Q: Dear AB,
I took the start of the year to really examine my life and set some serious New Year’s Resolutions. At the start of January, I was on fire!! I felt so energized and productive. I was living my life to the fullest. Unfortunately, most of it (ok, all of it) didn’t stick, and now I’m feeling even worse than before. How can I live like the first two weeks of January all year long??
I Need Tony Robbins
A: Dear Needy,
Bless your naïve heart. Do you really believe that people are constantly living their fullest life 100% of the time? Because trust me on this, they aren’t. I can certainly see why you might be led to believe the fairytale in this day and age—social media has helped to paint a very convincing but ultimately completely fabricated reality. It’s about as real as Miracle Whip.
Now this doesn’t mean we need to give up and start wearing white any time of year we feel like it! The key is to focus your energy and your efforts. Start by highlighting some broader ideas you would like to center on: health, finances, relationships, etc. Then, choose one area to dive into and create a more concrete goals. Notice that I have said focus on one area, not all of them. And these goals should be realistic and attainable with hard work. For example, “I want to look like Dolly Parton” is less realistic and attainable than say, “I’d like to be able to run a 5K in 35 minutes.”
Making lifestyle changes isn’t easy. Create a support system to help keep you motivated and encouraged in your new efforts. Friends can help cheer you on in times of productive growth and pat your back when that growth becomes more painful. And darlin’, during those times of inevitable pain, don’t fret. Give yourself some grace, rely on the support of friends, and refocus on those goals. It might take a month of Sundays, but hard work does pay off in the end.
Q: Dear AB,
I’m looking for a night cream to help my battered skin. What moisturizer can I put on at night to revive my skin from humid and inconsistent weather, harsh sun, stress, and aging so I can keep up with the rest of the belles? Seriously, what’s your favorite night cream?
A Wrinkle in Time
A: My Dearest Raisinette,
I’m gonna lay my beauty routine out straight for you: plenty of water, rest, exercise, and real home cookin’. The rest is really up to genetics and time. Despite what a multimillion dollar industry wants you to believe, you have very little control over the aging process. Time is gonna march right across your face … and maybe even do a little tap dancing along the way.
Before you start pitching a fit, I realize that most people don’t want to look like they have been rode hard and put up wet. Poll your friends and ask what they use. But be cautious in investing in that miracle cream that the lady at Belk’s Esteé Lauder counter keeps trying to push. Remember, you really just need to clean it and don’t let it dry out. Kinda like a horse saddle.
Sugar, there’s a fine line between taking care of yourself so you don’t walk around looking like a hot mess and worrying about attaining some unreasonable beauty standard. The best cream you can slather on yourself is basic self care and real, honest-to-God self confidence. And let me assure you, that kind of confidence doesn’t come from a bottle.
Q: Dear AB,
There’s been a rash of break-ins in my neighborhood. We’re a gentrifying area, a big mix of people but still relatively poor. My neighborhood watch group has started posting “suspicious activity” announcements on Facebook. The problem is, all of the “suspicious activity” is just black guys walking down the street.
Can I even try to address this with them?
Part of the Problem
A: Dear Problem Solver,
Oh Facebook! You are such a wicked little thing. You can bring people together across miles and years, but you can also crash a party like a drunken groomsman. Social media can become a cesspool of hatred and ignorance faster than you can shake a stick at it. Despite good intentions, online neighborhood forums can become a breeding ground for negative and suspicious stereotypes.
Good news, my friend! You can easily become part of the solution! Seize the momentum from your neighborhood’s budding sense of community and run with it straight into the streets! Now is the time to encourage neighborhood meetings, potlucks, or street parties. These face-to-face exchanges will allow neighbors to meet and really get to know one another on a level much deeper than Facebook will allow. Y’all know Southerners love to bond over food. What better way to get to know your neighbors than over a plate of Aunt Betty’s brownies?
Being savvy about using social media is a skill that we are all having to learn. Unfortunately, there are some slow, and even unwilling, learners. So, my sweet peach, choose to lead by example. Use your neighborhood Facebook group to promote community and encourage others to do the same. The squeaky wheel is what gets heard, so keep squeaking for those opportunities to promote positive community interactions.
Any burning questions? Send us a message with a “Dear AB” subject line at email@example.com.