Who am I – No Regrets!

 

Its Monday afternoon in Central Indiana, cool to the point of being cold, dreary as it is from November 1 – April 1, and I am finding myself.  When I first started on this journey, I would have been depressed and anxiety ridden about this day.  I am still stuck in Indiana when I want to be in Florida.  I have had no luck selling my business which I saw as an anchor holding me back from achieving my dreams and I would have been totally stressed out by my fears of the future.  That is no way to live.  When I was spending my whole life stressing about things in the future, I never lived today.  I survived each day but I didn’t find the time to enjoy even a few minutes of it because I was projecting myself into a future that no one can predict.  I can’t live in the future.  If I am living in the future, worried about the future, wanting the future that I desire to hurry up and get here, I completely miss today!  If I am not living in the present, how is it even possible to figure out who I am.  The only thing that is possible is for me to project who I might be in the future.  I want to know who I am today.  To figure that out, I have to live in the present moment.  So here I am – in the present.

y2TErbPlTfOt6SDCqa59lwThere are customers walking around the second floor of our 120 year old building just outside my office space.  I can hear the creaking of the ancient wooden floors.  That creaking is somehow comforting to me.  I can think of the thousands of feet that have trodden these floors in the past.  I can hear these customers talking to each other, exclaiming their delight in the beautiful prom dresses they are searching through.  Mom’s and daughters sharing this experience.  What a blessing!  I’m so glad I am able to provide them this experience!  I also hear one of my long time employees helping the girls with their search.  What a blessing!  This employee was a star athlete and student -the whole package – in high school.  Then she got pregnant and delivered her son 3 weeks after her senior prom.  This could have been a disaster for some but not for her.  She came to us 5 months pregnant seeking a job.  I saw in her something special.  She has worked for us for over 2 years now.  She is going to college full time and will start student teaching in about 9 months.  She is raising her son in whom she sees all the glory of God.  She loves working with our customers.  She is going to leave us in a little over a year so that she can go out into the world and make the world a better place!  What a blessing!  My greatest achievement is using this business to make the world a better place by helping these girls get through college so that they can be a gift to the world.  How blessed am I!  Being present in the moment today has made me so grateful for the blessed life I am living.  So, who am I?  I am blessed.

 

Mid Life Crisis – Who the Heck am I?

So you may be wondering about the name of this blog – The Lanai and I.  A Lanai is what people who live in tropical areas refer to as their covered patios, outdoor living areas, pool areas, etc.  You know, those wonderful places that those of us who live in the north dream about.  Kevin, and I don’t have a Lanai.  We only have dreams of one.  One of these days all of our hard work is going to pay off and we are going to have our own, fabulous Lanai.  We are going to spend most of our time there with tropical foliage everywhere and the ocean right beyond the lanai.  Ahhh, sounds great!  For the time being our lanai is only in our minds.  Each day when I come to you I am going to pretend I am writing from our tropical oasis.

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What is this blog all about?  It’s about mid-life – a weird place that I have found myself.  Now that I have found myself here I have discovered the following:  I have no idea who I am, what I believe and what has happened to my sexy, little, cheerleader body!  I am also suddenly awakening to what could be coming in the future!  Growing old is not for the faint of heart!

I am about as ordinary as any person on this planet so I know that if I am going through this loss of identity, there are thousands, maybe millions, of others who are in the exact same place.  My mission is to tread these unknown waters with purpose and direction and to share every step of the journey with you.  Maybe together we can all figure out who we are and where we are going during the second have of our time here on earth.  I am resolute in my efforts to find out who I am, to get my body back to a healthier weight and condition, figure out how I want to grow spiritually, fend off the ravages of old age and fill each day with purpose.

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I would love to have you join me on this journey!  Please subscribe to receive updates directly to your inbox!

What the Heck Happened?

Now I know what it means to have a Mid Life Crisis!  I have always heard that men go through these things and end up buying crazy sports cars or some such thing.  All my life I assumed that women were immune to Mid Life Crisis’.  That assumption is proving incorrect!  I haven’t gone out and purchased a crazy fast car.  I did; however, buy a crazy Golden Doodle that I didn’t need!  LOL!!!

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Seriously, I have reached my late 50’s.  One day not long ago, I woke up, looked at myself in the mirror and said to myself, “What the HELL happened to you, who are you and what are you doing in my mirror!  The sobering, soul-shocking answer was that I didn’t know who I was anymore!  I didn’t recognize that face looking back at me from the mirror and I had no idea how I had let myself get in this condition.

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First of all, my identity.  There was a fast paced high school life full of homework, sports and social events.  Its all kind of a blur to be honest.  Then there was college – a dreadful four years of being tossed out my comfort zone and into a world of thousands of teenagers being turned loose without parental control.  WOW!  Again, most of those years have been reduced to a foggy memory.  Then right into a marriage to my high school sweetheart, a year and a half of figuring out how to be married adults and then came parenthood!  And parenthood is where we stayed until now.  All of my jobs revolved around our children.  I was a day care director where I could take our young children with me to work every day for no charge.  When they got to be school age, I became a Realtor so that I could make my own schedule.  I had a standing appointment everyday for 3:00 when our children got home from school.  We were at every sporting event, were chaperones for trips and were there for our children no matter what!  Being parents is what we did and we did it well!  Then came the time when our children got drivers licenses, cars, social lives and started talking about going to college!  These ungrateful rogues were going to up and walk out on us!  After all we had done for them!  Are you kidding me!  I completely freaked out.  Just the thought of empty nesting threw me into a state of panic.  What would I do if there were not children to mother?  Who would I be if I wasn’t So and So’s mom?  To prevent this loss of identity, we decided to extend our parenting life by adding to our family through international adoption.  Whew!  Crisis averted!  We had a 9 month old baby to raise!  YAY!  Life as we knew it could continue!  It has been a wonderful experience, but let me tell you, parenting in your 20’s and 30’s is WAY easier than parenting in your 40’s and 50’s!  Now that we have our youngest child to age 17, I am exhausted and I still don’t know who I am as an individual.

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Then there is my body.  You know, you give birth a couple times, have a few injuries, a couple of medical issues and go through a couple of life changing, drop you to your knees, hard times and things happen.  When all of this crisis came to a head, I had to look at myself in the mirror.  I mean a full length mirror with me in my birthday suit.  HOLY COW!!!   Where was my cute little cheerleader body that I had when we started our family?  Believe me when I say it was LONG gone!!!  I was practically TWICE the woman I once was!!!  OMG OMG OMG!!!!  What a horror!!

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And then there was that face looking back at me that wasn’t the me I remembered.  When I didn’t even recognize myself I realized I had to make some changes.  For the first time ever, I have to figure out who I am when I am not someone’s wife or parent.  I am still both of those things, but I am also me.   I just have to figure out who me really is.  While I am figuring that out, I want to make my body healthier so that it can carry the real me though the rest of this journey.  The road is going to be rough and rugged.  Are you ready to go along with me?  Lets all figure out who we are together!

 

 

 

 

Contentment Comes to the Calm

Let me start by saying that I for sure don’t have all the answers!  By my very nature I am high-strung, anxiety ridden and driven – quite the opposite of calm!  However, I have also always been a student of the great wisdom teachers both ancient and contemporary.  All of the wisdom texts tell us to be still.

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There was a time not too many years ago when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Imagine that!!! Hard to believe – I know – but its true.  For a couple of years I was on blood pressure medicine which corrected the symptoms and I didn’t think about it too much.  Then started all the TV ads for lawsuits against this medication and that medical procedure.  These were all medications and treatments that had been deemed safe by the powers that be.  Now we were finding out that they were not safe.  People were suffering long-term and even deadly effects from these “safe” medical practices.  It made me wonder – is this blood pressure medicine really safe?  It probably was but it made me wonder again – is it solving my blood pressure problem or just lowering my blood pressure?  I decided to do an experiment.  I had a routine appointment scheduled with my doctor to check my blood pressure in about 30 days.  I decided to see if I could solve the problem without medication.  (Please don’t do this on your own for any medical condition.  Always consult your doctor before changing any medical routine.).  Being who I am I obviously had to set goals.  I would spend the first 10 days researching ways to reduce blood pressure naturally while weaning myself off of the medication.  I would spend the next ten days putting into practice what I had learned from my research.  During the final 10 days I would take my blood pressure 3 times every day, record the results and record what I was doing at the time of the reading.  I would then present my data to the doctor and plead my case that I didn’t need the medication anymore.  If I couldn’t get the numbers down and if my plan didn’t work, I would gladly stay on the medication because I would have proved to myself that it was best for my health.

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During my research phase, it seemed like every single thing I read exalted the practice of meditation for reducing blood pressure.  Of course I thought meditation was so weird thing where I would be in some sort of trance and see visions of who knows what.  That seemed a little out there for me but, what the heck, lets give it a go!  So the first part of learning to meditate is learning to quiet the mind – kind of like resting a muscle after over exerting it for a long period of time.  With all the thoughts and activities going on in my brain, I was definitely over exerting it!  That part made sense.  I just needed to give my mind a few minutes of quiet rest every day.  That would, in turn, relax my whole being, reduce my stress and anxiety and lower my blood pressure.  Perfect!!!  That was the goal.  I would sit on a cushion in a quiet place and relax my mind.  Then my blood pressure would drop to normal and I would be good to go!  OK!  Let’s meditate!

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Well!  That was the first time that I realized that I had a three-ring circus on steroids going on in my head!!!  The books said to just watch the thoughts come and go in your mind and then release them into nothingness.  Just observe them passively instead of interacting with them.  So I did that!  I started to notice all the thoughts going on in there and observe them.  Let me tell you – that first day it looked like an L.A. freeway during rush hour with a wild-fire evacuation order in effect in my mind!!!  Good Heavens!  There were thoughts and feelings crashing around in there like a room full of toddlers with ADHD!  No wonder I was so stressed!  So this was my starting place.  It took a few weeks of trying to relax my mind every day to get to the point where I could let it all go for a few minutes each day.  And you know what!  It worked.  I started feeling calmer and more relaxed.  I did it for 20 days in a row before I started taking my blood pressure readings.  By the time I went to the doctor, I had a chart with normal readings most of the time.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.  I told her what I had been doing and she gave me her blessing to stay off the medication as long as I continued to monitor it at home.  I also had to promise that if it could no longer be managed I would need to reconsider the medication.

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That was a couple of years ago.  It seems to me that I have fallen off the relaxation wagon.  I haven’t taken my blood pressure in a very long time.  I will report on what my numbers are currently when I join you again on Friday.  I have a feeling I might have some work to do.  Maybe it is time to get back into a better place.   Maybe all this mountain climbing I have been doing and now the deep desire to get off the mountain are wake up calls to get back to a place of peace.  Maybe I need to relearn how to be peaceful and happy where I am while taking steps to get to where I want to be next.  Would you like to take this journey with me?  Hit the Subscribe button so we can do this together!

 

God Doesn’t Need My Help!

I received a comment on yesterday’s post that kinda made me stop for just a minute.  The comment was that maybe, for whatever reason, the timing is just not right for The Love of My Life and I to make such a drastic change and God is telling us to wait.

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That made me think of several different things such as the old saying “be careful what you pray for because you might just get it!” and also Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “there is a time for everything and a season for everything.”

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Maybe my reader has a divinely valid point.  We have both prayed so hard, for so long that the changes we are seeking will come to be.  God is well aware of what we think we want.   We don’t have to keep making our wishes known over and over and over.  The stress and anxiety of pushing for our goals so hard is overwhelming!  Maybe it is time to relax, enjoy, be grateful and cherish today!  Maybe we don’t have to MAKE things happen.  Instead maybe we just need to LET things happen.  All the players and pieces are in place.  Maybe its OK to just let things work themselves out.  Maybe its OK to let everyone do what they are suppose to be doing without our interference.

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It feels so good to just relax today!  Where we are right now is actually really comfortable!  We have a nice home with all the modern conveniences, the businesses are providing a very adequate income, all of our bills are paid, we drive newer vehicles, we have plenty of food in the pantry, we are healthy, our kids are all doing well right now, we get to see both of our moms and our grandson frequently and I actually love running a thriving bridal shop!  So what do I have to complain about?

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If I am getting a little tired, there is nothing that says I can’t start taking a few days off here and there.  I have an amazing staff in place who can run things with their eyes closed.  Maybe I don’t have to get to work an hour before anyone else gets there.  Maybe I don’t have to get up at 2:00 a.m. to answer Facebook messages to the shop.  Maybe its OK to not answer business emails before my first cup of coffee.  Maybe I just need to stop making my own life so hard!!!  Maybe I just need to get out of my own way!

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With this new mindset I was able to sleep in this morning!  I was able to come to work without the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I made a To Do List for myself and the staff and we  got it all done!  And it was easy!  Somewhere along the way I forgot to enjoy what I love doing and made it all too difficult!  I am so grateful for the bounty of blessings we all experience each and every day!

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Maybe I’ll just let God work out the details and I’ll take time to enjoy the ride.  I want to thank my valued reader for the words of wisdom and I want to share them with all of you.  Are there things in your life that just don’t seem to be working out?  Are your struggles weighing you down and wearing you our to your very core?  Maybe its OK to give yourself permission to just turn it over to your higher power and  relax a little bit.  If worrying and stressing won’t change it, then let it go!  Today might be our last day on this earth.  Maybe we should take the time to enjoy it!

Getting Older Is Just Plain Weird!

As I enter my late 50’s I am continually amazed at just how weird this stage of life is!  Up to this point my life has been totally focused on climbing that mountain.  You know the one – get through high school with a list of achievements and good grades, get through college with a list of accomplishments and good grades, get a job, get married, have children, pour myself into raising those children to the best of my ability, get those kids almost launched, start over with a new baby (ok so maybe most don’t start over with a new baby when in their 40’s but it sounded like fun at the time), get the older kids out on their own, start and build a flourishing business, work hard, work hard, work hard.  Then all the sudden there came a day when I realized just how tired I was – and still am.  All the sudden it seemed like my goals changed.  Climbing that mountain suddenly didn’t seem so important.  What seemed more important was to turn around, sit down on the mountain and admire the view from exactly where I was.  Have you been there?  Are you getting there yourself?  Isn’t this a weird place to be?

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So here I am sitting on my mountain admiring the view when something else weird happens  I rested for just a minute and felt satisfaction from the climb I had achieved.  Then I suddenly realized that all I wanted was to get off that mountain!  I wanted to get my feet back on level ground.  WHAT!!!  Stop climbing!  How could that be!  I was that driven, goal oriented over achiever my whole life.  What was this feeling of just wanting to be done?  More importantly, how was I going to get off this mountain?  The LOML and I decided we were both at the same point at the same point.  Together we decided we just wanted to sell our businesses and move to a place where we could just be.  Oh how glorious it was going to be!  We would just sell our businesses, buildings and home, pack up and move to sunny weather where we could drink fruity cocktails on the lanai!  Ok!  Let’s make that happen!  Right now!  Ready Set Go!  And we came to a screeching halt!  It’s just not that easy to sell a business!  For months now we have been living in the balance.  Wanting so badly to have the businesses sold while still having to grow the businesses so they will maintain or increase in value for a potential buyer.  But I don’t want to build it anymore!  But I have to.  I have to keep going even though going further up the mountain is exactly the opposite of where I want to go!  Potential buyers come in and are very interested.  Talks go on for weeks.  Then buyers decide to walk away for awhile to think about it.  We have been through this twice now.  We get so excited that the long awaited offer is imminent just to be disappointed repeatedly.  This is so new for me!  I have never before in my life wanted something so badly and not been able to make it happen!  Is any of this familiar to anyone else at this stage of life?  The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that one day, the offer will come, everything will fall into divine order and magic will happen.    That is the dream that keeps me on this mountain for just a little bit longer.

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Any other mountain climbers out there who have suddenly realized that getting back to the base camp is more important than reaching the summit?  How are you getting off your mountain?  I would love to hear about it!

 

Fear is a Scary Thing!

Hello Fellow Dreamers!  It seems like just yesterday that I took those first tentative steps into putting our hopes and dreams in print.  In reality it has been 10 months!  When I first started writing last April, I was afraid.  I was afraid to put in writing what The Love of My Life and I were thinking about.  I was afraid it would never come true.  I mean who were we to think that we could actually slow down the frantic pace at which we live our lives and enjoy the bounties of this awesome life?  The only way to be a success in life is to work as hard as possible until your body or your soul gives out, right?  That’s what I had always heard.  So that is what I believe(d).  I am still struggling to change that core belief but I am getting closer.  TLOML and I have worked – HARD – our whole lives!  Its kinda what we do.  It seems like we have had some sort of awakening over the past year or so.  We realized that we are simply living to work.  We are not working to live.  We are not enjoying each other, we are not enjoying our home, we are not enjoying our lives!  We are simply working!  We have accumulated assets – not a great fortune, but some numbers on paper.  The problem is, we can’t enjoy the fruits of our labors because we have to work!  What would happen if we stopped working or at least slowed down the frantic pace?  Well, I was afraid of that as well.

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I was afraid that people would judge us for wanting to retire before we reached 60.  I was afraid that family would react negatively if we told them we wanted to move far away.  Then I started thinking about how few of our loved ones we actually see face to face during a year.  Mostly we keep up these relationships through social media or over the phone.  We can do those same things from anywhere in the world.  After facing these fears and really hashing them out together we have come to realize that the people we care most deeply about will be the ones who will come to visit us in our new tropical location.  It won’t be a couple of hours on a calendar designated holiday where chaos is sure to ensue, but an actual visit lasting many days – in a quiet location where work is far away!  That sounds way better to us!

 

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I was afraid that if our clients and Facebook base found out we were thinking of selling the businesses, they would stop coming.  I was so afraid of this result that I practically tied our Broker’s hands when we asked him to sell it.  I wanted him to sell it but I didn’t want him to tell anyone who was selling or what we were selling.  That didn’t work very well.  So now it is more common knowledge that we are thinking of selling.  Most people don’t believe us when we tell them.  Our business has not suffered in any way at all and continues to grow each month.  I was afraid my staff would all jump ship if they found out we wanted to sell.  You know what actually happened when I told my staff that we were taking action to sell the business?  They all laughed at me and started talking about the next item on the meeting agenda.  Hmm – that wasn’t so bad.  So, the burden of fear made our progress painfully slow in the beginning.

 

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I’m not saying we have completely conquered all of our fears but I will say that we have come a long way.  This is important when thinking about our ability to manifest our desires into our lives.  It is one thing to tell the universe exactly what we want and when we want it, but if we don’t believe it can happen or if we are secretly terrified of it becoming a reality, the universe will most likely not bring it to pass.  Even though our progress thus far has been so excruciatingly slow and painful, I think it has been useful.  Had everything fallen neatly into place right from the very first, we may have freaked out!  We may have been so overwhelmed that we may have regretted our decision.  With us having some time, we have been able to clear out a bunch of the stuff we have accumulated that we don’t want to clutter up our lives with anymore.  We have had time to think out the logistics of making a cross country move.  We have narrowed down exactly where we want to land within our dream area.  We have figured out what kind of property we will be happiest with.  We have become so much less fearful of taking such a drastic leap that now I feel like we are much more prepared.  We are ready to let go – to let go of what we have been attached to and to let go of the fear that has held us prisoner.

Is fear holding you back from something?  I would love to hear what you are afraid of.  Please leave comments below.  Let’s talk about it!