I didn't forget about my blog. In fact, I sat down on four different occasions and began to write, but life just kept catapulting itself at me, full throttle. This will be my first entry since early November. So, I suppose it's safe to say that I survived the holiday season! In the meantime, everything else that I love doing on a regular basis, took a back seat - including, but not limited to, reading, writing, spin, yoga, and ANY TYPE OF ME TIME. Thankfully, I'm borderline (okay, more than borderline) obsessed with Christmas, so I'm not even mad about it.
We are officially 9 days into the new year. Life is sort of beginning to fall back into it's normal routine, minus the 25 snow days and early dismissals my daughter has had these last few weeks. She has literally only attended one full day of school since December 23rd. Someone save me. Someone save her. Someone save the both of us! During the holiday season, which also happens to be one of my busiest times of the year at work, I hosted 5 gatherings in my home, attended 4 parties, purchased about 10,000 presents, wrapped them, baked 20,000 cookies, and survived to tell the story. Ladies, I KNOW you can relate. What a cluster fuck. But, low and behold, Christmas is my favorite time of year. While most people dread these things, I enjoy it, even if I run myself into the ground doing so. There is no "don't go overboard" with me. Overboard is basically my middle name.
Before the Thanksgiving leftovers can be eaten, I'm decorating the mantle and scouting for the perfect Christmas tree. My daughter and I always get our tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Overkill, you say? Of course. But thats how we roll and I'll never break our tradition. This year was the first year we went and chopped down our tree, and we will continue to do so each year going forward.
So, we are on to a brand new year! Do I have a resolution? No. At least I didn't think so. I'm not really one who buys into the "New Year, New Me" bullshit. I'm me, always have been, always will be. Although, there have been a series of life changing events that have occurred over the last few months that have really forced me to put things into perspective. These events have also taught me valuable lessons and I'd like to share those lessons with you.
1. FUCK WHAT THEY THINK.
- That means EVERYONE. Easier said than done? Yes. But, guess what? It's MY LIFE. I'm the only person that has to live it. Other folk's negative opinions about my life aren't paying my bills, feeding my child, or supporting my family. Now, don't get me wrong, there are people in my life who's opinions I value deeply. About 10, to be exact. There are 7.4 billion people on this planet. So, I did the math. That means there are seven billion, three hundred ninety-nine million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety people who can kiss my ass. The naysayers, those who don't know me, and those that think they know me. Keep talking. For the longest time, I was so concerned with other's opinions of me. So much so, that I wasn't focusing on being the best version of myself. I was focusing on what other people thought about me and how I should be living my life. Where did it get me? ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE. Look, I'm a human. I've been high and I've been low. I've been successful and I've been unsuccessful. I've made excellent choices and I've made horrible choices. H U M A N. It's always funny, and a bit disturbing to me, how quickly people forget that they too, are human. So, going forward, I'd like folks to know that the only way your negative opinion will ever have any type of impact on me, is if I value it to begin with. Looking at the odds, it doesn't seem likely.
2. BE A LEADER
- Owning my own business comes with A LOT of territory. Most of this territory, believe it or not, occurs behind the scenes. I'm a very hands on owner. I work behind the chair 4 days a week, in the "office" one day a week, and off two days a week. At least I try to be. There isn't really ever a day where I can just shut it off, although I'm really trying to find that balance. On my very best day, I forget at least two or three things that we need for the salon, easily. Again, it's who I am. In the past, I truly viewed myself as a fantastic leader. Not a boss, but a leader. I'm practicing honesty, not just with others, but most importantly with myself. So, finally, I can say with complete honesty, that I've strayed from being the best leader I can be. This was not something I wanted. Although, I've now learned it was something I needed. Even though it was awful, not just for me, but for my employees, I needed it and so did my business. Sometimes, you need to fall off your wagon. Although there were repercussions, which I was saddened over, I learned A LOT. I learned so much about myself, my business, and how insanely intermingled the two actually were. One does not survive without the other. The salon without me, nor me without the salon. My whole being is wrapped up in that salon, and when I stepped away, it began to fall apart.
Teams need their leader. We are a team. There is no boss/employee dynamic in the salon that I built. I didn't want that. That doesn't work. I led and my team flourished. I would guide and they would steer. Teamwork. I'm now okay with saying these things out loud because I'm in a different place than I was before. My spark is back. I am ready to guide again. Professionally, I accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. I also learned that with business, comes ups and downs. The ups are fantastic, but the lows are even better. The lows are where you learn. The lows are where you don't go back to, because you know better. The lows are where you find your strength to claw your way back to the top. We are already on our way. I am most grateful for the ones who stood by me when they could have walked away. I'm grateful you stayed, and I will make you grateful for staying.
3. BE GRACIOUS AND COMPASSIONATE
- Gratitude. Compassion. Humility. All of these things go hand in hand. As mentioned above in lesson #2, life hands you lemons for a reason, even if that reason isn't recognizable for a while, and you can't seem to understand it. I truly believe my lemons were given to me to humble me, teach me graciousness, and as a reminder as to what the real importance in life was. During this holiday season, there were so many times that I stopped to complain. "I spent too much money", "I was working too much", "I had too many people to visit and places to go", "My house was messy"...just to name a few. Then, along came this RIDICULOUSLY freezing cold weather. I stopped complaining. I had spent money on the people I love. I worked too much because I'm fortunate enough to have a job and body that is capable of physical work. I had too many places to visit because I have people that love me. My house was messy because it was filled with my family and friends. My home is warm. I have heat and a bed. I can feed my daughter and give her a good life. Who am I to complain? Why do we complain so much? The thought of someone having nowhere to go in this horrible weather makes me incredibly sad. I'm lucky. Most of you reading this, are too. Be grateful.
- Compassion is another huge one for me. I've learned that until you've experienced certain things for yourself, you're never truly able to understand what someone else is going through. For many years, I dismissed the whole "depression" idea. I couldn't understand how people couldn't just snap out of it. "What was wrong with them?", "Why is this so dramatic?", "Get it together!" Right...then it happened to me. If you've never suffered from depression, educate yourself. It is one of the most debilitating things one could experience. There were many days that I could barely get a comb through my hair. It wasn't because I was sad or going through a breakup, there was something wrong in my brain. And, if one more person told me I needed to let it go, move on, or just forget about it, I was going to explode on them. Funny thing about depression, you can't turn it off. So, the next time someone is crabby, unmotivated, sad, mean, or just not themselves, why not ask if they are okay? Is there something you could do? How can I better understand you? The world REALLY needs more people like that. I'm happy to say, that I'm now one of those people. I'm happy again. Not every day is perfect, but my low is over. I found a therapist, cleaned A LOT (it's my zen), worked out like crazy, and never stopped pushing, even when I wasn't making a bit of progress. Be compassionate, you never know who you may be saving.
4. LET GO OF THE CONTROL AND WORRY
- My biggest downfall? I'm a control freak. I'll own it. Control isn't ALWAYS a bad thing. For me, it became a problem when I wouldn't let anyone in, I couldn't accept help, and everything needed to APPEAR perfect. If there is one thing I WILL NEVER GIVE UP CONTROL ON, it's the cleanliness of my home. Anyone who lives with me will have to learn to deal with it and appreciate it. I'm crazy. I don't care. It's also pretty much the only thing one can really control in life, if you think about it. Everyone needs their something. This is mine. Cleaning centers me. So does cooking. Just stay out of my way and you won't get caught in the crossfire when I'm on one of my frenzies. Pretty simple, actually. But, most importantly, I'm learning and practicing that if I can't handle something in the present moment, let it go. I read these quotes the other day, and they really hit home for me:
"Worry is the most useless emotion."
"If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you can't solve it, then what is the use of worrying?" - Shanideva, 8th century C.E, Indian Buddhist
I've learned that control is the way that I manifest my worries. When I am having a particularly difficult time with something, I tend to grasp for control in other areas of my life. Going forward, I'm practicing the art of letting go.
With that being said, here are some photos from my holiday season. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and safe 2018!