You will be able to tune into the podcast beginning January 2022.
I’m starting a podcast called “Midlife MasterClass”.
A couple of weeks ago I asked for help in choosing between two podcast covers. One cover was a bold graphic design and the other was more personal with a picture of me. The overwhelming choice was the more personal picture. Thank you to everyone who commented and messaged me with encouragement.
As previously mentioned in this prior post, I love, love, LOVE to garden! But not all seasons are appreciated equally. You see, I have a problem with fall gardening.
I have a very large perennial garden and after all the thought and work I’ve put into it, the end is so sad. In Wisconsin, we call it “fall”.
So many people love the changing colors of the trees and bushes. But why does no one but me notice our dying gardens?Arghhhh. I look out at my backyard and see brown ferns, the leftover stems from phlox, and weeds that were previously hidden. Don’t even get me going on the holes from when my grand dogs visited.
Here are some sanity strategies that I’ve come up with (instead of just mowing everything down and planting grass seed).
I thought my time for “starting over” had passed. That idea turned out not to be true. At the end of April, I went back to work. I decided to re-evaluate what I was doing. Retirement was great and yet I felt the need to fill some gaps. This time, I chose a completely new field. It was the right thing to do. My work was going well. It was time to stop the drain on my retirement funds and to add a new purpose to my life.
When I was a little girl my parents taught me to always say “please” and “thank you” when appropriate. I can remember if I forgot, Mom would say “what do you say?” and the correct answer was ”thank you”. When we learn these words, often the true meaning and importance is lost on us. As children, we don’t necessarily understand the emotion of appreciation that is supposed to be tied to the words. Now as adults, we still bypass the simple, daily act of thankfulness. But being grateful is a habit that will always serve us well throughout our lives. Always. Continue reading →
Women over fifty (and of course, men also), are all so excited with the prospect of being grandparents. I go along with this as it gives us a second chance, or tries to make up for some of the mistakes that we made with our children. Most of us were probably young and did the best we thought we could, but as our children will most often advise us we often screwed up at some point.
I have been dying my hair since, I don’t know, about fifteen (I think). It feels like I HAVE always colored my hair and WILL always color my hair. However, it seems like I have been fighting with my daughter, Lisa, for years about the whole concept of “going gray”. She fears that I am continuing this procedure way past the time it is cool or attractive for me. I believe she SHOULD continue to dye her hair.
The question is, when is the proper time to just let it go gray? (Hopefully, when I say gray I mean a wonderful shade of white/silver-gray that complements my features, brings out the green in my eyes, gives me perky breasts, makes me look 10 pounds lighter, lengthens my legs …)
Well, anyway back to reality!
Here are my four guidelines for knowing when YOU should go grey:
Are you ready to change up the makeup routine that you’ve probably grown comfortable with?
Over many years of trial and error, you’ve probably found a favorite blush color, the eyeshadow that makes your eyes pop, and lipstick that makes you feel “put-together”. When you decide to stop dying your hair, you have to study and figure out how to change your makeup. You see, a blonde-haired person wears a totally different shade of makeup than when that person turns gray.
This definitely has to be changed to compliment the new hair color.
Are you ready to change up your closet?
Clothing choices also need to change. An example is that you might have looked lovely in earth tones and shades of brown, but now that doesn’t seem to be a good color with your new silver hair. An intervention could be rather costly. Dusty navy, burgundy, plum…rich vibrant colors with depth give color to your skin and brightness to your face.
Are you ready to embrace your age?
I have experienced this personally as Lisa was born with, and had throughout her elementary school years, lovely, thick, blonde hair. Then it turned a dirty blond and then a light brown. Beginning at about 25, she played around with dying various shades of warm blond, cool champagne, and copper penny red.
I have heard that your hair color should be the color you were born with, o at least when you were a child.
Ask for Advice
What does your mom think?
I have had a hard time adjusting to my child turning gray. Unfortunately, the color gray ages people. It might be a beautiful silver-gray, but in reality, it does make a person look older. Now, I know that some people turn gray at a very early age and have beautiful, beautiful gray hair. But I’m not a fan. I am twenty years older than my daughter and still dye my hair. People think that I am younger than my daughter simply because of our different hair colors. I love her thick, beautiful hair, and she can do just about anything with it. It has lovely highlights and she styles it beautifully.
But the problem is, she still looks older than I think she should. We are definitely at a stand-still about this. She is happy with her looks, has changed her makeup and clothing to compliment her hair color, but is still seen as older than she really is.
The evidence to prove my case is that Lisa has repeatedly called my sister. She has also been mistaken as her children’s grandmother on numerous occasions. Although she wears stylish clothes, has an outgoing personality, and religiously exercises, people are surprised that I am her MOTHER and she is my DAUGHTER. I believe that the disbelief lies solely in our hair color choices…not any other differences in our appearance or personality!
So, to those of you who have been dying your hair for many years, I really want your honest opinion here! You have got MY guidelines about whether you should go grey or keep coloring your hair…But I know there are some strong opinions and valuable viewpoints among my friends and readers. I want to know…
When is the proper time to let your hair go to its natural color?
The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.
It was November 1998. Tom and I had just listed out the household items that we were dividing between the two of us. We were getting a divorce. He got the leather lounge chair with the matching ottoman, the good blender, and our best set of knives. I kept the master bedroom furniture, the new sofa, and the dishes we got for our wedding 13 years prior. He took the new Acura. I kept all of my flea-market treasures.
He moved to an apartment and signed off on the deed to the house we had owned together for only 3 months.
We had moved to my hometown with the renewed hope to start a family there. But over the course of 3 short months, that dream disintegrated. It wasn’t our first marital separation but it was destined to be our last.
I went for coffee with fellow Sidetracked Sister, Judy, to hash out the recent events and get sympathy.
I don’t remember much of our time together, but one comment turned out to be profound and prophetic.
Whining about the fact that I was NOT looking forward to living alone, I didn’t want to be divorced. I liked being married, even if that marriage wasn’t perfect. I actually wished that I had someone in the wings that I was interested in that I could pursue a relationship with. But I didn’t.
Envisioning snuggly nights with my golden retriever watching rom/coms and sharing popcorn, I figured I would just hunker down, work on giving my new/old home a facelift and continue to throw myself into my career.
Judy listened to my grumbling and responded that “we weren’t that kind of people”. She contended that we WERE the kind of people that wholeheartedly devoted ourselves to whatever and whoever we committed to at that time. We didn’t overlap relationships. We are faithful and dedicated until the end. But…(and this is the thing)…
When the relationship IS over, it’s important to clean out and create space. Space for new interests, new activities, new people.
Clean out and create space
So, when Tom moved out, he took a small U-Haul of stuff. He cleaned out his dresser drawers but left random junk in the walk-in closet. That was where I went first.
I removed everything that was specifically his and then some. Old wire hangers. Emply Rubbermaid bins with missing lids. Cardboard shoeboxes filled with random shit.
I left drawers empty.
The closet empty.
His shelf in the bathroom–empty.
So here are 4 suggestions to consider when you are in a transition period of life:
1. Get rid of the paraphernalia of BEFORE
I followed this rule when I retired from teaching last year. I had 30 years of books, games, and STUFF that I had personally purchased for my classroom or stolen from home. Did I want to haul it all home again or move it to storage in our garage? NO!
How about selling it at a garage sale? Well, I’ve been to numerous garage sales held by retired teachers and been overwhelmed and thankful by the amazing resources they were getting rid of for dimes and quarters. Precious books, learning games, and classroom decorations being sold for pennies on the dollar. Those women had put in a LOT of work for only a few bucks! This is not how I wanted to spend my time purging my stuff. So…
I saw an opportunity when a young woman (who was one of my past student teachers) contacted me to offer congratulations on my upcoming retirement and offering to help move my stuff. In gratitude for her offer, I gave her 99% of my personal book collection and anything else that she thought she could put to good use. I figured that she could give the materials a good home at the private school where she was beginning her teaching career.
Instead of my garage filled with boxes of children’s books taking up space and getting old and dusty, I was able to help someone get a little ahead.
2. Leave space
Just because you have room after purging…it doesn’t mean that you have to fill it. Case in point: When I taught 6-year-olds, I NEEDED two drawers for socks. I had socks with pumpkins, elves, candy hearts and smiley faces, tights with butterflies, and even rainbow striped leggings thrown in the mix.
In the year since leaving teaching, I didn’t wear any of these. They all went in the trash and I organized the remainder Marie Kondo style (folded into a square packet and stored upright). These fit in one drawer.
The other drawer is empty.
And that is okay.
3. Start small
Transforming ANYTHING can be overwhelming. Sometimes even the thought of beginning can be tooooo much. Take my kitchen for example. Right now, I’m sure that there are unopened boxes of couscous and year-old bags of unused stuffing mix in the back of my pantry. The shelves that make up the space are deep, too deep. They are able to camouflage and conceal numerous cans of mushroom soup, a wok, empty unused canisters, and dozens of other unknown items. But this space overwhelms. this is NOT where to start!
Instead, I began with the glasses cupboard. I took everything out first. Then sorted glasses onto the bottom shelf, liquid measuring cups and mugs on the middle shelf, and wine glasses and small cups on the topmost shelf.
I purged all plastic cups and mugs with advertising.
Are you feeling the momentum as the success builds?
4. Break a big job into smaller tasks
I was at my mom’s house and noticed that the counter was covered in items that used to be in the nearby secretary. The same items were there for several days. Unmoved. Untouched. Unorganized.
When I asked my mom about eh mess, she said that she just needed to organize the items before re-storing them. Sounds good, but she looked frustrated.
I began sorting into piles of paper. Pens/pencils. stapler supplies, rubber bands…Little piles and a lot of garbage.
Then I tested the writing instruments. Out went the dry ones, the crunchy fine line markers, and pencils with hardened rubber erasers. The remainder easily fit in their black storage cup.
Little bits. Pile by pile. Categories were made and sorted. Junk was discarded and homes were created for shnibbles of rubber bands, paperclips, and thumbtacks.
It’s been over 20 years since Judy and I talked about making space in your life for new things. What I’ve discovered is this: The best time to purge and organized is during times of transition, times of change, times of growth.
What are you holding onto that you need to let go of?
Where can you create space for the new?
How can you break a big organizing job into smaller, manageable tasks?
Whether you are looking to begin a new chapter in life, looking for love, trying to lose weight, or jump-start a new business…begin by getting rid of the stuff that no longer serves you.
Maybe you need to let go of a relationship. Maybe it’s time to move on from that pair of green socks with dancing leprechauns or that coffee mug that your real estate agent gave you that boasts “Home is better with Ray Renolds!”
Last week, half of the sisters were out of town, so Lisa and I met one on one. These are rare occasions since we both have commitments that keep us very busy and out of trouble. I was thinking about how pleasant our visit was and then I got sidetracked (surprise, surprise).
I realized as I thought back, that during our visit, I was sending myself very negative messages about guess who? ME. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband, my son, my sister and her husband, my nieces and their families, and my stepdaughter and her family. Sadly, the worst relationship I have seems to be with myself. Continue reading →
Opening the top left drawer of my dresser in the bedroom, I need a fresh pair of underwear. However, the drawer is filled with so many items besides the needed unders. This is where I store 1/2 ream of printed emails that my husband sent to me in the year before we got married. It holds 18 old mother’s day cards from my three children, 8 bibs from races that I’ve run and 4 metals from three half-marathons and one full marathon that I ran, and 12 multi-colored headbands.
At first glance, it holds everything EXCEPT underwear. Do I not own underwear? Do I even wear underwear?
Have you ever given any thought to the idea that underwear should be considered when making a commitment to yourself about self-care? Well, let me tell you a story… Continue reading →
If you are anything like me, I have a hard time wanting to clean my house. I don’t enjoy cleaning at all. Growing up, my mom did it right. She had it set up that Lisa and I had jobs to do to clean the whole house by the time she came home from work. I dusted and Lisa vacuumed. On Saturdays, you didn’t do anything else until those jobs were done. Continue reading →
These seem to be two very controversial questions lately. Especially after COVID, where we have all been confined to our homes, apartments, (or wherever we might have the fortune or misfortune to find ourselves)…spiritual practice rules are up for debate. Continue reading →
I recently reread the 1937 version of Napoleon Hills’ “Think and Grow Rich”. Mr. Hill opens his first chapter with the phrase “Thoughts are Things”. He goes on to say that when we mix our thoughts with purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches or other material objects, these thoughts have the power to create what we are desirous of. Wow. That’s quite a statement.Continue reading →