I have been told how nice I am my entire life. This is usually a great compliment to me. I love it when people tell me I'm nice, because I am nice. In fact, throughout my life I've tried my best to be kind, caring, empathetic and helpful to just about everyone I meet. These qualities are the bedrock on which much of my identity is based.
I have learned over the years though that "nice" is good, but "too nice" is not. "Too nice" is the person who doesn't like to ruffle feathers. "Too nice" is the person who is afraid to set boundaries. "Too nice" is the person who is afraid to say no. "Too nice" is the person who I used to be (and still am, sometimes).
Aging can be difficult, even for the most hardy. Our hair follicles die, our bodies ache, and our skin sags. A few weeks ago I went to a concert and had to stand for five hours and my feet still hurt (and so does my left hip).
And recently I've noticed I have to be very careful with my chin placement, especially in photos (it's either that or demand Photoshop rights from all of my friends and family), because if I don't, my once proud chin collapses into a series of smaller, less proud "chins," sliding right into my neck.
This past winter was the coldest on record for most of the United States, particularly in Chicago, where it was gut-wrenchingly, beyond imagination, bone-chilling cold for month after unrelenting month.
So cold in fact that the mere act of taking my dog out for a quick walk was enough to make me want to die. As spring rolls around and the temperatures warm, it’s given me pause to contemplate my many experiences during my first winter living in downtown Chicago.
First, living in the city is vastly different than living in the suburbs, especially during a brutal winter –not only did I have to take my dog on real live walks (versus quickly opening the back door of my house in the suburbs long enough to shove the little one out into the elements to do her "business" alone), but I also had to walk to work (nine blocks), the grocery store (six blocks), the bank (two blocks) and the pharmacy (three blocks).
When it’s minus 40 degrees outside, with sideways blowing snow, a two-block walk is unbearable; a nine-block walk is a veritable death march.
This winter was also the “season of boots.”
I'm an educator, author, blogger, artist and mom. I came up with the idea of my Aging Naked blog when I hit 50 and my need to be more transparent and authentic overcame my fear of being more transparent and authentic. I'm on a journey, and love the idea of it being a collective one, so let me know if you're here, and feel free share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
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