|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Amy Shearn (558 posts)
It may seem strange, but Mrs. Obama and I actually have a lot in common. We are both very busy. She spends her days promoting her Let’s Move! Campaign to get kids to exercise and eat good food; I spend my days trying to get my toddler to eat any food that’s not a Cheerio. Mrs. Obama meets and greats foreign dignitaries; I often welcome strange people into my home for play dates. We both have husbands who work a lot and two kids, and you know what? We both need to get away from it all sometimes.
The sun eking through the curtains, the perfectly night-smushed pillow, the promise of a shower and breakfast: Morning can be a very good time. Nothing’s gone wrong yet. Unless, that is, you’re my husband and I’ve just tried to convince you that it’s the middle of the night and to put our child back to bed even though she’s trying to prove to us that it’s 6:30 am and time to get up and ready, which it is. Oh well. For the most part, as long as they're far away from me, people wake up happy.
That’s right, scientists have performed yet another study in order to prove something we kind of already knew: people all over the world wake up in a good mood, which fades throughout the day, and returns in the evening. According to The Atlantic, researchers used Twitter to gauge the moods of 2.4 million people in 84 countries over two years. Positive tweets peak early in the morning and around midnight; in other words, before people get to work and after they’ve gotten home. There are also more happy tweets on the weekend. What’s really interesting about this study is that the patterns were consistent across cultures and countries. Apparently, work bums people out.
Is it futile to try to hold on to that happy feeling throughout the workday? Or can we perhaps convince the midday mood-dip that it’s not the right time, and to just go away? Since we're told happiness is contagious, maybe a grassroots happy-tweet program is order...
Who needs a gallerist? Artist JR takes his art to the streets. His large-scale, crowdsourced Inside Out project takes photographs sent from people around the world, prints them as posters, and sends them back so that locals can create site-specific exhibits in their own communities. The resulting works are striking to look at while also giving voices to unrepresented communities. In a world where creative people spend a lot of time waiting for corporate approval, you have to love a project like this one, where you (yes you) can participate by visiting InsideOut.net JR and his army of local artists inspire us to, in the wise words of Guy I Once Overhead at a Brooklyn Cyclones Game, "Stop talkin' about it and start bein' about it."
Check out Good's gallery of JR's work and many more gorgeous photos at JR-art.net.
More ways to be creative today:
Summon your defiant inner artist.
An outsider artist on how to be creative.
15 inspirational dreamers, thinkers, and doers.
Every Monday, we're rounding up the things, small and big, that make us stop and think. Today, we're inspired by...
“I think I’m one of those people that makes a much better adult than I did a teenager or child.”
“Early in our careers, we all have people who are kind and considerate to us, and I learned to treasure them for two reasons: They’re rare, and their actions inspire you to pay that grace forward.”
"You know you're getting older when you throw out your back while buttering scones."
“People like to say that women are civilizing force on men. I think equality is a civilizing force on us all.”
"The fear is this: That this is the one question, so large and so deep, which so overshadows everything else that I think and that I do and that I want and fear and love that unless I can put something around it – some kind of resolution – that I will never be free of it."
What were you doing when you were twenty? Daring...to change your major? Beating the odds...to get the biggest room of all your roommates?
Meet our new favorite 20-year-old, Ashley Fiolek. According to the New York Times magazine, the 5"2 Fiolek is the first woman to be signed to a major corporate motocross team and to twice win the X Games Motorcross gold. Pretty ballsy, particularly in a super-macho sport like motocross. But that's not all. Fiolek has been deaf since birth. "“I have been told that most people use sound to know when to shift,” she told the Times. “I feel when my motorcycle needs to shift. The engine’s vibrations change and I know it’s time.”
Can we all please just have an ounce of this woman's confidence? She's not letting anyone tell her that she can't do what she wants, refusing even to see a disability as a disadvantage. It makes a person feel awfully silly for making excuses about why one can't do this or that. Get on that metaphoric dirt-bike today, why don't you, and feel what the vibrations are telling you.
More athletic inspiration:
The unexpected connection between spirituality and extreme sports.
Billie Jean King and 4 other women who changed everything.
Marion Jones opens up to Oprah.
My college-sweetheart-husband and I didn't realize we'd married young until a year after our wedding, when we moved to New York. My new coworkers would go pale and say things like, "WHAT! You're MARRIED? Were you a CHILD BRIDE?" My husband and I laughed this phenomena off as just another weird New York City thing, like apartments with showers in the kitchens, or egg and cheese on a roll.
But as O magazine associate editor Katie Arnold-Ratliff writes in her thoughtful piece in Slate, statistics show that marrying young leads to increased odds of divorce. Arnold-Ratliff and her husband met when they were 15; their relationship sounds incredibly sweet, open, quirky, and supportive. And yet, they'd only been married a year when they separated. What went wrong?
Pay-it-Forward Pillow: How one single mother makes life a little more
comfortable for people in pain.
"I'm both a homemaker and a home-wrecker." This Brooklyn artist lends new meaning to the phrase "house painter."
Why didn't we think of that? Downloadable cash envelopes—a simple, smart, and free way to stay on your budget.
"Maybe I'm a little wrong for lying to her and falsifying the pictures, but I don't care." This father Photoshopped whimsical creatures (and a sense of wonder) into his family vacation photos.
Newsflash: Sometimes it's best to give yourself (and your kids) permission to do nothing at all.
The Life Lifter: In his last days, an Army vet struggles to fulfill his dying wish to legally adopt his little girl. Please have a hanky ready.
The other day my blonde 2-year-old spent a long time studying a picture book featuring a dark-haired girl. Finally she sighed, longingly, and said, “She has such pretty curly brown hair.” And so it begins: the everywoman’s struggle with wanting the hair you don’t have, from the curly-headed woman’s hour-long morning battle with the straightening iron, to the redhead’s love affair with the black dye bottle.
Redheads face this problem with special intensity, the Daily Mail reported recently in their story on International Redhead Day, when thousands congregate in Breda, Holland. Reporter Marianne Powers writes of communing with others who, like her, had felt embarrassed of their red hair and freckles, endured childhood taunts, or were victims of ginger-discrimination (in 2007 repeated abuse forced a redheaded Newcastle family from their home). The lighthearted festival offers a respite from anti-redhead sentiments, with weekend full of events like lectures on redhead-specific topics, movies starring redheads, and above all else, a chance for members of this minority (2% of the world's population, according to Powers) to bond with each other. Bart Rouwenhorst,the festival's founder, told Powers,"If you see one redhead it's beautiful. If you see this many, it's like a dream."
We can tell ourselves "it's just hair" all we want, but Powers' realization sparked a realization of my own: disliking even a small part of yourself can create "a little wound." Why not go ahead and love your hair?
What Oprah knows about loving yourself the way you are.