Thursday, September 4, 2014

You can go your own way

When Ivy started preschool she was VERY routine-oriented and VERY skeptical about anything outside of her norm. About a month after school started they had water day and sent a note home informing the parents that the kids were encouraged to wear their bathing suits under their clothes. Ivy had never worn her bathing suit under her clothes. The whole idea was ridiculous to her and more than her little three-year-old brain could handle. So, we went to school sans swimwear and I relayed this information to the teacher, who tried to encourage her by pointing out all the other kids who were wearing their suits. The kids proudly lifted up their clothing to show their suits, and her teacher said, "see, Ivy, everyone is wearing their bathing suit!" Ivy's response was brilliant: "Everyone, but not Ivy."

Peer pressure! We all experience it at varying degrees throughout life, and it's not always bad. Sometimes peer pressure can encourage us to take healthy risks and try something new, or push ourselves further than our comfort zone resulting in a boost of self-confidence or a new skill. Or sometimes, we learn the joy of wearing our bathing suits under our clothes! On the other hand, we're all aware of examples when peer pressure results in poor choices, especially during the teenage years, but we can address that later.

The point I want to make is this: when you find yourself in a precarious situation with your gut telling you one thing and someone you may or may not even respect telling you the opposite, listen to the  wise words of Lindsey Buckingham and remember, "you can go your own way."*

Not every instance of peer pressure is going to result in an after-school-special lesson. The key is that you need to make your own choices. Don't be afraid to go against the grain: go with your gut. If you're going to make a mistake, make it your own and not someone else's.** And OWN IT!

This is how we learn and grow and gain life experiences (that we can then write about on the Internet!).

*Yes, I know Mr. Buckingham was telling Stevie Knicks that their relationship was over and she could go her own way with Don Henley, but that's not really the point for this post. We can discuss break-ups another time.

**Slight disclaimer on this one: if your own mistake is to do meth or something equally as risky and illegal and stupid, remember the equally  wise words of Frances McDormand in Almost Famous, "Don't take drugs!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't wear this. And don't pierce your navel.

We all go through many fashion phases in life, and upon looking back, realize that many of them are EPIC FAILURES. (Facebook friends may remember my plaid flannel shorts from high school. Why were those even ever made??!!) This is all a part of life, growing up and discovering yourself. So please, Ivy, experiment, express yourself, try out different styles. Just don't wear this:

Because... ehhhh... just don't.

And don't pierce your navel!

Whatever happens, we'll handle it. Together.

A friend recently told me about her sister-in-law's fight with breast cancer. The first round was several years ago, and her reaction was to be feisty, with an in-your-face, "I'm going to beat this!" attitude. She underwent treatment successfully and had a few healthy years, but then the cancer returned. This time her attitude was more relaxed. Her reaction isn't apathy or denial, she's still fighting it, but her approach is coming more from a place of acceptance: "ok, this is what we're doing now."

My friend said that she is trying to approach life in general with this attitude. When things go wrong outside of your control, instead of blowing up and freaking out, just accept it, change directions and move forward. Onward and upward!

I really think this is a great attitude that I am trying to apply in my own life (although I recognize it is often easier said than done). It doesn't mean that you accept bad circumstances or let wrong-doing go without consequence, it means that you accept the situation as it is and determine how to move forward.

The last few years I feel like I, and many of my loved ones, have been slapped in the face with "things don't always turn out the way you plan," and I've learned that life is just that way. And it's not always a bad thing! Sometimes disaster strikes and you've got to pick up the pieces, and sometimes you are met with a super fabulous surprise that you could never even imagine. And in all cases, your experience and reaction will continue to shape who you are (and you don't want to be a miserable, angry person!).

An important part of this approach to life is to build and nurture a support system. I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing support system of friends and family both near and far who have shared my highs and lows (and will continue to!), and I am eternally grateful that my daughter will be able to grow with this support system as well.

Whatever happens, babe, we're all in this together!