Post 365. I am crying and filled with gratitude.

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”  Buddha

Life just keeps moving on.  Our kids get older, relationships change and grow, 365 days pass quickly and our loved ones leave this earth.  There’s no stopping it.  No slowing it down.  It just happens.

We have a few options: (1) we can become fearful and stagnant about the marching of time; or (2) we can embrace the inevitable and make every effort to live without regrets.

My (should be our) goal?  To give out as much love as we can – regardless of how much we get back and to live each and every moment without regret.  

Clearly, I’m not entirely successful.  Who is?  But, it is my simple goal for as long as I’m allowed to be here.

I’ve learned more about myself in this last year than in any other year(s) before.  I attribute that to you.  I was at a cross roads in many areas of my life when I turned 50.  I was questioning my direction, my focus and my purpose (isn’t that an AARP example of a mid-life crisis??).  I wanted some answers and didn’t know how to find them. While I did find some answers, others I’m still searching for (maybe I’ll find them tomorrow at age 51!).  Yet, I’m a different person than I was 365 days ago:

1. I’ve learned that I’m not perfect.  I knew it before 50 but just hated to admit it.  I learned that at those times when I think I’m doing something perfectly, I’m totally not.  I need to let go.  I’m still working on that one.

2. I realized that the world needs us to pay attention.  I’m busy.  But when I am paying attention, I have those experiences and meet those people who mark my life.  Friends, we have to slow down.  You know if I’m talking to you.  We move from one thing to another.  We’re not paying attention.  Let’s change that.  I have a feeling it will result in amazing experiences.  Even if just for today.

3. I fell in love all over again.  I have always loved love. That’s the joke with my kids – “Love, is her middle name.” (Jessica Lipsky (Love) Roe).  But, this year I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone.  I’ve loved people I never would have loved or was afraid to love.  I’ve loved those strangers whom I didn’t even know.  I even tried to love those who don’t like me (this latter one hasn’t worked as well as I expected, but I’m still trying!).  All we need is love.  Seriously.

4. I found you.  Words can not describe how thankful I am for all of you who’ve shared this first experience with me.  Those I run with, who cheer me on, clients who’ve become life friends, those who pick me up when I’m a pancake flat on the ground, those I meet at fundraisers, my family and friends, or just those I meet at gas stations! You all make my life so amazing beautiful.  You fill my life with color.  I’m a totally different person because of you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Here’s what I put in my first post … I start this year a mom (and lawyer) with three great kids (teenagers!), fantastic friends, supportive family members  and some very special people who help keep me sane.  The rest is, as the Minnesotan’s say, “gravy.”  So, I welcome you all to the year of 50.  It’ll be interesting…

With that, I quietly end my year of 50.  I’m the same person I noted above but much different and a tad bit wiser!  I do love each and every one of you.  Thanks for being in my life and sharing this year with me.

Have an amazing day!

p.s. I’m sure you’ll hear from me again …  XOXO

 

I really don’t deserve it.

I think a lot about why things happen and I almost never have an explanation.   I’ve definitely spent time thinking that I don’t deserve the life I’ve been fortunate enough to have thus far.  Maybe that’s a common theme for some of us.  While I don’t think I deserve these people, I’m grateful they’re in my life:

Somehow, I’ve been afforded a second chance at having a relationship with my dad.  Friends, never give up on a relationship that you know in your heart has potential. So worth it!

When the boys were born, the blonde one came out first.  I muttered to my husband, “That one’s yours!”  While he looks nothing like me, I know he’s mine.  He’s got the most curious and positive view of the world.  And, he’s confident and comfortable with himself.  When we was 6, his siblings made “jewelry” for me.  He was devastated that he didn’t make something, so I took him to a gift shop to buy his.  He could barely see over the counter, but he found a big bowl of rings.  He looked at each of them and picked one. It was $2.99.  It says LOVE.  I have worn it for the 8 years.  S – you’re fantastic! Love ya.

I got one son that looks Italian!  And, he’s so much like me (although much smarter!).  He’s got my dark looks, my temper and my deep passion for people.  When he was 9, we were driving home from school and he saw an older couple (70’s) walking across the street.  He could see the light was going to turn red before they got across.  When it changed, he made me pull over (in rush hour traffic) so he could be sure they got across safely. That’s him.  A huge and loving heart.  You can’t teach that trait!  I love you, E.

When my mom was diagnosed, I asked her to stay and help me raise this first-born daughter.  I was scared.  I was such a horrible teenager and I figured I’d get it back twofold.  I got something very different.  She’s the kindest and gentlest of souls.  She gets the world. She’s thoughtful and wouldn’t hurt a fly (other than her brothers!).  I think my mom is in her.  While I’m always going to be a mom first, I can see how amazing my friendship will be with this beautiful girl.  Thanks lovie, for being  you. You’re a delight!

So, while I don’t feel I deserve this life … I’m so incredibly thankful for it and them.

Finally, THANKS kids for putting up with this blog.  I know there were times when you couldn’t believe I was sharing our “stuff” and just plain thought it (I) was crazy. But, you were graceful, gave me great topics and I love you for letting me share our lives.

Tomorrow is 365.  I’m feeling awfully sad.  Yet, I’m excited that I made it.  Still not sure what comes next.  Maybe I’ll get a “sign” today.

Have a fantastic Monday!

I’ve intentionally avoided this blog topic in the yearof50.

When I set up this blog, I decided to avoid a few topics, including my personal romantic (or lack thereof) life.  I’m typically quiet about that topic.  I’ve been divorced a long time and it seemed to work well … neither of us getting married and both of us working to manage and support our children.  My theory is: if you can’t be married to the father of your children, he should at least be one of your closest friends.  That’s not always possible.  Thankfully, for me it was.

When we separated, I had three under three.  I was working full-time and my mom was gone.  The thought of dating was so far out there that I didn’t even feel like spelling the word!

Then, one Sunday afternoon, when no one was at the office and I needed to go use the restroom (yes, I know … always the bathroom!), I met someone at the elevator. The floor was empty except for the two of us.  We talked for about five minutes – I don’t even recall the conversation.  He recalls exactly what I was wearing.  I’ve joked that after that brief meeting, I would not have been able to pick him out of a crowd.  He called me two hours later (got my number from a friend!) and said we had to have dinner.  I made up an excuse and said no.  We eventually went. Now, reading from his journal from way back then, I am shocked by the clarity he had about that meeting.  He knew dinner (and more) was in our future.  And, while I didn’t buy it for many years, I’ve since come around to the same conclusion.

We’ve had the rockiest of relationships/friendships.  We’ve been together over the years and not.  I’ve been quite ambivalent for a long time and he fed off that to create his own form of ambivalence.  I’ve not wanted to commit and rock the boat I have with my kids.  “Nothing serious” has been my mantra for many years.

But, as I have only a few blogs left, I have to make a point of recognizing him.  You never know when you meet someone, how they’ll fit into your life.  But sometimes you just know it will be important (a shout out to my new friend in Arizona).  That’s what makes life so awesome!

So, here we are – 10+ years later.  Our kids have grown up together and we have too.  He has taught me more than I could ever have imagined.  I can’t say for sure what will happen in the future, but I can say this — I’ll never be able to replace the experiences, lessons and love I’ve had from knowing him.  Never.

People do that.  They change your life.  Or maybe that is life…

So, before I get to my last yearof50 post, I want to thank him.  He was right – it was the most important bathroom break of my life!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Blogging for Dummies (that’s me).

I’m in the home stretch. I have no idea how I got here.  I’m not sure what I was thinking when I started this venture.  And, frankly I haven’t a clue why I thought this would be remotely interesting to anyone, including me.  So, as I continue to figure out what to do after 365 days (keep writing, not write, write sometimes, go on a vacation with no computer …), I happened upon an article, “Bogging for Dummies.”  Sh**, could have used this 361 days ago!

1. Define Your Goals

My goals were simple: 365 posts (in a row), 500 words or less – with no names, no religion and no politics.  I didn’t set many goals — just like I avoid new year’s resolution – less chance for failure!

2. Know Your Audience

It said that my “content” should reflect my audience.  Who are you, Mr. and Mrs. Audience?  I’ve had 10,000 hits and readers from 19 countries.  Some of you I know and some of you I clearly don’t know.  I frankly didn’t even expect an audience. Thanks Audience!  I really appreciate that you’ve made this one of my most important (and best) years ever … and it happened at 50!  Catch that AARP!

3. Have a Brand

“Just like popular brands such as Coke or Nike, your blog represents a specific message, [brand] and image to your audience.”  Ok. So my brand is about my flaws, some more flaws, the interesting people I meet in life and all the other flaws that are stacked up inside the door of my cave.  Easy enough.

4. Be Inviting

“[I]t’s essential that your blog welcomes readers and invites them to join a two-way conversation.”  Was I inviting?  I often wondered if anyone out there was going to relate or have the same “issues,”  (and I’ve got a lot of them).  I hope you felt “invited” to participate and could relate.

5. Keep it Fresh

A friend recently said, “You gave another homeless person a gift card?”  Alright, maybe I do repeat myself but I just can’t help it sometimes!  I never went back and read the blogs — so thanks for putting up with any “repeats!”

6. Be Yourself

What you see is what you get in the Jessica Roe department.  I’m not complex or mysterious.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve and now in my blog.  I was totally myself – I hope that was ok.

Frankly, what I didn’t expect was that I would fall in love with all of you.  I also didn’t expect the experiences I would have and then share with you.  I mean I’ve had those things my whole life … they just seem more real now that I’ve put them on paper.

Friends, we can do a lot in our lives.  But when we go, all that we leave behind is our love (and our words).  So, with that, I encourage you to write a letter (or blog post) today and tell those you love just how much you love them!

Have a fantastic Saturday!  XOXOXO

Am I a bitch? (Please, no response necessary …).

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  Have you ever made decisions that people don’t like and you wondered if it was you or the decision?  I’ve made a few hard decisions in these last six months and I’ve questioned myself because they were unpopular ones.

Maybe the real question is not whether I’m a bitch, but whether I have the confidence and clarity about my decisions to not worry about what others think.   Maybe the woman in me characterizes it as bitchiness but if I were a man it might be seen as confidence.

Yes, of course it is easy to puff and look confident … they teach you that in law school (not!).   But, I don’t wake up every day feeling confident.  In fact, some days I wake up feeling the opposite.  Maybe I feel bad about a situation at work or a fight with my kids or a partner.  Whatever the reason, being confident is not always on a plate in front of me. Confidence, as we all know, takes work and introspection.  So, it’s not surprising that when other people have issues with my decisions, I wonder if it’s the decision or me.

This year I joined a really cool group of women (and let me tell you, I am the slacker out of these women — so you can imagine what the ones are like!).  From our discussions about confidence, I came up with my own personal list of 4 things that I should (read – need) to say to myself each day.  Maybe they resonate for you too:

1. The one constant in my life is that things will change and I need to expect and embrace change.  Change is no ones fault.  It just happens.  If I am responsible for the change, it’s because it is necessary.

2. I need to give and take care of myself in fairly equal amounts.  Sometimes I am going to have to make a decision about taking care of me first and I can’t feel guilty doing so.

3.  I need to live in the present and not worry about the past or the future because I have no control over either one.  Decisions based on the past will get me in trouble.  Decisions based on the future are blind.

4. I need to trust my inner voice.  It is always (I mean always) right.

Let’s remember this: A confident person is not always confident.  And, they are ok enough with themselves to contribute to the world without worrying about outcome. 

Having confidence is a process as is every thing we do in life.  For me, the one key is #4 – my inner voice.  When I follow that, the rest seems to fall in to place.  How about you?

Have a wonderful start to your long weekend.

Whose their favorite parent? It’s not me!

I’ve heard my kids talk about which one of them is the their parent and there are tons of articles out there on that subject.  But, how about kids having a favorite parent?  I do think there’s a tad bit of truth to there being some competition between moms and dads when it comes to their children’s adoration.

I’ll admit it. I want to be that person.  Who doesn’t want to be the one the crying kid comes to for comfort?  Or get all the kisses? Who doesn’t want to be the one they go to seeking advice for the latest problem with their friends?  Yet, even if I mount a serious campaign, I don’t think it’ll be me.  Why?  I’m the gate-keeper of all evil at the Roe house.

Let’s be honest.  I’m the one making them do their laundry.  When they come home from their dad’s they bring the dirty laundry back with them.  I make them do their homework.  There are lots of sports and movies being played at dad’s house.  I have the violins and cello at my house … what kid wants to practice????  What parent even wants to try to get them to practice?  I make them pick up their room, clean up their junk on the counter and sometimes clear the table after dinner … EEK!

My son complained the other day that I don’t cook like their dad.  I make too much organic food and he prefers the non-organic, high fat kind!  He asked why I can’t make my omelets look like dads or his over easy eggs.  No wonder dad’s the fav!!!

Of course, I’m very happy that they love their dad!  I know they enjoy being there and “relaxing” (because it is apparently not so at my house!).  But, no matter…we share the same DNA and have had loads of fantastic and fun times here at my house.  So, if I have to be the bad parent in order for them to learn how to cut their own nails, put the toilet seat down and get those globs of toothpaste out of the sink – so be it.  Just more $$ in that therapy jar.

Have an amazing day!

 

He started his chemotherapy yesterday.

Two years ago I met a guy.  I actually met a guy and a woman. They’d worked together for years and were starting a new firm.  I joined them.  Regardless of our future  journey, I am forever grateful that I met them.  They will always be my friends.  He started chemotherapy yesterday.  He is only 40.

I don’t know what to say here.  I know that the day he received his diagnosis, his life changed forever.  My mom said the same thing.   I get that.  Yet, it’s what we do with the diagnosis that seals the deal, so to speak.

Do these experiences change who we are?  Yes.  Does they change how we view the world? Absolutely.  Can the rest of us learn from those who are thrown into periods of “change,” even if we don’t have terrible drugs coursing through our bodies for hours at a time?  I hope so.

Life’s like that.  One day is one thing.  The next day it’s flipped over.  Sometimes in good ways, like my friend who has found a new partner and started a new phase of her life.  And some, who just need to get through today.  But let me offer this: there really is good that comes from it all.  Because as much as we (read – me) hate change – it forces us to reexamine who we are, what are our strengths and weaknesses and how to be really better and more loving stewards of ourselves, those we love and the world around us.

So, on this quiet day of his first 24  hours with chemo drugs … I pray that he and everyone else with these experiences now and in the future, find the silver lining. It’s there.  Sometimes there are just a few clouds in the way.

Have a peaceful day.