Smart Women Don't Retire -- They Break Free: From Working Full-Time to Living Full-Time

And I thought YES! Living full time. It's not that I don't want to work, I just desire to work more intelligently... and in a tropical paradise!

By Midwest Mom

A is for Attitude.   You gotta have good one to survive!

is for Botox.  I don’t have a desire to get it, but it’s nice to know that I’ve got options.

C is for Cellulite.   Let’s face it – reality bites!

D is for Dreams.  And never giving up on them, cheesy, but true.

E is for Email.   Without it I probably wouldn’t have kept in touch with some high school friends.  Be honest, when was the last time you wrote & sent a letter? (Christmas cards don’t count)

For me turning 40 has been an exploration in self-development.  

Looking back on life and being disappointed in certain areas has given me the opportunity to delve in to places I would not necessarily want to look at.  One of these areas is 'body acceptance'.

I feel confident saying that I'm not alone in being overly critical of my body - especially my 40 year old body which is noticeably changed from my 20 year old body.  I have heard a statistic that about 80% of women are not happy with their bodies.  There are so many reasons for this and it's disheartening.  Today I'm asking us to take a look at our bodies in a positive and affirming way.  I recently did the following exercise from a self-help book I'm reading, and I'm going to share it with you.  While this was a difficult exercise to initiate, once I got going I felt really empowered and grateful for my body, flaws and all!

"Dear face and hair - forgive me for succumbing to perfectionism and often masking what God gave me (in order to conform to societal ideals of beauty). I appreciate and honor my heritage which is revealed in my hair, skin and face. Forgive me for being critical and unloving. Thank you for being expressive and unique."

"Dear skin - forgive me for not accepting the shell that I was given.  I appreciate your ability to signal to me when I am off balance.  Thank you for keeping me healthy."

"Dear breasts. Forgive me for measuring your size to a superficial standard.  I appreciate your sexiness. Thank you for being cute and perky, I appreciate you and honor your sensuality"

"Dear belly - forgive me for condemning your feminine roundness. I appreciate the physical display of feminity and fertility. Forgive me for wanting to change you in order to fit in to trendy uncomfortable jeans.  I honor and thank you for the ability to create from this area. I honor this sacred center as I honor the act of creation itself.  Thank you for your beautiful curves and womanly softness"

Really honoring ourselves in this way is not always a comfortable thing to do (at least not for me)  But I ask, how can our bodies cooperate with us when we are constantly critical of it?  Love and acceptance of the skin we are in is a powerfully healing tool.

The Body Acceptance Exercise

If you would like to do the exercise simply remove all of your clothes and stand in front of a mirror Notice any negative judgements about specific areas of your body, and when they come up do the following:

1.) Forgive yourself for being critical and unloving to that body part  
2.) Tell that body part something you appreciate about it
3.) Thank your body

By Midwest Mom
Continuing the list in no particular order:

21. Ipods. In high school, my mom’s car had an 8-track player! I bought an adapter that let me play cassettes in it and thought it was cutting edge technology.

22. “Health Food” products now available in mainstream grocery stores. We don’t have a decent health food store in my current town, so I’m thankful that the local Wal-Mart carries soy milk, bocca burgers, etc AND has a gluten-free aisle. Unheard of just a few years ago!

"Piglet", said Rabbit, taking out a pencil, and licking the end of it, "you haven't any pluck." "It is hard to be brave," said Piglet, sniffling slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal."

It may sound silly but I have an curiously hard time killing small things.  Spiders, bugs, and even plants.  Recently I began an herb garden and my first project was basil. I planted it from seeds in little pots and set them in my sunny kitchen window. 

I waited excitedly and checked daily for the wee seedlings to sprout.  (Sometimes simple things like this make me extremely happy. There are some things in life that will amaze me - this being one, airplanes another).

There is something courageous and miraculous about how they sprout and root and push their way through the soil. The part I don't like about the growing-from-seed process, is inevitably it becomes time to thin out the seeds.  In order for the plants to do their best we must take a hard look and say "okay seeds, it's survival of the fittest time - the small ones have to go to make room for the hardy''. It's a sad moment for me, because I see that they are all trying to make a go of this thing called life.  And who am I to decide which one's stay and which one's go? Plus, I have always been one to cheer on the underdog, so in my mind I'm thinking that the less ostentatious little seedlings could maybe just possibly beat out the big guys?  I don't know, not likely I suppose.
What does this have to do with being 40? Sometimes when we reach a milestone like turning 40 we have to be very brave, like Piglet and the little sprouting basils.  Because it's easy to start thinking (maybe obsessing) about a number.  Next it's 50, then 60, then 70!

I will close with this nice quote I saw on the Oprah Forum from a forty-something,

"Turning 40 is not so bad at all. Like they say, "Age is nothing but a number." You may be older but you are still the same person. I have more energy, my sex life is terrific, and I'm at peace with how my life is turning out. Embrace it!''

by Midwest Mom

When I first started thinking about this list, my intention was for it to be stuff that I controlled. But the more I thought about it, I decided the list should also include things that have surfaced/been invented during my 40 years on this planet. Also, some of the list items may be items/objects that were not available to me in my 20’s/30’s (due to finances, etc) and now make my life better or easier to live in some way. Again, in no particular order:

11. Cell phones. I didn’t get my first one until I was 30. I used to make fun of people who had them, now I cannot live without mine. (I do have huge phone envy, but more on that later.)

12. Daily disposable contacts. Remember having to put them in a heater overnight? Or the weekly enzyme cleaning? Ugh.

by Midwest Mom

One thing about me, I’m a list maker. It keeps me on track. When I was working, my entire work week depended on a very detailed list that I made the weekend before. As a stay-at-home mom, lists keep me on task and on track. I make the world’s best grocery list – it is in order by aisle (how you find items as you walk through the store and I highlight items if I have a coupon for them.) So naturally, a list for this blog is in order. In no particular order:

1. Friendships that span decades
2. Financial security (well, for the most part. But I am definitely much more responsible with my finances now than I ever was in my 20’s or 30’s)
3. Technology
4. Awareness of my body (Not to say that I like everything that is going on with my body, but I am much more aware and I definitely take much better care of myself now)
5. And on that note – Spanx!
6. A true appreciation of good wine! (I can’t believe some of the crap I drank in my 20’s – really?)
7. I’m a MUCH better cook now, no doubt.
8. Grown-up conversations
. I no longer fear looking stupid. In my 20’s I was consumed with how I would be judged/perceived and that held me back from pursing things that really interested me. I would rather have died than been caught taking a knitting class, for example. It kept me off of the dance floor at certain clubs or I was afraid to order what I really wanted off of the menu. Not anymore!
10. A huge sense of relief! I spent a great deal of my 20’s and 30’s yearning for many of the things that I now have. I am so thankful for my husband, our children and the life we have built together.

The morning after my pre-birthday marathon fiesta - where we finished close to two bottles of tequila - I was grateful that I had the foresight to book massage appointments for us on the beach the next morning. And not too early.  I said to bff after looking at the two near empty bottles of hornitas,"who do we think we are?" and she replied "rockstars evidently" and I said "I don't FEEL like a rockstar right now" and she replied "uum, I'm pretty sure you do. In fact I'm pretty sure this is exactly what rockstars feel like in the morning".  Hmmm I believe she spoke the truth.

Post massage we each drank a coconut.  Coconut water es muy bien for hangovers!  We sat on the beach and did really nothing the rest of the day. Worked on the tan, wandered around the plaza, and finally broke down and had a glass of wine with lunch (hair of the dog I believe is the term). We had plans at 6:30 to begin the next round of birthday festivities and neither of us wanted to exert any energy until then.

I’m exposing myself by admitting that I have been celibate for about four years.  Partly by choice.  I've had plenty of opportunities, but I don’t do casual sex well.  I’m very selective when it comes to physical intimacy. Not just any man will do – it’s a sacred thing sex. 

That being said I do want to keep those parts functioning and alive in a Kundalini yoga sort of way.  And that was my intention for my 40th.  I didn’t know who it would be, but I did say to my bff,  “I’m not shaving my legs tonight, so you know what that means!”.
A few month's earlier I said to my bff "let's go to Mexico!" and she said "okay!".  I love her.  My go to Mexican paradise is a little surf town 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, and when we got there I was in a great mood.  I had been working out and I was spray-tanned and beach ready.  With 10 whole days ahead of us, and zero obligations I was relaxed.  Aaah Mexico.  Yes folks it's scary down there...stay far far away!  Drug cartels, etc. 

My birthday was on Sunday but the celebration started Saturday around noon and went late into the night peaking at midnight which we all know is the 'official' kick-off birthday hour. Around midnight I found myself atop the shoulders of a 24 year old at the local live music spot -drinking shots of tequila of course. It was one of those nights where the mood of the crowd was just 'on'.  
The band was awesome, despite their failed first attempt at my birthday 'shout-out'. I say failed because they called out my name as I was in the ladies room having a pee.  The ladies room is quite practically on the stage, so I opened the door to let them know, "hey, um I'm in the bathroom!".  Oops, try again!

Anyway,  I was  in Mexico, celebrating my 40th.  My birthday is just a few days before Christmas. Trust me when I say that leaving town for the holidays is one of the many many perks of being in your 40's.  Holiday blues?  I've got the cure. 
So this was my time to really let loose and  let the inhibitions fly because it's exhausting being in control all of the time - I can be kind of uptight. My friends would say I’m ‘fun’ but I have some control issues and it's not always easy for me to 'let go'. So me grinding on the dance floor with a 24  year old whilst  doing shots of tequila is NOT the norm for me. Also, it had been TWO YEARS since I'd so much as kissed a man. But here I was a blonde in Mexico - so there was trouble to get in to for sure!  But don’t worry, I did not 'do it' with a  24 year old. Please, I could be his mother!


    40th Birthday
    Forty Fabulous Things
    Turning 40


    May 2011
    March 2011
    February 2011