Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas

Ohhh the holidays! Christmas has come and gone and now it's time to look forward to champagne popping and hugs and kisses to ring in 2009. I hope everyone has had an amazing Christmas/Hanukkah. I look forward to Christmas every year and the feelings of happiness and nostalgia that come attached with the holiday. However, this year was a bit different. For a variety of reasons, I wasn't as excited as I normally am for the holiday season. It didn't seem right to splurge on holiday gifts when so many people in Michigan are suffering. So, I drastically cut down on the amount I spent on gifts this year. After talking with friends and family, I realized I wasn't the only one who felt this way.

I do want to share a story that reignited my Christmas spark and reminded me that happiness during the holidays equates to so much more then spending gobs of money on gifts for people who already have so much. Each year, my PR agency adopts a family for the holidays. For the second consecutive year, we enlisted the help of our client, The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit, to find a local family in need. TSA found us a family from Roseville and those of us who could afford to do so went shopping for the mom and her four children. I decided that I wanted to take part in the gift delivery this year, so me and four of my other colleagues played the role of Santa's Elves and delivered the wrapped gifts to the family's home. I can't explain how happy it made me feel to see the kiddies (who were beyond adorable with their curly, white blonde hair) beaming as we walked through the door with armloads of gifts. Isabelle showed us how she dances like a ballerina, Zach told us how he wants to be an architect when he grows up and the youngest ones, Chloe and Logan, watched us with shy but intriguing eyes as we chatted with their other family members. The kids' mom, Beth, and grandma thanked us up and down for giving their family a very merry Christmas. Beth also gave us a card from the whole family that again thanked us and told us before we decided to help their family, they didn't think the kids would have a Christmas this year. Beth promised to send us photos of the kids opening their presents on Christmas morning.

So even though I took it down a notch this holiday season and didn't go all out with present purchasing or decorating, I can honestly say I had a merry Christmas. I can't wait to see the photos of the kids from Christmas morning. I have read so many stories in the past few weeks about selfless individuals, families and organizations going out of their way to help those less fortunate this holiday season. Maybe Michigan and its residents greatly suffered in 2008, but there are angels among us who offered a helping hand and brought happiness and smiles to many. So here's to 2009 and hoping that more people continue to brighten the lives of others.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Every Woman Should Have and Know Before Turning 30

**Image from Glamour Magazine's Web site

I usually tend to ignore forward e-mails because I refuse to partake in the "pass this along to six people in the next hour and you'll marry the person of your dreams." However, thanks to Beckels, I actually paid attention to one that included a list detailing what every woman should have and know. The e-mail attributes the compilation to the great Maya Angelou. But thanks to Google, I found that the true author is Pamela Redmond Satran. And let me tell you, she is a bit peeved that Ms. Angelou tends to more often than not get the credit for this creative list. Rightfully so!

Anyway, Satran's advice touches on relationships, love, physical objects, work issues and life in general. She created the list for a 1997 Glamour article in light of recently turning 30. Satran wanted to share her words of wisdom with younger women, thus creating the "30 things every woman should have and should know by the time she's 30" list. The wrongly-attributed Maya Angelou forward is a bit different from the list on Glamour's Web site, so I'm including the list from the magazine instead. See if you agree with Satran's advice.

By 30, you should have:

  1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
  2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
  3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
  4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
  5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
  6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
  7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
  8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
  9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
  10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
  13. The belief that you deserve it.
  14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
  15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.

By 30, you should know:

  1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
  2. How you feel about having kids.
  3. How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
  4. When to try harder and when to walk away.
  5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
  6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
  7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
  8. How to take control of your own birthday.
  9. That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
  10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
  11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
  12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
  13. Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
  14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
  15. Why they say life begins at 30.
I find Satran's list to be very clever and comical. I can't honestly say I'll have a set of screwdrivers and a cordless drill by the time I'm 30, but I'd like to put a checkmark next to most of the items on this list when I reach that milestone.