one common woman

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." C.S. Lewis

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I know the Olympics are over.  I watched more of them this year than I have in several years.  Ice skating, skeleton, bobsledding, slalom, half pipe and snowboard cross, funky short little trick skies in the half pipe, etc.  The last time I really watched, moguls were the new thing.  That was several years and a few children ago.  This year I noticed a few things as I watched.  One is that American commentators  say some arrogant, insensitive things.   I won’t bother to list them here.  I was flabbergasted.

The other observation I wanted to mention to you was about a couple of competitors.  They were both male, of similar age and both competing in their third Olympics, both favorites in some event.

Competitor one had been the subject of a Target documentary which I watched before the Olympics.  I watched because I was curious to see how he trained, what he did that enabled him to be so good at his event. It showed him with his coach- the first he has ever had, though this was his third Olympics. (Being men, they mostly stood around and grunted at each other.)  But basically, it seemed to boil down to this:  he was naturally good at what he does.  He went out there and did his thing and relied very much on his natural ability to do whatever needed to be done.  When his natural ability ran short, he spent a lot of time soaking his aching joints.  I was a little shocked that this was his routine.  There seemed to be no preparation of the body, no physical conditioning involved in his training.  He was the favorite in his event, but he went home from Sochi without a single medal.

The second competitor was in several events, some he was expected to win and some he was not.  When they told his story at the games, it was with video of him in the gym, lifting weights, training hard, though weight lifting was not his event.  He wasn’t just out on his skies, trying new things, instead he was training his body, conditioning himself for more than going down the hill, though I am sure he went down the hill many, many times.  He went home with more than one medal, and gold for the event he was expected to win.

Now, I understand that sometimes even the athletes who train the hardest lose.  Someone has to lose in every event.  Once in a while there are extenuating circumstances.  Accidents happen.  So is there a moral to this story?  Perhaps only because in my own life I know that sometimes I am very guilty of depending on my own natural “talents”.   Natural ability can take you a long way.  It took Competitor One a very long way.  He has gold medals to prove it,  but to me it looks like when he came to the end of his natural ability he was unwilling to fess up.  He didn’t extend his ability by putting in the extra work.

Which of these men is the Olympian?  Which is the true competitor?  Have your natural abilities gotten you far enough in life or is there more you want to do?


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A few years ago we made a major move.  We headed north with our remaining children, (two teenagers), and our remaining belongings  (after getting rid of about one third of what we owned).  We moved to a smaller town, a smaller home, a smaller salary, and we also shed a car in the process, arriving in our new home with one, instead of two.  This all happened after we had sent our three oldest children out the door to start their own lives, so we were not strangers to the process of releasing that which we love or possess.  Since then we have sent another off to college.

So, the topic of downsizing continues to haunt my thoughts from time to time, and here are a few random thoughts I have had lately.

We haven’t downsized enough.  I still have several boxes of books that might not ever make it down from the attic until I take them to the Salvation Army.

We can no longer eat a whole chicken at one meal so the days when I longed for leftovers are gone.  Now I wonder what to do with them.

Recently I noticed that a jar of spaghetti sauce is only 24 oz., not 32.  (This bit of downsizing may have happened years ago.  I had been making sauce by the crock pot full.)  Even with the smaller size we still cannot finish a whole jar of spaghetti sauce.  It makes me wonder if I could once again enjoy spaghetti, warmed up in the frying pan with a little butter, like my Mom used to fix me for lunch sometimes.

While we are dwindling in numbers at home, we are not downsizing.  We have added a daughter in law, two sons in law and four beautiful grand daughters since our eldest left home.

Butter is something that has not been downsized.  You can still buy it in a one pound package.

My grocery budget has not been downsized.  I spend more on groceries than ever.  In one sense it does buy less, but I also have turned to higher quality products as the number of mouths I feed daily has dropped.

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Random Wonderings

Whatever happened to the midlife crisis that used to pounce on so many women in years gone by?  Is it a victim of political correctness, perhaps renamed, perhaps forgotten altogether?  It seemed so real, back in the day.  It got press, it got attention, it was so desirable, the men had to have one too.

I don’t know why it would come to mind today.  Perhaps it is time for me to have one.  Is it still allowed?  Would it make me a pariah?  Have you seen it, lately?

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Baby Blues

The title might be misleading, because I never really had the baby blues, before or after pregnancy.  Holding little ones never really make me long for “just one more”, and I was spared, mercifully, from that depression that plagues some women after child birth.

Rather, recently my youngest flew south all by herself to visit friends.  I did my parental duty before hand, encouraging her and reminding her that she was smart and level headed.  It might be the last opportunity she had to do this for a long time, with college and other life changes on the horizon.  My husband ran her down to Logan in the early morning hours and waved goodbye as she entered the terminal by herself, ready for her adventure.

I slept in.

I was looking forward to 10 days of  no running back and forth to lessons and to work.   (our children don’t get a license until 18)  There would be less cleaning up and fewer impromptu but suddenly urgent trips to Wal Mart, or Target or Hannaford.  I would blissfully engage in whatever activity I wanted, whenever I wanted.  And I did enjoy my week off, but you have probably already guessed how this story ends.  It ends with me, discovering that I miss running her around, that my dear husband makes more messes than I realized, and missing my Baby.  Not wishing her back, mind you, but just being reminded of the energy and vitality that leaves along with the person that carries it through life and missing all those little things that add up to being her.

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Reversal of Fortunes

I am working on reversing my fortunes.  Throughout much of my life I have struggled with negative thinking.  This mostly concerns myself, but has naturally overflowed into the way I have dealt with people and work situations.  I realized at a fairly young age that this was an issue and the began the process of letting go of the negative, but this is not an easy thing to abandon all at once.  Changes have come bit by bit for me, sometimes one negative thought at a time, and some victories have been long in coming.

Recently I was lying in bed grieving the mistakes I had made at my last job.  Understand that I loved my job as office administrator, and I worked hard to do things well for a rapidly expanding non-profit organization, but my negative thinking got the best of me some days.  This affected work relationships and decisions and three and a half years later I was till losing sleep over my shortcomings.

This particular night a long overdue light came on in my understanding.  I had done a lot of good work for that organization.  I adapted.  I grew.  I had done many things well and a few things not as well as I could have.  It was long past time to reject my negative thinking and embrace all that I had done well, and I committed myself to doing just that.

It was a victory that should have come about 3 years ago, but I am grateful for it, late as it may be.  I also know that my future is brighter because I refuse to let the past eat me up any more.


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A Love Story

This year, on New Year’s Day, as I was putting away the Christmas stuff, I was feeling a little sorry for myself.  Hubby was being particularly challenging.  He was not treating me well enough.  He had not been saying the right things about me in public.  He had not been romantic enough, he just did care enough about what I go through on those days when he takes our only car and spends 12 hours at his second job.  My mind was guiltily full of his shortcomings, and to beat it all, when all the ornaments were put away, I realized that unless I did Hubby’s part of the undecorating (is that a word?), our 7 and 1/2 foot,  3 piece, artificial Christmas tree was going to lay in a heap on the living room floor until who knows when, because Hubby was off working one of those 12 hour days and putting it away was his job.

Despite my self pity I decided to do Hubby a favor and put away the tree for him, and as I did so, I told myself that he would really love me for it.  And then, though it was not yet Epiphany, I had an epiphany.  Did I really believe that Hubby’s love for me was so shallow that he would love me more for putting a Christmas tree in a box?  Was my love for him really altered by those little things that I had allowed to eat at me all day?  Was I just a big fake with my talk of loving people unconditionally?   Did I love my husband unconditionally or not?  Did I love my children unconditionally or not?  On that day, these seemed like deeply challenging questions.

What is the moral of this story?  I decided, for that day, to accept my husband as he is.  I decided, for that day, to acknowledge that he would not love me more for putting away a Christmas tree, and I would not love him less for perceived misdeeds towards me.  I decided that I would offer him unconditional love until I forgot to do so, and had to be reminded again. I decided that this is one area of my life where I don’t really want to be common.

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10 Things I Am Not

In order to give you a little more insight into who I am, let me tell you 10 things I am not:

  1. Svelte.  Isn’t that a great word?
  2. Consistent.  I try, but I have my ups and downs.
  3. Brilliant.  I have always wanted to be, but it’s a little late for that to happen.
  4. Chef.  On a good day I make 3 meals.  On a great day I really enjoy doing it.
  5. Interior Decorator.  If you want to know what color is in, don’t check here.
  6. Fashion Maven.  See number 5.
  7. Coupon Clipper Extraordinaire.  I believe in store brands.
  8. Only Child.  I have 5 siblings that I really love.  I need to tell them that more often.
  9. Lonely.  I am so grateful for my partner in this life and the children and friends that have graced my life.
  10. Asleep.  It’s 1:10am and I am up trying to create a blog.