The Other Far Worse F Word

To my joy and delight, my article, ‘The Other Far Worse F Word” was published in Elephant Journal, an online publication with over 14 million monthly views. The content on Elephant Journal is dedicated to living a mindful, authentic life. I’m a huge fan of the content so when I took a bold chance and submitted my work, I was thrilled when they said yes!

As of today (May 13, 2015), the article has had over 16,000 views and was moved to the front page of the site within 3 hours of being posted. I’m humbled by the response for my article.

The original article can be found at: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/05/the-other-far-worse-f-word/ but a short cut is below!

Apathy

The Other Far Worse F Word

To the chagrin of my mother, I like (no, love) the f-word.

I realize that it isn’t Namaste appropriate and I probably make my third eye angry when I blurt it out loud, but at times there really is no better word to fill in the blank, to express an emotion, or to tell someone where to go. I do my best to not drop the infamous f-bomb in social settings where I am required to wear a name tag, but I can’t promise that I do not think it or secretly direct it at some idiot on a regular basis.

With no filter between my brain and my mouth, the f-word and I have created many memories together. When I recently turned 40, I decided I was old enough to no longer apologize for dropping my favorite adjective and noun at the drop of the hat. With what my heart endured in the last decade, embracing the f-word without abandon seems like a free gift with purchase.

There is another f-word that I believe does more damage than the f’er I have constantly on the tip of my tongue. The word that excites me as much as a wet noodle is “fine.” Even when it rolls out of my mouth, I start to gag. Have you noticed that nothing good ever comes from the word fine?

How do I look in this dress? You look fine.

Are you mad at me? No, I’m fine.

How are you? I’m fine, thanks.

Ironically, the definition of “fine” can vary between “high quality” (adjective) or “pleasing manner, very well” (adverb). If fine is the mistress of positive, how did it become the word that yields a response as exciting as chips with no guacamole? Fine is now the filler word we use when we don’t really have anything else to say. When our emotions are dragging on the floor, it’s all we can muster.

I hate fine; I hate everything the modern generation has allowed it to become. I strongly dislike when I feel fine because that means I am content. At the ripe old age of 40-ish, content is like making the B-team instead of being selected as an all-star. Content and her cousin, fine, are the bridesmaids—never the bride.

Being fine equates to getting sucked into the Alanis Morisette song, Ironic; “It’s like a black fly in your chardonnay.” It’s still fine to drink, but you lose interest because Jeff Goldblum took a diver in your glass. (Will the younger generation understand the movie reference I made there?)

So in an attempt to turn my frown upside down, I’m campaigning to rid the world of fine. If you are living in a life that you didn’t design, going to a job every day that doesn’t fill your soul and/or in a relationship that feels like you are wearing a heavy coat full of burden, you are a fully paid up member of the Fine Club. In case you need a smack in the f’ing face, you are bordering between the neighborhoods of content and just getting by. Believe me, I was the mayor of this town for a long time! I realize I can’t point my finger at you without pointing three back at me.

In spite of every great intention, when I rounded into my 30’s, I found myself in a very high profile job in corporate America; I regretted it on the third day yet I stayed five years. I landed in a relationship that started as a casual friendship yet became emotional abusive; it lasted two years and 11 months longer than it ever should have. And I found myself existing in a world that went from colorful to dark gray because the architect of my life apparently took a hiatus. It should come as no surprise that I look back at my 30’s and can’t help but think, “f*ck off!”

It’s easy to point fingers at my ability to choose the wrong job, the painfully wrong man or the wrong life; being the victim allows for so many excuses. The honest reason my life fell off the rails is because I let it. I didn’t allow the inner voice that spoke loudly, on the third day at my fancy corporate job, to completely derail the American dream of having a consistent paycheck every two weeks.

Regrettably, I closed my ears when my intuition raised its hand and started campaigning for the end of my relationship the first time he used the c-word. As my life imploded, exhausted from being in a place of crisis of management versus thriving, I shut down completely. The only answer I could muster up when asked how I was doing was always the infamous “fine.” Life was winning against an opponent that was no longer in the game.

They say time heals all wounds, and as much as I believe that, I have come to learn that giving yourself permission to live the life you want really is the best remedy. When you start to view your life through a selfish lens, you can no longer live with the rose-colored glasses of fine.

I realize that the use of the word selfish may shock some but it’s really the crux of the solution. I’m not giving you permission to be selfish so you can have the biggest piece of cake (in your 40’s, your metabolism slows to molasses so, believe me, leave the cake alone!) Instead, selfish is meant to be a rallying cry so that you put yourself first. There is a reason the airlines tell us to put our oxygen mask on first before we help others. When we do not allow our heart to explore the vocation our life intended, we experience turbulence. And this turbulence doesn’t come with complimentary peanuts.

The next time you utter the word fine, I implore you to do a gut check. If fine starts to pepper your daily language, it’s time to call in the architect of your own life and start to make plans for a major overhaul. Scary, sure; doable, absolutely! Please don’t ever get to a position where your job, relationship or view on life is just “fine.” Take it from someone who lived far too long in that space; life is winning when you get to that point.

With self-initiated permission to design the life you want to live, I promise there is a whole lot of “f*ck yeah” ahead!

~

Author: Nicole Matthews

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Flickr
About Nicole Matthews

Nicole Matthews is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and champion for living your best life. As a global event, travel and lifestyle concierge, she helps clients to enjoy the playground of life. Her new book, Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live is available on Amazon. Nicole craves humor and storytelling, as much as the perfect accessory to accentuate an outfit. Deep down, she believes her days performing, at the age of 9, as a showgirl in Las Vegas, have prepared her for when Dancing With the Stars calls.

Marsala – Pantone Color of the Year

Designers, event planners and creatives alike wait patiently at the end of each year for the announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year. For 2015, the folks at Pantone have chosen Marsala. With it’s rich, hearty and natural earthiness, Marsala will translate through all areas of design, fashion and event production.

The Versatility of Marsala

  • Equally appealing to men and women, Marsala is a stirring and flavorful shade for apparel and accessories, one that encourages color creativity and experimentation
  • Flattering against many skin tones, sultry and subtle Marsala is a great go-to color for beauty, providing enormous highlight for the cheek, and a captivating pop of color for nails, shadows lips and hair.
  • Dramatic and at the same time grounding, the rich and full-bodied red-brown Marsala brings color warmth into home interiors
  • An earthy shade with a bit of sophistication, texture is the story in print and packaging. A matte finish highlights Marsala’s organic nature while adding a sheen conveys a completely different message of glamour and luxury.

Pantone_Introducing_Color_of_the_Year_Marsala_bannerThe event world will start to incorporate Marsala in design elements, flowers, menus and wine pairings. Be on the look out! This beautiful color will reign in 2015!

30 Days of Unique Experiences

One of the highlights I will take away from 2014 is my personal 30-day challenge of doing something new and unique every day. I loved committed to taking time for recess every day for 30-days straight! I was able to learn, explore and create memories.

Here’s the final list of my 30-day journey:

1. Jumped high at a trampoline park

2. Played 18-holes of soccer golf

3. Learned to knit

4. Took a tour of the new San Diego Central Library

5. Explore Leo Carillo Historic Park

6. Took an aerial silk class

7. Took a new hike in Scripps Ranch

8. Learned archery

9. Visited the Butterfly Garden at the Water Conservation

10. Learned the business of flowers at Organic Elementa

11. Attended a domestic violence fundraiser

12. Learned how to ride a dirt bike

13. Visited the Meditation Garden at the Self-Reflection Center

14. Had a head massage

15. Hiked to the top of Canyon Hills Open Space

16. Took at pizza making class at Great News Cooking School

17. Volunteered at Homecoming at USD

18. Took a swing dancing class

19. Attended the Little Italy Festa

20. Walked over the suspension bridges in Banker’s Hill

21. Took time out to meditate

22. Attended the Pit Bull & Enrique Iglesias concert

23. Took at boxing class

24. Attended a single’s event by Match.com

25. Staffed the Vista Hill Gala

26. Visited a bird sanctuary

27. Took a fall cooking class at Pirch

28. Had lunch with my prom date

29. Attended a Court Appointed Special Advocate Informational Meeting

30. Took a police ride along – 10 hour shift

I can’t recommend enough committing to a 30-day challenge – it shakes life up in a fun and exciting way!

Day #17: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (A New Hike)

As part of this 30-day challenge, I wanted to concentrate on not only trying new things, but also to stop wondering about places that I’ve always driven past but never had previously explored. Today, my Dad, Simon (the golden retriever) and I took a hike at Canyon Hills Open Space. If you are a Scripps Ranch kid, you’ve driven past it a million times. It sits on the corner of Mercy Road and the I-15. You can see the long trail carved into the side of the mountain from the freeway. I’ve always wondered what the view must look like from the top of the hill, so today we found out.

Hike is probably a more adventurous word to describe our experience than is really necessary. It’s more of a meandering walk that starts out completely up hill. The fire road is closed to traffic but offers a wide path for walkers, bike riders and the brave runner. At the top of the summit, you find a handful of picnic tables (who knew!) and a view to the ocean, the border and beyond. We commented what a perfect spot this would be to watch the air show.

Simon loved exploring new territory, with all the new smells. The walk took us about 40 minutes and according to my app was about 1.8 miles.

Now we can say, we know what the view from the top looks like! It was worth the walk straight up hill!

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Day #16: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Indian Head Massage)

Most of my experiences thus far have involved some level of physical activity, so I welcomed the opportunity to try a new spa experience today. I have long been intrigued by an Indian Head Massage, a type of massage that focuses only on your head and scalp. It took me a while to find a spa in San Diego that listed this service but today I prevailed.

Located in Escondido is Bellissima Day Spa, which is short on modernism but long on size. The spa is over 11,000 sq ft. and offers 11 treatments rooms for their spa services. I’ve never seen a spa so huge. My appointment was for an Ayurvedic Scalp Treatment, and I couldn’t wait.

Ayurvedic Scalp Treatment (50 minutes)
Warm oil is applied to the third eye (center of the forehead) which profoundly relaxes and balances the central nervous system, creating a calming and soothing effect and nourishing the hair and scalp. Then stimulation of the scalp by a brushing method and scalp massage is performed, improving circulation and encouraging hair growth. An herbal mask is then applied, followed by a hot towel wrap to help the oils and nutrients of the herbs penetrate, nourishing the hair follicles, controlling dryness. A face, neck, chest, shoulders, and foot massage is included in this treatment for total pampering.

Although the staff is very friendly, I found the spa to be very dated. I could imagine the grandmother’s coming in to have their hair set and styled once a week. I was whisked into the lounge to change into my robe upon arrival. The furnishings within the lounge were old and reminded me of time spent in Sochi earlier this year. Upstairs, I met Gina, the therapist who would be conducting my massage.

For the first 15 minutes of the massage, warm oil was dripped onto my third eye. It also found it’s way to my first two eyes and ears. Occasionally, Gina would wipe the excess away, but after a while the dripping became less of a focus and the oil running onto my scalp became tedious. After the bottle of oil emptied, Gina spent the rest of the session brushing my hair and massaging my scalp. At this point, I became interested in the experience. I love the feeling of having my hair brushed so I was far more engaged once we had finished the turkey basting. Gina also massaged my hands, neck and feet while the oil saturated my hair.

The overall experience was mixed. I appreciated the hair brushing but found the oil dripping to be about 10 minutes too long. Following the massage, I made my way into the steam bath but could barely see the door because the steam was so intense. I only lasted a few minutes.

The photo below is a highlight – Gina turbaned my towel to intensify the oil penetration but I felt like a Smurf.

Day #15: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge

I admit, I’m not a huge bird lover. The whole thought of them flying over head and swirling sort of creeps me out. I try to subtly always move out of the path of birds when they are flying. I do, however, appreciate a bird that can talk and sing, so that was my motivation for visiting Free Flight, an exotic bird sanctuary in Del Mar.  Part of my 30 day challenge is to push myself into doing things that will make me uncomfortable.

Tucked next to a veterinarian, near the Del Mar Fair Grounds, sits a little refuge for exotic birds. Upon entry, (a $5 donation is required), you meet Kiki, the house resident and welcome committee. You can even go in her cage and encourage her to speak. If you are lucky, she will squawk you a ‘hello!

As you wonder around the little sanctuary, you are met with endless noise and screeching from the winged residents on display. Frequently, one of them will break into a mimic and you will hear either a car horn, a door bell, a “how you doing?” or an opera! By far, the talking birds were the highlight of the experience.

Kudos to Free Flight for offering a refuge for these beautiful creatures. I highly recommend this experience if you have kids. It’s an easy way to spend an hour.

How great is this song? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFYzkBVM0vM&feature=youtu.be

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Day #13: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Riding in the Dirt!)

Day #13 of my 30-day challenge has taken me out of my comfort zone. After seeing my cousin Steve at a recent family wedding, he pitched the idea of me learning to ride a dirt bike as part of my challenge. Since I have never had the chance to ride a dirt bike, it quickly was added to my list of experiences I wanted to try!

My Dad, my niece Elyse and I took off for Valley Center, where Steve and his family live. Their front yard (2.5 acres) was the perfect course for a beginning dirt bike rider. Elyse was an early favorite because she has a mini-motorcycle that she likes to zip through her neighborhood. I was more cautious as I hoped I would come back in one piece.

Steve could not have been nicer or more patient with the new kid. He walked me around my assigned dirt bike and familiarized me with all the necessary parts. I was most interested in how I would be able to stop! When the lesson was over, he told me me to suit up with my helmet. It was quickly obvious that I would have to lose the earrings since they wouldn’t fit under my helmet! Riding without accessories was going to be a tall order.

My first challenge was to start the engine. I saddled up on my ride and attempted to kick start the bike. I failed. I tried again. I failed. I tried a third time. My foot slipped, and I still failed. Steve had to rescue me by starting the bike, otherwise it was going to be a short lesson!  Once we were fired up, he reminded me to let out the clutch, while giving it some throttle. All I could think about was Elyse’s warning in the car when she told me not to rev the engine too high because I would be thrown off the back. With trepidation, I found the right combination of gear and gas, and the bike moved forward. I was on my way.

My first attempt lasted about 10 yards, when I was forced to make a turn. In the chaos of trying to get the bike to go east instead of south, I let go of something and the bike stalled. Thank goodness I had Steve as my pit crew! Luckily, it was a short walk for him to fire me up again. Once I got started, I was able to take on the track. Elyse, of course at this point, is already zipping past me like whoever is the Danika Patrick of motor bike riding. Who invited the 14-year old, no-fear kid?

For about 15 minutes, I made my way up and down the hills and valleys of Steve’s front acreage, proudly sporting my bobble head helmet. I learned quickly over confidence can lead to a demise. On the next lap, I found myself heading down the dirt hill, with Elyse Patrick quickly approaching. I do remember hearing her tell me that I needed to give it more gas or I would hit the soft dirt. She should have spoken up louder. Just as I was turning the corner, the back wheel met the front wheel and the bike bucked me off with abandon. Thankfully, I was able to hop off the bike as it was falling, which yielded only mild injuries. Once I realized I wasn’t broken, my focus turned to the bike, where I prayed that I had not just broke this angry machine in half. Looking up, I saw Steve and my Dad running towards the heap.

Thankfully, speedy was fine and I was able to get back on the bike. Steve was adamant that I had to ride again so I could shake my spook. After another few laps, I felt my confidence coming back and I decided this time to make a wider lap. My confidence bucked me once again and I found myself picking up a sideways bike. This sport is hard – unless you are Elyse.

Learning to ride a dirt bike was an unique experience, made doubly special because my cousin Steve and his family offered the education. I don’t think I will be spending my weekends at the track, but should I ever find myself in a horror movie and the only thing standing between me and the boogie man is a dirt bike, I might be able to hop on and get away. That is of course as long as I have Steve in my pocket to help me to jump start the bike!