Feeling the losses & the gratitude

This fall I am feeling my losses fully. My recent tumble in my garden surprised and confused me. My balance is so not what it used to be and I must accept this fact gracefully. In fact I am now realizing that I can no longer do more than one thing at once, and that includes breathing! I have always been one to take off in a rush to get things done. This has only gotten worse because I now feel I must do something before I forget what I’m doing! But this simply will not do for me anymore. My damaged brain (one TBI and three concussions) and my inability to breathe deeply now creates a situation where I MUST TAKE THINGS MORE SLOWLY.

I know. I’m not the first person to discover this limitation of injury and aging, but I see now I am taking things too far to my own detriment. I need to move slower and do less even when I’m anxious to do more. I get angry with this situation, but this is my reality now. As always I come back to my own truth:

Acceptance releases everything to be what it already is.

I have always pressured myself partially because I was taught to be more and contribute. I now also see the flaw in that way of thinking. I am merely another human trying to find some truth and meaning in this life of mine. I am not worse or better than the rest, because in the end most of what we do does not matter. That is why I now laugh when I see this:

So I am letting go like so many do as they age, and as strange as it may seem, I sometimes see the benefits of my present circumstances. My head injuries have caused me to slow down, something I needed to do so I can appreciate each moment more. For example, I have loved Stephen Levine’s “Meditation on Letting Go” for decades, ever since I met him back in the 1980s in Boulder. But it is only now that I can fully appreciate its meaning.

So this Thanksgiving I give thanks for the life I have right now and can finally slow down enough to fully appreciate.

A Great Day in Spanish Peaks Country!

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This morning I woke up too early, but since I was already up I went outside to take a few sunrise shots. Then we started getting ready to drive up to “Uptop” to enjoy the 2016 Welcome Gathering for the Spanish Peaks Celtic International Music Festival.

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Uptop is up at the top of Old La Veta Pass. It’s a bit of a ghost town now, but still fun to visit, especially on a glorious fall day like today!

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This is where the train used to come through over a century ago.

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It has an cool old chapel and an old tavern where the Celtic musicians set up to play and guide the courageous ones through some Irish dances.

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And since I LOVE anything Celtic it was GRAND!

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I loved the harp the best. I seem to be developing a love affair with all kinds of harps.

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On the way home we stopped a few times to try and capture the amazing fall colors up there. Here’s Mike looking back towards the Spanish Peaks.

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It’s days like these that make me so happy that we decided to move down here.

 On the way home we got in our FIRST traffic jam ever on Highway 160. Still don’t know what happened there… So we took the county road home and got in the middle of a cattle jam instead! So much more enjoyable than a car traffic jam. It was fun watching the cowboys herding the stray cattle across the road.

Want to learn more about our recent move from busy, noisy Fort Collins to  this place of silence and lovely nature watching?  Go here!

Busy Blogging Boomers!

This week we are offering you reviews of movies, restaurants, an analysis of upstate New York versus California living, and how to get better prices on your new iPhone. Let’s hear from Carol Cassara first:

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Each of us sees the world filtered through our lives and every one of our experiences. As older adults, our world view is very different now, Carol points out over at her blog,“Heart Soul Mind.” She also goes back to the first half of the 20th century, when life was very different, and maybe romanticizes it a bit.

For many Americans going out to eat has become a regular pastime, a part of our lifestyle.Usually the experience is a pleasant one, but occasionally disappoints because of poor food or service quality. Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting recently enjoyed some great Mexican food with a portion of poor service. 

sully-movieBoomer blogger Tom Sightings admits, “I Don’t Like to Fly.” The last flight he took was round trip from New York to Phoenix in 2012. So why did he go see the movie Sully? And what does he think about it? (It might surprise you.)

iphoneOver at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, consumer journalist Rita R. Robison writes about how much a new iPhone 7 can cost you. Did you know you can save more than $1,000 by using WalletHub’s Cell Phone Savings Calculator to compare the different ways that consumers can purchase the iPhone, evaluate coverage plans, and figure out when they’re better off keeping their current phone? Go learn more!

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Me, I’ve been busy editing and formatting my new book. I will be so glad to present it to you in the next few weeks! Until then please enjoy the cover. This is a photo of Mike’s excitement one morning as he walked outside to enjoy our tremendous view.

LIFE IS GOOD IN BOOMERLAND!

 

Who do YOU think you are?

One thing I have learned from having more time to think and consider, is a far deeper awareness of my own levels of self-love and confidence.

happy sadThe other day I was saying to Mike how surprised I am to find how mercurial my self-confidence can be. One moment I may feel so sure that I am on the right path, certain that I have everything working as I wish it to, and the next I fear I have become too arrogant and self-absorbed.

moodsGoing back and forth is exhausting. Feeling good about myself and my accomplishments is a healthy way to feel… I think. It certainly beats the way I used to feel, doubting almost everything about my Self and my life.

So why can’t I settle on that good feeling and accept it? Because of my fears of appearing arrogant, like I have all the answers. I don’t have “all the answers,” only the ones I need to have a great life for now.

brain puzzleI know everyone has challenging times, when the answers are not clear at all. I was in the midst of one such time two years ago when we first moved here. I wasn’t sure at all we had made the right decision. I did my best to accept our new place and believe in our future, but it wasn’t easy. I’m so glad I did.

Mike at home

It all turned out GREAT!

Sometimes I think we keep busy partially because we don’t want to have too much time to consider how we feel about ourselves, our place in the world, or even the state of the world itself.

One thing is for sure. Unless I take the time to accept my life and feel good about myself, I will have nothing to give to others. None of us were sent here to save the world, but we can do what we can to make it a better place for everyone we meet.

Working to feel good about myself is my first step towards making those around me feel good about themselves.

Allowing your mind to lie fallow…

fallow ground near mtnsFallow: —adj, 1. (of land) left unseeded after being plowed and harrowed to regain fertility for a crop.       2. (of an idea, state of mind, etc) undeveloped or inactive, but potentially useful.

I got excited yesterday when I heard Meg Ryan, Meg Ryanin her excellent interview on CBS Sunday Morning, mention the usefulness of doing nothing and allowing your mind to lie fallow for periods of time, with the purpose of generating more energy and fertility in your thought process.

I love this idea, and yet I find it to be an idea without strong acceptance in our hard-driving, demanding culture.

Because of my unfortunate recent experiences with TBI and concussion, I have had no choice but to take time to relax my brain so it can heal. But there is always a part of me who feels lazy and unproductive at these times.

spring Buddha in backyard“Spacing out” is the best way I can think of to describe those times when my mind is simply exhausted and cannot focus on anything more. The good news?  Meditation comes so easily to me now. It’s like my mind naturally relaxes and can think of nothing for a while. And even better, some of my best ideas later come from these times of allowing my mind to lie fallow, much like some who say that humanities best ideas have emerged from periods of relaxed thought.

When we daydream, we free our thinking of logical limits to allow knowledge, experiences, and ideas to essentially float freely in our mind and mingle with each other in a way that our logical mind cannot handle.  Sometimes this undisciplined mingling creates that flash, that ‘aha’ moment.  Aristotle had his eureka moment in a bathtub and Newton had his in an apple orchard.  Where are yours?

Some call this mindfulness, others think we are really sleeping while awake. Either way, I have no choice at this point and I love the overall effects!

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 Sleep is the BEST meditation.  – Dalai Lama

I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever.  Please go learn more about our move from Fort Collins to here in my new memoir!

Getting used to something so right…

I was singing along with that old Paul Simon song, “Can’t get used to something so right…” this morning, and realized sometimes I have that problem myself.

After over two years in the brand new world (for me) of rural southern Colorado, I would say I’m just beginning to settle in.

This adventure started back in mid-June of 2014, and I can assure you I wasn’t sure at all about this place. It all seemed so backward, slow and poor to me after living in Loveland and Fort Collins for years. People kept asking me why we moved here, and I wasn’t so sure myself. Luckily my husband is an “eyes-on-the prize” kind of man. He knew exactly why he was here!

My first year here was not good. Between feeling like a fish out of water myself, and the extremely challenging feat of building a custom solar home out in the foothills, my best description is STRESS CITY!

But once we moved out of Walsenburg and settled into our new home, life improved dramatically. After so much stress and our second move in a year, we spent weeks doing very little but enjoying our marvelous new environment…

AMAZING sunrise over the Spanish Peaks January 2018

OK, we spent most of our first winter here doing that!

One thing you need to know about this part of the country, things really do slow down here in the winter. I can remember days last winter when I went into La Veta, and it looked like a deserted ghost town.

In the spring things liven up quite a bit. The tourists start coming down here and clogging up Main Street in Walsenburg. This past spring I started taking a yoga class and walking around La Veta in the mornings. I also started making a few friends and feeling more like I belong here.

Laura standing at build site before slab 2014

Just yesterday I realized how right this place feels to me now. I love living in the country, I have a wonderful husband and home, I have new friends who care, and I rarely have to deal with all the things I hated in the city.

Life is good and getting better. Mission accomplished!

Want to learn more about the experience of moving from the city to the country to live a quiet, relaxed life? Check it out here!

Boomers and Their Busy Boomer Lives!

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When I woke up this morning it was chilly and rainy outside. Then I looked out east and boom! what an amazing sunrise!

But even the nicest places on earth can be ruined if you aren’t getting along with your significant other. That’s why it’s so important to manage your ‘closeness’ so you can both be happy in retirement! 

Writer Meryl Baer says, there are all sorts of reasons people love the place they live. She enjoys her current hometown because of the ease of walking and cycling around town. In this week’s post, she lists the Ten reasons I love my walkable community. 

pink love sunsetWriter Carol Cassara says, many boomers who are otherwise living fulfilled lives, face problems with waning libidos. She explains over at Heart-Mind-Soul, there’s no need to deny ourselves the pleasure of a vibrant sex life, not when there’s a new book by boomer and midlife sex expert Walker Thornton that offers practical advice to anyone who would like to invite desire back into their life. Carol reviews Ms. Thornton’s book here.  And to give love equal time, she offers her simple secret to love

DMVAccording to Tom Sightings, in Beaten by the Bureaucracy, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate what the government does for us, even if you’re a liberal. He tells the story of changing his driver’s license and car registration after he moved to a new state. What’s the solution? “Don’t move to a new state!”

Rita's gardenOver at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, a consumer journalist, gives us a report on her bountiful garden. Robison, who went on vacation for a week, found that special something that gardeners dread finding when they return: “Surprises From My Garden.” 

Just published my memoir of moving to this beautiful rural place in southern Colorado to get a ways off the grid and finally truly enjoy life!  Please take a look!

 

How Living Close To Nature Can Change You

NICE view of sunflowers in garden and Spanish Peaks summer 2017

just finished my memoir about what it feels like to move from the cities in the front range to rural Colorado. In 2014 we moved from Fort Collins, with the 6th largest county population in Colorado (333,577), to the least populated, Huerfano at about 6,500 souls.

The Huerfano means orphan in Spanish, and so many of us here are orphans, because we are elders. We lived in the town of Walsenburg (pop. 3,000) for our first year here, while building a custom passive solar home to the west. As we complete our first full year of living in the foothills, close to nature, I find those who live in cities to be busy, always busy. What is that doing to their soul?

I feel I have learned so much on this topic by living close to nature for the past year. Getting far from any city has been a reawakening for me, and living here permanently is a wonder. I love to experience those unique emotional experiences which defy our habitual way of thinking. Living here has been all about defying my previous limited state of mind. I called myself “metrofied” before I moved here, but I had no idea how horribly stuck I was in “city mind.”

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It is so soothing to observe how cities change us, and then leave, transitioning to a slower, calmer way of being. In my first year here I became aware of the constant anxiety level I maintained by living in cities. Then I slowly let it go. When I feel anxious now, I quickly see there is truly no reason for this feeling. Now, only when I get impatient or angry do I realize that I used to feel that way so much of the time back in Fort Collins, where the traffic was horrendous, and everyone was some form of tense.

The true change for me is the awareness that I can now live in the present. I have been seeking this experience for most of my life. Instead of worrying about the past or demanding more in my future, I can just be here now, loving my life. The down side to this new way of being? Great difficulties going back into cities! I don’t want to waste one more moment of my limited lifespan sitting in traffic and breathing city air.

I am filled with gratitude that I can now live in nature forever…

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”  —   Henry David Thoreau

Laura and rasta close up

Want to learn more about moving from a good-sized city to the outback? Then check out my 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 order your own signed copies of any of my books!  Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

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A Happy New Day at Hippie Days in Gardner Colorado!

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For ten years now, the tiny town of Gardner has hosted “Hippie Days.” What’s that? A two day meeting of the minds, or as the organizers like to call it:                                 “A NO BAD VIBES Music Festival.”

For the past two years we haven’t been able to attend. Last year we were moving the end of July, but this year we finally made it!

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Here’s the first, and one of the coolest things we saw! This 1961 VW van was on the way to the junk yard when these folks picked it up for $113. It was stripped down, but they now tow it around with a water bed in the back. How cool is that?

IMGP5259We saw lots of booths selling hippie things like tie-dye clothes, jewelry, glassware…

IMGP5268… and a FREE concert all day and all night! The whole thing is free,

IMGP5281even the camping in the back of the venue.

This, of course, made me start thinking, my own personal addiction. How come I’ve never related to hippies? First of all I was born a little late for the whole hippie movement, and second I’ve always been too serious and scholarly for that lifestyle.

We still have one of the original hippie communes in our county, and some of the residents have lived there most of their lives. It’s hard for me to imagine living out in the country with no land ownership, building your own home, etc.

IMGP5253But I did LOVE that purple van with its COOL shiny crystal balls!

How did I end up here, feeling so fortunate?

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)

Postscript, June 2018: There was no Hippie Days last summer. New word: Hippie Days will be held on July 27th and 28th in Gardner this summer!

 

My Brother John is a blessing!

IMGP5231We had a very welcome visitor this July. My brother John came up from Sedona Arizona to visit for three weeks. Why was he so welcome? Well, besides the fact that I hadn’t spent any time with him in years, he spent most of his time here working around our property in the hot summer sun.

See, John has been a  “dirt guy”  his whole life. He understands how to prepare ground in a very level way so that concrete can be laid and drain effectively. There is so much more to know than I ever imagined about preparing soil properly so your home doesn’t wash away!

patio before concrete Comanche drive

We were in need of a lot of dirt work to prepare for a new concrete patio on the south side of our home. John did all of that work by hand, and then proceeded to fix our driveway, so it drained properly and nobody was tempted to run over the drains and ruin them. He also shared lots of good information about weather patterns, clouds, etc.

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We kept telling him to relax more, but he said this was nothing compared to the work he is used to down in Arizona. And as an added bonus he played beautiful acoustic guitar outside my window each night as I was going to sleep.

Now that’s one great brother…

It was so fun hanging out with him. Who else remembers all the crazy things we used to say and do as kids? Who else can still sing along with Frank Zappa’s Mother-mania album, the one our Mom really hated?

So wonderful to spend time with my big brother again!