Please Wear Sunblock – Self Help

I am trying to think of something that looks good orange and wrinkled, but am drawing a complete blank.  Wait, what color are thousand dollar bills?  So I guess there is nothing that looks good orange and wrinkled.  One or the other, sure!  Who doesn’t love a tangerine or a casual Sunday in unironed khakis?  Get in the habit of always wearing sunblock when you leave the house.  Find a moisturizer that contains some amount of sunblock for daily use and if you know you are going to be in a lot of sunshine, have some extra sunblock with a higher SPF that you can add.  Keep some in your car.  Wear a hat.  It is never too late to start for yourself and never too early to start for your kids.

Otherwise, this man could be your future:

This man is 69 years old.

He drove a truck for 28 years.

The premature aging from sun damage to the left side of his face is extensive enough to warrant a feature in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Trucker or not, don’t forget your sunscreen.

A 69-year-old man presented with a 25-year history of gradual, asymptomatic thickening and wrinkling of the skin on the left side of his face. The physical examination showed hyperkeratosis with accentuated ridging, multiple open comedones, and areas of nodular elastosis. Histopathological analysis showed an accumulation of elastolytic material in the dermis and the formation of milia within the vellus hair follicles. Findings were consistent with the Favre–Racouchot syndrome of photodamaged skin, known as dermatoheliosis. The patient reported that he had driven a delivery truck for 28 years. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmit through window glass, penetrating the epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers. This photoaging effect of UVA is contrasted with photocarcinogenesis. Although exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is linked to a higher rate of photocarcinogenesis, UVA has also been shown to induce substantial DNA mutations and direct toxicity, leading to the formation of skin cancer. The use of sun protection and topical retinoids and periodic monitoring for skin cancer were recommended for the patient.

Jennifer R.S. Gordon, M.D.
Joaquin C. Brieva, M.D.
Northwestern University, Chicago, IL

 

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Nora Ephron – Self Help

This list kills me, reminds me. focuses me, shuts me up, angers me, softens me, and inspires me to grab life and wring every last drop out of it.  It forces me to look at the time I have wasted and vow to never waste any more.  I love Nora Ephron for so many reasons, but this list is what I think about most when I think about her:

nora

The great Nora Ephron passed away at the age of 71, following a battle with leukemia that began in 2006. She had many strings to her bow, but most notably wrote the screenplays to some of the best loved films ever to grace the big screen, many of which she also directed and produced. She wrote the following lists — of things she won’t and will miss — in 2010 and used them to close her book, I Remember Nothing.

(Source: “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections” by Nora Ephron)

What I Won’t Miss

  • Dry skin
  • Bad dinners like the one we went to last night
  • E-mail
  • Technology in general
  • My closet
  • Washing my hair
  • Bras
  • Funerals
  • Illness everywhere
  • Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism
  • Polls
  • Fox TV
  • The collapse of the dollar
  • Bar mitzvahs
  • Mammograms
  • Dead flowers
  • The sound of the vacuum cleaner
  • Bills
  • E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.
  • Small print
  • Panels on Women in Film
  • Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss

  • My kids
  • Nick
  • Spring
  • Fall
  • Waffles
  • The concept of waffles
  • Bacon
  • A walk in the park
  • The idea of a walk in the park
  • The park
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • The bed
  • Reading in bed
  • Fireworks
  • Laughs
  • The view out the window
  • Twinkle lights
  • Butter
  • Dinner at home just the two of us
  • Dinner with friends
  • Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
  • Paris
  • Next year in Istanbul
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Christmas tree
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • One for the table
  • The dogwood
  • Taking a bath
  • Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
  • Pie

 

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Words To Live By – Ms. Taylor

Words from a woman who LIVED/LOVED/LAUGHED the hell out of life. You should do it too, in your own way.

“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” – Elizabeth Taylor

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Take Your Own Advice

I wrote this last year and it works for me, maybe it will work for you too?  I think about it from time to time and even just typing little notes on my phone and saving them for later seems to work for me.

Advice From Yourself

For this exercise, you are going to need a piece of paper, a pen, and some free time to think. You will need the free time first, I suggest you noodle on it while you are doing your daily thirty minutes of cardio. (You are doing thirty minutes of cardio every day, aren’t you? I’m not interested in your excuses.) Ask yourself this question:

If you could use a time machine just once to travel back and tell yourself one sentence, what age would you travel back to and what would you say?

If we had a month to go back in time and be the guidance counselors to our younger versions, I would let you write paragraphs with bullet points. I would let you outline a schedule of future events and how you should handle them. You only have a couple minutes to give yourself one sentence of advice and it should be in the form of advice. I am the first to admit that if I could, I would go back to 1985 and whisper in my ear to buy Microsoft stock when it goes public, but that really isn’t what this exercise is about.

Mine would be 14 years old and I would say “Hi, I’m you in the future, I came back to tell you that there is an amazing life for you with limitless possibilities out there, you just need to be fearless and know that you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.”

Now that you have had time to think about it and come up with one sentence that you would want to tell the younger you, write it down on a piece of paper. I know one sentence is hard no one is going to make you diagram it if it turns out to be a bit of a run on, but try to keep it to one sentence.

You are all ready to go back in time, you have your one sentence script, you know exactly what you want to tell yourself. Go to your bathroom mirror. Read the sentence.

You can’t go back in time, but it is never too late. Life has not passed you by, it may be passing you by, it it is never too late. If you went back in time and whispered to yourself to become a teen pop star, that may not have been the best use of your one trip in a time machine, but you can still adapt it to your life today. Take singing lessons, surround yourself with kids, take hip hop dance lessons. It is never too late for hip hop dance lessons.

My guess is that most of you gave yourself advice similar to mine, to stand up, stand out, not be afraid of going after your dreams, grasp for the brass ring, to love hard and fearlessly, and to wring every ounce of juice out of life.

Tape that piece of paper to your bathroom mirror, read it every morning and honor that younger you by making up for lost time. You can’t go back in time, but it’s never too late.

Know Jack – Words To Live By

It is easy to say, difficult to try, and very hard to recognize in others, but it can be done, horizons can expand, thoughts can evolve, as long as there is life, there is potential for growth.

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” – Jack Kerouac

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A Message For Mankind – Words To Live By

This speech is as amazing today as it was 70+ years ago.  Read, listen, watch it if you get a chance.  

A Message for Mankind: Charlie Chaplin’s Iconic Speech, Remixed

“We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery.”

From the remix artist Alan Watts :  “A Message for Mankind” — a stirring mashup of Charlie Chaplin’s famous speech from The Great Dictator and scenes of humanity’s most tragic and most hopeful moments in recent history, spanning everything from space exploration to the Occupy protests, with an appropriately epic score by Hans Zimmer.

I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.” The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder! Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Don’t Do It For Anyone Else – Self Help

Today is my last day working for a company that I should have left a year ago.  The stars had to align, I had to find the best next step for me.  Basically, I had to run to something and not run away from something.  I think that I have found it and just like with most major changes, it happens so slowly it is almost undetectable, but with a blink of an eye, it was the new reality.  If I could give advice to my coworkers today, it would be to apply and interview everywhere, know your worth, make sure your obligation is to yourself first.  A long time ago, I got some advice from a coworker on her last day at that very large .com retailer I used to work for, she said “Don’t ever love a company because it is incapable of loving you back.”  It seemed harsh at the time, seeing I was still there and she was leaving.  Over the years, I have understood more of what she was saying:  Keep your priorities in check, Your obligation is to yourself first, Do not lose sight of who you are. It is true, we all fall into it to some extent, but unless the company is your creation, do not let it become your identity.  Hopefully, your company finds value in you and is active in creating a path that allows you to grow along with it and you are recognized for your efforts and participation in it’s success.  The successful company part of you is great, but it is not your identity.  Keep something for yourself.  Do something that is you and only you, that you enjoy.  Don’t do it for anyone else.

There is so much I could and want to say about Keith Haring, he is a personal inspiration and style icon.  I think of this advice quite a bit and is a lot to do with how I structured waldina.com.  I wanted to chronicle what inspired me, good and bad, but mostly good.  I didn’t think too much about what it would mean to anyone else, I figured it would be somewhat interesting from time to time and maybe every now and then, someone would find something they could use in their life.  But I knew I would only think it was good if I only did it for myself.

It’s incredible to think that Keith Haring was only alive for 31 years, given the impact of his work. In New York particularly, his public pop-art greeted many thousands of people every day, and internationally is highly regarded and recognized as a major art influence. He also left behind a valuable legacy that includes, alongside his artwork, the Keith Haring Foundation; launched in 1989 “to assist AIDS-related and children’s charities”, said disease being the cause of his death just a year later.

Below: a brief letter of advice he wrote to an aspiring artist and fan of Haring’s work, circa-1987.

KEITH HARING

676 BROADWAY N.Y.C. 10012 212-477-1579

Michael -

Thanks for your letter. I draw everyday. When I was 15, I wanted to be an artist so I drew all the time. It was my only visible talent.

Whatever you do, the only secret is to believe in it and satisfy yourself. Don’t do it for anyone else.

Good luck,

Keith

This Is Your Life

In an effort to combat the vacant consumerism that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is a movement to make today Giving Tuesday.  I have written about various charities and non profits I personally support and everyone has their favorite, but I want to broaden the definition to include giving inspiration to loved ones.  Download/Print/Save/Buy this Manifesto.  Put it in a place that you see often to remind yourself.  I have it on my phone and changed my facebook banner to the first two lines.  Send this manifesto to people you love to remind them.manifesto_white_iphone4

This is our life.  Do what you love, and do it often.  If you don’t like something, change it.  If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.  If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.  Stop over analyzing, life is simple.  All emotions are beautiful.  When you eat, appreciate every last bite.  Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences.  Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them.  Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.  Some opportunities only com once, seize them.  Life is about the people you meet, and the thing you create with them so go out and start creating.  Life is short.   Live your dream and share your passion.

There are some great gifts over at Holstee.com, gifts that will inspire someone and be meaningful to them long after the griftwrap has been recycled.  Consider giving inspiration this holiday season.

noshit-wood-SQ_1024x1024

Seven Deadly (Conversation) Sins

storm trooper see no evil

Did you listen to extremely entertaining and informative This American Life last weekend?  I heard most of it while I was driving around town running errands (and listening to them on headphones while in stores, etc) and then re-listened to the podcast this week while I was going to/from work.  The topic was boring conversation and the seven topics you should never talk about in a social setting.  Obviously, if you are asked a direct question, go for it, but if you are at a gathering of people, these seven topics should be avoided because, frankly, no one cares:

1. Your period
2. Diet
3. Your health
4. How you slept
5. Your dreams
6. Route talk
7. Money

As we are entering the holiday party season, it may be good to hit ‘refresh’ on your conversation skills.  It is long been understood that religion and politics are not good topics to bring up in social settings because it could cause discomfort and conflict in others, but these seven topics are really more about being boring and self-indulgent.  It is really more about not making the topic that you talk about you.  We have all experienced being in conversation one-up-off with someone who has a personal story that is just a little bit more intense than your story and they top your story with theirs.  It is boring and annoying and you leave the conversation thinking that the person is no one with whom you want to cultivate a friendship.  Don’t be that person.

1.  Your Period.  Why would you think that anyone wants to hear about that?  No one cares.

2.  Your Diet.  If you are on a weight loss plan or are a vegan or gluten intolerant, don’t go into detail.  No one cares.

3.  Your Health.  If you have a cold, it is bad form for your to even be attending a social event, let alone talking about your cold.  I would say that anything less than cancer no one cares.

4.  How You Slept.  This topic is pretty much a conversation stopper.  You slept well, you slept poorly, there is nowhere to go from there and no one cares.

5.  Your Dreams.  Talking in length about your dreams is a lot about showing people your extensive collection of vacation photos:  they weren’t there and they don’t care.

6.  Route Talk.  A retelling of your choice of streets and the traffic on those streets is not interesting to anyone.  No one cares.

7.  Money.  It is widely understood that talking about money is crude and vulgar.  Talking about how much money you make or how much your paid for things is self-indulgent and unless you are directly asked, no one cares.

Obviously, the height of good etiquette is not pointing out others shortcomings.  Basically, it is rude to tell people they are being rude.  This is a self-governing list to bring awareness to your own topics of conversation.  If you find yourself in a conversation that is not entertaining to you, it is well within your ability to change the topic to something mutually interesting.  If the person brings it back to a self-indulgent topic, take a mental note, and find a way to extract yourself from the conversation.

There are times when letting self-indulgent conversation topics occur are in your own best interest.  When you are first meeting someone and it is important that it goes well, cultivating a line of conversation that allows the person to talk about themselves is acceptable.  I recently read an article called 8 Conversation Hacks That Make People Like You and there were a few that really helped me fine tune my conversation skills with people I have just met and with whom I really want to make a good first impression:

  • Invite People to Share About Their Lives.  Most people enjoy talking about what they are knowledgeable about and everyone know a lot about themselves.  Ask questions that encourage a bit of bragging.
  • Wait for Your Turn to Talk.  Do not interrupt. I have found that if you are not finding a natural break in the conversation, the other person will eventually need to take a breath.
  • Request Advice.  Not even advice, just confirmation.  It could be as simple as requesting affirmation of what you have said.  But asking advice will make the other person feel that their opinion is of value.

But most importantly, you should listen to the episode because it is hilarious, follow the links below, grab the podcast or listen to it right here:

Dance Is Like Thought – Self Help

“Oh, how wonderful! How like the mind it is!” A stirring encounter at the pinnacle of the human spirit.

From Craig Brown’s Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings, which gave us that wonderful daisy chain of encounters between Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, and Helen Keller, comes another moving meeting of great spirits, this time between Helen Keller, iconic choreographer Martha Graham, and legendary dancer Merce Cunningham.

At seventy-two, already admired far and wide for her extraordinary story of unhinging disability from destiny, Keller meets the Grand Dame of modern dance. Brown writes:

Graham is immediately taken by what she calls Helen’s ‘gracious embrace of life’, and is impressed by what appears to be her photographic memory. They become friends. Before long, Helen starts paying regular visits to the dance studio. She seems to focus on the dancers’ feet, and can somehow tell the direction in which they are moving. Martha Graham is intrigued. ‘She could not see the dance but was able to allow its vibrations to leave the floor and enter her body.’

On one of her visits, Helen says, ‘Martha, what is jumping? I don’t understand.’

Graham is touched by this simple question. She asks a member of her company, Merce Cunningham, to stand at the barre. She approaches him from behind, says, ‘Merce, be very careful, I’m putting Helen’s hands on your body,’ and places Helen Keller’s hands on his waist.

Cunningham cannot see Keller, but feels her two hands around his waist, ‘like bird wings, so soft’. Everyone in the studio stands quite still, focusing on what is happening. Cunningham jumps in the air while Keller’s hands rise up with his body. ‘Her hands rose and fell as Merce did,’ recalls Martha Graham, in extreme old age.

‘Her expression changed from curiosity to one of joy. You could see the enthusiasm rise in her face as she threw her arms in the air.’

Cunningham continues to perform small leaps, with very straight legs. He suddenly feels Keller’s fingers, still touching his waist, begin to move slightly, ‘as though fluttering’. For the first time in her life, she is experiencing dance. ‘Oh, how wonderful! How like thought! How like the mind it is!’ she exclaims when he stops.

In this short excerpt from the 1954 documentary The Unconquered: Helen Keller in Her Story, Keller pays a visit to Graham’s dance studio — to watch this is to witness a true triumph of the human spirit:

The rest of Hello Goodbye Hello, a kind of real-life Circles of Influence culled from diaries, personal correspondence, and various other historical ephemera, strings together similar vignettes of little-known true encounters between cultural icons — from Freud to Tchaikovsky to Hitchcock to Hitchens — spanning science, literature, art, music, film, politics, and more.