I was inspired to prepare this piece based on a post called “Confessions: Things I’ve Never Done” from Andrea of Living on Cloud Nine. We share so many “nevers” in common, for a portion of this post I kept her “nevers” and added my commentary. I’ll throw a few more original-to-me ones on at the end.
Seen an episode of The Bachelor (Andrea’s)
Unlike Andrea, I have seen several episodes of The Bachelor but I have never been a die-hard. I have to admit Twitter during The Bachelor is really fun though! (Jennifer Weiner’s Bachelor tweets were especially hilarious before she broke up with the show (thanks, Donald Trump.)
And fun side note: my daughter’s name (Tenley) had a brief popularity spike when there was a contestant on the show named Tenley (Tenley Molzahn — check her out at Tenley’s Sweet & Free Life).
Had stitches (Andrea’s)
Can’t say I’ve never had stitches (hello, childbirth).
Had a broken bone (Andrea’s)
I hate to jinx things by leaving this “never” here but, no.
Been in a Semi Truck (Andrea’s)
Funny/quirky that this was on Andrea’s list but …. I haven’t either!
Gone swimming under water (Andrea’s)
Yes, I’ve been swimming underwater.
Been on a Jet Ski or Water Skis (Andrea’s)
No to the jet ski, yes to the water skis. I have vivid memories of the friends who taught me to ski — I failed many times before finally staying up, and remember so clearly the key to success: staying “down” in a seated position longer than expected — until we were making progress — and then standing up. Not standing up prematurely before the boat had sufficiently pulled me into position. Kind of a great metaphor for life too.
Eaten Brussels Sprouts, Caviar, Eggs Benedict, Oysters, SpaghettiOs or a Big Mac (Andrea’s)
I need to cook Andrea some brussels sprouts (a fave!). I can check all of these off my list.
Joined Facebook or Instagram (Andrea’s)
(From Paula) I am never going to be able to escape Cal Newport (I wrote about his positive impact on my thoughts about attention span here and here, and my disagreement with his anti-social media stance here.) He impacted one of Andrea’s “never” answers (see below).
(Andrea’s original answer) I simply cannot do all Social Media and work and have a blog and raise a family. A couple outlets have to get sacrificed. Now while I admit I am probably missing out a little not having an insta, and you’re probably all gonna tell me that, lol, not having a FB is 110% fine by me. I read an article why one guy [Cal Newport] refused to join HERE and even had others try to argue why he should HERE and his stance remained the same.
Been inside a Costco (Andrea’s)
Me either! How is that?!
Been on a Cruise (Andrea’s)
Nor have I . Andrea says it’s not for her at all, but I would love to go on a cruise.
It wasn’t a BIG part of my children’s childhoods but yes, they’ve been. Tenley loved it so much she went to work there (for a few months as part of the Disney College Program). This picture is from our visit to her while she was in the program.
Gotten a Tattoo (Andrea’s)
I haven’t done this either, and in most respects it isn’t my thing. However, I do love the idea of a semicolon (to reflect suicide awareness as inspired by Project Semicolon). If you are here in Tallahassee, come to No Regrets Tattoos on 4/9/17 from 12-7 p.m., and either get a semicolon tattoo or draw one on yourself with Sharpie. No Regrets is donating 50% of the proceeds for all semicolon tattoos to NAMI Tallahassee, which provides support, advocacy, education, and research for people with mental illness, their families and friends.
Plucked My Eyebrows (Andrea’s)
Yes, I’ve done this, although I get them waxed now instead of plucking. If you read this post, you know the waxing process doesn’t always go smoothly!
Worn False Eyelashes (Andrea’s)
Nope. I haven’t either and don’t foresee a time when I will.
Now that I’ve worked through Andrea’s list, here are a few of my own:
Won a Grads Made Good Award
I have always admired the winners of the Omicron Delta Kappa Grads Made Good award at FSU, such as author Diane Roberts, retired astronaut Winston Scott, and Sister Michelle Carroll. It feels funny writing this because I could frame it as “I’m only 52 — that may be midlife but by golly I’m going to go out and write that book, create that world-changing social media campaign, or achieve that transcendent feat that earns me a nomination” but I just don’t see it happening (I probably also have dug my political grave in a few ways with the kind of people who make the Grads Made Good decisions, even if I solved World Hunger tomorrow.)
I remind myself that there are accomplishments in life for which there isn’t a cool batik award (I don’t know if they still do, but winners used to be given a hand painted batik likeness of themselves) and public notoriety, like raising two children and caregiving an elder through severe memory loss and terminal cancer. That matters too.
I particularly remember the 1996 Grads Made Good ceremony, when Wayne and I got a babysitter for a months-old Tenley and attended the breakfast. One of the honorees was Cliff Freeman, who created the Little Caesars “Pizza Pizza” campaign. Judging by this 2009 article about Mr. Freeman’s agency’s difficulty navigating a changed advertising landscape, success can be fleeting; perhaps I should be inspired to keep trying yet reassure myself that no award guarantees continued accolades.
Gone to Europe
I checked “international travel” off when I went to Guatemala in 2011 with Tenley. However, my dream international trip is to Valencia, Spain. That’s more likely to happen than winning a Grads Made Good Award.
Driven a Manual Transmission Car
While it isn’t technically true that I haven’t driven a manual transmission car, I surely have not mastered the skill. I did drive to Publix once, with Wayne talking me through it from the passenger seat, but I stalled out once and definitely could not have done it solo. This is a problem because the best car in the family right now is the one that has a manual transmission. I know once I master it I’ll wonder what all my anxiety was about but I’m not there yet.
Honorable Mentions: Are “honorable mentions” even a thing for a blog post like this? They are today, because explaining each one is a blog post in itself, which I don’t want to dig that deeply into right now, but they are tugging at me enough to deserve mention:
Never became a doctor
Never became fully Spanish/English bilingual (yet!)
Never binge-watched anything streaming (yet)
Never jumped out of an airplane (never will)
How about you? What’s on your “I never have” list?
It’s no secret at all that my candidate did not win the US Presidency. The election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency makes me sad, angry, and terrified for the impact his policy choices will have on my fellow Americans, on me, and on the world at large.
But he did win, he is being inaugurated on January 20, and I have a choice to make regarding how I respond.
Although One20 is focusing on January 20 to begin with, I anticipate that start will create ripple effects long into the future. One20 has inspired the structure of this post: 20 things I, as ONE single person, can do and say in response to the establishment of the Trump Administration.
1. I am not using the #NotMyPresident hashtag.
The day after the election, my daughter and I were discussing the election’s outcome and the reactions of people around us. “Is it that bad?” was her question. While I do believe it is, indeed, that bad, I am choosing not to use the #NotMyPresident hashtag.
I am choosing not to use the #NotMyPresident hashtag because, like it or not, he is what I am getting. However, in the same way that I went to the Grads Made Good breakfast at Florida State year after year and refused to clap for Dr. Stephen Winters (RIP) who groped me in Dodd Hall when I was a freshman, the professor a higher-up administrator basically looked the other way about when I shared the information, I will not be applauding our new President.
2. An Addition to My White House Selfies
Every time I go to DC, I take the obligatory “here I am in front of the White House picture,” like this one from last September.
When I go to the Shot at Life Champions Summit next month, though, the picture may still have a green pen in it (I mean, that’s the norm now, right?) BUT I will also feature a safety pin prominently in the picture. I have seen so many individuals and groups deeply hurt by the reinvigorated spirit of hatred and divisiveness in our country, it is imperative to me that people know I, like @IBexWeBex, am a safe place.
3. I will participate in the Tallahassee Women’s March on January 21.
Organized by the Florida Planned Parenthood Alliance, the event is “a 100% inclusive event and all genders, races, ages, religions, sexual orientations – everyone! – is invited to participate.”
4. Involvement in local, state, and federal politics.
I will redouble my efforts to be personally familiar with the choices my local, state, and federal leaders are making, and to make my positions clear with them.
5. My Profile Picture on January 20
I am not changing my profile picture to one of President Obama on January 20, as many people I know are planning. This relates to the fact that I am not using the #notmypresident hashtag. I am beyond grateful to President Obama and his family. He has been a singularly outstanding President, and I am so excited about how he can apply his intellect and passions once he no longer has the constraints of the Presidency.
6. Helping Homeless Women With Personal Hygiene Needs
In keeping with the idea that we can collectively make big impacts when many people do small things, I am adding feminine products to the non perishables I purchase for local food drives. For more on this topic, visit Bustle.
7. Making an Impact in Person, not just Online
I read a great post on Facebook about how we should attend to seeing how we can positively impact the people within five feet of us. I can’t find the initial post, but the concept is true. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our virtual communities that we forget what we can do for the people right next to us. Let’s do it.
9. I am refusing to stay silent in the face of racist, anti-semitic, or other hate jokes.
When a national rental car company picked me up to take me to pick up a car right after the election, the driver, commenting on how safe my neighborhood appeared, went on to remark, “be glad you’re not in California where those Muslims are lying down in the streets.” When I responded that they had something to say, he went on to explain how we can never get along with “them,” and how I would “figure that out someday.”
I doubt my attempt to defend Muslims registered with him AT ALL, but maybe, just maybe, he will think in the future before spouting his hatred. It mattered to try.
10. I am not moving to Costa Rica, Canada, or anywhere off of US soil.*
I am not going to let this President and his administration run me off. I love my country, think it is great already, and plan to stay put.
11. Voting Matters Now More Than Ever*
I will support efforts to get out the vote, to encourage people to register to vote, and to make it easy for my fellow citizens to vote.
12. Supporting Equity and Safety for Black Students
I am grateful to have met Kelly Wickham-Hurst, creator of Being Black at School. I have made a donation and will continue to support her work advocating for equity and safety for Black students.*
13. Kindness > Sarcasm
Inspired by Caitie Whelan’s Lightning Notes about The Kindness Impulse, I will strengthen my kindness impulse so it is stronger than my sarcasm impulse. For the record, it would probably be easier to move to Canada!
14. You’re Never Too Young to Learn to Make a Difference
I will believe in the capacity of the youngest among us to embrace diversity, to make a difference, and to positively influence their peers. A great place to start is by sharing one of the books featured in this #MomsReading blog from Moms Rising.
15. None of Us Can Afford to Be Single Issue Voters
I will continue to educate myself about issues that affect my fellow women and Americans, even if they don’t directly affect me. It started with We Won’t Wait 2016 and will only grow in the face of closed-mindedness and hatred from our newly elected leaders.
16. I will support the LGBTQIA+ Community
I joined Equality Florida in order to stay informed about issues important to Florida’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community (as well as Floridians at large) including Discrimination, Adoption, Family Recognition, Safe and Healthy Schools, Hate Crimes, Voter Mobilization, Marriage, Transaction, and Gun Violence Prevention.
17. I Will Advocate Tirelessly for Banned Books
I will continue to advocate passionately against censorship and other types of limitations to the freedom to read. Learn more about Banned Books Week.
18. Climate Change Is Bigger To Me Now
Although it has not been one of my “top” issues, I will redouble my efforts to track climate change issues and make a personal impact (ten good ideas in this article).
19. The World Beyond Our National Borders Deserves My Support
I will continue to be involved in international issues and in the lives of individuals in other countries for whom my access to freedom, resources, and security can be a help, such as the three children we sponsor in Guatemala and El Salvador through Unbound.
20. I Will Respect The Lessons of History
At the wise recommendation of Steve Schale, I read Rep. John Lewis’s letter of forgiveness to Governor George Wallace today. In one passage, he said, “Much of the bloodshed in Alabama occurred on Governor Wallace’s watch. Although he never pulled a trigger or threw a bomb, he created the climate of fear and intimidation in which those acts were deemed acceptable.” In the letter, Rep. Lewis forgave Governor Wallace, who in his view “grew to see that we as human beings are joined by a common bond.”
President Elect Trump will probably never pull a trigger or throw a bomb himself, but until he is proven otherwise, I stand ready to be one of the many Americans doing my part to mitigate the climate of fear and intimidation I see infiltrating the 2017 version of America which should know so much better by now.
We tell people who we are with every breath we breathe. (Source Unknown)
Mary’s unknown source is so right.
I can’t change who is going to be sworn in on January 20, but I can be a part of keeping America great …. for all Americans … until I run out of breath.
*Items with asterisks were inspired by “my commitments to protecting our democracy,” a reflection on President Obama’s farewell address by Leah Jones. Thank you, Leah, for helping me fill out my list of 20 actions/observations in such a substantive way.
More Ideas For How To Continue Advocacy Beyond 1/20/17
I recently discovered (via Laura) the “A Learning A Day” series. The series delivers concise, insight-filled emails which prompt recipients to think about work/life issues from different and deeper angles.
This recent post, for example, looks at our tendency to think “if only conditions had been perfect.” My runner peers and I undoubtedly think this frequently:
If it had been cooler (hello summer running in Florida!)
If the race course had been flatter
If my shoes had been newer
If I had not had that second glass of wine last night
The list goes on and on
The Learning A Day post ends with this observation:
The only trustworthy indicator of our performance level is our performance on a bad day.
So, if you get that opportunity to perform on your best day with perfect conditions, revel in it. It doesn’t happen often. But, when it does, it is magical.
On the other hand, if you feel most things are going wrong as you enter that important presentation [or insert relevant challenge/assignment here], welcome to life. This is how we get made.
Over the past few weeks, as I have joined my fellow Florida State alumni, fans, and supporters in sharing what I love about FSU via the #somuchmorethanfootball hashtag, I have been thinking more than usual about all of the incredible memories I made at FSU, the memories I still make here, and how to reconcile decades of great experiences with the FSU (and Tallahassee) which distills itself into the sneer I hear in the voices of national news anchors and celebrities (at least I feel like I hear it!).
A Personally Fearless Time
Through an unexpected series of Facebook conversations over the past few days, I ended up telling a Facebook friend a story that in retrospect is so embarrassing but lends itself to my point. When I was a senior at FSU, I wanted to be Homecoming Princess. The process was detailed and arduous: there were interviews to be selected as one of ten candidates, and then of course you had to accrue the most votes to be princess or be in the top five to be on the Court. I studied my FSU history so hard to be prepared for the interview. I made it to candidate level, and I did make it on the Court.
With my parents after the Homecoming Parade.
Here’s the embarrassing part: I asked people to vote for me. Not just one or two friends. Another candidate and I went to fraternity and sorority houses who did not have candidates and asked them to vote. I did not hesitate to ask complete strangers to vote. In retrospect, of course it was a completely classless thing to do. On the flip side, I treasure the memories of being on the field during homecoming, proud to represent my university. Putting aside the “tactless” part, I remember feeling fearless in my quest. In the times over the ensuing decades when I have failed myself in the area of assertiveness, I remember what it felt like to tell strangers what I wanted, confident that I had a case.
It’s 2015; Time to Make a Different Case
Florida State taught me fearlessness. It also taught me so many things about Strength, Skill, and Character (Vires Artes Mores). It taught me to learn new things, meet new people, pursue new experiences. The background music of my time at Florida State is undeniably punctuated with the FSU Fight Song, The Hymn to the Garnet and the Gold, and the Alma Mater. I have sat through countless football games, long before we were National Champions, in years when the record was most definitely average. Our family has spent more money than the family budget really accommodated to be Seminole Boosters, purchase tickets, and park among the other faithful (although we are not currently Boosters or ticket holders).
For every #somuchmorethanfootball sentiment we share on social media, I do think we are kidding ourselves if we do not think the image of our football team and the actions of a few players disproportionately influence what the rest of the world sees and believes.
We can make every effort to share with the world all of the accolades which lead us to #praisegarnetandgood. But the headlines are not likely to gush about those when they can rant about the bad.
I don’t know the solution. I do know, that just like a family would not turn its back on a child who has gone astray, we owe it to ourselves to own this series of crises and contribute to a solution.
However we choose to react to the current spate of negative publicity, there may be negatives. Loss of revenue, loss of bragging rights, loss of football season habits and rituals built over decades by generations of fans.
This particular time in the public eye is difficult. I choose to think that these imperfect conditions are part of “how we get made,” that with strength, skill, and character, we can return to the “heads held high” we sing about in the Hymn to the Garnet and Gold.
I have been intrigued for a while with the idea of doing an “Ignite” speech. In an Ignite speech, you are bound to use no more than 20 slides over a 5 minute period, with each lasting 15 seconds. I did my first Ignite attempt at Toastmasters a few weeks ago, and have built on that speech to finalize the video presented here.
I hope you will watch the video. If you are short on time, though, and don’t have five minutes, the point is this: Florida State University, even in the worst of times, has always been about more than one person and certainly about more than one hashtag.
My suggestion for the alternative to #BlameJameis:
Here sons and daughters stand, faithful and true, Hailing our alma mater, F.S.U.