I Said Yes 

I’m Engaged!!! Yes, it’s true!  And when it happened, I was shocked beyond belief. I literally had no idea it was coming. I of course could not wait to tell my family and friends. Then it was time to write about it. Right? I mean I have to share this with our readers. I want to share this with you. The world! But why? Why did I want or feel the need to share my engagement news with you? I’m not someone who shares news to fluff my own feathers. I certainly don’t want my good news to make anyone feel less than.  So why share it? Well, the simple answer is I have always shared experiences from my life.

More importantly though I am sharing this with you because just 2 years before the proposal I was leaving a relationship after 5 years. One that did not end in a proposal. I thought I would be single for some time and maybe someday I would find the man I would spend my life with. Or maybe I wouldn’t but at least I would be rocking my bliss. Well while rocking my bliss and following my dreams and goals. While being me I met him.  I wasn’t looking I wasn’t expecting and then this happened. “Will you Marry me?” I was laying in a tent in Joshua Tree State park. I had slept the day away in the tent (we camp, the air mattress is a Serta and 18″high. Its a dream). I woke up to my Love laying next to me and looking into my eyes. He was so handsome and there was so much magic in his eyes I asked “What are you thinking about?” And he proposed…Right there. In the tent. My mind literally thought a million things at once. All I could say was “Are you serious?” Poor thing.  The look on his face when I said that!!  He responded with “Yes.” (Said more like yeah-that’s-why-I’m-asking-you.)  In reply I said “Yes!” While in the back of my head I was wondering if he planned to propose. Then he pulled out a box from his hiking shorts. We had never discussed what ring I would want. Only my dear friend Eric and the designer knew. I never wanted to pressure him. We talked about marriage being in our future. I believe in the beauty of organic growth. So, I figured I would tell him about my dream ring when the time was right.  He pulled out THE RING! Not just any ring but The ring that I wanted. The one he had NO idea about. I squealed “Are you kidding me?” Needless to say I was shocked. Stunned. In 30 seconds I went from a girlfriend to a Fiance. I went from thinking about future work projects and trips, to thinking about walking down the aisle towards the Man I love.


We kissed and then we went for a walk. We passed 18 people at the camp fire, and I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming still in my nap or if this was real. I am getting married and not just to anyone. To my Best Friend. There are plenty of people out there (Clare and I included) giving you advice on dating, life and You. It can be hard to hear all the advice. There is also a lot of crap advice out there. Don’t even get me started on the blogs I came across that of questions I should ask him before we get married (written by a 20 something single-never-been-married author). You have so many messages coming at you on how to “get someone.” I am sharing this exciting news in my life because I want for you to someday have your exciting news to share with us. I want to celebrate your joy. Maybe your joy is marriage but maybe it’s finally being comfortable in your own skin. When you are ready take a moment and:

  • Discover what your Happy Ever After Is
  • Care less about what others think and Care more about how you feel
  • Be you, Your Whole Self
  • Be open to learning new things and meeting new people
  • Have so much fun, laugh a lot

I cannot promise much, (as I am not the keeper of the Universe) but I can say one thing. If you are truly being you, having fun and working towards your Joy and not someone else’s you will find your happy ever after. I met him through a new friendship. He was not “my type.” He did not call me the next day (actually we didn’t even exchange numbers). He broke up with me two times before we ever dated. In less than a year we were engaged. This fall we will be married. I’m over 30.  I took some major “risks” to follow my dreams. I took some leaps of faith to stay true to myself when those around me thought I was crazy. I had to stay on my truth path. That path is what brought him into my world. That path is what attracted him to me. That path is leading me down the aisle to the Man I cannot wait to spend the rest of my days with.

I know that everyday is not blissful. There will be highs and lows but there will be lots of love and support. Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it. Share your dreams with Clare and I! We would love to hear them. Today, go say Yes to YOU.

xx~LL

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5 Tips for changing up your dating game

“We had an amazing time! He walked me to my car, I drove him to his and he kissed me. Then he asked if he could call me. I gave him my number. He texted me right then, so I would have his. Haven’t heard from him since.”

That’s the short version of a friend’s latest Tinder date. The long version has even more details of a positive experience. They met and messaged through Tinder, so if he ever wanted to call her, he had to ask for her phone number. However, he also didn’t have to ask. He could have just said “have a great night!”  Her sadness is something I’m sure you all know someone or have gone through this before. Great date, no call. What the (insert your own explicative word here)?!

I am not a proponent of online dating. I have talked about it in Eye to Eye. I think all the dating apps keep our eyes on our devices and not on the present surroundings. Where there happen to be people! But no one is looking up so no one is meeting any one. Try it, walk into a cafe or restaurant and see if anyone is actually looking up? Aside from the fact that it’s terrible for your posture and spine strength you cannot meet people with you head down.

All the social media in the world has actually made us more lonely. Less connected. Now, these apps also make us believe that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Everyday more options, matches flood your inbox or app. You wake up and right there in your inbox or alerts is a fresh batch of new matches. People the app thinks are perfect matches for you! It’s not that much of a mystery why there was no call after a great date. They got home and after the typical 48 hours they already have had 10-30+ “matches”. Why wouldn’t they want to try out these other options first?

Dating websites do best the more people who are signing up for their services. The more profiles the more matches you’ll get the longer you stay on their site and the more money they make. Sure, they do need to make actual matches to have “success” stories. But, one thing dating websites and apps cannot do…make people actually go past the first intro, first communication or even a first date.

When I did online dating it was more to test out my Red Flags and Duty Dating. I’ll admit I wasn’t looking for Mr. Right. I was using Mr. Right Now to get me back in the dating saddle again. But, I fell into the temptation too. The massive amount of matches it’s easy to hit “like” on a profile then swipe to the next and hit “like” again. I felt like I was putting clothes on a wish list or adding men on a Pinterest board.

I had nothing invested, other than the time I was wasting, roaming the Internet dating site much like a flash sale on shoes. I put a bunch a men in my basket and then before checking out moved onto the next site.

So, can I blame this guy for taking her number then getting distracted? No. Do I blame him? No. I blame us all. I blame the social media marketing.  This situation is a mess.

Do I think there one person for everyone? No, but there are not as many fish in the sea as dating apps and sites would have you believe. The 30+ matches I had each week from match I probably spoke to one or two a week via email. Went on 1 or 3 dates. E-Harmony actually set me up with my Ex (who by the way I met online and was told he was a 91% match…I can honestly say we were not).

I do not think that many people on those sites are actually ready to commit even though they say they are.  I think they are on there so that they feel they have their finger on the pulse of dating. Because, it is easy to get a date off a site then in real life. The rejection of a date online is not as tough as the rejection of asking out someone in person..face to face. Honestly, what’s so terrible about rejection anyways? Isn’t it better you get rejected then to always wonder what if?

So, what are you to do? What’s s single person trying to meet someone to do?

1) make sure your honest in person and online

2) be bold: if you see someone out and about that you’re attracted to make eye contact and maybe even say something. Start a conversation.

3) have fun: dating is the fun part, if it leads to a relationship or marriage awesome. If it doesn’t better to find out sooner than later. But it should be fun in the beginning.

4) say yes if you mean it. Don’t be so focused on dating that you date or want to date someone so much that you trick yourself into having feeling for someone you don’t.

5) try something new. I’m not just taking new hobbies but new people. The “he/she is not my type” is lame and out dated. If your type was working for you then you’d be living your happy ever after.

My friend from the date is moving on. This one not worthy of another thought. She told me she likes a friend of a friend (I think she’s been interested for about a year). She’s going to get bold and invite him for a drink. The worst thing is he says no. She won’t die. The best thing it works out! I’d say the risk is worth it.

My dears, get off your apps and your phones during the hours you can be in public meeting people and living life. I know there plenty of people who fall in love and live happily from online dating. But, not everyone does. So, just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.

Xx~LL

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Texting is Not a Relationship

Daily or almost Daily texts is not a dating relationship.

It’s not.

I promise you it’s notYou, my dear friend, are so worth a phone call.  You’re worthy of an invitation. A verbal (phone or in person) conversation cannot be copy and pasted. 

That’s all I wanted this blog post to say. But, I also know that many of you are going to be sitting there trying to justify why your text conversations are a relationship. That the smiley face at the end of “Hey” is endearing and personal. The text “what are you doing tonight?” That they sent you at 6pm really was only sent to you and not after their other plans fell through.   I know that the world is all about instant messages. Texting, iMessage, Tinder, Grindr, What’s App…insert whatever other instant notification app here. But guess what?  There are still phones. We still speak out loud. Phone companies still sell plans with minutes. Unlimited minutes are cheaper than ever. People do not have to use them wisely. They can just use them!

If someone really likes you they’ll call you.  I promise you they will.

Sure there may be a text here an there “I’m on my way” is absolutely appropriate. It shows that they care enough to give you a heads up and that you have made plans to get together. If they always text you “what are you doing this weekend?” There is a huge chance they copy and pasted that to a few others. I’ll say it again because it’s true.  A phone conversation is pretty tough to copy and paste.

In a world where people can text It’s pretty special when someone picks up the phone and calls you.

I remember last Spring I was out having dinner with a girlfriend talking about the guys I was dating. I had just arrived back from another trip to Boulder, Co. While telling her about “the musician” he called. My phone lit up. I literally laughed out loud. How warm were his ears? Anyways, it went to voicemail since I’m a firm believer in being with those I’m spending time with. After dinner I got in my car and listened to his voicemail. Yes, a smile on my face. He called me! His message: he was sitting in his hotel in Las Vegas (his band was performing there) and he saw i had arrived back from Boulder. Wanted to hear about my trip.

I know! My smile grew even bigger and it felt so nice that someone called me just to see how I was. He was in Vegas on a Saturday night and called me. He could have texted or waited until he arrived back.

Back to my point if they call you it’s for you. It’s personalized just for you.

Conversations on the phone and in person are so personal. There’s tone, inflection, complete sentences and depth. No amount of emoji’s, elipses and punctuation can replace an actual vocal conversation. The best part about a phone conversation is you never have to watch those three dots start, stop and start again only to stop and leave you hanging!

Since I’m not a complete cold hearted message take-away-er here are some tips to help you ween off the addiction:

1) don’t go cold turkey: delete one app a week

2) only use messages for confirmations, out of state/country friends

3) start calling a friend or family member a week. Get used to talking on the phone again. You’ll start to crave that kind of communication

I know I’m getting brutally honest with you here. But, it’s for your own good. The person who treats you like the Royalty you are calls you on the phone.  Gets to know you. They take interest in what you are doing. I know it’s going to be tough to let those text conversations go. It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.

xx~LL

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Xx ~LL

Sex With Friends

I have promised in the past that I would explain how you can “hook up” with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship.
Finally I’m delivering…

First, is it possible to date, make out with, or sleep with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship? Sure! Anything is possible. Do I recommend getting skin close to all your friends? No. But the reality is: you probably will, and I want you armed with the tools to enjoy it before, during, and after.

A few disclaimers:
1) just because you “hook up” with someone, a friend, stranger, or date does not a relationship or commitment make.
2) if you “fall” for every person you flirt, kiss, text or sext (I have opinions on this stay tuned on my sexting blog another day) then diving into your pool of friends is not the best idea. In fact I would tell you absolutely not. You’re not able to handle it.
3) if the lack of communication from someone you sends you to the fridge, bar, or any other binge…you’re not ready (for dating of any kind, and definitely not dating a friend).
4) if you don’t have all the self love we coach/talk about here at Live ClareLesley…you’re not ready.

If you fall into the “not ready” category this doesn’t mean you have to hide in a closet. I don’t want to make a hermit-nun out of you. Quite the opposite, actually. But your focus shouldn’t be on dating anyone, especially your friends. Your focus should be self love, self respect, self growth. When you’re the person you want to be, then go enjoy the fruits of your labor. If that means hooking up with a friend, cool.  You will have our glowing permission. Get yourself to be your WHOLE self first. Then another Whole self will find you. It may even be a friend.

Ok, now that the disclaimers are out of the way lets get dirty, in a friendly way.

Why are friends with benefits a good idea? Think about it! You pick your friends based on things in common. You spend time together, talk about things you like, don’t like, want in life…sounds a lot like dating to me.

There’s nothing awkward about a friendship, no games being played it’s easy-peasy, my dears. So, it makes sense if you and a friend find your way into each others arms. In fact, in most of my coaching on relationships my clients wish they could find a partner they are best friends with. Again, why not dip into the friend pool?…you want your partner to be your friend. Your friendship foundation is already set. Try the dating thing. It might just be the door to a fantastic relationship.

Can you just be friends with benefits? Sure!  Again, anything is possible and it really depends on the two (or more in some cases…my sweet friend, you know who you are) parties involved. Again, you must be able to get past all four disclaimers above and you must truly know and love who you are. The other parties have to also be the same. It won’t work if one of you is a rock star in the self growth category and the other is starving for love, attention, and a partner.

Remember sleeping with a friend does not a partner make. Just because you and your friend cross that clothing barrier bridge, doesn’t mean you are an item. It means you slept with your friend. That actually is worth repeating! Anyone and I mean ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make. Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.

So, How do you start? Well one of you has to make a move, start the conversation. Is the thought of making a move freaking you out? Then, you’re not ready for this. In my past dates with friends, it’s not so black and white. The line from planning, to hang out as friends and going “out” is blurred. In fact, looking back I can’t say at the time I knew we were “crossing the barrier.” It was more like, I hoped we might.

The Comedian: He was more of an acquaintance. We would see each other out with other friends. The two of us were connected via the benefits of twitter and Facebook but we had not exchanged digits. We had lots of things in common. Eventually, he reached out to me personally. He heard I was single and we took our fringe friendship to a direct one. Texts became more frequent a date was planned and a dinner an kiss were enjoyed. There were no fireworks. We had a great time. We have hung out since even. Celebrate the successes we’ve achieved individually. We are closer friends now because we tried to take it to the next level.

Those of you who understand this, are ready for the dating world and even the dating-your-friend-pool world. Just because we didn’t fall madly for each other, does not mean we can’t be friends still. None of those things changed.

The Yogi: I do not recommend you fall for your Yoga, Pilates, Personal Trainer, EVER! If things get weird you will be the one to find a new teacher. They have their classes, their schedule set. In my case as a Pilates Instructor I know many other instructors so me dating a Yogi friend…well I have plenty of them. We had been friends for some time. Our clients and surrounding acquaintances often overlapped. Finding out we both were single at the same time, we set up a time. Again, no definite plans for the long term, but there were hopes. Wishes do come true. We had a great date, awesome convo, and an enjoyable night. We even wanted to go out again. But timing is everything. In the end we went back to being friends. We still are. We both have found wonderful happiness in other relationships. Turns out, now both of us  are dating someone we were friends with before.

My Love: We were introduced by a mutual friend. We had the best time together. We talked for hours. Then because timing is everything. We did nothing. Over the course of the next 4 months we spoke, even hung out once. We got to know each other. Then logistics in our lives made it easier to hang out. So we did every week. We talk about our pasts, past relationships, breakups, desires and dreams. Then we decided to give it a go! Best decision EVER. Dating one of my friends means I always have someone to talk to about ANYTHING. No games. Just love, kindness and respect.

What do each of these scenarios have in common?
1) COMMUNICATION.  In person, or over the phone. The good, old fashioned conversations. Between each other, not other people.
2) NO BIG DEALS.  We didn’t make a big deal about the event, we didn’t get lots of people involved. We just did our thing.
3) WE ARE STILL FRIENDS.  Friendships don’t end because you kiss. They end for other reasons. See “Growing out of Friends

Each of you reading this will have a different experience. I am not going to sit here and tell you go slow, go fast, do this, or don’t do that. Nope. You have to choose your own adventure. I won’t be there every step of the way. All I can tell you is what I have already: you must be your whole self before you date anyone. Especially your friend.

Have a friend crush? AWESOME maybe that’s the love of your life waiting for you to be ready to give it a go.  As someone who has their best friend as their partner, I will give you my blessing.  Every time.

Self Love first, Date second, and always Live ClareLesley

LL

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Red Flags: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

“In the beginning, what red flags did you ignore?” My therapist asked me in my second session post break up. I sat there speechless for a moment. At first, I wanted to get defensive and say there weren’t any.  Then as I opened my mouth to say so, I realized it was probably not true.  She told me that there are always red flags, some flags are redder than others, but there are always red flags.  She sent me home with homework: I had to think back and spot all the red flags that I ignored.  What were they?  Why did I excuse them? How red were they?

Sitting in that office on that couch I just couldn’t admit to myself that there were red flags in a relationship that seemed so perfect.  After being out of the relationship for more than a year, I can tell you every red flag and how red it was. I can even tell you the day one flag was waving, so bright and shiny like it was waiting for a bull to come charging, and instead of paying attention, I brushed it away. Actually, I rolled it up so quickly and shoved it in a trunk and put that trunk in the back of a garage and then put things in front of that trunk hoping to pack away the existence of the flag.

Of course that never works. If you’ve been in a relationship that didn’t work out you too can look back and see the signs. If you can’t I beg you to go back. Like Clare says in Patterns Versus Change  we’ll continue the same patterns until we learn from them.

I am not saying that any of us are free of flags. I think that we all have our own flags in a variety of colors and that’s what makes us unique. But some flags should be hints while others are red alert warnings. Not every person you date will be the right match for you. My last relationship was the picture of perfection. What every girl is supposed to want. I ignored the flags because society’s idea of “perfect” trumped my idea of “perfect.” Working on my therapy homework, I unpacked the garage after leaving my session and started looking at the flags I ignored. What an eye opener that was!

What happened next? My confidence in dating, trust within myself, my own choices, and eventually, love. I grew up, grew strong, and got honest.

As a coach for relationships and goals there’s often lots of red flags that I hear about.  My Duty Dating was the perfect red flag training ever for my life. As I listen to friends, clients, people at coffee shops (I do eavesdrop, but it’s all in the name of research), I ask myself “how red is that flag” for me?  As an outside observer, things look different.  Flags that are really really red to me, might be orange to you.  Its not my job nor my place to interfere or interpret your flags. Side note: friends want your advice that doesn’t mean you can judge their flag coloring (see No More Projections Please). However observing others is a good and less invasive beginning to viewing your own flags. I want you to practice recognizing the red flags that pop up or stand out in your life and in those of others, and then also observe what patterns or feelings arise.

Lately there’s been some sadness and disappointment in the dating world with my friends, clients, even from some of you readers. You meet someone, there’s excitement, smiles, something to look forward to and plans for your weekend. Then a few dates later, combustion!  Or worse: silence. We’ve all been there, I’ve been there. Can you get upset, sad, disappointed and or stab a voo doo doll?  Sure, for a moment.  Maybe you give yourself a day; mourn the loss of “what could have been.” Then pick yourself up! Dust yourself off, and ask yourself the tough question. The honest question. What Red Flags did I ignore? What behaviors did I pay no attention to or excuse away?

Dating can be hard. Life can feel lonely. But do you really want to be with someone just so you’re not alone? I didn’t think so! Get excited about a date but remember while you’re hoping their into you make sure you’re into them! Show off your colors and take a look at all of theirs. There are two people in a relationship. Even if one of you walks away, or stops calling you, at least you will not have been a participationless bystander. You were a an equal partner in the relationship (again at least should have been). Not that I want you to think that if something didn’t work out its your fault! I am absolutely not saying that. We all have choices. We choose what to pay attention to, who to give our attention to, and how we deserve to be treated.

On your next date, instead of excusing the guttural reaction because someone is cute, your type, the first date in five years, dig deeper.  Ask the tough questions. You may be surprised. Something you thought was red is orange. Something you thought was yellow was bright freaking RED.

We have no control of others actions. We can only control our controllables. If you are honest with yourself, totally love and value yourself, those red flags will stand out like a Viking at the Art Museum (not that Vikings don’t go to art museums just that Vikings stand out pretty much anywhere).

You won’t “fall” for every opportunity…not because you’re pessimistic but because you’re in control of your ship. You have awareness of your wants, needs and desires. Red flags just get in the way of those things. They delay your happiness. Why oh why, my loves, would you let your own self get in the way of your own happiness?

Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness. Let those in who support you. Show them who you are and see them for their true selves. See the red flags. See the other colors of them. Make a decision, and try it out. If it doesn’t work with this person, at least you were honest. Try the next person; maybe their flags are the right colors for you! Then you two can roll around in your other colored flags and run off into the sunset holding your sans red flags hands high!

Xx~LL

New Year, Same You. Upgraded.

January first, my beau and I decided to make our commitment even more serious.  In fact, we put it in writing.  We are now committed to a two year plan together with our phones. Yep it’s that serious.

Signing up together, and committing to two years meant that we got to get a new iPhone Six Pluses!  Oh yeah, we went for the biggest, baddest phones there were, with all the bells and whistles!!  Now, I’m not here to tell you about how to pick a “family plan.”  Instead I want to talk about “upgrades.”

When you get new technology, there is a learning curve.  There are similar apps, or programs, or options, and most work better than what you had.  Its a frustrating, but also an exciting time.  I realized a yoga app I had used before, not only operates faster, but has more options making it easier to use. Even though it was frustrating calibrating my mind to work with the technology, it turns out it was better in the long run.  So, in doing all of this I discovered that while my phone is upgraded, and it’s this great, new, fantastic version, the inherent part of the phone is still the same.  It still has all the same great qualities, however there are just some that are better, faster, stronger versions of the ones I used to have.

For 2015, I am determined to love the skin I’m in and enjoy every moment.  To practice this, I’m using my yoga classes. I started a 30 day challenge to get me in the habit of daily love and appreciation for all that my body can do. Even in yoga.  Especially in yoga.  I breathe deeply and focus on every pose.  I also make sure to take everything in, and realize while in every pose, how strong I am.

As humans, we sometimes get really pissed off at ourselves for not being able to do something we could do before, or we think we should be able to do today.   All these subjective judgments!!  We make demands on ourselves, even though we know there really isn’t a timeline, except for what we put on ourselves.  We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.  That’s A LOT of definitions and demands we put on ourselves!

In class today I just made the decision that I was going to just freaking enjoy myself and see how strong I was in everything.  For the first time in my entire tenure of yoga practice, I held a headstand for five minutes.  Five freaking minutes I was up there on my head!!  And do you know what I realized?  I always could’ve done this!  I was held back before because I was in my head about how I “should be able to do this.” I got out of my own head, out of my own way, and had the best practice I’ve ever had in my entire history of practicing yoga.  I was thrilled with everything that I was doing.  I enjoyed each pose.  I didn’t get upset when I couldn’t do something.  I just did what I could.  I had the most rewarding 90 minutes of yoga… my muscles are still shaking in the best way!

While I was laying in savasana, I decided that all this new year/new you stuff is so detrimental, and so arbitrary, and so random.  Just because it’s a new year, doesn’t mean you “should be a new you.”  Instead, what if you’re just a better version of yourself? What if you just upgraded yourself?  (I mean it would be great if we could just plug in and sit there for a moment while all the details worked themselves out.)  Kinks and bugs, bye bye!

Upgrading yourself is not as easy as doing it with a phone.  There will definitely have to be conscious decisions made and plans, every time we decide to grow and change for the better.  Instead of being upset at myself for all that I’m not, I could become the new newer version of my best self.  I’m not going to completely change who I am– I happen to love who I am.  I  am really proud of who I am, but I still have room to grow.  Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.

Note: you can not upgrade yourself or upgrade your phone several several times until things start feeling right.  I am notorious for not updating my phone operating system when a new one comes out. I prefer to wait a few days, pick an afternoon that works for me. When I have the time to plug in, upgrade and experience the change.  2014 may be gone, and the calendar says its time to start anew.  However, like a phone contract, you can start your upgrade at anytime.  Maybe we’re already a few weeks in, or maybe you’re just now reading this post and its the middle of the year.  Its never too late to upgrade, and there isn’t a time limit.  Love your current you, and find the upgrade that fits your life.

LL