My shameful love story

It was love at first sight. I knew that I shouldn’t indulge my wishes. I’m usually very practical, but I couldn’t help it. In the past I secretly laughed at people who were attracted to these unbridled desires. What was happening to me? Was it a lack of enthusiasm in my life? Literally and figuratively I knew it would spice up my life, but really, it boiled down to the fact that now that I was 50 I no longer cared what other people thought.

So I did it.

I pulled out my Visa card, headed to the cash register, and with just a hint of embarrassment bought two adorable, brightly colored salt and pepper shakers shaped like a cow. Now the cute little cattle couple feed on the occasional oregano and parsley flakes that litter my kitchen counter.

This was not an easy summary. I had to stop my own negativity for wanting something I didn’t need, take the little pair of cattle from where I bought them in Arizona, carefully wrap them in bubble wrap, protect them with a sweater, pack them in my carry-on, and take my little herd. to Port Angeles, Washington.

Part of my dilemma is that I have very simple tastes. For example, my favorite color is beige. How boring is that? I don’t even like patterned fabrics. With the exception of the striped surf shirts I wore as a kid (one blue, one red), most of my clothing and most of my furniture consisted of solid colors. Well, maybe I liked the occasional pop of color in my wardrobe, but I limited it to my socks and underwear. Yet here I was yearning for a pair of salt and pepper shakers with festive designs on their little bodies and cow heads.

I noticed similar behavior when I attended my 40th high school reunion. I went out onto the dance floor (I didn’t expect to be asked anymore) and looked at a couple of my friends, Jan and Patsy. The couple had always been fun, but when it came to moving to the beat, they had been like the rest of us, sober and reserved. Now they were picking him up, raising their arms in the air and sporting two of the biggest smiles I’d ever seen.

“You didn’t dance like that in high school,” I said admiringly.

“We’re old enough, we don’t care anymore,” they both responded in unison.

They exemplified the William Purkey quote, “Dance like no one is watching, love like you’re never hurt, sing like no one is listening, and live like heaven on earth.”

It made me think of those wasted years spent worrying about what other people thought and said about me and others. Not only did I refrain from wearing flashy colors, but I limited my thoughts and behavior to what I considered “acceptable” and “appropriate.” What a waste of fun and creativity.

Peer pressure is a powerful force. It didn’t chain my thoughts, but I let it rule my choice of clothing and behavior. Of course he was resentful. When I was younger, I blamed someone else for almost all the negative things in my life. I later learned that I had better results when I was no longer trying to focus on fixing others and trying to take control of my own life. If you have thoughts that smell like manure, here are some tips.

Negativity is not limited to the behaviors of others, it is ingrained in how you perceive yourself. You’ve heard it a million times, but it really is true. You need to learn to love yourself. You may think so, but watch your words and actions. How do you treat yourself? Do you say negative things about how you look, act, and think?

It is essential that you stop all critical self-talk. Self-negativity puts a stop to success and happiness. Every time you make a derogatory comment about yourself, your subconscious absorbs it like a sponge. Your brain can’t tell the difference between being ridiculous and a joking comment. Whatever you say or think, the brain just takes in. It’s a great “yes” machine. If you say “I’m stupid”, the program “Yes, I’m stupid” is written. If you declare, “I will never be happy,” the message becomes fact and you will never be happy. The irony is that it is not your enemies who are throwing most of these toxic statements about. Do it yourself.

Your wishes, good, bad or indifferent, become the programming of your brain. So why not try something that brings you joy? That does not mean that everything wonderful that you wish for will instantly become reality. But if you surround yourself with positive thoughts and start a course of action to achieve the things you want in life, you will take your life in a happier direction.

As they used to say on the old TV shows, “meanwhile, at the ranch …”

This is how things rocked for me and my ceramic cows.

There is no practical reason for those “doggies” to live in my kitchen. My motivation is simply this: I think they are cute and they make me laugh. And it is not small thing.

Why not spice up your own life a bit? Take some advice from me and the rest of the optimistic pack. Forget what other people think. Dance, love and laugh with abandon. In fact, it will be a truly “changeable” experience.

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