I stepped on my glasses yesterday. They were laying on the ground, on the brick pavement part of our back patio, because I’m a brilliant genius. That’s right. Not just any kind of genius. A brilliant genius. Luckily, I was wearing cloth house slippers. The damage could’ve been worse. My expensive progressive lens sat perfectly unharmed – not even scratched – within frames that were bent like a flimsy wire hanger from the dry cleaner’s.
A few hours later, I headed to my optometrist with hopes that the frames could be fixed. While I was there, I did what people naturally do when they’re in a room surrounded by glasses frames: I checked out the glasses frames.
To my dismay, I found a pair that I really, really liked. The entire room, I lamented to Callaghan, is like the cash register lane where they stock things they know you’ll consider buying just because you’re stuck in line with nothing to do but look at them.
I do not need an additional pair of glasses. I just felt like I needed them. My replacement frames were on order (100% covered by the warranty), and I was still sitting there staring wistfully at the unnecessary glasses frames. Callaghan coaxed me away so we could leave. “Allez, allez! On y va!” He said as he walked away from me, leaving me no choice but to follow him. (Classic French husband move.)
So here’s what I’m thinking: I’ve been waiting for and wondering about and anticipating my well-earned mid-life crisis so much that now, every time I get a wild hair up my ass, I think, could this be it?
Maybe this glasses thing is my mid-life crisis, since it fits the cliché: I have this sudden, strong desire to blow a stupid amount of money on something I don’t need. (“Stupid amount of money on something I don’t need ” converted to U.S. currency = anything more than $25.00, maybe $30.00 if you include shipping and tax.)
If this is it, I’m disappointed. The object of my irrational desire should be something more mid-life-crisis-ish. If this isn’t it, then what will it be, and when? Will I reach the end of my natural lifespan and finally realize that I need a Maybach? I do tend to be a late bloomer.
Totally unrelated because I wanted to post a pic and didn’t know what and I wanted to share this small victory with you, anyway: I have a selfie I took yesterday evening when I came back from Body Combat, significant because it marks the first cardio I’ve done in while.
I mean, okay, it’d only been two weeks since my last Combat class, but it seemed longer. Yesterday was the first time in a long time I could get through class without feeling like it was an exercise in dragging myself through wet cement.
Probably not coincidentally, it was my first cardio workout since starting my new medication. It seems that my new treatment plan is working! Despite side effects, I felt much better in class yesterday, and not just because I held back a little on the hardcore. Before the new medication, each Combat class felt successively more impossible; the last one was a disaster.
(02 May 2018 – commemorating my first cardio class since the addition of my new medication! It seems to be working.)
This wraps up my eventful day yesterday. Here’s to a year with improved physical condition… and only one pair of glasses.
I’ve been wanting to continue on the theme of my Darkest Hour post, and I have to confess that I didn’t give it as much thought as I would have liked – but even as I finish writing this, sitting here on my lunch hour at work, I realize that it’s useless to try to compact the mysteries of nebulous life problems away into neat little lines of text. So this is just me, not being a psychologist or a counselor of any kind – there’s my disclaimer! – rambling a little about life and crises and regret and goals and action.
Mainly what I want to say is, things aren’t always as bad as they seem.
You know how when you stare at something really hard, your vision blurs until the thing becomes obscured? Or how, after searching frantically for something, you give up, only to later realize that it was sitting out in plain sight all along… it was right there, but you couldn’t find it? The answers to the biggest questions in life are often like that, I think. They’re maddeningly invisible in their obviousness.
In fact, it seems that quite often, issues arise the more we try to see, look for, search for or find things. When using variations on the sense of vision doesn’t help us to figure things out, it might be time to change strategy.
Furthermore, when searching for “what I want,” that (whatever it is) often turns out to be a mythical beast, and why waste time and energy chasing something that may not even exist? Our hearts’ desires are often illusory in the sense that sometimes, we think we know what we want, but when we get it, we realize that we want something different!
For me, the more worthwhile challenge is to open my mind to knowing what I want – more in a process of discovery, rather than a searching for. If I (at least) believe that I know what I want, I can take steps toward getting it. I can set goals and strive to make things happen. Motivated by the ambition to reach my goals, I’m exempt from the struggle to find the answer to ultimately meaningless questions like “what do I want to be when I grow up?” and the tedious preoccupation with “finding myself” that I’ve seen bog people down until they’re lost in the confusion they’ve made of their existences. I try not to overthink my life and myself.
And as much as I like to joke about it, I don’t think I actually believe in the concepts of “mid-life crisis” or “identity crisis” or “existential crisis.” There’s just crisis, and the practice of labeling it and applying definitions to it only gives us more tools of procrastination we don’t need.
A difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention.
Of course we all experience crisis, but everything can’t be a crisis. Just because we’re dissatisfied doesn’t mean that we’re “in a crisis.” There are degrees of difficulty and danger, for sure, and it’s always good to be aware (stay alert to stay alive!), but funneling our energies into taking the situation apart from the inside out usually doesn’t lead to anything but mental and emotional fatigue and frustration. We end up building apathy into the self-defeating cycle we’ve created, and that’s where we get stuck.
It’s blissfully liberating to realize that we can use that same energy to fuel our own productivity… and on our own terms.
It’s worth endeavoring to become a creator and collector of goals, both long-term and short-term. It’s worth trying to become a dedicated collector and keep those goals in sight, lined up all nice and neat.
Success, victory and triumph are personal, even intimate degrees of measure we construct for ourselves. It’s not just the day you win at a competitive event wherein everyone can witness your badassery. It’s more meaningful the day you can say, “Hey! I’ve finally stopped making that one mistake.” It doesn’t matter if you had to make that mistake five or ten or a hundred times before that. The growth still happened. You developed as a person. YOU did that for yourself, and in doing that, you gained freedom from old restraints.
Regardless of where I am at any given moment, as long as I can look back at my own life and note progress happening somewhere, in some realm of my being and existence, I feel successful.
And what of regret? I want to address this briefly, too, because it’s another thing that can drag us down.
Regret doesn’t have to be a spirit-crushing specter overshadowing our lives. Aside from the inevitable random moments of thoughtlessness in which we speak or behave carelessly (if we’re human, there’s no avoiding these moments – all we can do is learn how to handle our blunders with grace), there are difficult times during which we’re likely operating in “survival” mode, meaning that our thinking is foggy, or we aren’t thinking, at all. We’re distracted and worn-down by an onslaught of challenges that causes us to see everything as a threat. We’re propelled to action, and sometimes, in the urgency of the situation, we misdirect that action, making decisions we might later wish we hadn’t. We can make bad judgment calls regardless of the goodness of our intent. It just happens sometimes.
But it’s easy – too easy – to look back on these moments years later and feel regret, guilt or shame when we’re no longer under duress. Berating ourselves from that detached standpoint isn’t fair to our past or current selves. We can wallow in regret, or we can grow from our experiences by taking away lessons offered through them.
Regret is something we can manage by recognizing any mistakes that may have caused it and accepting that we made them, with gracious allowance for the external factors that comprise “circumstances.” Then we can gather our hard-won nuggets of wisdom and relish the satisfaction of a more mindful moving-forward. We can proceed with a purposeful energy infused with something akin to defiance and rebelliousness, that revitalizing energy that allows you to be the surfer standing on two feet at the crest of the wave not only with determination, but with joy, as well. We can commit acts of joyful courageousness on our quest to attain our goals. There’s a sense of liberation there, and the view is stunning.
This brings me to the subject of balance, but I’ll save that for another day.
Aging doesn’t concern me much. Sure, I’m aware in terms of health and wellness, and I tailor my routine and lifestyle as needed, but what I mean is I don’t go around “feeling” my age. Thus, when I recently started getting spam like this:
…in my email, it kind of threw me off.
When I got the first one, I blinked and re-read it a few times, and then it was like, Seniors! Okay. I get it. Then I thought, But why did this spam come to my email? Followed by, Oh… right. Duh! I was born in 1968, which my email knows, because when I’d created my account, it demanded that I enter in my Date of Birth. “Seniors” generally refers to the 50+ crowd,* so I guess once you’re within five years of it, you get picked up by the radars that detect your impending age-based qualification for the senior dating scene. Qualifying as fresh meat a potential member of the senior dating pool means that you qualify for all the spam and junk mail that goes along with it, including the junk mail warmly welcoming you into the AARP fold.
(I snort, but I do plan on joining AARP when I’m 50. Discounts all over the place as an achievement award for 50+ years of surviving life’s… ups and downs, shall we say? Sign me up!)
My Ex was 10 years older than me, and when he started receiving AARP stuff in the mail at around age 48-49, he was not happy. I, on the other hand, thought it was cool.
Anyway, the trickle of senior dating site spam into my email inbox has begun, to my great amusement. At worst, it’s disconcerting. I just don’t feel or think of myself as belonging to an age demographic that would prompt spam from senior dating sites.
I’m a “near-senior,” and the spammers know it… because they know everything about us.
If I was single and looking to meet people on dating sites (senior or otherwise), I would have to go all out and embellish my profile with inelegant, poorly-lit, mirror-reflected selfies, like these ones that I took yesterday:
Complete with an old ASU t-shirt.
…and Nounours’ leg on the bed behind me!
At any rate, I think I’ve decided that I’m over the “plotting my mid-life crisis shenanigans” thing. It was more fun to think about it than anything, though getting behind the wheel of that Corvette was assuredly very fun, and my mid-life crisis window of opportunity is still wide open. That being said, the time has come to anticipate and plan for SENIOR STATUS mayhem!! I have been alerted by the spam in my email.
What should I do first? Maybe I’ll carry out my life-long threat to train for and enter amateur figure competitions, because now I could compete in the “Masters” level category (in bodybuilding and in other sports. “Masters” in athletics means “Seniors”). Heheh.
Happy Friday, All!
*I don’t think there’s a standard, across-the-board age requirement for “senior status” in the States. I think in order to qualify as a “senior citizen” in the U.S., you have to be of retirement age, which is still 65… but you only have to be 50 in order to join AARP, whose acronym yet stands for “Association of American Retired Persons.” (By the way, adding on to that contradiction, could someone please explain why an organization calling itself the “Association of American Retired Persons” has a section called “Job Resources” in its sidebar, with links to pages like “Job Hunting Tips,” “Job Search Tool,” “Start a Business” and “Life Reimagined for Work”?)
Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Hey Fat Choy! It’s the Year of the Horse, and we’re off to a galloping start.
It’s also the last day of January, and I’m wrapping it up with a list of things that brightened my world during the month. Anytime is a good time to celebrate “the little things,” though, I figure.
So let’s start with food, because I stumbled on a great light late-afternoon nosh this month, and I’m eager to share it.
1). A cup of Trader Joe’s Pomegranate White Tea with a LÄRABAR über Roasted Nut Roll (sweet and salty fruit & nut bar).
My current favorite late afternoon energy-boosting combo.
This antioxidant and protein-packed duo bridges the afternoon to the evening really well with just enough caffeine to get you through, but not enough to interfere with your sleep later… and it’s tasty, healthy and substantial. You get a little bit of tart, sweet and salty all at once. Liveliness all around!
2). Learning to drive a manual transmission – Tara’s corvette!
I never would have thought you’d find me behind the wheel of a Corvette!
I’m 45 now – I’m entitled to that long-awaited mid-life crisis, and we all know that where there’s a mid-life crisis, there’s got to be a Corvette. (Hey, I know my stereotypes.) My friend Tara indulged me one night a few weeks ago with her car and her patience, and it was exciting! Thanks again, Tara!
3). Returning to the gym.
I didn’t take a picture of our new gym, so here’s a logo from the web, instead:
We knew when we landed back in AZ that we’d join a gym and start working out. After some lengthy research and consideration, we finally decided everything and made it happen.
Our new memberships came with a complimentary session with a personal trainer. I met with mine the first Friday morning after we signed up. My trainer was nice, although there was some kind of disconnect between us.
“So what are we doing this morning?” He got right into it.
“I’m horribly out of shape,” I told him. “I haven’t worked out regularly in like three years.”
“What do you mean you’re ‘out of shape’?”
“Well, after three years of mostly just sitting around, I’ve become one of those “skinny-fat” people, you know?” I explained. “I’m not overweight, but I’m out of shape, and my body fat composition is probably a mess.”
We’d joined a gym in France, but we went all of like three times, so it didn’t count. I’ve literally been 95% sedentary for three years.
Fitness and martial arts training used to be a serious business with me, as those of you who used to read my LiveJournal may remember. I’d been a dedicated gym rat and student of various martial arts, I went to yoga regularly, and at one point I’d studied to get my personal trainer certification. I never followed through on that, but I read the whole darn book in preparation for it. I also studied nutrition, and I continue to keep up with the ongoing scientific research in the areas of fitness, nutrition and health.
I would have thought that my trainer would measure my body-fat percentage to get an assessment, but he did not. Instead, he decided to kick my ass as if I was in better-than-average shape.
Consequently, the next day, I could hardly walk.
“What part of ‘I haven’t worked out in three years’ was unclear?” I complained to Callaghan later. But still, it was fun. And the gym is super nice. I especially love doing laps in the pool, stretching in the sauna afterward, and then sitting in the Jacuzzi.
4). Starbucks travel drink container
Blinded by the shiny things. What can I say.
This was one of those frivolous impulse purchases, but it was a delayed reaction impulse, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not. I saw a bucket of these cups glinting in the sun at the Starbucks that day we broke down on our way to Palm Springs. It ended up being one of those situations where something catches your eye, you note to yourself that it’s interesting, and you ignore it and move along… then, later, when you’re sitting at home 159 miles away, it pops back into your head with the realization that you would really love to have it, and you kick yourself for not having gotten it. You can’t stop thinking about it. You’re mesmerized by the memory of its lid’s shiny coppery facets. It’s sitting in a bucket in Blythe, California, 2.5 hours away, and you’re not going to drive 2.5 hours just to go get it. Thus, your quest begins… every time you pass a Starbucks, you ask your husband to please wait just a second so I can run in to see if that one carries those cups! until finally one of them has them… at which point you discover that it’s stupidly expensive, but by then it’s become The Holy Grail, so you HAVE to get it.
Now I feel slightly guilty about it, but a). the guilt is not as bad as the mournful feeling I had when I thought I’d missed my chance to get it (first world problem alert!), and b). not really, because I’ve been drinking water non-stop since I got it, I love it so much! And that’s a good, healthy thing. No buyer’s remorse here. Nope. None.
Plus, I discovered that it’s sweat-proof, which is a great feature. I keep it filled with ice, and the surface of my desk stays dry. WIN.
5). Townes Van Zandt and the documentary about him, Be Here To Love Me: A Film about Townes Van Zandt
One of the best music documentaries I’ve ever seen. I recommend it.
In my November favorites post, I talked about my passion for Steve Earle, my favorite country music artist. Townes is Steve Earle’s collection of Townes Van Zandt covers, and it’s a favorite CD of mine because I’m a huge Townes Van Zandt fan. He’s regarded as a “songwriter’s songwriter,” covered by many other musicians, and I find the story of his life to be as fascinating as the brilliant and haunting lyrics he wrote. I mean, as a poet, songs like “Rake” and “Marie” simply floor me.
I love Steve Earle’s Townes Van Zandt covers more than anyone else’s. Here’s his version of “Marie”:
If there was ever to be an anthem for the homeless, that song would be it.
6). The requisite beauty product item on this list has to be the Simple Sensitive Skin Experts foaming facial cleanser.
My current favorite nighttime facial cleanser is by Simple
My Mom loves this cleanser. She gave me a bottle of it when I visited them in December, and it’s grown on me since then, as I’ve used it routinely. It’s almost-but-not-quite overkill for my skin (I have normal skin, and foaming cleansers are usually best for oily skin), but I’m used to it now, and it’s true that my face feels especially clean after I wash with it. I use it at night after I remove my makeup.
7). The girl who hula-hoops on the grass across from our place.
Wednesday morning hula-hoopin’!
I’ve mentioned her before. She continues appearing on the lawn to practice her hooping, so finally I had to take a picture; I feel like it’s a terribly stalker-ish thing to do, but I made sure to avoid getting her face so as to respect her privacy. I wish that her inspirational energy could come through to you in the picture, though. She’s diligent, and she’s a delight to watch.
8). French blue and white toile plate – Luneville “The Cottage”
Blue and white toile Luneville “The Cottage” plate from Callaghan’s family in France. The candle is the “Melt” Lemon Verbena and Sage pillar candle (Nest Fragrances)
What is it with me and small collectable plates these days? It’s a new thing. Also in my November favorites post, I’d talked about the handmade Greek one (Bonis Ceramics) I’d found in the corner of a used bookstore, and since then Callaghan discovered this plate, a family piece from France, in one of his many boxes. Somehow, it immediately found its way to the corner of my desk, where it’s resided ever since. All month long, the sight of it has made me smile.
9). My boys. Ronnie James and Nounours have taken to cuddling so close, they almost look like conjoined twins.
Look, Mom! Parallel arms!
Joined at the hip, those two!
10). Finally, venturing into Callaghan’s office/studio more and more gives me a gateway to the realm of the strange and unexpected as he’s started creating more, and you know me. I love it. Yesterday, I caught this in my peripheral vision as I left the room:
Is that a…?
…so I stepped back to take a closer look.
…why yes, that would be the gruesome remains of a teddy bear hovering above a death-like mask. Moving right along.
I don’t feel 44 today… maybe because I haven’t hit my proverbial mid-life crisis yet. How does it work? Do I have to wait until I turn 45? That would mean I have a whole year left to plan, which is good because there’s a lot of stuff I can do, and I’ll probably change my mind numerous times. My list will need revisions. On the other hand, I’m kind of impatient; you spend your whole life inching toward this unique opportunity to do things you can get away with because you have this ready-made excuse.
Here’s my mid-life crisis list so far:
-smoke clove cigarettes and contemplate the philosophical ironies of my existence.
-set myself up as a psychic in a small old house. Live upstairs. Work downstairs.
-Adopt an ocelot.
-Make a sex tape with Callaghan.
-Listen to Def Leppard at night in the glow of a blue light bulb.
-Use my martial arts background as a springboard to a venture in mud-wrestling.
-Go the traditional route and buy a fancy sports car, leave my wife for a younger woman and make my kids call her “Mom.”
-Marry a French artist and move to his country, giving up half of what I own and leaving behind everything familiar to me. Start a career as a blogger. Oh, wait….