Love yourself first, girl!

Sure wish I had done that when I was younger…

When I was in grad school – in my 50’s – we did an exercise that posed this question:  If you could go back to being 18 years old – knowing what you know now – what advice would you give yourself? I didn’t have to think twice!!

The advice I would give myself? Love yourself first. Definitely. Love yourself first.

Group of diversity alternative young woman enjoying the sunset at the sea doing hearth symbol with hands - people enjoying friendly lifestyle - vacation in friendship concept for females

Let me start by saying that when I was young I did not value myself. I had absolutely no idea of what a good person I really was! I’m not talking about thinking I was better than anyone else. I’m not talking about thinking I was more intelligent. I’m certainly not talking about being selfish and egocentric.  Quite simply, I did not know my true value as a human being.

As a young woman I was kind. I was smart. I was caring. I had so many positive qualities…as I do today.  Sadly, back then I didn’t love myself enough to demand respect from other people and demand to be treated kindly. Honestly, I felt “less than.” I allowed some very significant people in my life to treat me hurtfully – emotionally and physically. Had I loved myself more, I hopefully wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

In her article entitled Do You Truly Know How to Love Yourself? author Louise Hay said:

…When I talk about loving ourselves, I mean having a deep appreciation for who we are. We accept all the different parts of ourselves—our little peculiarities, the embarrassments, the things we may not do so well, and all the wonderful qualities, too. We accept the whole package with loveUnconditionally.

I agree with Louise. With that love comes so much strength.

Some of you might think that “Love yourself first” is too simplistic to be of any value. Or perhaps no more than a self-help platitude.  Think what you will, my friends!  I, for one, believe that we cannot create “our best life” without loving and appreciating ourselves first. That is the foundation for building healthy relationships, striving to achieve our goals, and so much more.  As I shared in a previous blog post, What matters most is  how you see yourself.

So…what do you think?

♥    

Positive Aging Might Just Catch On!

How great is that?!

Positive and powerful word vector illustration on pink backgroundHave you ever heard the saying “Change your thinking, change your life? Well, Brian Tracy wrote a whole book about that undeniable concept. It applies to so many parts of our lives, including how we think about aging. Let’s face it; aging has a negative connotation. Can we change how we think about aging? Absolutely!

If you take a quick moment (or more!) to Google positive aging, you’ll find a plethora of articles. A 2015 article entitled Positive Aging Movement Takes Off in the HuffPost begins with, “I’m happy to say that seniors are finally getting some respect!” Glad to hear that!

In my Google search I came upon 10 Tips for Positive Aging in the New Year. This February 2019 blog post is written by Crystal Jo, a registered nurse and freelance writer who “enjoys educating and inspiring seniors, and those who love them, to choose a healthy life.”  Here are some of Crystal Jo’s tips:

Change How You Think. Sound familiar??
Choose Gratitude. Sometimes we forget to do that. How about thanking someone today?
Look Out for Others.Maintain an attitude of altruism, a concern for the well-being of others.”
Cultivate an Attitude of Purpose. Motivating goals are a good idea at any age!
Keep Learning. This might just be my personal favorite!
Plan Your Legacy. Think about how you want to be remembered. You don’t need to be “old” to consider that!

I hope you’ll take the time to read Crystal Jo’s entire post, and maybe some other articles on positive aging.  It will likely “do your heart good” to be reminded of how we can – absolutely – change how we both think about and experience aging.

We woke up this morning! We have been given this priceless gift of life. Creating a positive approach to our journey will benefit us and our fellow travelers.

Can I hear an Amen???

Lean on me, when you’re not strong…

I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.

CareIf you’re reading this post, you may just be old enough to remember Bill Withers’ soulful song from 1972. Lean on Me helps us remember that all of us can use a hand sometimes…and we can lend a hand sometimes as well.  The older we get, the more challenges we face. As “they” say, it is what it is. But guess what?  We have a choice about how we face those challenges!

Let’s see. On one hand, we can be proudly and doggedly independent and not reach out; that approach may work…or not. We can be dependent, accepting help when we best do things ourselves. We can be co-dependent, giving so much of ourselves to someone else that our own well-being suffers.

OR…we can embrace interdependence! How does interdependence work?  We build relationships in which we reach out for help when we need it and lend a hand to others when they need it. We can achieve a wonderful balance and we all benefit!

I first became aware of the concept of interdependence through Skip Downing’s wonderful book On Course.  This textbook is used to help new college students learn strategies for success. One success strategy is interdependence. In On Course Mr. Downing describes interdependence as building mutually supportive relationships that help students achieve their goals and dreams, while helping others do the same. That’s good advice for all of us! We – absolutely – will be most successful when we ask for help when we need it and give help when someone else needs it.

In his July 2011 article entitled Interdependence Day(s): How to Create a Balanced Relationship in Psychology Today, Dr. Barton Goldsmith has this to say about interdependence:

The healthiest way we can interact with those close to us is by being truly interdependent. This is where two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. What they have is a balanced relationship…Living in an interdependent relationship gives you both respect and nurturing. What a nice way to go through life.

Back in ’72, Bill Withers was onto something! While he might not have conjured up the word interdependent, he had a wonderful way of explaining the concept…

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
’til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Let’s all reach out to both lend a hand and accept a helping hand.

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Whether we call it interdependence or not, let’s get on board, my friends. We’ll all be better for it!

Kate

P.S. Here are a few variations of Lean on Me for your listening pleasure.

Michael Bolton – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpH7CXfDUUo
Audio only – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOZ-MySzAac
Audio with lyrics – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdlPVBvkr-s

One door closes. NOW what??

That is totally up to us!

Green door European styleWe can thank Alexander Graham Bell for this wonderful quote:

When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.

That is so very true!

While we may think of Alexander Graham Bell only as the inventor of the telephone (we learned that as kids!), there was much more to Mr. Bell. He endured many hardships in life – as we all do – but he persevered to “see the good” and have an appreciation for the new doors that could and did open in his life. Hopefully we can do the same.

Have doors closed for us? Yes. We can all think of a few…or maybe even several.  Loss may close some doors. Age alone may close some doors. Unexpected life changes can close some doors.

Have new doors opened for us? Yes! To see those doors we must approach life with an open mind, an open heart, and with our eyes wide open. How else can we take advantage of wonderful serendipity when it comes our way? Of course, hope and optimism are also required!

Years ago I read the book Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for The Rest of Your Life by Richard Leider and David Shapiro. Here is a great take-a-way from that book:

There are many doors to open and close in our lives.  Some we leave ajar, where we hope and plan to return.  Some doors are slammed shut decisively – ‘No more of that!’  Some are closed regretfully, softly – ‘It was good but it is over.’  Departures entail arrivals somewhere else.  Closing a door means opening onto new vistas, ventures, new possibilities…

Yes, I’ve slammed some doors. I’ve closed others regretfully. And some doors have been closed on me. Did that hurt sometimes? Sure. Did life go on? Yes, it did!

As kindred spirits in aging, we can view this life journey as a time for new opportunities with new doors to open. Not doing so would be boring…and frankly depressing!

Let’s not move backwards (we’ve already been there!). Let’s not stay the same. Let’s open new doors, keep contributing, keep learning and make the very most of “the days of our lives.”

Here’s to opening new doors…together!

What on Earth is Perspective Transformation?

And what does it have to do with aging??

Quite simply – according to Kate McKenzie anyway! – perspective transformation is putting on a new pair of glasses and “seeing” something in a different way. And how we “see” aging makes all the difference!

Children sunglasses, sun shades or spectacles isolated on whiteGetting a bit more “technical” now…in grad school – not so very long ago! – I became aware of the late Jack Mezirow’s theory of perspective transformation. And I loved it! Paraphrasing Mezirow, a sociologist and Emeritus Professor at Columbia University, perspective transformation is a conscious recognition of the difference between an old viewpoint and a new one…and “seeing” the newer perspective as being of more value. Voila! Rather than seeing aging as a sad state of affairs we can see aging as a God-given opportunity to learn, grow, and do more with our lives.

Our perspective – like a pair of glasses – affects the way we see everything in life….not just aging. If you think about it, every day – consciously and unconsciously – we all engage in “meaning-making.” We assign meaning to everything that happens in our lives. To a large extent that assigned meaning determines the quality of our lives. We “see” things as good or bad, positive or negative, worthwhile or worthless, happy or sad, fun or boring, important or unimportant. Need I go on?

In 1978 when Jack Mezirow wrote about perspective transformation, I am quite sure he didn’t have perspectives on aging in mind. Well, I do!

How about we all try on a brand new pair of glasses and see getting older as an amazing adventure that we will experience together on this life journey?

Please say you will!

Happy Birthday to me! I’m 71 today!

Hello again from Celebrating70!!

Cake (XXL)I started Celebrating70 last year when I was 70 years old. How time does fly!

Today I’m celebrating my 71st birthday. What a blessing! So many times we lament getting old. But, heck, what’s the alternative, my friends? As someone once so wisely said, “Never complain about growing old. So many never get the chance.”

When we are blessed with the gift of life, we shouldn’t waste it!  Rather than regretting that we aren’t younger – been there, done that – we can instead focus on actually living the years that God is giving us. Gratitude will motivate us along the way.

At 71 what do I have to be grateful for? So much!  I have my daughters, my grandsons, the rest of my family, my good friends.  I have the ability to still work (Yes, I want to!) and the ability to walk (not all do…), to see (glasses, of course!), and to hear (okay, yes, with hearing aids!). And…I am grateful for watching the big snowflakes making their way to this good earth, seeing the flowers bloom in the spring (any time now, please!), or simply hearing the sound of my grandsons’ voices on the phone. Priceless. Though much less meaningful, I am also grateful for a steaming mug of good strong coffee, a slice or two of delicious hot pizza, sometimes maybe even a bit of yummy crème brûlée. You get the idea. Too many blessings to mention!

In a short article in Health.com entitled Afraid of Getting Older? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be, Dr Gail Saltz tells us that, “It sounds cliché, but please don’t forget that with age comes wisdom, experience, often a wider circle of loved ones, and more comfort and security in your sense of self.  Those are things worth looking forward to.” Yes, we do have much to look forward to!

On a somewhat lighter note…have you ever read the funny narrative entitled The Stranger in My House by Rose Madeline Mula? Click on the title to take a look. Let’s just say it made me smile…and I sure could relate! Probably my favorite part came near the end:

 “I thought she (the stranger in the mirror) couldn’t get any meaner…but yesterday she…had the nerve to come with me when I went to have some passport pictures taken, and she actually stepped in front of the camera just as the shutter clicked. Disaster! I have never seen such a terrible picture. How can I go abroad now?”

All I can say is…I don’t know which is worse: my passport photo or the photo on my new driver’s license. Is that really me????

Well, yes, that is me in the mirror! My beauty has drawn inward now. But I’m still me and will always be. Me…but even better!

So…Happy Birthday to me!

Pajama Dressing? Say What??

Am I the LAST person on earth to hear of this fashion trend??

PAJAMA DRESSING 5Imagine my surprise when I came upon a November 2017 article at people.com entitled 11 Pajamas You Can Wear To Any Thanksgiving Celebration, from Fancy Silks to Fleece Onesies.

Wait. Did that say “onesies”? Now that I’ve gotten my breath back, let me continue.

What exactly is pajama dressing? New Trend Alert: Pajama Dressing 101 at Cosabella.com let me know that pajama dressing is “simply wearing pajamas…as outerwear.” Yikes!

And…the article The Rise of the Pajama Trend and How to Style It in avenuemagazine.com tells us that “creating a fashion statement out of your nighttime routine is an up-and-coming trend.” Wow. It goes on to say that “the athleisure trend has been able to thrive in an ever-transforming fashion market.” Now I do “get” athleisure. Let’s just say few days go by that I don’t wear a pair of leggings!

A July 2018 article entitled How to Master the Art of Summer Pajama Dressing on glamour.com shares “styling tips…that have paved the way for lazy dressers everywhere.” Wonderful! My featured photo today comes from that article.

I’ve taught more than a few college students who wore pajama bottoms to an early morning class. I think I’ve even seen some fluffy slippers as well. Somehow I don’t think these students were on the forefront of the pajama dressing trend. Maybe I’m wrong.

How things have changed! When I was in high school back in the dark ages we couldn’t wear pants of any kind to class – let alone pajamas. And, when I started working for a major corporation decades ago, women wearing pants – and I mean “real” pants – was frowned upon. Skirts and dresses prevailed. (All together now…can we say “panty hose”?)

Okay, let’s say all of us here at Celebrating70 buy into the pajama dressing fashion trend. Do you think the world is ready for our pajamas? Or should I say nightgowns? Does flannel “fly”? Can I throw on my robe when I go out if the weather is nippy? I mean fair is fair.  If younger women are wearing their silky pajama separates out and about, should we have the same fashion freedom? Here! Here!

Well…now that I’ve thought about it, the answer is no. To be completely honest I haven’t really followed fashion trends in quite some time…and I don’t think this is the time to start.

I’m going to “just say no” to pajama dressing.

Are you with me?