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

 

Smiles


A new challenge by Sally this month was to choose our own theme.  I chose smiles because that is my favorite thing to do and to see.  In every country that I have been blessed enough to visit I have found favorite smiles.  I sort of collect them.  When I feel down or angry, I can look back on some of my favorite smiles.  If you look past through my posts, you can see all of my favorite smiles so far.  Smiles from family.  Smiles from old friends.  Smiles from new friends.  I have found people who just look angry and annoyed and yet when I smile at them, they almost always smile back.  Sure there are those that do not.  But in my experience, for the most part they usually do.  I hope you enjoy my most recent collection of smiles from Egypt.

Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts. Paramahansa Yogananda

 

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From my last post. One of my favorite most recent smiles. My driver to the airport who got a call during the ride letting him know that his wife just had a baby boy. They had been waiting 5 years for this news.

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. Mother Teresa

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On a visit to the Egyptian Museum, these adorable young kids visiting the museum asked if they could take their picture with me.  I in turn asked if i could take my picture with them.  I LOVE this picture and love that they wanted to take their picture with me.  How fun is this.

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. Henri Nouwen

A person is just a person.  A job is just a job.  We do not know why someone looks angry (Resting bitch face?  Maybe?) or sad (Really actually sad and alone?).  We will never know why unless we engage.  Maybe you will get a positive response or possibly just an angry grunt.  You will never know unless you engage.  Every single sad or angry looking face I encountered above eventually smiled.  Maybe I just wore them down, I don’t know.  But engagement brought life to the face.  To theirs and mine as well.

A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose. Tom Wilson

The tour we went on introduced me to a bunch of new smiles that still make me happy to look back on and remember.  What a great trip. Still smiling from the fun.

View other entries for this week’s challenge :

challenge-all-ears;  2016/11/28/-for-sally-ds-mobile-photo-challengethe-tea-house-goddessnetdancer.com/2016/11/28challengers-choice-landscapechihulys-basket-series;  challenge-challengers-choice2016/11/30/the-fernery-2challengers-choice-nature-of-flowerszimmerbitch

Geeking out – Transport


There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to – The Outer Limits.

If there was a way to really travel by spaceship every day, I think I would choose that.   Or by train.  If not a spaceship, then a train.

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A lot of nerds aren’t aware they’re nerds. A geek has thrown his hands up to the universe and gone, ‘I speak Klingon – who am I fooling? You win! I’m just gonna openly like what I like.’ Geeks tend to be a little happier with themselves.

Patton Oswalt

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O.K.  So I’m a geek.  Most people do not know the depths of my geekiness. However, it’s out of the bag now.  Every chance I get, I will choose random and interesting events and adventures.  I will choose to dress up in play clothes over dressing up in work clothes.  I will choose to transport myself to another dimension rather than transport myself through the mundaneness of daily life.

Nearing a half century on this planet, I am finding it easier and easier to transport myself to places imaginary, to power up and shift into turbo while I live long and prosper.  Though I sometimes wish Scotty would just hurry up and beam me up, I know that would be highly illogical and nearly impossible to boldly go where no man has gone before, but you can’t stop a girl from dreaming.

Comic Sans, Lagos, Nigeria

Some other interstellar things to think about and quotes I really like from all of my geeky travels.  How well they apply to our current state of affairs.

“Your focus determines your reality.” – Qui-Gon Jinn; “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda; “For everything, there is a first time.”; “Please let me know if there’s some other way we can screw up tonight.”; “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”; “Do not grieve, Admiral. It was logical. The needs of the… many outweigh… “…The needs of the few.” (…Spock grimaces, nods.) “…Or the one.”; “In my experience there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi; “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader; “How do I feel? I feel old — worn out.” “…Then let me show you something that will make you feel… young — as when the world was new.“; “Never tell me the odds.” – Han Solo; “You’ve never really faced death, have you?”;“But good words; that’s where ideas begin. …Maybe you should listen to them.”;“He’s so… human.” (She shudders.) “…Nobody’s perfect, Saavik.”;  “This is a new day, a new beginning.” – Ahsoka Tano“Well, once again, we’ve saved civilization as we know it.” “…And the good news is, they’re not going to prosecute.“; “...No; not like this. I haven’t faced death. I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity; I know nothing.”;“I like to believe that there are always possibilities.”; “So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.” – Padmé Amidala

Orson: The report, Mork.
Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.
Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?
Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.
Orson: Does bed rest help?
Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.
Orson: Do you have any idea why?
Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?
Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?
Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.
Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.
Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one. Isn’t that zenlack?

Other interpretations on transport I enjoyed.

Transport ; Looknwalk; Figments; Ladylee; TVOR; Travelrat; Closetoyou; Sonya; Shooting; Geriatric; Cloudywings; Renegade: Roamingurbangypsy; Naomi; Later; Silverstreaks; Ron

What is normal – Lagos Part 2


“Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality. Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.”
― Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback

It’s easy to get caught up in how normal or abnormal a different life lived might be.  I would like to think that in general I live a fairly normal life.  I get up, do my stretches, eat breakfast, go to work..work..toil..worry..stress…eat lunch…work some more, come home, eat dinner and go to bed.  It’s my routine and I’m comfortable with it.

In the process of doing what I do, I will sometimes pass by lives, actions, ideals and philosophies that sometimes feel incredibly abnormal.  I might at times feel saddened by the brutality of it all, the abnormality and chaotic nature of it all.  I have to force myself to put the brakes on because what is normal to me now, might have at one point not so long ago, appeared to be very abnormal.  This life I lead right now often presents to me situations that do not feel normal at all.  When I visit some of the places I visit, a part of me screams inside my head that, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!”

I have to ask myself what is normal?  What is routine? Who am I to make that call?

So Makoko Stilt Village part 2.

We visited the village in a traditional canoe which allowed us to see more of the area and see how this community really lives.  We visited a maternity ward, a school, passed by local markets and we were able to get an authentic feel for the lives being lived here.  To me interesting and lives uniquely lived.  There is no argument to that statement.  Except maybe to the people who are living that life.  Their routines are no more abnormal to them than mine is to me.

It is brutal, it is beautiful, it is every shade of black and white.

The more I travel and the more I see, the more I realize that in the middle of every single place I visit, exist regular people doing what is normal to them.  They all have a voice and they all have a story.  It’s crazy that I have to remind myself of this so often.

But on the other hand, in the midst of the chaos, you find normal people. You find people who are willing to risk their lives to tell you what they saw, even though they have no dog in the fight.

John Pomfret

Other routines.

Finding a routine in Lagos – Part 1


“The human spirit lives on creativity and dies in conformity and routine.”
― Vilayat Inayat Khan

Well, nearly 4 months in and still trying to find that routine.  The quote above exemplifies though that my routine is not about conformity but about discovery and experiences.  Lucky me, I found and joined a group that will allow me the opportunity to create a routine of discovery.

The Nigerian Field Society (NFS) is a national organization founded in 1930 with branches in several cities across the country which depend entirely on local interest and volunteer commitment. The first edition of NFS’s publication, “The Nigerian Field”, was published in 1931. This journal still continues and is one Nigeria’s oldest continuous publications. For more information go to http://www.nigerianfield.org/.

I just completed my first trip with them to Makoko, the stilt village.  I was able to visit this community of about 100,000 people and experience what their daily life is really like.  At least as much as one can in a single tour.

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This village was initially established as a fishing village in the 18th century and has been referred to as the Venice of Africa.  From the A-frame school house I was able to interact with some of the children and was also given the best overall view from the 3rd floor of this structure at the immenseness of this”village”.  Mouth-dropping really to see how expansive this stilt city was.  To think that there were over 100,000 people living here.  Out of the 100,000 people, we were informed that only about 350 were lucky enough to go to school.

For the children who were not in school, they would help transport food through the village, learn to fish, do a multitude of other tasks, or simply hang out and play.

It was amazing to see this completely different side of Lagos.  You can see a very interesting article from CNN world that gives you more details of this village.  Postcards from home: documenting Nigeria’s floating community

A trip to the stilt village was added by another member of this tour group.  The video gives you a slightly different image with sound perspective.  I hope you enjoy.

Other routines you might find interesting.