Birthday Month

We’re in the beginning of September, the late home stretch of Summer. A few hot days left,  some warm, comforting rain coming soon. As much as I physically and emotionally despise the Winter I do look forward to early Autumn, that is at least until my birthday.

No, I’m not 6, though I often feel that way. I do act child-like  (ok kids, childish) in some ways but to me little things make me happy; especially things that I can do to entertain myself. I’m not needy, that way, I amuse myself all the time and I hope to be able to continue to do this until I take my last breath and die.

I laugh out loud to my own jokes with nobody around and sometimes I think I am absolutely hilarious. It doesn’t matter to me at all what other people think, as long as I am enjoying myself, and not hurting anyone, that’s all I need. I think I got this from my dad who often laughed at his own jokes but back then, as a daughter, things didn’t really seem that funny to me. They do now.

I celebrate and look forward to my birthday every year. I have no shame about age, I will be 58 in early October and I hope to be just as happy as I approach the so=called dreaded 60.” I admit sixty does sound OLD and it seems impossible that I will be sixty but I hope to celebrate that birthday with even more presents, laughter, family, flowers and friends. Key word : Hope.

A birthday cake

Why not? In the past, my mother always lied about her age.. For years she lied about my age and my sister’s age, we got younger every few years. She used to say and “this is my daughter.” It took us years for her to add-on  each name. She gets it now.

She doesn’t like me to tell people her age so I’ll just say she gave birth to me as a young teen mom. I’m really not coy about age or gray hair. At the moment I am trying to grow out a reddish glaze, not to cover my gray hair but to make it shiny. It didn’t work. Now my hair has three shades, all I want is for my natural brown and silver.

I buy myself little things, very little things, a few weeks before my birthday. It could be one cookie or something from a thrift shop, it by no means is expensive. It’s my birthday month and who knows better than me what makes me happy?

Think about this the month before your birthday, buy yourself something. Why not? I’m sure you deserve it. Wish yourself a Happy Birthday Month and all good things to come throughout the year.

PS Warm wishes on your special day from ME!

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Haters Gonna Hate Myself

I’m trying NOT to feel it, that feeling of FRUSTRATION. I’m sucking in my anger so hard that my belly is rippling over my white jeans and billowing over like a big cloud. A big, black blustery storm cloud.

I’m so done, I know I have to keep on going for as long as it takes but I’m getting my feelings out here because it is safe. I can’t make any plans to do anything or go anywhere because my husband still doesn’t have a job and we are both going stir crazy. I would be much more impulsive and try something new but that’s NOT his style.

We don’t know where we are going to live (I’m breathing a little too heavily now) but we can’t live where we are living too much longer. One more winter here, that’s about all I can take. That’s all I WILL take, though this is a familiar phrase.

I’m fine 99 percent of the time but there are moments, like these, that the stress keeps piling up and it’s as if I am in the middle of the globe and arrows are pointing at me from every single angle. They are not welcoming me, they are stabbing me. I say I can’t take it any more but I know I have no choice.  I’m here to support and encourage and look for a job in a local bakery except I can’t lift 50 pounds, darn it.

Things need to change but I’ve said that for almost one year, I’ve always been scared of change and part of me still is but I can’t afford to deal with that now. I’m scared to be here and I’m scared to leave, but I’m in the middle of nothing, of trudging  through thick, brown, suffocating mud. One more minute and it would be a sinkhole.

At least I tried something new, I’m thrilled that I took a writing class. Registering and getting there alone made me proud. Doing well in it, made me ecstatic. I’lll try to do more things like that, pushing myself.

As people say (not that I believe them anymore) it can’t stay this way forever. Or can it? I’ve resorted to one of my favorite psychics to see what she has to say. Some guidance, please. Spare me the bad stuff, I have enough of that on my own.

I’ll be putting more effort, more optimism, more meditation into my life, changing for the better, starting..TOMORROW. I promise.

#Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

Credit: We Heart It

 

Nowhere To Go, In Time Or Place

I felt the tears of uncertainty and dread spring to my eyes. I quickly wiped them away with the back of my hand because if I didn’t they would stick to my face like hot glue. Change hasn’t happened in our lives for years but I know, in my gut, we will be saying good-bye to the world as we knew it, forever.

Saying good-bye to the past, yet clinging, pathetically, to the memories that I hold dear. Old memories that rust in time but bloom in my brain like day lilies.

Another chapter will be beginning but we don’t know when or where.  Getting older is not easy unless you are a sweet, innocent child. Children love to turn another year older, there is no death in their future, just presents, and  cakes with candles, hope, fun and friends.The aged lack hope universally.

For us, their parents or grandparents, it takes on a whole other realm of closing a chapter and warily beginning another, the last third chapter or the beginning of the end. We don’t celebrate parties in the same way anymore; birthdays come around, it feels like, every few months. There is no happiness in aging when you can’t go back in time. Even memories become stale, photographs, blurry.

Our bodies hurt, pain clings to us like Saran wrap on cheese, transparent, almost impossible to remove. It holds us hostage in our weary, broken bodies

I hold on to the wooden stair rail, going downstairs slowly, sticky over time, but now I am fond of the predictable stickiness in certain areas. I have walked up and down these stairs thousands of times, with sick babies, and naughty toddlers, with gleeful children and with young adults I was proud to call my children. I walked with my husband supporting me and me supporting him.

I am not sure of the timeline, of when we will leave. It could be as early as six months but it could be more like a year, maybe two. The jittery nerves inside me says it will sneak up on us like a deer crossing our path in front of our car in the dead of the night.

I have practiced saying good-bye to everyone I love and have to leave behind in my shaken heart. I will be leaving this home, this carrier of memories. I know I am on my way, still clutching to some false sense of security.

Entering into another phase of my life, of our lives. I have to control myself from me not to sob out loud. I know this tiny, white house which in six months could be painted navy blue or brown. I don’t know, I will never know. But it will never be my house again. My children will not grow up here, the trees we planted for the children will stay and the two big gray rocks other people’s children will climb on.

We are homeless, we have nowhere to go although we can stay for a little time in a few places but never like this again. The locks on the doors will be changed in two days, maybe three, new owners will eventually move in.  The FOR SALE sign on the front yard seems to deface our property. It has already defaced our home.

English: for sale sign

A chapter in our lives is about to be over, a new chapter has not yet been written, the lines blur together. We are standing, clutching on to memories not yet ready or willing to create new ones. I am not sure I will ever want to make new ones.

We step aside, we cling to the naked walls and to each other with the depths of our depression in our hearts beating slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday’s Thoughts

Rain

Rain (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

The rain is dripping from the sky but the sound it makes, splashing across the window, is comforting. Talking (no texting) with my son makes me smile. My husband is doing day labor work for a friend, today he is a Plumber’s Assistant and he is proud. I am proud as well.

Yesterday I talked to my mother; when my mother feels scared she gets very nasty, especially to me. Why I am her whipping post I’m not sure, but I have to deal with it better than I do. It takes me 12 hours for me to get it right and she never remembers what she says. I should know that by now but while it happens I seem to forget it and regress.

My son is about to meet with the President of his University to go over the recommendation letter that the President is eager to write for him for Graduate School. My son is a rare combination of brains and sweetness.

My daughter is beautiful and brilliant, I had not viewed her as an adult until we visited her last week. She will always be my baby in my heart but seeing her in her suite with her friends made me look at her like an accomplished savvy adult. “My baby” is all grown up. I was always known as “the little one.”I would give up anything if only I could hear my father say it one more time, with just one more hug. I miss him.

Father & Daughter

Father & Daughter (Photo credit: Enigma Photos)

When I picked up my dog, Lexi, she ignored me. She would not look at me and hesitantly jumped in the car, not with the same excitement as usual. She did not give me kisses. Once inside the house, she sauntered over to her water bowl and drank it all up, not giving me so much as a glance. After a while, I went upstairs to lie on my bed where she always keeps me company; she hid under the bed. I just gave her space. I understand getting used to changes, I’m the same way.

In a couple of hours she warmed up and forgave me for leaving her at her favorite sitter’s house while we were away. She jumped on the bed, circled around until she found just the right spot, her body touching mine and fell soundly asleep. It was a very deep sleep, she sighed with relief, I felt her body relax, she was home, we were safe, then she gave me kisses.

 

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The Age We Are

We all age. It’s one thing, like death, we cannot change. In time, we need to accept the inevitable. We all get older and as scary as it sounds it is going to happen whether we like it or not. At some point, kicking or screaming or both we need to find peace within ourselves to accept our new, old age, our new lifestyle, that WE are now considered old.

thanks for old friends

thanks for old friends (Photo credit: Steve took it)

The trick to getting comfortable with your age? I have no idea. Once in a while I become a nervous wreck thinking about it. It usually only lasts about ten minutes at a time but when it hits it doesn’t feel good at all. Like now:

How did I get to be this old? I don’t understand. Wasn’t I just seven walking up the big hill to get to my elementary school wondering about how it would feel being old? I distinctly remember the comfort that I would not get old alone, that the friends around me who were the same age would get older too.

Junior high was a blur, it wasn’t the best time but it wasn’t the worse. It was something you had to go through to live another day. Students bothering you for your lunch money, dark hallways, new friends. Dreary, fenced in cement playground.

Then, I fell in love with high school, my sister went away to college and a new me was born. As my parents said “I blossomed.”  I adored high school, I was at school more than I was at home, in every club imaginable. Writing clubs, The New York Club, Yearbook Club, Acting, Jabberwocky Club (a magazine I, unfortunately named.)

Didn’t I go straight from there to college, when it snowed on October 2nd and finally got warm at the end of the semester for a few days and we played frisbee and sat in the sun? We had a cat named Boz.Those four years went by so quickly, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology. Parties, crushes, and one ugly hangover.

After that I was single, independent, living in my apartment in New York City, working at a good job, moved to Boston on a whim, I thought my friend Matthew was moving there, made a really good salary, convinced I would never meet a guy. I had a short romance or two. The next step was meeting a guy that for the first time I didn’t get tired of after twenty minutes.

My first love. My always love. We got married, we moved, we tried to have children to no avail and then (thank you G-d ) I got pregnant and what a miracle that was! We were blessed that after two and a half years of painful, intrusive infertility treatments, our son was born. When our son was one, we were thrilled and excited to be naturally expecting another child, another miracle, a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed daughter. I give thanks for my family every single night. That’s what love is.

If I had to pick a time when I was the happiest, THAT was the best time of my life, that time period when I was first pregnant with my son and then ecstatically with my daughter.

Luckily, we have our memories, at least most of them. Photographs too can fill in the spaces that time captured. We can all get scared of being older, it’s natural but here’s something that you can do to help: find other people you trust, and talk. It doesn’t matter what age they are. Pick up the phone, make a lunch date, reach out. Stay in touch with old friends, make some new friends. You will feel better. I assure you, you both will.

 

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To Huff Po,

English: Arianna Huffington attending the prem...

English: Arianna Huffington attending the premiere of The Union at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Arianna,

“Ten Things You Do To Make Yourself Look Ten Years Older?” Really?  SO WHAT!!!

On behalf of so many women what on earth were you THINKING when you approved that horrid article about “10 ways to appear younger for women? ” We are still reeling with disappointment and frankly we thought perhaps you might have been on vacation that week. That truly would have been the only excuse (and that’s pushing it) for you to have allowed that article to run.

Here was my initial reaction on Facebook: “Dear Arianna, at Huff Po, this is an offensive article. People should be comfortable in their own skin. I wear mom jeans and sneakers all the time, I have adult children (okay my daughter) that would love for me to be more fashionable, guess what? Too bad. I’m 57 and while I need to get used to forming the word sixty, I am perfectly comfortable being who I am. Wisdom has to be acquired, dear. So, a little advice, whoever said okay to this article should be fired. Or at least, get someone to write a counter point. Like me. I’m happy to do it for you. hibernationnow.wordpress.com”

After doing a little research about Huff Po what I read and I’m merely paraphrasing is that much of the staff is comprised of “twenty-somethings.” Way to go to get a true, objective article on aging. Arianna, please, get a grip and turn the once loved magazine around, before it’s too late.

What about enhancing our beauty and embracing our lives at whatever ages we are? No more mom jeans? Tough, some of us like mom jeans, you could have, however, said “wear a belt, or a colorful scarf to accessorize.”  Comfortable shoes? My sneakers are great for my feet and I don’t need nor do I have the money to buy “comfortable shoes that are stylish.” Sure, I have looked at those they cost $1,000 and  $400.00 not $100 and besides Ms. Huffington, where do you think we are going at night?

Some might have the income you have but most of us don’t.  A night out for me is either cooking dinner or once in a while going out to an inexpensive dinner ( my husband is currently unemployed in the Computer Industry and I have a chronic pain disease) taking off my “mom jeans” and”sneakers” and happily changing into my pajamas or sweat pants (gasp, yes, I did say that) pulling off my unfitted bra and relaxing at home, reading a book or watching some benign television show that makes me happy.

Call me totally mindless and stupid but I get personal pleasure out of watching shows like “Parenthood” or “Gray’s Anatomy” instead of horrifying news or tv shows that display all blood, guts and murder. There’s enough of that in the real world, thank you very much.

Once my greatest dream was to publish an article in The New York Times or The Huffington Post. Now, I don’t really think that would be much of an achievement after all. But, you do owe it to women who are fuming across the country to show them this side of the story about aging.

If you and your loved ones are healthy, be happy to awaken to another day, enjoy your loved ones as they love you. Look at yourself in the mirror, without any make-up or new dress- up changes; if you  see some wrinkles? Smile, you have lovingly earned them. Be happy with yourself, just the way you are.

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Haiku Heights: Age

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th century, OP582 (Photo credit: Black Country Museums)

Old woman

Old woman (Photo credit: justin_vidamo)

Crept up,  wrinkles, jowls

gasping air, oatmeal, tea, cat

stranger to myself.

*****************************

Rocked, cradled, baby

back and forth, cooing songs, sad

Is mom my child now?

all photographs are the property of the photographers.

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There’s A Wonderful Advantage To Getting Older That, I Bet, You Don’t Know

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

March 2013

I thought I was having a psychotic episode, the mere word itself terrifies me. Random words kept popping into my head like kernels of corn and it made me more nervous than I already was (if that was at all possible.). I took a low dose of  Xanax, a prescribed anti-anxiety medicine and waited, it didn’t help. It had always worked before, why not now?  That freaked me out too. I thought for sure, I was going out of my mind and it terrified me.

My husband was away on a business trip and I was home alone with our dog, Jax, during one of the worst blizzards; they were forecasting winds up to 60 miles per hour, major power outages and two feet of snow. I have been alone plenty of times before and have enjoyed it tremendously, but this time felt like one continuous nightmare, that lasted five days and nights. Jax stayed close to me and if the heat went out I could always cuddle with him, luckily when you have a dog you really don’t feel as alone.

Since I couldn’t calm myself down, I was sure I was having a psychotic episode and my huge fear of being restrained in a mental hospital/jail loomed in front of me. I’m not sure if I could have made myself any more anxious if I tried. I stayed up late, reading and listening to calming music, trying to take deep breaths until I was so tired that I fell asleep.

I had a planned appointment with my therapist a few days later and I couldn’t wait to get there. I told her my anxiety medicine didn’t work. She calmly said; “You should have taken two.” Her answer to my question about it being a psychotic state was ” “you are too old to start having a psychotic episode now.” For once, being older had a huge advantage. The one thing I could be thrilled about getting older. We had an advantage, who knew? That DID make me happy. Rejoice, older men and women!

She said it was just anxiety and “why wouldn’t you be anxious, alone, with a huge storm coming with howling winds that frightened many people?  The power could have gone out and instead of struggling with the ten page detailed instruction manual that I was obsessing about I should have just shoveled on more blankets and waited until the morning. Then, I could beg a neighbor to help me or as my shrink suggested “go to a hotel.”

I owe this woman a great deal of thanks, she is an incredibly smart and wonderful person. I like her and I trust her and if there is something serious we stop our talking and kidding around immediately and she has solid advice. Some people, even now, in the year 2013, still have a stigma about seeing a psychiatrist to  work out a problem. I just don’t get that, if you had trouble with your car, would you hesitate taking it to the mechanic? You just need to make sure, in both cases, that you go to the RIGHT person, the right match. I’ve met many frogs who called themselves therapists, this woman is a gem. A natural gem.

PS How many people are getting anxious just watching this dude?

Carry on Tuesday: In my life: The Spirituality Of Wisdom

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: atsukosmith)

There has been a fair amount of joy and pain in my long life. One needs to learn to accept that from the beauty of childhood to the path of adulthood. It is the tipping point, like a seesaw that sways you from very young to adult. It’s not always a smooth landing, it is not supposed to be; sometimes  the landing can jar you completely and you end up feeling pain. Do not despair. There is always a reason.

You will learn that not every day is wonderful and gratifying. Because when you are young, it’s unlikely to have a very bad day. You may have a stressful day with homework and commitments but these earlier years, they are magical. I try to tell this to my son and daughter but I know they won’t listen; I didn’t listen at their age either. There are some things in life that can’t be taught. You must discover them on your own: Wisdom. Self-esteem. Your place in the world. Connection.

Clasp your hands together, gently, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Allow yourself the time, the solitude, of silent gratitude. We are here in this lifetime to understand, to learn, to focus. We are here to help each other, to seek kindness from within, to share that with the world.

Much of my past life I suffered from anxiety and pessimism. As I was blessed with age, the gray strands of hair, the tiny wrinkles around my eyes have given me the opportunity, the knowledge to learn, to be able to sigh deeply with knowledge and greater understanding. The  choice has always been mine. I stand now, looking in my  mind’s eye, smiling widely, happy to appreciate what I see, who I am, more importantly who I have become. Appreciate every day, be thankful for your gifts, your blessings. Let your heart be open to nature and to blessings and wisdom, to the ways of the world in peace and harmony, starting from within. Trust the world around you, but most importantly, trust yourself.