So what I am taking forward from my 40’s

Its been an interesting journey. One of self discovery. I was thinking about something I am taking forward beyond my 40’s, and its self reflection. I definitely spend more time in analysis and awareness than i used to. Although I think I have always tried to be self-aware. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have been self-regulating. (Some of my less than proud moments). And, I am definitely hard on myself. I think most of us are harder on ourselves and less apt to forgive our faults and errors along the way.

So – all of that adds up to amplifying some of the learnings along the way. I went for a quick walk tonight, and was thinking about the things I carry with me, and the things I have been able to let go of along the way. And, as most of us are aware – its not that we have less personal baggage as we get older. Our lives have been “marked” along the way by these experiences. Our egos, feelings, hearts, minds have been forever altered by our interactions with others. I am finding more that when I am reacting to a situation, I tend to now think about my reaction, and what was the root of it. So, maybe that’s part of what I am bringing forward… more self awareness. More thought about how my past informs reactions and decisions now.

That goes along with the extra XX lbs that I also gained so far on my journey through adulthood. (And no, I wouldn’t read the XX as 20. I will leave it up to the imagination of what that number is). For me, the XX varies and my feelings about the XX vary as well. All in all – gotta love the skin you’re in.

And, speaking of skin – I have had a couple of firsts in the last 2 weeks. I have had my first black eye. I proved I can be less than graceful. I proved my skull is stronger than originally thought. And, I am concluding I do not want to experience that particular situation again. However, it is fascinating to me to see the bruising change colour, and gravity affect its location on my face. And, it really doesn’t hurt anymore.

I also had the pleasure of experiencing the Minneapolis St Paul airport on a continuous basis from one day to another. I found a somewhat quiet corner for myself to sleep in the wee hours of the morning between delayed flights. And, actually thinking about that, it actually showed where people felt comfortable. Sleeping people under airport issued blankets and on chairs, cushions, across benches, curled up in quiet corners were strewn through the large terminal. Delays were rampant that evening for flights. And yet, I found everyone to be incredibly respectful. Most interactions I noticed were patient, and some resigned, but all in all, a sense of togetherness with strangers was experienced. I found a quiet place for myself above the general terminal area. There was a walkway between two sides of the large terminal which was closed throughout the night. But, on the mezzanine before the walkway, above the general gate areas and thoroughfares a few of us found refuge.

So…. taking a few new experiences forward. …. The time is ticking away. I am sure there are other things coming with me to the other side of 50…..


What I Learned in my 40’s, and taking forward….

So I’m bleeding into May with this post (sooo blatantly), as I let my April get away from me. So… that does lead to what I’m taking with me going forward… And I think it is the continued appreciation of the amazing people I have in my life. More than ever, I am in awe, in gratitude, and in the presence of greatness for the people who have been, continue to be, and will be in the future a part of my story.

I was reminded of this as I spent the weekend at a quilting retreat with a dear friend from high school (we have known each other since 5th grade). My mom also joined us for a day of relaxation, peacefulness, whirring sewing machines, whooshing irons, laughter and visiting. (The pictures below are from this past weekend). I am so fortunate that I can share this love of quilting with so many friends, and it has helped introduce me to so many of my near and dear friends. And, to think that this friend from high school started quilting a few years ago with her daughter joining her. It is so cool that we can spend time together in this pursuit which we each developed at separate times, and yet found out after I moved back to Canada that we share this interest. So not only our past experiences together join us, but our present activities and future with that interest give us even more depth to our friendship. How lucky am I?

(We spent our weekend at Back To Nature Retreat – check them out Back to Nature Retreat – amazing place, wonderful hosts – totally recommend!!)

I have deeply missed the semi-annual quilting retreats I used to attend when I lived in Virginia. I still make a pilgrimage down for a retreat every few years (I haven’t been super consistent), but those friends that I made when I first moved to Virginia still welcome me warmly.

I have slowly found more kindred spirits here in Canada with different quilting activities. Some wonderful new friends that I can’t wait to see again at the next opportunity. Some other quilting friends that I knew before I left Canada, and have reconnected with since moving back.

I have such treasured memories of quilting with friends, both new and old, and I am looking forward to where that takes me in my future. Who wants to come along??

What I’ve Learned in my 40’s…. half way through

So my 40’s have definitely been a roller coaster ride…. And from what I’ve experienced in each of the decades leading up to this milestone – its all part of it.

Its all part of the good with the bad. Knowing that even though you’re having a challenging day, there will be a better one ahead. The contrast is what makes each situation more dramatic and noticeable.

I think there are days where I yearn to not have challenges, and to just have a “quiet day”, but then again, what would life be without those? So yes, I’ve learned to be thankful for even the bad days. I think a lot of my 40’s has been leading up to really embracing both circumstances.

And I’m more in tune with my reactions and what is precipitating that result. I can recognize when I am being unreasonable. That doesn’t mean that perhaps I necessarily desire to change my response at that time – sometimes I just want to be difficult. My adult version of a 3 year old’s tantrum.

As we all have experienced, much of life is about compromise. We may not feel we are where we need to be, but to find happiness in the now, and know that it is up to us to be happy in the here and now. That is something that as I age as per the calendar, I am learning to adjust – find the happiness in the current situation.

I have been sitting in nasty traffic before, and if I am not using the time to listen to a juicy audio book, or a particularly insightful podcast, I can crank my music and sing along. Making my own happiness.

So – maybe the next 6 months before my 50 year milestone, I will think about what I am carrying forward into the next decade, and what I will chose to leave behind….

Things I learned in my 40’s… of what’s coming ahead of me

I have been doing some reflection about my 40’s, but I was also not so eloquently, slapped in the face with what’s ahead of me by my doctor.

I am grateful that I have good health.  I consider myself lucky that I haven’t had to consistently take any medications, I have been hospitalized very minimally through my life, and all in all, celebrate good health.  I know that in spite of this, there will be some challenges ahead.

When I saw my doctor last week for my annual exam, I joked with her – “boy, I’m getting the full meal deal today”.  When she asks me – are you taking calcium supplements, and then proceeds to bring up the website for some suggestions of how to ensure that my diet includes an appropriate amount of calcium for my age…  well – it is one way of getting your age marched in front of you and perhaps poking you in your side.

And, then we discuss different health screenings that starts around age 50…  and since I months away from that particular milestone…  I just laughed.

I have learned that you get the best information from your doctor by not being embarrassed about discussing anything with them.  They can best give you advice by knowing everything.  Any little detail that may seem insignificant, can in fact be an influential piece of the puzzle of your overall health.  The most important part of course is your mental health.

In keeping with this, I’m trying to keep my expectations in check. I need to take care of myself. Its a given. Our bodies wear out. We get tired. Our bodies change, but our minds are still seeing ourselves at a slightly different numeric value. So how to reconcile this? Well…. Hmm. I like the fact that I can be goofy, and I have no qualms about getting on the floor and playing with an animal or a small child at my age. Or looking at wonder at something beautiful in nature. I Think that’s okay. I think laughter is and should be a healthy part of my day. Laughing is amazing medicine. So… hmm. Maybe my next career should be a comedian? Cuz I know it sure ain’t gonna be a doctor. At least of medicine. And, I’m almost 6 months into this whole “What i learned in my 40’s.”… hmmmm

What I learned in my 40’s…. Lessons… twice in a month!

Your body doesn’t bounce back like it used to. We have all heard it. We have all been told that. Its true. Its all true.

I had gone cross country skiing on Sunday, and got back, and although I didn’t think I pulled anything, part of my lower back / hip was definitely out of alignment. It kept getting worse on Monday morning, and I was thankful that my chiropractor had availability to adjust my alignment. I was very grateful , as my back kept getting better and better as the day progressed. And now, a few days s later, it’s still a bit painful but not as bad as it was.

So yes, my body is not bouncing back. It isn’t as resilient as I want it to be. That means that I need to take better care of it.

For all of those who are younger than me, please take this to heed – that some things change, and adaptation becomes the word of the decade. The word to embrace as life progresses forward and things change beyond your wishes, without your approval.

My vision of myself varies…. I say that because it depends upon my audience. I went to my 25 year high school reunion. I could admit how long ago that was, as it was about 7 years ago, and it was easy to fall into old patterns, and familiar responses. Crazy. So there is muscle memory and response memory. Most days I feel younger than how my driver’s license informs me. (Okay, so lots of days I act wayyy younger).

But, my body tells me more things than I would like to listen to, however I am encouraged more and more to listen to it. I think I have mentioned before that my personal balance during yoga displays the balance that may or may not be present in my life, to my chagrin. My body defies my thoughts that aspire for me to be younger than my birthday would admit to.

So – lesson? Hmm – some days I am tired of learning lessons. But, more often, I try to be more present for these lessons. And, this one is for me to take better care of myself. I know better. And yet, I spite myself. Not sure why… . Almost like a personal vendetta to prove myself wrong?

I didn’t say being in your 40’s was for cowards – because it isn’t. Good luck!!

Waiting…. and waiting…..

We have set up our society to judge some people’s time as being more important than others. This came out of my thoughts around waiting areas. We design them to be more attractive, to have activities, to feel less like you are waiting. But you are still waiting.

We have so much space in all of our spaces, both inside and outside, that are about waiting; airports, cell phone waiting lots, doctors offices, any office, queuing lines for drive-thru fast food restaurants.

As an architect, I think about how we are tasked to program this space and design it to be more engaging, more active, keeping the people “waiting” to be in a happy place. I personally enjoy using the time as my personal space to do some reading, or some work. I use it as a time of reflection, a time of observance about my surroundings.

I see our society as wanting to get more done in less time. We all want to be more “efficient”, yet we are creating more and more waiting areas, and opportunities for waiting for goods and services.

Retailers have inventive ways of queuing people waiting to pay for goods and services, and often involves some impulse purchase options, as well as letting you know wait times. The last few times I have flown out of the Edmonton International Airport, I noticed that the airport had instituted a display showing waiting time for going through security lines. Along Whitemud Drive in Edmonton, there are signs stating how long to get to a certain exit (I saw this a lot in all sorts of areas that I lived in and have visited in the United States, as well as different places in Canada).

When I was travelling in Italy, I read an article about the security lines at the airport in Rome, Italy that noted that the airport had vowed to reduce waiting lines in the security area, and I believe the objective was 4 minutes. I did find the security lines very quick in Rome – no complaints. How come we aren’t learning from this?

Just some random thoughts… I think about using my time while waiting so that I am not just “waiting” for my life to start… perhaps I still am…. hmmmm

What I learned in my 40’s… Month 4

Yup, I missed month three. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.  I mean, I have enjoyed the careers I have had (yes, plural) but I still quest to learn new things.

I learned in my 40’s that it is good to continue to have that thirst for knowledge.  And, as you get older, the more you realize you don’t know.  I keep getting exposed to new things, and although I have experienced a lot, there is so much more out there.  I realized that I make assumptions about things so that way I put them into a “box”, “mental folder”, or other such location in my mind so that I can understand them.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to fully understand them, but as I get older, I realized I can’t possibly understand, know, or experience everything.

And, at this point in my life, I have looked back on what has happened to now.  What my path looked like.  It sure wasn’t linear.  I admire those who have had such lives.  Mine never has.  But, the twists and turns, bumps and ruts in the path have given me other things.  Have allowed me to roll with the situation and figure out there is another way to solve it. On this current trip to Italy, such occurrences gave me that opportunity to test (again!!) that theory, and yup, things worked out.

I realized that in my 20’s, I was naively plowing ahead, fearlessly going through my days not knowing what I didn’t know.  Now, looking back, I think – wow – I made it through all of that?  And, then I am a bit sad – I am halfway through (if genetics holds true, as I have a 96 year old grandmother still giving the world a good talking to).  I realize how precious my time is, and that I want to spend it doing the most amazing things.  I want to spend it having adventures and wonderful times with friends and family. I still want to enjoy the career and path I have.

I still desire to conquer my share of the world. To influence, affect, experience what’s around me, and hopefully in the most positive way. This ride is short, and I really want to make the most of it.

The learning curve continues. Now to learn what “being in the world this long” really means…….