Note: This article was scheduled for today’s publication months ago, well before the world turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike ever before, it’s nearly impossible not to feel the weight of stress and worry bearing down. If you’re like me, there was always “enough” worry to contend with before the pandemic erupted. How much harder it is today to breathe deeply and stay calm while stuck indoors, digesting the daily news and facing the unknowns of coronavirus fallout. This personal story includes wise words from a friend and from a seasoned therapist, but if needed don’t hesitate to call the CDC stress-anxiety hotline for help.
IMAGE CRED: @KatieAbey
On social media I recently posted the meme, “Didn’t get much sleep last night but I did get a few solid hours of anxiety in,” followed by a trail of laugh-cry emojis. Many responded, piling on with a lot of LOLs and high-fives, much as I’d encouraged.
But truthfully, I wasn’t laughing on the inside. Worry wasn’t just waking me at night. Its presence was coloring my mood and clouding my judgment about what to say and how to say it. My worry was more than my problem — it was seeping into my family life and poisoning the air. It started innocently enough when my first child was born and intensified as my second appeared.
Read in full on AARP The Girlfriend.
Head south from Destin-Fort Walton Airport towards the gulf this holiday season, and the beach views will call your name. Choose to slow down and enjoy two-lane East County Highway 30A.
Local residents call this beloved stretch on Florida’s Panhandle, 30A. It’s understood that 30A runs roughly from the old town of Grayton Beach (est. 1890), through Seaside, Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach, ending at Inlet Beach. Along the way, 30A offers restful periodic glimpses of the ocean, dozens of luxury resorts, beachfront condominiums, gated communities, clusters of inviting retail and restaurants and many magical towns.
Although holiday lights are festively twinkling about town, the ocean breeze has turned brisk, and the days are shorter than you’d like, you’ll find plentiful Christmas cheer as you mosey along Florida’s 30A.
To read in full, go to GettingOnTravel.com
“In my 40s I noticed my skin gradually changing to reveal light splotchy shadows around the sides of my face and over my upper lip. Summer’s unforgiving sunlight seemed to intensify their appearance. My dermatologist diagnosed me with a mild case of melasma, a skin condition that commonly appears when hormones are in flux, and prescribed Retin-A.
Now in the throes of perimenopause at 50, my melasma continues to be on my mind. In my youth I battled zits to achieve a great complexion. Today, my focus is on addressing discoloration in order to maintain healthy, clear skin.”
Read in full on AARP Disrupt Aging.
Exactly how often SHOULD you reach out to your college kid?
“I know my college-age daughter will reach out in advance to schedule coffee with me the next time she’s back. She has been consistently great about prompting time together, and yet — I’ll just as certainly spit out my coffee while reading her text scrambling to confirm, moved again by her thoughtfulness.
Her faithful pitch-perfect outreach reminds me of the tension I’ve felt ever since she left for college. The tension spans the spectrum, after all, to be too aggressive or too restrained when reaching out as parents.”
Read in full on AARP’s, The Girlfriend.
I first encountered threading while living in the Middle East for a few months. Middle Eastern women vastly prefer the art of threading, an ancient method of hair removal, over waxing. Why? By using two pieces of 100 percent cotton thread to whisk away hair, threading is natural. Yaaass, bring on the applause! No chemicals. No strong cocktail of potentially irritable ingredients. Nope, just a spool of thread. Gliding quickly over the skin’s surface, the intertwined strands of thread instantly remove hairs from the root of the follicle, so regrowth is slow, meaning threading lasts longer. Fewer appointments = more $ and time for other things — like sipping latte with your girlfriend, girlfriends.
Hmm. Not bad.
And? My brows were gorgeous, shaped to perfection. Threading allows for greater precision than waxing because the threading tech can create the perfect brow-shape for your face by swiping away one hair here or a short row there.
Read in full on AARP, The Girlfriend.
On the heels of hearing a string of bad news about friends of friends losing loved ones or reeling with a sudden cancer diagnosis, I sent a flurry of love-ya-friend texts to my band of merry girlfriends around the country ranging in age from 40 to 70-something. Moving numerous times throughout 27 years of marriage has helped me understand the value of true friendship and learn to fiercely protect and nurture these friends. My girlfriends have faithfully supported me over time, first hanging out in the same town and eventually separated by hundreds of miles. My text reads something like this:
“Hey, dear friend. Just blasting into your world to remind you how deeply I value our friendship! I’ve always appreciated and relied on your counsel and words offering direction, encouragement over the years. Thank you for being in my life.”
Read in full at AARP, The Girlfriend.
Parked in front of the school a few years ago to watch for kids blasting out of the building, I jumped out of my Jeep Wrangler to chat with my girlfriend Carmen, who also was waiting for her 8th grader. I was cautiously dressed to combat the crisp fall weather. Why take any chances? Shivering with cold is no fun.
So I’d dutifully donned my signature fuchsia scarf and swaddled it securely around my neck. My puffer coat reached to the top of my knees. Really. Sensible. And my furry beanie? It’s warm and cute — nailed it: a win-win.
I gave Carmen a quick hug, and she asked what was up with all my winter gear. It was then I realized Carmen wasn’t wearing much — I mean, a fleece vest?
“I’m the classic cold-girl-type,” I automatically chirped. Maybe, maybe not, Carmen challenged without missing a beat, as only the best of friends will do.
Read in full at AARP, The Girlfriend.
While out of town visiting friends, we went around the dinner table and shared our goals and hopes for the rest of the year. Foolishly, I took the exercise to heart. There was an awkward pause after I blurted, “I’d like to make a friend — just one friend!”
The others’ comments didn’t disclose anything, so mine really stuck out. How I wish I’d come up with something bland like, “Finally moving forward on our kitchen remodeling project. Yay for us!” Since I couldn’t retract my statement, my honest words just hung there eliciting lots of sympathetic aahs amid pats on the back. Blech. I’d been honest, and it was awkward, but even more, I realized just how much this desire for a friend was bugging me since I couldn’t stop my words from rolling out.
Read in full on AARP, The Girlfriend.
Lessons Learned From Teens Assist With Aging Parents
Juggling the demands and learning curve of blossoming adolescents is tough, but just what if this process prepared parents for handling their aging parents? Understanding where similarities lie between teens and aging parents puts a new twist on the popular theme of feeling ‘sandwiched’ between these two lovable but stretching generations.
Houston family therapist Colleen O’Grady, author of “Dial Down the Drama” says there are similarities between teens and aging parents and that “skills you learn from raising teenagers are helpful.”
Read in full on Houston Family Magazine.
Publishing in 2016 via Mill Park Publishing under the guidance of Elaine Ambrose. I’m grateful to be included in this anthology project alongside such talent!