“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
Thích Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

 

 

I’ve been wallowing in my midlife crisis  progression, rolling in it and repeatedly banging my head against  it.  It feels kind of like when the kids were little and I found myself in that rare magical moment where you had an hour to yourself, uninterrupted.  It’s so rare that you end up walking around the house in circles trying to figure out something to do, something just for you, something you love.  Read a book, take a shower, dye your hair, paint your nails.  But you don’t, you spend too much time trying to decide what to do and while you are trying to decide you put a load of laundry in, put the dishes away, brush the dog.  Then, suddenly the hour has passed.

The midlife transition is much the same.  What do you do? Take a class? Change careers? Sell all your belongings and move to Tai Pei?

I have no clue.

I’ve recently taken to reading Thich Nhat Hanh,  Brene Brown, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Sher.   I think I’m attempting to have the  aha moment where it will be so clear that I know what I should be doing.  So far, nothing.  I have also recently read Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut, am presently reading The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho and have Jack Kerouac, On The Road on my nightstand.  So far I haven’t had any epiphanies, but I have added the term SO IT GOES  to my vocabulary.

shittogether

 

 

 

 

 

lincoln

I thought that my domain name and web hosting were expiring this month.  I was wrong.  Due to the impending expiration of my blog, I had decided to stop blogging because I had taken steps to unplug.  Deleted facebook, twitter, not that I really used them much but they are definitely a time suck.  When my phone contract ends in a couple months I’m planning to downsize my phone to a simple talk and text.

The internet has not been holding much attraction for me, I read recipe sites and news headlines, but beyond that I’m bored with it. I was reading an article that was pure fluff, it was dull enough that I don’t remember what it was about.  What I do remember however is catching the comments after, I was absolutely amazed at how passionate, enthusiastic, intense, spirited, charged, tactless the comments were.   Freedom of speech, I get it, but sometimes just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you need to express it.

I was reading a blog written by a woman who uses a scooter, I don’t remember what her health issues are,  it doesn’t matter she is a writer and I enjoy reading her blog.  Anyway, she did a post once asking if her readers liked her new haircut.  Someone actually posted that they did not like it, and proceeded to justify this thoughtless comment with ‘Hey! You asked’ .  I think that’s what I find monotonous about the internet.  The dark side of this age of information.  Nothing that hasn’t been said before but something I think about when I blog.  I like blogging but I don’t like the other side that gives someone the right to not just critique what you’ve written, but insult you, your dog, the colour of your kitchen and then explain to you why they are more awesome than you are.  Differing of opinion, no problem.  Healthy debate about life, sure, bring it on. The drama?  No thanks.

I guess the point of this post was that I have this domain for another year so maybe I will just keep at ‘er, everyone has those moments I guess.  Don’t look for me on facebook though.

 

crazy

 

Always get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.
Mickey Rooney (1920 – )

 

In honour of our forgotten anniversary and my restraint over the last 4 years not having maimed my husband I thought I would resurrect an incident I have previously written about.  I’m saying this because there is a good chance it will feel like déjà vu if the 2 or 3 people that actually read my blog have read that previous post from 2009.

Not much has changed in 4 years.  There is still a balancing act you do as a couple, and a relationship that despite your best efforts include ‘ex’s, kids, loaner kids, extended family that are still expressing opinions about marriages that are long over with, etc. etc.

Sleeping with someone requires a high level of trust, over time we have now perfected the sleeping style, his arm here, my leg there, we shift during the night accommodating each other.

One night while he spooned me and I listened to his soft breathing as he slept, his arm draped gently across me, my bum nestled into his tummy.
I let one go.

As I was bouncing from suppressing a giggle to extreme mortification he whispered,

“You’re so Pretty”

 

 

I’ve been contemplating the pros and cons of my blog, revisiting the hows and whys I blog.  The narcissism in blogging.  My neighbour mentioned that he came across my blog.  I had that moment of ‘oh shit’, did I write anything about these neighbours?  That moment kind of like when I say fuck on my blog and remember my Mum and Dad have been known to occasionally read it.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have small children when I started blogging.  I would have been a nutter.  When the internet was new Ben was under a year and I frequented parenting websites and their forums.   It got really old watching Mommy’s attack each other.  Hot button topics like breastfeeding, giving your kids hot dogs *gasp*, potty training, discipline, and don’t get me started on the working vs stay at home Mom debate.  *insert big F’ing eyeroll*  I made an innocuous comment on a parenting forum once, I don’t even remember what it was about, but it resulted in a very long email in the form of a lecture, complete with a scolding from a Mommy.  It’s sad how in an attempt to feel better about our own choices we are tearing each other down.

I think everyone hopes they can make money with their blog but the reality is most people don’t.  I put google ads on my blog and I’ve made $20, in approximately 5 years.  I lack the motivation to actually work at blogging, and I lack the ability to speak about myself in the third person.

Melinda was born in Ontario Canada, a mere 20 minutes from the magnificent Niagara Falls.  She found herself working in the retail industry which contributed nothing to her life except an indifference to most major holidays and the unfortunate union with a first husband.  Despite this, the union resulted in 3 beautiful children, who are all hopefully leaving the nest.  Soon.  Melinda presently finds herself in the middle of a midlife crisis, navigating the waters of menopause, and a second marriage to the love of her life.  Presently committed to the study of American Sign Language and appreciating the deaf culture, she enjoys Yoga classes, is exploring Buddhism and appreciates the phenomenon of the boxed wine.  Future plans include travel, and fulfilling the lifelong dream of driving a zamboni and owning a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.  

 

It’s suddenly very clear to me why I will never make money blogging.

 

 

 

 

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
Maya Angelou

 

I’m one of those women who have spent their entire lives on some kind of diet.  Weight watchers, calorie counting, Atkins, HCG diet, Special K diet, cabbage soup diet, to name a few.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t diet.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel guilt or remorse when I ate something.

I’ve been trying to understand where this all began, how everything was tied to how much I weigh.   There are so many moments that shaped and moulded my indifference to my body it’s no wonder that in my 40′s I’m still struggling.

When I was 8 years old my friend would compare our stomachs. I can still see her standing beside me, sliding her hand across her tummy, her fingers reaching my side demonstrating that my stomach did indeed stick out farther than hers.  Thus proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was indeed bigger, fatter.

At the age of 11 my gym teacher gave us an assignment over the Christmas holidays, we were to write down everything we ate.  I remember obsessing about documenting every nibble, listing cheese and crackers and potato chips, and not eating some things because I didn’t want to have to write it down.  I dreaded bringing my list to school.  I was ashamed of what I had written, what I had eaten.

I think back to these small moments in my life and it’s no wonder I’ve carried guilt and shame about not only what I was eating, but about my body.  So, it’s not one moment that impacted how I feel about myself, my body, but dozens of moments.

I think its time to stop this nonsense.  What a waste of time.  I’m not going to declare a New Year’s resolution but I am going to allow myself to stop feeling guilty. To stop carrying around the self loathing based on the piece of cheese I ate, or the glass of wine I drank.  Enough is enough, and I think that 40ish years is long enough to carry that much discontent.

 

 

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”
Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women

 

New Year, New Attitude.  Not really.   In reality I probably could use an attitude adjustment.

The kids are off school for Christmas break and are driving me a little bats.   Every time I go in the kitchen there are dishes in the sink and when I ask who’s they are, and complain that they could do their own dishes, I am met with vacant stares followed by 50 shades of denial.  Merry Christmas.

I left my phone out in plain site of the minions, and Ben took it upon himself to change my background.

You will notice that the date on the screen capture is December 20th.  The first day of Christmas break.  It’s gone downhill from there.

nf2012

midlife crisis

noun

: a time in middle age when a person feels a strong desire for change

 

 

If you search the term midlife crisis on Google Images, you get some odd hits.  The typical cartoons and references to men buying sports cars, adds for wrinkle cream and prozac.  Pictures of Woody Allen, John Gosselin, a man with a comb over, and butterflies.  Because essentially a midlife crisis is realizing change, and butterflies are the conventional norm as a symbol of change. Right?

 

When we went to bed the other night, I turned on the television hoping I could find Anthony Bourdain, (I’ve been all about Mr. Bourdain lately, and after writing a disappointing exam I knew I couldn’t sleep) I couldn’t find that, but I did find porn!  Imagine! Porn?! When Mike came in from brushing his teeth and realized I had turned on porn he proclaimed how I was the awesomest wife ever.  We chatted about our plans for the next day, and before you know it, I woke up with the remote still in my hand, my husband asleep beside me, and porn on the television.  So apparently porn will put me(us) to sleep.  Now if that doesn’t scream midlife, you and your spouse falling asleep watching porn, I don’t know what does.

Along with indifference to porn in middle age I’ve further discovered the need to purge.  There is no longer the desire to collect things.  The inclination to save old towels, mismatched silverware, threadbare sheets, and the lid to my broken crockpot just in case.   Mike and I have decided to begin downsizing in anticipation for our empty nest.  In 2 years all kids will most likely be off to colleges and this opens a whole world of opportunity.  So, our 2 year plan begins with purging the superfluous ‘stuff’ in our lives. Except porn, porn isn’t superfluous.  Or so I’m told.

 

 

 

**insert sappy reference to reflections of life and reflective pools as a metaphor for life** (and don’t forget to update facebook page with sappy reference to said reference and express thankfulness for life)

 

 

My midlife crisis and the knowledge that I will be turning 50 in the not too distant future has brought me to a place of reflection, a backwards glance at my younger self.   Exploring the reasons I am who I am, and why I do the things that I do.  I was searching through pictures the other day, what I was looking for I can’t remember now, another byproduct of menopause I think.  Anyway, I realized that there really aren’t any pictures of me.  It’s my own fault of course because I hate to have my picture taken.  But why don’t I like having my picture taken?  Insecurity? Fear of an absolutely horrible picture will make me look ugly, fat, stupid?

 

And further with this reflective subject, why do I have no inclination to celebrate my birthday?  I don’t have any anxiety over my age, I never have.  Possibly because I don’t feel like I’m worth the fuss?  I’m embarrassed of the fuss?  One of my regrets in this area is that I didn’t teach the kids to celebrate my milestones.  I maintained that I didn’t want to celebrate.  Which at the time was true.  It’s the typical thing you do with kids, you sacrifice buying yourself clothes to ensure the kids have shoes, you eat the broken cookie and leave the whole ones in the cookie jar for the family.    It’s not that you are trying to create brats, you just seem to slip into that mode that you put everyone else ahead of you.  You do it so often and without thought that it transfers to silly things like eating the damaged cookie.  In doing this though you look up one day and you have unintentionally become the fixer, the go to girl, complaisant.  You make no demands.  You forget what you like.  You’re so busy making everyone else’s favourite dinner you forget what yours is.  You put yourself second.  It’s my opinion that this is how midlife crisis start to blossom.  Suddenly, you aren’t responsible for the things you’ve spent the last 20 years being responsible for.  I’m at that point.

And I’m formulating a plan.

*insert giddy reflective laugh*

keep-calm-its-just-menopause

 

 

 

I have officially received the title POST Menopausal.  I say official because I had blood work that actually confirmed this milestone. Not menopausal, not peri-menopausal, POST Menopausal.

So, what do you do to celebrate this significant life event?

You have a Mammogram AND a Pap test.

I’m not a big fan of stirrups, and looking at the top of a 30 year old man’s head, (who has not bought me dinner first) between my legs doesn’t top my list of favourite things to do.  I’m sure the highlight of his day wasn’t sitting and staring at a 48 year old woman’s lady parts either.

Having previous experience with pap tests and giving birth, I’m not unfamiliar with the whole process of allowing strangers near my nether region.  The nurse who came in to assist went straight to making conversation about the weather.  That was the only moment in this whole process that was weird.

It’s been a long time since I had a pap done by a member of the male species, I’ve come to the conclusion that women are probably a little more comfortable with the equipment and consequently more confident in their approach.  I hate listening to the clicking of the speculum, just when I thought he was done making expansions he clicked it one more time.  I don’t think he appreciated my telling him it didn’t need to be wide enough to drive a Volkswagen through.

As a newly appointed card carrying member of the post menopausal set,  I was thinking about the changes occurring over a 30 year span, from being a young woman with life before me, babies, marriage, to where I am now.  I’m not ready to label myself a Crone quite yet but you can’t help but wonder if you wasted time, if it’s ‘too late’ to do the things that you never did.  I guess these thoughts are the essence of a midlife crisis.