If you're a parent, you've probably been told that it's easier to get young kids out the door in the morning if you lay out their clothes the night before. In a perfect world, you get them to pick out their clothes for the entire week on Sunday night, thereby eliminating at least one opportunity for tantrums each morning.
I've started doing this for myself. Not because I'm prone to throwing tantrums, but because the science behind the new concept of so-called "decision fatigue" says that we have only a set amount of decision-making capacity we can use each day.
It seems that willpower really is a finite resource. If we squander too much of it in the morning, we make poorer decisions as the day goes on. When President Barack Obama says he only wears black or gray suits because he has too much else to worry about, he's not kidding: Why use precious brainpower on solids vs. pinstripes if you've got to deal with Putin that afternoon?
I don’t have a mantra. I will probably never have a mantra, and my Sanskrit is… let’s just say patchy, at best.
But there are certain phrases I repeat to myself, over and over. Because they keep me from going nuts.
Every now and then I find a new phrase. It gets tacked to my wall, made into a screensaver, and it pops into my head at random times. It gets chanted (mentally) when my kids or my work threaten to make my blood boil.
Turns out you have some favorite sanity-saving phrases too, as evidenced by our call for great quotes on Facebook and Twitter. So what do I say, and what do you say? These:
Get knocked down seven times, get up eight.
This is supposedly a Japanese proverb, sometimes translated as “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” It makes no sense, literally, and that’s part of what I love about it. Because usually the thing that’s knocked me down for the sixth or seventh time makes no sense, either.
Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a good break and got some actual time to relax during the very-well-timed holidays.
Looking back at our list of 2012 New Year's resolutions, we did pretty well. Meet a friend for lunch each month--check. Learn a new skill--check. Visit the library, drink more water and ask for what we want. Check, check and check. And we have a bottle of champagne chilling in the 'fridge -- just in case there's good news!
Of course, we didn't get to everything on the list, but that's okay. New year, new resolutions. And while 2012 was about keeping it simple and doable, we thought that 2013 should be about spending more time with family and friends and adding more fun to our day-to-day lives. Here's our combined list.
1. Expand our vocabulary by using words such as kerfuffle, whatchamacallit, gobsmacked, bloviate, flummox, gobbledygook, and rigamarole. January is now covered. At least one of us also vows to stop all use of "LOL," immediately.
2. Spend 10 minutes a day being thankful. That can mean actually writing a thank-you card, expressing our appreciation via email, or acknowledging our good fortune on Facebook or Twitter. Sitting and being thankful silently does not count. We have to actually do something about it.
This is where you end up. Knitting a sock, on a train, wondering if people think you're nuts.
When we first moved to our suburban town, I worried about the length of my new commute. I even tested out the trip before we moved. My husband picked me up at the train station in our potential hometown so I could see how long and painful my new commute might be. The average American supposedly commutes 28 minutes, one-way, to work. My new commute was going to be two to three times that.
It was long. It was painful. And I had the bad luck to conduct my experiment in the middle of a three-day rainstorm. Everyone said the trains were thrown off- schedule by any bad weather, so I figured my "normal" sunny-day commute would be acceptable.
It was, if barely. Then we had kids. Suddenly, every damn second of my life was triple-booked, and I could not believe I was spending nearly three hours a day, five days a week, in an enforced state of idleness. I thought my head would explode. I was so frustrated I would come home in tears once or twice a week.
And I learned that just as there are five stages of grief, there are five stages of commuting.
At age 14, Amy Lemons moved from her hometown of Richmond, Va., to New York, signed with an international modeling agency, and began traveling the world.
“I got my first passport to model,” she says. She loved the adventure and the creativity; each day was new and different. She worked with top photographers, including Mario Testino, and shot ads for Burberry in Wales and Victoria’s Secret in St. Barts. She was living the life. Steven Meisel shot her for the cover of Italian Vogue. Next came covers for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and campaigns for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.
“I was working with all these people I’d seen in the magazines -- Gisele and Tyra Banks -- and they were so nice to me,” Lemons says. “Most of the girls at the top of the profession are smart, driven, and educated.”
She remembers how Banks was a size 10 and proud of it. But everyone else was extremely judgmental, calling Lemons, a lifetime athlete, “too healthy.” In modeling, that’s code for “chubby.” Lemons’ New York agency began pushing hard for her to slim down.