Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where Has All The Good Sleep Gone?

As I roll over in bed for the umpteenth time, I manage to bump into my reading
lamp, with a rattle that startles me from semi to fully awake. Hoping that I did not disturb either Greg or the dog (in her bed next to ours), I reach under my side of the bed and pull out the alarm clock to see that it is 3:00am. I vaguely recall dreaming about my sister-in-law in some crazy scenerio, most likely stemming from her Facebook status earlier that day. Once again I think about getting up in time for the 7:00am bootcamp class and thankfully go right back to sleep.

Now it is 4:30am and I listen to the sounds behind our bathroom door where Greg is getting ready for work. He usually gets up later than me except for weekly business trips to Raleigh, and I can typically sleep through his early routine or quickly go back to sleep. But this morning I am thinking about that early bootcamp so just lie there in a semi-conscious state but hearing sounds of the coffee grinder, doors opening, dog scratching,etc. I don't want to leave my warm comfy cocoon but the need to pee finally motivates movement. I think, maybe a quick nap later this afternoon....but no I remember a Mammogram appointment. Ugh!!

I really cannot recall the last time I had a sound night's sleep without assistance from a pill.....think it was probably 1993. My sleep problems probably began with divorce and peri-menopause in my 30's. But here I am happily remarried and on hormone replacement therapy, and still missing the wonderful deep sleep that I enjoyed (and took for granted)for so many years. Even during marital stress, caring for 3 kids and 2 businesses, I could always sleep. Those babies could have been crying for half an hour before I realized the sounds were coming from the monitor next to my head. Unless they were kicking me (hard!) I wouldn't know that a young'un had crawled in our bed during the night. No matter how many times my sleep was interrupted with sick children or late-night teens, I could easily fall back asleep. I even slept through Hugo!!

It does not seem fair that after hours of lost sleep during child-rearing years, I now can not sleep through the night in my empty nest! I do everything right ....totally dark room (hence the clock under the bed), no tv watching in bed, no disturbing reading material or tv shows before bedtime, no heavy food at night, etc. Although I can fall asleep easily enough, if I don't take a "Simply Sleep" (tylenol pm without the tylenol) I will be waking up constantly all night long.

I know that I am not alone....lack of sleep is so common in women as we age. The night sweats are the worst but thankfully HRT does cure that condition, which improves chances for slumber. Sleep deprivation is a real health risk factor for weight gain, hypertension, diabetes and can actually double the risk of heart disease. So I will continue to take the little blue pill each night as faithfully as my estrogen, calcium, D3 and fish oil....and keep dreaming of sweet, deep sleep!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What You See Is What You Get!

Have you ever heard of "Vision Boards"? They are simply a collage of pictures, words or sayings that you can put together to represent goals that you have in your life. They can be short-term - like pictures of a vacation you want to take this summer - that reminds you of what you have to look forward to during those endless work weeks. Or they can be long-term, with images of what you hope for in the future. For help with weight-loss, photos of a slimmer self or the MOB dress you want to wear at an upcoming wedding can be a daily reminder of why you shouldn't skip aerobics class when you just want to curl up in your snuggie and watch Oprah! Vision Boards can help you keep your goals in sight and make them reality!
The Vision Board that I started shows some both short and long term goals. There are some projects around our house that I'd love to see completed in the next few years like our media room and landscaping. This will take some sacrifice in our current spending habits, so hopefully a daily visual will help curb unnecessary purchases as we keep the big goals in sight. I also like to visualize what our life will be like at retirement age, when we will have more free time for the things we enjoy... like bike riding, tennis and travel. This active lifestyle will require that Greg and I stay fit and healthy along the we remind ourselves that the bowls of oatmeal are really paying off! By the way, the woman sitting on the piano
is 86 yrs old! And it may take me that long to regain my long-lost piano playing skills!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's Complicated?

If you are in the mood for a great "chick-flick", especially if you are over 40, and even more so if you have been divorced - "It's Complicated" is a very entertaining romantic comedy. My husband actually liked it take your man!
It was refreshing to see an older woman (Meryl Streep is 60ish)depicted as happy,
attractive, accomplished and with some sex appeal. Even though her character Jane had her share of insecurities about aging, she seemed comfortable in her own skin and had created a full and happy life for herself since divorcing. There were several funny scenes in the movie that women can relate to (like how our bodies look much better when we're lying down!)and hopefully can feel better about when we realize that it's a normal part of getting older that happens to the best of us. And, I must add, there is nothing better than being fortunate enough to "age"!!
Movies are an escape with often unrealistic, "perfect" scenerios. Although most of us will never live in a beautiful estate overlooking the Pacific, have an affair with our ex-husband (how many even want to talk to their ex?!), be a gourmet chef or
have problem-free kids, we can all learn from and be inspired by Jane. It was obvious that she took steps and action to make her life more fulfilling. She went to a counselor to deal with her personal issues, she had a network of girlfriends to talk to and share with, she used her cooking talent to open a business and enjoyed
hobbies(that vegetable garden was pure fantasy - not one weed!). Jane exercised and watched what she ate (which would really be a challenge with that bakery!). She had close relationships with her children. She laughed alot.
We may not live on the grand scale of a Hollywood movie, but the basic elements of doing the work necessary in order to live our best life are the same, no matter what the circumstances. Midlife can be a time of reinventing ourselves by using the wisdom, confidence and experience that comes naturally with age. Actually, it doesn't need to be THAT complicated!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Life after Near Death

The drive home last night after closing up Trim Up at 8:00 was like any other -
not much traffic on 485 heading out towards Mint Hill and Cooper Lawrence on the radio. Normally I call my husband when I leave and chat with him on most of the
drive but I had talked with him earlier so I was not on my cell phone.
But all of a sudden I saw headlights coming towards me in my lane (I was going about 75 mph in the left lane)! I barely had time to glance over to my right to see
if I could get over to the right lane, which luckily only had one car further behind mine. And then the speeding car flew by me, continuing in the left lane without even slowing down. (I found out later that it was a drunk driver, over twice the limit, who was arrested and fortunately did not hit anyone)
With the speeds that we were both traveling, and in my little VW bug, I know that I would have never survived that head-on collision that I narrowly escaped. It seems so surreal that it even happened, as I happily tend to live a day to day predictable routine without too much out of the ordinary. But this incident has really made me reflect on what I would leave behind....what will people remember about me the most? Now that I feel "spared" and can continue living, I am wondering what I can do to give my life more meaning and have a lasting influence on those close to me.
When I re-opened Trim Up two years ago, I felt very fortunate to be able to work at a business that was so enjoyable to me. And although it has not been easy during these economic times, I know now, more than ever, that this is the avenue for me to use my experience, talents and passion to live a more purposeful life. In these past few years, I have seen how much women my age struggle with so many issues, including health and fitness. There is such a need for a support system for women to help them keep up their own wellness - both physical and mental - with all of the life changes we experience as we age.
As far as healthcare and aging, there seems to be alot more awareness, programs and support towards senior citizens but women in their 40's,50's & 60's who are still working and/or caring for elderly parents or children are really struggling with stress, busy schedules, menopause, fatigue, relationships and health issues. My mission is to provide a supportive, inspiring atmosphere where women can be encouraged to take care of themselves and improve the quality of their lives.