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Getting older and how to be okay with it

Recently, when writing about balance in “older people” in How Functional Fitness Can Help You Get Stuff Done, I wrote: “Older people have a higher tendency to lose balance, putting us at higher risk for injury by falling down.”

Oh my goodness! Am I old?

Putting myself in the “older people” category (by saying us instead of them) was a big leap for me. I don’t see myself as old, but other people do. Recently, I’ve gotten some condescending, “You don’t get it” looks. You know what I’m talking about. Those looks from people (kids) that seem to say, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Especially when it comes to technology.

I don’t care that they think of me as old. That’s fine with me. Kind of.

And I get it. We all tend to categorize people, things, and circumstances. We like to place things and people in nice, tidy compartments in our brain. So often, it’s more complicated than that. Even though gray hair and wrinkles are obvious signs of aging, we age in different ways: chronological, mental, biological, and physical.

How do you know you’re old?

I want to be strong and healthy well into my 70’s and 80’s, so I never thought that 54 would be considered “old”.

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How do you know you’re old?

Sure, I’m old enough to join AARP, order from the senior menu, and enjoy many senior citizen discounts.

Does that make me old? I don’t think so.

But I’ve realized that being considered old has less to do with what I think and more to do with what other people think about me.

So to an 80-year old, 54 is probably pretty young. To a millennial, 54 is probably pretty old. To a young child, 54 is ancient, a number so large they can’t even process it.

This short video from AARP demonstrates this idea.

Millennials Show Us What ‘Old’ Looks Like

 

Interesting, right?

That’s not to say all young people think that way, but that explains those unmistakable non-verbal messages that say, “You’re old.”

Should we 50 and 60 somethings be angry?

What can we do about it? Is there really a way to be okay this?

Yes, there is.

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Consider the possibilities.

Just as in most things, our attitude determines our outcome. What outcome do you desire? Do you want to feel young and vibrant and better than you did 20 years ago? That’s possible. Do you want to actually be 30 again? Yeah, that can’t happen.

But there are ways to be okay anyway. Here are:

3 Things you can do to be okay with getting older/being “old”.

  1. Recognize the perception. Even if you don’t accept the “old” label, it helps to realize that some people may have negative perceptions about you because of your age. While you can’t control what other people think, recognizing the perception can give you a better understanding of how best to manage those false perceptions.
  1. Embrace getting older. There’s no going back, so the best you can do is to keep learning and growing. In the video, the older people surprised the younger people by showing them that “old” can still be healthy, strong, able, and smart. It takes commitment. Just like the man in the video says: When you stop learning, you start getting old. Consider each day a blessing and make the most of it.
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Embrace getting older.

 

  1. Be hopeful about the future. In the book Life Reimagined, Barbara Bradley Hagerty examines the physical, emotional, mental, and social aspects of midlife. She found that making plans and being hopeful about the future increased feelings of happiness and well-being. Life isn’t over just because you’re getting older. Take the opportunity to do what you’ve always wanted to do. Some people call it a bucket list. Have fun with it. Stay active and engaged and expect good things to come.

Do your best to stay strong and healthy and change perceptions about being old, just like the over 50 people in the video did.

Recognizing the perception, embracing getting older, and being hopeful about the future will help you be okay with being considered old, even when you’re not really old.

And don’t worry about it. Age really is just a number.

I’d love to hear from you. What experiences have you had with people thinking you’re old? How did you handle it?

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Knowledge is potential; action is power

Knowledge is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
Bruce Lee

I used to embrace the old saying, “Knowledge is power.”

But knowledge alone is really not enough. What good is knowing something if we aren’t willing to act on that knowledge?

Knowledge is potential; action is power.

When we want something and know what to do to make it happen – lose weight, eat right, exercise, get organized, save money, get out of debt, etc. – but don’t take action to make it happen, nothing will change for us.

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Action is power.

Our situation will stay the same year after year unless we take action toward reaching our goals.

What if we fail? What if we take action and aren’t successful?

Failed attempts can be discouraging, but we can’t stop.

We may have to adjust our plan of action while we keep taking steps toward our goal. Maybe we don’t know enough and need to learn more. Or we may need a coach or mentor.

This much is certain:

Taking action is the only way to improve our situation. The only way to realize our full potential.

And we have to keep going. Stop and we’ll never reach our goals.

If you truly want something, it’s not enough to know what to do to get it. You must take action.
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How Functional Fitness Can Help You Get Stuff Done

The next time you’re getting ready to work out, instead of putting on your workout clothes, grabbing your running shoes, or driving to the gym, get a functional fitness workout by doing that household project you’ve been putting off.

Functional fitness and household projects?

Some household project possibilities: repair a fence, wash windows, mop the floors, clean baseboards, dust ceiling fans, clean a closet, organize the pantry, rearrange your furniture, re-tile the floor, and many more.

Tackling these types of projects not only gives you the satisfaction of checking them off your to-do list, but it’s a great way to get your body moving, to practice one of the main benefits of full-body workouts – functional movement.

Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re getting into.

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Functional movement – get stuff done.

The little project that grew

Now, let me first say, I’m not big into house cleaning. I figure when I’m dead and gone, no one’s going to be talking about how clean I kept my house. Let’s just say that getting my workouts in is way higher on my priority list than deep cleaning. I strive for tidy, not spotless.

But my husband and I were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the family and we wanted to get our house guest-ready. One of the things I really wanted to do was wash the windows, which were long overdue for a serious washing.

I knew it would be a tricky project. Some of the windows are so high they’re hard to reach even with a 20-foot ladder, so I had no intention of even attempting to do those hard to reach windows.

Picture by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com
The problem window

I decided to do one easy-to-reach window, but once we got started, the small one-window project turned into a we-might-as-well-do-them-all kind of project. Our projected 20-minute project turned into more than 2 hours of going up and down the ladder, scrubbing, stretching, and lifting. It was a full-body workout using core strength and balance.

Through my window washing experience, I experienced firsthand how functional fitness workouts offer major benefits when you need to get stuff done. DIY, of course.

What’s Functional Fitness?

Endurance

When we started the window-washing project, we hadn’t planned on it taking hours. But when we saw what a difference it was making, we were determined to do as much as we could. Sure, we were tired, but our windows looked amazing. We still had lots of cooking, setting up, and prepping to do for our holiday meal and would be working for hours. Endurance training helps condition for those days when you have a long, physically demanding to-do list.

Picture by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com
See how the sparkle.
Balance

Working out regularly helps improve balance and improve functional fitness in every day movement. Especially as we age, balance becomes more critical. Older people have a higher tendency to lose balance, putting us at higher risk for injury by falling down. Working out regularly helps improve balance and is great for every day movement, like walking, and when tackling home improvement projects.

Core strength

An easy way to increase core strength is to keep proper body alignment. Stand up straight, instead of hunched over, and keep shoulders up back and down. Engaging abdominals and maintaining good posture is a simple way to build core strength so that you’re better able to move well, protect your back, and improve balance.

Strength

Lifting and moving things like furniture or boxes, carrying grocery bags, carrying a child, or any number of things we do every day require strength. Strength training can mean lifting weights or using your body weight, such as doing push ups, sit up, and squats.

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Strength training helps reduce loss of muscle.
Flexibility

An often overlooked component of a workout is regular stretching. Stretching every day helps keep your muscles engaged and your joints limber. It’s an important aspect of functional movement of all kinds.

Functional fitness is exactly what it sounds like – moving your body efficiently for whatever purpose you desire, for whatever you want to do.

Take care of your body so that you’re able to continue to enjoy independence, strength, and mobility for life. And you’re better able to get stuff done!

I’d love to hear your experiences with functional fitness and household projects. Feel free to share in the comments. 

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Gain Perspective by Seeing Blessings in Disguise

The other day I was super excited about my first meeting with a bloggers Meet Up I had joined. I still consider myself a baby blogger and I couldn’t wait to hear about their blogging experience, to share ideas, and learn from them.

Anticipation

I showed up at the designated time and location ready to meet these fellow bloggers and realized I didn’t know what they looked like. How would I recognize them? I asked a few people if they were there for the bloggers Meet Up. Nope. Not them.

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Ready to meet fellow bloggers at a coffee shop

Never mind, I thought. I found a table and decided to open my laptop and get ready to work while I waited for my fellow bloggers. It was then that I saw the messages that had come in as I was en-route to the meeting. People were sick or couldn’t make it, so the meeting was cancelled 5 minutes after I arrived.

Disappointment

I felt crushed. I thought, man, I was so looking forward to this! Come on! I’m not sick! I’m here! What the heck?

I’d been looking forward to this meeting for weeks and built up my expectations for this awesome chance to connect with these people. I was totally bummed.

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I felt so disappointed.

After calling my husband to commiserate, having my pity party, and feeling downright sad that the meeting was cancelled, it hit me.

Blessings

How blessed am I that I have the luxury of being upset about this meeting being cancelled? I considered the things that got me to that moment, including waking up healthy, having a car, a phone, food, and an opportunity to blog in the first place.

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Count your blessings.

Instead of focusing on the dozens of things that went right that day, I focused on the one thing that had gone wrong.

That put things in perspective.

Miracle of the moment

When we look at what’s wrong, we can’t see what’s right. We miss the miracle of the moment.

Sometimes things don’t go our way and we feel disappointed and discouraged. We struggle to maintain good spirits, happiness, gratitude, and hope.

Our frustration prevents us from seeing what an amazing gift it is to be disappointed over some small thing, some minor setback – an anticipated meeting being cancelled, a slow internet connection, a traffic jam, our team losing a big game, or a gazillion other things.

All we can ever be sure of is right now. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.

Photo credit Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com
Each day is a blessing.

We get caught up in the daily busy-ness of life. Sometimes we’re pulled in so many different directions that things get complicated. With everything we need to do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

We struggle to live in the moment and pay attention to the miracle of today, to act with a spirit of gratitude for love of family and friends, food on the table, and basic needs met. We forget how blessed we are to have the luxury of feeling frustrated over small things.

Do these 4 things to help you shift your perspective when you’re feeling frustrated, discouraged, or disappointed:

Stop.
Take a deep breath.
Count your blessings.
Choose to focus on what’s right in your world.

So many things are out of our control. The best we can hope to do is control our attitude, emotions and actions every day. Looking through a lens of gratitude doesn’t change anything except how you see things.

The choice is yours.

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1 Simple Way to Make Every Day a Happy Day

In the spirit of love and gratitude, I’m using James Taylor’s lyrics as a reminder of 1 simple way to make every day a happy day:

"Shower the people you love with love. 

Show them the way you feel. 

... Make it rain, love, love, love is sunshine."
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Shower the people you love with love.
Be generous with your love.
Love yourself.
Forget the hurts of the past.
Ignore your pride.
Keep it simple.
Give without expectation of what you’ll get.
Make it a habit.

Every day’s a chance to make it rain with love.

Going Gray Naturally - At the 1 Year Mark

Going Gray Naturally – One Year Update

I’m a year into ditching the dye and going gray – well into the stage of looking like my gray hair is intentional and not like I just haven’t made the time to get it done.

At the start of Going Gray
November 2015

All that’s left now is to let the hair even out and continue trimming a little off every couple of months, even though I’m tempted to cut it to the color line sometimes.

If I were to do that, it would be really short and my hair’s harder to manage when it’s short. Even though I know it’ll grow, I’m not sure I have the nerve to do that.

Cutting my hair short would be such a drastic change for me, unlike going gray which is super slow. No drastic changes.

Even though my hair color is not a matter of any real significance in the world, I’ve learned a few lessons through my experience during the past year:

You can’t tell by looking at some one what they’re about.

My assumptions about people could be totally wrong. The other day, I saw a young woman with gray hair who looked to be in her late 20s or early 30s. Her hair looked beautiful and I figured it must be dyed. She looked too young to have gray hair. I’m assuming. I really don’t know. My assumption is based on my own experience and my perception. I could be totally wrong.

Everyone ages differently.

I assumed that everyone would have gray hair as they aged, but that’s not true.One of my neighbors says, “I love your hair! Mine won’t turn gray.” She’s about my age and has only a few strands of gray. Some people won’t get gray hair. Go figure. 

Going Gray Naturally - At the 5 month mark
Going Gray Naturally – At the 5 month mark

 Age really is just a number.

I’ve always wanted to be healthy and strong and now that I’m in my 50s, that’s even more important to me. Gray hair seems to broadcast that I’m an older woman so no one will question when I order off the Senior menu and in fact, will suggest it. 

My goal is to age well and still be able to lift weights, run, work out, and be as active as ever even though my hair is gray. Read more at My Random Inspiration.

Sometimes when I see a picture of myself, I’m surprised . My hair is so white! I guess that’s as close to seeing my hair as other people see me.

Going Gray Naturally - At the 1 Year Mark
Going Gray Naturally – At the 1 year mark

I still have a ways to go. I’ll keep you posted.

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Why is it so hard to get motivated to lose weight?

Millions of Americans struggle with obesity and the numbers continue to rise. Weight-related illnesses come at a high cost to a person’s health and add up to billions of dollars a year in health care. Many people know they should, but it’s so difficult to get motivated to lose weight.

The struggle is real.

Lose weight. It’s a common New Year’s resolution, but it stays on the list year after year, so that it becomes better suited for a “Wish List”.

Why is it so hard to get motivated to lose weight? What’s that trigger point when we know it’s time to get serious about weight loss, exercise, and healthy lifestyle?

The “Aha moment”. That moment of clarity, when the motivation, belief, and decision to make a change happen all at once.

The motivation to lose weight is different for everyone.

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Health can help a person get motivated.

It could be:

  • Something the doctor says
  • Something a loved one says
  • Threat of being on medication and don’t want to be on medication
  • Threat of being on medication and can’t afford medication
  • Worrying about breaking chairs because of weight
  • Worrying about not fitting in chairs
  • Not recognizing yourself in pictures
  • Being scared straight by life-threatening emergency
  • Not being able to find clothes that fit
  • Seeing relatives suffer from weight-related illnesses and knowing that’s the path you’re on and deciding you want to get off that path

Sometimes it’s enough to get started.

What makes it last?

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

When I first started my career in education, I observed teachers in the classroom. I visited public high school classrooms and it was immediately apparent that some students weren’t into school. (I know. Shocking!)

They were often unmotivated to complete assignments, participate in discussions, stay awake in class, or even show up.

I visited a Senior English class that was reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – not an easy read by any means, but interesting and entertaining if you can de-code it.

They didn’t want anything to do with Chaucer or his tales.

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Canterbury Tales

How do you get people to do something they don’t really want to do? How do you keep them motivated?

The discussion in my education classes and amongst my future teacher friends often centered around the best ways to motivate students.

Motivation is either intrinsic or extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation comes from within. It’s motivation/movement/action that comes from the simple desire to do something, to reach a personal goal or expectation. It’s the understanding and desire to do well and meet or exceed expectations or goals.

For those high school seniors struggling to de-code Chaucer, few students were intrinsically motivated to make an effort.

Extrinsic motivation means motivation from outside of self, such as for a reward.

Extrinsic motivation is more of a “What’s in it for me?” type of motivation. Getting a homework pass for getting a perfect attendance in class for example. Store rewards and frequent customer programs motivate customers to buy more by offering free merchandise/shipping if you spend a set amount.

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How do you get motivated to accomplish a goal?

The million dollar question for me as a teacher was how do I get students to want to learn? How can I motivate students to learn?

The reality is you can’t make some one do something they don’t want to do.

It’s always a choice.

Those kids reading Canterbury Tales had to muster the motivation to pay attention and de-code the work, not just the language, but the historical context and social norms of the time that make it true, entertaining and still worth a read hundreds of years later.

Reading Chaucer is not easy. Neither is losing weight.

When it comes to our health, we have to be just like those kids in school. We have to want to do it. We have to get motivated to lose weight. Our reasons will differ, but ultimately, we have to see a benefit and decide that it’s worth the effort.

What are some motivators?

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Rewards can be motivating.

Extrinsic motivation alone doesn’t have long-lasting results. Rewards programs for exercising and losing weight are marginally successful.

Many companies offer employees incentives for exercising, tracking steps, reaching 10,000 steps a day, and monitor their activity. Some participants cheated in a major way with these programs. One guy put his step tracker on a ceiling fan.

Some step trackers have an accountability opportunity by creating a community in which you compete with others to get steps, track food, etc. If you’re a competitive person, this may work well for you. Keep it going.

Remember intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. A weight loss challenge or contest can be great motivation to get started. To keep it going for life, it’s got to be something deeper.

When you’re ready, take action.

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Get motivated to lose weight.

Success is the accumulation of the daily habits that may seem insignificant by themselves, but over time these small actions add up to results. And then:

  • Set a goal.
    • 1 pound a week doesn’t sound like a lot, but slow and steady over time tends to lead to more successful weight maintenance.
  • Believe you can.
  • Believe you’re worth it.
  • Be patient. You didn’t get to where you are overnight. You won’t get to where you want to be overnight either. A quick fix doesn’t last. Most of the time it doesn’t work either.

For some ideas about first steps, see Take Care of Your Body and Lose Weight Without Counting Calories.

You decide.

You’re not a child and no one can make you do anything you don’t want to do. You may be subject to consequences for inaction/actions, but ultimately, you still have a choice, even if you choose to do nothing.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that the most important thing is that you feel strong, positive, and well, so you’re able to live your best life.

If you feel uncomfortable in your own skin because of your weight, weight-related health issues, or fitness level, then it’s time for a change.

You can do it!

What do you think? What affects your motivation to lose weight? Positive or negative?

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Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

You’ve probably heard the long standing formula for weight loss – calories in, calories out. When you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. Theoretically.

But that’s not all you need to know. It’s a little more involved than that.

Harvard Health Blog, posted an article last week: “There’s no sugar coating it: All calories are not created equal” that addresses the topic.

Author Celia Smoak Spell begins the article:

Burning more calories each day than you consume may have been the diet advice from the past, but that doesn’t work for everyone.  Instead, the focus should be on eating whole foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates — like crackers, cookies, or white bread.

She explains a 1960s nutritional study that started the calorie-focused, low-fat, high-carb trend.

As a result of that [flawed] study, she explains, the food industry began removing fats from processed foods. They still needed the food to taste good so when they removed the fat, they added sugar.

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Look for added sugar.

Rather than counting calories alone, the article recommends choosing food with a low glycemic index, which rates food 1 – 100 based on the spike of insulin and blood sugar levels after eating a particular food. Healthy fats like nuts, avocado, and olive oil, are good choices, even though they’re high in calories.

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Nuts are a good choice for healthy fats.

The article concludes:

“Counting calories alone doesn’t work because ultimately it matters where those calories come from; this matters more than the number of calories ingested….Dr. Ludwig, a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says, ‘It was this calorie-focus that got us into trouble with the low-fat diet in the first place.'”

My experience with low glycemic

This article caught my attention because the low glycemic approach helped me take control of my health and weight about 4 years ago.

I had struggled with my weight for years, pretty much all of my adult life. Diets and programs didn’t seem to help much, but sometimes I would lose weight, then slowly gain it all back. My goal was to reach and maintain a healthy weight, not to be skinny. Even though I worked out and ran regularly, I was pre-diabetic and so frustrated that I couldn’t keep the weight off. I started thinking there was something wrong with me. 

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Huffing it to the finish line.

As I approached 50, I was ready to give up and accept what I heard over and over: It’s just part of getting older.

Then I heard about low glycemic and I was amazed that it was so simple to integrate into my lifestyle. I was able to use the low glycemic approach to lose weight and keep it off.

In the end, it’s really about choosing nutritious food and when you think about making good food choices for a healthy body, it makes sense to look at the nutritional value of the food, not just the calories.

For example, compare a 100 calorie chocolate bar with a medium apple, which is also about 100 calories. If you only look at calories in, calories out, they’re the same.

But when you look at the nutritional value of a chocolate bar and an apple, it’s pretty obvious which will be better for your body. No, not the chocolate bar! The apple : )

Apples are a good source of fiber, vitamins, etc.

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All calories are not the same.

The choices aren’t always that obvious.

While you’re considering the glycemic index

  • Choose foods in their natural form or minimally processed foods when you can
  • Read food labels when choosing processed foods
  • Be aware that food labels can be confusing

Portion control is still important, so be mindful of portions, eat mindfully and eat to feel satisfied, not full. Eat more veggies, choose whole grain, and limit the sugar.

You can check out Glycemic Index of 100 Foods and there are Glycemic Index apps available for download as well.

Every body is different

Maintaining a healthy weight is an important factor for overall good health. If you’re ready to commit to taking steps toward losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, sticking to low glycemic foods most of the time may work for you. It worked for me.

I’d love to hear from you. What are some strategies you use to maintain a healthy weight? What are your thoughts about choosing low glycemic foods?

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Going to the Movies

I used to spend a lot of time at the movies.

My 1st real job, besides the one I got fired from when I was 15, was at a 6 screen movie theatre. That was lots of screens back then.

Every Friday and Saturday midnight screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show  was an event. People dressed in character and sang along with the movie.

I worked there for months before I ever saw the movie and when I finally did see it I thought it was fun but very strange to my very conservative, naive, Catholic school mind. I’m sure I had no clue what it was about.

My area was the concession stand; I loved popcorn then and I love popcorn now.

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Movie theater popcorn: so expensive and so delicious.

When I was a student at UT in Austin, I worked at a movie theatre walking distance from my apartment. Riverside Twin Cinema. That theatre was lot smaller and a lot quieter.

At the movies all the time.

One of the best perks about a theatre job back then was the movie passes.I loved it! And so did most of my work friends so we’d go to movies and discuss what we liked and what we didn’t like.

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Hours at the movie theater

My co-workers and I would discuss movies, sometimes heatedly. I remember a discussion about a David Bowie movie and I don’t even remember the title and one of my co-workers was like,  “It’s a comedy”  and I said,  “No, it’s a drama.” It was really funny that I don’t remember the details about the movie at all but I remember this discussion and I realized that maybe I was taking things a little too seriously and that’s what kept me from seeing the humor in this foreign film that I can’t remember at all.

Or maybe he was full of crap and it was a drama and he didn’t get it.

Another memorable moment was when my co-worker friends and I were waiting for a movie to start and overhead a conversation about how bad a movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was. One of my friends was so agitated by the negative review, we had to move out of earshot. He love everything about that movie.

Memorable movie theatre moments:

My parents would drop us off at the movies and come round us up after. I distinctly remember going to the movies to watch Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” and my little sister must have been too young, probably only about 4 or 5, and not ready to be left in our charge because I remember her crying her head off in the middle of the movie and we didn’t know what to do with her. I was probably only about 7 or 8 and my oldest brother would have been around 11.

Imagine doing that now.

Watching Rocky for the very 1st time when I was a freshman in high school.  That was the original Rocky and the best. I was floored and my friend kind of shrugged her shoulders and said, “It was alright.”  Are you kidding me? Certainly she was nuts or maybe she didn’t get it. When it won the Oscar for best picture, I wasn’t surprised. And then to learn the story behind the making of “Rocky” and how it came to be! Amazing.

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Sylvester Stallone

Superman with Christopher Reeve. What a great movie. Sure, Superman’s flying scenes and the super action-packed Superman-to-the-rescue scenes were clunky, but it didn’t matter because the chemistry between Christopher Reeve was Superman. The chemistry between the characters sold the story lines. And the musical score. Holy cow. I got a Superman t-shirt that Christmas and wore it proudly for years.

Conan the Barbarian. That was the only time I’ve ever walked out of a movie and I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness this is so very bad. Why am I here?” Who would’ve guessed that Conan would launch Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long movie career. I could hardly understand what he was saying, although I don’t remember him having a lot of lines.

Studying film

Film History 101 at University of Texas at Austin. Sounds like a blow off class right? It wasn’t. The course examined the film industry and how the industry impacted history and vice versa. Starting with silent movies and to the then modern movies. When the film industry first began, many people didn’t believe that an audience could follow a story’s development, movement, changing scenes, and evolving characters with moving pictures. In class we watched film segments in class including great American films like “Birth of a Nation” directed by D. W. Griffith and “Stagecoach” directed by John Ford and saw the impact newsreels made during WW II.

Film history courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com
Film history

A film class I took at San Antonio College taught me an important lesson with one simple group assignment: make a short film using an 8 mm camera. That simple assignment helped me realize how difficult it is to make a film from start to finish. My group’s film ended up being a scene. We didn’t have a story. It was terrible. Another group’s film didn’t have much of a story either but the editing saved it and created a very entertaining character. That lesson transfers to all forms of art, really – film, visual art, plays, poetry, novels.

There’s an old exercise in which you create your perfect job. Mine always involved sitting around talking about books and movies. Mostly movies. I had no idea people actually did that for a living.

How things have changed

Now when I go to the movies, there’s a good chance I’ll fall asleep. Movies have changed so much over the years. So have I.

Something about the quiet movie theatre, darkness, stillness makes my eyes close. Popcorn helps me stay awake but that’s the kind of mindless snacking I try to avoid. Not always successfully, I admit.

Technology’s advanced oodles as has the movie going experience. Lots of movie theatre Megaplexes offer various forms of entertainment now, not just movies.

One thing is the same as I learned years ago, creating something from nothing is a major accomplishment on its own. Creating high quality, interesting, smart, thought provoking, and multi-layered material requires the stars to be aligned and lots of time, tenacity, and pushing forward.

Film production photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com
The creative process at work

I usually have strong opinions about why I like or dislike a movie, but I try to remember my own experience making that short film and how so many factors influence the final product.

In that way, making a movie must be a little like running a marathon: finishing is winning.

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Words Have Power – Choose carefully

A few things about words:

  • Words have power.
  • You can’t take them back.
  • They can last a long time.
  • It takes lots of positive words to cancel out one negative word.

Words can build or crush: ideas, dreams, self-esteem, mood, belief, motivation, and so much more.

Graphic courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com
Words have power.

That’s as true for the way we talk to ourselves as it is in the way we talk to others.

We can be our own worst critics and hold ourselves down with negative self-talk. Sometimes those negative messages were planted long ago and have been played over and over for years. We just keep it going.

It’s not too late to change the messages playing in your head, to build yourself up so you have the confidence to meet any challenge.

Choose your words carefully.

Be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself with love and encouragement.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com
Words have power.