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Create Your Right Goals – And Leave Others To Pick Theirs!

One of my compulsive habits I am attempting to modify is list and goal writing. I always have goals for any day, week or month. This habit works well for me. I have spent quite a bit of time over the holidays evaluating the year just passed and setting up goals for the next year. If you read the two blog posts I wrote about changing the concept of what it means to be FabulousOver60, you won’t be surprised I did not spend nearly as much time reviewing 2017 and carefully crafting goals for 2018. Yes to goals, no to too much analysis and perfecting the way goals are phrased.

Here are my 2018 resolutions.

  • Worry less.
  • Get the most important 2 or 3 things done everyday.
  • Confirm those important things to do early each day – then meditate.
  • Have lots of fun whenever possible.

The last few years had me worrying excessively. Some recall that I had moments when perhaps I was not an actual lunatic, but I was damn close. Results of my excess worry were clear: I felt depressed, unable to get my own priorities met – while nothing of what I was worrying about changed. I couldn’t meditate as well or sometimes at all. I definitively had less fun – how can you have fun when you are nervous and worrying?

As a life coach I know one really simple way to judge our own actions. It is to evaluate exactly what happened as a result of our actions. What happened? How did others, if relevant, respond? What improved or did not? The answers indicate our effectiveness. Tough as it sometimes is, accepting that data with ease knowing I am not perfect and then adjusting seriously improves action. When I evaluated my worrying it was clear the results were bad – it had to go. And having dozens of goals next wasn’t going to work either.

For FabulousOver60 women, anytime before the Ides of March (and I am betting over 60 fabulous women are among the few that recall what the Ides of March is) is a great time to create your own FEW goals. This makes sense to me. By the end of March it is useful to have a focus on what is going to make you feel right, be happy, and do good this year. If it’s April, and you haven’t yet got a focus and some new goals, don’t worry.

Just decide that your new and likely temporary focus is “just being and doing what you are” – knowing if something critical arises and needs your pressing attention – you’ll be on it and know exactly the goals you need to achieve. I guess setting goals for FabulousOver60 women is a bit like riding a bike or a horse – the “how to” comes back to you if and when you need it to. Certainly we now know things WILL arise needing our intense focus and yes, goals to be set. For us that may be a surprising new work or volunteer opportunity or an unexpected death of a friend or spouse that requires lots of new ways of operating in the world.

On the other hand, I think the #metoo movement is one that definitely needs goals both personally and organizationally. We did lead the way professionally making sure people “got” that women really CAN do and excel at jobs they were previously thought not to be able too –  that didn’t leave us enough time to set goals aimed at ending harassment too. Glad women with a lot more energy and recent experience are doing a terrific job finally dealing with a pattern as old as dirt. And while it just seems ridiculous to most of us to share our me too stories – since we think what happened in 1972 or 1985 typically should remain there; we are all behind young women leaders who are setting their goals to end or at the least drastically slow down harassment and discrimination. There are always things to accomplish. We are fabulous enough now to know which ones have our names on it and which don’t.

Patty

Part 2: More About Changing Our Definition of Fabulous

Last week we published part one of a blog post about the changing nature of being fabulous – this week we complete it by focusing on more about the meaning of fabulous now.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  And fabulous is all about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Being Fabulous, Part 2:

Random shopping has stopped being fun.  But we seem to have found just those few boutiques or online spots that have sales on just exactly what we feel is perfect and fabulous.  Few, if anyone, seem to care about looking good anyplace or at special events. So our black pants and nice top could take us to the opera or the hottest restaurant in any town and to someone’s graduation party.  True, BUT, we evolved here too. We created our new definition of fabulous as dressing as well and as we want, still choosing to look extra special more than once a year, and if we are the only one in a restaurant or at the party with a dress or heels or pulled-together look (don’t we all agree that many people of any age appear to use their laundry basket as a closet?) we don’t care.  We dress for ourselves and any audience we care about, we dress up when and if we want to and define our feeling appropriate as being fabulous.

Heavy meals started hurting our stomachs.  Nature wasn’t pretty if we ate, drank or didn’t sleep enough, so we sleep more if we can and just stopped ordering the cheese plate — but kept going out. We don’t go on and on about our food issues — fabulous now looks at the menu, makes the calculation of what works and doesn’t and orders without announcement.

Friendships have become challenging in tangible ways: friends, family and those close to them have serious health problems, not hangovers, and people close to us die.  We’ve learned how to mourn more deeply without falling apart or making the loss about ourselves.  We pray or sit silently more often, sending prayers or caring vibrations to others. And share our sympathy with more confidence not because we are getting great at demonstrating sympathy, but because we now know with absolute certainty that the most important thing is demonstrating we care, not doing some “appropriate” thing. We’ve really gotten the boundaries message and keep them even when faced with heart-wrenching personal loss times for us, or our friends. We handle ourselves keeping the focus on those who hurt at the time.  And we work to avoid dragging ourselves into a tailspin of upset over anything we can’t control (yes, most things).

One thing we haven’t given ourselves enough credit for was how we as a generation became, and are still, continuous learners. 

And that is now the core of being fabulous: we keep learning and experimenting. When we fail we try plan B to Z if we have to. We are not Queen Elizabeth in The Crown (a fabulousover60 favorite), perpetually unamused if not insulted by the relentless changes in the culture. We have come to peace with our parents and are using a different approach to aging and being fabulous.  We are NOT denying we are aging, that time is passing and we are going to die.  I remember death and dying, as well as well as less permanent changes – like moving or writing a will and getting specific about near-death wishes as taboo subjects for our parents.  They kept doing much of the same things they always did and didn’t want to talk much about age-related realities.  We do not blame them or feel anger at them. But we have clearly chosen a different fabulous path that includes facing realities of all sorts – from divorce to death or from being fired to starting a whole new business in our sixties.

Fabulous now is about accepting what is, and building and living in our own able-to-be-penetrated bubble. 

We choose what comes in and out with open eyes and heart and ears. We focus on fewer things, but our important things. We continue to be kind and have come to realize, as have other mature people, that kindness counts more than nearly anything else.  We are back marching and resisting or maybe only paying attention in a limited way — we know ourselves, do what we must and don’t judge others.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us – and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  It’s about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Turning 60 seems eons ago.  I chuckle for not realizing that everything changes – including our definitions of being fabulous.  We’re still smart, savvy and sophisticated, but our hearts are set on being our best individual self, connecting and being a part of a group when it is the right time and place. It’s also enjoying that group time, giving ourselves and everyone else a break. It is letting our light and our scent, our essence – which is individual and precious – be felt in the world.

A friend from the early 70s once told me that I was like great perfume, leaving a lovely scent behind when I left — I was touched and a bit overwhelmed.  And I remembered it, always trying in my own way to live up to the challenge of leaving “a lovely scent” behind.  Cathy and I have chosen to let FabulousOver60 now be associated with multiple beautiful perfume bottles (in our new cover photo on Facebook) — each representing one and all of us FabulousOver60 women.  We’re each unique, and we’re shining our lights and leaving a warmth and scent behind us everywhere we go.  Think that says it all.

Patty

Do We Still Need “Best” Friends?

Friendship has been a cornerstone of my life since the earliest days.  In 1953, at age 3, I met my best friend Michelle at a half way point (a large rock) between our suburban homes which were 4 houses apart.  At that stage I somehow knew that life without her wasn’t as much fun, and we both understood we could share anything and everything and it was just between us.  Our friendship did not survive forever – though a few years ago we connected by phone and tried to “catch up”. It was a great call, but Michelle no longer is the only one I want to be with.  And that is OK.  She was an awesome “best friend” as a little kid.

In 8th grade, I met Joan at a “Math Fair” at a college connected to the private high school we were set to attend together come 9th grade.  Not sure why, but we just “clicked” and became lasting and incredibly joined at the hips best friends who shared and grew up together as teens, figured out being smart together, how to be  good people, how to share and explore feelings, and also how to be grown up career girls as soon as we could.  Many wondered at our closeness — I was an outgoing and bold girl, Joan was quiet, introverted and rather risk adverse.  But we became BFs and explored so much of life together before we were nearly middle-aged and drifted apart as our life choices and life experiences pulled us in different directions and locations.  Am planning to see Joan next year at our mutual 50th high school reunion next year – we will hug and always know we shared a unique special bond.  She really was an awesome best friend when I needed one.

Teen best friends

Teen best friends

As a 34-year-old single working woman, I met Alayne when I moved to a small town near NYC and went about growing my work expertise and expanding my business. We lived in the same apartment building on the same floor – she, newly broken up with a long-term boyfriend and was working successfully — me into my career with a complicated love life.  In any case, we spent lots of time together and bonded as special and yes “best” friends.  We both were at a place in our lives that made  “hanging out together” and constantly sharing and talking the easiest and simplest—and yes, best way, to handle our lifestyles and pressing life issues.  Alayne was in my wedding in 1998 and a few years later literally dropped out of my life – she moved, I tried unsuccessfully to stay in touch with her, but she clearly wanted or needed to disappear.  I was extremely sad over this loss, but again treasured the times we had as “besties”.

My “best friends” Michelle, Joan and Alayne played important roles in my life.  They were part of who shaped me and part of how I became pre-fabulous.  The importance and enduring memories of our times together will always be a source of big smiles and a tug to my heart.  But now, as a fabulous over 60 woman, you may have found, as I have, that the concept of a “best friend” isn’t really relevant anymore.  Friends are more essential than ever, critical to our lives and our health, but defining one person or several as “best friends” seems somehow not just old- fashioned but childish and diminutive.  Being best friends was all about exclusion and needing absolute acceptance and reinforcement of ourselves as we were developing but hardly yet independent. Now, as interdependent older women, we need intimacy, support, and closeness – but we no longer need or want relationships that exclude others nor find it useful or beneficial to have friends who can’t disagree with us.

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Patty and Cathy

Friendship is a MUCH BIGGER concept to me than it used to be.  Friendships now include a variety of relationships – each unique and special and necessary, but not filled with nagging or long-practiced obligations.  I now recognize that every friendship forms and evolves – some last, others do not.  The reasons these friendships last or not are endless but ultimately unimportant.  We have wonderful friends in our lives at this stage because we want to.  We actively choose these special people to spend our shrinking and valuable time with.  We “release” those who are no longer a fit as friends, just wishing them well on their life journey. Sometimes a “friend” is a new person we just feel compelled to know and “be with” and we make it happen.

Patty with friends

Patty with friends

FabulousOver60 women have learned to comfort ourselves. We still need support and comfort from those we love, but we don’t need to be rescued.  Great friendship expands us now.  It helps us be smarter and better people.  The relationships are fun, supportive, and respectful of our own lives and needs – as well as supportive of our friends’ lives too.  We don’t ask our friends to be our mother, shrink, or solvers of problems and challenges that are our own responsibility.  We ask for advice from some, we avoid asking others.

We listen carefully to our friends.  We “read” when they need us and get ourselves THERE — and we know how to allow our friends the space and privacy they need till ready to share.  Our friends are those who accept us as we are.  We, in turn, accept them as they are.  No one is likely our ‘bestie’ anymore – we know all the great friendships we have are the surest way out there to add joy, peace, calm, insight, support and laughs to our lives.

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I am always saying “less is more” in Fabulous blog posts — let me take that back when it comes to friends.

Patty

 

 

A Museum Trip Reminds Us Of What We Might Be Missing

The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center was on our agenda when Cathy and I met in St. Petersburg, FL for our annual trip.
 
Though we were “on vacation” other than talking about our FabulousOver60 blog, we of course had an agenda. In case you are not that compulsive (good for you—please offer to write a guest blog on how you manage that!), do realize that many of us who worked as long as we have and juggled as many balls, cannot NOT have an agenda.  It is like having zero food at a party—not done.
 
We bought our tickets and started surveying the Chihuly exhibit.   We ambled (for us, ambling is not the NY hustle but it is not slow and easy either), started ooh-ing and aah-ing and feeling we were connecting and “seeing” what there was to see.  We would often call to each other to notice one or another thing that grabbed our attention. When we arrived in the last room we almost inadvertently noticed something—every piece in the exhibit room rested on a black mirror that created a completely different image of the art work—essentially a second exhibit within the exhibit.

Dale Chihuly - Blue Dolphins

Dale Chihuly – Blue Dolphins

Not having a meeting to go to we were able to return to the beginning and really see all there was to see—multiple images that we had simply missed in the “speeding” view of the museum.  We realized that one of the advantages we now have is not really more time, but a deeper understanding of what should/should not be missed. The “goal” was not attending the exhibit but actually appreciating it, and enjoying it more completely. **
 
This new “seeing”, “feeling” and “observing” is something quite wonderful about being in less of a rush to do everything we think we have to.  We have come to have a new appreciation that there is more to many experiences in our lives (and less in those things we have hopefully stopped doing).  That by slowing down and allowing a bit of space, we can see and connect with people and things in ways that just were not possible or practical earlier in our lives.
 
Many of us are busier than ever.  Especially if in addition to work and taking care of yourself you have aging parents and/or adult children and grandchildren.  But even with a crowded schedule, there is a different approach to seeing and experiencing our lives now.  We are smelling those roses, having lunch with a friend, seeing the art exhibit or watching the sunrise/set with a new mindset of appreciation.  And, if there isn’t this evolution, we really are missing something.
 
** Note: We all have gotten to a place of going through the motions in some aspects of our lives haven’t we?  When you do it is a message saying—stop doing it!  LISTEN to that advice—it is coming from your best advice giver—YOU.

A different kind of spa adventure

Patty and I have gone on a number of spa trips over the years… very nice ones, but also very similar. Massages and facials in dimly-lit rooms smelling of eucalyptus and fragrance oils, listening to new age music with calming names like Ocean of Peace and Tranquility.

So, when I received an email about a new type of women’s adventure, an adventure that could be much different and potentially very exciting, I thought I’d share it with my ‘fabulous’ pal.  It’s called “Botox and Bullets” … a week-long retreat for women that involves skeet shooting and gun instruction during the day and getting Botox shot into your forehead at night.

Here is Patty’s emailed response:

Oh my God — really????  NO WAY am I in on this one!! Of course where is this craziness located?  Outside the USA — in Texas!!! 

I guess she doesn’t even want to talk about it.  

 

(By the way, sincere apologies to our Texas ladies from this half of the FabulousOver60.com team.)

Actually, if we DID talk about it, I think we would both agree that this is not the right adventure for the two of us, but probably for different reasons:

  • I would like the guns and skeet shooting … but wouldn’t be comfortable with a group of women sitting around the fireplace at night over glasses of wine and shooting Botox into our bodies.
  • She would no doubt hate the skeet shooting, but would enjoy the female camaraderie of the Botox party… even if she didn’t get shot up herself. (She doesn’t need it, of course!)

So, I’m back to searching for a relaxing, comforting spa trip for the two of us … outside of Texas.

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