Today we are in the middle of packing up for the summer and traveling North for the snowbird flight we have been making for the last ten years. My wings are getting rather weary of leaving one nest for the other. I am longing to simplify my life and roost in only one nest and start living with the things that really matter.
Earlier this year we flew to in Los Angeles to visit with a male friend of my husband’s whose wife has decorated their home in museum-quality style. Now I
really love this woman. She is kind and intelligent and very generous with her time in helping others. But when it comes to her house, she becomes a
different sort all together.
So it was no surprise as we all showered that evening to go out when I heard a scream that rang from her cathedral ceilings and back again as she ran
down the hall.
“What! How could he! Arthur is using the guest bathroom!? Nobody uses the guest bathroom!”
As I opened the door, draped in an ordinary towel I found in the under-guest-guest bathroom, I saw my husband standing there like a sheep-faced child,
caught in a dastardly deed.
Our hostess quickly went into the coveted-never-used guest bathroom and proceeded to wipe the faucets spotless and clean up the chaos my husband
made of her perfect-to-look-at room.
That experience started me thinking about what type of person I was and forced me to look in the mirror at my own idiosyncrasies. I learned valuable lessons in Los Angeles. Mainly the most important was to be a more forgiving wife. And better yet, how to be a more compassionate wife. I had forgotten in my quest to be Martha Stewart, that hugging a mop is not as much fun as hugging a husband.
When I came home I threw out all of our old ratty towels with strings fraying at the ends and bought big fluffy premiere guest towels for Arthur. Who cares if our bathroom floor becomes the Nile River when he showers, or if I slip into the commode in the middle of the night because he forgets to put down the lid.
Now, instead of having a post-menopausal fit if I can’t find the new ten dollar herbal soap I just put at the basin, I forgivingly retrieve it in the shower from a cache of soap he constantly steals, because he forgets what he did yesterday. Today I found on our foyer floor a crumpled baggie carrying a bar he had stolen for the beach. I know Karma slipped it from his bag just for me.
I have even learned not to straighten up and fluff the couch pillows each time he or the dogs have rearranged them. I leave my grandchild’s handprints for a bit longer than usual on my mirrors. And now and then, when I am really feeling frisky, I tilt a candle in the candelabra just a bit to remind myself life isn’t perfect and human feeling and comfort are worth more than material things with esthetic balance.
How did this happen so soon?! My ‘over fifty’ meaning of supplement. It now means anything that I think will help me live longer in a healthy way. Yoga, walking, using my mind. All these supplements added to my day are more important now to me than an awesome bracelet or a new pair of shoes. Webmd.com is my favorite website instead of jjill.com. I faithfully swallow daily CoQ10 capsules, Krill oil tablets, eat a vegan diet, stifle my anger that Jane Fonda looks so great. How can I slow the aging process? How do I supplement my life to achieve that? I never thought I would care so much about being over fifty and the other side of young.
It used to be when I talked about supplementing I referred to adding to my wardrobe, accessories that I needed to get the look that I saw in Vogue that would make my department store off-the-rack ‘couture’ more attractive. Bracelet, shoes, scarf, or lapel pin, anything to set me apart from everyone else who also had the same outfit and my good taste. But humor me and allow me digress a minute before I get back to the point of my story. (I find at my age one positive is that a wandering mind is excused)
Anyway, the first accessory I bought with my third paycheck from my first job when I moved to New York City (the first and second went to feed me and pay my rent) was something from Lane Bryant. That’s right. The ‘big girl’s’ store that was and still is known for plus sized women’s fashions. In spite of the fact that I was a trim 120 pounds in a 5’8′ frame, the window display I passed everyday on my way to and from work in the design district on 32nd Street made me quiver with the excitement of ‘wanting, needing and feeling rich’ because I had a paycheck and wanted what I saw in the Lane Bryant window.
By the third week of passing that window I couldn’t stand it any longer. Crossing over the threshold of Lane Bryant I made a beeline to the fur section and bought the mink stole that had been draped glamorously on the slim mannequin I had been coveting from the lowly sidewalk on Fifth Avenue. Never thinking that accessorizing ourselves with animal skins someday in the future would be long gone out and in and out fashion, I couldn’t have been happier with my new supplement to my wardrobe.
I sold my soul for that wrap. I believe it was a whopping $199 that, with a small downpayment, I put on a payment plan. That choice for trying to be over-my-head glamourous would wind up forcing me to eat peanut butter sandwiches and Dannon yogurt for a long long time.
Somehow I am reluctant to let go of the memories of my first ‘I really can’t afford this, but I want it’ purchase. My first big accessory. The over-the-top supplement choice that made me feel grown up and on my own.
Now to get back to my ‘over fifty’ meaning of supplement. I have to admit my dictionary and thesaurus have changed. ‘I really can not afford’ to not afford this new meaning of living my best life now.
A New Chapter
As an author, yet even more as a woman who has hit Fifty And Beyond it is always a challenge every time I am given an opportunity to open a new chapter in my life. Every day seems to bring more surprises. Some great and some not so great. But living has taught me to take lessons from the good stuff and let the other roll on by.
Looking into my mirror the other day and realizing time was flying by and that it was going so fast that my reflection is really becoming my mother’s face,somehow snowballed into my thinking about the woman I used to be and my life back before the white hair and wrinkles. All of this nonsense started my thinking of the earlier “me” and my life in my late twenties. My lost girlfriends of the past started haunting me. Google I said to myself as I typed in Donna Tabor. We raised our children together in the same neighborhood and both had careers in television. After we lost a mutual friend that was our thread to one another, it snapped and I lost contact with her for years. Google was going to be my new thread to my past. Eureka! Through the magic of the internet with a click of ‘return’ I found her.
And what I found was beyond my wildest imagination regarding my friend-a woman whom I discovered gave up her career in television years ago, joined the Peace Corps and then has devoted the rest of her adult life in Nicaragua helping all of God’s creatures, both two and four-legged. Her organization is Building New Hope based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
My life that I thought was rather accomplished, pales in comparison to hers. My heart and greatest respect goes out to her and her dedication to others less fortunate.
What a good day when we were able to knot the thread that was broken so many years ago. A good way for me to begin the first step here as I blog about what a wonderful life we can have the other side of fifty!
You can find Donna here on wordpress and read about her life of giving, donna tabor.wordpress.com.o