I had so much fun making this video!  I asked people a very important question, and their answers are fantastic!

If you have anything to add, please tell us in the comment section! If you missed the 1st video, simply scroll down to the previous post!

And please recommend to Facebook (below), and share with friends!

Watch on YouTube here! Or click on the red arrow below!

With much appreciation and gratitude,

 Nancy

humorous lessons in life after divorce

What’s wrong with this picture?: It’s Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. and I’m in my new soft fuzzy jammies from Costco, with my soft fuzzy blanket also from Costco, my very soft fuzzy socks from Old Navy, in my bed with my new soft flannel sheets from Kohl’s, reading the newest AARP Magazine!!

My first thought was: Everything is wrong with this picture! I’m a vibrant, fun-loving single woman! What the hell am I doing in bed with AARP? And on a Saturday night no less! The only thing missing was the 50 cats! (Apologies to cat lovers), but really?!

As these self-bashing thoughts were racing through my mind I was simultaneously reading an interview with Maria Shriver. Ah, the beauty of multi-tasking!

The article, however, was interesting enough to keep my attention even as the KFUK radio station was playing loud and clear in my head. (For those who are just joining me, KFUK is the station in our minds with a playlist that sabotages, bullies, and deflates us as it continually scrolls in a big negative loop until we realize we’re singing its messages out loud.)

I digress. As I was reading and mind-f-ing myself, I came to a paragraph that muted the noise in my head and struck a poignant chord. Shriver referred to what she called, “The Power of the Pause,” described as the importance of stopping and evaluating where we are in life. It was then that I realized I was pressing the pause button that Saturday night.

Taking time to evaluate doesn’t necessarily mean actively trying to solve the problems of your world. In fact, more ideas come from a mind at rest. When our mind has the luxury of chillaxing, it can help us to create and find the answers to our six million dollar questions. This is not unlike our computers. My kids are always telling me that I shouldn’t have as many programs running at once, and that I should occasionally turn it off to give it a rest so it can perform better.

Shriver continued saying, “First you have to slow your life down to find out if you’re actually living the life you are meant to live. Are you just gliding? Are you a dead woman or dead man walking? I know a lot of people who talk about being that. They hate their jobs, their lives….”

I think that sometimes we stay busy so as not to face changes that need to be made in our lives. If we’re busy we won’t have time to stop and realize how we might not be living in integrity.

  • Perhaps you are still dating someone mainly because it’s better than being alone and not because you have true feelings for them. You’re gliding along, but you are aware that you’re settling because you know there’s someone out there with whom you could soar, but you’re too afraid to take the risk.
  • Perhaps you aren’t where you want to be in your life.
  • Perhaps you’re in a loveless marriage.
  • Perhaps you’re in limbo and it feels so uncomfortable that you mask it with busy-ness.

Even if life is exactly how you want it to be, it’s important to take time to slow down and remember the power of the pause. Give yourself time to reboot and regroup. Don’t be afraid to slow down to see what it is you really want or what you want to do differently. Then, don’t be afraid to take the risk.

So, is there anything wrong with being alone on a Saturday night with my warm fuzzies? Not at all. If I start quoting AARP every week however, there could be cause for concern, and an intervention would be welcomed. For now, I’ll respect the pause.

 

 

 

January.  This means that the excuse to eat too many sweets is over, and it’s time to start thinking about organizing for taxes. Yuck! However, it is the month of my birthday, AND the birth of NancyTellsAll.com one year ago, so I have a lot to be thankful for. I want to start out this New Year by saying thank you. I am so grateful to all of you for following my blog every week, and for supporting me with your feedback, encouragement,  and helping me to get the word out to more readers by ‘liking’ it to Facebook, and sharing via Twitter and e-mails.

I would also like to take this moment to welcome a large group of new people who recently signed up to follow NancyTellsAll! A big shout out to you and a thank you for welcoming me into your Inbox! I hope you have some kind of positive take-away each week, and if you have any thoughts or comments, please do so at the bottom of each post! Also, feel free to contact me at nancy@nancytellsall.com with any questions, thoughts or suggestions.

This week’s article was published January 4th on PurposeFairy.com so if you have read it already, my apologies for the rerun! I hope you will all enjoy it enough to ‘Like’ it here on NancyTellsAll (below the article), and also on the PurposeFairy link above.

As we go through life, there are many things we learn. I have also come to realize that there are also things we should UNlearn!….

 

Life Lessons to Unlearn

4 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn

 

“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

Growing up we learn many basics of life including: We can’t always have our way (never liked that one), we need to share (actually found that fun), and Thanksgiving comes before Christmas/Chanukah (I wish someone would tell the people in charge of advertising that having Christmas trees up before we eat turkey is not ok!).

When we’re young we learn a lot without even realizing it, without even trying. We witness how the people closest to us think, behave, and react. Some of the lessons we learn are very beneficial to us, and others, not so much. The latter are the ones to be aware of. These are the ones that need to be rewired, so they can be unlearned.

It takes time for lessons to become ingrained in the brain, and unlearning them can be quite the challenge. What we have learned over the years has been drilled into us, and cemented in with repetition. This process secures the hard wiring that creates our behaviors and beliefs.

Below are four beliefs we inadvertently learn that get my vote to top the ‘Unlearn This’ list:

1. If I__________, what will people think?

Who cares?! I’m sorry, but if we’re not hurting anyone, we all deserve to live a life that makes us happy. Our time here on earth is a gift and we shouldn’t feel any responsibility to live it according to what other people think.

That being said, we must understand that our actions do affect others. We all make choices and must live with the consequences of those choices, which may mean being criticized by others or losing certain relationships. What’s important is that we live in integrity.

2. I don’t want to let anyone down, so I basically never say no. (You know who you are!)

This is yet another way that we allow other people to take priority over what may be best for us. Some of us are on people-pleasing autopilot, which makes it easy to crash and burn without notice. Exhaustion, resentment toward others and passive-aggressive behavior are only three examples of resulting debris. To prevent this from happening, don’t live your life to please others! Learn how to have boundary lines. If you don’t want to spend time with someone, don’t. You don’t always have to be available. And put the cell phone down!

Here’s a concept: Please yourself first! P.S. It’s also OK to let others please you!

3. I feel I have to be prepared for anything so I sometimes worry about what might happen. 

There’s a great saying: “Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening. It just stops you from enjoying the good.” This is so true! The irony is that by worrying about what might happen, we’re not only missing the good in our life, but we are draining ourselves of the energy and strength we’d need if something did happen. What will be will be. We do our best to be safe and healthy, and that is the extent of our control. So stop. Rewire. Put a new chip in. Whatever it takes to blow out the old programming!

4. I’ve heard that the past equals the future.

No. Not true. Well, ok, we know when we leave ice cream out, it melts. It melted before so we know it will melt again. But as it relates to personal success, no. If that were the case, then Churchill, Edison, Lincoln, Einstein, Ford, and Macy would have given up. When we have setbacks or ‘failures,’ or experiences of not being good at something, it doesn’t mean we can’t do better the next time; it likely means we need to change how we think. Instead of focusing on what didn’t happen, have a positive mindset! If you’ve struggled with losing weight, stopping smoking, making more money, or living the life of your dreams, try again! Don’t make excuses to avoid pushing your limits!

No matter how old you are, it is never too late to unlearn your lessons!

What is it that you need to unlearn? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts/comments about what behavior or habits you have trouble changing. It would be great to share and help others who have the same challenges! Start a dialog by commenting bellow!

 

 

Last year at this time (for those of you who have been with me since then may remember), I decided that instead of New Year’s resolutions, I’d try to give myself advice in an attempt to make the coming year better. I decided to give said advice in a letter addressed to my younger self. Since we all (hopefully) continue to learn and grow, myself included, I have made a few additions to my letter for 2014.  I am proud to say that it was was published yesterday in the Orange County Register as seen below! Be sure to read to the end as I have a challenge for you!

Happy New Year everybody. May it be a year filled with physical good health, healthy relationships (including the one with ourselves), healthy wallets and savings accounts, and a healthy outlook for the coming year!! Good health all around!!

With much appreciation and gratitude,

Nancy

Attachment-1

 

25It has become a tradition at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve to hear the song, “Auld Lang Syne,” although many of us don’t quite understand what it means.

The title translates to “times gone by.” The song asks if it’s right that old times be forgotten, and at the same time reminds us to remember old friends from the past and not let them be forgotten.

In one of my favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal’s character Harry asks, What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means. I mean, ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot?’ Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances? Or does it mean that if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them?” Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something,” Sally reasons. “Anyway, it’s about old friends.”

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne.”

I recently had the opportunity for a week to visit old friends, and I can say that I will never forget this trip…or them. There are some people in your life that no matter how much time goes by, the love, caring and connection will always be there. While these friendships have had to adjust to new circumstances, I know that they will weather any storm and remain standing through the test of time.

Time. With the New Year upon us, it’s natural to reflect over the last 12 months. We think about what has happened, what hasn’t happened, what we wish had happened and what we wish hadn’t happened. We may wonder why things happened the way they did, and in time we may or may not figure out the answers. For many of us, this past year has presented a time for many things:

Time to say goodbye

Time to move on

Time for celebration

Time for sadness

Time for joy

Time for sickness

Time for health

Time for love

Time for faith

Time to feel grateful

Timing is everything

This month of December, the last month of the year, is symbolically the precipice of new beginnings. However, new beginnings often bring endings. For me, I am seeing a lot of endings. Some are necessary in order to move on, some are simply a matter of timing that require moving on. I remind myself that when endings are either by choice or are not within our control, we need to trust that what will be… will be best. This is not easy to do, but I strongly  believe that it is true.

Thank you to all who have danced with me to the soundtrack of my life.  When the music was tough to hear, we learned and we grew. When the music stopped, there was a definite silence, but it provided appreciation for what we had.

As my soundtrack continues with the playlist for 2014 yet to be decided, I am determined to keep dancing! I wish for everyone a delicious soundtrack for this coming year. Remember that even when there are sour notes, they help us to truly see and appreciate the harmony in our lives. When the timing is right, and all the notes fall into place, dance, dance, dance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divorce and holidays

I’m so happy as one of  the experts for DivorceSupportCenter.com to have been asked to write this article for Newport Beach Lifestyle magazine!

(To see this article in the Newport Beach Lifestyle Magazine click here)

Divorce: a separation, especially one that is total or complete. Speaking from personal experience, I don’t think this definition from the World English Dictionary accurately describes the dissolution of a marriage. While the marriage itself may officially dissolve when a divorce is final, the ripple effect from the wreckage of the SS Relationship continues to make waves for years to come. Especially, around the holidays. Especially, when there are children involved.

When we first sail out into the sunset with our betrothed, we fantasize about what the future holds. Visions of our ideal life dance through our heads:

A home filled with children, their toys and their art,

Family dinners and trips that will stay in our hearts

And the holidays, filled with expectations so high

With menorahs or Santa, traditions money can’t buy.

Then, somehow our love boat hits rough waters resulting in divorce, and the relationship sinks along with our sugar plum dreams. Our happily ever after story changes course into a new and undiscovered land, and we learn how to reinvent our lives, one step at a time, to what will become our new normal.

While the new normal may ultimately be better for everyone, we often only hear the bad, the worse, and the ugly when it comes to divorce stories. Tales of revenge and children being used as weapons to inflict harm against a former spouse put them in the middle of the battle. Though they shouldn’t be anywhere near the divorce arena, they all too frequently end up there, feeling pulled in both directions, torn by the fear of disappointing either parent. This can be especially true during the holiday season.

The best gift we can give our children is to provide them with a sense of love and stability throughout the year, and to keep in mind that during the holidays it can be a bit more challenging, not only for us as parents, but also for them.

Below are some comments, questions and answers relevant to handling the holidays as divorced parents (all based on the assumption that a child’s safety is not at risk):

Q: I’m in the process of a divorce and with the holidays approaching I’m not sure what to do. How do we divide up these special family days? I want to make it as positive an experience for our children as possible. Any suggestions?

A: 1. For starters, make sure that every decision you make is with the intention of doing what is best for your children. No matter how upset you are at your ex, your children’s sense of security must come first.

2. Put your differences aside and communicate with your ex. This is the number one way to help ensure smoother sailing for your kids and for yourself! Be (literally) on the same page as your ex.

3. Have a schedule in writing. Create a schedule that is very specific as to whom the children will be with and when. This lessens the chance of having any misunderstandings. (Caveat: each situation/ family is different. You might want to consider consulting with a therapist, or clergy professional as to what is best for your individual situation.

4. Tips for making a schedule: 

a) Be Specific. Sometimes it is necessary to state exactly the day and time children are to be picked up and returned, and by whom.

b) Alternate Holidays. Some families alternate years, and some alternate between Thanksgiving and Christmas or Chanukah in the same year.

c) Divide up the Holiday. Some families prefer to split the day– Thanksgiving lunch with dad, and dinner with mom. Or, if mom has Thanksgiving, dad can make a turkey the week before. Who says you can only have turkey on that Thursday?! Christmas and Christmas Eve can be split, and Chanukah has 8 days for lighting candles and gift giving.  On the positive side, the kids get to celebrate more!

d) Share Holidays. Some parents are able to be together in the same room to cut the turkey, sing carols, or light the candles. Sharing the holidays as a family can be a positive experience for some, and others not so much. It also may confuse or sadden the children. Each family is different, so talking with the children and consulting a professional could be helpful.

 

Q: My parents divorced after I left for college. I looked forward to coming home for Thanksgiving to celebrate as we always had at my aunt and uncle’s house. Unexpectedly, my dad told us kids he wanted us to come celebrate with him and his girlfriend. While it felt great that he wanted us to be with him, it was hard because that meant giving up an important tradition. We ultimately came to a compromise that we would be with him for appetizers, and then go to my aunt’s for turkey, but I think he felt disappointed that we didn’t compromise further by changing our tradition. Did we do the wrong thing?

A: We tend to forget that even older children need to keep some old traditions. You were able to reach a compromise, and that’s a good thing. Being flexible is hugely important to successfully finding a solution. Another option to consider is suggesting that Dad begin a new tradition on another holiday that isn’t ‘taken’ so there is a dedicated holiday for him as well. Start new traditions! There are often great opportunities hiding in what we think of as problems. Get creative and make new memories.

 

Q: Sometimes I wonder if continuing our traditions will make it harder on the kids. It’s not the same as it was, and trying to reenact the ritual is just a big reminder that things have changed.

A: It’s important to balance old traditions that provide familiarity and comfort to all, while creating new ones to assist the family in moving forward. By doing this, it makes it easier to transition into the new situation.

 

Q: I’m going to be without my kids for the first time over the holidays. I’m not sure what to do with myself. I’m already dreading it!

A: My first suggestion, and I’m not saying it’s easy, is to try and view this more positively. When we dread something, it will likely be dreadful. Being without our children during the holidays can be difficult or even painful, but feeling miserable will not change the situation. You can, however, change how you look at it. Challenge yourself to see this as an opportunity for you to have some rest and relaxation. Choose to do something that will nurture your body and mind in a healthy way. Perhaps this means exercising, reading, or seeing a movie. Maybe you’ve been meaning to visit friends or family you haven’t seen in a long time. Whatever taking care of yourself looks like for you, do it, so that you can return home to be with your children feeling rejuvenated and ready to enjoy your time with them.

Second, giving is the spirit of the holidays. One of the best remedies for feeling down is to serve others. You could consider doing this by volunteering at a soup kitchen, or bringing gifts to children who are stuck in the hospital over the holidays. This is also a quick way to feel grateful for what you have.

Last and definitely not least, don’t try to numb your feelings with drugs or alcohol. Your kids need you to be in good shape when they get back! It is also important for children to know that while you will miss them terribly, you will be okay without them. You don’t want them feeling responsible for your well-being.

 

Q: This is my first Christmas as a divorced dad. My kids are coming to my place for dinner and I have no idea what to do. My wife did all the cooking and I don’t know where to begin. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint my kids and they won’t want to come over anymore. What should I do?

A: Take a deep breath and remember your children love you unconditionally.

Next, try seeing the positive side: you have options!

1. If you’re too afraid to attempt cooking this year, tell them you want to give them a special treat by going out for dinner.

2. If you’re willing to take a stab at that ham or turkey, the Internet is your friend, providing a plethora of recipes.

3. Make it a family project. Get the kids involved and cook together in the kitchen. Make it fun and create new memories!

 

Q: I’m Jewish and my wife converted to Judaism when we got married, and we have raised our kids Jewish. We are recently divorced and she told me that she has decided to start having a Christmas tree again. I am very upset. Our kids are young, and I think this is a very bad idea. Am I wrong to be concerned and angry?

A: No, you are not wrong. Your wife made a commitment to raise your children Jewish and she is reneging on her promise. This sounds like her way of sticking it to you, and that is not fair to the kids. In my opinion, if your children are still in their formative years, this could be very confusing for them. If they are teenagers, it may not be as crucial, as they are old enough to understand. If the two of you cannot talk civilly and come to an agreement, I suggest asking if she’ll seek professional assistance with you to determine what is in the best interest of your children.

While I like to always focus on the positive, there are some things not to do in order to facilitate a positive outcome for children and for parents. So, here are a few do’s and don’ts that are helpful for the holidays, and all year round:

Don’t make kids feel they have to choose sides.

Don’t tell them how awful their other parent is.

Don’t try to buy their love.

Don’t use them as pawns on your chessboard of divorce.

Don’t make them feel responsible for your happiness.

 

Do teach them that attitude is everything.

Do teach them they have a choice in how they respond to situations.

Do show them that they’re loved unconditionally.

Do create a loving, secure environment.

Do show them it’s possible to stand up for yourself and still compromise.

Holiday time carries with it certain expectations. Some of these we put on ourselves, and others are imposed upon us by society. Try to focus on what is best for you and your family and tune out the rest of the noise. Let it be a time to be grateful for what we have. When we focus on all that is good in our lives it helps to brighten the dark shadows cast by the difficulties we face. Children will follow your lead, so always take the high road. Onward and upward! Happy Holidays!

 

Nancy Lang is a Certified Life Coach, published author, professional actress and M.D.D. (Maven of Divorce and Dating!). It was her role as a divorced woman that inspired her to write the book, You Want Me to What?—The Dating Adventures and Life Lessons of a Newly Divorced Woman (available on Amazon). Nancy writes for Huffington Post, The Orange County Register, Hope After Divorce  and DivorceSupportCenter.com, LAFamily.com, CupidsPulse.com, SuddenlySolo.org, Life After 50 Magazine, and others.

 

The Hope After Divorce Foundation and DivorceSupportCenter.com offers the resources and support needed when facing divorce through its digital library, media outlets, partnerships with contributing experts, and its educational scholarship program. Its founders are Lisa LaBelle and Amy Osmond Cook, Ph.D. Visit their site athopeafterdivorce.org and divorcesupportcenter.com. Follow them on FB at facebook.com/divorcesupportcenter.com and Twitter @hopeafterdivorc. You can contact Amy and Lisa at  hopeafterdivorce@gmail.com.

To read more about Nancy’s adventures, her poignant, empowering and humorous view on life’s lessons, follow her weekly blog at www.nancytellsall.com, and Facebook and Twitter.

 

‘Twas three months before Christmas and something was weird,
A time meant for pumpkins, not the man with the beard.
But low and behold on that first day of fall
Stood a large Christmas tree, about 10 feet tall.

What the hell I thought, is it not still September?
What is so hard about this to remember?
Everything is rushed and just feels so wrong!
It seems we have Christmas carols all the year long.

Back-to-school ads and sweaters start in the summer,
Fall holidays competing with Santa, is a bummer.
On New Year’s we buy valentines, it’s all much too fast!
There’s no time to enjoy, to make each moment last.

On talk shows, in books, in magazines, we’re learning
To be in the moment, not focus on yearning
For things and for times in the past or the future,
Be thankful, show love, and for thyself nurture.

Mixed messages come in all shapes and all sizes,
Shop Thanksgiving night or you’ll miss all the prizes.
Grab precious time with the fam, now cut shorter
As stores open early to welcome the hoarders.

What has happened, I ask, to our old-fashioned meals?
Relaxing and waxing, with no care about deals.
Telling stories, and laughing til our tummies are full,
This shopping Black Friday, now Thursday, is bull!

With all of this rushing, time goes by in a flash,
Please make room for loved ones in place of panache.
Cherish the best gift we can ever receive:
Sharing joy, love and hugs, I do believe!

On that note my friends, I wish to say this:

Thank you for reading and sharing your time,
For reading my blogs and this holiday rhyme.
Take the time to look, taste, feel, and hear,
All that you’re blessed with, and those you hold dear!

With warmth and gratitude,
Nancy Lang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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