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— Life —

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Other than a masked visit to Whole Foods during senior hour and the drive through at the pharmacy, my post Covid schedule revolves around working out, writing a memoir and keeping Annie entertained, or maybe it’s the other way around. Annie is keeping me entertained. 

Each time I take Annie for a walk, I feel like I’m putting my ever-thinning bones at risk. 

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— Life —

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
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Somehow all the trips I took last year, the wonderful people I met and the pretty pink tulle skirt and my silver shoes don’t feel important anymore, but my grandmother’s pin I wore will always be one of my most cherished possessions. The last few days I’ve been aware of my mother and my grandmother, my father’s mother, surrounding me.

All I have to do is look around my house. Their things are with me everywhere like my grandmother’s big chair in my living room.

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— Life —

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The other night I watched the classic 1959, film, The Diary of Anne Frank, the true story of seven people who went into hiding for two and a half years, hoping to save themselves from the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. They lived in a tiny space, on top of one another, and were forced to be silent for nine hours a day. The film had a number of takeaways applicable to the current Corona Virus crisis, but for me, the most important one is the need to get ourselves into a survivorship mentality. I’ve found myself there more times than I’d like to count.

While we can’t change the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we can change how we look at, and deal with, them.

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— Life —

Photograph by Brenda Coffee, ©2020
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Laura Munson’s new book, Willa’s Grove, is much more than a novel. It’s a map, a template with the potential to show each one of us how to find a life-changing sense of community. It’s where we can start to answer the question, “So now what?” and it begins with an invitation we send to ourselves and to other women.

“You are invited to the rest of your life.”

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— Life —

From Disney's Alice in Wonderland
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Like Alice in Wonderland I’ve slipped down the rabbit hole. Unlike Alice’s world where, “Cats and rabbits would reside in fancy little houses and be dressed in shoes and hats and trousers,” my world has been filled with “men in suits, driving four door sedans who emptied the contents of our garbage can into the trunk of their car.” 

This is my world, the rabbit hole in the memoir I’m writing. 

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— Life —

Photographs by Jennifer Denton, taken at Bohanan's, San Antonio.
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Not long ago I watched the film Rumor Has It with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston. Aniston’s character was lamenting the fact that her life was “a little nuts” to which Costner’s character said, “Life should be a little nuts. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together.” I love that line! If everything in life was accompanied by a smooth path, with no ups and downs, how would we know if we could survive when life hands us down days, months or even years? And on the flip side of the same coin, how could we fully appreciate the good days?

If a life without worry sounds perfect, might I suggest that after a while, even paradise might seem like a bunch of Thursdays, devoid of those moments that make us who we are?

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— Life —

Lionel Richie & Brenda Coffee. Photograph courtesy of Lionel Richie, 2019.
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Dear Friends, This will be my last regular blog post for a while because I’m stepping away to work on my memoir. Writing a blog and a memoir requires different writing muscles and voices, and I can’t do both at the same time. This hasn’t been an easy decision. In fact I’ve put it off for several months, but the time has come. 

Did you know you are the ones who’ve encouraged me to write my story?

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— Life —

Photograph ©Brenda Coffee, 2019
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I was thinking about the 1975 song by Eric Carmen, “All By Myself,” where the refrain (over and over and over) is “Don’t want to be… all by myself,” and I thought about how comfortable I’ve always been alone. How are you with being alone?

I’ve always been an extrovert, a people-person. In my career as a hairstylist I was constantly and happily surrounded by people, chatter and music. After work I was off to Nia classes most nights. More people, chatter and music. My exception was Friday night, because Saturdays are a really busy day in salons.

Oh, how I savored my Friday nights: a book, a glass of wine and popcorn for dinner… in the bathtub!

I’d been an active, working, single-mother for 20 years; then my son moved out on his own.  At 40, I got to live alone for the first time. Twenty years with my parents, 20 years with my son. I lived all by myself, quite contentedly, for the next 13 years before meeting my significant other.

I struggled for a minute before adjusting to living together: having someone there every night had both its pluses and minuses. Not having everything my way did too. And I missed my Friday night popcorn dinners in the tub. But with respect for each other’s freedom and alone time, 16 years have flown by!

It wasn’t until this year… no longer working, not traveling in our motor-home, being in recovery-mode, and living 40 miles from my familiar stomping grounds, that I have experienced feeling alone.

At first it was comfortable. I felt like I was playing hooky, getting away with something. Then I grew bored with my solitude, but didn’t feel compelled to do anything about it other than an occasional phone conversation with a friend or a sister. With social media I could keep up with friends, and it felt (almost) like being there.

Seven months later I found myself frustrated by retirement, loneliness, my illness and by the idea that I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I’d been watching too much TV, wasn’t working on my new book, and I’ve only blogged infrequently here, and on my own blog, SexyPast60.com.

I finally took my judgements about “not doing enough,” to my therapist who wisely gave me something to do: Make Everything Count.

Do you, like me, only acknowledge the Big Stuff you do, and discount all of the rest? She reminded me that getting out of bed counts. Taking a shower and getting dressed counts. Preparing some food, making a trip to the pharmacy, reading a book, watching a movie… all counts.

By being present in each moment, and making them count, I find myself breaking out of my cocoon, making plans and socializing, moving forward with my writing. I’m no longer feeling all by myself… and I think that is quite an accomplishment!

XO Donna

— Life —

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My friend, Pat, uses the term “elderly” when referring to the current state of our high school graduating class. It makes me want to strap him to a walker with nonskid rubber tips and send him flying off of a skateboard ramp. I don’t mind the term “over 65.” I can handle the word “senior” and I will admit to my age, 70, but I’m not keen on telling anyone I’ve had cataract surgery. For the most part, it’s old people who have cataract surgery, and I don’t see myself as old… certainly not elderly… plus cataracts are one of those age-related things that go along with having kidney stones, your gallbladder removed and needing a hearing aid.

What’s that you say? Tuesday?

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