Self Improvement 101

I crawled into bed at 9.30 on Tuesday night, eager to test the experts‘ theory that one should go to bed at 10.30pm and rise at 6.30am for optimum…..something.  I figured I had nothing to lose. From personal experience I knew that going to bed at midnight or later was not conducive to optimum anything. Save chronic fatigue and excessive grouchiness.

My goal was to turn the lights off at 10 so, with a few minutes to spare, I glanced at the latest issue of Real Simple. Purchased and discarded by my mom. The issue appeared to have been written for the likes of moi.

‘Be happier this year’.

‘Your sanity-saving handbook for 2011, including: the ultimate meal planner, a clean house with less hassle, 18 products to make every day easier.’

My life was about to change, I could sense it. But unfortunately I had less than thirty minutes before my self-imposed bedtime. I’d have to be strategic about my skimming.

I considered the editors’ suggestion to protect my bathtub rim from rust rings by slipping a foamy beer koozie (?) over a can of shaving cream. Tackiness aside, it seemed like a good idea. For somebody else. Someone who bathes and or shaves their legs in the bathtub.


I lingered on the page that suggested three ways to spice up your hot chocolate. I fixated upon the idea of ‘toasting’ marshmallows under the broiler. Would it work? Really? Never mind the fact that there aren’t any marshmallows in my house. Nor malted milk powder with which to make their ‘malted hot cocoa with toasted marshmallows.’


I spent a second deliberating one reader’s question: ‘should I eat before or after working out?’ Since I don’t actually work out, I really couldn’t speculate. But eating at all times seems to be an enjoyable option as far as I’m concerned.

I considered their ‘makeup made easier’ section. Because, much as I am in denial about it, I’ve reached the age where it is dangerous to leave the house without any makeup on my face. Sure, I can leave the house with an as-is face, and I can feel virtuous about it. In my mind. Because in reality I look anything but virtuous. I look like my Costco membership picture. Or like Nick Nolte’s mug shot. Cosmetic enhancement is no longer optional.

I glanced at the ‘hair made easier’ section too. Because I could certainly use help in the hair department. But the only suggestion for ‘long, straight’ hair….was graduated layers with blunt bangs. No thanks. Tried bangs once or twice or three times. They probably do make me look younger. But they also make me look ridiculous. And take forever to grow out.

I fixated on one of the magazine’s health statistics: to ‘eat chocolate five or more times a week and you may be 57 percent less likely to have coronary heart disease than people who don’t.’ I’ve got that one covered, I think.

With two minutes to spare, I glanced at a page filled with suggestions on what to do ‘if you have five minutes.’

Floss your teeth. Pitch three old items from the refrigerator. Untangle a necklace. Pick up five things and put them where they belong. Cancel one appointment you just really don’t want to keep.

I thought about my upcoming dental appointment; the one I was too lazy to cancel….so I’d resorted to ignoring the office’s phone calls and emails. Figuring if they didn’t get a hold of me, they couldn’t actually expect me to show up.

I glanced at another suggestion: ‘adjust all the bills in your wallet so they face the same way.’ Bills? Like telephone bills? Or dollar bills? Since my wallet contains neither, I turned off the light and went to sleep.

And I woke up the next day and had the best day of my life.

Well, one of the best days of my life.

A pretty good day, really.

5 thoughts on “Self Improvement 101

  1. This must be the January issue? I am supposed to a be a featured comment in an episode sometime soon – focusing on what simple things in life bring us happiness, and my response was getting to talk to a live customer service operator.

    I have tried bangs again, despite my horrendous cowlicks on my hairline that make my bangs not lie flat. And the fact that adding the bangs seemed to have made my face look three times as tired instantly. I shall be growing them out again. Maybe not fully but into some sort of longish framing bang. Wow, does that sound entrendre-ish to anyone else?

    And yes, I also am succombing to make-up in order to avoid scaring children and myself when I see my reflection. Why are Costco photos so bad?

  2. Diana – seriously why are the photos so bad? Mine is really awful. Jason, I suspect you are right about the membership. Maybe that’s how Alfred had such a magical stronghold over me last time I tried to cancel. Rachel – thanks for the link!!


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