aging, middle age, Personal Retreats

Back From the Depths of Distraction. A Return.

It’s been a long time.

I know.  Boy, do I know.  And I am sorry.

Like Catholic guilt, I have probably thought about and lamented over ignoring this blog about once or twice a week.  I feel like this little place on the web, a huge part of who I was/am was let go,  like something I inadvertently dropped down a well, and I was panicked I would never be able reach down far enough and find it again.  I don’t know why.  A combination of things, I suppose.  But tenacity and guilt and the desire to write again has brought me back.  A resurrection, of sorts.

So much has happened in the 3 or 4 ( or could it be more?) years since I stopped writing.  Here is a quick run down of some things in my life that transpired in that time, not in any particular order.

I filtered through some friends. (Blog fodder)

Gained some new ones.

Had the self -love to let those filtered ones go.

Traveled to Italy, Paris and Greece.

Went to the Louvre (crossed off my bucket list)

Went to the top of the Eiffel tower.

Found my 2 biological brothers (100%!) (Part IV coming soon) and the rest of my biological cousins.)

Lost 3 relatives.

Lost my sweet cat, Fletcher.

Gained a new dog, Wrigley, AKA Cuddliest Dog In the World, a Golden Retriever.

Lost Xander 3 weeks ago. (ugh, best dog IN THE WORLD) This one is fresh, folks.

Became a grandma to 2 boys.

Gained a wonderful, sweet Daughter in Law who reminds me of a young ME. (Love you Gabby!)

Lost 40 lbs. (thank you KETO!)

Fulfilled a dream at 50 and opened my first art studio with a business partner.  Gained knowledge, insight, confidence and finally the balls to go solo.

Benefited from a therapist.

Weathered a marital rift that healed like a broken bone and now it’s stronger than ever.

Learned how to navigate through water without drowning, and without doing the crawl.

Grew my hair to my waist.

Pushed 3 birdies out of the nest (well, not exactly pushed.  But they are on their own now.)

And my kids are GOOD.  Such good people whom I love more than my own life, and through all the trials and tribulations of growing up, I think they love me just about as much.

Turned 55 this year and it feels really good.  Wisdom and confidence has gone hand in hand for me with aging and I l can’t help but love it.

What has been going on in your life?

 

 

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aging, menopause, middle age, self-esteem

I can see clearly now, to my horror…

Yesterday I was wearing some trial contacts all day with the hope that they will be comfortable enough to commit to. My desire is to finally chuck the eyeglasses that have become a part of my face since 1st grade. A few things happened after I suction cupped those babies to my eyeballs.

1. Everything looks larger to me, including my feet and my body. When I check myself in the mirror, I don’t look the same as I did before when I was wearing my glasses. Is it possible that eyeglasses can make things look smaller ? (I do have a super strong prescription.) Nevertheless, I’m not as small (haha) as I thought. And my size 11’s seem gynormous. My feet even look wickedly wide. GASP.

2. My glasses, I find, have masked diagonal smile lines that run from the outside corners of my eyes, right down towards my cheeks. I never noticed them so much as I did yesterday.

3. I can see so much clearer with the contacts and have confirmed what I kind of suspected-I have a crop of grey/or white hairs replacing my blond. Oh my gosh.

4. With the contacts, I can’t even read small print. With my specks, I had no line bifocals, and was able to read somewhat naturally. With contacts, I have a blaring reminder that I’m frickin’ going blind and getting old, too boot. In order to read anything, I have to wear +1 reading glasses, combined with the contacts. I’m already scouting out those chains that will hold the reading glasses around my neck. My husband said I looked cute, sitting there reading with my +1’s and looking out at him over the frames. Sounds like I looked like an old bat to him, doesn’t it?

Okay. Deep breath. I am aging. Surprise! Did I actually think I was immune to the wrinkle fairy? (Yep. I did.) I’m going to be 45 next week on the 27th. Yes, this flighty bird has just hit the window (er the mirror) and has realized she’s not young anymore. And as for the apparent magnification of my body, well, I guess the only cure for that is continued exercise and healthy eating.

(Here comes the pep talk. You know, I’m not gonna end this on a negative note. My job is to empower and lift up myself and everyone else who might be reading this and going through the same thing as me.)

As harsh a realization as all of the above is, to some extent I do welcome it. I definately don’t dread it. Sure, it would be nice to be young, sexy and whatever forever. But, that doesn’t match what’s going on in my brain. You see, pretty much all women, during their 40s suddenly get this amazing dose of self confidence and a wave of wisdom that hits us seemingly overnight. And if it hasn’t happened to you, trust me, you will not go unscathed. Where does it come from ? Physiologically, it’s a brain thing-A new stage in our life. But, it’s what I call a gift from the heavens. How incredible it feels to finally come into my own. For me, it arrived on my 40th birthday, along with my very first night sweat that so thoughtfully introduced itself that same evening. To console myself, I think back at how I enjoy the company of smart, confident older women. I see them as post menopausal mentors. I love how self confident some of them are-how they seem to be so sure in their shoes. They don’t even seem to care if they have wrinkles. After all, there are more important things to concern themselves with like learning new things, speaking their minds, and fostering relationships with their families and girlfriends. And who needs youthful looks anyway, when you can finally navigate through life on your wits alone?

I’m even thinking about my ‘older lady haircut’. Should I keep my hair long and let it go naturally grey, (which is where I tend to lean toward) or should I succumb to the norm of most older women and have a shorter, more mature style? For me, that would be a chance to try out the ‘stacked inverted bob’ that’s really popular right now. I love how it looks on other women, and when it’s cut right, it’s fantastic. I’m dying to try it, much to the disappointment of my husband who loves my hair long and tells me my face is too fat for short hair. (He is brutally honest, he is. Or is he just trying to manipulate me into keeping my hair long by poking jabs at my vanity?) Whatever. This confident gal will someday have the nerve to say, “Hey! It’s my hair. Listen here, grandpa, it’s time to let me wear it the way I want to wear it, for cripes sakes!” Something tells me I love him too much to be that harsh. After all, if he loves my mane that much, how could I be such a bitch?

I would like to delay the inevitible lines on my face, if possible. Lately, when I whisk my make up on, I notice my skin isn’t tight anymore. I’m getting a bit saggy under the eyes. Crap. So, I ordered the new Anew day time, night time and eye cream from Avon. I’m $80 in the hole, but maybe it will work magic on my face. I just want to help myself look better if it’s possible. That’s all. I just want to be a natural, unpretentious woman with smooth skin, long gray hair and a youthful mind set. I’m sure I will get to that “devil may care” stage in my mature years, but in order to get there, I’ve got to notice the changes in myself and mourn them just a little. After all, the face I used to see everyday is changing and that young girl is going away. I must acknowledge her departure and accept it before I can move forward. I wouldn’t be human if it didn’t make me just a little bit sad. And with any luck, that woman waiting just around the corner will be a new, more confident, wiser version of my old self that will accompany me as I march ahead on my journey. Now it’s time to pick myself up by my bootstraps, pinch my cheek and look forward. It’s just going to be us-me, myself and I no matter what-so it’s time for us to all be on the same page psychologically. I can’t change the future or stop the aging. All I can do is make the best of it. The recipe for that is to be positive and accepting, and make my life as stress free as possible. And that’s just what I’m going to do.

Oh, and as for the contacts, the verdict is still out. I haven’t found a pair that are comfortable enough for my right astismatic eye, that’s about as oval as an Easter egg. I just may have to stick to my old friends, the eyeglasses. They’ve never let me down, in fact they worked really hard to hide me from the truth. This time, however, I’m gonna get artsy looking frames that scream ”Self Confident Middle Aged Woman!” That way, I can read naturally and not have to scour the the Chicago suburbs for those silly neck chains.

Goodbye Em. Hello Emily. Onward.