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I celebrated another birthday this week. This makes fifty-three so far and I ain’t done yet!  On the actual anniversary of my birth, one of the gifts my husband “gave” me was that I had carte blanche – we could do whatever I wanted. I got control of the channel changer AND the thermostat!  Hallelujah!

Carte blanche means the unconditional power to do as we please, or the permission to do something the way we want to, i.e., having control of the channel changer. Many of us typically put the needs and desires of others before our own. Now, there are times in our lives when situations demand our immediate and diligent attention.  New parents have to be on strict schedules of changing diapers and feeding. Those who have school-aged children have the challenge of juggling work and family. Taking care of ill or elderly friends can be overwhelming time consuming. And in relationships, compromise is crucial. At times, we just don’t have carte blanche.

How did this all start?

My son, Rocco, gave me a bracelet for Christmas that has the inscription “Carte Blanche” on it.  He said it’s like a tattoo and that I can’t take it off.  I don’t.  He knows that I’m the one in the family who’s most likely to hold back opinions and to help others before myself.  My stepson, Toby, told me he’d love to see me have a more care-free attitude and say whatever’s on my mind. He came up with the term “87”.  He said to imagine how I was in 1987 – pretty darn carefree and independent.

Hmmm…….

There seems to be a pattern here — a message people in my life are trying to tell me.

It felt good to have carte blanche on my birthday and “87” all day long!  But what if every day was like that?  What would you do differently?  Keep in mind that there are some things we can’t  eliminate no matter how much we’d like to.  There are bills to pay and people who rely on you.

If I could do anything I wanted I would exercise daily for at least ninety minutes.  Not hard-core kick-butt stuff every day.  Only when I felt like it.  I would go for walks more.  Enjoy nature.  Actually LOOK at flowers intensely and notice every little detail.  I would breathe deeply more.  And I would be more authentic to who I am and what it is I want out of life: to be happy and healthy.  You can’t take care of your family unless you’re healthy.  You can’t work and you can’t play.  For me, to have Carte Blanche is to be healthy so I can do everything I want IF I had the choice.

If I truly could “87” it, I wouldn’t worry about the haters – because they’re everywhere.  It’s taken me about fifty years to figure out that you can’t please everyone, so you may as well just please the one person that you know you can make happy — yourself.

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