I’m still over here, living my life in a mountain town, wondering how you are doing? I wish you resilience, grit, courage, and peace as we move forward together. We are all in a different boat swimming in the same ocean – looking toward the end of 2020!
My higher self is torn between wanting to take big action to be a beacon for change and laying on the couch because it’s all just too much. I feel like my moxie is dancing a jig at another table. Damn. But I think we are all feeling like this – sailing the waters of uncertainty amidst COVID, racial terribleness, global changes, kid issues & maybe menopause or something equally interesting…so many things.
I’m left looking around, wondering what the heck happened, maybe you are too? Is my motivation and stamina gone for good? Is goal setting a thing of the past? I really want that Ass-Kicking-Inner-Being back because I need her. She is required to help me navigate this feeling that I have become a dinosaur in the new world.
Here are the ABC’s of current my midlife and some stuff I have, or have not, learned.
Please forgive my random, made up punctuation & grammar.
A=APATHY, about my current lack of direction. This feels foreign to me because I’ve always deeply subscribed to the notion that life begins just outside of our comfort zone and to grow means we need to stretch continuously. I am starting to shift out of it (thus this letter to you) but it’s been an interesting few months.
Lesson – give self permission to rest. It is OK you beautiful thing. Rest!
B=BEWILDERMENT, about the abovementioned apathy.
Lesson – being human usually means being bewildered about something, right? There is a lot to bewilder about these days so go with it.
C=CHIROPRACTIC, my chosen profession gives deep meaning to my life. I recognize I am very fortunate in this regard but it also took a ton of effort to get here.
Lesson -deep meaning can be found in many places that may not be your work. Follow your interests and curiosity from one thing to another. Do your best during these challenging times.
D=DIRTY DOZEN, the not-so-secret gang I’ve been a part of for over 40 years and is part of the foundation of my well-being.
Lesson – social connection is a foundational part of wellness and sometimes it is NOT easy, like during a pandemic. You will be pushed to expand; you may be asked to love in ways you are not ready for. Breathe and pick up the phone.
E=EXCELLENCE, we must try.
F=FORGIVE, myself for the struggle.
Lesson – what do you need to forgive yourself for? Really, truly?
G=GRANDEUR, and other lost illusions.
Lesson – let it go (I suck at doing this).
H=HANNAH, the loss that marked our lives with before and after.
I=INFORMATION, I always want some.
Lesson – be discerning about the source of your info. Please.
J=JOURNAL, I can’t fathom living without mine. In the words of the amazing Brene Brown, ‘we must start with a shitty first draft’.
Lesson – try it, my friend. You don’t have to be a writer to benefit from a journal.
K=KOOTENAYS, which is where I live in my body and soul. I am thankful for this every single day. I recognize I am very, very privileged.
Lesson – if you don’t love where you live that is OK. Create a space in your house that is filled with things that hold meaning for you or find a corner of your city that calls you and go there or a tree that is beautiful. Somewhere near you there is something that will fill you up if you let it.
L=LACK, of stamina & motivation, I am working to dig myself out of this hole. Also LOVE – there’s a lot of love and you see it more with age.
Lesson – everything in time. Sometimes we are strong and sometimes weak. Did you know both of those things can happen at the same time? We can be happy & sad at the same time just like we can be angry & laugh at the same time.
M=MUSCLE, and the fine balance between staying strong and not exhausting myself. Tricky biz that muscle. Haha, you thought M was going to be for menopause!
Lesson – keeping our muscle is the most important part of menopause so no slacking allowed, even if you have no stamina.
N=eNNEAGRAM, (actually it’s the Enneagram) a complex personality type system that has been a huge tool for my growth. I’m a 9 in case you’re curious.
Lesson – self knowledge is an excellent tool to live a better life, but sometimes it hurts. Learning your inner operating system is not all fairies & rainbows, rather it’s about walking straight into the fire. But you will come out on the other side if you do the work.
0=OPTIMIST, which I am…as long as I’ve had enough sleep and didn’t eat anything crazy that messes with my brain.
Lesson – what you eat & drink directly affects your mental well being in a profound way. Start to pay attention to that.
P=PROBLEM, my ability to cope with a problem seems to be the problem! My stress level seems to be triggered quicker than I would like.
LESSON – comes back to self knowledge, what triggers the stuff in you? What helps you settle down, what do you need?
Q=QUALITY of life. The fundamental issue. It is vital to recognize what needs to happen for you to live your very best life right NOW!
R=RESILIENCE…I used to feel like a tough, gritty ass-kicker and now I feel like a soft, squishy mush ball. I would like to be somewhere in between.
Lesson – circle back to knowing yourself and learning to work your strengths.
S=SLEEP, I have discovered this is the holy grail of a well lived life. No sleep = the worst kind of day for me.
Lesson – do what it takes to get the sleep.
T=TOLERANCE, I can no longer tolerate any of the foods that tip my physiology over the line which does bum me out from time to time.
Lesson – in case you haven’t heard me mention this before our tolerance to alcohol changes dramatically as we age. You aren’t imagining it. This creates a ripple effect of requiring more and more booze to hit the same mark which is why many folks drink a little bit more with each passing year. Understand there is no step off point, it’s not suddenly going to change.
U=UNDERSTANDING the implications of hormonal changes in mid life, their effect on brain and energy. That’s what I’m currently learning.
Lesson – what is something you would like to gain a deeper understanding of? Go learn about that thing.
V=VOICE, may we all learn to use ours as we move through our years.
Lesson – your voice matters.
W=WORDS are important to me, I treasure excellent conversation, writing and reading.
X=XRAY vision (you knew it had to start with xray – I’m a chiropractor after all!), I wish I had the vision to see deep into the body & soul of those around me, to help heal their pain.
Y=YOU are very important to me.
Lesson – never doubt that you are important and have gifts for the world.
Z=ZANY is the word which sums up our current times, right?
Lesson – breathe Beauty, breathe.
This piece does not mean to downplay the atrocities and unrest currently playing out in our world rather to reinforce the notion that each of us can contribute, in our own way, to our community and therefore our world at large. We need you-your special gift-to be able to shine. When we are living a life of purpose and meaning (this is not the same thing as happiness) our world will be a better place.