Mental Health Awareness, Not Just October and a New Cause Calendar

It’s hard to believe that October is already here. I find the rest of the year always goes so fast after Halloween. This past year I decided to forgo many of the usual get-togethers and celebrations I have held in the past to focus on more personal matters.

I have posted less, trying to focus on quality not quantity; what has been happening in my life has had a lasting and permanent impact on my life, so that influenced my writing and point-of-view, prompting me to adjust the look, feel of my site a few months ago and resolve to a new site mantra: today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.

So the in honor of Mental Health Awareness Week—a cause near and dear to me—I have added a new page, an Awareness Calendar, listing all (or many) of the days, weeks and months dedicated to social advocacy and social responsibly for a variety of causes. This lives in a new section called Resources where Anniversaries, Birthstones and annual Holidays still reside and new ones may surface (stay tuned).

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40 things I’ve Learned Over 40 Years 

July is less than 90 minutes away. As a kid the beginning of July was like the countdown to the New Year at midnight. Every day until the twelfth I would get giddier, more excited, convinced that each year would make me smarter, prettier, more adept.

One year, I think it was when I turned five, I remember waking up and running to the easel standing in my bedroom and drawing a flower with crayons. Armed with the certainty that because I went to sleep a four-year-old and woke up a much savvier five, I would craft a more perfect, more precise flower. That drawing, framed and dated, would hang in my mothers’ hallway for years.

So now, on the cusp of 40, I am not going to wait until the morning of my birthday to feel older and wiser. I am in a reflective mood and decided to start to ponder what I have learned over the last four decades, and I chose (appropriately) 40 things. I wasn’t totally sure I could come up with that many things worthy of note–perhaps not all are to everyone–but they have special meaning to me.

So, for those who care to partake, the 40 most meaningful things I’ve learned in the last 40 years.  Maybe I’ll come up with a completely different set by 50.

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Taxicab Confessions: Birthday Edition

I was in the taxi with my kids yesterday, on our way to the movies. We were having a conversation about, of all things, my birthday. They both know how old I’m about to turn, 40–or as my daughter likes to say, “the big 4-0” and my son likes to remind me “that’s four decades, mom”–and they feel “it’s a big one.” So in the cab, they were debating the virtues of different celebrations, ideas and trips we should consider. This has been a rough year, as you may have previously read–and it’s hard to get up the gusto to want to celebrate in a manner that’s out of the ordinary right now. My answer was “it’s just a number, like any other…lets just do what we’ve always done.”  

And then I saw a post from a friend the night before.

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Subway Acts Of Kindness

As I stepped on the train yesterday morning, the car was nearly empty. There was a striking woman in a dove gray dress–clearly new–sitting in the middle of the train and two empty seats next to her. As is polite subway etiquette, when possible, I left an empty seat between us, and sat down.

By the time we got to the next express stop, the train was filling up, and a man sat between us. He had a bag and a cup of coffee. He started fidgeting with his earbuds to get into “commuter mode”–coffee, music, in transit. Well, things weren’t going so well, the cord from his earphones got tangled around the cup, and before we left the station, the cup became unbalanced, fell out of his grip the lid disengaged and spilled all over the dove gray dress.

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Mother’s Day Resolution 

It’s hard to string words together.

I feel like I’m experiencing some form of creative atrophy.

Like the words can’t come to my fingertips.

Like if I simply don’t type them, perhaps it’s not real.

Ok, here’s what’s real.

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Countdown to 40: Conquering a Fear-A-Day

In exactly 250 days I will turn 40 years old.

I didn’t expect the idea of 40 to feel different than, say 38 or 39 (and perhaps it won’t when it finally gets here) but right now the idea of a new decade seems substantial in a way the others didn’t. Here’s what I mean: I built my thirties around the idea of wanting more–more recreational time and friends (why couldn’t I aspire to “have it all”?), maybe more babies (upon further consideration that was nixed), more career and money, more and more…

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Five Days of Gratitude c/o Facebook

I rarely engage in Facebook chain mail. You know exactly what I’m talking about: Like this or Share that; Post what color your whatever are; Tell your friends about your whosiwhatsit and tag the eighty people in your wedding party to do the same… No thanks. But recently I saw friends posting about the Gratitude Challenge.

A Gratitude Challenge? Gratitude lists? I love making gratitude lists. I love reading gratitude lists. I even do them on this blog… Holy s#%@! This is Faceplace chain-crap I could get into, even read without cynicism, sarcasm possibly even passive eye-rolling? I’m really not this sour, but I do feel like the weight of empowerment messages gets diluted when you see one every five seconds and it’s totally tainted when used or misdirected for unsavory purposes. That happens A LOT on social media.
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Looking Back on Summer: Baseball, Camp, Forgiveness and Faith

This is the longest spate I’ve not posted on my blog. It’s so funny, the reason I usually stop writing is not lack of ideas or things to say, but too much to say. It becomes overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. Much has happened already this year, some I have shared and some I don’t, well, know where to start… Some seems almost moot now. I sent my kids to camp: baseball, theater and technology (yes, technology). We were all pretty busy, so no vacations were planned although we did go on a few day trips: Coney Island, the Ripley’s Museum and Madame Tussaud’s.

But the crux of my summer boils down into better understanding three primary themes: Forgiveness, Authenticity and Faith.

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Kindergarden, Career and My Friday Savior

As a young wife (24 when I married my ex-husband) and then a young mom (25 when my first was born), thinking about family planning and the ripple effect on how I would eventually balance life / career was not top-of-mind. Possibly it was immaturity, possibly it was naiveté, probably it was a combination of the two. I was already in the workforce, but still sussing out what I wanted and where I wanted to go. My daughter was born in the midst of the dot-com boom, and by way of good choices and good fortune, I found myself in a great position to leave corporate America and consult from a home office giving me the opportunity to be with my new baby and still be part of the working world.

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