Ooh I've been half stepping! It's been a while since my last entry...lots has been happening and I've actually been dreaming about blogging but it just hasn’t happened. I have been meeting more 30 somethings and it has been reinforced to me over and over again that this is our optimal time for reflection and growth. In the last month, 30 something has also become more of a reality for me...no more 20’s.

Turning 30 hasn't been half as daunting as I thought it would be. Maybe this is because I have been mulling over it for a few years now, or because I've been so excited to get there. Getting to 30 means several things to me.
1. Privilege: The fact that I've gotten here is a privilege; I know too many people who have not made it to this age.
2. Letting go: I can let go of some of those things that happened in the teenage years and move on. The last few years have almost been a consequence of decisions or things that happened in high school and college. A new decade gives me a chance to evaluate my decisions apart from what my world looked like in my 20’s.
3…. and about that career: While I've been ambivalent about my career choice, 30 obliges me to commit and pursue a career with more determination. If I ever felt like I have “more time” to make this decision, well,  time’s up!

Resolve to keep on

So here I am, about 3 months from the end of the year, reassessing my goals for the year. I have met quite a few of them, and others I have actually forgotten were goals. During this past year, I am learning more than ever that every day is a new opportunity to renew my commitment to my goals. I often find myself wanting to give up when I take an extended break from fulfilling my goals. But a break should simply be just that, and not a permanent hiatus.

So the first goal that I am working on is to continue to share my thoughts through this blog. Even though I haven’t published in a while, I have been writing and the plan is to clean them up and get your thoughts about them. In preparation for getting this started, I realized I should probably set some guidelines for myself. I haven’t quite decided if I want to use this forum as a series of very public journal entries, to provide random thoughts, share my experiences and expertise or just a collection of sarcastic quips with the sole purpose to entertain or maybe even offend. Being a person that needs some level of structure, I’ve decided to define the purpose of the blog a little bit more, knowing that this will and should change as I get more comfortable and actually start thinking of myself as a blogger (I’m not quite there yet). In the meantime, I have lots of interests that I would like to share with readers out there.
Health corner: In order for our success, we must be healthy. Public health is very important for me and as we navigate the 30’s, our health will become increasingly relevant.
A weighted battle: Though part of our health, weight issues have a special place in my world. I have been “battling” my weight and surrounding health implications for a few years now and it turns out everyone is having this battle. I would like to share some thoughts, tips and other information to help us keep our weight in a healthy range.
Women matters: I am very concerned about the plight of women in the world. It is very apparent that we live in a man’s world and I would like to add my voice to the many voices out there about how much women do matter in the world. I am also interested in getting women to feel comfortable about ourselves and would like to discuss some of the more intimate life situations that we don’t always get to discuss or hear other folks discuss (Sorry, nothing kinky). Men, don’t check out of these discussions!
And the rest: I have interests in the world, the arts, cooking, relationships, my hair issues, and much more than I hope will stimulate discussion and definitely let us realize that we’re all experiencing different shades of the same life challenges.

 Thanks for coming along this journey with me. The goal is to get out an entry more often than not (finding it hard to commit, but certainly not every 6 months!) and I hope you find relevance in them. I welcome comments, suggestions, thoughts and even jokes! If you haven't already, remember to subscribe and confirm your subscriptions so that you have receive the updates right in your inbox!

Best regards
Half-stepping diva


You have a Friend in Me

A couple of months ago, my jolly friendly parking attendant was replaced by two strangers. They were rude and they did not understand the arrangement that I had previously made with the other attendant and attendants before him. I found them generally annoying and had to keep myself from uttering names under my breathe after interacting with them. In fact when I drove into the parking lot, I often thought, ooh I have to deal with tweedle dee and tweedle dum. I felt that because they refused to understand me, they were intent on simply making my parking time unbearable. I was highly unpleased with them.

Then one day it hit me that these two are probably someone's father and possibly grandfathers. I saw one of them pull into the parking lot shortly afterwards and he had a Marines sticker on his car. I started noticing various things about the men that made them less...annoying.  I decided to adjust my attitude and the next morning, like I'd done with the previous attendant, I waved to them when I drove in and said a cheery good morning when I handed them my payment. The next day I noticed they waved first as I entered the parking lot and we exchanged greetings. All of a sudden my painful interaction had became a friendly place. With a simple attitude shift, I had made new friends.

I remember going to the market with my mom as a kid and she seemed to know soo many people! We would generally leave the house around 5 am to get the freshest vegetables...it was usually too early to be coherent let alone friendly, but my mom made her stops around the market and talked to her "friends". I learned as I got older that these women were virtually strangers to her, but for the purposes of her shopping experience, they were her friends. They had little nicknames for her and she always had something to tease them about.

We tend to treat people differently once they lose the mystical strangeness about them. During traffic my anger quickly dissipates if the person that just cut me off turns out to be someone I know. This has happened on several occasions with friends and coworkers who were just in a hurry. I've dismissed it with justifications of inattentiveness, which is generally unlike the irritation I feel towards all the other strangers on the road. We tend to forgive faster and not get so worked up when there is a connection with the other person.

I find that making this application to all aspects of my life can be very beneficial. Of course I do not have to trust everyone I encounter or make friends with everyone, but by seeing others as people and not barriers, harmful creatures of the other world or roadblocks in life, I can get to my destination with so much less stress and anguish.

Park Geun-hye
So a few weeks ago when I drove into the parking lot, I asked one of the gentleman whose name I now know, what's new, as  he was reading the newspaper. He informed me that South Korea had just sworn in a new president...and she's a woman. Wow! I learned something new.

Half-stepping diva


Energy conservation

Last night after my Zumba class, someone who had never taken my class stayed after to give me some feedback. He told me that I was not swiveling my hips enough when I danced the merengue, and not standing straight enough during my samba. As he said it, I didn't have the correct form for the various latin dances. As he is classically trained he recognized what good form is in latin dance. He took about 10 minutes to explain his concern that I was misleading my students. Even though I wanted to explain to him that Zumba Fitness is not a dance class, I listened and thanked him for his feedback. This interaction was quite upsetting to me.

I decided not to let it throw off my confidence and not to worry much about it. Of course this didn't quite work. I take pride in what I do, so the idea that I was misleading my students was very unsettling. After thinking through it some more, I realized that I was obsessing.  It's okay for him to voice his concerns, though unfounded, but there's no reason to take it on.

Our words are often like arrows and can have lasting effects on others. I remember many hurtful things that have been said to me that I've held onto for years. The few times I've confronted the person, they barely remember uttering them. It's like when someone cuts you off on the road and you get upset. You might try to "show" them by riding close to them or by even gesturing obscenities. Oftentimes they are lost in their own world, oblivious to your ire. A friend once told me "you can not control other's actions,but you can control your own reactions".

I have been doing pretty well not thinking about my interaction with the student. Whenever I would think about it, I would remind myself of what I else could be using that energy for. It is very easy to give credence to people and things that are not very important to us. Those people or things in turn suck the energy right out of us.

I am fairly conscious about the environment and energy conservation. I do my best to turn off lights, be mindful of how much water I use and I even recycle paper, bottles and plastic...all in attempts to conserve some energy. In that same way, I must conserve my own energy. It takes so much of it to think through a problem, think about someone who is not even concerned with me, or just plain stress out about a situation. In as much as life requires our attention, our attention is often a wasted effort. Most of us have higher heights that we are trying to attain but instead find ourselves expending precious energy on trivial matters that will never take us to those heights. In setting our eyes on the prize, we must also refrain from being pulled down by those energy zappers that are there only to wreck havoc.

So I choose not to obsess about this criticism I received. Instead, I've decided to use it as an inspiration to remind us that words do hurt, another's perception does not have to ever become our reality and above all, we must put our optimal energy towards things that will elevate us, our life and that of the people around us.

Half-stepping diva


The Facebook Life

Ooh boy! Grandma is on Facebook®! And she actually updates her status and shares pictures and posts! What has the world come to?! Somehow in the midst of all the conflicts and turmoils, all the political and religious rantings, all the family drama and all of life's disappointments, we all agree on one thing....that we like the world to know what's going on in our lives...especially when things are going really well! Facebook® is proof that humans cannot live in isolation..we need each other. I personally spend several hours daily scrolling through and checking up on friends, loved ones and folks that I frankly never thought I would encounter again. Quite a bit of my energy goes into admiring pictures, occasionally even commenting and just reading up on other folks' world. It's the voyeur in all of us....even when folks post wayyy too much information we still feel quite inclined to be a part of it...afterall if you're putting it out there, I might as well share it.

I also believe that a part of Facebook®success is because it is only a representation of our lives...and most of the time, it is the good part of our lives. Have you ever "reunited" with a long lost friend only to find that they are doing better than you? In fact according to their Facebook® page, they are doing much much better than you! Many of us use Facebook® like telephones were intended. and instead of just calling our closest friend to tell them the news, we call a 1000 friends. Ok really...do we really know a 1000 people or are we just collecting potential status updates? I am always amazed about how much turmoil there is in the world...but yet per Facebook® everything is just peachy. Sure you'll occasionally have a rant or two or a post that gets folks riled up, but for the most part we only share the really great parts of our world.

The result? Quite a number of us walk around feeling highly insecure about our own problems. What would they say if they found out that my life is not as peachy as theirs? Would they think less of me? I must be doing something wrong if I can't do like they are doing! Another group of us are resentful. Everyone else seems to have a fabulous life except me! I have encountered many people who really believe that folks around them do not have any problems...or at least not serious problems like they do. It is easy to look at our shortcomings and be hard on ourselves, blame someone else because we don't measure up to someone's facebook life.

The truth though is that we all have problems. Everyone including the happiest person on this earth has a story and many chapters in our book of life end tragically, or sadly or in anger. It is not always a walk in the park despite what our Facebook® status says.

I've had the privilege of having deep conversations with folks from different walks of life and it's always the same story...something impactful has happened in their lives, and this thing still influences their lives..5, 10, 20 or even 50 years after it happened. I've had many conversations with my adopted grandmother and she recounts stories of her childhood like it happened yesterday. She recalls the pain she experienced and how it influenced her life...even till today at age 80. No matter how great it looks on paper or on the internet, we all have a sad story to tell.

So, I try to open up and tell others about my hurts and my pain and also about my triumphs. We all need hope in our lives. I pray my story will have an impact on theirs...make them see that life is a great struggle for all of us. And after I scroll through all the news of new babies, new spouses, new jobs, new friends and amazing lives, I go back to my world, my truth and my reality, remembering that those posts are only an itsy bit of those folks' lives. There's more of them to be discovered outside of their Facebook® lives.

Half-stepping diva