I listened to Amy Poehler's book:
several months ago and was really pleasantly surprised by the content. I had expected the numerous witty essays but had not anticipated the wisdom and really solid advice that she shared. My surprise was partially due to the fact that I hadn't yet realized what an awesome human being she is. She is obviously witty, intelligent, and hilarious, but she's also a fantastic philanthropist. She donates her time and energy towards really necessary causes like the Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO). Also, she seems like the type of person who doesn't take a lot of shit, which I admire.
I'm going to try really hard not to turn this post into being solely about Amy Poehler in general, but I accidently just spent the past hour watching various youtube videos, including several from her amazing nonprofit organization that is geared towards providing young people with positive and uplifting content; it's called Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. The site emphasizes intelligence and imagination over fitting in, with information that is desperately needed for today's youth. The "Ask Amy" videos are my favorite.
SorrySorrySorry, back to the book. I think this was the first book that I've ever read that genuinely made me excited to get older. She makes "Pre-Peri-Middle-Aged" sound pretty fantastic. She speaks about how aging as a woman gives you the "super power" of invisibility, and x-ray vision. She states,
"The strange thing is that the moment people start looking at you less is when you start being able to see through people more. You get better at understanding what people mean and how it can be different from what they say. Finally the phrase "actions speak louder than words" starts to make sense. You can read people's energies better, and this hopefully means you get stuck talking to less duds. You also may start to seek out duds, as some kind of weird emotional exercise to test your boundaries. You use the word "boundaries." You can witness bad behavior and watch it like you would watch someone else's child having a tantrum. Gone are the days (hopefully)when you take everything personally and internalize everyone's behavior. You get better at knowing what you want and need. You can tell what kind of underwear people are wearing."
See what I mean? It's good stuff. I really enjoyed listening to the Audible version, she has special guests chime in, and she just brings a lot to each story when she reads them herself. That being said, this post was sparked because I was recently given a copy of her book (in its physical form) and started reading it once more, and I have also really enjoyed the visuals she included. Like this gem:
Good for her! Not for me.
I clearly loved this book, but there was one phrase that especially called out to me. In speaking about the birth of her children, she begins with the introduction, "Good for her! Not for me. That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me." I assume she introduced this motto around the topic of childbirth because women can be quite judgemental towards one another when it comes to the business of making, birthing, and raising little humans.
Speaking of humans. It's totally human nature to compare ourselves to others. We all want to peep behind the curtains and see what's going on in other people's lives because life is crazy, and messy, and difficult, and weird. Not to get too existential, but we are literally all spinning on a tiny pale blue dot in space. There is so much to take in and process and decide in any given day. So naturally, we want to check out the life decisions that other's are making.
Sometimes this can inspire us. It can challenge us to live better more enriching lives. However, "Good for her! Not for me" wouldn't need to exist as a motto if everything that came from this was rosy.
The bummer with comparing ourselves to others is that often it can create some pretty significant doses of negativity. This negatively is toxic and can point inward when we see other's whose lives appear fantastic (my life sucks, my body sucks, my relationship sucks, my job sucks, my friends suck, my city sucks, etc etc etc). This inward negatively can also (but not always) spew onto others.
Meaning, the negativity flies outward, and once verbalized can be extremely hurtful to many people and in so many different ways. I'm no saint, but I couldn't agree more that we absolutely should be repeating this little motto in our minds on a regular basis. Good for her! Not for me.
The fact of the matter is that we are all different people. We are all unique individuals that were raised in different environments from different parents or parental figures in different cultures and we have had a wide array of different experiences that have provided us with vastly different thoughts and feelings, that only we are privy to. Which is why I become so confused when I see and hear women (or men) spewing hatred or negativity towards one another for personal decisions that someone else has made for themselves.
Maybe you want to wait until marriage to have sex, or you'd rather have multiple sexual partners, maybe you want to stay at home with your children, or be a working mother, or not even be a mother. Maybe you want to drink on the weekends or you don't drink at all. Maybe you like to spend your Sunday mornings in church or would rather claim a spot at a bottomless brunch. Maybe you spend 10 hours per week at the gym or you've never stepped foot in one. Maybe you spend money on fancy clothes or maybe you're a nudist and don't wear clothes at all! ;)
Whatever your choices, they are yours and yours alone to make because only you and you alone know everything that has gone into making these decisions and what life inside your head and home are really like.
I'm so happy that people's decisions don't all mirror my own. What a boring world that would be! One of my favorite things is listening to people talk about their lives and the paths they've wandered down, whether or not I would or would not have made their same choices is moot. Plus if everyone made the same decisions as me, then you would all live in DC and the real estate here would be that much more outrageous.
In summary, let's all just be badass, strong, kind-hearted women (or men) like Amy, and try to do less harm and more good.