Reset


Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it.  –Clint Eastwood

To be clear, I do not think I am old.  I also do not think I am “getting” old.  Age happens and everyone does it.  This is why I struggle with some of the things people say to me when they hear I have grandkids or when they hear how old I am.  Things like, “WOW!! You have grandkids, you do not look like you could.”  “Hey, you are 50!!! No way!!” “You do not seem to act your age.” “Incredible, I would not have thought you were older than (give any age younger than what I am)”  They say it like it’s a shame that I am so old. Or like I must be depressed about my end years.  I mean.. seriously, these days my age (51 now) is barely middle age.

Yeah.. yeah… yeah… my joints sometimes hurt, I am sometimes shocked when I think about my oldest child being 27 and my youngest being 25, and sometimes I forget that I am not the exact same age as everyone I am standing around.  However, I am not really old. Or at least I do not feel it.  I’m sure I felt the same way about the older generation when I was part of the newer generation.

My dad put it best about 20 years ago when we were sitting in a local dive.  He said to me, “Sami, you see that guy that just walked in here?  How old do you think he is?”  I looked over and nodded and said, “Well, he’s at least 21.”  Dad said, “Yeah, yeah, but how old do you think he is?”  I looked at him and the scraggly group he was with and said, “Well, he looks to be about 24-26 years old.”  Dad said, “Exactly… and that’s how old I think I am in my head!!! Then I walk by a mirror and I am absolutely shocked.  I can only think to myself, who is that old bastard staring back at me!!”

Well, I am now the age my father was then.  Even though I got it at the time, I really get it now.  I don’t give age a whole lot of thought usually.  But every once in awhile it sort of just hits me.  Lines around my face, grey hair coming in, the above mentioned joints giving out on me when I least expect it, and the amount of time I spend thinking BAAACCCCKKKKK on the follies of my youth.

About a year and a half ago, my younger sister was talking to me and indicated she was going to let her hair go natural and that I might want to join her.  I had been dying my hair since I was about 18.. just for the heck of it.  I no longer had any idea of what the actual color of my hair was but knew that over the past few years, I was starting to see some grey roots. I thought to myself, why not.  I was actually tired of dying my hair.  Further, living overseas it is often hard to find a quality product to use and it can get very expensive to go into a salon and pay someone every few weeks to dye your hair.

I’ve never been a patient person so I did the most natural thing for someone like myself and just bleached my hair white.  I really, really, really thought that it would grow out completely grey.  That is exactly what did not happen.  So for an entire year I looked..uh.. fresh.. recognizable.. kind of cool… and it WAS pretty cool for about 2 months.

Apparently I was not as old/grey as I thought I was and that unless I did something drastic, I would be bleaching my hair every 2-3 weeks for the rest of my life.  My hair was really being destroyed and the chemicals were actually doing more damage than any normal dye.  UGH.. what to do?  Well, not wanting to deal with the grow out and realizing that my hair was completely destroyed at this point anyways, I did the most natural thing for someone like myself… I had a friend shave me bald to reset this entire mad process and for the first time in over 30 years, I saw the true and natural color of my hair.

I’m not going to lie.  For the first 20 minutes it was shocking to see myself in the mirror.  After that, it was liberating.  I LOVED it.  Not always how I looked but how I felt.  I had several women say to me, “Wow.  You look amazing!!”  “At least you have a nicely shaped head.” “I could never do that, I sort of hide behind my hair.” “You will have to start wearing some bold makeup now.. or at least makeup, otherwise you will look like a boy.” Yeah, sometimes women can be harder on women then men.. but I understood the sentiment.

Well, it grew on me.  The look and yes, even my hair. It was a complete reset with my mentality, my awareness of self, and how much I had used my hair as an impetus for how I felt about myself.  Though I didn’t feel old, I guess I was sort of trying to hold back the years from the top down to the bottom.  The reset really worked.  I had not planned on a reset.  Didn’t even know I was doing it when I was doing it.  But I did it and I felt it.

Now, nearly a year later, my hair has actually grown back.  I was slightly concerned at times.  As liberating as it was, it was also a bit intimidating.  At this time, I mostly do not feel any different than I did before the bleach and the cut.  I sometimes miss having no hair.  I have not dyed my hair again and LOVE the look and feel and, to be quite honest, the cost and time saving experience of just being au natural.

I still do not feel like I am that old, despite my half century on the planet, but I accept that I am closer to a century than to zero.  I also feel the words my dad said to me nearly 20 years ago in a more profound kind of way.  Who is that ol’ lady staring back at me … and how in the hell did she become so… amazing… !!!

OK.. OK… sometimes I do end that thought with the word “old”.

I hope you enjoyed the read and the memories…

“It`s not how old you are, it`s how you are old.”  ― Jules Renard

“Your face is marked with lines of life, put there by love and laughter, suffering and tears. It’s beautiful.”   ― Lynsay Sands

Peace out – age gracefully – live long and prosper! – lil ‘ol me and Spock

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Other places to view aging gracefully

The first silver strands, As birthdays go, Beauty of aging, accepting, seniors in the garden, never too old, change, transiliencechange the conversation, Let your wrinkles be your roadmap, fifty and vanity, self loathing to self love, Connected, graceful aging, change, blessings, come dance with me, reinventing ourselves

 

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A different garden


To you, it was just picking flowers. To them, it was a massacre.  by:  pleasefindthis, I Wrote This For You

If you didn’t see the boarded windows, the dirty floors, walls, and ceilings, it was just a camp house..just rows of camp houses.

If you only saw the beautiful trees and flowers and grass…. you could believe it was only someone’s garden.

If you didn’t see the barbed wire fences and the guard shacks and the destroyed crematoriums, you might be able to envision a time it could have been a lovely place to live.

If you didn’t have the memories or the knowledge of the left behind shoes, the combs, the luggage and the hair…the horror of the hair….

This is no garden …we should never forget…this is no garden.

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I need you to understand something. I wrote this for you. I wrote this for you and only you. Everyone else who reads it, doesn’t get it. They may think they get it, but they don’t. This is the sign you’ve been looking for. You were meant to read these words.  by: pleasefindthis, I Wrote This For You

Other garden themed blogs can be found at:

Travel theme: Garden

 

An Open Letter To Donald Trump From Some Angry Women.


I have not been saying much here.. why start now… when this pretty much says it all.

Drifting Through

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Dear Mr. Trump… can I call you Mr. Trump? Is that ok? I want you to be happy, that’s very important to me.

Before I get started, let me say this letter isn’t from all women. The Trumpettes surely won’t approve of this message. But this is from most women.

We see right through you. We have all known you at some point. Your ways are not unfamiliar to us. We see through you because we’ve been dealing with you our whole lives.

We heard you call women pigs. And disgusting. And stupid. And bimbos.

We watched as you called a former Ms. Universe “Ms. Piggy” and then spent four days continuing to insult her.

We see your weakness. Your lust for attention at any cost, your need to denigrate women. We see all of it. And we’re mad.

Yes. We’re mad. And fired up. And here’s the thing about us……

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15+ Nearly 21


It took a few days for me to sit down and focus on this topic.  Every time I tried to envision what I would say, a tidal wave of emotions would surface and halt any progress.  I considered not saying anything but that would not really fair to my own need of saying it… of remembering it.. of dealing with it.  Even if it is only once a year.

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I spent almost 21 years preparing for what happened 15 years ago. In spite of the amount of training I received, I never once thought I would need to put it to use. NEVER!  This event affected every single part of my life.

I was a single parent of two young girls putting myself through university.  I had a routine of getting up in the morning, doing yoga, having coffee, relaxing for the very short portion of my day that did not involve chaos and movement.  I would play music while doing yoga, then I would turn on the news and grab my first cup of coffee.

On this morning, I turned on my television and as I turned towards the kitchen to get my first cup, I saw what looked like a burning building in NYC.  I thought it was strange because my tv didn’t have special movie channels (I was too broke to afford that package) and it was ALWAYS on the Today show at this time of day.  I glanced back toward the tv trying to work this out when I saw the second plane hit.  Thus began the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it.

I was in the Navy reserves and had been for close to 15 years by that time.  In the beginning I expected to be called up immediately.  Every day I held my phone with me for 24 hours a day just waiting for it to ring with that call.  I went through each day, with my nerves on edge, my breath held, and eyes on the news at every opportunity with shock a constant emotion that made it difficult to think and act normal. My oldest daughter told me to stop watching the news because it made her sad.  Like an addict, I would sneak peaks of the news while the kids were sleeping our out playing.  This seemed to go on and on and on.  There was no break from it. So much unknowing.

After about a month, I relaxed.  I expected that others had been called up and maybe I would be allowed to continue my very average life, maybe there had been some resolution and things were just winding down.  I slowly started letting my guard down and gaining hope that life might indeed return to as normal it could ever be again, for myself and for the nation.  Despite the horror, we would carry on.

About a month and a half after the towers fell, I was waiting in line to get some take out sushi for my kids.  There was some soft Japanese music playing in the background of the main restaurant, pop music playing in front of me, and the sound of water trickling from a fountain in the entrance.  My phone rang, I answered it thinking it was my kids wanting me to change their order.

The world stopped, but the sounds around me continued on as I was given the notice that I would have three days to pack out my life, put my degree program on hold for an undetermined amount of time, and get my children to the east coast to live with their dad while I moved to an undisclosed location.  The world continued to move around me at lightening quick speed, while at the same time it seemed to be going in slow motion.  Chaos and turmoil intermixed with a numb silence. Back and forth..forth and back.  I have never been able to completely express the madness and calm that encompassed my life during those 3 days.

Over the next 10 months I made friends in a distant location, I had experiences I will never forget, and most importantly we all survived.  We were all changed. Irrevocably changed, but we survived.  About 5 years later, I was mobilized again, and again I was changed.  My life, my plans, my kids, my employment.  Everything changed.

I had nearly 21 years of service by this time and decided it was time to retire from the military.   I do not regret a single moment of the time I served.  I am usually not the type of person to want to go back and change the past.  As if you could.  I am proud of my service and proud of the people who served beside me. I believe that everything from my past has made me into who I am today.  Though I am a new person…for better or for worse…I will never forget the before sam..the before people of our nation…the before world.

I overheard someone recently say, “Oh boy, it’s almost that time again.” The person next to him said, “What time?”  He replied, “You know…9/11 memorials.  We won’t be able to do anything without having to hear about that.  It’s going to mess up a lot of plans I have.  I wish we could just get over that.  It’s not like it’s going to happen again!!”  At first I was angry and a little shocked.  Then I relaxed and realized that, I too sometimes wish we could go back to that mentality.  That innocence. That ridiculous feeling of untouchability. We can’t do that.  We should NOT do that. We do not have to live as victims and in fear, but we should never forget what happened and how easily it happened.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  Santayana “The Life of Reason. 1905”

Nearly 21 – years of service.  All of it is remembered fondly.  Never can forget.

Some of my favorite posts about New York.  One of my favorite cities.  Always will be.  I hope you enjoy.

Growth

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Perspective – New York Adopt Me;      A tale of two cities;      A city;    NEW York;   In the background;    Peace youse;    All aboard;

B & W Challenge


I was very recently nominated to compete in a 5 day B & W Challenge. The goal was to each day pick and post one favorite B & W photo I have taken.  Anyone who knows me will absolutely not be surprised that I could not seem to focus on just one thing and therefore did not exactly follow the rules.  After perusing over 300 photos I finally narrowed it down to “some” of my favorite photos.  I like them so much I thought I would share (and in some cases re-share) the entire grouping here.

These photos represent only a few of my favorites from New York to India.  I love them because they express everything from sadness to pure chaos.  There is just something about a black and white that is timeless and beautiful.  I hope you enjoy.

Other posts I enjoyed