What a Dish!

Hazelnut eyes. Cherry lips. Milky complexion. A bit of a muffin top. A few spoonfuls of cottage cheese (in places that only she can see). Our body parts and appearance are often compared to food, from all types of the required food groups to even some of the more forbidden and indulgent. We move through life allowing ourselves to be both pictures of a veritable feast for the eyes and a shameful smorgasbord of gluttony and a lack of self- control.

Today, after Sylvia and Erma exchange pointed comments about their own diets, they force each other to see the beauty and wonder of their midlife bodies.

Yep, a feast. A smorgasbord. Delicacies and deliciousness resulting from lives well-lived and survived. Joys celebrated with cakes and muffins; disappointments swallowed with milkshakes or wine; dilemmas pondered and cracked like nuts.

A well-balanced diet looks different on each of us, so feed your soul – mind, body, and spirit – in your own way.


“All of you shows and is multiplied in everything you do, so know yourself and take care of yourself first, so you can live on purpose and contribute from a place of abundance and overflow.”
~Anton Uhl, FEEDING BODY, MIND AND SOUL: How What Goes In Changes Everything

midlifeblogger #thursdaythoughts #feedyoursoul

Pieces of a Whole

It is the last day of summer, and Sylvia and Erma are feeling less ambivalent about summer’s ending and autumn’s beginning.

“The year has four perfect pieces, Sylvia. I love its definition, don’t you?” Erma asks.

Sylvia, after a long day of trying to arrange her thoughts and her schedule, considers both Erma’s comment and query before offering her perspective.

It is four pieces, yes, but I wouldn’t say perfect. Four unpredictable chunks of time. And honestly, that is what I like most about the year. It is broken into parts, and we don’t try to make those parts more or less than they are. Even when the seasons don’t end or begin as they should weather-wise, we accept them as they are. In the end, they always make a year. They make up a whole.”

Erma, very aware of Sylvia’s penchant for overthinking which occasionally borders on wearying rumination, nods her head in gentle agreement.
****************
Pieces do not have to fit together perfectly. They are not always indicative of brokenness. In the end, their edges – their beginnings and endings – may create a different pattern, but they still result in wholeness.

You are not broken. You are whole regardless and maybe even because of imperfections.

**********
Now is a great time to revisit this favorite:
https://overfiftyandfine.wordpress.com/2018/03/12/sylvias-scraping-skies

No Repairs Needed

The Voice Inside

“Smiling so profusely on a Sunday?” Erma asks her friend with a tone of disbelief.

“Don’t seem so surprised, Erma. That is a genuine grin of satisfaction,” Sylvia counters.

Erma, still a bit perplexed but bringing herself to delight in her friend’s newfound countenance, replies with an equally broad smile, “Isn’t it a peaceful feeling when you can finally stand and listen to your own voice?”

Indeed. Be your own person, and be the person you listen to first!”
****************

The Voice”
by Shel Silverstein

There is a voice inside of you
that whispers all day long,
‘I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.’
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
or wise man can decide
what’s right for you – just listen to
the voice that speaks inside.

Saddle Up & Ride

“Lately I have been going to bed feeling much closer to my goal, but today, I see and feel that I’m in the same place I have been. That light at the end of the tunnel even seems a little dimmer,” Sylvia laments.

Erma, not the optimist but the realist today, hears something in her friend’s voice that she hasn’t heard in a while – despair. It is a slippery slope that she has seen her friend travel down more than once, so fortunately she knows that it is temporary. She also is well aware though that Sylvia needs a jolt to snap out of the looming funk fast.

Thinking back on some of their past antics, Erma recounts the story of the penny pony that has only recently become a favorite memory for both of them. She tells the story attempting to conjure up the image and the feelings that Sylvia experienced that summer afternoon. “It was totally impromptu, remember? We were walking the mall, complaining about how grumpy and miserable society had become. And then, there she appeared, Sandy, the penny pony, strategically placed near the restrooms on the way to the exit.”

A Penny Well-Spent

“That was funny. Silly and immature, but fun. Do you remember the passersby with their eye-rolling and judgmental comments?”

“Oh yes, but what I remember most is the pure joy in your eyes. The completely carefree look of freedom as Sandy rocked back and forth for those all-too-quick twenty seconds. Awesome.”

“Too short. Fleeting. And look, that ride didn’t take me anywhere,” Sylvia said dampening Erma’s mood.

Erma, sadly annoyed by her friend’s complaining, decides it is time for the stir, the jolt, the wake-up. “Syl, stop. Take a roll of pennies and go to the mall. Lose yourself in a trashy novel. Make brownies and eat the entire batch. Pour yourself a cuppa and have a daydream. For God’s sake, those won’t get you anywhere in life either, but they will hold your place in line – and you might even have a little fun and find a little happy. I know you will.”

Sylvia, lifts herself from the chair, and rides into the very next moment with a smile and a little more hope, enough to finish today’s ride.

***********************

There is no straight way to a destination. So enjoy the ride even when you get lost.

~Debasish Mridha


Cheers to Hemingway and Not Being Hadley

Summer, 1926. Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley take refuge from the blazing heat of Paris on a villa in the south of France. They swim and play bridge, and drink gin with abandon.
(Mrs. Hemingway, a novel by Naomi Wood)

Summer, 2021. Taking mid-afternoon refuge on the deck once again. An ocean breeze, a book, and a little Pinot Gris to satisfy the weekend.

To your health, happiness, and good fortune, friends.

Sipping Summer

The Free-Fall Zone

“Sometimes we fall, Sylvia. That’s just the way it is,” Erma informs her friend in a calm yet authoritative voice.

“Oh, I’m falling. That I know. I have bumps, bruises, and cuts. I’m worn, weathered, and yet I am becoming more and more curious about this abyss of time in front of me, hanging over me, and likely beyond me and my imagination. Sometimes I actually welcome the path of the abyss – full of meanderings, gulleys, and hidden impediments. At least I know I’m not tripping over my own two feet. There is a quiet comfort in that.”

Erma, never surprised but always somewhat unsteadied by Sylvia’s musings, sighs. She pauses. She is digesting her friend’s perspective.

“Ah, Sylvia, you describe the free-fall perfectly. You never see rock bottom, perhaps because deep down you know that there is no end to the abyss.”

“Could be, Erma. Or maybe I’m just looking up the entire time I’m falling.”

For now, don’t look down.

We fall into an abyss and automatically we assume an absence of light. An interminable darkness. After all, that is the definition of abyss, right? A Saturday stroll has Sylvia thinking about how others might view her in this abyss of time. Right here, right now, it is not so bad. She has found a place of light.
****************
“A photograph offers us a glimpse into the abyss of time.”
~John Updike
****************

Roots of Vulnerability

“You were away for quite awhile, Syl. Are you well-rested?”

“Not at all. I’m exhausted. Two weeks of caregiving and then some self-care of the best kind.”

“I’m happy that you recognize the need to care for yourself. However, wherever, whenever, and with whom you choose to refuel are secondary to the need. Good for you.”

Sylvia took care of an aging family friend and realized the fragility of life. She learned that tough love is still love.

She decompressed on the beach, walked the shore, bid farewell to the days as she watched the sunsets, and slept soundly. She even managed a delicious dream or two.

Meeting with both old and new friends who shared their stories, she became acutely aware of her insecurity but also extremely cognizant of that which set her apart from others. Early morning walks and play with canine companions, adventurous rides on a jet ski enjoying the vastness of Lake Michigan, and sipping wine and swapping stories, Sylvia then shared with Erma the greatest lesson of all – the epiphany she had amidst the sunflowers. “I am deeply rooted in vulnerabilities – we all are – and in them, I’ve found my gifts. I’ll let you decide for yourself what they are, Erma. I know what’s inside.”
****************

Standing tall and Finding the sun

There’s something in this world that makes you happy– find it; do it; breathe it in; let it wash over you; simply hold it; stare at it; bask in it; enjoy it; keep it to yourself. Or, share it. It’s the beginning of something – at least another glorious summer’s day. I’m starting to recognize my happy, and I wish the same for you.

So Much More

The start to summer has Sylvia and Erma discussing the joys and ravages of basking in the sun, literally and figuratively.

Sylvia: Sun on my face. Sand between my toes. Fresh ocean air.

Erma: Sweat dripping from my brow. Sand in my car. The lingering taste of salt in my mouth.

Sylvia: Long walks enjoying plush, verdant paths. Sun-kissed cheeks. Evening cocktails on the patio.

Erma: Bees and bug bites. Crow’s feet and weathered skin. Sugary spills and the ensuing march of ants.

“Well, aren’t you the definition of a curmudgeon? A true crank,” remarks Sylvia.

Erma, tongue-in-cheek and with her signature sarcastic tone, lobs back, “Yep, that’s me. Ageless and timeless, my dear.”

“What? Ageless? Timeless? Those choice words are used to describe a woman’s looks,” Sylvia counters.

Erma, ever the teacher and always poised to debunk her younger friend’s perceptions, staves off any further commentary in one thought-provoking and accurate analysis. “Who says that ageless and timeless have anything to do with looks? Both are so much more!”


Less is More

“She tells her story in her face. When her life comes to an end, she can only hope that others see what she aspired to – a life well-lived and well-loved with some very juicy parts that kept her going.” ~ K. Morgan


Don’t Stand in the Doorway

Up early, coffee-inspired, dressed, and ready to cross the threshold into a new day, Sylvia smiles at the prospect of the here and now.

In our 20s, we live with anticipation and energy; the goals (for most of us) are to make tomorrow come faster, have fun today, and remove ourselves from what we looked like yesterday.

The 30s hit and we live with hope that tomorrow will be easier; today we will get ahead a bit or at least stay afloat and that our mistakes from yesterday will not be repeated.

The 40s for many of us are wrought with anxiety and fear that tomorrow we will find that we do not have enough of anything – time, money, love or patience. Today we went through the motions and have little recall of what actually transpired. We long for the lack of accountability and responsibility we had in our youth – yesterday was not so bad.

Ah, our 50s and 60s? Well, we live with intention and purpose. Tomorrow is getting close and it promises nothing, so we focus on what absolutely must be accomplished today. Today we will carve out a little bit of time for ourselves, even if it’s only a second to reflect, breathe, write, or have a bit of conscious “me” time, for yesterday, though we intended to do just that, time slipped away and we cannot get it back.

And here’s where Sylvia & Erma stop and welcome the many wise and witty friends of a certain maturity to add their two cents which has infinitely greater value than anything either of the gals could pretend to know or even imagine.

This Sylvia knows: tomorrow is not guaranteed and yesterday is done. Here and now is all we have!

💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐💐

With Erma’s steadfast friendship and support, Sylvia has come to believe that she has the strength and power to sprout wings on the way down. Today, both admonish the danger of standing in the doorway. The gals recommend crossing the threshold into here and now. No hesitation.
*********************

Thresholds are dangerous places, neither here nor there, and walking across one is like stepping off the edge of a cliff in the naive faith that you’ll sprout wings halfway down. You can’t hesitate, or doubt. You can’t fear the in-between.
~Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Pie is Never Rational

Yesterday, Sylvia was serving up slices; today, the helpings are not as pretty. Crumbled, in fact, but nonetheless fulfilling.

Erma: I can’t believe you are making pies from scratch, Sylvia. You have many talents, but as you and I know, baking is not among them.

Sylvia: You are assuming I am starting from scratch—a mistake on your part. I have all of the ingredients, but I know my limitations. Well, I’m beginning to anyway.

Erma: Ah, so you are cheating a little. I love that. What did you do? Store-bought crust? Canned fruit filling?

Sylvia: Neither of those. I started out making a whole pie. Rolled out the crust. Cored, peeled, and sliced up the apples and pears. Right on track to make a perfect pie, and then…

Erma: Then what? The phone rang? A neighbor dropped by? What happened?

Sylvia: I changed my mind. I decided that I didn’t want a slice or two of anything, so I let go of the idea of an entire pie. I made a whole cobbler instead.

Erma: You do realize that “whole” and “cobbler” don’t go together. You kind of took the easy way out, don’t you think?

Sylvia: Maybe, but I know that what I wanted today had nothing to do with nice and even. Big, heaping, crumbled scoops are what I needed today. I may not be a slice type of woman. Perhaps I need to accept that what I want is immeasurable and imperfect.

Erma: Syl, you are doing it again. You are overthinking. Some days a pie is simply a pie. Let it be a pie.

Sylvia: Not true, Erma. Pie is never simple. Why should I settle for a pie when a cobbler can be equally satisfying and a whole lot more fun to indulge in?! ****************
March 14th, 3/14, is “Pi” day. Pi is an irrational number, but it can only be used as an approximate value. Irrational: unable to be expressed as a fraction.

And there it is… Sylvia and Erma remind each other that they are not pieces of a puzzle in their lives or the lives of others; they are whole just as they are!
Nothing irrational about that.
***********************

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.

~Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

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