Friday, April 12, 2013

Things I want to share...

Hello, everyone!  Anyone?  I'm grateful if anyone is looking in on me anymore.  It has been a long dry desert season for me in the blog-posting department.  Let's just say it has been "the winter of my discontent".
Lately, I have been seeking inspiration to feed my soul.  I feel like I'm in a time of transition, and yet it isn't really clear to what I am transitioning.  Two of my children are away at college, and my third is in high school, and is deceptively self-sufficient.  So, the overly busy part of my life seems to have passed, and a couple of decades of "just getting by" really shows in my overall household management, as well as my personal health maintenance. 
I read once, that how well your personal organization really works will become evident when it is really tested.  Inefficiencies can be accomodated when you have more time than you realize, but can really trip you up when your life is a blur, (like when the babies come).  If you are disorganized when you are single and have relatively few responsibilities, things will really fall apart as you add responsibilities and commitments, unless you hone some skills along the way.  If you think you have systems that work, and you don't evaluate them objectively, and re-tool as needed, you may find that in the busy times, you'll abandon ineffective practices, and have to live with the consequences.  I have had years of being a slow learner. 
Don't get me wrong, a lot of what I have done to run my house and raise my family has worked, some things very well.  Other things, not so much.  And to be fair, most failures have not been due to lack of effort, keeping in mind that efforts that don't bring you to your goal, are in fact, ineffectual.  Clarity of thinking can help to assess futile efforts for insights for improvement.  I am reminded of Edison, who in trying to find the perfect material for the filament in a lightbulb, characterized the 2,000 or so materials that didn't work, not as failures, but as valuable insight into what does work.  Have you ever heard of "a series of successive approximations"?  This term is used to describe how an infant develops motor skills.  First efforts at reaching for a desired object that she sees are gross movements of the arm, flinging out the hand.  Soon she is batting at the object, and eventually she will begin to open her hand and try to grasp.  But with each attempt, the movement of her arm itself is more precise, with more directed and less wasted motion. 
If you are still reading at this point, it won't surprise you to know that I have been told that I am an analytic thinker.  But I didn't develop the theory of a series of successive approximations; it's just that when I learned of it, it gave body to an intuitive concept, and was a useful generalization for other goal-oriented processes.  It begs the question:  If it's so obvious that each attempt toward a goal should incorporate an improvement, then why do many of us find ourselves in a rut, making the same inadequate effort with the same unsatisfying result?  I contend that for the more complicated goals in life, it is because we must move from instinctual actions to intentional actions.  Broadly speaking, this has been called "Moving out of Your Comfort Zone".
So, the challenge before me is to identify the changes I'd like to see in my life, (set some goals), identify the actions I think will set me in the right direction, and then choose a time interval for evaluating the action and the result, and resolve to refine my efforts.  Whew, so much for spontaneity.
Besides being an analytic thinker, I am also a dreamer, a romantic, a wanderer, and so much of the time, I might be found contemplating my navel.  Okay, not really, but perhaps, watching too much TCM, while surfing the Internet.
Speaking of surfing the Internet, I started this post to share some links I have found interesting, so with that I will close.
I found this blog A New England Life,  when I was looking for information about a specific beach in Massachusetts (triggered by some particularly interesting genealogy research).  Not only do I appreciate this lady's photography, but I felt like I had found a treasure trove when I linked to other New England blogs on her blog roll.  It inspired in me a desire to work on my photography skills, as well as nagging to get more of my thrifting junk finds listed on etsy.
As a hedge against getting too matronly in my interests, I often become enchanted by the blogs of younger ladies.  Maine is the "oldest" state in the nation (meaning the average age of its residents is older than anywhere, yes, even Florida), and sometimes I feel like I could get lulled into an "old lady" lifestyle (oh wait, I think I have).  And I don't want to become staid and stuffy.
Not that I'm going to start wearing "skinny jeans" (not that I even have the figure for them, but even if I did, I'm just sayin') and high heels.  Or dying my hair anything other than to cover the gray at the temples, nor will I ever, ever, ever have any form of body art. (I'm just talking about me, people; if you have a tattoo, or piercings, that's entirely your own affair, and I'm not judging.)
I love coming across the blogs of young ladies who have a zest for life, and an appreciation for art an beauty.  I have been enjoying Marianne in Australia for quite some time, and you may have noticed her link on my blogroll (esme and the laneway).  More recently, I have discovered sweet Ami in the UK(aka The Little Tailoress) who blows me away with her sewing/tailoring skills, not to mention a lively serenity (seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it, but visit her, you'll see what I mean).
I always have an interest in hair, fashion and makeup.  Sometimes I worry that I might be too superficial, but then when I see a woman who is well-presented, who has taken care to groom and dress herself in a pleasant and stylish way, and whose demeanor is confident, vital and respectful to her audience, I can't help but think that a polished woman elevates her surrounding.  She can bring civility, and even graciousness to the atmosphere.  Isn't that what so may of us are drawn to?  Consider our attraction to Downton Abbey, anything Jane Austen, even Mad Men.  For myself, I would add any MGM musical.
In the last couple of days I have been enchanted by the videos on youtube of Judy of itsjudytime tv.  She does the most pleasant makeup and hair tutorials, I have watched many of them.  The pity is that I can use so little of her advice.  She is half my age, and has Asian skin and hair and eyes.  I think she said in one of the videos, that she is Filipino.  I am very fair-skinned with light hair and eyes.  Besides my very different coloring, which requires a completely different approach to keep me from looking overdone, my skin is older,  and putting on makeup is a fussier process, to avoid accentuating lines and wrinkles, etc..  As much as I hate the term age-appropriate, I 'm afraid it applies here.  But nonetheless, I find her very fun to watch.
That's all for today.  If we ever get any sunshine, I will be trying to get some Spring photos.  If it doesn't, I guess I'll just have to improvise! 


Lorrie said...

Well, I'm fascinated. I've been going through some of these processes myself, lately. Your phrase "feeding your soul" caught my attention because it's exactly the same phrase that I used with both my daughters this week. Finding inspiration and balance - we (or at least, I) seem to struggle with it throughout life.

My eldest daughter, who has a 10 month old baby after years of infertility, said something recently that made me think. She said (loosely), that all through the teenage years, university, early adulthood, she was always looking forward to being "grown up" and really living life. One day it occurred to her that THIS MOMENT was her life. Today. Now. There was no distant moment in the future when everything would come together. She had to live life today, in the here and now. To make of it what she could, now.

That's a wonderful realization for a 31 year old. I'm glad she was able to articulate it. It reminded me that I need to live life, too. I think that with the empty nest and reaching my mid-50s I have been sort of coasting. And I don't want to do that.

Anyway, I loved this post and will probably be back to read it again. And yes, be interested in fashion and looking good - it's part of who you are.

Caroline said...

I loved your post too, and Lorrie's response, as well. You both have reminded me of why it's good to have friends of all ages. My "fifty-ish" and old friends have helped me so much as I've entered my fifties and have re-discovered weekends..sans swim meets, soccer matches and volleyball tournaments. I also love your phrase, "feeding your soul." It was wonderful sharing all of those experiences with my kids, but I'm enjoying figuring out how to define myself for the next part of my life.

Oh! and I call deep thinkers like you, "Engilsh majors," ha, ha.

Carolyn said...

I think all the stages of life have something good to offer but sometimes it may take awhile to settle in.
Thank you for your kind words and visit today.
I am going to check out your links now.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I SO related to this post. From organizing to trying not to slide to quickly into rest home mentality.

That is really the beauty of blogging. Finding like minded souls~ kindred spirits.

I have no doubt you will find your own beautiful way.

Have a lovely day!

Can do mom said...

Wendy, you have a way of tapping into what I'm thinking. I'm pushing 50 myself and my children are just a bit younger than your boys, but not by much. I'm a homeschool mom and soon I'll be out of a job. That's a good thing, right?

Anyway... Keep on blogging. I haven't been on here much but just know that when I DO have the time to look at blogs, yours is one of the few I look at.

Blessings to you!

Ophelia said...

Hi Wendy,
I'm here, sporadically, and I see so much of the "you" that I know and love in these musings. I too am in a transitional time; with my mom's passing, and the sale of her house, (in a month!)my childhood is officially over. Also, four years prematurely, I am facing an empty nest in the fall as Sophia heads off to St. Paul's School. Ok, she will be only 4 miles down the road, but in every sense, she is growing up and leaving me, this child who stuck by my side so quietly and hungrily. I am stunned by the speed at which this toddler with wisdom grew into a responsible young adult.
My ineffeciencies also have blossomed, soon to be masked by shorter "to do" lists.
Cheers, dear friend.