As a sexagenarian (great name for our sixties, huh?) I have entered into a period of being in the present in such a lovely, positive, relaxing way. This feels somehow like my reward for living life fully, to do what I want and answer to nobody.
Something about living in an amazing natural place keeps me present most of the time, so much so that I rarely want to leave. I find nature so grounding.
But, as a therapist, I would like to make the case for paying attention to those moments in your past that you simply cannot let go, those moments that come up in your dreams and demand more psychic attention. I know that if I had not gone through a divorce and job loss in my late 40s and then decided to re-think my life, I would not be so content today.
Part of that process for me was contacting a key person from my past for a few astonishingly healing and cathartic conversations. Only you can decide whether letting your past go is possible and healing, or doing something in the present will expedite your movement into a better present and future. In my case I was quite lucky, because the lover from my past was also seeking redemption and healing. I don’t think any other choice would have provided that kind of healing for both of us. The whole experience felt like a blessing.
Sometimes the only way to move on is to take note of what you simply cannot let go of in your past. I would not know about this without experiencing it personally. To learn more about psychic healing and how it can help you believe in love again, I offer you my book: How to Believe in Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom. If you purchase it used through Amazon, I receive nothing, so please send me an e-mail at: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com to request a copy. I promise you a great price!
Although I know this film hasn’t changed in 48 years, watching it showed me how much I have changed, and most of my changes have taken place since moving to rural Colorado. For example, when the riders pick up a hippie on the way to a commune, they eventually ask him where he’s from. His answer is simple and so true: “A city.” When pressed for more he says it doesn’t really matter what city, because cities have the same effect on us as people.I so agree now. And if you don’t, I challenge you to move to the country for a few years. Then we’ll talk.
I have also learned a lot about my biases and judgments of people I don’t know. For some reason, moving here has lighten my load of judgments on those who don’t look like me. I know in ‘Easy Rider’ the country people in the south hate hippie-types. There’s a great line in there from George, the local drunk played wonderfully by Jack Nicholson, who tags along with them on their journey to New Orleans. He says many just don’t appreciate the freedom these two bikers represent.
When they see it they want to kill it. Nice foreshadowing.
Mike rode a Gold Wing when I first met him. Before I fell in love with him 12 years ago, I judged those who rode motorcycles, especially if they had a tatoo. So much for that judgment… I have learned quite a bit about how to experience true personal freedom by living with Mike and by moving away from cities.
How do we benefit from judging ourselves and others? We don’t.
Want to know more about the changes you may go through by leaving city life behind? After checking out Cuenca Ecuador, we left suburban Fort Collins forever in 2014 to build a passive solar home in rural southern Colorado. Today we enjoy the amazing advantages of solar heating plus a 180 view of the Sangre de Cristo range!
For some reason I am perpetually fascinated with dating behavior, and I must not be alone! Perhaps because it took me decades of first dates to finally find the one. I perpetually believe in LOVE! I connected with my first husband through the Boulder Camera and by letter back in 1992!
That is certainly the reason why I started my own dating service in 2004. I was tired of the Internet nonsense, and wanted to offer the singles in my small city of Loveland (Yes, Loveland!) Colorado an alternative. I spent hours with each client finding out what they were looking for before setting them up with a local single. The only problem was inventory! I attracted a number of very cool older single women and few cool men, so I set myself up on Match.com as bait to attractive more single men. I thank my lucky stars for that move today, because Mike was the first man I met this way!
I know, most blind dates are extremely stressful. I’ve experienced quite a few in my life. Have you had the pleasure of watching the new TV show “First Dates”yet? This show is set in a restaurant full of couples meeting for the first time live. So interesting to see their initial reactions when they first meet, and disappointing to see how judgmental the younger couples are with each other. Most have a complete judgment made BEFORE they even open their mouths! Running to the restroom to call a friend within minutes of meeting someone seems extremely RUDE to me…
The part of the show I like best is the elder couples. As a general rule they are magnificent with each other and their feelings. They have had a few couples in their 60s and 70s who treat each other well and generally want to get together afterwards for a second date. It shows to me the difference between those who know how to create true connections with caring others and those who wish to play with their phones during a date.
Mike and I made an amazing connection within minutes of meeting, and spent the next ten hours enjoying each others’ company. Sometimes life surprises you that way, but only if you are willing to take a few risks and have a few less than perfect dates with strangers. In case you have more interest in how I turned my conflicts with love into happily ever after at age 49, please consider reading my book: How to Believe in Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom.
What an interesting array of new ideas this past week! From Japan we have “Rent-a Friend” or family member… Apparently some Japanese can be so obsessed with appearances that they actually rent human stand-ins for various get-togethers. But don’t scoff too soon at this idea, because apparently it is also taking off in our own country!Hell, it may be a great idea for those new to foreign countries…like NYC. For the Japanese, who feel uncomfortable borrowing things, rentals seem more honest. They even have substitute therapists, untrained people who will listen to you complain about your life for only $10/hour!
In contrast, Norway has recently discovered the popularity of slow television, or “slow TV” (Norwegian: Sakte-TV), popularized in the 2000s by theNorwegian Broadcasting Corporation(NRK), beginning with the broadcast of a 7-hour train journey in 2009. This live “marathon” television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length, generally last many hours or even days.
OK now I have a unique and perhaps revolutionary idea. Why don’t you spend the time and energy to make your own hand-picked friend. Imagine how much more satisfying that might be. Or, if you prefer a slower paced life, go find it! Since moving to the country I completely understand the appeal of slow TV, except mine is called ‘slow scenery’ and I stare at it all day long.
to sunset, it changes constantly, and sometimes offers up the most amazing images!
And I have even collected over the decades some of the most perfect music to go along with this tremendous lifestyle. This morning I had to listen to Jesse Colin Young’s song “Ridgetop.”A great description of where we live now. That and “Country Home” work for me!
In honor of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, I would like to turn your attention to some new research on how psychodelic drugs can change certain parts of your brain enough to stop addictive urges. For the whole story please go watch this new episode of ‘Breakthrough’ on the National Geographic Channel.
According to this program, highly regulated experiences with the correct amount of LSD, psilcyben mushrooms, and other psychodelic drugs can alleviate the need for difficult withdrawal from drugs like nicotine and heroin, both of which have been proven to be equally as addictive. Who knew? Now here’s something the government didn’t want you to know! Go watch! It’s amazing. Most have to go to other countries like Mexico to specific clinics to access these treatments.
In the highly studied field of addiction and the brain, certain psychedelic drugs have been found to reset the addictive patterns in your brain, assisting the patient in avoiding painful withdrawal altogether, and relieve them of most of their urges to shoot up and smoke ever again. At a time when heroin-related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010 in the U.S. alone,and cigarettes continue to kill millions of Americans, shouldn’t this information be available to those who need it most? The heroin addict in this video had been using for seven years and knew he would not survive much longer without extreme measures, so he decided to travel to Mexico to save his own life.
A large part of this type of research includes the question: Can we truly change as we age?
I have learned from the past ten years of my own life that our brains are AMAZING in their abilities to adapt and change! First through a new marriage at age 50, then a serious brain injury at 53, and by moving to a rural area at 60, after decades of city life, I have experienced a complete brain reset. Yes, I did have quite a bit of withdrawal and definitely some discomfort as I went through these changes, but I would say now, change is possible and even highly recommended as we age.
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” — Anne Lamott
Right Anne, like anybody’s perfect, but oh how I tried for decades. How crazy was I? Straight A’s in school, the best student in the world, pressure, pressure, pressure. Heck, I didn’t become a writer for most of my life because I figured I wasn’t perfect enough yet. Three graduate degrees later I finally, SLOWLY figured out that Anne was right the whole time. Now I am eminently imperfect, and I have so much more fun!
After we moved here I wondered about how honest I should be about exactly how unfriendly some folks were here. I was actually blown away by how badly some acted, even therapists! I assumed that people are naturally friendly in small towns or out in the country…WRONG!
Lots of folks move here BECAUSE of their anti-social personalities. Duh!
It was only later in life that I realized that I own my own stories, all of them. My most valued possessions are my own stories and how I survived them, every one of them!
My first book was the result of this realization. I had already sold a few of my essays to editors who were putting together anthologies on midlife change back in 2008. I had almost completed the sell of the story of my own divorce, to appear in the Seal Press book: Ask Me About Divorce, when I realized I should be making more money on my own stories! That is howMidlife Magic: Becoming The Person YOU are Inside came about. And I can assure you I made much more on my book than the $100 the Seal Press was offering!
From this and so much other risk-taking behavior, which emerged after I stopped trying to be ‘perfect’, I learned the joy of being fully me. And come to find out, I enjoyed the real me so much more than that nervous perfectionist!
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go…” -T.S. Eliot
“The joy of listening to the quiet symphony of nature and the wonderment of seeing the Milky Way stretching overhead are unique experiences that can still be found in many of our national parks.” — Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, NPS
I was so pleased to discover this week that our National Park Service maintains a Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division. These are a few of the joys I have discovered and begun to fully appreciate only by moving away from cities. By living rural I can finally hear the great animal orchestra composed by nature, and look up to find some of the last remaining harbors of natural darkness in our country.
Now that I know, I wish to preserve and provide opportunities for everyone to experience this critical resource.