What Mid-Forties Feel Like

Last month was my birthday, I am officially in my mid-forties. Here are some of the things I’ve pondered . . . .

Last month was my birthday, I am officially in my mid-forties. Here are some of the things I’ve pondered:

Health

According to my last check-up all is good. I am at a healthy weight and all my lab results also got a thumbs up. With that said, I have noticed that keeping the weight off is not as easy as it was even a year ago. The other thing I noticed is that cardio just doesn’t cut it anymore. If I want to see a change, I have to definitely implement strength training and that is as fun as having my teeth pulled or a cavity filled, you choose.

Although I have maintained my weight, my clothes don’t fit like they used to, every thing is a little tighter.  Which of course leads me to even a bigger mystery, the mystery of the distribution of chubbiness.

Back fat, I mean really, why does that exist? Some people say you are wearing the wrong size bra but all I know is that it has magically appeared and taken permanent residence.

Not sure what to call it so I’m going to say side fat. It’s on your hip, you can pinch it. Something that was never there before is there now. Why does it exist? What is its purpose? Is there a higher meaning? Maybe it is there just so you have to buy wider pants; either way, UGH!

Deep down in my core, I know what I have to do to get rid of it: eliminate processed sugar and add strength training to my weekly workout routine. The latter is painful because I dislike strength but I can say with 100% certainty that I love processed sugar. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, all of it! Why is the universe taking away the answer to any surprise stress situations? I have started to buy fruit and dwindle the treats from my pantry. So hard when Halloween is around the corner and sets off the trifecta of holiday sugar: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Family

Nothing has taken over so much of my time and energy as caring for my Mother. My Mom has gone from being an independent individual to two hospital visits and rehabilitation. It has led to many moments of stress and fear. Helping her adjust to her limited mobility has been hard. Nothing prepares you for that moment when the woman that gave you life and took care of you is the one needing care now. The road has been rocky, and there have been many a days where I meditate and pray for her to be well, be happy and free from suffering. This transition has been scary but just like anything unknown in life, the path is here for a reason and the new dynamic of the relationship we forge will lead to more care and love.

Being a Mom of two middle school aged children has been very interesting. I love that my kids still talk to me, I mean really talk to me. There are days when feelings overwhelm them but the fact that they know I am there and still ask for my opinion has been great. Do they know it all, of course. Hopefully they just realize that a second pair of eyes will always be an asset.

Spirituality

I have taken a challenge this year that has been hard. I started 2017 with the intention of meditating and journaling to help out with my stress. It took me a bit of time to really find my groove with meditation. I tried everything and what seems to fit is two wonderful apps that let me meditate on the go.

Buddhify and Insight Timer – these two apps have been so wonderful for me.  A great feature of Insight Timer is that it allows you to see how many people meditated with you, so many people out there being mindful makes me happy. Buddhify categorizes the meditations into different groups so that you can listen to whatever you fancy at the time.

Self-help audiobooks – another great resource for me is OverDrive. This app has partnered with my local public library and lets me access audiobooks that I can listen to in the car. Some of my favorite books have been The Book of Joy, Exponential Living and Big Magic. I’ve had so many “A-HA” moments while driving, it really has become one of my favorite things to do.

Does this mean I’m a Zen master? Let’s just say I woke up before 6 am this morning because I couldn’t sleep, had a mini-breakdown using Word with my son last night and lost the document, and after taking the kids to school this morning I dropped an entire cup of hot coffee on me. All I can say is, there are more moments of mindfulness in my life now and I know it’s a work in progress.

Work

For the first time in a long time, the kids are in the same school which means I have an even amount of downtime. I was hoping to get a part time job or work on my photography. My Mother’s transition means I need to dedicate some of that time to her appointments. In between that, carpooling, and my household duties, my creative work has been put on the back burner.

Finding the balance of working on what I love is hard. Instead of acting in shows, I try to see a show. I carry my camera with me so I can take stock photography until I can start to work on my headshot photography again. As for blogging, I try to get it in when I can, that means using the WordPress app in my daughter’s orthodontic office and editing my blog pics on the go.

I try to dedicate all my focus and energy on the kids when they get home from school and I’m hoping to implement some time for outings with friends, I miss that aspect of my life soooo much.

Beauty

So it’s true, you are a little softer. Not in a bad way, just in a different way. I don’t mind my laugh lines or crow’s feet, it just means I have laughed a lot in my life. I find that I’m thankful for the little things even more now. The stuff that used to bother me or that I would worry about what other people thought of my appearance, don’t even concern me anymore. As they say, it’s amazing how little people really think about you and what you think they are thinking about you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one admiring the youthful glow of women who don’t seem to age, but it’s not something that I worry about so much. I moisturize and try to nourish my body with the food it needs. At the end of the day, that is all you can do. As an actress, aging can be difficult but you are also given the opportunity to embody characters with an amazing amount of layers and depth. There is nothing more interesting than who you are, so go find and be it.

Mid-forties has been interesting, can’t wait to see where it continues to move me down this journey called life.

What do you ponder about, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.

Keep on!

Acting Out Mama!

A Humbling Pain

Sunset Girl by Leon Biss

One of the reasons I have gone incognito for the last couple of months is I had an ovarian cyst rupture and was completed incapacitated for four very long days.

Technically, ovarian cysts are fluid filled sacs within or on the surface of the ovary. On occasion, one of these lovely sacs may rupture and the act of rupturing can cause some serious symptoms.

It’s funny, depending on who you talk to; the symptoms can be slightly bothersome or extreme pain. Unfortunately, mine was the latter. I was picking up a box and all of a sudden I was hovered over in pain. By the time I got home, there was no getting comfortable and if I moved too much I felt like someone was trying to slice me through my midsection.

That weekend, I literally laid around; my husband was Mr. Mom taking care of all the household chores and planning a mini-birthday party for my daughter. At one moment, I was sitting in our recliner looking out the window, I noticed the beautiful oak trees and how the sunlight shone so beautifully through the branches. I had such a longing to get up and get out and was completed humbled by the pain.

Needless to say, I have recovered; it doesn’t happen overnight and actually there is some tenderness for a couple of weeks. Because of the 4 days of recuperation, I am officially a week behind in chores and activities. As I go about my day I will sometimes cause the discomfort and am reminded of those four days, I take a breath and remember how much I longed to go outside and am grateful to be able to do so.

Acting Out Mama!

 

Enjoy it.

As I am slowly floating down the lazy river at the water park, the children are at sight-distance from me. Sight distance means that if they can’t see me, they are in big trouble. At 8 and 10 years old, they love to test the boundaries of independence.

Another Mom is basking in the sun and laying in a very relaxed manner on the inner tube. I envy the peace, and she sees me vigilantly looking ahead at my children.

After a small exchange of pleasant conversation, I notice the kids have started to test me and pick up my pace. The Mom looks at me and seems nostalgic.

I tell her to enjoy her day and she tells me that she misses the moments I am having right now. Her children are in middle and high school so they go off on their own and she relaxes in solitude.

As I catch up to my two, they are disappointed and a little thrilled by my chase. I take a deep breath and make it a point to enjoy this moment with them. All too soon, they will do all of it on their own.

Isabel

A letter to Papi

Happy Father’s Day, Papi;

It is hard to believe that you would have been 75 years old. I won’t lie, I miss you like crazy and it still surprises me that you have been gone 22 years now. I wanted to take some time today and thank you for the many lessons you taught me in the 19 years I had you in my life.

Love

After you passed away, I really didn’t want anything to do with love. Watching you struggle with brain cancer and having the forethought that it was not curable and that you only had months to live, was just too much for me. As a Doctor, I could tell that you knew just how long you had and made it your mission to see all your family and friends. I was so young and my first thought was it hurt too much to lose someone you love, than it did to take the time to love and let someone in.

Years later, I met someone; he changed my outlook on life and what it means to truly love someone again. He takes care of me, Papi, and he loves me for who I am.

Children

You have two wonderful grandchildren. My daughter looks so much like me, that I know you would be nostalgic if you were here to see her. She gives the best hugs and is definitely Daddy’s girl. You finally got your boy, that is right; my second child was a bouncing baby boy. I always knew that you wanted a boy to share your love of baseball and when you had two girls you were a little disappointed. I don’t blame you for that or  feel like I am psychologically scarred, I understand the value of namesake to you. I also know that at your funeral many, many of your patients and co-workers came up to me and my sister and told us how you would tell them about how wonderful we were and how intelligent. They said that you were shocked about it and that we wanted to go to college and have a career. Your girls would have a choice in their life that wasn’t limited to finding a Husband.

Dreams

Imagine my surprise when your brothers and sisters told me that as a child you lived for baseball. You would pick up sticks and rocks, set up a baseball diamond and play the day away. You had aspirations of being a baseball player but as a son with 8 other siblings, you felt you needed to be responsible and studied medicine. I know you loved being a Doctor but I also know it took a toll on you. It was a tough job, and your creative outlet was playing baseball. I look back now and remember how you used watch baseball on Sunday afternoons and if you had time you would watch little league games.

I remember when I told you that I got a part in the school musical and you thought I was joking. When I clarified that I really did get a part, you must have realized that this was “my baseball” and you supported me wholeheartedly. I still laugh at the recordings you made where you would fall asleep and the camera would record the auditorium’s ceiling. You were there after a double shift, no matter what.

I couldn’t give you, your namesake; but I have given you my stage name; I am always going to be “Natera,” because of you I am still actively pursuing my dream. After a long dry spell of auditioning and getting called back but not booking; my Husband plays your roll of being supportive and reminding me that getting up and getting back out there is important because it really does make me happy.

I miss you so much and won’t lie; my heart hurts when I think of all you have missed:

My wedding, I didn’t get to walk down the aisle with you. I didn’t get my Father/Daughter dance.

My husband and your grandchildren, you would have really enjoyed them. Sometimes I watch my son and he will grimace or give a look that screams of you; a little gift God has given me.

My life as a woman, I am much less anxious and very much at peace with everything. I love my life and I am grateful for most everything.

Today, we will celebrate all Father’s and the kids know you; without every really knowing you. You are Abuelo, and you are always loved.

Sincerely,

Isabel

My Place

By Logan Adermatt

As I step into the family room of my childhood, I would return to when I was 17 years old and my Father was home for the longest he had ever been home with us. Unfortunately, the reason for his long stay was because he was diagnosed with brain cancer and had, had surgery. He was given a time frame to live and it wasn’t years, but barely a month or so.

You might be wondering why I would return to that time? You see, my father was a Doctor and as a Doctor; he never truly belonged to us. My father would arrive home late evening and be off before my sister and I were out of bed for school. Summer vacations were rarely taken together as Dad had to work and if he joined us, it would be for two weeks. Those two weeks would be spent not just with us but visiting all his family that lived in the Dominican Republic.

I remember the family room, it still looks about the same. The wood paneling with the dark, dark shag carpet. The furniture was also wood back then, and the sofa cushions looked like they were crocheted with the same dark tones found in the paneling. The sofa is gone, but the matching rocking chair is still there. The rocking chair that Dad used to sit in and watch baseball, which didn’t happen very often.

My last memory of him in the rocking chair was when I was cutting his fingernails, he lost some of his vision with the removal of most of the tumor; so I would take care of that for him. He would be so angry about having to have someone else do for him, he was a man use to his independence. It broke his heart that his own daughter had to take care of those little things we take for granted everyday.

As I cut his fingernails or read to him from his books, it was the first time I had felt like he didn’t see a curly haired little girl that he had nothing in common with but rather someone he could talk to about life and about what he liked. I knew baseball was important to him. I knew he had his own spiritual beliefs and that although he loved medicine; he felt that it owned him and his time and he didn’t want that for us.

My father and I were both the introverts in the family so a lot was not spoken between us, but understood. We would watch TV together and not talk about anything, just be. After the show was over, we would share our thoughts and continue with our day.

I would love to go back to that family room as the 40 year old Mom of two and show him pictures of his grandchildren. To let him know that I listened to him when he said find your calling and follow it as long as it makes you happy. Tell the ones you love, you love them. He had so much to think about at that time, and the 17 year old in front of him had no idea.

The family room defines that relationship to me, one that was cut short but made a lasting impression.

Acting Out Mama!

 

 

Smiling

It’s Monday, we all know what Mondays means to us. For me, it means I wake up at 6 AM, pop out of bed, brush my teeth and get down to making lunches for my two children. Mondays are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with portable yogurt, juice box, granola and some lightly salted crackers. As I prepare the lunch I mumble under my breath, how I wish that they would enjoy fresh cut fruit and veggies instead of lightly salted crackers. I remind myself to make more of an effort to change their eating habits this summer by having fruits and veggies readily available to them and laying off of the salty and sugary snacks that are easy to pack but not the best, health wise.

I watch the kiddies get on the bus  and feel a little excited, knowing that this is the last week of school and how I remember loving the last week of school at their age. I whisk away to have a little breakfast and prepare myself for grocery shopping. I usually stop at three different stores to get everything I need and recently we had a big box store open less than two miles from my house, so I am done with all of it in less than an hour. Do I like all the new traffic? No; but the optimist in me is quite happy that it has cut my shopping time in half.

As I walk into the stores, I smile at everyone I see and I say, “Good morning.” The introvert in me is trying to break out of my shell and now I find it interesting to see what kind of response I get from a smile radiating from a disheveled Mom of two with a loose bun of black curls. I chat up the cashiers and wish everyone a good day as I leave.

I sit back in my car and check my phone before starting up the engine. I can’t wait to rush home and start my blogging challenge. The day has started off quite well, I continue to smile as I put everything away and make sure to print out some uplifting posts for my dream board.

Yep, smiling is always a great way to start your day.

A smile to you,

Acting Out Mama!

The Mommy Drain

What is “The Mommy Drain?”

“The Mommy Drain,” is a phrase I have come up with to express a Mother’s ability to do everything for others until they inevitably burn out. Sometimes it is easy to see the root cause of the drain but other times it manifests itself into grouchiness, crying for no reason, or a physical, spiritual, and emotional exhaustion.

On Monday of this week I experienced “The Mommy Drain,” and it was the first time in a long time. I would like to state, that this was not a typical Monday, although always hectic; it is almost never this crazy.

* In the morning I took a long walk with a family member. We hosted a special event for my son and had family come in from out of town and stay with us for the weekend.

*At noon, I had a 1 hour training at my daughter’s school. Another Mom and I were asked to teach a special lesson in their class next week for 3 hours. Teaching a group of 4th graders for 3 hours (trust me, I know how hard it is being a teacher) gave me a little anxiety. The leader of the training thanked all of us and told us that the training normally lasts two hours but we were all going to be great (no pressure).

*Mid-afternoon, I attended a memorial service for a friend who had lost a parent, unexpectedly. The service was a beautiful homage to her and it wasn’t long before I felt like that 18 year old girl that lost her father and had to attend his service. The fog of grieving started to settle in but I ignored it because my day was not in anyway over.

*Late afternoon I ran home after grocery shopping to prepare a quick dinner. I also went over the children’s homework, signed planners and prepped everything for the next morning.

*In the evening, I attended a meeting for a group that supports local artists. They have quarterly meetings and in the whole time I have been registered with them, I have never been able to attend because of conflicts. I decided this would be the one time I could go, so I did. In retrospect, not the best idea, I was solemn from earlier and listening to all the items that needed to be done and what they hoped to accomplish made the feeling of being overwhelmed stronger.

Needless to say “The Mommy Drain,” completely set in on Tuesday Morning. I made the kids their lunches and got them on the bus. I was exhausted, and the morning had just started! I called my Mom, who has had a tough year after breaking her arm in January. I was choked up on the phone after thinking back on the service I attended. I wished her a good day and said, “I love you.”

At that moment, something told me that I needed to take some me time. I had a nice breakfast and then walked into my bedroom. The room was still dark because I hadn’t opened the blinds and I felt a kind of peace. All my senses were dull and I think that is exactly what I needed. I took a 2 hour nap and looking back, I realized that I really hadn’t slept much in the past three days. As I laid there after the nap, I really didn’t want to get up, but remembered I needed to do things and thought of a blog post I had read recently.

In Ever Upward, a post resonated with me the week before titled The Overwhelming Unknown. In the post, Justine Froelker talks about being overwhelmed and how going back to the basics can help you come back to being and feeling yourself again.

I popped out of bed and started making all the phone calls I needed to make, completed the day to day chores that keep our home running smoothly and even took a little time to catch up on my reading for the week.

Taking time to take care of yourself is so vital. I sometimes forget the value of what I do because I don’t get a paycheck at the end of the week and I definitely don’t get a quarterly review. But then I look back at how my Husband totally panics if I am not feeling well, or my kids come home with good grades and hugs to remind me of why spending that extra time doing homework and making sure they are fed and nurtured, are important.

Enjoy your Mothers day this year. Let your family spoil you and always take time for yourself.

Acting Out Mama!

By SCHICKA
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