Category Archives: aging

Ghosts and cobwebs

Exiting and entering a relationship is never the same twice. I guess that makes sense since I’ve come to learn that the only truly consistent thing I’ve found in my own romantic pairings has been that they all leave a mark.

I ran a race on Wednesday, almost the longest day of the year, that I had also run two years ago. My previous experience had been as close to perfect as I would ever dare hope, the weather, course and company were ideal. I couldn’t imagine it ever being better.

Yet, on Wednesday it was.

Photo: C. Allen

The event was very different this year. We were sans guys, more relaxed (I think) with weather that was kind of misty, rather than sunny, but with fairly delicious air. It was wonderful in a new way. The trails in Minnewaska are lovely, wide with a fairly soft surface, and amazing views. Fantastic.

Photo: C. Allen

As I ran, I felt strong. My feet hurt a little, but my heart felt powerful and I enjoyed the run. Along the course there were parts that were familiar, and others that I didn’t recall from previous races. I started thinking about how the trail was kind of a metaphor for how I’m feeling these days, like there are parts of myself that seem familiar, while others I don’t remember ever encountering before. Ghosts and cobwebs.

Past relationships kind of stick with us in a variety of different ways. At least that’s been my experience. Maybe you wear the color (s)he always liked best and can’t help but to remember how you felt each time (s)he said blue was your color. Like those parts of the trail, that’s a ghost. It stays with you.

The cobwebs, though…those, for me, are the places of which I have no memory at all, because those parts haven’t been used in so very long. Maybe not even ever. It’s like virgin territory. Exploring this new terrain is exciting, but by a certain age, or level of experience, you’ve probably learned to pay close attention to where you step. Keeping one’s feet on the ground and trying to not fall down can be a struggle, but they’re good goals for a trail and a relationship.

A becoming-more-familiar race and a new romance seem to be just about the best way to experience ghosts and cobwebs.  And, like that solstice run, I’ll do it again.

Thoughts to share?

 

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Filed under aging, favorites, friends, musings, Observations, relationships, road trips, running, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Scattered

I’m feeling scattered. The end of the school year brings lots of activities that (often delightfully) disrupt my work days and my personal life has taken a positive turn which has caused unexpected, but very much appreciated reverberations. Summer is looking really good and I’m so ready for it.

My middle son’s upcoming trip to Thailand has been my focus recently and I’ve spent very little time working on my own trip to Europe this summer. Gathering the necessary documents for his required visa has taken some work and I’m constantly checking in with myself and him about what is his responsibility and what I should be taking on on his behalf. It’s a balance that is kind of new – next stage parenting, I suppose.

My oldest son and I will be visiting Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague. Other than Munich, which I visited in 1992, I haven’t been to any of those places before and I’m pretty stoked. The big stuff is done – a plan to meet with family, our accommodations, an outing or two, but I haven’t even looked at details such as transportation or scouting out where we’ll want to eat or what sites we won’t want to miss. I think we’ll be winging it. Suggestions are welcomed.

For a period of time next month, all three of my children will be on different continents. I’ve been trying to process this fact ever since it occurred to me a couple of days ago and I’m still not quite there. Wow. How did I/we ever get lucky enough for this to even possible much less accurate? It’s amazing to me and I don’t take it for granted on any level.

Somehow, I have children who are comfortable and excited by adventure. They are interested and curious about history and people and the world we live in and that prompts me to be so very proud of them. I appreciate that the experiences I’ve cultivated with them have been influential, but it certainly isn’t all due to me. These upcoming trips were inspired by Anthony Bourdain (Thailand) and the Von Trapp family (Austria) and I can’t tell you thrilled I am that my sons are eager to collect their own memories of places around their world and that sometimes I get to be a witness to their wonder.

Scattered isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you think about stars and seeds. Here’s hoping that summer 2018 brings light and new life to each of us.

 

 

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Filed under aging, Boys, Europe, family, Germany, Summer, travel, vacation

Watching my mouth

If you know me, you’re probably expecting a post about my struggle to control my tendency to use colorful language or to share stories that may not always be appreciated by those mentioned. But, no, that’s not quite what this is about. This isn’t about what may come out of my mouth, but instead it is about what goes in.

But, first some history. I’m sure I’ve written before about the recurring dream I had for years. I must have, it was pretty profound for me. The dream is set in a rural area I lived in for a couple of crucial elementary school years. It was a place that had left me with idyllic memories, but in my dream the entire area had been poorly developed and settled with over-sized houses replacing blueberry bushes, fields and trees. The wildness that I had loved was gone.

I always woke up sad from that dream until the day I recognized that I only had that dream when I was faced with change or a decision. Once I had that realization, I never had the dream again.

The point of the preceding, is this: when we recognize why or how something exerts power over us, often it loses its hold. So, about my mouth…

I’ve come to understand that there are times in my life when my eating practices become a form of exerting control. It’s like I’ve been disappointed by the connection between my actions and the results in some personal situation, so I limit my eating to be able to observe the numbers on the scale going down, sort of as proof of the positive relationship between effort and reward.

Without exception, this only occurs when I’m feeling emotionally beaten up and it never really lasts for very long. After a week or two, my body demands more food if I’m going to make it run or bike or walk or paddle board or ski. I remember again that I’m more of an “indulge myself” girl than a “deny myself” lady and eat some ice cream, maybe even with hot fudge, and the scale goes back up a few pounds.

I don’t even know if it’s a bad thing, this temporary curtailing of my consumption. It seems to only make me eventually more appreciative of food than I had been, more thoughtful about what I ingest, which seems ok. There’s nothing wrong with paying more attention to what you’re interested and willing to swallow.

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Filed under aging, girlhood, musings, Observations, relationships, stress

Lessons learned

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If you’re lucky to live long enough, life comes with all sorts of lessons. Some are pretty simple, you know, like treat people the way you want to be treated or you get more bees with honey, but other lessons require more experience and perspective. I’ve recently been schooled by the universe and have learned some new lessons that I’m going to share with you in the hopes that you can avoid having your own similar personal education. Tuition free.

  • Trust yourself even when the people you trusted prove you wrong.
  • If a situation isn’t improving, that means something.
  • When two people both want the same thing (together), the efforts exerted to make that work feel much less laborious than when two people are not working to be together.
  • Trying is admirable, but martyrdom isn’t a good look on anyone.
  • Letting go can be: a. Harder than hanging on
    b. Super easy with lots of tequila
    c. A lengthy process
    d. All of the above
  • One day the sun will shine so brightly that your eyes will struggle with all that is revealed.
  • Laughter comes back. You may unexpectedly find yourself humming.
  • You’ll start to forget why it meant so much and begin remembering how much more you wanted.
  • And you will realize that your hands are finally empty and it feels like a gain, and not a loss.

Class dismissed.  It’s going to be an epic summer.

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Filed under aging, Education, Uncategorized

Listen

Some people find it odd that “my” library is at the end of the wing where the music department has some of their classrooms. When the air conditioning is on we close the doors, but for much of the year sounds from the band room make their way to my desk and I love it. Wednesday afternoons the jazz band plays and it’s my favorite day of the week to listen. Our teachers are so good at what they do – exposing students to music, cultivating their talents, inspiring their efforts. It truly never ceases to amaze me.

This time of year, our students are working hard to prepare for various concerts and performances and the song selections include graduation favorites such as Pomp and Circumstance, a tune that never fails to make me feel nostalgic. Hearing this song is an audible reminder that the school year is almost over, that it’s time to mark both an ending and a beginning, and it is music to my ears.

The clear delineation of the calendar is one the greatest perks of teaching for me. I’m the kind of person who appreciates a new academic year, a new semester, a new quarter, a new week and a new day because each of these milestones comes with an opportunity to start anew. I’ve always loved flipping a calendar to an entirely new month of days and a brand new notebook never failed to inspire me to attempt to do my best work. There’s always a fresh beginning for which to look forward, something different coming our way.

In the past couple of days two people whom I’ve admired and been inspired by, found themselves unable to survive the thought of another day of living. They were in a place so dark and so sad that they couldn’t see that the next day, or even the very next moment, provided another chance to start again.

As we get ready to witness the commencement of another class of students and send them off to their next life chapter, I worry that we’re creating a culture where music and books aren’t thought to belong together, but success, depression and suicide are. What are we teaching these kids? When do they get to connect – with one another and not the WiFi network? We have dozens of devices designed to facilitate conversation but no one’s really communicating.

We need to slow it down and start listening better. This is a health crisis and we can do better. Listen.

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Filed under aging, beauty, Education, Europe, Events, favorites, France, friends, musings, NYC, Observations, politics

A is for apology

When my marriage ended, I wrote a lot about how I felt. It helped me to clarify and deal with the end of the longest relationship of my life and I felt entitled to that process. It was what I needed to do.

Afterwards, though, I felt guilty about some of what I wrote. I questioned whether I had been fair and if I should have been so honest about the pain I was in. I attempted to compensate for my regret by expressing the positive things that had come from the relationship. I began to shift my thinking to consider the possibility that the end of my marriage came because of needs not being met, not as a result of actions directed at or by either of us. I learned.

Or so I hoped.

My life is pretty public. Secrets aren’t something I personally feel the need to own, preferring direct honesty above polite bullshit, but it really is unfair of me to share my own disappointments at the expense of another. It isn’t kind and doesn’t serve a positive purpose. I don’t believe it’s necessary to tear down someone who once brought you tremendous happiness to make yourself feel better. It’s wrong and I’m sorry about doing it.

Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we planned or hoped. Maybe we’re told things that may or may not be true. Perhaps there are struggles beyond the circle the two of you have created, issues that need to be addressed that simply can’t be resolved as a unit. It’s hard to say and I probably shouldn’t even attempt it.

Suffice it to say that having one’s needs met and being loved the way we want and need to be loved is ultimately the purpose, I think, in having a relationship. When that’s not happening, it’s time to accept the situation and move forward. No need for scarlet letters at all.

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Filed under aging, love, musings, relationships, stress, Uncategorized, writing

The truth will set you free

Somehow I’ve always thought that phrase was an invitation for someone to unburden themselves by being honest, but recently I’ve begun to interpret it in a new way – the truth can also release a person from a situation in which they’ve been lied to repeatedly and consistently. Learning the truth about something, or someone, can be the key to finally closing and locking a door that has remained open for far too long.

Relationships between two people are hard, but when there are more than two people involved that degree of difficulty increases exponentially. While I will never attempt to present myself as a 100% innocent person, I can say without reservation that I work really hard to express myself with honesty and integrity. To not have that courtesy reciprocated is painful, to say the least, but what it won’t be is devastating. My life is too precious to be destroyed and I’ve got too much good stuff in my life to allow any individual to drag me down permanently.

It’s a funny thing with this blog. When I’m sad and working through emotional stuff, my stats go through the roof. Maybe I’m wrong,* but I really don’t believe it’s due to the fact that readers love my misery.  Instead I think the reason for increased readership during the exceptional times is because the things I share are universal – life and love are challenging experiences and sometimes they kick our ass.

But, life goes on.

I’ll continue to be proud of the partner I was to someone who apparently knew better than I did that he didn’t deserve me. My exterior will continue to reflect who I am on the inside – a woman who has lots of love, along with uncountable other positive and healthy attributes, and is perhaps willing to share all of that with a man who is worthy of those gifts. Freely.

 

*it obviously wouldn’t be the first time.

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Filed under aging, love, musings, Observations, relationships, secrets