My New Mantra: “I’m Too Old For This” #MondayBlogs #2old4this

As too many of you know, I struggle with keeping up with social media.  I often feel overwhelmed with the tsunami of memes, messages, Likes, Invites, and other cacophonous clatter that greets me whenever I go to the feed of my Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ accounts.  (Strangely I don’t feel that way when I go to the Reader on WordPress.)  I often think to myself, “I’m too old for this.”  Now I do have some friends older than me who seem to manage their social media threads with grace.  I don’t care.  I still feel “too old” for this.

In yesterday’s Sunday New York Times, Dominique Browning expressed in the most clear (and enviable) prose what I’ve been feeling and why I should embrace that feeling.  In her essay, I’m Too Old for This, Browning celebrates the psychological benefits of getting older, of being able to let go:

The key to life is resilience, and I’m old enough to make such a bald statement. We will always be knocked down. It’s the getting up that counts. By the time you reach upper middle age, you have started over, and over again.

Browning focuses for a bit on women’s perception of their own beauty (or their perception of their lack of beauty) over time.  Until recently, I hated nearly everything about my body:  I’m overweight.  I have fat ankles.  I want straight hair, not hair that waves with a mind of its own.  My skin still breaks out and I’m two years shy of sixty.  Brown advises that we simply reach for the larger sized pants in the closet, the ones we wisely did not give up to Goodwill, and be thankful that we have healthy bodies.  I do try to be thankful even if some of my body likes to roll over the waistband of my yoga pants.

There is a certain freedom in being able to say, “I’m too old for this.”  At my workplace, the atmosphere can be toxic with everyone overworked and each effort to get work done being second-guessed by the politically motivated.  I feel too old for this.  I’ve seen it and heard it all before.  Sometimes I feel like I’m living Groundhog Day every day, except I get the weekends off.  I’m too old for this.

I’m too old to worry myself about social media. If I close my LinkedIn account, will anyone notice?  If I close my Tumblr account, will anyone notice?  If I close my Google+ account, will anyone notice?  More importantly, will I notice?

Now I can spot trouble 10 feet away (believe me, this is a big improvement), and I can say to myself: Too old for this. I spare myself a great deal of suffering, and as we all know, there is plenty of that to be had without looking for more.

I have unwittingly gotten into “trouble” because I was casting about, trying to be involved in an milieu that is better suited to people with short-term attention spans as well as long-term memory loss.  I’m definitely too old to engage in social media dust-ups, innocently or not.

But I do enjoy my blog, particularly the environment created by my blogging community.  It feels like a safe place.  I can be myself knowing that if people don’t like me they simply won’t follow me and that will be the end of that.  And I feel less fragmented when I’m here.

So when I think I’m too old for this, in the context of my writing and blogging, I know that it’s the fragmentation that I struggle with and that I need to correct.  Let’s see if anyone notices when I do.

By the way, Dominique Browning was wrong about one thing:  being too old to have green hair.  Take it from me.  One is never too old to have green, blue, pink, or purple hair.

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On Not Having Children: Childless, Child-Free or Freak? #MondayBlogs #childless

I am the youngest of my siblings: a brother 3 years older than me, and two sisters, 11 and 13 years older.  I didn’t grow up with babies.  While I’m sure I had the standard baby dolls when I was very little, the only dolls I remember are the ones that had boobs.  The ones that were more or less adult, independent.  They had cousins, like me, but no children.  I wanted to be Marlo Thomas, That Girl, when I grew up.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an essay in the Sunday NY Times on choosing to not have children.  “Childless by Choice” is a rather sad essay by Michelle Huneven about she came to be childless.  She had one stark opportunity for motherhood when she was young and single and broke.  I recognized that part of her story because I too once had an opportunity when I was young and single and broke.  Like Huneven, I passed it up.

And like Huneven, I followed with a “series of time-consuming, life-swallowing love affairs” mixed with a fair amount of drinking (and also, in my case, drugs).  We both grew up in families that were short on love and affection, although Huneven’s family far overshadows mine in terms of dysfunction.  As she put it:  “I didn’t trust myself not to recreate the turbulent family I’d known.” And there our stories begin to diverge.  For me, it was more the fear of recreating the turbulent me that I’d known.

When I was younger, I didn’t like myself much, and I didn’t trust myself.  I had flashes of violent anger that frightened me.  For a long time I was convinced I was mentally ill and just got from one day to the next by a sheer will to live.  So the thought of a mini-me running around was horrifying.  But when people talked to me about having children, I would just joke that I was too selfish. I didn’t want to go shopping for anyone but myself.

I would also joke that God neglected to wind up my biological clock.  I can honestly recall only two episodes in my whole 57 years when I even semi-seriously considered having children.  Once when I was 14 and with my first steady boyfriend and we were both saying we wanted to have our own kids as well as adopt a bunch.  Five minutes after that conversation, I remember thinking to myself how crazy that was.  At the time I didn’t even like kids!

The second time was after I had read an essay by Louise Erdrich in Harper’s (May 1993).  She was writing about women’s work, work that includes having children:  “With each pregnancy, I have been thrown into a joy of the body that is religious, that seizes me so thoroughly that the life of the imagination sometimes seems a spare place.”  Erdrich made it sound so soft and fuzzy and warm, an experience that every woman should have.  And I exclaimed to my husband that perhaps I had made a mistake, for it was too late now.

Several years before that essay, and a year before I married my husband, I had my “tubes tied.”  Tubal ligation to be technical.  I was about 30 when my body started spiraling out of control: every month I was beset by heavy periods, knee-buckling cramps, and painful bloating.  I had been on the Pill for 10 years without incident.  My husband-then-boyfriend wanted me off the Pill, concerned that long-term use might lead to cancer.  But what to do?  Neither of us wanted children, at least not right then.  He seemed more uncertain.  My indifference to children in general and antipathy to being pregnant made my decision easy:  I would be sterilized.  That way, if we broke up, he could still have a family.

So there my story again diverges from Huneven.  She seemed to simply avoid chances to settled down and raise a family “until it was biologically impossible” for her to have children.  She did marry (around age 50) and she has enjoyed sobriety for 27 years, but she had to get to that point–the sobriety and the biological impossibility–before she could think that she would be “somewhat willing to be a parent.”  I took a stand relatively early (31 to be exact).  And aside from my brief infatuation with Erdrich’s rendition of pregnancy and motherhood, I’ve never regretted it.

But I know I belong to a club with very few members.  Roughly 80% of women in the US have a child by age 40.  The remaining 20% no doubt includes women who want to have children but cannot.  An article in the LA Times reports, “The percentage of married women ages 40 to 44 who had no biological children and no other kids in the household, such as adopted children or stepkids, reached 6% in the period from 2006 to 2010.”  It is an increase, but it’s still small enough to make me feel like an overlooked minority.

Whenever I meet someone new, whether at work or a social event, I’m inevitably asked, “Do you have children?”  I inevitably answer, “I have cats.”  And I smile.  Often the questioner smiles along with me, but sometimes she also squirms a bit.  I want to reassure her that I’m childless by choice but quickly realize that would make things more awkward.  I am an uncommon phenomenon.

Even when I lived in San Francisco, after my husband and I married and were joyfully spreading the news, people assumed children were in our future.  When my husband told one of his coworkers that we were not going to have children, the coworker retorted, “What are you going to do? Just sit around and stroke each other’s egos?”  Both of us wondered, what the hell is wrong with that?

And for the past 25+ years of married life, we have been happily stroking each other’s egos, with cats the only demands on our time and resources.  I make no apologies.  But after all these years, I still feel a bit like a freak.  If I had had a biological desire to have children but chose not to say, for environmental reasons (e.g., overpopulation), that would be one thing.  If I had had that desire but was infertile, that would be something else.  But there’s been no desire.  Nada.  Nil.  I can’t claim some lofty rationalization. All I can say is “Meh, the biological clock never got wound up.”

A bit of irony comes with this story:  In early 2001, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.  This cancer is precipitated by an overabundance of estrogen, an overabundance usually caused by early menstruation (I was 9 when I had my first period), no completed pregnancy (there we go with the whole not-having-children thing), and obesity (I was not obese, but I was overweight).  Fortunately, it was Stage 1 and resolved through a total abdominal hysterectomy.  I’ve never needed any other treatment, and I’m considered “cancer-free.”  But it was a slap in the face, to be brought down by that kind of cancer, even when I had purposely gone off the Pill to avoid it, and when I had purposely (and literally) cut off any chance of ever getting pregnant.

I’ve gotten over it, though.  It wasn’t long before the happy realization that I no longer had to plan my life around my periods over-rode any Twilight Zone-ques feeling of Karma.  I’ve never identified with my uterus except to resent it’s monthly bloodly and painful intrusions.  Having cancer was scary, but having children for the sake of avoiding cancer would have been stupid.  And, no doubt, if I had, that mini-me would still be likely to be sending her therapy bills to me.

And all is not lost.  As the percentage of women who choose not to have children grows, we might also see an increase in the percentage of people who understand:  https://motherhoodtherealdeal.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/what-youre-not-going-to-have-children-a-mother-finally-understands-why/.

It’s a start.

 

 

 

Why I Give Blood #MondayBlogs


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Dan Rather told me to do it.  Well, in a rather oblique, unintentional way, he did.  It was early 1987.  I was between jobs, just working as a temp until I could find something regular.  My future husband and I were enjoying a quiet evening at home, watching the CBS evening news when Dan Rather earnestly urged anyone who had ever had blood transfusions before 1985 to be tested for AIDS. My future husband got up and left the room.  I started to cry.

You see, I had had blood transfusions–about 3 or 4 of them–in 1981 when I was being treated for a traumatic injury to my right leg.  The hospital was in Oakland, but it’s not like there were no people living with (dying from) AIDS there.  HIV and AIDS was all that anybody talked about.  “Jokes” that gay stood for “Got AIDS Yet” and screeds that AIDS was God’s wrath brought down on homosexuals proliferated.  To have any kind of risk factor was not just a threat for illness but also for stigmatization.  Only the innocent–children and hemophiliacs–were the exception, but often times, not even them.

My future husband never told me or asked me to arrange to be tested, but he knew I would.  While he was out of the room, I picked up the phone.  I called a local clinic in San Francisco, one where they were providing tests anonymously.  The nice man I talked to said I probably would be all right since the hospital I went to was in Oakland, not San Francisco, and my transfusions were a few years ago.  But it was still a good idea to get tested.

I had a two-month wait for my appointment.  It was by far the longest two months of my life.

My future husband (really, there’s a reason why I keep calling him that) and I went to the clinic together at the appointed time.  We had to watch a video detailing all the possible risk factors for contracting AIDS.  I wanted to crawl under a rock.

  • Blood transfusions.  Check. Obviously. That’s why I’m here.
  • Unprotected sex.  Hmmm. Well, I was protected against getting pregnant but …  Check.
  • Multiple sex partners. Uh oh. I did have a brief wild period …………………….. . Check.
  • Having sex with a man who had sex with another man. Damn. But I didn’t know at first ………………………………………… . Check.
  • Drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll.  Of course. (Okay, this wasn’t on the list, but it may as well have been.)

About the only thing I didn’t do was shoot up.  Suddenly my history of blood transfusions wasn’t what scared me.  It was my own pathetic lifestyle before I settled down with my future husband.  A lot of that went on before my accident, before the blood transfusions.  Some of it after.  None of it pretty.

On the way home after my blood was drawn, I asked my future husband what we would do if I tested positive.  The dear, sweet man said he would marry me so I would have health insurance.  I stifled a laugh.  Chances were the insurance company would find me out and refused to cover me.  That was a fairly common occurrence then.  I appreciated his sincerity, but I also knew I could never do that to him.

Two weeks later we returned to the clinic.

My future husband was again with me.  The clinical aide worker carefully opened the manila folder to read my results.  His relief when he said “negative” was so palpable that I had to remark, “You don’t get to say that very often, do you?”

Then I got religion.  The religion of donating blood.  The AIDS epidemic complicated blood donations because, at that time, if you had any of those risk factors, your blood was not wanted.  But people needed blood still.  I had a precious, life-giving commodity.  I didn’t have much money, but I had plenty of blood.

That year I started donating blood and I’ve been donating ever since.  Granted, I’ve gone through some dry spells.  And now that I’m older, I have to take an iron supplement before and after my donation, or wait 16 weeks between donations instead of 8.

But it’s something I can’t stop doing.  Even though I now have enough blood drive T-shirts to open up my own shop with.  Even though I hate needles and sometimes it does hurt (especially that one time when the alcohol hadn’t completely dried … talk about fire in my veins!).  Even though I get faint at the sight of blood.  I just keep on giving.

Those blood transfusions in 1981 weren’t the last time I needed transfusions. At the least, I’m helping myself. At best, I hope I’m helping others.

Oh, and my future husband.  Yes, he became my husband.  Took the whole package of bum leg, AIDS scare, sordid history, and all.

Yes, I Have Regrets: Part 3 (Fini … Encore) #MondayBlogs

Here is an old post from May 26, 2013.  I’m reposting it because today, February 9th, is a very important date.  I do a kind “reckoning” whenever this day approaches, especially if it falls on a Monday.  I had planned to wallow in my darkest thoughts, until I chanced upon this poem by Belinda from busymindthinking.com.  Read her poem, then come back here.

These lines in particular moved me to reassess February 9th:

I would have endured
Much more and far worse
I would have declined
Any opportunity to re-write

I won’t be having a dark day.  I won’t curl up with dark thoughts.  But I will share my story again because it does reflect the long, long journey I’ve been on.  It is part of who of I am and I’m finally accepting the “valuable gift wrapped” within.

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“We all have our baggage, and I think the trick is not resisting it but accepting it, understanding that the worst experience has a valuable gift wrapped inside if you’re willing to receive it.”  -Jeanette Walls as quoted in “Mommy Nearest,”  The New York Times Magazine, May 26, 2013, pp. 18-21.

How odd, I thought, that I should come across this quote while considering another blog post on my many regrets.  As I’ve said in earlier posts, those events and deeds I feel obliged to regret are the ones I could have avoided, those decisions in which the “free will” I exercised should have / could have been different.  (You can find my earlier posts here and here.)  These range from the mundane (gaining weight) to, for this post, a fateful decision to go into work when I should have stayed home.  That last decision still haunts me even though it’s been 32 years, 3 months, 17 days, and 22.5 hours after the fact.

Even though that one fateful decision eventually led to getting a job in an office where I met my future husband, I take no comfort in it.  I tell my husband that we were fated to meet.  I find it hard to see the “valuable gift wrapped” in this particular baggage and so, I argue, it’s a decision that I regret.  I wonder, would you feel the same way if it had happened to you?

Here’s my story:

It was 1981.  I was 23 and living in a California town, nearly 3000 miles from my family home.  I was barely employed, at the time working a few hours a week as a janitor at a candle-making factory.  I had only an AA degree, no skills other than typing, and I had never worked in an office in my short life.  All I wanted to do was go back to college.  I was on the bus on my way to work, after having a disappointing interview with a financial officer at a local private women’s college.  She told me that I had made too much money the year before and they wouldn’t give me financial aid.  I didn’t want to go to work.  I felt depressed and wanted to be alone.  But now I needed money even more so I swallowed my tears and got off within a block of the factory.

I clocked in at 1:00 pm.  By 1:30 pm, I was hanging upside down in the shaft of a freight elevator.  Just a few minutes before, I had rolled a large trash bin onto the freight elevator and was going up to the third floor.  The factory has three floors and my routine was to go to the top floor and work my way down.  The freight elevator had gates on the floors but not on the elevator itself.  It’s like an open, wood and metal, free-standing platform that went up and down.  I had been facing the wall as the elevator went up, distracted by the accumulation of wax and dirt and grease on the wall.  I turned around and saw, as a floor came into view, a man coming out of the stairwell and onto the floor.  It was Ted.  Ted, who worked on the third floor.  Ted, who I only ever saw on the third floor.  I must be at the third floor, I thought.  But the elevator didn’t stop.  It kept moving up.  To my horror, it kept moving up.  I screamed Ted’s name.  I screamed “It won’t stop.”  I reached out and grabbed onto the gates that were affixed to the floor.  I pulled my body through the slowly narrowing gap.  I was nearly free when I felt something catch my right foot and then a burning sensation as my leg was pulled upwards.

I had to flip myself around as the elevator pulled me up and grab onto pipes that lined the bottom of the elevator platform.  I felt hands on me and then someone’s back pressed against mine.  I learned later that one of my favorite people at the factory–Martha Coyote–stood on a box and extended her torso out into space to keep me supported.  I tried to grab her, but panicked cries sent me back to the pipes.  Martha was being held in place and if I had grabbed her, I might have sent her falling down the shaft.

I was told to hang on, they were going to lower the elevator and pull me through.  I had to tell them when to stop, which happened to be the moment when the edge of the metal plate that hung from the platform hit my groin.  They carried me out and laid me down on the floor.  Over and over I said that I just wanted to go to sleep and that my leg burned and felt like it would burst.  They asked me where my purse was, and I said downstairs on the 2nd floor.  And Martha held my hands and I heard someone say that it was just superficial.  Firemen showed up and then the ambulance came and they put me on a stretcher.  When they said they had to take me on the elevator, I cried and begged them not to.

I would be in hospital for the next six weeks, undergoing three “debridement and irrigation” procedures (where they cleaned my right leg and removed more dead skin and muscle) and one 7-hour skin graft surgery.  After I had been there two weeks, my doctors informed me that they had come very close to amputating my leg.  The first complication was apparent lack of circulation.  By the time I arrived in surgery, my foot was alabaster white and ice cold.  By the end of that surgery, some color had crept into my toes so they decided to wait.  The next complication would have been infection.  My leg had been covered with a thick layer of hair, wax, dirt and grease.  It was a mess and everyone expected it to become infected.  But no one was in a hurry to amputate as long as I seemed OK.

I was young and I was willful: two key characteristics for a swift recovery.  My leg didn’t get infected and eventually I was able to move my foot.  I had the luxury of a private room and a long line of friends who frequently visited.  My mom and brother and aunt flew out to see me.  Eventually I got strong enough to move about and make my own bed by resting my leg on a chair or the bed and pivoting around the small room.  My nurses loved me.  For six weeks it was home.

Because I was working at the time, Worker’s Compensation insurance paid for EveryThing: hospital bills, outpatient physical therapy, and mental health counseling.  They even sent me to a training school to learn word processing and a job-search workshop.  They gave me a clothing allowance so I could be presentable at my interviews.  That private women’s college relented and offered me financial support if I enrolled as a part-time student.  And one year and one month later, I was gainfully employed as a word processing operator in an office where my future husband also worked.

But here’s the thing, the rub, the darkness that covers it all.  As I write this, my heart races, my blood gets hotter, my throat constricts.  When I remember that day, I relive the fear, the terror.  But worse than that is the memory, the knowledge of what really happened, the real decision that set it all into motion.  My second day in ICU, the owner of the factory came to visit.  She was, understandably, worried not just about me but also about how my accident might affect her business.  In an accident like this, who is at fault?  The factory owner, the freight elevator company, or me?  She felt compelled to tell me that it was me.  She presented as thinking that I already knew this, that I already knew that I had actually been at the 2nd floor when I saw Ted and panicked.  I hadn’t been at the 3rd floor.  The elevator had not been malfunctioning.  I had been malfunctioning.  I had said I left my purse downstairs, on the 2nd floor.  At the moment I said that, I was lying down on the 2nd floor, my purse only a few yards away.

From that moment, I lost trust in myself.  I could have died.  I could have had a worse injury.  Someone (Martha) could have died trying to save me.  And it was all my fault.

Isn’t the reason why I regret what happened because I still believe that it was my fault?  That in exercising my free will, I made a very bad decision and now have to pay for it the rest of my life.  Is there a “valuable gift wrapped” in this experience that I’ve yet to learn to receive?

If you’ve made it this far in my story, then thank you for staying with me and I will receive that valuable gift.

Emmylou Harris Wannabe

I love Emmylou Harris. I love her singing, guitar playing, and her hair.

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I can’t sing or play any musical instruments, but I have long gray hair. I asked my hair stylist to try and give me the same hair style as Emmylou.

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Cody can do wonderful things with my hair, but she can’t make me look like Emmylou Harris. Well, I guess nothing short of plastic surgery could do that … A lot of plastic surgery 🙂

Now before anyone starts chiding me about wanting to look like someone else, I’ve always been very vain about my hair. (Used to be my legs, but a nasty accident took care of that.) I don’t really want to look like Emmylou Harris (liar, liar, pants on fire!) but I do love her hair. I thought mine had grown out enough for my fav hair stylist to give it a shot. Actually, it’ll take a couple of shots but, in my mind, so far so good 😉

Yes, I Have Regrets: Part 2

In an earlier post, I wrote that I do feel regret over some things I’ve done (or not done) in my life.  These posts are driven in part by the fact that I have less than half of my life to live and I’m still not living the way I want to.  Of course, it’s taken me this long to figure out what I want to do for the remainder of my life (besides eat great food, have great sex, read great books and listen to great music, most of which I do enjoy now).  What I want to do it be true to myself.  Perhaps my biggest regret is feeling that I’ve been living (and am still living) a lie for the past 20+ years.  Career-wise, I’ve taken a path far away from where I originally started.  I was never good at math, abysmal at statistics when I was high school and college, but today I am a “health statistics analyst,” spending my days writing SQL code to make disparate data sets “communicate” so my state can eventually have a complex understanding of the health and health outcomes of its citizens.  Nice work, actually, and it pays well.  But it is not at all what I had intended, and even though the work is interesting and my coworkers are wonderful, supportive, dedicated people, I could walk away and never miss the job, never think to myself, “if only I had written more code.”

My detour began when I was a teenager.  I grew up in a very small, sparsely populated area of the Northeast where the local jobs tended to be at fast-food restaurants.  I hated high school but I loved community college and often wondered if I could make a career out of being a college student.  (I nearly succeeded, having been to five universities/colleges, obtained two masters degrees, finished two years of doctoral coursework and a spattering of miscellaneous classes.)  The problem is I didn’t want to teach, and all my advisers argued that the only way I could write was if I also taught.  As I’ve said in previous posts (and I will say often), I am a shy, sensitive introvert.  I spent most of my childhood trying to disappear into corners and shadows.  In college, I would drop classes if any of the assignments involved presentations (except for those classes I was compelled to take in order to get my degree).  Ironically, because of my foray into public health, the list of presentations I’ve given over the last ten years is longer than the body of my resume.  But I still hate giving presentations.

I just wanted to write, but I was too naive and introverted to figure out how to make a living at it without having to teach as well.  I was the only one in my immediate family who had even set foot in a college, and for that I was an oddity.  Becoming a teacher would have made me even more odd in their eyes.  I kept trying to come up with more marketable plans, ideas for jobs that my family would appreciate and understand (like owning a greenhouse or working in a hospital), but I was very unhappy at every thing I tried.  The only times when I was happy was when I was reading literature, writing, and sitting in class.

So I made a hard left at a detour and moved to the other side of the continent, upsetting my family, not finishing college (yet), not knowing what the hell I was getting myself into.  On the West Coast, I had the opportunity to be true to myself but unfortunately I got stuck in a rut with drugs and drinking and general flaying about.  I was a mess.  It’s a long story about how I eventually cleaned myself up (with plenty of help from someone who is still in my life).  But once I was cleaned up and again thinking about how can I make a living as a writer, I took a hard right on another detour and wound up in the Southeast.  It’s too embarrassing to say exactly where I am.  Although the current fix I’m in has paid well and allowed me to save and anticipate a comfortable if modest retirement, it’s taken a chunk of my life.  Worse, it has nearly destroyed me as a writer.

While I was studying writing and literature, I felt validated as a writer and encouraged by my peers and professors.  But at the time the local job market for writers and editors was pathetic and eventually I embarked on yet another detour, this time into the social sciences.  You don’t write up research findings like you write a short story.  It didn’t take long before I was convinced that I was a mediocre writer.  Only by participating in NaNoWriMo a few years ago, did I realize how I had screwed myself as a writer, let myself down by internalizing the judgments of others.

And now that I’m facing retirement in a few years (hopefully with the same good health that I have now), I want to stop taking detours.  I want to get back on The Path and not believe it’s too late.  This blog is one step in that direction.  Zoetrope.com has made it possible to participate in a writing group without having to change out of my jammies, and NaNoWriMo gives me that somewhat gentle kick-in-the-butt to just sit down and write.  Times like these, I have regrets, but they just give me more drive to make up for lost time.

Yes, I Have Regrets: Part 1

I often claim that I have no regrets, that life happens and it all works out in the end.  Like, if I hadn’t had that accident that nearly amputated my leg, I wouldn’t have received training for a new job and I wouldn’t have gotten a new job at the firm where I eventually met my future husband.  Except I don’t really mean that.  I do have regrets.  Lots of them.  And for that incident in particular (because the accident was in fact my fault), I always think that we would have met up some other way, if it were truly our destiny to be together.  I’m a romantic but not so much of a masochist that I think I should have had to injure myself to meet the man of my dreams.

I don’t wallow in my regrets (at least not often), but I try to learn from them.  Like, when I gained a chunk of weight because (in part) we had moved from an urban area where my feet were my primary mode of transport to the suburbs where the Almighty Automobile rules the streets.  I didn’t make the necessary effort to keep my weight in check so while adjusting (badly) to the odd concept that I had to make time to walk, my clothes got tighter and tighter.

That weight gain was regrettable because there came a time when I needed very much to feel sexy and attractive, and I was anything but.  Just roll me in flour …

Adding insult to fattiness, I’ve had to double-down with exercising and dieting.  I’ve got my waist back along with a more presentable butt, but I still have a long way to go to get back to my pre-suburbs weight (if ever).  At least I don’t feel as self-conscious in downward facing dog as I used to.

Lesson learned is that when the weight comes off, it must stay off.  Think black lacy thongs.  Not an attractive thought where you’re 20+ pounds overweight.  So the weight is being shed slowly but surely, and one at a time the thongs are moving from the bottom of my underwear drawer to the top.

Part-Time Monster

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Best-selling Author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series

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