Tag: women aging

We Have the Key

We Have the Key

 

Mountain Art
Granny Hands
Artist: Jill Pritchett
Click on image to visit her website
“So often time it happens,
we all live our life in chains,
and we never even know we have the key.”
The Eagles, Already Gone 
(Quote taken from Aging Abundantly’s A Little Book of Hope)
 

Sometimes it takes a major crisis in our lives to wake us up. Often it just takes turning fifty to realize that our youth has passed us by and it’s time to get moving, to  look at things differently. Midlife is fraught with issues of aging, as well as, external challenges and there are adjustments to be made; values to be examined; beliefs to be questioned. Enough time has passed for most things for us to look back and really evaluate our choices and to begin to see patterns in our behavior.

I read again and again, in blogs and articles written by women at midlife, about waking up to the need for change at midlife; of divorce, new careers, moving across the country, taking up a significant new hobby and more. There’s a sense of urgency, of the willingness to jump into something with both feet that seems to be driven more by fear than sense. The sense is that it is now or never to break free from the chains of our lives.

In many cases, however, it is more true that the chains have been of our own making, than the externals we view as the source of our bondage. Throwing out our husband may provide temporary relief from our unhappiness. Marriages and husbands are easy to blame for our unhappiness. We’ve had twenty or thirty years to study our mate’s problems and foibles , decades to master the blame game and to divert our attention from ourselves to them for the cause of our misery. Likewise, a job, a boss, a series of circumstances can take our attention from the true source of our freedom.

Making changes will certainly shake up the status quo, but to think these changes will bring about our freedom and happiness is delusional. Until we look inside of ourselves, the changes  we make today will always only bring us back to the unfinished business we still hold, the fears and anxieties we don’t want to face, and too the job of finding the key we hold within us.  The sooner we get down to the real business of breaking free from our false beliefs and in-congruent lifestyle, the sooner we will find true peace.

© Dorothy Sander 2013

Finding Love Over 60: Is Online Dating for You?

Finding Love Over 60: Is Online Dating for You?

Just because we’re over fifty, or sixty, or seventy, doesn’t mean we’ve necessarily given up on love or finding someone with whom we can share our senior years. It’s not always easy, however, to find someone who feels the same way. The good news is, that we have available to us a resource that previous generations did not have: the internet and online dating opportunities. It can be intimidating at first, but it may just be worth staring down our fears and giving it a whirl. Here is one woman’s story. If you have an online dating story to share, good or bad, send it to us. We may just be able to include it in a future post. 

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3I’m Nancy. I’m 63 and until recently I lived in Chicago, my hometown. I have just moved to Madison, WI to be with my fiancée Jack, who is 61. I used to think I would never find love again. I tried traditional ways of meeting people, but I never found the right person. Then, after encouragement from some younger friends of mine, I turned to online dating, and through eHarmony I found the love of my life.

Here’s my story:

TRYING ONLINE DATING

Several of my younger friends had been encouraging me to try online dating. I finally took the leap when I heard a radio ad for eHarmony saying they were offering three free days over Memorial Day weekend. By the time I joined, Jack had already been on eHarmony for two months, but had not found anyone he wanted to date.

FINDING EACH OTHER

I was only on eHarmony for two weeks when Jack’s profile was sent to me, but I didn’t contact him because of the distance between us. You see, I am not very savvy with computers and when filling out my profile, I had marked that I wanted my matches to come from “anywhere”. But by the time I changed this, Jack’s picture had come through. He was really cute and had the most mesmerizing smile I had ever seen. The third time his photo popped up, I decided “what the heck”, and sent him an invitation.

Within minutes after I hit the send button, Jack responded via email.

PIC 1STARTING TO DATE

After emailing Jack for a week, I decided to call him on the phone, and he won me over. He was full of personality and so easy to talk to. For two weeks we talked on the phone every night for over an hour and sent emails back and forth every day. We asked each other key questions – both being in our 60s, we knew what we wanted and didn’t want.  So, by the time we did meet for our first face-to-face date, we knew more about each other than most couples know in their first year together.

THE PROPOSAL

Jack proposed to me last Memorial day weekend after 11 months together – ironically, exactly a year after I joined eHarmony.  We have a beautiful house in Madison that backs onto the woods, where we will be married in October.

ADVICE TO OTHER ONLINE DATERSPic 4

My advice regarding online dating is more for the mature daters out there. I fought the idea of online dating for three years because I wanted to meet someone the traditional way – but online dating really helps to narrow the field. I’m grateful to my young friends who encouraged me to try something new.  And now my older friends, those who discouraged me against online dating, are signing up themselves.  They see the relationship I have found online, and are hoping they will be as lucky me.

 

Rediscovering Your Gifts

Rediscovering Your Gifts

personal growthWe each carry within us a treasure. Living deep inside, it is a quiet place where we can go to find our untarnished heart and a soul that is still pure. We once knew this place, our place where there is peace and understanding, wisdom and strength, though it may have slipped from our memory.

The hours, days and years that we have struggled and pushed, yearned and stretched toward something more has powered us through our lives. It is “life yearning for itself”. Our desire for something more and incessant discontent led us down many a winding path and along the way we collected bits and pieces of life’s debris.  Instead of tossing the debris aside, we often instead as packaging material to insulate us from the world.

Sometimes we build a wall of anger, of fear, or of resentment, so thick and so profound that we forget our treasure ever existed. When we feel the sting of hurt and rejection we recoil inside of ourselves and do not remember the gifts of understanding and forgiveness we once knew so keenly. The longer we live the more likely we are to have lost our connection to our treasured self, as life’s rubble piles up upon us despite our best intentions.

We may begin to feel as though we might smother, or die without meaning or purpose for having lived. We fear we may wither away into nothingness. We might feel emptiness, an overwhelming sense of loss, or confusion or an aimless uncertainty.  It is precisely these uncomfortable stirrings that are our reminders. They are prompting us to return to the treasure that was born in us so many years ago, to dig down deep inside and uncover that precious someone who still lives and holds a pure and loving heart; who knows the value of trust and forgiveness. She understands the meaning of life and the purpose of her living.

The unearthing process can be approached alone or with the assistance of a friend, a mentor, a spiritual guide, a life coach, a therapist or any of a number of other guides.  There are as many methods of personal and spiritual growth as there are individuals. Here are some of the methods I have used and found helpful:

  1. Guided imagery meditation – A guided meditation by a trained practitioner using imagery and imagination to bypass thought and ego
  2. Solitary meditation – I recommend reading Full Catastrophe Living or any of a number of Wayne Dyer’s books and audios for more information on common meditation practices.
  3. Contemplation and mindfulness
  4. Journaling
  5. Reading or listening to the writings of spiritual teachers
  6. Work with a therapist or life coach to gather some movement if you are stuck
  7. Body work – massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, deep tissue massage, exercise
  8. Self-care – Learn listen to and follow the directives of your body, mind and spirit. If you feel tired, sleep. If you feel restless, go for a walk. If you feel stressed, meditate or make an appointment for a massage. Say no to demands that are being placed on you that cause your body to constrict.

Rediscover the treasure of your heart. It is waiting.

The Gift of Age

The Gift of Age

Living just for today can be a real challenge for those of us who have lived our lives immersed in western culture. Every where we turn we hear messages, reminders, and indicators that unless we are moving forward at break neck speed we are not really living. Buddha, and others, understood the disservice we do to ourselves, and our lives, when we do not see and appreciate what is ours in the present moment, the gifts that are right in front of us.

One of the greatest awakenings I have experienced in my lifetime has been to finally see with great clarity how much I was losing today while worrying about tomorrow and fretting about the past. It took reaching midlife and fifty years of beating my head against a wall to finally get it. As a good “hippie”, I read years ago, and understood at some level the value of living in the moment, but I could only sustain it in moments when I was feeling particularly carefree. But living it in my soul? Ah, that would take years, and many, many hours and days of living mentally in the future, encountering road blocks to my best laid plans, and then reaching midlife and immersing myself in the heartbreak of the past.

Midlife presents an enormous opportunity to make great soul strides, to learn from fifty years of living that we can shed our misconceptions and get back to the basics of who we really are. We can choose to ignore the messages of our culture and hang on to what we know to be true in our hears.  Therein, lies one of the true wonders of aging… to at last not only be able, but willing, to see things more clearly…see things as they were meant to be…to see things as they are for us and to accept life with all its ups and downs, as good, and right and true. It’s a gift of aging. Embrace it.

The Best Part about Turning Sixty

The Best Part about Turning Sixty

The best part about turning sixty is that I’m no longer fifty-nine and dreading the day. I feel liberated!  Now I’m young again! After all I’m just sixty!  I’m good to go for another nine years, well, maybe seven or eight at which time I will probably start the “oh, my God, I’m almost how old?????”

The moment the calendar turned last year and I saw where I was headed, I was overcome with a serious case of dread. Every morning, when I woke up and remembered that I was one day closer to the end of the world, panic set in. I had to wrestle my psyche to the ground before I could put one foot in front of the other and get myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Then I’d spend the next twenty minutes talking to myself, stomping out my fears with positive affirmations and wrangling my thoughts with an iron fist onto the day at hand ~ far out of reach from anything remotely related to, shshshhhh….my age.

Now that I’ve walked the green mile and have crossed over to the other side, I can live again. So what? Sixty is just a number. I knew that all along. I just couldn’t make my fears believe it. I have my health (mostly), I’m doing what I love to do (mostly), I have my family (mostly) and I have today…now. If I didn’t know how old I was, if there weren’t any calendars, or ads for anti-aging products, or prescription drug ads, or news about the latest catastrophe, or mirrors I would simply feel old enough to know better and young enough to keep at it.

Life is good. Who cares what my birth certificate says or what the latest fashion magazine thinks I should be wearing or more importantly should not be wearing?

I’m  following my bliss and that’s that. When I’m not, that’s when I need to worry, not simply because of a number on a piece of paper that’s starting to show the wear and tear of time.  That’s my truth and I’m sticking to it! (At least for a while!)

Perfectionism and Aging

Perfectionism and Aging

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you insane your whole life.”   ~ Anne Lamott

Figuring out who we are and what we are supposed to be doing is a lifelong process…an ever-changing progression of near hits and misses.  I have lived much of my life under the illusion that one day I would “arrive” and find myself comfortable and at peace with the person I have become. I believed that if I worked diligently to uncover the truth about life, about my gifts, about who I really am and who I was born to be, then I would know what to do in order to live in peace and die without regret.

Suffice it to say I am a bit of an idealist, and like all things, this propensity has it’s good points and it’s bad. The up side is that my idealism propels me to keep searching and working to reach the goal of authenticity. I can’t seem to give up trying no matter how many times life knocks me down or another ugly truth rears its head. The down side is also that I keep trying, keeping reaching, keep striving for something more, something better, something “more me”…like the ideal in my head. Not going to happen.

Sadly, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one on this endless and often exhausting journey.  Everywhere I look, women who are facing the aging process are either trying to do the impossible…live forever…or putting their head in the sand. They pick up the pace with their exercise, diet, weight loss, supplements, medications and face lifts in a frantic effort to stop the clock.  Others run away from their mortality by throwing caution to the wind. They throw out their clothes, their husbands, their jobs, their homes and head for the mountains, the seas, and the Far East. If they go far enough away from what they were maybe they’ll be someone else entirely, someone who can live forever. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with either approach and sometimes it’s exactly what needs to happen, but often it’s just a postponement of the inevitability of facing oneself and staring down the demons that keep us from inner peace.

We each have to choose our own way of dealing with the aging process. There is no right or wrong answer. There are a couple of things, however, that might be worth considering.  First, it is helpful to remember that our ideals are only a guide, our beacon in the night sky, not our must-achieve-destination. If we allow ourselves to become caught up in obtaining our ideal we may begin to believe that we actually can and we will be  destined to fail. In the process, we will miss all the good-enough along the way.

Secondly, if are only looking outside of ourselves for direction, we will again miss the mark. All  of the answers to life’s mysteries can be found inside ourselves, our body, mind and souls. They will never be found in the world, in another person, in our job, our home, our family, our career, our religious beliefs, our education, our achievements and accolades. The externals do have value in that they are fodder for our soul, mirrors that reflect our inner truth if and when we care to look.  If we use them as such, they will serve us well.

Aging authentically is not easier or more difficult than striving for authenticity at any other time of life. What is different is that we are gradually growing into an acute awareness that time is running out. We also, however, have a whole lot more information about ourselves and the world than we had at any other time in our lives. We also always have truth and beauty within our reach. Though life will sometimes cast doubt on our ideals, we must continue to hold them up as what they are…a beacon of light in the dark.