lessons from the river count your blessings

Why You Should Be Counting Your Blessings

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

We get so caught up in the busyness of our lives and our businesses that we forget to count our blessings. I know I am guilty. As a breast cancer survivor, I was told to keep a “gratitude journal” during my treatments. There were times it was hard to find anything to be grateful for and there were days when my only entry for the day was, “the coffee creamer wasn’t curdled.” You take what you can get, right?

At our new River House, we have a sign that hangs in the stairwell. I see it every morning. I read it daily and it puts me in a positive headspace.

How To Turn Around A Bad Day

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

How To Turn Around A Bad Day 

Guess what? You're allowed to have a bad day now and again. Give yourself permission to say, "wow this day really sucks and I just want to go back to bed." If you can't go back to bed, you can stll talk about the "suck" factor, but you may need to get on with it. 

Here are some ways to turn a bad, sucky day into a day that may only be so-so but could actually turn into a wonderful day after all.

How To Turn Around A Bad Day 

air travel anger and breast cancer

Air Travel, Anger And Breast Cancer

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

Air Travel, Anger And Breast Cancer… how do these tie together? Stick with me and you'll find out. 

My sister and I recently returned from an almost week long trip to Myrtle Beach for a #BlogPaws conference. I spoke to members of the Cat Writer's Association and attended the conference. The flight to Myrtle Beach went off without a hitch — thank you American Airlines. The conference was amazing. The weather, impeccable. 

The flight home had a bit of a hitch. We made it to DCA ahead of time and knew we were going to have a couple of hours to wait until our next flight. I'd planned it that way because close connections freak me out. Frankly, I always wonder, "why do people take so freaking long to get off a damn plane?" Really, people. The plane has landed, get your asses up, grab your stuff and go. Sigh. I digress… but not really. I'd be happy to take a quick connection, but because people take so long to deplane I get way too nervous for that to be a viable option for me and my mental health. 

Air Travel, Anger And Breast Cancer

air travel anger and breast cancerThere we were at DCA. We boarded the bus that would take us to the tarmac to board our plane to Rochester, NY. We waited on the bus for those people who have no consideration for the boarding process and eventually made their way to the bus, after having made everyone wait. The bus took us to our plane. We waited. An airport employee came on and told us the plane had to be serviced and we'd have to go back to the airport to wait for the plane to be ready to be boarded. 

Sigh. Well all right. I don't want to be on a plane that might have a maintenance issue, would you? 

Back to the terminal we went. The bitching of several passengers started before the bus even turned around. It continued inside the airport and escalated once the hoped-for 3:30 pm departure time came and went. One of the loudest of the complainers was yelling at the boarding agent. He was demanding that we know when we were leaving, "We're paying passengers and we deserve to know! If we don't get answers then the airline had better plan on compensating us for this delay!" The agent calmly asked the man if he had a connecting flight. He did not. He did his best to assure him — and the rest of us — that as soon as he had an ETA he would let us know. 

I was getting updates on my phone of the changing departure times. It was 3:30, then 3:42, then 3:56. I kept my sister informed of the time changes, but didn't announce it to the room. I wasn't in the mood to set off that tirade, but someone else in the room had no problem loudly yelling out the time and setting off a ripple of bitching and angry stomping. 

Did I want to get home? Yes. I'd been gone for five days and was ready to get back to my routine, my husband, my pets and my own bed. Was I going to accomplish anything by causing a scene? No. 

Now I am not saying that BBC (before breast cancer) I wouldn't have been right there with the angry, entitled passengers. "Hoair travelw DARE they inconvenience me." Oh, yeah, I would have been right there. I wouldn't have been so outraged at that point in the travel because Rochester was my final destination — I wasn't worried about any connecting flights. 

Once you have breast cancer, and have beat it (five year anniversary!) annoyances like a delayed plane are kind of small in the scheme of things. When I feel myself getting pissed at something I stop and remember: You fought cancer. You're still here five years later. Is this annoyance truly worth getting all worked up over? In most cases I can talk myself off the "anger ledge." Sure, there are those times that even my self talk doesn't defuse anger I feel at a situation, but most times it does. 

Life Lesson Takeaway

Before you holler and cause a scene and feel that you're entitled… to whatever… ask yourself, is it really worth it? Did the man who was causing a scene think he was going to browbeat the ticket agent into simply letting us onto the plane that wasn't ready to fly? What outcome did he expect, other than the compensation he was demanding. 

I harken back to the Serenity Prayer when I feel myself getting out of control. The prayer goes like this: 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
  Do you have the wisdom to know the difference? 
serenity prayer

How To Stay Calm Amid Chaos

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

How To Stay Calm Amid Chaos

Am I spontaneous? Nope? Do I thrive on rituals and habits and routine? You know it. Have I learned how to stay calm admid chaos? For the most part, yes. There are times when I appear outwardly calm but my belly is roiling. I deal with that by removing myself from the chaotic person or situation and then work to calm myself.

serenity prayerHow To Stay Calm Amid Chaos

Plan ahead: Sure, you can’t plan for everything. I didn’t plan for breast cancer – who would? I was thrown for a loop and my life was chaos for a time, but I eventually got back to routines – what breast cancer survivors call “the new normal.” I despise that phrase because it reminds me of all I have lost, but there it is. I have a calendar. I write a to do list. I use time blocking so I know what is coming up and so I can plan.

Don’t multitask: If you focus on one task at a time you will be more present and you can potentially stay out of chaotic thinking. Choose a task, focus on it. When you’re done or when your time blocked section is up, move onto the next task.

Be flexible: I know. I know. It sounds like I am contradicting myself and I am… kind of, but not really. I learned that you can’t plan for everything life will throw your way. I now build flexibility into my daily and weekly schedule. I don’t plan my day down to the minute, like I did in the past. I have time each hour and at the end and beginning of each day to deal with items I hadn’t planned for. Sure, having my schedule messed with causes me a level of stress, but knowing I have built in a buffer helps alleviate that.

Look at the big picture: There is the phrase, “don’t sweat the small stuff” that I am certain you’ve heard before. I know it’s not easy to brush somethings off and what is a “small stuff” to me is a “not so small stuff” to you, right? Set your priorities. Work on those and this might help you roll with the “small stuff.”

Just breathe: There are times, in today’s political climate that I want to jump in and comment on a post I’ve seen on Facebook. I get angry when I hear something on the radio or read something in the paper. I have learned to embrace the Serenity Prayer and breathe. Pay attention to your shoulders – are they hiked up around your ears because you’re so tense? Make note of that and focus on relaxing them.

Gratitude necklaceTry to find the positive: It is so easy to look out the window and think, “Gack I hate the rain!” It is raining here in NY today BUT this time of year it is usually frigid and snowing. I can turn the weather around and think, “Better rain than snow!” It’s a little thing, but it can certainly change your attitude and your outlook. Believe me I was not always a positive person. In fact I loved to bitch and complain; it’s not something I am proud of, but it’s what I did. Now, having survived cancer (five years cancer free, yay me!) I know how shitty things can get so I always look for the positive.

What are your steps for rising above chaotic situations? I'd love to know! 

If you find yourself in a state of overwhelm, send me an email Robbi AT RobbiHess DOT COM and let me know what is overwhelming you. Schedule a thirty minute Conquer the Overwhelm session and let's see if you can move past it! 

5 ways to start your day off right

5 Ways To Start Your Day Off Right

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

You probably realize it, but the way you start your day – no matter if you are a night owl or an early bird – the way you spend the first hour of your day will impact your mental energy, your motivation and ultimately your health. There are five ways to start your day off right, pick and choose which of them — or all of them — to incorporate into your day. 

count your blessings

What I’m Thankful For

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

What I'm Thankful For

I realize that writing a "what I'm thankful for" post is nothing new on Thanksgiving. I am not being a trend setter. I am not sharing anything new or useful or even anything you might be able to relate to, but these are my thoughts, for whatever they're worth. 

My family 

breast cancer awareness

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: I’m Aware

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

breast cancer awarenessIt's the kick off of the "pinking" of October. Yes, it's Breast Cancer Awareness month. Guess what? I'm a breast cancer thriver, I am aware… every single day and will be for the rest of my life. 

When you hear the words, "You have breast cancer." Your life forever changes. You can't predict how you will react. Will you nod, rub your chin and say, "Interesting?" Will you fall to the ground screaming and wailing? Perhaps. When the call comes in when you've just arrived home and your husband is in the driveway do you feel like you're going to puke? Can you not even talk? Do the tears start immediately? Do you hand him the phone and let the doctor give him the news because you've heard the words, "Your test came back positive?" Well, that's what I did. 

For all of the tests I had gone through during the two weeks prior, you would have thought I would have nodded sagely and said, "I see." Apparently not. "Thinking" you probably have breast cancer is a whole hell of a lot different than KNOWING you have breast cancer. You can't prepare. You can't know how you will react. True, I am known for crying, but this was different. This was not movie star tears running slowly down my cheeks, this was mascara running, nose-dripping, gulping sobs. It was not pretty. 

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Believe Me, I'm Aware

My "sentence" if you will involved losing my breasts — breasts of which I was extremely proud. My closet full of v-neck shirts and push up bras attest to that. I didn't have boobs until I had kids, so yep, I worked those babies. I had tumors in my right breast. I could have kept my left. It was not an easy decision to make — keep one or none. When I was sobbing in my plastic surgeon's office and unable to make a choice, he asked, "How would you feel if you were back here a year from now?" My first thought was, "I'll jump in front of a moving train before I go through this again." That sealed the deal. I'd be saying good-bye to both my breasts. If one was trying to kill me I certainly wasn't going to give the other a chance to finish the job. 

how to make a list

How To Make A Great List

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

There is nothing I love better than a list — well unless it is a list of my lists. I have been a list maker for as long as I can remember. I am not certain when it started, but I know it started when I made lists of the books that I owned. I then made lists of the stuffed animals I owned, when I got them, from whom I got them and whether it was on a holiday and which holiday. 

Back to school lists were a favorite, both when I went to school and then when my children were going to school. I would wait in anticipation of the back to school shopping list and off I'd go to round up their supplies and pack them into their chosen bookbags or backpacks. 

As an employee I made lists of job responsibilities and my proficiency in completing them. I listed my performance review scores and tried to best the one I'd received prior. 


Selfies While Driving?

Written by Robbi Hess on . Posted in Boomer Lifestyle

Selfies while driving?

Okay, to harken back to an earlier post… FFS!?

New York is eighth in the nation for people taking selfies while driving? Really? What exactly is it that you're doing while behind the wheel that is photo-worthy? Honestly, what are you doing that is photo-worthy enough to ever take a selfie? Sure if you're with someone and it's only the two of you and you need to get a photo together, I say selfie away. 

If you're just sitting home and think, "Damn, I look good I need to get a picture of this hot mamma!" I say, "Really?" You'll never look good again and therefore you need to snap that pic and share it with the world? 


Robbi office selfie

It's a rare occasion that I enjoy being in photos, it is, well NEVER, that I need to take a selfie (well other than for this column to show its ridiculousness. 

As for those drivers who feel the need to snap a selfie I say, "Get over yourself." No one needs to see you driving down and road and if they do, guess what? I'll bet they'd rather see you arrive at your destination alive rather than seeing you and your duck lips on their Facebook feed. 

Yep, I am in "mom" mode. Don't text and drive. Don't selfie and drive. How about you just, well, drive and that's it? Novel concept, right? 

How about asking yourself these questions: 

  1. Is a photo at this time truly necessary?
  2. Is there anyone who could take the photo of me?
  3. Am I in a place that is safe enough to take a photo? In other words, don't do a selife in while driving or while standing on a cliff

These same questions stand for when you're texting as well. Be safe. Pull over if you truly need to take a photo.