Birthday Reflections

And just like that, it’s time to celebrate another birthday.

Is it me, or does time really ( seem) to move faster as you get older?

Gone are the days where the only concern was how much play time you had or which friends were available to hang out. Lazy summers and no cares in the world.

Those times in our lives seem rather fleeting don’t they?

But wait. Hang with me.

This isn’t a sappy post, but one I more enjoy doing as a way of reflection on the year gone by.

It gives me opportunity to see areas of growth and areas I need to shape up more.

I’m smack in the mid 50s now.

#50ish

Go me.

I get Aarp fliers in the mail and am close to qualifying for discounts in some places.

Yes.

Yes I will shamelessly work my age to save a few bucks 🤣

I go for my yearly doctor visits and the little 20 something girl checking me in acts surprised I don’t have a bag of meds with me.

Ah well. Whatever.

Age is merely a number that I’ve never allowed to define me.

Have you ever noticed though, how people do? And boy, do some people get bent out of shape when you don’t stay in the box and play by all the same old and tired “rules”.

**yawn** what’s a box?

Like at certain ages there are expected normal behaviors because you’re “that age.”

Listen, I have no problem diving onto a swing and flying through the air when I’m with the grand babies at the park or any other unadultish shenanigans.

The expectation of society is as you get older you should lay things aside, and uh, “act your age”.

Whatever that means.

Just be quiet and fade away…not likely.

So here I am grateful for another year to live, move, and breathe in this beautiful gift we have called life.

Wisdom

I have to laugh as I hear so many of my young friends bemoaning the fact that they are only a couple years from….30.

It does amuse me ’cause I’m well to the other side of that and I know that life is still good, better even, and really it’s ok.

I enjoyed all the decades behind me but I long for none of them. Each one was a season in my life. A season to learn and grow. To gain wisdom and a wee bit of maturity 😉

It is now, sitting in the middle of another decade, that I can reflect how each one was a working out of the woman I am.

Good times, bad times, hard and easy, frustrations and joys, light and dark, every single season was shaping me.

Wisdom is a gift I greatly appreciate and I can see it more clearly now that ever.

Comfortable in the skin I live in

I have always been comfortable in my existence. But getting older has only solidified that.

I’m good with myself.

I don’t say that in an egotistical way, just a fact. To be comfortable with who you are, the very essence of who you are, is freedom.

It means being ok with your good stuff and not so good stuff. It’s knowing I’m not perfect but strive to be the best I can be. I try to remain open and teachable.

It’s also accepting every part of my physical self and never, ever comparing myself to someone else. To do so only would breed dissatisfaction and be an affront to my Maker.

There is only one of me. I will appreciate the gift of that.

No approval needed.

I don’t need approval to be me….and same goes for you. By that I mean at this stage of my life, I know who I am.

I know what I like and what I don’t like. I know what makes my heart sing and what weighs it down. I know how to speak up when I need to in being able to express myself, how I think or feel,or to nicely say no thank you to something.

I know how to stand up and own who I am ( and I don’t mean in a rude or disrespectful way) I know who I am.

It’s not worrying about others or their personal opinions. It’s not being concerned if someone approves or disapproves based on what they would or wouldn’t do.

This past year I’ve…….

Experienced alot of things. Lots of ordinary life stuff, but also bigger events that have challenged me.

I started my fifth year with this blog. It’s been an outlet in writing but my main goal is to keep offering sensible, sane, realistic lifestyle and fitness encouragement and help. I’m blessed by all of you who take the time to read, comment, and offer words of encouragement back to me. I’ve slowly built my own brand as Sassyfitnesschick and plan to keep offering my own flavor of health and fitness tips, all with a side dish of sass 😉

I trained for, and finished my second duathlon. I also again, took first in my age group. I cannot tell you what a challenging yet fulfilling event this was for me. The training as much as the cold,rainy, miserable race day all shaped me in a different way.

I learned more about resilience,tenacity and a whole lotta stubbornness in me.

Ok…well.. the stubbornness is nothing new 😉

I recently was talking to hubby about something and I said ” I don’t quit” to which from behind his glasses and iPad I get a snort followed by “realllyy??”

And then…”Well that’s not a bad thing”

And I don’t. I jump into the deep end with anything I do and I give it my all.

This month marks my one year anniversary since I started my little vintage business last year. When I jumped in I thought I’d try a few months and see how it went. Before I knew it I had hit the 6 month mark. Spring time I moved into a bigger space ( and bigger rent) yet somehow each month it seemed I was to keep going.

Last month when I was notified the lease on building wasnt being renewed and I’d have to either uproot and move elsewhere or just fold it all up and…quit…well that just wasn’t an option. And then there was a perfect space just waiting for me…and now I’m in and settled and can hardly wait to see how this year unfolds.

As a writer, who has a blog, it’s hard for me to not observe people. As a very social creature it’s quite easy for me to interact with just about anyone. This year I’ve met some interesting people, and not always people who look “normal”. By that I mean they are colorful in their clothing choices,word choices,art work on their bodies or offbeat fashion style, not to mention colorful personalities. I find that refreshing. I love how they are good at pushing back against the norm. Long ago, when my oldest was in a rock band, I learned not to judge books by their covers.

My home could often be filled with big men in all black, wearing tons of makeup, plenty of piercings and other non- main stream looks. Yet under it all were sweet guys who loved raiding my cookie jar. Being reminded of those truths makes it quite easy for me to appreciate those who march to the beat of their own drum.

That’s how life works right?

Day by day it unfolds full of the daily norm, the unexpected, the high’s and low’s and if we look for it, plenty of joys too.

The unfolding of this last year has shown me ( more than ever) that I really can do anything. I’ve learned so much more about mental discipline. It’s the strength and unwillingness to quit which spills out into everything I do.

New challenges can be hard and I strive too let them to do the work of making me stronger. I’m facing some now and am trying to remind myself of this.

Getting older isn’t some horrible thing.

Some will never have the chance to experience it.

What’s horrible is remaining unchanged, unyielding, holding onto grudges, judging, poor behaviors, or personal slights, refusing to see different view points or being unwilling to listen to how another person sees something. It’s horrible to age and still hold onto things that should’ve been let go of a long time ago. In my opinion those things are far worse than getting older.

I think age really, is a huge state of mind. I believe how we view it impacts how out loud we live all our days.

My goal is to do it gracefully, to love well, to continue to be open and teachable, to learn and grow from this ride called life, and most of all, never, ever quit.

Cheers to a new year!

Do What You Can’t

You-must-do-the-thing-you-think-you-cant-do

 

“Do what you can’t”

It was a clip off of a commercial that was on. The tag line jumped out at me.

I let the words breathe over me for a few moments.

“Do what you can’t”

It left no room for considering something as impossible… unattainable… or out of reach .

Like.. just do it.

I considered those words a bit longer. I remembered an acrostic I had seen on “I can’t” years ago.

I

C- certainly

A-  Am

N- Not

T-  Trying

I thought of the times in my life those words had crossed my lips. I’ve entertained those less and less as I get older. I’ve done enough crazy things to realize that really, I can.  I just need to train my mind to get out of my way and do it.

I thought of the times I’ve heard people say that. Sometimes in regards to things that they want to do or sometimes it’s in regards to what I’ve done ( oh  I cant run…can’t lift weights… can’t….)

Listen, I couldn’t either a few years ago. Once my mind got out of the way and I let my body do things it’s  naturally made to do, It was crazy how it turned into…

watch me.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the things I’m considering scare me. They scare me ’cause I start thinking those thoughts…can I do this? Am I able?

Those thoughts of self doubt scare me a bit more than the thing I’m considering taking on, if  I’m being honest.

Why? Because I let doubts creep in about my abilities… but I’ve learned .. I can really train myself into anything.

How I think. How I approach life. My attitude towards things. How I take on new physical activities .

So as I considered that little phrase it just made me think of the times I’ve  taken on the things “I can’t”.

Fear has no place there. Insecurities have no place there. Self doubt has no place there.

You know what happens when you push through and take on the idea  that you can do anything?

It’s empowering. It builds confidence .You feel you can take on the world.

What big thing do you want to do ?

Go back to school? Lose weight? Take on a new project? Pursue a new fitness goal?

What do you need to remove from your thinking to accomplish something you think you can’t do?

You are only limited by your mind and the self imposed limits you put on yourself.

Go do what you can’t.

 

 

Things My Mom Taught Me

My mom passed away last year in the early morning hours of April 24, 2014. I won’t ever forget the day she quietly stepped out of this world as it was also my daughters 16th birthday.

I miss her.

I miss her sometimes in ways that crush my chest and leave me feeling breathless. There are moments I still can’t believe she isn’t with me. Grief is a weird animal and yet, another blog I have yet to write on. I think perhaps, in a way, I’m still kind of afraid to sit down and write about it. I don’t like pain but I also understand there is healing in pain too.

Ah well dear reader in another moment I will feel up to tackling that topic because I know there isn’t a person on this big planet who won’t walk through the avenue of grief at some point in time.

But for now… for this post… I’m reflecting on things my Mom taught me. Maybe in a way, some type of tribute to her for what she invested into me and my life.

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Circa…. mid teen’s…….

Her first born and only daughter ( my brother would come along 15 months later) we shared a close bond and enjoyed many similar things. She was always proud of me and supported me in everything I did. I can’t tell you the times I’d show up at the hospital and some member of the hospital staff  (whom I’d never met) would see me and say… “you’re that marathon runner, aren’t you?” My mom had pics of me running hanging in her room and she took every opportunity to tell a new victim  person about my activities.

Marathon running ( and training) of course requires a tremendous amount of strength, physically and mentally. I learned a lot about being strong from my mom.  I am grateful in the last few months of her life I was able to recognize that strength in her in a new way and see how I had been blessed to have that as a part of my makeup. I don’t mean strong physically, although I am, I mean the deep strength of a woman who goes through difficulties and can stand under them. One who learns to move through the storm and grow in the process. A woman who chooses to keep seeing good and joy even in the face of hardship and difficulties.

A woman who makes a choice to fight back and not curl up and die. Strength. My mom embodied that and I’m grateful to be molded in a similar way.

Moving into fall and the approaching holidays makes me miss her more acutely ( I encountered this last year) the changing of seasons and upcoming festivities reminds me how much she loved and embraced all activities from now through New Years.

I’ve missed her enthusiasm and planning of dinners and activities. The plotting of menus. The brainstorming over gift ideas. She approached the “holiday season” with a childlike enthusiasm.

So I’ll start with this… she put a love in me for all things holiday. With the first crisp of fall air pumpkins, scarecrows and her homemade pumpkin bread showed up. Thanksgiving was always accompanied with some new recipe she wanted to try and her “gifting” was to deliver pies to suit every tastes for each person who would be there.  When I say they dragged like, 12 homemade pies over to my home, I’m not exaggerating. Last year her gifting was sorely missed. I bake but don’t put the spread of pies out like she loved to do.

Christmas? Oh my goodness. It was a time to bless not only her family, but anyone in need she could find. Christmas was (is) about giving, sharing and family. She baked goodies to share with everyone she had connections with. Our home was always decked out ( no wonder I’ve grown up and my home is always all dressed up. Imagine my shock when I learned not everyone went through such effort to celebrate)

Special cookies. Stockings gently used from years of being hung with care. The anticipation of Santa’s arrival.  Putting cookies out. Late night Christmas eve service. The picking of just the “perfect” tree. ( to this day… I want a big one. I have 12ft ceilings so why not ??) The lights. Evergreen. The Nativity set carefully arranged honoring Christ’s birth. The old cardboard village with the ( lead!)  Barclay Santa and skaters nestled around it (this is my FAVORITE Christmas display which I’ll share in another post) Every area with something tucked into it.

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Mom and I our last Christmas together December 2013

My kids have grown up loving it and their friends have viewed it as going to a Christmas shop at times 😉 It makes the work all worth while. There’s something magical…. and that is the thing I guess my mom ( and grandmother) gave to me and I’m glad to give it to others.

I do so many similar things… traditions. Traditions that now my grown children want to do… there is something satisfying in that. Traditions involve family and a sharing of events that have been passed along from each generation.

She taught me how to invest into my family, my husband, to cook, bake, sew, keep a home, artfully arrange flowers, and make beautiful things. To be a cheerleader and encourager. I learned a Mom keeps things spinning.

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My wedding, 31 years ago. Can I mention, she made my amazing dress? And did my flowers ?

Random things were meant to be celebrated. A good report card? It was Friday? Nailed a new job ? Successful on a test or something challenging? Whatever… there were simple moments that were worth something celebratory.

She modeled loving sacrificially in marriage. She went through many difficult things with my dad, one of the biggest was his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s a few years ago. She would share some things with me about dealing with him but as a mom, I know, sheltered me. Since I’ve had the responsibility of caring for him in this last year I see some of what she dealt with and feel bad I didn’t really understand to offer her more support in the difficulty of what she dealt with.

She taught me as a mom, that a mothers love is bottomless and that no matter what she was always there. Even in her last days she was concerned about some difficulties I was currently going through and insisted I talk about it. I miss being able to share those things with her.

She taught me how to love and be loving. How to give freely and from whatever I have.  To be generous and selfless. To be kind to others.  I learned to be content with what I have because if you aren’t content, then you are ungrateful for all you do have. I learned about working hard for what you want and not having an attitude of expecting to have things handed to you.

She told me about God and faithfully took me to church. She put me in a place that in the years to come would allow me to move into my own relationship with Him. She taught me how to love and trust Him.

She taught me to embrace life and that every single day we are given is a pure, sweet gift. She encouraged me to see the beauty of the world around me and always pointed me to the fact we had a Creator who had fashioned all we see.

On being a woman… she taught me things that I value so much now….

How to be a lady. To act classy. To stand up straight ( in my …younger years… I hadn’t embraced or become confident in my 6’0 frame and sometimes tended to…slouch) I’m grateful I learned how to carry myself with confidence thanks to her “encouragement” 😉

She taught me to be proud of myself and my accomplishments and to always keep trying no matter what.

I was raised to be polite, courteous, and respectful.  On the flip side, I was also taught to stand up for myself and take nothing off of anyone.

I learned how to use makeup so I enhanced my looks without ( in her words) “looking like a clown”. I was schooled in the wearing of high heels so I didn’t “clop along like a girl who fell off a tractor” haha (My mom always had some lovely visual illustration to use)

let me tell you… today….I can rock a pair of high heels like no ones business… thanks mom…..

She often reminded me that being a woman, wife, and mother required some time to step away for myself and that was an ok thing to do.

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A Sunday afternoon hanging out. Me most definitely pre-transformation days…

My mom was an amazing,strong, passionate, loving, generous and giving woman. I’m so blessed to have had her and her influence for almost 50 years of my life.

I do miss her tremendously. However, if somehow, I can carry on and share the things she taught me, her life will continue to live on as well.

And hey… if you still have your mom.. right now… call and tell her you love her and thank her for what she’s taught you.