A new mantra for 2014

betty ming liu Inspiration 13 Comments

As a single working mom on a budget, I’m not usually big on spending even a few bucks on greeting cards that recipients look at for two seconds and then throw away. Recently, though, I saw a card that screamed to me. Clearly, this was a message from the cosmos.

It turns out that the quote on the card is a popular self-help-type saying that appears on an endless array of knick knack-y items, like mugs and refrigerator magnets.

A bit kitschy, maybe, but I happen to be very fond of kitsch. Besides, good advice is good advice, no matter where it comes from. :)

To make this one worth the purchase, I wrote something inside it and gave it to my daughter. An investment in both of our futures. After all, nothing — I repeat, nothing — has challenged my comfort zone like parenting, haha!

Seriously, though, being a mom is one of the most important privileges in my life. Long ago, a wise woman told me that if I became the kind of mother who paid attention, someday, if I was lucky, my daughter would become my teacher.

Fortunately, that has indeed been the case. I’m especially appreciative when my child calls me out for tiger mom crap that imposes completely arbitrary and unnecessary rules that dampen happy moments for each/both of us. (For more, check out my earlier post: Don’t be a perfectionist — 5 steps to recovery.)

With that in mind, I see this greeting card as a call to action. If I make it my mantra, it will surely transform the year ahead. There will be opportunities to apply greater openness to other relationships as well, and also to new projects.

This is inspiration that encourages experimenting with unfamiliar emotions, risk-taking and dreaming big. Maybe it’ll help you too:

Greeting cara

The whole idea of finding my personal edge and living right there is very exciting. I’m thinking of it as a new horizon. No matter how scary, making changes will keep me fresh.

So…I hope 2014 brings you many wonderful surprises. Best wishes from me to you for solid health, personal peace, much love, opportunities for creativity and lots of laughter.

Happy New Year!  :)


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Comments 13

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Dan, thanks for these links — so it seems you know how to be quite social! I guess it’s always a question of getting out for more. This is the first I’m hearing about contra; thanks too, for teaching me something new. :)

  1. Dan

    Betty, thanks for the dance link. I used to be a bit of a dance gypsy and was doing various types dancing (swing, contra, cajun-zydeco) from Poughkeepsie to Saratoga Springs. I’ve also been to this place that has some dance weekends and camps in the Catskills, which you may find interesting:

  2. Laura

    I’ve heard kitschier for sure. This is a great mantra! Thanks for sharing, Betty. Happy new year to you, your family, and my fellow Betty’s-blog-fans!

    1. Post
  3. Post
    betty ming liu

    Ingrid, what an interesting idea. I take comfort in your twist on the comfort zone! But what about young people? They can’t wait that long to find their comfort zone. Any words for them? For that, I like your second paragraph, the idea that “once you know you’re basically okay, you no longer HAVE to be right.” I’m in!

  4. ingrid

    It’s also generally true that YOUR COMFORT ZONE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR LIFE. For most of us, it takes a lifetime of finding out how wrong we can be before we can begin to get things right. — that despite any talents we might have, we are ordinary, fallible people like everyone else on this planet — and that despite everything we’ve done wrong, we’re basically okay.

    Once you know you’re basically okay, you know longer HAVE to be right. Your inner hearing and vision improve and voila! You can spend a lot more time in your comfort zone — taking chances.

  5. Post
    betty ming liu

    I hear you, Dan! I love my comfort zones and rely on them to keep me grounded. Taking any sort of language course would be way beyond my comfort zone. I totally relate to your issues with traveling alone. Still not easy for me. Traveling with other singles has been hit-or-miss too. But practice is important, right? Just gotta get out there.

    The most fun I’ve ever had traveling alone was when I attended a ballroom dance weekend in the Catskills. I didn’t know anything about the organization but it sounded fun. Ended up going back several times. On my last sign-up, I brought along a married friend whose husband had no interest in dancing. We had a blast.

    I never met any men on these weekends but there are tons of single women there. The organizers also make sure there are dance “hosts” to dance with singles who are on the scene. Here’s the link to the website. It might be fun for you just to peruse: http://www.stardustdance.com/

    Over the years, I’ve also learned to go to the movies and dine out alone. The trick to this is, avoid doing this on typical date nights like Friday and Saturday! There’s nothing more miserable than going out when all the couples are out too. You know what? I learned to enjoy it. Very satisfying to find a way to get outta the house. Good luck with being social and with your French studies!

  6. Dan

    P.S. This idea is particularly relevant to me now, since i’ve recently decided to stay in my comfort zone by beginning to study French, since learning languages is one of my natural strengths (and joys) and is something that i’m confident that can accomplish (as i have already obtained a bilingual teaching credential in Spanish) — as long as i stay focused. But, this is not (for me) living at the edge of my comfort zone (until i start to travel alone that is ;)
    In the age of specialization, there is a lot of inertia (and certain advantages) that pulls us to stay in our comfort-confidence zone. In the world of work, it seems that getting beyond my comfort zone would be taking on additional responsibilities, and of course, being more social, when i’d rather be alone. This is a tough one! :)

  7. Dan

    Betty, It’s inspiring to hear you say that you want to find your own Personal Edge and live there! It does sound more interesting and exciting than staying in our own comfort zones, and naturally i felt like i should try to do the same. But what does that mean, in specific terms? How much “risk taking and unfamiliar emotions” is called for? How do we keep that quote from being just another nice-sounding platitude? I’m wondering if there’s a specific resolution or promise to yourself (for you) that goes with “living at the edge of your comfort zone.” Best wishes for 2014, and please continue to keep us thinking! :)

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Dan, thanks for challenging me to think in specifics! Do I sound like a crazy person for wanting to live on the edge? Sometimes I take on too much, all at once. But this year — and it is THIS YEAR now — I have some specific challenges. For starters, I’ve gotta finish that book I’m working on. Getting it published and doing it myself is both an emotional and financial risk. I’m also in a new relationship that is putting me in a totally unfamiliar love zone. Plus, it’s been nearly two years since I’ve painted on a weekly basis. I need to reconnect with my creative side and commit to it. Is this enough for now…? :)

      And don’t get me wrong…comfort zone is wonderful. It’s great to have comfort zones. But what about you and everyone else reading this? What might be some of your personal edges?

  8. Tobias Grace

    I send and receive a lot of Christmas cards. I bundle each years and file them. Once in a while i pick a bundle from years ago and look through it. They remind me of people who were a part of my life for a while, Most are magnificent examples of the printer’s art and I admire them as such. However, I think my all-time favorite was a a very simply produced card that, on the outside said “you better be good, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why…”
    And on the inside had a drawing of a very grouchy Santa saying, “because I’ve had it up to here with that crap – that’s why!” I still laugh every time I think of it.

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Toby, that’s cute! My mom used to save Christmas cards too. After she died, I found a whole photo album with cards carefully laid out on each of the album pages. Wonder if I still have it somewhere. Those cards would qualify as vintage now…As for me, I never send out Christmas cards. Gradually, people stopped sending them to me too. While the cards I do get are still very sweet, the greetings I get and give mostly happen on line now. So here’s my chance to send you a personal wish for a happy 2014!

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