Friday, June 21, 2013

Maybe it was Plan B all along

Driving home this evening, Colbie Caillat's remake/remix of The Script's Breakeven song came on the radio. This was maybe the third or fourth time I'd heard it. I remember the first time I heard it, I was completely mesmerized. I loved it from the first second. I loved it in a put-it-on-repeat-until-the-record-breaks kind of way. Yes, I'd heard the lyrics and tune before, but somehow THIS version spoke to me in a way that the original hadn't.

The original "Breakeven" by The Script:

The Colbie Caillat remix/remake:

This made me think of the Dixie Chick's remake of the original Fleetwood Mac "Landslide". It was another song that I was surprised when I loved the cover more than the original and the original is an amazing song. Once again, something about the Dixie Chicks cover spoke to me.

The original "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac:

The Dixie Chicks cover of "Landslide":

As my mind continued to wander, it occurred to me that maybe sometimes life is like that.  After all, some people believe that The Godfather II was better than the original.

Maybe sometimes the first version is not the best version.

On the cusp of my 40th birthday, I can't help but think this life that I'm leading was most definitely NOT the first version of my plan. In Plan A, by the time I was 40, I would be well-established and well thought of in my career. I would be witnessing life through the eyes of my teenage child as they experienced all of the teenaged angst as I once did. I would curl up at night next to my partner, my rock, my husband.

Instead, my life has become Plan B. Not only do I not have a teenager, I have no children at all. I stopped taking exams long ago and have settled as a data analyst rather than a full-fledged actuary. The only thing curling up next to me as I nod off at night is a dog.  And that's only on her terms ..... if she's cold.

On the other hand, Plan B has a lot to recommend it. Outside of my work commitments, I have lots of freedom and answer to no one. If I want to take off for a ride on my motorcycle or spend a whole Saturday playing bridge, I can do it. As long as the dog gets walked and the bills get paid, my time is my own.  A few weeks ago I bought a new car. I did my research to make sure I was making a good purchase, but other than that, I consulted no one. I didn't ask for anyone's opinion and it didn't occur to me to do so.

I often times also think that if I was knee deep in Plan A, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I can imagine that with my upbringing, I would have simply followed the herd and done what everyone else does. The sad thing is that it never would have occurred to me to STOP following the herd and figure out who I really am. For me, this journey to self-discovery is best undertaken all by myself. My inner voice is awfully quiet and if I wasn't able to get away from it all, I might never hear what she has to say.

So maybe some day when I am old and gray, I will look back and realize that Plan B was always the song that spoke to me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

8 a day for good health

“It was just a hug, but gods, it meant so much. It meant everything.” 

I need more hugs. There. I said it.

I recently read a quote that said we need
* 4 hugs a day for survival.
* 8 hugs a day for maintenance.
* 12 hugs a day for growth.

On an average day, are you surviving, maintaining or growing?

Growing up, I don't remember a lot of hugging going on in my family. My mom didn't really tuck me into bed at night because she was usually still at work. I didn't witness any spontaneous hugging between my parents. Even to this day, my dad is one of the most awkward huggers I've experienced. I think it comes from the fact that HIS family weren't huggers. The only time that there was much of any hugging in my house growing up was when family came to visit for holidays. Then it could be heard, "Heather, come give your aunt and uncle a hug before they leave."

I remember wanting more hugs.

There really is very little that is better than a really great hug. Whether we are each huggers or not, we all  KNOW what a good hug feels like. And what a less than ideal hug feels like.

I hate one-armed huggers. I'm not referring to those people who have had to experience an amputation, but those people whose attempts at hugging are half-hearted at best. And you can tell. They think that just swinging one arm around for 1/2 a second counts as a hug. It doesn't.

I think a real hug only occurs when your arms are emptied and your hearts are filled. A real hug involves two people sharing a moment of contact with one another where they exchange the heat of their bodies and the warmth of their hearts.

There is a young man at the church that I go to who is a blue-ribbon, gold-medal, 5-star award-winning hugger! During the "passing of the peace" when others are greeting one another with a nod or a handshake or a "Peace be with you", he is hugging. He hugs his family and his friends. He hugs acquaintance and people who are first-time visitors.

I admire him. I wish I could be that kind of a hugger.

I know that we all need hugs and most people want hugs, but I still find myself afraid of that wretched possibility of rejection. There's the possibility that someone could say, "I'm not a hugger." If they do, should  I take it personally? Is it that they just don't want to hug me?

I swear I shower every day and brush twice a day, but I seem to have this affect on other creatures, human or otherwise.

I often overhear people complaining about their dogs who ALWAYS have to be near them and are constantly wanting to be petted. Oh, how I wish for this problem. Sasha is literally the only dog I've ever met that has zero interest in being petted. At least by me.  One of my cats occasionally comes out of hiding long enough to rub up against my leg, but then only lets me stroke her once or twice before running off again.

On a recent trip to visit my family, as I was getting ready to leave, I asked my 2 1/2 year-old niece if I could have a hug. Her response was an adamant "NO!" I tried not to let it break my heart.

On an average day, according to the 4/8/12 hug standard, I am coming in well below survival status.  With no husband, no one that I'm dating, no roommate and no family around, I literally can't remember the last time anyone hugged me.

Maybe it's because others have that same fear of being rejected.

So, how do we turn this around? How do we make sure each of us is getting enough daily hugs for growth?

Here's my challenge to you:

* Tomorrow, make sure you get enough hugs to survive.
* The next day, make sure you get enough hugs to maintain.
* Every day after that, make sure you get enough hugs to grow.

After all, it takes two to make a great hug. If you're getting the proper hug dosage each day, then you're helping to make sure someone else does too.


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