3/30/16

One day she won't mind. Today is not yet that day.

"Growing old is a lot better than the alternative", he said.

She knew that of course, having lost friends who died far too young. She knew her advancing age was a blessing rather than a curse.

She knew her age (even though she often had to remind herself of the exact number by subtracting her birthyear from the current year) and she did not mind being the age she was. Of course it was so much better than the alternative.

"Being old is one thing, looking old is another", she muttered, 
and she simply had not gotten used to looking old yet. In fact, she was not even aware of how age had gotten to her face and hands until his casual remark made it blatantly clear.

Wrinkles are just the scars or all your smiles, he added, 
slowly realizing how her thoughts had turned his childishly innocent remark into a sharp arrow. He, who had once said it was her smile that had caught his attention so many years ago.

She knew that of course, she knew it so well. She tried to pull the arrow out of her heart by saying to herself that she would rather be wrinkly and smiling than expressionless and blank.

Her rational part also knew she would continue to look with pity at those using botox to stop a natural process in its tracks instead of just aging with dignity.

It was easy to know all of that when she was not the one with the wrinkles. When she was not the one being approached in shops by people who tried to sell her creams that would "reduce her expression lines".

She knew it, but she was not yet ready to accept it. Not yet ready to look at her hands and see her mother's instead.


 Not yet ready to look in the mirror and notice that the wrinkles around her mouth did not go away even when the smile did.

One day she knew she would not care.
One day she knew she would look at her wrinkles the same way she looked at her big butt and sharp nose;
Like good old friends that you like; not despite but because of their oddities. 

One day she won't mind.
But today is not yet that day.

3/16/16

The importance of imagination

Last week I had the opportunity to talk about writing at the Scandinavian school in Madrid. About 40 pupils listened to me as I talked about what to do to turn a story into a book.



I described three major steps:

  • Use your imagination
  • Decide what to write (make a plan), write and re-write
  • Share your story with others
One of the girls did the last part without any hesitation as she gave me her story about "Lilla flickan / the little girl". A lovely gift.



I encouraged the students to use their imagination when they create stories. Unlike our physical reality, our imagination is limitless. And what is more, it is unique. It is by using your imagination you can write a story that no one else can come up with. 

When I asked the students what they thought Einstein meant when he said

Imagination is more important than knowledge

I got great answers. One answer was:

If Einstein had not used his imagination, he would not have found out the things he did. 

A lovely and true statement. Knowledge can only take you that far. Aquiring knowledge often means that you learn something others already know. But if you want to break new ground, do something that is unique, you need your imagination.

Whether you want to write a book, develop theories for how the universe works or solve your everyday problems - your imagniation is your best friend.
Use it uninhibitedly.

3/2/16

It's not about the money

It's all about the money
It's all about the dum dum didudumdum
I don't think it's funny
to see us fade away...

Many believe what Meja once sang, that it is all about the money. I beg to differ with that belief.

My family and I just spent a lovely week in Morocco. One of the places we visited was the souks in Marrakech. 



In the souks you can buy anything from spices to lamps to giant brass lions. Our guide informed us that bargaining is the norm and that we should pay about 50% of the sum the salesmen would start with.

So we (well, actually my husband, I prefer fixed-price-written-on-a-price-tag kind of shopping) ended up bargaining. A magic box that was supposedly worth 200 would become ours for 120 or so.

The currency we are talking about is Moroccan dirham. During our visit a dirham was worth about as much as 1 Swedish krona, or 10 euro cent. 80 dirham difference really did not matter to us.

It was not about the money. It was about not wanting to feel like stupid, gullible tourists. 

Millionaires do not want to lose money  either, not even small amounts, as this 3 min video with Marshall Goldsmith shows us.





In the video we hear how a millionaire donates 340 million dollars(!) to poor people in India, but gets unhappy about having to pay 20 dollars as a penalty when he starts sentences with the word but, which his coach had told him not to do.
It was not about the money. It was about not wanting to feel like a loser.

What about yourself? 
Are you happy with your salary?
Chances are you are not. Many people are dissatisfied with their salary.
However, many studies show that the dissatisfaction is not related to the actual amount of money. It's related to comparing your salary with the salaries you think others have. Or, as a person in this article puts it:

"Perception of pay is more important than what’s true,” he said. “If you think you’re underpaid, but objectively overpaid, you are not going to be satisfied.”

It is not about the money. It is about how we choose to feel about money. Or, as I put it in my own version of Meja's song:


It's not about the money
It's about feeling dum dum didudumdum
I don't think it's funny
to be treated like a fool