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It’s the little things

It’s 5 days before Christmas and yours truly is able to enjoy some time off before the big day. The last time I had time off at Christmas was because I had the stupid cut out (hysterectomy)…7 years ago. Sure, I had “time off” at the holidays when my daughter was a toddler, but those of us with children know that although the world may see it as time off, time with a toddler is a 24/7 job with no pay, with a boss who can’t find their shoe and cries because you gave them the wrong colored cup with their lunch…so “time off” is a relative term.

As I was running errands yesterday, I found myself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I almost succumbed to the Grinch and Scrooge mentality. Almost.  Hearing everyone around me sighing, complaining that the lines were taking too long, or honking at each other in the parking lot because they needed that parking space, it’s hard not to get sucked in to it all. As I was listening to the ladies complain about having people over for dinner as they were about to start a rumble over the biggest pot roast in the meat department, I looked over to see an elderly woman with her little basket with a few items in it and I thought to myself “she probably wishes her biggest problem was getting a big enough roast to feed her guests.”. …and that’s when I began to hum a Christmas carol, carry on with my shopping and tune out the sighs and complaints that passed me through the aisles.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no angel as my daughter can attest to. I cuss like a sailor if you are riding my tail end too close in traffic – when I have my kid in the car, her safety comes first so all bets are off. I have been known to use a certain finger when the snowplow comes by just as I have dug out their first visit’s mound of snow and I may have pretended not to speak English when a telemarketer just wouldn’t get “take me off your calling list”. There have been times throughout the days of Christmas past when I pouted even though I knew Santa saw me. There were times I started to Scrooge out or felt the Grinch was onto something complaining about the noise of Christmas, but I always remembered something that others seem to forget. At the end of both these Christmas stories, Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch gave over to the magic and the spirit of Christmas. If they could do it, you can too.

  • give to the Salvation army. If they are giving out candy canes for each donation, do what I do. Ask them to give it to the next child that walks by.

 

  • wave to Santa at the mall. Trust me, he is having a harder day than you.

 

  • don’t fight over a parking space. If the other person is gunning for it, let them have it. If you have to park further away, the fresh air will do you good.

 

  • If the grocery store is out of the size of turkey you need, your family and guests will survive. I promise, the sky will not turn black and the world will not swallow you whole.

 

  • when you make eye contact with someone, say hello or wish them a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays for those weary of offending.

 

  • give to every toy drive you can find. Any toy will do. The dollar store has coloring books and crayons for a dollar a piece. …psst…you spent more than that on the mocha frappe latte concoction you have in your hand.

 

  • give to your local food bank. If you can, a monetary donation is best – the food bank can stretch a dollar farther than you can imagine.

Take a moment to remember how snow once made you squeal with glee, how hours would pass as you wondered how Santa got to every house. Remember the smell of your Gramma’s perfume as she reached out to hug you, or the cackle of your Grampa’s laugh when he got your joke. Think back to the smiles on your parents faces on Christmas morning, thinking they were so happy Santa brought you your favorite toy, only to now know, the smile was for them and you, not Santa and you. When you take a moment to remember the magic and spirit of Christmas, you too will realize it’s not having the perfectly trimmed tree or the biggest turkey that you remember, it’s all the little things that mattered the most.

 

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The choice is yours

A few years ago I received a sign for my office from my girl, with many positive affirmations collaged together. The one that sticks out the most to me is “Happiness is a choice you make everyday”. So very true, so easy to remember yet so easily forgotten.

Over the past weeks I have heard the following from friends, family and the people I see everyday;

  • I’d be happier if he was nicer
  • I’d be happier if I got a raise
  • I’d be happier if my child behaved in public
  • I’d be happier if people kept their opinions to themselves
  • I’d be happier if I got to see my friend’s more
  • I’d be happier if I had more help around the house
  • Etc… etc… etc…

It seems everyone wants to be happier, but doesn’t want to do the work. Trust me. I know. It is easier to put the blame of our woes on someone else’s behaviour. Been there, done that. Try my best not to do that anymore. For no one, anywhere, wants to look in the mirror, take a long hard look at themselves and admit a fault. …but darlin’, ya gotta. There is no magic happiness pill, no happiness potion, no mystery man arriving at your doorstep with your package of happiness waiting to be unwrapped, it’s all up to you. Before you get all upset or weepy, I do know that life throws curveballs, of this I am certain. There will be illnesses, job losses, flat tires, spilled coffee, baby spit up on your shoulder that you missed, but the President of the company did not. There will be bad hair days, bloated days, adult acne days ….by the way…what kind of sick cosmic joke is that? We cannot control what happens to us or around us. We can control how we decide to let it affect us. We can control how long a harsh word gets to live in our head rent free.  Have your head spin around and spew venom because the dishes weren’t done or the garbage emptied, or don’t. The decision is yours.

Happiness can be created anywhere, anytime. It can.

  • Had a hard day at work and still have to go to the grocery store? Buy an extra canned good or two and drop in it the food bank donation bin.
  • Your teenager is making you crazy and you are at your wits end over the useless arguments…go look at their baby pictures, their saved school artwork…remind yourself of the love there.
  • Just a long, stupid day? Get yourself some instant cocoa, grab your favorite mug and top that baby off with some whipped cream. …sprinkles too if it the day really kicked your ass.
  • Make a Jello. My gramma Leah always told me that. This way whenever you look in the fridge, you can be reminded that you made something that day and accomplished something.
  • Make some cookies or muffins and deliver them to a neighbour or friend, for no reason. Just to do it. Trust me, 9 out of 10 times, they are in dire need of a glimpse of happiness and a the touch of kindness.
  • Send a joke to a friend.
  • Share a you tube video with a friend, reminding them of a memory you share.
  • Post a joke on your Facebook wall in the morning…it will make someone’s day.

Doing for others is doing for yourself. Making others feel good will make you feel good. Carrying happiness with you will allow happiness to spread to those you are around. Plain and simple.

bubbles

2

Long days in short years

Today marks my 3rd anniversary as That Girl in the Red Coat. I had to keep checking the date of my first blog. March 16 2012. Wow. 3 years. I remember the weeks leading up to my first post. I had no idea what I was doing. I was filled with fear and trepidation about what may or may not lay ahead. I was diving into the unknown. I began my blog in hopes of educating the masses about professional hair products, helping stylists and salon managers & owners increase their retail sales and client retention. I wanted to educate and enlighten. What I didn’t know then was how much I would be educated and enlightened, about myself.

Those familiar with my blog know that yours truly is no stranger to insecurities, on every level. I have a library of self help books. I know the “secret” and that I should harness “the power”. I know Jesus loves me. Oprah’s AHA! moments lasted for a moment or two. I tried to Martha and make everything “a good thing”. I was searching for answers and happiness everywhere but where it was, and always had been. In me. I have been the woman locked in the bathroom hating her hair. I have been the woman who had the hairstyle everyone told her she should have…and hating it. I have been the mother who worried too much about other’s opinions on my parenting. I have been the woman who after childbirth was unsure of her body and let it affect her life in the boudoir. I have been the young woman who did not like her reflection. I have been the young girl who listened to the wrong people and continued to listen to them into adulthood. I have been the young girl who thought having hips was awesome until some girl told me they made me look fat. I have also been the 5 year old girl who thought she could be anyone she wanted and do anything she wanted…and I am happy to say, at 42, I again believe this to be true. Letting go of my fear of the unknown and letting go of the fear of what people will think, I found happiness. I feel content. I am proud of my daughter and feel I am doing a good job being her mother. I look into the mirror and like what I see. I have the hairstyle that I like and that I want. I love and am in love with my husband of 20 years. I embrace my curves and from time to time can be caught shakin’ what my momma gave me.

I realized that over the past 3 years the days have been long and the years have been short. I learned some hard lessons, personally and professionally. I have suffered losses and gains. I have had to stand by and witness health issues and mental health issues of my loved ones – and all I could do was offer a soft place to fall. I have learned that it is not all about me – let me tell ya…that was a biggie. I am continuing to learn patience. I have accepted that I can’t control anything or anyone but myself…another biggie for yours truly…huge. I have learned that this too shall pass…in it’s own time.

The most important lesson I have learned is to go for it. Plain and simple. Go for it. The worse thing that can happen is nothing happens and you begin again.  I have come to embrace a line from one of my favorite tunes from the Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just  might find, you get what you need” and it is serving me well. By staying true to myself, letting the chips fall where they may and taking a chance on myself and putting myself and my Salon Tales out there, in 3 years some amazing things have happened and are continuing to happen;

– a 6 time contributor for http://www.salonmagazine.ca

– a contributing author for http://www.hairstlye-blog.com and http://www.visualmakeover.com

– a featured blogger for http://www.justpencilmein.ca

– featured on http://www.girlbodypride.com

– featured in Piidea’s Sept/Oct 2014 Buyers Guide

– featured in ViBrant Magazine

– featured on many professional hair care websites

I am proud of the above accomplishments. What I am most proud of are the personal lessons I have learned and the accomplishments in my relationships that followed – from my marriage, to my friendships, to my family, to my relationship with my lovely daughter. I have also learned to like myself. Ladies and Gents – if you can like and love yourself – everything else slowly falls into place. My anniversary gift for myself and for you is this;

Remember, in this life,

– the days are long and the years are short.

– You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need. – The Rolling Stones

– have the hair style/color YOU want

– You are enough. Plain and simple.

– Always shake what your momma gave you