Changes – It’s Still All About Acceptance and Self Love

“Evening Song”

I always recoil when anyone says, “at your age ….”, “It’s expected at your age…” or a diagnosis of “age-related”. to which I respond, “OK, but what would be causing this if I were young?” And then I have been able to find a satisfactory solution, usually on my own. Until recently.

I have reached a time in my life that is bringing perhaps an inkling of changes that are probably pretty close and maybe even here now, if I choose to acknowledge them.

I have a paint buddy that I met in 2014. We were immediately best friends and we’ve rarely done plein air painting or travel relative to paint workshops or paint outs, art shows, gallery trips without each other. I’ve grown close to her and consider her one of of my two best (nonfamily) friends. She is several years younger than me, I’m in my 80s and she in her 70s. She is still traveling internationally and has a higher level of energy.

I don’t want to hold her back from doing painting events, because I’m unable, knowing we can modify what and where we do some things together. She’s a lesson in loyalty and I realized yesterday that I need to make her feel comfortable with looking for a new paint buddy but first I have to work through my own feelings about this and at this moment I’m having a difficult time facing that. I’ll miss the very special times and making memories, our painting relationship, experiences and the closeness that goes with creating memories and just the fun of painting with her in situations that are highly unlikely to happen again. I imagine dynamics will change, proximity, time together will probably change and will our wonderful friendship change? I expect it to continue to be meaningful in other ways. We have a lot of fun memories.

Choosing is sometimes a little easier than being forced to let go so am trying to use that perspective to face the end of an era, a change caused by some new limitations in my life, and probably not in the too-distant-future, hers as well. Painting is my passion and still consumes my thoughts and time but in my studio now.

I’d like to, in fact, plan to travel to paint again and need to find my own comfort level. I have now and have always had an abhorrence, even an inability of feel that I’m being a burden to anyone. Now I’m faced with needing to deal with that and find a way to accept that it’s ok to ask for help or, with forewarning to my buddy, friends and family, of my less energetic self. I know that it could sometimes hold someone else back and concerned that I would make them uncomfortable and impatient. I have to remind myself that these are more likely my feelings – not theirs. Yikes! Admitting that I’m not the person I want to be or used to be? That I’ve become less? Again I have to remind myself that I’m more than my energy level. I have the same issue no matter when, where or who – I’ve always pushed through as much as possible but can no longer stretch myself. When I’ve hit the wall, I’m done and it’s often inconvenient to me and have a difficult time involving others in that.

I’ve been isolating, partly because much of the time I don’t have the wherewithal to leave my home, but also waiting for a time when I would be able to keep up comfortably. I finally realize that I’m going to have to admit to myself and others the possibility, in fact reality, that I have a new pace. I’m hoping – and quite sure they’ll understand, and that they also have a choice and can opt out of anything, no harm, no foul. Giving that “out” to them is easy for me to do and accept. I also need to accept the possibility that I may have to opt out last minute – and that’s difficult for me to accept ! No harm, no foul for me? Yikes!

Is slowing down such a bad thing? I suppose not. I still walk briskly and have a pretty sharp mind. It’s subtle changes in desires, actions and staying power. Maybe that is part of aging? Maybe not? I have a feeling that I’ve been in denial and those close to me already get and accept it. After all, I do have a head of white hair and that is hopefully associated with wisdom, discrimination and maturity – and slowing down. I think I need to concentrate on that description of my changes. I have loving family and friends around me who are eager to be together. That’s all that really matters. So what am I concerned about? Nothing serious going on here! Isn’t part of life just acceptance of constant changes?

Other changes in my life that were monumental and real life-changers at the time are now, as part of my past, remembered mostly with very little, if any, emotion. This change has been more insidious, occurring rather slowly and somehow immense and accepted with more resistance; I think because I am equating it to moving toward the end of life as I know it and that I love so much. But other changes were really no different? Yes! Because now I’m closer to the end of my life. Period! And I love my life! But I’ve milked it and am still having a wonderful time and I’m past my expiration date.

So just another change – really nothing new. Only what I decide to attach to it. Perspectives?

Self love, acceptance. Remember, Sharon! Self love, acceptance. And then Joy and Gratefulness!

Carpe diem!

And Namaste,

Uh…Hello….On Aging…A letter to my children, grandchildren and great-granchildren

Hi Ya’ll,

I’ve always felt that I was vital to our family.   Suddenly I feel that I’m on my way out.  I feel kind of grieve-y.  But only for a moment…    I’ve decided that I’m not ready to be “relegated”… and I’m going to stay as involved with you as you’ll let me.   The thought occurred to me that maybe with my “labels’ of Mom, Grandma and Great-grandma, that you’re judging what I’d like and not like because of your preconceived ideas of age – I’m here to tell you – NOT!… please keep an open mind about age and check with me before you decide?

So here are some of my thoughts…no one ever talked to me about aging but I feel that I’d be cheating all of us out of many good times and memories if I fade out gracefully.  I’m not very excited about that option.  So here goes…

Maybe this is simply a cycle of life – in fact I’m sure it can be – for some people.  Not us.  It’s not in my frame of reference…

Do you know that even though I have white hair and more than a few wrinkles, I have a sharp mind and a loving heart.  Still.    That hasn’t changed.  My appearance is not in agreement with how I feel inside.  If I had no mirror, I’d totally believe that I’m still in my late 30’s – well maybe early 40’s.  I feel the same now as when you grandchildren were born.

Even though I’m a GG now – a great-grandmother, my energy and interest in life is still as intense as it has always been (other than being slowed temporarily with my darn broken foot!).    The day may come when I don’t have as much energy and am a little slower but I hope you remember that I waited for you when you were a little slower and needed a little more care and attention.

I’m finding I have mixed feelings about the labels of Mom, Grandma and Great-Grandma.  On one hand, I love the memories of the little voices calling me, and the same voices as they became adult sounds and still calling me.  On the other hand, they are labels and labels are distancers….and I’m feeling a distance that jolts me.

Some of you have wanted to change your names as you found new identities.  Now it’s my turn.  I want to have no other label than my name.  Some of you are already calling me GG – and that’s great.  Or you can call me Sharon or MiMi- I’ll answer to any of them.  This may be temporary and maybe not.  Could it be a phase?  We’ll see…

I don’t need guilt, hurt feelings and please, no gifts.  You’re my gift.  Unless you see something that you just HAVE to get for me – to fill your own need.  Just know that the best gift you can give me is an occasional phone call to tell me about a funny memory, your latest news or just that you’re thinking of me and love me.  I love your old notes, I’ve saved all of them – and would love more.  I would like for your note to tell me that you’re so glad that I’m your Sharon, MiMi or GG.   Just joking…well, no I’m not….I’d just love that.  You know the adage..”it’s the thought that counts”?  Those thoughts are my gifts and when you write them, I treasure them and can re-read them when I need you and you’re busy with your life.   I love it when you text me a random picture of where you are or what you’re doing.  It lets me know you’re thinking of me at important times in your life.

I know and love that you all get together and have wonderful times.  But when it’s appropriate, please remember to invite me – remember that I’d love to be there with you.  I just love watching you, laughing with you, eating with you, remembering with you…just being.   Making a few more memories.

I’d really like to say that I don’t get my feelings hurt – but I do.  I’d like to say that I don’t feel alone sometimes – I do.  I’d like to be strong and mean it when I say that my memories are enough to get me by – but they’re not…I want more, more, more…

I love you,

Sharon, aka GG, MiMi

Today the sun is shining! In more ways than one…

I’m on R&R.  I’m with my sister.  In her home.  Away from my city and in her territory.  It’s where she’s lived her entire life.   It’s where we grew up but the area and people have changed.   My childhood haunts are long gone.   Stores have different names.  Few landmarks remain.  And the old memories are interesting and intense…

Being with my Sister is being with the best part of me.  I hear about the closeness of twins – that describes my closeness to my Sister.  It’s been so for as long as I can remember.  When we were younger, we kidded that we thought we were each other.  Family and friends referred to us as the cup and saucer.    Hmmm…   Now that we’re in the later years of our lives, we still have a wonderful sisterhood and friendship.  In many ways, she is a sense of  “being home” to me.

There are just the two of us in her home during my visit.  I love her husband – he’s been my brother for almost 60 years and I just love being with him too.  But this is a morning of contentment, ease, acceptance, peace, freedom.    My Sis is upstairs writing and I’m downstairs writing.    We met in the kitchen for a few moments earlier to say that we were headed back to our rooms – and laughed.

I’m so grateful that we still have each other in our lives.   I chuckle when I think back over the stages of our lives, hairstyles (a lifetime of mimicking each others’ haircuts and colors have become a family joke!) and clothes!  So trippy!   So many memories, so many stories.

I just sent her a text asking where she keeps her lemon squeezer.  I kept looking and found it before she answered.  I’ll bet she’s smiling at my second text telling her I found it.   It’s an endearing/not so endearing  ( I feel)  trait of mine – asking before I’ve looked very far.  I think my sense of efficiency (why spend time looking if someone knows the answer already) sometimes prompts me to ask before I look for very long.   (Qualifier….And then again – sometimes I spend way too much time searching for answers –  just for the challenge.)

It’s the littlest things that are making this visit good for my soul.  My sister.  We don’t need words to understand each other but we’ve been known to talk most of the night – and day.  At other times we can sit in the same room playing word games on our phones – with each other!  Or read and not speak for hours.  Our being within eye contact and hugging distance is enough.

Attention, affection, appreciation and acceptance.  My Sister and I.  Basic needs.  Check!

Sister – You are one of the best things in my life, the wind beneath my wings  – and I cherish our relationship.  I love you.

And I’m so happy to be with you again for a bit.

Yes!  The sun is shining!

And will you cut my hair just like yours?


Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 7: Aging Beautifully
Oprah’s Lifeclass – Today’s Question:  What is the best thing and the hardest thing about being my age?



Some Food For Thought….or Some Thoughts On Food

Letters to my children…

Hi My Darlin’ Kids and Kidlets,

Grandpa told me – more than once – that eating the nutrients that our body needs cures many issues that we deal with – addictions, cravings, moods and emotions as well as physical and health issues.  I am becoming a believer!   I see it much more clearly now than I did at the time.  Dad told me often that I needed to have a healthy meal with good protein ready for Dale when he came home from work – that it would help his craving for alcohol.  He also said to cut out sugar – it would help with many emotional issues – depression, anxiety and cravings.

 I’m trying to keep my body in good shape to live well for the rest of my life.  Grandma and Grandpa lived that way and I pooh-poohed it for a lot of years but the older I get, the more I realize that if I had paid attention earlier, I’d be having fewer problems now.  I’m very healthy but could have avoided some serious health issues that I’ve had to face.

 So I’m passing some info on to you.  This note is to help you.  I know some of you kids and grandkids are really into eating as healthy as possible and it makes my day.  I know that you’ll live a better life if you don’t put harmful substances – and garbage into your bods (and minds:).  I know you’ve all heard me repeat what my parents told me – repeatedly – that our bodies are no different than our cars.  They need the highest quality fuel to stay in tip top condition and last a long time.

 I know it’s difficult to care much when you’re young and feeling healthy and invincible.  I pray that you’ll pay attention.  Health issues are hell to deal with.  Aging has many challenges – and most of those are preventable.  Really!   If you study foods and take them very seriously,  listen to your body, pay attention to what you’re eating and breathing – and thinking – you’ll live a much happier, more balanced life.  You’ll never be sorry for the time and money you spend on quality foods.

 I’m inserting this link for Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet pyramid.  It’s simple.  The foods are inexpensive and simple.  Beans – especially pinto and black beans – are a protein staple with pretty amazing health benefits.  Cheap too.  Fresh organic fruits and veggies are a must.

 Potassium is lacking in almost all of our diets.  Supplements don’t cut it and can cause problems in some cases.  You can get all you need with fresh, dark green leafy veggies, a baked yam, a piece of cantaloupe, beans, cauliflower.  Steamed veggies preserve more nutrition.  Microwaving destroys nutrients.  Research the internet and find your favorite potassium-rich foods and include them every day.   An easy way to get a serving of potassium is with green juice.  This sounds much worse than it actually is – just try it and mix with a little juice….Make a green juice with collards, mustard greens, broccoli, parsley, bok choy, carrots, a fresh beet, celery, cabbage (you really wont even taste it in a drink).  You can store it in the refrigerator for 4 days.  I make extra and freeze it.  If you’d like for me to make it for you, you pay for the veggies (about $20 every two weeks or so) and I’ll be happy to do the shopping, make the juice, and deliver it to you.  Lightly steam a little spinach and kale, broccoli, red and orange peppers, a few carrots.   Some foods are more nutritious if lightly steamed.  Put a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them.  A little pepper.   It’s fast, easy, and much easier to take than medicine.  And it will keep you from having to take medicines.   Develop a taste for the good foods.  Be a food snob.  Eat organic and nutritious.  Get a taste for olive oil and balsamic  dressings – or any vinegar.

 Try for a low calorie, high nutrition diet.  Eat a lot of whole grains, seeds, brown rice, freshly ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds are delicious snacks and full of magnesium.  Magnesium promotes sleep and a healthy heart.  Potassium does the same.  Rice bran is tasteless in a bowel of steel cut oats for breakfast.  Add 1/2 tsp olive oil.  You wont taste it and it’ll give you some good fat.  It also helps stabilize your blood sugar.

 Sugar is deadly.    Grandpa quit eating sugar altogether when he was in his mid 40′s and felt it saved his life.  He was dealing with a lot of health issues that improved and cleared when he quit using sugar.   Sugar causes all sorts of problems – diabetes, cancer, heart problems.   My sister, Pat, quit eating sugar because of health and weight issues – she once told me she realized that she was putting poison in her body with every bite of sugar.  She started thinking of it as rat poison and it was easy to avoid it.  If you’re sweet tooth needs a fix, have some fresh fruit.   Eat foods that are in season.

 Organic vs commercial – Dr. Oz and his family eat only organic foods.  Oprah does.  So if you strive for that, you’re in good company.  Apples and potatoes are a must – they HAVE to be organic.  There are lists of foods that contain and hold more pesticides and chemicals than others and they are at the top of the list.  Any fleshy fruit that you don’t need to peel to eat need to be organic.  Leafy vegetables.  Root veggies.  Most veggies except corn, onions and garlic need to be organic.  Fruits that you have to peel to eat don’t need to be organic.   Grains and beans are best for you if they’re organic.  They’re cheap either way.  Seeds – pumpkin and sunflower don’t need to be organic.  Read about chemicals and pesticides on the internet.  Educate yourself about everything you put into your body.

 Apples, berries – blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, marionberries, avocados, pomegranates.  Bananas are nutritious and have a little potassium in them.  Melons.  Mangos.  Pineapples, plums, pears.   Oranges, grapefruit.   Lots of yummy choices.  Drink a half lemon in warm water first thing in the morning.  Mom and Dad did it every morning and promoted lemon to cleanse and protect the liver.  I do it now as well.  There are so many toxins that our poor liver has to process – it gets a workout!

 Fats – Extra virgin, first cold pressed olive oil is less processed than others.   It’s inexpensive at Costco.  Use it for everything – salad dressings, cooking, instead of butter.  It gets rancid quickly so it HAS to be in the refrigerator once it’s opened.  We pour it into wide-mouth small jam jars – any open mouth jar – after we open it.  It solidifies in the fridge and is easier to use if we can dip into it rather than try to pour it.  It’s a good fat.  Avocados are good fats.   Learn to dip bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar – like the Italians.  It’s delicious and healthy.   Butter is deadly and once you lose your taste for it, it’s just awful!  Tastes good but the after taste and sensation of fat in your mouth is really yukky!

 Nuts – especially walnuts – are good fats.  Nuts should be unsalted and unroasted for highest benefit.  You can lightly salt them yourself.  Presalted are way over-salted.  Another thing to watch for in your diet.   We should all have less than 2500 mg of sodium a day.  I challenge you to keep track of your salt intake for a day.  You’ll be shocked.  It takes a little effort to limit yourself to a healthy dose of salt – almost impossible if you eat fast food.   It’s as deadly for our hearts as sugar and fats.  Beware!:)  Learn about it.

 Please be just as careful of foods that you put in your mouth as you are with drugs that go into your body.  Know what’s going “down the hatch”.  Pay attention and live well.  You come from some good, hardy, long-lived stock.  Take advantage of it:)

 I love you….