Posts Tagged ‘Active Seniors’

THE BIG TWEET: Twitter, Facebook, Oprah, “Women, Food and God”

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, each other, and our own experiences. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how to be happy if…

THE BIG TWEET: Twitter, Facebook, Oprah, “Women, Food and God”

I’ve been reading Oprah Winfrey’s’ web interview with Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food and God ( featured in O Magazine). Geneen and Oprah (who finished the book in one gulp) believe that food addiction is an attempt to fill an emotional emptiness.

“Oprah: I think this book could have been called “Women, Shopping and God, or Women, Meth and God, or Women, Gambling and God,” since food is just one of the things we use to deny our own worthiness—for love, for godliness, for peace.”

Whoa!  That’s a lot of addiction! From chocolate to Jimmy Choo shoes! From pizza to Prada – from Meth clinics to online gaming sites!

So I started to wonder – am I an addict?

I have all the symptoms – dark circles under my eyes, disconnect from reality, trembling hands, the obsessive hunt  for a hit.

It’s true. I am addicted to… Facebook!

At first, I was in denial. I told myself I was a social user.  But the truth hit me in at 2 am – the dark night of the soul.

There I was, clicking away in the wee small hours of a Manhattan morning,  adding Facebook friends with all the frenzy of the cyber-friendless. Then I hit a snag. I spotted a tiny photo of a middle-aged (okay, my age) woman and clicked “Add as Friend.”

Soon after that, I read her response on my Facebook wall: “Do I know you?”

Now, I was not ready for this heavy-duty conversation. I mean,  does anyone really know anyone?…not only in the philosophical sense, but more importantly, in the Facebook sense.

I don’t like to waste my Facebook time on unrequited friendship, but I thought I’d give her another shot.

Her Facebook page said she lived in Florida, so I shot back.  “Maybe you know my sister. She lives in Florida.”

I thought that was fair and specific. I mean, Florida is just a state and has what – a  measly 18  million people? Facebook has 350 million registered users!  That’s a country! A big one! With a stable government!  I mean, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is president for life – and look at the trouble Obama is having!

But that Florida woman would have none of it.  Politely, but persistently, she kept trying to find out if we knew each other.  I wanted to say, “Know each other? In the Biblical sense?”  But this was Facebook, where (like the Holy Book) every remark is recorded for eternity.  So I bit my tongue  (or rather, clenched my typing fingers) and politely suggested that she might feel more comfortable being friends with people she knows. “Knows” means she has actually met them.

Not that I cared about actually meeting anyone.  By now I was deep in addiction.

And Facebook was only the gateway drug.  After a brief spell of weak-willed resistance, I joined Twitter.

Soon I was tweeting away – and thrilled to discover I could accumulate followers!  Followers? On Facebook all I got was friends. On Twitter I had followers!  Like I was some kind of guru!  Like Gandhi! But, of course, better dressed – and fed.  I mean, later for the loincloth and protest fasts!  As Oprah and Geneen remind me, it’s “Women, Food (or Shopping) and God” – not Women, Self-Denial, and God.

Oprah says that what women are really hungry for is not food – but “love, godliness, and peace, divine connection.”

Now I totally get this.  Why else would 350 million plus people be up at all hours of the night – clicking and tweeting away unless they were hungry for unconditional love and peace – the kind you can only get with cyber-friends – who don’t know you, don’t want to – and don’t make demands?

What about the hunger for godliness?

Twitter allows only 140 characters. That’s less than a blog, less than what’s on most Facebook walls – and way less than the average sermon.  No wonder more people visit Twitter than attend church!

Twitter asks only one question – “What are you doing?”  Now that’s marketing genius!   Unlike “Do I know you?” everybody can answer that question, because, well,  you’re always doing something!

Plus, Twitter inclines toward a refreshing frankness and lack of pretense. Ashton Kutcher, Top Tweeter on Twitter (5000 followers)  – says in his bio, “Actually I make up stuff, stories mostly, collaborations of thoughts, dreams, and actions. That’s me.”

In today’s techno world, we want our gurus to make stuff up, get to the point, and be doing something.

And gurus are certainly godly – at least to their followers.

People are hungry to twitter – to be each other’s gurus.

If you tell me what people hunger for, I’ll tell you what they worship .

Right now it looks like what people worship is — the BIG TWEET!

Can we find godliness, a.k.a. compassion, connection and inspiration in each other?

That’s what this blog is all about – helping each other learn how to be happy – based on our own real experiences.

But enough of these 2am thoughts.

A few hours later, I gulped coffee and headed for my English class.  I have admit that while I was teaching my students English grammar and poetic techniques, I was mentally obsessing about my Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

As I made my students turn off their cell phones,  I was counting the seconds till I get back to social networking.

I felt guilty but what could I do?  My addiction was out of hand. What was worse, I was coming down with a cold from lack of sleep.

So now I’m in rehab.

I make myself turn off my computer an hour before I go to sleep.  I’m exercising my body – not just my typing fingers. And I’m reminding myself that a real friend offers face time not just cyber-space time.

How can this help us be happy?

Happiness Habits

  • Face your addictions – that’s any habit that 1. you can’t control  2. interferes with your ability to lead a healthy, productive, enjoyable life
  • Find positive alternatives to addiction – like exercise, friends, and family.
  • If you get caught up in fantasy connections – to gorgeous celebrities, to cyberfriends, followers, and romances – take it for what it is – an exciting illusion. Your feelings may be intense – but they may not have much to do with what the other person is really like.
  • Enjoy your life – in and out of cyberspace!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)


SINGLE LIVING: Challenge Dance

Maxing out your joy and minimizing the impact of upsets are learned skills. My blog is based on the belief we can learn from the experts, our own experience, and each other. Circumstances may differ, but they often reflect common basic truths. Happiness is a Habit…we can learn how, practice, and have fun! Post your questions and comments, and I’ll try to show you how you be happy if…

SINGLE LIVING: Challenge Dance

A dateless Saturday Night…but I decide to have a good time ballroom dancing.  First – the equipment – Dance shoes, panty hose, black  push up bra,  black jersey dress with gold trim that hugs my curves and dips into a plunging neckline – uh-oh! better throw in a modest scarf  – I am a professor (I can always take it  off  later).  Good to go!

I get to the dance studio at 7:45pm, pay $15, and check out the hustle class. The lesson started at 7:30, which puts me at the bottom of class hustling to catch up as we change partners.  I move down the line and get to the teacher- a  buff guy (who, according to my gaydar, swings for the other dance team).  As I scurry to master the pattern, he advises me to be “more feminine”  I know what he means. My feet, perfectly planted for shooting basketballs, need be more geisha-close.  He also tells us to practice our “diva walk – divas – not donkeys!”  I try.

OK. Lesson over. I remove my scarf.  Time for fun! Only…no one is asking me to dance.  However, I am resourceful- if they don’t ask, I will.  I scope out possibilities – that slim, handsome, guy, I’m sitting next to – who is ignoring me? Naaah.  That less cute, but friendlier looking guy across the room, who I may have danced with six months ago? (In the dance world, that constitutes a relationship of some depth.)  Much better bet!  I walk across the floor and ask.  He agrees. We jitterbug. Things are looking up.

Dance over, I look around for other possibilities.  Ah! a foxtrot plus a man standing alone on the dance floor! I ask, “Would you like to  try this dance?” He says, “No!”  Whoah! Rudeness rules! As I walk away he adds, “because I’m dancing with her.”  Her? Who?

I decide to console myself with food. Ah…a fruit plate! I pick up a sliced banana. It breaks in two, falls into my plunging neckline, and comes to rest on my push up bra. I pick it out and eat it. (I need the potassium. Besides, it’s not as if anyone is looking at me).

I find my seat, pull out my Blackberry. and start Emailing my girlfriend in Florida. Good! she answers.  As I settle in for a ballroom evening in cyberspace, a woman (Supatra) asks me to dance.  I admire her spunky solution to the man shortage and accept.  She turns out to be graceful, sweet, and informative.

Her daughter is a dance teacher – a pretty twenty-something dancing with a man in his sixties – so she knows all about this particular ballroom scene.  This is a guest night party at a dance studio where many people take extended (and expensive) dance lessons.

Many of the dancers are “on the clock”- paid teachers dancing with their students or students paying for teachers to dance with them. Even the people who are not “on the clock” want to dance with others who know how to do set steps, poses, and routines. I don’t.

I digest this information, dance a few times with Supatra and return to my seat – and emailing my Florida friend – who is in her sweats and on her computer.

I decide to take a  snack break  and head for the peanuts. I take one and sit down.  Immediately, a man announces, “That’s my seat!” I look up – it’s the sixtyish dance student. I jump up and start walking away.  He adds, “That’s okay. I want to dance, you can sit.” By then I am pissed off, so I say, “No. That’s the kind of dance this is, and that’s the kind of men that are here!”  Then I pull on my coat, and start walking out. Before I leave, I stop at the receptionist.  I tell her that it’s not the fault of the studio, but the men are very rude…it might be a good idea to make an announcement about manners.  Then I leave.

I still need to do something – figure out How to Be Happy If… so here goes:

Happiness Habits

  • Be flexible and persistent – if people are crazy – try bananas! If people are nuts, try peanuts! If ballrooms are a bust – blog!
  • Vent by writing – posting to this blog made me feel a lot better! You can too!
  • Focus on the positive – the bond of friendship – in life and cyberspace
  • Get accurate information – I felt better when I realized what was going on with those “couples”
  • Put things in perspective – looked at from a distance, like “as high as an elephant’s eye”* – this dance is peanuts!

*  (from “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”, by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers)

SINGLE LIVING: Challenge Dance (Continued)

Had a few more thoughts about my “Challenge Dance”.  Yes – the men at that dance studio were rude.

I handled the situation by connecting with nice people – Happiness Buddies!  I emailed my friend and danced with the lady who asked me (instead of waiting for a guy).  She supplied useful information about dance teachers who were “on the clock.”  I also made up my mind to be happy – posting to this blog helps!

I’ll also stick to other dance venues, where I am part of a dance crowd and have partners and friends – and where there is less emphasis on formal styles and more emphasis on having fun.  There are also more available men – and that helps.

I’ll also explore different kinds of dancing – like contra dancing, where you dance in long lines, and change partners during the dance – giving you a chance to meet (and flirt with) a lot of people. Contra dancing comes out of a more communal, gender-equality culture.

A communal culture puts more emphasis on sharing and less on ownership. I suspect that the dance student who ejected me from my seat had paid for his dance teacher’s time and reserved the seat (though there was no sign) – so he felt he was defending his territory.

At a contra dance, anyone can ask anyone to dance; and we are encouraged to smile at each other, be generally friendly, and encourage the weaker dancers. Of course, this is an idealized view of  the contra crowd- but this dance style  does tend to attract more people with those values.

Ballroom dancing can be exciting and fun, but before I plunk down my money and commit my time for a dance weekend, week, or cruise, I (and you) might want to ask few questions, like…

What is the ratio of available men to women?  Available means that they will dance with available people  – not couples who will only dance with each other.

Are  there dance hosts? (Usually there is an over-abundance of women, and dance hosts  fill in the gap)

Are the dance hosts trained?  Ed (who responded to my previous column) is a gentleman. Not everyone is. A trained dance host knows he should return a lady to her seat, make sure she feels good about the dance and herself, and dance with everyone.

Are there lessons before the social dances?  That’s how you improve – and find dance partners.

If I’m  thinking about going away for a weekend, week or longer, I consider the likely outcome.  Far away means exotic adventure. Closer to home makes it easier to build friendships and sustain romance.

Happiness Habits

  • Choose a supportive venue. It’s not just the activity – it’s the values of the crowd.
  • Be realistic and see things in context.  To me, those men were rude. To them, they were doing what comes naturally. If you’re paying someone to dance – or being paid – why would you worry about someone who isn’t part of that equation? … unless…management makes it a point to be generally courteous.  That’s why I spoke to management.
  • Be friendly and courteous…copy good behavior – not bad.
  • Become a better activity partner.  If doing an activity (like dancing)  is the coin of the realm – polish your penny!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance”

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF (

copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)

CLEAN UP CLUTTER: (Ellen Degeneris/Trash into Treasure)

Trash into Treasure?

@howtobehappyif “What you keep in your drawers can keep you!” Dr. Sue

Happiness Habit: Clean Up Clutter- Trash into Treasure

On Ellen Degeneres’ TV show, I hear her talking about “hoarding – a debilitating, embarrassing mental health disorder for 3 to 6 million people.”
Whoa! That’s a lot of people!

I start to wonder. Am I a hoarder? How can I tell? I have to admit my drawers are a little cluttered. I decide to look through my underwear drawer. Hmm. My oldest item is 2,000 years old!

I’m not kidding. My dad, who collected antiques from the Holy Land, left me an ancient glass vase. I love my little vase – its metallic, corroded green color, with just a touch of  encrusted, holy dirt. I certainly don’t want to mess it up by using for daisies. So I do the sensible thing – put it in a plastic bag and stick it underneath my bikini panties with the stretched out elastic. I know that someday I am going to fit back into the panties – just like someday I am going to find a wonderful place to display the glass vase. (Maybe on a shelf in my bookcase after I clear out the books, magazines, newspapers…this is embarrassing!)

What about the drawer under that? Hmm. Old name tags, campaign buttons, ribbons and scrunchies (my hair is too short for either). Should I clean up the clutter? Do I have enough time? While I’m thinking it over, I decide to read The New York Times .

There’s an article about gold being at an all time high. Whoa!  Under that mess, there’s some old jewelry that I always mean to wear, but never do (wrong color, broken clasp, missing earring etc.).  Didn’t I meet a lady at a party a year ago who owns a store where they buy, sell, and pawn jewelry?  There it is: GEM Financial Services, Inc., Brooklyn.

I may not be good at cleaning up clutter. However, I do like to make easy money, and I am good at deadlines. I make an appointment for 4pm and start searching feverishly for my ring.  I love my beautiful, old ring …but I never wear it  because the setting sticks up and catches on everything – which irritates me (irritation is not a happiness habit).  Use it or lose it!   Bye-bye ring.

I find the ring, plus $100 in cash and travelers checks, and the pearls with the broken clasp that I got for my bat mitzvah. That means I got them when I was thirteen years old.  (How long ago is that, anyway?  I could subtract thirteen from my current age …forget it! I don’t do subtraction – or addition – unlike you Nosy Parkers at school reunions who read my graduation year on my name tag and do the math  in your heads.  Like my old jewelry, I’m still a pearl of a girl – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)

Anyway, I cart my old jewelry off to Brooklyn to have it appraised, fixed, and/or discarded.  The jewelry nets me$216 in cash, minus $16 to have my pearls re-strung.  Plus, I can now wear my beautiful ring – Eileen Kaminsky, the owner – a gem of a friend – asks her jeweler to fix it for free!

What about my 2000 year old glass vase? It is currently decorating my desk by my computer as  I Tweet, Facebook and Blog about clutter. Everything old is new again!

Happiness Habits:

  • Clean up clutter!  The enemy is procrastination – give yourself a deadline and a reward!
  • Turn trash into treasure – you might find money, jewelry, or antiques you can sell (Antique Road Show, anyone?)
  • Clutter management is time management – you don’t waste time and energy looking  for stuff
  • Less is More: Eliminating stuff you don’t use means access to stuff you do use!
  • Accomplishing a task is an antidote to depression and a Happiness Habit

So what are you waiting for? Clean up your clutter and send it to me (I have empty drawers that could use it) Just kidding! lol!

Please post your comments below – or ask questions.

How does clutter show up in your life?

Are you hanging onto stuff that doesn’t work for you?

Old clothes? Old objects? Old relationships? Old ways of thinking or behaving?

Let’s clean up the clutter and move on to a beautiful, happy life!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”

Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue

Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter CD “Keys of Love” (, Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.), “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF (

copyright 2010 Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz