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Like Barbara Walters and Jane Fonda, Show Up When it Matters to You!

Two years ago I wrote a piece about Barbara Walter’s legacy (link below).  She wasn’t saying a total goodbye, but just an “I will see you when it makes sense to”.  In the last few years I have so related to that and think all fabulous women should adopt their own version of just showing up when it makes sense to do so – based on our own values.   We don’t show up anymore just to show up – that is a thing to do in one’s 30s, 40s or 50s.  We show up because the party, the event, the meeting, the discussion, or just the other person is important to us and we think we have something to share or contribute.

Meanwhile, Barbara and Jane Fonda – also mentioned in that blog post – continue to do “their thing”. Love them or hate them, they are women taking my fabulousover60 advice: they are showing up when it matters to them.

Walters interviewing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

Walters interviewing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

Good for them. Get yourself in the same place!  Show up when it matters to you—at a town hall, religious gathering, at a reunion or concert of your choosing, the voting booth, or out on the town.  Show people what matters to you.

Oh, and here’s that original piece from May 28, 2014 on Barbara’s legacy.

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Reconfirming what’s important in my 60’s: Sedona Reflections

I’m at the center of world – energy wise – I am literally in Sedona Arizona.  Sedona is home to the bright red and orange sandstone formations and many spiritual paths to inner (and outer) health, wellness, peace and balance.  For many years people have come here for inner renewal.

Of course I am having a privileged time (like most things in life, gaining peace and serenity and an awesome massage continues to get more expensive every year) with Bill and a couple of our special friends who with us are thrilled to be surrounded by the intense beauty and calm of this place.

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Sedona is fabulous.  There is no doubt about it.  Over 4 million people visit Sedona each year: 60% indicate it is for a spiritual experience.  That is all I need to know to make it fabulous.  If millions come here to find deeper calmness and roots, it is more than doing its role in helping humankind everywhere.  The newly calmed and centered people make the world a better place.  Many of you likely would like to reserve some calm and centered people for your church, club, synagogue, or canasta group.  You can’t help but leave Sedona with improved intentions about all that is good.  My guess is most of us slip quickly off the wagon of resolve – but we are, despite ourselves, still better than we were before our chance to grab this energy.

Yes, it belongs on your/my new Fabulousover60 List! (See below).  This is my name for a subset of the Bucket List (see movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson) that focuses on those experiences, ideas, people and places that seem musts for any fabulous woman over 60 who wants to keep the journey and being fabulous going.

This resolve to create a new FabulousOver60 List is increasing.  It is striking me weekly if not daily, that aging gracefully and being an internally/externally beautiful, good, centered, living in the present moment person is 100% harder than it sounds – and harder than ever to achieve as you age.  Here’s my solution: by creating a new list of places to go, books to read, reflections to have, joys to share, ideas and experiences that are just better as we age, it seems I will automatically feel better about all the work that continuing to be fabulous entails.

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Once I leave Sedona (tomorrow) my resolve to get the list going may fade.  But I don’t think so.  I have this crazy feeling, confirmed by a strong tingling vortex vibe I felt this morning on a hike, that we all owe each other a hand to keep feeling and being fabulous.  As the world spins, we need each other’s good energy and good ideas. We also need to work together to make sure as many of us who want to continue to be that beautiful centered caring and daring woman we continually dream and strive to be can be a wider reality for more women – not just those very privileged.

New List for staying FabulousOver60:

Entry one: Don’t quit caring about yourself in the special way we all deserve.

Entry two: Do quit all the things you know you need to quit – just stop it.

Entry three: Come to peace with losing things that inevitably come with age – but keep looking for new gems of wisdom and ways to have fun to support the continuing journey.

Entry four: Go to Sedona sometime – or at least look it up and think about it.

The list continues . . . just like we do.

Patty

ZEN IT!

Laura, my truly amazing yoga teacher continually admonishes those of us in her classes to “soften your mind”.

At first not clear what she meant by this, I just pushed on to my next pose thinking this that phrase, like many others Laura has shared over the years, would eventually “speak to me” and help me get more from my practice of yoga.

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Photo via WebMD

Yoga is a practice – much like meditation, developing a good conscious, gaining fitness or building character. It has dawned on me recently why yoga appeals so much to me – and perhaps to other boomers as well. Yoga, while different in style from much of what we did growing up, shares something very much in common with the essence of our upbringing in the 50s.

Our parents, faiths, institutions of government and education all shaped our thinking to believe we could be great, likely would be good, or at least decent or better at most things. That included our lives, if we kept practicing – piano, simply being nice, making brownies or studying French and algebra. Recall the old “Carnegie Hall joke” of our youth: “how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice”. Being perfect right out of the box was not part of our thinking. We believed that we had to expend energy and consistently work hard to earn things – from character to competence.

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Carnegie Hall in 1891

Yoga talks about a uniting of ourselves and our spirit. A practice that as we develop, helps us have more faith in ourselves and more insight into knowing that we have all that is needed to solve our own problems, or heal ourselves. While I think of yoga as one of many practices that helps me do those things, I love that it helps me be better – and at the same time, insists that wherever I am now is perfect too.

That later part of yoga was not part of our upbringing. Not measuring up was more the theme of our youth than perfection just as we were. I must say, I am not sorry about that aspect of our youth. While I wish our parents were not so heavy handed about our failures, it often strikes me that is a good thing to feel that there is always more to learn, more to know, and believe that with effort many things, including ourselves, can improve.

Have I figured out how to soften my mind? The answer is yes.

One day, on my mat, with an eagle pose looming next, it hit me. Soften my mind. That means essentially – shut it off and be here and only here on this mat, breathing into my eagle pose and not doing nor thinking of anything else. And I got it and I was at peace.

It was a brief piece of true paradise: a real ZEN moment of peace and deep knowledge that really, everything is OK and fine and good just as it is.

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But then again, maybe it just is easier to achieve a soft mind when there is less pressure, less responsibility and less rushing. Yeah, there’s that boomer essence – yoga works a great deal more easily when your life is essentially easier. But regardless, join me in this particular joy of aging. So what that it is giving more to us cause we are finally, somewhere, giving less of ourselves? “Giving less” is hard for most of us – if it takes a mat to help us let go, so be it. It still feels wonderful.

Patty

Turtleneck Sweaters, My Mom and Me

It was 20 degrees in Asheville last night, with the threat of snow. I wore my knee-high boots, a fur jacket and lined gloves to go out to dinner. And, underneath, I wore a turtleneck sweater.

Almost immediately, the sweater started to bother me. It felt tight, hot and uncomfortable.

But it looked good with my winter in the mountains outfit.

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I was a turtleneck sweater woman in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. I wore them constantly in the fall and winter. I liked how a turtleneck looked with jewelry and belts, and especially how one looked with a business jacket. I bought multiple colors in multiple fabrics: light cotton, polyester and silk. (I am sadly allergic to wool). Occasionally, I would buy a heavier cotton sweater to wear with jeans in a casual sort of way.

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I loved turtlenecks in the 80’s!

 

In my 50’s, I still liked how they looked, and they also helped to mask the chin which was beginning to sag.

But then I hit my 60’s.

I haven’t purchased a turtleneck in several years. I still have a few of them in my closet, and I wear one when it’s cold and when I know that I won’t have to wear it long. They just aren’t comfortable anymore.

I realized some time ago – and was reminded again last night – that this is exactly what happened to my mother.

Mom was an attractive woman who could wear clothes well, especially in her younger years. She never had the money or inclination to buy a lot of clothes, but the ones she owned were pretty and, as a child, I loved to watch her dress up to go out to a party.

She would put on makeup, tease and spray her hair, dab on her perfume (wrists and neck), wriggle into her stockings (snapping them into garter belts, remember?) and then slip on a dress and high heels. I loved the “show” and how beautiful my mother looked when she finally let Dad see her. He would whistle at her and wink at us.

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Mom lookin’ good circa 1963

I remember that she had turtleneck sweaters in her wardrobe that she wore for less fancy events, including shopping trips. I thought she looked very “hip” when she wore them.

In her 60’s, after she lost my dad and began to have health problems of her own, she didn’t have as much interest in dressing up or the money to buy new things. Because I was making a good salary at that time, I bought her clothes on special occasions like her birthday and Christmas.

I remember giving her a beautiful cashmere turtleneck sweater for Christmas one year. She said she loved it.

But when I’d return home to visit, I never saw her wear it.

When I asked about it, she was apologetic.

I’m sorry honey. Turtlenecks just don’t feel comfortable around my neck anymore.

But they look so pretty, I said.

I know they do. I’ll wear your sweater when I go someplace special.

I knew that meant she probably wouldn’t wear it.

I remember being angry with her. Not because she wasn’t wearing my gift. I was angry that she didn’t care enough about how she looked. I wanted my mom to stay pretty.

Now when I look back at those times, I realize how much I didn’t understand about how she felt – not just about the turtlenecks, but about that decade of her life and the next. (She died at 78).

It would be great to be able to sit down with her today, both of us in our 60’s, and talk about life. I’d share with her that I don’t like turtlenecks anymore either and that I’m sorry for wanting her to wear them.

She would probably chuckle.

There are lots of other things I’d like to ask her about being over 60.

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I don’t know if she would have any great insights or advice for me, but I bet we’d laugh together about being this age … that is, if we didn’t cry instead!

Cathy Green

 

 

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