Age Totally Matters

AGE TOTALLY MATTERS

podcast:

*As always, you can enjoy the podcast above, or the light transcript below – thanks for stopping by! *

It’s never too late to start a business, to dream, to write a book, to run a marathon… It’s never too late to start from where you are right now.  I don’t even understand why we think that.

Again, I’m really going to be heavy on this whole idea of our own personal journey and the pathways we choose to walk are just more and more information and more and more education of ourselves, right?  To be our best selves!

And so if at 50 or at 60 or at 70 – if  that’s when you’re ready to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do,  then that’s when you start!

I’m not trying to say age doesn’t matter.  I think it does!  But not a negative way.

I think it matters in a positive way.

I would not be able to do the things I’m doing right now if I didn’t have all of this experience and wisdom and “know how”.

I would never go back to my 20’s just try to do what I’m doing right now. There’s no way!  I just didn’t have all the stuff I needed:  the emotional growth and wisdom and I didn’t have the experience.

So yeah, if you want to start something today, don’t question it. If you were thinking about it that means you’re ready to start doing something. It means you’re in the process.  The fact that you’re questioning it IS part of the process of telling you – YOU SHOULD!

Have a sweet day. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back again soon.

Carmen

PS. Yes, yes, I have a podcast — check out the podcast page for more information on how to follow!

A Million Dollar “Gift”

I was just on the phone with my good friend “John” (we’ll just call him that for this post). I was complaining, venting about how hard life can be at times and he asked me simply, without hesitation:  “If a million dollars landed on your doorstep, what would you do?”

We’ve all had this dream at one point or another, right?  The conversation is usually with one of my girlfriends as we finish off our typical weekly catch up call where they’ve complained about their husband or kids (or both) and I’ve complained about work, a date or my latest frustration, my neighbors. And as we finish off our chit-chat we remind each other to get our lotto tickets because “…you never know…” and “…hey, you can’t win if you don’t play.”  (That last one is my favorite).  But yeah, we’ve all had that dream, Am’I’Right?

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But today was a different.  This friend of mine is actually wealthy.  He’s in a position to drop bank and not think twice about it. I’m not sure if he’s the “million dollar” kind of bank or not, but he has “bank dropping” abilities nonetheless.  So interestingly the question sounded different coming from him.  It felt like a real question. I hesitated. I had no quick witted funny-isms, no:  “Gurl, we’d be killing it on a sandy beach somewhere watching some half – naked man serving us drinks” – no:  “Gurl first stop, Rodeo!” (It’s a Pretty Women thing).  I had nothing. I was stunned. Into silence. Rare.

Truth is, no one “needs” a million dollars especially if they didn’t earn it.  I calculated that if I could make $200K a year for the next 50 years, I’d be tre cool with that “tiny” amount (she said sarcastically)!  Interestingly enough $200K for 50 years is only $10 Million dollars. I say “only” because those lottery grabs are always so much more than that.  Truly, no one needs that much unearned money EVER!  Even the ultra-wealthy like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates give their excess money away because at some point it just makes sense to share it.  Seriously, how many homes, cars and shoes does one person need?  No, for real?

I honestly don’t need a million dollars dropped on my doorstep. But when I heard Donald Trump say:

“…it has not been easy for me and you know I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. I came into Manhattan and I had to pay him back, I had to pay him back with interest…”.  

I lost my dang-on mind! Even as I write that quote I cringe. There’s an actual sensation in my chest that feels like somethings burrowing deep into my being as I hear it, read it, write it. It bothers me so much.  I know I’m not alone in this.  But, I have finally figured out why.

People think they want loads of money.  People think they need lots of money.  A lot of dumb people think money can buy them happiness (yeah, my apologies for using the word “dumb” here but it really is dumb to think money can buy you happiness).  Money can provide choices. But choices are abundant even when you’re poor.  So, having money can sometimes give you too many choices and become a burden and lead you down the wrong path (Uhem, “Elephant” man bones, Michael Jackson…Google it. An extreme example, but you get the point).

What people actually want in life is security.  That’s a very different thing than loads of money but people confuse it all the time. It’s why I hate that quote from Donald Trump so much.  He doesn’t understand the security he has….

Let me explain.

Money is a vehicle that allows for security, but make no mistake about it – security is a thing, and it hasn’t always been about about money for most of us.

I’ve wanted security my entire life.  And security comes in different forms throughout our lives.  You can see the joy in children who have parents – they may have very little money-wise or a lot of money, but if a young child has love, money is generally not even a thing.  It’s not even part of the conversation.  Think about it this way:  do you remember the first time when you realized you were poor?  Or, do you remember the first time you noticed you were rich? Do you remember whenever you found out that there was a status associated with how much money your family had or didn’t have?  Before that time, all you knew was (hopefully) the joy and happiness of being a child.

I remembered when I fully understood we didn’t have money. It was when my mama bought me boots.  I wanted to march in parades. I was part of an organization that marched in a lot of local events and I didn’t have the right real boots to wear. And one day she used the money that should have been used to pay for heat to buy me the boots I had wanted so badly and for so long.  She traded a utility bill payment to give her little girl a Christmas gift Santa had forgotten to give her.  We went without heat in the middle of winter.  And yet, despite our actual poverty, I always felt secure as a little kid. I knew even then, mama would take care of me, would take care of everything. But seeing her trade heat for a gift, was a realization I hadn’t comprehended fully till that moment. Yeah, we were poor.

As we get older that sense of security becomes our own responsibility. If you’re lucky, you’ve made some choices that maybe provided for some shared responsibility with a husband or wife – or maybe you’ve been able to get a great job with a 401K and good benefits. Maybe you’ve saved a bit, made good investments, and have a cushion of some sort. But see, security now becomes about how much money you have in the bank – and less about your mom or your dad providing that basic sense of safety.  But that oblivious sense of security – that blanket kind of comfort, that sense of well-being you had as a child that was all encompassing and about your safety, security and nurturing, is now all on you. And a lot of it is about how much money you have.  If you don’t have tons of money, then you do what you can to give your family and friends that sense of security and safety anyways.  And even if everyone else believes you’re doing okay, maybe the fact is, you live in that place where fulfilling your personal dreams and ambitions take a back seat to making money every day for your family or just to make ends meet. Taking care of your basic needs is priority numero uno.

Truth is, most people live paycheck to paycheck. There’s not a lot of time for being “creative” or “starting a business” when the fundamentals of living haven’t been met.  A lot of real honest hard-working people, who have done everything right don’t have much more than a couple of months or so savings to make it through if they lose their job (or, if they work for the government and there’s a shutdown – uhem).  It’s been estimated that 40% of people don’t have enough for a $400 emergency.  Rack it up to a $500 emergency and I bet it’s even more people! Fact is, you can make all the right choices in life and still lose everything because financial security is elusive to most regular folk.  It’s hard to dig yourself out of whatever hole you may be in trying to make a better life for yourself , your family (school loans, medical debt, etc.) and still save such an abundance of money (or credit) that you can live through any other financial emergency crisis that may occur AND fulfill some life long dream. I love that line about “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps”. I always counter with, “It’s much easier when you’re born with boots that have them bootstraps to pull on. I’m still walking around barefoot trying to find my way into the damn boot store.”

When someone like Donald Trump talks about it being so hard for him – maybe it was. I mean, everything is relative I do suppose so maybe for HIM it was difficult.  His world is so different from mine, so maybe it was hard for him to deal with receiving such a gift from his father. What angers me about the statement is his inability to understand how insulting it is to those of us who would give anything to have half the advantages he’s had in his life AND get an offer of any kind of loan or gift to make our dreams come true.

The security aspect is so important.  It’s the part that people of such wealth and privilege like Donald Trump don’t understand.  If I had the security of knowing my rent would be paid, my student loans would be paid, my taxes would be paid, my gas bill would be paid, my electricity bill would be paid, my health insurance would be paid, my car payment would be paid, my auto insurance would be paid, my phone bill would be paid, my AAA membership would be paid, my gym membership would be paid, my groceries would be paid, my dental bill – paid, my eye doctor – paid, contributions to a retirement plan or knowing that I would be taken care of in my old age… If I knew all those things – that all those basic necessities would be paid regularly and on time and I didn’t have to ever worry about them, then yes, I could see how being laden with a million-dollar loan might feel a little difficult.

You see, because if all those basic necessities were paid and I was given a ton of money on top of all of that, I’d actually have to use that money to do something amazing and brilliant and I’d have an enormous amount of pressure to succeed.  Maybe that’d be scary.  To have no excuses? To have no worries of how to pay the rent?  To not be able to bitch and moan about how hard life is to make ends meet?  Maybe, that’d be scary.   But hell, I’d take that challenge every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I’m pretty sure most of my friends reading this post, would too. Wow, how to succeed when all you have is a million dollars and your dream.  Talk about First World Problems.  It took me ten years to complete and publish my first book. You know why? It wasn’t because I write slow.  It wasn’t because it was a complicated idea or I didn’t have a plan – NO. I wrote the book fairly quickly.  But I had to worry about all the other priorities that came first. And no, I didn’t have extra money readily available for an editor, for a book cover “designer” and blah, blah, blah. Basically, it took me ten years to write my first book because I had to do things like pay the rent.

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I’m not saying it’d be easy, but yeah, go ahead Universe, bring it! I dare you.

I don’t “need” a million dollars to fall into my lap. But if it did, I’d pay all my bills for a year, and then go from there fulfilling the next steps of my dream. Because what I really want in life, what we all need in life, is a sense of security. A solid foundation to start from.  Then, on top of that, I’d take the opportunity to soar. That wouldn’t scare me at all. And I promise, at the very least, I’d  pay it back…with interest.

 

xo,

Carmen

 

Happy Birthday YOU!

I did some DNA testing a while back and got the results.  Fascinating.  Life changing.  Soul affirming, to say the least.   As many of you know, I’ve never had much information about my father.  None actually.  There have also, always been questions about the“biological-ness”  of my mother and well, now some questions have been answered. It’s a good thing.

Carm Bath

My Favorite Childhood Pic

There’s no doubt it’s amazing to find out where your ancestors are from.  But knowing WHO you are, and loving yourself anyways – flaws and brilliance alike – is not something you can find out on a DNA strand.

On this day, this precious day I call my personal holiday, I want to share the best thing I’ve learned during this process. What I’ve always known really:   I am who I am because of all of you.  Those who have touched my life, those that have walked into my world, helped me, hurt me or just those passing by — all of you have helped me be comfortable with the unknowing.  I’ve grown brilliantly regardless of the uncertainties.  My foundation, the building blocks of my life, have always been an incredible love that finds its way through anyways – no matter what.

So for my birthday, I wish for anyone reading this, for even those not reading this, to have a most perfect and beautiful day.  I’d also love World peace.  And while I’m at it, for chocolate cake to be as healthy as broccoli, for exercise to be as easy as watching TV, for belly fat to be the new sexy, and for Donald Trump to not be on any ticket or any TV anywhere — but since I know those are far-fetched and unlikely dreams, I’ll take hoping all my friends, family, loved ones, neighbors, acquaintances  and yes, even all my enemies to have the most brilliant and wonderful day.  That would make this the best birthday ever!

Happy Sweet day to all of you – Don’t mess up my gift now… have a beautiful and  brilliant day no matter what!

While you’re reading this I’m sleeping. It’s my Birthday!

We All Fit Somewhere – Journal Entry 10.22.15

Enjoy listening to my journal entry from today, or just read it below — either way, thank you for stopping by! 


Baseball CarmenWhen I think of my life I feel so disappointed.  Stuck. Unfulfilled.  I see a lot of loss. Sadness.  I remember the good and that I had moments of joy, but what resonates with me is mostly the loss, the heartache, the unfulfilled dreams.

And here’s the strange part:

I feel like all of that may be a good thing.  I mean, I wish I had already accomplished my goals, but I think if life is completely satisfying and all your goals have been met, then maybe you’re closer to death than you realize?  So, it’s a good thing. Or it can be?  My frustration is that it feels like it’s taking forever for me to accomplish some basic things, that’s all.  But, I also realize, that my journey is something I need to embrace.  I’m choosing to embrace it. All of it.

For what it’s worth, I never thought I’d make it this far. My past says I shouldn’t have gotten this far. I should have been dead by my early teens.  Simply, I know I should’ve been a statistic.  And honestly, with all the obstacles along the way, I’m surprised I’m here too.  Grateful.  But completely-totally surprised.

I used to think death would be a welcomed relief.  I felt so alone, so daunting in my struggles, so helpless.  But the truth is I also love this life. I do.  No matter what I’ve been through as a kid, no matter what I go through now as an adult, I find myself in a place of joy – loving this life.  No. Matter. What.  And I started to wonder, why?

I love people and I their moments of pure kindness.  I love their thoughtfulness.  I love that no matter how bad a day can get, you can find a silver lining even in the worst of moments.  I love that the that essence of good, always outwits even the most evil of situations.  It does.  Good does trump bad. All the time. It may not happen as fast as I’d like, or as clearly as I’d like, but at the end of the day, goodness does always win. I see it.

And I love who I am. I know – its so weird.  But inspite of it all, I always have.   My body changes, my fears grow, my pain is deeper, my frustration – lengthy and yet, at the end of the day, I am so good!  I know I’m smart – even if it’s just street smart and not book smart, it matters so much to be intelligent this way.   And I love that I care.  I care so much about the world and about others. And as much as I feel pain deeper, I feel joy extraordinarily!   My frustration is because I know I’m not being the BEST me I can be – and when that happens, when I’m being my ultimate best, I know I can help another person.  I can change the world when I’m at my full potential.  And not being at my full potential scares me.

I turned out amazingly brilliant.  Of this I’m sure.  Normally I wouldn’t toot my own horn, but I need to do this. I need to remind myself of how great I am.  And that ultimately I’m doing okay.

I love this life.  And although I’m not great at puzzles or figuring out formulas, I know I fit somewhere in this maze.  More importantly, I know we all do.  We all fit somewhere.  And even though we all have these goals that sometimes feel so daunting and so unreachable – the fact is that life may just be all about the process of walking through.  Always searching for the light even in the loneliest of moments, even in the most extraordinary moment of pain –  finding the light must be the thing. It’s my only constant.

It may be cliché, but I truly believe that getting knocked down is normal, but finding your way back up is courageous.  There’s no doubt that I feel knocked down more days than I feel courageous, but  once you get up after falling – it doesn’t get easier, but you do get sort of used to it.  So I’m starting to view my “failures” my “knocked down” moments as “just another day” and I don’t dig the hole deeper – I just let it be what it is.

And then I get back up.  I brush it off, and I get back up.

So here’s the glorious part of what I know for sure:  Getting up, gives me more moments of SHINE.  Getting back up and brushing it off makes me feel like “it” didn’t win.  And like the lottery, you can’t win if you’re not playing – so getting back up, makes me feel like I’m back in the game.  And damn it, if I’m not going to win eventually.