Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Life Coach Notes

Some people have an imaginary friend. I have an imaginary life coach. This is a cool thing because whereas an imaginary friend just kinda hangs out with you, an imaginary life coach "Provides Influence Toward a Maximized Life and Super-Enriched Relationships" -- this is a line from the life coach brochure. I know you're full of questions, so let me address them in hopes that you'll consider hiring one, too - and beginning your own maximized life.

Your Question: What does she look like?

She's imaginary, therefore I can't show you a photo of her. But so you get an idea, she looks a lot like one of the characters on the show "Friends." Not Phoebe or Monica or Rachel -- more like Joey's agent, Estelle. Remember?
I know, I know, you're thinking that if you're going to hire a life coach, a person who presumably should help you live life in a better way, you'd want someone slightly better "put together." But this is my imagination - and as Ag (her name - short for Agatha) tells me, I don't need to worry about what other people think of her.

Your Question: How much does it cost to employ a life coach?

Ag's pretty reasonable as life coaches go. Of course, I haven't exactly called around. But I can afford her, and that's saying a lot since I'm not someone with lots of spare cash for frivolities like life coaches, pedicures, and gossip magazines in the checkout lane. The harder thing to afford is time, so I'm grateful she saves me a drive and comes to my house. She puts up with the mess, the constantly-present children, and my cooking. She nearly always appears at lunchtime (or occasionally brunch) and she insists on cooked food rather than cold cuts and whatnot. Her meals are an "extra" above and beyond her regular fee.

Your Question: What exactly does she do?

Well, you could just read the brochure... she suggests ways to "Maximize My Life." It might be more helpful to tell you what she does NOT do. She doesn't just walk in and start "rearranging the furniture" as many therapists do. Those guys want to convince you to drastically alter your circumstances: "Send those kids to school!" they say, "Stop eating so much refined sugar!" they say, "Open your own martial arts studio!"... I can't just up and do the opposite of everything I'm doing! I need someone to help me work with what I've already got going. That's Ag's specialty.

Some real-life examples courtesy of my life:

1) Dealing with extended family.
Whereas I'd like to run away, Ag says no. She says be honest. Currently, I'm working up the guts to tell my cuckoo cousin that his nudity in family photos is immoral at worst and disturbing at best. Once he hears the truth, I expect Thanksgiving to be a lot less traumatic for everyone.

2) Letting go of anger when I just tripped over the dog for the fourth time today.
This is a toughie. Right now, we are using the ear-shattering-whistle-method. Whenever something super-annoying happens, with the dog or anyone else, and I want to respond with profanity or violence, Ag steps in and blows this prescription whistle (available through imaginary psychiatrists or on the black market) for like 15 straight seconds. Its painful noise forces me to drop to the floor and curl into fetal position, which stops my anger response. Eventually, the whistle will no longer be needed and I will just drop and curl up every time I get mad. We have to explore how this will work when I'm driving and some jerk cuts me off in traffic.

3) Worrying too much about outward appearances/what others think of me.
Ag suggested I smear salad dressing on key pieces of my wardrobe and quit wearing mascara. In public, this will be affirming because people will supposedly still accept me even without eyelashes and smelling like Thousand Island.
Furthermore, if I am willing to disclose crazy secrets like an imaginary life coach - I will find out in the end who is bothered by this and who will still meet me for coffee.
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