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http://www.nextavenue.org re-posted this piece once again, originally written in 2015 in honor of Mother’s Day and my mom.
Their title: My Mother, My Inspiration…
You remember the phrase our parents used to say, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Here are some “Do as I say” edicts spoken by my Mother:
-Sit up straight.
-Walk looking up, not down at your feet. (My sister Linda stepped on a nail when she tried that!)
-Your face is going to freeze like that.
-Don’t talk to strangers.
-Yes you are going with me to so and so’s house. Why? Because I said so.
-Go to school. If you still feel sick in a few hours, call me.
-Play nice with others. Treat them as you want to be treated.
-Put on lipstick. You never know who you are going to meet.
There were 25 people at Mom’s 95th birthday February 2nd. It was a joyous, energized and eclectic occasion filled with relatives and friends, old and young, gay and straight, black and white. People couldn’t wait to hug and kiss her and tell stories about where they met and how she inspires them.
Linda and I are in the most enviable position of being able to focus, and change, the second half of the phrase ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ We now tell ourselves, as we navigate through our lives, ‘do as she does’ .
I bet some people look at Mom’s wonderful smile and her ‘in the moment’ energy and think, “Wow, this woman has had an easy, happy life.” From loosing both her parents by the age of 12, raising three children with no child support, to the loss of one of her daughters, how wrong they would be.
Author Vivian Greene wrote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
This is how Mom chooses to dance:
-By not putting herself down, beating herself up or saying negative things that demean who she is.
-By never saying, ‘why me?’
-By accepting that “this is the way life is.”
-By recognizing the good in others and treating everyone as an individual. She still tells Linda and me not to speak to strangers, but she never meets a stranger. It doesn’t matter if it is a clerk in a store or the person in the auto detailing shop, the first thing she’ll ask is their name.
-By never forgetting about the little girl who lives within her. She brings her out to play. When I called the other night, she told me she was watching a ‘penguin movie’ and could not talk. She failed to hang up the phone properly so I was able to listen to her laugh, all by herself, while watching Happy Feet on TV.
-By repeating daily, “Some one up there is watching out for us and I’m so GRATEFUL.” Grateful being the optimum word.
-By getting out of her house and engaging in life. “I have to see people every day.”
-By saying, “Exercise. I notice one of the first things to go are your legs.” Mom rides a stationary bike at a gym almost every day.
-By carrying herself with dignity and grace with her head held high. And I don’t remember her ever stepping on a nail!
-By putting her lipstick on before she walks out of the house!
Do what she does? You bet. I’m learning how to dance in the rain.
One of my goals is to celebrate my 95th birthday, happy and healthy, with family and a group of eclectic friends, while wearing a brilliant shade of red lipstick!
How about you?
This blog is about empowering baby boomers, physically, emotionally and creatively.
We were loud and proud in the heyday of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s It’s time we were again. This blog is also about breaking societal stereotypes on aging by bringing awareness to the forefront on who baby boomers are and who we are not.
My desire is that you will join this conversation. Along with help from you and others, including a high-heeled, gym-going, red nail polish wearing, ribbon in her hair, 93 year old woman, who happens to be my Mom, we can share tips and ideas that will propel us forward, re-shaping our own thoughts and society’s ideas about us along the way.
Stay tuned. There is lots more to come…Soon!
Originally posted 2014-01-20 00:28:50.
10 Steps to Renewal at any Age
Renewal, what a great word. I wonder if we stop thinking about renewal, OUR OWN, after a certain age? Do you ever think about renewal and refreshing your life?
There is so much talk about meditation as a good way to refresh. And I agree, if I could shut my swirling mind off for awhile! So, I wondered, what renews me?
10 Steps to Renewal at any Age
Here are five of my personal favorites:
- April Fool’s Day. One of my favorite days. It’s right around the corner. Why not think of something to do that will get a giggle out of you and whomever you ‘fool.’ I get Jake every year. He hates bugs so at the right time I scream, “You have a spider crawling on you!” Then I stand back and watch him try to find the spider and get it off him! It’s a riot. Oh boy, I can’t wait! (Don’t tell him!!)
- The Gotcha’ game. Walk up to someone and say, “You have a spot on the front of your shirt.” When they look down to see where it is you take the side of your index finger and gently tap them on the underside of their nose and say, “Gotcha.” Ok, ok….I get it…But when was the last time you played that ‘Gotcha’?
- Play board games. Mexican Train is my favorite at the moment!
- Call someone who loves you. When I’m blue and need a virtual hug, I call my dear friends or family members just to say hello. I usually don’t tell them I’m blue. Just hearing their voices, their happiness because I called, grounds me and I’m all better.
- Be Creative. It can be the simplest thing. I have said before that Mom has the cutest little girl inside her.”Hi Mom,” I said when I called last week. “Whatcha doin’?” “I’m playing dress up in my closet.” Mother has always used her appearance as a form of creativity. It’s one of the fun steps she takes that renews her . In the March 2017 O (Oprah) magazine, (which you can only view on-line if you pay for it-I bought it), is an article, on page 117, called: ‘Does Your Style Match Your Soul.’ It speaks to how clothes reflect who we are.
Mom’s certainly do:
10 Steps to Renewal at any Age
Here are 5 more:
- Do something wonderful just for you. A friend said she always keeps her house and her car in great shape, now it is her turn.
- Play. Like you did when you were a kid. How about Zip lining? To watch one of my buddies run over a bridge and take a flying leap was priceless. It was priceless because she was making the funniest sounds while doing it. And right there her little girl showed up and so did everybody else’s kid!
- Watch a Parade.
Alexandria Virginia has 3 parades a year. Military Bands, clown cars, dogs dressed up, kids, kids and more kids. I laughed and giggled and waved and sang. I searched Google: ‘How to find parades in your area.’ There were 85,700,000 results!!
- Volunteer. Helping others is one of the best feelings in the world. Renewal at it’s finest.
- LOL. Laugh out loud. I mean really out loud. So loud that people will be looking at you wondering what’s so funny!
Please scroll down to Leave A Reply and share the steps you take. I know your reply will be appreciated by others. I will re-post this blog with your responses.
But before you do…you have a spot on the front of your shirt…GOTCHA’!
Originally posted 2017-03-09 21:12:08.
Until a few weeks ago, it had been quite a while since I thought, “Boy, if I knew then what I know now!” It happened at my 50th year high school reunion the beginning of August. Reunions can be benchmarks of growth in one’s life. Wouldn’t you agree? If you have gone to a reunion of any sort, haven’t you walked away thinking, ‘Wow, I never would have thought that about that person/circumstance/situation.’ I am very proud of how far I’ve come. And maybe, just maybe, if I share some of my insights after leaving my reunion I can make a difference in some one else’s life.
What I wish I did not do:
-Smoke! Geez, what was I thinking. It definitely impacted my skin. And, who knows what it did to my insides.
-Be totally focused on the popular kids: trying to act, dress and talk like them. And even after all that, I never felt accepted nor did I find my own identity.
-Boys, boys, boys. Need I say more?
-Let the stigma of growing up in a single parent environment in the 50’s and early 60’s, run a lot of my life.
-Put my education way down the list of priorities and importance.
-Make assumptions about people based strictly on appearance.
-Ignore a compliment.
-Complain profusely about having to work at age 16 every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
What I’m glad I did do:
-Listened to mom when she told me to moisturize every time I washed my face.
-Walked or rode my bike everywhere, swam at the local pool and skated on an iced parking lot all winter long. Exercise. It’s second nature to me now.
-The boy who broke my heart in high school told me he peaked at 17 and has yet to find himself!! I’m glad we never married!!
-Started work at 16. It taught me a work ethic that has served me well, throughout my entire professional life.
-Realized that if my Dad was in the picture, I never would have the wonderful, intimate relationship I have with my mom for a variety of reasons.
-Learned I never fit in with (who I thought) the popular kids were because I did not accept myself. It had nothing to do with them. I went on my own personal journey. That journey has taught me, don’t judge a book by it’s cover!
-Be thankful that even though education did not feel like a priority especially in high school, I received a wonderful education that has inspired me to be a life-long student.
-Learned to accept a compliment.
When I hear myself saying, “If I knew then what I know now”, I seem to follow it with, “Well, you didn’t so what difference does it make?” I realize life is a process, and if I knew EVERYTHING at 14 years old what would be the point of it all!! Life is an adventure and if one chooses to be open to it, a constant source of “AHA!” moments that are woven together to create a unique tapestry called YOU!
STAYED TUNED FOR: IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW…PART TWO I have asked some exquisite women to write what they would say to their 35-ish selves today. I can’t wait!!!
Originally posted 2015-08-30 18:04:48.