Shaping Up, the New Reality

The New Year is upon us. It’s 2020! Can you believe it! I already know I’m going to have an exciting year (just like I knew 2019 was going to be one of transition, reflection and personal growth).

My social calendar is filling up rapidly, that means, I need to refresh my wardrobe by doing some serious shopping. Of course, as a woman, I feel the need to get into shape before I invest in any new pieces.

Although I’ve been exercising almost daily, for the past few months, the results are NIL!! Frankly, it’s rather frustrating. Aging and menopause is a factor, say the experts.

Getting dressed, itself, has become a daily exercise. In my drawer I have every body shaper imaginable. I try on several before I decide which one flatters my shape and outfit. While one shaper pushes in my stomach it creates bulges on my back. With the full body shaper, I practically have to get undressed everytime nature calls. Many times I opt for none.

When I think about all the fuss that goes into trying to get a taut body shape, I question its importance. In the end does it really change anything about, who I am? No, it doesn’t! Then I must use common sense, accept the loose body skin and be realistic about how much can actually be tucked away, or disappear with routine exercise.

As with every New Year, there are resolutions. Mine is to accept the reality of aging and to find new respect and love for this 60+ body.


Friends Only Relationship

Last Friday I had lunch with my old lover, the man some 20 years my senior.

From time to time we contact each other.

Before the lunch, he came by the house with a beautiful bouquet of white roses. I was taken aback by his gesture but pleased, nonetheless.

Over lunch, we got caught up on the past months. We also talked about my last blog, “The Male Species”. When he drove me home, I invited him in for a drink. It was my way of thanking him for the flowers and the lunch.

I poured us a digestive and we sat on the couch. He kissed me.

He would have liked us to get intimate but I chose not to, this time. It didn’t feel right. He stayed a little longer and then left.

In my blog, published in May, “The Time Has Come”, I talked about having ended my relationship with my young lover. In truth, the relationship did not stay dormant. I began seeing him again, as a friend. Then one day, the sexual desire was too strong and I succumbed to his advances. It was after a friend advised me that she saw him with another woman for me to finally end it. I discussed it with him and at first he denied it. Then with some probing on my part he admitted it was true. A few weeks prior this occurrence, we had discussed and agreed to be honest with each other, if either of us met someone else.

I haven’t seen my young lover in almost two months. The first month I ignored all his texts and phone calls. Then I decided to reply. I made it clear that it was over between us (as of yesterday, he was still texting, wanting to see me).

When I divorced my husband, he pursued me, endlessly. He would call, text and occasionally invite me to dinner. We continued to have sex. He was by my side the day I had my partial mastectomy. All of it made me feel that I finally had his attention, the attention I craved and lacked during the many years of my marriage. I was basking in it, feeling I had some control over him. At the same time I felt deep sorrow. I never considered taking him back because I knew we would go back to “the way we were”, prior our separation.

It took a major depression, for me to finally realize that continuing to have my ex-husband in my life, even as, “just a friend”, was toxic for me.

I have learned and gained many insights about myself and the male psyche from all three relationships, insights that need more reflection, before I can discuss them openly.

In all my three relationships the men have initiated the sexual advances, even when we were, “just friends”.

Sexual intimacy is powerful. Letting go of its energy is a challenge.

Can women and men really have a “friends only” relationship after they break up?

The Male Species

For those of you who know Steve Harvey, the talk show host, he advises women never to sit at the bar alone if they want to attract the right kind of man.

On one of my solo dinners, I decided to eat at the bar of the restaurant instead of at the table. As I entered the restaurant, the hostess approached me and asked, “Table for one?” I immediately replied that I preferred sitting at the bar. The bartender asked what I’d like to drink and proceeded to take my dinner order. It was late, much of the dinner crowd had left. At the corner of my eye I noticed a younger gentleman sitting at the end of the U-shaped bar. After a few minutes I heard him moving to my side of the bar. He sat down 2 seats away from me.

Eating alone can feel awkward. I tend to look around me and observe the crowd or like this evening, listen to the idle conversation between the bartender and the man, 2 seats away from me. They were commenting on the sport’s game playing on the overhead screen and making small talk (quite uninteresting, actually).

Feeling a little bored, I decided to open a dialogue with the fine man sitting 2 seats away from me.

My opening line was corny. “You must come here often”, I remarked. He immediately turned in in his seat to face me, replying, “As a matter of fact, I do come by from time to time for a drink”.

He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. He was well dressed, tall, dark and handsome probably mid to late forties.

I enjoy listening to people’s stories and I have a way of making people speak about themselves. Everyone has a story. On this evening I decided to hear his.

When I asked if he was single, he hesitated. After a short pause, he replied “not quite single yet but separated and still living with my soon to be ex wife”. He had young children and did not want them to suffer the effects of divorce. He and his wife had an interim arrangement. They were allowed to take time off alone; tonight was his night so he stopped in for a beer before going to watch the late showing of the movie “John Wick”.

We talked about divorce the effects on the children, etc. The time came for him to leave for the movie theatre, but he didn’t want to because he was enjoying my company, he said. Would I like to join him, he asked. My reply was, “Why not!”

Every woman is warned of going out alone with strangers and to take precautions if you do. For example, let a friend know where you are going and have them call you at some point during the evening to make sure you are in no danger. A friend of a friend once advised me not to take such risks ’cause “the stranger could kill me and cut me into tiny pieces”. Her vivid description of the danger made me explode with laughter.

Nonetheless, I took a calculated risk and agreed to go to the movies with the gentleman. The movie theatre was walking distance. He paid for my ticket and offered to buy me popcorn, which I kindly declined. We sat quietly during the movie. He got up at one point to make a phone call. A fleeting thought came through my mind, what if he just called someone to meet him outside in order to kidnap me and chop me into little pieces? LOL!!!

On our way out of the movie theatre he complimented my perfume. He told me how throughout the movie he was distracted by my fragrance; would I like to join him for a nightcap? It was late, our options were limited. Going downtown was not a good idea especially with a stranger. He then said we could continue our conversation in the car. Oh no,no,no,no that was not an option either. I’ve been on too many dates to know what comes after. “How about your house”, was his next suggestion. That was definitely, out of the question.

We walked to my car, he asked for my number and kissed me on the cheek, then we parted.

When I arrived home, a text message from him, awaited me. The last part of his message read, I wish you invited me over. You would never forget it. That is for sure”.

Why do some men automatically assume you will have sex with them just because you were friendly and shared a pleasant conversation? I guess Steve Harvey is truly an expert, when it comes to the male species and his advise to women.

The Autumn Storm

As September rolled in, the autumn weather was beginning to make itself felt. With the impending change of seasons, I too was about to go through a shift.

It started with my father. He was having some health issues but refused to go to the hospital. My sister who lives with him was leaving for a cruise. She asked that my youngest sister and I check up on him, on a regular basis. Shortly after her departure, my youngest sister’s daughter had a life threatening medical emergency and was hospitalized for 9 days. My sister and her husband were fraught with fear of losing their only child.

When my youngest sister called to inform me about her daughter, I immediately called my daughter, whose children I had to babysit that evening. She cancelled her plans and told me to go to the hospital. My sister and her husband had been at the hospital for over 24 hours and hadn’t slept. When I arrived they were both happy to see me. I sensed that my presence gave them some relief from the events of the last 24 hours. I stayed with my niece while her parents went home to rest, shower and eat.

A few days after, while at my friend M’s house, my youngest sister called me to give me some more bad news. I knew it wasn’t about her daughter because I had just come back from visiting her at the hospital and she was recovering nicely. My sister asked, “Are you sitting down?” I replied that I was. “Guess what, our sister had a fall on her vacation and broke her arm which may require surgery when she gets back home!”, she exclaimed. My reaction to the news was a hysterical laugh. My heart raced and then I calmed myself down immediately telling her that we would deal with it when my injured sister got back from her vacation. Now, we had 3 invalids in the family, that would require care.

In the end, it all worked out with some help from friends. Luckily, my eldest sister did not require surgery.

Sometime in early October I was told by my cousin that her Mother could no longer live on her own and had to be transferred to a long term care facility. To hear of her rapidly declining condition broke my heart. I had difficulty accepting her diagnosis. My eldest sister and I went to visit my aunt on Thanksgiving. She was lying on a hospital bed staring at the ceiling. Our visit put a smile on her face. Her spirits were good and she seemed accepting of her declining state.

At the beginning of November, I received a phone call from my neighbor, V. She advised me that our neighbor C, was hospitalized due to a serious viral infection. After spending a week at the hospital she was sent home. I prepared a batch of homemade chicken soup for her and brought her some fresh flowers. I called daily to inquire about her health.

A couple of weeks ago, another person close to me informed me of some very devasting news. Her youngest child has cancer. She asked if I could knit her child a beanie. I purchased the yarn and completed the hat.

For now I text her since she spends most of her time with her child at the hospital.

Last week a friend of mine announced that she was undergoing a minor surgery. Nothing serious, but nonetheless, she needed to take time off from work. I went over to visit and bring her supper. She appreciated the visit but I think it tired her.

All the people mentioned above are dear to me. Each event touched me in a different way but what they all had in common, was the feeling that I needed to give back or be there for them in some way.

In my opening paragraph, I said a shift in me was about to take place.

The shift came when I realized that I could only give with what is within my capability, at that time of each crisis. I also realized that I was able to handle the above events with calm and logic, as opposed to getting caught up in the storm and drama that such situations can carry.

These two points of awareness have given me the power to accept the things I cannot control. It brings to mind the words from the well known Serenity prayer.

As humans, we carry a mixed bag of emotions. These emotions, can play havoc with our mental stability when events such as those described above occur.

My autumn storm is not over yet. With it, however, I gain more insight about who I am and what I want to change.

Saturday Night

Last Saturday I attended a supper with some former students of my highschool graduating class, a mini reunion. It was held a at small art gallery whose owner, Angelo, indulged us with some savory dishes. The cozy sofa’s, the long drapes and paintings on the walls made for a warm and intimate atmosphere. The conversation was non stop.

Everyone had an interesting story to tell about their past and current life ( I guess its expected after living so many years). The sad stories came up at times too, but no one lingered there. Instead, the night was about having some good laughs and enjoying the good food.

The event also helped raise some funds for Autism research. Kudos to the organizer.

My evening did not end there. I then drove to a club downtown and joined my young friend, Maia and her guest for a night cap.

It felt good to be out and about on a Saturday night after having spent quiet weekends of late.

Like Trees in Autumn

Where did the summer go? Is it just me or does the time go by faster as we age?

Lately, I’ve been giving alot of thought to my future. What now? Where do I go from here? What do I want to accomplish still?

My friend M, told me recently that she decided to sell her lovely home, purchased after her divorce, to move into a Condo. She’s stated yesterday that she was ready to begin a new phase.

Honestly, I’ve been worrying about aging lately and the fragility that comes with it.

I feel my life is winding down, like the trees in autumn, that it’s in the final phase and the end is not far off. This may sound dark but it is coming from a feeling of sadness. Sadness that all lives end. We are not eternal beings.

In order to combat this feeling, I tell myself that I must stay relevant.

There is still much to experience and savor. I MUST STAY IN THE PRESENT!

Autumn is a breathtaking season. Its colors and falling leaves are nature’s wonder. Like nature, WE, at the autumn of our lives, are here to showcase our beautiful colors. Let the show begin!

Retired and Single

Another Saturday without dinner plans. This is becoming a habit, lol.

I like living alone but I prefer company when dining out.

On my way to the restaurant this evening, it came to me that I had no particular friend who I could be complicit with. The friend that you can count on, whenever you suggest an outing at the last minute. Someone like me, retired and single!

Most of my friends work and/or are in a relationship. Their weekends are busy with family, partner or household responsibilities.

Seems to me I need to expand my pool of friends to include more retired singles, for those lonely weekends.

The Patio Party

Last Friday, my friend “M” hosted a small patio party for her lady friends, a group of 6. Except for one, we were all single ladies, either widowed, divorced or separated.

I arrived late because Friday was the day they came to lay the sod and activate the sprinklers in my newly landscaped backyard.

When I entered M’s home, I could hear the voices of her guests chatting and laughing. As I walked out to the patio the conversation stopped but I sensed a fun, lighthearted and relaxed energy amongst the group , a feeling of being at the right place, at the right time.

I apologized for being late. Everyone took the time to greet me. The wine was flowing and the entrées were inviting. I was quickly ushered to my seat at the patio table so that the topic of conversation could resume. The energy was contagious. One of the ladies quickly filled me in on the topic.

The conversation was about “M’s “friend “A”. The latter had told the ladies, before I arrived, about an incident that occurred in a parking lot that same day. Apparently, a handsome younger gentleman approached her. He complimented her on the eyeglasses she was wearing and offered her his business card. She took it, gladly.

Everyone around the table was asked their opinion, respectively, of what the gentleman’s intention was and what advise we had for “A”. The laughs were endless.

The conversation went from casual encounters to ex ‘s and our health issues. Then some light rain started. It seemed like the skies heard our sorrows and began crying for us. You would think this change of conversation and weather would dampen our spirits, humor and the lightheartedness we were all feeling. Instead, we covered our heads with our jackets, continued to pour the wine and laugh about our sad tales.

The day before, August 8th, was the “Lion’s Gate” a cosmic event.

According to spiritual experts, the effects can be felt for several days. It brings an opportunity for personal transformation and growth. Serendipities, syncronocities, deja vu’s can be experienced.

I believe that cosmic forces were at play that evening. A special connection was felt amongst all. It was an evening where everyone expressed their feelings without any fear of judgement. We were all on the same spiritual plane. Each of us demonstrated our strength of character by being genuine and respectful of each other. Our egos were subdued.

Thank You M and to all the beautiful strong women at the party. After feeling lonely and sick for 2 weeks with a bad cold, that evening was the perfect medicine to cure my self-pity.

The Family

Today my eldest daughter turned 40 at 6:08 A.M.,DST , a milestone birthday. When I reflect upon that day I remember the joy of having conceived and given birth to a healthy baby girl, for becoming a mother. I felt that I had accomplished something special and important.

Today I feel sad. Why? Because she’s not my baby anymore. She is a beautiful independant, strong woman and a mother of 2 boys and very busy. Another reason I feel sad is due to the fact that I cannot reminisce her birth and her childhood with her father, on this special day.

I think for most mothers a child’s birthday, is not only a reminder of another year gone by but also a reminder of their birth and the beginning or continuation of the New family unit.

I’m divorced, “The Family” is never the same after such a traumatic event. Yes, with time everyone adjusts to the new reality but that feeling of belonging becomes severed. It is during these life events, ie: a birthday, that it becomes blatantly clear!

My inner voice is screaming at me. It’s telling me that I failed my children. I guess that is one of the reasons we’re taught that Marriage is sacred!

Feeling sadness is the price I must pay for choosing to find my happiness by divorcing the father of my children.

The Lash Extentions

Over the past 2.5 yrs I’ve been contemplating getting lash extensions; always an excuse, from “I’m too old” to, “they won’t suit me”.

But all that changed when I met my friend E for dinner last week. E is 2 yrs my senior and she is a beautiful but modest woman, no fuss. When I saw her with lash extensions, so natural looking, I made my decision. I said to her, if she did it and liked it, then why couldn’t I take the plunge!

We previously had spoken about it and how I hesitated for various reasons and how her daughter insisted she get them and had even booked the appointment for her.

My appointment was today at 11 A.M.. I was excited. Before getting started, the esthetician presented my options and what she recommended. During my one hour session, she started a conversation and before I knew it, the job was done.

She instructed me to sit up and then handed me a mirror. “Wow, I love them,”I exclaimed! In fact, they open my eyes and it seems that I’m wearing eyeliner. I no longer have to use eye make-up. There is some daily and nightly care but at least I don’t have to fuss with the mascara and eyeliner.

Overcoming my fears, even banal ones, as lash extentions, is part of my self growth.

Trying something new gets more difficult as we age. We begin to feel comfortable with a look or a style and the next thing you know you are wearing granny shoes.

Unfortunately, we cannot avoid the aging process but some vanity plays a part in staying young.

Don’t you agree?đŸ˜‰