Sometimes, we all need little reminders to be kind and understanding to ourselves. I’ve never actually posted paper notes to myself around the house, but I do think it’s a good idea.

Word-art that says "Note to self: Your feelings are valid. You are allowed to enforce your boundaries. You do not need anyone else's approval. You are capable of amazing things. You are enough." -Stacie Swift

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Because I generally subscribe to the belief that the body has its own innate wisdom, when I am dealing with its quirks, often I’ll begin by asking whether it has something that it wants to communicate.

I’ve been wondering recently, now that I have reached that age, what message the female body is trying to get across by way of midlife issues. Given the fact that most women experience them to some degree, treating them as medical disorders does not make sense. But, why would a natural transition cause us to feel uncomfortable?

Maybe it wasn’t always this way. The modern world is such a busy place, vastly different from the world our ancestors knew. So, I’m inclined to believe that our bodies want to tell us something like this:

To: Overscheduled Mind
From: Busier-than-usual Body
Subject: Hot flashes and such

Sorry to interrupt your carefully planned workday, Mind, with these annoying reminders that you live in a body. Well, actually, I’m not sorry. For way too long now, you’ve been treating me as if I exist only as a beast of burden to carry you from one task to another, without taking time to rest. And you know what? I just can’t do that anymore.

Yes, you’re busy, as always; but you need to understand that I am busier than usual too. It takes a lot of energy to rebalance those hormones and recalibrate my systems. I need much more relaxation and gentle nurturing so that I can recharge.

I’ve been trying to get your attention in other, less intrusive ways, but you haven’t listened. When I got so exhausted that waking up was a struggle, you plonked me down in the desk chair every morning anyway, sucking down enough coffee so that you could ignore how I felt. When I started to get achy from holding up the weight of the world, you just popped some ibuprofen and kept on going. You were so focused on meeting the culture’s demands that you never took the time to consider how poorly suited they are to the needs of midlife women—and everyone else, for that matter.

But I love you anyway, Mind, even though sometimes, you haven’t got the sense God gave a goose. That’s why I am still trying to give you this very simple message—slow down before you fall down. Instead of complaining about your change-of-life issues, understand them in the way they’re intended, and go take me for a peaceful walk in the woods.

Woods with autumn foliage.

(Photo credit: Jim Lukach)

Or listen to music for awhile. Read a good uplifting novel. Write a short story. Do crafts. Watch funny cat videos. Cook a new recipe to share with family and friends. Just look up at the sky and daydream for a few minutes, like when you were a child. You do remember being a child, don’t you?

I promise, taking a little break from the to-do list won’t make the world come crashing down on you.

I ran in a 5K road race with my husband on Tuesday. We like to see the runners in their Halloween costumes, although usually we don’t dress up ourselves. It’s just for fun, and we are not competing against anyone in particular; so I was surprised when I saw that my time was more than two minutes faster than any of my previous results. All the rowing I’ve done this year must have improved my fitness overall.

But, truth be told, my legs were still feeling achy today. I did an online yoga class to stretch them out, and then some easy rowing on the erg, but didn’t push myself. Fitness is good, but taking care to get enough rest is important too.

Word-art that says "Take care of yourself."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

On Saturday, my rowing club traveled to a nearby regatta. The 5K race course is on a reservoir, without much scenery, and in past years it often has been chilly and rainy. I rowed in the women’s double race because my husband, who recently became a referee, decided that he’d rather ref than row, so we didn’t compete in our mixed double this time.

The weather turned out to be gorgeous, so he missed out on a good row. Although there was a headwind, the water wasn’t too choppy, and it was sunny and warm.

Word-art that says "Fun in the sun."

My rowing partner, Deb, is pretty strong, and we were almost as fast as the guys from our club who were in the men’s double race. Needless to say, my husband didn’t miss the opportunity to razz them about how close they came to getting crushed by the ladies. It was all in good fun!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Even on bright mornings with sunlight streaming through my windows and a forecast calling for a clear, warm afternoon, I haven’t looked for summer landscapes recently when I’ve been choosing images for my digital art display. Maybe it’s the angle of the sun or the crisp blue of the sky that makes plain it is autumn, however unseasonably warm. So I’ve been picking autumn images with a little haze or fog, even if they don’t quite match the ambient light in my house.

This forest image wasn’t new; it was one that I had displayed about two years ago. When I pictured myself standing under the trees and breathing the cool, still air, I remembered how different the world had felt two years ago. Same image, but a very different strand of time.

Imaginary twigs crackled, disrupting the quiet scene. I glanced to the right and saw my future self Kass ambling up to me. She was dressed for a casual hike in faded jeans, a plain green V-neck top, and matching green cross-training shoes with thick soles.

“You called?” Kass stretched lazily, brushing a stray strand of moss from her jeans.

“Not that I’m aware of.” Taking a step down from the rock where I’d been standing, I heard another twig snap underfoot. “What I had in mind just now was the past, not the future. So I’m not sure how I could have been calling a future self.”

“Time isn’t always linear, as we both know. It’s full of unexpected twists and turns. Often when we think about the past, we’re really looking for insights on how to frame our experience of the world going forward.”

We walked companionably together under the trees until the bare, stony soil gave way to grass and brush. The canopy thinned, allowing glimpses of blue sky and high clouds. I stopped there, looking for a path, but I saw no signs of human passage. Cobwebs gleaming with dew stretched across tall brambles.

“You’ve been here before.” Kass spoke in a calm, reassuring tone as she walked on farther, through tiny white asters dotting the grass. “The landscape of imagination changes from one day to another, but it never becomes impassable.”

Just around a fallen tree, the sound of trickling water became louder. A stream came into view, with plenty of open space along its banks and a trail that looked familiar, although I couldn’t quite recall where I had seen it before. Kass took a step toward it and then turned back to smile at me.

“Paths are always a matter of perspective.”

I didn’t have much energy this morning, which was the result of traveling to a rowing regatta last weekend and training harder this year generally. I woke up late, felt exhausted anyway, and sat at my desk feeling blah most of the day, except when I took a break to do the grocery shopping. The training plan had a strenuous erg workout on the schedule, but I felt like there was no way I could do it, so I didn’t even try.

In the afternoon, my husband got on a Zoom conversation with our coach, who said that we should take into account the stress of traveling. Although we hadn’t felt as drained of energy after other road trips, last weekend we rowed pretty hard in our race and improved our time significantly. So, if it left us feeling like all we could do was muddle through the week, that wasn’t altogether a bad thing.

To de-stress in the evening, I did a mellow 20-minute online yoga session. Then, to further shake off the blahs, I decided to post an encouraging message for Nurturing Thursday telling myself that I appreciated my efforts. We all have days like this sometimes. Doing the hard workout tomorrow should work just as well.

Word-art that says "I know you're tired + stressed + juggling and muddling through. Doing the best you can. I think you're amazing and I appreciate you. Keep going." -Stacie Swift

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

October 5, 2021 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

The recent grocery shortages have disrupted my husband’s routine. He likes to drink Coke in the evening, preferably from cans because they are less likely than plastic bottles to tip over when placed on the desk, and caffeine-free Coke Zero to avoid getting too much unhealthy sugar and being kept awake. Unfortunately, caffeine-free Coke Zero in aluminum cans disappeared sometime last year. It was available in bottles for a few months, but soon the bottles vanished too, and he substituted Diet Coke in cans. Then the aluminum can shortage got to them also. Diet Coke in small bottles usually could be found until last month, when it was only available in 2-liter bottles, and those were in short supply and dwindling fast.

So, the last time I bought groceries, when I saw there were a dozen cartons of caffeine-free Coke Zero in aluminum cans, I put them all in my cart. But then they didn’t ring up properly at the checkout. The cashier had no idea what the problem was. Another employee arrived on the scene and told me that there was a limit of six cartons and that I had to leave some for other customers. Of course, there hadn’t been any signs in the aisle about a limit on purchases. I paid for the six cartons, brought them home, put them in the pantry, and told my husband I’d been caught hoarding.

Six cartons of Coke Zero caffeine free

The six cartons should last for a while, and this incident was really more laughable than annoying. To put it in perspective, when I said something about grocery shortages to my mom last year, she started telling me about butter rationing in World War Two. Even with all the disruptions from the pandemic, we are very lucky to be living in modern times.