Present Tense

Encouraging nonsense

“What if a mid-life crisis is just people going back to who they really are?”

During a conversation on this topic last week, that statement made me stop in my tracks and say a silent “YES”.

What this means is that at some point in middle age, we suddenly realize that it’s just too much work to be someone that we’re really not.

Being a grown-up is serious business.  We’re encouraged to leave behind our childhood passions, fantasies and often, talents in order to be successful, productive adults.  Society tells us there’s no time for nonsense once you hit a certain age.

Sometime in our 40s or 50s, the pull to allow some nonsense back in becomes too much to resist.  We feel the tug of our childhood passions and fantasies or we just decide that the whole nose-to-the-grindstone deal sucks.  We’ve lost our connection to what animates us and motivates us.  We don’t dance or sing or throw a ball around or swing or draw or color or write or cook for fun.

I think the reason that this evolution is often referred to as a ‘crisis’ is because most of the people in our adult lives didn’t know us as our real selves.  We met them in our grown up costumes, with our grown up character firmly in place.  If we begin to stray from that role, it can be unsettling for spouses, children, friends and bosses.  Easier to call it a crisis than to face it and talk about it.

I also think there is a double standard.  Women are allowed this metamorphosis much more so than men.  We can blame or credit menopause for our unusual behavior .  Guys just don’t have that luxury and that’s too bad because quite frankly, a sports car isn’t any more ridiculous than a girls trip to Tuscany; both serve a purpose and that is to let loose.

So, there.  You have permission to give in to your mid-life yearnings.  Don’t call it a crisis.  Call it a reset or a regression or a rebirth.  Take off your hot, repressive, suffocating grown-up mask and let the real you out again.  If other people complain or freak out, let ‘em.  They’ll be in their own crisis soon enough and you can guide them along.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put up a tire swing…..

August 25, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 13 Comments

Kinda proud of me….


I’m very happy to share this with you.  I am a guest contributor to Jennifer Boykins’s new blog “Life After Tampons”.  It’s about growing up, without growing old and how we all need to face our fears.  I preach the gospel of fearlessness as often as possible. Now, keep in mind that doesn’t mean we never fret or worry or have bouts of anxiety, but those things all come with a fearless (and lets face it, fearful) life.

Read my contribution and those of the others HERE

March 14, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , | 6 Comments

Life can be hard…or not

How do you self-medicate?  Statistically, most of us do in some form or another.  I just read that over 17% of adults routinely binge drink; I also read stats that indicate that 1 in 4 of us are on some sort of anti-depressant.

So, really, is life all that bad?  Or could it be that you aren’t doing what you need to for your own health and well-being, minus drugs and alcohol?  To stay physically/emotionally/mentally/spiritually healthy takes effort, but when you have liquor stores and bars on every corner, that’s just easier.  Or when you go to your doc and tell them that you’re ‘unhappy’ or ‘restless’ or ‘moody’ and they give you a prescription, it’s just easier.

We want things to be easy because we’re told our lives are difficult in these modern times.  After all, we have debts and conflicts and blended families and single parents and cultural decline and obesity and ADHD and ADD and bratty kids and horrible bosses and low paying jobs and pollution and wars and pain and suffering and the Kardashians. And that’s just what I saw on the “Today Show”. Yup, it sure sucks to be walking about on the earth in 2012.

So, why NOT drink too much/eat too much/sit around too much/pop a pill too much?  How else can you cope?

Well, you can STOP drinking too much/eating too much/sitting too much and obsessing too much.  Sounds kinda preachy coming from someone who self-medicated with alcohol for much of her adult life, eh?  Well, as they say ‘it takes one to know one’.  I’ve outlined my drinking history enough on this blog, but in a nutshell, I started making the world go away with booze as a teenager.  I continued with this strategy throughout my 20s, part of my 30s and most of my 40s. I’ve quit drinking 3 times, now.

Having been sober for a few years, with new coping strategies in place, I feel like I’ve quit for good, but since I’m an alcoholic, I have to be vigilant to stay off the booze and to not fall into some equally destructive habits.

For instance, menopause and it’s first cousin, peri-menopause have thrown quite a monkey wrench into my physical, emotional and mental well-being.  The symptoms march into your life singly or in herds; they wax and wane and there are times when you just want to escape with our favorite friends: food, booze or pharmaceuticals.

A few hours of relief results in a doubling down of those symptoms, meaning you crave more self-meds and that’s destructive.  Identify your triggers and take a long, hard look at how you’re dealing with them.  For instance, I’ve been working on identifying the things that trigger me to shove carby food into my piehole; bread, chocolate chips, pita chips, coooooookies.  I ended up eliminating them from my diet, thanks to a book I recently read, outlining why those things are so addictive and ultimately unhealthy.  I feel great and have begun eating much more mindfully.

About six months ago, I began using bio-identical hormones for my menopausal symptoms and it’s made a tremendous difference for me physically,  sexually and for my overall quality of life.  My husband and I just read a great book by Dr. Andrew Weil, called “Spontaneous Happiness” that has opened up a whole new holistic medicine cabinet for coping with the physical and emotional aspects of aging.

Be proactive.  Don’t just live for the next bottle of wine to ‘take you away’ or pop those meds that your doctor lazily gave you for “anxiety” or shove another 4 brownies in your mouth and call it good.

Here are some books that I found invaluable in my quest for physical/mental/emotional/spiritual health.  I’m always searching for a better way, so I welcome your suggestions as well.

Dr. Christiane Northrup:      “The Wisdom of Menopause”   Dr. Northrup’s book is an invaluable resource, as are all her books on women’s health
Dr. Andrew Weil:      “Spontaneous Happiness”   Dr Weil is the father of “integrative medicine” and I love all of his books on holistic health
Mark Sisson:       “The Primal Blueprint”   A less restrictive “paleo” diet/eating style that is well-researched and might change the way you eat and feel.

HRC Medical :  This is where I go for my bio-identical hormone therapy.  The website has a lot of information, but many practitioners also offer them around the country.

January 28, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments


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