Back in the Saddle Again

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Reinvention | 13 Comments

At Connie’s roundup she meets a milestone head on — yee haw!

Well, dear readers, our Fifty is the New summer vacation lasted so long, that while we were away, I climbed the proverbial hill, lurched over it, and landed smack into the shitsky—I mean sixty. 60. Yes—I’m up to my neck in a steaming pile of years. I’m happy to report that in the wake of this monumental event, the earth did not rend itself in twain, the seas did not turn red with blood, the crops did not wither and fail and the climate has not changed. Oh—wait a minute, yes it has but not because I turned 60.

I had been dragging my ass towards this birthday, really glum, and I thought I might greet the day by sitting in the dark alone with a half-gallon of ice cream, a fifth of vodka, a sharp knife and some Joan Crawford movies. Happily, it turned out, my nice husband rented a cabin on the east side of the Sierras and nine of us spent a weekend in Mammoth eating, drinking, hiking, laughing, enjoying the scenery and each other’s company. Our Cathy was there too, celebrating her birthday, and all of us had a grand good time. Read more

Good Enough is Good Enough

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Reinvention | 13 Comments

Cathy contemplates the source and the cure for her perfectionist ways

This is revolutionary… get ready for it…

Being a perfectionist is a waste of time.

There I said it.

Perhaps it’s the energy suck of hot flashes and other midlife maladies, or just the wisdom of the years, but lo and behold, I have come to realize that I must conserve and preserve my time and energy, and that no one really cares if what I do is less than perfect—no one, that is, but me.

According to Wikipedia, in its pathological form, “perfectionism is a belief that work or output that is anything less than perfect is unacceptable.” Read more

As the Wheel Turns

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Reinvention | 14 Comments

Melissa reflects on truly living life, moving from wishes to action with a brave and open heart

My yoga teacher Peggy has been known to say during class,
“Triangle pose is like a little black dress. You can take it anywhere.”

As my birthday month comes to a close I have been ruminating on all, like the triangle pose, that is wise, helpful and transportable. Even more so than New Years, my birthday has become a time of reflection and review. Like my closet, my life gets a spring cleaning at every year when the wheel turns toward my birthday. “This gets tossed, this stays, this needs cleaning and that needs altering.” Although this year has been rife with challenges, I am not immune to the good news and that is the wheel is still turning. And with each turn of the wheel I garner new pieces of wisdom to add to the mix and I become myself and push my brave tender heart toward the promise of a new day.

Recently I read a blog titled “Inspiration and Chai” by Bronnie Ware. For many years Bronnie worked in palliative care with the terminally ill. As such she was privy to the intimate revelations of the dying. Bronnie noticed that there were common themes as people voiced their thoughts about living and dying, and what they wished they had done differently.

The most common regret was,“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Read more

The Menoblahs

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Reinvention | 17 Comments

Faded Rose, daily painting #168 by John Farnsworth

From ennui to elastic waistbands, Connie’s singing the menopause blues

As I was gazing this morning into my 15x mirror, plucking here and there, the increasingly annoying black whiskers on my upper lip, I reflected upon the changes in my life, my change of life, my menopause, what I am now calling the” menoblahs”; and as I pluck, pluck, plucked, I thought long and hard about how much really I hate this shit.

I was one of those women who actually looked forward to menopause. I could not wait for the freedom and the neatness, for clear skin, and a steady weight. I believed Dr. Christiane Northrup when she wrote about the “Wisdom of Menopause” and I looked forward to the promise of “The Pleasures of Menopause”. May I just say, in response to those two urban myths, and with my middle finger fully erect, “PTHHHP”!! I have not found any pleasure in menopause, and the only wisdom I’ve gleaned is to quit believing once and for always, anything a size 2, blonde, nip/tucked TV/author/doctor has to say. While I acknowledge that indeed I do have freedom from the tampon, I’m hostage to the hot flashes. I am tidily not hemorrhaging all over my white jeans, but some juice from somewhere would be nice. My skin, though I’m not breaking out once a month, is itchy and dry, and my weight? Well, it’s steady all right—steadily going up. When I gained the first ten pounds I said I’ve gone all fluffy, now I’m just plain heavy, man. Read more

Mujahida Looking for Laughs

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Reinvention | 10 Comments

Animation still by Agni Pariksha from Sita Sings the Blues

Join Melissa as she vanquishes demons, delights in distraction and cultivates deep belly laughs

OK, I am not going to pussy foot around here — transition and change, not so much fun for me.

Last week, I was listening to an interfaith podcast discussion about happiness in which the Muslim scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr talked about how the word jihad actually means to combat one’s own negativity or quite simply to struggle — it is the process of exerting our best efforts. In response the Dalai Lama said, and I’m paraphrasing here, then all of Buddhism is jihad. That is what I call reaching across the aisle.

I am not sure about my “best efforts” but I do identify with the struggle and if it’s a noble struggle then all the better.

Recently I observed the holiday Diwali with several friends. I resonate with the holiday for the symbolism of the lighting of many lamps — in our case candles — to signify the triumph of good over evil. Specifically Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama from 14 years of exile after vanquishing the demon King Ravana. The festival of lights also serves to direct an observant devotee to the awareness of his/her inner light and it signals the end of the harvest.

I am a mujahida, engaged in vanquishing my demons while in a personal kind of exile. Read more

The Long Road

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Reinvention | 16 Comments

Photo by Melissa A Howden

With her eyes on the road ahead, for Melissa it’s been a journey of miles, memories and insights

As a child my mantra was, “When I grow up I’m going to… __”(fill-in-the blank). Usually I was exclaiming what I was going to do, or know, or be. I think back now on how I must have felt then making such definitive statements and I long for such simple confidence and belief.

Theoretically I am “grown up” but generally speaking I’m really just figuring IT all out on a daily, sometimes, hourly basis. And as I go it’s becoming clear that the more I think I should know, the less I really do.

A recent work-related change of location and the necessary drive across the country provided hours for contemplation and a framework for a glimmer of the understanding I’ve been seeking. The long road became a tome of memory, and simple insight mile after big sky mile. Read more

Cruising at an Altitude of 37,000 Feet

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Reinvention | 16 Comments

Photo by M.A. Howden

From high in the sky, Melissa’s perspective brings change into focus

I am above the clouds at 37,000 feet, coming back from a trip to peer into my future which, in an odd twist of fate, actually might take place in a place I thought was my past.

A week or so ago someone dear said to me, “I never thought my life would look like this at 54.” Some days later I heard myself echoing the sentiment to someone else adjusting the age down by a year.

I don’t have any idea why I said that though because I don’t recall ever imagining the age of 53 at all. In fact I don’t think it ever occurred to me to think about what life would be like at the age of 53. When my mother was 53, I was 30 and I have some sense that at that time I was still kind of thinking life was about to happen, or rather thinking that whatever I was doing, and wherever I was couldn’t really be it.

It is easier to recall what I know I would not have imagined; I would not have thought that by now my best friend would already be dead. I never would have believed that someone I respected, trusted and looked to for inspiration would let me work for him and then simply not pay the thousands of dollars owed to me. A scenario in which the person I loved with my life betraying me and humiliating me even as I celebrated her, would not have flickered in my imagination. I could not have imagined then that a “bad hair day” now would entail more worry that my hair looks “middle-aged” rather than simply out of control. Read more

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