“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.
To learn more, go view this CBS video: Recording the Sounds of Nature’s Quietest Places
Ever since I turned 50, I have read about the idea that as women age they become ever more invisible in our society. I have wondered why I don’t feel this way for years. This week I discovered the reason.
I have always felt invisible. Invisible is normal for me.
I grew up feeling invisible. My parents couldn’t see me. They could barely see themselves. In my house, nobody knew who they were. No one could see beyond their looks and achievement, and no one had anything to give to anybody else. Because my parents grew up not being seen by their parents, they could not see themselves or me.
And it felt somehow safe to be invisible, especially as I got into junior high and high school. I tried being more visible once in ninth grade. I was actually semi-popular for a while and that didn’t feel good, so I escaped into invisibility again. Because I no longer knew who I was, others couldn’t see me either. Years later I spoke to a few people who went to high school with me. Nobody remembered me at all, even after I showed them a picture.
Was I ever really there?
This is how it works. My parents projected onto me their distorted view of themselves, believing that I was just a smaller version of their own woundedness. They judged me harshly, just like they judged themselves. So confusing. They would tell me I was a certain way when I felt completely different inside. They would tell me I was careless and irresponsible, when I felt overly responsible for everything in the world, especially them.
Now that I’m seen and appreciated fully in my life, I realize how lonely and heartbreaking it was to feel so invisible. To fit in, I adopted the world’s view of me and stopped acknowledging my own essence, my own Self. My own wonderfulness!
When I moved to a much smaller town recently, I found this interesting. I again felt invisible. I recognized immediately those who wish to ignore me. I avoid them, because I know what an amazing, interesting, intelligent person I am.
So much fun to see and know!
I’m new here in 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 home. It’s fine to ignore me, but please don’t ignore my new book! A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado
Share this information with your friends, and please feel free to contact me directly to discuss anything or to order your own signed copies of any of my books! Cheers, Laura Lee (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)
The Internet is all about self-promotion. In fact, our country is all about self-promotion. Ask the millions, or perhaps billions of promoters on Twitter, Instagram, etc. etc. Everyone is trying to figure out a way to become famous enough to make a killing, so they don’t have to go to their regular jobs. Ask kids today. They get it. How many hope to become so famous through the Internet, that they don’t have to ever go get a real job?
Most of us would like to figure out how to become master manipulators of others.
And have you noticed yet? It is these master manipulators (celebrities) that we worship. Look how they convince others to send them their hard-earned dollars. Isn’t that great? Then we act surprised when we get manipulated ourselves!
Case in point, look who we have for president now. Talk about a master manipulator! He decided long ago that being famous was much more important than being useful or intelligent. Americans are just that stupid. So we now have a reality TV star for president. I’ll bet you thought that could never happen…
And further more, I’m afraid he sees his job now as just an extension of his reality TV show. Ratings are all that count! Of course some Americans have figured out exactly how scary this scenario is, note his approval ratings. Oh, Trump says, that’s all just fake news! Anyone for alternative realities?
But our bumbling Mr. Trump also has this problem all figured out. He’s saving up his best attention-getters for when he really needs them. Anyone for a war with North Korea? How about Iran or Syria? Is everybody in?
It’s all a game for Mr. Trump, a ratings game with millions of lives at stake. This is what we get for idealizing master manipulators instead of integrity and intelligence.
My greatest fear is that our own electoral college will cause the end of the world.
“Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering, and its all over much too soon.” – Woody Allen
It is a mystery to me why I so enjoy a good movie about the teenage years, but I do. And I haven’t enjoyed anything like The Edge of Seventeen (2016) since Juno back in 2007. I happened to pick it up at the La Veta Public Library and was so glad I did. Talk about a great story and amazing writing, not to mention some great acting in the mix! No wonder it was chosen as one of the ten best movies of 2016 by Vanity Fair! If you enjoy a film that takes you into the life of a very smart but confused teenager with a wry sense of humor, you’ll like this. Every scene drew me further into Nadine’s world of boundless insecurity and self-consciousness. The acting between Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson (her favorite teacher) was spot on, and the cinematography also captured those moments of complete disillusionment so a part of being young and inexperienced in the insanity of life.
For example, I related to Nadine’s frustration with her boomer Mom (Kyra Sedgwick) whose husband recently died. She captured the messed up, self-absorbed parent role perfectly, but in a funny way! I had to write down her advice to Nadine who is constantly depressed. Mom said: “When I feel down. I get really quiet and still inside. And then I say to myself: ‘Everybody in the world is as miserable and empty as I am, they’re just better at pretending.’“
Luckily, Nadine had a great teacher to go talk to about all of this. Talk about comic timing with her teacher played by Woody Harrelson. I loved him in this!
On a personal level I so related to Nadine’s teenage angst. Nothing made sense to me at 17. I felt so ugly and awkward all the time. I hated the caste system at my high school in Colorado Springs. I hated how my supposed friends vaporized when they got a boyfriend. I hated how the popular kids could take advantage of the rest of us. The entire scene turned me off, and I knew I just had to survive this insanity and make it to college to finally try and find a better life. As it turned out the kids at college were just as messed up, if not more, and the self-consciousness and insecurity just kept coming for years after that. I will never forget asking a friend’s Mom when I was 24:
“When will life begin to make sense?”
She thought for a moment and then turned to me and said,
“It will take quite a while, but it will get better.”
And you know what? She was so right!
I only wish I had had a great film like this to watch when I was a teen. It would have made me feel much less alone. This film was so good, it makes me want to write a screen play!
We’re newcomers to rural southern Colorado. After two years I compiled a short diary of our ups and downs as we moved 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 and feel free to contact me directly to order your own signed copies of any of my books! Cheers, Laura Lee (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)
“When you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.” — American Lung Association
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen, that I have a hard time breathing, especially when my annual bout with bronchitis arrived. Most ignored me or looked like they wished I would shut up, so I did. I decided they probably knew better than me. Then last fall a doctor gave me a reality check. After a night-long breathing test and a pulmonary function test, she told me I have COPD with a possibility of worse. X-rays and cat scans followed.
All I know is I have a terrible time breathing here at 7,000 feet. I guess I had to move here to know for sure…
Do you have any idea how demoralizing this is? To be told at age 61 that your ability to breath is not good, and will never get better. I’ve always done whatever I wanted to, but that is over. I’ve climbed fourteeners! It wasn’t ever easy, but I’ve done it!
So today I went to the American Lung Association page and found: “Taking Her Breath Away: The Rise of COPD in Women” Here’s a few fun facts about COPD:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that slowly robs its sufferers of the ability to draw life-sustaining breath. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer, and is not decreasing nearly as quickly as the other two
Did you know that more than 7 million women in the U.S. live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema? Millions more have the disease, but are undiagnosed, possibly because female COPD patients are commonly misdiagnosed with asthma.
In fact, the number of deaths among women from COPD has increased four-fold over the past three decades, and since 2000 more American women than men have died of the disease. Additionally, research shows women diagnosed with COPD experience higher rates of anxiety, depression and report lower quality of life.
The greatest difficulty for me, besides accepting this miserable diagnosis, is how discouraging exercising is. If walking around town is challenging, what then?
My favorite part of the above-mentioned document about COPD, is the last paragraph where the Lung Association encourages people like me “to speak out about the toll COPD is taking in [our] lives…learn more about how it affects us; advocate for our own best care, and become a voice for other women with COPD in my community.”
“The American Lung Association’s 2017 “State of the Air” report finds that 4 in 10 Americans live in counties with unhealthful levels of air pollution, putting them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects like lung cancer, asthma attacks cardiovascular damage and developmental and reproductive harm.”
Retirement hasn’t been at all like I pictured it. In fact, I never even pictured it until I met Mike thirteen years ago. The fact is, I couldn’t afford it back then, instead I was quite busy looking for a new job at age 49.
At that time, good fortune visited me big time! I decided I needed to change careers, and Mike decided he wanted to support me in this new endeavor. Thus emerged my “Midlife Crisis Queen” blog (now defunct) and my three books about the challenges and rewards of changing everything in midlife.
Then Mike and I moved to rural Colorado in 2014, which required some major mental adjustments (at least for me) and we worked full-time to produce a passive solar home in a little over one year. It was only after that major life achievement that we began to officially “retire.”
Now, a couple years later, I recently realized that retirement may be my first chance to observe my true nature. For the first time in my life nobody is telling me what to do, no parents, no boss, no need to be nice to make money, no need to prove myself to anyone. Basically no pressure and very little stress of any kind.
For the first time I get to decide how much self-discipline I want to have. At first we both had very little. We were both so exhausted from over a year of home building. Mike and I both felt numb. We loved to sit and look at our view and just feel glad to be alive.
The meaning of life is having a spectacular view…
But after a while, you begin to wonder who you are beyond all the rules and self-discipline that has filled your life up until now. Do you like who you really are? Do you enjoy hanging out with yourself and your significant other?
How will you fill your life now? These are the kinds of questions that keep some from ever retiring. They may be afraid of what they might become with no rules or structure. I enjoy this phase of life so much more than I ever imagined! I love the lack of rules or structure to my days.
I don’t need very much to give my life meaning, because my meaning is in the enjoyment of each day.
I appreciate the fact that I have a better life than just about anyone else on planet earth right now, and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of that until I draw my last breathe…
I’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado. After two years I compiled a short diary of our ups and downs as we moved from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar retirement home in the foothills:
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)