How to Stop Half-Assing Your Life

half-assed life, maggie mcreynolds blogFrom the time I became an adult, I wasted the last two months of every year.

You see, my birthday falls in November, about two weeks after Halloween. Between finishing all the candy and planning the ultimate celebration, there was no way I was going to change any behaviors, start anything new, launch an initiative, or do any soul-searching. No, all that could wait until I turned (insert age here).

But, see, Thankgiving comes two weeks after that—a holiday which I often used to host for as many as 25 people. I was hardly going to start a diet, look for a new job, renegotiate my relationship with my spouse (or with myself) before that was over. And so I waited some more.

But what happens after Thanksgiving? Well, Christmas. I had to get busy shopping—here it was, Black Friday, and I hadn’t bought a thing yet! There was a tree to decorate, cookies to be baked, presents to be wrapped, cards to be sent. It took the whole month of December. And of course the last week of the month would be recovery and the slide into New Year’s Eve.

Read More

The Waiting Room

When I was about eight years old, I used to spend a lot of time hanging out by my family’s mailbox. Not because I was waiting for the mail, I hasten to add, but because I was waiting for my best friend, playing in her yard across the street with someone else, to invite me to play, too.

waiting room, maggie mcreynolds blogUnderstand, this was my best friend. And whoever she was playing with was usually someone I knew from the neighborhood. And yet I was too—shy? afraid of rejection? proud?—to ask if I could join in.

So instead, I would simply put myself on display at the farthest-most reaches of my driveway, hoping desperately to be noticed. I’d twirl on the mailbox. I’d examine, with feigned intense interest, small rocks on the ground. I’d jump rope, seemingly vigorously counting my skips—but in truth, counting how many seconds had gone by and calculating how long I could continue to hang about without looking stupid.

But my best friend never asked me to join in. Not once.

How awful! How exclusionary! How snobby! But look at it from her likely perspective: HER best friend was playing by herself, rather stand-offishly, across the street, and not just calling out or coming over and asking to join in. They probably thought I was the snob.

I spent an awful lot of my youth waiting to be noticed and for others to intuit what I wanted: walking my dog an embarrassing number of times past the house where my crush lived; studying in the student union where the guy I adored from afar worked; standing just outside a group of people talking at a cocktail party, hoping to be included; pointedly arriving before the boss did and leaving after she did in the hopes it would lead to a promotion.

It never once occurred to me to simply ask for what I wanted.

Read More
let go hand, maggie mcreynolds blog

My Loss Is My Gain

A couple of decades ago, I remember having lunch with my grandmother and her friends while they exchanged news about their circle: Shirley Bernstein lost an eye to cancer. Helen and Leo lost their house when the bank foreclosed. Bernice Allen lost her driver’s license after “failure to merge” during a driver’s test. Eeny Rubin, Stella Simon, Bebe Walsh—and several other septuagenarians—lost their husbands. “Tch,” they said into their single, cherished, daily martinis. “Tch, tch, tch.”

Inside, I was making a sound a lot closer to “AAAUUUGGHHH!” How could this be the stuff of pleasant lunchtime conversation? Was this all aging had in store for me? Loss upon loss upon loss?

I am still far from the age my grandmother was then, but I am old enough to have started racking up my own losses. Trivial things, like my natural hair color and my ability to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl without barfing. And hugely significant things, like a pregnancy, my dad and my dear friend Harry, both of whom died far too young at age 52, and my health when I contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

There was one horrible year when I lost my job, my financial security, my marriage, my ability to stand or even sit upright after a bad health relapse and, with all of that gone, my very identity. I came close, I think, to losing my mind.

Read More
Page 5 of 18« First...34567...10...Last »