Thursday, January 31, 2008

Positive Aging

Two of my husband’s cousins arrived yesterday for a short visit. They’re from Australia and they are here in the US for an extended visit. I picked them up at the airport yesterday afternoon and they will stay with us through our daughter’s basketball game tonight. Then they will be moving on to visit with other family members. Today the plan is for me to show them around Portland. I’m a native Oregonian and, even though we no longer live there, Portland is my home; it’s my city. The problem is, these are my husband’s youngest cousins; they are not our age, they are the age of our oldest son. I’m somewhat stymied as to where we should go during our day in Portland. When people our age visit and bring their kids, we go to the zoo. Sometimes people want to go shopping or look around Saturday Market. These cousins are “hip” (is that word still used?) young, international travelers – what should this “old lady” take them to see? And that’s the rub, the real problem: as I’ve thought about what to do with them, I’ve found myself feeling old and out-of-it. My kids might agree that I am old and out-of-it, but, since I don’t think of myself that way, I have a hard time facing a situation that puts me in that category. So, I guess my problem isn’t what to do with the cousins today, the problem is what to do with myself. How do I keep my negative age-self-talk from mentally graying my hair and wrinkling my face? Maybe that’s what positive aging is all about. We know we’re getting older, we know there’s a new generation, or two, following behind us, but, in addition to eating well, exercising and keeping our minds healthy in order to slow the aging process, we keep a mental image of ourselves that is vibrant and relevant; we don’t allow ourselves to become “the old lady”.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sexiness Wears Thin

This morning I heard on the radio that Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today – wow! Not 50th birthdays, but 50th wedding anniversary. That’s a huge feat for any couple, but especially for a Hollywood couple.

One of my favorite quotes, which I have pinned to my bulletin board, is a quote from Joanne Woodward that reads:, “Sexiness wears thin after a while, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh everyday, ah, now that’s a real treat.” I discovered this quote when my husband and I were preparing for our 25th anniversary celebration. We were looking for something for our party invitations that would express something about us. My husband jokingly commented that if we used this quote, people would think he was no longer sexy, so we went with Shania Twain, “They said, ‘I bet they'll never make it’, but just look at us holding on. We're still together, still going strong.” I like the Shania Twain lyrics, but I’ve kept the Joanne Woodward quote on my bulletin board because it’s a reminder that the characteristics that make us love each other over time, that bind us together, are not the cuteness or sexiness that first attracts us, but the everyday behaviors that bring us joy and happiness. It’s a reminder to cherish those characteristics, whether it’s making us laugh everyday or doing the dishes or some other chore that we don’t like or even just the act of going to work everyday. For me, I think my husband is plenty sexy, but I have no doubt that what I really love about him is that he does make me laugh everyday. It’s truly a treat.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Regrets No More

I have only one real regret in my life. I’m sure there are people who have many more and some who will think my regret is petty, but it’s still my regret and it’s still real to me. My regret is that I didn’t try out to be a cheerleader when I was in high school. High school sports were very important in our community and the cheerleaders lead the enthusiasm. I’d watched the cheerleaders since I was a little girl. I dreamed of standing up in front of everyone leading cheers, but when I got to high school and it was time for tryouts, I didn’t even tell anyone of my dream and I did not tryout – not my freshman year, not my sophomore year, not my junior year. I didn’t even tryout when an overweight, unpopular classmate tried out and was laughed off the stage by the upper classmen. If she could try out, surely I could, but I was too afraid of failing. I thought the embarrassment of failing would be too much for me to handle, so I never even tried. Looking back from the perspective of a few years, I see that not only would I likely have won a position on the squad, but that I cheated myself by not even giving it a shot.

Friday a friend sent me a newspaper article about a Disney “contest” to select a CMO – Chief Magical Official. It sounded perfect for me, but the deadline was yesterday. That left only two days to put together a sixty second video and complete the on-line application. Friday evening at dinner, I told my family about the position using a somewhat joking manner, even though I really wanted to try for it. Their response will always be one of those special I-know-I’m-loved moments for me. Each and every one of them took it for granted that I would apply. They encouraged me to do whatever it took to get the video ready. They heaped ideas on the table. It was wonderful! My husband spent hours putting together a rough draft video and then refining it to coordinate with the commentary that I wrote. Our weekend was consumed with the project. I was taken aback by the support I received. Sometimes it’s easy to feel taken advantage of as a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes I feel like I give and do for everyone else, but that I don’t always receive back an appropriate amount of appreciation. The support my family, especially my husband, gave me for this project has helped me to realize that they do all support me and they do all want me to be happy.

We finally finished the video around one o’clock yesterday afternoon. I completed the on-line application and set-up the upload of the video. It didn’t work. I did the application again and again set-up the upload and it took, but it uploaded at such a slow pace, due I’m sure to an overload on the receiving end, that five hours later my one minute video had not finished uploading and shut down. We tried two more times, with me completing the on-line application each time. The last time we tried, there were only a few minutes left until the application deadline. We never were able to get the video to upload. Sure, it was disappointing to know that I wouldn’t even have the opportunity to be considered for the position, but I mostly felt bad that my husband had spent so much of his time on this project at a time when he has a lot of his own work to do and then it didn’t even get used. I talked with my husband about it and his perspective, like mine, was that, while it was disappointing to not be able to complete the process, the main point, the most important point, was that I had tried. I put aside my worries that I would be embarrassed by not being chosen; I saw something I wanted and I took the steps to at least be considered. I feel good about the process and about the support I received and I didn’t saddle myself with a second regret.

Post-Script: This afternoon I received an e-mail saying that there was, in fact, a technical problem on the receiving end and that I would be allowed to upload my video today as long as it was done before midnight. I have done so and have received back an acknowledgment, so, who knows....?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Moving On

Our 25 year-old niece has been living with us since the first weekend in October. She wanted to move to our area, so we offered to let her stay with us while she looked first for a job and then for a place to live. She was diligent in her job search. We told her that it wasn’t necessary to take the first job offered; that she could stay here long enough to be able to find a job she really wanted. She began working the first week of December and then she began looking for a roommate. Again we told her to take her time to find just the right living situation. She did and she found a roommate with a cute little two bedroom house close to her job and church; it even has an outbuilding she can use as a painting studio. Yesterday she moved.

I’ve always felt a special tie with this niece and it has been wonderful to have her in our home, to have her participate in our crazy, busy life. She has joined the conversation around the dinner table, attended our children’s music and sporting events and added a sense of calm and sweetness to our days. When she announced a couple of weeks ago that she’d found a roommate and house, we were thrilled for her, but we were also sad to think of her leaving. It’s obviously the right next-step for her. Being on her own was the goal of her moving here in the first place. But I felt sad nonetheless.

Yesterday, on the ride to her new house with a truck full of her belongings, she asked me about our first place. I reminisced about the small upstairs apartment next to the train tracks; about how it didn’t have any laminate on the kitchen counters so we covered them with orange shelf paper with mushrooms on it. We lived in this apartment for the first ten months of our marriage and, when I think back on it, my overwhelming “feeling” about the apartment is that it was a place of discovery and compromise. There my husband and I learned that we had totally different biological rhythms: he liked to stay up late and sleep in, I was in bed by nine and up before dawn. We learned about each other in that apartment and began to figure out how to live together. Our niece moves into her new place with a roommate she’ll get to know, with the opportunity to turn work and church acquaintances into friendships and, I hope, with a dream of creating the adult life she wants to live.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Aged to Perfection

My husband turned 50 yesterday without incident. He didn’t age dramatically throughout the day. No cane was needed to climb the stairs last night. I was surprised by how many people slyly asked me what I was going to do for his “big” birthday. Was I sending black balloons? Perhaps a basketful of gag gifts like Geritol (do they even make that anymore?), Depends and Ensure. I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything negative. Not only do I turn 50 in a few months and turn about would be fair, but I just don’t feel the negative part of this aging business. I did send him a bouquet of bright festive flowers with balloons attached; one reading, “Aged to Perfection”. Sure, I’m not crazy about the extra lines and the skin that is beginning to sag on my face, I don’t like that my hair is totally gray if I don’t visit my favorite hairdresser every three weeks, but I do love the sense of calm I feel that I didn’t know earlier. I love the wisdom that I’ve gained and, especially, the realization that there is still so much to learn. My husband, at fifty, is aged to perfection and I will be, too; and ten years from now, as we’re turning 60, we’ll still be aged to perfection.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

No big post today; just a happy birthday wish to my husband who turns 50 today. He's a truly wonderful man and he makes 50 look pretty darn good (that should make him blush).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PMA -- Positive Mental Attitude

Usually, I am a person who is on top of whatever is happening, whatever needs to be done. However, the last few days I’ve found myself purposefully procrastinating. I know I have several tasks to do for my volunteer job, I know there are chores around the house that are waiting for me, I know that I need to get back to making better food choices, but I’ve made it a point to avoid having time to do any of these. It bothers me when I find myself practicing this type of avoidance, but I have found that I usually have to either let the process run its course or figure out what’s causing me to procrastinate. After two days of feeling frumpy, tired and irritable, last night it hit me that my husband’s pending birthday (he’ll turn 50 tomorrow), is causing me all sorts of strange feelings. For more than thirty years, his changing age in January heralds my changing to that same age in May. This year, the fact that he turns 50 this month means that I’ll be turning 50 soon. I’ve felt pretty good about the idea of turning 50; I’ve convinced myself that I’m excited about it, but after the last few days, I realize that I’m not quite as comfortable about this milestone as I thought I was.

I know that part of the reason is that I’m not feeling and looking my best. I haven’t yet dropped the extra ten pounds from my relaxed December, my roots are in desperate need of color (I have an appointment today) and, strangely, leaving tasks and chores undone also makes me feel less than great about myself. I’ve put myself into a downward spiral: feel bad about getting older, avoid things I should be doing that would help me to look and feel better so then I feel bad about getting older… You get the picture? So, as of today, no more excuses. I do have time to fix myself a nutritious lunch before I leave to get my hair colored. I will go up to my office this morning and update our Quicken records. I will send an e-mail that will start rolling one of the volunteer tasks I need to do. And, by doing just these few things, I’ll feel better, I’ll treat myself better and I’ll reverse that spiral to an upwards direction. Engage the PMA!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Magic of A Daughter

I’ve been out-of-sorts for the last couple of days. Not in a truly foul mood, just sort of “off”. I woke up this morning looking forward to the pleasure of the Sunday papers and a good cup of coffee, but even that didn’t shake me out of my doldrums. Then my middle daughter, who is thirteen, sat down with pen and paper to begin working on a fundraising project she is undertaking.

In December she and I went on a Christmas gift trip to S. Korea with other people connected with our adoption agency. We provided gifts and Christmas celebrations to children, foster mothers and handicapped adults associated with the work of our agency. We “provided” the special events, but they “gave” us so much more. We came home with a renewed sense of joy and wonder, making our Christmas season more special than ever.

One of the places we visited was a home for babies and small children whose families are having problems and need temporary help with the children. Some of these children will go on to be adopted within Korea, but most will, hopefully, move back in with their families once their crisis situation has passed. The facility is small and modest, but the love and concern for the children is great. In addition to the staff that does so much for these children, serving as loving substitute parents during this difficult time in the children’s lives, there are also many people from the local community, including high school students, who come to the home daily to help care for and play with the many children in need of additional love and attention. My daughter and I were so very impressed with the work done in this facility. After the trip we learned that the facility has an immediate need for a new roof to replace the leaky roof that lets water seep into the home and into the rooms used by the children for eating, playing and sleeping.

My daughter, along with the rest of our family, has committed to raising the $9,000 it will take to replace the roof. So, this morning, just as I was finishing reading the Sunday paper, she plopped down next to me to take notes on what she should write in her fundraising letter and to whom she should send that letter. She already had a lengthy list of people from her own circle of friends to whom she wanted to send it and we worked together to add other names from our wider range of family friends. She is enthusiastic and dedicated to this project and I am very, very proud of her!

Thinking back to our wonderful trip and seeing my daughter embracing a project that will have immediate benefits to others with no tangible benefit to herself – suddenly my doldrums are gone and I’m sitting her with a much-needed smile on my face.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mo-ther

My grown son and his fiancé are living with us temporarily. They just moved from Texas; she has a new job, he is looking for one and we offered to let them stay at our house while they get settled. We are, of course, thrilled to have them with us. It’s great to have our son back at home, to hear his comments on the morning newspaper’s sports section, to chat with him about current events. It’s nice to have the opportunity to get to know his fiancé even better. She fits in well with our family and it feels natural to have her with us. It’s a big house but there are a lot of people living in it (eleven right now) so I know that it will be important for our son and his fiancé to have some time to themselves. When they were moving their furniture into the garage for storage, I suggested that they put a love seat in their room so that they’d have somewhere to go for privacy. I’m trying to give them space and to treat them as the adults they are.

Yesterday there was ice on the road and I cautioned my son about driving on the ice. I suggested that perhaps it would be better if his fiancé rode in to work with my husband instead of our son driving her. His reply: “I know how to drive on the ice, Mother,” with the Mother pronounced Mo-ther. I felt a little hurt; I was only trying to be helpful. Then I recalled the summer after our sophomore year of college when my husband and I had been married for a year. We moved in with my parents for the summer so we could work and save money for school. We lasted only a month and a half before we changed our plans and moved to our own apartment. I loved my parents dearly and got along well with them. However, after living on my own for a couple of years, it was really hard to be back at home full-time. It wasn’t that my mom did anything that was wrong or invasive, but no matter what she did, it drove me crazy. I can see now that she was just being a mom, she was just concerned. It’s hard to turn that Mommy Switch off when it’s been used regularly for the last 26 years. Even with the realization that my son doesn’t need mothering, it’s hard to avoid having those natural tendencies jump out. I’m not sure if this realization will really change anything. I’m a mom; that’s part of who I am. This just reminds me that there are always new things to learn. For now, I’ll be working on learning how to step back even further, to be an on-call consultant rather than the boss.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Bucket List -- Part II

The idea of a bucket list has continued to run through my mind. While I am comfortable with what I am doing in my life, I’m still wondering if I should be actively aiming to do more.

This morning I heard from two different friends who have friends or relatives in my general age range who have recently had major illnesses: two cases of cancer and one heart attack. Hearing news of this sort is tough. I feel for my friends who are dealing with the illness of a loved one. But this sort of news is made personally tougher when the ill person is about my age. It’s as if I’m suddenly slapped in the face with a realization of the truly delicate nature of life. It’s hard to lull myself into a false sense of invincibility when other people, who have lived the same number of years, suddenly come down with a dreaded disease. In some ways, news of this sort, while difficult, can also be a blessing; it’s a reminder to take care of today, to make sure that the life I’m living today is filled with love, joy and appreciation. Maybe that’s what should really be in a bucket list. Not the grandiose trips or adventures, but the day-to-day realization of what a joy it is to wake up each morning, to have friends and family to love and to know that we are loved in return, to revel in the feeling of a warm bit of sun on our faces or to be glad for the clouds that bring the rain that makes a tree grow or a flower bloom. Sound a bit hokey? Sure, but feeling good about each day is easier when we aren’t afraid to be a bit hokey. So I think my bucket list, far from being empty, is filled with day-to-day goals: continue telling my husband how much I adore him, greet my children with a smile (even when they growl back), give my pets an extra bit of attention, take a deep breath and feel gratitude for the chance to live another day.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Bucket List

Last night my husband and I went to see the movie The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson – great movie! I won’t give away the full story, but basically a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”. I would wager that most people leave the movie thinking about what they would include on their own bucket list. My initial response was, “Let’s talk about this! Let’s make a list!” However, as the day has worn on and I’ve thought extensively about what I would have on my list; what would be most important to me if I knew I had a limited amount of time to live, I’ve come up with very little in the way of exciting or exotic adventures. I can’t come up with much that I feel I need to do or have to do in order to feel satisfied with my life. I must admit that, at first, the realization that I can’t come up with much of a list bothered me. Have I become stale or bored before I’m even 50 years old? No, I’m neither stale nor bored, but I am satisfied. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I still want to do, places I still want to go, but none that I need to do or have to do. I’m okay where I am and I like that.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Road Trip -- Priceless

Friday evening was the end of a three-day road trip from Austin, Texas to Washington State to move our oldest son and his fiancé to the Northwest. On the trip were my son, his fiancé, her mother and me. Two-and-a-half years ago my son and I made the same trip, in reverse, when we moved him to Austin. That trip, like this, involved costs for renting a fairly large moving truck and the additional costs of hotels, meals, snacks and gas. It also involved three long days of driving, some of which we drove in silence, some with music and during some of it we talked. I suggested after that trip two-and-a-half years ago that we had created our own MasterCard commercial:


Rental fee for moving truck: $1100
Hotel rooms for three nights: $600
Meals and snacks: $300
Gas: $600
Spending three days alone with your son before leaving him half-way across the country: Priceless


This trip had the same types of expenses, but the time in the vehicle was not spent with just my son. We did have some time together, and it was great, but I also shared driving time with my son’s future mother-in-law. That, too, was nice; we had a chance to reminisce about our children’s childhoods, to talk about extended family, basically to get to know one another a little better. I realized, though, that this trip did not hold the same sense of dread and urgency for me as the first trip. I was bringing my child home, not taking him to a new life faraway. However, my son’s future mother-in-law was making the same type of trip I made two-and-a-half years ago. She was taking her daughter to begin a new life halfway across the country. She would be leaving her daughter with our family. I hoped she felt that the time together was priceless. I also hoped that we measured up; that she felt okay about her leaving her daughter with us. Sure, our son and his fiancé are both grown-up, but as mothers it still tugs at our heartstrings to have to say good-bye to a child. However, this time I was the lucky one; I was able to feel the joy of saying, “Welcome home!”

Friday, January 11, 2008

Road Trip -- Days 2 & 3

Thursday 1/10 -- We left Tucson at 7:00 a.m. and arrived in Sacramento at 10:30 p.m., but the hotel we were looking for had disappeared (spirited away perhaps by aliens following us from New Mexico). Found a different hotel with "free" internet, but they were out of modems and their wireless only worked in the lobby which was closed for the night. Subsequently, no post last night.

Friday 1/11 -- This morning we left Sacramento at 8:45 a.m. (after going to Les Schwab to buy chains for the truck and Jarrod's car). We arrived home at 8:45 p.m. (no snow on the roads, thank you Les Schwab for your wonderful return policy). Two 16 hour driving days and one 12 hour driving day! We're tired, but we're home!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Road Trip -- Day 1

We left Austin at 7:00 a.m. and arrived in Tucson at 9:30 p.m. I'm not sure how many miles that is, but I do know how many hours -- too many!

My Busy Brain

For the past two days I have been scurrying around getting ready for a trip that will take me away from home for four days. There is a lot to be done to organize everyone’s schedules when I’ll be away plus my volunteer job has an event this coming weekend for which I have some responsibility, so there was that work to do as well. Every morning I thought about what I might write about that day, but my brain felt empty. Well, not empty, I was maintaining a long “To Do” list in my brain and organizing many events and responsibilities with it, but it felt empty of any creative or deep thought. Yesterday I realized that is one of the reasons that, in the past, I tend not to fulfill my continual resolution to write more – my brain is so full of life’s day-to-day needs that I don’t make time for it to function as the creative, thoughtful organ I know it can be.

Now that I’ve realized that, what do I do about it? How do I use the technical, smart organizing side of my brain that I need for my day-to-day responsibilities while also opening the door to the thoughtful, creative side that I need to be able to write? For the last two days I chose to do what needed to be done, knowing that today I’d be on a plane for several hours with time to decompress and let the creative juices flow. That’s fine for this time, but what about the times when the “To Do” list could go on for days or even weeks? I don’t have the answer, but I know there are actions I can take and priorities I can set that will help. One step I can take is to make writing, which means time for thinking, part of my “To Do” list. I don’t question whether or not I have time to exercise on busy days, I just do it; I can do the same with writing. I can begin to believe that, just as I shower and brush my teeth every day, I also need to find the perspective to make writing a regular part of my day.

Note: I am in Texas to help our oldest son and his fiance move to the Northwest. We'll be driving back with a moving truck starting this morning. I actually wrote this on the airplane yesterday, but by the time the last things were packed, the apartment was cleaned and we'd had dinner, I was so tired I completely forgot about posting this.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

When Are You Grown-up?

We celebrated Christmas Day with our tradition of having Christmas dinner with our dear, dear friends and their family. It's become part of the tradition to sit around the table after dinner and reminince about our 26+ year friendship. The kids always like hearing stories of our younger days. This year, our friends have a cube full of cards with questions designed to promote discussion around the table. One of the questions was, "How will you know when you're grown-up?" It was fun to hear some of the younger kids' answers: When I'm married, When I have children, When I'm living on my own. As someone who was married and living on her own at 19 and had her first child when she was 23, I know that those events do not make one a grown-up.

My oldest son had proposed to his girlfriend three days earlier and I was feeling overwhelmed by how their engagement made me feel. I felt as if their engagement had moved me to the next level of the adult hierarchy; I felt more grown-up. So, my answer on Christmas Day was that I felt like a grown-up now because my child is going to be getting married. On our way home, my husband reminded me of another time I'd said I felt like a grown-up: when my second parent died -- and he was right. That truly was when I felt like a grown-up. Both of my parents died when they were 71, a fairly young age. I was 28 when my dad suddenly died of a heart attack brought on by prostate cancer and I was 35 when my mom died from liver cancer. I had been their princess and with both of them gone I felt that I was moved to the next level of life: adulthood. My mom was no longer the matriarch of the family; I was. The thing is, being a grown-up doesn't feel like I thought it would. I used to say I was never going to grow-up because I didn't want to become old and stodgy. I wanted to stay young in my heart, to feel joy in a sunny morning, to be able to run like the wind if I felt like it. Well, guess what? I still do all of those things and I'm definitely a grown-up! It's all a matter of perspective and definition and I'll look for both perspective and definition in a make-believe book titled The Joy of Life: A Happy Grown-up's Guide to Living.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"Old People" Wisdom

When I started high school, my parents and I moved in with my Grandma, who was in her 80s, so that my mom and dad could take care of her. Even though I loved my grandma, it was tough living with an old lady in the house. She had rules that I didn't like; most specifically that no "work" could be done on Sunday. It wasn't that I was stellar about doing work around the house, but it bothered me that I was prohibited from doing anything, like my laundry, on Sundays. She also had a habit of making funny noises with her teeth and, of course, she watched all the "old people's" TV shows. Most of the time we got along okay, but one morning I was being particularly bratty about something. Grandma was sitting in her rocking chair in front of the TV and I said something, I don't even remember what, but Grandma got up and slowly walked across the room into her bedroom. She came out with tears in her eyes and a paper clipping in her hand which she handed to me saying, "Maybe this will help you understand." It was a poem she'd cut out of a magazine about how it feels to get old. The gist of it was that the aging person doesn't feel older inside even though she has to walk slower, forgets things and has to put her teeth in a glass by her bed at night. I read through the poem and felt awful! Here was my stooped over, 80+ year old grandma letting me know that inside, in her soul, she still felt like a young woman. What an insight for a self-centered sixteen year old!


Last month I sat in the high school parking lot waiting for my fifteen year old daughter to come out. I looked around at the other cars waiting and saw other moms, like me, waiting for their teenagers. As the kids started to come out of the school I watched as some whispered amongst themselves, some tried to look older, others tried to appear bored by the entire teenage life thing. I easily remember those teenager years and the insecurities, desires, conflicts; the wish to grow up faster and I realized that all of these moms waiting in their cars probably also remember. Yet, most likely, none of the kids walking out the door knows or would believe that we know what they know, we know what it's like. I thought about my grandma and the insight she gave me into her world and I realized that she had also had an insight into my world. Sure, times change, morals change, but the basic experience of growing up is still very much the same and, I'm beginning to realize, the basic experience of growing older is also very much the same. My generation may be more active and in better shape than our grandparents' or even our parents' generation, but what hasn't changed is that the years continue to add up and the physical body continues to age and, gloriously, we realize the wisdom we've been accumulating. We see life in a new way, we appreciate experience, we truly do know more than younger people think we know. While I wish there were some way to magically let my teenagers realize this, I also kind of like that it's a little secret we "old people" can share.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Resolutions Are A Good Thing

There was a lot of talk on the radio this morning about New Year's resolutions and whether or not having resolutions is worthwhile. Some people have several, some a few, some none. One comment was that it isn't worth making New Year's resolutions because they almost always fail. But if we don't make resolutions, how are we to grow? Sure, we may not always succeed in every resolution, but with each attempt, we grow a bit, we learn something and we get that much closer to our own ideal.

I don't remember if it was a New Year's resolution that got me to finally commit to exercising, but ten years ago, for the umpteenth time, I made the commitment to workout regularly -- and it stuck! I had made the same commitment many, many times before. I would jump into exercise with gusto, just to let it fade to the back burner within a few days or weeks. But ten years ago, I started out again and that time I never stopped. Exercise is now as much a part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth (though thankfully I didn't decide to not brush my teeth last month when I took the month off from exercising). If I hadn't resolved to start exercising...again, I never would have found that success.

So, for me, I'll keep making resolutions, whether they're New Year's resolutions, September resolutions (the start of a new school year still seems like a good time to begin anew) or resolutions made for a milestone birthday. I'll keep making the resolutions, renewing my commitments, trying again and again and every once in awhile I know it will be for real.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

It's New Year's Day of the year when I will turn fifty. My husband keeps asking me why I'm making such a big deal of this (he, too, turns fifty this year). I guess it's because I remember, as a much younger person, looking ahead to 2008 and thinking, I'll be fifty then; I'll be old! Yet, I don't feel old now and I'm more than a little surprised that I'll actually be fifty soon.

With the New Year comes, of course, the New Year's Resolutions. My resolutions aren't much different than they have been for several years: weight loss/control, more time for myself, write more, learn to play the drums. However, this year I feel a bit more pressed about actually making them happen. I know how quickly the years pass by and I realize that at some point I need to actually do these things or I'll be on my deathbed wishing that I'd done more.

After a decade of regular exercise and food management, I took off the month of December. It started with a trip to S. Korea when exercise time was not available. I returned on December 8th and promptly threw out my back so that I wasn't able to exercise for more than a week. At that point I decided to just relax about both exercise and food for the rest of the month. Relax meant that I didn't allow guilt into the picture. It was a blissful time. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I spent my early morning hours curled up in a chair with a cup of strong coffee and a book rather than working out in our exercise room. I gained ten pounds and I don't feel bad about it all! However, I was thrilled to jump on the treadmill for 45 minutes this morning and to follow that workout with a brisk walk outside with my husband and my two big dogs. I was also thrilled to eat a healthy, tasty breakfast that fits within my daily nutrition plan. It was good to take time off and to not allow guilty feelings to enter the picture, but it is also good to get back to a lifestyle that promotes the health and wellness I thrive on.

My other resolutions are part of my continuing desire to grow. This blog is a big part of my action plan both to create more time for myself and to write more. I've signed up for a "Girls Rock" weekend in October where I hope to get a chance at the drums, not to mention the drumming I do when my kids and I turn on the Rock Band game on one of my son's game systems. As I approach the age of fifty, I feel so much younger than I thought I would. I feel good about myself, I like who I am and I'm excited to find out who I will be.