“I’m a Grown Woman!” (Says me)

This post is mostly for the wonderful women in my life, who know me best, who will probably shake their heads when they read this, and who will hopefully laugh out loud.

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Yesterday, I had a moment. I’ve had many moments since I moved back home with my parents.

On this particular day, I was home reading when my brother called me. He was working alone and he asked me if I could bring him lunch. He is a small business owner and his shop is just a few minutes away from my parents’ house.  I jumped up right away (because I, myself, do not like to be hungry for long without food. My alter ego comes out, and its not a pretty sight!

So, I hurriedly threw some clothes on and scrambled out of the door. As I was walking out, I realized I had on shorts.

Not a problem, except that my brother is the epitome of an over-protective, big brother. And as a brother to three women, I sympathize for him. Really, I do. But he can be exasperating at times. He is not fond of his little (and big) sisters wearing short, tight, (i.e. attractive) clothes. I sighed to myself, and started to turn around to change. I should just save myself the lecture, I thought.

Then, I stopped myself. No, I am not going to change, I declared! I would not allow him to tell me what to wear (or how to live my life). Besides, I had an appointment on the other side of town at 2 o’clock, and I didn’t have time to go back and change.

My brother, the poor guy. He wasn’t aware that I was in the midst of the “Finding out who I am, and being my own person” stage of life. Or the “quarter life crisis” as some people refer to it. He had no idea that the culmination of me living back at home as an independent adult for six months was about to come down on him. Someone always has to bare the brunt of these things. Little did he know, it would be him.

On my way to get his lunch from Subway, I played the dialogue out in my head. I knew exactly what he’d say. I came up with a well-thought out response. Do you sometimes engage in conversations in your mind, that you intend to have with someone else? I know I’m not the only one who does that! I quickly grabbed his order and headed his way.

When I arrived, he was tending to a customer. I watched him carefully, noticing the quick glance he shot at my legs. I darted to the back of the store to wait for him. When hemfinished, he walked over to greet me warmly. And by warmly, I mean…

“Dude, where is the rest of your clothes??” he said with a hint of annoyance in his voice.  “First of all, thank you for lunch,” he said. And then he got to what was really on his mind.

“Now, you are a young lady, and you do not need to be out here wearing shorts showing your legs. There are perverts out here who are looking at you. Hmm. That’s true. My subconscious agreed with the last part. But for heaven’s sake, these were ordinary, stone-washed, denim shorts. Not that short.

But I was ready for him!

“I’m a growwwn woman!” I belted out at him (hearing Beyonce’s voice in my head). “And I will wear what I want, say how I feel, and believe what I want to believe!”

He looked at me with a perplexed expression. Clearly, he was wayyy in over his head, and this was a battle that he did not want to fight.

“Ok, Summer. You are a grown woman,” he said. Then, he shook his head slightly, and quietly retreated.

That’s it? No arguing? No chance for me to give a big speech about my coming out? So anti-climactic. I was a bit disappointed, but still satisfied with the outcome, overall.

“Now, I have an appointment to get to,” I said presumptuously. “Enjoy your lunch.” I flashed him a smug smile. My inner-self roared with delight, as I sauntered out of there, half of me proud, and half of me amused by my own antics.

Oh well. It’s the small victories that count.

The Happiness Project–Finding Happiness Everyday

I first came across The Happiness Project when I was at the airport in Atlanta last September. The title, The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, And Generally Have More Fun, and the bright blue cover caught my eye. I added it to my book list, but I didn’t buy it at the time because I already had quite a few books on my list . But I knew I really wanted to read it at some point.

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About two months ago, a dear friend of mine, who had just lost his mother to sickle cell anemia, told me that he had a book that he wanted me to read. He enjoyed reading it and he thought it was perfect for me.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received a package in the mail the following week. Inside was The Happiness Project. He hadn’t mentioned the title when we spoke on the phone, and he had no idea that I had it on my book list. Isn’t it interesting how those things work out?

The Happiness Project is my favorite pick for the summer. It details author Gretchen Rubin’s one year journey to find ordinary ways to live a happier life. One of the things I love about the book, besides the insightful, engaging writing, is Rubin’s practical approach. In the midst of her busy life in New York City, Rubin realizes one day that although she lives an overall satisfying life, she can do more to feel happier.

Instead of taking a big leap that we might think of as a way to “finding happiness”, like leaving a job, or traveling abroad, she incorporates small, practical things into everyday life. I love this approach, because I too believe small steps can lead to a big change.

Rubin’s writing is filled with interesting research on happiness, along with witty, entertaining comments about her own experience. She manages to describe her happiness project in a way that makes you feel as though you are a part of her journey. She breaks the project into twelve months, assigning a happiness goal for each month, and the lesson that she learned from applying each goal. She creates a “happiness chart” to document her progress along the way.

I found The Happiness Project to be both inspiring and uplifting, just as my friend had promised. And it came when I needed it.  It was a much needed reminder of how being grateful, pursuing passions and making a conscious effort to shift our perspective can contribute to a happier, more fulfilling life.

I intend to read The Happiness Project again. And I’ve never read the same book twice! I think it will be one that I keep on my bedside table, and refer to time and time again. I hope you’ll have a chance to read it sometime too.

What’s your favorite read this summer? Please share!

Party Go-er to Spiritual Guru

Someone special sent me this article today and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I liked it so much, I read it twice. I love to read stories of women who overcome personal struggles and find their healthiest, happiest selves. I think we all do. There’s something inspiring about knowing that a woman can make it through hardship, and transform it into an uplifting and empowering experience. Gabrielle Bernstein, a 32-year-old life coach, lecturer and author was a former publicist and club promoter in New York City. Now, she promotes spiritual fulfillment to young, working women. You can read her story in Bloomberg Businessweek, Gabrielle Bernstein, Guru to Young Professional Women.

Exercise Your Mind

I read this article today on HuffingtonPost Health and I absolutely love this idea. Many of us think of health as a physical trait, but through my own experience, I have learned that a healthy mind, body and spirit are all connected. Our mental and emotional state  has a direct effect on our physical state. The author of the article Rupa Mehta, is owner of fitness studio, Nalini Method which combines pilates, yoga, strength training and stretching for a unique workout. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to attend one of her classes in New York, but I hope to in the near future. I’m a big fan of her work and her philosophy. Read her article, Push-Ups for your mind.