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Aging

— Life —

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Today is my 60th birthday. As you read this, I may be laughing, or I may be crying. Hopefully the overwhelming emotion I’ve experienced as I approached the big 6-0 has given way to great expectations about the future. And hopefully I’ll have celebrated with some great champagne and chocolate. Continue Reading

— Life —

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Monday was a banner day. After waiting at a walk-in clinic to learn I can’t hear out of my right ear because “sometimes ears just get that way,” I went to the eye doctor where I learned my eyes are failing rapidly. I’ve worn contact lenses my entire life and apparently that’s not good. Plus, I stare at a screen all day, either writing on my laptop or reading on my Kindle. Even though I’ve dialed up the fonts as large as they’ll go, it’s still a strain on my eyes.

So I’m in glasses while my eyes heal. At night, I wear ointment. Ointment! That’s a sexy word. Continue Reading

— Life —

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A few years ago I changed doctors because my PCP wouldn’t prescribe me something for sleep. I’d gone in for a routine check-up and mentioned I wasn’t sleeping well. I felt exhausted, and as a result, was living my life strung out on caffeine and sugar while carpooling tweens and arguing with teenagers. My barely 30-something-mother-of-a-toddler GP proceeded to lecture me on the evils of poor nutrition and chemical support, suggesting I try a soothing bath and some quiet time, perhaps a cup of herbal tea before bed. She informed me she was morally opposed to sleeping pills because they’re highly addictive and tend to be used to mask greater problems than irregular sleep patterns. Continue Reading

— Relationships —

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I attended a funeral for a cousin whose death came too early. She’d beaten breast cancer, twice, but years of smoking and living around heavy smokers finally took its toll. The experience reinforced my desire to spend eternity fertilizing the earth instead of being locked up in a box and forgotten. Continue Reading

— Life —

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve had neck and back pain. Some days it’s one or the other, some days both. Occasionally it can be debilitating, but more often than not, it’s just annoying, the kind of pain that holds you back from being or participating fully in life. I think the genesis of my back pain was from a really bad crash when I was ski racing in high school. The spine is a delicate creature, and one good twang can create a lifetime of annoying symptoms. There were other minor incidents over the years, but the coup de grace came about 25 years ago: I had a run-in with a bad cup of clam chowder that landed me in the hospital for four days with food poisoning. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say I don’t eat clam chowder anymore, and the strain on my body ruptured a disc in my lower back.
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— Relationships —

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I was relaxing at the pool this afternoon when a friend of my daughter’s walked past and we began chatting. She’d been recruited as a Division 1 athlete five years ago, and had recently graduated from college. She told me about her successful seasons as an athlete; her relationship with her roommate–also an athlete but in a different sport–her choice of major; her brother’s new job… and all the while, I was envisioning this young woman as an eight-year-old.

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— Life —

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I’ve been sailing many times. No, that’s not true: I’ve been sailed — passive voice — many times. I suspect I’m the kind of person for whom the term “deck fluff” was coined. I can tell you all about the iguanas and gas powered blenders on tiny islands in the Bahamas. I can’t tell you much about lines or cleats.

But all of that is about to change. Now that I have moved to a lakeside town, I have decided to learn how to sail with my fiancé. Our first class was last week. Continue Reading

— Relationships —

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Last night I slept 14 hours. It’s now late afternoon, and I just awoke from a three-hour nap. I still feel like I could crawl into bed and crank out another eight or nine hours of deep REM before facing another day. No, I don’t have the flu, or narcolepsy, or a colossal hangover, but I have been serving as mother/hostess to a bevy of late teens and 20-somethings over a V-E-R-Y  L-O-N-G holiday weekend. Continue Reading

— Relationships —

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Recently, The Royal Society Open Science published a study that shows the number of friends we have peaks at age 25 and then starts to decline until it levels out around age 45.

I’m glad to learn I’m not alone in this.

When I was younger, I was happy to pal around with people who shared my interests. I like dogs! I like that author! I love Radiohead too! As I’ve aged and my time has become more scarce, I’ve become much more discerning when it comes to choosing those with whom I spend my days.

Now, I am much more interested in people’s stories, values, and the size of their hearts, than their tastes in bands or food. I’ve forged some friendships based on shared interests, but only because those interests provided a window to their souls. For example, there is a small group of us who are connected through our mutual love of French antiques, grand hotels, and circa 2006 J. Crew. While we were drawn together at first by surface commonalities, we quickly discovered that we are all old souls who crave a return to elegance. We realized that many of us deliberately surround ourselves with beauty to offset some of the hardships we’ve survived, and that–more than our interests–is the basis for our friendship.

As I’ve aged, I realize that I like my own company, have a busy family life, and would much rather read a good book than spend time with people who drain my energy. I no longer have time for fair-weather friends, drama queens, or grief-glommers.

I see friends as the people with whom I choose to share my life. A smaller circle allows me to invest time and emotional energy in cultivating deeper friendships with the people I love.

I’m forever meeting interesting people and, with potential new friends, I take a catch and release approach. I’m quick to suggest coffee and then see where things flow from there. My litmus test for friendship is to ask myself if a potential friend makes me feel better or worse. Friends should make you feel safe and secure and loved. I no longer spend time on people who won’t support me in the bad times and cheer me on in the good. Life is too short.

These days, particularly with social media, there is pressure to have a posse; to have a wide group of people who will like what you do. But an entourage won’t necessarily catch you when you fall. Football manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has this marvelous quote: “At the end of the day, you only need six people to carry your coffin.” Food for thought, that.

It’s not the number of friendships we have, but the nature of those friendships that matters. I’ll happily sacrifice likes on Instagram for a few kindred spirits who really have my back.

 

 

— Life —

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I was in a yoga class recently, standing behind a woman I will describe as a professional body. Everything about her appearance was perfect: not a hair out of place, nor a muscle that hadn’t been trained to perform at its absolute peak; no sign of cellulite, flab, or gravity. She exuded a kind of energy that made her springy and bendy, and I envied the body she’d been able to create through what I imagine has been a relentless dedication to her exercise and diet regimen.  Continue Reading