Category Archives: aging

This indecision’s (done) bugging me

Sometimes decisions come: easy – eggs poached rather than scrambled, black boots instead of brown, while at other times the choices are far more challenging – like naming a child or choosing where to make your home. The really hard decisions, though, are the ones we don’t want to make, the ones we avoid because we don’t like the available options and are holding out for additional choices. Those, well those are the decisions that can haunt a person.

Recently I had to make one of those decisions.

It definitely was one of those really hard choices and more than anything I wanted the universe to tell me what to do. I had already given myself deadlines and conditions to be met and had created mental lists tallying the pluses and minuses of the situation. I was in turns optimistic, hopeful, sad and angry until I finally accepted that the position I was in unsustainable  because…

  • if you accept less than you want, then you get what you deserve
  • when you hold onto something that does not satisfy, your hands are full but your soul remains empty
  • it doesn’t matter how much you want something or how hard you work towards a goal if your efforts are not equally met
  • life is short and I can’t justify spending anymore of it being less than happy

Last night as I filled the tub with hot water, I reached for a bath bomb given to me by a friend. I couldn’t help but smile as I read the tag: Happiness.

Thanks, universe. I’ll take it.

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Filed under aging, friends, love, musings, relationships, stress

Get Happy

451D325D-8917-4814-B3FC-ABDA81880233Happy hap·py

adjective. feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.

synonyms:

cheerful, cheery, merry, joyful, jovial, jolly, jocular, gleeful, carefree, untroubled, delighted, smiling, beaming, grinning, in good spirits, in a good mood, lighthearted, pleased, contented, content, satisfied, gratified, buoyant, radiant, sunny, blithe, joyous, beatific; thrilled, elated, exhilarated, ecstatic, blissful, euphoric, overjoyed, exultant, rapturous, in seventh heaven, on cloud nine, walking on air, jumping for joy, jubilant;

Do you see how many synonyms there are for “Happy?” It’s almost like the Inuits and the number of words they have for “snow!” If there are so many words to describe the state of being happy, why are so many people unable to find their way there? Is happy simply unachievable for some? I just don’t know.

Here’s what I do know – being happy should be a fundamental life goal. Intention, decisions, actions…all of these should be predicated upon an outcome of being happy. Understanding that we only have “one precious life” and accepting that we are completely responsible for our own happiness, in my opinion, should be the foundation for all we do. While this may sound incredibly self-serving, it really isn’t. Our own individual happiness isn’t necessarily achieved independently, but that doesn’t mean it comes at another’s expense. Actually, positively impacting another’s happiness can be a major source of our own personal happiness, don’t you think?

But, don’t you dare sacrifice your own internal happiness for another’s. Read that again. Don’t do it. Why not? Because it is impossible to make someone happy. That’s on them, my friends. No matter how much you care for someone, how consistently you support them, how frequently you model positivity and radiate joy…none of it makes a bit of difference unless they’re committed to figuring out how to achieve their own happiness. Trust me.

So, focus on whatever brings you joy, live your life with honesty, celebrate the positive, let go of what does not serve you and be grateful for each day you’ve been given. And, if that isn’t enough to cultivate happiness in your heart and soul, reach out for help from any and all resources available.  Life is just too damn short to not be happy

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Filed under aging, love, musings, Observations, relationships

The things she carried

Returning from a long anticipated vacation can be challenging even without the body clock readjustment necessary from a six-hour time difference and a nine hour flight.  Fortunately, there’s some consolation in the form of souvenirs whether they’re physical, emotional, mental, or some combination of all three. My recent trip to Italy provided an excellent array of “things” which will continue to provide memories of a wonderful trip, as well as life inspirations moving forward. Some of the highlights…

In my suitcase I stashed the nearly intact hunk of fine Italian butter that I just couldn’t leave behind. I wrapped it tightly (and cozied it up next to a few slices of lovely prosciutto) and placed it in a small ziplock bag I had recycled. I thoroughly enjoyed the butter on toast for a number of mornings, sitting in my DelSo dining room.

Three bottles of Duty Free booze – a 10-year-old tawny port, Amaro, which I have limited familiarity with but want to experience, and a promising bottle of Amarone which I will uncork when the urge strikes.

A very large Toblerone bar to replace the one my oldest son lost a few years back to Jeter.

A beautiful green, wool blend overcoat which straddles the line between cozy duster and oversized topper. I bought it in Naples for 15e and it makes me smile when I see it hanging in my closet.

One clementine, purchased at the Campo de Fiori market in Rome. Still not eaten, but intended to fuel this weekend’s half marathon.

Two items purchased at the Vatican – a simple silver cross and chain for my youngest son as a special gift in honor of his 13th birthday and a key chain depicting the moment God created Adam. That went to the guy whose eyes could have inspired Michelangelo’s paint color choice.

The other stuff I returned with is far less tangible. I came home relaxed, refreshed and confident in my ability to find my way around a new city or two. I have an even deeper appreciation for how Italians live – their sense of priorities, their commitment to la dolce vita, the importance of history and beauty in the everyday.

My trip was days after the most recent school massacre and ever since I’ve been considering how only in America do we repeatedly have these kind of events. Our culture of guns and violence is unique and I’m thinking that when I retire I’d like to spend more time in Europe than my schedule currently allows. I need to get serious about getting a German passport and citizenship.

The biggest thing I brought home was a more clear vision of the life I want. Where I want to be, how I’d like to live and what sort of companion I’d like to share all of that, and myself, with in the future. It may not have taken up any space in my luggage, but these thoughts have occupied a big part of my head and heart since I returned. Time to carry on.

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Filed under aging, Europe, Italy, musings, Observations, travel, vacation

International Women’s Day wheels

AAA188F6-02EF-4256-8952-923203547D9DYesterday turned out to be the perfect day to pick up my “new”car – a day designated to demonstrate honor and respect for women. What do my new car and this day of recognition have in common? Let me tell you.

I’ve done some things recently that have prompted people to remark that I’m some kind of exception because of my independence. Often, I travel alone. I’m not afraid to experience new things or attempt a new challenge. I’m not waiting for some sort of perfect situation to happen before I take a chance or make a leap. Life is too short.

While there have been men in my life who have provided incredible support to me, most of what I have has come from my own hard work and ability to live fairly simply. I have shoes that are older than my children and most of my furniture was purchased secondhand. I cut coupons and shop sales. And – perhaps most importantly, I pay my bills on time and don’t carry balances on credit cards. Because of all of these things, I have excellent credit and I’m really proud of that.

It seems that we live in a time in which many people are absolutely burdened by debt. Maintaining lifestyles beyond their means has almost become the American way. Brand new cars, fancy vacations and 3,000 square foot homes are the goal of many, it seems. I don’t think that’s ever been my bag. I mean, speaking of bags, sure, I like good quality handbags and boots, however, I have made it a habit to not overextend myself without the confidence that I could meet my financial obligations. My home is modest and it comes with an income built in, it’s a two-family house. My last car was purchased almost a decade ago and I haven’t had a car payment in years. I hope to pay this new car off on an accelerated basis, but if I don’t it won’t be tragic because my positive credit history provided me with an excellent interest rate of a loan from my credit union.

Here’s where the shout out to the women comes in – females, you need to work to be able to take care of yourself financially. It is no man in the universe’s responsibility to support an able woman. Of course, of course, there are exceptions. Maybe there are health considerations or some other reason for a man to be truly obligated financially to a woman, but generally? Women, we need to support ourselves. If you’re not savvy about your finances, get help. Figure out how to live on your income and stop letting money be a burden. That’s not what it’s for!

A day devoted to celebrating women is lovely. Being able to make a satisfying deal  for a new car* and obtaining the financing to purchase it within minutes, elated me even more. But, maybe that’s just me.

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I kept the Volvo .

*I purchased the car from Keeler and I couldn’t have been happier with the process. Direct, zero haggle, a couple of changes initiated only on my part and graciously accommodated…Anthony was the perfect salesman, or, as they dubbed him, motoring advisor.

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Filed under aging, moms, musings, Observations, Recommendations, Uncategorized, Williamstown, winter

A few brief thoughts early in a short month

  • Everyone should have footwear that makes them feel like a rockstar.  
  • And friends who remind them how special they are.
  • Seeing my children express their interests is the best part of parenting for me.
  • My excitement for travel remains undiminished.
  • February 2018 is the month in which one of my sons becomes an “adult” and the other becomes a teen. In theory at least.
  • Packing for a trip challenges me in a way that I enjoy. The measure of success for me is wearing every thing I’ve packed.
  • I believe there’s little in life that can’t be improved by fresh air, exercise and water.
  • Fresh flowers in my house are an indulgence that I never imagined being able to afford. PS most of my bouquets come from the grocery store or my own garden.  
  • The days are getting longer, a fact which makes both cross-country skiers and folks who don’t like winter happy.
  • I try to avoid scheduling much on Sundays, but don’t truly relax until the sheets are changed and the papers are read.  
  • In my retirement I want to explore yeast and dough. I love the smell, the magic and the kneading. Until then, it’s quickbreads and whisking.  
  • Long runs are Sunday are never the same but always appreciated.

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Filed under aging, Albany, beauty, DelSo, Europe, Exercise, family, Fashion, Flowers, friends, Italy, musings, Observations, Random, running, sunday, travel

Handing things over to you

Despite Monday feeling colder than the thermometer claimed, after school I grabbed Jeter and headed to the golf course for a walk. It is my goal, you know, to give him the best life a dog has ever known and he needed the exercise. We were greeted by a small herd of dogs, with labradors already well represented, and devoted a few minutes to playtime before heading to one of our favorite wooded trails.

As we walked, I was aware of soreness in my legs from the 15K I had run the previous day. My quads particularly felt tight and I was glad I had made the effort to get out and give them a stretch. My hands, warm in cozy gloves, also felt tight. I’ve really been struggling with jar lids, jewelry clasps and tasks which require dexterity and it’s making me kind of nervous. Unlike my legs which only talk to me after a long or aggressive run, the pain in my hands is unpredictable. Some days I struggle to fasten buttons or Jeter’s leash, while other days I have almost no issues. Sometimes, though, I accidentally bang my hand and the discomfort (see how I try to avoid saying “pain?”) takes my breath away. It’s on the list of topics to discuss at my upcoming physical.

What do you do when your body begins complaining about your actions? Do you work harder to keep things moving? Modify your activities? Address the objections with a pill or two? Maybe you use some magical combination of all of the preceding to muscle through? What are the options when slowing down isn’t a choice?

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Filed under aging, Exercise, medical, musings, running

What if none of this makes a difference?

D768FE3C-75A1-413D-854F-1F21D01F49EC.jpegAfter my shower the other night I faced my shelf of moisturizers considering which one (or 2) to use. Did my face feel tight from the water which I can’t help but set to a temperature which I know is too hot? Should I use the intensive night time mask or the nitamins? Must I avoid that area on my chin where I recently had a spot or should I treat that area with a lighter formula? How about my T-zone that tends to be borderline oily? Would toner help?

As I pondered the embarrassing array of lotions and creams and the condition of my skin I was struck by a thought – what if none of it really makes a difference?

Do you ever consider the ingredients contained in your beauty products? I don’t have a chemistry degree so much of it is a foreign language to me, but I know I’d be more comfortable if I actually could read the label with some degree of comprehension. Is slathering my face with chemicals really going to improve my chances of aging gracefully or would I have been better off not introducing my one and only face to a plethora of foreign substances?

I started moisturizing, probably with Avon products, when I was in middle school. I was seriously into fashion and subscribed to Mademoiselle and Glamour and completely bought in to the beauty culture. As I look back with 35 years of skincare experience, I’m left to wonder how my skin would appear had I not ever used commercial moisturizers. Would the lines on my face be the same? More pronounced or less?

I guess I’ll never know the answers to those questions, but undoubtedly I would have minimized my exposure to chemical substances, my expenses and the amount of time I spend pondering which formula to use.

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Filed under aging, beauty, Observations, Random, Uncategorized