And I’m celebrating change.
I look in the mirror and see a face different from the one I saw a few years ago. Yes, I have aged, put on weight and changed. But these are changes that can be seen and things people remark about.
The changes that not so many people mention, at least to my face, are the changes in the way I interact with others and how opinionated I seem to have become. When an ex-colleague wished me yesterday and called me a ‘gentle’ wordsmith, I corrected him and said that I wasn’t so sure of the ‘gentle’ part. I was schooled to be gentle. Told not to raise my voice. And in the bargain, I somehow lost my ability to truly stand up for myself. Now the ‘gentle’ woman has given way to a much fiercer version of me – actually, the real version of me. Authenticity rules!
At times I hear myself talking, and say, ‘Hey, when did you become so vocal?’ At other times, I have to tell myself to go easy and realize that silence is the best response to a particular situation or person.
I’m balancing my relationships much better and that’s something to celebrate.
I’ll admit, I’ve become more wary of people. I no longer take things and people at face value. From the trusting, open soul I used to be, I’m more cautious and guarded in some ways.
A few people may find that I’ve become cynical, and perhaps I have, if cynical means that I no longer buy their stories or jump to rescue them from the messes of their own creation.
Somewhere along the way I’ve realized that I am an introvert and it takes a lot of energy for me to interact with people, especially in large groups. That’s a huge realization, and it brought about a lot of change. In the past, I’d force myself to attend parties and make visits out of a sense of duty. Now I’m quite happy to skip several social occasions that sap my energy without feeling the slightest guilt.
I’ve also learned to cut off or minimize contact with people who drain me or bring drama into my life or who are just plain mean or jealous. I read this today and it well articulates what I’ve been unconsciously doing: You need to align yourself with people who fit your destiny not your history.
The biggest change I celebrate within myself is that I am no longer apologetic about my choices and my behaviour. Only I know how hard I’ve worked to bring change within myself, to become stronger, to make better choices.
Openess And Gratitude
Another change that I celebrate is that I am now much more open to other people’s choices. For example, I have grown from thinking that homeosexuality is a sin, to being someone who will stand up for the freedom and rights of the LGBTQ community.
Perhaps, the biggest cause of celebration for me is that I’ve learned to be grateful for my blessings and even for things that seemingly go wrong. I see everything that happens as a life lesson. Yes, I might grumble for a short while and then I realize everything works for good and that somewhere down the road I’ll figure out why that particular bump came my way!
It’s the same with all of us. Only the individual knows the battles they’re fighting. Only you know how far you’ve come and where you want to go. Know that I wish you well on that journey.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
– Maya Angelou
Have you changed over the years? I’d love to hear about your metamorphosis.
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Today I’m happy to be part of a virtual blog tour for a little book packed with wisdom and insight. I will be sharing my review and give you a chance to throw your hat into the ring for a most generous giveaway from the author.
How to Prepare for Old Age
(without taking the fun out of life)
By Bernard S. Otis
Available on Amazon
In this touching, often humorous and very personal account, Bernie shares his 86 years of life, love, less and laughter as an inspirational guide to what it means to age without growing old. His advice on love after 60, how to talk with family members about illness what you should be prepared for when confronting tragedy and loss, what it means to be a caregiver to a loved one and many other of life’s challenges are a must for family members young and old.
Mr. Otis’s book is a treasure trove of personal and professional life experiences that will help you prepare for old age and take control of the nature of aging. Be prepared to laugh out loud and quietly shed a tear as Bernie takes you through the voyage of life.
Bernard S. (Bernie) Otis is a delightful and well known speaker, writer and community leader who has made his 65-year career in the food service facility planning, marketing, management, sales and consulting industries. His life’s work has included service to many hotels and restaurants in Southern California, Santa Clarita, San Diego, Las Vegas and New York City among others. He has been instrumental in serving several top companies such as Hewlett Packard and Disneyland as well as major hospitals, universities and restaurants around the country. His community involvement includes work with the National Indian Gaming Association and the Rotary Club (where he has been a member since 1954 and a Paul Harris Fellow.) After his wife’s death in 2012, Bernie, a trained Hospice care giver, began working with families of terminally-ill patients.
Connect with Bernie on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.
As someone who has just entered her 50s, and whose parents are approaching their 90s, this was just the book I needed to read.
Essentially, the book is a call to people to make it easier for themselves and their loved ones to be prepared emotionally and practically for old age. It’s a call to live life to the fullest and yet be prepared for the unexpected. This joke included in the book illustrates just that:
An eighty-year-old man is sitting on a bench in Central Park. It is five in the afternoon and he is crying. A young businesswoman on her way home from work comes up to him and asks him what was wrong and why he is crying.
He replies, “This is terrible. My first wife passed away one year ago today, and I remember I had such a hard time handling her affairs. Now I am married to a gorgeous blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman who takes very good care of me. She’s as young as you. She cooks me wonderful meals and takes me out to dinners, theatre, and everywhere. She keeps a clean house and we enjoy a beautiful physical relationship.”
The woman is surprised and says, “So why are you crying?”
He answers, “I cannot remember where I live.”
Written from the perspective of an 86 year old, the book made me laugh, cry and nod my head in agreement quite a few times. Filled with anecdotes the book also has a lot of practical wisdom. For example, the author has dedicated one chapter to questions and a checklist that is so useful for an older person’s family when s/he becomes ill and eventually passes away. These are questions about insurance, finances etc.
I would certain recommend this book to all of us starting our journey through midlife. [rating=4]
The author is giving one lucky reader a $20 Amazon Gift Card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
We are on Day 11 of the September Blogging Challenge.
Where is she going?
This young girl
With dreams in her pocket
And a bag full of hope..
A new life awaits her
She’s excited to go
To conquer the world
And be something more.
Where is she going?
She’s not so sure any more
A woman now….
She really doesn’t know
How her dreams came apart
And her plans didn’t start
But she knows
That she must
Keep following her heart.
Where is she going?
This woman at fifty
More sure of herself
She makes a new start
With a bag full of hope
And still following her heart.
No worlds to conquer
Except the one deep within
With a smile on her face
And her heart full of thanks
She has nowhere to go
She’s happy to stay
Living life in her own
Linking into Write or Die Wednesdays hosted by Mia of The Chronicles of Chaos and Vashelle of Shelly’s Cabaret a bi-monthly creative writing prompt.
Today’s prompt is :
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
Today I’m 50! Happy birthday to me.
What better way to celebrate it than to recall all I’ve learned a half century of living on this our beautiful Earth. You might find some of them seemingly contradictory, but they’re really not!
50 Life Lessons From 50 Years Of Living
- You are on this Earth school so that your soul can prepare for the next phase of living. Be open to all learning.
- At the end of your life you want to be proud of the choices you’ve made. Make good choices.
- If you have made poor choices, own them and imbibe the lessons they were meant to teach you.
- Life is no picnic, but neither is it a drudge. Learn to enjoy every aspect of it.
- You get to write your own life story. Make it a bestseller!
- You are responsible for your life. Don’t let it be hijacked by anyone else. Put yourself first.
- Never apologize for being who you are.
- Invest time getting to know yourself. Remember, you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
- Sing in the shower. Happiness is an inside job. Choose to be happy.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. I promise you that the world won’t come to an end if you wear your clothes inside out in public!
- There’s nothing better than a good belly laugh. Laugh often.
- Plan for the future, but live in the moment.
- Don’t let your past dictate your present choices.
- There are mean people in this world. Learn to deal with them skillfully.
- There are good people in the world. Make sure you connect with more of them.
- Give of your time and presence to others.
- Value your time and let people know that you do.
- Be punctual. Don’t waste other people’s time because you can’t be better organized.
- Take nothing for granted – not even the air you breathe.
- Be grateful for everything. Gratitude will see you through a lot of difficult times.
- Take care of yourself. The world owes you nothing.
- The Universe is very benevolent. Learn to plug into its resources.
- Practice mindfulness. Self-awareness is the key to living a mindful life.
- Be kind. Your acts of kindness especially when done with no expectation of reward, will bring much soul satisfaction.
- Be open to love. There’s always that one person out there that will get you. Keeping looking for him/her.
- Be God-aware. Know that there’s a Higher Power in control of the Universe.
- Seek intelligent company. Learn to make intelligent and interesting conversation. There’s nothing worse than a bore!
- Realize that everyone is creative. Find your creative outlet/s.
- Practise forgiveness. Forgive yourself and others too.
- Give and you’ll get. (Yes, Mom, I know you told me that!).
- Have dreams and goals. Know when to pursue them and when to let go. Sometimes the best learning is from unfulfilled dreams and unaccomplished goals.
- Know when it is time to let go of a relationship. Believe me, you and the other person will survive (thrive, even!).
- Make time for silliness.
- Money is not the root of evil. Envy often is.
- Get yourself a pet. I’d suggest a dog, naturally.
- Appearances can be deceptive. Learn to look beyond the obvious.
- Don’t trust anyone who is nice all the time.
- Learn to value your own opinion. Take the advice of others, but the final call should be yours.
- Trust your intuition.
- Enjoy the little things – the smell of rain, the sound of birds, the feel of a warm blanket, chocolate…
- Shrouds have no pockets. You can’t take your wealth with you. Be prudent, but never miserly.
- Get a regular massage. You deserve to feel good. Drink plenty of water too.
- Live in grace, never in guilt.
- Be comfortable with your emotions – they are only indicators of what’s going on within you.
- Count up to 10 before you write an angry letter, email or social media update. Run it by a trustworthy person before you send/publish it.
- Take regular naps. Rest your body – it’s good for your soul.
- Make room for awe – a sunset, a baby’s birth, a baby’s smile – let them fill you with awe.
- Remember that you haven’t seen it all, experienced it all and don’t know it all. Be open to new experiences.
- Life is short. Make it meaningful.
- Reach for your dreams, but remember that every day on this earth can be a dream too. Make it a technicolor one.
And there’s a bonus of 25 quotes which are life lessons in themselves! Enjoy!
- Your life is already a miracle of chance waiting for you to shape its destiny. – Toni Morrison
- A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living. – Virginia Woolf
- There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, everyone of them sufficient. – Marilynne Robinson
- I think this is how we’re supposed to be in the world -present and in awe.- Anne Lamott
- Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. – Maya Angelou
- Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots. – Elizabeth Gilbert
- What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. — Albert Einstein
- Think less about what went wrong and more about how you would like it to go right.-Alan Cohen
- You are the hero of your own story – Unknown
- You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.- Rumi
- The only permission, the only validation, and the only opinion that matters in our quest for greatness is our own. – Steve Maraboli
- Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring. – Unknown
- There is more to life than simply increasing its speed. – Mahatma Gandhi
- There is little success where there is little laughter. – Andrew Carnegie
- It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. – Henry David Thoreau
- A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. -Bruce Lee
- “By seeking and blundering we learn.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. – Vincent Van Gogh
- Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. – Michael Landon
- The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you. – Unknown
- Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.- Gregory Maguire
- Do something today that your future self will thank you for.- Anonymous
- Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.
– Marcus Aurelius
- Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly your mind is more open. – Ralph Marston
- Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon
What are the lessons life is teaching you? Do add to my list. (I creating the draft of life lessons for my 100th birthday! 😉 )
August is here and my blogging pal, Robyn, informs me that it is Happiness Happens Month! I must learn from my other blogging pal, Sacha, whose birthday was in July, celebrates all month long. I’m so happy she included me in her celebrations by giving me a space on her blog yesterday. So I’m going to have a happy celebration of my birthday month too! Yes, it’s in August and it’s a big number one! 😉
I’m hoping to be blogging through the month. If you’ve signed up for my updates, I’ve made sure you’re not getting too many emails from me, by changing updates to a weekly mode. If you haven’t signed up, why ever not? 😉
A birthday is a good time to take stock, reflect and to move foward. I’m planning to do that?
As I’ve been discovering and rediscovering myself these last few years I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be a mermaid. No, my legs have not fused together yet! I’m referring to this quote.
“I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” ― Anaïs Nin
We live in times when we throw away stuff that doesn’t work without even trying to get it fixed. We live in times when we’re cannot tolerate discomfort, much less pain. We must find solutions everything and answers to every question. And when we don’t, we’re uncomfortable and unhappy.
I used to be that way. Okay, I’ll admit I still am, but not as much as before. I have learned that not everything can be resolved, not every question answered and not every relationship restored. Some people will just never get us – even our own family – but that’s okay.
I’ve learned to focus more on understanding my own behaviour and responses to what’s happening around me. I’m no longer afraid to plumb the depths of my own darkness, understand my motives, and be at peace with it all. I’ve learned to trust my intuition about people and events and act accordingly.
We are a radically bottom-line society, eager to act and to end tension, and thus we lose opportunities to know ourselves for our motives and our secrets.” ― Thomas Moore, Care Of The Soul – A Guide For Cultivating Depth And Sacredness In Everyday Life
I have still a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way in my journey to wholeness too. This month, I’ll celebrate the mermaid within! 🙂
[Tweet ““I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” ― Anaïs Nin”]
I’m taking part in Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Blog Challenge and BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo. Day 1 today
The beautiful image of a mermaid is created by artist, Anya Getter.
I know one person who is going to have a good laugh as he reads this post. My husband – José. He’s been an afternoon napper since we first met almost 9 years ago! I’d tease him for not being able to resist hitting the bed almost 15 minutes after lunch.
When we got married he’d pester me to come and rest. Somehow, naps were not something that was encouraged when I was growing up. Why even today I don’t think my almost-90-year-old father naps during the day! Somewhere in my subconscious napping during the day amounted to laziness.
In the last year, I’m often the first one to head off for a nap after lunch (sometimes before too) and I find I can’t function without a nap during the day. Midlife, wisdom or the bad influence of my husband, I don’t know, but nap I must. And little did I dream that I’d one day write this post in praise of napping!
According to Dr Sara Mednick in her book, Take a Nap! Change Your Life! human beings are the only animals that try to get by with one long stretch of sleep.
“Let’s look at the rest of the animal kingdom. Do any other species try to get all their sleep in one long stretch? No. They’re all multiphasic, meaning that they have many phases of sleep. Homo sapiens (our modern industrialized variety, anyway) stand alone in attempting to satisfy the need for sleep in one phase. And even that distinction is a relatively recent development. For most of our history, a rest during the day was considered as necessary a component of human existence as sleeping at night. As A. Roger Ekirch, one of the few historians to study sleep, put it, ‘Napping is a tool as old as time itself.”
~ Sara C. Mednick from
“Naps restore you. Even a six-minute nap can improve memory and problem solving. Naps can act as the ideal pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon or while at work. Winston Churchill always tried to take a daytime nap. Many world leaders take “power naps.” Before the industrial revolution, most of the population routinely took naps. Why? Human beings are built that way. As you learned in the chapter on sleep, before artificial lighting from gas or electricity, people normally slept at night and during the day. Our body clocks decree it.”
~ Matthew Edlund from The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough. A 30-Day Plan to Reset Your Body
I’ve always learned that you should never disturb Catholic nuns and priests between 12.30 pm and 4.00 pm, because they would be having their lunch followed by a ‘siesta’. I wondered where the word came from.
Sara Mednick says: “By the first century B.C., the Romans had divided their day into periods designated for specific activities, such as prayer, meals and rest. Midday became known as sexta, as in the sixth hour (noon by their way of counting), a time when everyone would go to bed. The word has survived in the familiar term siesta.”
Call me lazy or whatever you want to, but please don’t disturb me during my siesta time! 🙂
Do you take a nap during the day?
Watch Dr Mednick on YouTube telling us about how to take the best nap.
- Write a post sharing your thoughts on a subject of your choice. Make it as personal as possible.
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Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Laura Lee Carter. She has been blogging as the Midlife Crisis Queen since 2007 in an effort to share all that she has learned through her own midlife transformation. Laura Lee is also a professional researcher and a trained psychotherapist, offering counseling by phone and Skype!.
What Is Midlife?
Looking around a busy Barnes & Noble recently, I noticed they had specially delineated sections for teens. Struggling through the crowd, I finally got the attention of an attractive, dark-headed twenty-something assistant and asked, “Do you have a special section for midlife?” He turned to me and said, “What’s that?”
Astounded, I didn’t miss a beat. “Readers in their forties and fifties. You know, in the middle of their life.”
“Oh no,” he said, “those are grouped with the other adult nonfiction books.” And then he smiled the cutest smile and wandered off.
I was astonished by the education I’d just received. What’s midlife, you ask . . . just wait!
Midlife seems to surprise us all, much like the other transitions we may experience in life, like divorce, menopause, or unexpected layoffs. We go along, thinking we have things mostly figured out, and then, bam, we’re struck silly by some gigantic change we didn’t even see coming. Welcome to the midlife wake-up calls that inform us, in not-so-subtle ways, that it’s time to figure it out all over again!
But then, that is pretty much the point, isn’t it? We need to be shocked into the realization that we haven’t figured it all out. There’s so much more to learn before this game is over. And if we’re slow learners, life just keeps coming at us until we finally get it. What would it take to wake you up?
It took a divorce, hysterectomy, and the first layoff of my entire twenty-five-year career to wake me up.
The divorce was the first blow. It left me wondering, “What was I thinking? Did I really think I could spend the rest of my life with him?” Time to reevaluate all the choices I’d made up until then. The good news is that it caused me to delve into my previous beliefs about love, call up an old boyfriend from twenty-five years past, and finally get rid of lots of accumulated guilt and shame.
My second major change was a hysterectomy. This turned out to be the best medical decision of my life. I remember my doctor asking me to describe how I felt about my uterus. I said, “It’s been nothing but trouble my whole life!” She said, “Right answer!” and we proceeded to the planning stage of my surgery.
The layoff was the toughest blow for me. I had clung to my identity as a librarian for decades, not because I loved the work but because I needed that one bit of security in my otherwise precarious world. When that final bit of stability fell, I was completely on my own in the dark and lonely sea of midlife transition. Strike three, you’re out!
And I was out, out in the world completely on my own with no husband, no job, and no uterus. What’s a girl to do? I began to dwell on the question, “How did I arrive at this place?” Taking care to avoid the stickier question—am I really just a loser?—I decided my entire belief system needed a remake.
That was the beginning of a wild and crazy journey for me, one that has led to an amazing amount of personal change, all of it for the better!
This is an excerpt from Laura Lee Carter’s first book:Midlife Magic: Becoming the person you are inside.
Reconnecting and rediscovering old connections is so much easier with Facebook, don’t you think? Despite the downside of social media, this is the one thing that I truly treasure.
So it was quite a thrill to reconnect, after a gap of almost thirty years, with an old neighbour. She is ten years older than I am. When, I was five, she was fifteen and quite the girl I look up to. That she cared enough to spend time with me, take me around the neighbourhood and chat and listen to me, really gave me quite a thrill. She was the big sister I didn’t have!
But we moved away. And when I next met her, I was in my teens and she was in her twenties – still loving and affectionate but very lost. Always brilliant, she kept trying one line of study and then the other and still hadn’t decided on what she wanted to be. More precisely, it seemed to me that she couldn’t decide who she wanted to be. She had been engaged to a man much older than her, and from all accounts it was not a suitable match. She, thankfully, broke off the engagement, and kept drifting in both with her relationships and her line of work. She kept experimenting with different religious practices too. All of this seemed very confusing to me as a teenager and I didn’t quite know what to make of her.
We tried to keep in touch, but it never worked out, because we didn’t seem to have anything in common any more. We heard from common friends, that she had moved to the US for her studies. A few years later, we got an invitation to her wedding. But it was in the US and naturally, I couldn’t attend. Her groom was an American and since her family had emigrated too, we lost touch completely.
But I thought of her often and decided to look for her on Facebook. Happy to find her there, we connected – but our contact was limited after the initial exchanges. Since she didn’t share her profile picture, I had no clue what she looked like now and was reluctant to ask. Last year, she began to share a lot on Facebook – nothing too personal. However, the thoughts she shared on life, love, spirituality and religion resonated with me. It seems that for once we were both in the same place – midlife! 🙂
Then last year, she told me she was coming to India and was stopping over at Mumbai. We had to meet. And we did at a mutually conveniently located restaurant. I was looking out for an older woman, so imagine my surprise when in walked this woman who looked nothing like a soon-to-be sixty year old. She looked like she was in her thirties! Also, I remember that she had a lot of acne marks. I confess that the first question I asked her was how she managed to look that way. She told me that she regularly practiced yoga and had had some dermatological treatment for her marks about which I could learn more here. After much conversation, laughter and telling of our stories, I was thrilled to learn that she was happily married, very content with her life and her line of work, enjoying her two children, regularly practicing yoga and of course looking like a dream!
Reconnecting and redisovering this old friend is just one of the happy connections that Facebook has made possible for me. Have you had any such experiences on Facebook? Do share.
photo credit: *¦·sindorella·¦* via photopin cc