Archive for October, 2011


A Bizarre Thought for a Happy Life

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Something weird happened the other day. The “Google alert” I set up to notify me if my name is mentioned online popped up with a strange story. It was a link to my obituary.

Sometimes, when we look at the horizon in the distance, it helps us appreciate the sand we're standing on right now. (Image: Amy Spencer)

Okay, so it wasn’t my obituary. It was for a woman with my name: Amy Spencer of Topeka, Kansas. And she sounded like a great person, survived by her mom, a sister and brother, and her life partner Dixie. “She was a sweet and funny gal,” said one friend who posted on her online obituary guest book. (Whoa, we live in a world with online obituary guestbooks.) Then again, it was full of kind words for Amy’s family that of course I had to read. Why?

Well, here’s a secret about me that only my close friends know: I’m obsessed with death. Like, terrified of it. Scared I might die every single day. I’m not kidding. When I make a safe left turn, I’m grateful I wasn’t careened in a crash by someone blowing the red light. When I say goodbye to my parents as they’re about to take off at the airport, I fear it’s our last goodbye until I get the text that they’re home safe. And when I Tweet a link to a video of a cat stuck in a box, I worry that my final message on earth will be, well, about a cat stuck in a freaking box.

But seriously, all the gloomy thoughts? I think they help. I think my fears about death are exactly what make me so appreciative of life. I’m an optimist because I’m so deliriously happy to be alive. I’m happy my legs work, my heart works, my eyesight works and my laugh works! Because I’m always thinking about people who can’t say the same. Any time I think of dying, it shocks me into feeling even more grateful about living. And for that very same reason, I think we could all gain from thinking just for a second—as bizarre as it sounds—about being at death’s door.

Let me ask you this:

What would your obituary say?

Think about it. You might find it’s the kind of thing that makes you realize you don’t people at your funeral saying, “Gosh, she was so busy with work, I hadn’t her in years!” Or “It’s so sad, because I felt like he wasn’t even enjoying the life he had.” Leave behind a better memory by living a more authentic and full life now.

Amy Lynn Flowers Spencer isn’t with us anymore. But I like to think she can be proud about the life she lived based on the comments people left about all the happiness and joy and laughs and love she left behind. Life is short, right? We never know when one hug could be the last. And when one YouTube link will be linked to you forever. And as depressing as it seems to think about that, think about that.

Let’s appreciate what and who we have around us now, while we’re here. Be a life optimist. Love the people around you. Live the best life you can. And be the person you want to be remembered as. Today. Right now. I want people to say I’m “a sweet and funny gal,” too. Really, I couldn’t ask for more.

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Big love,

“I’m 35 and potentially doomed. My baggage is that I love too much too quickly and I love profoundly the wrong men. I see the signals and don’t read them. I don’t know what it is. I have talked my poor mother’s ear off about this. Thank god we can laugh about it! I don’t want to lose hope. But I’m scared that this is my path—that I will constantly love men who don’t love me in the right way. I’m looking for a new perspective, something to keep going so I can keep the faith that I will get married and have the kid that I want.” —Malory

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Hi Malory,

Nooooo, you’re not dooooooomed! 🙂

Mostly because your sense of humor will, as you already know, be your savior. That and your self-awareness. Meaning that you know what your main issue has been in the past, and knowing this can help you focus on choosing better in the future. And let me say, your baggage or problem is not that you love too quickly. Love is great! Feelings are meant to be felt! What’s more important is the part where you say you see the signals of the profoundly wrong men and you ignore them.

As for the guy who just wants to be friends, ooh, girl, how many times did I hear that one from guys myself. I feel like it’s a curse for women who are out to accomplish things and kick ass in life—we seem more like business parters and buddies to people than romantic options right off the bat. But I’m not saying to accomplish less or act like someone who does! Instead, I would suggest you keep being exactly who you are, and then work on this one thing: Accepting a different future than you pictured.

I don’t know if you have my book or read it (the Meeting Your Half-Orange one), but it’s what I talk about on page 57: How I told my Mom that I had decided that I was ready to wait for the right relationship as long as it took. That, essentially, I’d rather wait 10 years for that love of my life and have children another way (get pregnant on my own or adopt), than to settle down with someone who I felt “eh” about just to have someone there. There was something so freeing about making that choice, and for me, this was the major turning point of my love future. Acceptance of a life different than I had pictured for myself.

This is also what a friend of mine did this year, who I’ll call Britta. She was 39 and feeling potentially doomed herself, because she wanted a relationship and she wanted kids. And the pressure to get the first fast enough so she could have the second was wearing on her. So, Britta did what women are doing these days: She made an appointment for a fertility specialist, got things checked out and the thumbs up that she was healthy and ready to conceive, and then she set a date for herself: It was October when she said, “If I haven’t met anyone by March, I will go to the specialist and get myself pregnant.” Then Britta planned a big trip on her own to surf in Costa Rica for two weeks in February, right before she was going to conceive. When she got back, a couldn’t-turn-down work project came up that took her into April, and as she was finishing up her project, she was set up on a date with the guy of her dreams. Well, it took her three dates to realize this, but when she did, she was blown away. Not only was he a perfect match for her, but he had a kid of his own and wanted more kids. True story. And they’re happily in love and working on that baby. Her turning point was the same as mine: acceptance of a life different than the one she pictured for herself.

So I suggest this more than anything. Think about the future you’re picturing, then re-adjust it. See what would happen if life rolled out a different carpet for you. How could you still be happy if it did? If you found out you would meet the love of your life at 38, what would you do right now to be happy until then? The minute we let go of the steel rod we like gripping onto for dear life of exactly the future or person we want, the minute we take a step off of the concrete path we think is leading straight to what we know…that’s when life surprises us and sends us the person we’re actually supposed to be with, and the life that’s even more interesting than the one we’d written up in our heads.

Keep doing what you’re doing and being who you are, laughs and all! But let go of THE PLAN. And find a way to make a statement to yourself that you’re okay with a different route or a new story. Find a way to be happy right now with what you have in front of you, and you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll find yourself attracting more of the people who are right for you. And then, of course, if they send you signals otherwise, pay attention and for goodness’ sake, run! 🙂

Big love,

Aw heck, these are cute.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Some days I think it helps us all change for the better when we share insightful information that alters our points of view and emotional well-being. And some days…I think it’s just fun to look at mad cute animal pictures. Well, this is one of those days.

This hodgepodge of cute animal pictures made me smile, and since it’s raining where I am today, I hope to pass on the grin!

Big love,