Throwing in the Towel

Throwing in the Towel

While on this journey of mine to live a better and smarter life–I have found myself thinking and re-thinking some of my proclivities.

One of my things is towels. I know, I know, sounds absolutely kinky.  If not kinky, at least kooky.

I don’t know when it started, and while not a secret–when I started thinking about it there are very few people–who know of this weird obsessive compulsive little habit of mine.

My mother of course knows–she knows everything!  (I don’t know how she does that by the way–as a mother myself, I am still trying to acquire all her mother super powers!)

My daughters know…because well–while they are on their own now–they did live with me for a long, long time.

And of course, my husband knows–he thinks I’m crazy about my towel thing–but he has been very accepting of my need for clean towels.

You see–I use clean towels everytime I take a shower. And everytime I wash my face and hands. So the towels get used, once, and they go in the hamper.  Now if for some reason I have to use a towel twice, I don’t freak out or break out in a sweat–I just use them the 2nd time and then it goes in the hamper.

Needless to say I have two linen closets in the house and they are full of towels–I stopped counting them when I got to 50. There are plenty more…

(I was beginning to think that maybe I should stop using so many towels.)

Now, you must understand, I do a lot of thinking while I am cooking–so I was thinking about all this–in the kitchen, cooking, kitchen towel on my shoulder, one by the sink, another by the cutting board.

Usually I cook and wash and dry my hands and cook and wash and dry my hands in a little ritual…when I clean up the kitchen at the end of this little dance the kitchen towels go into the laundry room.

I couldn’t believe it when I realized that I have a kitchen towel addiction too!

So I resolved to really reevaluate this obsession…and then…out of nowhere, I started laughing out loud–in the kitchen, practically hysterically.  (My husband on the couch watching TV just ignored me–he is a prince about my obsessions!)

And I made my decision–I am throwing in the towel on throwing in the towels. Why should I stop my little crazy habit of clean towels?  I am not hurting anyone and no one (who’s in the know) cares if I do 2 loads of towels in the laundry each week…so why not?

Here is my point–you knew one was coming–everyone has a thing–harmless, no one really cares about your thing things. Why should we deny ourselves our little joys. Isn’t that what life is about anyway?

Enjoy your weekend–and clean towels!  Drop a comment below or send me an email if you’d like at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com

The Happiest Place on Earth

The Happiest Place on Earth

I have to admit that as I binge on Netflix this summer I am drawn again and again to Walt Disney Movies.

When my girls were small we watched EVERY Disney Movie we could buy, borrow or see in theaters.  And that includes the Disney Pixar Movies.

These are movies I don’t get tired of and not just the old standards like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady and the Tramp, Mary Poppins and Dumbo but “newer” ones like Toy Story, The Incredibles and The Pirates of the Caribbean.

Recently, I’ve seen Moana, the live version of Beauty and the Beast and Coco.  

All of which transported me to their realities and made me feel part of the worlds created for the screen..

You would think that now that my girls are grown and on their own I would shy away from the cutesy, cartoony, sentimentality of the Disney movies.  

But no…I love them!  And why? Because they are fantastic! They have music, colors, and details and TRUTH. And they grab at my heart.

I can’t think of one movie that does not deal with all the beautiful values that I admire: integrity, family, love, good over evil, perseverance, faith, hard work, loyalty, compassion and respect to name a few.

Even when the villain is seeming to get his or her way–you just know that good will overcome in the end and all will be well.

Too sentimental for you?  I don’t think so,–you see Walt Disney really was ahead of his time.  He knew a fundamental reality–no matter who you are or where you are from–everyone longs for a happy ending no matter what.

Especially in this world we are living today–in our runaround hurry and in the negativity people are stuck in.

The movies remind us of his core beliefs–that we have all heard at one time or another–but may not have attributed to him.

Here are a few of my favorites:

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse!”

All things were once a dream–everything!  Think about all the inventions of the past (and those yet to come!), the poems and books, the ability to fly in airplanes, the iphone–and all the ideas that have become realities. Someone had to dream it first. And then…

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

We can’t just leave our dreams in our heads–we have to find the way to make it come true.  From the most basic of ideas of how to do a task better to maybe inventing something that will help millions of others. We all have a purpose–it is in our dreams–and we can make it come true if we work towards it.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”

If you share your dreams with people, many will tell you it–whatever it may be–is impossible.  And they are so right! Everything is impossible UNTIL THE FIRST PERSON DOES IT! Ignore the naysayers–who cares what they think!  It is fun to get over barriers, to find a way around a mountain, to challenge yourself and make the impossible possible!

“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people GROW UP.”

Truer words have never been spoken. If we can remember the wonder and the unlimited joy of being children many problems that adults face would not seem like problems at all.  

If adults did not pour their negative words, actions and experiences on their children, children can be left to their wonderment and acceptance of the world as a fascinating place.

Walt Disney, although no longer with us, created a world through his amusement parks and movies that others continue today in his honor and following the vision he had.

They bring countless of hours of joy, peace and amazement to all of us–whether we are young or not so young anymore.

Watching the movies, even if they only last an hour or two, takes us to the happiest place on Earth–our hearts. Thanks Walt!

Who are your favorite Disney characters? Comment below or send me an email at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com.  Enjoy the day!

The First Day of Summer

The First Day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer–not the first day of official summer–but really the first day of my summer…

When I am not blogging and researching and trying to figure out nutrition I am also a teacher.

Of small human beings.  Well at least, younger human beings…most of my students by the end of the year are taller than me.

So today I celebrate the last 182 school days–and all the accomplishments my younger humans and I have made!

My kids have learned all kinds of US History, some have learned to say please and thank you, and others have embraced the idea that they can be anything they want to be if they are willing to work for it.

More importantly, my kids taught me all kinds of things as well. And for that I am grateful.

The year was excruciatingly long as school years can be and at the same time surprisingly short.

We taught and learned through an eclipse, a mega moon, Hurricane Harvey, a snowstorm this area has not seen in 10 years, and an early heat wave followed by the last frost of the season.

We call all that normal Texas weather–never predictable–just like each school year.

For today, I am setting aside lesson plans, nutrition plans, craft projects, decluttering ideas and meal prepping.

Because today is the first day of summer–for me and for my students.

I’m just going to enjoy today!  Let the summer begin!

 

50 Things I Love About Being 50

50 Things I Love About Being 50

I have only been 50 for a couple of months–but so far things are pretty good.  Here is a compilation of 50 things I love about being 50:

  1. I can now say I have known certain people for over 30 (or 40) years–because I have!
  2. I am no longer shy about meeting new people.
  3. I see things differently than I did 5 and 10 years ago–or even last year.
  4. It is acceptable to not know where your car keys are.
  5. People tell me I don’t look 50!
  6. I have the time to take better care of myself.
  7. I have found a new appreciation for sunrises.
  8. I don’t have to make excuses anymore about why I go to sleep by 8pm.
  9. I am old enough not to want to over do any work out session.
  10. I am young enough to still stretch myself and reach higher goals in my workouts.
  11. I cook less–because I am watching what I eat.
  12. I love this new world filled with technology.
  13. I love that I can call one of my kids to explain the technology to me.
  14. No one worries that I am driving too slow anymore.
  15. It is okay to be lost–even with GPS.
  16. No one cares that I don’t drink anymore.
  17. I enjoy talking to my dogs and am sure they understand what I am saying.
  18. No one expects me to wear high heels.
  19. Less makeup is more.
  20. With Netflix–I no longer need cable.
  21. The 40’s were so last year!
  22. I am closer to retirement.
  23. I don’t mind if I am late to places and events.
  24. The music from my youth is still the best music.
  25. My gray hairs grow in a streak across my head.
  26. But I am still young enough to want to color them!
  27. I can do something ridiculous and call it a “mid-life crisis”.
  28. At this age I know money doesn’t buy happiness.
  29. I no longer sweat the small stuff.
  30. I know God is always with me–and He has a sense of humor.
  31. I love that I can name all four of the Beatles.
  32. I realize time is limited and precious.
  33. The empty nest is not as scary and sad as I thought it would be.
  34. I’ve lived long enough to see the world change in amazing ways!
  35. I’m not afraid of the dark, lightning or the boogie man anymore.
  36. Happiness doesn’t seem so hard to reach.
  37. I feel strongly about my opinions.
  38. I know my opinions don’t matter to everyone.
  39. Things seem funnier to me now.
  40. I don’t care what others opinions of ME are.
  41. I get discounts at some restaurants!
  42. It is easier to forgive others.
  43. It is easier to forgive myself.
  44. I love that I don’t know everything.
  45. I love that I know more than I thought I did.
  46. I love that I still have years to learn more.
  47. There is no guilt in falling asleep in front of the TV.
  48. If the dishes don’t get washed tonight, they’ll get washed tomorrow.
  49. I enjoy eating well and exercising–even through others criticisms.
  50. Other people’s criticisms don’t matter anymore.

Turning 50 happened much quicker than I expected it to…but I am enjoying it and looking forward to the next 50!  

The biggest lesson I have learned in the first 5 decades of my life?

Those people that matter don’t mind if you are yourself, and the people who mind you are yourself, don’t matter!

Enjoy your years–we don’t know how many we will be given.  No matter what age you are embrace the life in your years!

Comment below and share your thoughts on getting older.

 

Surprises

Surprises

There are many surprises that come into our lives. Some are good surprises and some are bad.

I don’t like surprises myself because I like to know the who, what, where, when and why of everything so I can PLAN it.

Yet from time to time, I come across a surprise that impacts me greatly.

I’m not talking about the someone popping out of a cake surprise–I’m talking about the kind of surprise you receive when you find out your life has been impacted by someone else or that you impacted someone’s life by a single act of kindness and it just grabs at your heart.

I had a surprise like that just this week.

There is a person that I don’t know very well but who I love and who I have a very high respect for–that passed away this week.

As a matter of fact, I have never met this person face to face, but I have known about her most of my life and carried her with me as I carry many people I care for.

It is a hard thing to explain.

I am, among other things, the family historian. I keep the family tree, many of the family stories, some of the family secrets and as many pictures of family members–past and present–that I can get my hands on.

This has been a self appointed role–not one that anyone said I had to take on. And I do this for my own pleasure and curiosity.

I don’t do this to judge family members’ lives or the choices they have made–after all, who am I to cast the first stone?

In researching a branch of my mother’s family 4 months ago, I found my mother’s sister. My mom is 75 years old and her sister, 77.

Through the twists in life and other circumstances they had lost touch with each other, both migrating to this wonderful country from their native land at different times under a different set of events.

They had not spoken to each other in over 60 years when they were both barely young teenagers in another country and another time.

They were able to reconnect, and I believe, both were very happy to have found each other again. Many phone calls, emails, cards, pictures and gifts have been exchanged over the course of these months.

For me, I found a whole new set of people to call family and my dear aunt had a daughter exactly my age. She and I communicate frequently thanks to the miracle of technology.

I feel very close to my cousin and care for her deeply–we have become not just family but friends.

Through them both, mother and daughter, I have been able to collect a few more family stories and information to fill in the blanks that I had–they have indulged me in my hobby.

Unfortunately, my aunt had cancer.  In this short time that I came to know this woman, I grew to admire her strength, her resolve and her courage.  She made sure to be strong when speaking to my mother over the phone because she did not want to worry her “little” sister.

My aunt and I shared the exchange of one long letter–one in which I told her all about my life and her reply that provided acceptance, encouragement and love.  I was in the middle of sending her another letter that I will no longer be able to send.

But a beautiful surprise came to me in a letter from her, transcribed by her daughter–my cousin, my friend–because she was too weak to write herself.

It was information about a family business back in the old country and how the family was involved in it.  She had told me she wanted me to know the story and she had promised to send it to me for my collection of family lore. The letter was written and put in the mail to me on the day she left this earth.

Sometimes, we do something simple, say something to someone, offer a smile and it changes another life.

A selfless act–a beautiful gift–and a surprise. She grabbed my heart as all good surprises are wont to do. It has impacted me greatly as I am sure her whole life impacted others–regardless of time and space.

May the Lord keep her in the palm of his hand, until we meet again.

Challenge Accepted!

Challenge Accepted!

For the last few days I have been thinking about how to organize my whole life, what parts of my life needed organizing and what benefits would come of it.

I’ve made great strides this year already–decluttering the house (someone should have told me it is kind of an ongoing thing!), living by my calendar and honoring  my time, getting my health and fitness in shape.

Until I realized how much more I have to do.

So I thought–what areas of my life would more–if any–organization benefit me?

Here is my brainstorm–and I do mean storm–list I came up with:

I would like to organize my days, my weeks and my months in respect to my chores, my tasks, my finances, my meals, my recipes…..I would like to once and for all organize my paper, my pictures, my thoughts, my plans. Included in that I would like to continue to organize my space–my house, my closets, my kitchen…and the thoughts went on and on!

Is it even possible to be this organized?  I started researching–which of course is a part of my life I am very organized in–and found that there are many resources to organize EVERYTHING from the home to your personal style.

How do you organize a ‘personal style’ ? Is that even a thing? Who knew?

After all of these mental gymnastics–I stopped. I closed my eyes, I did a few breathing exercises and listened in the quiet.

(I can always find answers in the quiet.)

Yes–I can organize all these things–not just for the sake of being organized but because being organized will help me focus on “The Plan” and find more time for what is important in my life.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Check in to future posts as I travel down this side road of organization to be more productive…I don’t want to reveal how I am going to do this just yet!

Until next time!  Have Fun!

 

Reinventing, Re-imagining and Recreating Your Life

Reinventing, Re-imagining and Recreating Your Life

Reinventing myself now that the kids have left home has been a hard task.  There is so much involved with re-imagining who you are outside of the title of “mother” or “father”.

Some responsibilities of being adult still remain, of course, they are inescapable–but the main one, at least for me–of raising my kids is complete.

I no longer have to raise my kids–I am here now to encourage, support and listen. And in the most curious of ways–I am here now to learn from them.

My daughter said to me many months ago–”Don’t worry mom, you do you and don’t worry about anybody else.”  I’m not sure what we were talking about at the time–but there seems to be a universal truth in that statement.

You do you. What if you don’t know what “you” wants to do or be or not do and be?  

You do you. What if you do know what you want to do and be but are too scared to move forward?

I think it comes down to manageable tasks–and those can be broken down further into manageable areas in life: Health, Spirituality, Relationships, and Growth.

Many of these tasks cannot be done all at once–but at the same time all are connected and they leak into each other.

You cannot talk about or make changes in your health without considering how that will impact your relationships, your mental growth and your spiritual being.

You cannot confront and fix issues with your relationships without it affecting your health, your psychological development or your spirituality.

And because it is so intertwined and messy, many of us stay stagnant and don’t change the things we need to change to make us better people, and to be happier. We don’t want to rock the status quo.

This is happening to people of all ages–not just empty nesters and people in their mid life years.  While I don’t have all the answers–not sure I have any of the answers–I do have a desire to try to figure this all out in the time I have left on this earth.

Another reason we are reluctant to challenge the status quo is because of the Woolly Mammoth Fear I discovered and shared with you in the last post. We are so afraid of change, and afraid to disappoint people.

Sometimes we are afraid to disappoint the people closest to us–and sometimes we are afraid to disappoint people that really don’t matter. It’s a crazy world. Because we spend a great deal of time thinking about it and avoiding it at the same time.

What I have come to understand is that it takes a lot of courage to be YOU. YOU is hard. YOU has to stand up to criticism, rejection and pain. And YOU has to do it anyway. Because that is who YOU are.

So my first decision is this–I’m going to do it anyway so let me just work out the best way to get it done-faster, better and smarter–which is my motto.

But let me explain. Faster does not mean fast. For me faster means learning from those who came before me. There is no trophy for tripping over the same rock 5 other people tripped over. Faster means watch, listen, learn and walk around the rock. That just saved you some time.

Better means how can I do this differently that will serve me better.  Better means if it served me better–can it serve others?

Smarter.  Why are we still doing the same things we were doing 30 years ago?  We have learned to evolve with the conveniences of the new modern technological world but still want to do things the old way–which is harder, less effective and just NOT SMART.

Lots to unpack here…and lots to do.  I am making a list for my DOING YOU and how I would like to share this journey. I hope you’ll follow along…

As we continue to grow and do YOU, remember that you should be having fun!  If you are not having fun yet–you may need to re-imagine and re-create again until you are in the right place. After all that is what life is all about–getting to the right place.

Comment below if you feel you are searching for the place to start making the needed changes in your life or if you have any suggestions on which changes should be a priority.