Will, Want, Motivated

The following is an example of what it is like to be in my writing group, or to be my daughter when I am critiquing written work.  It is also what it is like to be my friend.  I can be quite pedantic…

The following definitions are brought to you by dictionary.com

Will- the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action

want-have a desire to possess or do

motivation- the reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way

My friend SF and I recently got into an argument  discussion about the above mentioned words.  The specific topic was how you treat your partner:

  1. Are you WILLING to do something for your partner
  2. Do you WANT to do something for your partner
  3. Are you MOTIVATED to do something for your partner.

SF thinks that these are all saying the same thing.  I said the only one that matters is WANT.  Here’s my rationale:

To be willing to do something, or have the will means that you might act in a specific manner because you know that it is something your partner wants you to do.  You would not do this thing for any other reason than your partner desires it, and you might not be 100% on board with this idea.

To be motivated, or have motivation means it’s a quid quo pro sort of deal.  You are motivated to act in a certain way because you know that you will get something in return.

To want means you have absolutely no qualms about doing this for your partner, it is something you are 100% on board for, and you don’t expect anything in return.

Does anyone understand what I’m saying besides me?

I want you to think about relationships that you are in- they don’t have to be romantic.  Family or friendship works as well.  When you do something for someone else- what propels you to act in the way that you do?

Let’s give some examples.  I love all genres of film except gory horror,

  1. My husband is willing to go to the Quad Cinema with me and see an art house film because there is a good Italian restaurant across the street
  2. My Husband is motivated to go to the Upper West Side really good IMAX movie theater (hard to get to by mass transit from my apartment) because he knows there’s a good French dip place
  3. My Husband wants to see the new Avengers movie no matter where it’s playing because food is a non issue.

My Husband is all about the food- he begins his day by asking “What’s for breakfast” followed by “what’s for lunch” ending with “what’s for dinner”.  He is willing to do something or motivated to do something if there is a carrot (literally and figuratively) dangled in front of his nose.  Willing and motivated are conditional: you will not do them unless there is strong reason for you to do so.

Wanting is unconditional.  Wanting requires nothing in return. Wanting to do something comes from deep inside of you.  You want to do something because you love someone and the only thing you want is for them to be happy. And sure- you loving them is sort of a reward, but you shouldn’t need a reward to love or be loved.  Love is unconditional.

See- wanting and love are both unconditional.

So what’s the point? Words matter.  What you say, how you say it – it all matters. Think about the words you use when talking about the people in your life.  Are they unconditional words?  If they’re not unconditional, ask yourself why you are putting conditions on the people that you care about.

So- what do you think?  Are all these words the same, or are their subtle differences ad nuances?  Do you think the words that you choose matter?





You know my family just completed a college tour road trip- 7 colleges, 16 states, 2800 miles.  Seeing 7 colleges brought the total up to 15 colleges visited.  My daughter has narrowed down her choices and is now starting the application process.  Here’s how she narrowed it down.

There are about 4000 colleges in the US.  Where do you go from there?  Well, the editor of the Princeton Review “Top 382 Colleges in America” gave a talk at my daughter’s school, and handed out copies of the book.  So we went from 4000 to 382 pretty quickly.  (Let me add, this is how we did it- you can narrow down the field anyway you want) But, along side this book, we had done a few tours of college campuses.  We spread the field a bit- we visited a few different campuses- state schools, private schools, undergrad enrollment less than 5000, between 5 and 10000, and greater.  Urban and less urban.  After viewing the different options my daughter knew the following:

  1. 5000-10000 undergrad would be ideal. Larger was better than smaller
  2. Urban or town setting.  When you walked out of the campus gates, there needed to actually be something you could walk to
  3. Co-ed
  4. Strong humanities/pre law  program
  5. No farther west than the mid-west
  6. Law team/club/fraternity
  7. limited social fraternity
  8. limited team culture
  9. Low student/faculty ratio
  10. small class size
  11. classes taught by Professors not TA’s

We then went through the 382 colleges book page by page.  She narrowed down the field to 41 schools.   Of those 41 schools she broke it down into three levels-

  1. reach schools (schools where admittance rate for her was hovering around 15% or less,
  2. target schools (schools which she has a decent shot of getting into, meaning her grades and test scores fall into the middle to high range of where their admitted students are
  3. likely, which is schools where she is at the highest point or above where their students are

After separating them, she got on the mailing lists of any schools not already sending her information.  She attended road shows when available- road show meaning, representatives from the schools come to our area and give a presentation about the school.  She went on school websites and instagrams and whatever social media the school was using to promote itself.

Then she made a list of schools that she wanted to see in person to see if she liked the culture.  Honestly, she knew 3 minutes into an information session if she liked the school.  The person who introduces you to the school is a great barometer of what the school will be like- she separated the types of schools as follows:

  1. Touchy-feely- schools where the advisors have advisors.  These schools are very nurturing and will hold your hand through everything
  2. Cold- schools where they sort of feed you to the wolves- highly competitive atmosphere
  3. Pseudo intellectual- the kids are incredibly smart, and they let you know it at every single opportunity
  4. Quirky- kids that think outside the box about everything
  5. Intellectual- kids really do sit on the common and discuss philosophy
  6. Go team- half the campus will have there faces painted on game day, and students travel to away games
  7. Susie sorority- more than 50% of students are in Greek life and their is greek housing on campus
  8. granola- kids are so chill that literally nothing bothers them
  9. Academic- most kids have at minimum a double major
  10. Commuter- kids leave campus on weekends
  11. Involved- kids are involved in at least three different areas of campus life

Obviously, schools can carry more than one banner, but it’s very easy to break them down into categories.  Know thyself- which type of kid are you?  What are you looking for in a school? Which type makes you comfortable?  Which type of school would you thrive in? What type of people do you want to surround yourself by?

And now the list is down to 15, including two schools she has not toured/info session yet, but will most probably make the cut.  She will most probably apply to 15 schools- her school recommendation is 10 schools, but since she is top heavy on reach schools, she is spreading the field.  With the common app, applying to more schools is very easy- 90% of the work is done.  She has also been waived from admission fees at some of the schools, so cost is evening itself out.

Now- some of you are saying- “My kid won’t do this.” Some of you are parents that are asking the questions when you visit schools.  Some of you have kids who are sitting in the back row of info sessions and are on their phone the whole time.  Here’s what I say to that:

Maybe your child should not go to college right after High School.  No matter what anyone say, college is an option.  No one has to go to college.  College does not mean you will be successful – successful meaning that you will have an enriching career that challenges you and that you love.  If your kid hasn’t been interested in studying, and shows no interest in the college process, let them explore other options.  Colleges report six year graduation rates, because there are a lot of kids (going full time) who require 6 years to get a BA/BS degree, and it’s not usually because they changed majors.  Think about that.  Isn’t it better that a kid gets a job before they go to college so that they could think about what they want to do, instead of wasting time and money?

Also- community college.  Work a job, take a class.  Maybe they’ll find something they love.  Tech school- hello- to be an electrician or plumber or IT guy you have to be really smart, but they don’t require college.  And you will have a career and a skill.


You can think about which college you want to go to.

You can decide not to go to college

You can go to trade school.

You can be an entrepreneur. (but please take at least one accounting class so you have an idea about balance sheets)

The only bad option is doing something but not putting your heart and soul into it.  Enter the next phase of life passionate about something.  My daughter is passionate about continuing her education- that is evident by her choices.  But there is nothing wrong with being a 17 year old kid who does not know what they want to do.  i’m 54 and I still don’t know what I want to do.

The choice is figuring out what you want to do next.  If you love something, it always ends up working out.

My Week in Review 8/19

What did this week offer up?

  1. Movie- “Dog Days”- This is one of those silly compilation movies ala “Valentine’s Day” where you get a snippet of 5 different lives and then they coincide at the end.  It is not a good movie, but I sort of loved it.
  2. Joe’s Pizza- This is the quintessential New York Slice- If you ever come to visit NYC- you must have this pizza- be warned- we call it Stand Up Joes because there’s maybe one seat- you stand at a table and pull a Travolta when you eat this slice…20180812_1350381503339533.jpg
  3. Vanderbilt Road show.  My daughter has had an on again/off again relationship about applying to Vanderbilt- we were originally touring it this summer, then it got pulled from the line up, and then they sent her a letter- you can see how much fun applying to college is- bottom line- she was really impressed with the school
  4. My daughter had nothing planned for Monday- Thursday of this week, so we actually got to have a Mom/Daughter day of shopping and lunch.  It was nice to see her relax for about 10 minutes…
  5. “Blackkklansman” Good, thought provoking movie
  6. Book- “Harvest” by Jim Crace.  This was a well thought out, well executed book.  It also included long, lyrical passages.  I don’t like long, lyrical, descriptive passages, so it wasn’t for me.  But, that does not take away from the fact that it was a good book
  7. “Crazy Rich Asians” the movie.  While different from the book, the movie was quite enjoyable.
  8. My daughter began HS team tennis practice this week, so even though she doesn’t start school for two weeks, for practicality sake, we’re now on the school schedule.  She’s up at 6 so she can be at practice in the Bronx (which is a decent subway/walk from our apartment) by 7:45. So as of Friday- my summer was over
  9. But- before it’s really over- snuck in a little trip to the beach.  But never fear- I made sure we did not discuss health issues…20180818_143741958316618.jpg
  10. I began reading the “Crazy Rich Asian” sequel- “Rich China Girlfriend”.  A little heavy on designer name dropping, but still a fun, easy read.  I’m casting the sequel in my head…

Hope all is well for all of you!!!! Thanks for all the amazing comments.  There will be some follow-ups!!

Love and Peace!!!!

Gratitude Saturday 8/18

I had a lovely dinner with my daughter yesterday at our favorite Chinese restaurant.  We ordered too much and had leftovers- which we left on the table in its doggie bag….Oh, and rain and lightening and thunder…..and my friend was supposed to have surgery but the office screwed up the referral and they let her date go- it’s a mess and my friend really needs this…and one of my friends was unable to go on a long awaited vacation because of a horrible sinus infection and couldn’t fly….but I’ll try to find some gratitude.

  1. My daughter has finished the Common App- the essay still has to be really proofed, but it’s done
  2. I haven’t thrown the rest of the essays out because I’m already tired of proofing supplementals
  3. My cat has stopped waking me up at 3am by jumping on my chest because she wants to play
  4. rain (we really do need it)
  5. salt and pepper shrimp
  6. waterproof shoes
  7. my friends baby being born healthy
  8. I’ve sent rewritten prologue and chapter 1 to my writing group for discussion
  9. movies that make me smile
  10. movies that make me think

Subtle Arts

My Husband recently read the book “The Subtle Art of not giving a F&*%” .  (I did not read the book, so any interpretation I have of this book is through my husband, the accountant)

Husband: You should read this book.  It’s got a really interesting perspective. The author says that if you don’t think your partner looks good you should tell them”

Me: Is this guy in a relationship?

Husband: He says it promotes honesty

Me: Maybe honesty doesn’t belong in healthy relationships.

Ok- here’s the thing.  I want honesty.  I really do.  But, I also don’t want to hear that I’ve gained weight, or that a dress doesn’t flatter me.So what does that make me?  A hypocrite?  Or someone that thinks that the person I love should think I’m beautiful just because they love me?

I know there’s the joke that if someone asks their partner “How do I look?”, the immediate stock response is “Wonderful” but really, shouldn’t you always think your partner looks wonderful, even if they’re in sweats and uncombed hair? Isn’t that part of love, seeing someone at their worst and still thinking they are the best thing ever?  It’s easy to love someone when all the pieces are in the right order, when they are at the top of their game so to speak.  But if you think of it as a bell curve, your partner is going to be average the majority of the time.  You need to love the average.  You also need to love that bottom 20%.

Because that’s how to be in a relationship: loving the person 100% even when they’re at 30%.  The honesty comes in accepting the worst things that your partner is, being honest about their faults and shortcomings, and loving them anyway.  Do you need to point out their flaws? I’m going with no- they probably know what their weaknesses are. Remember: nagging is not a great way to have a strong relationship either. If you can’t accept a persons flaws, you can’t be with that person.  See, that’s the thing that crushes relationships- having the expectation that things will be different because your partner will change the exact way you want them to.

You know what else crushes relationships?

Telling your partner that they don’t look good.

So, on that note, tell the person you love that they are beautiful, because if they put up with all your flaws, they are truly the most beautiful person in the world.




You had to know that when I wrote about Harry and Sally, this topic would come up…

Can men and women be friends?

In my younger days, I had a decent amount of male friends.  At one point, my Husband was just a guy I played tennis with.  But these were my single days. As time went on, and relationships were gotten into, my friendships with men withered away.  At this moment I have many male acquaintances- men that my Husband is friends with, the Husbands of my friends, people I converse with in the lobby of my building….but these are not people I do things alone with, or have anything other than pleasant, short term conversation with.

Male friends.  Well, there’s SF. He’s a friend from college.  I’m friends with him.  But he lives in San Francisco.  We communicate entirely by email. And we have been in the “friend zone” since we were 18- never once did we ever consider dating or anything else.  As to the other male friends, the few that I hang out with- well, to be fair, they’re all gay.

Have I made a conscious decision to not have male friends? Not really.  My time is valuable.  I really don’t have time to socialize much, so I have a little knot of people that I see.  These people are ones that I have commonality with, that I trust, and that I can talk to.  At this point in my life, the people I am closest to happen to be women.

Does all this personal experience mean that men and women can’t be friends?

I’ll start with “No”, because I’ve obviously been friends with men before.  But does being in a relationship kind of make you rethink friendships?

Let’s think about my Husband for a second.  He belongs to a ski club and has a lot of female friends. I don’t have a problem with him having female friends, but I know a lot of wives don’t feel the same way.  These wives make sure they are at every ski club meeting (happy hour) and even though they hate to ski, they show up at the ski events.  Am I to conclude that most women do not want their partners to be in friendships with women?

Guess what? It’s write my blog Thursday. (it’s funny- I really don’t plan “discuss” topics, but more than not- they end up being on Thursdays)


  1. Can men and women be friends?
  2. Can you only have friendships of the opposite sex when you are not involved in a relationship?
  3. Do people have the right to not want their partner to be in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex?


The Answer to the Question is…

I recently went to the beach with some friends.  We set up our umbrellas and chairs in a little circle about fifteen feet from the waves.  The sky was a greyish blue, the sun peaking in and out of the clouds.  Temperatures were perfect- not too humid, not too hot, not too cold.  Light breeze.  We sipped on water and adult beverages (sssh- don’t tell) and ate grapes from the cooler. Then the conversation opened: “When did you have your last colonoscopy?” Which was followed by various dates and measures and frequency.  So the answer to the question “At what age do people start talking about their health, the amount of pills they take, and other medical related things” is 58.7, the average age of the people around our little circle.

I am now afraid to ask someone “How are you?” because I know I will probably not hear the response “Fine.  And you?” I will probably get shown their portable pill case, which is fine and all, but not necessarily the topic I want to discuss at a cocktail party or beach outing.

Don’t get me wrong.  I seriously care about the health of my friends.  I truly do want to know how they are doing, what issues they are dealing with, and how they are treating them.  But why do Doctor’s appointments have to become the opening line of conversation? Can’t we just go back to discussing the weather? “Wow.  Can you believe all the rain we’ve had?” “I know.  But at least it will stop the humidity.”

I know I’m fast approaching the age where health will become the major concern of my life.  I know it will be the first thing I think about when it takes me 15 minutes to get out of bed. (Fun fact- the name of this blog came about when I realized that at 49 I was able to spring out of bed with the first sound of the morning M101 limited streaming up from the street, and at 50 I had to set the alarm ten minutes early not so I can snooze, but because it took me ten minutes to stretch and unlock all the joints needed to get out of bed) But…can’t we try to not have it be the very first thing we think about/discuss?

There is nothing bad about getting older.  In fact, I’d rather get older than the other option.  But age is a mindset.  While we must learn to take proper care of our older bodies, and be on the lookout for new and interesting maladies, we can’t keep thinking about our health and it’s slow deterioration.  It’s inevitable: our bodies will show signs of wear and tear.  That doesn’t mean we have to be hyper focused on it.

So yes, read about health related issues.  Go to the Doctor.  Talk to your friends about what’s going on. Lead a healthy lifestyle. But on a beautiful day, when you’re sitting at the beach, just look at the ocean and think about how great it is to be alive.  Cause that’s the thing- live while you’re alive.  Find new things to talk about, and challenge yourself in different ways. Don’t think that because you have to watch heartrate or cholesterol level you must constantly focus on health related issues.  that it becomes the main topic of conversation. Remember all the other things that make up who you are. Come up with a better opening line.

And just live life the best you can, no matter what age you are.



Can You Help?

Last month I received an email in my Waking contact gmail account.  The writer said something along the lines of- “Hi LA.  Love your blog.  It’s so good. You’re so successful. Can you give me tips on how to write?”

I stopped, I looked around my living room, and then back at my ipad screen.  This was immediately followed by my best DeNiro/Taxi Driver “You talking to me?” which was followed by “What? I don’t know how to write a blog.  I just throw my thoughts on a page.”

And when you think about it- how do you teach someone how to write a blog?  How do you write a blog? And that’s basically what I said to Midlife- I don’t know how- I just do.

But since that fateful day when I realized someone might actually want my opinion (as opposed to my daughter and husband), I have tried to think about my writing process.  So here goes- the waking formula for writing:


E= Essence.  Plain and simple, you must have a topic.   What do you want to write about?  What do you want to say? Without a topic you are trying to do the blog equivalent of “Seinfeld”.  How many successful shows are there about nothing?  How many successful blogs are there about nothing?  My  overall theme is how age has shaped my thinking process.  My topics are things I actually think about.  And think about.  And analyze.  So the first thing you must have before you open laptop, tablet or phone is a topic/idea. Seriously- do not open up your writing section unless you know what you want to write about.  Otherwise it’s just a really frustrating time staring at the blank screen and blinking cursor.

M=Mode.  How are you going to write about a particular topic.  Funny?  Intelligent? Poignant? In your face? Your style, or voice is extremely important- it’s what sets you apart from other writers.  As people tell students about writing their college essays: throw a pile of blogs on the floor- if people can tell which one is yours by style alone, then you’ve done your job. There are probably only four stories out there in the world: man/woman v nature, man/woman, self and machine. How you tell that story is the difference.

C²=Content- You can’t be style without substance: your words must back up your idea. What are the actual ideas that are going to back up what you are setting out to do.  They don’t have to be facts, but they must be supporting statements that make you seem like you know what you are talking about.  And, to be fair, it’s your topic that you chose to write about.  You should have an idea as to why you chose the topic and what you want to say about it. Try to stick to the topic.  I tend to meander- I have to reign myself in every day.  But seriously- keep the same thread running through your blog from start to finish. Stay on point.

There it is: Take a hypothesis, back it up, write about it in your own individual way.


What’s that you say?  Not that simple?

Well- here’s the thing: Nothing is simple.  Nothing is easy.  If you want to write, you sit down and write.  Sometimes it’s good, often it’s bad.  But does it matter?  Isn’t just putting words on the page and hitting publish a success? That’s my theory every day.  Every time I come up with an idea, write 500 – 1000 words and hit the blue publish button I consider it a success.  So maybe my mindset is my greatest asset- maybe one person out there thinks I’m a good blogger because I have the guts to hit “Publish” every day, no matter what I’ve put on the page.

Which is what I’m about to do now…




Will You Rate Me?

I hire a service to contract someone to do a job for me, meaning I pay the company, the company pays the person. I pay for a certain amount of hours, with a set begin and end time, which essentially means, once 9am rolls around, my money is shooting out the window.

Before I went on vacation, the person who was supposed to provide a service was late.  MIA late, meaning they didn’t tell me they were going to be late, and it was now 9:30.  I contacted the company via there app (because there’s no longer a way to get in touch with anyone via phone) and clicked on the response- “Where’s my Provider?”

Five minutes later my doorman told me my person was in the lobby.  When said person came into my apartment, they said “Why did you mark me late?  I was in the lobby making calls.”

Hmmm.  Let me think.  I’m paying you to make calls in my lobby?

No.  I don’t think so.

The minute this person leaves my apartment at 12- because you know I’m only paying till 12, I get a text.  “Rate your Provider” with the open five star system.  What rating did I give? One star?  Two? Five?

Before we answer that question, I’m going to give you another anecdote:

My friend YK recently hired a person to help install her new air conditioner.  Same situation- she contacted a company who provided her with a contractor.  Her contractor was horrible- incompetent, high, and a host of other things.  When asked to rate the service provider, she gave the sp a low rating. Fine.  They deserved a low rating. She assumed that the sp would not know what rating she gave.


This person texted YK asking why she gave a low rating.  And they weren’t nice about what they were saying to her.  And they know where she lives.  They know what she looks like.  They know her name….

You get the idea…

So, with this story fresh in my mind- do you think I rated the person who came to my house to perform a service?

No way.

So, here’s the thing- when we see a rating, how we know how real it is?

Do people give providers fair and accurate reviews, or are people to afraid to be honest because they are afraid of retribution?  People look at a review and say- look 4.6 stars- must be good, right?

Who knows…

The whole review/rating thing has gotten out of hand.  No sooner had the credits rolled on Mission Impossible, I felt my phone ping with a message from Fandango asking me to rate my movie experience.  After every hotel or site I visited I received an email asking me to rate my experience and please, can I add it to trip advisor?

Is the whole thing overrated?

How many reviews or rating are for real?

I know when I’m looking for a book to read, anything with too many 5’s feels like a plant.  How can that many people think something is so perfect that it deserves a flawless rating?  Seriously- how many things are flawless? And the same goes for the opposite, too many 1’s doesn’t seem logical either.  How bad can something be?

So- to start off your Monday with some thinking:

  1. Do you rate/review things?
  2. Are you totally honest?
  3. How would you rate someone who knows who you are?  Would you give them a bad review?


My Week in Review

It may have rained a little bit hear- fun fact- do you know that NYC has more inches of rain per year than Seattle?

  1. I was supposed to see “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at an outside movie event.  The venue supplied us with rain ponchos, which my friend and I put on.  But that pesky lightening….movie was cancelled.  A little bummed- but we went and got tea instead.
  2. My very adventurous friend S asked if I would like to eat lunch at the place Conde Nast said was “the closest thing to a vacation you can have while staying in Manhattan”, which meant lunch on a docked boat.  Seriously- I could live anywhere except on a boat.  I made it through lunch, though days later I’m still queasy.  And the tomatoes were lousy (it’s summer- I know, right?) But, when we got to a non moving foundation, we had a wonderful time
  3. Speaking of friends- I have maybe five NYC area friends.  Who all decided to text me while I was at lunch with my nautical friend.  To someone watching- I seemed like the most phone obsessed, busy person.  In reality, it was just my little group trying to connect after I’d been on vacation.
  4. “Mission Impossible- The new One”.  I Loved this movie.  It was fun, fast paced, and didn’t go off on tangents.
  5. My friend SF sent me an article about couples watching HGTV being like therapy.  To my longtime blog friends- I wrote about this type of thing a year ago.  So apparently, people actually end up doing studies about my very odd and random thoughts.  Just remember, I thought it and wrote it first.
  6. I read “The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Huang.  I wish I hadn’t read this book.  I read the blurb, woman with Asperger’s hires escort to help her learn about relationships and interaction.  I thought it was going to be a female “Rosie Project” (which I loved) wrong- so very very wrong….I may review this book- Ann thinks my reviews might be sort of interesting….
  7. Also read “Crazy Rich Asians” Kevin Kwan.  Love.  Social commentary ala Pride and Prejudice.  And the movie comes out this week…
  8. “Surprise Me” Sophie Kinsella.  Very light.  Very trying not to be predictable and failing miserably…
  9. Side note- I had a silly miscommunication with the person I thought I knew best in the world- even if you know someone really well- make sure you are talking about the same thing….Communication.  Solves everything.
  10. Laundry.  My week included lots of laundry.
  11. I think I figured out pesky chapter one issue.  If it works I’m going to be very very happy person.  Chapter one has been causing me strife….and making me not want to sit down and work on novel.  This is a good thing.

Peace and love to all.  Communicate.  That’s my word for the upcoming week.  Talk to people.  Listen to what they’re saying.  It works.