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Calendar flip flop

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I’m obsessed with flipping my calendar.

Yesterday morning, I was itching to flip it to February even though February was still a day away. The same urge crops up every last day of the month, so I’m constantly fighting the temptation.

Am I alone in this?

I think the obsession goes along with my love for planners and office supplies. I like to be organized, prepared and accurate, so being in the right month is pretty important. I’ve even been known to flip others’ calendars if they’re a day behind. (That I blame on being the oldest child.)

It’s like when you’re a kid and want to grow up ASAP. When you’re older, you can stay up late. When you’re older, you can have your own phone. When you’re older, you can drive and eat what you want and sit at the grownup table.

As a kid, you want to get there as quickly as possible, but once you’re there, you often wish you were a kid again—and that you had fully appreciated childhood when you were in it.

Sometimes I’m in such a rush to get to the next phase that I don’t fully enjoy what’s in front of me. It’s great to look forward to things ahead, but if I’m so focused on what’s happening a month from now or next year, I can miss the now moments. I may be so eager to begin a new day or month or season or chapter in life that I’m not reveling in today.

I admit I’ve wished for a difficult day to be over, but even in the tough times, I can find small things to be grateful for or take time to grieve or learn from mistakes instead of wishing the day would hurry up and be done already.

Older and wiser folks have told me how time seems to speed up with each passing year, and there’s no going back. Today is the only Feb. 1, 2017, there is, so I might as well make the most of it.

Besides, March will be here soon enough.

 

All About That Waist: Is Meghan Trainor’s Video Flub a Big Deal?

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Photo: HollywoodReporter.com

“I want my waist back.”

That’s what Meghan Trainor said earlier this week when she discovered her waistline had been altered in her newest music video, “Me Too.” The edits made her look slimmer, and Trainor wasn’t a fan.

“Dude, look at how bomb I look,” she said afterwards about her actual body. “Why would they ever be like, ‘Let’s break her ribs!’ It’s insulting. It’s rude.” The unedited video has since been released.

Trainor is the most recent celebrity in a long list of both men and women who have been criticized for being either too fat or too thin, or who have spoken out against images of themselves that have clearly been altered—whether it’s their complexion, thighs, stomach, chest, wrinkles or hair.

Back in 2014, actor Val Kilmer wrote on his Facebook page that for years people called him too fat, but once he lost weight for a new role, tabloids were calling him too thin. As Kilmer put it, you “can’t win.” Actresses like Mindy Kaling and America Ferrera have shared similar frustrations with society’s view of body image.

What I’d like to know is: Who decides what’s attractive anyway? And where’s the middle ground between too big and too small? What is this elusive, ideal image that everyone should supposedly look like?

We’re obviously not all built the same way or meant to have uniform features, yet we see it over and over—the culture at large trying to fit a unique person into an unrealistic, standardized mold.

Just a few months ago, I wrote a blog about the ongoing battle of wanting to look different, of comparing myself to others and being self-conscious about my flaws. Or what I see as flaws at least. But as I wrote back then, that’s a dangerous trail to go down. It’s impossible to be someone else and silly to try.

And yet, in spite of all that …

I have to wonder if this week’s music video hiccup is really that big of a deal. Does the average person really care about a pop star’s waist size? How much weight does it carry (no pun intended) in our everyday lives? Would we have noticed Trainor’s fictional itty bitty middle if she hadn’t called attention to it?

Maybe we’re so used to celebrities having seemingly unattainable figures that we’re starting to shrug it off. Or maybe we’re expecting everything to be so airbrushed these days that we assume a bit of fantasy along with reality.

What do you think? Was the “All About That Bass” singer’s tiny waist a big deal, or not?

Bleak to breathtaking: A memory of fall

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Occasionally I take a nap in my car on my lunch break.

I do it on days I can barely keep my eyes open, so by the time I get to my car, it doesn’t take much effort to lean back and doze off. But one day not long ago, nestled in the driver’s seat, I could not close my eyes.

It had been a dreary morning—foggy, wet and gray—but hours later, with rays of sunlight streaming through the trees and into my windshield, I didn’t want to miss it.

For a moment, everything was quiet and I took it in: the sun, piercing and still; the baby blue sky, cloudless and smooth; the tri-colored leaves interrupting them both—deep red, rich gold and bright orange. A light breeze brought in the smell of fall where I’d left my windows cracked.

I never did get that nap in.

The alarm on my phone went off way too soon, reminding me to get back to work, but even now, a few months later, that simple, spectacular moment has stuck with me like it was two hours ago.

Sometimes life surprises us. Sometimes what starts out bleak, what seems routine and ordinary, what we’re sure holds no promise, can renew our hope, become extraordinary and exceed our expectations. Sometimes the most unassuming times and places in our lives can turn into our greatest moments.

Even in a parking lot.

You never know when a dreary morning can turn into a nice day.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22-23

Do you remember a day like this, when it started out dull or depressing but turned out better than expected? What happened?