Monthly Archives: April 2013

Do you (I do) have too many balls in the air?

Jugglers usually they start with two or three balls and then they add another and another until there is a dizzying number of objects flying in a circle around the juggler.  At some point, either a ball falls or the juggler will stop because he or she knows that one can only have too many balls in the air at a time.

I have not figured out when I have too many balls (Def. of Balls: Kid, Partner, Job, Boards, etc.) in the air.  Maybe it’s my ego and enthusiasm, thinking that I can (and should) do it all.

We are all like jugglers to a certain extent.  We have jobs, kids, houses, social and volunteer activities, etc.   There are times when I feel like I have too many balls in the air and they will all come crashing down at once.  Sometimes I am so fed up that I just want to throw them all in the air and let them come crashing down.  While this latter activity may provide short-term relief, I still have to pick up the balls and get back on track.

So, I think I need to ask myself: Are there some “balls” that are taking me away from some other “balls?”  (The answer is YES, because some of those “balls” have loud voices!).  Do I need to add one more board to my agenda?  Do I need that additional volunteer activity?

I’m also wondering if my juggling too many balls has caused me to not be as careful with other balls and results in my having to reprioritize all the time …  which takes time away from other things!  I think this happens over and over again.

So, in order to increase my proficiency in juggling (which we all need to do),  I need to stop for a minute, put all the balls down and make sure that every “ball” is necessary and that some “balls” are not getting ignored at the expense of others.  However, with so many things going on, we often don’t take the time to do something like this.

I don’t claim to have the answer here (or really the answer to any question) but for me, and my loved ones, this is going to be a worthwhile review.  If nothing else, it will force me to slow down and look at my life and those things that really are important to me.  Maybe that’s half the battle.

Put a few balls down today and enjoy the weather!

p.s. To my partner in this blog … Don’t think for a moment that I count working out as a “ball!”  That’s what keeps me from the funny farm!  🙂

Isn’t Wrinkle such a cute sounding word?

I started a conversation with two young girls at a coffee shop the other day (sorry, to my daughter who thinks this is so awkward … Honey, you didn’t know them, so no worries!).  These girls were waiting to get a high calorie/high caffeinated  treat.  I told them that when you get to be “my age” you just can’t have those fancy drinks too often.  One asked me, “How old do you think we are?”   I told them that I thought they were 19 (I knew they were much younger, but I wanted to see their reaction).  They were so pleased that I thought they were older than they actually were.

Forty years from now, they probably won’t be delighted with the same answer.

This brings me to the word, “wrinkle.”  This word is cute and would make a fun dog name … no way boys, don’t get any ideas!  So, why isn’t IT (a wrinkle) cute?  Why do we want to look older when we’re young and younger as we get older? Why aren’t we happy looking great for our age rather than younger than the calendar says?

What does fifty look like anyway?  Does it look like me?  How about seventy?  If you’re lucky enough to get to be ninety, is it ok to look ninety or do you want to look eighty?   Why can’t we all agree that wrinkles are beautiful signs of character and growth rather than OLD(er) age.

I take the position that wisdom comes with age.  And, if that’s true, why do we feel the need to look like time has stopped? I want to feel comfortable in my own skin (although I do have work out ADD) and not worry about the wrinkles I find on various parts of my body.

Men, same for you.

I really think age is just a number. At 50, I feel great and am in better shape than I was when I was younger.  It really is a mindset.  As we get old(er) we’re in a much better position to enjoy life — we know more, have solidified our careers and finances to enjoy life to its fullest and we know more about who we are.  We can jettison those who are like gnats swarming around our heads and instead spend time with those who really matter and add to our lives.

Just because our hair is a little grayer and thinner, and we are a bit softer, doesn’t mean we can’t maintain an edge and be healthier and happier than our parents at age 50, 60 and beyond (except for you Dad – you’ve been  younger than me every step of the way!).

So, let’s start this week off loving our looks, our size, our “issues” and our age.  While 50 may not be the new 30, it is unquestionably better than 30!

Have a fantastic day!

One of the unpleasantries of 50.

Today’s the day I start the “prep” for my now-I-am-50 appointment tomorrow.  Everyone says the prep is worse than the procedure.  Frankly, what’s bugging me is that I have to drink some stuff that makes me nauseous just looking at it and that jello and broth are on my agenda for today.  Moreover, going 30+ hours (I counted) without food seems unthinkable for a person who is eating every two hours.

This reminds me of my “yearly” appointment when I turned 40.  The nurse practitioner told me, before the doctor came in, that I could expect to gain about 10 pounds in my 40s and that sex would become much less “interesting.”   I was incredulous (neither one of these things happened, BTW, for those of you reading who are under 40!).  Then, when the doctor came in, he told me that he was glad that I had kids because I’d already started menopause and having any more kids was off the table.  By that point I was sobbing.  Not because I wanted more kids (OMG!), but because an arbitrary age was setting some sort of plan for my next ten years.  (the poor doctor asked me if I was crying because I couldn’t have any more kids.  I said, “No, I’m crying because I’m in menopause – isn’t that what all women do in menopause?” Duh!)

So, here I am at 50.  No one told me that I would gain 10 pounds at this appointment. They just said, “your skin will get dry, the rest of you will get dry, you will start to forget more and you need a colonoscopy.”  Seriously?  Do these appointments get better at 60?  Because they are brutal at 40 and 50!

Maybe by 70 or 80, they don’t really care what you do anymore.  Maybe that’s why the older we get the more relaxed we get.  My dad has donuts for breakfast almost every day.  He’s a thin guy and his response to me, when I question him on the healthiness of it all is that he can do whatever he wants now.  Yea!  Looking forward to giving that response.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a good book (one that I intend to write about in the coming blogs), we’re going to clean the garage and the mud room, so I can be close to the bathroom (read, “they will clean …”) and I will be back in the saddle (no pun intended) by 3:30 tomorrow afternoon.   I’m sure the next time you see me will be with food in my mouth … the way g-d intended it to be!

Enjoy the weather today!

 

It’s only a temporary stay (so clean up after yourself!).

Indulge me for a moment:

None of us is promised tomorrow. Oh, we like to think we have 50+ years on this earth, that we will die peacefully in our sleep. That we have all the time in the world to….live.  So, not true.   In a split second, the doctor gives the diagnosis. The other car crosses the center line. The heart stops. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The truth is, this is really just a temporary stay and we act as if it’s forever.

I’ve got a new lease on life (we all do every day!) and here are the questions to ask and see if you are really living your life with that knowledge that this is all temporary:

1. What would I do if I had only 20 years to live?  I would travel, spend time with family, learn to ride my bike with clips!  I would allow myself the freedom to give myself a few of the finer things in life.  I would strive to win a race in my age group (gotta wait until I am a bit older!).  I would find the man who I would spend the rest of my life with and we would ride our bikes across Europe! I would get rid of the SUV and buy an adult car!  I would be a grandma!

2. What would I do if I only had 1 year to live? I would enjoy my family and friends more and would not worry about the rest.  I would do as much as I could for others.

3. What would I do if I only had one day to live …..?

Notice the difference.  The 20-year one is filled with my self-indulgent items, such as travel, personal items, etc.  The 1 year list narrows and is made up of the selfless items in life.

Everything on my 20 year list is as important as my one year list.  But, we tend to look so far into the future that we assume we can fulfill the one year items and, therefore, they are not a high priority.  The point is to identify the importance of the high priority, even when we have the time.

We need to behave, say and do those things that take into account the notion that this is just temporary.  We need to clean up our act rather than just say or do, thinking we can clean up later!

We get caught up in our daily lives and forget to see the bigger picture of what matters most – our family, our friends, how we treat others and our moral compass.  I want to remember that every day is special, sometimes difficult, but special.  I want to help someone every day.  I want to be treated with love and respect.  I want to do the same for others.

How do you want to live your life if  you only had only one day?  Act like that.

Enjoy the warm weather (it’s only temporary … (smile)).

I was empowered yesterday (and needed it).

I was feeling off yesterday morning.  The day before was rough and left me realizing that place I thought I was in, was really not the place it turned out to be (a topic for another blog).  So, when I looked at my day and I saw a lunch event that I had agreed to attend, I wasn’t excited.  I guess I was feeling like I just wanted to hide in my cave and not go anywhere.  But, that apparently was not on the agenda for me.  So I went.

As I walked into the main building, I saw a woman I knew.  Oddly, I’d put her name on my calendar last week as a reminder to call and see how things were going.  I never did call her and now there she was!  It was so nice to see her and as we talked I realized that there are no “chance” encounters in life.

We walked into the auditorium together and the room took my breath away.  It was filled with hundreds and hundreds of people – mostly women.  This is a fantastic local and national charity whose mission is empowering women and eliminating racism.  But, more than the mission, was the energy.  I could feel it as soon as I walked in the room and it was totally at my table, which was filled with women I had not met but knew that I would quickly enjoy.   It was that kind of event.   I know you’ve had similar experiences.

The key take away for me was that leaving yourself open to life, whether forcing yourself out of the house to meet people or facing a difficult life change, can and will bring the most incredible experiences and people to the fore.

As I move through this first year of 50, I am amazed at how much I’ve learned about myself, what I need (and don’t need), how to find people who give me energy rather than those who just want to take it and how empowering we all can be on lives of others.

People come into our lives each and every day.  It’s up to us how we are going to respond to and treat those people.  We must step out of our own (defensive) worlds and look with fresh eyes.  That is the only way we can be happy and really make a difference. This room was filled with people who had the ability to do just that!

The people at my table, these strangers, and those in the room at large, re-energized me and I left feeling empowered to move forward and continue on my path of self-reflection, change, helping others and meeting new people.  I hope that in some small way, I did the same for them.

This lunch was about the beauty and sorrow of life and the power of people helping people.  Just another reminder for me that life really is a fantastic experience to be savored!

Have a great one!

Could they (or we) be any dumber?

I come home last night after 14 hours in heels and a dress and am totally fried.  I just want some quiet time and a pair of sweats.  As I walk by the TV, I notice the screen is showing a living room filled with stuff.  I get changed and come back to take a closer look.  When I ask, my daughter tells me it’s “Hoarders.”   Huh?   I soon realize that it is an entire show on people whose home has mice, rats, garbage and the like – from floor to ceiling!  Who watches this stuff (clearly, people my household)?

As I start to explore this issue of shows that my kids have recently watched, I find the following:

1. My Strange Obsession: This is a TV show?  It’s disgusting!  These “addictions” include eating toilet paper, sleeping with a silicone person (might be better than sleeping with my computer!), eating detergent and eating glass.  I’m not sure which is worse: the fact that these people are doing these things or that we are watching it!

2. Grey’s Anatomy: This is dumb, couched in drama (or visa versa).  Here’s a show that where people cheat on their spouses, where casual affairs with people you work with are common place and where highly educated physicians can’t even figure out how to put on a lab coat. What are we enjoying here?  The sex, the stupidity or both?

3.  The Real Housewives of _____:  Seriously?  I have nothing to say.  There are absolutely no REAL body parts here.  And, none of them are Housewives.

4. Jersey Shore:  Here’s what my daughter says about this show,”It’s about people who live together, get drunk together, have sex with each other and then do it all again the next day.”  Hey, that sounds educational (not).

5. Sponge Bob:  SB is dumbing down America.  This is about a sponge, living under the sea, who is square with square pants and is clearly socially inept.   This show is wildly popular with our children.  One time, I had (one) blind date with a guy who could sing the opening song of the show.  Hmm.

What’s happening to us?  We’ve become a society where people enjoy voting for an American Idol singer more than they do for the President of the United States!   Where we like watching people who can’t stop sucking their thumb at 24.  But, who am I to judge?  I like “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Restaurant Makeover” and The Weather Channel.  What’s that say about me … don’t answer that one!

p.s.  My daughter’s response after reading this draft:

Her: What!  You put Grey’s Anatomy on here?  That’s my favorite show!

Me: Those people are so dumb, I wouldn’t want them to be my doctors. Plus, they sleep with their colleagues when they should be taking care of patients.

Her: So! That’s what doctor’s do! (thankfully she’s smiling now)

Me:  I’m not paying for medical school.

I rest my case.  Have a great day!

Fighting (and making up) – (adult-style).

Let me start by acknowledging that I’ve been divorced for 10 years and still not remarried.  So it might seem like I’m the wrong person to write this blog.  But, I’ve had my fair share of experience during my marriage, and since then … and I have three kids!  So, nothing is off-limits!

We all fight.  We don’t like it, but we do.  The first question is why do we fight?  Why does it seem like it’s always about the little stuff?  A friend once told me, “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”   With love, we have connection.  With indifference, there is no connection and that is often the problem.

In relationships, we all need to know that our partner cares and that we matter. So, when we feel we don’t matter for some reason, we will often start a fight.  We don’t say it out loud, but that’s likely what’s happening. We feel vulnerable, not connected, we get upset and lash out.

I wish I’d have thought more about this topic years ago.  But, it’s never too late to learn how to fight fair – (future AARP article!):

  1. Both people have the right to have needs, wants and to make requests of each other.  We must start with this premise but it’s a tough one, especially when we don’t agree with the needs and wants.
  2. Even if your partner’s needs or wants make you feel uncomfortable or unhappy, it is OK for your partner to be understood and heard.
  3. Both people’s feelings matter and you must have the desire not to hurt their feelings.
  4. If your partner brings up an issue, it is already important to them.  Dismissing, stonewalling, ignoring, minimizing, joking and making promises that are not kept is damaging to any relationship.
  5. Keep your emotions in check.  This is often how things get out of hand.
  6. Be at your best when you discuss issues.  When someone is angry, that’s not the best time to “respond.”  It is, however, the best time to listen and thank them for being vulnerable about something they’re frustrated about.  Promise to address the issue at some point (soon).
  7. Please remember that your partner should be your equal.

Fighting is the “easy” part.  The hard part is making up – I mean real solutions (the other stuff is fun too!).  

First, when we’ve resolved an issue, we must stick to whatever agreement we made.  When you don’t, it erodes trust, which causes bigger problems.

Second, we must try to learn something about ourselves and our partner’s needs in the process of the disagreement.  

Finally, work together to create a safe environment where you can share openly with each other without fear of retribution, judgement or rejection.  If you don’t, your partner or you will shut down or fail to open up.

Once you feel that sense of emotional security, you and your partner/child/friend will build that connection of love and trust, which is what we’re all looking for!

Have a wonderful day!