Don’t Talk To Me About How Healthy You Are!

Beware! This may be the most depressing blog that I have ever written, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately in my over 50 state of mind. 

My husband gets almost every health newsletter on the market. He reads and believes every single thing in these various publications. I know they’re important and I have gleaned a lot of information from them, but one thing I do know, genetics plays a great big part in our longevity. 

Sure, how we embrace our bodies and our good health has a lot to do with prodding along and maybe extending that lifeline, but the reality is none of us have control over our expiration date.

One thing I know never to do – talk about the state of my health. No one really cares and I may be sharing my exuberance for all the healthy things that I did that day with someone that may not be in such great shape themselves, but doesn’t talk about it. 

It seems that every friend I have ever had who bragged about how healthy they were, are no longer here on this planet. I had a friend who whenever we met for lunch always bragged about how great her doctor check up was and what super health she was in. Well, a week after our last lunch she died of a stroke. 

Another constantly bragged about the amount of supplements he was taking, his healthy diet my hub and and I should follow and his love of tennis. Melanoma did him in.

I have several other examples I can talk about, but I think you kind a get the drift of my thoughts. If you have a trusted friend, or within your family circle that you want to share your exuberance with, hey, that’s OK. But don’t make it general conversation and part of your constant repertoire, because you may be tempting fate. 

Personally I don’t want to hear how many times a week you go to the gym or how many days you run a 5K or what diet I need to follow that is perfect to live into my hundreds. Just leave me alone. I think by this time I am able to manage balancing on my toes near the edge of this fragile cliff of life we over 50 folks find ourselves. I’ll figure it out on my own and hope my expiration date is well into the future. 

By the way, did you read a glass of wine everyday will extend your life? Oops!

Copyright Sandra Hart 2016. All rights reserved.

Why We Sometimes Marry The Wrong Person

“It’s one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.”

The New York times recently published an article on a subject that my children and I have often discussed. Choosing a partner subconsciously on the comfort level of what you knew growing up as a child most often than not guarantees a divorce in the future.

I came from a family where my parents stayed together until death. My brother chose a mate and they have been married for over 50 years. My first marriage ended in divorce. Why?

I have no doubt that my parents truly loved one another, but my father had a terrible temper and he and my mother bickered constantly. I vowed never to marry someone who had a temper, so I chose someone who had no emotion whatsoever. I swung the pendulum all the way to the opposite and instead of reaching a middle ground I ran away from familiarity that was not a comfort zone for me. Although we have been best friends since then, divorce was inevitable. There was no passion in our union. 

The issues regarding relationships and marriage were not open for discussion to us years ago. I wish I had had then the tools that are available today to young couples starting out in relationships. 

I am incorporating the article in this blog because I think it is right on target and explains so much about why and how we choose mates that might not be so right for us.

Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person

By ALAIN de BOTTON

MAY 28, 2016

IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.

Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”

Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.

Our partners are no more self-aware. Naturally, we make a stab at trying to understand them. We visit their families. We look at their photos, we meet their college friends. All this contributes to a sense that we’ve done our homework. We haven’t. Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating.

For most of recorded history, people married for logical sorts of reasons: because her parcel of land adjoined yours, his family had a flourishing business, her father was the magistrate in town, there was a castle to keep up, or both sets of parents subscribed to the same interpretation of a holy text. And from such reasonable marriages, there flowed loneliness, infidelity, abuse, hardness of heart and screams heard through the nursery doors. 
The marriage of reason was not, in hindsight, reasonable at all; it was often expedient, narrow-minded, snobbish and exploitative. That is why what has replaced it — the marriage of feeling — has largely been spared the need to account for itself.

What matters in the marriage of feeling is that two people are drawn to each other by an overwhelming instinct and know in their hearts that it is right. Indeed, the more imprudent a marriage appears (perhaps it’s been only six months since they met; one of them has no job or both are barely out of their teens), the safer it can feel. Recklessness is taken as a counterweight to all the errors of reason, that catalyst of misery, that accountant’s demand. The prestige of instinct is the traumatized reaction against too many centuries of unreasonable reason.

But though we believe ourselves to be seeking happiness in marriage, it isn’t that simple. What we really seek is familiarity — which may well complicate any plans we might have had for happiness. We are looking to recreate, within our adult relationships, the feelings we knew so well in childhood. The love most of us will have tasted early on was often confused with other, more destructive dynamics: feelings of wanting to help an adult who was out of control, of being deprived of a parent’s warmth or scared of his anger, of not feeling secure enough to communicate our wishes. 
How logical, then, that we should as grown-ups find ourselves rejecting certain candidates for marriage not because they are wrong but because they are too right — too balanced, mature, understanding and reliable — given that in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign. We marry the wrong people because we don’t associate being loved with feeling happy.

We make mistakes, too, because we are so lonely. No one can be in an optimal frame of mind to choose a partner when remaining single feels unbearable. We have to be wholly at peace with the prospect of many years of solitude in order to be appropriately picky; otherwise, we risk loving no longer being single rather more than we love the partner who spared us that fate.

Finally, we marry to make a nice feeling permanent. We imagine that marriage will help us to bottle the joy we felt when the thought of proposing first came to us: Perhaps we were in Venice, on the lagoon, in a motorboat, with the evening sun throwing glitter across the sea, chatting about aspects of our souls no one ever seemed to have grasped before, with the prospect of dinner in a risotto place a little later. We married to make such sensations permanent but failed to see that there was no solid connection between these feelings and the institution of marriage.

Indeed, marriage tends decisively to move us onto another, very different and more administrative plane, which perhaps unfolds in a suburban house, with a long commute and maddening children who kill the passion from which they emerged. The only ingredient in common is the partner. And that might have been the wrong ingredient to bottle.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter if we find we have married the wrong person.
We mustn’t abandon him or her, only the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning.

WE need to swap the Romantic view for a tragic (and at points comedic) awareness that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us — and we will (without any malice) do the same to them. There can be no end to our sense of emptiness and incompleteness. But none of this is unusual or grounds for divorce. Choosing whom to commit ourselves to is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for.

This philosophy of pessimism offers a solution to a lot of distress and agitation around marriage. It might sound odd, but pessimism relieves the excessive imaginative pressure that our romantic culture places upon marriage. The failure of one particular partner to save us from our grief and melancholy is not an argument against that person and no sign that a union deserves to fail or be upgraded.

The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.

Romanticism has been unhelpful to us; it is a harsh philosophy. It has made a lot of what we go through in marriage seem exceptional and appalling. We end up lonely and convinced that our union, with its imperfections, is not “normal.” We should learn to accommodate ourselves to “wrongness,” striving always to adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective on its multiple examples in ourselves and in our partners.

Alain de Botton (@alaindebotton) is the author of the novel “The Course of Love.”
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I DON’T WANT TO DANCE THE RHUMBA

I woke up with a start. It was three o’clock in the morning and my heart was doing an unwanted rhumba in my chest. There was no pain, but the dance in my chest was frightening. I had never experienced anything like this before. 

Since my late teen years I had suffered from palpitations and it wasn’t until I was in my 50’s that I was told I had been born with extra pathways in my heart that sometimes caused my heart to palpitate. ( Not genetic, but an anomaly.) A new technique called Radio Frequency Ablation stopped my palpitations and I finally was relieved of the disruptive disorder.

This was something entirely different. Of course, it was Sunday so I knew it would be beyond a miracle if my doctor was available. Arthur and I headed for the Emergency Room at Mt. Sinai here In Miami Beach, just ten minutes away.  

My rhumba-loving heart not wanting to stop its erratic dancing, fifty-six hours later I was sedated and a proficient electro cardiologist zapped my heart back into sinus rhythm. No one knows why people experience a one – time Atrial Fibrillation. Even athletes experience AF, so it not always has to do with physical fitness. All I know it is no fun and very scary. And it also helps one put life into perspective. We are here for just a blink of an eye in relativity, so let us meander not.

Those days in the hospital gave me time to stop and look objectively at my life and how I was living it. I knew had to reinvent who I am. Tweak my innate self a bit. So from the day I walked out of Mt. Sinai I am trying to throw WORRY out the window along with my Type A personality and brought in my deep faith, Deepac Chopra, Andrew Johnson’s meditations and have embraced the love of my wonderful family.  

I continue to exercise, follow my peleo-pescatarian diet, and meditate daily. Lifelong Type A’s are hard to train, but I am trying to let go and let my Higher Power work things out for me. I’m giving up my driver’s seat, finally, after all these years. I don’t want to be one who has gotten too smart too late.

Facebook- Are You Wasting My Life?

Next time you’re in a bad mood, resist the urge to try and cheer yourself up by checking Facebook. It likely won’t work, according to a recent study, reports Rebecca Hiscott, Editorial Fellow, HuffPost Business. 

The reason? Even more than other areas of the Internet, Facebook makes you feel like you’re wasting your life.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook due to the fact that I am host to three different Facebook pages; my professional page, my personal page, and one of my son’s Facebook professional fan pages.

I’ve been sitting here today waiting for a new furnace to be installed in the back of the house so I have a lot of time on my hands with nothing much productive going on except for the simmering vegetable soup on the stove. Which brings me to Facebook and all the time that I spend with my FB friends.

I started thinking about exactly what posts are in my newsfeed. What is the profile of my friends and their interests. Just exactly what shows up as I scroll my newsfeed every day? Are the posts in my newsfeed a mirror of me?

Well, a lot, a whole lot of my friends love animals. Dogs, cats, kittens and unusual friendships between domestic and wild life. Videos that have circulated forever of cute, crazy and rescued animals. Then there was that crazy dentist who killed Cecil, Zimbabwe’s beloved lion. A favorite. My friends, including me, couldn’t get enough of that dentist of death! A pox on him!
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My Facebook friends and I share envious pictures of food – where we ate it and what we were doing and who we were with while we were having a good time eating food and taking pictures of it, including not-always-so-flattering selfie’s with our friends while eating at that marvelous place. I kind of feel left out of the good times when I see these friends of mine celebrating while I am sitting at home wracking my brain for a blog idea, or alone with a pile of laundry looking at me. They may be right on that point if you never ever have anything going on in your own life.
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There are the political posts and gun issue posts. This is where my friends divide. I find a spectrum of diversity on both of those issues, each friend so sure their conclusions are right. I have always believed that friends and politics don’t mix, so it is only on a rare occasion that I stick my nose into any divisive issue, rather than to have it bitten off. I don’t think FB is a forum of persuasion. Just my opinion.

And music. I love music and many of my friends also find music to be an integral part of their lives and we share all kinds of music information on Facebook. I love these posts. 

Finally, there are the myriad of shared posts with affirmations about how much we love being mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. 
Someone said to me the other day that when she logs onto Facebook and sees all of these people socializing and having a good time it makes her feel lonely. So maybe the studies are right, but I doubt in the very near future that people are going to walk away from Facebook. 
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In the meantime, in my own personal non-scientific study I do find that my friends mirror who I am and what I’m interested in reading about; with the exception of politics and keeping my nose out of it.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2015©. All rights reserved.
 

 
 

THE ART IN POLITICS

  

   

The Art in Politics

I know it sounds silly, but that doesn’t make it not true. Art engenders empathy in a way that politics doesn’t and in a way that nothing else really does.  

Whether it’s a photograph, play, television show, movie, or lyrics in a song – it doesn’t matter. Art has a way of changing things that most factions don’t or can’t. 

Art can bring the conversation to the forefront when politics on sensitive issues builds walls and divides. We can dissect, digest, debate and appreciate Art in whichever form it is delivered and ruminate the message we take away. 

Without malice we can disagree, but Art spawns conversation and changes the temperature of how we talk about divisive issues. 

  

   

The books and plays; To Kill A Mocking Bird, Look Who’s Coming To Dinner, Bird Cage, West Side Story, Schindler’s List, Hamilton (now on Broadway) and, of course, Shakespeare. The list is long. I’m sure you can add to this with some that might have influenced or changed your thoughts about a social issue.

  

Photographs by Robert Capa, Eddie Adams and others that have evoked conversations and changed the world forever. Visuals of events frozen in time that provoke and will stimulate discussions for generations to come. 
  
Lyrics of Dylan, Springsteen, RAP, and, if I might add, the 90’s generation Dylan songwriter, Emerson Hart. These and many more creative or controversial writers bring sensitive issues – war, racism, poverty, dysfunction, mental illness into conversation. 

Art creates change in people’s hearts. It happens slowly, but it does happen. As the wheel of creativity turns, so does the world.

Copyright Sandra Hart© All Rights Reserved

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

( Author Note: As former Romper Room Teacher and Pittsburgh CBS affiliate anchor, my children began their lives with Romper Room and Mr. Rogers as their ‘normal’ family. We relocated with my late husband to New Jersey 43 years ago, but no escaping for them – their friends here in New Jersey always remembered me as the lady on Romper Room.)

Growing Wings Of Their Own

It has almost been 20 years since one of my children took his sisters out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ shadow they had been living under for most of their lifetime. A new dimension was added to our lives and nothing would ever be the same again.

In 1996 my Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey singer/songwriter son, Emerson Hart, and his band Tonic released their first album, Lemon Parade, which rocketed to multi-platinum status and garnered him awards, including the Billboard Award for the #1 most played song on rock radio.

What followed in the ensuing 19 years would be world tours, six Tonic albums, two Grammy Nominations, ASCAP Award, movie soundtracks, two successful solo albums and concerts in war zones entertaining our American troops – even being knocked off of his feet by a bomb blast while the band was staying at one of Sodom Hussein’s Palaces in Iraq.

Springsteen. Bon Jovi. Both New Jersey icons, were already firmly established within the 80’s Rock frenzy by the time Emerson and Tonic came along. But the ‘new kid’ on the block from New Jersey, the late ’90’s talent entry, came into the game like gangbusters when music tastes were were changing. Emerson was on the tail end of Rock’s biggest roll, but he and Tonic have survived.

So have his sisters. Each of them with their own quiet, or not so quiet victories growing up and out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ memories.

So a toast from parents to our children and their victories growing up and out from under our wings. A toast for 20 more quiet and maybe not so quiet years!

Kudzu I Am Just Not That Into You

 
This morning I put on my African safari anti-bug clothing and went out the back door to our hillside that has grown into a waist-high thick green mess. 
Weedwhacker in hand I started getting my aerobic exercise by chopping through the brush along the ocean. The pesky Japanese Kudzu vine is choking my dogwoods and native mountain laurel on that side of the property. The last two seasons I have had to tear it away and sever the stems only to come home in the spring and see it thriving again. Hello Kudzu. It just won’t die.  
So my day started first with carving a path at the back of the acreage that our rainy summer has turned into a Japanese jungle, then returning to the house and next getting on a step stool to kneel on the top of our washing machine. While practically standing on my head with a wrench on one hand I fixed a leaky cold water hose with the other without flooding the kitchen, so that I can do the mountain of towels and sheets my family left me with this week. I wonder. How on earth did my life end up like this?
I remarried a man more than 30 years ago who should have taken over these masculine chores, but who could have guessed that there are men who can’t fix things. How did I know at the time although he was good at making money and controlling the TV remote, that’s just about it. That’s as far as his helpful expertise goes.  
Now you say that’s not really a bad thing, financial responsibity is positive, that’s a good thing. Okay. I agree. I am grateful for that. But he’s also very good at not wanting to spend it when his talented wife can do it for free. And for me that has not been such a great thing because I must be just like him. My labor via my children flew the coop years ago, I don’t subscribe to Angie’s List, so if I can do it, why hire someone? 
When I am here at the shore with all of these equations in place, unless I am at my computer writing, that’s how you will usually find me – with a hammer, paint brush, vacuum, rake, or on my knees upside down trying to fix the washing machine.   

Maybe not too many of my younger readers are familiar with Ralph Edwards and his early 40’s radio, then his television reality program from the ’50’s “This Is Your Life”?  
For better or worse, this is mine:

HUSBAND: HI, Honey. How was your day? The beach was beautiful. You should have come. Here are my towels.
WIFE: Oy vey!  
Copyright Sandra Hart©. All rights Reserved.