And So it Goes


I am approaching a big birthday.  Needless to say, I’m not thrilled about it.  I’ve not been one to age gracefully in that I just dread the new higher number every single year.  It doesn’t help that my birthday is coupled with the let down from Christmas and my historical dread of the new year.  These post Christmas weeks are sort of my perfect storm of sucking.

perfect storm

I’ve watched others in my life embrace and truly celebrate their annual big day.  My grandmother looked forward to every single year that she was given.  My oldest sister doesn’t give age a second thought.  I have friends who have thrown themselves celebrations to commemorate the change in decade and they get excited to do so.  I have other friends so excited for their birthday that they celebrate the whole month!

I envy these people.  I just don’t feel it.

kevin hart birthday month

I’m really not sure why this is such an issue for me.  I spend a lot of time trying to wrap my brain around my feelings, especially this year.  Perhaps that’s part of the problem.  There’s no aspect of my birthday that stands out as the defining problem.  I kind of wish there was, so I could undo that knot.


Is it the actual act if aging?  Is it the feeling of lack of accomplishment in my life?  Is it the feeling that, particularly as a mom of young kids, there really is no day just about me?  Is it the feeling that I cannot celebrate with all of the people in my life that are important to me? Is it that all of the birthday decorations associated with my age could also double as funeral decor? Or could it be all of these things?


This year is particularly challenging for me.  It’s a big one.  I’m torn straight down the middle of ignoring it completely, but I feel the tug to make some sort of deal out of it for the sake of my children.  I don’t want my kids to dread their birthdays like I do.  I want them to celebrate each year they are given because it truly is a gift.  I want them to savor getting showered with love and getting to enjoy a day that is just for them.  And I want them to understand how to provide those moments for the people that they will have in their lives in the future.  I also don’t want to look back and have any regrets about my lack of celebration.

person s holds brown gift box
Photo by Kim Stiver on

So as I anticipate “the day”, I’m trying desperately to change my mindset, hence this article.  I’m telling myself all of the old cliches to soften the blow.  I’m looking to those that I envy to try to emulate their awesome attitude.  And I’m trying not to be outwardly blue.  My hope behind this article was that through expressing my true feelings, I might shed some light and lighten the mood.


So happy early birthday to me.  As I blow out my candles this year, you can be sure that I will be wishing for this sick feeling to leave my stomach and that I latch on to every single one of the millions of blessings that I have been given, so that those positive feelings can sustain me through my next trip around the sun and many more in the future.



Christmas Time is Here

charlie brown christmas

“Christmas time is here.  Happiness and cheer.  Fun for all that children call their favorite time of year.

Snowflakes in the air.  Carols everywhere.  Olden times and ancient rhymes of love and dreams to share.

Sleigh bells in the air, beauty everywhere.  Yuletide by the fireside, and joyful memories there.

Christmas time is here.  We’ll be drawing near.  Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year.”  By Lee Mendelson & Vince Guaraldi

I have fond memories of this song mainly due to the fact that it is tied to the popular Charlie Brown Christmas special.  In the days before Cartoon Network with 24/7 cartoons, DVDs and Netflix, we had only one shot a year to see this special, live on television.  One shot!  If you missed it, you had to wait until the next Christmas to get another shot.  And since cartoons were only on TV on Saturday mornings, our brains were not over saturated with animated shows.  Charlie Brown Christmas, on a major network, during prime time, was a BIG DEAL.

charlie brown christmas title

Some of my favorite childhood memories are connected with Charlie Brown.  Truth, I had the song “Linus and Lucy” played as they introduced our wedding party to our reception when Chris and I got married, and it is my ringtone on my cell.

nerd alert

So even though this song is sad or melancholy sounding, it still evokes happy feelings for me, especially the line, “Carols everywhere”.  I laugh every time I hear this line.  You see, my sister’s name is Carole.  I just imagine her running around like a crazy lady at Christmas time, so I always sing it/imagine it, “Carole’s everywhere”.  LOL!  Love you Carole! <3


But I think the line that stands out the most to me is, “Oh, that we could always see such spirit through the year.”  This is my dream.  I love Christmas time.  I love the food, the decorations, the music, the sparkle, and how people seem kinder.  I want to lose myself in this feeling every year.  I work really hard in October and November to try to knock out as much of the holiday prep as I can so that I can enjoy as much of the season as possible.  It’s never long enough.  I  wish I could lose myself in Christmas every year.  I mean seriously lose myself and never go back.  I love the warm feelings, the kind feelings, the heart warming feelings and I wish, so very much, that I could see such spirit through the year.

dandelion nature sunlight
Photo by Nita on

But come December 26, something just doesn’t feel the same.  It’s not meant to last.  And I understand that the end of the festive vibes is probably why Christmas time feels so special.

it's the most wonderful time of the year

May your Christmas be filled with happiness and cheer.  May it truly be your favorite time of year.  May there be snowflakes in the air…enough for ambiance, but not enough to make travel dangerous or to cancel flights like in all of the Hallmark movies.  May you enjoy carols, and sleigh bells, and beauty everywhere.  May you have yuletide by the fireside and make joyful memories.  May you draw near to those you love and care about and may YOU see this spirit through your year.

Merry Christmas!



The Order of Things


I had my mind blown a few days ago. It happens. Maybe not too often, but it does indeed happen. I was watching a video about Advent. Advent is the season of waiting and preparation for the birth of Christ celebrated by Christians in the weeks prior to Christmas. (For more, see my article from last year entitled “Advent”).

advent wreath

One of the speakers in the video re-ordered a common phrase that many of us have heard. (In other words, he rearranged the order of the phrase.) Astoundingly, he completely changed my perception of the phrase without changing the intent of the meaning and it blew my mind completely.

The common phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard is, “Let go; let God.” But the gentleman in the video re-ordered it to, “Let God; let go.” I couldn’t believe it. It was so simple, but the order of these words, in their new order made everything different and better!

trust fall fail

Think of the good ol’ trust fall. If I said to you, “Fall back, someone will catch you,” you might seriously wonder if someone would indeed catch you. But if I said to you, “Someone will catch you. Fall back,” that just feels more certain. It paints the image that someone is waiting to catch you even before you fall.



I began to ponder the order of things and how it really does matter a lot of the time. Most people enjoy order. It makes them feel secure and in the know. Simple examples of order:

  1. Get gas in your car before you head out of town.
  2. Get your popcorn before the movie starts.
  3. Marinate the meat before you cook it.

Some order just has to be. There’s no changing it and rearranging the order can cause chaos.

Have you ever been waiting in a long line and someone comes late and butts several people in front of you? It’s not popular to do that. Or how about someone incorrectly shelving books in the library. The order is disrupted and no one can find the books they are looking for. Chaos.


There are even implied rules when associated with birth order. Most of the time, it’s the oldest child that is assumed will do everything first. Chaos might not ensue from this being re-ordered, but there might be some hurt feelings or bruised egos.

My point is, as a society, we rely on order…a lot. Especially my fellow A-type OCDer’s. Order reigns supreme. In our day-to-day lives, it probably doesn’t occur to most of us to re-order or rearrange any of it. But maybe we’ve been missing out?

low angle view of office building against clear sky
Photo by Pixabay on

Seeing things from a different angle or perspective can enlighten you and maybe even delight you. Give it a go. Change things up. Look at someone else’s view. Look for the unique occasions where changing the order makes things better. It could be a game changer.


Perspective – Advice to Our Younger Selves

Often times you hear someone being asked what advice they would give to their younger selves.  I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ask the Perspectives Team what advice they would give to themselves.  In considering my own answer I realized that the advice that I would give to my younger self is the advice that I need to continue to live and follow still today.

I polled one representative from each age decade to see how they weighed in. Are we more alike or are we polar opposites?  Come with me to find out.

Caroline's younger self 2011

“If I were to give some advice to my younger self, I think it would be to not sit in a W because that now makes it harder for me to stay turned out in ballet.  It took me a really long time to learn to sit criss cross applesauce.”  ~ Caroline 10’s

Cristina younger self

“Given that I’ve only taken 20+ trips around the sun, I realize that I may not have the resume suited for lending advice. But time is a funny thing, and while I may not have more time than most, I’ve had many experiences that have helped me grow and evolve to the person standing in my shoes today. So, with that, here it goes….

Cristina, you’ll like yourself a lot at 29, and you’ll definitely be proud of who you are in this moment. I don’t really have any advice for you perse, but I will leave you with just three things; One, just start no matter what. Two, remember “everything you can imagine is real”. And three, ask your parents for fake glasses that actually HAVE lenses in them. Lensless glasses really just defeats the purpose.  🙂 That’s it. Love you little Cristina. I’m still working on making all of your dreams and wishes come true. Just know that you are who I continue to strive to be. ~ Cristina 20’s (

JOberholtzer throwback

“Let go of your pride. There will always be someone better and more successful than you. Life isn’t a competition. Your pride can prevent you from experiencing some of life’s great joys. Don’t let it stop you from living your life and loving others for living theirs and enjoying their successes.” ~ Jackie O. 30s

JSphar throwback

“Advice I would give to a younger me…

I would tell her how important it is to listen to her gut instinct when she feels it. I have realized that it is, very often, spot on. (This is something I still struggle with and need to remind myself of now!) I would tell her to stop worrying so much about what other people think because in the grand scheme of things, being kind and focusing on being a good friend, person, wife, mother, and daughter is all that really matters.

I would actually tell the youngest version of myself that she has anxiety and that she needs to forgive herself for having those anxious feelings. That many other people have it too, it’s an actual thing and she’s not the only one who is weird or insecure. I would remind her to try as much as possible to live in the moment and really appreciate what she has right now.  Oh, and I would tell her to STOP laying out in the sun.” ~Jen 40s

senior pic

“I would advise my younger self to enjoy the present.  Don’t worry about the past or fret about the future.  It only squanders the moment that you are in.  Life is always moving and if your head is in the past or future too long, you miss the present completely.  Life has a way of working out for the good if you just trust in your path and have patience when everything seems to be at a standstill.  Like jumping onto a moving carousel, sometimes you have to stand still for a moment to get yourself on the moving ride at the right time and in the right place.”  ~Jennifer 50’s ish (I’ll be 50 in January 🙂 )

BMazzone throwback

“Unsolicited advice is criticism. So, younger self, I will not impart advice. I will tell you what you will experience. I also hope that when this 62 year old reaches 90 she will be as blessed by this journey we call life.

You will be fine. Life will surprise you and disappoint you, but always you will benefit from either experience. Hard times will reveal your strength, your heart, and your true friends. You are blessed with many loving people in your life, starting with your family. You will never be alone because of your faith. You will be supported and loved by an amazing husband.

You will have a beautiful, loving, and talented daughter who is the joy of your heart. Your son in-law is the son you never had and is perfect for your daughter. And at this point you are head over heals in love with your granddaughter who named you Yaya.

Although you will make many mistakes they have not turned into regrets. You will count your blessings, use your talents and gifts and try to love and bring peace along the way.

So, enjoy this blessed and wonderful journey. You will be more than fine.” ~ Barbara 60s

Peggy younger self

“I am thinking of my grade school years. I was quite bashful and only felt comfortable with certain kids in my class. I tried to teach myself to be more out going and to make more friends. By the time I got to high school I had made many more friends and, even to this day, I have so many dear friends. I went to a four year college studying to be a nurse. I quit college to marry my husband of 51 years; the best advice I ever gave myself.”  ~Peggy 70’s

dad and mom engagement

“I have endless advice to give a younger self. Much is related to stupid stuff that I would learn shortly after I did that I’d never to do that again. Other things were harder to change like weight, raising kids, and the big ones, worry and fear.

Looking back at old photos of myself, I realize that I wasn’t fat at all. I really looked pretty good. I should have been realistic and never tried extreme diets that never had long lasting positive results and only left me with a lifetime of misery. While raising my children I was always hoping and praying that they would grow up to be happy productive adults. Some days I was blissfully happy at their progress. Other days I was sure they would never get along and would hate one another. I would now tell myself to chill out and be patient; that all will be well. That’s 20/20 hindsight talking.

Fear and worry is an on going trial. FEAR, an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real, and worry go hand and hand.  I’d advise myself to give it to God to handle in His own time. Definitely not easy….I seem to want to hold on a tad.  Surrendering myself was and is even now a work in progress.”  ~Temple 80s


In reading the responses from each participant, it was clear that each answer was to correct something that may still impact us today.  Themes of patience and advice to live in the moment also were reoccurring.  I also found it comforting that, like me, the others felt that they still needed to remind themselves now of the advice they would give to their younger selves.

We are heading into the New Year shortly.  As I’ve established previously in my January 19, 2017 post “Resolutions”, I don’t do resolutions.  But having gone through the exercise, I think one goal for the new year might just be to try to live my advice now.  Take the time to consider your own advice to your younger self.  Join in the conversation and add your advice in the comments.