How to be a Cool Cat: Then and Now

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First, let me say, by *Cool Cat* I mean hip, as opposed to arctic–as  in freezing temperatures. Myren, my chauffeur, thought I should mention this since he felt that few would associate me with anything to do with hip. We had a loud long discussion about this, but I won’t bore you with those details.

How would I know about cool? you ask. (Or I should say, Myren asked this very thing. Numerous times.)

Let’s say, I’ve had the chance to observe many of the cool-as-in-hip over the years. Sometimes I’ve even acted cool myself.

Why should I care? you ask. Everyone wants to be cool, I say. What planet are you from?

Here are my coolest handy hints!

Top 6 ways to be a Cool Cat:

  1. Don’t use the term Cool Cat unless you travel back in time to the 50s and join a band of beatniks. Or unless you’re referring to the old cartoon character based on beatniks from the 50s. Come to think of it, those beatniks were really cool cats.
  2. Wear a beret. Preferably black.
  3. Never smile.
  4. Always wear sunglasses.
  5. Get some bongo drums.
  6. Wear black. Or black & white stripes.

Okay, so if you don’t want to be a beatnik from the 50s, maybe you can skip the bongos.

Now you’re asking “Can I be a Cool Cat in the 21st century without imitating some ancient-times goth-looking characters?”

Sure, I say.

Top 6 Ways to be a 21st Century Cool Cat:

  1. Change out the beret for a baseball cap or knit cap.
  2. Wear very baggy pants or very tight pants.
  3. Get a tattoo or 4 or 5. Large and colorful ones.
  4. Grow a beard if you’re a guy and enhance your hair and nails if you’re a woman.
  5. Change out the bongo drums for the latest mobil with at least 479 apps.
  6. Join a gym. Muscles are in.

Keep the sunglasses. Shades are forever cool.

 

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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6 Secrets to a Good Long Life for Baby Boomers

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Old man WorkingAs baby boomers reach that stage of life where we’re slipping off the plateau of middle-age, the quest to extend the good life and live long has become popular (understatement). It’s become necessary. For me, if I want to see my (not yet existing) grandchildren grow up, I’d better live to a hundred!

So it’s no surprise that researchers like Dan Buettner of Blue Zone fame have captured the imagination of mainstream Americans (at least those of us of a certain age). Buettner found, researched and documented areas in the world, dubbed Blue Zones, where an extraordinary percentage of people lived to be 100. I’ve adapted some secrets he found that are practiced by the people on the island of Ikaria, Greece. They live long and well an reach the age of 90 at more than twice the rate of Americans.

Naturally we can’t all move to a remote island and duplicate the Ikarian lifestyle exactly with all their secrets to living long, but I’ve adapted the list of secrets to include those things we can all do if we choose. You will be heartened to know that although having good genes is an important factor, your genes only account for 20% in the quest for longevity. There are a lot more factors, but I’ll share my top six that we can start with:

6 Secrets to Living a Good Long Life:

  1. Eat a variety of Greens – think salad every day and herbal tea—lots of anti-oxidant old farmerrich foods!
  2. Lead an active lifestyle – it’s not about going to the gym. It’s about moving around all day. This is tough for those of us who work on a keyboard all day–but not impossible. It wouldn’t hurt to get a pedometer or Fitbit to see how active you really are and then ramp it up!
  3. Toss your watch – slow down the pace of your life and eliminate the strict schedule and that constant sense of urgency (okay—this one may be tough for some of us!)
  4. Take Daily Naps! (I see people cheering in the audience!)
  5. Become part of your Community – embed yourself deeply in a community of like minded and/or nearby people—in your church, your workplace, your neighborhood, your club, your special interest group (book clubs are good!)
  6. Diet rich in Beans, vegetables and olive oil – and short on meats

We can do this!

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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5 Steps to Being More Gracious

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GraciousQuoteby Stephanie Queen

Like a Queen – but not me, not this Queen. I’m only writing about the 5 steps because I need to take them myself. I can be the most un-gracious queen or queen-named person EVER at times. So that’s why I made it my business to figure out how to change all that.

Gracious:  pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous; characterized by good taste, comfort, ease

According to expert Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. in his Psychology Today article, “Gracious people are kind and their behavior is characterized by tact. Graciousness may be superficial, but sometimes what is on the surface is good enough.”

I want to be gracious. I should be gracious. Or at least more gracious. But is it possible? I gracious heartsay YES! I looked into it and here are FIVE EASY STEPS that I found to help. It’s helping me (even Myren, my chauffeur and chief proponent of this research and behavioral change experiment, is surprised at the mild improvement). It works best in limited time frame social situations–like when you’re out among the subjects–er, I mean people, at a particular social event. Like a wedding or a book signing.

Five Steps to Being Gracious:

  1. Prepare: By this, I mean mental preparation. Tell yourself, repeatedly and often, that you intend to be gracious, before you step into the room. Look in the mirror when you tell yourself this. Adopting the attitude takes time. Let it seep in.
  2. Smile: And mean it. Look in the mirror when you smile. Your job as the gracious one is to make other people comfortable. You want everyone in the room to feel at ease and happy. Look happy. Make them feel it.
  3. Prepare: By this, I mean have some lines ready. If you’re like me, you’re not necessarily quick with a pithy reply–or at least not one that is gracious or even somewhat nice. (Sometimes you/I may even be sarcastic or snarky.) So if you have a few NICE lines ready for an unexpected awkward moment, you’ll be ready. For example: Someone asks how you like their new dress/hairdo/furniture/etc. You aren’t enthusiastic/you think it’s hideous, but before you let the awkward moment take over and communicate your thoughts before a word comes out of your mouth, you need to jump in with a ready answer. You say, for instance, “Very interesting/different/provoking/trendy/stylish.” Better yet, give them a compliment on something else. If a woman asks about her hair style you say, “I love the color of your hair it’s so flattering, it makes your eyes look gorgeous” and don’t stop, keep going until she’s invisiblecrownforgotten that she asked you about something else.
  4. Listen. Do not jump in with a word about yourself or your opinion. Not until/unless you are asked. This takes a tremendous amount of willpower and concentration for me. I literally need to bite my tongue. And then I need to pretend I’m not in pain as the speakers drones on–er, I mean continues unabated. Nod, smile and ask interested sounding questions if you must speak. If asked, say something funny. Do not be serious (unless there’s a death or something horrible).
  5. Do NOT say one single negative word. About anything or anyone to anyone. This includes disagreeing with anyone on matters of politics or religion if the subjects arise. You don’t need to agree with others, but you should say that you understand/acknowledge their view/point. Of course you have opinions, but no one needs to know about them. Not here, not now. This is another of those VERY difficult to accomplish practices for me to adhere to. But if we’re not attending a political rally or a debate, we can save our (my sometimes too strong) opinions.

Now you’re saying to yourself, “Gee, SQ, this sounds like we’ll have the most boring time ever at this event.” But that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. You can be witty. You can compliment people. You can tell intriguing stories when called on to speak about yourself. Prepare yourself by thinking this stuff up ahead of time (see above).

It all starts with attitude and intention. And practice. The more people you don’t know, the more gracious you need to be. The more familiar you are with people, the more automatic it should be–but it’s easy to let your guard down with familiar people. That’s when you should practice.

Of course, this is all for social settings. When you’re at home with your familiars, you can let your hair down (although Myren, my chauffeur wishes I wouldn’t). That’s when the crown comes off and you can share your opinions. But remember, even with our closest friends and family, it never hurts to be gracious, to always want to make them feel comfortable and good.

Here’s to adopting the Gracious Attitude.

Stephanie Queen
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen has the enthusiastic soul of a cheerleader. So of course she loves creating stories where the good guys always win. Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty, and her (real or imagined?) chauffeur, Myren.
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