Love: The Only Why

So here we are facing Valentine’s Day again, a Hallmark holiday whose origins, much like Halloween, are rooted in pagan partying. This lovers’ holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat or dog skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility, so says classics professor Noel Lenski at University of Colorado, Boulder. What do pagan parties have to do with love? Nothing.

After being abused in most of my early relationships and spending most of my adult life without any idea what love feels like, I spent some serious time after my divorce around age 49, studying love and how I had missed out on it so completely.

How had I lost my ability to trust anyone else? Did I want to spend the rest of my life that way? Time was up for me.

It was time to decide, would I ever believe in love again?

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I was quite lucky. After decades of struggle, study, and contemplation I finally met someone who was worthy of my love. Of course I didn’t know that at first. In my case I felt certain of his love whenever I was around him, but completely uncertain when I wasn’t. It took me a long time to truly trust him with my heart, but he was always patient and loving around my trust issues.

For us it was a life and death struggle in a world full of complete nonsense. He had a chronic illness which had challenged his will to live for decades. I had lost my will to live after so many decades of disappointment with the human race. He wanted to find new reasons to live, and he wanted to help me find new sources of joy.

West peak and Buddha in snow

We decided to make life great again TOGETHER…

From this I have learned that when you struggle together against great odds, you can build a powerful, trusting relationship, and you will never be the same after sharing struggles like this.

Thirteen years later we still face many health challenges, but we know we will face them together and we will find a way to win.

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Insights into Boomer Health Care Costs

I have spent the past week learning something I did not want to know about boomers, and what we will be dying of in the future. This all started when I contracted a Clostridium difficile or Cdiff infection back in October. C. diff is a common bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It can be very difficult to cure with standard antibiotic treatment, and the spores are easily transmitted on all surfaces.

fluAccording to the CDC, Clostridium difficile causes over half a million infections in the United States each year, and over 29,000 die within 30 days of initial diagnosis.  More than 80 percent of the deaths associated with C. difficile occurred among Americans aged 65 years or older. C. difficile causes an inflammation of the colon and deadly diarrhea.

I have followed the standard protocol of antibiotic treatments for the past few months, but my infection continued to return. Because the generic vancomycin I have been taking off and on for months seemed less effective, I recently requested a stronger, more targeted antibiotic, fidaxomicin also known as Dificid. Come to find out, this drug is Tier 4 to my insurance company, so they will not help me purchase it, and at over $5,000 per treatment, there are no guarantees it will be more effective in curing my illness.

I’m beginning to see, the worse your illness, the less likely your insurance will pay for needed treatments. Now I see why C. diff is killing so many Americans.

The only truly effective treatment for C. diff is a fecal microbial transplant. This treatment is over 90% effective, but guess what? This treatment is still considered experimental and is therefore not covered by insurance in our country.

So there you have it. The only two treatments that might actually help me at this point, are not covered by insurance and are therefore so outrageously expensive that no one but those billionaires who hang out with our president could afford them! I did find a British clinic in the Bahamas that offers FMT at a halfway reasonable rate, and if we get desperate, that is what we’ll do.

Good to know our health care system is working so well for Americans over 60. Sure there are lots of great drugs and treatments for infections and cancer, and most of us will never be able to afford them. We may also need to go to other countries to get treatments we can afford, and those that actually work!

Time to go renew my passport I guess…

The average cancer drug price for approximately 1 year of therapy was less than $10,000 before 2000. In 2012, 12 of the 13 new drugs approved for cancer indications were priced above $100,000 per year of therapy.

Ask the Expert: Mistakes in Dating after 40

Love imageOn the anniversary of when I first met Mike thirteen years ago, it seems we are celebrating the  “Super Bowl Sunday for Love.” Yes, according to  Match.com, after collecting over 20 years of data, tomorrow will bring a 42 percent increase in new singles to their site, thus maximizing your chances to find love again.

How to Believe in Love Again!I’ll bet you didn’t know that around half of single Americans have an online dating profile up somewhere. But for me, this brings up the biggest mistake most make when it comes to looking for and finding love later in life. If you have not dealt with your baggage from past relationships, if you have simply moved on after past romantic disasters, your luck at love will never change. Yes, you may find another victim to fall in love with. It may even feel wonderful for a year or two, but if deep inside you are filled with shame and doubt about yourself, no one else can decide to fix that but you.

If nothing changes within you from one relationship to another, than the results will be similar… and you know you don’t want that!

And if you are one of the millions who say, “Yeah, but people can’t change,” than I feel sorry for you. Because if you believe that, than it is true. One well-kept secret in our world today is that midlife is the perfect time to change your life. And when I say life, I mean everything about it!

No matter how miserable you may feel about your life up until now, if you are perfectly clear about wanting something completely different and are willing to commit to that goal, your life will change.

And in that process you will find the life you were meant to live, just as I did around age 50. If anyone had said to me, when I was in the worst of midlife slumps back in 2004: “Your life will change and in thirteen years you will be happily married, retired and living in a fantastic solar home in rural southern Colorado!” I probably would have slapped them and said “Get real!”

Believe in love in the sandsBut I have learned how to get past all the exterior nonsense and focus like a laser on what means the most to me in each moment of my life. I saw that I needed to find a way to believe I was worthy of genuine, lifelong love from a wonderful human being, and then I met him. Then I saw that I was worthy of a safe, comfortable, efficient place to live, and Mike and I manifested that dream recently.

My frustration is in how few people believe and achieve their most important life goals because they do not realize this is all within reach. When I discovered how much I could personally change myself and my fate, I wanted to share this knowledge with others, but most ignore me.

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Knowing and speaking our truth is the most powerful tool we all have!

It’s a brand new year and day! These books will help you think about the rest of your life. I would be happy to sell them to you as cheaply as I can, to prepare you for a much better existence. Find the love you have been searching for forever and the life you can love living.

At least get the last few decades of your life right…

 

What a nice New Year’s gift!

We had a pleasant visitor a few weeks ago, a reporter from the Denver Post who was putting together their final piece for a series on rural life across our state. Kevin Simpson came down to visit with us about why we came here.  I think he did a great job of LISTENING to those of us who chose to leave city life behind. The section on us starts with a quote about Mike’s google search when we found this place: “cheap land in Colorado”  ENJOY!

Colorado Divide: Why some Coloradans are cashing out of the Front Range and seeking their rural happily-ever-after

A New Year, A New Photo Essay

View from our land

Retirement may suggest lifestyle change for some, but how many are willing to take on any real risks at age 60? Enter Mike and I, the quiet revolutionaries. Four years ago this month, we drove down to southern Colorado to purchase a few rural acres of pinon-juniper woodland west of Walsenburg.  Mike’s dream had always been to construct his own passive solar home with amazing mountain views. This was our chance to make that dream come true!

In June 2014 we packed up or got rid of most of our worldly goods, sold our nice  home in suburban Fort Collins, and took off to live in a 100-year-old rental home in Walsenburg, while constructing a new life twenty minutes west of there. Crowning ourselves the “NEW Old Farts,” I began sharing this retirement adventure with the world in October 2014.

Laura and Rasta the view 2014

Although my husband was a true believer from day one, this all felt like a gigantic leap-of-faith for me. With housing prices rising quickly in the metro areas of northern Colorado, I saw little chance of changing our minds later to return to the city if this didn’t work out. So I made myself believe in my relatively new husband’s vision, and you know what? He was right.

Three and a half years later, after too many doubts and incredible challenges to my idea of who I am and where I belong, I am now quite content in our country solar home looking out each morning at the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. My days are filled with supreme quiet and astounding beauty. I have also found a few good friends, a yoga class I like, and all the books I wish to read and movies I wish to view through the La Veta Public Library.

snowy west peak with comanche home in foreground

The view from our new solar home!

I find my need for distractions has dwindled. No, I do not miss city shopping, traffic, stress, noise or air pollution. In fact going into a city of any size is now the perfect reminder that I made the right choice for me. I have finally learned the power of living in this present moment. With so much more available to me and few distractions, I now have the time, energy, and awareness to fully appreciate the world around me.

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Sunrise that occurred while writing this post…

We moved here for a number of reasons: To live close to nature, to try passive solar living, to build the kind of home we chose to live in for the rest of our lives, and to find a far more peaceful, healthy and less expensive lifestyle than cities could offer us. We have received so much more by choosing to live in this beautiful, quiet place where life is luxuriously slow and overflows with simple pleasures.

Would you like to know more about our adventures? Check out my new memoir!

De-metrofying your life: The strong connection between where we live and how we treat others

Sunflowers on a county road

After driving in the country, about half that time on county roads, for the past few years, I feel the need to report my findings are where you live and what it does to you.

friendly waveNow you need to understand, on the county road we take out to the highway from our home, most drivers coming the other way wave to us, even if they don’t know us personally. Even in small towns like La Veta, most are quite friendly. It took me a while to get used to this after living in cities my whole life. At first I didn’t know whether to wave back, because some wave and some don’t.

Then I thought, “Oh screw it. I’ll just going to wave at everybody, regardless.”

Yesterday we drove a few hours north to Denver and back for Christmas. I have become so accustomed to natural friendliness, that when an elderly man sitting in a truck stop looked at me for a second or two, I responded with, “Merry Christmas!” He looked shocked…

Then as we progressed north past Pueblo, attitudes on I-25 took an extreme downward trend, even on Christmas day. Down here, almost no one goes more than 5 MPH over the speed limit. Up there near Colorado Springs and Denver, drivers look at you with disgust if you aren’t going at least 10 over the speed limit.

fuck you from carAnd you can just feel the anger and frustration in the drivers around you. The change in attitude is palpable, and not anything I wish to spend any more years of my limited lifespan in contact with. Really, is this the best we can do for quality of life in the wonderful old USA?

Another fun fact. I had so much pain in my right knee before I left suburbia four years ago, I felt certain I would have to get some sort of surgery. Then I moved here and it rarely ever hurts. Why? Because I’m no longer sitting with my foot on the brake at stop lights. We only have two in our whole county and I can certainly avoid those!

cloudy Spanish Peaks with snow and garden

These are just a few aspects of city versus rural life that make me glad every day that I don’t live near cities anymore. I so rarely feel angry and my stress level is near zero most of the time. It took me a year or so to totally quit pre-worrying everything and just relax. That is why driving back up to metroland is so very illuminating and yet anxiety-producing at the same time…

This is a great example of what I now like to call “de-metrofying my life.” Ha, love it! Now I am clearly off-the-grid mentally.