The Beauty of Old Friendships

“Think bbestmirroroldfriendack to some of the early healthy friendships you formed. While growing up, these friends became a home base you could return to — your safety net, your defender, your shoulder to cry on, and your source of humor. Flash forward to the present: If you’ve been lucky enough to hold on to these relationships over the years — the people you’ve belly laughed with, shared dreams, disappointments and dilemmas with, took adventures with, and celebrated all of your major life events with — you are blessed with the gift of friendship.” ~Tara Rummell Berson

At this time of year especially, I’m reminded of how lucky I’ve been in life. I’m thankful for so many things, but in this personal essay that is featured in the anthology, “In the Moment“, I talk about how blessed I’ve been with true friendships. I’ve had the great pleasure of acquiring many beautiful relationships throughout my life, but I focus on a particular group of girls I met almost 25 years ago.

I hope you that you’ll feel inspired to share this story with a friend, or group of friends, who you feel the same way about.  Here’s a scanned copy of the story if you have trouble reading the images below.
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Guest Post on A Hopeful Sign: How Mama Got Her Happy Groove Back.

Today’s crankiness crusher: I was honored to write a guest post about what motivated me to start my blog for an inspirational new magazine blog called A Hopeful Sign. Their mission is to spread hope through living-learning-leading and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

Originally posted on A Hopeful Sign on June 26th, 2011:

Even when there's lots of icky stuff happening around you, there's always a reason to smile.

How Mama Got Her Happy Groove Back.

crank·y [krang-kee]–adjective, crank·i·er, crank·i·est. 1. ill-tempered; grouchy; cross: I’m always cranky when I don’t get enough sleep.

Yep, this definition pretty much sums up how I was feeling most of the time: Cross, grouchy, and in a semi-permanent state of aggravation. I grappled with these negative feelings, especially since I’m usually the person who people turn to when they need a pick-me-up! Always a people-pleaser, I didn’t want to let my friends down, so I became a somewhat “closeted grump”—meaning that I’d still smile brightly and say, “I’m doing great!” when others asked me how I was doing, but on the inside I felt uninspired, blah, and to be honest, kind of bitchy!

As a mom of two kids under 5, I was growing more and more exhausted by my overwhelming to-do list and the constant multi-tasking yet lack of productivity. I was trying to be the perfect stay-at-home mother, while also freelance writing from home, which meant that I was usually up to the wee hours of the night trying to finish assignments. The lack of sleep made me irritable, and I also felt bummed out that my career wasn’t going the way I’d hoped. Then I’d feel guilty for fretting about my professional status instead of being appreciative that I could stay at home with my kids, and the vicious crankiness cycle continued.

Luckily, something happened one Saturday morning in March that made me view life from a healthier perspective. I was driving my 4 ½-year-old to swim lessons, and as we crossed over the bridge into the next town, I pointed out how pretty the river looked with the sun reflecting off of it. My son agreed, but said that he likes it more when the sun sets “because it’s orange”. When I told my husband about our exchange, he replied, “Who doesn’t appreciate a good sunset?” And as I sipped my coffee, their combined comments got me thinking about happiness, and how refreshingly easy it is to feel a moment of joy when you look at or think about something you like. The key is to appreciate it while it’s happening and to embrace those feelings of hope and optimism, as well as the contentment it brings.

I used to write a monthly column for a national women’s magazine called “Time for You”, and on that page I’d list 5 things to be happy about. While it was sometimes challenging to come up with these cheery little nuggets, I always smiled while reviewing the final list each month. With that in mind, I decided to start a blog that would encourage me to feel the same way. I desperately needed to learn how to focus on the good in each day so that I could start chipping away at my alter ego who I comically refer to as the evil Dr. Crankenstein. Over the last four months I’ve been writing about something specific that crushed out my crankiness. Chronicling these experiences has been cathartic. As a writer, it satisfied my need to get things down. I’ve been able to reveal the rawest parts of myself and take my crankiness out of the closet, and hopefully help others deal with their own.

The Crankiness Crusher blog is not so much about maintaining a constant good mood, but more about remembering to look for and appreciate the happy in each day—even if it’s something small like a freshly-mowed lawn, your favorite summer song on the radio, or eating an ice cream cone with your family. When you’re encouraged to find at least one good thing that happens daily, that positive thought can make you feel saner, more balanced, and less blah.

Throughout my anti-crankiness journey, I’ve realized that when you’re not uber crabby, it’s much easier to deal with minor annoyances and issues. It’s also made me feel more generous, forgiving, and compassionate. As a mom, I’ve had more energy and the emotional balance to tackle things that would normally set me off (like the perpetual whininess in my household!). The truth is, when you’re happy, you’re empowered to be a better person. And who doesn’t strive for that? I hope you’ll consider joining me on this mission. Let’s crush the crank together!

Tara Rummell Berson is freelance writer who lives in Middletown, New Jersey with her husband, two kids, and dog. Not surprisingly, she’s always looking to find simple ways to be happy/grateful/not cranky on a daily basis. You can find her at crankinesscrusher.com, on Twitter at @crankycrusher, or you can join her anti-crankiness community on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/crankinesscrusher

 

Inspiration to make a difference.

I’m excited and delighted to attend tonight’s 10th anniversary celebration of  the Young Survival Coalition’s (Northern NJ Affiliate)In Living Pink” event. The YSC is a global organization dedicated to helping young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer by offering resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.  My good friend Dina is being honored for her volunteer efforts and dedication, and I couldn’t be more proud of her!

Dina began volunteering a decade ago when her friend Lisa Marie founded the YSC’s North Jersey Networking Group. The YSC had become an invaluable resource for her when she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer at the age of 27, so she wanted to help others through this difficult and emotional time. After Lisa lost her battle at age 33, Dina then served as President of the YSC NNJ Affiliate. Her 4 years of leadership not only raised awareness for the organization–but also close to a half million dollars! It’s no wonder that she was elected to the National Board of Directors and acts as their Secretary today.

Dina’s commitment to the YSC is an inspiration to me–and today’s crankiness crusher.  She empowers those who are affected by breast cancer while fighting in memory of those who have lost their battle. Dina will say that she’s a better person for having known and learned from these individuals. I say that I’m a better person for knowing Dina.

How can this story help crush your crankiness? Try doing something for yourself that will also benefit others. Be an advocate for something you believe in. You’ll enrich your life and your soul while truly inspiring those around you. When you put your heart into something that matters, you’ll find the happiness that lives inside it.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

~ William James

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