I AM 50!

Huge shout-out to this person who has spent the last 50 years and 40 weeks in my life!

 

 

Turning 50 with a built-in best friend

(who looks like our mother’s side of the family,

while I channel our father’s side)

is the BEST!

 

 

Regrets

I have no idea why my past mistakes are haunting me this week. I am okay with it, and it seems others are going down this same road with me. Maybe it’s the “new year/new you” mentality.

Over the last week or so  many of my friends are posting the pros and cons of regret (via Facebook).

I understand both sides. The con point of view makes sense—you cannot go back and fix what you’ve done. You can’t go back and change the way you’ve handled that relationship/that job/those decisions.

I feel the exact opposite. I cherish my mistakes. I don’t enjoy them, but I certainly would not be who I am if I just simply moved on. I make mistakes at work. I make mistakes with my daughters. I have made mistakes with my (ex-)husband. I have made mistakes in my relationships, my friendships, and with my parents and my siblings.

This is not the first time that revisiting my regrets has haunted me. I keep focusing on my negative traits. I am avoiding responsibility. I am having trouble sleeping. I’ve been down this road. I know I need to focus on what I am trying to avoid. I need to pray. I need to remember my good qualities.

At this point I am revisiting my past with a sense of melancholy. I’ve made decisions that have hurt me, but I know they have bettered me. I have (had) some in my life who have needed to change, and I was not helpful to them. I have hurt people by decisions I’ve made; some by being selfish, but most because I realize the road we were traveling (business, friendship, relationship) were not panning out as they should. I do not make these decisions lightly, but pray very hard and try to make it the best path for all involved.

Knowing that some of these regrets are just that, regrets, and not mistakes doesn’t always make things easier. A great part of acknowledging and welcoming those regrets is that when I realize that while I regret the pain around it, I know that whoever is involved will eventually be on the path we all need to be on, it will not only not hurt anymore but lessons will be learned. I just wish it felt better sooner.

 

Sheepish Return

It’s been a while since I’ve even peeked at this blog. This time I cannot blame procrastination; it has been out and out avoidance. I put myself through a lot and let others push me through a lot. I am not trying to place blame on anyone; not at all. I am completely responsible for that, and how I handled it. The fact is I let it happen. That’s on me.

I felt like I lost ownership of this place online I call my own. It was not overt, but I was getting a lot of suggestions (of topics I didn’t want to cover), some pressure (to be funny, honest, mundane, etc.), and–truly–a bit of grief over my time allotments to this and other things in my life at the time. Rather than fight for or against it, as it just wasn’t in me and I had bigger issues to deal with at the time, I just stopped.

Looking back over the last few months, and looking over those two previous paragraphs has shown me just how very much I’ve spited myself in behaving that way. I like my blog. Who was I hurting by avoiding this? Only myself.

This is a comfortable place to express myself. I enjoy that and I plan to continue it. I will confess that my mindset is still easily overwhelmed, but I have at least three future articles started. I figured if I was going to sheepishly confess that I crapped out and sheepishly ask to return to your computer screens for a few minutes a week, I better get at least a little prepared. Right now I am shooting for once a week, unless I come up with something that *just can’t wait!* But that usually doesn’t happen once I take a breath and realize that not everyone is in my same mental spot.

Just a last note–a huge thank you to my friend Natalie for re-posting my last year’s blog, “The Best Day for Resolution Makers” and refreshing my desire to get back to this! God put you in the right place at the right time!

It’s Cold

I know, I know—by now this is an old story.  But dang it. I just want warmth. No more being cold; no more wearing layers, even if it helps hide my “winter fat” that I wisely put on this past fall. Okay, lazily put on, but it’s still there.

My dog, Annie (Rottweiler-mix), loves to go outside, but I have to watch her closely through the window because like any child she doesn’t know enough to come in when she’s cold. I have to watch for her to systematically lift her paws because they are too cold.

Three cats live us. They are indoor/outdoor cats. At least they used to be. In this cold they are now indoor/indoor. I have a heated house for the back porch and a heated water bowl. An animal is using them, but none of our cats are! (I fear it’s Dan the Possum. My daughter is hoping it is.)

The cats, for the most part, aren’t that much of a nuisance. Our oldest and grumpiest cat, Martin, has reached an impasse with Annie and he only growls and hisses occasionally at her. (Annie will be two this spring, is about 70 pounds, and has no idea that she is big or that any cat in the world might not love her!)

The only time I have an issue with the cats is when my girls go to their dad’s house. My youngest is a cat magnet. When she’s not at my home, I become the substitute for their attention. This means I have all three of them sleeping on my bed. I use the term “sleeping” very loosely. They sleep, then around 2:30 a.m. the two kittens feel it’s playtime. That, in turn, wakes Annie who runs around the bed trying join them. This hullabaloo usually irritates Martin so he mews, growls, and hisses on his way to my chair. After the children decide playtime is done they both gather at my head, begging to get under my blankets. After about 15 minutes they are begging to get out from under the blankets, to venture as far as my face. They love my face. At 3:30 in the morning.

Martin, Luna (grey, mouth open), and Mattie (black, back to us)

Martin, Luna (grey, mouth open), and Mattie (black, back to us)

Today is February 23. Only 24 days until spring. Only 24 days until I have outdoor/indoor cats again.

Accidental Happiness

I put a lot on my “resolution” plate for this new year. Some of the things on my list were thoughtful entries—health and faith. Some things were happenstance—stopping prescription medications (my five-year date is in April and will signify a completed post-cancer regiment). One unplanned resolution contributing a great deal to my current level of happiness came about in a fit of frustration and hurt.

My background is this: I am a people-pleaser. I will often put my comfort level on a back burner so situations that involve you and me will go smoother for you. It leads to a great deal of stress and unhappiness on my end, but if you’re happy then it is worth it. Or so I thought. I truly felt that if there were stress, I would absorb it so that you could be happy and content, and then I would be happy eventually. What I didn’t realize or acknowledge is that I was not eventually happy. I carried that burden for us and simply buried it. I had headaches, a stiff neck, and sleepless nights. I just brushed it off to aging.

I have gotten well-intentioned advice to remove toxic people from my life. I just wasn’t sure who they were or how to go about it. When your method is to only see good and to always boost others you begin to not be able to identify negative people. I’ve been encouraged to cut ties, block via social media, or otherwise disengage with people who fit the category of negative; those people who drain the happy from me and leave me with their emotional residue.

I was at a loss to remedy this for nigh on 49 years. The catalyst to change this was initiated for me: I was unceremoniously removed from a contact online who was rather paramount to my whole family. Me! Someone removed me!—and my whole family,  to boot! I was infuriated. I was hurt. I was confused. I was relieved. Wait. What? Ahh, no more pretense. Mmmm, this was nice. I mean, I processed the rejection part but when the dust settled, I was … happy. I had delayed decisions that might be best for my family and this person hurried my changes. I sort of reveled in a new layer of peace I was unfamiliar with and I liked it. I took it a step further. I did some serious thinking and evaluating. I played back interactions that I had, or was still having, with a few people and whether or not I was receiving anything positive from them. Not that it was making me happy—my happiness is my job. But even in the midst of negative situations, there can be something positive. So I asked myself, “Am I learning? Do I feel better after interacting? Did I have a healthy engagement with this person?” If I could answer yes, great—life was proceeding well and things could be or were on an even keel. If I said no, I evaluated their merit in my life. Granted, I am not at that emotionally secure yet, so these people are in my life still, but I limit their negative actions on my life.  And I am sleeping a whole lot better.

Sleeping Like a Baby

As I mentioned in my “Growing Old” post, there are many things that happen as you age that you are not warned about. We all know about the laugh lines, crows feet, and generally wrinkling up. Most of us are aware of the metabolism change resulting in the middle-aged paunch. As women, we know to start expecting hot flashes. We all joke about grandpa or grandma falling asleep in their easy chair.

Here’s what I didn’t know—sleep would also become a mysterious stranger. I have wondered over the last couple of years if I was under unknown stress that would wake me. Was I perhaps being awakened by a sound that I didn’t remember, but my mind woke me anyway. Maybe I was getting clinical insomnia.

Visiting a medical oncologist with irritating regularity still, one of the health forms I frequently fill out checks symptoms that could ail cancer/post-cancer patients. It asks about sleep patterns. I asked my doctor about it, figuring that it could be a side-effect of my medication. For the most part, it is not. Granted, my medication has an inconvenient effect of reducing an important female hormone that, when reduced, brings on aging effects. (I was going to say “aging symptoms” but they aren’t symptoms–they are the real dang thing!)

She also calmly and firmly reminded me that even though I am taking tamoxifen, that does not negate the fact that–like it or not–I AM (almost) 49, and the part and parcel that goes along with that is what I am experiencing. I’ve decided that rather than fighting it by denial, which I am prone to do, I am going to try healthy alternatives. I have recently upped my exercising. I am eating healthier. I am drinking less beer and coffee (both favorite beverages of mine). Something has to help!

At this time, I would like to point out something that resounds in my mind whenever I try a new anti-aging regime: It’s my mother’s voice calmly and humorously saying, “Oh, Julie … welcome to middle age.”

Dang it.