Travelling and Earning Money

I am so intrigued by all the opportunities to work online and to work away.  I have been exploring these possibilities for quite a while now.  I am so inspired by friends who have chosen to work abroad teaching  and others who are house sitting,  pet sitting, renting out their own places, doing home exchanges and more.  I was fortunate to live in the Middle East for 2 years teaching English and writing grants for a few non-governmental organizations.  I also had a chance to work on a project in Greece for 6 months.  These opportunities were private ones that I found but if are considering house or pet sitting you might want to check out TrustedHousesitters.

Did you ever watch the film “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate WInslett ?  The lead characters advertise online for a house swap.  Watch the trailer here.  Maybe it will inspire the adventurer inside you?  Check out HomeExchange.

My plan for retirement is to put these many ideas into practice. The list of possibilities is endless.  I am hoping that we will continue to add to the list and share our successes and failures.

I have been teaching English as a second language online for a few years now.  I really enjoy it and find it is quite simple and very satisfying.  Many companies like the one I work for provide the entire lesson plan so that there is minimal preparation.  I have been working as a supply teacher up to now and just this week began with ongoing classes.  Previously (before retirement) my income from teaching was just a supplement to a regular salary but now I am more dependent on it.  Here is a link to many online teaching jobs.

Need to rent out your home?  There are countless ideas from AirBnB to countless Facebook groups and also  SabbaticalHomes .  You will probably find more on Craigslist and Kijiji as well. However, it is important to do your homework, that means research and asking questions.  This is as complicated or even more complicated than online dating.  Be careful, be smart, be diligent.  I suggest asking friends for recommendations and using sites that offer ratings on both the traveller and the advertiser.

It is a good idea to join groups of travellers which you will find on Facebook and other social media platforms.

The ideas are only limited to your imagination.  Dare to dream.  Where would go?  What have you done?

editor’s note:  We are not endorsing any of the mentioned websites.  These are simply ideas to get you started.

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Getting Real About Retirement

 

Ok, time to fess up.  I am not really old enough to retire.  There is no trust fund, no inheritance, no alimony, no lucrative work pension, no brilliantly planned retirement savings account.  Really there is nothing, nada, zero, empty, kaput!  It simply was time to live that life I have been talking about for years….working at what you love so that you never work another day in your life.  How do I plan to do this.

 

I don’t want to go to an office every day.  I don’t want a boss.  I want to be able to travel.  I want time to work at things that just simply bring me joy.  I love writing and that is where this blog comes in.  I get an idea (actually about a million of them swimming around in my head) and then I write and then I am almost euphoric.  When my writing resonates with a reader I am totally euphoric, over the moon, filled with joy!!!  I absolutely love creating ritual and officiating at ceremonies – Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Baby Namings, even sad occasions like Funerals and UnbindingCeremonies.  This is my happy place…true fulfillment.

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About 20 years ago, I created  a series of workshops to help women explore who they are and who they want to be.  I absolutely loved this work and I dreamed of a time that these workshops and talks would be the centre of life.  Time flies by and dreams sometimes get lost or put on hold.  Now is the time and tomorrow is too late.

Dream pillow workshop 1

So here I am at 61 years old and starting a whole new life plan!  How freaking amazing is that?  I have a busy schedule set up for myself.  Early in the morning I start by teaching English to children in China for a couple of hours.  Then, breakfast and catching up on emails, social media and my website to see what needs to be done.   I work until noon, then lunch and then a healthy activity.  While I am house sitting near the ocean that means walking, swimming and biking everyday for at least an hour.  When I am in Toronto, I am committing to the same schedule.  We have wonderful community centres with swimming pools and gyms that cost very little and there are discounts for seniors, students, unwaged, low income and more.

Does this appeal to you?  You must start with lists – lists of things you cannot live without.  What is the absolute minimum that you could live with satisfactorily?  What is a list with all your wishes and dreams?  Take time to prepare these lists and edit and edit and edit until you know what you want and what you need.  Next, a list of what type of work would make you feel fulfilled and contented.  It might be what you are doing now or something so far away from that it might surprise even you.  What do you know how to do?  What are your skills?  What do you do that fills you with joy? Meditate and dream on your lists.

The first step for me was starting the plan.  I gave my notice to my employer last January (8 months).  I started planning what the next steps would look like.  I read that if you want to be in a new place next year, you must do 365 things toward that goal and so I started.  Step by step, slowly, slowly and you can get there.  The next big move was becoming a client of Women on the Move (WOM) and working closely with Heather Gamble to develop a plan for success. WOM incubates women entrepreneurs.  It is a sisterhood of women who are motivated for change.

 

planning

I invite everyone to evaluate your life – are you doing what makes you happy?  Are you creating a lifestyle that suits you?  Are chasing your dream or are you actually chasing someone else’s?  Are you working to live or living to work?  There are many seasons to our lives….in our 20’s, in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s….different goals and different needs.  What is it you want to change and what will you do every day to get there?

 

Am I Fat?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately (always) about food, about dieting, about weight.  The reality of being 60 means a lot of history to contend with and a lot of struggles to sort out.  I am back on medication for Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension.  For 2 fabulous years, I was able to maintain normal levels with Chinese Medicine but rising levels meant seeing a specialist and mainstream, western medication.  Now I am committed to exercise and losing another 25 pounds to be able to take the least amount of medication possible.

bicyclebicycling

I want to talk about my story with weight, with body image, and with insecurities.  When I was 13 years, I went away to summer camp where the camp nurse weighed each of us.  I stood innocently on the scale and weighed in at 160 pounds.  The nurse reacted with a Wow! Or something similar to that.  I think she told me it was too much.  I was overweight.  That was the only beginning.  I remember being a very lonely child.  My dad was strict and I wasn’t allowed the same freedoms that my brothers had.  I had to come in before dark and sleepovers were not allowed.  I had a friend who lived across the street – Karen.  She always seemed so normal – typical……just what I dreamed of being.  We stopped at the grocery store near our school a couple of times and bought a chocolate bar.  I thought I was so cool!!  I told my Mom and I saw her face fall.  I knew she was thinking that I was too fat to be eating a chocolate bar.  Now I knew I was fat…fatter than the other kids…the fattest….the big one.  Different, the odd one….the fat, Jewish one. D.i.f.f.e.r.e.n.t.  and that was the beginning of a life time of dieting.

chocolate bar

In my teen years I tried a few very weird diets.  One day I ate only bananas and almost fainted in gym class.  Gym class – now that is a whole story in itself.  I always felt fat and awkward and clumsy.  I was sure that all the other girls were athletic.  I do remember thinking I was a great soccer goalie well, until half the girls on the other team came crashing and kicking at me! I dreaded gym from day 1 until I finally could drop it as a course in Grade 10 when it was no longer mandatory.  My favourite teenage diet and one I often did was 500 calories a day eaten in 2 meals.  Each meal allowed a half piece of bread, 1 cup of salad with no dressing, 3 ounces of meat or fish and 1 apple.  Great diet for a growing teenager!  I would usually keep this regime Monday through Friday and eat normally on the weekend.  On this diet you should lose a pound per day they proclaimed.  I usually lost a pound or 2 a week.  I once asked my Mother to show me how big a pound was and she took out a pound of butter from the fridge.  That was my go to image each time I lost some weight.

butter

 

At 19 and madly in love, I ran into some relationship problems.  I couldn’t eat.  I was heartbroken.  My boss used to ask in the morning if I had eaten anything and send me to the cafeteria for tea and toast that I usually threw up after eating.  Lunch was cup-of-soup, an apple or some popcorn and dinner wasn’t much better.  I often had a few crackers with some dip.  The weight was falling off and I was at my lowest weight of 150 pounds.  Only 10 pounds lighter than my normal weight of the past 6 years but of course, everyone said how great I looked and I felt like a super model. 150 pounds was still 30 pounds over the weight the charts told me I should be at. I got married in this time and had some very beautiful photos taken.  I knew that the long white dress hid my curves and the beautiful face shots hid the body.

Sandra 1976 Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
Sandra at 20 years old and 155 pounds. Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

I don’t remember my husband ever telling me I was beautiful or sexy or openly admiring my body.  I didn’t have a lot of money to buy really trendy clothing.  Clothing is a very important part of this narrative and one I have been thinking of a lot.  When I was around 12 years old, my mother took me shopping Curls in Moncton, N.B. , an independent store for mature women and definitely not for teens.  She bought me several new dresses.  The sales woman was my aunt.  Both my Mom and Aunt were in their 50s by then.  When I got home and we showed the new clothes to my dad, I remember him telling Mom the clothes were too old for me and Mom saying that younger clothes didn’t fit me.  When I was old enough to shop for myself, I remember struggling to find jeans in size 14 and later size 16.  I was a travel consultant at Eaton’s Travel and we wore uniforms from Eatons.  I couldn’t find a suit to fit so I had to have mine custom made.  Fortunately, the Ports’ blouses fit my corpulent size 16 body.  When I was 30 years old and still wearing size 16, I was a manager of a large women’s clothing store, Fairweather, and rarely found clothes that fit me.  We were supposed to wear only Fairweather clothes.  I often had to find something similar in another store.  Although, a solution always was possible, I was always aware that I wasn’t an “average” size.

Over the next 15 years, I gained 50 pounds at 5 pounds per year until I reached 255 and a size 24.  I was fulfilling my self-proclaimed prophecy as a fat woman.  However, I always felt that I looked good.  People always told me that I was beautiful…they loved my clothes….copied my style…told me I flowed when I walked…told me I was sexy….saw me as a trendsetter. I did some plus size modeling.  I dated…I had confidence…turned a few heads when I entered a room but deep down, I knew that I was the fattest one!  At least, that was the old and ugly tape going on in my head.

Me at 255
35 years old and at my heaviest weight of 255 pounds. With my Mom and daughters.

 

weight watcher booksAt 45 years old, after years of weight gain and then years of maintaining my weight, I started dieting again using the Weight Watchers plan.  I couldn’t afford their program so I got their books from my size 0 zero (and lifelong Weight Watcher member) and taught myself the program.

I don’t remember what motivated me to make that commitment.  After losing 35 pounds, I thought about how my role as a mother was changing.  My daughters were leaving home for university and no longer needed me to be to be 2 parents or needed me to protect them.  I wondered if my subconscious realized that my warrior/protector role was changing and I didn’t need to be so “big and strong”. I got smaller through diet and daily exercise.  I walked the 6 km to work and back.  I then started biking to work and in the first week dropped 7 pounds.  I hit a plateau at 217 pounds and I felt like a little mini.  It was exciting.  I dropped 3 sizes and felt so healthy.  I maintained that weight for the next 10 years.  It took me a long time to realize I was actually no longer a size 24 – I once went in a fitting with size 24 pants that fell off me.  My daughters both told me they thought I had  a touch of body dysmorphia (might be a bit of a stretch) but the truth is, I always subconsciously, saw myself as the biggest one in room.

In the past 2 years, I have dropped another 30 pounds.  I am now 185 pounds.  This was my weight in my 30’s and I have really been working on seeing my body as it really is.  As I mentioned earlier, I have been struggling with health issues – hypertension and type 2 diabetes.  These problems can be genetic – my father, my grandfather, my grandmother, mother and brother have had one or both.  However, all I hear is OBESE, caused by OBESITY….ringing painfully in my head.  I also believe that if I lose another 25 pounds, I will miraculously be cured.  I will be the picture of health.

 

I remember an experience with a OB/Gyn during my first pregnancy.  His “bedside” manner with me was never that good- although he had been recommended by several of my friends.  I was never sure what the problem was but at one of the Jewish holidays, I asked him if I should fast.  He said no, but that didn’t mean I should be eating Cheetos in the synagogue!!  After a few more rude comments, I decided to move on to another physician.  His nurse told me that the only other time a patient complained she also was overweight.  I was 5’3” and weighed 190 pounds.   When I was living in Haifa, I had a knee injury and went to the hospital where the doctor asked me to raise my skirt so she could see the knee.  She literally gasped and said, “I didn’t realize you were obese!!”  Can I just say, Yowza….what the hell was that?

I have always loved my body….I like looking in the mirror.  I actually admire my luscious although sagging breasts, my rounded hips, my full and juicy belly.  I really wish we saw more photos of all body types and I really hope we all continue this conversation.  This isn’t an issue particular to men or women.  It is a struggle all around.  I have loved and enjoyed many body types.

I wanted to share this story today.  We are talking a lot about fat shaming, loving all body types and then the issues around health and wellness. When I openly refer to myself as fat these days, I am reclaiming myself.  I am not shaming myself.  I am saying openly….this is who I am and I like it! I am a voluptuous, big, bold and beautiful womyn!  I am hoping that you will share your stories with me.  I am hoping that you will stand in the mirror and say with passion and love…..I love me!!!!!!!

cartoon sandra

That’s What a Healthy Life Looks Like

Yesterday I retired from my position as the National Coordinator for Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.  I am ready for the change and so excited for the challenge ahead.

Today I am heading to Milford, Connecticut to cat/house sit.  Deb and I met in 2015 when I first visited as a Bed and Breakfast guest.  I love her home – cozy, clean, quaint and a block from the beach.  This will be home for the 2 ½ weeks.

I am back on a very healthy eating and weight loss program.  Although I am satisfied with my weight and how I look these days, I can’t seem to get my health in good order.  Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension (High blood pressure).  Both of these are hereditary on both sides of my family but that shouldn’t have made it inevitable.  I changed my eating habits, lost 20 pounds and worked closely with a practitioner of Chinese medicine.  I take herbs and have monthly treatments.  For 2 years, I was able to lower my blood sugar readings to normal and maintain a healthy blood pressure but then last year my numbers started going up.  No matter how much I restricted what I was eating, I couldn’t do it.  I dropped another 10 pounds but then the weight loss stopped and I have been stuck for several months.  I am seeing an endocrinologist ( a specialist for diabetes) and he has me on 3 different medications and they are all at the maximum  dosage.  I am not feeling any side effects but we are also not getting to the normal numbers that he wants.  The prognosis is that I will need a new mediation but he has given me until December to lose more weight.

That’s where I am today, one week later and magically 3 pounds lighter.   I am using the weight watchers program (pre 2010).  I know it and it has worked for me in the past.  In 2004, I lost 35 pounds and kept it off, and since then I have used it to lose another 35.  At least I have gained any weight in the past 20 years.  I have an ideal weight in mine – my lowest adult weight from when I was 19 years old.  That is another 35 pounds but my goal for now is 20 pounds.   Since my diagnosis a few years ago, I believed that I could beat this if I could reach that weight.

I am inviting you to come on this journey with me – keep me motivated, keep me honest, encourage me and maybe some of you will work at this with me.  When I want a change, I believe in going public!  Go big or go home!!

Here is the plan – stick to the old weight watchers plan, work at things that I love, commit to exercise a minimum of 3 times a week but trying for 5.  The next 17 days I want to kickstart it!  I am going to beach destination in Connecticut, on the beautiful Long Island Sound, a bicycle with flat roads and a state park, miles of beach and quiet.  I am going to bike every day with a goal of 12 kilometres per day.  I want to walk the beach at low tide everyday rain or shine soaking up the healthy salt air and the “negative ions”.  My diet splurges will be fresh lobster and quahogs and a glass or 2 of wine, maybe even a light beer.  Alcohol isn’t something I drink very often but vacation screams “Have a glass or 2.” Of course, it means giving up something else on the weight watchers’ plan.

I need to purchase lunch in the airport today and I know I could have chosen a salad but instead I picked a roasted vegetable sandwich and a coffee.  I ate one half of the bun and through the rest away.  For me, that is important to throw out what I shouldn’t eat otherwise it may find its way into my mouth an hour later.  I am only supposed to have one coffee a day but every now and then, I treat myself to an extra one.  Love the dark roast with a splash of lowfat cream.

An hour until my flight departs.  I feel that my whole life is about to lift off.  Fingers crossed.

 

Do You Feel Invisible?

What is all this talk about being invisible?  Am I invisible because now I am in my 60’s?  Do you feel invisible?  Who is invisible?  C’mon let’s talk.

The first time I heard about this phenomenon was from a woman who put purple and pink in her white hair.  She had extremely thin hair….wisps of hair actually and she said that after turning 60 she had become invisible.  I thought maybe it was just her.

I was wrong!  Women talk about it alot.

This idea makes me feel so disappointed.  I have never felt invisible and I don’t feel it now in my sixties.    I am a woman who wears make-up, buys clothing, colours my hair and tries to be on trend.  It might be frivolous but for me it is fun and a way of expressing my creativity.  I love looking for new ideas, hunting for a great bargain and playing in my closet.

playing my closet
Playing in my closet

I keep wondering if this is about youthful sexuality.  Do women feel invisible because they don’t have that fresh, youthful sexuality that had turned men’s heads or …….construction workers who whistle and cat call?  That always seemed creepy and scary.

I don’t have the answer about other’s invisibility.  I am not going to suggest red lipstick and hair colour.  I am not going to suggest buying new clothes or having a make-over.  That might help someone but I think it is imperative to explore your authentic self. I am loving the direction my career ………….celebrating Life Cycle events with others.  Wedding officiant, teacher, Reflexologist and more.  I am excited to travel more with my newfound flexibility since I am retiring from my commitment as a National Cooridinator. This year my mantra comes from Louise Hay and is inspiring me to take a chance.

mantra
My mantra from Louise Hay

Now is the time to do the things that you love to do.  Reading, writing, crafting, healing, inventing, traveling, exploring…………..whatever it is……….now is the time to do it.

dance with fairies

I believe that if you are happy and fulfilled, if you are smiling, laughing or loving………………you can’t be invisible.  At the very least you are seen and cared for by the people you love.

I am blessed – my daughters love me.   They take time to stay in contact with me, visit me, open up their homes to me.  I have a grandson that fills me up with his laughter and his love.  I am very blessed.  At the same time, I no longer have a relationship with my 4 siblings.  Our dysfunctional childhood and my strong political actions have driven us apart.  I have created a family of friends.  Surrounded by this love, I am certain, I will never be invisible.

Raya, Tovah and Me spring 2016
An outing with my beautiful daughters

What do you think?

How To Make The Perfect Cup of Coffee

I have been using a French Press for almost 20 years.  I love it but this month I broke 2 of the glass container and I hate seeing waste.  I am now considering purchasing a metal one that would last.  In the meantime, this morning I made my coffee in a percolator that I found in my “magic” laundry a few years ago.  I thought it was so pretty and kept it on top of my cupboards as part of my kitchen decor.

Laundry room finds
from the magic laundry room

I don’t make purchases lightly.  I hate wasting my limited income on things I don’t need and purchasing something that I have to throw out 2 weeks later makes me crazy.

The coffee was perfect – it was easy and took less than 10 minutes.  The average time to percolate is 7-10 minutes according to my google research at 6am this morning.  I used the same measurements as I do in my French Press.

I love my coffee to be dark, full bodies, with lots of intense flavour – French Roast and Sumatra are my favourites.  Whenever I am in London, Ontario I like to purchase my coffee at Fire Roasted.  They are in the East End Market on Dundas Street, East.

Make that fair trade and organic and we are off to a very good start.  I prefer to grind my own beans for optimum flavour too.  Even beans ground the day before leave the taste wanting in my opinion.

When I started using Traditional Chinese Medicine as my healing therapy, the first thing Emily, my practitioner, recommended was only 1 cup of coffee per day.  I am good at sticking to that.  I want that cup the first thing in the morning – before food and I spend about a half hour sipping it and enjoying the start to my day.  I love mornings.

I put the beans in my grinder measured to the 1.5 cup level.  I grind and count to about 30 for the coarse grind recommended in a French press.  I then add 12 ounces of boiling water.  I stir it and let is sit for 5 minutes.  Often I add a dash of cinnamon.  I enjoy coffee with cardamon but not as my morning beverage with cream.  Each morning I add 2 tablespoons of 5 or 10 percent cream.

Each morning this is my routine – it feels so luxurious, costs me about $1 per day and leaves me feeling like a pampered diva.

favourite coffee cup

How do you make the perfect cup of coffee?

What Would You Do If You Could Do Anything?

It’s time for an exciting new adventure.  3 years ago I started this blog – I was 2 years away from my 60th birthday and I wanted to embrace that milestone with excitement, hope and a sense of adventure.  I have decided to embrace social media even more by reaching out and asking for your help as I plan the next chapter in my personal journey.  No, not online dating but instead online life planning.

 

The whole world is my oyster and there are so many things I might do.  I am enlisting my friends, family and acquaintances far and wide to explore the possibilities.  I want to hear where you’ve been, why you loved it, where you want to go and what is pulling you there.

I am making lists – that’s the way I handle things.  Lists of where I have been, what I love doing and what talents are in my bag of tricks.

aromatherapyreflexology feetDream pillow workshop 1badge

 

I intend to continue earning a living but I think I have a pretty big “bag of tricks” to offer.  I am referring to work I am doing now and career’s I have had in the past.

  • Reflexologist (Healing foot massage)
  • Workshop facilitator (Fun, inspiring sessions incorporating Aromatherapy, flower essence remedies, journalling, vision boards and more)
  • Life Cycle Officiant (weddings, funerals, coming of age, uncoupling)
  • Writer/Editor
  • Organizer (Home and office)
  • ESL teacher (English as a second language_
  • Jewish Educator (specialty is Bar/Bat Mitzvah students)
  • Travel/tourism guide
  • Administration and Management
  • Fundraising
  • Event Planning

Here is a list of things I have thought of doing:

  • House-sitting and pet-sitting. Boat-sitting (yachts?)
  • Couch surfing (think I am not really up that option) – like camping and backpacking.)
  • Tour guide
  • Destination representative (English representative at hotels and resorts)
  • Cruise ship (maybe as a Reflexologist)
  • Teaching English in actual classrooms
  • Teaching English virtually (already doing this as a supply teacher)
  • Volunteer placements with a stipend
  • Retreat centre or spa as a Reflexologist
  • Caregiver for children or seniors
  • Organizing homes/ offices far and wide

 

Now it is your turn.  I am so excited to hear your ideas.  Where would you go?  What might you do?  Let your imagination run wild.  1, 2, 3, and go!

#Busy, Tired, Stressed

busy-tired-stressedHow did this become our badge of honour?  I want to be able to say that I had a great day, a relaxing day, that I am organized and rarely feel overwhelmed. I want to say that there are enough hours in my day.  That I have time to make proper meals, time for exercise, time to meet with friends, time to read a book, time to watch a movie, a documentary or a silly sitcom.  I want to say it with pride because I actually do.  I have been able to create a simple life that most days is balanced and fulfilling.

my-goal-is-to-create

When I call my Mom (keep in mind that she is 96) and tell her what I have been up to, she says, ‘My you are a busy woman”.  I want to explain that yes, I have a full schedule but I am doing things I truly enjoy and I have a life that is very satisfying.  I know that she thinks being busy is very important or what I want her to say because that is what society dictates.  I know that my mother always ridiculed people who napped so I never tell her about my naps.  I love a nap…now that I am older and working much less….a delicious nap might last 2 hours….ok….2.5 hours.  Why not?  If I nap, I can stay up later and fill the time with one of my projects.

mom
Mom at 95

All this doesn’t mean that I don’t get busy, get tired, get stressed but when it does happen, I want to realize that this is not a state of being I admire.  I am looking at ways to continue working and by that I mean continue working past the average retirement age.  I want to work at things that bring me joy.  I want to undercover my passions.  I want to share them with others and earn my living doing just that.

I don’t think we need to wait until we are sixty to start this journey.  It seems important to excavate, explore and dig deep to find your authentic self now – today.  We all have one.  I left Canada at 48 with a plan to travel for a year.  I came home 2 years later….a radical activist and what felt like a very different person.

meme-2-whent-the-whole-world-is-silent-2

I wasn’t a different person– I had just uncovered another part of me that I had missed.  It feels now like so much of all those personal discoveries are coming together – all my passions, all my interests, all my desires and yes, maybe all my dreams.

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SandraLaya Creating

peace, joy and love

 

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off and Start All Over Again

So here’s the thing.  I love writing and I love my blogs.  I was so excited about my Sixty in the City idea.  I couldn’t wait to get started.  Ideas flowed in my head and my heart.  When I was out ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pictures poured in.  This is my passion.  I love sharing ideas and hopefully inspiring others. Ok, so what happened ….why did I stop?  Why do I have lists of blogging ideas in my “To Do List” and why haven’t I written in months? Why?  What stopped me? Hmmmm…… time to explore the usual suspects.

loose-cassette-tape-650x280  The old tapes I suppose.  What do I mean by the old tapes?  Those are those thoughts that flow through our mind.  Crap that other people told us or crap that we repeatedly tell ourselves?  Can’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t.  Yowzers!!  How did that stuff get into my head?

 

half-fullI pride myself on a cup that is more than half full and often spilling over.  I think that I am a “take charge, get it done, kind of Womyn”.  I never leave dishes in the sink or laundry unfolded.  I plan my meals, plan my grocery list, take time to cook healthy from scratch food, keep my home neat and tidy, stay in touch family and loved ones, remember birthdays and special occasions, make lists and check things off. Yup, you got it….I can busy myself with a lot of mundane details and tell myself that I was too busy today but tomorrow….no the next day….ok no….next week….  I’ll do it….cause I love it.  What’s going on????

Looking back over the years (and when you are sixty, there are a lot of years to look back on) I know that many times when I was on the brink of following my passion to have my own business as an Alternative Healing practitioner. My passion for facilitating groups to inspire womyn to create the changes they want for themselves and for the world…..I didn’t follow my own advice but instead took a different path.  Consistently a solid, dependable job or contract  would come my way and how could I say no to stability and normality?   I am not criticizing those choices.  I was a sole support parent with 2 amazing daughters who I wanted to provide for.  I am certain that isn’t all there is to this pattern, though. My daughters have been self sufficient and stable on their own for over a decade.

Last spring I found a great inspiration partner.  We both wanted someone to keep us on track to achieve our goals.  We met every other week and we created a whole system to keep us motivated.  It was so exciting and so organized.  sunraysWe called our goals sun rays and each ray was a stream that we wanted to pursue and follow.  In this time I got my licence to marry couples and started officiating weddings.  I was blogging very regularly and many of my ideas were unfolding .  I started my training to become a Kohenet (Hebrew Priestess).  I was doing it!!! And… Then…I …Stopped !!!!!!!!!  Right in the middle of doing what I was sure I loved and what I am still sure I love.  What happened? One thing only….I got in my own way.

The really awesome part of all this is that it’s ok to stop and it’s ok to start again.  The old but timeless song, “take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.” Listen hear

fred-and-ginger

What have I done?  I found my old mentors again …..Sarah Ban Breathnach, Louise Hay and Sark.  I dug out my vision journal and I have enjoyed looking at it again.  (some photos from my old vision book)

Today I am going to start working on expanding that vision journal with my new visions and discoveries.  Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests that you get piles of old magazines and cut out pictures that you are drawn to, putting them into separate piles for the various parts of your life.  Here is a description from one of her books.

You can usually find Sarah’s books in second hand book stores.  I suggest starting with “Simple Abundance”. Currently I am using “Something More” as my guide.

I am ready to commit to me again…..that means healthy choices and exercising, it means writing out my gratitudes from the day before, giving thanks to the Goddess, reading something inspirational.  It means making a commitment to my personal success by creating an action plan and following it though.  For me it means stepping out of my usual comfort zones.  It means finding joy in all the little spaces like walking barefoot on the beach in November in Nova Scotia or wandering through the Allan Garden Conservatory in Toronto on Boxing Day when it is cold and rainy outside.

 

 

 

What does it mean for you?

Turning 60: An awesome milestone

This is a milestone birthday for me – I just turned 60.  It isn’t my most difficult birthday.  In fact, I am finding the whole idea very exciting.  As you may know, I started the Sixty in the City blog when I was only 58 – I called it Sixty in the City (well almost).  This week I dropped the (well almost). That year I also decided to grow my hair so that I would have the longest, blondest hair ever for my sixtieth birthday.  I am having fun!  My life ranges from very serious (my work, my activism and my health) to frivolous joy.

hair at 60
My hair at 60

The most difficult birthday for me was my 28th and it really knocked me for a loop.  I cried constantly it seemed.  I called my Mom (who is 35 years older than me) and told her my life was flashing before my eyes and before I knew it I would be 68.  It all sounds ridiculous to me today but I was one very unhappy camper.

The truth is it was a difficult time.  I was very unhappy in my marriage – a relationship I had been in since before my 17th birthday, finances were very tight and my precious daughters were very little (my youngest was 6 months and my oldest was 3 years).  I was teaching both days and evenings and my in-laws had moved to town (a whole other story).  So much responsibility and I just couldn’t find the Light.

How far I have come!  I feel like I am in a place where I am living authentically and when something doesn’t feel good, I can leave it behind.  I am choosing to walk my own path.  I have finally learned the power of saying NO! And that is a very big step.

I am sixty and maybe you are turning 30 or 35 or 45 or 50……………it is significant and we need to honour it.  I believe it is very important to ask ourselves, “Am I happy? Is this the right path for me? Should I make a change?”

Making changes in our life can be a real challenge and choosing those choices even more difficult.  For me, it is imperative to assess my priorities – what gives me satisfaction, what is important to me, what fills me up and what am I doing that does not resonate.

Money is not my first priority but there is a certain level of financial security that I require and I am more than willing to work to achieve that goal.  I love time with my daughters and with my grandson – this time is so precious and makes me really happy – doesn’t matter if we are just at home, in a local park, running errands – being with my family is so satisfying.  I love to travel but I don’t require a 5 star hotel or a cruise ship. I was a travel agent years ago and had ample opportunity to experience both.  I am very lucky to have friends living in many areas of the world and sometimes I stay with them but often choose an inexpensive hostel, airbnb or a simple hotel.

Planning my summer vacation, I knew I wanted to swim in salt water so I first looked for the closest body of salt water to Toronto.  New York seems to be it.  Do you realize you can take a bus to New York for as little as $10 each way?  I found a price of $66 return for the dates that I wanted.  I asked a friend if she would like to travel with me and then we chose an AirBnb in a town along the coast just a couple of hours from New York City. The house is a block from the beach with rave reviews and the host supplies beach chairs, beach towels and umbrellas for only $60 for the room per night ($30 each).  So this holiday will cost me around $200 for 5 nights.  The real bonus here is that I have to be in the area anyway the week after to begin my training as a Jewish Priestess.

chasing the water
Seeking sun and sea

Food is really important to me as well.  I am committed to eating healthy and I do like to cook my own food.  I have blogged often about food and shopping on a budget.  I love seafood but I am happy to buy a lobster for under $20 and eat it on the beach or at home.  I won’t be more satisfied having this meal in a restaurant.  I love having people in my home and cooking for them but I also don’t mind having a potluck party- always delicious.

potluck spring 2016
Potluck in 400 square foot apartment – always room for friends

Health is a big priority and I have been spending money each month on Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It has been very healing for me and I do wish it could be of our medical system in Canada but for now, I am prepared to work to pay this expense.

I do love clothes and cosmetics but I look for deals, coupons, and shop the sales by season.  I donate clothes that no longer suit me.  It took me 2 months to find the best deal on Birkenstocks.  My old ones have developed a  crack that pinches the bottom of my foot so they must be replaced after 3 summers of wear.  I found great deals this week online at Factory Shoes – only $75 for a sandal that sells everywhere for $119- $129.

My challenge to you ………… think of your personal priorities and then find a way to manifest what you need.   If you can’t do it on your own, work with a friend (the happiest and most positive person in your life). There are times in our lives when this is more difficult – perhaps the message to remember – this too shall pass.