Browsing Tag

Strength

— 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 —

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 —

Photographs courtesy of Serena Crawford
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Serena Crawford is one of my favorite people because her curiosity and interests knows no bounds. I could tell you she’s an award-winning, international interior designer, but she’s more than a designer. There’s no part of a home she’s not involved in researching and creating from the bare bones of the architecture to the landscape and the interiors. Her travels take her around the world; she’s lived in several countries, and she shares all of it with her almost 48,000 Instagram followers.

Serena is a philosopher and a teacher who’s engaged with the people and life around her.

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— Life —

Jessi Combs and her North American Eagle 'car,' 2018. All photographs courtesy of her website.
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This week Jessi Combs, the “fastest woman on four wheels,” car fabricator and TV host of Mythbusters, died in what’s been described as a “horrific accident.” With the afterburners in full thrust, Jessi Combs was driving her red and blue North American Eagle—which was really an F-104 fighter jet without wings—on a dry lakebed in the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon. Jessi was trying to break her own supersonic land world speed record of 398 miles per hour set in 2013. Although she’s reached a top speed of 483 miles per hour, it wasn’t in an official attempt to break a world record.

Jessi’s death reminded me of my own thoughts about breaking a world land speed record and the realization I could no longer trust my husband.

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— Life —

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“When people ask me why I seem so happy and find it so easy to laugh, I tell them my INNER CHILD is working overtime. That belief has been with me my entire adult life. Many times throughout the years different friends and relatives have remarked, ‘Lee, you’re the biggest kid I know. Aren’t you ever going to grow up?’”

They’re all dead now.

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— Life —

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixaabay
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I’ve always been comfortable being alone. Perhaps that’s because I was an only child and I’m good at entertaining myself, but I know a lot of single women and men over 50 who hate being alone. It reminds me of Susan Sarandon’s comment in the film, Shall We Dance, about why people get married. 

“Because we need a witness to our lives.”

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— Life —

Rene Lalique, Firebird Luminaire, @1922
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I was never one of those kids who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. Even now I’m not sure how to answer the question, “And what do you do?” If resumes were based on how we spend our time, mine would probably read, “Doggie Doorman.” Part of me wants to add “versatile, resilient and I plan for worst-case” and be done with it. You fill in the blanks. I do know life shouldn’t be about what we do for a living, or the label we give ourselves or the labels we drive and wear or where we went to school. 

Life is about how we raise our children and treat one another and how we cope with change, especially when it’s unexpected, and it all starts with how we feel about ourselves.

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