Afrologik’s Top 5 Hype Jams!

Songs That Will Get You Off Your Ass!

Music is a spirit. It’s a spirit that moves and grooves. I can only speak for myself, but music has gotten me through all of my rough times and has provided the soundtrack for all of my awesome times. I haven’t done a top five in a while, and since I’ve sorta had a rough week last week, I decided to share some of the music that gave me the energy needed to make it through it! As usual, feel free to share some of the songs that get you off of your ass when you’re dragging.

1- Proceed- The Roots.

It’s just something about a few conscious cats taking a break from the deepness to brag about how dope they are on the mic. Yo, they are really dope on the mic too, plus that bass line is HYPE! It’s a motivator for me because of the beginning lyric. Black Thought says: “Just think, what if you could just, just blink yourself away”. That’s an opportunity to get out of what’s bothering you if only for a second. Throughout the song, they remind us that no matter what, they shall PROCEEEED, and continue to rock the mic! Rock the mic then, homies!

The Roots- Proceed

2- Vapors – Biz Markie

If you can listen to Vapors and NOT get hype… I don’t think we can be friends. Even if you forget about the dope sample of James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess”, which is totally IMPOSSIBLE, this song has to move you because it’s about making it even though no one believes that you can!

Biz Markie- Vapors

3- It’s A New Day – James Brown

Undeniable funk, first and foremost. This is my FAVORITE James Brown song! The inspiring part: in his own mysogynistic way, James is saying that if you disaplay confidence in what you do, you can have what/who you want. Yeah, I’m reaching a bit, but I’m not too far off. But really, it’s all about the groove on this one.

James Brown- It’s A New Day

4- Prince – Kiss (Extended)

Prince is Prince. But an extended version of any Prince song is a holiday. Kiss is dope anyway, but he becomes very nonconformist, lyrically, in the extended version. The radio edit has no bass line, however, the extended version has a bass line from God!

Prince- Kiss (EXT)

5- Aretha Franklin- Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)

Some songs just feel good, and this is one of them. I cannot hear this song and not dance. RIP Auntie Ree Ree!!!

Aretha Franklin- Don’t Play That Song

When You Become Bored…

Changing Your Mind Is Fine

I’m not sure how many of you visit the Afrologik website, or if most of you read it via email. For those of you who do visit the website, you’ve noticed that I’ve changed some things. Well, actually, I’ve changed everything except the content. Why, you ask? Because I became bored with the original theme so I decided to (as I often say) add some funk to it.

When I started building the Afrologik website, I never wanted to post my picture on it (except for on posts, as I have done a few times). Somehow I felt that having my picture on the site would seem pretentious. I never wanted it to seem like I was trying to lure people to the site or that I am at all self absorbed. I wanted the content to speak for itself. However, when one becomes bored, the mind wanders.

I Googled successful WordPress blogs and spent some time surveying blogs. Most of them included pictures of the author on the homepage, so I decided that if they can do it, so can I.

It didn’t take long to find a picture (since I don’t particularly care for most pictures of myself). In fact, I don’t think it took even 5 minutes. After the picture was selected, I put a black and white filter on it, cropped it, and VOILA! There I am! I’m still getting used to it, but the site is no longer boring to me.

Most Things Have A Shelf Life

That is indeed the life of Brandi. When things become routine, I’m no longer excited about them; I can only find excitement in planning to change them. “It’s cool until it ain’t” is a statement that many people have heard me make.

As written in “Welcome To Afrologik“, I’ve been living in Tennessee for 8 years. I’m now excited about living elsewhere. I’ve been employed as a Customer Service Representative for a major corporation for almost 3 years. I’m VERY excited about moving on. In fact, I am one more “you’re not doing this right” (paraphrased) from things going terribly wrong. I was married for 9 years; the relationship had gone as far as it could go. I became excited about moving on, and that’s what happened. Many people, some familial relationships, have come and gone before, during, and after the above stated events. I’ve never wanted to walk away from relationships, jobs, or even states on bad terms. As a matter of fact, I’ve almost always been able to move on without hard feelings–almost. There have also been times when there was ill feelings. I can honestly say that I currently have no grudges. As long as there is distance there is no need revisit bad times. I wish everyone the very best.

Believe it or not, I’ve even grown tired of music a few times. I’m actually very grateful for that. That temporary boredom lead me to explore other genres and sounds. Thus, my boredom with music has made me love it even more.

Am I Flakey?

Admittedly, I grow tired of people, places, things, and website layouts, apparently, but Brandi is certainly not flakey! When I can no longer give light to someone or something, or I am no longer receiving light from people, places and things, I’d rather move on before situations escalate and become irreparably damaged. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel stifled–especially me! I am a free spirit and I am best cultivated when amongst other free spirited people. So, no, I’m not flakey. I just know when to move on.

Creative people are usually quite excitable, so we require new content- CONSTANTLY. The “same-shit-different-day” routine will quickly kill our spirits. We thrive on new experiences, people, and places. When things become mundane, we become drained (hey, that rhymes!) which can come off as moody, irritable, and distant. This has to be fully understood when dealing with innovative people. Don’t take it personally; just give us space.

Bored? Don’t Like It Anymore? Change It!

Afrologik spends a lot of time encouraging its readers to find their good vibes zone. That also includes being self aware. Maybe you are comfortable spending time with the same people, in the same places, doing the same things, and if so– there’s nothing wrong with that. We all require a certain amount of stability in our lives. Contrarily, if you find yourself in a slump and need a change, seek it! Do the work and [try to] be patient. Don’t overstay your welcome in a position that is no longer making you give the planet your best self. As the late, great Chuck Brown said, “Bustin loose can be pleasin’“. So bust loose!

Only you have control over your mind and you can change it anytime you choose to do so. You can change your beliefs, ideals, lifestyle, location, appearance– anything that you desire to adjust– with or without reason. May we all live long enough to contradict ourselves! (Another Brandi-ism).

Every choice that you make–good or bad– is part of the process. So trust the process.

*Please let me know what you think of the new Afrologik website layout!

Change can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it’s a part of life. Most of the time it can be handled in one of 3 ways: (1)Acceptance (Adjust)- deal with it. Change with it. Don’t resist it . (2)Protest/Concession (Dissuade/Acquiescence)- disagree with it, perhaps fight it and win, or lose and eventually give in and conform to it. (3)Emerge (Evolve)- use what you learn from an uncomfortable situation to create a more comfortable situation. I hardly ever choose #1.

Plan “A” Is All That You Need

10 Reasons Why A “Plan B” Isn’t Necessary

Plan B“, “Alternate Strategy”, “Back Up Plans” are all very practical and safe reasonings. After all, we have all been conditioned to think with the logic of the cliche “Plan A is always have a ‘Plan B’”. We all feel much safer knowing that we have several systems in place just in case something goes wrong (as they usually do), right?

The problem with “Back-Up Plans” is that they almost always become lifestyles, careers, and sometime even spouses! Plan B is nothing more than an excuse for allowing ourselves to become lazy or complacent, instead of putting the required work and effort into our original goal, dream, or passion. Sure, it may be a safe and comfortable place to settle; but it might not be very fulfilling to spend the rest of our lives that way.

The alternate plan is not a crutch, it’s a couch. A place to lounge and be comfortable while watching television, reading, or any other form of entertainment that is being provided by people who have worked hard and put in the time and effort to to live their “Plan A”. Sometime you have throw practicality and safety to the wind and take a chance on yourself!

The second that we form a back-up plan, we have decided that our primary plans will fail. If we really think about it, in the time used forming alternate plans we could have been building a stronger process for our primary goals. The questions to ask ourselves are: “How badly do I want this?” and “What am I willing to risk?”. For our goals, our dreams, and for ourselves we should be willing to risk everything!

1 Devise Your Plan A And Put It Into Motion

Take the necessary time to find your goal. Do the research. Go online, talk to other people that are in the field that you are interested in. Make sure that this is the move for you. If you are positive in your heart and mind that this is something that you not only want to do, but was born to do, then there is no need for a Plan B.

2- Work Hard At It Daily

If you already have a full time job, now you have two! This is going to require all of the time and brainpower that you have. I work forty hours per week for someone else’s company. After I’m done with my “job“, I spend the next four to six hours working on my passion–this blog (even though I’d rather eat and then fall asleep while watching Sanford & Son). Why? Because I believe in it. Goals are not accomplished by flukes! You will have to sacrifice some of the things that you enjoy to accomplish your goals, but it will pay off!

3- Decide To Either Sink Or Swim

When you eliminate Plan B, that is exactly what you have decided to do; either sink or swim. But don’t worry! This is the push that is going to lead you to success! When everything depends on it you’ll work harder because you have to.

4- Learn From Your Errors (There Will Be Many)

Don’t be discouraged by mistakes, consider them opportunities for learning. Wisdom is gained through trial and error — so in a way, mistakes are necessary. Take the lesson, fix it, and move on!

5- Put It Out Into The Universe

Self affirmations works! Tell yourself everyday that you are going to succeed. Speak it verbally as well. Create a vision board. Create several if necessary, and place them where you will see them daily. Make a list of all the great things about yourself and read it every chance you get. Soon you will believe that you will succeed at what you are working on. Michael Jackson used this method while recording the “Thriller” album. I think it worked for him…

6- Only Share What You Are Doing With Informed People

This is VERY important! Some friends and even family may not be capable of understanding what you are working toward. Their incapability could very easily knock you off of your square. These are people that you do not need to discuss your dreams and goals with. Discuss your mission with people who are in the field of interest that you are working on and people who are encouraging. And also, be prepared to lose and or limit some relationships. It is most important that you stay positive. Do not waste time on people who are not conducive to positivity and success.

7- Accept No Excuses. Not Even Your Own

Plan B’s are built on excuses. If you are alive, you can do it! Accept nothing except success!

8- Don’t Expect Instant Success

This will likely be a long and winding road, be prepared for that. Stay in the game regardless of how long, hard, and tiring it becomes. During this period of building your goal or niche, you will learn how to keep it and nurture it. This is a very important part of the process. Patience is a must!

9- Accept Constructive Criticism

No one enjoys being criticized, even constructively. When criticisms come to you from informed sources (people in your field/niche) or people who genuinely care about you- listen! You may or may not agree with it, but you should still consider it. There are times when another set of eyes or ears are needed to catch the mistakes that you might have missed. An outside appraisal from people that you respect could also encourage you to work harder.

10- NEVER GIVE UP!

You are strong! You are resilient! You are beautiful! You deserve all the greatness that life has to offer…unless you give up.

It is better to edit, edit, and re-edit Plan A than it is to have a Plan B. Anything that is being built will need adjustments as it is being constructed, so will your process. Make the adjustments, but do not destroy the structure.

There is no need for a Plan B if your Plan A game is strong.

It’s Really Not That Serious…

How To NOT Take Yourself Too Seriously

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times–ADULTING SUCKS! It’s overly consumed with responsibility and accountability–two things that have never been associated with fun. Even when we get a chance to let go for a while, we eventually have to remind ourselves of things like: getting to bed early enough to not be late for work the next day, not overspending because there are bills to pay, or not having too much fun (God forbid anyone from our professional world or church home see us out having a good time on our own terms). Those are some of the chains that we attach to ourselves and not for unreasonable consideration. The truth is that we do have to go to work, pay bills, and perhaps not do irreparable damage to our reputations (in case we decide to run for office someday).

Adulting requires that we always think ahead; that’s just how it is. However, if we do not break free from those chains now and then, life will become completely monotonous. We have to deal with uptight, bureaucratic, policy pushing sheep for at least 40 hours per week– plus deal with other “life stuff”, and it can change who we are at the core if we allow it to. It’s important to “de-adultize” ourselves from time to time as an effort to preserve the real human being that resides inside of us.

1. Laugh At Yourself

You are not perfect, and that is why you are amazing! When you make a bad decision or judgement-LAUGH! As long as no one will die or get hurt, it’s probably not as bad as you perceive it to be. Think of all of the bad decisions and judgements that you’ve made in the past. When it was happening in real time, you probably thought that the world as you knew it was going to come to an end, but it didn’t. When you think about it now, it’s hilarious. Guess what? It was most likely just as hilarious in real time. As the saying goes, “Sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying“. I can only speak for myself, but I’d rather laugh. If I cried over every bad decision that I’ve made, I’d be dehydrated. Point and laugh at yourself and then move on. You’ve got more mistakes to make!

2. Say “Fudge You” To Responsibility When You Can

I am a parent, but sometimes I take “parenting breaks“. That means that I am not cooking, cleaning, signing permission slips, or fixing a damned thing- and most of all, I’m not going to feel bad about it (My children are in their upper teens. This is not suggested for anyone who has young children unless you have a responsible person who will take care of them). If I am able to, I’ll even take a day off from the job. Giving a proverbial middle finger to adulting is a great way to reconnect with your bearings. Take a day off to not give a shit.

3. Get Up And Dance!

I must first admit yet again that I CANNOT DANCE! My parents sent me to dance classes for two years, and the only thing I learned was how dancing works. I never learned how to properly execute dance movements (I’m actually saving money to pay my dad back for those classes). Not being a good dancer has never stopped me from dancing anyway. I take “boogie breaks” everyday–even when I am depressed. I love music, as I wrote in “Welcome To Afrologik“. It has a great effect on my endorphins. When music is playing and I’m dancing, nothing on this or any other planet exists.

Music might not be your thing, but something is. The idea is to take time to get lost in something that makes you feel so good that you don’t care about whatever is going on around or within you. Find your good vibes zone and have a good time.

Brandi Badd Ass Snapchat video. Music courtesy of the mighty, mighty J5! Motown Records

4. Snapchat

There’s something about seeing and hearing how you would look and sound if you were a cat, rabbit, mouse, or monster that makes life seem not so serious.

5. Look At Nature

Look outside at the grass, trees, and wildlife. They have to deal with the weather and ungrateful humans who take their beauty for granted, yet they continue to grow and flourish. They are living things just like us and they never take themselves too seriously. If they can do it, so can you.

6. Give Your Emotions Carte Blanche

Our emotions are always warranted- don’t discount them. If you feel mad, sad, unsure, or just down, don’t try to control the feeling–only your reactions. Many times resolution is in recognizing our emotions. We can’t always be positive in negative situations. Allow yourself to feel however you are feeling for a while. Sometimes that is the minds way of working things out.

7. Treat Yourself, Don’t Cheat Yourself

(A scene from the 70’s sitcom “Good Times“)

Florida: One nice dinner isn’t gonna put us any closer to the soup line.

James: I know. If we were any closer, we’d be in the pot.

That was their attitude and they was living in Chicago, in the Cabrini-Green projects- barely keeping their heads above water. They made a good point though. If it’s not going to find you and your family hungry and homeless, treat yourself! You only live once and “live” is the operative word. You work hard for what you have and of course you want to maintain and/or enhance your lifestyle, but treating yourself when you can could very well be the fine line between sanity and insanity.

* Later in that episode, James became frustrated and threw a chair. You don’t want to become a chair thrower, so take time out to treat yourself.

Life is short, as they say, however it can be long and harsh when we take it too seriously. We spend most of our time on this planet being cautious. Break the chains sometimes and do something careless and selfish!

LIVE, LAUGH, & LOVE 💗

Or as my good friend Dav (like David lost his ID) would say:

BE STRONG, STAY SAFE, & HAVE FUN!

Feeling Good About YOU!

Loving Your Flaws When Others Do Not

“If you’ve not been criticized, booed, jeered, or such; it’s not because you have no flaws, but because you don’t count so much”

~Danny Thomas

I fell in love with that poem when I heard Danny Thomas say it at the end of a Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roast that was held in his honor. I’m not sure that these are his original words, but they really hit home for me. I’ve always had to deal with harsh criticisms from people who don’t understand me and aren’t interested in trying to. All they know is that I am different from what is acceptable as normal, and it sometimes seems most important to these people that I know that they believe me to be “weird“.

Some of Us March To Our Own Drummers/ Some of Us Have Our Own Rhythm Section

People who are not afraid to march to their own drumbeat often endure the criticisms of other people– sometimes even the ones that we love. Personally, I’ve been labeled with a plethora of adjectives that were used on me with the intent of hurting me or breaking me. Terms like: different, weird, crazy, strange, even retarded! Even more outlandish terms such as: snooty, stuck up, and selfish! (Clearly these are people who have never gotten to know me, or people who did something to get on my bad side). I think my favorite snide remark about me is: “You’re too much”. Because of the context in which it is used, that is ACTUALLY supposed to be an insult! I’ve always wondered if they knew that being “too much” is so much better that being “not enough“.

There was a time when those types of remarks would really sting. Especially when they came from relatives and so called close friends. I spent many years feeling as though I really did not “fit” anywhere. I felt unwanted so I tried to follow trend–at least enough to fit in amongst my peers. As a result, I started losing myself. Sure, I fit in and everyone thought I was cool, but I didn’t like myself so much anymore. I decided to take a time out for self assessment. I needed to decide which was more important: that “they” like me, or that I liked myself.

You Have To Live With Yourself

Of all of the components of this issue, there would be one thing that would never change– I would have to live with me for the rest of my life. No one else would ever be obligated to live with me forever except for me; so I’d better get as comfortable with myself as possible. With this mindset, I decided that fitting in to avoid criticism was no longer an option for me. Regardless of the general consensus, I would always be the me-est me that I could be!

I won’t pretend that this was easy– it wasn’t. In fact, at times it was physically and emotionally draining. I felt alone and misunderstood which moved me to create a fence around myself. That might not sound like a good idea but at the time it was necessary. I needed the time and space to get comfortable in my own skin. Even though I felt alone often, I believed that I truly needed the time to myself. I’m an extrovert, so this was a difficult but necessary step to take if I really wanted to get back to “me”.

I stopped going to clubs and parties. Most of the times that I spent time in these kinds of places was at the behest of people that I thought I needed to blend in with. Instead of going out to night clubs and parties, I started hanging out at Barnes & Noble at night on weekends. I’d always loved to read but I hadn’t read a book in a couple of years because I was too busy fitting in. In fact, books became an important part of this odyssey. I spent a lot of time in libraries as well. I read about everything that I saw. I had so many questions and there was a book or 100 for every question that I had. This new behavior aligned me with others who shared my newly reformed interest in reading. These were people that I met at Barnes & Noble or the library. Eventually, I started taking classes at a community college where I met even more people who loved to read and learn.

I did not completely cease contact with my party people–instead I inserted reasonable distance. From time to time, I’d still communicate with a few of them. I told the few that I still dealt with what I had been doing and where I had been going, and to my surprise, one or two of them became interested also. I will not take this as an opportunity to pat my own back but I have a couple of friends who are now very well read…because of me-the de facto weirdo.

Conversely, there were also people from my former band of associates who felt that I was “acting funny“. Being called uppity and sadity (I really cant stand that (non)word) didn’t bother me at all but rather, showed me that I was better off being in my own “little world” and away from such people. This would prove to be much better for me. I felt lighter, I smiled more, and strangers always seemed happy to have me around. This felt right. This was the life that I knew before my experiment with conformity.

Loving YOU

As time has moved on, I’ve found that I can comfortably be myself in any company and I never feel the need to readjust myself. On the rare occasion that I am uncomfortable in certain company, I simply remove myself–physically if possible. If I can’t remove myself physically, I remove myself mentally. I worked hard and had become brave enough to be accept my eccentricities –not take umbrage from those who couldn’t appreciate my “me-ness“. To this day, I dress differently, I speak differently, and my belief systems and are ideals are different compared to those of my peers– and if that ever changes, it will be only because I want to change them– not because they do not work with the masses. And people…well, they still have things to say. It usually comes back to me through the grapevine, but I never spend any time on their opinions. I wish them all well and move on with my life.

Stand Up To Stand Out/ Inventors vs Consumers

Not everyone is meant to be one of the crowd; some of us were placed on planet Earth to stand out. I call it “inventors vs consumers“. You have to be a little odd to be an inventor. To create something, you have to be able to think differently than the masses. Most of the things that have become necessities in our everyday lives were invented by weirdos–people who were talked about, ostracized, picked on, and misunderstood. The same can be said about the greatest leaders of the world. But they worked on their crafts and they made a difference in the world. They are all very important people and life as we know it would be very different had they decided to become one of the crowd in order to avoid ridicule. Consumers are equally important because obviously, someone has to buy and use these inventions, and by nature they follow. It’s us weirdos who provide the crowd with what they need in order to be cool.

I carry Danny Thomas’ poem in my mind because it reminds me that no one takes the time to criticize, jeer, or put down insignificant people. We actually have to qualify to be subject to insult. Our flaws are integral parts of who we are, they make us beautiful. Love your flaws and be flawsome as you go on to do great things– be they public or private victories. Stay steadfast, confident and vested in yourself!

You Are What You Attract

The Art of Checking Yourself

Do you ever wonder why it seems that wherever you go and whatever you do, you tend to meet the same types of people? If you are constantly being aligned with good people, then meeting good people is your expectation and the universe is meeting your expectation in a good way. Awesome! Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll continue to reap the rewards. However, if you continue to meet people who are not such good people; the universe is still meeting your expectation- but conversely, you’ll continue to pay the consequences (unless these are the types of people that you prefer to be in the company of. If that is the case then you too are reaping the rewards).

Whichever vibes you are giving off will be returned to you. So if you do not put yourself in the position to receive good vibes, then you won’t. Think of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go in life. These are the types of spirits that you’d want to attract: like minded people who will support you on your journey.

The Art of Checking Yourself

Walking around with a big Colgate smile on your face does not mean that you are sending good vibes to those who enter your presence. The universe as well as other people will read more than facial expressions; they read spirits as well. A smile does not always mean that a person is vibrating towards positivity, as smiles are often fake. There are people who can smile after committing the most heinous offenses, so you have to do more than show some teeth.

Your words and thoughts are large contributors to your vibe. I’ve read several books, articles, and blogs on, “How To Stay Positive“, but the reality is that life happens. When it does, it’s not always so easy to stay positive about current situations as they are happening. It’s common advice to tell someone in this position that “You’re still alive” or “Tomorrow is another day“. If you are anything at all like me, those types of phrases can knock whatever positivity that you may have had completely out of you. Obviously you are still alive, otherwise you wouldn’t be there becoming annoyed by a cliche. And of course tomorrow is another day. Were it not, it’d be today or yesterday (DUH!). I’ve said all of that to say that it’s not always possible to stay positive about current specific situations; nonetheless, only you have control over your reactions. It is your reactions that are being read by the universe as well as other people because your reaction is attached to your vibe. Focusing on the things that are going well and or working on what’s to come will increase those positive vibrations and the universe will send you more. Is this easy to do? Nope! Not at first. But when it becomes a habit, you’ll do it without thinking about it.

One thing that I do to keep my reaction in check is wear crystals and magnets, because… well, I believe that crystals and magnets are powerful. Maybe they really are and maybe they are not. If nothing else, when I look down at my Tigers Eye bracelets, I’m reminded to calm down and check my reaction. Find a method that works for you and implement it.

Gravity

You Are Your Own Planet

You are a planet with your own gravitational force. You control what is drawn to you by being what you want to attract. If you are bitter, insecure, jealous-hearted, angry, miserable, messy, petty, or a plethora of other negative things, these are the traits that you will attract because they can continue to thrive on your planet. Contrarily, people who do not possess those negative traits cannot live in such an environment. Although you may lure good people into your atmosphere with a smile or a conversation, they will not stay in an environment that is unfit for their survival.

If you consistently meet the same types of people, or the same individuals are in and out of your life, it’s not their fault– it’s yours. If you want it to stop, it’s easily fixable: stop feeding them and they will die (figuratively, of course).

Don’t Fool Yourself/ Be Fair To Others

There are people who are content in their negative and dramatic worlds– and they have every right to be. If you are that type of person, it’s best that you stick to your genre unless you are really ready to change. Otherwise, it isn’t fair to those who choose to position themselves for growth. Besides, karma does not play– and she’s very protective of her people.

Be true to yourself and others and you will always get what you ask for!

Enter The Good Vibes Zone

Finding Little You

A lot of our “grown up” time on this planet is spent doing what we “have to do“. Working, paying bills, spending our time and energy on people and things that we probably wouldn’t choose on our own, but it’s what has to be done (adulting sucks!). If we are not careful, we can allow that tolerance of things that are not very enjoyable leak into other areas of life and before long, we’ll find ourselves going through the motions. It’s very easy to become stuck in this position but it is difficult to break free from it.

The Good Vibes Zone

The Good Vibes Zone is whatever you want it to be. It’s always a static free space. No responsibilities. No annoying coworkers. No bills to pay! No, it is not a fantasy place. It’s very real, but most of us have blocked it from our brains because we’ve allowed what we have to do become our only priorities. Guess what? YOU are a priority also! You’ve just forgotten.

Remember when you were a kid and could make anything into a toy? When I was a kid, I had tons of toys. I was heavily into Barbie. I’m sure that I had every Barbie product. The house, cars, spa, RV, and plenty of dolls and clothes for them. With all of those great toys that I most likely asked for, I also played with: hair rollers, sticks, erasers, pencils, rubber bands, bottles- basically anything that I could get my hands on. Why? Because any and everything was whatever I wanted it to be. The possibilities were endless. My mind was always creating something else and I used random objects to articulate what my mind wanted to create. Life was good and boredom definitely was not a thing. I’m certain that I am not the only kid who did this.

The good news is that the kids that we were then are still inside of us. They try to communicate with us but we quiet them, since we have so many adult things that need tending to. As a result, we become uptight, stagnant, lethargic, bitter, and just plain dull.

Little Me

Recently, I’ve began letting the kid inside of me have one hour per day to come out and play. We do what ever she wants to do. If she wants to go to the park, we go. If she wants to blast music and dance, we do. Even when she wants to climb things and fall off of things, we do (adult me usually pays the price for that…). Sometimes I let her play for more than an hour.

The time that I spend with “Little Me” reminds me that I am still vibrant, energetic, active, and HERE! When I am with her, the only time is NOW; so there is no reason to worry about things that I cannot fix right now, or things that have not and might not happen. “Little Me” never worries about what other people say or do because she is free.

There are even times when I allow her to take the wheel in adult situations because she is too smart to take herself too seriously. She’s very self aware.

Challenge!

I challenge everyone who reads this blog to spend a little time this weekend finding “Little You” and let him/her guide you to the Good Vibes Zone. Schedule some play dates and watch life become less of a drag!

Five Things That Crack Me Up

Hello my friends! I just had one of those moments where I was suddenly overcome with laughter. There are not enough of those moments. I’ve created a short list of things that never fails to crack me up! For some reason, when it comes to making lists, 5 is always my magic number. With that being said, here are 5 things that crack me up and never gets old!

1- Dave Chappelle’s “Celebrity Trial Jury Selection”

https://youtu.be/XXc3O6GMZt0

2- Money Mike, “You Gon’ Steal From A Pimp?”

https://youtu.be/3nwXoQ8MO4c

3- Bernie Mac, “Head of State, Slap”

https://youtu.be/gWCS5AzWT9o

4- Black Dynamite, “Pimp Counsel”

https://youtu.be/_Mvp-nOz9Gk

5- Martin “Jerome Sings I Wanna Get Next To You”

https://youtu.be/7aovXpJqjCc

Five really is not enough. I don’t think any amount could be. Please share some of the things that make you laugh!

12 Steps To Staying Youthful

Just a few moments ago, I went to the store to buy a nice bottle of Merlot (my favorite wine). I placed the bottle on the counter to be rung up by the cashier. The cashier; a man that I assumed to be in his early 40’s like myself, had a goatee with flecks of grey. Not a bad looking guy and very friendly. He asked to see my ID and of course I obliged him. He read my drivers license and looked back at me, “No way! No way were you born in 1975! I thought I was older than you” he said in what appeared to be amazement. Without conceit, I have to admit that I am used to this reaction whenever I am carded. I smiled and said, “Yup! It’s true. I was born in 1975“. I’m also used to his next statement (I could almost say it with him) “What’s your secret?” I gave my signature response, “Good genes“. He completed the sale after some brief banter, bagged my bottle and I was on my way.

While sitting in my car, I thought about it; is there anything that I am doing that increases my youthfulness, or is it really just genetic? I am vegetarian and I get at most the minimum amount of exercise in each day, nothing special. Maybe it really is just genetic.

As I began to to drive, I gave it more thought. What if anything am I doing differently? Slowly, some ideas started to materialize.

I’m going to make this perfectly clear before I give you my list. DO NOT STOP READING HERE! I am not going to state what is usually said about “How to stay young”. You know, the typical spiel: eat right, get rest, exercise. Honestly, I don’t do any of those things (even though they are all important). I’m vegetarian, as I said earlier, but a vegetarian lifestyle does not necessarily mean a healthy diet. Most days, I have to remind myself to eat. I’m an insomniac. 3 or 4 hours of sleep for me is a lot! Also, as I said earlier, I get the minimum amount of exercise in daily (and I have to force that sometimes). I’ll add (because most blogs on staying youthful include “Living a stress free” or “Less stressful” life) that I do not live a stress free or less stressful life. I am a mother and an employee. In other words, I. Have. Stress. So what is it that I do?

1- Don’t Call Yourself “Old”

You are what you say you are. If you say that you are old, then you are old and you will behave as such- plain and simple. When I look in the mirror, I see me– the same me that I saw at ages 10, 20, 30, and now 40+. If you do not think about age, then it will not become a factor.

2- Slow Down

Not everything is an emergency. Take time out during each day to breathe. Meditate. Focus. Assess. While doing this, often you will see that the situation isn’t really that urgent. Chill and don’t let little things get you riled up. Appreciate the the things that are presently right.

3- Don’t Act Your Age.

Us 40’s and older folks like to assume that certain things “come with the territory“. Why think of it that way? In fact, why think of it at all if you don’t have to? When you make up your mind that “these things will happen“, guess what? THEY WILL! And if they do, so what? It doesn’t have to interrupt your quality of life and it definitely does not have to affect your mindset. Whether you travel the Earth on two feet or roll through it in a wheelchair, only you have control over your mindset. Remind yourself that you’ve been through things before, and if you continue to have birthdays, you’ll go through more. Push through as you always have.

4- Don’t Carry Other People’s Weight

We all know people who seem to always have “drama” going on that they can’t wait to invade your space with. It’s okay to be an ear or even a shoulder, but leave the conversation at the last syllable. In reality, it’s not your problem. Earthlings will dump all of their issues on each other and as a result, the listener will walk away feeling tired and heavy from things that are not their problems. It’s okay to say to them, “I can’t listen to this anymore. I wish you well and I’m confident that things will work out in the way that they are supposed to“, and keep it moving. Allowing others to interrupt your energy will make you age like a banana.

5- Don’t Assume That Young(er) Means Dumb

Younger people are not dumb, they just have a different perspective on life. Watch them. Listen to them. Learn from them as you’d want them to learn from you. Let some of their youth transfer onto you by association. And shut up sometimes! Let them talk. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.

6- Try Something New

Don’t let age stop you from being daring and adventurous. Be as vibrant as you ever were. Be crazy! Go to a nudist beach, skydive, bungee jump (do people still do that?). Okay, some of that might be a bit far fetched, but you know what I mean. Break your old fogey, conformist chains and do something different and exciting. Maybe something that you’ve always wanted to do but never did. Revisit or create your bucket list. Awaken your inner child! He/she is probably getting bored…

7- Get Rid of Useless Relationships

As my children have heard me say millions of times : “If it ain’t growing, it’s dead“. Surround yourself only with those who feed you spiritually and or mentally, otherwise you are feeding yourself death. Don’t waste time on trying to change anyone or waiting for them to “get it”. It doesn’t take long to identify whether or not a person belongs in your life. Once an identification has been made and you find that they do not belong, either reassign their position or omit them from your life. There doesn’t have to be hard feelings on your part–only you have control of that, so choose to not have hard feelings. See! I just saved you from Crows Feet!

8- Dance As If No One Is Watching (even if everyone is watching)

Sometimes it’s fun to be foolish, so act a fool sometimes! You all should see me when the dancing mood strikes. I’ll get up and start dancing at any given moment. Am I a good dancer? HELL NO! But it puts me in the good vibes zone. I’m not always at home when this happens. I’m reminded of a day when I was at Journeys shoe store with both of my sons. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen played over the stores speakers and I began to sing along. LOUDLY (yes, even the operatic part). Soon, the sales staff had joined me in singing and acting out the lyrics. My sons were embarrassed but the salespeople and I had a great time. Throw etiquette to the wind now and then. In other words: get the stick out of your ass!

9- SMILE!

Even if you don’t feel like it. Walk into every room as if you are the star and everyone there is lucky to have you in their presence. Smile at people as though they are stars and you are lucky to be amongst them. Create that atmosphere everyday no matter where you are and your heart will grow more youthful.

10- Don’t Worry About What “They” Say Or Think

“They” can’t live or die for you so be happy and comfortable with who you are. As long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else– do you! There is a reason why there is only one you and there will never be another– because only YOU can do it! Do not let the “theys” of the world rob you of yourself. If your “circle” can’t subscribe to who you are, create a new circle. The world is HUGE and there are approximately 7.44 billion people in it; there is definitely a genre out there for you.

11- Make The Rules Work For You

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone break laws. The consequences probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable. However, rules are often easily manipulated. Go against the machine sometimes and make the rules work for you on your own terms. Be radical! That’s usually how change occurs.

12- Live Out Loud

Enjoy being you! You only get one time in space to do it. How do I do it? I do it to death!