Life Is Fiction

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I love reading stories about women who do an about change in their life because their circumstances are making them unhappy. Two well-known examples that come to mind are “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love”, but I have discovered there are many more out there to discover. I can hear the groans now! You’re probably thinking this woman’s age is affecting her brain. Yes, these stories are fiction, but often real life is stranger than fiction. And I honestly believe that writers use real life situations in their novels because the readers can relate to the characters easily.

Just yesterday, I finished the book, ” Under Italian Skies” by Nicky Pelligrino.

20190724_095220 It was recommended by a friend who knows I love Italy and France as much as she does. The book itself was entertaining, but more important was the fact that it was written about middle-aged women and their lives and dreams. Fiction, yes, but those women could have been any one of my real friends. All of the characters had come to a point in their lives where they thought they had to accept their situations. They were all beautiful women with so much more life to enjoy. All they needed was a gentle push.

 

We often fall into ruts throughout life. Our days become routine and mundane. If you are raising a family, this is especially true, and having been a single parent who raised two children alone, I know how easily we can lose ourselves in their lives. Dreams fade into the background of every day requirements so far that we often forget they even ever existed. When I was younger, my own mom often reminded me that I had no time of my own, but even back then, I knew my turn would eventually come.

My children grew up and left home, and I found myself with a great deal of time for me. Luckily, I had an amazing circle of friends, all in similar circumstances. As time went on, more women joined our group. We were drawn together by our common interests, but we have also expanded our lives by trying new things together. There is something very reassuring about the support from others.

I can’t say it enough. Live your dreams as much as possible; you will never regret it. Just today, I came across a post by Humans of New York in Facebook about a woman who is doing just that. I enjoyed the piece so much, I am including it in this post. It reads as follows:

“I spent thirty-six years as an editor at the New York Times. There were so many rounds of layoffs, and so many buyout opportunities– but I kept turning them down. I was terrified of retirement. I never wanted to ‘retire.’ The word sounded terrible to me. It meant going to Florida and dying. It meant sitting in a chair and watching daytime TV. It meant not working anymore. Not thinking anymore. Nothing but play and relaxation. And that wasn’t enough for me. That’s not living. You always need to have a goal. Grandchildren are great, but they’re not enough. You need something to wake up your brain. A reason to focus. A reason to get out of bed and use everything that you’ve ever learned. I’ll never see myself as retired. Right now I’m trying to become a fiction writer. I love it because my brain is always working. Some days I think about my work so much, that when I finally sit down to write, it just comes pouring out my fingers. I’d love to finish a book one day. Something that people enjoy. And I’d love to have it published. Maybe a hardcover from Random House. That gets optioned for a movie. And wins an Oscar. Oh it’s exciting, isn’t it? I could go on and on.”

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So, the next time that you read a lovely fictional story, and you find yourself wishing that was your life, think again. You are the author of your own book. Write it the way you want it to be.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Remember?

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Getting old is real, but nature has found a way to soften the blow….. as we age, our capacity to remember things decreases. Oh, it starts off gradually. We forget where we leave our keys or misplace an item. In a conversation, we sometimes lose our train of thought, but after a bit it returns. Then retrieving someone’s name takes more effort, and so it goes. Several weeks ago, I forgot where I parked my car at the mall. Nothing too terrible, just inconvenient.

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As time goes on, things take a little longer to recall. For example, at lunch, I was watching the television and eating some crackers and humus. There was a knock on the door, but before I answered, I went to look out the window to see who was there. On my way to the door, I set down the plate I was holding. After a lengthy conversation with the church people on my porch, I closed the door and proceeded back to the living-room. But where was my plate? I wandered to the kitchen, through the dining room, back to the front door, and then again to the living room. No plate! I looked at the dog. She didn’t appear to know either. It had to be here! The lid from the humus that I was eating lay alone on the kitchen counter. I even peered into the fridge. Nothing! Feeling frustrated, I sat down in front of the tv. As I retraced my steps in my mind, my eyes scanned the room. Suddenly, there it was! Sitting on the mantle above the fireplace was my uneaten snack. Well, there went 20 minutes of my life I can’t get back.

I have come to accept these little annoyances because after all, they are a fact of aging. All one can do is laugh.

The most recent memory incident happened to my friend only yesterday. It was so funny that I am still giggling. It seems that she went to the department store to buy a new bra. While there, she decided to try on the matching panties. After much decision making in the dressing room, she decided not to purchase the bra. It happened to be Wednesday, our regular pub dinner night. She arrived at the pub directly from her shopping trip. As she joined the group at our table, her eyes widened in shock. “Oh my god! I’m going to be arrested!” she blurted out. “I walked out of the store still wearing the panties I was trying on. I returned the bra, but forgot the pants.” And with that, she hoisted her dress right there at the table to reveal the price tag still securely attached to the second pair of underwear she was wearing. The entire table of girls broke into loud laughter. She was horrified! “I can’t even return them because they will know that I took them.” After a moments thought, I suggested, “Go back and buy the bra. I think you were meant to have it.” We laughed and laughed.

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Life is way too short to worry about stolen underwear!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Single and Happy

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The name of my blog includes the word “single” for a reason. At this point in my life, I have no desire to remarry or be a part of a committed couple. I have lived alone for twenty plus years, and I am quite content with my situation. Even before that, when my children were still living at home, I was very much single. After my husband passed away, they had made it perfectly clear that they did not want a new dad, period. And so, I grew to accept my singleness gradually.

As my kids got older and needed me less, I did date occasionally. Friends often tried introducing me to available men, but I never found that special someone who I wanted to share my life with again. I was set in my ways and did not want to adjust to a new partner’s habits. As I got older, the men I met seemed needy. They were looking for someone to care for them as they aged. 77b4f23c73b1a4f0f8ef9dda08bbed5d

 

 

 

 

I would often look at the relationships around me and hear the partners’ complaints about each other.  “He’s never home; I will have to check with my husband; He never leaves the couch on weekends; He’s out with the guys drinking; I’m always stuck with the kids; and on and on. I was not in a hurry to join their ranks. I did not have to check in with anyone, or ask if I could buy something, or ask about someone else’s schedule.

ba2e18a1d5a8bd1d14d29d209a36c257  My life is uncomplicated. I come and go when and where I wish. Believe it or not, being single is very liberating. People used to look at me with a certain sadness in their eye. I was asked so many times why I had not remarried in all those years. Wasn’t I lonely? How could I manage a job, home, and family on my own? If I had to be honest, I never wanted to marry in the first place. In the 60’s, it was just expected that you finished school, got a job, married, and had a family. So, rather than buck the norm, so to speak, I did what was expected.

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Now all this sounds like I do not like men. Nothing could be further from the truth. I enjoy their company immensely. I would love to be able to date casually, but from my own experience, men my age want commitment or a much younger lady. To be honest, the men my age that I meet seem OLD! Perhaps that’s the problem! I need to focus on a younger age group. Hhmmm!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

 

You’re Never Too Old



It feels like forever since I last posted here. It’s amazing how busy life gets when you are retired. I must admit, I really worried about being bored when I no longer had a job to go to.  I felt my life would somehow have less meaning. It has become abundantly obvious to me that all of those concerns are in my control. I know that sounds like a very simplistic observation, but sometimes we can’t see things that are staring us in the face.

I recently finished reading Debbie Travis’s book, Design Your Next Chapter. Deb TraI know I mentioned her in a previous blog. Her message is simple. No matter what your age, if you can dream it, you can do it, and no one can tell you otherwise. I’m sure many of you are already saying, “Oh, sure! Debbie Travis lives a very different life than I do. She is younger, well-known, well-off, etc., etc.” All of that is probably true. I know it is for myself as well, but somehow her message struck a chord in me.

I have always liked to keep myself busy, but I have not always followed my dreams because I was afraid of failing. So, in 2019, at the age of 71, I have decided to confront my self doubts and step outside of my comfort zone. If I fall flat on my face, I will be fine. What is the worst that can happen?

So, to start off the year I decided to enter the Toronto Star Short Story Contest. 20190323_100545

I have thought of doing this for years, but the fact that they receive over 2500 entries kept me from trying. My entry was mailed off in February well before the deadline. It is out of my hands now.

For years, I have worked on and off writing a romance manuscript. The idea of completing an entire book seemed impossible to me. I mean, I type with two fingers. Well, I finished! I was so proud of myself. Then, I took it one step further and I have submitted it to a publisher. Now we wait!

My third project this year is a little venture with my daughter. I have toyed with this idea for a while, and when she casually mentioned it, I saw my chance to give it a try. We are starting an online business together. Neither of us has any experience in web design, or shipping out products, or any other skills involved, but we are learning tons and doing a lot of laughing along the way. Yesterday, we went to the bank to set up our business account. The young guys in the bank were in stitches. They said that we “made their Friday”. Our launch goal is April 1, 2019. Yes, it is April Fool’s day!

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Oh, I forgot to mention, I am sewing many of our products. Wish us luck!

So, my time has been filled recently, and I am so excited to see where all this goes. I hope this inspires or gives you the push to try something new. Live your life to the fullest in your own unique way.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Seniors in the Limelight

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David hit the proverbial “nail on the head”. Oh, you don’t need to remind me that there are plenty of negative aspects to getting older; I have addressed many of them already in my previous posts. I have often heard younger age groups espouse the sentiment that your youth is the best time of your life, or getting married is the best time, or having children are the best years of your life. The fact is, as I see it, all these are true because at the time you have no idea what the future will bring. However, once you reach your senior years, you can look back and make the comparison with clearer insight.

Speaking for myself, I know I lived most of those early years trying to be the best wife, and mom, and person I could be. Admirable qualities for sure, but if I am to be honest, I often did and said things that I thought were expected of me, not always how I really felt. I’m not much of a gambler, but I would bet most of you went through the motions, just like I did. I think Helen Mirren echoed my thoughts when she said,

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As we move further into the twenty-first century, I think people look at seniors differently. We are not a group to be ignored  as though we have used up our usefulness. With better health care and lifestyle, many individuals are living well into their eighties and beyond. Many are fortunate enough to have livable pensions which obviously improves our lifestyle. However, I now know for certain that money cannot buy us happiness and contentment in our “golden years”. It is truly the people around us, both friends and family, who enhance our lifestyle and sense of well-being.

Just recently, I read a wonderful book by Frances Mayes called “Women in Sunshine”.

20180512_124242.jpg The story is about three women heading into their senior years. They meet when each decides to have a look at a retirement home. The unlikely friendship that evolves with these three very different strangers is amazing. Although they are moving into their retirement years, they are nowhere near ready to stop living their life to it’s fullest and enjoying new adventures. I really hated for the book to end and wished I didn’t have to return it to the library. It was so easy to imagine myself and my friends doing the same thing.

In past years, the “Golden Girls” were a comedy hit on tv. Four senior women living under the same roof and all with very diverse personalities. I know at the time the subject matter raised some eyebrows, but today it would seem completely normal. Some of the comments they made shocked the audience, but in all honesty, they were saying what many seniors at the time were thinking, but afraid to say.

Well, all that has changed. More and more seniors are living the life they want.

Who has not enjoyed the antics of “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix?

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Check out the trailer…. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3609352/videoplayer/vi4150769177?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1

These characters are my fantasy idols; however, I do not plan to live vicariously through them. I fully intend to live my own dreams as much as my circumstances will allow me.  My remaining years will not be spent doing arts and crafts or playing Bingo in a retirement home. I want to try new things and see new places. I do not plan to sit back and watch others live their life while mine ticks away a day at a time. Remember the saying, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings”.

So try something fun or something you enjoy. Or join my friends and I for the weekend. Tomorrow we are getting together at 5 am to eat scones, drink tea, and watch the Royal Wedding; at 6pm we will be off to karaoke and dancing at our favorite pub. Sunday we have plans to see “The Book Club” at the movies.

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What are you doing this weekend?

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo