I love the holidays and I hate the holidays. The holidays fill me with hope, and they also fill me with despair. The holidays remind me that I am surrounded by loved ones, and they also remind me that I am far more alone in this world than I'd like to be.
The holidays are filled with family, friends, lots of pretty decorations, and baking -- lots and lots of baking. The holidays are also filled what what I like to call bullshit -- lots and lots of bullshit, at least for those of us who feel compelled to live up to some culturally (and religiously)-inspired standard of what American holidays are supposed to be about -- tables filled with happy people, feasts befitting the royal family, an abundance of presents under a $150 tree, and so on, and so on.
I had my son during Christmas break in my second year of graduate school. I decided to go back to school on the heels of a very painful divorce, which involved years of infertility, two failed In Vitro fertilizations and just as many miscarriages.
Starting graduate school represented a new direction in my life, one that did not involve any remnants of my old life. I was a bit of a hot mess during that first year of school, while at the same time enjoying my newfound freedom from a crumbling marriage that was unable to survive the rigors of daily hormone injections, weekly trips to the fertility specialist and heartache; so much heartache.
When I realized I was pregnant from a brief rebound relationship, I was stunned by the news, as well as the irony. I quickly cleaned up my act though and powered through the rest of my graduate studies, because I was certain that in no time at all, I'd be back on track.
A traditional family life was once again on the horizon (albeit with a different husband).
So I have a question for everyone who is middle-aged, single and dating. Just when was it that sexting after the first date became the new normal? At what point in our cultural evolution did it become normative practice to send a text the night after a first date, with the words "nipple" and "naked" in it? I'd really like to know the answer to this question. I am just burning with curiosity as to how this new dating ritual became mainstream so quickly.
I'd really like to know what middle-aged person was actually the first one to say "Hey, I think this is a really good idea. I mean, we've already shared a few glasses of wine and an appetizer, so why not indulge in some dirty sex talk with a naked photo chaser exchanged on our smart phones via an insecure wireless transport?"
And then once all these middle-aged men and women who are engaging in the practice of early-courtship-sexting answer me, I'd like to say this in response: "Stop it! Stop it right now! All of you! I mean it! Stop it!"
As I prepare once again for the departure of my son for college, I find myself reflecting on the gut-wrenching experience of taking him to college the first time about a year ago. The close relationship I have with my son was one reason why empty nesting was such a devastating experience for me. I honestly did not know who I was without him in my daily life, and I wasn't very eager to find out. Even though I always worked, empty-nesting after spending nearly two decades immersed in raising my son filled me with dread and terror.
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 love yoga. Actually, I don't just love yoga, I love, love, love yoga. I love yoga culture. I love yoga inspirational sayings. I love yoga clothing.
I love the concept of mindfulness living that often accompanies the yoga practice, with its emphasis on connecting mind, body and soul. We live in a world that encourages compartmentalization, so I appreciate pondering the concept of greater interconnectedness
About 18 years ago when my son was just two years old I went out for a wonderful dinner with my father. That may not seem like something worth writing about, but it was my first dinner out without my son since he was born, and so for that reason alone, it was a really big deal.
A few years ago, when I first poked my head into the world of online dating, I was perplexed by the seemingly global "no drama!" admonition I was seeing on most men's profiles. As someone with a rather animated personality, I was certain that the no-drama-dating-deal-breaker and its no-emotional-baggage cousin were signs of most men's self-centered, commitment-phobic nature. In fact, I was certain of it.
I have always been a city girl. I was born in the big city of Los Angeles, and I've stuck close to big cities ever since, because, well, I have always been a city girl.
Despite never having fulfilled my dream of living on the bustling island of Manhattan, so far in addition to Los Angeles, I've lived in San Diego, Denver, Seattle, and now Chicago. I have always loved the energy of big cities -- the lights, the diverse people, the sounds, and the non-stop activity. And while I know that being a city girl doesn't necessarily need to be juxtaposed to being a nature girl, for me it always has been -- I've loved big cities, and I'm not a necessarily a fan of nature. Don't get me wrong, I love the outdoors, as long as excessive heat and insects aren't involved. In fact, my favorite way to enjoy the outdoors is with a giant piece of glass between me, and "the elements."
Ever since the Internet was created, I've been using it to dig up all sorts of information on everyone I know. I can't help it; it's in my nature. Well, let's admit it, we've all Googled our friends and neighbors, and creeped on others' Facebook pages. But in my case, it's worse, and at times I have worried that perhaps I've crossed the line and might be in serious need of an intervention.
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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