How to eat like an Adult

I know you may think you got this food thing on lock down, but in case you are like me and never quite grew out of your picky eater stage let me share with you the story of Turmeric.

So I am a notoriously picky eater intense flavors, lots of rich sauces totally overwhelm me and my tolerance for spices is basically non-existent and then I went to India. And as I am ashamed to say by day 4 I was in my hotel having breakfast when the manager walked up and said, Good Morning Miss Anne, would you like your usual lunch delivered to the reg desk today? I smiled and said thank you that would be great. What was my usual lunch? Spaghetti, sauce and french fries. Now if you are familiar with Indian food through experience or science it contains some of the best flavor combinations in the world and you are probably cringing reading this. So I decided upon my return it was time for a change.

So I started eating things, eating things without ever asking what was in them. I would literally order whatever the person in front of me ordered especially if I had never had it before. This is a little something called food training and my word does it work. Many cultures raise their children this way exposing them to as many food types and textures as possible. Having them at least taste items multiple times to help establish their palate. The best example I have of this it Turmeric.

My colleague was very excited for Turmeric smoothies and I eagerly got one too. As I drank it I was slightly horrified and as my boss looked at my face I just said soooo Turmeric smoothie is a bit aggressive.. He scoffed and went on to explain how turmeric is one of his favorite things, soooo good for you and to basically learn to love it. So every day I went down and got a turmeric smoothie. And after a week I started craving Turmeric. Seeking out my morning smoothies like a zealot and even buying some to incorporate into meals at home. Other success I have had is a new found ability to eat spicier foods, I like pepperoni pizza now (I know, I know insane right?) and basically my whole cooking world. The more I engage with new foods I find cooking has gotten more enjoyable, more varied and easier.

Have you ever tried applying this child food principle in your adult life? If you haven’t yet is there a food category you want to conquer? Let us know!

Less than

So the best analogy I have ever heard to explain inequality was referencing black lives matter and went something like this:

A family sits down to dinner everyone has a bowl in front of them and everyone gets their bowl filled with soup except you. Your bowl sits empty. You speak up to say hey I didn’t get any soup. And you father looks at you calmly and says now now everyone wishes they had more soup.

That is what inequality looks like. And its also why its incredibly hard to fight on the side of right. If you can’t see the other persons bowl is empty and they are complaining they didn’t get enough its hard to stand up for that. I can’t speak to the personal experiences of sooo many groups so I am going to speak to mine as a wealthier, white feminist.

Recently I had to battle and battle hard, my partner is an IT worker, I used to have a construction company. So if you are a builder or contractor who would you rather work with? Obviously the person that knows less. So my husband and I own two separate houses my name is on one his is on the other.  I have had men all over my property telling me I don’t own it, what I say doesn’t matter, that I do not matter. I was told to be nice. My husband said he didn’t see the big deal I don’t own that house. And you might be sitting there saying well he’s right stop complaining.

Well around the time I had already worked with the local police to back me up that I still can remove people from my property regardless of who signed the papers (yes it got that bad). I was still being portrayed as the problem. Finally the 7th time it happened when I called me husband irate since the company I contracted to come quote some work for me said I needed a permission slip from my husband and informed him that I will not live like this and he said sorry babe that really stinks and I went you don’t get it….

THIS IS SEXISM. THIS IS WHY THOSE FEMINIST PAGES SAY ALLLLLLL MEN ARE TRASH.

Because most of these men who were harassing me didn’t consider it sexism. Neither did my husband. Until I put the phone in between us and said OK if I’m wrong pick up that phone and ask any company, any contractor to come out to my house and work with you on something to prove me wrong.

Annnnndd crickets. Because he knew in the 5 years I’ve owned that home no one has ever questioned his authority or decision making ability. And I said so do you get how it feels now. And he did. He finally got it. When you don’t live it you seriously can not understand it.

I drove my step-fathers pick up truck to the store and parked it responsibly its only an F150 for gods sake and guess what I man who wanted to pull through a parking space was mad he couldn’t. So he followed me through the parking lot suggesting I get a smaller truck. Pretty sure if I was my step-father he wouldn’t have said a word.

So far in this post in case your keeping track….I can’t own property, pay for large scale construction projects, manage large scale construction projects, feel safe in my own home or drive a pick up truck.

So if you ever wonder why the overly eager optimist supports feminsm and is a feminist above are just a few reasons why.

*PS I’m also an advocate of the father’s rights movement, LGBQT+, BLM, and pretty much any equality movement you can think of.

How have you been effected by conscious or unconscious bias? Have you advocated for someone who has?

The thing with your 30’s that keeps getting better…

Today I’m wearing headphones, over my faux hawk, working standing up rocking out to my favorite jams…in my corporate office in the financial district. This weekend I’m going to dye my hair punk rock red and its going to be awesome. My HR manager told me I am rocking the most perfect hair for a Friday. So what does this have to do with my 30’s? Well in my 20’s I probably would have been too concerned with what people thought of me to do any of it.

You learn sooo much between 26 and 31. Its amazing. By your mid 20’s you have a job or a few, maybe a degree or a few and you know enough to be all…these college kids need to learn about the real world. Then you step up further in your career and think you know it all but you really have no idea. Now I know some darn high achieving 30 year olds who probably figured out what most of us learn in our late 20’s probably around birth, but for the rest of us this is what I know…

You will make mistakes, you will think you know how to succeed and you will do some awesome things, but there is a lot you don’t know. That boss that keeps taking credit for all your work? Ya know the one you can’t stop complaining about because damn it! You worked hard and they didn’t. Well guess what they don’t really matter. I know, I know but they are your boss they loom over your career! Its insane. Here’s the thing though people like that may get further than you think but they won’t be in your way forever and probably as long as you think. I was actually upset about a boss once, while another executive offered to fly me to India because she loved my work product. So I probably should have been a whole lot less worried.

You will think you are doing an awesome job and find out you were wrong. I see a lot of helper issues. You are still carving your career path and your goals so you jump in and help everyone who needs it. You are so busy and exhausted you can’t see straight and everyone says wow this is awesome you are the best! And then you find out that those that matter get it you like to help but it won’t matter. You help on your area of expertise but you have to prioritize you job first and help second. Its hard, especially if your background is in the service industry. Its funny I see my 27 year old colleagues end up in this trap and 31 year olds see it instantly shake their heads and say mmm hmm you’ll learn.

So what did you learn between 26 and 31 you wish others could know right now?

Overly Eagerly Waking up (Enough of the nice)

I DO NOT HAVE TO BE NICE.

Say it with me now.

I DO NOT HAVE TO BE NICE.

I can be things, I am smart, funny, sassy, successful, kind, sweet, nice, angry, stubborn, etc. BUT I don’t have to be them and most specifically I do not have to be nice.

Recently I keep getting told to be nice. I don’t know how you tell a grown 30+ woman how to be nice and not sound patronizing but for some reason people seem to think this its OK. When we disagree and you insult me, I do not have to be nice, when you refuse to do your job, I do not have to be nice.

I can be empathetic, I can be understanding and at times this may allow me to decide that you deserve nice, that you should be subject to kindness. But I don’t have to be.

So to the contractors that work for me, for the realtors that work for me, for the employees that actually work for me, to my peers who disagree with me, to the CEO who is being not their best, to my local elected officials…I do not have to be nice to you. So when you don’t listen to your constituents, when you don’t show up to do a job, when you say to a 13 year old girl a child marriage law is cool because the 1800’s said so…no I do not have to be nice.

So please consider this the overly eager optimist and all those like her who have been too nice for too long putting you on notice.

NICE, is no longer happening over here. I’m coming for you.

 

The biggest, scariest word: HELP!

In the past year or so I have needed a lot of help. I have been injured more often than not and have had to let go of my guilt in needing to lean on others even when they are frustrated at the situation and not quite at me.

I have also been someone known as strong. I’m kind of a running joke going through companies that just love a good personality assessment everyone always assumes I’m the chaos creating extrovert and then they seem my results the thinking, feeling, introvert you can see their heads almost do a weird exorcist 180. There worlds are shook.

I think many times as woman and men we feel strength = success and we get to scared to admit we are drowning when we need help the most. Always wondering if we are failing because we think we should be able to do it alone. When really it should never have been that way.

I remember crying in my office feeling the walls crumbling and dealing with financial, emotional and all kinds of stress-ers and felt totally lost. Which spiraled into me screaming at my significant other. Once I calmed down I looked at him and said why won’t you help me? And his response was pretty revealing. He said because you always seem to find a way. It doesn’t matter what comes up I don’t know how you do it but you just look at me say I’ll figure it out and then you do.

So here I was basically turning water into wine at the sake of my sanity and my relationship. When my partner was just so impressed with my skill sets and capabilities I thought this was thriving and not drowning. Kind of like when people find out most water drownings are silent not the flailing mess you expect.

Life is like that. When we are flailing and screaming we generally are still pretty OK. We are mad and fighting and struggling but still able to scream and flail. Its the after, the quiet we should worry about. The I’ll just grin and bear it until this screen, this quiet, this unnecessary secret slowly takes me down. But the moment I said enough. I am no longer able to do it alone things took a turn.

I found myself engulfed in a safe cocoon where I was able to actually truly step away and work towards finding strength that wasn’t just grinning and bearing it but actually true. I even wanted to end this post before the last two sentences of the last paragraph. Because even to this day admitting I need a safe place is really really hard. But once we say hey ya know what I need a minute here, a minute to breath, a minute to understand what I truly want, a minute to make sure I am bringing my best self to the table. The person a child version of me would be proud of. The one who fought for whats right and whats needed. The one who knew that grinning and bearing it would not be who I am or who I would be.

That moment the overly eager optimist remembers why she took that name in the first place. Think hard, think lightly. remember a moment when you truly jumped in with both feat and no fear. Live that, share that. I know I will.

Lets talk about Death in an overly eager optimist kind of way

Death is one of those messy, hard things entrenched in stigma that many fear whispering its name in case for some reason it may bring it upon themselves. Now with religion aside because I am a strong believer in living in the moment, doing as much good as we can while we are here, because regardless of whats next, isn’t that just the point? But I digress.

I wanna talk about the time a high school classmate’s mom passed away and I brought ice cream. And the reason I bring mints to every funeral. And so many more.

My youth was entrenched with death. Not directly, no, but it surrounded us. My father a police officer, photographing homicides and more than a few times we thought he wasn’t coming home. A poignant memory was watching 4 men on a roof top covered in sheets after a helicopter went down. My dad was supposed to be in that helicopter. So elementary school me was staring at a sheet trying to figure out if it had the same shape as my dad. But I was lucky. My mom worked with the elderly and was always the go to when someone close to us had a family member in hospice. We understood what death meant and what it didn’t. We weren’t afraid to talk to the grieving or dying. No one wants to face their mortality, my mother always thought I would have made a lovely undertaker.

So now I want to share with you what I know about dealing with death.

  1. You are still breathing. And you will keep breathing until you don’t anymore. That being said whether you are ready or not life keeps moving and you do what you need to to exist. Sorry that one is tough but true. Grieve, forgive those that say the wrong thing, think about your sadness. Sadness will end and lessen. Depression will not. Ask for help if the tunnel is too long or too dark.
  2. Support your friends in pieces. Grief is a long process that never truly ends. You feel better, you move forward but it lingers. Dealing with someone in the grips of loss will burn you out. Be there as much as you can but take breaks, circle back and let them know its OK a year down the line for them to lament about how Christmas still really pisses them off or about heartbroken they are there is no one to have dinner with. Gently letting them know hey look its been 6 months I know you are doing really well but I’m still here if you want talk about xyz person and its still OK to have good days and bad ones.
  3. Games are great! I know sounds crazy but especially with terminal illness I like to kidnap the grieving, take them out of their comfort zone and bring them somewhere really fun. (See #4 for transporting those in grief) Now that may seem really crazy but say you have a teenager that has been dealing with a parents final days of illness for months give them a break, always ask a simple hey want to get out of here usually works. Make it a judgement free zone and take charge of the decision making even flat out tell them listen you need some air, some space to breath you are off duty for the next two hours lets go. When they go back they are right there in the thick of it. I once did this with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s for everyone and a trip to the arcade. Kids generally have limited experience with death and are terrified to talk to their friends experiencing it. Help them reach out like this.
  4. Ahh yes notorious number 4, transporting the grieving. Pretend like nothing happened and give them space. If you can bring someone and put the grieving person in the back seat. This is specific to someone who got the news and now needs to travel to the location of the deceased. No one wants to be that hysterical mess in an airport so by pretending like everything is OK, giving that person as much privacy as possible you are simply trying to get them from point a. to point b. once you deliver them they will be embarrassed by family, friends everything will hit them all at once. Let the shock where off in that moment with a full support system in place. Not with them trapped in the front passenger seat trying to figure out what just happened, all their emotions etc.
  5. Bring mints, Altoids are my favorite. You will find them in every funeral home and little trade secret they don’t just freshen your breath…they hold off tears. Slipping a pack of Altoids quietly to a grieving widower and whispering in their ear during your hug eat a mint it will help with the lump in your throat can make a huge difference. Works great for those in a receiving line, giving a eulogy etc.
  6. Ask questions. Most people will be terrified to mention the person who is gone. Don’t bombard them right away but in the coming days and weeks ask about their favorite memory, the funniest thing they ever did. Let them know that its still OK to talk about them. You’d be amazed how many people won’t do this.  I asked this of my grandfather in law and I learned a story now one had ever heard before of his wife very poorly playing a ukulele and getting an entire bus full of hungover traveling companions singing and dancing and laughing like there was no tomorrow.
  7. Candy, favorite items, bring them. Especially if there are kids involved. If Grandpa always had a butterscotch in his pocket bring some and let your child put it in the pocket if its an open casket. Obviously you need to adhere to cultural and family beliefs but letting them know that their experience with Grandpa was valid is a good thing. I would recommend allowing children only brief attendance as this can be too much.

I know my advice may seem just down right crazy or even callus, but I can tell you every single time I have done this it has worked. I can’t tell you how many people have questioned me, even cursed me out, but when they saw me interacting with their loved one they very quickly changed their tune and would quietly ask me how I knew to do whatever it is I did.

The most important thing to remember is do not be afraid. Do not fear death, the grieving or the name of the dead. Be your best self and care a whole lot that’s the best you can do and always forgive the grieving they may be very very angry and can lash out at you understandably forgive them and support them.

Do you have any dealing with death hacks?

 

I want a sticker that says, “Talk to me about my headphone free commute!”

About a year ago I gave up my headphones. They only come out for special occasions like working out solo or when I really want to jam out at work.

And it all started because I was having the worst commute ever. Around the time of Boston’s winter apocalypse in 2015/2014 commuting into the city was awful if not darn near impossible. And despite all the pushing and shoving I saw a problem that I no longer wanted to be a part of, the lack of communication between T passengers. I mean it just makes no sense and here’s why.

  • Talking to strangers can be scary but also really really good! Like this!
    • Commenting on a girls cute top only to find out she is barely out of high school and kind of lost getting to her friends house via the T. She was too nervous to ask for help. (Obviously I helped)
    • Talking to strangers is shown to increase overall happiness.
    • It can help you be comfortable with casual conversation followed by silence. A skill I’ve heard Americans (or maybe just me) are really bad at.
    • A passenger can be pregnant, in pain and trying not to make a big deal but if you are paying attention and offer to help you get good karma points and you will probably make their day.
    • Just last week two passengers were staring at a bag on the floor it belonged to neither, I know because I asked and they removed their headphones and answered. I found the owners business info called her at work and returned it the next day. She said I restored her faith in good people.
    • Tourism! It brings in revenue to local governments and lowers your tax rate… and people don’t want to visit a city with thousands of people with headphones on. I give a lot of directions to a lot of foreigners all to make my city more friendly.
    • And the people! You never know who you are sitting next too. I’ve talked to someone on Amtrak who who I say two months later featured on the front page of the Boston Globe. I’ve met gentlemen testing remote meeting attendees robots. Everyone has a story all you have to do is ask.

As the saying goes the first step to solving a problem is realizing that you have one. I wanted less misunderstandings and to believe that people are good. I wanted a friendly city and commute. I won’t take your headphones away but I can take mine away. Feel free to give it a try you never know it may make your commute better than you thought.

Whats your ‘out there’ idea to change your commuting attitude??

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