You can’t hide in your room forever … or can you!?

 

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My husband has said to me often over the last few years “you can’t hide in your room forever!”  I think maybe I can, at least sometimes, especially certain times of the month! I’ve been spending a lot more time in my bedroom seeking sleep but mostly for peace & quiet, reading and meditation.

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My husband and I have slept in separate bedrooms for years, it works for us and our different schedules and my room will only hold a queen size bed, not enough room for two grownups and two dogs!  Our bedrooms have become our seperate sanctuaries.  Mine full of art and dogs, paintings I love, a bit “too girly” for my husband, they make me happy and I adore my dogs and yes they sleep in my bed.  My husband’s room is definitely more masculine and a “no animal zone”.  After years of having no space to call your own, remember toddlers banging on the bathroom door? My daughter rifling through my jewelry box & trying on my shoes 😘 — we love our separate “quarters”.  My parents slept in separate rooms they were happily married for 54 years, “until death due us part”.

Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 7.16.53 PMimageScreen Shot 2019-08-22 at 12.27.28 PM  Sarah Kinn                                                     Cindy Hinklemansmith

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Part of the reason I find solace in my room is I feel like it’s a place I can claim as all mine. It’s a safe space to “change” and change requires quiet and self reflection and sleep.  Going through mid-life can cause a number of physical, emotional & spiritual changes.

“I have changed so much. I have stopped caring what anyone thinks, have started claiming my time, growing my tribe … I am more beautiful and confident than I have ever been in my life, while simultaneously becoming invisible to much of the world”. Aileen Weintraub*

I don’t feel more beautiful (mostly just old & tired ;)), I too feel like I have become invisible and it’s not easy not being seen or heard, literally and figuratively.  It’s not easy watching yourself age, to never get carded again, to be called ma’am, to begin experiencing the aches & pains older people complain about, and I thought “that will NEVER happen to me”!  The saggy skin, age spots, wrinkles & varicose veins, that I assumed wouldn’t plague me until my sixties but are happening now!  It all comes so much sooner than we thought.  Not just menopause, but marriage, kids, middle age, parent’s death, illness, kids leaving for college, empty nest, maybe divorce.

In my late thirties, my intuition had tried to warn me about the possibility of a midlife struggle. I experienced internal rumblings about the meaning and purpose of my life. I was incredibly busy proving myself in all of my different roles … so much so that it was difficult for any emotion other than fear to grab my attention. However, I do remember flashes of wondering if I’d always be too afraid to let myself be truly seen and known. Brene Brown**

I’m hopeful it will all be okay, I glimpse a new version of myself emerging.  And until then I’ve decided it’s ok to stay “inside” when I need to…

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Going inside doesn’t have to be literally inside, in your house, your room or your bed.  Going on long hikes alone, yoga, yoga retreats, stand-up-paddle boarding (a lot of quiet, no talking, no media).  When my husband and I go to Mexico we get up early and paddle out and do our morning meditation on the water, with the sunrise and then a few downward dogs!  It’s the best! I really want to go on a silent meditation retreat but I’m scared — remember Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love”, when she is “in silence” and then they ask her if she would mind coming out of silence to be the greeter at the ashram — she happily takes off her “in silence badge” and with a big smile says “I’m your girl” — I’m afraid that’s me … “Chatty Cathy”🤭.

For my husband it’s backcountry skiing, motocross — they are activities that you have to pay attention to what you are doing and only what you are doing in the moment, to not do so could mean serious injury or death.  It can still mean injury 😯! It’s the only way he can totally “unplug”.  He also loves it because mostly where he goes there is no cell coverage.  My husband also has a dedicated meditation practice — he’s much better than me, 20 minutes every morning for years! I’m happy if I can do 5 minutes (outside of the yoga studio).

So whatever you need to do to “go inside” even if it means going outside!

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“Many scholars have proposed that the struggle at midlife is about the fear that comes with our first true glimpse of mortality … wishful thinking. Midlife is not about the fear of death. Midlife IS death. Tearing down the walls that we spent our entire life building is death. Like it or not, at some point during midlife, you’re going down, and after that there are only two choices: staying down or enduring rebirth.”**

My kids found me in bed the other day practically crying, I’d just gotten out of the shower and needed to get dressed to go somewhere I didn’t want to go and I felt paralyzed.  They were very sweet and sat on the bed trying to “lift my spirts” saying it might be fun & trying to make me laugh, I was crying/laughing (aka hysterical) they eventually cajoled me out of bed and into getting dressed and on my way.  It’s hard to go places and be the “older woman”, no one pays attention to you it’s not an easy transition and I’m not making it any easier on myself.  I’m hypercritical of my wrinkles and little belly (some days worse than others).  Throughout most of human history, the vast majority of women died before menopause. The average life expectancy for a woman in 1900 was forty.  Not that I don’t want to live a long life, but I think about this fact often, not until recent history have people lived this long.  Between that and previous generations either being put on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or given a hysterectomy (probably unnecessary), going through perimenopause is somewhat “uncharted territory”.  In the “old, old days” if a woman lived long enough to go through perimenopause men would assume she had gone insane and it must be coming from her no longer “useful” womb, so they removed the offending organs, the word hysterectomy comes from the latin word hysteria, men thought women in their late 40’s, early 50’s were becoming hysterical (aka perimenopausal ;)).

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“The old self is dying and a new creature is emerging … the sudden hormonal changes can result in insights about our lives that are as dramatic and unexpected as the hot flashes that often plague us at this time.  Perimenopause is a time when you are meant to mother yourself.  In the interim, while we experience the upheaval and wait for the new path to become clear, we have to hang out in the “underworld” for a while.”

“The woman in menopause, who is becoming the queen of herself, finds herself at a crossroads of life, torn between the old way she has always known and a new way she has just begun to dream of. A voice from the old way (in many cases it’s her husband’s voice) begs her to stay in place … but from the new path another voice beckons, imploring her to explore aspects of herself that have been dormant during her years of caring for others and focusing on their needs.” Christiane Northrup***

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“Questing is what makes the woman the hero of her own life” Darcey Steinke****
 quest:  a long search for something, adventure, journey, voyage, exploration, to search, hunt, pursue, investigate …

“I was young once . . . to all my female friends from 40 years and up… most of us are going through the next phase of our lives. We’re at that age where we see wrinkles, gray hair and extra pounds. Menopause may have appeared or is just waiting around the corner. We see the cute 25-year-olds and reminisce. But we were also 25, just as they will one day be our age. What they bring to the table with their youth and zest, we bring our wisdom and experience. We have raised families, run households, paid the bills, dealt with diseases, sadness and everything else life has assigned us. Some of us have lost those that were nearest and dearest to us. We are survivors… we are warriors in the quiet… we are women…like a classic car or a fine wine …”  Gretchen Nordham

“The second requirement for transformation is more difficult by far: we must be willing to feel the pain of loss and grieve for those parts of our lives that we are leaving behind. And that includes our fantasies of how our lives could have been … loss is rarely easy, and that is why so many of us resist change in general and at midlife in particular. A part of us rationalizes, “Why rock the boat? I’m halfway finished with my life. Wouldn’t it just be easier to accept what I have rather than risk the unknown?”***

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“There is much, much more to this midlife transformation than “raging hormones.” Research into the physiological changes taking place in the perimenopausal woman is revealing that, in addition to the hormonal shift that means an end to childbearing, our bodies—and, specifically, our nervous systems—are being, quite literally, rewired … menopause is an exciting developmental stage—one that, when participated in consciously, holds enormous promise for transforming and healing our bodies, minds, and spirits at the deepest levels. Our hormones are giving us an opportunity to see, once and for all, what we need to change in order to live honestly, fully, joyfully, and healthfully in the second half of our lives … life is filled with possibilities … lots to do … but great respect for quiet, restful, self-indulgent times.” Christiane Northrup***

“Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.  Brene Brown**

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P.S. I’m going to try to make this the last post on the “woes” of menopause, no promises, but I promise to try 😘 and remember …

“Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for resting your body and your soul. And part of being an adult is learning to meet your own needs, because when it comes down to it, with a few exceptions, no one else is going to do it for you.”  Shauna Niequist “Present over Perfect”

*Aileen Weintraub, “This Is What No One Tells Women About What Happens To Your Body In Your 40s”
**Brene Brown “The Midlife Unraveling”
***Christiane Northrup, “The Wisdom of Menopause”
****Darcey Steinke “Flash Count Diary Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life” 

 

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No more time or room for bullshit …

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Perhaps one of the best (or worst 😜) “side effects/symptoms” of perimenopause is my lack of tolerance for bullshit (my husband would say not “the best”).  At first I was horrified by my thoughts and sometimes actions … at one of my husband’s company parties we had made a promise, one might say a “vow”, (I wish it had been a contract and was signed AND notarized 😝) to leave no later than 9p, the party was an hour away and we both had to get up at 4a for various kid activities.  Looking back on it this was probably one of the first indications I was entering perimenopause.  Dinner was supposed to be served at 6p, by 8p no dinner, around 8:30p I began indicating we’d had plenty of appetizers and I was no longer hungry and we should head home.  Over the next hour or so my husband kept saying “give it 5 more minutes”, 9:30p still no dinner.  After 3 hours of sitting across from his 25 year old assistant, not married, no kids & who by the way looks like a prettier version of Emma Stone,  giving ME life advice (I was 44ish at the time, married 14 years, 2 children/36 hour labors each, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that nearly killed me, and a terminally ill father), yet I had to sit there and politely nod and pretend to listen to her advice.  I was getting more & more angry by the minute, finally I said “I’m going to the bathroom, if dinner’s not here when I get back we’re leaving” and he said “what’s your problem?!” I’d passed my boiling point & hit the table with my fist and way too loudly said “the problem is … I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE!”.  Needless to say it made for a very uncomfortable drive home & I seriously thought he might ask for a divorce 😯!

That was just the beginning, recently I stole $1.00 worth of screws from a local store, when I tried to check out (after trying to purchase these screws three days in a row and experiencing all sorts of incompetence & rudeness), the cashier said the screws were ringing up for $2.23 instead of .23 cents, I said “that’s fine, I’ll pay whatever, I CANNOT be in this store any longer, this is my third day in a row trying to purchase these screws”, the 25 year old cashier started to call his manager over and I put up my hand and said “no please don’t,  just please let me check out, I’m willing to pay 10 times what their worth!” The manager said “No you’ll have to go back to that aisle and have them write it up again” … as I’m walking back to that aisle about to call “bullshit” on their whole system and store and on the verge of a complete meltdown, I crumbled up the little brown bag of screws, shoved them in my purse, checked out, paid for my other items and marched right out (probably never to return again)!  My husband was horrified and said I could have gotten arrested, I replied “I don’t care because I made the right decision to steal the screws vs. people having to witness a 50 year old temper tantrum!”  He said “well, you have a point”.  I went on to tell him if I did get arrested I hoped it was on the front page of the local paper so I could tout the plight of the perimenopausal woman!  Don’t screw with me (no pun intended ;)) or waste my time (what there is left) with your illogical policies & procedures and rude behavior aka bullshit!

In HBO’s show “Divorce” the main female characters are all in their late 40’s early 50’s, (except of course the ex-husbands new young wife 🙄).  One of the characters is a therapist and in one of her sessions with a 20/30ish female patient, who is just rambling on and on … she abruptly interrupts her and says “… you need to find someone else, someone who has more patience for your redundant bullshit.”

“The Wisdom of Menopause” by Christiane Northrup

“This was one of those amazing volcanic eruptions that occur from time to time when the lid finally blows on the container overstuffed with things we know but can’t talk about because we are female and have been taught that in order to survive, we must keep quiet so that authorities (mostly men) will like us. Everything we’ve tried to ignore and struggled to keep beneath the surface bursts forth in all its unedited glory  … usually this is attributed to the crazy-making effects of the hormonal shifts occurring in a woman’s body at this time of transition. What is rarely acknowledged or understood is that as these hormone-driven changes affect the brain, they give a woman a sharper eye for inequity and injustice, and a voice that insists on speaking up about them.  In other words, they uncover hidden wisdom—and the courage to voice it.  As the vision-obscuring veil created by the hormones of reproduction begins to lift, a woman’s youthful fire and spirit are often rekindled,”  this has been me more times than I can count in the last few years and would have been me if I hadn’t chosen to steal the screws!

“As a woman in midlife today, I am part of a growing population that is an unprecedented 48.5 million strong in the United States alone. This group is no longer invisible and silent, but a force to be reckoned with—educated, vocal, sophisticated in our knowledge of medical science, and determined to take control of our own health … Menopause (like menstruation, for that matter) was not discussed in public. Today this is no longer true. As we break this silence we are also breaking cultural barriers, so that we can enter this new life phase with eyes wide open—in the company of more than 48 million kinswomen, all undergoing the same transformation at the same time, the same sort of circuitry update at the same time. By virtue of our sheer numbers, as well as our social and economic influence, we are powerful—and potentially dangerous to any institution built upon the status quo.” 

“It’s no accident that the current movement of psychospiritual healing is composed largely of women in their thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties. We are awakening en masse and beginning to deliver a much-needed message of health, hope, and healing to the world.”

My high school friend sent me the following & here’s the texts that followed …

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This is 51! 😊 It sums it up so perfectly!! I had some friends who must have meant well but didn’t want to do what I wanted to for my birthday so I said ‘nope’ and had a lovely solo day!! It is so freeing not to deal with all the bs!!!! 🥰

No more room or time left for BS … 😯

Yes!!! It is the gift with purchase of our 50’s. We may have more wrinkles but we are way happier not dealing with the bullshit!!! 💕

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just to put a bow on it!!😘

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just to wrap it up!

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Happy Father’s Day …

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It is a curiously intimate thing shaving someone.  When my father almost died but was released from ICU, which almost never happens, in fact it happens so rarely, it took them seven hours to figure out the paperwork to have him discharged. My dad went from “he’s going to die” to “we’re sending him home” within 48 hours after having been in the hospital for a week.  And then there was an issue with finding a portable oxygen tank to send him home with, which caused a further delay.  Then an “angel of a nurse” snuck one out of a closet on another floor of the hospital because he could see how desperately my dad just wanted to go home.  My dad insisted on giving him a thank you, all the cash he had in his wallet (which I think was around $100).  He vehemently refused, and we vehemently insisted to the point he REALLY didn’t have a choice,  he was so grateful and said “today is my birthday and with this money I am going to take my wife out to a really nice dinner”.  

My dad was so happy to be home, but he was so week and dizzy from a week in the hospital and all the drugs they’d pumped into his system, he couldn’t even walk without help to the bathroom five feet away from his bed.  After a few days at home my mom insisted he shower and shave, she helped him shower and then I sent her away to run errands, or maybe just to have some time to herself, she hadn’t left his side in two weeks, I told her to go and I would help him shave, she replied ‘okay just make sure you do it in the bathroom so you don’t make a mess”.  My father was sitting in his chair in the living room and when she left he said “let’s just do it here in the living room, so I don’t have to get up, but don’t tell her”, and we both giggled like kids being naughty.  He had the common sense to tell me to put down some newspaper, I would never have thought of it, but then again I’d never shaved someone before.  I went and got all the necessary equipment and he guided me through the process, first with the electric shaver to get it shorter then with the razor, it was strange to be that close to him, to his face, and I had to be so gentle because his skin seemed like tissue paper.  I hadn’t been that close to him physically since I was a small child.  When we finished we were so pleased with ourselves, even though we missed a few spots, but it had worn him out so we let it be (and hoped my mom wouldn’t notice or comment, which of course she did), but we were content and satisfied with our results so it didn’t matter what she might say.  And when she did comment, he just winked at me.

Shaving him was a bit uncomfortable and awkward but so rewarding and sweet that when he passes from this earth it will be one of my best memories of him and I wouldn’t trade it for anything”.  I wrote this story shortly after that visit all those years ago in the “notes” on my phone so that I wouldn’t forget everything about that day, not just the act itself but how it felt.  I came across this story the other day searching for something on my phone, he passed away a couple of years ago and as predicted it is one of my fondest memories.  I love you dad and miss you every day.❤️

“Don’t grieve for what is lost it will come back to you, maybe in a different form”  Rumi* 

… this memory came back to me searching for something else on my phone

“If you experience sorrow or grief you will heal”  Rumi*

*Rumi … I think … again in my notes on my phone

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You CANNOT have it all …

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“Whereas I did everything in my life halfway, or worse.” “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”  by Therese Anne Fowler

That is how Zelda Fitzgerald felt about her life … trying to be a wife, a mother, a dancer, an artist … she felt like she couldn’t do any of them well because she wasn’t “allowed” to do any of them full time and therefor felt like a failure at everything.

When I found out I was pregnant with my second child that is basically what I told my employer when I went into his office to tell him I was pregnant .. AGAIN! I felt like I had just gone back to work and now here I was faced with having a baby and a 1 year old, I would not be coming back, I tried my hardest not to cry, but I cried because I knew that even if I did come back someday I would never come back in the same capacity, even with one child I felt like “I was doing everything in my life halfway or worse”.  Things would never be the same, I would never be the same, it’s true having children forever changes you physically and psychologically. Even if I had the energy and the stamina to work and have two babies, the cost of childcare wouldn’t even equal my income, it was illogical to consider going back to work. My employer/business parter was also a long time friend and we had worked long and hard to build up our business.  He said “if you want to come back we’ll make it work”, I replied that even if it were worth it financially, I just can’t, because after coming back part-time after the birth of my son I always felt like a failure, like I was doing everything “half-assed” not 100% mother, not 100% employee, not 100% wife, not 100% homemaker … failing at everything.

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“And so, accepting that we are choosing how to best spend our time, we can then accept that we have to let go of the rest. We can’t do everything. In fact, if we tried to do everything, we’d do everything poorly. We are owning the fact that we choose to do these things, to be fully there with them, and to do them as best we can, fully and with love”. Zen Habits Leo Babauta 

This all sounds great but what if it’s not that easy, when you’re a mother you can’t choose, you can’t always “let things go” with small children you don’t get to say no to trying to please everyone, because someone is constantly in need of you, you can’t say I won’t feed, bathe, provide for you … so sometimes when we try to “do it all” it’s because we have to, we have no choice and then things get done poorly or not to the standard we hold ourselves to and it’s hard … to let go of that feeling that we have to be perfect and everything we do has to be perfect.  Such is the life of every mother, working or not working because no matter what, you are getting pulled in a million different directions, a million times a day, “all while trying to look better than average” 😜. 

And what if what you’re doing isn’t what you LOVE? I didn’t love being a mother to small children … it’s frustrating, tedious, exhausting, thankless and lonely.  Don’t get me wrong I loved my children then and now, more than anything in the world. Also I wasn’t good at it and even if I was great at it, no-one is going to give you an excellent “job review” along with a raise to validate that you’re doing a good job.  I didn’t always love working but for most of my working life I was good at it — I got great job reviews and raises and promotions. VALIDATION!

When the kids were older and in school I went back to work part-time and it worked for awhile, only because I had a very flexible, understanding employer.  But then my kids lives got busier, my husbands work got busier, my parents needed me more and I got older (aka perimenopausal).  And again I found myself doing everything “half-assed”.  When my husband said with the two of us working and him working even longer hours we needed to hire a personal assistant.  Clearly the logical thing was for me to quit my job and “step it up” as a wife, mother, homemaker … the only problem is I’m afraid I’m not quite up to the task.  I don’t know if its because I’m getting old, or going through perimenopause, or bored, but I haven’t “stepped it up” much, if at all 😯!  You know that saying “if you want something done give it to a busy person”– it’s true but that’s another topic.

“We can’t have it all. what we have is good enough.”  Glennon Doyle “Love Warrior”. 

When I first I read her book I thought YES, what we have, what I have is good enough but then I thought is it good enough to constantly be feeling overwhelmed and like you’re not good enough …

“Somewhere along the way women got the wrong information. Or, I should say, we got so much of the wrong information that we washed our hands of the whole thing. We live in an all-or-nothing society that says I need to look, act, think, and speak perfectly or just throw in the towel and stop trying altogether … you feel so overwhelmed by your life that you’ve given up. You’re a piece of jetsam being tugged along with the tide. It feels too hard to keep up with the game, so you’ve quit playing. Oh sure, you’re still here. You still show up for work, you still make dinner (or don’t if you’re me 😜) and take care of your kids, but you’re always playing catch-up. You always feel behind and overwhelmed. Life is not supposed to overwhelm you at all times. Life isn’t meant to be merely survived—it’s meant to be lived.” by Rachel Hollis “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be” 

So many women feel like they are barely surviving, barley keeping their head above water.

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“That love would do what it often threatened to do … remind you that it is timeless, as if that were the entire story about what I thought I was supposed to do vs. what I actually want to do”

I read that somewhere, I didn’t write down the source or the author … but I think about it all the time and I frequently substitute the word life for the word love and fleeting for the word timeless

“That life would do what it often threatened to do … remind you that it is fleeting, as if that were the entire story about what I thought I was SUPPOSED to do vs. what I actually WANT to do.”

I didn’t read all of “Girl Wash Your Face”  but I think the gist of it is that we need to realize that for the most part “we’re doing the best we can” and while you’re in the throes of motherhood we all need to stop being so hard on ourselves and realize everything doesn’t have to be perfect all the time  — things will feel and look messy and far from “perfect” most of the time and it’s OKAY!

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The time will come when you get to do more of what you WANT vs. SHOULD and it may creep up on you unexpectedly.  You may find its been so long that you’ll actually have to discover what you want, in the meantime it’s okay to let some things go …

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Elizabeth Gilbert’s book” Committed”,  researches the history of marriage, marital statistics, why some marriages work, why some don’t, why so many marriages that began in the 50’s ended in divorce in the 70’s (with the beginning of the women’s movement)…  

“I couldn’t help wondering what would happen to Phylis & Chad about 20 years down the road when the children were older and prosperity had been achieved and Phylis had no life whatsoever outside of the home and Chad would wonder why he had given up so much personal pleasure over the years to be a good & faithful provider only to be rewarded now with a frustrated wife, rebellious teenage children, a sagging body and a tedious career.” 

I feel like although it’s 2019 so many of us still feel this way to some degree.  People thought my husband and I were crazy to consider not having children, when my brother and his sister had adorable little babies and my biological clock was ticking, we took “the road more traveled” and settled into a different version of the the 1950’s marriage.  My husband started working with me because I was making more money than him, I was working longer hours, doing the grocery shopping, the cooking, the cleaning and the laundry and so it was the least he could do ;)). In his defense he would have been fine living his life the way he was and sometimes I feel sorry for him that he met me and then decided he wanted kids and had to get a REAL job and sometimes he probably feels like he turned into a Chad (except he does not have the sagging body☺️).

“And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?”  Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime”

Not to say we don’t adore our children, we do and my husband would tell anyone “you HAVE to have children – it’s the best!”  Me on the other hand?  I would say “it’s not all it’s cracked up to be” think long and hard about the sacrifices and concessions you will have to make, no matter how much money, time, patience etc. you have, because you CANNOT have it all.  Something has to give, especially for the mother (even if she’s not the “stay-at-home” parent — usually the brunt of parenting not to mention pregnancy, breast feeding and sleepless nights lands at the feet of the mother).

“But what about their own lives? Do these mothers feel fulfilled by the successes of their children—or resentful of their own sacrifices? Evidence suggests that the pattern is helping to produce a generation of very unhappy women. According to a 2009 study … women rated their own happiness at the lowest level in thirty-five years. (that was 10 years ago I 🙏 women are feeling better).  The survey includes a representative sample of fifteen hundred men and women of all ages, races, marital status, and educational and income levels, for a total of fifty thousand people so far. Regardless of whether they work or stay home, are single or married, have graduate degrees or high-school diplomas, women rated feeling bleak about the state of their lives. And overall, mothers had the gloomiest outlooks of anybody. By comparison, men responded to the same survey with downright giddiness compared to women. Women realize they are doing the same chores as their mothers. They scale back at work, or maybe even take off a few years, and before long, the women find themselves isolated, responsible not only for care of the children but for most details of their lives: trips to the doctor; combing through tangled braids on the lookout for lice; making appointments with the orthodontist. They didn’t plan it that way, but that’s how it happened. Resentment creeps up, imperceptibly, not the least of which stems from the fact that the closet full of size-six clothes don’t fit a size-eight body.”  Gabrielle Glaser “Her Best Kept Secret”

Or they have a closet full of beautiful clothes from their working days and no-where to wear them, it has taken me two years to give up just a portion of my work wardrobe.  I feel like if I get rid of them all I’m giving up yet another part of myself that I will never get back.

Elizabeth Gilbert interviewing her mom about marriage and kids, for awhile her mother had a job at Planned Parenthood that she loved, but when she asked her husband if he could stay home with the kids for two days (just two days after all the years of her staying home mind you), to attend a conference he said “no”, it broke her heart and killed her dream of having a career and children at the same time (HAVING IT ALL), so she just decided she could not have it all and gave up her career all together.

“I can’t tell you how much I love it now that you girls are gone … to have your father to myself, to have my time to myself, but I do have to tell you something else … there are times that I refuse to even let myself think about all I had to give up in the early years of my marriage because if I dwell on those feeling too much I become so enraged I can’t even see straight.”  Elizabeth Gilbert “Committed” 

“Imagine your body is youthful, firm, a pleasure to live inside of—and you’re wise enough to know that this is fleeting, this body and its condition. It won’t last. None of it will last.” “Z” a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler

For better or worse “none of it will last” things are always changing and we’re always trying to navigate new chapters of our lives.  Hang in there … there is life after early marriage and small children … I promise.  My children are now close to 16 & 18 and I see a new chapter, however what I didn’t see coming is how much I’m going to miss them and how it will break my heart to see them go 💔…

“You can’t always get what you want (or have it all) … but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need” 🙏

That is my hope and my “prayer” that most of us, most of the time get what we need and I also hope and “pray” that sometimes you get what you want.

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“I could have used a heads up” … “keep fighting the good fight” …

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“This perimenopause is bullshit and how come no-one forewarned me how bad it could be?  I mean seriously I could have used a heads up!”  this from a girl (yes I’m still going to refer to my friends as girls … forever ❤️), she wasn’t talking to me directly and she doesn’t know about my blog or any of my personal perimenopause “bullshit”, but I overheard her and I laughed so hard, because yes … why weren’t we forewarned???  A heads up would have been nice! You have sex-ed in grade-school and middle-school, you have birthing classes and books when you’re pregnant “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, there are parenting books and classes (although none of them REALLY prepare you for parenting, but that’s another post). Seriously, why doesn’t someone tell you about the 2-12 years leading up to menopause?  Why isn’t there a “what to expect prior to never being able to expect again”?! Our mother’s didn’t forewarn us …

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 4.04.33 PMin their defence most of them were on hormone replacement therapy and didn’t experience a fraction of what a lot of us are going through and some of them weren’t even aware they were on HRT.  Their doctors put them on birth control pills (at a minimum) to diminish what was sure to come, maybe partially for their own benefit?!🤔 It might prevent their 40-50ish year old female patients from becoming “hysterical” 🙄 in their office, or complaining about a variety of mental & physical ailments that accompany perimenopause and who want’s to deal with that?! Especially a male doctor!

Hysterical. It’s a word with a very female-baiting history, coming from the Latin hystericus (“of the womb”). This was a condition thought to be exclusive to women – sending them uncontrollably and neurotically insane owing to a dysfunction of the uterus (the removal of which is still called a hysterectomy).  Those women assuredly weren’t insane they were probably just perimenopausal!

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Here’s another:
Loony. Coming from lunacy – a monthly periodic insanity, believed to be triggered by the moon’s cycle (remind you of anything?). 😐

Spell check doesn’t even know what to do with the word perimenopause, it says it’s incorrectly spelled, but offers no correction or alternative … it doesn’t recognize it as a word!  Just like no one talks about it or acknowledges it, not even spellcheck 😔. Why isn’t it ok to talk about it & why aren’t women steered in the direction of a book or a class or a support group, anything when they get close to 40, why don’t your older friends tell you what they went through?  Why is it taboo? At least now there’s the internet but it mostly just lists the symptoms, it doesn’t really say how awful it can be and that it can be worse for some than others.  I love my doctor and she’s great, but even she didn’t forewarn me how bad it could be, she did say there’s a scale of 1-10 and some women “sail right through” at a 1-3, and in a relatively short amount of time and then there are others who it last for years, up to 10-12 and it AWFUL!  She recently told me I’m an 8-10! I found there aren’t many resources that are in depth and most importantly honest about perimenopause until the book …

“Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy” by Julie Holland

Symptoms of PMS include:  (7 symptoms)

cramps
mood swings
nausea
anxiety
depression
bloating
tender breasts

Symptoms of perimenopause include: (22 symptoms) Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 4.02.26 PM

  • vaginal dryness 
  • insomnia, trouble sleeping — (don’t EVEN get me started)
  • hot sweats and night sweats
  • headaches(migraines for us lucky ones 😝)
  • unexplained exhaustion(we’re talking the kind of exhaustion that feels like you’re moving through quicksand)
  • reduced thickening of the uterus lining, resulting in less regular shedding and menstruation(or super regular hemorrhaging 😝)
  • osteoporosis or loss of bone density and integrity
  • Declining hormone levels can lead to a number of symptoms(the “crazies”)
  • Irregular periods are often the first noticeable symptom for a woman in perimenopause.
  • fatigue(again moving through quicksand, sometimes I feel like I’m pregnant, I’m so tired and “fatigued” I can’t catch my breath, I have to stop and rest & catch my breath & rest like an eighty year old)
  • Irregular periods (or unbelievably regular but ridiculously heavy that make it almost impossible to leave the house)
  • Discomfort during sex, lower sex drive
  • Urine leaking when coughing or sneezing —  (oh and you thought it was bad post pregnancy?!?🤣)
  • Urinary urgency (an urgent need to urinate more frequently)
  • Breast tenderness — (itchy breasts WTF???)
  • worse PMS
  • nausea — (like you’re pregnant)
  • dry, thinning skin & hair 
  • sudden overwhelming sense of heat
  • sudden unexplained mood swings (the “crazies”)
  • trouble concentrating (wait what’s the word for ???)
  • weight gain (yep!)

    OH and did we mention night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, unexplained mood swings, nausea and weight gain?!

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Oh but it is … I sent my two best friends from highschool the article from the Huffington Post …This Is What No One Tells Women About What Happens To Your Body In Your 40s HuffPost: https://apple.news/AsDcbZ9oXRpWKdPrbhXGKyA
here’s the text exchange that followed (Sandy is one of our moms ;)).

“Well that was depressing! I have had corneal abrasions and found out I have chronic dry eye and probably an autoimmune disease. It is causing my eyelid to tear my cornea when I open my eyes in the morning. I went to another eye doctor today and she said I also have cataracts. Say what?! She said this is all positive, you aren’t going blind. 😂 I am not complaining …  your back stuff sounds much worse, and I have a friend that is 51 and needs jaw replacement surgery! But I WILL complain that being 50 sucks! And we were not warned appropriately!!  Thank goodness for wine & friends.”

“Oh no! Sorry! 😔I have chronic dry eyes also, $300 a month eye drops 🙄plugs and nothing helps that much. 😔I’ll never forget my grandma saying “this getting old is for the birds” she was right and perimenopause is no fun either! And yes no one warned us … APPROPRIATELY!”

Again a “heads up” would have been nice!

“It is terrible sounding!!!😳.  But definitely better than going blind!! In the famous words of Sandy at my wedding … “you better enjoy this because you won’t look like this forever!” I am sure she also meant feel healthy forever, too! 🤪. Girls, we have to keep fighting the good fight. I am finally feeling mostly like myself at 12+ weeks post back surgery. Still glad I did it even if I feel a permanent new surgically induced pooch!! 🙄. Love you both!! 💋💋💋”

“OMG! I wish I’d had that quote from Sandy for my last blog post 😂 & totally something my mom would say also! 🤣 yes girls, we’ve got to keep fighting the “good fight” that may be my next blog title 😘 I still get pissed about my ectopic pregnancy pooch … two vaginal babies and I end up with worse than a c-section scar/pooch😠but we’re still here ‘fighting the good fight’!”

“Glad your back is feeling better! Sorry about your eyes! Yes, keep on fighting the good fight, while trying not to look average! Another great quote by Sandy!”

To all those girls (women) out there … keep fighting and hang in there and know that you are not alone! Getting older isn’t all fun & games, but it sure beats the alternative.

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So YES

“KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT” … while trying not to look average!

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Aging Gracefully …

 

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When I started this post it was with the intention of having a positive message about aging … “aging gracefully” and I hope parts are still “hopeful & positive”?  Ironically, when I decided to revisit this post and finish it, a few not so positive passages from books and articles crossed my path.  However, my mom just emailed me after “proofing/editing” for me and said “thank you for the compliments and by the way men do still look at you as you get older, it’s just they are old too.”  😘 It made me smile SO big — it made my day!  Thank you mom!

Here it is for better or for worse …

“Immortality” by Milan Kundera … “the difference between the male and female lot in life: a women spends much more time on discussions of her physical problems; she was not fated to forget about her body in a carefree way.  It starts with the shock of the first bleeding; the body is suddenly present and she stands facing it like a poor mechanic ordered to keep a small factory running:  to change tampons every month, swallow pills, snap the brassiere in place, get ready for production.  Agnes looked upon old men with envy:  it seemed to her that they aged differently: her father’s body changed into its shadow, it dematerialized, it remained in the world merely as an incarcerated soul.  In contrast, the more useless  a woman’s body becomes, the more it is a body, heavy and burdensome; it resembles an old factory destined for demolition, which the women’s self must watch to the very end, like a caretaker.  The only thing capable of changing Agnes’s reaction to the body for a moment … Excitement: a fleeting redemption of the body.  Her sister would disagree: “Only for a moment? For Laura the body was sexual from the beginning, a priori, constantly and completely, by its very essence. To love someone meant, for her: to bring him ones body. to give him one’s body, just as it was, with everything, inside and out, even with its own time, which is slowly, sweetly, corroding it”.

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Because this quote is about men (which in general I think age better than women) I hesitated to use it … but I love the fact that they ARE falling apart right in front of our eyes, they aren’t hiding in retirement and as far as I can tell they’ve always been honest and upfront about their various issues.  Mick Jagger recently had to postpone their tour due to health issues, he said “I need to have a heart valve replaced … I’ll be back”.  Keith Richards looked old even when he was young, his book “Life” it’s worth reading,  Rolling Stones fan or not …

“We age not by holding on to youth, but by letting ourselves grow and embracing whatever youthful parts remain.”
Keith Richards, Life

“It seems damn near impossible for a woman to grow old in America while keeping her dignity. Face-lifts, Botox, hair dyeing, mustache waxing—the upkeep is exhausting. It is a slippery slope once you head down that path. Botox needs to be maintained every few months, and synthetic fillers like Restylane start to move around over time. It’s hard to grow old gracefully in our changing bodies, but ladies, we have to. My rule for myself is just don’t start. No plastic or synthetic anything in my body. I will have earned each wrinkle and gray hair, and I want to “proudly display them like trophies of a life well lived.” “With experience and maturity comes sexual sophistication. Optimally, we know what works for us, and we’re more confident about sharing that information with our partners. Call it “authentic eroticism.” Maybe the reason MILFs are such a turn-on is that mothers simply make better lovers. As we blossom and ripen, nurture and mentor, we are likely more capable of integrating intimacy and spirituality into our sexuality. And that is deep, and hot. So go ahead and be sexy, Mama.”
Moody Bitches, Julie Holland, MD

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Here’s what you don’t want to become … trying too hard to look like your 25-year-old self (or some other 25-year-old) instead of aging gracefully into what I believe will likely be the best version of yourself.

DON’T

Ivana Trump looks like a cartoon.

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Most of the women I admire have admitted to skin treatments & some have admitted to “subtle cosmetic surgery or procedures” like Botox, but mostly they all agree that the key is good skin care, sunscreen at least on your face, neck, décolletage (if you’re lucky to have any 😉) and hands, continual exercise (keep moving),  good nutrition and sleep! I think they look great without looking weird … in this day in age and in “my book” they have aged gracefully as have my mom and mother-in-law, they look fabulous and not weird.

Jane Fonda was on my DO list when I started this post a year ago, but sadly she’s now teetering on the edge of the DON’T list 🙁 this recent photo is NOT good (and I think her recent “procedures” have maybe pushed her over the edge) and it’s not ok for an 80-year-old woman, or even a 60-year-old or 50-year-old 😯 woman to have that hairdo at least not “in my book”.

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Just because you can doesn’t mean you should 

 a good rule to live by!!!

Here she is a couple of years ago when she was on my DO list.

DO

Image result for jane fonda recent photosImage result for jane fonda recent photosImage result for jane fonda recent photos

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Jane Fonda ages 65-79

She has said her biggest secret to aging gracefully is “most importantly keep moving” she has admitted to having “some work done” because she started realizing what she saw in the mirror wasn’t reflecting how she felt … I wish she had stopped before going maybe TOO far!? 🤭

“Go forward slowly, its not a race to the end”
“It doesn’t matter how slow you move as long as you keep moving”

another good “rule” to live by!

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Helen Mirren 73

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Martha Stewart 77 (with Snoop Dogg)

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Meryl Streep 69                       Ann Margaret 77                     Christy Brinkley 65

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Alana Stewart 77

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I LOVE that, rather than have elective surgery, ELECT to age gracefully!

Things that happen after 40 that no-one tells you about — that fuzz on your face, perhaps a mustache when you’ve NEVER had one before, droopy earlobes (along with droopy boobs), gray hairs in your eyebrows an inch longer than the other hairs (but you can’t see them because you can’t see up close so you have to wait until someone, usually one of your kids, or a sister, or a good friend points it out to you :)), sometimes spit flies out of your mouth when you’re talking, it’s a real thing!  I asked the dentist about it and he said yes that starts happening because your mouth starts to shrink and that’s one of the signs 😬😩, you start “watering down” your wine with club soda, just like your 75-year-old mother and her friends (who you used to make fun of when they would order a “white-wine spritzer” when you were young & they were “old” (my age now 😮) … this is where I left off when writing this post a year ago.  Yesterday my friend sent me this article and the night before I had literally googled “itchy breasts” …

“This Is What No One Tells Women About What Happens To Your Body In Your 40s” by Aileen Weintraub from the Huffington Post

“I started researching phrases like, “sex in your 40s,” “pissed at my family all the time,” and “left boob pain; am I dying?” The symptoms were subtle at first: insomnia, a racing heart, a lost word, sometimes a wrong word. But within months there was no denying it. Soon enough there were panic attacks, sobbing fits and that verboten emotion of middle-aged women ― rage. Just after my 40th birthday, I bled for 10 days straight.” (ME EXACTLY!!!)
“That was the moment I learned that before menopause, there is a completely separate, though somehow related hell called perimenopause. According to the nurse, this marked the beginning of a gradual decline in estrogen in my body ― and, “by the way,” she added, “it can last for years.”  I wipe away my tears, wishing someone would have mentioned I’d spend much of my midlife on the bathroom floor, crying ― I would have opted for nicer tiles.” by Aileen Weintraub

… if you’ve read my blog you know this is pretty much me … you are not alone, WE are not alone!  I wish I had the heart to reach out to her and tell her it could go on for another 10 years!  I laughed out loud when I read “related hell called perimenopause” — hell is correct.  And then I read the paragraph that made me cry …

“I have changed so much. I have stopped caring what anyone else thinks, have started claiming my time, growing my tribe, and trying so hard to hold onto the shits I have because I have so few left to give. I am more beautiful and confident than I have ever been in my life, while simultaneously becoming invisible to much of the world”. by Aileen Weintraub

Trying so hard to hold on to the “few shits I have” … I can’t tell you many times a day the words “I don’t really give a shit” come out of by mouth.

In a scene from “Girls” when Marnie is chatting with one of the artists whose photos are on display, she asks …“How do people not see that you’re taking pictures of them?” and the elderly wheelchair bound artist answers “It was harder when I was young, but now I’m old and no ones looks at me anyway. Getting old is the pits. I hate watching television because all the old women are shells of themselves and it hurts to be a shell” 😔 Thankfully, I think that may be changing … “Grace & Frankie”☺️???

I told my friend who forwarded the article that the paragraph about “becoming invisible to much of the world” made me cry and she replied “I think about it a lot when I see old people at a store or wherever, no body looks at old people and that’s going to be me (us) soon”

Is this why women go to these outrageous measures to look younger?  It makes me sad, I understand not wanting to age, and I for sure want to look my best, but my best for my age, do these women go to these extremes because they are trying to remain visible? Do they feel invisible?

I don’t want to be invisible but I’ll take invisible over “freaky looking” or “obnoxious looking” or “looking like someone else” ANY DAY!  I will take invisible if it means aging gracefully … older beautiful women, with their silver hair (not gray) and laugh lines (not wrinkles), who haven’t had any obnoxious work done, like my mom, my mother-in-law, my husbands aunts, quite a few of my friends mothers — YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE — NOT TO ME!  You are beautiful & graceful and

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Love ❤️ …

This is how it always is, or at least how I think it should be ... by shannon bennett

IMG_2482Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 6.10.40 PM“I loved her and it is the beginning and end of everything” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I feel like I’ve finally met someone I can stand still with.  Having a dog together means having a life together, all in, both of us.” — Masters of Sex
“We think about it, sing about it, dream about it, lose sleep worrying about it. When we don’t have it; we search for it; when we discover it; we don’t know what to do with it; when we have it; we fear losing it. It is the constant source of pleasure and pain. But we can’t predict which it will be from one moment to the next. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, impossible to live without.”
 by sayshaina August 10, 2005 Urban Dictionary
“It’s when they’re the last thing you think about before you go to sleep and when…

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Santosha, Contentment … Stoicism

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My innate personality is NOT to be content, I want to know how things will end up, to focus on the ultimate goal,  “the end game”, “the bigger picture”, I read somewhere “writers thrive on endings” (not that I’m a “writer” but maybe I think like one). However, as I’ve gotten older I realize so much of the “end game” is out of our control and by focusing on how we want things to be or how we think things should be, or how we think people should be, we miss so much of how things are and what is happening right now, much of which is beautiful & amazing.

Having kids, getting older, yoga, teachers, workshops, reading, researching … have all taught me you can’t control much in this life, but you CAN control your reactions and perceptions, and you can try to appreciate every day, every moment of the here and now, even if it’s not always pleasant or enjoyable, there is something to be learned, appreciated, contemplated, experienced, and yes sometimes endured …

As far as I know (although I hope I’m wrong and at least a part of us lives on in some form or another), this is the only life we get, so we should try to enjoy or at least appreciate every day, even when things are hard, to at least be aware and present and therefore …

Santosha 

Santosha is the second niyama (“virtue”) described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It denotes contentment and a lack of desire for what others have. The term is derived from the Sanskrit sam, meaning “completely” or “altogether,” and tosha, meaning “contentment” or “acceptance”, “complete contentment.”

Santosha is closely related to equanimity, in that practicing it allows one to accept whatever circumstances present themselves, including pleasure, pain, success or failure.

It is said that santosha helps the yogi to develop a better relationship with him/herself. They learn to accept and be content with the way they are, rather than making their happiness dependent on achieving certain goals, or changing aspects of themselves.

In yoga, santosha can be exercised through asana practice; by accepting oneself; and by accepting the body’s limitations, rather than striving for more.

Simply put … being happy with what you have and not wanting what you don’t have, accepting how things are and THAT making you happy not striving for things to be different and THEN you’ll be happy

Making the best of everything.

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I was talking (possibly complaining ;)) to my friend the other day, about being let down by people because they weren’t behaving the way I thought they should and that “I want to believe everyone is doing the best they can, but I actually DON’T believe they are” and my friend said to me “But what if everyone IS doing the best they can?” and I said “but what if they’re not?” and she said “it shouldn’t matter to you, because they are doing what they are doing and whether or not it’s ‘their best’ is none of your business and you just have to accept it”.  She’s right and I can only control my reaction and perception. Accepting how things are instead of wishing for things to be different (wasting my time and energy on how I think things should be).

Other cultures view happiness quite differently than Americans …

I heard on a podcast that the French view happiness differently than Americans.  The reason Americans suffer from more depression is because they (Americans) look at happiness as an achievement, an “end all” whereas the French strive for contentment and look at happiness as a state of being that you can come in and out of, so just because you’re not happy right now doesn’t mean that you won’t be again or that you have failed.

When describing the Swiss the author of “The Geography of Bliss”, Eric Weiner states: “Happy? Content? No!? A word fails me, I need a new word for Swiss happiness, not mere contentment but less than full on joy … “conjoyment” a joyful but calm feeling (whereas when Americans feel joy they often feel manic or panicked that it will end) the Swiss simply feel a calmness”.  Weiner quotes a British academic who states that “Affluence breeds impatience and impatience undermines well-being.  But the Swiss are wealthy AND patient, they know how to linger, no one looks at their watch (their perfectly synchronized Swiss gold watch).  It’s not feeling like you should be elsewhere, with someone else, doing something else, being something else. In Switzerland you can just BE and therefore be happy”.

“As far as I can see, this is a problem with living in the twenty-first century. Many of us have every material thing we need, so the job of marketing is now to tie the economy to our emotions (happiness) to make us feel like we need more to make us happy by making us want things we never needed before. To feel poorly travelled if we have been to only ten other countries. To feel too old if we have a wrinkle. To feel ugly if we aren’t photo-shopped and filtered.” “How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig

At the same time Santosha was showing up in my life so was the concept of Stoicism, I think the two concepts are very related.

“As for things that could not be changed, they must stoically be endured.”  Elizabeth Gilbert “The Signature of All Things” 

sto·i·cism
the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.

I subscribe to a website called The Daily Stoic and recently the topic was about Amor Fati a Latin phrase that may be translated as “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate”. … Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life.

Usually the website quotes the great philosophers of stoicism, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus … recently they quoted from Billy Jean King … “she would close her memoir with a pretty remarkable series of sentences that capture one of the most important (but most difficult) concepts in Stoicism: Amor Fati

“But more important now, I must think in terms of very specific goals and realities. Of course, I can just say I want to win all three — the singles, doubles, and mixed. Easy to say and easy to want, but so difficult to execute. How can I do it? More than anything else, I must love everything that is part and parcel of the total Wimbledon scene. I must love hitting that little white ball; love every strain of running and bending those tired knees; love every bead of sweat; love every cloud or every ray of sun in the sky; love every moment of tension, …. love feeling and absorbing the tradition of almost one hundred years.  In essence, I have to possess enough passion and love to withstand all the odds. No matter how tough, no matter what kind of outside pressure, no matter how many bad breaks along the way — and with more love and passion than the world has ever witnessed in any performance. A total, giving performance: give more when you think you have nothing left. Through the desire the inspiration will be present. Love, passion, attitude, ability, intensity — the only way, a street with no curves or cul-de-sacs. I must let my inner self be out front and free. Love always.”
Billy Jean King

From the Daily Stoic … “What’s particularly striking about this passage are King’s observations about the mundane difficulties of the life of a tennis player and the way she was able to capture and appreciate–much the way Marcus Aurelius could–the ordinary pieces of experience. The beads of sweat…the moments of tension– these are the things we see in a different light when we choose Amor Fati. In Marcus’s time he wrote about stalks of grain bending low, about the flecks of foam on a boar’s mouth, ripe fruit, the chattering of the adoring (and not adoring) crowds, the yapping of small dogs.  When we accept and embrace everything that is around us, we can truly begin to see it. We can see everything, big and small, good and bad, and find beauty in it–find something to love in it.”

 

As Friedrich Nietzsche describes it:
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it.”

“You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it. – Cheryl Strayed author of Wild

“The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway.” “Girl Wash Your Face”

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“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

Although I hope you are mostly content, I also hope you are happy and often 😊, and I do know that no matter how bad it seems, the next day, or next week, or next month, or next year it will most likely be better.  Keep your loved ones close they are your touchstones, during good and bad.  Get outdoors!  Especially on a bad day and I bet a sunrise, a sunset, a flower, a lady bug, the sun, the moon, the stars, a snowflake, even a raindrop,… SOMETHING will bring a smile to your face, or maybe a tear to your eye (and that’s good too) … just look around, open your eyes and your heart. There is SO much awesomeness in this world!

Sometimes driving around with teenagers in your car is AWESOME (sometimes not ;)) … but thanks to my daughter my new favorite song … “I Hope You’re Happy” Blue October

There will be days when you’re falling down
There will be days when you’re inside out
There will be days when you fall apart
Someone else will break you heart
They’re never gonna hold you back
I’m always gonna have your back
So try to remember that
I hope you’re happy (or at least content)
I hope you’re good (you don’t always have to be great)
I hope you get what you wish for (or at least your needs are met)
And you’re well understood (this one I won’t budge on, I hope at least one person you love understands you)
And whatever your progress
I know you’ll be fine (“and will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed” Dr. Suess)
Because I hope you’re happy
Even if you’re not mine
Try to remember that
I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re good
I hope you get what you wish for
And you’re well understood

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Turning 50 (in 5 minutes & “the license”)

 

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I’m not sure yet how I feel about turning 50 … “it’s strange to be almost 50, I feel like I just understood how to be young, it’s like the last day in a foreign country, you finally figure out where to get coffee & drinks & a good steak and then you have to leave and you won’t ever be back.” “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer.  It’s kind of true you just get to a place where you feel good about yourself & your life, you don’t look THAT old, you can still do all your activities (hopefully, maybe along with some aches & pains), you don’t care what people think about you (aka “the license”), hopefully you’ve accepted the way you look, you’re “comfortable” in your own skin, and then out of nowhere it’s like … “damn I wish I could go back to being 20 and I’d wear mini-skirts” because my legs weren’t as bad as I thought, but now even if I could, I can’t, because it wouldn’t be appropriate.  I’d travel to the all the places I could afford (and some I couldn’t and figure it out later) because my body would bounce right back, if my job wasn’t waiting for me, I could get a new one, my dog would survive the “grandparents” or the kennel.  When you’re older there may not be another job and the grandparents and real babies would not necessarily “survive”.  I told a friend that I think for the next couple of years we’re only going to travel within the U.S. (maybe Mexico & Canada) because international travel (10-14 hour flights) is not that easy the older you get (even if your lucky enough to upgrade to first class).  And she said “NO, you have to go NOW while you’re still somewhat able-bodied because it will only get worse, save the Winnebago for when you’re in your 70’s!!!”, she has a very good point!

And then there’s the “LICENSE”, a phenomenon that mostly women experience (men might also & they just aren’t as vocal about it 😂).  I recall, as do most of my friends, when our mother’s turned 50 and all of a sudden they turned into (and I mean this in the most loving way possible) the biggest bitches!  It’s like they turned 50 and got a “license” to say and do whatever they wanted (I get it — I’m in the process of acquiring “the license”, my husband would say I’ve been in the process for the last 10 years)!  You get to be over 45ish going on 50 and when a 25-year-old tries to give you “life advice” it’s really hard to nod politely and say “thank you” or “you’re right” because what you want to do and unfortunately sometimes I do (in a manner of speaking) is shout back, just YOU wait until you’ve worked for 20 plus years, been married for 20 plus years and given birth to two children (72 hours of labor total, had an ectopic pregnancy rupture and almost bled to death), been sleep deprived for 17 years, are the parent of two teenagers, own a house & cars that are constantly in need of repair, and aging parents that are also often in need of repair, or the death of a parent … and THEN you can give me life advice.  Not to say there aren’t some very wise 25 year olds out there, but just sayin’!  A great thing about “the license” is not only do you not care what other people think about you, you care more what YOU think about you (in a good way)!  Or at least I hope you do, I feel pretty good about “where I am” my heath, my weight (even my little pot belly, I earned it after 2 kids & 3 abdominal surgeries & a lot of 🍺)!  My laugh lines (aka wrinkles), my spirit/soul and I can honestly say if someone doesn’t like it that’s their problem not mine!  “Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for resting your body and your soul. And part of being an adult is learning to meet your own needs, because when it comes down to it, with a few exceptions, no one else is going to do it for you.” Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

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Kind of along the lines of mother’s and their “license”  … I was listening to an interview with Lena Dunham on “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard

Dax: “A term I learned in AA, is we all suffer from terminal uniqueness”
Lena:  “Yes! I learned that term in therapy and one of my favorite thing my mom does is … I’ll tell her something my therapist told me & she’ll love it so much & then a week later I’ll discover she’s using it 100% the wrong way to support her own theories about herself, I told her the expression ‘terminal uniqueness’ and later she said “I think I also suffer from terminal uniqueness, you know just being so unique my whole life, that nobody gets it!”
Lena: Another time she said her therapist is really into “accountability” and I asked her “what does accountability mean to you?” and her response was “as in everyone needs to be accountable TO ME”
Dax: “There’s a couple little clues that there might be some light narcissism in the mix here”
Lena:  “I will tell you something about my mom she’s my hero, but as she’s gotten older, her capacity to endure anyone else’s bullshit is zero, she’s just a steamroller, steaming through the world.  She’s a female artist and because she had to really duke it out in the 70’s & 80’s to do what she does, she’s now really settled into this eccentric glamor puss with a jewel on her shoe & it really works for her …
Dax:  “Like she’s earned the right …”
Lena: “it’s 100% the vibe she has going on.”

 “THE LICENSE”

we’ve earned the right!

Another aspect of turning 50, is you don’t truly feel like a “grown-up” until you experience the death of a parent and I can only imagine, but maybe not until the death of both parents, which typically happens when you’re in your 50’s …

“I hadn’t known I needed him there, needed him like a landmark, like a pyramid-shaped stone or a cyprus, that we assume will never move, so we can find our way home.  And then inevitably one day it’s gone, and we realize that we thought WE were the only changing thing, the only variable in the world, that the people & objects in our lives are there for our pleasure, like the playing pieces of a game and can not move on their own accord.  Like they are held there in place by our need for them, by our love for them.”  “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer.  And then one day they are gone and you have to “go it alone” and then you slowly start to realize that you really are alone and YOU are the grown-up and that maybe some day you will be the cyprus, the stone, the north star for one of your children … 

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“People always remember you at the age they met you, so at 50 they will only ever imagine you as a grown up.  It’s not all bad, people will always think you are grown up and therefore take you seriously.  My point is “welcome to fucking life, 50 is nothing! I look back at 50 and think what the fuck was I so worried about?  Go enjoy yourself” (from his 70 year friend).  “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer  It’s kind of true, I try to picture people as a younger version of themselves before I met them, the people I love, everyone once in a while I have a glimpse of what they must have looked like as a child, but really I do remember them as they were when I first met them, even if their weight has changed or their hair has turned gray, or they now have glasses, I see them how they were when I met them.

” … look at them! Who would ever believe it is two days before his birthday & he’s on a camel ride in the Sahara (his friend hollers at the group) “shut the fuck up and enjoy the fucking sunset on your fucking camel” and he’s thinking “it is after all almost a miracle they are here and not because they’ve survived the booze, the drugs, the migraines, not that at all. It’s that they have survived everything in life, humiliations & disappointments & heartaches & missed opportunities, bad dads & bad moms & bad jobs & bad sex & bad drugs, all the trips & mistakes & face-plants of life to have made it to 50 and to have made it here, to these mountains of gold, this tidy table on the dune set with olives & pita & glasses & wine chilling on ice, with the sun waiting more patiently than any camel for their arrival, so YES as with almost every sunset, but with this one in particular “shut the fuck up. “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

ENJOY THE SUNSET

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You have turned 18 with 32 years of experience! You are like the fine wine that gets more exquisite with age! 

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Thanksgiving …

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Just a reminder …

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If you know me I’m not a big fan of holidays, and Christmas just about does me in .. I do like Thanksgiving, because it’s about gratitude.  And (hopefully) reflecting on all we have and all we have to give.  Not about unnecessary gift giving. Believe it or not I even enjoy hosting Thanksgiving (every few years ;)) although it is far from a Norman Rockwell painting.  It’s more like everyone come (even though our house is small, certainly no formal dinning room). Bring one & all!  One of my best memories is having one of the young coaches from my son’s football team, he was so thankful for the invite he pulled me aside to say “thank you so much for having me, my mom wanted me to give you a hug from her because she was so sad that I might be alone”. ☺️  Every Thanksgiving I have at least one major cooking mishap … like the year the turkey was cooking so slowly because the boiler pan that comes with the oven was on the lower rack so the heat wasn’t reaching the turkey!  That’s how little I cook I didn’t even know it was there 🙄!  We were supposed to eat at 5p, the turkey wasn’t ready until 10p 😮.  We use our nice dishes, crystal etc. but I’m not embarrassed to admit that come dessert the paper plates and paper napkins come out! No more dishes please!!!

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Leading up to Thanksgiving & Christmas all I can think about (along with the dishes 😉) is how lucky I am to have my health, my family, my friends, my cozy little house on the hill, the change of seasons, the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, the mountains, the ocean (when I’m lucky enough to go) and of course my babies …

 

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I am grateful for my limits
that teach me patience and pace
I am grateful for challenge, defeat, and loss
They teach me hope is not a light at the end of the dark tunnel
It’s the ember burning within me that I forgot to fan
I am grateful to my teachers
for introducing me to myself
I am grateful for my past
that has delivered me to my present
I am grateful for all I have found and all I have lost
Both remind me I can live with and without
I am grateful for silence and for laughter
And for my ears that can hear both
I am grateful to my heart
that beats and breaks and heals
I am grateful for the fullness of my life
For the brief, heartbreaking, heartwarming fullness of life.
— Jeannie Manchester

I can’t not mention that we should all be sending good thoughts, wishes, hopes & prayers to all the people suffering the horrible fires in California … and for all those suffering in the world.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 1.49.18 PMPerhaps take some time during the holidays while enjoying time off with your family to discuss how your family would like to give this holiday season, whether it’s a donation to a cause you all feel strongly about, or “adopting” a family, or volunteering.  I have a personal request, my dear friend (and first babysitter) Susannah, her husband is fighting colon cancer and is unable to work and they have two small girls.  If you would like to help the donation request is below 🙏.

“The Santamarias remain grateful and moved by your support, prayers, and financial help. If you missed their Go Fund Me campaign, here is the site where you can help them. They are continually in awe of all of you, their friends and family, for your loving support through this time. Thank you for loving our friends well.”

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In yoga we often end class with the mantra “may all being be free from suffering and may all beings benefit from the merits of our practice”.  And by “practice” it doesn’t mean the asana (movement) practice of yoga but the love & kindness that contemplative movement & meditation hopefully bring, inspire & transpire into your actions with others and the world around you.

Let’s all remember this holiday season what it is REALLY about:

Thanks & Giving 

In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.  Elizabeth Gilbert

🧡🧡🧡