1. I am not ___________ enough.
Yes, you are. Let me be clear that I am not speaking in monetary terms here. I choose to live a life that is not defined by the size of my paycheck (good thing, too, since size of said paycheck is currently zero). However, I understand that different households require (or desire) different levels of financial influx in order to feed and clothe children, pay mortgages and taxes, and otherwise operate comfortably. Here I am speaking in terms of self, or the you that defines you and the way you view yourself. So in that context, yes, you are ________ enough. You are smart enough. You are brave enough. You are pretty enough. You are strong enough. You are courageous enough. You are worthy enough. Banish the word “not” from the sentence. Say it to yourself often. Whisper it inside your head. Speak it out loud in front of the mirror. Shout it from the rooftop. I AM ENOUGH!
2. There’s plenty of time for that.
Maybe, and maybe not. Hopefully there is ample time for you to do the things you most want to do, but in reality there may not be. Let’s face it, we allow ourselves to get caught up in the business of living while forgetting to have a life. We get busy with work, school, sports practices, doctor appointments, and the like, and we push aside the things we’d like to do but don’t have time for now. We tell ourselves that there will be plenty of time for those things later, after the kids are grown, after we retire, after, after, after. But what if there isn’t time? What if reality comes crashing down in the form of accidents, illnesses, or even deaths? Suddenly there’s plenty of time turns into there’s no more time…
I choose not to have a bucket list. Instead, I have a f*** it list. A “screw conformity and conventionality” list, if you will. I have been inspired to live now, not later, by a dear friend who lost over a year of her life waging a massive war with Stage 4 abdominal cancer. Since then she does not waste a minute of her life to “laters”, but rather she lives her dreams today. Don’t wait for that magical, elusive plenty of time to show up. Go and do the things you want to do, see the things you want to see, and live the life you want to live! Take that dance class you’ve always wanted to try. Learn the second language you’ve always wanted to learn. Travel to that country you’ve always wanted to see. Do it now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. And if it turns out that there is plenty of time for that then consider it a bonus. Now you have more time to do more of what you’ve always wanted to do!
3. I’ve just been so busy! I’d love to, but I’m too busy! I wish I could, it’s just that I’m so busy! I can’t because I’m too busy!
Or any variation thereof. Forgive me if I sound a bit hostile here, but this is my absolute #1 pet peeve. These are words you will not hear me say…ever. Just typing them sets my teeth on edge, tenses up my neck and shoulder muscles, and figuratively overcooks my grits.
Let’s get real and raw and break these phrases down to their true meaning. Sure we all have busy days or busy weeks, but if you are consistently uttering any of the above then they begin to take on an entirely different meaning. What you are actually saying is, “I don’t have time for you, and I’m not willing to make time for you. I have certain priorities, and you are not one of them. You are not important enough in my life for me to spend my time on. My time is more valuable than your time.” Harsh, I know, but this is how it translates to the person on the receiving end. Please do not misinterpret me on this. I know there are legitimately busy periods in life that can be overwhelming. I do urge you, though, to banish these phrases (these excuses) from your vocabulary. Consider the damage that they do, and choose your words carefully. If you honestly don’t want to make time for someone then do them the favor of telling them what you are willing to invest, or of letting them go. The hurt it causes in the short-term may save them long-term pain and confusion.
4. I wish I could change my life, but I’m trapped.
The only thing that has you trapped is you. There is a way, and if you want to change your life you will find that way. Yes, it may well entail sacrifice, but if it leads you to where you want to be it’s well worth it. It may mean having to let down your guard and ask for help. Ask! Believe me, the right people will applaud you for asking, not shame you. It may mean learning to trust yourself. It may mean giving yourself permission to throw caution to the wind and take a great leap of faith. You may hit bumps in the road, and yes, you may even fail once or twice…or twenty times.
I have witnessed friends pick up and move away from home to pursue new career opportunities. I have watched single moms and former classmates go back to college after twenty years away from the school environment. I myself have walked away from a lucrative but personally unfulfilling career to find my own happiness. i have been inspired by the stories of others who have gone to great lengths to get to where they want to be. Your life is yours, so own it, and live it!
5. Whatever slang lingo is currently popular with teens.
Seriously, unless you are under the age of twenty-five, don’t do it. If you are in your (early) forties, like me, it does not make you look hip to your younger friends. It makes you look just a little bit desperate, like you are trying just a little bit too hard. It does not make you look like the cool mom. It makes you look like the “Oh my god, please let me get hit by this school bus because my mom is so mortally embarrassing” mom. Fellow children of the 80s, can you imagine your parents doing this to you back in your teen days? “Wow, like, gross me out the door.” “He’s like, totally, tubular, like, ya know?” “Ew, like, gag me with a spoon, ok?” Yeah…not so much, right? Great, then let’s agree to avoid the use of totes or adorbs, shall we? Game, Set, Match!
Are there any phrases that you wish people would stop saying? What are they? Do you agree or disagree with my list of five, and why? Feel free to share your thoughts! Cheers, Karen