Stream of Consciousness

Aging can be both disappointing and exhilarating.

We mourn the loss of  youth we thought would never end..

In doing so, we embrace the reality that physical well- being is no longer something we can take for granted.

The visage we saw in the mirror for so many years is morphing into a slightly altered, somewhat unfamiliar version of us.

There are wrinkles and sagging skin, soft jaw lines, and

body parts that are no longer where they used to be.

Many older family members have died,

as well as some friends .

Children have grown.

Some of us are grandparents and

some of us are not.

There is no ultimate future but our disappearance from the planet.

That’s the bad news.

Even with all this change, upheaval and  being confronted with our mortality,

why am I happier and feel more free than ever before?

It’s an interesting question and I have thought about it a lot.

I am divorced,

after spending thirty years together.

In my mind, I already had the end of that storyline planned &

it included :”til death do us part”.

That is always a mistake-

to think you know how something will end

or what will happen in the future.

But I am happy,

because I chose to accept my new life

and make the most of it.

My son is grown, married and doing quite well.

I am no longer required to orchestrate his life,

prepare his meals, take him to practice,

lecture him or bring him home for weekends from school.

Even though we never stop being mothers,

our roles change drastically when they are grown..

Now, I am relieved of being the mother to a growing boy

because a man has taken his place.

 I am enjoying the new relationship we now have- as adults.

I sold the house , moved back to my hometown and

I am living in a house with my cousins .

I no longer have the responsibility for my own home.

I don’t really want to own anything anymore.

I live on the third floor in a quiet space with my own porch .

I never saw that coming…. in a million years!

but

 I feel safe and happy there.

I have given up a lot of my possessions, because of space.

What I didn’t expect was how liberating that would be.

I don’t want to be responsible for “stuff” any longer.

I feel lighter.

After 50 years of working, I have retired.

 My  volunteering opportunities

 allow me to do some good in the community.

And that makes me truly happy.

I see my best friends on Friday mornings.

We all sit by a beautiful creek and waterfall

in the sun

until we run out of  food and things to talk about .

Every now and then we hop in someone’s car

and drive to the beach for the day.

These women have become the sisters I never had.

We  appreciate and love each other just as we are.

Too bad all relationships couldn’t be this easy.

Slowing down allows us to embrace the richness of life

and  gives us the time to savor it.

The one lesson I  have learned is that you can’t ever make everyone happy!

I never really had the time to think about who I  was-

what I needed to be happy.

I was just happy if I was making someone else happy.

 I felt trapped inside the expectations of others

and my own expectations of perfection.

Now that is gone , as well.

There are no external expectations because quite honestly,

the only approval I seek now, is my own.

I no longer expect perfection because I know it is not attainable.

That is the way it always should have been- but it wasn’t.

I was raised to be a people pleaser

and to quote Glennon Doyle, the author of “Untamed”:

“When I became people pleaser, I lost myself”.

I was lost to myself for many years and at first when I gave up the identity of wife, designer, business owner  etc……

I  was panic stricken. What would I be if I wasn’t all those things.

Who would I be?

It took a while and some work, but now

I am pretty satisfied with me, with who I am and what I have done.

And I am in this totally new, liberating phase of my life.

 I feel like me -maybe fully for the first time.

I like being alone and I need a lot of that.

I am grateful for all the lessons of my life & every mistake I made.

Because I learned from all of it.

Life is simple, if you let it be.

I am free of all the roles I played,

of the expectations of others and

of judging myself and being judged.

Now I accept what is.

There is no better strategy than that, my friends.

If you can find  happiness and peace no other way,

you will find it when you

ACCEPT WHAT IS. .

Don’t be afraid of change.

Don’t just accept it. Embrace it…

as if you had planned it for yourself.

Take each day as it comes, be grateful,

enjoy the hell out of it and do not worry about the future.

It will come but you can’t really control it, so why try.

Sometimes, I think Forrest Gump’s mother was right:

“We are all just floating around like a feather on the breeze.”

And to that I say :

Let life take you where it pleases.

You can be happy…… no matter what comes.

Let’s Snap out of it!

You know, I had a nice little thing going before this Pandemic came long.I am retired,  I was volunteering, I went to the gym , took walks with my friends, met for breakfast and in general, was enjoying my small corner of the world.

I felt I was doing some good, slowing down, learning to cherish life’s little gifts and appreciating the fact that I haven’t broken anything or needed surgery in the past year!

But as my Southern grandfather used to say:

” You never know what’s comin’ for ya.”

At my age, I’ve lived through a lot of crazy things- assassinations, sickness, death, wars, riots, racism, economic hardships, and just the general craziness you witness when you’ve spent over 70years on the planet. But honestly, I don’t think any of us have ever seen anything like this! A Global Pandemic that we could use as an opportunity to finally feel as though we are all in this together. A way to unite ourselves as citizens of the earth, recognizing that what we do is for the good of all of us, not just a few.

But are we taking that opportunity? Some of us are. But this country is so divided politically that even this is being used to tear us apart.

We are wasting all the suffering, pain, bravery and courage that so many of our citizens are showing at this time. They are putting their lives on the line for us. And we re-pay them by defying orders to isolate and take precautions- to stay in our cushy lodgings. Oh God no! That is just too awful!

Homes where we have plenty of food and every luxury that people in some countries can only dream about. And we are bitching! There is always a lesson to be learned from everything- good and bad. Let’s learn it. Let’s make the best of it. Our parents and grandparents lived through World Wars and years long depression. We’ve been asked to stay home for a few months. Really? That is the best we can do without rioting? Do I like it- NO. But am I going to do it- Hell, yes, I am! Because it is the right thing to do for everyone.

Let’s not blow it now. People in Wisconsin are partying in bars – no masks – no social distancing. Let’s see how long the merriment lasts when their death rates start climbing and everyone has to go back in quarantine for months. Let’s see how much that helps our economy. As my mother used to say: “You are just cutting off your nose to spite your face.”. Let’s not do that. I am not crazy about my nose- but I love my life and I dont want to endanger it or anyone else’s life.

So, let’s put on our grown-up pants and do what we need to do to help everyone get through this together. Let’s act responsibly for the common good. And for the love of God- don’t confuse your freedom with your responsibility as a member of society.

 

Finally, while you are at home, scrolling down on Facebook, why not use this opportunity to contribute to some organizations that are helping people who are not only facing this Pandemic, but live in war -torn countries where they have no homes, no food ,no freedom and their children are  being killed every day . Wanna get pissed off about something. Get pissed off about that!

Take a look at what is happening every where in the world and use that knowledge to do to some good. I feel better now.

 

Imagine

 

 

IMAGINE………

 

A miracle that allows us all to see, perhaps for the first time,

that we are

one people, living together on one planet-

  all human beings in need of love, care, kindness & compassion.

We are not just responsible for ourselves

but also for the well- being of others in need.

We are all in this together.

Those of us who are alive on the planet now have never experienced

a global pandemic: a world-wide disaster.

My hope is that living through this difficult time

will give us the wisdom to turn it into

 a once in a lifetime opportunity…..

a chance to change everything.

 

I am hoping the world will see, at last,

that financial wealth is not the goal of life.

It is not the path to happiness.

Real wealth is found when all of us live in harmony with each other

respecting and caring for all life forms and the planet itself.

 

 “When this is over, we must finally accept 

that we are guests on this planet- not it’s masters”

 

Accept the premise that everyone deserves a decent place to live, food on the table

and medical care when they are ill.

Extend this reverence for life to the animals that share this planet with us

and to the planet itself-

Our Only Home

 

We must change our priorities and

our definition of what is necessary-

and what is acceptable

not just for a few, but for all of us.

Who is willing

 to work for this change –

to demand this change?

Today, Health Care Workers are not only saving lives

but they are now giving their lives every day to help others- people they don’t even know..

There is no greater sacrifice, no greater example of what humanity can be.

I pray there will be a day when we all awaken to the fact that

there is no more me, no more you, no  more them.

There is only us

 

Covid-19 is offering us time to think about what we need to change,

to find a way to emerge from this with an open heart,

 a resolve to do better.

Humanity on this planet will only thrive when

we begin acting not as citizens of a country,

but when we become Citizens of Earth,

humans beings all sharing the planet……

Brothers and Sisters.

Where each and every one of us is valued .

I don’t know if this will ever happen.

That’s not up to me.

It’s up to everyone on the planet.

I merely pose the question and

The question is:

Do you want this chance to change our world?

 

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I hope someday you will join us

and the world will live as one.”

IMAGINE……..

Imagine

 

 

IMAGINE………

 

A miracle that allows us all to see, perhaps for the first time,

that we are

one people, living together on one planet-

  all human beings in need of love, care, kindness & compassion.

We are not just responsible for ourselves

but also for the well- being of others in need.

We are all in this together.

Those of us who are alive on the planet now have never experienced

a global pandemic: a world-wide disaster.

My hope is that living through this difficult time

will give us the wisdom to turn it into

 a once in a lifetime opportunity…..

a chance to change everything.

 

I am hoping the world will see, at last,

that financial wealth is not the goal of life.

It is not the path to happiness.

Real wealth is found when all of us live in harmony with each other

respecting and caring for all life forms and the planet itself.

 

 “When this is over, we must finally accept 

that we are guests on this planet- not it’s masters”

 

Accept the premise that everyone deserves a decent place to live, food on the table

and medical care when they are ill.

Extend this reverence for life to the animals that share this planet with us

and to the planet itself-

Our Only Home

 

We must change our priorities and

our definition of what is necessary-

and what is acceptable

not just for a few, but for all of us.

Who is willing

 to work for this change –

to demand this change?

Today, Health Care Workers are not only saving lives

but they are now giving their lives every day to help others- people they don’t even know..

There is no greater sacrifice, no greater example of what humanity can be.

I pray there will be a day when we all awaken to the fact that

there is no more me, no more you, no  more them.

There is only us

 

Covid-19 is offering us time to think about what we need to change,

to find a way to emerge from this with an open heart,

 a resolve to do better.

Humanity on this planet will only thrive when

we begin acting not as citizens of a country,

but when we become Citizens of Earth,

humans beings all sharing the planet……

Brothers and Sisters.

Where each and every one of us is valued .

I don’t know if this will ever happen.

That’s not up to me.

It’s up to everyone on the planet.

I merely pose the question and

The question is:

Do you want this chance to change our world?

 

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I hope someday you will join us

and the world will live as one.”

IMAGINE……..

Celebrity Induced Stupidity

 

A while back someone asked me:

“If Kim and Kanye were drowning

and only you could save them,

what kind of sandwich would you make?”

It’s a bit harsh,

I know

but honestly I am so disgusted,

I actually laughed at it

 

Is it just me, or is everyone else bored

with our celebrity-obsessed culture?

I don’t care why Kim and Kanye named their kid Psalm.

I don’t care that J Lo and A Rod haven’t yet set a wedding date.

There are a lot of things I do care about.

None of them involve celebrities.

 

We have become a country of Magpies.

Show us something shiny and we go crazy.

We need to get some money together

and buy ourselves a little gravitas.

 

The entire BILLION dollar Kardashian empire began from a sex tape.

Kim’s youngest sister became at BILLIONAIRE at 22 because of a lip kit.

Kim Kardashian’s shape wear gets more attention than Global warming

The Twitter fight between the President, John Legend and Chrissy Tiegen

made the evening news!

made the national evening news!

God- I miss Walter Cronkite!

 

When did celebrities take the place of heroes, as our role models?

I’m not sure, but I do know

all this has made it possible to have a mediocre reality tv star

become a Terrible President.

 

I also think it’s significantly contributed to

the dumbing down of America.

We used to have celebrities entertaining the nation

and serious people running the nation.

Now it’s all one big reality show.

 

Smart doesn’t seem to be a “thing” anymore.

You don’t have to be smart as long as you are hip, tattooed

 have the newest iPhone and the right sneakers.

And by the way- Yeezy sneakers cost $479.00.

NOT KIDDING!

 

 

Speaking of I phones,

I was in a restaurant a few weeks ago,

and literally no on was talking to another person at the table.

They were all on their phones!

No one ever looks AT anything anymore.

They are connected every moment of everyday-

but to what?

How can you be that connected and

still be so ignorant of the real world?

 

Last week,I saw a photo of the Pope,

making his way through a crowd.

NO ONE was looking directly at the Pope.

They simply pointed their cellphone and took a photo and

actually missed SEEING the Pope.

That is just nuts.

When I met the Pope- I really SAW the Pope

because we didn’t have cell phones back them.

 

I’m glad I was raised in an era when we had one telephone in the house

and when you were out- you needed to find a pay phone.

Clearly, it didn’t kill us!

We played outside all day, making our own fun,

and we watched one program at night on TV and cartoons on Saturday mornings.

But that didn’t turn our brains to sludge.

Because there was balance in our lives.

I am sorry to say this- but based on what I have witnessed

there are a lot of people whose brains have turned to sludge;

over the past decade, especially.

 

Jay Leno used to do this interview on the street

asking  questions to COLLEGE STUDENTS.

Here I have compiled a small and deeply shocking sample of these questions and answers:

which I witnessed myself on You tube.

(otherwise I might not have believed it)

 

In which city is the Seattle Space Needle located……..

didn’t know

In what year did the war of 1812 start?………

didn’t know

What is the freezing point of water.

– 50 degrees celsius

What ship did the Pilgrims come over on…..

.The.Plymouth Rock

Who is the President of Russia (2007)….

Afat Arasat ( meaning Yassir Arafat)

How long ago did Jesus live……..

250 million years ago

What war was triggered by Germany’s invasion of Poland…..

the Cold War

Who were the Roughriders……

..Rapper DMX and his gang?

Showed a photo of the Acropolis in Greece….

student identified it as Caesars Palace or the Berlin Wall!

THESE ARE COLLEGE STUDENTS!

 

This is just a sample and it was 10 years ago.

Somehow,  I don’t think things have gotten any better.

An uneducated population is easily manipulated

and that is where we are now.

With cuts everywhere to education budgets it will only get worse

and people will be getting dumber

 (if that’s possible).

I worry that our country and our world are beyond saving;

but then I look around at all the beauty and the decency and the good

and I pray

that somehow we will find the strength and determination

to care about the things that really matter,

 do what we can to help change the things that must change,

and let the rest go.

 

I wish Kim and Kanye no ill will.

But I don’t think a steady diet of reality TV shows does

anything for the IQ of America.

Pick up a book, read a newspaper and

for the love of God-

put down the phone.

We need to talk to each other, listen to each other and help each other.

We need to care about the lives of people who need our help –

not our adoration.

Begin Again, Today.

I always think of each Season as a new beginning.

But the truth is:

each day is a new beginning.

When we open our eyes in the morning, a new day begins.

A new chance

A new opportunity for change

a new beginning for the rest of our lives.

What we do in that day can change the course of our life

or the course of someone else’s life.

So use the opportunity

 

 

Smile at everyone

Say Hello

Offer help in any way,

Hold a door,

Offer your seat to someone standing

Pay for someone else’s coffee

 

Give a homeless person some money

and don’t worry about what that person will do with it.

Not your problem.

You are to be kind- that is all.

No judgments necessary.

When you get into bed at night,

think of the ways in which you made a difference that day

I guarantee you, it will become a good habit.

And when enough of us are doing it,

We can change the world.

Our Season of Liberation

I believe in the saying:

“For every thing there is a season

and a time for every purpose under Heaven.”

Many of us considered ourselves “liberated” women in the 60’s and 70’s

when we started our adult lives

Now, as we approach the end of all that stretched out before us so many years ago,

we have an opportunity to be liberated again.

 Every ending brings a new beginning.

 This is finally the season for many of us

in our sixties and beyond

who are divorced, widowed or still married,

to begin a new phase of our lives .

We have been liberated from all the roles we’ve had to play

and from many of the duties and expectations surrounding those roles.

Some, for the first time,

will be experiencing this new season

without a man in their lives;

due to divorce, death or disinterest!

A life of our own; defined only by us,

might be frightening at first

but can be exhilarating as well.

At this point in time,

We are no longer able to re-produce,

(Thank God)

not looking for approval or validation,

and

no longer searching for a mate.

We are comfortable in our own skin-

wrinkled though it may be.

 

Most of us are retiring or near the end of our professional lives.

We have raised our kids, loved, cared for and buried our parents

and don’t need to tolerate relationships

that sap our energy and waste our time.

 

Partners or friends who aren’t able to recognize or appreciate our

 intelligence, strength, accomplishment and compassion,

don’t need to be in our lives.

Now there is only time and energy for those who love and support us.

 

It’s time to become the center of our own lives,

which is contrary to everything we were taught as children

and practiced as adults and parents.

Carpe Diem!

Seize the day, buy the dress, take the vacation.

Re-invent yourself and then wake up tomorrow and do it again.

Have some fun!

What are you waiting for?

 

Don’t feel the least bit guilty about it

because we have earned it.

The prospect of this new-found freedom should bring excitement

as we enter this new phase our lives.

 

Growing older doesn’t seem to have a lot of advantages in this culture

but one of the best is that

The superficial aspects of life have quietly faded away

along with our youth.

and……

We no longer need to be self-conscious at the beach

because NO ONE is looking at us!

 

The only expectations we need to fulfill are those we have for ourselves.

That is freedom!

 

I love the saying :

” Aging is not about becoming who we are.

 It’s about letting go of who we aren’t.”

 

Let’s keep letting go of things,

situations and people

that no longer serve us or fit into our lives,

until we are reduced to the most concentrated,

 powerful, vibrant version of ourselves:

Older Woman XXX…

Triple Strength!

Let’s make this

The Most Exciting Time in our lives…….

Our Last Season of Liberation.

The Nostalgist

 

I finally have a word for what I am:

a “Nostalgist”

a person who romanticizes

the past and periodically yearns for things as they used to be.

Not in every way of course-

but generally for the way life used to be, when I was young.

I know I shouldn’t be looking back because

I AM NOT GOING THAT WAY.

But honestly,

sometimes spending time in the past

 gives me strength to face the present,

and the future, as well.

It’s a security blanket of memories from the past

which brings me comfort.

I remember those wonderful times in my life-

days when

 my parents and grandparents were alive,

there were big Sunday dinners and picnics,

 long leisurely afternoons spent swimming,

until we were shivering,

blue-lipped & red-eyed !

There was food and laughter.

We were young, happy and healthy.

and we were all together.

 

I am now the oldest living person in my family and statistically

“the next one to go”.

I don’t find that comforting in any way.

( and I don’t intend to comply with statistics)

It’s hard to get older and see friends and loved ones

leaving the planet.

I miss the days when I had

my entire life spread out before me,

like an endless novel, with all sorts of plot twists

and different endings-

just waiting for me to choose.

There was absolutely no sense of my own mortality.

I’m not sure if that was a gift or a curse.

Of course, I had no idea how much things would change.

I was surrounded by family who encouraged me,

cared for me, loved me and

made me feel safe.

Now, it’s my job to do that for others.

As we get older

I suppose it’s perfectly normal to look around at life

and be somewhat shocked at how the world has changed in the

years since we arrived.

Thoughts of my childhood

are filled with blue skies, sunshine, puffy clouds,

and soft, romantic colors;

like a Bonnard painting.

Not too precise.

The past is comforting because

We don’t see it in the reality of the present.

It’s not fixed in our minds,

so much as it rests there-

light as a feather,

easily embellished and re-imagined.

So, for now,

I will continue being grateful for what is…

living in the present moment.

with it’s challenges and rewards,

sadness and joy

 gifts and burdens

 accepting each thing as it comes.

But I will continue to look back as well,

being comforted and finding strength in what used to be.

After all, if I didn’t do that- I couldn’t call myself

” A Nostalgist”

 

 

 

Letting Go of Summer

 

 

As Summer falls away,

she leaves me with a myriad of vivd memories.

All the images are worth savoring and they are coming with me,

as

Autumn sends a note of golden leaves,

floating on air, announcing her arrival.

The seasons are all visitors.

I’m happy to see them come and

I’m sad when they leave

but there is always another to follow and that is exciting.

 It’s good to remember just how wonderful every day life really is.

Perfect, Balmy Summer evenings…

The Ocean on Hot, Sunny Days……

 Hummingbirds and Honeysuckle… …..

Tomato & American Cheese on White with Mayo……..

Laughter with friends…..Ice Cream with peaches

The Majesty of Thunder & Lightening Storms….

Wind Chimes…… Peace & Quiet…

Sadness at the passing of another season.

Joy that I was here to experience it.

 

I’ve stopped making too many plans

or thinking a lot about the future .

Because the truth is:

You just don’t know what’s coming.

So, swim in the present moment,

“until your fingers get all pruny”.

Then, gently let go of Summer.

Wait for your old friend, Autumn

to appear in all her splendor.

Welcome her with open arms .

She is bringing

more wonderful things, new experiences,

 and another season of change and surprise.

And Rejoice!

Rejoice that you are here to see it.