A Woman Can do Anything a Man Can. I was raised to believe this, to know it as absolute fact. I believe that a woman can do anything she wants to do. She can do anything a man can do. What is hard about this statement, is that it overlooks the basic reality that though a woman can do anything her counterpart can, she must often go about it differently. Do not tell me for a minute that a female cannot be a CEO, a policeman or a military leader. But I think there are certain realities that come with that. Often times (and yes this is a generalization) women need to work harder than men do in order to get to where they are going. If you want to be in a physical job you need to be physically able, and that often takes more effort and hours for a woman than a man. If you want to become the boss or even the bosses boss, you can bet that there will be sacrifices and long hours and careful etiquette along the way (has everyone already read Lean In? If not go read it. Immediately. Yesterday. If not sooner). Women simply have certain stigmas and challenges in life that men do not often face. My take away is this. Don’t sell yourself short ladies, but don’t think for a damn second that you’ll be given an easy road to where you are going.
Dressing Up Can Change the Way You Feel About Yourself. I do believe that slapping on a thick coat of mascara and your favorite killer heals can change your attitude and the way you feel about yourself on any given day. Just the same as I believe that allowing yourself a day of comfort – a jersey maxi skirt, your most comfortable t-shirt, etc – can be restorative and restful. Don’t underestimate the way that you present yourself to others and how it makes you perceive yourself. Even wearing a smile on a day where you are feeling down can change your whole outlook.
Not Everyone Loves All Exercise. I’m sorry I have to say this, but I hate running. I hate the way it feels before (trying to talk yourself into that run is torture isn’t it?), I hate the way it feels during, and I hate the way I feel after. I have never experienced runner’s high or a rush of endorphins post work out. I have never reached that point in a run where it “just feels easy” the way some runners talk about. At 28 I’ve experimented enough with running to decide that my body is simply not meant for jogging. Some people love it. All the more to them. But I think there is something to be said for finding the style of exercise that works for you and embracing that wholeheartedly. I love yoga. It may not make me ripped but it certainly makes me happy. I love the way it makes my mind and body feel, so I’ve taken the time to make that a priority in my week. My advice is this: try anything. Be open to exercises being hard in the beginning (all new things are difficult!). Give it enough time to see how your body settles in to the new movement. But be true to what works for your body and honor that. Don’t try to fit yourself into a particular mold!
Everything Happens for a Reason. I know I’m going to upset some people out there when I say this, because there are folks who are ardent believers of this statement. But I have always been of the conviction that fate does not run our lives. Our lives are shaped by the choices that we make. It is my belief and opinion that where we end up is a matter of our choices. Do I believe in good timing? Of course. Some things happen or do not happen purely based on timing. And we are unable to control it. But what you do with the impact of time – that lies in your own hands. Once I had a friend tell me that I hold everyone I meet to impossibly high standards. That I expect them to be their very best at all times, and if they aren’t I’m often hard on them. He said that though it may not be a good thing, I’m at least fair, since I include myself in that expectation, and he could often see I was the hardest on myself when I wasn’t living up to what I thought was the ideal. His comments that day surprised me to say the least, mostly because they were resoundingly accurate and I felt as though he knew me more than I’d given him credit for. I don’t necessarily think that my high expectations for myself and for others are bad. It’s part of what makes me a good educator. I do think that it puts pressure on a person though, to make the best choices they can each day and in any given situation. Because the responsibility of happiness, of success, of a good life, is in your own hands. You hold the power through your actions. And that is a tremendous duty.