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Retire Meant: A Few More Thoughts

Blossoming © lynette sheppard

It was a delight to hear so many optimistic, exciting visions for retirement from goddesses in answer to our query. I decided to look up the word “retirement” in the dictionary. Here’s what I found:

noun
1.  the act of retiring, withdrawing, or leaving; the state of being retired.
2.  the act of retiring or of leaving one’s job, career, or occupation permanently, usually because of age
3.  the portion of a person’s life during which a person is retired
4.  removal of something from service or use
Those are some wornout, even depressing definitions. Luckily, we are creating our own definitions and making it up as we go. Most of us baby boomers started out rebelling against the status quo and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. So here is a my definition of retirement: “a phase of life where one’s own priorities and desires dictate contribution to the whole.” In other words, we decide how we thrive and give back – whether it be gardening, mentoring grandchildren, or volunteering. And give back need not mean externalizing – I met one goddess recently who moved to an island to find and create her own “Walden Pond” to her family’s surprise. She follows her passions of writing and living primarily outdoors. So how does she give back? By simply being fulfilled. It’s a joy to be around those who are following their dreams and modeling living comfortably in their own skins.
I’d love to hear your definitions of retirement – post them here in the comments or email them to me at lynette@9points.com.  Here’s to our next great phase!

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Retire Meant – Menopause Goddesses Share Their Visions

Sunrise or Sunset? © lynette sheppard

Several of you responded; others are still thinking about and crafting their replies. Here are some of the visions shared by our readers. Enjoy! I surely did!

MB shared:  “I am not retired yet. ( I am soon to be 56 years old. ) BUT, I’m in college now, dual enrolled for two professions, pursuing a dream to work on my own terms and from home using all the experience I’ve gained working for the healthcare industry for the last 30 years in customer service.  I am 2 semesters away from my first college degree!  And 3 months away from a new credential!

So retirement to me looks like a home office, my dog next to me, my husband running our video game store at the local mall, and being on call for my second job as a Clinical Medical Assistant to get my “people” fix when I need it!

I am glad I’m at this place in my life- hot flashes, weight gain, no- filter -mouth and all.  It’s trying at times, but it’s my life and I’m making the best of it!”

BT responded with these thoughts:  “I enjoy your blog posts very much and just had to chime in about my thoughts regarding retirement.

Recently I had to really give this thought as I realized I had many emotions around it. I’ll be 54 in July. Recently, my 57 year old neighbor retired from a job she worked at her entire career and off to a warmer climate she and her husband went for a few months. While yes, I’d like a little more time in the sun, perhaps doing less at times, I couldn’t help but think what it must feel like to have devoted your whole life, often working more than forty hours a week, to now not working.

It brought up those transitional periods in our lives when we can feel lost, as I’ve felt a few times in my life. I wonder how it is affecting her as she was very devoted to her work. I’ve also been with women going through transition from a job they were very dedicated to until what is deemed “retirement age” and now not sure who they are anymore – as if they lost their identity and sense of purpose.

As I sat with the many feelings, I realized how it’s important to me to keep making an impact with my tribe that I continue to build. And how making a difference is so important to me and leaving a legacy, not necessarily as what I do, but in hopes that I help people (especially women) feel good about their lives and find meaning in them. I don’t see as that ever ends, but something that is so important to me and my own vitality because it feels good to my soul to make a difference where I can.

So thanks for the question and asking for  feedback. I’ll be curious to read what others have to say!”

CH offered these gems: Retirement (“the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work”) . . . well, to me
who had a wake up call in my late 40’s that there was more to life than my narrow
perspective of my job, I think perhaps there is a more enlighten way to view this
transition. Leaving behind the work schedule allows us to connect with life in a whole
new way . . . discovering the opportunity to connect with passion.

I am amazed at the narrowness many view retirement . . . travel. I am reminded of my
soul sister in the NW (Anne Fangman who published her memoir: Mustard Every Monday:
From Secluded Convent to International Travel) responds to those wondering at her
retirement party if she was going to travel? “Been there, done that! I’m going to
stay home and enjoy life.”)

Opportunities abound once we don’t clock in and clock out. Watching friends nearby has
been a wonder to watch as they grapple with the time on their hands and how they
discover ways of connecting with themselves, others and “nature.”

I am looking forward to your posts on retirement!!!

CR shared her experience:  “Time is both your friend and your enemy … you do not have to get everything done today because yes, there will be tomorrow,
you do have time if you choose to have coffee with friends which was not possible very often when you are working..
but you also have funerals on a much more frequent basis …
I find I make it a priority to go to the Y several times a week
both for fitness but because sometimes those are the only people I see all day or all week.
I have started cleaning out my house I have lived here a very long time.. so when something happens My son will not have to do much…
I now have time to learn things i have always been interested in
and not be bothered with stuff I just don’t care about… there are things you do for others because you care about them , but I am much more selective about them.  Time is the most valuable commodity in the world .. and when you retire you realize it is more valuable than you ever realized . I make time to be with people that make me laugh; that has not always been an option .. now it is.
I look at retirement as a gift … and I am lucky to be here.”

BeFabRevolution is retiring on her own terms: “Hi Ladies, I am soon going to leave my nearly 25 year career as a corporate consultant. I have loved it. It has been interesting and often challenging, but I’m just over it. I’ll be 58 later this year and have had an overwhelming need to reinvent myself.

I am “retiring” from a strict schedule, but am too sharp and energetic to not have a new, more interesting challenge.

I have been laying the groundwork for nearly the past 2 years to launch a new business, catering to women age 50+. I launch the business next week. Woohoo!

Lynette, I need you as an expert speaker for 2017!!! I am so excited! I guess my “retirement” comes in being my own boss and being of service in a very different way.”

And a very treasured response comes from my own mother:  “As an 82 year old, find that life is what you make it. For me life is great as i have a great daughter and son-in law. Love is so important !”
Betty    AKa mom

Vibrancy comes to mind when I read these visions. Any other thoughts, insights, ideas? Put them in the comments or send them to me at lynette@9points.com  I look forward to more wisdom, questioning, input. Thank you so much to those who shared so generously! Virtual hugs to you all!

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Retire Meant

Flying Free © lynette sheppard

Fifteen+ years ago, Theresa-Venus and I had one of those life altering conversations. We were going through perimenopause and wondered if something might seriously be wrong with us. No one told us that all these horrifying symptoms and maladies were going to come with the Big M. We thought that maybe we’d be a little warm once in a while and never have to worry about wearing white pants again.

That conversation spawned the Menopause Goddess Group, our book “Becoming a Menopause Goddess”, and this blog. On average, we have 35,000 visitors each month. That reinforces the fact that we are not alone. We’ll keep this site going – well, as long as we keep going.

Theresa and I had another of “those talks” a couple of weeks ago. A few Menopause Goddesses we know are retiring this year and looking forward to it. It got us to thinking, though. What does retirement mean to each of us? In what ways will we create a vibrant life after “work”? What does it look like to each of us to “retire”?

Before we share our thoughts and feelings, we’d like to hear from you – how do you envision retirement? Or if you are retired, what fulfills you? Is the reality of retirement different from your initial vision? What would you share with your sisters about retirement?

We look forward to hearing from you – write your answers and musings in the comments or email lynette@9points.com  Don’t be shy – this site is about women sharing wisdom – we want to hear from you.

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New Year’s Intentions

fireworks for blog
I don’t make resolutions anymore.It’s too freaking stressful to make them and subsequently break them. I do make intentions, however. Intentions for me are large global visions of how I want to live for the next year (and maybe longer.)

I am in the habit of drawing an angel card each morning. The one word on each card serves as a daily focusing, a mantra if you will, for noticing or expressing a certain quality throughout 24 hours.

For example, today, I drew Kindness. Musing on kindness throughout the day allowed me to slow down when my cat was walking all over my keyboard and just pet him for awhile, rather than push him away. Work could wait. And it did. I was nicer to the people I met in town and even to myself, usually last on the list.

Similarly, I’ve found intentions to be helpful for me in focusing on a larger scale, on defining what might be important to me to notice and embody for the coming 365 days. Under each intention are ways in which I might accomplish it, but I am in no way absolutely wedded to them as goals.

That said, here are my intentions for 2017:

Notice and follow Beauty.
Photography
Prose: read and write
Butterflies – follow them.

Artify
Become an Art Activist rather than a politics watcher
App and paint photos
Write

Nourishment
body: exercise, yoga, eat healthy most of the time
mind: Scrabble, reading
spirit: solitude, music, time in Nature

Connection
Spouse: quality time, shared pursuits and adventures
Family: spend time w kids, parents, pets
Good friends: spend time

Celebration
Being on the top side of the dirt (that’s big!)
Each moment
Celebrate What’s Right With The World site

Give Back
Blogs
Healing Images
Art Activism (see above)

I will re-view these throughout the year – maybe find that some are easy to focus on and others need more attention. I use them as a sort of fuzzy logic compass to give my meanders through life a sense of direction and purpose.

I will eventually set goals as I focus more on my intentions – for example, within the intention of music, I want to learn to play ukulele. I’ll need to set a schedule of practice and lessons as well as determine how far I wish to go in this pursuit.

Your intentions may echo some of mine or they may be completely different. I offer mine only as a template and you may find a better way to define your New Year visions. Please share them if you do. That’s how we become Menopause Goddesses – growing and sharing. I wish you all a peace and joy filled New Year.

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Cultivating A New Relationship with Ourselves

Ferntasia © lynette sheppard

Ferntasia © lynette sheppard

One hard lesson we learned – possibly the most valuable of this transition – was that the pivotal relationship we needed to cultivate was with ourselves. When it seems that virtually every molecule in our body has changed, it shouldn’t surprise us that we need to get to know our new selves. That truly is the first step in creating new relationships with our intimates. Oh sure, we all thought we knew ourselves but further examination made us completely rethink that premise. Here’s how we started the process.

Me – meet Me

The mantra of midlife women “I just don’t feel like ME anymore” serves as an call to awakening.  Who WAS I?  More important,  who AM I now?  Perhaps our increased need for time alone has a purpose.  We need to become acquainted with the changeling emerging from the upheaval of our bodies, psyches, and beleaguered spirits.  We must question ways in which we have known ourselves prior to now.

We identify ourselves by the roles we’ve played in family and society.  We also have ideas of what describes us – quiet, outgoing, sensitive, impulsive, etc.  Identities and descriptions make up much of what we think of as ‘myself’.  These roles and ways of being are familiar and comfortable, if not exactly the dreams we thought we would live.  In getting to know a new SELF, we must first relinquish these familiar identities.  We need to let go of them however much they may resemble a life preserver tossed upon the stormy seas of so much change.

We addressed this in one of our Menopause Goddess gatherings with the following exercise.

“Letting Go of the Old Me” Exercise
Cut up heavy unlined paper or cardstock into pieces big enough for one or two words to be written.  (approx. 1/2 inch by 3 inches each is a good size.)  Give each woman 30 pieces of paper and a pen.  In silence, each Venus writes down one role or description on each piece of paper,  eg.  homemaker, nurse, artist, spiritual person, wild woman, sister, daughter, mother, and so on.  When finished hold all your roles and identities in your hands.  One by one, put them down, feeling the sensations and emotions of letting go of each one.  Take as long as needed – noticing how it feels to shed each identity.  When all your papers have been relinquished and your hands are empty, just sit quietly and notice what is left.  How does it feel to be without your roles?  Without your descriptions of who you are?  Don’t forget to breathe.

After 5-10 minutes of sitting quietly in this fashion, slowly begin to pick up your roles and descriptions one at a time.  Notice this time how it feels to reclaim each identity.  Are there some that are easier to take back?  Some that are burdensome or seem irrelevant?  Are there surprises?

If you’ve done this exercise in a group, (definitely the preferred way), those Venuses who wish to may share their experiences.  This serves to deepen and validate the experience for all.

For some in our Venus group, this exercise was deeply emotional, with great pain experienced on ‘giving up’ some of our most cherished identities.  Others were equally surprised at the ease with which some roles dropped away, like burdens laid to rest.  We found ourselves re-thinking the roles we have adopted until now and contemplating releasing those that no longer serve us or others.

The most important epiphany of the exercise involved feeling what was left when we let go of all our supposed roles and identities.  “Something” essential still remained.  An authentic being with value apart from what she does or how she is perceived exists when we give up all our identities.  Each goddess might be well served to acquaint herself with this essential ‘she’. Our ‘aha’ discovery of Self without proscribed identities led us into a discussion centering on another relationship that we wished to cultivate in midlife: our spirituality. We’ll touch more upon this in our next blog post.

This post was partially adapted from “The Big M” by Lynette – ebook version is called “Becoming a Menopause Goddess.”

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Forging New Relationships with Intimates After Menopause Part II

Fractured © Lynette Sheppard

Fractured © Lynette Sheppard

Love Will Keep Us Together – But How?
Closeness in intimate relationship is more than just physical. It’s emotional and mental as well.  What constitutes connectedness on a day-to-day basis?  Shared interests and tasks create an atmosphere for feeling connected.  For some Venuses, the children once provided such a focus.  However, the emptying of the nest means new linkups need to be found.  Other Venuses have been focused on helping their husbands with business or work projects, yet now are questioning whether they wish to continue in these endeavors or to search for interests of their own that stimulate them in new, creative ways.  The first questions for midlife goddesses, who have traditionally as family nurturers (womb-men) been absorbed in the lives and interests of their loved ones, are “what do I really want?”  “What are my interests and desires, independent of others?” “ If I weren’t trying to please, what would I do, try, be?”

We invite you to join us and listen in on the initial conversation:

Theresa-Venus – “It’s hard when your  partner is so into physical activity.  I feel like if I don’t engage in physical pursuits with him, we’ll lose some of our connection.  He’ll just do those things with other friends, and we’ll drift apart.  We’ll lose some of the connection that comes from shared interests. And I also don’t want him looking at me thinking, ‘Boy she’s getting old, she’s slowing down.’”

Beej-Venus – “I tried to learn golf to be with my husband more.  Yet he won’t try ballroom dancing or some of the things I’m interested in.  It seems to me that we better have SOMETHING in common for our golden years.”

Jane-Venus – “I go skiing to spend time with my husband, because he loves it.  But if I’m really honest with myself, I don’t want to ski the runs he enjoys – it’s scary.”

Lynette-Venus- “So where’s the balance between doing what we want vs spending time with them?  How much is quality time and how much is based on our preoccupation with disappointing them?”

Wow, big questions!  We realized that we might have to ponder these and others for a while.  Are we spending time together to strengthen and nurture our relationship?  Do we even enjoy the things we are doing with our spouses?  Are there other ways to connect?  What do we really want?

Sandy-Venus claimed that she has been less plagued by this issue.  “I always knew how to balance my own needs and interests with my spouses.  I’ve only dated four men in my life,” she quipped.  “Of course, they were in thirty seven different bodies.”  The Venuses snorted with laughter.

Courtney-Venus was especially quiet during this interchange.  “What if you’re not sure you want to forge a new relationship?  What if it’s not meant to be?”  The rest of the goddesses turned their full attention to her.  “I’ve been with this man for 5 years now, and at first it was really great.  Most of the time, it’s still good.  But he doesn’t like my children.”  A chorus of “He’s outta here.” “It’s over.” ensued.

After the hubbub quieted, she explained that her children were grown.  Only recently had one moved back home, coming and going “like a ghost”,  still managing to annoy him by being in his ‘space’.  “Holidays are painful, because I love a big family get-together for Thanksgiving and Christmas – and he hates it.”
Okay, Venuses are about support and the search for truth.  We asked her to verbalize the pros and cons of remaining in this relationship.   Although as a group, we felt that the kid issue was non-negotiable, a deal breaker, the decision to go or stay was Courtney-Venus’s and hers alone.  Our job was to help her find a little clarity.  The more she talked, the more she defined what wasn’t working.  “I feel like I’m always guessing.  What did I do now that I didn’t know about?”  “Still,” she sighed.  “ A lot of the time things are stable, even fun.”  Finally, Bobbi Venus asked a pointed question.  “How do you feel when you come home and see his car in the driveway – are you excited or disappointed?”  Courtney’s eyes widened, “I feel sick to my stomach.”

There wasn’t any more to say.  In this way, the Venuses were able to support one of our own in a difficult examination of her life and where it was headed, through listening, prodding, and caring.
Exhausted, we went to bed.

This post was partially adapted from “The Big M” by Lynette – ebook version is called “Becoming a Menopause Goddess.”  It’s interesting that one isn’t ever really done working on these questions – we spent time in every meeting revisiting aspects of relating to our intimates. Over time, we’ve gotten better at creating time and space for ourselves while creating that new relationship (or in the case of two of us, moving on.) One of the things that helped, weirdly enough, was actually reading the book out loud to our mates, so that they could see how universal our questions and symptoms were, how they and we were not alone in working to start our relaionships anew. No longer was it “Why are you like this?” or “What’s wrong?” but how can we address this unplanned change together. It opened a real conversation rather than a disagreement and paved the way for understanding – on both sides. Stay tuned for more on this important topic.

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Pretty in Pink

Menopause Goddesses Sleep in Pink

Menopause Goddesses Sleep in Pink

The Menopause Goddess annual gathering was (we think) the best one ever. None of us actually owned pink pj’s but we were so intrigued by Estroven’s offer to donate $250 to the Avon walk for breast cancer that we all went out and bought some. Rae and I even bought 2 sets so there would be extra’s in case a goddess forgot hers or didn’t have time to shop.

There were even some pink pom poms and sparkly cat’s ears spread about. By the way, Estroven’s offer is still open – $250 donation for a photo uploaded of your own Sleep Pink party by Oct 31. And if a party isn’t in the cards? You can upload a selfie in your pink pj’s and they will donate $100.

Visit SleepPink.com for more info on hosting a sleep pink party and to upload your photo. I’m beginning to like the color pink, just sayin’.

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Menopausal Journey: A Rite of Passage

JENNIFER BOIRE-Montreal author and writing coach Jennifer Boire

I so wished I’d had this book when I was in my forties. Then again, maybe we wouldn’t have needed to start the Menopause Goddess group and this blog and that is an experience that I would not have missed for the world.

Jennifer Boire’s new book, The Tao of Turning Fifty, is a must read for any woman in her 40’s. As a woman rapidly approaching 60, I found it helpful even now. We are continually exploring and reinventing ourselves as we move through our Second Adulthood. The journal exercises and suggestions help us gain focus and clarity as we move through all the stages of later life. Here’s more in Jennifer’s own words. Enjoy her guest post.

Menopausal Journey: A Rite of Passage
There are no official rites – beyond letting your hair go grey and joining the Red Hat Society. It has been largely uncharted till recently.  Our mothers didn’t talk about it; their doctors may have suggested a hysterectomy would make them less hysterical. No one has prepared us for it, so we don’t really know what’s coming, but already in our early forties, things are beginning to change.

I remember not thinking at all about menopause, until one day my period didn’t come, and after a short panic, the pregnancy test came back negative.  Then my period was back again for six months, so I forgot there was something going on.  I noticed my PMS was getting worse though –  I was snarly two weeks out of the month. My emotional landscape was a little out of control – happy one minute then shrieking like a banshee at my teenagers, who were probably wondering where to buy a straitjacket on-line.

For other women, the wake-up call might be their libido is so low it’s dragging on the floor, or they waking up dripping with night sweats, or just being kept awake by the little gerbil running in its cage between 2 and 4 a.m. It can all make you feel like you’re going a little batty.

Just like the story of the caterpillar and the butterfly, you are being transformed. But at first it feels like all your parts are melting down into bug soup. Your will is hiding down around your ankles like pants without a belt. You wonder who you are, what you want, you feel overwhelmed with all the changes going on. Your whole sense of identity and even what you love, is shifting. But in the middle of your darkest night, look up, and notice that in the darkness, wing buds are sprouting. A transformation is on the way.

There is not one day, or one moment that will demarcate the arrival but you feel the fragility of new wings, gossamer things, shining in the sun. You feel the old self peeling away, the old attitudes, the old passions dying and new ones being born.

Your energy begins to return; you fly back into the light.
Have patience. There really is such a thing as post-menopausal zest, once you pull yourself out of the swamp.

Look beyond the symptoms and reframe the experience as a rite of passage. Recognize these symptoms are labour pains. You are in a major phase of initiation into a new Self. All you hear about is hot flashes and night sweats. But menopause is a transition worthy of ritual and self-care; you are worthy of attending to yourself with loving kindness and compassion (knowing that it’s temporary helps).

What Else Helps:
Listen to your body: Your body is your inner guidance system. And the menstrual system is the stress barometer in women, according to psychologist Alexandra Pope. Heed the messages it sends you for rest, and more rest. Doing one thing at a time becomes imperative; multitasking becomes difficult if not impossible. Find activities that encourage stillness, self-nurturing, like naps, yoga, tai chi. Writing in your journal helps too.

Creative Joy:

What did you used to love doing when you were younger? Any right brain activity, like singing, dancing, SoulCollage®, crocheting and pottery, helps you get back in touch with the real you, underneath all those hats you’ve been wearing.

Girlfriends: sharing, talking and listening, just being around ‘sisters’ is what got me through menopause; it’s so good to be seen and heard.
Be gentle with yourself. Release the tendency to want to get everything on your list done in one day. Strike two things off your list, and be satisfied. Repeat after me, I am enough.

The good news is that you will resurface; you will find yourself again in the second half of life. You will come through this rite of passage with greater self-confidence, a sense of maturity and the courage to find your voice. The post menopausal woman is the Wise Woman, the one who gives us all a survival edge.

To help you on this journey, with this rite of passage, check out The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know. See www.jenniferboire.com for a free excerpt.

jenn colour author shot

 

About Jennifer Boire:
Author Jennifer Boire, MA, has published two books of poetry and survived menopause while shepherding two pre-teens through puberty and supervising construction of a new home. She has been blogging about menopause and mid-life since 2006 (over 50,000 hits). In her research and many interviews, she discovered what women need to hear most is that they are not going crazy. She leads Creative Journaling classes and retreats for women at mid-life to help them cultivate faith in their inner resources.

Author of The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in her Forties Needs to Know, she blogs as Musemother. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. www.jenniferboire.com. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTaoOfTurningFifty Twitter : https://twitter.com/Musemother

About The Tao of Turning Fifty:
The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties Needs to Know is what you need to read if you are curious about how to find balance and feel better on the perilous journey through the mid-life transition. With a light touch and gentle humour, Jennifer Boire provides her brand of women’s wisdom on matters such as Where Did My Libido Go? Tango at Mid-Life, Feeling Like You’re Going Crazy, Menopause is Not a Disease, and How to Cultivate Your Own IGS System (inner guidance system).

This is a workbook you can journal along with, answering the thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. Don’t miss the menopause poems at the end of the book, or the appendix of helpful hints such as how to create your own mini-retreat, or the many tips for de-stressing and slowing down.
Social Links:
1.       Twitter : https://twitter.com/Musemother

2.       GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1821370.Jennifer_Boire

3.       Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Boire/e/B001K8YML4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

4.       Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112540365206554143287/posts (?)

5.      Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/musemother/
6.      LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-boire/26/b26/a67
Where to Purchase:
Amazon.com:  http://tinyurl.com/lfcvgwd

Amazon.ca: http://tinyurl.com/nxt2rsv

Indigo: http://tinyurl.com/lxhkdx5

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/kmcdgpw

Check out Jennifer’s Giveaway:
First prize: Autographed copy of The Tao of Turning Fifty, Musemother Relaxation CD, and a $25 Amazon gift card

Second prize: Autographed copy of The Tao of Turning Fifty, and Musemother Relaxation CD

Third prize: Autographed copy of The Tao of Turning Fifty

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sweet Six-ty

Change For The Better © lynette sheppard

Change For The Better © lynette sheppard

Enjoy this guest post by one of our favorite Menopause Goddesses, Saskia Andreola.

Embracing 60 this past year has been far better and, in many ways, serendipitous than I could have imagined when I was that 16-year-old, wildly-impetuous Jersey Girl. The only thing I miss is my butt. A girlfriend of mine use to tease me that I should turn around and introduce myself sticking out my derriere because of the compliments I’d get. I would have rather had her wonderful breasts, as I was lacking in that department.

There are parts of me that have been rejuvenated and enhanced and didn’t come with my genetic packaging; but that’s been a conscious choice. Because the simple truth is that when we look our best, we feel our best, and everyone in our inner circle “wins.”

Running a plastic surgery practice while working closely with patients on a very personal level has taught me that we all have a basic need to be paid attention to and feel recognized. I admire women who choose to age gracefully, however, I’m not one of them…yet. It is a relief/maybe a release not to have the 3-inch heels taking up real estate in my closet. Gone are the tight jeans, long nails and extra time in front of the mirror. I don’t miss them anymore because I’m not interested in pretending to be younger than my hard-earned and well-deserved years on the planet.

These days it’s much more intriguing to me hearing someone’s story of what hoops they’ve had to jump through, lessons they’ve learned and choices they’ve made that makes them who they are instead of wanting to know where they bought their shoes or had their hair done. Doesn’t mean I don’t ask, I do, because to be noticed and to be complimented is one of life’s easy pleasures.

There is a ring of truth to the statement, whether it is fair or not; “When a man gets up to speak, people listen. When a woman gets up to speak, if they like what they see, then they listen.”

Having 5 planets in Leo, born under the sign of the Dragon, and being an 8 on the Enneagram scale has given me plenty of fire this lifetime. Now that I’m 60, it feels great to be comfortable in my skin….of course if it were a little tighter, I wouldn’t complain (smile).

Saskia Andreola RN runs Dr. Clyde Ishii’s plastic surgery practice in Honolulu Hawai`i. She is also one of our satellite Menopause Goddesses. To learn more, click here.

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Jettison the Resolutions and Make New Year’s Intentions

Torch Ginger Blossom © lynette sheppard

I don’t make resolutions anymore.It’s too stressful to make them and break them. I do make intentions, however. Intentions for me are large global visions of how I want to live for the next year (and maybe more.)

I am in the habit of drawing an angel card each morning. The one word on each card serves as a daily focusing, a mantra if you will, for noticing or expressing a certain quality throughout 24 hours.

For example, today, I drew Kindness. Musing on kindness throughout the day allowed me to slow down when my cat was walking all over my keyboard and just pet him for awhile, rather than push him away. Work could wait. And it did. I was nicer to the people I met in town and even to myself, usually last on the list.

Similarly, I’ve found intentions to be helpful for me in focusing on a larger scale, on defining what might be important to me to notice and embody for the coming 365 days. Under each intention are ways in which I might accomplish it, but I am in no way absolutely wedded to them as goals.

That said, here are my intentions for 2013:

Notice and follow Beauty.
Photography
Prose: read and write
Butterflies – follow them.

Artify
App and paint photos
Write
Make jewelry

Nourishment
body: exercise, yoga, eat healthy most of the time
mind: Scrabble, reading
spirit: solitude, music, quiet, butterflies

Connection
Spouse: quality time, shared pursuits and adventures
Family: spend time w kids, parents, pets
Good friends: spend time

Celebration
Being on the top side of the dirt (that’s big!)
Each moment
Celebrate What’s Right With The World site

Give Back
Blogs
Healing Images

I will re-view these throughout the year – maybe find that some are easy to focus on and others need more attention. I use them as a sort of fuzzy logic compass to give my meanders through life a sense of direction and purpose.

Your intentions may echo some of mine or they may be completely different. I offer mine only as a template and you may find a better way to define your New Year visions. Please share them if you do. That’s how we become Menopause Goddesses – growing and sharing. I wish you all a peace and joy filled New Year.

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