Body

Middle Aged

That awkward space in ones life smack dab in between being born and leaving this earth.

What a terrible idea middle age is.

Who is to say when MY middle age is?

If I die at 70, I’m way passed the middle.

Humans like milestones. Are we there yet? Not yet, just a couple more hours. It gives us something to look forward to on a long drive. We want to know how long the drive will be, and what time we will arrive. The human life is not so simple.

Our destination is not as simple as arriving at Grandma’s house.

If my calculations are correct, I have just begun ‘middle age’. But I don’t really know when I will get ‘there’, the end of the journey.

I’m not on a plane ride. I am on my life’s journey and there is still so much to see and do and learn.

For now all I have is NOW. So, I stay here, laugh here, play here. Stay present. Because I don’t know where my middle or end are. I Laugh now.

Organization

Having and Getting More

I tend to get reflective around the new moon and this month’s new moon was no different. I woke up feeling a little dreadful. I had intended to sort through my attic and donate some things but didn’t have the energy. I kept having this thought that I needed to clear out the old to make room for the new.

As I looked around the attic I realized that I really like most of the stuff and I didn’t want to get rid of it. We were in the middle of finish our basement and the attic would be our next focus. I have ideas about having some guest rooms and perhaps an office and bathroom in the attic at some point in time. It wasn’t going to happen right away, but the things I was considering donating could be useful once that attic is complete.

I felt sad about this. How could I bring in more abundance if I’m not clearing out the clutter first?

As I had the day off, I spent some time taking a walk, meditating and generally lollygagging around. It felt great to have a day that was filled with literally nothing. But I had this nagging questions going around and around my head. How can I bring in more abundance if I’m hanging on to old stuff?

Towards the end of the day I laid down in the grass and looked up at the sky. It was a clear blue with no clouds at all. The temperature was just right at around 76 degrees and there was a gentle breeze. It felt good to lay there just staring into the sky. I started to relax and just lay there enjoying it. My body relaxed, my mind relaxed and I just stared.

After a while a thought came to mind: What if I kept what I had AND embraced more?

Me: What?!?!?

Universe: Yeah! You can keep what you have AND want more.

Me: WHAT?!?! Are you saying I can keep what I have (because I love it) and still be eligible to get more stuff?

Universe: Yes. That is what abundance is. There is no limit to what you can wish for and have.

________________________

I was dumbfounded and lay there for a long time letting that roll around in my head. I can have what I already have AND ask for more. I don’t have to clear out and get rid of anything. I can simple have it all.

As a (somewhat) minimalist this just blew my mind. I had always practiced clearing out. I felt like it was very important work to ‘get rid of’. But sometimes I regretted what I got rid of and eventually re-purchased it. It was wasteful and stupid. I had this rule that if I wanted a new pair of shoes I should let a pair I already had go to make room.

To think that I could keep what I already have AND get more was crazy! But I realized that feeling like I had to get rid of things in order to have more was like believing the universe only had so much to give me, that there was a limit to what I was allowed to have. This is the exact opposite of abundance. It was the very epitome of lack. I felt underserving to have more. While I was working on my mindset around abundance I had actually been believing the opposite.

I had convinced myself that there was a limit to what I was allowed to have. That is was an either/or decision. But true abundance is having ALL the things I want.

I spent the rest of the day letting this roll around in my mind. I can keep what I have AND ask for more. What a beautiful idea. I will work on graciously accepting all the gifts I receive.

Mind

Measuring Time

There is a little Inn our family liked to visit. We have been going there for years. They have a great outside dining view of Pine Lake in LaPorte, Indiana. The Blue Heron Inn is not a very big place, but just the right size for our family of 4.

My kids have especially loved it for the swimming pool. Both of my kids love swimming in the pool, so even though it’s a very short drive for us, we like to spend the night at the Inn and the the day by the pool.

At the deepest part, the pool is only 4′ 6″ deep.

I can remember the first time going there. The kids had to wear their life jackets because neither one could touch the bottom and still have their head above the water. I had to be in the pool with them because they were so young.

It took a few years before they were good enough swimmers that even though they couldn’t touch bottom I felt o.k. letting them swim without their life jackets.

We went there this past weekend to relax for Father’s Day. Even before we were unpacked the kids were rummaging for their swim suits and getting ready to go to the pool. They were excited to get in the water and cool off from the 90 degree day.

My daughter jumped in first and was swimming around excitedly. She went towards the deep end of the pool and stood up. She was shocked she could touch the bottom and have her head above the water.

She yelled to get my attention and showed me how she could stand there in the deep end of the pool with her feet flat on the bottom and her head well above the water.

What?! Wait, how did that happen? How did she grow so tall? In the blink of an eye, she went from bobbing around in her life jacket to standing in the deep end of the pool.

I could measure the times we swam here by how she had grown and where she could touch bottom of the pool. I was proud, sad, freaked out, excited, and sad (again) all at once. How did this amount of time go whizzing by so fast? Where was the little toddler wobbling around in her swim diaper?

She is growing into an pretty amazing your lady. My heart is full. Thank you Blue Heron Inn and T-Bones for so many great memories. Happy Father’s Day.

Mind

Teenage Sass

My teenage son s usually agreeable and well mannered. But this week we had quite an argument. I was surprised how he raised his voice at me.

While the kids are sleeping in until noon and staying up half the night, I have been getting up to go to work every day. Coming home to a sink full of dishes, empty chip bags on the counter and crumbs all over the kitchen floor made me mad. Really mad!

I let my kids know in no uncertain terms that that was not acceptable. They are responsible for taking care of their own mess. I warned them they would lose some privileges if they continued leaving a mess for me to find when I got home. They ignored me.

On Monday I came home to the usual mess. I went on my app that controls our internet and set their internet to go off at night so they couldn’t stay up all night with their friends playing games. I quietly cleaned up the messy house and went to bed. As planned the internet shut down. It was raining so the kids assumed the storm knocked out the internet. The next night the internet shut down again. This time they put two and two together.

When I got home from work the following day my son met me with all the reasons I was wrong to shut off the internet. He was fired up. He listed all his arguments. He raised his voice. He told me I could not do what I did. I listened. I argued back.  I let him know that having internet access was a privilege and not a right. I told him I could have it shut off permanently if I wanted to. I could drive him to the school parking lot to do his homework where he could tap into their internet.

I stood my ground. The next day the house was spotless when I came home. The rest of this week the house has stayed mostly clean. That is how it should be.

But after the argument with my son I was upset. It was the first time he had raised his voice at me. It was not in a threatening way, but out of frustration and anger. I was upset and felt disrespected. I was about to tell him so.

Then after thinking about it for a couple more days, I decided I was proud of him. I didn’t raise a wallflower. He is opinionated, he feels he can voice his opinion to me. He feels confident about his beliefs and he feels confident he can voice those opinions without being shut down by me. I like that. I am raising a strong young man. I am very proud of that.

He should be pushing the boundaries now. It is what teenagers do. It is o.k. It is how they learn to navigate the world.  I am willing to give him the space to do that. He is getting ready to fly out of the nest and finding his voice is part of the preparations. I’m glad he is growing up to be a confident and opinionated young man.

Body, Mind

Stay Curious

I am curious.  I want to know how things work and why.  I pride myself for digging for the details to understand a concept and then decide if it works for me or not.  It’s how I solve problems.

Growing up in the 80’s eating a low-fat diet was all the rage.  Does anyone else remember the potato chips made with special oil that your body wouldn’t absorb?  There was a warning on the package that cautioned you might shit yourself.  People bought them anyway.  They were willing to do anything to lose a few pounds except give up potato chips.

I never had an issue with my weight until after my kids came along.  I was 40 when my daughter Jennifer was born.  I blamed age and hormones for not losing the baby fat.  I bought into the fad of shakes for breakfast, one-hour workouts and eating low fat.  Over the course of that year I gained 18 pounds and I suffered from severe headaches.  It turns out I could not tolerate the ingredients in the protein powder I was using.  I really beat myself up over it. I decided I needed to get curious.  What I was doing wasn’t working so the ‘expert’ advice I had believed for my entire life had to be flawed.

I started reading everything I could get my hands on to learn why I was gaining weight when I was working out twice as hard and eating less.  I learned about the affects of sugar on the body.  I learned about insulin and carbs.  I learned about what fuel my body needed to be at its best.

Once I learned, I tried out and tested the theories on myself.  I found what worked and what didn’t.  It was a 5 years process.  I realized I hate smoothies and shakes.  I hate eating breakfast.  I don’t like hummus, either.

I never want to stop learning.  As long as I stay curious I guard myself against buying into the latest theories hook, line and sinker.  I try them out.  I debate them with anyone who is open to the conversation.  I continue to be curious.  It serves me well.

Next – My son Joey likes to debate politics, pay inequality, and environmental issues.  He says that at 14 he should be allowed to vote because he worked a real job this past summer.  I want to learn to debate politics and world evens with him without saying “Because I’m your mom, and I said so”.

Body, Mind

Comfortable In My Own Skin

I was raised in a very strict religious home. Makeup was forbidden. It was a sin. Of course, this just made me more fascinated with makeup.

While my friends were saving up their money for Jordache and Calvin Klein jeans, I was secretly buying and hoarding a stash of makeup I could never wear. This was the 80’s and black eyeliner was all the rage. I dreamed about wearing black eyeliner.

I moved out of my parents house two weeks after graduating high school and was finally free to wear my beloved makeup. 30+ years later I still love it.

It seemed natural that I would start a YouTube channel and become a beauty guru. I could spend hours watching other gurus trying out the latest eye pallet or foundation. I would dash off to the store to buy those items and attempt to get the same results and post about my experience. My channel was a dismal failure. At the peak of my guru career I had 234 subscribers with two long years of hard work.

I learned some important lessons being in that on-line space. First, videotaping in my basement with a cheap camera was no competition for gurus who had teams of professionals to get everything just right. This made me realize how absurdly unrealistic it is for anyone to expect the same results from using the products shown, unless you have a team of people around you holding lights towards your face all day long.

Second, the on-line beauty space was mostly a bunch of 10 to 15 minute long infomercials hoping you will click on their link.

Third, the beauty industry is entirely based on ‘fixing’ our perceived flaws. Is your hair too thin? Brows too sparse? Nose too wide, big forehead, small eyes, thin lips, There is a makeup technique for that. If not for our insecurities the makeup industry would barely exist.

After my disillusion with my beauty channel I decided to do a little experiment on myself. I had never gone out in public bare faced. I wondered if I didn’t wear brow color would my friends notice? Would they say anything about it? They didn’t.

This lead me to an even bigger realization: I was spending a lot of time wondering what other people thought about how I looked. Wearing makeup is how I like to show up because I’m insecure about my God given face.

I’m working on that.

So if you see me walking around with no mascara at the grocery store it’s just me, trying to be more comfortable in my own skin. (But I still love makeup).

Body

It’s Been A While

I have been missing in action lately. It’s not a surprise. With Covid-19 still raging all over the world I have felt a need to conserve myself. I’ve gone inward. In my house, in my mind. In all ways possible.

When I get stressed I tend to go inward. I save my physical energy in case I need it for something really important (fight or flight, anyone).

I found it hard to manage my energy and have spent most of my days feeling drained. I would take a walk instead of doing any kind of intense workout. I know I need the dopamine from a workout, but didn’t have the energy to do anything too intense.

It turns out there is some science to that. Brene Brown said so in one of her recent Unlocking Us podcasts. It turns out it takes a lot of energy to deal with stress. We are having to make a lot of decisions that could be life and death. One decision to meet up with friends could prove to be a very bad idea if someone ends up sick or worse.

We need to give our brains a rest. So, don’t be too hard on yourself if you let things slide. The best gift you can give yourself is taking care of your brain.

I will write more soon. In the meantime I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate).

Body

The Lines on My Face

The lines on my face are proof of a good life. They mean I have laughed and smiled and cried.

I have squinted from the beautiful sunlight. I have sat in the sand on beautiful beaches and soaked up the calm of the waves, eyes closed, face to the sun.

I have covered my eyes because I didn’t want to face things. I was scared. I didn’t want to see.

I have these lines around my eyes because my kids make me smile every day. I am alive and express my emotions with my eyes.

I have a beautiful life and these lines are my proof. I am lucky, and it shows on my face.

Body

I Have Dragons

Dragons have been used metaphorically in children’s books and fairy tales for centuries. We slay our dragons. The one who slays the dragon wins the kingdom (or the pretty princess).

What if dragons are our friends? The kind of friends that tell us the most honest truths about ourselves. No, those jeans don’t look good on you. Yes, you are drinking too much.

I love the idea of dragons being my friend. What are my dragons? What are the ugly little thoughts that run around my head telling me I’m not good enough? What is the idea I want to bring to fruition that I am afraid of for fear I will be judged as weird or irresponsible?

Today, I will sit on the large stump and talk with my dragons. I will invite them to show me where I can grow. I won’t slay them. They are my friends.

Who are the dragons you have been fighting to banish?

I find being alone in nature is the best place to get clear answers. Close your eyes and imagine a beautiful and colorful creature. Give him or her a name. Introduce yourself. See what happens. They may tell you things you don’t want to acknowledge. Trust that they are telling you the truth.

I think you will make a new and wonderful friend. I think I will call my dragon Stella.