Hygge Fika and Lagom: Simple words for a perfectly balanced lifestyle

I received the Little Book of Hygge, Danish Secrets to Happy Living

Although my brother gave it to me at Christmas, I just had the opportunity to sit down with this book a few weeks ago and as Marie Kondo would be so proud to hear me say, it sparked joy!

I finally had a word for my favorite feeling of coziness.

Hygge.

Pronounced "hoo-gah" and roughly translated means "coziness", but it's way more than that.

It's a way of living. The Danes strive for a hygge life as a way to combat the long cold and dark winters. 

If you gravitate to Pinterest and Instagram pictures of candles, knit blankets, and soft cashmere sweaters you crave a little hygge in your life.

I've always known this is what I gravitate towards but didn't have a name for it. Thank god for the Danes! Now that I know it's an actual word I feel as if I can actively seek out hygge moments in my life.

It's much more than having a cozy house, although that's essential. When I walk into a friends home that oozes warmth, easy to sit on furniture, loads of books, and the pefect Diana Krall soundtrack in the background I know we're going to be friends for life.

Warm dinners with friends over bottles of wine, candles and hip music is a guaranteed recipe for hygge. A girls weekend with coffee in the morning in your PJ's bingeing on Big Little Lies: hygge. 

An armchair, your favorite Ugg slippers, a breakfast nook: as the Danes would say, "that's so hygge".

Oprah coined the phrase, Live Your Best Life, and I'm on a quest to do just that.

Therefore I wondered what other words were out there that I could intentionally add to my daily routine. 

Just thinking about them makes my heart feel more content. Maybe they will do the same for you.

Fika: The Art of The Coffee Break

This one seems easy to add into my daily life, but in order to do it the right way it needs to be an actual break from what I'm doing. For me that means reading a gasp! ACTUAL BOOK. 

I mostly listen to books, about one a week, but as I've been off  FaceBook just in the past two days, I have found I have more time to do just this.

I gather that you're also supposed to have a baked good with it in order to really create fika, but let's face it, fika gonna get me fat. So, I'm just gonna make it a tea or kombucha break. Also, sadly, I do not like coffee. 

I know...so NOT fika.  

Lagom: The Swedish word for not too little, not too much

Ooh. Doesn't that sound...well...just perfect? This is what I strive for. A perfectly balanced day with a little bit of news, a bit of reading, and the perfect amount of writing. Mixed in there I'd like an hour of exercise where I work hard but not too the point of making myself sick. 

I love to have some "community" on my plate. Laughing with friends in my dance classes. Maybe a coffee date with two of my girlfriends, or just a phone call catching up with a close but long distant friend. But not too much. And only with someone I really like. 

Behind all of this is a balanced happy life called Lykke

Yep, the Danes have a name for that too! I mean I guess we say "happy life" but that doesn't seem quite as smart does it? 

Lykke is a way of life. Just like you practice yoga, you practice Lykke.

Being a girl that likes concrete ideas that lead to action this word is perfect for what I'm currently trying to do with my life.

Lykke is said to have six key factors that span the globe in terms of happiness level.

Togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness.

That's really it isn't it? Going beyond this is getting too complicated. If these basic needs are met we know that the rest will come. Or maybe it won't. Perhaps there is no "rest". 

Or if there is a "rest of my life" I'm not sure I'll care because I'll be living my best lykke.

That my friends is deep. You might call it so hygge, lol.

There's only one thing I would add to those six.

I would like to add honesty. I have made that a core tenant of what I'm trying to strive for. I feel so much more whole when I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not.

I guess what I'm saying is it's easy to fake lykke and to make others think you're in it. That's what social media is about. It seems that anything in excess could push you over the edge and into unhappiness. 

Too much eating, drinking, talking, too many friends, too much worrying about what others think, or boasting about ourselves, can all push us into another land that's out of sync and before you know it, you've tricked yourself and find yourself out of lykke.

We've seen that happen with too much togetherness, too much money, too much boasting. We all know a ton of people with boatloads of money who are miserable. 

The recipe is not complicated.

A dash of hygge mixed with a moment of fika and balanced out with lagom creates lagom. Simple.

And at the end of all that you top off the day with the Italian's "La Passeggiata": The art of taking a walk in the evening.

Oh my gosh, I want to go on a trip now. But instead I'll curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. 

Happy hyggeing!

 
 
 

 

 

In a world of 1402 friends I basically just feel shitty: Have you heard of Dunbar's Number?

I have 1402 "friends". That's just on Facebook.

I also have a ton more through dance, theater, and writing. It seems like as the number goes up, my happiness level is diminished.

Would I have been diagnosed as Bipolar 2 at age 41 if I hadn't been on social media for the past ten years? I'm actually not sure. 

I've been thinking for the last three months about the fact that I seem to have become more and more uncomfortable with my life in a way I do not recognize. I used to love my life and now I am constantly on a search for something else. 

To be fair I don't think I can blame it all on social media or modern times. It runs in my family. If you read my dads journals before he died you would see the trend. Perhaps at age 40 or so this was inevitable for me. However, the trend is not just in me. Many of my friends and family complain of this even if they don't admit or realize it.

I know it's a simple concept but could the decline in my happiness be directly related to my brain being on overload from an overabundance of social relationships most of which are shallow or competitive? 

I've learned recently about Dunbar's number.

Without going into too much detail Robin Dunbar was a British anthropologist who proposes that the cognitive limit in which a person can relate to another person is about 150. 

Now that's some fancy talk but it really means we ain't supposed to have more than 150 relationships. 

Although he researched brain size, primates and the volume of neocortex in hunter gatherer societies, Dunbar explained it informally as "the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar."

150 people. This makes total sense to me. Does it to you?

To go further than that, within that 150 people each person basically has the ability to be "the best" at something. If not the best then maybe the top 5%. Within our village of 150 someone gets to be the best cook, the best tennis player, the funniest guy, the sluttiest girl. You get the idea.

But in a world of 1402 friends you basically just feel shitty. All I can see is all the other people who are better writers than me. Better comedians. Better opportunities.

Although I can safely say my relationship with my husband and my kids is one to strive for, most of my time is worrying about all the people with nicer cars, cooler vacations, and weirdly white kitchen counter tops. Weird I know.

But I'm just admitting it. You may be more interested in granite. I get it.

This makes no LOGICAL sense because I know that I have a f*ckin kick ass life and a ton to be proud of. I mean I don't know it. I KNOW IT. I don't need more.

I'm feeling this way and I know so are a ton of other people.

My brain is being tricked into a feeling of inadequacy on a subconscious AND conscious level. Worse than that it flairs up every ten or so minutes when I check my phone like a mouse in a trap. 

Not one to sit around and let things happen to me I'm forcing myself into a change. I don't want to spend the rest of my days like this. I have so many projects inside my head. I want to have time to work on them and fulfill the destiny I believe I am made for.

I want to set a better example for my children. I don't know how to combat the stress that they will inevitably feel when they start comparing themselves to others on social media. I can only lead by example and right now I'm not a good example.

I was about age 30 when this all started. Now it's been ten years and I'm worse for it. What happens if it starts at age 13? Or age 11 considering my son has an Instagram account?

It seems so simple at it's core. But as suicides among teens rise, depression and anxiety intensifies, it becomes painfully obvious doesn't it? Too obvious not to do anything about it. 

Sorta like gun control huh?

I shed my closet down to 33 pieces (okay actually about 50-still working on it) and I feel better. 

I've limited my day to just 5 or so sets of goals for the day. Parenting, walking, writing, cleaning, reading, exercise. I feel better.

I basically eat 5 different types of meals in order to stay healthy. I feel better.

I look at my phone, maybe 50, 75, 125 times a day? I feel shitty.

I use excuses by saying I need it for business or to stay relevant. But the writings on the wall. It's a drug just like everything else. I can feel it.

I panic at the thought of writing here that I'm going to have my friend make a password for my social media accounts and not give it to me for 30 days. I'm an all or nothing type of gal. If I'm on this grand experiment to take my mental disorder, health, and happiness into my hands then I need to really dive in.

My blog posts, dance classes and important dates will be added by someone else. And I'm not going to write on FB "If you need me I'll be over here". That annoys me. If someone really needs to get a hold of me they'll find a way.

I'll see you on the other side. Let the withdrawal and the shakes begin.

Keep the faith: Creating Something out of Nothing

The hardest part of creating something out of nothing is having faith that it will work out.

It may be quick and easy. For me that's choreography. 

I'm not the best dancer in the world, having never trained in any official capacity, but I've made it a living and I choreograph with ease and confidence. I trust the process. If I don't connect with the song I discard it until I find the one that speaks to me.

Once found, I listen to the song over and over again. I listen with earphones keeping it internal so I can hear the nuance of the music and understand where the energy is. I start small, the energy in my sternum, feeling the movement from the center of my body as it travels up to a visual notebook I have in my head. I start the song over and over again.

It's a very specific process. It's my own process. I have faith in it.

Each pass of the song the picture starts to form as an energy blob. That's the only way I can think of to describe it. As I repeat the song, in about 15-20 listens, I start to be able to see it.

Specific moves. I will sometimes get out of the car, or try a move out in the aisle of Rite Aid. Today I quietly moved while waiting in line at the Kaiser pharmacy while I picked up prescriptions. I look a bit like I'm having an epileptic fit of sorts. Sometimes people notice.

After about 30 listens it begins to form.

All in my head. I try it at home and fix some of the movements that looked better in my mind. That's the first, second and third draft.

I take it to my class and teach the fourth and fifth draft. I teach what I have and add and subtract the split second before I continue on based on tiny 'moments" I notice from my class. My job is to edit, simplify, and at the same time push them just beyond their capability.

I've done this for 18 years, having literally choreographed two dances a month. That's a lot of practice and it's second nature to me. I have very little fear surrounding it.

When it comes to writing I don't have as much practice despite my published material. I was wondering today why not? It struck me that I basically wrote both my musicals in a manic state.

I don't feel that now I assume because of medication I am now taking and need to rely on something else to push me forward. That's a scary realization. The mania is the drug I think I need to create.

Instead of the haze of fast paced energy that gets me to the next level I need to learn to rely on something else.

Faith.

I'm not allowed to do anything else this month besides writing on this here blog. It's part of my Simple 30. Thirty days of monastic living, doing the same thing each day to get a grip on my Bipolar 2. For the most part I have done well and it shows. I am even, calm, and able to stay in the present.

I think simply writing about what comes to me each day has been a worthy practice that will pay off in the end. I am practicing my faith in writing.

I decided yesterday that after these 30 days I will go back to writing musicals and give it another go. I have three in my brain that I think are trying to get out and one that is almost 3/4 of the way there. I'm a bit nervous that I'll get trapped into writing what I think other people will want to hear rather than what my heart wants to write.

But if I can apply the same faith and trust I have in dance to the process of writing I think I'll have found a way forward, carrying my talent with something I've never had before. Patience.

I have learned this month that we are here on this earth a precious amount of time. I spend too much time worrying about the end of my time and have lost sight of faith.

You must have faith in your ideas and make every moment move you one step closer to your vision. You must have faith in your own uniqueness. You must do it your way not worry about how someone else did it. You must have faith that your own path will work out.

At first it's a blob of ideas. Then a first draft, a second draft, third, fourth and perhaps twentieth, each on the way to something special if you allow it.

I think I get that now.

Wanting other peoples things and Project 333

Whenever I go into someone's house I usually think, "god I'd love that table.

It's so rustic. It looks so cozy and inviting. I bet they have a ton of dinner parties with cool hip friends, drinking wine for hours and chit chatting about important stuff. I'd really want that table."

Don't you?

I think things like, "Wow, there house is so much smaller than mine but somehow it's just that much hipper, chic plus they've got this cool edgy vibe that I think I would be so much better off with."

If there is anything that makes me unhappy it is pining after other peoples things.

It's not so much the longing for someone else's life. I like my life. It's more about hating the feeling of wanting something I can't have. It makes me uncomfortable and I spend way to much time on it.

Still I truly believe that if I had that white pottery barn couch that basically it would feel like I'm living in a house on Nantucket. What?! I've never even BEEN to Nantucket, so f*ckit! 

Except no, I could really see myself in Nantucket. I have a very clear picture you guys. I'm wearing white skinny jeans and my blue and white striped shirt. Very nautical, very Kennedy family. You see it right? Yeah, me too. 

I really really want that white couch. This is not even close to a rational thought because my daughter would ruin that couch in under five seconds. She's gross. Cute, but gross.

Basically I'm upset because "Waahhh, I don't have that" and I'm upset because "Waaahhh, I hate myself for thinking this way." And lastly because "Waaahhh, I have so much and I'm obviously a selfish bitch."

I also think, "I'm 41 years old and continue to have this problem year after year, decade after decade and jesus this is exhausting."

I'm mean people in Puerto Rico are STILL living without electricity for f*cks sake. What am I COMPLAINING ABOUT?!?!?!?!?

Okay calm down. Me. I'm saying that to me, not you.

Or maybe you.

Because most everyone I know has this problem even if they don't care to admit it. I'm talking to you guy who's like "Yeah, I don't consider myself materialistic" but has four Ipads, Apple TV, and a new Macbook pro. Yeah, you.

I would like to say life would be so much easier if we had more money but, um we DO have more money than we ever had five years ago, seven years ago, ten and fifteen years ago. Lots more.

We are rich. Not like Tesla rich. But like we live in Silicon Valley rich. If you can afford to live in a comfortable house here you're rich. 

We just continue to set the bar higher and higher wanting more and more.

This drives me f*cking crazy. 

And to be honest, I don't know how to get over it. I really don't. Because in the end, it's not rational and I know that.

If you're some genius let me know, but in the meantime while I'm working on this human dilemma l will give a few nuggets of what I DO know.

  • I know that I don't REALLY want to make more money. If I did I would go out and get a regular job. Instead I place a higher value on my time, health, and emotional well being. Currently being at home with less work is something my body needs. I could always go out and get a job, make another company, charge for another service. I can talk my way into most anything. I obviously do not value that idea enough to do that.
  • My husband's values are similar and in the end I'm grateful. He has a "normal" job (meaning he's not an artist like me) but doesn't want to climb the corporate latter so fast that he misses out on his life or us. Being able to take a lunch time bike ride for him is much more inline with our values than making 25K more. Plus he gets to see us. We are only here once on this earth after all.
  • I believe that most of the time I'm coveting what I perceive as peoples relationship to money. They seem to know how to handle it. They're more grown up than me. They did something right. I didn't. 
  • I know that patience would be one of the keys to my success. Instead I make rash decisions that result in overbuying and overabundance of sh*t I don't really need. 

Even though I don't have a clear answer to this problem that a lot of us seem to be facing I believe in taking action. I'm setting out on a series of experiments to see what helps me have control over my thoughts rather than letting an unrealistic "perception of others" shape them for me.

Here's what I'm going to try first. Project 333.

Project 333 is the brain child of Courtney Carver. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which caused her to re-evaluate her life's priorities. She has a big story and went through a huge transformation but the biggest takeaway for me right now is my closet. 

Here's the challenge she puts forward. 

For three months you can have 33 articles of clothing. That includes accessories, purses AND shoes. Total. WTF?!

You can change out your 33 articles each season.

The good news for me. Workout clothing doesn't count! Great for me since I workout about 5 days a week and I am a super sweaty person. Like grossly sweaty.

Although, if I'm really being honest I will need to pair that down to only 10 items as well. I've got a sh*t ton of Lululemon.

In addition, leisure wear (around the house lounge stuff), underwear, socks, and pajamas don't count toward the 33. BUT, even there if I'm REALLY being honest with myself I basically wear leisure wear ALL of the time so I'll be sorting those out as well.

I'm going to start here.

  1. One BIG pass at getting rid of 1/4 of my clothes and donating. I'll be pretty good at that I think. I've got a lot that I don't wear and I don't have a hard time parting with stuff. Mainly because I just buy more stuff.
  2. Do inventory of what I wear all the time. Hold it up, Marie Kondo the sh*t out of it. Does it give me joy??? I LOVE THIS BOOK, read it.
  3. Decide whether or not these articles of clothing will hold up washing for the next three months and if I need to replace I will use the gift cards I have.
  4. Box up all the rest and put in the garage.
  5. See if I notice what is gone.

Eek. I'm scared. Are you scared for me?! I figure what's the worse that can happen?

I don't know. I can't really think of anything that bad other than the emotional attachment I feel towards my clothes. 

I can feel an emotional charge well up inside of me when I think of not buying any clothes for the next three months. It kind of makes me want to throw up.

And you know what that makes me think? I'm on the right track.

Care to join me on 333? Let's do this!

 

The 19 types of friends we all have for better or worse

I've been thinking a lot about friends lately. Friends are great. They increase your lifespan, help you through hard times, and help keep you on track.

Other ones can test you, make you question yourself or in general suck your soul. They say the older you get the smaller your circle becomes, but we all got a bunch nevertheless. I've lightened it up today with a few of our favorite types of friends. Enjoy!

One- The Vault

The one girl you know you can tell your inner, deepest, tragic, embarrassing, not even spoken to your husband secrets and she doesn't judge, like fo' realz doesn't judge or tell ANYONE.  

Two- The Frenemie

That one biatch that you've known for some reason forevs, but it's way better to keep them around because if you cross them you're in for some drama mama. 

Three- The Legacy

That buddy from your youth who if you met now you would find mega annoying but somehow it just works.

Four-The Dead Weight

That one who makes you question yourself and your self-worth and who you know deep down you really need to break up with.

Five-The Pinterest

That friend whose house and life is so frickin' perfect you could cry. But maybe she could re-design your living room for you?

Six-The Fun Bobby

That awesome fun drunk who's great when they're drinking but when not a total dud.

Seven-The Regifter

The one who you go shopping with at Anthro and you know each other so well she pulls out the sweater you gave her for her birthday from the trunk and returns it in front of you and you don't even really care.

Eight-The Gwyneth

The gorgeous yoga guru who juices and eats macro and makes you feel like a fat blob who is sitting on the couch drooling In N' Out Burger.

Nine-The Donald

Your republican friend who you tolerate yet ponder how they currently sleep at night.

Ten-The BeachbodyStellaDotMLM-er

That friend who only calls you once a year in order to see if you'll buy something or throw a party.

Eleven-The Owl

Your older wise friend who has a ton of life experience and advice and warns you that on the horizon is night sweats, chin hair, and pooping problems.

Twelve-The Purely Social

The one you only really see on social media but you would duck behind the garbage can can if you saw them walking down the street.

Thirteen-The One Upper

The chick who listens to your story about your kid's talent show and then tells you her kid just auditioned for a new Disney sitcom.

Fourteen-The Richie Rich

That friend who says they're not rich but still owns a boat so WTF, you're rich- so you got this lunch right?

Fifteen-The Youngin'

The one that has their sh*t together even though they have like zero life experience and make you feel like you're 80.

Sixteen-The therapist

The one you save money with by sitting down on a couch with a mug and baring your soul.

Seventeen-The Gabber

The one who you could spend the whole afternoon on the phone with even though everyone else should just text me okay?

Eighteen-The Luncher

The one who you always go to lunch with because dinner would involve her husband and you can't stand him.

Nineteen-The Reach

The girl you think is really really cool and sure you've hung out in a group setting but they maybe still don't quite know your name, wait do they?

You got anymore favs?

xo, Molly

The story of the yellow flats: addiction, meth and my next high

I've got an intense craving that isn't being fed. 

Two days ago I wrote about being a "happy depressive". Read it here. It's odd to me that I used the word depressed as if I have any idea what that word really means. Because I don't. I don't think I've ever felt depressed in my life really.

Like, ever.

But two days ago I wrote that I was depressed. Huh.

What I didn't say is that my mind and body feel like they're chugging along in a slow panic.

My center is calm, while my brain churns in a lower gear than normal, as if on a slow motion hamster wheel of thought.

Now as I write, I don't think it's a hamster wheel. Hamsters move fast. 

This is a lower gear. My mind is a ferris wheel, consistent and constantly moving. It's high and low. It's dragged out. It churns a cycle of thoughts during the day and a series of vivid dreams at night.

I called it depression.

I think I'm wrong.

Today as I drove to Whole Foods I had the thought that I should buy some shoes. Yellow flats to be precise. 

Okay, I admit, also perhaps a spring like top that would go with the shoes if I was feelin' it.

My mind clicked a little faster.

THREE times I thought about these shoes. Once at Peet's getting my morning tea, a spark. Then in the car driving over to the market, a flare. Once more while picking out avocados, I feel a familiar rush through my brain, a quickening in my heart and a lift in my blood pressure.

I want those f*cking yellow flats.

As I was deciding whether or not to get organic or conventional avocados it persisted. (I got organic btw.) That spike in my pulse is something very familiar but I realize I haven't felt it for a couple weeks. This is partially because of a new medication and I'm hoping because I am closing out week one of a 30 day regimen that concentrates on mindfulness, exercise, food and the rote of daily living that my therapist and I came up with called The Simple 30.. Each day the same.

I suddenly saw my cute yellow flats for what they were. 

The yellow flats are my meth. My body is craving a hit.

Oh sh*t, a hit of dopamine and those cute little yellow mother f-ers are gonna give me just that. 

And before you get all, Molly don't you think you're being a bit dramatic calling yourself a meth head? And I'm all no I'm totally not. And your all, I think you are and it's unfair to equate yourself to something that serious. And I'm all, okay maybe but that's why you read...let's just agree that it's somewhere in the middle and tell you this.

Methamphetamine increases the amount of the natural chemical dopamine in the brain. People with Bipolar 2 tend to overproduce dopamine resulting in mania like behavior.

Apparently, so do yellow flats.

I mean I'm not a doctor, but that just makes sense. 

My body and mind crave it. It has sky rocketed me forward in my career, made life exciting, been my partner in writing musicals, teach insane dance classes and intense voice lessons at the speed of light. It's pushed me through illness after illness as I perform.

It has caused me to not sleep at night but still produce heavily during the day. It makes me talk fast, spin fast, and argue intensely. It's colorful, bright, exciting, just like those cute yellow flats- and it's, no biggie, almost killed me.

They say people with a high dopamine personality are characterized by high intelligence (okay if you SAY so). 

They have a sense of personal destiny (well my quest is to be the white Oprah, or the straight Jillian Michaels, or maybe the next David Mamet?)

They have obsession with achieving goals and conquests, (the only way I get work done).

Lastly, they possess an emotional detachment that in many cases leads to ruthlessness, (I mean I'm not a serial killer or anything but I have been known to take someone DOWN with my words and intense argument style. Guess I should have been a lawyer and would've been much richer).

Maybe then I could afford those yellow flats.

Too much dopamine can push some people over that fine line between genius and madness. 

Now I'm not mad and I ain't no genius, but I do know this.

My body will no longer tolerate it. Just like an alcohol, sugar, exercise, food or whatever your drug of choice is, if I don't self regulate my dopamine spikes I will fly off the rails, spin out making myself mentally and physically get sick. At 41, my bank account is drained (literally), my relationships fail, and my cuppeth literally hath runneth over.

In therapy today I was able to come to the resolution that I am in withdrawal.

I've thrived and survived with dopamine for over twenty five years.

That's where The Simple 30 comes in. Yes-I've already branded it. Duh. 

My 30 day plan to live life as a modern lady monk. Trying to resist surges in dopamine that aren't natural, increasing endorphins which my body can handle, keeping calm, methodic, and yes sometimes, bored. What I thought was depression is most likely withdrawal. 

Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither was Molly's new life.

It doesn't have to be forever although it seems like it's taking forever. It's an exercise in patience, something I'm not so good at. 

It's living a life that's rooted in intention.

Not in yellow flats.

xo, Molly

13 reasons why so many women are having a midlife crisis

I've seen the articles circulating around the interwebs highlighting the fact that so many of us lady types are having a midlife crisis in our 40's. Through recent conversation with friends and okay okay gossiping about others, it seems there are a multitude of small little creeping fears that sneak up in our mind and in our hearts from time to time.

Or maybe minute by minute. You decide.

Some are just tiny little mother f*ckers.

You know, petty little thoughts that we don't care to admit. Others are thoughts we push out of our minds because they could be life altering if we were to indulge for too long.

Don't worry you don't have to admit them. I'll do it for you.

Blame it on social media, women taking on high powered roles but still contributing 75% of the home effort, having babies older, starting careers late, drinking too much coffee after lunch or anything else you can think of and boom! Midlife crisis.

Maybe you've got it together. To that I say I'll have a cup of what you're having.

For the rest of us read on.

You might not relate to the following at various points in your 40's. I'm guessing you have a girlfriend who has. Perhaps you've had these thoughts but have suppressed them way way down deep inside that c-section scarred tummy you're keeping flat with the double stretch lycra pants from Lulu. It's okay I won't tell anyone.

I wear them too. 

1.  We feel we are running out of time and quickly becoming irrelevant

It's easy to feel like everyone around you is younger, fresher, and has so much more time to get sh*t done. But I have news. 25-30 year olds are feeling the opposite of us. They're worrying about whether or not they should even want to get married. If they're waiting too late to have babies? Not wanting to have a baby at all and having to tell their parents. Maybe they want to have a kick ass career before they have anything and then look around and realize they're wrong. 

They're just laying the groundwork for their midlife crisis just like we did. We just didn't know it at the time.

2. We multi-task in our head, all day long, all night long

While I take my kids to gymnastics I can be found listening to a podcast, texting my husband to ask him if I can use the AMEX card, planning out what's for dinner, wondering if I'll have time to go the gym, and remember that my son has a report that he was supposed be doing for the past two weeks and it's due tomorrow.

I might also decide to drop my five year old at ballet, a 45 minute long class. Naturally, I run to Peet's to get a pick me up. Dash to Whole Foods to grab some organic chicken thighs. Order a green smoothie because I didn't eat any vegetables today. Hop in the car with five minutes to spare. Realize I don't have gas. Stop for gas and throw out the drawings my five year old has asked me never to get rid of. Pick the raisins out of the floor mats. Think about how I wish I was one of those people with a spotless car. Mentally note I should go to the carwash in the morning before it gets too busy. Realize I have two minutes to get to ballet but it's a 5 minute drive. Get back to the ballet class where another mom is putting on my daughter's shoes and looks at me saying, "You weren't here so I just went ahead and put on her shoes for her." 

Thanks.

3. We think about where we thought we'd be at this point in our lives

At this point in our lives we thought we'd be driving the car we always imagined ourselves in or lost the weight we've been trying to lose for ten years. We didn't think we'd be living paycheck to paycheck asking our partners if we can get a new dress for a wedding instead of paying the water bill and then considering going to Nordstrom, wearing it, taking it back, because no one will ever know and everyone does it. 

Except me. Not me. I don't do that.

Well I've done it twice.

Okay okay, thrice.

4. We think about that woman who has it all, and then find out she's five years younger

This one is so annoying. You know the one. Hair done perfectly in the morning, as in f*ckin HOT ROLLED curls. She drives a Land Cruiser Sport, white obviously. She doesn't have to work because her husband recently sold a company that makes micro chips for snowboarders.

She's starting her own organic baby tofu cheese line, and bt-dubs, is maybe considering having another child because she has several more years until her eggs are powder. And worst of all, she's nice. What a bitch.

Okay, now I'm the bitch. Let's move on.

5. We think about our ass, arms and thighs and the jiggly-ness that is occurring

I waved at someone the other day and my 11 year old literally laughed and I mean guffawed and then pointed at my arm flap. I literally almost slapped him. I didn't even know I had that. Guess I need to do some more weights and less cardio. Or maybe I can just go to that bio freeze place and pee and poop out the fat. That sounds better. It's a thing you know. 

6. We think about our careers and wonder if it's too late to find our passion

My friends with steady rockin' awesome corporate jobs that pay six figures wonder if they should stay home and start a champagne in a sippy cup business.

My friends who are stay at home moms wonder if they should scrap it all to help their husband make money and go back to practicing law. As an added bonus they could wear cute pencil skirts and a fresh white blouse.

Did I just say blouse? Is that like, still a thing?

Those who have passion project jobs worry that it's not passion filled enough. Many of them spend money on their passion filled jobs and feel guilty it is not a job, but rather a hobby and it's sucking them dry. 

My friends who are rich still worry about what job they should be doing even when they're well, RICH and could do anything they want. 

You know what this all proves? That the rich one should take us ALL out to dinner. Preferably at her time share in Cabo, obviously.

7. We are terrified as we watch our kids move from small time problems to big time problems

Little kid mistakes are basically little kid sized. Spilling OJ on newly Swiffer wet jet floors or taking a spill on their bike. Big kid problems start to loom large over our psyche and we find ourselves worrying about all the life altering decisions that will soon be out of our control. Sex, porn, eating disorders, driving, even worse driving and texting, and for f*cks sake, pregnancy. God I hope my children are late bloomers. Somehow I think not.

8. We wonder if we are still in love with our partners or if a friendship is good enough

Marriage goes through all sorts of ups and downs. Most of us inevitably will cross this bridge at some point. I have friends who are waiting until their kids are 18 and are outta there. A few think that even uttering the word divorce will commit them to something. There are those that say they would never ever even consider it and think any other woman who does is selfish.

There's the woman who is thinking that her husband has already moved on because he's getting texts and going into the next room and you know what she doesn't care so much. 

Then there are women who are receiving those texts from another man and are okay with it because it's just an emotional sorta thing.

There's just a lot. And who knows what to worry about? I'm not gonna tell you.

I used to be fairly judgmental about a lot of this. Now that I've been 18 years married, I'm not quite as dramatic. Thoughts are sometimes just thoughts and life is just sometimes life. We all do the best we can. Mistakes are made. Marriages are broken. Marriages can survive. Best not to be too dramatic. What seems terrible today might not feel quite too bad in a week, a month, or maybe even five years. 

9. We worry are we drinking too much alcohol in order to have sex with our partners

This sort of goes with the above doesn't it? I say go for it if you can handle the calories, are not an alcoholic, or if it isn't morning sex. That's just weird to me.  If you have to get up and gulp down three glasses of mimosas in order to have morning sex maybe something's going on there. Just sayin'.

I actually wondered this about me recently because I couldn't drink anything due to medication. I got into the routine of loosening up with alcohol, because like so many others, it's easy to think of it as a chore before the actual doing of it. Maybe a little buzz helps the buzz if you get what I'm buzzin' about. 

Wait, what?

The point is I don't think it hurts that much, but sometimes a good book will do the trick.

10. We worry we are drinking, eating, exercising, smoking, what-ever-ing too much in order to relieve some of the pressure

We all got our habits. Mine is sugar. My body should literally not be having ANY sugar. And yet get me next to a bag of sour gummy bears at 9 pm on a Tuesday after dance class and I'm gonna down those. It's even worse if I'm dieting, starving at 2pm and drive into the gas station where I literally pop into the convenience store for a pack of red vines.

NOT twizzlers. I'm not an animal.

11. We wonder if we are being too hard on our kids

Are we yelling at them too much? Scarring them forever like our dad did to us? Should we make them play piano because they have got to learn an instrument? Should we keep them at home more in the afternoons and let them have the childhood we had? Should we make them play soccer because they wanted to sign up for it and now they've changed their minds but we need to teach them to stick to something?

12. We wonder if we are being too easy on our kids

Are they never going to learn to clean their room because we're doing it for them? Did I f*ck up because I told her she was grounded for the weekend but feel sorry for her now and let it go? Should I send my child to Kumon for an additional 3 hours of homework after school like the whiz kid down the street? Should they not be watching YouTube because studies show it melts their minds, hearts and souls? 

13. We wonder at what point do we officially move from cool mom to just mom mom

If you're wondering this, it's probably already happening. I wear a fanny pack when I walk. Enough said.

And a whopper of a bonus for you: We worry about wanting more out of life and in the end disappointing ourselves

This sorta wraps back around to number one doesn't it? It just always feels like there's so much to do and so many options for us in modern day life that it's maybe easier to do nothing at all. We worry that one day, in the not-too-distant future, we're gonna pop our heads up from pining over other peoples lives on Facebook and realize we've wasted it all away. 

Well that's cheery isn't it?

The good news is there is comfort in remembering that we are all thinking about these sorts of things. Oh god. I hope it's not just me? Is it just me? Guys?

Is it just me?

No. I don't think so. Phew.

xo, Molly

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Why I think my kids are better than yours

Ahhhhhhhaaaaaa! I got you! I made you click through. 

No no. I don't think my kids are better than yours. In fact Rylie, my five year old, was literally lounging on the couch the other day and screamed at the top of her lungs "HEY...I'M HUNGRY!"

Can ya blame a girl? You gotta try out things in life and see who will come a runnin'. Instead she lost her new Hatchimal. Take that kid.

But seriously, my kids are pretty great when they're not being total sh*theads and making me drink.

And this post isn't about how great they are, or how great yours are, cause I imagine you're doing a great job even if you say to yourself  "Why did we have another kid again?" Which I have been known to say a few times in my life. 

You know why? Cause she's just like me! She looks like her dad and acts like me. What comes around goes around. 

But I digress. 

This post is really the top 5 ways I have successfully encouraged the creative process in my kids.

1. I try to let them do it their way

Trust me, it's hard not to fix something for them, especially in the creative world. Example: my daughter currently writes words down the page instead of left to right. I don't know, maybe she lived in China in a past life. I asked her why and she said all nonchalant like "cause I do b*tch".

No! She didn't say that, but she looked at me with those sorta eyes. If she did I'd probably be proud because it's a good laugh line. I'd also be jealous I didn't make it up.

I see it as a choice. I know that because at school when she writes she writes left to right. She's brilliant obviously.

2. I talk to them like adults

This was one of the singular best things my parents did for me. They did not speak in a high pitched voice that can be construed as condescending. I'm not saying I don't soothe them when they hurt themselves or sound loving when they fail. I mean that I speak frankly and use big words. 

Well big words for me. I'm not exactly the book smart type, hello I wrote Real Housewives The Musical and played Britney Spears for most of Ryder's early childhood. As he says #awkward. 

I admit that it was perhaps confusing for Ryder to see his mom gyrating to the opening song of Becoming Britney, "Millionaire Whore", some of my best work, mind you. Shout out to Daya Curley my co-writer!

The point is, Kurt and I both talk with them and yes some of the time to them in an adult manner, with adult expectations. As a result they both speak like adults, even from the age of two or so. 

Ryder literally was holding up a phone to his ear at age 3 1/2 at Peet's coffee. A friend of mine went to say hello. He held up one finger and somewhat politely, perhaps with a shade of adult annoyance said "Sorry, I'm on a conference call, one second." 

The best part? She BELIEVED him. Just. The. Best.

3. We allow them to create on social media

More Ryder at age 11 than Rylie age 5. But how can you tell a kid that they shouldn't be able to work out something on social media when they see their mom doing it throughout my entire career. 

I get it, it's not for everyone and you can have your own opinion, but I simply love the fact that Ryder knows how to make a segment on YouTube with an intro and an outro. I feel a sense of pride as if he's come home with an SAT score of 1590. Is that how they score the SAT nowadays? I'm gettin' old.

Rylie is currently imitating her favorite YouTubers and runs around the house making videos of her life. She says "Hey guys, it's me Rylie, let me take you on a tour of the house". At the end she says "Thanks guys! Don't forget to like and subscribe and tell me what you loved in the comments." 

Adorbs in my opinion.

We don't really post them because they're shaky and will make you throw up but she is learning valuable skills that will carry her through life. Sure they might be mortified when they see the work they did when they were kids but I have a feeling they'll think it's worth the humiliation because they're working on their 10,000 hours. Malcolm Gladwell in case you didn't get the reference. 

4. We encourage an open mindset

Carol Dweck's book, Mindset is all about having an open mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. For instance, the ability to fail and move through it without thinking that you'll never succeed again. Grit, by Angela Duckworth is another one I found so helpful for both myself and my children. The power of passion and perseverance is something I prioritize in Ryder & Rylie's lives.

Failure can be used to your creative advantage if you're willing to go back and learn from the pitfalls. It's true, some people are born with an open mindset, and Ryder definitely was. He isn't fazed by failure at all. Sometimes to a fault. 

Don't worry, despite the fact that he does think he's a-maz-ing at most things-the kid has the confidence of an elephant- we also like to knock him down a few pegs and say you're still learning, start again.

But many people have a closed mindset. It can halt creativity and leave you paralyzed for years. The great news is an open mindset can be achieved with practice. I've taught it for many years and have witnessed children and adults move from closed to open, and launch themselves into creative achievements that they would ordinarily never have reached.

You can see this directly in my dance class. I can tell within 30 seconds if someone will stay or leave. Closed mindset, they tend to leave. Open mindset, they usually stay. My trick is to get to them before that moment and tell them that indeed it will be frustrating and they are going to feel like a giant ass, but if they give it 3-4 classes they will feel a huge sense of confidence that will carry them through the day. And sweaty.

One other important point of mindset is to is to say to your child "Good job, you did so great because you worked hard at it." Rather than "You're so smart." This instills the idea that you have to hone your creative skills. 

5. We don't put that much worry into school or college in the future

I think my kids are more book smart than I ever was. I married a guy with smart genes from a smart family. However, we don't spend a ton of time worrying about grades, getting them set up for AP classes (even though we are nowhere near that age), or needlessly worrying over the fact that Ryder still takes a lot of time figuring out his times tables. 

I literally guessed at those in elementary school. I would look at the paper as I was being timed and write things like 43, um 79, how about 63? Eventually my mom got called in to the school. I turned out fine. 

I'm not saying we don't care about school. We do. We just don't worry too much about it. 

I hope my kids will go to college, if there is indeed college by the time they're older. College is where I learned discipline and life skills. However, it's not a huge priority to set them up for a 4.7 grade point average. If they do it, that's awesome. I ain't gonna complain. I hope it pays for college. 

I'd rather have them enjoy their creative childhood, learn discipline in what the excel at, and teach them people skills, which in my mind is much more useful. You can always learn a skill. It's harder to teach interpersonal skills when someone gets older.

Bonus: All of this sounds like bragging about my kids and I hope that's not what you got from this

We have made intentional choices that have resulted in children who draw without fear, who try out new jokes that don't land and then teach them to go back and switch a few words to make it better, and who aren't afraid to show be authentic in their art. They live life out loud. It's awesome.

Don't worry, they're little sh*ts too. And your kid will probably be the lawyer getting my kids out of a jam. Thanks in advance.

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7 things that scare the sh*t out of me when doing something new

Just like everyone else I get scared sh*tless when trying something new. I was hoping that my early 40's would bring about a  new sense of security and I could launch myself into whatever it is I'm looking for. To be Oprah? 

Okay, I'll say it: I want to be the Oprah of the world wide webs. Is that too much to ask people? But I'm sure Oprah gets scared. Call me Oprah, I'll totally talk you through it. Here are seven bothersome issues I think about when starting a new venture, which because I'm sometimes mentally off my rocker happens each time I get a new idea-that's about 100 a day. Ugh, that's a lot of mental energy. I'm tired of myself already. Okay, here we go.

1. I think of all the people waiting for me to fail. I know. Why am I even thinking that people are thinking of me? They're not. They are literally too busy worrying about their own shi*t while I spin out about what they're thinking of little ol' me. 

2. I'm afraid I'm not perceived as an authority figure on the subject. Usually that one is true. I'm not an authority figure on most of the things I try. But for fricks sake you guys, we literally have a reality television/realtor/porn star lover who likes to be spanked by someone other than his wife with a Forbes magazine in the Oval Office. (Do you capitalize Oval and Office?- too lazy to look that up). Why am I worried about being perceived as an expert on most subjects when I could probably run the presidency better? Come on, you could too. The truth is most people are making it up and they learn along the way becoming authority figures as they work. (Okay- not astronaut's and those types of smarties but you get what I mean). Also- I just had to look up how to spell astronaut. Tragic.

3. I think that the people on Facebook are the only people I'll ever reach. Why do I do that? And why does that bother me? I feel like I'm never going to be able to expand past my reach. It scares me to think that this bubble I've created around me of people who look at my daily goings on will be the only people that ever really care what I have to say. At the same time I also worried that the people in this bubble don't care about what I have to say. How the F does that make sense? I'm basically damned if I do and damned if I don't and then make a u-turn to start again at #1. Most people are too busy worrying about if their son is looking at naked girlz on the internet. Oh, just me? And yes, he spelled it girlz with a Z. That was a while ago though- which is even further embarrassing because it was a while ago. Don't judge me. It'll happen to you too.

4. I'm worried that I'm too old. What?! But 40 is the new 30! You know what? Someone who was 60 said that, obviously. I feel like I'm running out of time to try new things. And don't send me that article about all the celebrity people who "made it" after they were 40. This is my time to talk about my real fears (and maybe yours), and I'm going to lay down and roll around in them. I'll tell you how I combat my fears in the next post to make us all feel better.

5. I'm worried about the comments I'll receive from the haters. We all know when you become successful you get hate comments. I don't even like having a fight with a neighbor, it makes me so uncomfortable. How will I feel when someone says I've got cellulite on my face? Okay you got me- I stole that line from Amy Schumer. I wish I had her career although I don't really want to talk about my vagina that much. Also, she's not even 40 yet. Jesus, I'm screwed. 

6. I'm worried I'll run out of money. Or not make enough money, worried it'll take me five years to make money, not because we don't have enough money but because I have a real problem with not staying on budget and thinking too impulsively. Not like, "I have to have this Prada purse", something I'll never understand you guys. Why would I want to spend money on a $2000 purse when I could buy 3 new sweatshirts, two pillows, a lamp, some sunglasses, organic pretzels because I'm starving, a new i-phone cover, and new shoes that are accidentally a size too small at Target that I forget to return because I'm disorganized? I mean come on. 

7. And last but not least, why me? Is my ego be so big that I think I should have something to say that others will benefit from? Wouldn't it be so much easier to stay in the corner with my new Target sweatshirt that says "Good Vibes Only" pissed off that I'm afraid of my own shadow?

God, I'm so depressed right now. And starving. I've literally made myself hungry getting stressed by all that I've written down here. I'm gonna go have some eggs and a 60 calorie piece of toast, get my sh*t together and I'll combat all the fear with a 7 ideas to get past this doom and gloom. Don't worry, the ego-centric Molly will be back in a flash. See you soon.

Update

I did get it together and made my list of  7 tools I use to combat the issues that scare me. I'm good at that...you know, making myself get all scared and then boom I shake it out of me and get my grit together and bam bam bam, kill those freakin' monsters. It'll make all of us feel better from this doom and gloom. 

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A few steps forward a couple steps back

Merry post Christmas!

It's been a flurry of activity and we are almost to the 2018 and I have good days and I have bad days. Some days I'm wrestling with my mind which ramps up and other days I'm wrestling with my body which is breaking down. It is very obvious that I need to rest. It is so difficult for me to be patient and know that this will all work out in time. 

My life has been confusing because it's difficult to tell when I'm "acting" at being calm and when I actually feel calm. I've been diagnosed Bipolar 2 disorder for about a month now and it's different than any other "project" I've ever had to work on in my life. It comes with doctors appointments, meds, therapy appointments, sickness, too much meds, changing meds, ER visits (well one actually that I will detail for you-both hilarious and scary), meditation, living with the knowledge that people don't believe it's an actual disorder, or that it comes with a deep amount of shame, or that I'm doing something the wrong way. Everyone has an opinion, just the world has an opinion. You read articles, they all contradict each other. So I go with my gut. And I lean on Kurt to help me with that instinct.

I've been sick this holiday season and had to go for a round of antibiotics.

All the while, I continue my opposite life: two flash mobs, a Studio Molly Cool Yule Dance classes, a fun live holiday video card that I produced for Fleet Feet Menlo Park, it's awesome check it out here!  I edited all day on Christmas Eve day in a state of flow leading to believe, oh maybe this is what I should be doing. I have so many ideas all day long. I keep waiting to say, this is the last one. But it doesn't come yet.

I'm not done being an artist. I want to create still. Still a week off should not feel like it's going to kill me. But it kinda does, in a weird way. Like I'm not feeding myself somehow. 

We make Christmas special for my kids, and then I start to worry that it's too special. That they grow up with a sense of doing no service in the world and that's mainly because I'm so busy thinking, doing projects for Studio Molly. And so I turn to a project that will add value to the world that I plan to release this week. And so I got sick and then that is why at midnight I simply posted on Christmas eve that I was tired and sick, and posted yet another video, since I had been in the recording studio I took advantage of some of my time. I'm just being honest. It's rewarding and at same time it's hard. Hard for me to stop. I take advantage of every opportunity. As if I'm running out of time. And now maybe I am running out of time because I can't stop. So I guess this is not a good week for me, I would say. That's okay. Patience.

It has become obvious in the last three days that my body is starting to give out. I have to change. I will not be able to sustain at the level I'm going and I'll write more about that. I think my job now is to wait, be patient and see if something will come along to help me with that transition, rather than trying to pull myself up and make something happen. Just sit and be still for a while. The hardest thing for me to be.