As the Ferris Wheel Turns

…and so, the “Ferris wheel” turns, and January is the first to hop off. I sometimes wonder if January ever feels cheated somehow, always the first one on and the first one off the wheel, no lingering, no looking forward. Gone with January are a few people I knew very well, close friends of my parents, and while it’s understood that no one rides the wheel forever, it’s always sad when someone’s ride comes to an end. Somewhere out there though, those empty seats are being filled and someday soon these new thrills will hail from closer to home.

January for me, was a month of family and friends and birthdays and celebrations and togetherness. My family and I are truly blessed that we are still on this “ride” together. As I started doing last year, I will recap my months by sharing with you some of my most memorable moments. This month I will share a single video that perfectly captures our spirit during the month of January.

What I’ve Learned About Love

Do you know that of all the commandments, love is the most important one of them all? Don’t take my word for it, you can read it in the Bible. Jesus when asked this very question of which commandment is greatest, responded that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves. Admittedly this is probably one of my most startling revelations on love made clear to me only a few short years ago when I first started my faith journey.

Just imagine that, of all the commandments we were given to not kill, steal or commit adultery, the simple act of loving and showing love takes precedence. If you think about it though, it makes perfect sense since most of our misdeeds and transgressions are as a result of our lack of regard, respect or love for one another. So how should we love and what does perfect love look like? “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-8

Now that’s a powerful statement, do you love like that? Being the mere humans we are, that could prove to be a very high standard to live up to. Still, it is the most perfect definition of love that we should all strive for, not just romantically but with our neighbors and God. Romantically speaking, I’m no expert at love but throughout my lifetime I have learned a few things about love.

Love Takes Time

Call me naive, but I do believe in love at first sight. I have never personally experienced it, but I do believe you could meet someone for the first time and fall instantly head over heels in love with them. Lots of people have attested to it so whom am I to tell them they’re wrong? Now lasting love is another story. Longevity in love takes more than just “first sight” and physical attraction; love is more about relationships and less about looks. Love takes time to grow and build through shared experiences and common interests and values. We need to get to know our love interests along with all their strengths and imperfections. We need to observe their reactions during the good times and the bad before we can determine if the love is real. Time has a way of uncovering truths and baring souls.

No Wild Oats Needed in Love

Now I know we’re all familiar with the idiom of “sowing our wild oats”, but just in case you’re not, it’s where a person engages in rebelliousness or promiscuity prior to settling down. Yes, there is this myth out there, primarily among men, that they need to have had numerous, or at least more than one partner (hopefully not at the same time), before settling down or they will forever be feeling like they have missed out on something, sometimes leading to infidelity. In my humble opinion, not true, unless of course what they’re missing are heartbreaks and STDs, but love is not about sowing or reaping wild oats or whatever else “seeds we may be planting.” If you have found that one person, who does it all for you, there is no need to go “exploring the entire farm.”

Love Starts with Love of Self

Self-love is our ability to value ourselves while maintaining confidence in our worth, no matter what’s going on around us. That’s the only way we can properly give love and just as importantly, feel like we deserve love in return. Love is about give and take and for some of us it’s easy to give love, but romantic love usually includes two people. So, it’s not just about giving love it includes reciprocation and allowing love to be returned to you and enjoying it and feeling like you’re worth it. Self-loves also prevents us from losing ourselves in relationships and becoming needy and boring.

Perfect Love is Imperfect

So, what’s up with the contradiction? I’m saying this to say there is no such thing as perfect love. We are all imperfect beings, so how could our love ever be perfect? Too many of us wait around looking for the perfect man or woman with whom to have the perfect relationship or marriage then have some perfect kids and live the perfect life. Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but perfection is a farce, a fairytale. We all have our faults which we carry into our relationships, sometimes dragging it around like baggage. That is why love takes time so that we can get to know each other and work out our kinks or just agree to accept some of them. Self-love means acknowledging our imperfections and being willing to improve and change where we can, and since love is imperfect, it needs patience, compromise and forgiveness.

Age is Really Just a Number

“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.” Andy Rooney

Tomorrow my dad hits another milestone. Under the strict orders of my sister, I’m forbidden from stating his age. Now, I know there’s some silly notion floating around out there that women aren’t supposed to reveal their true age, but is this typically a thing also common among men? Now my dad, if we were to ask him, would probably say he really doesn’t care whether or not the whole world knows how old he is. The people who don’t know him don’t give a damn how old he is, and for the ones who do, they have probably figured it out by now. Ballpark or exact, in these blessed advanced years of life that my dad is in now, does age really matter? In fact, I do believe the older we get, there comes a point where the higher our ages, the higher our badges of honor. Which leaves me wondering, exactly whose age are we protecting here, and why? Since most of the people we know, know how to add two plus two together to get four, and they know how to extrapolate and estimate, the secrecy is futile.

So why are we so afraid of our ages? Isn’t it said somewhere that age is just a number? Personally, I’d like to think that’s true. Our age is the number of years we’ve been on this earth, the number of years we’ve orbited the sun, the number of birthdays we’ve celebrated, whichever way we choose to see it, it is simply just a number. How old we look, and feel is a mindset, a state of mind working together with the health and wellness of our bodies and yes, sometimes even against them. Perceptions and attitudes go a long way and I do understand there are some things beyond our control, but I truly believe how old we feel depends largely on the way we choose to view life as well as how we choose to respond to the changes in our bodies. The way we respond will not be the same for everyone, but there is no right way or wrong way, it’s what makes us happy and content.

So today on the heels of my dad’s eightieth birthday, I can’t help but wonder how old he really feels. I guess I’ll never truly know; I can only assume. But I hope he feels as young and as happy as he looked yesterday surrounded by his family and friends celebrating his birthday.

“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” Larry Lorenzoni

Still No Regrets Here

Have you ever been caught unexpectedly by the realization of just how much your life has changed? Sometimes it’s as simple as seeing someone, driving past some place, or hearing a certain song, and suddenly you’re jolted into remembering that at some time in your past, this person, place or song used to be a focal point in your life.

Read the original post here.

Two Truths and One Lie

I’m assuming most of us have heard of or have played the game of “Two Truths and One Lie” at one point or another in our lives. In case you haven’t yet, it’s a game usually played with friends, though not a requirement, where a person tells the audience two truths and one lie about themselves and the audience then has the task of identifying which are the truths, and which is the lie. Over the last two months, this game has come up not once, not twice, but three times in my life. Since for me the fourth time is the charm, I figured I would ask you to indulge me in a game of “Two Truths and One Lie”, only this time instead of making you guess I will speak my truth.

Truth #01

I’m a fifty-four-year-old woman who has lost her purpose in life. There was a time when I knew exactly what I was here for and what I was supposed to be doing every day, every minute and every second of my life. I had a career, it was stressful, but I enjoyed what I did, and I was good at it. I worked hard, and I made a good living doing it. I cared for my kids, performed my wifely duties, tended to my home, and still managed to fit in some quality time of leisure. Today, and for five years now I have found myself without a career and my needs at home are not as urgent since my sons have grown from boys to men. Now on most days when I wake up, I have absolutely nothing pressing to do. The things in my life are optional, and voluntary, some feel frivolous even, and on some days the most important decision I have to make is whether to leave the house or stay home. Despite the fact that deep down I know I have value, I know I am enough, sometimes it’s hard shaking the feeling I should be doing more. The truth is, after being out of work for over five years, I’m not sure whether my biggest fear is that I may have been rendered redundant and disqualified, at least in my previous profession, or if it’s my lack of desire to return to work.

Truth #02

Yes, there I said it and that’s my second truth. I have no desire to return to work, but sans the consideration of whether I can afford to or not, there is something ingrained in me that dictates that my primary value or worth is the sum of what I earn in a career outside of the home. It’s no wonder feelings of guilt persist, and questions of my employment status make me cringe whenever they do come up. My change in status is never more real than when the question comes up at the doctor’s office or on a form or questionnaire somewhere and I’m forced to respond “no” or “not applicable”. Not applicable, when and how did I fall into this category? The truth is, I know how I fell into this category, but it all feels so distant and irrelevant at this point.

The Lie

The lie is one I tell myself that I am irrelevant, disqualified or not applicable. It’s the lie I tell myself that I have to do what most normal people my age are going. There goes those damn norms and timelines again! What is not a lie though is that I do have a purpose; I did then, I always did, and I still do now. Sure, the look and feel of that purpose has changed, but yes, I do have one, in fact many and I’m living and loving them. That’s the beauty of life and its changes and I would like to think that life has brought about a reimagining of my purpose. We have to break ourselves out of these lies we tell ourselves that our worth or value is primarily wrapped up in our means of income and our tangible contributions to our families and society. Sure, that might be true for some and maybe that’s okay, but at this point in my life that is not my truth, and I’m still learning to be at peace with that.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark 8:36

Spilling the Tea

Today is National Hot Tea Day. Not to be confused with just plain National Tea Day observed on a different day in a different part of the world or National Cold Tea Day in some other. Now I’m guessing that probably no one knows or even cares that today is National Hot Tea Day, well maybe unless of course you happen to be British or my mother-in-law, so I won’t bore you with the facts of why someone thought today was a good day for tea.

It’s funny though how tea is no longer always what it was cut out to be. Yeah, I’m used to brewing tea and sipping tea, and maybe once or twice or never being invited to afternoon tea, but how about spilling tea? No, and I’m not talking about scalding your tongue and ruining the front of your fancy pants. I mean really “spilling the tea”.

Well, in today’s world where no one says what they really want to say we have gone and done it again, and “tea” has become an urban slang for gossiping. Fortunately for you, since I’m not much fond of being in “hot water”, today there will be no tea from me. But should you decide to drink and “spill your tea”, please and thank you, but no “cuppa” tea for me please.

A Saturday to Remember

Life is an unpredictable journey of highs and lows intertwined with moments of sadness and laughter and on some days, we get to experience them all at the same time and in the same place. Last Saturday my husband and I went to a memorial luncheon in NYC for one of his past co-workers, and while sadly enough this is becoming a recurring theme, this is one, for various reasons, I’ll remember.

From the moment we walked into the restaurant it became clear we were two of only a handful of people under the age of seventy-five and definitely outnumbered by the number of hearing aids in the room. My husband and I joked that somehow, we had missed the memo informing us hearing aids were to be a part of the attire, and within minutes of grabbing a seat I started wishing I really had one. It was easily the noisiest room I’d dined in ever, but I’m guessing after being asked the same questions of what my name was and where I lived for about the fifth time, the hearing aids being worn weren’t very helpful either.

My husband’s coworker was a lovely woman and based on his own words and some of the others in the room, she was instrumental to the start of their careers and for some including my husband, even beyond. Still, that’s not what they loved, respected and remembered her for. They loved her for the person she was. She was someone who genuinely cared about the well-being of others and kept in touch personally long after professional ties had been severed. This was evident through her friends who spoke highly and lovingly about her with such humor and candor.

Despite the noise and the hearing impairments we got to know and like her friends a little. They were humorous, perky and loud. As our conversations went from osteoporosis to incontinence and cancers to cataract and various other ailments in between, it wasn’t lost on me that younger or not, we shared a few of those ailments in common. I remember looking around the room and thinking “so this is what we have to look forward to” and for some strange reason I wasn’t totally freaked out by it, okay a little but not totally. The freeness and fondness with which they discussed D, their retirement, their children and grandchildren, the adventures of their younger days and “misdeeds” of their now older ones eating “Hanukkah hams” and forbidden bacon was amusingly refreshing.

As we sat huddled together, reading each other’s lips and shouting at each other from across the table, it was clear there was a lot said and unheard between us. But I think we got the true meaning of why we were there. The message that D was loved, respected and missed by her past coworkers and friends was conveyed and received, and that was what we had all gathered to remember on that lovely Saturday afternoon.

Change We Can Achieve

On Wednesday, after over five years, I finally set foot inside of a gym again, and no it wasn’t an empty New Year’s resolution that brought me back there. This trip was to accompany a friend shopping around for a gym in which to start a membership, and I must admit a little to see what I’ve been missing too.

Right from the start, based on the almost full parking lot, it was quite obvious that the good ole resolution to exercise more in the new year was already in full effect. I know it’s been a minute since my last visit, but if the dynamics remain the same, and people are still as predictable as they’ve always been, it’s pretty safe to assume a “thinning of the herd” will be coming soon.

I’m guessing we’re all guilty of making resolutions only to wind up breaking them sooner or later. Hopefully by now we have all realized that in order for resolutions to work, they require permanent lifestyle changes and sometimes the best approach is to take baby steps. There are a few changes we can make that are easily achievable, require very little effort, yet are good for us and are worthwhile incorporating into our daily lives if they aren’t already a part of it.

Being More Positive

Believe it or not, this one is easy to do. Instead of seeing the negative side of things, try focusing on the positives. There was a time when I too often used the excuse of being a realist to dwell on the downside of some scenarios. “The odds are against me so I can’t win”, “it’s cloudy outside the day is ruined”, “life’s too good, something will go wrong”, you get the point? Take it from me, we can train our minds to break away from negative thoughts. Try looking in the mirror daily and affirming you’re going to be positive. Be conscious of your thoughts and if negatives pop into your head, and they will, tell yourself to stop it then counter it with a positive. I promise, I’m not being unrealistic it really works, you try it!

Smiling More

Never underestimate the power of a genuine smile. It not only makes you feel better, but so do the people you encounter. You get what you give, and most people respond in kind to a friendly smiling face. Your heart feels better too, and no commitments are needed, all you have to do is turn up the corners of your mouth and smile.

Getting More Sleep

Sleep is good for our mental health. It sharpens our attention span, reduces stress and improves our memory. The more sleep we get the better we are mentally. The average adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you’re like me this might be hard to do. Sometimes our brains are so wired it’s hard to quiet them down hence sleep sometimes eludes us. It’s sure worth trying though and I’m still working at it.

Moving More

For me walking is already a lifestyle, I walk at the track, at the park or at home on my treadmill. You don’t have to go to the gym to move more. You could take a hike or simply choose fitting in a stroll around the block, walking instead of driving to the store if that’s an option, or taking the stairs instead of the elevators. These are all excellent ways to get moving. No membership needed, no special scheduling, just simply walking. Go ahead, count those steps to motivate yourself while measuring your accomplishments.

Drinking More Water and Eating More Fruits

Our bodies use water for most of its functions, therefore staying hydrated is probably one of the simplest but best things we can do for our health. Ideally, we should be drinking about half of our body weight in ounces per day. Mine is approximately four bottles of the 16.9 fl oz water bottles. Figure yours out and make an effort to drink at least that every day. In addition, fruits are a healthier alternative to unnatural processed snacks. They are high in vitamins and nutrients and minimize the risk of a variety of health problems. With little effort you can stop at the market and pick up some of your fresh favorites.

So there you have it. These are all changes most of us can easily achieve. No stress, no resolutions, no timelines, no expectations of perfection, just life and a commitment to a healthier way of living it…Sincerely Jan!

A Little New Year Inspirational Motivation

Christmas has come and gone and has taken all the warm and fuzzy feelings of the holidays with it. Once again, the ball has completed its obligatory ten second jaunt down the pole in the middle of Times Square to hundreds of screaming fans, and our free passes to overindulge have thankfully been rescinded. The few remaining days of last year are now gone, swept up in a sea of confetti and conveniently ushered out the door. So long 2022!

So, now it’s 2023 and we’re back to the business of reality, now what?

I would argue that the new year with all its renewals and resolutions, has earned the right to that brand new, fresh start feeling that most of us have instinctively come to feel at the beginning of the new year. Yet some, whether because they are unwilling or unable to, see the new year as just a continuation of prior years past, good or bad, no stops nor starts. Now of course there is nothing wrong with this approach, it’s factual and it’s a healthy reminder that time marches on uninterrupted and that life is a continuous stream of opportunities with hits and misses, therefore it’s very important that we “seize the day” and make the most of the hand we’re dealt at any given point in time.

But unfortunately, the new year also finds some of us dissatisfied with our lives. What is not healthy is us beating ourselves up about where we are and where we believe we could have or should have been at this point in our lives, especially as the baton passes from one year to yet another. Sure, it’s normal for us to sometimes feel apprehensive about the future. But apprehension without action is pointless and even worse is us measuring ourselves by someone else’s timeline and finding ourselves lacking.

So, if you’re feeling sad and a little behind because of the new year, remember, “everyone has a different timeline and a unique path.” As long as there’s breath there’s life and it’s never too late to experience and accomplish new things and we’re definitely never too old to form new relationships. Treasure your life, it’s yours!

Here’s a little inspiration from Motivation Wishing.

My Prayer for 2023

Lord, guide our steps as we travel through 2023.

May our lives be richer, healthier and more meaningful,

and

May our hearts be kinder, gentler and full of more love.

Bless our children, our leaders of tomorrow, with wisdom and kind discerning hearts and minds.

Bless our lives with peace, love, compassion, companionship, security, strength, resilience, and faith in the truth that you and only you are in control of all things.

May we cherish and respect our relationships and may you draw our true friends close and our families even closer.

Amen.

Happy 2023 All…Sincerely Jan!

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