Tag Archives: 50

How’s your Now??

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The thought passing through my mind that I can’t turn off was not as eloquently put as Anne’s, but the point was the same. What if I had postponed my happiness and waited to enjoy my life until that perfect time when everything was in order and everyone else was taken care of and I find out that I’ve waited too long and run out of time?

This concept has been weighing on me and I saw this Anne LaMott quote on my friend, Mimi’s, from http://waitingforthekarmatruck.com/ wall and it made me feel so good to know I’m not the only one having this thought. Well, especially if  Mimi and Anne LaMott were too!

When I was a child and old enough to realize that not every family had a drunken brawl every Saturday night I thought I’d be happy when I moved out and had a family of my own.

And then I did.

When I married and had a family of my own I thought I’d be happy when my divorce was final and he was finally out of the house.

And then he was.

Then I thought I’d be happy when I found love again, and then I did, and I was.

And then it ended

When I was alone with my children in my own home I thought the time would be right to be  happy when it was easier and they were all in school, when the oldest could help by driving, when the older two were in college, when the youngest drove, when the youngest was in college.

And then they all were

And I looked around and saw how much time had passed and asked myself why I didn’t enjoy the trip instead of focusing on the destination.

It’s something about turning 50 I think. Each day I remind myself that this very moment is the most important moment in my life. I may still have many years to do all that I want to do but I have only this instant to enjoy what is already in front of me.

Take inventory of all of the wonderful things you have to be grateful for and celebrate right now. It’s all you really have.

Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.
Denis Waitley

 

A Different Take on Love

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Love is never what you think it is, is it? We imagine that it should be simple, it will fix our woes, fill our gaps, and warm us in the cold. We dream that all the good in life will be better and that words will be replaced by a knowing look and a connection so strong that there will never be a doubt that we are bonded at the soul. Can you hear me laughing?

Ahh, it’s good to dream! Sometimes I think those dreams are our undoing. Perhaps it would be better to think that real love will test you, enlighten you, and throw all of your own shortcomings in your face in order for you to rise to the challenge of being a more complete person on your own and when your beloved sees all of this, they will love you anyhow. 

Better said by Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”:

“When love beckons to you follow him,Though his ways are hard and steep.      

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,      

Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him,      

Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.      

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.      

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,      

So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.       He threshes you to make you naked.      

He sifts you to free you from your husks.      

He grinds you to whiteness.      

He kneads you until you are pliant;      

And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.      

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.”

It can’t just be the flowers and love songs because when that passes, as it always does, what will be left? I have been very fortunate to have a friend and partner who has challenged me to be better person. A man who will not allow me to be any less than I should be and when forced to admit why, he will reluctantly admit that it is because he loves me, but not necessarily in the way I want to hear it. He is a man of actions, more so than words. My own challenge… not always getting what I want, instead getting what I need. In turn, hopefully I will push him out of his comfort zone to be something more than he is now. I tried the easy route of no challenges and it was empty. True love is a growing, learning, sometimes painful, experience.  It’s the mother bird that pushes the baby out of the nest, not really knowing for sure if it will fly, but knowing it needs to and believing enough for both of them. To love and be loved in this way both breaks my heart and then mends it, it lifts me up and then brings me to my knees, it is more than I hoped for and better than I could have dreamed. It’s anything but simple.

“All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.      

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,      

Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,      

Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.      

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself

 Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”

 

Thank you to Suzi81 Speaks for this weekly word challenge http://wordpress.com/read/post/id/49935482/13902/

In Search of Me: my past.

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In order to understand who you truly are you must examine your past. The past shapes you but I believe that each person has the responsibility to decide what they keep and what is not useful or might even be dangerous to hold on to from their past. Sorting through your early past can be a mix of joy and pain for some lucky people. Then there are others that don’t have a lot good to say about thier childhood. The best thing I can say is that it made me who I am.

My mother, and father for that matter, had issues. There were huge issues that prevented them from parenting me. I know those issues preceded my birth but they seem to have escalated with every year of my life. One parent was always stealing me from the other. I spent long stretches in New Orleans with my mother and her sister and then back to New York with either, both parents, or just my father.  My mother tended to take off. Most of these issues were related to drugs and alcohol but I’m sure a fair share was just plan old mental illness. A therapist told me she thought it would be helpful to read the book “The Glass Castle”. She thought I could relate to it. I have it, and read the first chapter, but can’t seem to get much further. I probably should read it but having seemingly lived it I prefer to write my own stories.

Many difficult years followed but I always knew that I wanted a different life and a family of my own. There was something in me that knew life was not supposed to be the life I grew up in. I knew it even when it was happening. Years later when I worked with children I would see that in a select few. That knowledge, that although they come from chaos, they had no intention of living their future that way. It seems to be very important factor in how difficult the future will be for those individuals.

At 16 my parents lost custody of me and I lived in a group home with other kids that were incorrigible runaways. Of course I had nothing to run from, I was homeless, but 35 years ago there weren’t a lot of places to put me, and parents rarely lost custody of their children.

Now before you think that I’m writing this to run my parents into the ground, please know I’m not. I believe people do the best they can. Sometimes their best sucks and you need to distance yourself from them. I did that but also took care of both of them until they died a few years ago. I did that from a distance too,  because I know what was best for me.

I also believe that at a certain point in life everyone, no matter where they come from, is responsible for their own actions. I have spent a good portion of my life working with kids to help them see you don’t have to be your roots of origin. Taking responsibility for your life gives you power and control over it. Not necessarily the easy route but definitely the only way to really change your circumstances.

Having been raised the way I was is exactly what was supposed to happen to me. I read once that they only true forgiveness is when you are grateful for the experience. It has taken many years to be grateful, but I am.  I have utilized all of my experiences to become who I am. I really like me now and I am the sum total of all of my experiences, both good and bad.

For the next two weeks I am renting a gorgeous old house in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The kids are here and they’ve brought their friends. Friends of mine are also here. We’re quite the large, laughing, loving group. I look around this 214 year-old house and wonder what the lives of all of the people within these walls entailed.  How much happiness, sorrow, regret and joy happened in this house? How many of those people were able to take the hand that life dealt them and make a beautiful house of cards as I have. Yes, I treat it like a house of cards because you never know what life will bring. Happiness like this is a very delicate and fragile thing.  I feel incredibly grateful for my past that has brought me to this point in my life. There is very little I would change, huge mistakes of my own included. It doesn’t define me but it certainly helped mold me. I just continue to make alterations in this evolving project that is me and am constantly deciding what stays, and what needs to go, in order for me to be healthy and productive.

“I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.”

 Sophia Loren 

The Value of Time

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Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

M.Scott Peck

How much is your time worth? Having been a consultant that charged by the hour, a project worker who has charged by the job completed, a teacher who was paid by the school year regardless of hours worked, and a waitress paid by the satisfaction of the customer, I know it can’t be measured in terms of the clock or financial compensation

We can measure it in terms of achievements or projects completed. Maybe we measure it in terms of time wasted or opportunities lost?

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately and how much I have left. I’ve realized how much I want to do and also that if I live to be 150 I’d never have a chance to do it all. Therefore, I need to get busy loving, seeing, doing and experiencing.

For me, the true measure of the value of time will be  how much joy was packed into every moment. How about you?

Time is an equal opportunity employer.  Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day.  Rich people can’t buy more hours.  Scientists can’t invent new minutes.  And you can’t save time to spend it on another day.  Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving.  No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.  ~Denis Waitely

Italy, Inspiration, and Incredible women

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The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.  Michelangelo 

Is it acceptable to still want to be something when you grow up, even at 49? Is it best to have a plan and expectations or is it better to do as I do most of the time and just have an idea and fling yourself at it? Do we still get to do that at this age? Of course I’m not saying that I don’t think about what I want to do, but if I consider what has worked in the past, I’d say launching into something full steam as if it were really already under way has been the successful approach. Starting this blog and proclaiming to people all over the world what I was in the process of doing surely made me feel as though turning back would be defeat. 

This new business and non-profit is the first endeavor I’ve undertaken where my main concern is not how I will work it around my children. My youngest of four is almost 17 and the oldest nearly 30, so it’s all about me this time.  What a glorious age this is. I love the woman my age too. They have done so many different things, many while raising children, and often supporting a home, that they just don’t have time to be afraid or if they are they kick it aside and march on. They’re supportive and compassionate without being patronizing. They know themselves or they are clearly on the path and don’t mind telling you what they think. Women in thier 50’s, give or take a decade, are to be envied. When I turn 50 next year I feel like I’m entering this exclusive club of creative, smart, funny, self assured people who don’t have time to take any crap from anyone and God help you if you mess with anyone they love. They are fiercely loyal and understand the value of a good girlfriend. They know what they want and also how to get it. I just love that. 

Another incredible part of life at this age is I get to do some of the things I’ve dreamed about. July’s adventure is a trip to Italy. I’ve dreamed of this trip and I see no reason to waste anymore time. If you miss my ramblings I’d suggest you check out:

http://newsofthetimes.org/

http://talktodiana.wordpress.com/

http://youwerebornthatway.com/blog/

http://spilledcookies.com/

http://waitingforthekarmatruck.com/

http://joyfulonpurpose.com/

http://almostspring.com/

http://help-me-rhonda.com/

http://geniespeaks.wordpress.com/

http://blessedwithastarontheforehead.wordpress.com/

Oh, it’s just ridiculous how much talent and insight is out there. I could never include them all. These people and quite a few others have become a sort of blogging family for me.  I feel very blessed. 

Positano, Florence and Tuscany.  I’m going to eat, drink, be merry, and contemplate my future as if I were 16 and it was all ahead of me, because it is. Only now I’m smarter, have no time to waste and I’m aiming higher. 

Arrivederci,

Maureen

There is no greater harm than that of time wasted. Michelangelo

Delicious ambiguity

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You cannot have a happy ending to a miserable journey.

Abraham-Hicks 

Many of you who have followed my blog over the last few months (have I said thank you recently for that?) have watched me torture myself with the decision of whether to stay at my job as a special education teacher or to dive into a new business in a full-time capacity. The business has already been started and the nonprofit component is waiting in the wings for some attention from me. I can work part time at the business until I’m ready to leave my job or I can just run head long into a new life. Part of the dilemma is that I love the kids that I teach. Until you are a part of teaching a child no one thought would read, to read, or giving a student the confidence to raise his or her hand in class and believe they can add value to a conversation, you can’t imagine how rewarding this path can be. Unfortunately, because of the legal requirements of the special education system I spend about 85% of my time in meetings, writing IEPs, and answering emails from parents who have no faith in the educational system or dare I say have no boundaries’. I pass my lessons on to a tutor who has the joy of teaching it, often not in a way I’d do it myself. This all adds up to an enormous amount of stress and it’s taken a toll on my health and my personal life. I keep asking “is it worth it?” Of course any sensible person would say “no.” Then I get a card in the mail from a student thanking me for my dedication, or telling me they will visit me every day next year. Then there are the students that do come to visit and I get the chance to watch them turn into adults, and know that I was a part of making them understand that their disability is both a blessing and a curse. The fact that they struggle is difficult but as with any difficulty they have the opportunity to let that hardship turn them into people that know how to press on, to work through what would stop a weaker person. They also see the world a little differently and all of the most influential people in history have seen the world in a different way. That’s where we get the innovative thinking that changes the world. Oh, you can see I could go on and on about these wonderful people I’ve had the chance to know. I have been blessed, but it may be time to move on.

Then there’s the stress, which is incredible, and I have to be honest; it’s over-shadowing the good parts. Turning 50 this year, and watching so many people around me stricken down by illness, or worse yet die far too early, causes me to worry about how the stress is impacting my health.  I found the information below in a Huffington Post article but you could find the same in a thousand articles. It has become common knowledge that stress kills.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that feeling stressed is linked with a decreased inflammatory response regulation. Their research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 “The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease,” study researcher Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon, said in a statement. “When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.”

So, I have given myself this weekend to decide what I will do. I think I already know what I’m going to do and having flipped a coin as another blogger suggested confirmed it, but I keep waiting for that moment when I’ll be 100%. Maybe we’re never 100% on anything. Maybe it’s just about following your gut and watching what unfolds.

Thanks for reading. I truly appreciate the support and the friendship I have found here.

Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.

Gilda Radner

Self-acceptance

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 Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.  ~Henry David Thoreau

I’ve done quite a bit of soul searching recently. I realize that while I crave security, I’m never unhappier than when I consistently know what tomorrow will bring. I always need to shake thing up. It’s always made everyone crazy, but at nearly 50 I’m starting to like that about myself.

I’ve come to accept that I am the sum total of all of my experiences. That all of the pain and love, the disappointments and the successes, the friendships and the betrayals, have brought me to this place and made me the person I am today.  I’m learning to love all of those things. It hasn’t come easily and sometimes it doesn’t come at all.

I continue everyday to strive to improve without losing the unique person that I am.  Embracing the frailties are just as important as taking pride in the strengths. I like that I’m a little quirky and that I see things differently than most people. I like that I’m usually the first person to try something new and that I jump in with both feet and tend to ignore the sign for the deep end of the water. Sometimes these qualities serve me well and sometimes they just make for a really entertaining story a decade after I recover from it. All in all, I’ll keep all the pieces because I’m enjoying the crazy ride of being me.

There’s a period of life when we swallow a knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.  ~Pearl Bailey



Hello world!

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When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
Viktor E. Frankl
 
I created this blog in order to  journal  the events surrounding the starting of a new business, as well as an affiliated nonprofit. I thought I could show others that reinventing yourself is possible, but as I write I can see that it’s also helping me to see the same thing.
 
The business will allow me the opportunity to start an organization that provides loans and grants to woman, who have previously lived below the poverty line, so that they can start their own businesses. 
 
To be a part of someone realizing their dreams or giving them the encouragement to change their perceptions of themselves or what is possible in their lives would be an incredible gift.  I’m looking forward to the process. Thanks for following along!