Aging With Dignity by Strella Pedro a.k.a. My Mom

I would like to introduce all of you to my mom, Strella Pedro. She is my biggest fan and my resident expert on the art of aging. She asked me if she could share something on my blog and I was more than happy for her to do it. Now, it is important for everyone to know that she had to push through the pain of arthritis and fibromyalgia  just to type up her insight on this topic of aging. She did it via email to me on her smart phone. It took several tries and I was excited to receive it and now share it with you. I think it is also important to elaborate a fact that she mentions in her writing, that several months ago she had a bad fall and broke her hip. While in rehab, she tripped and fell again and fractured the lower part of her back. Recovery has been long and arduous, but she has shown herself to be determined to live and not give up. In a few weeks, she will be 85 and I am so very proud of her sense of humor in this whole process of aging. I have included my favorite photo of her below and so without further adieu, here is what she wrote.

Hi my fellow aging women, my name is Strella. I am 84 years old, soon to be 85. Now, my boobs may be looking more at my toes, my saggy arms make me look like I have wings, and my thinning gray hair definitely makes me look old. I have accepted all of these external pieces of evidence that I am an older woman, but, what we notice on the outside does not define who we are on the inside.

Some of my best years of my life were in my 70’s because my husband was with me and we enjoyed the aging process together. We talked more, laughed more and enjoyed each other’s company more. It has been seven years since his passing and I miss him every day. Aging alone is not fun.

But I have taken solace in the company of my children and grandchildren. Since my accident that resulted in a broken hip,  I have been with my son and his family. His wife has been such a blessing to me, helping me do the physical things I no longer can do. I am never far from the assistance of my walker and though move slower, I am grateful to be able to move at all. I have had so much time for reflection and choose to live out my life having the faith in a loving God and the love of my family.

My message is simple, do not despair over how old you are or what you look like in the process. Age with dignity and grace. Enjoy what is around you and be thankful for every day you get to wake up. Put a smile on your face, even when you do not feel like smiling. Keep yourself busy with things you love doing. Right now, I love coloring in my adult coloring book, playing my word games with my daughter and having those afternoon chats with my son and his wife. All of these things keep my mind alert and my heart full of peace.

Age with dignity and enjoy all of the days the Lord is gifting you with. Thank you for letting me share. God Bless all of you!

The “M” Word

 

Well, I gotta tackle this subject sooner or later, and so why not now. Menopause….I refer to it as the “M” word, because it is one of those topics that stir mixed emotions in different women, and depending on what generation you come from, it may not be topic for conversation. I would never make light of the fact that it can and has wreaked havoc in many women and with it opens up the question of what options there are to help us get through this season of life. We can choose to let it run its course without any medical supplements, or we can say give me the drugs…..it sounds kind of like choosing natural childbirth as opposed to screaming “epidural”! While in childbirth I screamed “epidural”, and I did not even say please, I actually chose to go through menopause without any help from synthetic hormones.

It is funny to me how they categorize menopause into phases such as, pre-menopause, peri-menopause, and post-menopause. Recently, during the whole anxious ordeal of Hurricane Irma and the destructive path she was on, the news kept showing us these radar pictures of the storm. It just looked like distorted concentric circles of differing colors, and each color indicated its intensity. The yellows and orange colors brought ravaging high winds, and the greens brought varying amounts of rain, while the red was the eye and it seemed to be directing the storm’s path. I think you know where I’m going with this.

One newscaster battling it out while standing in the most intense part of the storm, kept saying “I can’t wait for the “eye” to come over us. I thought, but why? Should not the eye be even more intense? Apparently, no, not really….. the eye of the storm ushered in a sudden calm and a brighter atmosphere.

I “weathered” my personal storm at all levels of intensity. The pre-“m” stage brought with it intense cramping and unstable monthly “issues” that eventually led to the removal of one of my ovaries. This than led to an acceleration of that peri-“m” stage which basically meant I was now smack in the middle of the storm. I realize I am being very metaphorical here and maybe a bit vague. I just don’t want to get all clinical about this subject cause it is hard to laugh about it when you are too clinical.

My doctor, at the time, delivered a very grim picture of what this all meant as far as my life. I was in my early 50’s and sat across this doctor as he looked me in the eye and said, “you have now entered the last third of your life”. I responded, “say what”? “You mean, I have already gone through two thirds of it”? No way!!!! When I left that day, I was not sure if I needed to complete my bucket list or get a new doctor. I got a new doctor.

I chose to embrace whatever changes this storm might bring and anxiously awaited the “eye” to pass by me and bring some much needed calm and brightness to my life. Now, I relate the “eye” to the post “m” stage. I hope you can follow me in this analogy. When my body finally yielded to “the change”…..this is another code for menopause….I actually did feel more peaceful. I still have the occasional reminders that my body is not what it used to be in that first two thirds of life. For instance, feeling that surge of heat permeate your entire being at the most inopportune times while the atmosphere around you is cool as a cucumber…or wanting to lose that extra 10 pounds but it refuses to leave your body. But for the most part, after careful assessment of any “damage”, I think I have weathered the storm quite well.

In conclusion, I have one more metaphor regarding the “eye” of the storm and what it means to feel the calm. In the physical storm, the eye just passes by, and your reprieve is temporary. The back end of the storm still needs to pass through and can cause severe damage. In the spiritual sense, my “eye” was accepting Jesus, my Lord and Savior into my heart. He brought me peace beyond understanding and He has never just “passed through”. He is always in the midst of every storm in my life and gives me such assurance that I am not alone. Without him, I would surely take a beating from the battering winds and rain of life. But with Him, I know, I can make this the longest and best one third left of life. I hope your do too.

 

 

What Not to Wear

I was on a walk recently and noticed a woman getting out of her car at Costco. She was, by my observation, a woman older than I and very well dressed with flawlessly applied make-up. She was beautiful. She had on Khaki capri pants with a crisply ironed white blouse with a simple but elegant silver necklace adorning her neck. Now, I am going to sound like I actually stood there and stared at this woman, I did not, I apparently have a gift to make detailed observations on the fly. Seriously, we can be driving by a garage sale and my husband will ask if I want to stop and I will say no, there is nothing there that wanted. But, I digress….back to the woman. Besides looking beautiful, she held herself up well and glided into the Costco entrance like the regal creature I perceived her to be. I’m smiling to myself right now and saying,”really”? Ok, some of my descripiton is me taking advantage of the creative liberty I have when I write.:)

But here is my point, I will often dress according to where I may be going. That’s pretty normal right? I mean, I would not venture out in my pajamas or anything, I won’t even open my front door if I still have them on and someone knocks. There are clothes specifically designated for wearing outside your home, such as, church clothes, workout clothes, mall shopping clothes, going out to dinner clothes ( unless it is a drive-thru, then stay-at-home clothes would be acceptable, including pajamas from the waist down).Yes, I have done that, but not without swearing my husband to secrecy and threatening him bodily harm if anything were to happen on the way that would require police involvement. But, there are those free souls that have no problem getting their milk and eggs from the store still dressed in their pajamas. I want to be more like the woman I saw at Costco, not because I care about what people think when they see me, but because I care about how I see me.

Celebrities definitely can make fashion statements that make me wander if, what not to wear was a question, their answer would be, clothes. I love old Hollywood and the statements they made. They were elegant but mostly covered.:) Some recent photos of celebrity women show them wearing or more accurately, not wearing clothing with so much transparency and maybe three “critical” areas covered, why bother covering those areas, it is still nudity. Yes, nudity has become fashion. Ok, enough of my rant.

Bodies change with age. Everything seems to shift downward. What was once my chest is currently residing around my midriff. And just when I get bold enough to wear spaghetti strap tops, I develop wings on my upper arms. I went to try on a pair of jeans I had not worn in a long time and found out they had drastically shrunk, just from sitting folded up on the shelf. Not. My new favorite are leggings and a long top. Leggings have been getting a bad rap lately. Some airlines are even banning women from using them on the plane. True story. But whyyyyyy????? Leave the leggings alone, I promise to use them responsibly and to always make sure not to mix prints with wild graphic designs.

In conclusion, cause this topic can get convoluted, I believe as mature women that we are to set an example for the women aging up behind us. Whether we all dress in Khaki capris and crispy white blouses or cute leggings with comfy long tops does not matter. What matters is we clothe ourselves with love, grace and kindness, hold up our beautiful heads, and learn to regally glide into the Costcos of the world.