Category Archives: Lifestyle

Giddy at Fifty

In exactly 7 days, I will turn 50 years old … yes, me turning 50!  I am over the moon ecstatic.  I never thought I would reach this age.  I am a cancer survivor, a crisis survivor, continue to battle PTSD and depression.   I have lost so many loved ones when they were too young – my brother 25 yo, my Dad 57 yo, my fiance 37 yo, aunt 35 yo … I had decided that was my fate as well.  I have spent most of my life thinking I was running out of time.  I lived in the past or in the moment, never fully preparing nor planning a future.

I am almost halfway to 100 and I am so giddy lately.  I am finally midlife.   I will be half of a century old.  How downright exciting … to be me right now??   I am about to finally reach a true milestone and with this I have learned that a happy life starts at whatever age you finally grow up and realize that it’s yours to live … not dictated by family nor work.  It’s all mine.

Sure, I am not naive enough to think it will all be smooth sailing here on out.  I have been through too much to believe that.  But I have been through so much already, I know I can get through whatever life throws at me.

I do worry at times, financially I am not in a good place; nor romantically…even professionally.  Could I have accomplished more?  Sure.  I have spent way too many years in the past.  I no longer live there.  I have hibernated enough.  I have compromised enough.  I have sacrificed enough.  Cancer, regret, loss, crisis, compromise, sacrifice – all have changed the course of my ideal life.   I still have many anxious moments – I still work hard each day to keep my fears and demons at bay.  I have learned and accepted that even with the best planning, we are never fully in control of our own destiny. This lessons learned has come with a high price in my life; it’s a benefit that I have been gifted with the act of getting older, being wise, being experienced.  I am fortunate enough to understand that growth in life doesn’t just stop midlife – it’s a continual realigning, reevaluating, realizing, reexamining, renewing, reconnecting, reacquainting and renewing…and loving the alliteration as always … finally relaxing and just accepting me … yes ME.

Learning as I turn 50, there is so much of life to look back on …and there is so much more to do.  I live for all my loved ones who died too young.  I live for me.  Turning 50 is great because I am still here.  I have learned to be my own cheerleader, my own support system.  I am a survivor.  I have found my smile even through my tears.  I fight through any pain, any sadness, any setback.  I look in the mirror and am happy to see wrinkles, even the gray hair and the love handles.  I have earned this life.  I have lived this life.  And I will continue …. with hope in my heart and grace in my step.  #JustT

 

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Romantic Gestures … Chivalry is Not Dead!

Now that summer is winding down and my J months of dating are behind me, I can share my notes on what I have learned from my dating experiences the past couple of months.

I have learned that chivalry is not completely dead.  Thank goodness.  I believe I am finally meeting the right people.  I was raised by very traditional parents.  My Dad did everything for my Mom and his four daughters; and my brother was raised to protect us as well, even though he was younger than us – his sisters.

Being the youngest girl and sickly as a child, made my Dad and brother extra protective of me. They wouldn’t let me do much, nor carry anything.  I was exempt from most chores.  I guess that is why I became a voracious reader and enjoy writing.  But I digress.

One thing I grew up loving, was when my Dad and brother always walked closest to the curb, ensuring I was protected from any oncoming traffic, or splashes from cars hitting puddles.   I’ve known men who religiously obey this unwritten rule and those that don’t even know it exists.  Happily, lucky for me, lately, I have met men who are still old-fashioned, chivalrous and true gentlemen.

I have enjoyed the past few weeks.  I have had men open doors for me, carry my bags, hold the umbrella in the rain, take my hand to help me out of the car, give me their jacket as the sun went down, stand as I entered the room, promptly on time, and ensured I arrived home and upstairs safely.  It was refreshing.

I understand that we live in a society where women are fighting to be treated equally and are fiercely independent.  And many of the traditionally gentlemanly acts are lost to so many.  I have heard some women call men sexist for holding doors and even offering seats to them.  Not me.  Sadly, I think many young men are a product of today’s society and many may think they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.  They don’t want to be considered weak nor whipped.

Yes, women are totally capable of opening their own door. We are also capable of opening a door for a guy. It’s the kind thing to do for others.   I have held the door open for many a people, regardless of their gender.  I have offered my seat to all sorts of people – pregnant women, elderly people, people with many bags, or small children.  When an opportunity arises to encourage, promote, and kindly accept chivalry, why not take it?  Let’s allow more kindness in our lives.  I will continue to allow the men in my life to be slightly old-fashioned, manly and chivalrous while I graciously respond to their actions.

I enjoy my femininity and prefer a masculine man.  I don’t think I am weak nor helpless.  I do like when men make me feel valuable and worthy of respect.  I truly believe that it’s the small things that count in any relationship. Displaying good manners will always earn extra points with me.  I encourage and appreciate male chivalry.  These little things are romantic and sweet gestures as well to me.

When a man walks around me, so he could position himself to be on the outside, closest to the street and curb, makes me smile.  I think it’s cute and somehow shows me he can be reliable.  And I just know that my Dad and brother are smiling down on me from Heaven when I find a man to make me feel as protected as they did.  I am truly thankful for the care and strength that the men in my life have shown me. I am blessed.

And if someone opens a door for me, offers me their seat, or any other chivalrous gesture – I will always smile and politely say, “thank you” … with a twinkle in my eye, grace in my step and hope in my heart.

 

 


Life … As we know it ….

Being lazy, yet again this morning, watching the movie, “Life As We Know It”.   And although not the best movie, not the biggest fan of the main actors, I realized that this movie kinda sums up life … it can change in the blink of an eye.

It shows us loss, love, change, adapting, compromise, forgiveness, hope, laughter … yes … life as we know it!

When the character, Eric Messer says: “Just because you accept help from someone, doesn’t mean you have failed. It just means you’re not in it alone” – it strangely gives me hope.

 

 


Friendships…

Been sickly lately, tired of running from pulmonary rehab to occupational therapy and still trying to maintain a sense of normalcy…but through all of my ups and downs especially since my car accident last year and cancer scares, I truly am learning more about the people I have allowed into my life. I believe we all have friends at different levels, various stages of our lives, for different reasons. And I think with the use of so many different social media avenues, we have allowed varying degrees of friends into our lives. These days the meaning of ‘friend’ has changed so much. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – we call people friends who we chatted to once online and sent a friend request to. These people are our every day, surface friends. We may share a laugh, comment on a funny post, like photos, etc. We have friends who are acquaintances, former or current co-workers, neighbors – those you may see on a regular basis. Some of these friends we may have briefly connected because of work, school, community or travel. Friends from a wine club, photography club, book club, running club, etc., may fit nicely into this surface level of friendship.

We have like-minded friends, those are like lifestyle friends and enjoy many of the same things. More social common interests bind these type of friendships. You can go out, talk for hours and still enjoy their company. Most of these type of friends are there in the good times. These two levels of friendships include people you know well enough to talk with should you meet up somewhere unexpected or offer you a ride as long as it isn’t out of their way. Share a meal with, let you borrow their tools, drive you to the airport if you asked, as long as it’s a reasonable hour. They will judge you. I have learned not to expect too much from these friends. All are needed in the days of our lives. I have been hurt, burned by many people who I thought were more than just a mere friend. So I have had to learn to shift my perspective and change my expectation of them. Some of those friends that in the past, I thought would come to my aid but didn’t are now my feel-good, lifestyle friends. We are friends with each other because of proximity, our lifestyles and really enjoy each other’s company. I realize that these friends of are actually a ton of fun. And they will most likely be the first ones who will invite me to visit, go on vacation, and get together for dinner, etc., when I recover from the life crisis I am currently experiencing.

Then there are those true blue friends…you know those friends who don’t judge you, are there for you in good times and bad. They know your weaknesses and strengths, yet still accept you for who you are. They can be honest with you (and you them) even when it is something you don’t want to hear without it destroying the friendship. They are willing to tell you the truth, and not just what they think you want to hear. Your friendship may have been through rough times, but it has not been destroyed. Instead it may have become stronger. A true friend does not abandon you when you need them. While a basic friend may only be around you when it is convenient for them, a true friend will go out of their way to help you and stand by you when others don’t. Your friendship is more than surface level, its skin deep. These friends are the ones you may not see them for years, but time doesn’t change the relationship, the love you have for one another. You pick up exactly where you dropped off. They are like part of your family and sometimes even closer than your own blood family. They are a part of you. A best friend, or true friend is someone who knows your faults and loves you anyway. A true friend is unique, if you have one count yourself lucky – after years of going to school, working on careers, having kids, growing your family, divorce, sickness, or one of life’s other issues – you call them up and ask for a huge favor and they drop whatever they are doing no matter the hour to help. Both of you pick up where you left off as if only a single day has past. They are the people that at your funeral cry because you are gone, at your birthday parties they are the ones that stay after everyone else is gone to clean up because it’s your birthday and you shouldn’t have to clean up, they are the ones that know when you are having a tough go of things to just stop by with a meal or a drink or just a smile to see that you are okay. It would never occur to them to judge anything you do.

You don’t really know a person is a true friend until the relationship has been tested. You may think they are a true friend, but you only know for sure when you go through a rough patch and they are still there for you. If you are lucky you have at least one…I have learned I have more than one. I am a lucky lady indeed. You may never know who your true friends are until life throws you an unwelcome curve ball or two…or three. When this happens and the friends or family you thought would help carry you through don’t, you go through stages of grief. It’s devastating. As time passes, you can either be resentful, bitter and heartbroken, or you can be so incredibly thankful that you’ve learned a valuable life lesson. I am learning to be more grateful and forgiving. The people who do step forward to be by your side are your true friends. You’re blessed to find out who these people are, so love them up. Some people will never have this luxury; they’ll spend their entire lives surrounded by people who aren’t their true friends.

Three simple levels I tend to believe when it comes to being friends and sharing news:

1. A friend, acquaintance is someone who you tell about it weeks later.
2. A lifestyle, close friend calls to talk and finds out about it.
3. A true friend doesn’t need to be told because they are already in the kitchen making soup because they were there when you started getting sick.

Once I was able to make a full emotional and logical shift in the way I viewed my friendships, I experienced appreciation for all my friends! I now feel absolute caring, love and joy for all of them. There’s no hidden resentment or underlying sadness. I feel blessed that I have learned this life lesson.

My truest bluest friends will always come first in my heart and life. I also love my lifestyle friends, because as I heal, I love having a wider circle of friends who will go to wineries, bars, games, have dinner, or go for a walk.

You can eat and drink together, talk and laugh together, enjoy life together, but you are only real friends when you have also cried together. Love to all. ♥


The past…no longer haunting….

Sometimes, some days more than others I find myself stalled, stuck in memories of the past.
As I get older, I find myself reminiscing about the past more, getting wistful, being disappointed. As I learn more about myself, more self-aware, I discover more about whom I really am and what I truly want, and then I realize that there are changes I need to make. I feel like I have matured so much the past few years, and am finally understanding and accepting the lifestyle that I have been living no longer fits. Unfortunately, some of the people I have known forever no longer see things the way I do. So I find myself trying to cherish all the great memories, but needing to move on.

Lessons learned the hard way for the most part…

One can learn from their history, but we can’t live in it. You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. Some things just aren’t meant to be. Everything from your past does not belong in your present. To hold onto relationships and circumstances that have already moved on without you is to stay stuck in a place and time that no longer exists. Moving on doesn’t mean you completely forget the wonderful things from your past, it just means that you find a positive way of surviving without them in your present. The past never changes. You can spend hours, days, weeks, months, or even years sitting alone in a dark room, over-analyzing a situation from the past, trying to put the pieces together, and trying to justify what could have or should have happened. Or you can just leave the pieces in the dark and walk out the front door , put one foot in front of the other, breathe and keep moving forward.

Life is truly shorter than we think; so much taken for granted. While you are complaining about all the little problems in your life, somebody is desperately fighting for their right to live. You are responsible for each minute in your life. It is up to you to make the most of each day. One day, someday, suddenly, there will be no more minutes.

Playing the martyr, the victim is like holding onto pain which is just self abuse. Our past has given us the strength and wisdom we have today, so celebrate it. Don’t let it haunt you. Replaying a painful memory over and over in your head is just another form of self abuse. Toxic thoughts and people create a toxic life. Make peace with yourself and your past. Try and stop focusing on old problems and things you don’t want in your future.

I have learned that some things are just out of our control. Let the things you can’t control, happen. Moving on can create positive change. You may blame everyone else and think, “Poor me! Why do all these crappy things keep happening to me?” But the only thing those scenarios all have in common is YOU. And this is good news, because it means YOU alone have the power to change things, or change the way you think about things. There is something very powerful and liberating about surrendering to change and embracing it – this is where personal growth and evolution reside.

New opportunities are out there waiting for us all. The world keeps reinventing me…and I am embracing my life, with its myriad of opportunities. Taking ownership of me…♥


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