Color Me Rosy

give your attitude a high-five

Spring Cleaning

Spring Summer cleaning and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love to get down and work up a sweat cleaning my house…for about ten minutes.  Getting rid of clutter takes me down memory lane and I can’t just ignore it, so I sit and I reminisce.  By the time I’ve traveled deep into my past, I’m emotionally spent and might as well call it a day.  Why work on something today when you can put it off until tomorrow, right?

This year I’ve made a little bit of a resolution.  I’m going to tackle the clutter and get things organized.  This is difficult for me because not only will I waste time holding onto memories, but I am not a very good fortune teller.  I have absolutely no idea what will happen in my future.  Chances are I won’t need my zip disk from high school BUT YOU NEVER KNOW!

Okay, that’s a bad example.  But my point is that I hold on to everything.  Seriously.  I blame it on sentiment but honestly, I’m a little afraid I’ll be featured on Hoarders.

My goal was to clear out my junk drawers, as in more than one, and the closets.  The optimist in me has refused to get rid of the clothes I wore my freshman year of college because at some point I plan on being skinny enough to wear them again.  Forget that it’s been 10 years and I’m still dreaming.

Clearing out the junk drawers wasn’t a huge deal.  I was able to talk myself into tossing most of it out with the idea that if, by some chance, I would need a menu to P.F. Changs, I could hop on the ol’ world wide web and find it.  No more random packages of shoelaces, no more take home menus, and no more seriously ancient calculators.  Junk drawers = finished.

Moving on to my closets was a little bit harder.  I had boxes of clothes, shoes, and blankets that hadn’t seen the light of day in years probably.  I’m ashamed to admit that I experienced a major brain cramp and had absolutely no idea what to do with this stuff.  You might be thinking the obvious: donate it to Goodwill.  I thought of it, too.  It just took me a little longer to come up with the idea.  Like I said, brain cramp.

I learned some things about Goodwill that I didn’t know before but seemed like obvious aspects of the organization, all of which make it easier to part with your stuff.  Aside from being completely non-profit, donating to your local Goodwill directly impacts people and programs in your community.  Talk about taking care of things on the home front.

If you’re like me and not obsessive about organization (hence the junk drawers), then a perk to taking unwanted or underused items to Goodwill is that they sort through everything.  All you need to do is drop it off and you’re done.  Simple.

If you’re looking for that tax deduction, Goodwill makes it easier than ever to get a receipt for your donation.

Goodwill is also environmental friendly.  If they are unable to resell donated items, they look to recycle or re-purpose.  No more just dumping things at a landfill.

Just think.  Cleaning out your house makes you feel lighter, more organized.  On top of that, it feels extra good to give.  You’re making an impact without really doing much at all.

Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder

I’m a high school counselor.  I love my job.  But there are days when I wonder just what in the hell kids are thinking nowadays.  Boys are treating girls with less respect than ever before and young girls rarely demand something better.  This kind of behavior just confuses me.  If I had behaved that way 15 years ago, my dad would not have tolerated it.  But I can’t say much to these kids beyond a sliver of advice. And that’s only to the ones who come to me.  It’s just not my place.

There is a trend that’s becoming increasingly popular among teenage girls: the thigh gap.  This isn’t news.  I would wager that this isn’t the first time something like this has come up.  We as a society place the physical appearance of women in such high regard that it’s difficult to focus much on the beauty within.  We shouldn’t have to dig so far to see it but because of our own hang ups, we do.  In my opinion, the biggest issue with this is how it is reflected in the behavior of your youth.  Young women have lower self confidence and their self images aren’t considered beautiful.  Young men know this vulnerability exists and often take advantage or make it worse than it is.  NOTE:  I’m sure not everyone falls victim to this, but in reality it’s difficult not to.

I have three daughters.  I hate knowing that this could be them in a few short years.  To me, they are beautiful but society will tell them that every blemish is horrific and that single ounce of fat needs to be dissolved.  So many young women are obsessed with achieving the impossible and obtaining that “perfect” image.  You can imagine how refreshing it was to overhear a young man sincerely and intently tell young women how this obsession is crap.

Men are shallow, it’s true, but there are a few of us who keep our gender above water.  This young man fell into an elite group of gentlemen, and I was proud to know him.  We have weeks left of school.  Everyone is restless and aching to hit the pool or beach.  A young woman said, jokingly, that she “probably got her body a little too ready for summer.”  You had to have been there.  But then another young girl, I’m guessing a friend of hers, commented that there is no such thing.  I rolled my eyes like the teenage girls engaged in conversation.  But, in a moment of triumph, their male counterpart inserted himself into the conversation and promptly told them off.  Hear me out.

Never before had I witnessed such an awesome act by a young man.  He ranted on and on about how it’s nice to stay fit and care about your appearance, but if the hottest girl wore sweats to school she would still be the hottest girl.  He said that confidence is more attractive than a perfectly made up face, and that no matter how skinny or not someone is, their attitude determines how appealing they are.  *Silently fist pumps, alone, because finally someone got it right.

I know we’ve all read and heard of things like this happening.  Dove‘s beauty campaigns make me want to purchase a lifetime supply of their product just because they paint a more accurate picture than anyone else.  But this kid was amazing.  Seriously amazing.  He was bold and not the least bit shy in his delivery.  It was easy to see that he really believed what he was saying.  He made my day, and I hope the day of those teenage girls, and for that he gets this post.  The Upbeat Seat is a little more upbeat because of him.

Happy Summer

School is about out and pretty soon there will be more tweens on skateboards taking over our parking lots and roads than in the past nine months.  How do we keep our kids from being total couch potatoes during the summer months?  Here are a few ideas to get your kids out of the house and involved in volunteer work.

  1. Hospitals:  If your teenager is interested in medicine, encourage them to call up the local hospital and ask to speak to a volunteer coordinator.  There are various “odd jobs” that need to be done, as well as an opportunity to visit with patients if needed.  
  2. Nursing homes:  Retirement homes and nursing homes are always in need of volunteers.  I did a lot of this in college and I can tell you that it is never dull.  Besides, old people have a way of talking to kids/teenagers without imposing or being condescending.  Wisdom really does come with age.  Your kids might learn a thing or two while helping recreate memories of the elderly they get to know.
  3. Nurseries:  Does your child/teen have a green thumb?  Do they like to get their hands a little dirty?  Set ‘em loose at the local nursery.
  4. Animal shelter:  There are a lot of neglected animals that need a lot of TLC.  It takes a special kind of individual to provide it.  Someone with a love for animals.  Ringing any bells?
  5. Volunteer Center:  If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas on your own, head to the volunteer center in your area.  I guarantee they’ll be able to help.

Volunteer work always looks good on a resume or job application, and who knows?  Maybe they’ll love your teen so much that they’ll hire him/her on for a paying gig next summer.

*A note to teens:  Remember that while volunteer work is unpaid, do try to be responsible.  Don’t skip out, arrive on time, do without being asked, and to ensure the job gets done correctly don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Most importantly, have fun!