FRIDAY'S THOUGHT - RELATIONSHIPS

Photo by Hưng Nguyễn on Unsplash

RELATIONSHIPS

All my life I've valued friends and family. They would be the top of my list for what's important to me. I invest so much of myself (and my self-worth) in my relationships with other people. The main downside of that is the assumptions I make - mainly that I assume other people feel the same way as I do.

What I've come to realize over time is that not everyone is as invested in relationships as I am. Some are quite happy keeping things superficial, some are happy with interactions that benefit them with no cost, some only want a friendship if it's on their terms, and some just aren't capable of investing the time and energy that's needed to maintain an ongoing friendship or close contact.

FIRST (MIDDLE) AND LAST PRETTY DRESSES

First, Middle and Last Pretty Dresses - do you have a favourite dress and memories that go with it?

THE JOYS OF A PRETTY DRESS

What's not to love about a pretty dress? My problem is that I don't have the opportunity, or occasion to wear one much these days. Fortunately both our children got married so there was the excuse to go out and buy a Mother of the Bride/Groom dress but before then there were these moments in my life.

MIDLIFE MUSINGS - HOLDING ON LOOSELY

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO

We read so much about not holding on to things - about opening up and letting them go. But, sometimes I wonder if there isn't somewhere in the middle, somewhere where we don't clutch too tightly, but also where we don't give up completely and give it all away.

Wouldn't it be nice to find that balance? To be able to have people and things in our life that we are in touch with, but not owned by. To be able to hold things that are precious, but not possess them or try to control them. To be able to appreciate connection without having to own everything.

FRIDAY'S THOUGHT ~ CHANGES AND CHOICES

Friday's Thought - have you noticed that you've changed and so have the choices you make?

CHANGES AND CHOICES

One of the many gifts of Midlife is realizing you're changing and that the changes aren't all about growing older physically. The wrinkles and the little aches and pains are par for the course, but with them comes the realization that you don't have to put up with all the crud that gets tossed your way.

FIRST (MIDDLE) AND LAST BIKES

First (Middle) and Last Bikes - from a toddler to now and still loving a bike!

FIRST AND LAST BIKES

What's not to love about a bicycle? Or in the beginning for most of us it was probably a tricycle. I went trawling through the old photo albums and managed to find a few pics that reflect the joy (and trepidation) that comes with owning and riding a bike in the backyard - complete with picket fences of course!

MIDLIFE MUSINGS - DEMENTORS

Midlife Musings - dealing with the drama queens and dementors

DEALING WITH DEMENTORS

A while back I wrote a post on people who drain the happiness out of every situation they find themselves in, and every person who takes time to listen to their woes. I called these type of people Light Suckers. They just seem to suck the joy right out of everything.

Then I heard a different term used the other day - a person I know referred to someone we both know as a "Dementor". The person in question is so full of drama and dismay that it is wearying just to be in the same breathing space as them.

FRIDAY'S THOUGHT ~ CONFIDENCE

Friday's Thought - finding self-confidence and proactively keeping it

CONFIDENCE

Something I've always felt lacking in is self-confidence. The ability to own who I am and not let my self-esteem be dented by other people is an area that I've put a lot of work into over the last few years.

So many people seem to possess this innate ability to shine and to radiate self-confidence without any trouble at all. I look at them and think - they're not particularly beautiful, or super smart, or extremely talented, or possessed of personality plus, and yet they are secure in themselves and nothing phases them.

FIRST (MIDDLE) AND LAST

the first and last of different aspects of my life, but there were also a few times when there was a "middle" that was relevant too

BEGINNINGS, MIDDLES AND ENDS

October is here already and I've had another change of direction for this month. I thought that once each week I'd share a walk down memory lane with some photos from my childhood and some from now. I read a prompt from Denyse Whelan's blog last month on "My first car" and it made me smile as I remembered the early days of having my first car, and that led me on to other "firsts" and before I knew it I had enough to keep me going for the next few months!

MIDLIFE MUSING - TAKING OFFENCE

Midlife Musing - Stop looking for reasons to be upset and offended - give others the benefit of the doubt

TAKING OFFENCE

What is it about people taking offence at things? It seems everyone has an opinion on everything and as soon as they meet someone who disagrees with them or doesn't conform to what they expect, they choose to take offence. I think the word "choose" is the vital ingredient here - because we make the choice as to whether we want to take offence or whether we want to give people grace and the benefit of the doubt.

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE

If we were having coffee at my favourite coffee spot this is what I'd tell you

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE

The 29th of September is National Coffee Day so what better way to celebrate than by sharing a virtual cup of coffee with me while I update you on what's going on in my life lately. I love a good 'Taking Stock' blog post, so I hope you'll humour me and sit a while with me in a lovely little cafe I love to visit while I share my news.

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH & FITNESS DAY

National Women's Health & Fitness Day - Fit is not a destination, it is a way of life. (Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash)


NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH & FITNESS DAY

September 27 is National Women’s Health & Fitness Day. It is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages.  Seeing I am not the greatest example of supersonic health and fitness in Midlife (as I mentioned in Monday's post!), I thought I'd ask my great friend, and fellow blogger, Sue - from Sizzling Towards 60 and Beyond to share some of her thoughts on this important subject.

WHY IS EXERCISE SO HARD?

Why is exercise so hard for me? Why couldn't I be one of those women who love getting hot and sweaty at the gym?

THE ELLIPTICAL TORTURE DEVICE

If you read my blog on a reasonably regular basis, you may have read the post I put up a while ago about buying an Elliptical Exercise Machine. It was the next step in trying to keep my Midlife weight gain under control - sometimes it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle and I thought this machine might be the answer to my prayers.

SUMMER AND WINTER THOUGHTS

I've realized that on my personal FB page I'm all about making Winter feel like Summer

THOUGHTS ABOUT SUMMER AND WINTER

I've realized that on my personal FB page I'm all about making Winter feel like Summer. I guess that sums up my personality (most of the time!) I've been through my fair share of Winters and grey times, and in the process I've learned that I like sunny days better. But if there's going to be rain - the least I can do is dance in it (especially if the one I love dances with me).

MIDLIFE - FROM INVISIBLE TO FULL ON

Midlife - what happened to make the pendulum swing from invisible to full steam ahead?

MIDLIFE - THINGS HAVE CHANGED

Another of the questions I've been asking myself lately is why has the Midlife pendulum swung so far? It seems in the last decade or so we've gone from completely invisible to being gung-ho and full speed ahead. 

Have you noticed that every Midlifer seems to be on an adventure? They are traipsing all over the world, running marathons, writing blogs, starting new businesses, throwing big birthday parties, and generally living life on a large scale.

NATIONAL WIFE APPRECIATION DAY

Sept 17th is National Wife Appreciation Day  (Photo by Kristina Litvjak on Unsplash)


NATIONAL WIFE APPRECIATION DAY

National Wife Appreciation day is celebrated on the third Sunday in September (the 17th in this case) - I don't post on a Sunday, but I couldn't resist celebrating this one a day late (instead of National Cheeseburger Day!)

In keeping with the concept of the day, I thought "who better to ask to write about wife appreciation than my own beloved husband?" He tentatively accepted the challenge and took his life in his hands to write about this very sensitive topic! I hope you enjoy reading his thoughts as much as I did - it was a pretty honest account - not sugar coated (unfortunately) but from the heart and that's what really counts isn't it?

NATIONAL FELT HAT DAY

September 15th is National Felt Hat Day - Here's a little about hats and me

NATIONAL FELT HAT DAY

Friday the 15th September is National Felt Hat Day - and I couldn't resist having a little look back at the very few times I've ever been able to wear anything that remotely resembled a warm hat. In Australia our Winters are so mild that there's virtually no need to dig out a hat so the only opportunity I've had so far is when we visited Europe.

NATIONAL POSITIVE THINKING DAY

National Positive Thinking Day - it changes the way you see your world (Photo by Ethan Robertson)

NATIONAL POSITIVE THINKING DAY

The 13th of September is National Positive Thinking Day, and it's all about attitude.... a positive attitude.

The power of positive thinking is amazing - medical studies have shown that people with a positive attitude are healthier and fight illness more effectively than others. Also, people with a "can-do" attitude, are far more likely to succeed at work, and in accomplishing the goals they set in life. They're also nice to have around and bring joy to those they interact with. A positive person lifts the spirits of those they connect with on a daily basis. 

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY FACEBOOK FEED?

I'm not sure why everything has become so political - but I miss my fun Facebook feed

THE GOOD OLD DAYS OF FACEBOOK

My Facebook feed used to be a place where I caught up on the news from my family and friends. It used to be a place where I saw engagement pics, wedding photos, new babies and their parents and grandparents. I got to follow along in the wake of those who were off on fabulous overseas holidays, or just on a weekend away in the countryside. It was a chance to celebrate happy events with people I care about. 

WISHING FOR MORE? OR LESS?

Sometimes I wish I was more by Rachel Martin #findingjoy (photo by Vil Son on Unsplash)

THOUGHTS FROM OTHERS

Sometimes I come across someone else's thoughts and they make me stop and consider. I love it when I read something another person has written and it strikes a chord in me and gets me thinking about things a little more deeply. There's nothing like being challenged and inspired by someone who takes me on a journey with them and leaves me feeling like I've grown a little more in life.

NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY

September 6th is National Read a Book Day - what book are you delving into to celebrate?

NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY

The 6th of September is National Read a Book Day - and there's nothing I like more than reading a great book. In fact, I think I probably churn through two or three a week - and I especially love it when a favourite author puts out a new book.

HOW FULL IS MY GLASS?

Midlife Musings - a question I ask myself is How Full Is My Glass?

HOW FULL IS MY GLASS

One of the questions I've been asking myself lately is to do with the old 'glass half full' concept. It seems we always focus on the glass being half full or half empty, but what if we thought about how full our individual glass actually was?

NATIONAL NO RHYME (NOR REASON) DAY

September 1st is National No Rhyme Nor Reason Day - it's a great start to September on the blog where anything goes!

WHAT'S NEW ON THE BLOG FOR SEPTEMBER?

Over the month of September I thought I'd change things up a bit and: 

1) I'd throw in a few National Days and how they apply to me in Midlife. I even have my beloved husband doing a guest post on one (with a little gentle persuasion from me), and also one of my favourite bloggers doing another towards the end of the month on a National Day that is close to her heart.

2) I'd discuss a few questions that I've been pondering lately - Midlife Musings!

3) I'd do a bit of an overview of life at the moment - while we share a virtual coffee. 

But to get started, the first cab off the rank for September is:

#12 DON'T PERSONALIZE THINGS

Happiness Choice #12 - Don't take things personally - it's not all about you

DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY

My final tip in my 12 Choices for Happiness series for August is to stop personalizing everything. I left this one til last because it's the biggest stumbling block I have in the area of maintaining my happiness. I am a great one for over-thinking everything and taking responsibility for stuff that isn't really about me. I tend to worry about anything and everything and then let that seep into my soul and suck the happiness right out of my day.

There are a few things I need to remember when I want to slow this process down (I'm hoping to stop it one day but I'll take a reduction in frequency as a positive first step along the way!) I've noted a few pointers I'm working on below.

#11 APPRECIATE OTHERS

Happiness Choice  #11 - Appreciate the other people in your life and remember to tell them

SELF ABSORPTION

Life can seem a bit dull and gray at times. We can get caught up in our own little world and forget to appreciate all the small things that we take for granted. We become so absorbed in ourselves and forget to acknowledge the contributions of the people around us. We don't hear the compliments, we don't notice the little acts of kindness, and we wonder why we're feeling a bit flat.

#10 TREAT YOURSELF KINDLY

Happiness Choice #10 - treat yourself kindly - know your worth

KNOW YOUR INTRINSIC WORTH

We all need to find our sense of worth outside of anything we do or achieve. Every time we place our self worth in the hands of others we risk losing our happiness. People are fallible and even the ones we love the most can undervalue us or hurt us. We need to have an intrinsic sense of who we are and what really matters to us to help us smile through the ups and downs of life.

If we let others define our values and priorities we begin to say yes to everything, and wonder why we are left so exhausted and drained. We need to value our time and abilities, and not sell them to the lowest bidder. Knowing our worth is at the heart of learning to treat ourselves kindly.

#9 LEARN TO SAY NO

Happiness Choice #9 - Learn to say "No" without feeling guilty

WHAT IS IT ABOUT SAYING "NO"?

I don't know if it's an oldest child thing, or a generational thing, or a personality thing, but I know I have a lot of trouble saying "No" to people. I want everyone to be happy, I want them to be happy because I agreed to help them. I want to facilitate things for everyone and supposedly in the process, for myself as well.

The problem is that saying "Yes" to everyone and everything usually means I end up over-committed and stressed. I end up running around after other people and not taking care of my own needs. 

#8 SILVER LININGS

Happiness Choice #8 - always look for the silver lining in every situation

SEEK THE SUNBEAMS

A great way to increase the happiness in your life is to choose to look for the silver lining in a situation. No matter how dark the cloud, somewhere in amongst the thunderstorm there is a ray of sunshine. It might only be a tiny sunbeam, but it will be there and it gives us hope and helps us steer through a difficult situation with a degree of optimism rather than letting the situation beat us down.

#7 DON'T GET EMBROILED

Happiness Choice #7 - Don't get embroiled in other people's drama

DEALING WITH DRAMA

One of the many drains on happiness is getting embroiled in other people's drama. You can have your own life under control and going along smoothly, but get hijacked by being drawn into the emotional upheavals of the people around you. It might be a family member, a friend, a work colleague, or a casual acquaintance, but the impact on our own happiness can be quite significant.

#6 CHOOSE TO BE GRATEFUL

Happiness Choice #6 - Choose to be Grateful for the life you have

CHOOSE GRATITUDE

Gratitude would be one of the top contributors to happiness. If we choose to be grateful for the circumstances of our life and the people we share our lives with, then we are well on the way to being happy without having to do much else.

#5 CREATE MEMORIES

Choices for Happiness - #5 Seek opportunities to create happy memories

MEMORIES

As my 12 Choices for Happiness month continues I want to talk about "seeking opportunities to create memories". I read about this somewhere back in 2011 possibly in this post (I'm not 100% sure) and it really struck a chord with me because positive memories of fun occasions instil in us a sense of happiness and are often great ways to combat times when we feel a little bit flat or unappreciated.

Coincidentally, my friend Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 and Beyond asked me to write a guest post for her "Month of Celebrating Life Now" - she turns 60 in August and wants to make this month one big party. I was really pleased to be asked and thought this post on creating happy memories throughout life could be expanded on further - so if you want to read more later feel free to pop over and wish Sue a happy birthday on Thursday when I'm over there too.

#4 CHOOSE TO FORGIVE

Happiness Choice #4 - Choose to Forgive - Forgiving doesn't imply that what someone did to you is okay

CHANGE YOUR VIEW ON FORGIVING

Forgiveness is a huge factor in happiness. Holding on to unforgiveness in our hearts will sap our joy in every aspect of our lives. When we hold a grudge against someone for a perceived hurt we carry that anger and pain around inside us every day. When we feel hurt in our heart and soul from something someone did or said to us then that becomes a driving force in our lives. It can lead to resentment, revenge or just an ongoing sense of misery and unsettledness.

We base a lot of our ideas about forgiveness on the other person seeking restitution and re-connection. We long to hear them apologize and to have acknowledgement of the pain they caused us and the offence we've taken often can't be let go of until this occurs. But what happens if the other person doesn't feel they were in the wrong? What happens when you don't get the apology you believe you deserve? How do you move forward?

#3 RELAX PROACTIVELY

Happiness Choice #3 - Relax Proactively -  'Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.'

THE BUSYNESS OF LIFE

Life has a habit of speeding up and stressing us out. We are always so busy and our timetables are so full. We seem to be on the go from the moment our alarm goes off in the morning until the time we crawl back into bed at the end of a long, tiring day. Stress and busyness are two of the biggest killers of happiness - they stop us pausing and appreciating the moment. They hustle and harrass us and we are left feeling wilted and drained instead of cheerful and on top of things.

#2 DON'T DWELL

Happiness Choice #2 - Don't Dwell - Don’t waste your time being sad, because you’re wasting away moments in which you could be happy.

DON'T DWELL AND DON'T RE-HASH

When you're an overthinker like me, dwelling on things is big factor when it comes to sucking the happiness out of life. The trouble with dwelling is that we don't tend to chew over the good stuff, instead we get caught up on a hamster wheel of rehashing the same litany of hurts and sad feelings over and over again.

We think about whatever upset us and we wonder how we could have done it differently, we play conversations over in our heads and try to come up with better outcomes. The question arises "what could I have done differently?" If I'd done 'X' would I have gotten a different outcome, or what about if I'd said 'Y' would the other person have responded differently? Lots of could haves, should haves and would haves.

#1 CHOOSE CONTENTMENT

The 12 Choices for Happiness - Number #1 is to choose contentment over dissatisfaction and envy

CHOOSING CONTENTMENT

This month I'm doing a series on choices we can make for a happier life. One of the most important choices is choosing to be content with who and what you have in life. Wishing for more and constantly wanting what others have is such a drain on our emotions and our pool of happiness evaporates rapidly.

12 CHOICES FOR HAPPINESS

We need to choose to be happy every day - it doesn't just happen. This is my series on 12 choices for Happiness

KEEPING OUR HAPPINESS ALIVE

One of the most popular series of posts I wrote were the ones from last year on How I lost my happiness and how I found it again. I've been thinking about happiness a lot lately and how easy it is to lose it when we slip into bad habits or when we forget how to nurture it.

MY WINTER KNITTING PROJECT

when the weather outside is frightful it's time to warm up with a little knitting

WINTER DOWN UNDER

While the rest of the world is basking in Summer, it's the middle of Winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere and apparently it was time to take on a new project. My friend Julie has been knitting throw rugs for her family for the last couple of years and finally convinced me to start one of my own. Now, for those who know me as the AntiCraft you will realize that this was no small undertaking on my part. 

So, with that in mind I thought I'd do a quick update on what I've been filling my time with in between blogging, Facebooking, Pinteresting, working, and reading (it's nice to have a bit of variety)......

5 WAYS TO RE-FILL YOUR EMPTY NEST

When the nest feels too empty, it's time to look at ways to refill it

WHEN YOUR NEST FEELS EMPTY

No matter how well we handle the departure of our adult "kids" from the family nest, there will always be times when we feel a bit lost. For some it happens immediately, for others it happens spasmodically, but it happens and we need to find ways to re-fill our nests and move on with our own lives. I've put together five suggestions that might help you fill up your life again.

MIDLIFE AND BEING A HEN

Discovering I am a Happy Empty Nester (HEN) - well most of the time

HEN-DOM

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about being a HEN - an anacronym for Happy Empty Nester. I was patting myself nicely on the back and thinking how successful I was in the launching of my chicks and celebrating the joys of the empty nesting box.

AN UPDATE ON BEING 'ENOUGH'

an update on my word for 2017 "Enough" - am I enough or too much?

ENOUGH

Well, we're more than halfway through the year so I thought it might be timely to look back at my Word for 2017 - "Enough" that I wrote about at the beginning of January. Time has certainly flashed by and in the process I think my idea of "Enough" has changed slightly and now has a different emphasis.

5 TIPS FOR BECOMING MORE "REAL"

5 tips for becoming more "real" - discovering and owning who you really are

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU'RE BECOMING "REAL"?

Sometimes we lose track of who we are and start wondering where to go to get back on track. Today I've put together five starting points to re-discovering the path to being authentically real and authentically yourself. We all need to start somewhere after all the years of being in the background while we nurtured those around us. So here are my five tips to getting started:

DEFINING A "REAL WOMAN"

How do we start living like 'real women'? It begins with defining the term

MEDIA'S DEFINITION OF "REAL WOMEN"

Social media bombards us with images of "real women" - from reality stars, to movie stars, to models, to politicians, to news anchors, and the list goes on and on. But is that really who a "real" woman is? Most of the time these women have been groomed to fit a reality that is not what I see as "real" or even desirable. Who wants to live on lettuce leaves until they die, or constantly be camera ready in case someone takes your photo?

MIDLIFE AND BEING A PERENNIAL

The Perennials. We are ever-blooming, relevant people of all ages who live in the present time,

A NEW DEFINITION OF MIDLIFE

Recently I saw an article on Facebook (where else do you see articles these days?) that introduced me to a new descriptive term for Midlifers - apparently we can now refer to ourselves as "Perennials". 

The term originated from a US internet entrepreneur Gina Pell, who defines the term in the following way:

5 HAPPY AND HEALTHY TIPS

5 tips simple tips towards being happier and healthier

I am the last person in the world to tell people how to be fit and fabulous, but I can give you five tips that help me accept myself and the Midlife woman I have become. It's not about lying on the couch eating peeled grapes (though that does sound good), it's about finding simple things that work and feel right for you - not for the people around you, but for you personally. So, here's my five tips:

TAKING MY EXERCISING UP A NOTCH

When you know in your heart (and your waistline) that you need to up your exercise

FITNESS QUEEN (OR NOT)

I'd love to tell you that the photo above is me at the gym. I'd love to tell you that I am the Queen of Midlife Fitness. I'd love to tell you that I can't wait to get out of bed every morning so that I can run 10km before I eat my raw muesli and drink my green smoothie. But if I told you any of those things I'd be lying through my teeth.

THE BEST DIET FOR MIDLIFE

Forget what the experts say - this is my advice for the best Midlife diet


WHICH FAD DIET IS IT TODAY?

Have you noticed how much diet advice there is out there for women in Midlife? As we hit our 50's and menopause and a slowing metabolism settle in, the kilos creep on and we start reading all these articles everywhere on how to beat the midrift spread, or how to look like we're 30, or how to still look great in a bikini, or how to fight the muffin top etc.

5 BENEFITS OF LETTING GO

Letting go can be scary - but here are 5 great benefits we gain

TIME TO OPEN UP THAT FIST

Often we hold on to things for much longer than is healthy for us. When we finally open our clenched fist and let go of the toxic person or situation in our life we find there are benefits we never expected. Letting go of trying to control everyone and everything frees us to appreciate what we have in our life in its own right without having conditions placed on our acceptance of it.


TURNING OFF THE NEED TO MICRO-MANAGE

Learning that life doesn't need to be micro-managed can be so liberating

HEADACHES

When I was writing about my daith piercing on Monday, I got to thinking about why I had so many headaches in the first place. One of the biggest causes was stress, and my days were full of stress because I needed to micro-manage every detail of my life. This included what I was doing at any given time and also the people who were around me while I was busy doing it. It kicks in big time when I'm facing a new situation or something a bit scary - it seems to be my go-to method for dealing with new situations.

A DAITH PIERCING UPDATE

my daith piercing update - 12 months post-piercing

12 MONTHS SINCE I DID THE DEED

It's a bit scary putting a close up of my ear and face on the screen - all those years of wear and tear are on display for all to see, but you can't show a picture of an ear piercing without having part of your face end up in the picture!

It's been just over 12 months since I took the plunge and had my daith pierced to see if it would help the chronic debilitating headaches I dealt with several times a week for most of my adult life. I wrote a post on it last year after a few months (HERE) to describe what it had been like and what my thoughts were on the process.

5 QUOTES ON OWNING YOUR LIFE

Five Things Friday ~ 5 Quotes on Owning Your Life and who you're becoming


FINDING YOURSELF AND YOUR LEGACY

This week I've been writing about creating a legacy and about Midlife being the time to change things up a gear or two. Time to own who you are as a person and to be authentic. Time to put yourself higher up the list of priorities and to accept any fallout that might come with changing things in your life.

Here are five quotes that I loved that speak to making yourself a priority and not tolerating judgement from others or pandering to the needs of people who don't support you as you move forward in life. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I GET TO DECIDE WHO I AM

I get to decide who I am - no correspondence will be entered into

MIDLIFE CHANGES

On Monday I wrote about Midlife and having the courage to accept the changes that come with it, because those changes are what lead us to creating our legacy. I mentioned in there that a lot of Midlifers are still learning how to own their values and identity because they've pushed those things aside and put themselves second.