Friday, November 30, 2007
It's the last day of November...that means after today...after today...I will have 39 more days until I will be a quinquagenarian...in 39 days I will no longer be counting down months...or weeks...or days...I will hit the half century mark...I will turn 50.
It's so hard to believe how fast the time has gone...what a year this is shaping up to be I thought as I hugged my husband in his hospital bed tonight (My Soulmate - June 17)...as I tried to console him when he asked me "what am I going to do when I get out of the hospital...I will never be the same as I was." "You're right," I said as we both cried a good cry. "That's okay," I said. "Crying is good sometimes...it's good to cry and let all the frustrations out...don't worry, " I said, "Don't worry, we'll both be stronger...definitely stronger...after this year," I added as I thought about this incredible 49th year journey I've been on with my husband...my soulmate.
The big guy up there...someplace...somewhere put me in this situation so I would grow stronger...he knew what he was doing...he wanted me to learn to be independent..wish he hadn't made it so difficult...I could have learned this life lesson with less impact (I said 'he'...I do think the wise man is a wise man...if the wise man was a wise woman...life would be easier...smoother...not as many ups and downs...I don't think a 'she' would have made me go through all this to be stronger).
And as I reflected on my 65 watt flood light bulb that blew out in my kitchen this morning...I thought how much stronger I've become in the past year...especially during the past six months...I remember thinking this morning...as the light blew out..."how am I going to screw in another light bulb all the way up there on my kitchen ceiling...how am I going to let the light shine again...after all...I'm not tall enough to reach the ceiling with my out-stretched arm...I'm not tall enough to unscrew that bulb ...that's my husband's job...he is the one who is 6'4"...not little 5'3" like me...he is the one who screws in the kitchen bulbs...but he is not here to help me right now."
"I can do it...I can do it...I can do it," I said to myself...and then I stood tall on the kitchen chair...I reached up on my tippy toes (and held on to the cabinet as not to fall)...I unscrewed the old flood light...I did it...then...I reached up again and screwed the new bulb in place...it was bright again...and I was all ready to start a new day...all ready to read my morning paper.
Stronger...yes I'm stronger...but soon the flood lights on top of the house will burn out...and I know I can't reach those lights...so hubby you have to get better soon...as my guy Kanye West says in his new song "Stronger":
Now that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger
I need you to hurry up now
Cause I can't wait much longer
Sunday, November 25, 2007
My sister was visiting over the Thanksgiving week...it was so nice to see her since I don't usually see her during the holiday...we've always been close...not in proximity but in our thoughts...and via the telephone.
While she is older than me...three years older to be exact...I've always been the one that people think is the older one (do you know that when we were at the hospital visiting my husband the other day that a nurse thought my sister was my daughter...okay,okay,okay, I know she looks younger than me...but my daughter...that's it...I'm getting a facelift and having all my front teeth capped!)
I noticed that my sister not only has beautiful teeth...bright white and perfectly straight teeth...but my sister also has beautiful skin...very few wrinkles...I remember how she used to always have acne when she was an adolescent...I didn't inherit the acne...I had very dry skin...like my mom...my sister inherited my dad's oily skin...and while she complained when she was a teenager...now she is smiling...now as she ages she is happy...because oily skin has been good to her face.
As I looked at my sister and me...I realized that we both inherited some of the good and the bad from our parents...my dad gave me his skinny legs and his stomach (any extra pounds go straight to the stomach)...and my dry skin came from my mother's genes...and my sister...my sister got my mom's hips and thighs...and my dad's oily skin...but look how good she looks now at 53.
I thought a lot about all this inheritance...about the sense of style we both got from our mom...and I guess a little from our dad...and the sense of laughter that we both got from our dad...and I guess a little from our mom...and the determination we both got from our mom...and a little from our dad.
And as I thought about what I got from my parents...I wondered now that I'm almost 50...now that my kids are almost grown...I wonder what they will say they inherited from me...I wonder if they will be pleased when they are 50...if they will look back and be happy with the two halves that make them who they are...with a lot of themselves added in there as well...well time will tell...yes...time will tell...
Ooh, I hope they carry on the sense of style that I have tried to instill...and I hope they get the oily skin...so they are wrinkle-free...no ironing needed...but who knows by then...I bet there will be some new miracle cream that takes away all the wrinkles anyway.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I can tell that I am slowing down...or maybe life is just speeding up...time is just passing me by...how can it be that in about six weeks I will be 50...and my 49th year will be over...no more counting down...no more feelings to 50...in just a few short weeks (well...there are lots of holiday eating weeks to go through too...so it will feel longer)...I will be 50...this is all too much to handle.
But as Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of Fit to Live and Fight Fat After 40, says "I must be Darwinian...I must constantly adapt and adjust...I must stop thinking so much and be more like the Nike ad and "just do it"...I should stop with the shoulda, coulda, woulda...and "just do it."
Dr. Peeke says we should focus on our mind by adapting and adjusting...focus on our mouth by eating smaller quantities of food and eating more frequently...and focus on our muscle...or as she puts it "medicate with movement"...I like Dr. Peeke's advice...I'm glad I attended her stress seminar at the Pennsylvania Governor's Conference the other week.
So as I arrived home tonight...all stressed out...but looking forward to my Thanksgiving week vacation...I tried adapting and adjusting to ease the stress in my body...I decided to focus on my mind...I thought I would take a nice relaxing bath and clear my mind of all the stressful vibes floating around in my head...yes...a nice relaxing bath would do the trick.
I filled the tub (the nice shiny tub that my cleaning lady had cleaned today)...and I added some nice relaxing bath foam...and I eased my aching body and especially my aching feet into the nice warm water...and as I started to relax...I heard a ka-ching...ka-ching...ka-ching...yes, the water began to empty out of the tub...I did try to adapt...I jiggled the stopper but it didn't work... and I did try to adjust... I put my aching right foot over the drain...but the water continued to flow out...so I put my aching left foot over the other half of the drain...not good...nope, the gurgling continued...and after about 15 minutes I got tired of adapting and adjusting...my de-stress bath became just too stressful.
I guess I will have to work on the other two areas of Dr. Peeke's advice...she said we should also focus on our mouth...eat smaller quantities of food...and eat more often...I can do this I thought...yes...I can do this...this is easy...I will have my chamomile tea and only allow myself two cookies tonight (well maybe a few chocolate covered raisins that my dear friend sent me too...just two or three)...tonight I will focus on my mouth...that will be easier than adapting and adjusting...although...although later in the week this might become more difficult...after all...it is Thanksgiving...and I did order three pies for Thanksgiving dinner...I couldn't decide which one to get...my son wanted Pecan Pie...my daughter wanted Peach Crumb Pie...and the pieman told me about this fabulous Black Forest Berry Pie that is made with Rhubarb...ooh, ooh, ooh, my favorite...it sounded so good I couldn't pass it up...so I ordered the Black Forest Berry Pie too.
And after my pie-fest is over...then I'll do the last leg of Dr. Peeke's advice...I'll work on my muscle...I promise to "medicate with movement"...yep, I promise to be at the gym on Friday...and hopefully Saturday and Sunday too...yes...as Dr. Peeke says..."I'll walk the dog even if I don't have one"...
exercise is non-negotiable after 40 (and I guess that means after 50 too)...so as Dr. Peeke says "just shut the hell up and do it!"...and I will.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Last night I felt like I was transported away to a magical place...I wasn't sure it was real...I had to pinch myself as each moment passed...that's because I was with Richard Gere...yes, the real Richard Gere...well, let me preface by saying that I was with the real Richard Gere, but so were hundreds of others...but that's okay...because I had one of the center row orchestra seats in the Kimmel Center at the concert to honor Richard with the Marian Anderson Humanitarian Award...I always knew I was in love with Richard Gere...but after last night...after last night...it was truly confirmed (as it was for the other hundreds of women - young and old - who were in the audience too...and also on the stage)...we all wanted to have our bird's eye view of the man who stole our hearts in "American Gigolo," "Officer and A Gentleman," "Pretty Woman,"...and "Unfaithful."
But, it wasn't just Richard Gere who transported me away...it was also the Philadelphia Orchestra and their Firebird tribute to Richard that filled my ears and melted away the stress in my body (almost as good as my lavender facial)...as the music played...all the tension that had built up during the day started to release...the tightness slipped away from my neck as I focused on the violins...and the oboes...the clarinets...and the flutes...the trumpets...and the drums...all perfectly synchronized...it was all wonderful music to my ears...by the end I felt like a firebird free of all my stress and ready to fly (and why have I not spent more evenings at the orchestra before...why have I waited until my 49th year to treat myself to such pleasure...for sure life is too short not to enjoy such pleasure more often...note to self...add to my "to do" list for my 50+ years...must make up for all the music I have been missing.)
And it didn't stop there...next came the opera from soprano Measha Brueggergosman...and the trumpet man Jon Faddis...and then Patti Labelle...more, more, more music swept me away...by the end I was ready to soar.
An evening with a good friend (who agreed to join me...so glad she did), good food (Alma de Cuba for dinner...need to visit this restaurant in Philadelphia more often too), good music (I could have sat and listened forever)...and Richard Gere in real living color...it's a night to remember...and oh...oh...oh...what a prelude to my fiftieth year.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I was reading about an exercise today from Renee Peterson Trudeau, a nationally recognized career and life coach. This exercise was very appropriate for me as I approach my fiftieth year...it included six questions...hard hitting questions...questions to make me reconnect with who I am, questions to make me reflect on what matters most...and questions to make me consider what I want to create next in my life...dare I answer them...I thought as I started to read.
I took a pause...like Renee said to do...and I started to think about how I would answer these questions:
1. What do you need most in your life right now (personally or professionally)? Okay, Renee, you asked...now I'll answer...personally....personally...I need a renewal plan...need to build up my strength so I can tackle the next phase of my husband's recovery process (My Soulmate - June 17)......I need my hubby to get better and come back home and things to go back to normal...whatever normal is...or used to be...but frankly I don't know what that is anymore...and since it is not going to happen any time soon...I need some strength-building exercises to build me up...wonder if extra iron tablets would do the trick.(That's enough of this question...this is difficult...I'm not ready with the answer to this one right now...what's the next question?)
2. What do you want your life and career to look like one year from now? Good, Renee, this one is easy...if I raised my hand in the class I could give the answer to this question...a year from now...just one year from now...I want to be a published author...to have a successful blog that many baby boomer women are reading...that has my second career in full swing...as for my life...I want to have my son in a successful first year of college...my daughter in a successful year at her first job (in New York City...where I can visit her...of course)...and I want to have my hubby home (but that was my answer to the first question...can I use it twice...wonder if Renee would be okay with the same answer twice?)
3. If you knew you could not fail, what would you do next? What a great question...this is a fabulous question...Renee is a very good life coach...she knows exactly what questions to ask...failure has always been my fear...after all these years...now I have the opportunity to think about what I would do next if I knew I wasn't going to fail...well...well...well...what would I do...maybe I would buy a second home at the shore...or start that blogging business for baby boomer women...or publish that book on my own...or go back to school for my MBA...or for my design degree. (I like this question...it's fun to think about!)
4. What topics, issues or causes make you come alive? I like this question too...this is an easy one...many topics, issues and causes make me come alive...I'm very passionate about many topics: fashion, food, beauty, home decorating, movies, books, magazines, exercise (fun sports like hiking, camping, bicycling...not that I do any of these sports right now...but that was not a criteria for the question)...I'm very passionate about many issues and causes: women's issues, family issues, kids' issues, poverty issues, health issues, global warming issues. (That's enough for now...I'm jazzed just thinking about all these things...hope I can get to sleep tonight.)
5. What is most important to you at your current life stage? This one is an easy one too...family happiness...personal health and happiness...feeling content. (That was a quick one...I like this question.)
6. What belief, issue, or obstacle is blocking you from experiencing the life (or career) you desire? Hmm, hmm...think I'll go back to that question #3...is it fear of failure...or is it just fear itself...or is it my age...nah, definitely not...although I would't mind having a few more years to think about this question.
Think I'll have to go check out Renee's book...The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life...or check our Renee's website, www.reneetrudeau.com...to see if she has any answers.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Today I had my monthly facial...yes...I'm so proud of myself that I actually kept that appointment on my calendar...I usually find some excuse why I cannot make appointments that I schedule in advance...but I did not cancel this time...this time...I even arrived at the spa early...yes...as I approach 50 I have to start treating my body better...especially my face.
I just love the lavender oil that my facialist (is that what you call someone who does facials?) uses all over my face and arms...it is such a relaxing smell...I was just floating away for a whole hour this morning...shame it had to end...wonder if they have facials that last all day...wonder if I bought my own lavender oil if I could make the relaxed feeling last...I think I'll have to go buy some at Whole Foods...that's where my facialist, said I could find it.
Yes, I'm going to go buy some lavender oil and spray it on my pillows...maybe the scent will help me sleep better...and I'm going to put it in my closet...and in my vaccuum cleaner bag...then my entire house will smell like lavender...imagine if I had a stress-free home...maybe I'll take it to the office too...wouldn't that be great...a stress-free office.
According to Wikipedia, "If applied to the temples, lavender oil is said to soothe headaches. Lavender is frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation: Seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows, and an infusion of three flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water are recommended as a soothing and relaxing bedtime drink..."(Ooh, I'm not sure I could drink lavender...but perhaps I'll give it a try sometime.)
I'm also going to try another tip from my facialist...she is just full of stress-free tips...that alone is worth the monthly visit...she recommends that I try iced-Chamomile tea...it may help my irritable bowl syndrome as well...I do like Chamomile tea...I've never tried the Lipton Chamomile tea...but I will now...and I think I'll have to make it iced too and add the honey like she said.
I may have to try meditation too...or maybe yoga...not sure this type A personality is ready for total reinvention...but it's worth a try...so glad I have an extra hour tonight to think about it...as they said on the radio..."Fall back the clock night" should be a national holiday.
P.S. - As I prepare to finish off my 49th year and compile my book, I'm eager to hear from my community...those who are in your 40s and 50s...what stresses you out...and how do you de-stress...share your tips...leave a comment...join the conversation.