How she lost almost 100 pounds!

I was pool jogging today when a woman got in with some things around her ankles and water gloves. She had a visor with sparkles (we were inside but I thought the visor was a nice touch!) and one of those Apple Nano’s attached to her visor with plug in headphones. As she started moving I could tell she was totally jamming to her music.

While I didn’t want to bother her, I also wanted to know what was around her ankles! I jog without a belt and I wondered if she had weights to increase her exercise time. There is no way I could jog with weights and I felt super impressed by her situation. She looked to be in her early 70’s.

She eventually “danced” her way over to me and smiled. She introduced herself and asked how long I had been in the pool (I was at 50 minutes and ready to get out!). She told me that the ankle “things” were little flotation devices to help her stay upright

We started talking about why I was in the pool and not running outside. She told me the pool was her “special place” and that she had pool jogged her way out of about 100 pounds!

She explained that the weight loss wasn’t because she went on a special diet. Nor, was it the hour of exercising in the pool every single day. It was deciding that she loved herself enough to make a change. She was quick to suggest that some people might have been happy at her prior weight and that’s ok. But for her – she was not happy and that started her on a path to a different life. She had been divorced when she gained all the weight. And, once the weight was off, she felt more confident, she met someone on-line … and … she lifted her hand out of the water to show me her wedding ring.

As I got out of the pool I was reminded how it all starts and stops with love. The love we feel for who we are and where we are going (or want to go). You can try all the surgeries, diets, expensive clothes … but if you are not happy in your current situation and you don’t love yourself, nothing is going to do it for you.

I live by one major theme (other than love) and that’s no regrets.

It could be a the wrong job, an unhappy relationship or even just the need for something new. If you are not feeling happy in your current situation, access your love for you and consider what you can do now, so that when you look back, you have no regrets. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

XOXO

Jessica

When your day is s*** what do you do?

What advice do you give when your friend texts you and says, “When you just want to cry and don’t want to deal with people, everything is going wrong and your day is s***, what do you do?”

Ahh, I know that kind of day. Yesterday, within the first hour of being awake, I dropped and broke an entire jar of jam, I spilled my coffee on the counter, I dropped a bucket of water (don’t ask!) and it spilled all around the kitchen, including the windows, and the dog refused to give me back my shoe. I generally don’t tell anyone when I’m having a bad day because I think it sounds like I’m complaining. But, I think it’s high time I allowed myself to be honest about these days — with myself and others.

As a business owner, I tend to be the always up, energized, ready to change the world person. But it’s taken me decades as a human being to learn that it’s ok to be open about how I’m feeling. Frankly, I think the first step to feeling better about my day is to accept that I’m having a bad day and allow myself to have one.

I suppose this post could be about creating a list of all the things I try to do when I’m having a s*** day: breathing, slowing the f*** down (which is usually the problem in the first place!), taking a walk – outside, but the most important thing to do is to be extra nice to yourself. That’s just what you would tell a friend to do (that’s what I told my friend!). I also told her to eat something she really enjoyed, look at photos on her phone that made her smile, buy her favorite coffee drink and to sip it slowly.

So, on your next s*** day, give yourself the same love you would give a friend. Or call me, I’ll give you some!

XOXO

Jessica

My expectation hangover.

My daughter came home for the weekend. Ostensibly to hang with her dog. Of course, I had my own motivations. I was looking for some time with her, to talk about life and school and … But, that did not happen. Neither Lily nor I spent any significant time with her. She was out and about (which honestly makes sense for a 24 year old). It left me with an expectation hangover.

Apparently the universe helped me understand and manage what happened this weekend because last month I read the book Expectation Hangover by Christine Hassler.

In her book Hassler says, what we likely already know, that when our expectations are met and things go according to plan, we feel great with a sense of accomplishment and pride! But when life does not live up to our plan, we end up with an expectation hangover. This particular feeling is sobering and uncomfortable.

Life is like this (life being a parent is for sure like this!). Maybe you took on a project that was supposed to be fulfilling, but it wasn’t. Maybe you poured your energy into a race, only to not meet your goal. Or, you planned a family vacation and s*** happened that you didn’t plan! If there’s something I know a lot about (raising three kids as a single parent, practicing law, etc.), things (with kids) almost never go as planned.

Before I read this book, I didn’t have a great word to put on these feelings. But, I have tried to use these expectation hangovers to my advantage. They have often led me to new ways to look at situations, change how I am living, parenting or planning. I leads me to laugh (after swearing) at the insanity that is typically my planning and expectations!

So, this weekend didn’t turn out as I “planned.” But it was still so awesome to see my daughter and it led me to a conversation with her, which was real and transparent. Unplanned but powerful for our relationship.

I love you honey bunny!! Thanks for the visit and for allowing me to cry (yet again) at the airport when I said good-bye.

XOXO

Mom (Jessica)

Love is a choice we make on a daily basis.

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. Sam Keen

A friend of mine is struggling in her marriage. She loves her partner but is not sure she wants to stay married. She asked what I thought (which is crazy since I’ve been divorced 1000 years!). Our conversation caused me to think more about how love works in general – especially when the tough part of life gets in the way!

I think love is a choice, not a feeling or an emotion. It’s a decision we make every day of our lives. Even when your partner doesn’t pick up after the kids, or spends too much time running, or when they don’t notice something new about you, or when the finances are not going well—you can still decide to choose love.

It sounds simple, but I think that we can all agree that choosing love is anything but simple. In fact, it can be very difficult at times. Here are some ways that I use to try to choose love on a daily basis: 

  1. Let go of the little things. At the end of our lives (or even in the middle) we have to admit that most of the things we worry about really are little things. This is a work in progress for me.
  2. Give more than you take in your relationship.
  3. Look at the world through someone else’s eyes. Seeing from their perspective helps you understand their motivations and actions.
  4. Pay attention. Listen to what those that you love are saying. I mean really listen – especially when they’re saying they’re hurt.
  5. Before you blame, examine yourself first.
  6. Accept and embrace differences.
  7. Validate the feelings of those that you love.
  8. Hold hands or hug anyone and whenever you can. (Italian issue and post COVID-19 of course!)
  9. It’s ok if you don’t see eye-to-eye. Disagreeing can help you see another point of view.
  10. Be transparent. When you are, those around you will be transparent with you.
  11. Put your trust in someone. Trust is fragile. Handle it with care.
  12. Laugh with someone.
  13. Be and speak respectfully.
  14. Say you’re sorry. And, really mean it.
  15. Forgive. And, really mean it.
  16. Appreciate the inner beauty of life.
  17. Love yourself. And, mean it. Really mean it.

Love is definitely not the easiest choice. But, it has the most value and feels so incredibly great! Try smiling through your mask at a stranger today and you will have chosen love.

XOXO

Jessica

Gaslighting.

The term gaslighting comes from the 1938 play by Patrick Hamiltion, known in America as “Angel Street.” It was later developed into the film “Gas Light” by Alfred Hitchcock.

In the suspense film, a manipulative husband tries to make his wife think she is losing her mind by making subtle changes in her environment, including slowly and steadily dimming the flame on a gas lamp. Not only does he disrupt her environment and make her believe she is insane, but he also abuses and controls her, cutting her off from family and friends. Because this film was an accurate portrayal of the controlling and toxic actions that manipulative people use, psychologists began to label this type of emotionally abusive behavior “gaslighting.”

Over the years I would hear this word, but never thought much about how it would work in my own life. Or maybe I just didn’t want to understand how it would work in my own life. I’ve seen it happen to loved ones and recently, two people tried to gaslight me. One, from someone I fully expect it from and the other caught me totally off guard.

People who gaslight, are habitual and pathological liars – there is no “truth.” They will blatantly lie to your face and never back down or change their stories. They find a way to claim (and sometimes convince you) that you’re wrong. You start apologizing just to keep the peace. It’s a horrible way to interact. These people minimize your thoughts, they blame, they discredit you and interestingly enough … they often use compassionate words as weapons.

I have no idea who is reading my blog posts. But if you are being gaslighted or if this resonates for you, remember that you are not to blame for what you’re experiencing. The person gaslighting you is making a choice to behave this way. Nothing you did caused them to make this choice and you won’t be able to change what they’re doing. This is key. It almost never stops until you pull yourself away from the situation or relationship.

In Gas Light, the wife, realized that her husband has been manipulating her and turns the tables on him. In the final scene, he has been tied to a chair by police. When she enters the room, he instructs her to get a knife and cut him loose. But she turns the tables on him and gaslights him back by pretending that she is too mentally ill — a reality that he has constructed for her — to carry out his instructions. Love this vindication!

To the most recent person who is gaslighting me: I don’t care. As I’ve gotten a bit wiser (bit is the operative word here!), I realize that healthy interactions are literally the most important part of life (other than food, water, a long outdoor swim and chocolate). So, I’m not stepping in (she says with a smile 🙂 ). I’m too busy walking my dog, being a mom and friend, and practicing law.

XOXO

Jessica

The S*** of life.

For most of our lives, we have things happen to us (some good and some not) and we just move through it as if we are invincible. Makes sense. We feel invincible. We aren’t thinking about having less years looking forward, than backwards.

As I’ve gotten old(er) the s** doesn’t affect me or cause me to worry any more or any less, than I used to. But, what I am able to do is stop and examine the s*** that is happening. I allow myself to experience the pain of the “negative” and the joy of the “positive.” Or, does there come some positive from the negative?

Winston Churchill once said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”

For some people, the s*** in life causes them to complain more – it becomes a way of life. The complainers, want to change the past and plan the future. It’s this search for happiness that causes them to miss the present moment.

For others, the s*** causes them to look around and appreciate what is happening. I. The. Moment. Life is hard for everyone. It’s not supposed to be easy. But some people can move through it a bit more gracefully.

I appreciate the s*** in my life. It never feels good. But it means I’m alive. I’m here. I’m experiencing life. The only time you stop having s*** happen, is when you die. Morbid, but true.

I intend to appreciate the good and the not-so-good. Only I can create a better future for myself and others. Today I reminded myself, as I try to do most days, not to chase the future, but to just enjoy today!

XOXO

Jessica

Where’s my Mama?

Honestly, I’m not sure I can say much more than this video does. This is just like my son. When this kid comes out to catch or bat (so you likely know which one I’m talking about), he scans and scans until he finds me, at which point I get that awesome smile and nod. This is in stark contrast to the other kid who, even if I’m sitting right behind home plate, will not see me nor even realize I’m at the game! 🙂 Love these two!

Enjoy this video and watch some of the clips on this thing. Every sports mom (and even those non-sports moms) will totally smile!

XOXO

Jessica

Survivor Pool.

I have no idea why I thought this would be fun.

The object of a survivor pool is to choose one game each week in the NFL and decide the winner. If you win, you move on and cannot choose that team for the remainder of the season. If you lose, you are eliminated. Survivor pools have popped up everywhere and everyone is doing them (who is “everyone”?). There are massive $1 leagues, small $50 leagues, even smaller $1,000 leagues. They say this there is something for everyone in survivor pools. Who the f*** is “they” and “everyone?”

Every week I start getting emails … “choose your team” “you have to choose your team” “you only have until XX to choose your team” “you haven’t chosen your team.” Leave. Me. Alone. I’m getting to it! I generally stall until my friend sends me a text at the end of the week … then I know I’ve got to get a plan.

Here’s my plan for week 4.

  1. Don’t read blogs on which team to choose.
  2. Don’t look at the odds.
  3. Don’t look at who is winning.
  4. Don’t look at who is playing at home.

Let’s keep this a secret, but here’s how I picked my team this week:

  1. I picked a team that was playing at a time I was not going to miss a Hallmark movie I want to watch.
  2. I didn’t pick my favorite team. That’s a double stressor.
  3. I picked the color of the uniforms I like.
  4. I picked one which had a stadium name with a food I like.

So, I choose the Saints this week.

  1. Playing during the day.
  2. Not GB Packers.
  3. Black uniforms.
  4. Caesars Stadium.

Let’s pray I win this week. Because I love ketchup and I can pick Heinz Stadium’s team next week. 🙂 Love this strategery!

XOXO

Jessica

Friends helped her survive.

I met a woman in the locker room after my swim yesterday (nothing like someone engaging you in a conversation as you are naked and desperately trying to get dressed!). She lived in Russia for many years. She and her husband moved here 10 years ago He died last year. I was asking her how she got started in water aerobics (the class has about 40+ people each time I see them and they are having a blast!).

She told me that when her husband died, she wanted to die too. Her son came for a bit but had to go back to his life and family. She just locked herself up on her house and hardly went out. A friend told her about this class but she didn’t want to go. With complete persistence by her friend, she tried it. She. Was. Hooked. She said it kept her alive during those first few months after his death.

I wondered if the class was one big friendship group as they seemed that way. She smiled and said to me, “There are people that are fun to be with. And you should have them in your life. There are people, usually just 3 or 4, that make your life.” We went on to talk about friends and life and frankly, much as I LOVE the outdoor pool, this conversation really was what made my day.

This conversation was a poignant reminder (on a day I said goodbye to my friend who had been here for a visit), that you need to nurture the most important relationships in your life. Money, things, houses, jobs, come and go. But love and friends and family – well, that’s what keeps us going.

Hug (even virtually!) a friend today!

If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scare. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.” Zig Ziglar

XOXO

Jessica

Floating

“I used to walk like a giant on the land. Now I feel like a leaf floating in a stream.” Neal Young

I’m at the close of the outdoor pool season. Today, rather than swim, I just jogged in the deep end of the pool. It gave me a chance to look around and feel the weather changing while I was protected by the warmer water. I noticed that there were leaves just beautifully laying flat – just floating in the water. It made me think about a time when I won’t ever see the leaves or the trees as I do now. I remember thinking about that when my mother died.

The peacefulness of the leaf was just exquisite. A deep yellow with golden edges – not being bothered by the waves I was making. Why don’t I have those kinds of peaceful moments? Why don’t I take the time to just float in the quiet of the pool? Honestly, I think it’s because I’ve not really valued taking that time.

Yes, I love spending time with my kids, family and my friends. Focusing on them and what we are experiencing. But maybe it’s my fear of “missing” something or not getting something done, which prevents me from just quietly taking the time to float. And, I don’t mean actual floating in the pool, although I did try that today. I mean taking the time to do nothing. Say nothing. Maybe even think nothing. Maybe floating is like an acquired test – like the opera. 🙂

I don’t regret that I have not in the past valued that time. I embrace that I now am thinking about it! Positive over regrets!

Maybe this is one of the after effects of the Covid-19 lockdown. I read that the lockdown produced the quietest year for the world’s oceans in recent memory. It makes sense because we know that noise pollution from ship engines, trawling activities, oil platforms, subsea mining and other human sources declined significantly last spring … (but I digress)!

Spending quiet time alone gives our mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order. It allows us to examine our lives openly and honestly. This year, I need to do more “floating” – even during those times when I am walking crazy dog! In fact, I’m going to start tomorrow!

XOXO

Jessica