato, right?) boyfriend. We dated for about two years. Do you want to hear all the wonderful things we did while together? Yeah, not much to tell there. We did go to California once for his work and we toured Beverly Hills and then I wanted to hit Hollywood and see the Walk of Fame among other things. Neither of us had ever been there and I was super excited to see as many sights as I could. Do you know what he wanted to? Go back to the hotel and take a nap. And that’s what he did. A THREE HOUR NAP! Yeah, it was the biggest fight we ever got into. It wasn’t too long after that we broke up.

But when we did break up I promised myself I wasn’t waiting anymore. I had waited for years for that boyfriend to do stuff with and we never did anything. So I got over my fear of going places alone and started doing all the things I had always wanted to do. The first thing I did was drive up to New York and see a Broadway play I had been dying to see. I went to Sardi’s for lunch and even ended up staying late and seeing a second play at the last minute.

Not long after that I decided pretty much on a whim to visit Boston. I had never been there. It was fall and the foliage for my trip north was at its peak.  I booked a room and left early on Saturday morning. The trees were amazing. I got there and did all the touristy things. I got on a bus tour and hit Cheers, Quincy market and hung out at the harbor. I met a group of ladies too who took me under their wing. They probably felt sorry for me but I didn’t care. I had a great time. And I had such a feeling of accomplishment. Look at what a big girl I am going away and experiencing life all by myself! I guarantee you I remember that trip much more than I would a weekend spent on the couch watching Lifetime movies.

So please stop waiting! Stop waiting for something to happen. Stop waiting to do the things you truly want to do. I’m not by any means suggesting you quit your job and go into debt for a trip around the world. Sometimes you have to wait for a plan to unfold and those things definitely take some planning but I think you get what I mean.

And for goodness sake, stop worrying about what other people think and/or say. I know some people think I’m a loser for going to shows and on trips by myself. I’ve even had people judge me for going to the movies by myself. The movies? Do we need a partner to sit in the dark without talking to enjoy a movie? Whatever, those people will spend a lot more time on the couch watching Netflix and we will be out seeing and experience everything life has to offer.

I want you to pick something you love right now and commit to doing it in the next two days. It can be anything. Getting a bike, going to a concert, meeting a friend for a drink. Just get the heck out of the house and have some fun. Yes, that is an order! Now, go have a blast. Talk to you tomorrow!

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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The Transformation Begins

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I had lived in and outside Philadelphia for my whole life. When I was 32 I got a job working in Manahawkin, New Jersey. For those who don’t know, this is the town that leads to Long Beach Island. It was less than 10 minutes to where I worked. Everyone I worked with lived in Toms River which was about 30 minutes north. I didn’t know anyone in the area which made me lean toward looking to Toms River for my new home. I had always wanted to live at the shore for a summer though and I figured this was a great opportunity to live year round and see how it worked out. I had it narrowed down to a place in Toms River…a nice place with all the amenities or what was basically a shack on the bay in LBI. But the shack had a view of the water from every window in my house. The decision was made. And I still wonder to this day how different my life would be if I had taken that apartment in Toms River. I’m pretty sure it would have unfolded in a completely different way.

I moved to “the island” (that’s what us locals call it) in the fall. After the tourist season was over and the majority of establishments had closed for the season. It was a lonely existence those first few months. My friends were far away and I didn’t have much to do once I came home from work. But I did have that view! We had a massive snowstorm that winter and I met some neighbors when that happened. Everyone helped everyone out. It was great!

That spring I applied for a job as a bartender at one of the busiest bars for locals and tourists. I lied and said I had experience when I didn’t. It worked. I got the job and had no idea what I was doing. And I couldn’t ask because I was supposed to have experience. I worked it out and never became a great bartender but I could pour a nice, frothy beer like nobody’s business. This is where my social life began.

I met so many people from this job. I met all different types of people that turned into little sub groups of friends. I had my buddies that I shot pool with several times a week. (I couldn’t play well at all and they played all the time. There was a rule that since I was so bad everyone had to bank the 8 ball on their final shot to give me a fighting chance!) They were great and I loved them. I met a couple that lived down the street from me that became my second home. I mean, they had a tiki bar in their backyard overlooking the sunset every night. I always went out to watch my beloved Philadelphia Eagles with them. And eventually I met the group of people I would spend most of my time with.

It was a married couple and a single girl that hung out together all the time and from the first time I was officially introduced to them I got a phone call every time they were going out to see if I wanted to join them. And they went out a lot. We hit the all the happening bars in the area be it inside in the colder weather or outside at the pool and beach bars in the summer. This is what I had been waiting for. I was a social butterfly. I was having the time of my life.

I got myself a bike and started riding it all over the island. And I also was starting to kayak for the first time which is something I still love to do today. I had transformed from someone who sat on the couch watching other people do “things’ to a doer myself. It felt great.

As time went on my job changed a few times and eventually I was offered a higher paying position back in Philadelphia so I moved. I didn’t really want to but I figured it was the best thing to do for my career. Life wasn’t as good back in Philadelphia but some of my old habits stuck. I took my bike to the park and rode around there. I tried to get more involved with things. It was better than the last time I had lived there but I longed for Long Beach Island.

I eventually got married to the love of my life and shared with him my goal of living on LBI full time or possibly moving to Florida. He said he was in. We owned a condo at the time and to make a long story short we ended up selling that very quickly without having another place to live. I asked if he would consider renting a place at the shore full time and see how he could handle the commute to Philadelphia to work. He was willing.

I was out of work at the time and as much as my career in radio was my identity I knew it would be very difficult to find a radio job living in this area. I was ready to let it go. And I did. Loving where I lived was the most important thing to me. We ended up in Beach Haven West which is on the water but right before the bridge to LBI. I had some pretty awful jobs in the next few years but I focused on how much I loved where I lived. And I took advantage of it. I was out bike riding, kayaking, spending as much time on the deck and dock as possible and snapping as many pictures of the sunrise and sunset as I could. We had company all the time so I could share my blessings with loved ones. All of this made me happy in spite of the fact I couldn’t find a job that seemed to fit. Then I saw there was a new radio station that was starting up. I contacted them and they hired me immediately. Did I have it all? It sure seemed like it!

Here is the thing though….I think you need to find that one thing that is most important to you. The thing that lights you up…something you can’t wait to do, have, see every day. Choosing where I live over my career seemed outrageous at the time but the awesome part is once I focused on my true love (the shore) the rest of my loves came to me. My radio job, more friends in the area and honestly my marriage has never been better and happier.

I know finding that thing can be the tough part. I wish I could pick it for you but I can’t. My sister loves to run. My brother grows bonsai trees. Just look around at other people’s interests and hobbies. I know there is something out there for you. You just have to find it. And once you do….do it as often as you can. Then all the holes in your life will start to fill in. I promise you!

#hopefulist #makeityourbestdayyet #writenow #happyandhopeful

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