Be F-ing Awesome Today | Page 45 of 49 |No B.S. Inspiration & Motivation for Time-Crunched Humans google4228e52aa5dfebc8.html
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Be The Best Thing To Someone Today
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Dare To Be Different
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Go Out And Play
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A New Day
5
Self Judgment Day
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Thank Full
7
Take The Plunge
8
The Secret of Life
9
Walk Across the Bridge
10
You Can Always Float

Be The Best Thing To Someone Today

Graphic quote You are a blessing www.befat.net

Without you being aware of it, you could become the person who changes someone’s life today for the better. In fact you most certainly may be the best thing that happens to someone today. That’s how powerful you are as a human being.

It might go undetected by you, but the person you grace with your presence (intentionally or not) will be forever changed. And grateful that you showed up in their life today.

***

I sat in a tiny waiting area. Tense. Afraid. Sick to my stomach. Again.

In this one there were six chairs, two side tables topped with a variety of magazines all battered and torn. A coffee table centered between the chairs held a gratuitous plastic flower arrangement. Why bother? Someone had tried to cheery up the room with honey-colored walls and unremarkable framed prints of forests and wheat fields. I hated this place just like I hated the place before it.

Across from me sat a little old man, maybe in his 80s, the only other person in the room. Where I hadn’t acknowledged him at all, he offered a kind and friendly smile.

I dug out my nearly-filled notebook and scribbled in today’s entry: date, location, doctor, procedure. Keeping notes was my sanity, a way to control the uncontrollable. It gave me a sense of purpose; that I was doing something to help, to be productive, to keep a handle on the only thing I could manage. Notes. Names. Medications. Lab reports. Specialists. Surgeries. Chemo schedule.

I wrote with desperate intensity; fast, in a panic, worried I’d forget something, one tiny detail that once having escaped my brain could never be retrieved. And that detail would end up being the important clue and I’d beat myself up again for not having recorded it.

This was my purpose as a caregiver. A meticulous keeper of notes.

What started as a “just the facts m’am” reference grew into a filled journal of raw emotion. Writing became the only trusted reliable friend on the dark days.

Feeling angry and pissed, I had no trouble telling off everyone and anyone on paper, including God Almighty. Sometimes I punched people in the face. On paper.

Writing kept my sanity especially on days when I felt the entire world around me had gone insane.

This was one of those days.

I pressed the pen so hard my fingers trembled until the point tore through the page. That’s when the old man laid his hand on my knee making me flinch.

He smiled without showing any teeth and, with a surprisingly firm grip, took both of my hands in his. “How long have you had cancer?” he asked me.

I shook my head. “It’s my husband.” He nodded as if he only saw my lips move but didn’t hear my words. “My husband.”

“Yes,” he said. “How long have you had cancer?”

I repeated “my husband” again but louder, in slow motion, so he could read my lips.

He massaged my hands a moment.

“My wife,” he said, his eyes looking to the door, “she’s in there too.” He turned back to me and smiled. A full set of rather nice old man teeth. “We’ve been married sixty-two years. This is the second time we have had cancer.” Emphasis on the word “we”.

His eyes, mocha colored like my Dad’s, softened. He went on to tell me that he is present for every appointment, blood draw, chemo and radiation treatment. Holds her hair back when she throws up then wipes her face. Spoon feeds her when she can’t do it herself. Wraps his arms around her when she is too tired to cry or weak to walk. “We” meant they are so close and bonded, what happens to one is felt by the other.

He palmed my cheek, still smiling. “How long have you had cancer?”

“Two years.”

We talked a short while before he retreated back to his chair and worn out Yachting magazine to wait for his wife.

I thanked him when he and his equally sweet wife left, then returned to write in “our” notebook with a more peaceful stroke.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Image credit: Unsplash

Original graphic and quote: Stephanie DelTorchio

Dare To Be Different

www.befat.net Happy to be me. Positive affirmation quote

We label people as “different” or “weird” or “strange” or “an odd duck” when we describe an individual who is far away from our belief of “normal”.

What is normal?

A conformist?

A rule player?

Someone who looks and behaves exactly like us?

Can’t we be good citizens, productive workers and still be different?

I’ve always liked the term “free spirit” (in the positive context) to define individuals who dance to their own drum. This person lives in harmony with themselves, Mother Nature and without treading on other people’s weirdness. Sign me up.

As a teenager I went braless because I was a teenager, and honestly there wasn’t much that needed support. A pink t-shirt I wore printed in gold lettering was a public testament to my personal freedom. (I’ll never forget) it said: The Itty Bitty Titty Committy. Funny then. Cringe-worthy today.

The 70s hippie crowd, my generation, plastered the country with demonstrations of free love, drugs, and to this day, the best rock music ever made by a slew of musicians and artists who dared to be different.

We were anti-this and pro-that in the face of “the man”. www.befat.net We thought we were cool.

Hairstyles were long and stringy. Fashion styles ranged from jazzy prints, denim, go-go boots to the  beginnings of preppy, non-hippie (men wearing matching pastel sweaters and socks) and the two didn’t meet in the middle. I chose the former; bell-bottoms with thick embroidered bands sewn on the bottom, peasant shirts and halter tops that drove my parents’ generation crazy. We were different. And I didn’t care.

Truthfully I was a fringe partner of my generation. More a middle of the road, closet non-conformist who loved the style than a true card carrying hippie. I did well in school, played by the rules and despite the veil of hippie, honored my parents’ values. I did my own thing for sure, but once the 70s moved into the 80s my perspective on being different shifted. The 80s matured me.

I wore a bra every day. My judgment of others became a live and let live attitude of peace and love. As a homeowner and parent, I had mediocre tolerance and success with heavy metal and big hair, but also silently cheered those who lived by their light. Different is still different and that’s okay with me.

Imaginative and creative people are different than logic driven types. Perceived as aloof or introspective, detached or (yikes) insane, those are the very people “normal” society looks to for innovative advances and artistic expression.

Putting aside the true psychotic personalities out there, the certifiably different, the free spirit types spread their vibe just by being present. The hip and trendy cycle repeats itself with each generation. New styles, music, opinions, fights to fight, causes to defend. Most people evolve and change, perhaps substituting one oddness for another quirk, while others get stuck. There’s plenty of leftover hippies tripping in the 70s man.

Before we label each other, we need to understand it’s our differences that make us unique. I’m cool with that.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio
Images: Bird in flight/Breano Machado/Unsplash; Hippy Town/Pixaby

You might also like: 7 Struggles of Being a Free-Spirited Woman

Go Out And Play

Adults at play caution www.befat.net

Play isn’t just for children. The big kids need time out to relax and let go too.

And it’s not all fun and games. Playing relieves stress, provides physical and mental stimulation, and opens up opportunities to share time with friends, or make new ones.

Some of the reasons we enjoy playtime as adults is to:

  • Learn a new skill: Power Tools, Tiling, Knitting, etc.
  • Create something: Painting, Woodcraft, etc.
  • Feel challenged: Rope courses, trail hiking, etc.
  • Calm down and focus ourselves: Retreats, Canoe trips, etc.
  • Compete: Team or individual sports.

Many children’s play centers have tuned into the needs of adults to play. After the kiddos are tucked in bed, places around the country and the world, open their doors for adult only play. They feature theme nights (e.g. dress in your favorite team gear), adult beverages, and prizes. Play centers and adult only sports are favored as fundraisers, corporation team building and events and private parties.

Here are a few fun adult game centers –not open to children!

Battle Axe Throwing is popular in Canada and England.

Axe throwing

Battle Axe Throwing

Adult Bubble Soccer is touted as both physical fun and great for team building.

Whirly Ball is played in a “whirlybug”, a bumper car you drive with a joystick and a foot pedal. Add a whiffleball. Swat it around the court while spinning in circles, and you’ve got whirlyball.

250px-Whirlyball

Whirlyball

Legoland Discovery Centers opens up in the evenings where adults can channel their childhood memories and get lost in construction.

Unique play centers for adults around the world.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Sources: Battle Axe Throwing, Whirly Ball

A New Day

www.befat.net

By it’s very definition, Zen is a total state of focus

Zen incorporates the togetherness of body and mind. Maybe a little “out there” for some people, but I challenge you to look at a beautiful sunrise or sunset and not feel your body and mind come together.

The moment this photo was snapped I felt that whatever (bad stuff) had happened the day or week or month or year(s) before wash away.

With the new tide, the beach is reborn and gets another chance to be a beach.

A new possibility.

New feet will sink in it’s sand, new birds will scurry at the shoreline, new children will collect the shells that gather. Can you tell the beach is my happy place?

“It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life, for me…and I’m feeling good.”

This is my anthem for today.

Anthony Newley and Leslie Briscusse wrote the song lyrics to the song It’s A New Dawn for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.

Nina Simone recorded the song for her 1965 album I Put a Spell on You and it became a standard. It’s been recorded by many artists. Listen to her version. My apologies to Michael Bublé @MichaelBublé, my favorite contemporary version.

Please forward this graphic to your friends who need a prayer, a note of encouragement, a nudge or a KICK IN THE PANTS today.

It’s a new dawn, my friends. And I’m feeling good.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Photo and Original Graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

Self Judgment Day

www.befat.net

So you’re waiting in line at the Pearly Ones trying to get your story straight.

Maybe you’ve kept a running list and brought it with you– the general accounting of your life, written in your best penmanship. Years of good deeds, annual generous donations, personal sacrifices, and a few token sins tacked on the end (c’mon now people). You figure a comprehensive list along with a humble dose of humility and apostolic reverence just might be enough to squeak by. Good for you.

I don’t have a list.

Not sure it would do much good.

There isn’t a person alive (or an angel-winged Bouncer at a Gate) that will ever judge me harder than I judge myself. Where I excuse others and give them a pass, this gal spent years wrapping her own knuckles with criticism, judgment, condemnation, and unforgiveness. Years I can’t get back or do-over.

See, I think about this life a lot. Every day. All day. At night, as lay me down to sleep, I take an accounting of the day. Did I waste it? Did I spend it with people I love, eating delicious food, laughing, helping? Was there wine? Lots of wine? Did I contribute rather than burden? Was I available? Aware? Involved? Kind? Thankful? Did I learn something? Did I grow?

I can’t fall asleep until I give thanks and forgive myself with the promise that, if given the chance, I’ll try better tomorrow.

With aging comes the awareness of the finite time on this planet and the realization that I need to stop screwing up and fly straight. I don’t want to end up a bitchy old lady still wondering when my happy days plan to show up.

It is my responsibility to own this life and enjoy it. And because I now know this, damn it, I need to live this way until the very end.

I truly believe the only accounting necessary on my last breath is an answer to a simple question: Did you enjoy your life, Steph?

The rest of my time here is dedicated to making sure my answer is: “You’re damn right I did!”

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Original quote and graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio
Quote from A Few Good Men: “You’re damn right I did!”

Thank Full

www.befat.net

On this day I am thankful for…you fill in the rest.

If you are living and breathing, (Hallelujah!) I know you are thankful for Today. Beyond that it’s up to you  to give thanks for each day. Count your blessings — just like Grandma preached before she cleaned the potatoes from your ears and told you to be thankful you had two ears to hear!

Be Nice. Be Kind. Be Gracious. Be Safe.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

 

Take The Plunge

Thanksgiving Day Swim

Thanksgiving Day Swim

Around 8 a.m. Dick and MJ open their front door to welcome all ages to participate in the Annual Thanksgiving Day Swim. They’ve organized the neighborhood tradition of taking a dip in the river for 27 years.

This is New England. It’s cold in the early morning. Air temps in the 20s or 30s is typical; water temperature, 40s or 50s. Snow and ice floats always a possibility. A Turkey Day swim is not for the thin skinned.

The swimmers arrive, dressed head toe in warm gear, towels draped around their necks, some with just a bathrobe to cover their swim suit. Boots and flip flops are both appropriate footwear.

All swimmers sign the guest book -– a signature binds the swimmer to take the plunge. A warm drink, breakfast treats, and then the year’s group gathers outside for a photo.

The procession of swimmers and spectators makes its way through the neighborhood to the river’s edge. For many it’s a reunion. Kids who’ve grown up and left return for the holiday weekend and the swim. As the years pass, older folks (now spectators) give way to another generation.

www.befat.net

There’s no official announcement, no whistle, no ready-set-go shotgun. Swimmers peel away the layers and (depending on the tide) walk across large rocks to the hard sand and the waiting river.

Spectators, who often outnumber the swimmers, cheer on their braver neighbors and friends.

Swimmers dunk in and run out. The hardiest (or warmed by liquor) show off with a few leisurely strokes. They wrap themselves in towels and blankets, their frigid baptism complete.

One teenage girl shivered: “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done,” followed by, “and it was awesome!”

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Images: Stephanie DelTorchio

The Secret of Life

Is…As soon as you find the answer let me know, will ya?

The Secret of Life is different for everyone. But it has a common theme. It’s the realization that your life matters; you matter. And you get a lifetime to figure that one out. Here’s a hint:

The secret? It’s the “thing” (or person or place, etc.) that makes you aware that you are a living and breathing human being.

And whatever secret you discover is the key that unlocks your best life. Not mine. Not your partner’s. Not your boss’s. Not your country’s. Not your parent’s (or their ghosts).  Meaning you never need to explain it or defend it. Ever.

www.befat.netHere’s the kicker: Time. You don’t know how much you’ve got.

I think some of us have an easier time finding the secret to our life. Maybe you knew at age six you wanted to be a veterinarian. Your Dr. Dolittle office filled with stuffed animals in need of care. During school years you volunteered at the animal shelter. Then on to Vet school and now you are a bonafide animal doctor just like you knew you’d be. Then there’s people like me.

I spent most of my life being scared shit. That I would die without ever understanding the purpose and meaning and “secret” of my life.

I ran here and there, zigged this way and that, went up the hill and over the mountain looking for this elusive secret. Maybe it will never make itself known. Or worse, it does and I miss it! I’m aware of that too.

I’ve wandered around the planet, a deranged potpourri brain trying on a zillion masks to see which one fits best.

Remember that famous Confucius line? “Life is really simple; we insist on making it complicated.” Sometimes we inject unnecessary drama. We overthink.

We try too hard to seek what’s already there — you know all that constipated lip service about counting your blessings, gratitude, blah-blah-blah, etc. 

It’s all good, okay? But only if you believe it at your core. It does no good to tack up a poster on your wall because the pictures behind the words are pretty.

Time to discover the secret to your life. Before time is up.

(To me) one of the best takeaway lines on finding The Secret of Life comes from the 1991 movie City Slickers. This isn’t new but it’s worth revisiting…

Here, text from the screenplay, where Jack Palance’s character Curly asks Billy Crystal’s character Mitch the following:

Curly
Do you know what the secret of life is?
(holds up one finger)
This.

Mitch
Your finger?

Curly
One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that
and the rest don’t mean shit.

Mitch
But, what is the “one thing?”

Curly
That’s what you gotta figure out.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Video source: 1991 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Walk Across the Bridge

www.befat Walk across the bridge

I live in an island town that is attached to the mainland by a bridge. The locals joke about “going over the bridge” as if crossing to the other side leads to some vast foreign abyss. And for some people it might be. They stay, from birth to death, with or without regrets. I don’t know. What is clear is that many people only toy with the idea of trying something new; someday, right?

Whatever the bridge represents to you — new job, begin or end of a relationship, health choice, a new home, etc. –- requires you to face your fear of the unknown. Fear can be paralyzing. Fear keeps us stuck on this side of the bridge. The side where we know every crack in the street and how to side step them. Where the old man sitting on the street corner waves when we drive by because he knows us by name. It’s familiar, and safe.

By staying on this side of the bridge we may never know what else is out there. Maybe it’s better, maybe not.

Don’t buy into the “grass is always greener” nonsense. This is spoken by people afraid to try a different brand of sliced bread.

Any deviation from the same, regular, predictable behavior is blasphemy. I heard this when I dared to move off the island.

You are here to explore and expand beyond your fenced in safe little yard. To not do so is to cheat yourself of what could be.

The challenge is to go over the bridge. Pack up your fears and worries and stomach butterflies and go. Crawl, walk, run or skip over. It doesn’t matter. Just go.

You can always come back over the bridge, but never in the same way.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Poem and original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

You Can Always Float

www.befat.net

Sometimes life feels like one big ocean trying to swallow you up. You’re swimming and swimming, just barely holding your head above the water. Not always, but sometimes.

A random example: Building or purchasing your dream home.  Your best laid plans can take a hit when any one of a thousand glitches happens — and something always happens!  Inspections go bad, building materials fail to show on time, the plumber is delayed on another project, so you’re delayed.

In the meantime your landlord (or mother) wants you out. You have visions of living on the street dragging a garbage bag that holds all your possessions. Okay, that’s extreme.

Hopefully, eventually, all works out and you get to live in your dream home with your family for many happy years. You just need to keep your head above the water long enough until you reach dry land or be discovered by a pleasure boat at cocktail hour. See? It all ends well.

But other times your “life swim” has more serious consequences. An illness. Unemployment. The death of a loved one or close friend. Perspective enlightens. A late shipment of roof shingles is way different than a poor health prognosis or the real possibility of losing your dream home due to financial hardship or disaster beyond your control.

Even then, please know that at any time — ANY TIME — you can stop swimming.

I learned this, like others, the hard way.

I didn’t know floating was an option.

I swam faster and harder, doing everything I could to not drown. The harder I tried, the more I took in, the heavier I felt, more exhausted my body became. At some point I wished to just drown already. If only I knew enough to–

Stop fighting so hard.

Save my breath.

Relax my muscles.

Gather my strength — and FLOAT.

BE F-G AWESOME TODAY!

Image credit: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash
Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio