Today is the Day

I’m done. Our relationship is getting out of control – and it has to end. Although my husband has not said anything, I think he notices the changes that have taken place in me. How can he not?

You have been in and out of my life for years. You wooed me with your charm until you finally got me under your control.

You demand my place is in the kitchen searching through cookbooks for the perfect recipe, slaving over a hot stove or mixing up delectable sweets. Your badgering is relentless, and I give in just to make you stop. We often meet at the grocery store or Costco where we blend in – unnoticed by others. Once I get home, the memory of your sweetness tempts me to the point that all I want to do is devour Every. Single. Part of you.

I admit, there are many occasions when you bring me total joy and bring a smile to my face while I moan in ecstasy. There are no boundaries, no limits, no end to the pleasure. But honestly, sneaking around to enjoy the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and/or pre-bedtime indulgences has got to stop – not to mention the midnight rendezvous! You have recently given me an ultimatum forcing me to decide between choosing you or choosing something else that is actually better for my life. 

I want this to stop, but this may not be the best time to end this relationship since the holiday season is fast approaching. (Don’t believe me? Just wander down the aisles in Hobby Lobby.) You beg for more time. You try to convince me we could have so much fun together as the holidays approach.

Well, it has been fun, lots of fun, but (this is not as hard to say as I thought it would be) it is time for you to go. It won’t be easy, but I figure I have three to four months to get you out of my system.  At that time, I know you will try one last trick to tempt me back into a relationship with you ~ one last fling before the holidays.

In all honesty, the way things have been going between us lately, just looking at you makes me feel disgusted and provides plenty of self-motivation. Waiting to break up after the new year is just not an option.

You are toxic. There I said it.

The choice is mine – GOODBYE…time for some changes.

Since Turning Sixty….

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t feel any different. I don’t think you ever do. I think one day you just become sixty or seventy, and it must be a shock to be so old because it’s still the same you on the inside; it’s just that all the outside of you has got wrinkled from the weather.” – Martine Murray

Six years ago today, I was five months away from turning sixty. At the time, sixty sounded like the gateway to old age. In my mind, I had reached the top of the ladder and my only choice was to slide down towards eternity. Gloomy right? No wonder I felt a bit wary.

As the big 60th birthday approached, my concerns about becoming invisible, my concerns about no longer having a purpose and my concerns about experiencing loneliness began to sneak into my thoughts. I really did not mind the actual age number going up, but I was having a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact that this decade (and beyond) was going to be all about the unwanted changes I had observed in other people as they aged.

My biggest worry, however, was the thought of slowing down – mentally as well as physically. Being active each and every day was part of my identity. For 40 years or so I had raised a very active family while also pursuing my career as an elementary school teacher – each vocation provided the opportunity for visibility, purpose, and lots of activity.

I have been rereading my posts from those earlier days – I now keep them in a notebook – and I can’t help but notice how naive those concerns were and what a gift I have been given to have lived this long.

Have I actually slowed down mentally and physically? Maybe a little, but I am consciously making an effort to get in some amount of exercise daily and doing my best to stay mentally aware and alert. Yes, I have a few more aches and pains, but I try not to let them be a burden to not only myself but to anyone around me.

I have successfully taught myself to savor every special moment and will often stop while “in the moment” and make a conscious effort to breathe it all in. In reality, not every day is a happy day – some days are sad, some are lonely, and some are just plain hard and leave me feeling a bit empty. That’s just life – we all have those days – no matter how old we are. Some of us choose to deal with these difficult days and keep moving forward and some of us let these days get the better of us.

As far as having a purpose – I am as busy as I choose – exploring new options, nurturing others – all while taking time to relax and enjoy the experience, the people, the blessings. I no longer care if I am invisible or if you like me or not and this is so empowering!

None of us is guaranteed tomorrow nor can we expect that life will never throw us a curve ball. I do know that as I continue to age – I never want to take anything or anyone for granted – I always want to maintain and nurture an appreciation of the gift of life. When and if another curve ball comes my way, I plan to take that swing and deal with the result even if the result leaves me breathless.

To put it all together – In five months when the birthday candles are once again aflame, I will give thanks for the white hair on my head, the wrinkles on my face, the gift of small adventures, meaningful moments and most of all I will give thanks to God for the opportunity to grow old.

Earth Elements – Terri Webster Schrandt’s Photo Challenge – Sunday Stills – Jan. 30th

This is my first time posting for Terri’s photo challenge and I thought it might be fun to try. The Sunday Stills topic for this week is Elements – water, fire, earth, and air/wind.

My first set of photos is water. One of the photos was taken at a lovely golf community we love to visit about an hour north of us. The other photo is one of our grandsons sitting along the shoreline of Calibogue Sound in Sea Pines at Hilton Head, SC. I wonder what he is thinking?

The next set of photos is fire. The first photo is our fire pit in the backyard. We have so much fun gathering around it while roasting marshmallows, sipping a hot drink or an adult beverage while we enjoy lively conversation or stare quietly at the flames. The other photo is an advent wreath that we like to light during the Christmas season. We did not continue this tradition this past year and we really missed it. I am on the search for a new wreath for next year.

The next set is Earth. Both photos were taken in my backyard. I just loved how the rays of sun were shining through the trees during the late summer afternoon. The other shows the clouds at sunset on a cold winter twilight.

The last set of photos is wind. This was a little more challenging to find this element. The first photo is the flag on a sunset cruise. The other is a sailboat we spotted in Calibogue Sound. We took both of these photos while staying in Sea Pines in Hilton Head, SC.

Home Alone

Since retiring, my husband and I have spent a lot of time together which means not much “alone” time. We pretty much do everything together from grocery shopping to Costco runs, to Silver Sneakers exercise classes. We’ve decided not to move so we have been busy updating some areas of our home which has required us to spend a lot of time discussing options and a lot of footwork as we make final decisions which equals a lot of time together.

My social life is busier than M’s so we do get “some” time apart, but the thing is – I am seldom ALONE. I mean truly alone – no one in another room in the house, no one sitting next to me in the car or no one wanting my attention as we shop or dine. 

I am not complaining as I enjoy every single minute with my wonderful husband and friends, but I fantasize about having some quiet time alone in my own home. Wrapping myself in a warm blanket on the sofa as I relax in absolute silence to read a book or magazine, or quietly think about life in general, or mindlessly watch TV. I long to open the refrigerator and just pick around until I find something to eat. Just me, myself and I time.

The opportunity finally arrived last night when my husband was invited out for pizza with three of his friends!! 

After lounging in a long, hot bath I put on some snuggly pajamas and made my way to the kitchen. After routing through the fridge, I was able to put together a dinner that made me smile and enjoyed watching a Hallmark Christmas movie while I dined on chicken salad, grapes and water in my favorite holiday wine glass.  A little while later my sweet tooth began to ache, so I enjoyed a little piece of leftover cake with some coffee in one of my favorite cups. 

Later on I went all out and treated myself to a little liquid chocolate. I wound up having three and half hours of ALONE time (if you don’t count my dog – who did not have to go out not even once to potty, and basically laid in this position the entire evening) until my husband returned home.  I felt refreshed and relaxed and so enjoyed listening to M’s stories about his evening with old friends. I think everyone deserves a little “home alone” time.

Savoring the Beginning of Retirement

Our life is about to change in many ways and I have to admit it is off to a good start! My husband is now six-weeks into his retirement! After working for 44 years in the same field and at least seven more during and right after college – he deserves to slow down and relax. The opportunity to plan a Fall excursion to Hilton Head and impromptu activities such as roasting marshmallows while enjoying a cool evening in front of the fire-pit on a “Tuesday night” has been so much fun!

Cooking together and trying new recipes (canning some fresh picked apples), visiting Gibbs Gardens on a week day when the crowds are smaller and then driving over to a nearby small town to eat a delicious lunch at one of several locally owned restaurants makes it easy for us to feel spoiled. Running errands and taking early morning walks as we watch the sunrise together are some of our favorite things.

One of the best things so far has been the realization that we don’t have to rush to get things done anymore. We can do what we want to do whenever we want to do it. Our neighbor calls it “living on retired time.” I think I am going to like it!