Finding the Courage to Choose a Different Path

"I don't believe in therapy anymore, I just go get a blow dry at the hairdresser," said writer Delia Ephron at the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference for Women held at the Convention Center earlier this month in Philadelphia. Delia spoke at a session titled "Finding The Courage To Choose A Different Path."

She had so many great words of wisdom, I couldn't write them all down fast enough. While I still go to therapy, I agree with Delia, there is nothing like a good blow dry or a fabulous haircut or a perfect set of highlights to cheer me up when I'm down. Hair is the most important accessory that we wear every day. (Eyeglasses are a very important accessory for me too since I need them to see. A great pair of eyeglasses can cheer me up, but it is a much more expensive investment than hair.)

Delia talked about her early aspirations to be a writer and about her parents, who were both screenwriters. She said her mother told her and her sister (the late Nora Ephron) that "you must become writers." She left her first husband when she was nearing 30 to move to New York City to become a writer. She wrote a book on crocheting and then sold a piece to The New York Times about how to eat chocolate pudding. The rest is history. (I used to crochet afghans back in the '70s and early '80s and I loved chocolate pudding when I was a child.)

"Worrying is negative goal-setting," says Delia. (But I'm a worrywart. I have to practice my mindfulness and not worry about the future so much. I was worried about my son a few weeks ago when he told me that he didn't have any heat in his bedroom in the NYC apartment where he and his roommates pay thousands of dollars rent. Will he be warm enough this winter? "Don't worry mom, I'll get a portable heater," said my son D.)

So what are the tricks to stop worrying?

Wear boots: Delia was wearing cool black boots. "Boots make you feel stronger, more confident," she says.

Get hair blow-outs: "It will make you look fantastic," Delia says. (Ditto from the previous paragraph. You already know how I feel about this -- worry-free.)

Buy a lipstick: "Look good," Delia says.

Channel your girlfriends: Delia says, "Girlfriends enrich our lives. They look at the world differently." She says to channel a girlfriend who may do something that you can't do. (I'm so lucky I have several wonderful girlfriends to channel. They know who they are.)

Delia says that "In our lives, in order to change, you have to get in the cage with the lion. You have to roar." She added that "Women are brilliant at reinventing themselves. After a certain point in your life, you know what you are good at." Delia said one of her best traits is that she is "relentless." She asked us to ask ourselves "What is your best trait?" (Hmm, hmm, hmm -- am I relentless too? Am I strong? Am I caring? What's best?)

Delia challenged us to "take yourself seriously, invest in yourself." I was inspired to hear that Delia started writing novels at 47 and moved from California to NYC to start another chapter during her third act. (Does that mean that I can become a writer during my third act? I guess so, if I take myself seriously. Wait, wait, wait. I already am a writer... seriously!)

"In the end, all we have is 'process.' If you are not doing it and liking it, then you shouldn't be doing it," says Delia. "You never know where something is leading you."

Thanks Delia for your great advice. I'm definitely going to add your new novel, The Lion Is In, to my reading list.