“Gotta leave that 9-5 up on the Shelf and just enjoy yourself.”
Spring 2018 I will put the 9-9 (my work hours) up on the Shelf permanently. No more answering to merciless bosses and endless hours of overtime trying to make ends meet.
Looking forward to a future with limitless time for myself, my brother Stephen and my true passions in life! More Free time to write, improve my photography skills by taking classes, and Travel!! Sleep anytime and as much as I want! Free to meet up with friends, socialize, join a gym and pursue a fitness program. Free to be Me!!
Wisdom. Understanding. My Truth. Freedom. Moving towards my 3rd Act ~ Age 60 but not yet there. What aging was for my mother’s and grandmother’s generations is a whole new ballgame for me and I’m a Free Agent enjoying the ride.
I’ve been thinking about how I see myself as opposed to how other see me. Slowly I’m freeing myself from the constraints of youth. Actually I’m happier and more pleased with myself that I ever was 30 or even 20 years ago. I’m not running behind or chasing some man. Nor am I desperate to be in a relationship. Even in the face of emotional pain and heartbreak I have the courage to step away from a relationship that I know will never work and is not meant to be. I ignore the preconceived notions of what a woman should be. Of course like every other human being on this earth I deal with insecurities, fears, obstacles, all human faults and fragilities. After all you gotta break some eggs to make an omelet.
Each decade brings its own crises and a new set of questions and self-knowledge at least for those who are honest. In my 20s was my wild and crazy time. My 30s a decade of challenge where life’s tables were turned as I lost both my parents within the space of three years. My 40s I became more self-aware as my intellectual and academic lives merged and soared higher than a spaceship reaching for an unknown planet. As the economy crashed and burned after 2006 my life also took an unexpected detour actually several unexpected and in some cases unpleasant detours. Turning 50 in 2009 brought new possibilities but new queries. Health challenges via high blood pressure and a mini-stroke, retina surgery, vision loss. Changing lifestyle in my quest towards well-being and dealing with my new menopausal body. My new friend Mr. Arthur Itis who decided to make his presence known in a powerful way earlier this year. Stilling fighting Arthur with exercise but to be honest sometimes Arthur wins!! Yet in my mind I’m dancing. In my dreams I’m still that idealistic eighteen year old young woman who was always ready for the next adventure in life! Nowadays my body does not always obey my minds commands but I’m excited about my Third Act. After listening to Jane Fonda’s Ted Talk on new ways to view aging I’m looking forward to turning Sixty!!
Comfort levels also change as one gets older. In some areas of life one gets not only older but bolder. In other areas there is some hesitation born out of experience and caution. I find it is never good to make split second decisions especially if I’m angry or upset. Sleeping on it and allowing myself a good cry enables me to cleanse my system of sadness and worry. Letting my emotions out vents my soul then I can put things into perspective instead of committing self-sabotage. Also it’s okay to just stop. Stop. Put it to the side until I’m in my right mind. Screw all the people who tell me to keep going. Everyone needs a break. Sometimes I just need to sit for a few hours, day’s maybe even weeks and veg out.
Why be overwhelmed just to satisfy all the folks who want me to be strong, to be some fake, phony Super Woman who does not exist. Even I’m guilty of looking at a girlfriend’s life and asking, “Why does she stay in that situation? Why not just pick up and leave?” But in their life as in mine there are always extenuating circumstances that I will neither know nor understand. Hidden motivations that keep them in place because it is not yet time for them to move on.
There are thousands if not millions of voices out there disguised as “Life Coaches” and “Motivational Speakers” who demand you take control of your life on their terms but only you can make that decision. Only you know when is the right time to move onto the next phase, stage or level. As the Bible says you cannot put new wine into old wineskins. The most important voice you need to listen to is your own.
Despite the fact that financially I’m struggling that struggle does not define me. I still pursue my writing and photography dreams though I may never “get paid.” Writing and photography are my heart and soul passions that are beyond material gain. There is no need to sacrifice who I am to meet the outlooks of society. Art is Life! Back in Feb. 2014 when I turned 55 my Theme Song was I’m Still Here. Next year I’m Bringing back Sexy because it never left. By Age 56 Feb. 2015, I’m Taking it to the Next Phase! Third Act ~ I’m on my way!!
Youth said “Dreams Never Die.” Twenty years passed then Recession kicked in. New Realities were born. Twelve hour workdays became the norm.
Like a drowning man Dreams surfaced again and again only to plummet down to the watery deep. All the while knocking at 1% door watching them through one-sided window laugh, play, drink and party with no thought for the ‘Morrow’. We the unseen only imagining free time for our dreams.
Dreams that must wait until Social Security beckons if death does not reach us first. Fore bread, water, warm clothes and a place to live cry louder. Goodnight Sweet Dreams. May you one day resurrect to a New Dawn.
Surrounded by a plethora of people who seemed to surface like bloated corpses after spring thaw. Worker bees we are all meaningless specks of dust being recklessly scattered by blustery winds. Modern day Robber Barons throw battle weary soldiers back into the battle while they sit sipping tea in Ivory Towers. Thirty-seven years a professional, now placating rot breath Sabbath suits long in tooth, visions of Mammy dancing in their heads. Limestone Liver spotted wrinkled bone bags befoul the air with endless demands. Dontcha know Miz Daisy learned to drive herself and the Help all went to the French Rivera.
I am Hagar cast out of my prosperous household, denied by the Master and Mistress I once served. Thrown out of my protectors’ house my Dream-child and I await Our Avenging Angel of Salvation.
My Dreams now dead buried under work obligations, mountains of rules and regulations that I seem to constantly violate just by being. No miracles exist for me. Only years of mindless drudgery ahead. Millennial Overseers govern my every move with their remote control mind games. Freedom lies dormant within my imagination. My brain has been put out to pasture because intelligence is not needed or wanted and creativity has become a sin. Automaton Me clad in nondescript dull uniform easily replaceable by the next set of hungry hands yearning for the pence dispensed from the rich mans table. Hey!! Who’s next up on the Auction Block?!! Come lock step into the Plantation Mausoleum filled with objects which are valued more than drones who guard them. We be Aliens in our own Land. Serfs never reaping a hard earned Harvest.
Yet soon a New Day will Dawn, Dreams will bear fruit and Visions be reborn.
Spiritual Spring Cleaning: “Purge items and photos that remind you of destructive people or forces, which perpetuate negative life-story patterns. Spring is a great season to begin a new chapter, but you’ll need a blank page to get started.” — Bajay Pitter
Strategies for Deliverance
I love seeing formerly battered and abused women go from victims to Victory. Being a survivor of domestic & sexual violence I can relate to the pain and sufferings of women trying to escape abusive relationships. Even after being delivered from my abuser physically it still took a long time to be delivered mentally and emotionally. I’m still on the road to complete deliverance but at least I’m further down the road than 6 years ago.
The pain is there. It’s real. I’ve learned I must speak my pain but not to dwell within the pain. I must not make a home inside the pain. One of the ways to move past that pain is to destroy any reminders from that time period. I kind of had a waiting to exhale moment. No, I didn’t burn up his clothing but whatever he left inside my house went into the garbage that included clothing, computer junk, his old business cards, anything related to his pigeon hobby, and any photographs of him.
I especially found destroying the pictures to be a type of Cleansing Ritual. It was therapeutic because I was symbolically as well as physically removing my abuser from my life. It was the first step towards healing. I can remember during the time I was with my abuser I went to a Women’s Retreat with my church. One of the things our Pastor’s Wife had us do was to write our fears or challenges down on little strips of paper and throw them into a fireplace. Fire represents a form of purging and casting photos of the abuser along with the bitter memories into the flames is cathartic. Think of it as conducting our own personal “Burning Man” ritual. Of course depending on where you live and if you live in a house or an apartment it may not be practical to build a bonfire in the backyard or sacrifice our kitchen stoves at the risk of violating our city’s ordinances or creating pyrotechnics worthy of Mrs. O’Leary’s bovine arsonist.
A safer and less risky ceremony would be to take every picture of your abuser and run them through the shredder. This would accomplish the same fulfillment which is to banish this person as much as possible from your life. Now for me it was easier because we only had a common-in-law marriage and did not have children together. For those ladies who have property and children in common with the abuser this might become more difficult but still doable. If there are children involved I’d save two or three photos for the children to have once they become adults but I’d place those pictures in a safe deposit box or a strong box located in the basement, attic or a close family member or friend’s home to give the kids an opportunity to decide what they feel and make their own personal decisions upon reaching adulthood.
The objective is to begin the process of purification. Wash away the slime, filth and dirt off our bodies and out of our lives. To arise from the ashes like the Phoenix reborn, renewed, and ready to rebuild our lives. Today take up the shattered pieces of your life and build something brand new. A new beginning. A new identity created and defined by you not your abuser or outside detractors and naysayers.
Graduate from the School of Hard Knocks don’t take up residence there. Resistance is not futile. Do not be assimilated into the Hive. Our identities and self-worth do not reside within another person but within us. The power to become free resides within us.
There is a Reset button to life. Not to move us back to before our relationship with the abuser but now knowing the signs, how not to be so needy to return to those destructive relationships. How can I Love myself and build up myself so I can attract healthy romantic relationships. Of course none of this freedom is won overnight.
There will still be days of doubt, fear, and frustration but those are the days when we reach out to our support group, our inner circles for help and reassurance that in time everything will work out.
Today I release myself from the Island of Lost Souls back into the solace of self and community.
My 54th Birthday this past Feb. 27th turned out to be much better than I had ever wished. I have to admit four years ago when I entered the fifth decade of my life that after the initial thrill of turning the Big 5-0 that if struck me that I had made it to the half century point in my life. Questions posed themselves in my mind as to what that meant to be a woman in her 50s. Then came a time of troubles—health challenges. Commands that my body easily obeyed at 25 seemed to take a hellava lot longer now. Suddenly I had a new “boyfriend” named Arthur Itis. He woke me up in the morning. Followed me around all day long and keep me company at night. In fact he was more attentive than guy I’d ever known. Creaking joints Snapped, Crackled and Popped more than a bowl of Rice Krispies. I qualified for the titled of middle-aged Transformer. However by communicating with Transformers I’ve found ways to lessen the effects of that ill-mannered fellow Arthur and one day I hope to banish him completely from my life in favor a lover who inflicts less physical pain.
A few days after my Birthday I learned that my former company The Reader’s Digest is undergoing a Chapter 11 Reorganization. I received a letter in the mail to this effect which indicated phone numbers to call for more information. I learned will be able to collect my Reader’s Digest pension next year when I turn 55. Also I will be able get my annuity from United Way of New York City. Suddenly getting older is looking better and better each day. Now I’m counting down to February 27, 2014!!
Let’s face it money is a tool that gives us access to more options. Retirement. Once something way off in the distant future is a short five or six years away for me now. Pensions, annuities, retirement, together all mean freedom to pursue my passions, goals, and my deepest heartfelt desires with the means and time to do so. Doing my Happy Dance! Perhaps depending on the amount of money I receive I will be able to stop working full-time and just take a part-time job. More time to engage with my writing, my art, and my photography. More choices. Life rapidly expands to 55 flavors, way more than Baskin-Robbins without the stomach upset!! LOL!! A new confidence has arisen within my soul. Hell yeah!! It’s time for another Tattoo maybe an additional piercing to celebrate this great Victory!!
Fifty-Five is the magic number for pensions, annuities and senior housing. I’m not sure if you knew this but you can apply for Senior Housing in New York City at age 55. I plan on doing this next year. Now all my dreams are doable. I see light at the end of the tunnel. Next year I could actually travel on my vacation instead of staying home. Hallelujah!!
Another blessing in disguise is kind of silly but I’ll share it anyway. I’ve finally gone one entire year without having a menstrual cycle which means I’m now officially in Menopause. No more periods. No babies. No need to use birth control, of course I stopped using birth control years ago, but if I do meet a nice gentleman I no longer have to worry about becoming pregnant! Yeah!! Hip! Hip!! Hooray!! Naturally until I meet the right man I’ll continue to be celibate. Another good thing about being a woman in her 50s is that I’m no longer controlled by my libido or my hormones. I’ve become more selective and celibacy is an option that I will continue to embrace while still finding joy with my physical body and my enhanced sexuality as an older woman.
Financially Free, sexually free with time to engage in meaningful activities and relationships. Being in my 50s does not mean less than but more than ever. An elevation to a higher level of living. A greater share in life’s blessings.