By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager
Recently I stumbled across a podcast series that intrigued me. Mind you, two years ago I had no idea what a podcast was. Well, flash forward two years, and guess what? It turns out most Podcasts are free. I was hooked almost immediately. As a Dateline and “ID Channel” addict, I quickly found every podcast on every true crime drama there was. I listened to hours of tragic stories until my kids told me that I only listen to depressing stuff and there was a lot more to learn through podcasts. So, I took their advice and, on New Year’s Day, I downloaded Oprah Winfrey’s,“Master Class” to set a new outlook. It is fascinating! Quick 25-30 minute “interviews” with people you already know through sports, movies, music, etc. Each episode features a different personality with entirely different backgrounds, talents and interests but they all have one thing in common… they went through very difficult times in their lives and had to overcome daunting challenges. None of them would have changed a thing because they all believe that if it were not for their personal trauma or setback, they would not be living their best authentic life today. Isn’t that so true? How many times did a major disappointment lead to a better opportunity? The happiest people I know do not wallow in the “could have, should have, would have” world. They persist, follow their gut, and manage to turn around situations that could have stopped them dead in their tracks. On the other hand, the people I know that cannot “catch a break” seem to be afraid to try something different to see just what may happen. They are stuck. And to me… stuck is a terrible place to be. If you want change… you must change something because there is almost always an Option B.
There is a great book written by Sheryl Sandberg called, Option B. Sheryl is the COO of Facebook and the widow of Dave Goldberg who died suddenly in 2015 in Mexico while on vacation with his family. Sheryl was afraid she and her children would never feel pure joy again. As she struggled through her devastation and grief, a wise friend said to her, “Option A is not available so let’s kick the s#%t out of Option B.” Thus, the title of her book, co-authored by her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist. The book, like Oprah Winfrey’s podcast, Master Class, explores stories of all kinds of people who have overcome challenges in their lives. They have found happiness, purpose, and meaning again. Resilience is the key word when crisis hits and we all agree that none of us is immune from crisis. We, as humans are resilient, but it requires effort and making changes. Sheryl Sandberg is a billionaire so we know money cannot buy happiness and joy or she would have simply paid for it. So there goes that theory that rich people are happier and have less to worry about. I recently saw an interview with Sheryl and she is an uplifting beacon of hope. She made a conscience effort to find that Option B. Self-care is where I think we all need to start. Finding those peaceful moments that lift us up—maybe that’s a walk on the beach, or visiting a good friend, or watching a favorite movie. What if we only surrounded ourselves with positive people and let go of those who suck the energy out of us? By “letting go,” it may just mean not letting them “in” when the negative talk begins. We can also change our inner dialog to more positive and less critical or self-defeating thoughts. Can we be more mindful of what we choose to read and what we watch on TV? I know, I know…less Dateline and more comedies for me! I recently made choices to limit my social media because I found myself frustrated by other’s opinions… I realize that this is my issue not theirs, but I also have the choice to not view those opinions. That’s what Option B is my friends, it’s the ability to know you have a choice! And if Option B doesn’t work, then I say let’s kick the s#%t out of Option C.