Blowing Out the Candles

candlesOn the eve of my 4o-plus-somethingish birthday, I cannot help but reflect upon the lessons I have learned this year. In theory I’m an expert.  In practice, however, that’s another story.

I do believe that the difference between theory and practice is the key to successful living though darlings, because bridging that gap is the difference between annoying should-sayers, and the people who shine brightly and inspire the rest of us.

Grace has been a concept I’ve wanted to put into practice  throughout the past few years. There are  times I have failed miserably; my birthday breakdown at a bar while trying to sort out my mother issues; my insecurity as a partner, my ability to maintain a positive attitude in light of the every day demands of living. Yah, I’ve failed a few times.

But I have learned a few things from all of that bluster, and I’m old enough to take the liberty of sharing them with you;

  1. I have spent way too much time on my hair.
  2. We allow ourselves to be led by a false economy and fabricated news. Does it feel right? Do it. Does it feel wrong? Don’t. The world would be a better place if we all followed the golden rule.
  3.  If you love your body, it will love back. At a certain point you realize your body feels better when you eat this and not that; when you do this and not that.  It loves water and apples and decadent butter cream chocolate from your favourite Chocolaterie. It does not like to listen to people incessantly rambling about fad diets or extreme routines. Love your body, let it gently communicate to you, and it will love you back.
  4. Kindred spirits aren’t terribly hard to find, but it’s terribly hard to be vulnerable enough to get to know one.
  5. Create things. Anything. Creativity is your human spirit making itself present in the world. Let it sing, paint, write, carve, stitch, bake….whatever! Let your mind wander and your spirit reveal itself.
  6. Do not let bitchy people ruin your day. Attitude is contagious – be sure to protect yourself.
  7. Nobody’s watching. Seriously. Just relax.
  8. Change is scary, but constant. If you can be excited through the fear, you have life licked.
  9. You need friends of all ages; older ones and younger ones, and people who transcend age. You need nurturing and affection and the awesome healing power of human touch.
  10. Flannel jammies, hot tea and a good hobby to keep you occupied are three simple things that are highly under-rated.
  11. Always, always, always buy the shoes.
Advertisements

Advice for the New Year

IrishBlessing8x10It’s time for the old year to retire.

He’s lounging in a smoking jacket with his slippered feet up, and a tumbler of bourbon to help clear the path of reflection.

New Year’s resolutions have always seemed a little silly, and a lot naïve to me. It’s the same with people who say they’re, ‘finding themselves’ or trying to figure out ‘who they are’.

I don’t make resolutions any more. Not even secret ones just for myself. I simply try to find joy and silliness in every aspect of my life; work, parenting, friendship, love and yes, even housework.

If you are joyful, you become friends with yourself pretty damn quickly. Your body enjoys the kindness and you start eating and exercising  naturally. Your work becomes a calling, and your relationships are a calm ocean where you can relax and refresh yourself.

We are born knowing ourselves. We tend to allow expectation and adulthood fog the landscape. During adolescence we seek approval from people who value meaningless things, and often never grow out of it.

If you’re busy looking for the next ego fix, you certainly can lose track of who you are and what makes your soul smile.

Ah, but not I. I’m one of the lucky ones. Life has rocked my boat and I’ve sprung a few leaks over the years, but I’ve held fast to my convictions and personal ethic.

Being a better person means being  true to yourself, having the courage to do what’s right and not what’s cool.

Wishing you a joyful and peaceful transition into another calendar year. Be good to yourself, and choose joy.

Let the old year finish the bourbon and welcome the beautiful new year as the gracious, happy, loving lady that she is.

 

Decking the Halls & Trimming The Tree

Our tree has changed throughout the years, but not the tradition.

We play Christmas carols, and put the Velcro and felt antlers on the cat.  Every year I give a special ornament to my kiddo, and I never move the ornaments he places on the tree.

When I grew up the closest thing to spirituality and grace fostered during the Christmas season was that the name of  Jesus was frequently spoken. Often emphatically. Usually it was at the beginning of a sentence.

For instance, when trimming the tree, my mother could be heard screaming, “Jesus Christ! Are you f-ing blind? Can’t you see that looks awful!” …not a creature stirred, not even her spouse…

Since I’ve had my own home and my own tree, the hall-decking and tree-trimming has taken on a new flavour.

Being a single parent, it was always really easy to feel less-than. For years we had a theme tree; baseball, candy, under-the-sea. I bought ornaments and decorations, and went overboard. I Christmased with the best of them.

I’m so over that.

I’ve officially entered the if-it’s-not-useful-or-really-damn-sentimental-I-don’t-want-it-weighing-me-down phase of life. I also have a strong preference for silliness, laughter and feeling at ease.

Decking the halls and trimming the tree is meaningful because of who you share it with; whether they’re the ones trimming the tree with you, or the ones you’re remembering as you hang ornaments they gave to you.

Trimming the tree was never meaningful when I hung  over-priced au currant ornaments void of meaning.

This year I truly did some trimming. I decluttered a bunch of ornaments I just don’t, and won’t use any more. We are down two Christmas boxes, and it feels good.

This year our tree was trimmed simply, with a few shiny red Christmas balls (because I like shiny things, and red makes me feel festive) and the ornaments we’ve been gifted throughout the years;  handmade snowmen and kitties from my mumster, a colleague’s signature, hand-painted snowflake, great-granny’s quilted hearts, the Beatrix Potter ornament I bought when the kiddo was three and I thought that perhaps he was really the offspring of satan, loads of personalized ornaments from our now-in-Newfoundland-neighbours, the candy-cane carrying Mr. Potato Head my kiddo gave me years ago, the star that was stolen for me from a tree in Venezuela on New Year’s Eve, the rubber gingerbread man the kiddo squirted with sparkly glue when he was 4, and  the Eiffel Tower ornament I bought for myself in Paris….

Life has been a struggle this year, and hanging ornaments reminiscent of more light-hearted, silly times was bittersweet.

As the season of Advent approaches, I know that I will sit quietly in the stillness of the midnight hour,  wondering by the light of this Christmas tree what mystery might unfold in my life this Christmas season.

 

 

 

She’s Just Too Much & The Man Afraid to Love Her

christmaslaughingwomenLots of women are too much of something in someone else’s opinion.

I’ve been accused of being too much: too fat, too independent, too courageous, too strong, too driven, too kind and too silly. I’ve even been advised that I’m  too intelligent, and that makes men uncomfortable.

Pul-eaze!

As long as too kind is included in a ‘too much’ description of someone, then they’re ok in my books.

You see, long, long ago  I came to understand that I will never be perfect. Shocking, I know.

Let me let you in on a little secret; women who are accused of being ‘too’ anything are usually women who live life so fully and fiercely that they scare the hell out of anyone living comfortably within the soul-destroying status quo.

They’re just jealous darlings. Don’t pay them any attention. Step over them and move one.

Wear the dress, put on those shoes, drink the bourbon, leave red lipstick prints on the crystal, and for the love of all that’s good and right in the world, speak your peace.

The world needs more of women who are too much.

Women belonging to the Too-Much sisterhood share these things in common;

  • They’re good at what they do.
  • They’re educated, have informed opinions, and feel comfortable having a hearty debate.
  • They carry themselves with confidence, regardless of what size the tag on their dress says, or what they’re wearing.
  • They indulge in decadence; food they can savour, lip-smacking wine, clothes that make them feel and look good, a hearty belly-laugh, the kind of sex that leaves you spent and sweat-soaked, last-minute holidays and cheering on their favourite team.
  • They spend time doing whatever makes them happy, and they don’t feel guilty about it.

If you are a woman who has been accused of being too much, feeling too much, being too strong, too weak, too big, too small,too true to herself to really give a rat’s ass about what anyone else thinks, I tip my hat to you.

For the men afraid to love them, well, that’s your loss gents. A woman who is too much really knows how to have fun, and that might just be what the doctor ordered for you.

This holiday season, go ahead ladies. Be too much. Be you; be too in love with life to care.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday To Me: I Don’t Give a Rat’s….

Birthday GirlI don’t get it. You know, the people who guard their age like the Hope Diamond? What is with that?

For the love of all that’s holy, give it up you pretentious nit-wit!

Life, if you’re lucky and appreciate the journey, is a grand adventure, of which not a single one of us is guaranteed another day.

Years ago I denied a very creative, photog of a lover the privilege of taking pictures of me a la mode. “One day you’ll wish you had pictures,” he said. I should have listened to him. I miss that twenty-something body. I miss the perky firmness of all of the soft spots.

I should have taken his advice. He was older. He knew.

Sure, money might buy you life-extending medical care, a bimbo with a boob job, or a gigolo with a gigantico jiggler, but none of us get out of this circus tent alive or with parts that don’t break down. I figure you may as well appreciate some of the gifts that come along with loss of skin turgor, middle-age spread, and loss of your faculties.

For instance, as I look at turning another year older in a few days, I realize that I no longer really give a shit about what people think of me. I know who I am, what I stand for, and where my ethical boundaries are. I’m a good person.

I’m more confident, and even more certain that I fall short of perfection and always will. At this age, I know that I will make mistakes, and I’m not devastated by it. In fact, I appreciate, however inconvenient it may be, that mistakes have always been one of life’s most effective (if not efficient) teachers.

A bad hair day no longer makes me wish I could disappear. I don’t worry about taking sick days because I know that the only thing that heals me is rest.

If he doesn’t call back, or ever again, I know that it wasn’t meant to be – in other words, I’ve learned to temper my romantic expectations.

I know you can’t get blood from a stone, so there’s no use trying. I know that life goes on even when you’re blinded by tears and wounded with a broken heart. Nothing lasts forever; the bad stuff, or the good stuff.

When someone asks me how old I will be on my birthday, I tell them. You may think I’m too old, or too young to understand you. You might think I’m crazy or brilliant. Perhaps you have an opinion about my hair, my make-up or my weight. Frankly darling, at this age, I don’t give a rat’s ass…

…and that’s such a liberating feeling.

Happy birthday to me.