Don’t Call it Being Alone…..Call it Flying Solo

jet propel

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog I read about singles who dine out. Brave souls; although I like living alone, I haven’t taken it to that level….. yet.  There was a photo featured of singles in a restaurant, all sitting at single tables so I thought was staged for the article. I commented that I could only do that with a TV table and big screen.  The author wrote back that the photo was a real restaurant in Amsterdam especially for singles. It got me wondering about the menu. Usually one would pick a restaurant based on food . But I digress. This is about the growing popularity of living alone.

Table for One, Dammit.

A few days after that, The Doc Zone did a show called Flying Solo; an hour long documentary on how living alone has become a growing trend all around the world.  (I assume that means all around the rich, westernized world)  Internet has changed the way we communicate; we can stay at home but not feel alone.  Be a hermit but not be isolated.  The internet can connect us to anybody, anywhere, anytime. We are becoming more individual and yet more connected at the same time.

http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/flying-solo

All over the blog world women are declaring, “Yes, I live alone and it’s awesome!”  I say women because it used to be a shame for women to admit they are alone, now it’s a badge of courage. Men were allowed to be bachelors as if it was a happier choice.  But statistics show that this is just not so; its women who are happier being alone.

alone drinking

For hundreds of years women were taught to nurture others at the expense of their own freedom and happiness. The self-sacrificing mother was deified (and she always wore an apron).  It used to be considered selfish to look after yourself. Now we are learning that denying our own needs is destructive and does not enhance the lives of the people we love. It leaves them feel guilty for looking after themselves or not looking after us in return. Now it’s OK to nurture ourselves. Don’t look for someone to ‘do it back’, do it for yourself.  And we are doing it big time.

happiness

A decade or so ago I, like many others, had too many people around me making demands on my time and I didn’t even have children! Most women have a crowd of people demanding their time and attention.  I used to say, “I wish everyone would just leave me alone!”  Well, be careful what you ask for.  My marriage broke up. I moved away from my job and volunteer work.  My mother passed away and my pets died of old age.  Without any kind of planning, I found myself living alone.  And it’s not so bad!  I don’t have any choice but to do whatever I want. Well, money is a big constraint, but in respect to looking after or pleasing others……. there just isn’t anyone to please or look after except myself.  I believe this is my new life lesson; to just look after myself and not look for some other person or animal to nurture. I am pet free for the first time. I’ve lived through three dogs and countless cats. But I’m not doing it again: I’m just looking after my Self.

One thing all authors talked about and agreed on is the even when you say you like living alone you are only putting on a brave face. Many people have wondered out loud why I don’t at least get a pet… it must be so lonely.  They assume living alone means being lonely.alone birthday

Case in point; I went to Google images to find some interested photos for this blog. I put in ‘alone’ and it came up with pages of blue-grey, hauntingly lonely photos. Then tried “alone and happy” and saw a lot of photos of women jumping for joy.alonehappy4alone happy3

Just this last week I’ve seen ‘6 reasons being alone is good for you’ and then ‘7 reasons being alone is good for you’ on the Huffington post; a great place for inspiring to-do lists. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/26/divorce-benefits_n_4145361.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

http://www.yourtango.com/2013193816/national-singles-week-7-little-known-benefits-being-single

The Blogs posted above give some great reasons for living alone so I won’t bother plagiarizing them. I’ll just add my own more personal and crass reasons what I like about living alone.

  1. Waking up naturally in peace and quiet. I wake up before dawn so there’s no need for an alarm. Just need to press the button on the coffee maker (set up the night before) and the bathroom is unoccupied. I do not like people talking or making me talk early in the morning.
  2. Spending quality time in the bathroom with no hurrying. I don’t just mean ‘going’, although that is much better when no one is waiting or measuring how much time it’s taking. I mean bathing, putting on make-up or face masks or plucking or….. whatever!
  3. Lounging in ugly clothes.  I have some very soft slightly large lounge pants that I can pull over my belly; this look ages you 50 years. Its best in the winter with big slippers and ugly vests added as finishing pieces. Good time to watch What Not to Wear.
  4. TV; whatever and whenever I want. Never in the morning.  No sports announcers drone in the background of my weekend.
  5. Loud music and dancing with wild abandon. Although lots of fun and great for depression; this can be trouble for an elder. Elders tend to rock earlier in the day as they age.  You may not notice someone is at your door until they are pounding on it. By the time you turn down the music and rush to the door (enter #3) you’re looking pretty crazy.  Especially if you only have one eyebrow on. (note to self; never get distracted while putting on your eyebrows)
  6. Eating a sandwich for dinner and not have anyone say “is that all?” And the chips are always still there where you left them.

I may add more to this list over time and certainly anyone is welcome to add your own thoughts or reasons.

I am not recommending living alone for everyone! I would love to have someone wonderful who thought I was equally as wonderful. But it would have to be pretty damn good before anyone’s butting into this. Until then I will just love myself.

Sorry books; I love TCM

Bogart_image

I used to read much more than I do now; before TV became so pervasive. There didn’t used to be a lot of choices of what to watch.  Living in a rural area we had 5 channels …. and only 2  had good reception. We would fiddle with the rabbit ears, adding coat hangers, taping copper wires to curtain rods.  Daytime TV was soap operas or game shows.  So sitting down with a book to lose yourself in another world or time was good relaxation. I read a lot but I also always loved old movies.

It started back in my early teens when babysitting was a career.  I lived in a high rise apartment building with not many teens but lots of young couples with kids. With some slick marketing in the laundry room I always had work. The old classics movies were on late, after the news at 11:30.  If the clients weren’t home by then I would be struggling to stay awake. I didn’t like to be caught sleeping, bad for business, so I would watch the late movies.  Cary Grant, Veronica Lake, Humphrey Bogart, Carol Lombard, the comedies, the romance and the styles; all great stuff at 12, 13,14 years old. I can remember making my parents laugh doing impressions of Marlene Dietrich. I would tell them about the movies and they would recall their teenage days going to the movies. They would shake their heads and chuckle that I could like that old stuff.

Those were more innocent times.Image

Married couples in movies couldn’t sleep together; they had two single beds with a night table between. If they were going to get into bed together, it got blurry and faded quickly. You knew what they were going to do; they didn’t have to do it in your face like they do now. The scene of Burt Lancaster kissing on the beach with Debra Kerr was hot stuff for many…. scandalous to others.
Burt

Last night there was a movie on titled “Two Girls and a Sailor”. 2 girls +sailorIt was a musical.  What would we assume if we heard that title today? That it would be on MXS after midnight.

 

I would always watch Saturday Night at the Movies on TVO with Elwe Yost.  I found someone who loved movies as much as I did.  He taught me the importance of directors and editing. I became a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock.  It’s sad when he’s only remembered for Psycho, and the Birds. Before those were he made some spectacular movies, true Classics,  North by North West, Rear Window and Rope; must see movies!

I used like many of the movies Humphrey Bogart was in but I wasn’t drawn to him then the way I am now. I didn’t think he was so great when I was young because he wasn’t good looking. But now I will watch any movie he is in. When he is on screen you can’t keep your eyes off him.  He plays such a great bad guy, so good at playing flawed characters you have sympathy for. One of my favourite scenes is in the Maltese Falcon. He grabs Peter Lorre by the shirt, slaps him back and forth across his face while saying ,”… you’ll take it and you’ll like it!”. And he’s the good guy!
http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/238446/Maltese-Falcon-The-Movie-Clip-Take-It-and-Like-It-.html

Three movies with Bogey, directed by John Huston, I can still watch over and over; The Maltese Falcon,  Treasure of the Sierra Madre ( we don’ need no stinkin’ badges….), and Beat the Devil…… so damn good! It took me years of seeing them few times to realize they all end in laughter. Great stories, great characters all obsessed by greed only to find it was all an illusion.

There is so much in a movie. All those people come together; writers, directors, actors, stage crew.  Sound, lighting, acting and editing; all come together to bring us a jewel in time. A story we can see and hear.  You can watch a truly great movie again and again.  They are a window into the times; the fashion, the lingo, the music…  a snapshot of society at that time.

And now I have Turner Classic Movies and a PVR. I am never without great classics to watch. I’ll paraphrase Robert Osborne and say, “Some choose to sit with a book on a rainy afternoon but I’ll sit with an old movie”

I Was Questioned By The Police

I’m going to re-blog today. Part of aging well involves breaking stereotypes. This blog breaks a few; well written and funny….. I loved it!

Mad Man Knitting

I’m sitting at Starbucks, which I rarely do. Its hard to knit there. I lot of people still find it weird for a man to be knitting in public. But, for us fellas that knit, its nothing short of ordinary. There are MANY people that see us, see what we’re doing and find themselves asking us lots of questions. And they have no problem stopping to ask questions while you’re in the middle of counting.

I’ve been asked on numerous occasion in email if I ever go out to knit with groups or have knitting friends. Sadly, I don’t. I’m too busy counting. I can’t lift my head from the stitches to hear what’s being said. I’m so focused. I’m there with the rows, both knit side and purl sides facing with the work, and the rest of the world falls away into….well, nothing.

So, I’m at said Starbucks working…

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Bring Back the Apron

Vintage_Apron_Patterns_0Aprons should be making a big comeback. Certainly cooking is.  People are becoming “Foodies” posting photos of their meals on Facebook.  Men are on TV cooking and wearing aprons.  Entertaining and dining is still popular. So why aren’t more people wearing aprons? Why would someone be embarrassed to be caught in one? (Although I have seen a lot of ugly aprons.)

I really think there is still a stigma about domesticity. In the dark past all women had aprons.  It was just something you put on everyday while doing the chores to keep your dress clean. (yes, they did housework in dresses!)  I love to see the aprons in old movies; they were fabulous! Easily as pretty as the dresses underneath. You didn’t have to be ashamed to seen in your apron. Back then women were be proud of being a good housewife without the scorn of other women.

eat +like

But we don’t look back with scorn on the women who wore aprons. We remember them as a warm, loving place to be. We long to be taken into their arms and assured everything is going to be alright and we are loved. Then given a cookie.  The very picture of unconditional love.

EllynAnn Giesel promotes aprons in a big way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JO_VoiGwL7E       An apron is an image, it’s iconic.

That’s not to say only women should aprons.  Men have moved out of the old stereotypes and aren’t ashamed to cook. Men can marry each other now so somebody’s got to cook. With the right fabric it doesn’t have to look feminine.  An apron should be unique and express the cook’s personality. That’s how to start a meal being positive; you put on that apron you love.

Let’s bring back aprons. They can be beautiful and fun. You’ll want to keep wearing it as you serve your delicious creations. And you might be just making some good memories.

 

Getting Old: The Side Effect of Aging

found something funny on aging so this is my blog for today;

You Monsters Are People.

While some people grow older with grace and maintain their beauty, others age like a curse has been put upon them. But, eventually, we will all start to resemble rotting jack o’ lanterns in both appearance and smell. Your pants start to slowly creep up your body and you become increasingly concerned about the state of your lawn. I may, technically, still be a young man but I can sense the passage of time starting to chip away at the best parts of me. I used to go on dates with gorgeous women but it’s probably just a matter of time before I’m sending them creepy anonymous emails instead, like so many of my friends’ dads.

Getting older often means allowing novelty to be slowly superseded by nostalgia. You start talking about “the good old days” which was a time when music was better and people had their priorities in…

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Work is not a virtue.

Retro_Vintage_Ads_-_Altered_Bitch_style_(473)My generation certainly has a better work ethic than what I see today. But sometimes it’s a little too good. Many of us judge ourselves and others by how much work we do. The more we work, they better we are. Or I should say the ‘gooder’ we are. We are OK as long as we are working…. we have something to show for our time. Being lazy is bad. It’s a guilty pleasure we don’t have to tell anyone about.

We see articles about very ‘successful’ people only to find their personal lives lacking, estranged from their own kids, suffering from depression and anxiety. But they are still held up in high esteem for how hard they worked.

Stay-at-home moms, who work as hard or harder than anyone, still hear that they don’t work.  I worked with my husband keeping bees, making beeswax products and working Farmer’s Markets.  I worked all the time, non-stop.  Working at home sounds great until you do it. When you are at home making things you make a mess, then clean it up. Then cook and clean it up. There is always something new to do for your business and you are constantly messing up your home so you just work and work. Saturday is market day so the week works up to a frenzy by Friday night.  Sunday you madly try and clean up the mess in case someone drops in.  And they do drop in Sundays and say “it must be great to not have to work and just stay home all day”. And think, how could my place not be spotlessly clean if I’m home all day?

Yep, I worked. I worked so much I forgot how to have fun. We didn’t have children so there were no fun weekends or little moments of joy. Just work. Eventually I realized I wasn’t ever having fun and certainly wasn’t happy.  I was living with a workaholic who believed that life was miserable and he was going to prove it every day.  When menopause hit I could no longer work 10 hour days, I became a “parasite” in his eyes. I’m not just saying that for effect, that is what he called me.

At first, when I didn’t have this work I was lost. That was my identity; my job, my husband, my home….. all gone now. Even my mother passed away that same year. Now I had only myself to answer to. I, literally, have no choice but to do whatever I want. In our society women are taught to please others and it’s selfish to please yourself.  But it’s my life lesson that I have no other choice than to please myself!  Five years later, I’m still kicking other people’s voices out of my head.

Changing your habits is not easy.  It took me two years to stop ‘rushing’. I would find myself hurrying to get something done so I could get on with the next thing. I’d have to stop myself and say, “Why am I hurrying? I have no time restraints, it’s just an unhealthy habit.”

Don’t get me wrong.  Work is a good thing….. but it’s not a virtue!  Work is a means to an end; to get to a place where you can relax and feel satisfied that you have earned it. If I don’t do some work during the day, I do not feel good.  But I’ve learned it’s OK to take a break or an afternoon off without feeling guilty about it.

I love to relax now. It’s a luxury I was never afforded before so I relish it.  (As long as I have something to show for my day,… damn!)

Exchange these things for Happiness

Making Happiness

When we were young and looking for a partner, we hoped to find someone to make us happy but it usually ends in disappointment. That person is waiting for you to make them happy.  The line “you complete me” sent a young heart swooning but as an older person it’s a giant red flag. Someone who needs to be completed is not a whole person. They are depending on someone else to fulfill their lives. No one can do that for another, you can only do it for yourself.

I spent most of my life trying to make someone happy who will never be happy.  I had to move away to get some happiness in my life. It’s not that easy when you are in a deep slump; you have to work at it. Stream of consciousness, like water, can flow downhill easily but sometimes we have to have the mental strength to push our stream of consciousness up. And it’s like pushing water uphill.

I remember seeing an interview with Yoko Ono who said she realized one day she hadn’t laughed in two years. She had forgotten how, so she looked in the mirror and said , “ha, ha,ha”. It was a first step. She had to start pushing her thoughts back to laughter.

After my marriage broke up, I was depressed for a long time. I got used to being in a dark place, like it was my lot in life.  I was trying to think ‘better’ thoughts but mentally and physically I just beat them back. Then I tried Zumba. I had always loved dancing but hadn’t danced in years and years.  Afterwards, I thought, “I feel good!”.  It was a revelation. I realized I hadn’t felt good for a very long time…… this is what it felt like!  I’ve been doing Zumba for 3 years now and it’s still the best thing for depression.

The link to this article is very good advice and succinct on how to work at being happy.

This is Canadian Thanksgiving, so give thanks for all you have!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tamara-star/exchange-these-for-happiness_b_4073396.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

Thankful

Image

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday.  I put it above Christmas which is getting out of hand. After this weekend we will be deluged with Christmas commercials so much we will be sick of it by mid-December.  But they haven’t been able to cash in on Thanksgiving as much other than for food.  No religion required.

This year there is no heart warming family gathering but I’m still feeling grateful for all I have.  I’m so grateful to even have a family. I couldn’t have children but my sister did. So I have nieces, nephews , grandnieces and grandnephews. This year they all have other dinners to go to but I’m not disappointed. Being a vegetarian, there is always way too much fuss about what I’m going to eat and then carving a turkey in front of me is disturbing to all. No, I’m happy they are going for their turkey.  I’m grateful they are in my life.

My sister and I will go to our aunt’s retirement home on Sunday. I’m thankful my sister is doing this and I can just go with her. I’m thankful that we are her only heirs and she is 91.  That may sound cold but, hey, I’m still grateful for that.

I’m thankful I still have my health and can enjoy this incredible weather while the leaves are changing.  I live near a beach on Lake Huron and can walk on it any day. I can do Zumba, which is the best prescription for depression.

I could go on about all the things I’m grateful for that would get boring.  Just look at what is good about your life and be grateful.

 

 

Daily Prompt; Bloggers, Unplugged

ImageEverything is a habit. The way we wake up, eat, dress, get through the day and spend our evening is all habit. We carve the groove of our life deeper and deeper with these habits everyday until we end up in rut we can’t climb out of. 

 How much time we spend on the computer or phone is a fairly new habit for us elders so it varies greatly.  We were already grown up when home computers became popular. Before that only a scientist or a mathematician would own a computer. Some of us relished the idea…. easy communication;  I could be a hermit and yet have the whole world at my finger tips.  Creativity; Paint, fonts, colours all so easy.

It didn’t take long before everyone wanted and needed a computer. (except for the curmudgeons that still refuse to have one)  So we made a slot in our day for time on the computer.

Some got jobs using computers.  They spend all day on it so that’s the last thing they want to do when they get home. Unless they can do Facebook at work, they’re not on it.

For me it’s my morning routine; I set my coffee maker up at night so I can just press the button in my morning daze. Then I turn on my computer.  E-mails, weather, horoscopes, news, Facebook, habit, habit, habit. Now I have added ‘blog’ to that list. 

It takes two coffees to do my computer stuff; by this time the sun is up and the day is beginning. Time to “get off this thing” and get on with my day.

Right now the rising sun is shining on the tops of trees that are changing to their fall colours and that just revs me up to get OUT THERE.  I turn it off ‘at the floor’ and it’s off for the rest of the day. Only if I’m expecting an e-mail or entering a contest on Ellen do I even think of booting it up again during the day.  And night….. that’s for watching the other big box I can recline in front of.