It’s almost Valentine’s Day. I read those Hallmark cards about my spouse being my other half and I just think they get it wrong. You need to have space in relationships. It’s just a matter of figuring out how much space you need, and how much is too much.
Psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher Nancy Colier talks about mindful relationships. You might think that being mindful in a relationship is just about paying attention to your mate…and it is…but it’s also about paying attention to yourself and the thoughts and emotions you bring to the partnership. Nancy talks about how to show up and how to deal with a really bad day — and how to leave yourself open for the butterflies of love.
I had this image in my mind of what my voice sounded like. So I recorded myself singing. Big mistake. And it got me thinking…there are times when I don’t sound like I think I do, even when it’s communicating with others. How often do you listen to yourself? Listening to yourself, on the Keep it Juicy! podcast.
Alexis Ferraro from OurTime talks with us. OurTime.com is a dating app for people over 50. We’re used to getting books, shoes and travel arrangements through online ordering. Why not love? Well, as Alexis tells us, that book you’re ordering doesn’t have the option of not liking you back. The brave world of online dating for over 50s on Keep it Juicy!
I’ve been through a few hurricanes and there are things that the weather channel won’t teach you. Lessons big and small that are handy to remember next time the big winds start. Things like the fact that you’re going to gain weight and you’re likely to lose your cool or maybe even your spouse, depending on how long you go without power and without your favorite electronic diversions. Hurricane lessons on Keep it Juicy!
A few weeks ago, I posed for a publication that I write for and I did it with no makeup. The magazine, Skirt, is one I write for regularly and this was their “Age Is Not An Issue” issue. So, I trusted them when they asked me to pose with no makeup. I even talked a friend into doing it with me.
Afterward, I heard lots of “how brave” comments. My friend and I were on the older end of the photo shoot spectrum. The youngest was a reality TV star who has done some modeling and the ones in between could all be models, if they aren’t already.
So maybe the comments were because I was an old broad without apology and without blush. As though I had shown not just my makeup-free face, but some more intimate part of myself.
That was not comfortable. Not the photo shoot itself, although the photographer was lovely and won my trust. And not the notion that my face was so shockingly bare that people thought I was brave to show the world what I really look like.
So, not comfortable. But it was not brave.
Here’s what’s brave:
The woman who survived a childhood as a Rwandan refugee and grew up to write the beautiful, “The Girl Who Smiled Beads.” If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.
Brave is anyone who has kicked cancer’s ass, and anyone whose ass has been kicked by cancer.
Brave is anyone who deals with depression or mental illness and is still here and still fighting.
People who have been kicked in the teeth by love but still believe that true love is out there? They are brave.
People who have been bullied or abused who figure out a way to make that violence stop before it gets its oily fingers on another generation. Those people are brave.
And if you stand up to a bully or an abuser, whether you’re the one being abused or whether you just see it happening? That’s brave.
It’s brave to take the time to talk with a homeless person, especially if you stop long enough to make eye contact.
People who figure out what it is that scares the hell out of them – could be jumping out of an airplane, could be public speaking – and goes ahead and does it. They’re brave.
Anyone who has the grace to speak honestly but kindly is brave.
All of those things are brave. But showing my face without makeup? That’s not so brave. I may look more tired than normal in that photo or older. But it’s not a brave face.
Let’s talk social media. Not the Russian infiltration or the zombie screen-starers it has made of all of us. I want to talk torture by my friends, wonderful people who ought to know better.
First, I have a confession to make: I didn’t get you anything for your birthday. You and I don’t have that kind of relationship.
I do celebrate the day you were born – you wouldn’t be my friend if I didn’t feel that way. But we don’t have the kind of friendship where we get each other birthday gifts.
So, why, I have to ask you, did you think I would send money to your favorite charity in lieu of the gift I was never going to get you?
If you’re like me, your social media feeds are filling up with virtue. This friend and that friend are saying that, for their birthday, they are raising money for their favorite charity. Well, bully for them.
I have my own charities. They’re meaningful to me because of the things I’m passionate about. Animals. Children. The environment. And when I am feeling charitable, I give to them. But I’m not expecting my passions to be yours. You do you.
Now, I know my friends and I love them. So, I know this all comes from a good place. But I can’t help but feel cranky about all the virtue showing up on my feed. I want to know about your life and your kids and even your job, but stop asking me for money!
In fact, I thought I had invented the phrase “charity shaming” but the urban dictionary tells me someone got there before me, so I’m apparently not the only person getting tired of the more-charitable-than-thou stuff on social media.
FOMO is the Fear of Missing Out. I think it’s a marketing term like BOGO, you know, Buy One, Get One. But, while everyone wants to BOGO, no one wants to FOMO.
I think FOMO originated as a term when we got so many choices through social media that people began bouncing like ping pong balls between social engagements, never staying at any one party because something cool might be happening at the next one.
FOMO is the opposite of living a juicy life because you’re never really enjoying the life you have – you’re always acquiring more.
What FOMO is not is a bucket list. It’s not all the things you want to do before you die. It’s all the things you want to do right now.
I started my career as a journalist and I was really careful about staying objective. And then, I moved over to public relations, but I was still careful. The words I wrote might be close to what I felt, but they were never my words. In both jobs, my creativity was harnessed in service of someone else’s vision.
So when I threw all that aside and moved to Charleston, I decided to dive into the creative well and just let it splash all over me. So much to do.
My mom died fairly young – she was 72, and that seems young to me. Did she have that sense of so much to do, so little time left? Because I hear that drumbeat beneath everything I do.
I don’t want to do anything later. I want to do it all now.
The kind of FOMO that people talk about that comes with the distraction of social media prevents you from being truly present, because you’re always looking ahead to the next.
I feel like what I have is not FOMO – I’m not scared of missing out. It’s more BIO. Bring it on! Or maybe BOTJ….Bring on the juicy!
We’re not children anymore, but the stuff that happened to us as children can still have a big impact on our lives. It can block us from living the life we want and it can block us from finding the love we need. And childhood trauma can really kick up a fuss when we try to manage the transitions that are part of being the age we are now. Certified relationship and life coach Riana Milne talks about traumas and transitions.
I was reading a book by business writer and nice guy Daniel Pink. It’s called “When,” and it talks cites a bunch of studies about the best times to do things…from scheduling big meetings to delivering bad news.
It’s a cool book – well, Daniel Pink is a cool guy and yes, I have actually met him. In fact, I may do a whole thing on this book in the future, but for now, I want to focus on one part.
So, in one part of the book, Pink says we have three stages of life…the launch, which gets us from childhood to young adulthood; the harsh reality stage, when life slams us with setbacks and sadness, along with some triumphs. And, finally, the final bittersweet stage.
That last stage starts around age 60 or so.
And the scientists found that the last stage is a time in which the number of friends drops.
You might think that’s sad, but you have to look more closely at the data from the researchers – and they are from the Washington University in St. Louis and Stanford University, in case that kind of thing matters to you. Anyway, these researchers say that it’s not that older people lose friends. It’s more that they EDIT friends. Because there are friends and then there are FRIENDS.
First, there are the kinds of friends who are like family. The womb-to-tomb kind of friends. Those friends, we keep. And, then there are the other friends. The Facebook friends. The nod-to-at-the-grocery friends. The friends you only see at yoga class. Those friends? We start to shed them like a snake sheds its skin.
And it’s not just that these friends drift away. We actively delete them. The researchers say the closer we get to the end of life, the more we narrow in to what’s really important in friendships, and that means fewer, but deeper, friendships.
Interestingly, this phenomenon was true for any ending, not just the end of life. End a job? Suddenly your lunch companion isn’t around anymore, and that’s fine. Graduate? Your study buddy isn’t on speed dial. It’s natural.
I did an episode of my podcast, Keep it Juicy!, on decluttering recently. It’s all about getting rid of the stuff that brings you down and doesn’t bring you joy. If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it. Don’t be the family caretaker of all the memories. Stuff isn’t people, so have a yard sale.
All of that makes sense.
Except when it doesn’t.
Now, maybe I haven’t reached that final stage yet. I’m not quite 60, although I can certainly see it waiting around the corner.
So, no, I’m not talking about the kinds of “frenemies” that you need to get rid of, pronto, no matter what stage of your life you’re in.
I moved to a city where I don’t know anyone. If I didn’t want to stay inside the house staring at my husband – and he would have started making references to The Shining after Day One – I had to meet people. I had to make new friends.
I can’t say they are my soulmates like Liz, my very best friend from college days. But they are fun, I care about these people, and they end our dates with “I love you,” so there’s at least some mutual affection.
I’ve been here for about five years. And maybe I just got in the habit, but I still feel that every new person I meet could be a friend. I still get excited when I click with a new person and we make a date to get coffee. I’m not editing, I’m adding.
I like to think of it as building up a valuable collection.
And I don’t feel like these friendships clutter up my life or that I need to edit them.
I’m like a magpie, collecting soft things for my nest. Not every friendship is going to meet every need. But someday, some quirky emotion will have me pulling a particular friendship out of the nest and it will be just exactly what I need right then.