When did I lose contact with my culture?

Granted, I have had an unusual transition from my working life as an academic librarian for 25 years, to a new career as a writer at age fifty. At that time I began pitching stories to magazines and sold quite a few. I still felt connected with the world around me, and wrote about it constantly as the “Midlife Crisis Queen.”

Find Your Reason Cover smallMy focus then was on the experience of “midlife” broadly defined as that time between age 40 and 60, when we awaken into a whole new world of possibilities, a new and improved realization of do-overs before its all over. Midlife became an exciting new rite of passage for me, available for the first time in human history to boomers, and those who follow after us.                                                                                                                                                       Numerous women writers I know and respect have written about becoming invisible in our culture as we age. In my experience, this transition has been so slow and subtle that I have not noticed it as the years go by. But I am here to say that I now feel, at age 62, in many respects I can no longer see myself at all in our present culture.

Especially on television I see a culture that does not include me. The contradictions just keep coming, and sometimes I want to deny that this is my culture, especially when I watch the news. The definitions of words I thought I knew keep changing.

For example, in a recent interview with Kellyanne Conway, she complained about everyone judging her by the clothes she wore instead of her words. Hello Kellyanne, that is a battle women have been fighting forever. In fact, that is one the main reasons women became feminists! Did you miss that blast from the past?

I suppose most of these misunderstandings do come from the younger folks having no sense of history, or just a very jaded understanding of where ideas like feminism came from. How many Americans know that women didn’t get to vote in national elections until the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920? Sometimes I wish we could give all of our elected officials a test to see how much they actually do know about our history.

Here’s another example: I would love to hear President Trump’s definition of “McCarthyism.” Would it include “the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper evidence?” McCarthyism is the practice of making unfair allegations especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism. This sounds a bit like Trump’s allegations that progressive protesters are getting paid to protest. Where is his proof? What has happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Mostly I am shocked and ashamed at how quickly we have gone from a nation of facts to a nation of “alternative facts.” And I fear most of our population does not know the difference. I am afraid David Brooks hit the nail on the head when he observed recently that President Trump continues to “take a page from the Fascist Handbook.”

‘Those who do not know their history, are condemned to repeat it.’

laura-rasta-xmas-2012-croppedI’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado.  After two years I decided to compile a personal journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar retirement homes:  A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado      Please share this information with your friends if they are considering similar life changes. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss any of these challenges, and to order your own signed copies of any of my books!               Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

My insights into Cannabinoid (CBD) Oil

cbd-oil-what-is-itCannabinoid (CBD) Oil is new to me. I talked to a few people in the past few months who thought that it helped them immensely with pain from sciatica, sleep issues, etc. It took me a lot of online research and thought to decide to buy some, partially because it is quite expensive and I wondered about issues of purity also.

For those of you new to this product, this oil is made from hemp with no THC in it. It is usually taken by a few drops under your tongue, and has no psychoactive ingredients. That is why it is legal in all states. The FDA has ruled it to be a dietary supplement. I didn’t buy it at a marijuana dispensary, just a natural foods store.

I bought a small bottle of That’s Natural CBD Oil with the ingredients of Hemp Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Peppermint Oil and 250mg Hemp CBD Oil. This stuff is guaranteed not to contain marijuana or to have psychoactive effects.

google-cbdI started out with just a few drops under my tongue once or twice a day. At first the only real effect it had on me was I didn’t wake up as often at night. I took it for a few weeks and then stopped for a few days to see if I felt any different. I was surprised to learn how much those few drops were helping with both my mood and my ability to sleep more deeply. I can’t say it helped at all with my arthritis pain. Still stuck with Aleve there.

But I can recommend that the rest of you check this out. Here’s a few articles I found interesting:

https://healthyhempoil.com/what-is-cbd-in-weed/

http://herb.co/2016/09/18/menopause-symptoms/

Some history:

“Cannabis plants are exceptionally versatile. Both the seeds and cannabis oil were used for food in China as early as 6,000 BCE. Two thousand years later, in 4,000 BCE, there is evidence of textiles made from hemp in both China and Turkestan. The influence of the plant seems to have been global. In 850, the Vikings transported hemp rope and seeds to Iceland, and by the year 900, Arabs were learning techniques for making paper from hemp. By the year 1000 Italians were using ropes made of hemp on their sailing ships.

In contrast to today’s modern restrictions of growing cannabis, England’s King Henry VIII actually fined farmers if they do not raise hemp for industrial use. Less than one hundred years later, settlers in Jamestown, Virginia began growing hemp plants for hemp’s unusually strong fibers. Once the plant demonstrated its usefulness, it became illegal to NOT grow hemp in Virginia.

By 1850, cannabis was added to The U.S.Pharmacopeia, a respected compendium of Medicines and Dietary Supplements. At that time cannabis was used throughout United States as a medicine, easily purchased in pharmacies and general stores. This lasted until about 1915…

(https://discovercbd.com/blogs/cbd-news/88739206-the-history-of-cbd-10-000-years-and-counting)

I’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado.  After two years I decided to compile a short journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar retirement home in the foothills:

A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado

Please share this information with your friends if they are considering similar life changes. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss any of these challenges, and to order your own signed copies of any of my books!  Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

 

A New Years Idea for Change: Change the way you see, judge and treat yourself!

This was my ONLY New Year’s Resolution from 2015, and I do believe I have made a bit of progress on this one! Such marvelous writing!

“I resolve to accept the idea that I need not change anything about myself this year (or maybe ever) except the way in which I judge myself. I need not change anything about myself except the harsh criticisms I chronically unleash upon myself. I need not change anything except the warped lens through which I watch my every move. I need not change anything except the fun house mirror which I carry with me everywhere and whose distorted reflections I believe are real.

I resolve to accept the idea that my main problem is not my face, body or résumé but my frame of mind. Granted, that’s a pretty big problem, as this frame of mind affects every aspect of my life and might be making me too depressed right now to even realize that I’m depressed, much less able to imagine changing. Anything. Ever. At all.

live-and-learn-2But this is the great thing about holidays: They’re temporal gateways, urging us collectively to enact virtual rituals. Today is not just any random day. It’s a shift, proclaimed around the world. And into that gaping chasm between old year and new, that crevasse over which we now walk a short bright temporary bridge, we can hurl those warped lenses and fun house mirrors, all of us. Down that gap we can yell our last harsh words about ourselves, and hear their echoes dissolve into gibberish then ebb into that vast, inviting silence as we hasten, set free, to that smiling, untried other side.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR & GOOD LUCK!

An excerpt from: http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/anneli-rufus/whats-one-and-only-new-years-resolution-people-low#sthash.UKyIsWIo.dpuf  by Anneli Rufus

You cannot control how others receive your energy

Perhaps I will always remember this holiday as the one where I finally accepted the truth about other peoples’ reaction to me. Ah, if I could have totally accepted this truth decades ago, my life would have been so much easier:

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You cannot control how other people receive your energy. Anything you do or say gets filtered through the lens of whatever they are going through at that moment, which is NOT ABOUT YOU.  

Just keep doing your thing with as much integrity and love as possible.

This includes everything I write about here and in my books. Just because I have chosen to learn enough to understand the psychology of midlife transition or passive solar technology, and appreciate the freedom this knowledge has given to me, does not mean anyone else has a clue what I’m talking about.

Even my parents, who taught me much of what I learned as a child, the ones I thought knew EVERYTHING when I was young, have no idea where I’m coming from with most of my ideas and thoughts today. They are living in their own reality and often do not appreciate mine, but that is not about me.

earthOn some level I’m ashamed that it has taken me this long on this beautiful blue planet to appreciate this truth. But on the other hand, it is so freeing to let each of us be where we are right now.

We continue to search for whatever makes our lives feel better.

Are you moving towards your life goals?

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When was the last time you put some serious energy into contemplating your life goals? Not what needs to happen in the next year or two, but what needs to happen for you to feel satisfied in the long run.

After I lost my job and 25 year career back in 2004, I spent months contemplating my life up until then. After decades of work as an academic librarian, I was suddenly set free to consider every option. This was a wonderful gift, well disguised as misfortune.

My first book Midlife Magic: Becoming The Person You Are Inside is a summary of the feelings I went through at that time. Here I share my own story of transformation from divorced, unemployed and miserable, to my best life ever, explaining how midlife change, changes everything.

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Yesterday I went through a list I made back then, a list of my new priorities after I stopped and considered my life at age 49. Here are a few things I wanted more of before I died: love, acceptance, appreciation, access to pure silence, to be surrounded with solar warmth, natural beauty, music, wildflowers, peace, contentment, relief from guilt and shame, and respect for my own integrity.

Such a wonderful feeling to know that I have somehow brought so many of these blessings into my life through my own stubbornness and courage. The way I describe this transition now, on the “About The Author” page of my new book:

“Her midlife crisis began with a divorce and then progressed to the loss of her library career, misfortunes she now finds supremely fortuitous, as everything wonderful in her present life flowed from these difficult experiences.”

The Challenge of Being Fully Present in Your Life


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“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”  – Deepak Chopra

A few years ago I presented a talk to a group of unemployed Americans in their middle years. When I was finished, the first person to raise her hand asked me,

“Do you believe we have to hit bottom in our lives before we truly begin to change?” My answer at the time was, “I did.”

The fact is that most of us will not change until we become uncomfortable enough to admit defeat. Most need to be absolutely convinced that the “plan” they had for their life is simply not working. The way this usually comes about is through a major crisis which demands our complete attention. Divorce, serious illness, the death of a loved one, or long-term unemployment, especially when these occur in our middle years, seem to be the most common stimulants leading to the end of our naïve notion that we somehow can control everything that happens to us. These events become ever more common as we age. These unforeseen and often unforeseeable occurrences tend to inform us in no uncertain terms that changes in our life plan are now in order.

We may first try to defend against the onset of pain and confusion by denying or ignoring this sudden lack of certainty or security in our lives. Most seek to escape into bad relationships, drug addiction, religious faith or even artificially extreme feelings of independence, as they defend against their need to depend on others in their lives.

Even though it may seem completely counter-intuitive at this tough spot, you may discover that accepting and embracing the chaos and uncertainty you feel surrounded by is your first best step towards peace. Stop, sit down quietly, and begin to feel the enormity of this apparent crisis, realizing that this may be one of the most important opportunities of your adult life.

Can you trust in the power of your own psyche to survive this crisis, and in that way heal yourself?

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“Have a sense of gratitude to everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up.  – Pema 

Know that this is the beginning of your own personal rite of passage into full adulthood. This is a natural, normal stage of human development studied by psychologists like Carl Jung, when he experienced it himself.

Recognize that you are not the first to feel chaos and uncertainty in your middle years. This is a well-documented transition of personal change, growth and human evolution. And the best way to move through this life stage smoothly is to embrace the new information and knowledge you will be given now.

By allowing this in, you have the ability to access the unique instruction this moment has for you. Instead of attempting to run from it, embrace the uncertainty. Begin to believe this moment is giving you access to your own unique brand of power, one you may have never known or acknowledged before. Begin to see that you alone know somewhere inside what needs to happen next. Spend the time necessary to listen to the small, still voice within, the one you may have been ignoring for decades. Recognize this voice perhaps for the first time as your inner guide, brimming with accumulated information and wisdom.

This source knows where you need to go next. It will instruct you in how you must change, grow and evolve into your best self in this moment. The sooner you begin to believe in its power and trust this valuable inner resource, the sooner you will follow its instructions, and find more structure, certainty and peace in your life.

This is a brief excerpt from my last book, Find Your Reason To Be Here: The Search For Meaning in Midlife.

Do you have an introvert room?

Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation. While introverts and extroverts are often viewed in terms of two extreme opposites, the truth is that most people lie somewhere in the middle of the extroversion-introversion continuum.

introvertsI’ve always seen myself as borderline between introvert and extrovert. I need to spend quite a bit of time alone, but too much can be, well, too much.         I’m also painfully aware when I’ve spent too much time with others, feelings of anxiety and discomfort overwhelm me, and if left unattended, become unbearable.

The biggest bonus to me with retirement is that I can finally CHOOSE how much time I want to spend alone or with others, and also who I wish to spend that time with. Quality becomes paramount. Unfortunately, the people I would most like to spend time with are back in Fort Collins working. So, after moving to a new part of Colorado recently, I  have been studying the process of retirement and making new friends after age sixty.

Mike and I are the absolute best of friends, but I know how important it is not to depend too much on your significant other to meet all of your friendship needs. That can be a relationship killer in the long run. Besides, I really am a fairly gregarious person sometimes. I enjoy going into La Veta and hanging out with the women who run The Silk Road. They are so warm and welcoming to a newcomer like me. The women at the new realty in town are also nice, and I have found a few friendly people up in the foothills where we live.

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Then I go home and enjoy my introvert room, the room where I write each morning. I have filled this small room with pictures, sayings and mementos from sixty years of living. I love sitting here looking around the room reminiscing, and feeling safe in my introverted cocoon. No one can touch me here, and I am free to let my imagination run wild, a bit like Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.”

Here in my safe place I like to challenge myself with questions like, “What do you want to happen today?” “Who would be fun to hang out with?” “What kind of interactions nurture my soul?” “Who do I know who makes me laugh a great big belly laugh?”

There I can find so much contentment! It sometimes seems I was custom made for retirement, because I don’t need or want much from the outside world. I don’t need much ego-building admiration, just the occasional friendly encouragement.

office-politics-knifeI’ve noticed that some claim not to have enough money to retire, when in fact their real problem is that they can’t imagine not being around people all day. I never liked most of what happened among my fellow workers. My experience was that of envy, back-biting and office politics, which got me in the end, because I wouldn’t play their kiss-ass games.       You have to earn my respect, it cannot be bought.

Being a careful observer of human behavior, and aware of ulterior motives definitely has its drawbacks. Retirement and being a writer suits my character so much better. So glad I finally found my place in the world…

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How did I end up here, feeling so fortunate?

It’s a long story, one I can now share with you!