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One Word Resolutions

16 Jan

Jackie Sorensen, a partner in Be Brave. Lose the Beige, prescribed an exercise during a session with a group of Lady Boomers.  She recommended identifying a word that might encapsulate our yearnings and goals for the new year.  Jackie chose “courage” as a word she hoped to live with throughout 2014.  Courage to face age-old fears inhibiting her in previous years, and “forgiveness” of those who might have been hurtful in times past.  Liz chose a three word sequence – “pause, listen, and obey the still small voice within calling her toward her true self.  Another participant selected the word “savor” to remind her to be mindful of the present moment.

This may be an exercise you want to conduct for yourself.   Settle yourself in a quiet contemplative place and brainstorm several words that might be meaningful to you.  Sift through them, live with them for a couple of days until you come upon one that might fit with your hopes and aspirations for the coming year.   Let’s be honest, how many January 1sts have we diligently written out resolutions only to have them forgotten or overlooked in the ensuing months.  New York times journalist, John Tierney, writes the following about New Year’s resolutions:

“On one hand, you are 10 times more likely to change by making a New Year’s resolution compared to non-resolvers with identical goals.

He goes on to suggest, however…

“Most people are not going to keep their resolutions all year long.  They start out with the best of intentions, expecting they will find the willpower to succeed.  By the end of January a third will have broken their resolutions; by July more than half will have lapsed.”

A site called Oneword365 ( urges people to scrap the long list of goals and choose just one word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.  One word you could actually remember and focus on every day all year long.

Baby Boomer women, Lady Boomers as we like to call ourselves, tend to put themselves on hold while they tend to the needs of family and friends.  Be Brave. Lose the Beige encourages Lady Boomers to discover, or in many instances, re-discover, their own colorful spirits.  Losing the beige is not just about color (although we are crazy about colors..all colors, the more the better) Be Brave, Lose the Beige is really a life choice, a way of thinking about and viewing the world.  Bravery may be required as you assert the need for time to engage in pursuits of your own choosing.  Color and joy will begin seeping back into a life turned beige by all the obligations and responsibilities we face on a daily basis.

So, if you want to make a resolution, resolve to choose you this year.  Identify a word that sums up who you want to be and how you want to live.

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions







I’m a Three-Fisted Drinker

17 Jun

Don’t you sometimes think (or at least hope) your little idiosyncrasies are invisible?  I choose to think that about mine.  Therefore, I find it a little disconcerting when friends and family members delight in calling attention to one of mine.  Ok, I admit it…I like a good beverage.  Typically when dining out I order multiple beverages.  I enjoy the little buzz I get from a glass of wine; the caffeine from my unsweetened iced tea keeps me awake and alert; and the ice water actually quenches thirst as beverages are supposed to do.  This liquid combination is really the perfect triumvirate.    

 I’m not sure whether it’s my lengthy drink order or the fact  my thirst quenching threesome encroaches on my dinner companions’ table space that attracts attention.   Whatever the cause, my tablemates can’t resist making comments such as, “there she goes again with her three drinks!”  Sometimes they even jump in to order for me.  Nevertheless, I’m undaunted. I believe in my sipping strategy.

Thus, I was so surprised when my soon to be daughter in law mentioned recently I had liberated her beverage habits.  “I thought you could only order one drink at a time.  It didn’t occur to me I could order coffee, water, etc.  I feel so free”.  I was thrilled.  This was the first time someone had actually embraced my strategy and adopted it as a ritual of their own.

Be Brave. Lose the Beige (the name of my company and blog) is about defining your life as you would like it to be.  It gently pokes fun at societal rules and norms.  It says yes, when the world around us says no.  I think my being a 3 fisted drinker is a small example of this philosophy.  Try making one change in your life; it doesn’t have to be a major one, just a baby step even, like altering your usual restaurant order.  It can be quite liberating. 





Psychic Refreshments

24 Sep

Lady Boomers wear a lot of hats. One of the hats I wear is that of market researcher. I conduct focus groups, talking with women around the country about various issues facing their families and communities. This week I was in Winston Salem, North Carolina talking with 11 women about the economic recession and its impact upon their families. Now, I have to say, I’ve worked in this field since 1986, starting the day after the Challenger exploded, gauging the public’s pulse on political and environmental issues, 9/11, and a variety of other social and economic issues. In all the studies I’ve conducted throughout these years, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more depressed and disillusioned group of women.

I initiated our interaction with the following question: . “There has been a lot of discussion in the media about the state of the economy. They suggest we are in a recession. What do you think? How is the current state of the economy affecting you?” Just the faces I beheld alone should have signaled me what I was in for. The stories I heard..the foreclosures endured; the adult children boomeranging home; the grandchildren they are raising; the lay-offs; the lack of access to health care; pension plan and retirement anxieties; banks rejecting credit applications. The list was interminable.

The name of my blog is “Be Brave. Lose the Beige”. I’ve written and illustrated a journal/book by the same name. Be Brave. Lose the Beige is not just about color (although I love color, the more the better), it is really about women’s creative empowerment. BBLB urges women to discover their own colorful spirits, to say yes when the world around us says no. This may sound a little pollyannaish after all I heard last night, but I believe nourishing our spirits is more important than ever. Families are emotionally and financially down right now. Women- Moms, daughters, wives and friends tend to bear the brunt of these anxieties. So, ladies, if you have found yourself in this position, carving out a little time and space for yourselves is essential. The way to achieve this is vast and varied. Here are a few suggestions…

-exercise your creativity. This can take many forms- gardening; baking; sculpting/drawing; singing
-creating a spiritual practice- whether it be church, temple, or Quaker meeting house, silence and contemplation enables you to hear your real self speaking
– journal your real self in your writing and musing
-an artist’s date- go solo to window shop (no shopping goals allowed), see a movie, wander a museum or gallery

Routinely engaging in any or all of these practices will help you will feel psychically refreshed, which is what you are going to need amid this time of recession and depression.

Be Brave. Lose the Beige Tour

22 Sep

Be Brave. Lose the Beige is not just about color (although I’m crazy about colors..all colors, the more the better). Be Brave. Lose the Beige is really a life choice. These blog posts are designed to encourage you to discover your own colorful spirits and define what ideally living means to you. It’s about exploring the playful side of life by escaping your incessant to-do lists, and experiencing more joy and fun.

This post is the start of a magical mystery tour through closets and kitchen cabinets, jewelry boxes and shoe trees in an effort to illustrate what Be Brave. Lose the Beige looks like to me. Our first stop is the kitchen where we behold drawer/cabinet pulls that look like the ones featured in the photo below. These polka dotted, flowered, and heart filled clay knobs can be affixed to any cupboard door or drawer. The color combinations alone will all but guarantee delight each time you reach inside for a cup or bowl. Somehow color and whimsey can imbue even the most mundane task, such as setting a table, or pouring a glass of milk, with more fun.

I love Nuns!

21 Mar

In one corner you have the Nuns and the Catholic Health Association; in the other corner you have the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. 59,000 nuns sent Congress a letter urging them to support the Obama health care reform bill. They say “Despite false claims to the contrary, the bill will not provide taxpayer funding for abortions as the bishops have argued. These brave nuns stood up to their male counterparts saying protecting pregnant women is “the real pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it”. Sister Simone Campbell said, “We are the ones who work every day with people who are suffering because they don’t have health care. We cannot turn out backs on them, so for us, health care reform is a faith based response to human need.

I think their position provided cover for pro-life congressional Democrats. Go Nuns! Great knock out punch.