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December 20, 2010

The Long and Winding Road(map of Wrinkles on My Face)

This is sponsored content BlogHer and Olay.

When I finally came to terms with the fact that I wasn't going to get married (or at least have the wedding I'd hoped to have) before adding a baby to the mix, my make-the-best-of-it brain got right to work thinking of all the ways in which putting the baby carriage before the marriage was, like, wicked awesome and super way better, totally, for sure! (That part of my brain talks like a valley girl, apparently.)

According to my very scientific findings, the pros of having a baby before a wedding are, however, (a) few and (b) as follows:

1. Depending on the sex of the child, you won't have to find a flower girl/ringbearer, which means one less thing to fuss over/several fewer people to offend during the planning process, and

2. What better incentive to lose the baby weight than the promise of wedding photographs! Many, many wedding photographs! Expensive wedding photographs that will last FOR. EV. ER! I'm sorry, did I say the "promise" of wedding photographs? I meant "threat."

On that first point, can I ask your opinion about something? Toddler suit or suspenders over shorts and a bowtie? (I ask even though the second option is obviously far superior, Simon.) On that second point...about losing the baby weight...yes...well...Let's just say that if you don't count the last three days, I haven't exactly been working out consistently since I had my baby two whole years ago. But now that I'm really and truly having a wedding in the soon(ish?) future, I'm honestly taking seriously for the first time the very real threat of photographs. In addition to upping the exercise and downing the donuts (er...uh, I guess I mean not downing the donuts; isn't English weird?), I'm also paying more attention to my skin, whereby "paying attention" so far has meant freaking out about the fact that I'm not the fresh young twenty-something I always expected I'd be when I got married. In other words: OMGWRINKLES.

And yet, aside from some wincey reactions to my reflection--and in defiance of what the media would have me believe--I've honestly accepted the fact that I'm not the traditional twenty-something bride, all perky of breast and slim of hip and porcelain of face as I bid adieu to my life as a carefree single girl to join the ranks of the old 'n' hitched. The reality is that it's been ages since I was single and even longer since I was carefree, so it's no use pretending I'm That Girl. I'm thirty-one (and a half), I have a kid, I have two mortgages, I have several chips on my shoulder about where it is acceptable for a person to leave his shoes in the house, and yet...I still want to look awesome on my wedding day, you know? I mean, doesn't everybody?

So, my skin and hair and body won't be twenty-two-year-old-in-a-magazine good. So what? I'm doing what I can to make myself the best-of-me-now good (exercising! eating vegetables! sleeping while Olay Total Effects works its magic on my face!), and the result will, I hope, be awesome in a way that twenty-two-year-old me could never have appreciated (especially considering that I didn't even meet Simon until I was twenty-three, but that's beside the point).

The real point is this: Let the media have its marketing bride; we don't need her. At my wedding there will be plenty to celebrate about the best version of this thirty-one-year-old mother who's finally marrying the love of her life (who's no spring chicken himself, by the way, but is still every bit my dream). Even though we had to take the long way around to get here at last, the destination has been every bit worth the journey--every step, every stumble, every wrinkle--and in my book that's reason enough to party.

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This is the last week of the Olay campaign and your last week to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. Tell me: Do you use major life events as an impetus for taking care of yourself, or do you let the overwhelming stress become an excuse to slack? (A relative once told me "I'll start eating healthy and get my weight under control after my wedding," and I was like, "Seriously? Why wouldn't you want to look and feel better in time for your wedding?" And then the wedding came and went and she never got around to making her health a priority, and I want to be all DUDE, I TOLD YOU SO, but because I'm a nice person I say nothing, if you don't count writing about it on my blog ten years later, which I don't.)

Ahem. Leave your comment below by 5 p.m. Pacific on Monday, December 27, and you'll be entered in this week's sweepstakes to win a $100 Visa gift card. For fourteen other chances to win, check out the BlogHer.com Olay round-up page.

***

Rules:

  • No duplicate comments.
  • You may receive two total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  • (a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post, (b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post, (c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post, (d) Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.
  • Sweepstakes ends at 5 p.m. PST on December 27, 2010. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by email. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • The Official Rules are available here.
Other official words:


Feel like your moisturizer's fresh feeling can't last all day? New Olay Total Effects Cooling Hydration instantly cools and leaves skin with a moisturized fresh feeling that lasts from morning to night. The lightweight formula also fights seven signs of aging for younger looking skin.

For more information visit https://www.olay.com.

221 Comments

I always wait until I have "free time" to get in shape/eat better/etc. Which, of course, never happens since I work full time and go to grad school full time.

Oh, I totally use major life events as an excuse to slack! I get so freakin' stressed that the last thing I can focus on is taking care of myself!

Slacking, of course. Doesn't everybody?

major life events help me take better care of myself AND are a great excuse for slacking. i'm complex like that...

Major life events help me to slack a lot more. I'm pretty good about the gym and all but I tend to make excuses when I have other things to do.

I went a little overboard for my 10-year high school reunion in terms of overexercise and undereating, so I tried to ease up a bit for the wedding. There aren't any more big foreseeable events in my future, so my motivation has to be more of a "because I'm worth taking care of myself" thing.

I can't think of a recent major life event or a recent change in the way I take care of myself, so I'm not sure I can comment. I started to run on the treadmill about a month before our St. Martin trip this year. Does that count?

I always try to tell myself that I'll take better care of myself/exercise more "in the future" once I have more "free time." Right. I should probably get on that, or just give up entirely.

I try not to be a slacker but sometimes life gets the way.
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

tweet.http://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/17254174987132928

Change of seasons. I have a fear taht I will have to buy a new wardrobe because I've outgrown my last wardrobe so right when I ahve to start pulling out summer stuff I get cranking!

I admit that stress can cause me to not take care of myself...especially if I am sleep deprived and don't have the energy to exercise.

tweet-http://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/17306288832647168

I hardly ever slack. I stay focused and I am tenacious.

Major life events are great times to get things in order and take care of one self. They're just like deadlines! So, there's some slacking going on, but in the end, it's business time!

Stress really effects me unfortunately.
Thanks so much.
rickpeggysmith(at)aol(dot)com

I get really stressed. I eat when I am stressed.

Especially as I get older, I dont wait for life events to jumpstart me to take care of myself, I try to make a reasonable effort every day

I definitely tend to let things slide when I'm stressed, but sometimes I feel like worrying about my health, etc. just adds more stress.

I always *think* I'm going to get it together in time for an event (right now, it's my family reunion next summer) but somehow, I never do. Bummer.

I am chronically ill so it is always a battle keeping my health but I am in it to Win it.

When I'm stressed I try to stick to my regular schedule, like getting myself put together in the morning although I do seem to get less sleep.

I don;t wait, I just work out and eat right to be there for my kids as healthy as possible.

Life is short. You have to live for today. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

i try but slack

I do use events like reunions where I will be seeing old friends as the goad to take care of myself.

Well, right now I'm using the holidays as an excuse to not exercise. So yes, I'm a slacker right now!

try and take care of myself. fighting cancer right now so eating organic and trying to rest as much as I can with a 3 yr old
tvollowitz at aol dot com

tweeted!


http://twitter.com/#!/nellybarney/status/17472466834169856

nelly dot barney at yahoo dot com

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.I think you have done an excellent job with your blog. I will return in the near future.I had bookmark it :)

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.I think you have done an excellent job with your blog. I will return in the near future.I had bookmark it :)

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.I think you have done an excellent job with your blog. I will return in the near future.I had bookmark it :)

I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful.I think you have done an excellent job with your blog. I will return in the near future.I had bookmark it :)

Generally I take pretty good care of myself year round. However, I always kick it in gear a little more when we have a vacation coming up.

YES MAJOR LIFE EVENTS HAVE A TENDENCY TO WAKE ME UP ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS

I always use lotion to keep my skin hydrated

I am definately a slacker...any excuse not to get going. I need to break that cycle.
Thanks for the chance.
mogrill@comcast.net

no, i don't change anything based on major events (although i may wear makeup to the event which i don't do on almost every other day). i do need to get better about a lot of things when it comes to taking care of myself though

I was a slacker for YEARS...never lost the baby weight after two kids (youngest just turned two), until this past fall when I had just had enough. I finally got mad enough about being a lazy slob that I kicked my ass into gear and stopped whining and just did it. That said, I do tend to pay extra close attention to certain things in the weeks leading up to big-ish events. Skin, hair, nails, etc. all get special treatment then.

I adjust based on life events - what's going on and what needs to be tweaked.

I've fallen back into my old habits of rarely exercising. But after reading this, tonight I'm going to hit the gym!

I tend to do better about making and keeping resolutions related to personal care when I have some impetus to make changes. Often that impetus is a major life event. When everything is going smoothly and nothing particularly earthshaking is happening, that's when I sink into slothful habits and forget about things I have resolved to do.

I tend to SAY I will, but reality sucks! :)

Usually a life event even someone else's life event often pushes me to change bad habits and begin doing the right thing.

During stressful times, I definitely let myself go. It's hard to prioritize superficial things when everything else is in chaos. But, when those times pass, I crave renewal and starting things with a clean slate, so it's then that I invest more time in myself.

I don't have an excuse because I get paid to work out. I teach 4 spin classes a week and 3 muscle conditioning classes a week. I have done some type of fitness training for the past 9 years. I know myself and the way I make sure I work out is to have to be there, it's a great motivator to get paid while working out! I try to eat healthy but I love to cook and I love food. I just try to east everything in moderation.

I was always a procratinator when it came to getting in shape and eating healthy, then I had major issues with 7 Ulcers, a hiatal hernia and major surgery to repair it all. After that I made it a priority to always make time for exercise, eating right and taking care of myself

I believe you should not let the ups and downs of your life effect the things that you should be doing to take care of yourself. There is always going to be stress and always going to be big events. If you spend all that time waiting for one or the other you will not do what you need to do for yourself. Be it exercising, eating right, taking me time, a beauty routine, etc. Grab onto your life now:)

i have to admit i'm somewhat of a slacker - maybe I can make a new years resolution to do better!

I do get stressed and start eating unhealthy, BUT I don't let that last forever and I regroup and get back on my healthy kick...It is o.k. to mess up, but it is not o.k. to stay that way....

leahforlove at aol dot com

I try to stay on track most of the time and I usually do a fairly good job of it. I do relax just a little at holiday time, but I have good eating habits.

I can't get in shape due to a disability, but exercise to the best of my ability

I actually end up slacking, not because of the stress, but because of the loss of a routine. I do best at taking care of myself when I'm in a comfortable routine. I do need to actually make sure that I remedy this...because the smallest change in routine seems to be a cause for celebration (ie eating lots of yummy food) or a chance to relax (ie not going to the gym).

wolverina401 at gmail dot com

I definitely like to use milestones as a beginning or and end date. They somehow seem motivating to me.

I don't use milestones. I don't take the kind of care of myself that I should, and I know it. I do need to start some sort of exercise routine, but I've never been an exerciser.

im disabled not a lot i can do

I usually slack but my husband has been on deployment for six months and I've had a lot of soul-searching time and am implementing some healthy changes right now. Thank you and Happy Holidays to you! :)

It depends on the stress. When I'm crazy busy, working and going to nursing school, I eat better and make time to go to the gym even if its the only free 30 minute window I have in a day (or week!). But if something bad happens, then I just kind of say, screw it! let's have some toffee! And it all spirals downhill from there.

I am pretty organized, in a laid back way, and just take life as it is.

Sadly, I use any and every event as an excuse to slack off exercise - it doesn't take a major life event. As everyone knows, you feel better (physically and emotionally) when you take care of yourself, so why the heck don't we all do it????
mcgillrmcgill(at)charter(dot)net

My self-motivation sucks so I slack on exercise no matter what

I would probally say I'm somewhere in the middle with major events influencing me to do better.

I slack. Honestly, trying to pile on weight loss while under stress because of something else will just make me gain more weight!

I ACTUALLY GET FRUSTRATED WHEN I HAVE A LOT TO DO & END UP NOT DOING ANYTHING UNTIL I COME TO REALIZATION THAT EVERYTHING WILL BE OK kytah00@yahoo.com

I use major life events as an impetus for taking care of yourself, just tackle it!

I use the major events as impetus but often slack off later. Sigh.

dchrisg3[at]gmail[dot]com

I'm pretty erratic about this - sometimes it's the carrot that gets me moving in the right direction, other times I hide under the covers and procrastinate.

If it's at all manageable the upcoming event will get me going - like having a dinner party will prod me to really get my house clean. But too much stress/very difficult to actually accomplish and it all seems overwhelming. Which makes me want to take a nap.

Yeah, I'm guilty. I'll use big events as an excuse, but then there's always another reason not to do what I've committed. Seems like a neverending battle.

slacker
tattgiff at centurytel dot net

did alt entry
tattgiff at centurytel dot net

My major life event that changed how I see things was when I was 30 and trying to figure out what this life was all about. I now know that I have to quiet my mind on a daily bases to get clear as to what it is all about. I do moisturize when needed. ")

gmissycat at yahoo dot com

tweeted too

http://twitter.com/gmissycat/status/18669505282576384

gmissycat at yahoo dot com

Don't see my comment though. Where did it go?

When I am stressed I definitely feel like slacking and don't do the best job of taking care of myself. I am going to really try to work on that!

At the age of 71 I just enjoy life and all of it's ups and downs.
marybug2@yahoo.com

At the age of 71 I just enjoy life, and all of it's ups and downs.
marybug2@yahoo.com

At the age of 71 there isn't much to get stressed about so if I do I just take a long hot bath and relax.
marybug2@yahoo.com

please delete my last comment

When I know a major life event is coming up, I use it to focus on taking care of myself and being healthy so I am at a peak shape to handle it. There is not sense in waiting until after.

I try to take care of myself year round, but big stressful things do put a damper in my everyday care.

I tend to use the "in the future" excuse to not get in shape. I really need to just do it

Stress really affects me unfortunately. But a few things I do is dance and/or sleep. I know, opposite ends of the spectrum, but both seems to help at different times.

i use major events as an impetus to get/keep in shape (then slack afterwards)

I don't use major events and I'm not obsessive, but I do enjoy some solitude on the treadmill or walking almost every day. It's my only "me" time and if I don't walk, I don't get it and end up feeling out of sorts.

Awesome blog and thanks for the giveaway!
Would love, love, LOVE to win this!
Happy holidays!
=]

I always slack when I'm feeling overwhelmed, which isn't good since then I just feel worse!

i hate to admit it but i am a slacker. i can only deal with so many things at once so i tend to put things like take care of myself off. Maybe it should be my new years resolution to fix that?

No, I don't let major life situations be the impetus for taking care of myself. I also don't use those times to just be a slacker.

I think it's always important to take care of yourself. Stress makes it harder to change an ingrained habit. I feel thats just setting up a failure. But you can't just say "whatev" and over-indulge.

Balance is the key, especially during stressful times.

I hate to say it but stress and major life events make me slack even more.

I try not to slack on things! I set things to do and try and stick to it! Great giveaway thank you!
tishajean@ charter.net

I try to make a conscious effort to drink more water and take vitamins at stressful times because I sometimes forget to and these are the times I really need to be healthy and hydrated.

I'd say I use major events in my life to spur on to do better and be better. As I age, I realize how much good health means and I no longer take it for granted.

I generally use them as motivation to get with it! I've lost 3 sizes this year and hope to lose another 2 this coming year. I have the frame of mind that, at big events, I want people to say, "Wow! You've lost weight!" Vanity? Yes. Does it work? YES. ;)

I take major life events seriously. I had several stents placed a couple of years ago and have certainly changed my style of eating and work very hard to reduce stress.

I have to set goals, so I do use major events and vanity as an impetus for taking care of myself.

I am guilty of putting off taking care of myself when I'm stressed out about major life events, When I took care of my bedridden mom for a year, before she passed away, I barely did anything for myself. I kept putting it off fo when she was healthy again.
Thanks for the giveaway!
eswright18 at gmail dot com

Major events do spur me into action. But then again, to me, just being alive is an event. We get one shot at life, better make it count!

When you take better care of yourself everything works easier.

Well, unless doing umteen loads of laundry a week is going to be classified as an Olympic sport anytime soon then I do not work out enough. Only when I was preggers did I really try and take good care of my health but now that they are older - meh.

Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/mrssquigg/status/19183545570295808


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Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/mrssquigg/status/19183545570295808


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Major life events are all the more reason to take better care of myself, I say!

Major life events tend to take over my life and taking care of myself is not a priority at those times. When my dad was dying of cancer, my husband and I gained a lot of weight from grabbing fast food after work and rushing over to visit.

I used to dance a lot when I was younger and I told myself I'd start a simple dance/exercise regiment to keep my body fit - but because I started grad school full time, there never seems to be any "free time". Recently, I got some exercise DVDs and have started working out during the holiday break. Hopefully I can keep at it
mandalarctic at gmail dot com

Not really, I slack all the time. I getting really tired of looking at myself so I am going to do something about it. Our local Y opens next month and I can't wait to start going. We've been members but couldn't afford the gas most of the time to the next closest one. I'm promising myself that I am going to do something about all of this this year. Thanks for the giveaway!

I try to take care of myself all the time-of course, I have slacked like anyone else-I just forgive myself and move on.

dwellenstein at cox dot net

I slack here and there (especially when it comes to exercising) but big events make up shape up and take action to make positive changes. I get motivated by them. I've started running again to get in shape for my best friend's wedding in June! Hopefully the winter weather won't deter me :)

tweeted thanks so much for the chance! http://twitter.com/DeeGee13/status/19207276069916674

I find I can stick to a goal better when there is a big event coming up like losing a few pounds before vacation.
nrdunningATgmailDOTcom

Major live events always seem to lead to slacking for me.

Events are a great motivator and they don't even have to be life-changing; I used a friend's wedding for an excuse to start dieting and exercising. While I wasn't part of the wedding party, I knew I didn't want to look at pictures of myself and cringe. Plus I bought a dress two sizes too small as a motivator.

I'm with the slacker crowd, but do somewhat use upcoming major events to be better! And, when my work hours get much less in January, I've promised myself that my first priority is going to be taking better care of ME! Congrats on the wedding - enjoy, and yes, definitely suspenders!

I use events as motivation but sometimes have to slack off if the stress becomes too much.

i use big events as an excuse to slack.

I actually try not to use major events as either an impetus or an excuse - instead I try to use the mindset of maintenance, viewing progress as an ongoing goal and charge forward with my health and well-being needs regardless of my life's highs and lows!

I try to maintain self care because it is the best solution to stress and depression!
Thanks so much!
Janna Johnson
jannajanna@hotmail.com
janna@feedyourpigblog.com
www.feedyourpigblog.com

I try to just reevaulate and change accordingly every 6 months; so neither! happy wedding!

Excuse for slacking, definitely! I always put off doing good things for myself and then I'm always glad when (if) I finally get around to doing them!

Excuse for slacking, definitely! I always put off doing good things for myself and then I'm always glad when (if) I finally get around to doing them!

Oops, sorry about double post! I tweeted!

http://twitter.com/#!/FakeGradSchool/status/19280299061936129

I used to use life milestones as an impetus, but no more. Now, I do it when it needs doing and do my best not to procrastinate.

My favorite saying is "On Monday I'll be starting..." or "On Monday I'll exercise". There's lots of Mondays' going by and still it hasn't happened. One day.
michedt (at) gmail (dotcom)

I got Rheumatoid Arthritis and *that* was a major event for change. Now I go swimming 3 times a week and eat much better. Thanks for the contest.

I'm always planning to start "tomorrow" except that tomorrow is always a day away and I doubt that I will ever get it all together! I used to exercise, but not very much now. I used to eat healthier, but I seem to be too busy to plan and make balanced meals.

I'm always planning to start "tomorrow" except that tomorrow is always a day away and I doubt that I will ever get it all together! I used to exercise, but not very much now. I used to eat healthier, but I seem to be too busy to plan and make balanced meals.

yes events tend to make me get going with things but maybe that's always a good things since I cant find much time for myself other ways

All of the above- I am great in some areas and a total slacker in others. (Yeah, totally got the yin/yang going on in every area of my life. It's all about balance, right?) ;)

I try to take care of myself all the time but of course being a sacrificial mother this falls by the wayside..however when there is something important going on I definitely take the time to make myself look the best I can!

Yes I use them to take care of myself altho I should do it daily anyway

jdmimi at gmail dot com

I try to take care of myself all the time, but a major event still puts extra pressure on me and I am forced to re-evaluate my body, life and goals.

I tend to slack if time runs short - but I am a little anal so try to not let myself get stressed. As far as losing weight and exercising - thats not stress - thats just avoidance - LOL But otherwise, I try to take care of myself. I go to the doctor and do listen to her advice as much as I can :)
janicecrespo@gmail.com

hi

I have in the past while in nursing school allowed my self to let myself go due to the stress of school. I always felt it was an okay thing to do since school was so stressful. Now I am having to overcome those poor decisions. Kellyeandjosh@aol.com

I use them as a boost for revving up the engine. A prime example is Christmas, we were having our annual family party and I knew I wanted to be back in my pants that were five pounds too small, and so I busted my butt to do it. When you feel like you're 'off,' you feel 'off,' if that makes sense. And I didn't want to deal w/that so I just got rid of the extra pounds.

I use stress to get up and get going.

Sometimes stress does make me slack, but with various family members getting sick this past year, I have stepped up and started walking daily
tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

Honestly it depends on the event. If its something that is emotionally draining like a death in the family, then I am going to slack big time. If its something like wanting to meet an important dream goal, then I throw myself into it 150%!

I need to get motivated to better myself as far as diet and exercising. Not for any major event in particular but for my health.

braaisjo at gmail dot com

tweeted

http://twitter.com/tlcfromtn/status/19440997838622720


braaisjo at gmail dot com

I pretty much age as it goes, I do try to eat right and exercise, and take care of my skin with moisturizer but I don't worry about getting older, it's happening whether i enjoy it or now so i'm going to enjoy myself

Ah, major events definitly make me work at getting in better shape/health etc. !!!

I hate to admit it but slacking is the way i go!
ardelong2(at)gmail(dot)com

The overwhelming stress is my excuse to slack off. But when I get to the point where I can't function, it scares me and I start taking better care of myself.

I try to take all life changing events as a sign that I need to do better at living rather than existing, but sometimes its so much easier to just slack...and often is much less painful to not move on.

Oh, I'm such a slacker when I'm stressed. My husband has been out of work and lately finances have been so tight. I find anything beyond the basics to be overwhelming

I use life changing situations as a wake up call. I start with good intentions, but life gets in the way; and I never finish
bepoia(at)hotmail(dot)com

I do! I have a vacation coming up in March that is kicking my butt in gear
Lovefool827 (at) yahoo (dotcom)

no I do not I make changes when life is less stressful

The stress of major life events usually gets to me, so I don't end up following through despite my best intentions.

Stress it a big problem and becomes an excuse to slack on alot of things.

I personally don't have time to be a slacker...I use major life events to try to become more organized..(please notice the try)

I try to let life events motivate me, but it doesn't always work.

I try to keep up with my usual routine as much as I can... even when we are really busy.

I fit in time to exercise because it helps to keep me sane and healthy! I give myself breaks because I've found that I'm often too hard on myself.

I tend to procrastinate alot. If I say I am going to do something, it takes awhile to get done.

itsjustme62613 at gmail.com

I let the overwhelming stress become an excuse to slack-that is me to a t

I have good intentions and yes sometimes things help motivate me more than usual, I try to take care of myself most of the time anyway but there has been a lot of stress this year

It's an excuse to slack off. I don't have time to stress about stuff.

It can be overwhelming to take on a big, new project when you're under a lot of stress. I try to be aware of that stress and take extra good care of myself during particularly trying times.

Thanks for a great giveaway!

Well, it really depends. There have been times when an upcoming event has triggered me to want to reach my goals of making myself better; however, there have been times when just seeing someone in person, on tv, or a movie that have prompted me.

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French is a Romance language spoken as a first language by around 136 million people worldwide. A total of 250 million speak it as either a first or as a second language. Moreover, roughly 110 million people learn French as a second or third language. French speaking communities are present in 56 countries and territories. Most native speakers of the language live in France, the rest live essentially in Canada, particularly Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario, as well as Belgium, Algeria, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg, and certain places in the U.S. states of Maine and Louisiana. Most second-language speakers of French live in Francophone Africa, arguably exceeding the number of native speakers.

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