Is Fifty Really Nifty?

50

bonnie on dock bw

Ok, this whole aging thing…I’m not sure I like it. I get that we all have to go through it because the alternative is, well, dying and I definitely do not want to do that for a very long time. My goal is to live to 103. But what will that look like and, even scarier, what will that feel like? Do I really want to go there?

It’s just that aging, apparently, involves slowly falling apart. The gears start to grind, mosses (or skin tags as the doctor calls them) grow and hair starts sprouting in new and unacceptable places. It would be ok if this thick dark hair began showing up on the top of my head and that transparent silver hair decided to grow out of my neck, but of course, it has to work the other way around. Luckily the hair on my head grows past my shoulders and falls around my neck thereby tricking the eye into believing all hair around my neck originated from my head. This is why I refuse to ever cut my hair short. If you are wondering why I don’t just pluck, well that would take decent eyesight wouldn’t it? And then there’s gravity. Gravity has insisted on declaring itself a fact and bits that once lured are trying to lag and sag. Nooooooo……

My step son’s girlfriend turned 30 this month. I like her. We have quite a few things in common and get along well. I don’t think about the 20 years that separate our birth dates when I’m with her. It doesn’t even occur to me…until I catch a reflection of myself in a mirrored surface like a window or toaster and then I gasp (and likely wet myself a little). Who the hell is that?! And why does she kind of look like my mother? My husband thinks it’s funny and tries to get my goat by calling me by my mother’s name. He gets really quiet though when I answer him back by calling him by his father’s name.

I’ve entered a new era of aches and pains and there is nothing I can do about it. If I don’t go to the gym and work out I ache and when I do go to the gym and work out, I ache. Somehow the after work out ache feels better. I shouldn’t complain. I still have all my own teeth, they may be a little longer but they’re all mine. Despite being a clencher (ooo sounds sexy), I’ve ditched the mouth guard for now… plus I’m grateful not to have sleep apnea so I don’t have to wear any contraption over my face when I sleep. So there’s that. Yay me!

I organized a surprise birthday party for my mother when she turned 50. I remember thinking how very far off turning 50 was for me. *Poof!* What the… how did that happen so fast?!

There are some bonuses to aging if you look for them. Filters fall away allowing words to fall out of your mouth (or on the page) before you can stop them. And nobody seems to mind. Then there are all those discounts to look forward to and government cheques eventually and, um, what else, what else…what else is good about aging? That’s all I’ve got – for now. I have another 53 years or so to look for positives, if there are any. I’ll try to remember to update you if I find any.

There is a line in Their Eyes Were Watching God that I just love – “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” I feel like I’m entering into the years that answer stage. Although I doubt I’ll ever stop asking.

I don’t “qualify” for the discounts until June but judging by how fast this train is moving, that’s only a blink away. “All Aboard!” I guess so.

1bonnie-sign

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Children

James and his mom.

I’m reading Joan Didion’s new book Blue Nights right now.  In it she examines her thoughts, fears and doubts about having children, illness and growing old.  Didion lost her only child, her daughter Quintana, in 2005.  In her book The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion addressed the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne.  That book was published only months before her daughter passed away at 39 years old. In The Year of Magical Thinking she talks about her daughter who was in the hospital, very ill, on the night Joan’s husband died from heart failure.  I remember the lump in my throat when I read that Joan had to break the terrible news to Quintana more than once that her father had died.  She was slipping in and out of a coma and when she awoke she wanted to know where her father was.  She was devastated by the news of course, but then would slip back out of consciousness and not remember any of it when she awoke the next time, so poor Joan had to explain it all to her again…and again.

When I finished reading The Year of Magical Thinking I so hoped that her daughter would recover and mother and daughter could be there for each other to lean on and for support.  So, when I was finished reading the book, I Googled “Quintana Roo Dunne” and there it was.  Real life doesn’t always offer a happy ending and sometimes it kicks you hard when you’re down.

I’m still reading Blue Nights and so far it has really got me thinking about my own son, James, and also my step children and their relationship with their father.

I want to share some lines from Blue Nights that really struck a chord with me:

When I began writing these pages I believed their subject to be children, the ones we have and the ones we wish we had, the ways in which we depend on our children to depend on us, the ways in which we encourage them to remain children, the ways in which they remain more unknown to us than they do to their most casual acquaintances; the ways in which we remain equally opaque to them.
The ways in which our investments in each other remain too freighted ever to see the other clear.
The ways in which neither we nor they can bear to contemplate the death or the illness or even the aging of the other.
As the pages progressed it occurred to me that their actual subject was not children after all, at least not children per se, at least not children qua children; their actual subject was this refusal even to engage in such contemplation, this failure to confront the certainties of aging, illness, death.
This fear.
Only as the pages progressed further did I understand that the two subjects were the same.
When we talk about mortality we are talking about our children.
Once she was born I was never not afraid.
I was afraid of swimming pools, high tension wires, lye under the sink, aspirin in the medicine cabinet.  I was afraid of rattlesnakes, riptides, landslides, strangers who appeared at the door, unexplained fevers, elevators without operators and empty hotel corridors.  The source of fear was obvious: it was harm that could come to her.  A question: if we and our children could in fact see the other clear would the fear go away? Would the fear go away for both of us, or would the fear go away only for me?

Every time I read those lines I cry. I’m not sure why, but I do.  I think it may be the truth in them.  The truth that we cannot see the other clear and that we remain so unknown to each other.  I am also a daughter and know from that perspective that this is true.  And the fear.  The fear never goes away. I guess I cry too because when my own son was small I knew him so well…but that time was fleeting and has long since passed by.  My husband feels the same way about all of his children.

You are joy, looking for a way to express.  It’s not just that your purpose is joy; it is that you are joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing. Energy—frolicking and eager—that’s who you are. – Abraham

That’s how we remember our children – when they were small; that’s who they really were and indeed still are deep down, in fact that is who we all are …deep inside.  Fear pushes it back and then we forget entirely who we truly are anymore. I feel the loss of those early days and I suppose that is also what makes me cry when I read those perfect lines written by Joan Didion.

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Are You Comfortable Naked!

I want the truth. Are you comfortable with your naked body? More specifically, are you comfortable with your naked body with your partner in the room? I know every woman who is reading this has questions such as; “what kind of lighting are we talkin about here, is it day/night/candle…is he naked…or just me…do I have a tan…am I my ideal weight or do you mean RIGHT now?” STOP!

Okay specifically…”Are you comfortable being naked right now in daylight with the blinds open southern exposure at noon with your husband/boyfriend/lover (pick one!) standing or lying naked right beside you no covers no tan white skin completely natural having just ate lunch?” Okay minus the having just ate lunch, I’ll give ya that one. I know what you’re thinking, I’ve been buck naked in this scenario and that’s why I’m writing about it. You’ll never know for sure! (insert cheeky grin here) I’ll enjoy the speculation immensely…I don’t kiss and tell 🙂

For some women undressing in front of the one they love, is so horrific poking a sharp stick in their eye would be less painful! It’s some women’s worst fear to drop their dress, let alone the panties and bra that are under it, in bright light! Add the starring eyes of the one they desire, nightmare complete! I guarantee your partner is in awe at the spontaneity and confidence you ooze for doing it in the first place, not any bits you’re unhappy with.

If we make this man someone you only lust after, apparently the pain is less severe. Sweeeeet! Kidding! I find that strange, weird even that psychologically we are more comfortable stripping down with a man we don’t know. The man we love, adores us for who we are, not just our physical appearance. The man we lust is there for approximately 3 minutes…okay maybe 4…5 tops, before you see the back of his head exit stage right! lol

I know we don’t really care what the man we lust really thinks because we just want their body and mechanics for a simply pleasure! Shouldn’t we be more comfortable with the man we love because we know he will make sure we are simply pleasured! 🙂

I suppose our partners should feel good knowing we care what they think, but if they knew we held back because of our own insecurities, I’m sure they wouldn’t understand! Men desire women curves and flesh regardless of their size or shape. I don’t think there is a man out there who would turn down the woman they love if she was standing naked in front of him! It’s about love and trust.

Aging is hard on our bodies but our minds hopefully out weigh any insecurities we might have allowed to attach to our physique over the years! We know better than to be so critical, it’s a slippery slope! And if we put this kind of pressure on ourselves aren’t we putting it on our partner as well? We are our own worst enemy in this scenario ladies! Men see us as we should, from the inside out! For me, aging is about accepting who I am right now…and now…and now regardless of my size, shape or wrinkle count. If someone can’t love me for who I am, then the hell with them!

Embrace who you are ladies, naked in bright light! Natural beauty is the sexiest, ask any man! We’ve touched on The Naked Truth once before here on Tara Cronica…Tag Team Sunday: The Naked Truth, still feel the same ladies?

Okay I gotta fly, I am getting a spray tan today by a complete stranger, naked of course, just in case I find myself lying naked in daylight with the blinds open southern exposure at noon with my ______ lying right beside me naked, no covers, completely natural, if you don’t count the tan! Baby steps ladies…baby steps! Now go get nekid and rock your mans world…cause he wants to rock yours too!

 

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Svaha Spirit Series: Laughter is the Best Medicine!

My Mom sent this to me and it made me laugh. I hope I still have my weird sense of humor when I’m 72! Chances are I will as it seems to run in the family! In the very attractive picture I used, the left side of my face has been aged by a make-up artist to make me look in my 70’s. I thought it was fitting! Makes me want to create a few more exciting life experiences while I can! Keep in mind (any potential suitors) that I have NO make-up on and I’ve had the mole with hair in it on my chin removed since this photo! And I would never normally wear grey – it sucks the life and colour right out of ya! lol 🙂 There is no better way to remind yourself to live with no regrets than to see what you would like in your golden years! Kinda makes me want to go out and do something naughty! hee hee!

“A friend of the couple who founded ‘Home Instead Senior Care’, Mary Maxwell was asked to give the invocation at the company’s 2009 Convention. Initially it seemed like a normal prayer, but it soon took a very funny turn. Her deadpan delivery and lines like …This is the first time I’ve ever been old… and it just sort of crept up on me … soon had the franchise owners rolling in the aisles. With the timing of a professional comedian, Mary shines a very funny light on the foibles of aging, to the delight of this audience of senior-care experts.” (quoted from the video site)

Blessed In Aging

Blessed are they who understand my faltering step and shaking hand.

Blessed who know my ears today must strain to hear the things they say.

Blessed are those who seem to know my eyes are dim and my mind is slow.

Blessed are those who look away when I spilled tea that weary day.

Blessed are they who with cheery smile stopped to chat for a little while.

Blessed are they who know the way to bring back memories of yesterday.

Blessed are those who never say “You’ve told that story twice today.”

Blessed are they who make it known that I am loved, respected and not alone.

And blessed are they who will ease the days of my journey home, in loving ways.

~Esther Mary Walker

I love hearing stories from older generations of what things were like when they were younger. We are all the same, just some are a little farther ahead on their path in life. Enjoy each moment at what ever age you find yourself!

Thanks Mom for sending another inspiring message! xo love you!

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Body Image

I was out with Jacquie a couple of weeks ago and we got onto a topic that seems to get wayyyy too much airtime as far as I am concerned, but as women it’s hard not to talk about our Body Image’. We both agreed we would do almost anything humanly possible to prolong the aging, sagging and weight issues that contribute to our body image. But there has to be some balance when dealing with your mind, body and spirit.

I’d like to think I will grow old gracefully, without any surgical enhancements or help along the way. (excluding anything that doesn’t involve injecting or cutting my epidermis) I have always been athletic and lead a pretty healthy lifestyle that I think will help me along the path of aging. I would prefer to be like Diane Lane as apposed to Joan Rivers. I may be comparing apples to oranges here but you know what I am getting at, they are on opposite sides of the scale when it comes to obvious procedures. And yes the age difference is also there. In the past, Diane has reportedly said, “It scares the s**t out of me. And I don’t relish the thought of people staring at me, trying to figure out what I’ve had done.” She also said, “I reserve the right to change my mind. Absolutely. I’m a female, that comes first.” I love her attitude, never say never!

Jake and I were talking about our own body images while en route to a party downtown with a bunch of size 2’s. When we entered ‘the keefer‘ we were greeted by Keith, my girlfriends husband. There was a glass bottom pool in the ceiling which was amazing and a great conversation piece throughout the night. The first words out of Keith’s mouth were “your not allowed to swim naked in the pool it’s off limits!” He said it like he thought I might have actually considered it! Twenty years ago, a huge maybe, if I had been shooting Tequila. Now, couldn’t even visualize it in my wildest dreams!

I reconnected with a couple of handsome guys from 30 years ago, Cam and Marcus, within 15 minutes it felt like no time at all had passed, certainly not 30 years! After catching up briefly Cam asked me if I thought he had changed, and if it felt like I was talking to the same guy? He believed that people don’t really change all that much over the years and I had to agree. I still saw the same handsome guys who made me laugh 30 years before.

The conversation eventually led to the pool which was hard to take your eyes off. It was like having an enormous lit fish tank with no fish right above you. I felt like a voyeur checking to see if there was anyone brave enough to take a dip. We started joking about how much money it would take in order to strip down and take the plunge. (keep in mind the pool is above you and seemed magnified to me) The anti kept increasing until it got to be ridonculous. For me it basically came down to body image. There are also specific things I would not do for money and stripping down at 46 years old in public with the lights on is on that list, sex and marrying are two more. Jacquie joked that she would if she could escape through a trap door out the back and not have eye contact with anyone in the room and then have her and her family relocated, hilarious! I giggle every time I think of her coming home to Gavin and explaining how she made a huge wad of cash while out with me.

No matter what way you look at it we all have some kind of body image issues that creep back into our lives at any given moment, this was one of mine. These guys had seen my body really young, not naked but close enough, spandex were popular back then. It would be hard to top that! After the joking stopped Cam told me he remembered me having body issues at 17! It didn’t really shock me, what 17 year doesn’t have issues about their body. What bothered me most was that I am finally comfortable in my own skin, which I believe happened shortly after turning 40, yet I was still putting out the impression that I was not. Why?  I am a confident woman who embraces her sexuality. Maybe out of my comfort zone being single again, revisiting the past? Body image is hard to change for women but absolutely necessary if its negative.

So you see by joking about not wanting to be seen naked swimming in a glass bottom pool only attracted more attention to my enormous size 8-9-10 (depending on my salt intake). Men don’t notice our flaws or imperfections unless we point them out, so don’t point them out! I learnt a lesson that night, I would NEVER talk negative about my body again! It only sets you up for a false insecurity that you bring upon yourself. Embrace whatever body you have, regardless of your size or shape it really is what’s on the inside that counts. Believe me even those perfect size 2’s have body issues that need to be worked on.

PS ~ I just read my “Gusto Post Card” and this is what it said: ” You know how wise people reach a certain point in their lives and realize it actually doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of them? They just sort of grow beyond caring about that, and they start caring a lot more about what they think of themselves? And then they decide they’re going to do what they want to do and be who they want to be and live their lives as they see fit and love every second of it? Well, that wise person lives inside of you. Let that certain pivotal point in your life be today. Your number-one fan, Gusto  And oh…Be you. Live Fearlessly! Timing is Everything!!!!

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Tracy Talks Aging Parents Adult Kids & Twaddle~ Edited Version !

TracyWe are here to inspire thoughts, provoke comments, create change, stimulate conversations and make our viewers look at themselves, as we have, and ask “Am I living my life authentically, with no regret, passionately?” “Am I being the change I want to create?”

My posts are based on My opinions! Tara Cronica is based on our opinions, our views, our perspective.  The way you can get involved is through the comments, if you keep them polite and respectful, otherwise your comments will be yours and only yours.  We love to be challenged, in fact it makes us giggle.  We write about what we feel passionate about which is varied among the three of us.  Suggestions are always welcome!

When someone ruffles my feathers I try to keep in mind that they don’t start out their day thinking “I am going to cause as many waves as humanly possible today.” Some of us, me at the top of the list, like to stir things up to get conversations rolling but never to intentionally be negative or hurt ones feelings.  I am not inside your head, and you’re not in mine (Thank God!) so we don’t really know what’s going to cause a riff at any given moment.

Aging Parents, Adult Kids~ I agree with Dr Joy Brown that children are obligated to have respect for their parents but I think that respect has to be reciprocated.  We pass an age where I think the playing field levels.  We become friends with our parents and their advice is still heard but perhaps not always taken.  What might be a mistake for them might not be for us.  I know it will be hard as my kids become more independent to keep my thoughts to myself because I get that as a parent we want what’s best for our kids.  In the learning years our job as parents is to guide our kids and it’s got to be difficult to stop that when they get older.  I know as a Mom my son will always be my little boy, same goes with my daughter.  As parents we take what we liked from what our parents taught us and add what we feel comfortable with and that is our ‘Parenting style’.  It’s all a guessing game really!

The motivation behind having children for me was to have little slaves serve me and clean up my house when I can remember it, not in my twilight years when they may as well be the neighbours kids because my memory has failed me, go for the brownie points early kids while we remember who did what…kidding.  I am not really keeping tabs, that will start much later when the buy in is significantly higher. hee hee.

I had children to bringing other souls into the world and have the life experience of taking care of them while watching them grow and go off on their own.  I will do my job to keep them safe and if asked will give my humble opinion.  I will not ‘expect’ anything in return when they become adults.  I hope  my kids want to spend time with me and I will do everything I can to make our time together memorable.  As the roles reverse and I become the ‘Aging Parent‘ I do know what role I want to play, I want to be involved and will take care of myself so that I can be very much a part of my grand children’s lives.  All of my grandparents were not a big part of my life for various reasons except my Nana, (Vilma Westerholm) who spent a lot of time with me.  I have written about her and I hope my kids kids feel about me, like I felt about her.  It’s a Special bond that you only get the opportunity to create for a short time in your life.

I think naturally as human beings we like to help out where and when we can because it feels good to do something for someone else.  We can say no if we are not able to.  I think if you continue to bail anyone out repeatedly whether a child/teen/adult it serves no purpose at all for their own growth in life.  You become an enabler and are no longer being a help.

If we do things because we WANT to not because we HAVE to, it truly makes the difference.  Each person has the right to say “No”.

When you expect something in return you are doing things for the wrong reasons.

I will do everything I can to help out my aging parents because I want to not because I have to, but it is a two way street.  They too need to compromise to make it work.  Same goes for my children.

Tracy signiture

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Where Did You Meet Your Girl Friends?

Jacquie’s take~

Growing up I never had much difficulty finding friends.  Even as a small child I think I had the ‘disease to please’ and so I know I kinda went along with any game plan that was put on the table.  I was really easy going and just didn’t care to rock the boat.  I kept a lot of my emotions and opinions to myself and as a result I always had a lot of friends to play and laugh with.  In high school I met Naava, an out-spoken artsy/intellectual who jumped for no one and, literally, danced to the beat on her own drum.  We totally clicked for some reason.   I think because with her I felt I could just be me and I wasn’t afraid to not be perfectly agreeable.  For the first time I had a friend who I felt really liked the real me and not just the ‘fun’ me, and that was huge.  I learned so much from that friendship about quality, not quantity.

When I think about where I’ve met all my closest girlfriends what surprises me as that there really is no recurring theme except that they’re all quality women.  They’ve all popped into my life from different angles;  work, travel, school mom, friend of a friend’s spouse, neighborhood, and I am soooo grateful for them all.  I guess the point is you never really know when a new amazing friendship is going to find its way into your life.   Every girlfriend I’ve had has given me something special and made me a better, happier, more in-tuned human being.

My mother used to say that the friends you make in high school will always be close because you’ve seen each other go through one of the most difficult periods in your lives and that’s incredibly bonding.  While I think there’s a lot of truth in that, I also think that it’s equally possible to make deep bonds with new girlfriends at any stage in your life.  Once you’ve experienced a true connection with someone you know it’s a feeling you never want to be without.

I found a really interesting site last year when I was online looking for book club ideas.  It’s called www.meetups.com and it works like this; you punch in your zip code and up pops a list of different clubs or groups that are meeting in your area.  Joining is as easy as tapping a button.  I’ve used this site to join a book club, coffee club and a walking group.  When my sister moved to Australia last year I told her about it and she found a writer’s group in Sydney she wanted to try out.  I think this is a really inspiring site and what the internet is all about.. feeling connected.    Your newest BFF could be one of the ladies at the Fabulous and Forty Wine Tasting Club!

Bonnie’s 2 cents~

Bonnie and Dorrie

I'm the one on the left with the strange bloomer shorts on. Dorrie is on her bike/pretend horse behind me. Yes, it was in the days before colour film.

I still remember seeing her across the street playing in her yard.  She kept glancing over at me but then she would look away as soon as our eyes met.  Her every move fascinated me.  What was she imagining with her dolls.  I wanted so badly to play with her.  I’m the shy one.  Other kids always come over to me first.  I went inside and talked to my grandma about it.  “Just go over and tell her your name.  Then ask her if she wants to play with you.”  my grandmother said in her matter of fact tone.   “Can’t you go over and ask her if she wants to play with me?”  My grandmother just shuffled me out the door and told me not to be so silly.  I was 4.  We stared at each other for a while longer and then finally one of us ( I think it was her)  shouted out “What’s your name?” and that was all it took.  We were great friends from that moment on…until I moved away shortly after.  Her name was Dorrie.  I wonder how she is now?

I’ve met girl friends all over the world.  Unfortunately, I’ve moved all over the place too and have left many behind.   I’ve always had the best intentions about keeping in touch but as time goes on and my life has taken different turns, I’ve lost touch with many really great friends.  This is one of my biggest regrets.  Thanks to Facebook however, I have been able to reconnect with some and that has been wonderful.

One of my life’s greatest blessings has been the one constant friend I’ve had since high school, Tracy.  We’ve had our ups and downs but through it all we have learned some valuable lessons and have grown closer and closer.  When I think back on our years together I realize we haven’t lived in the same city for many of them but I don’t ever worry that we will drift apart.  Our bond is too deep.

Looking back I realize I have always had at least one close girlfriend near at all times.  I have so many fond memories of all the great women I’ve had the opportunity to get to know well in my life.  They’ve all helped mold me into the woman I am today and I’m truly grateful to all of them.

Tracy’s thoughts~

Where did I meet my girlfriends you ask?  Strip clubs mostly, after hours.  I’m kidding.  I used to have mostly guy friends in my teens and twenties. Girls judged and gossip too much for me, guys were much less complicated.  I feel differently now.  I embrace the female spirit.

There was one girl who was always there, the one who knows every single deep dark secret of mine in detail, Bonnie.  Some say the truth shall set you free.  In my case, her aging mind will.  Here’s hoping she loses the long term first.  I want her to remember who I am, just not what I did.  It would be so fun if she lost her mind before me so I could convince her it was she who did certain things, not I.  Our conversations would go something like this.  “I still can’t believe you did that!”  Tracy says jokingly.   “Did I do that?“  Bonnie says confusingly.  “I should know I was there when you did it!”, Tracy says, while looking down to the left because it’s a big fat lie.   “ I always thought it was you who did that?“  says Bonnie, while she starts to doubt her inner voice.  “Nope that was you.“ says Tracy with her best acting face ever!

Bonnie and I met in Acting class when we were 15.  Good thing we didn’t meet sooner because I would have FOR SURE told on her for some of the things she did.  We were partners in class and our task was to find out as much about the other person and then introduce them to everyone.  It was fairly basic for us, “Hi  I’m so-n-so, I live in North Van, I’m 15.” and then we laughed and giggled for the rest of the time.  I guess right then we knew we would be best friends forever so we didn’t want to find out too much too soon.  It has taken me 30 years to get to know Bonnie and still to this day she amazes me daily at how non judgmental and unconditional her friendship is.  She is one of the most multi-faceted souls I have had the honor to meet.

But how lucky can one girl be, 12 years ago I had the most incredible luck and met Jacquie on set of the movies.  We have become very close over the last couple of years because we make the time to see one another.  We embrace who we are, we work well together balancing one another’s quirks.  She makes me want to be a better person.  Sometime that’s hard! But I love her for it.  She challenges me which is such a turn on (not in that way).

Making memories is what friendships are all about.  Friends come and go, we learn, we grow.  I have a circle of friends now that I absolutely adore, some old, some new, some borrowed and men too.  It doesn’t really matter where you meet them, just that you do.

Girlfriends !!

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