Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas


May 15, 2014

In the Tree House: How to Survive Life (by Middle Age)

I’m really not sure what is considered middle-aged any longer. Is it 35, 40, 45? Everyone is so much healthier these days, eating better, and just out-living one another that reaching the century mark isn’t that unheard of any more.

But whether you live to 45 or 95, hopefully there are a few things that you realize you MUST know how to do, or at least attempt to do before your time on earth has expired.

I started this list for many reasons: 1) My husband’s career keeps him away from the house a lot at times, so as a woman and a mother, I can’t wait around for him to get home to fix things or do things; 2) This Mother’s Day was an incredible day, as usual there was never a dull moment in our household. It started out with me having to rescue one of our dogs out from under our storage house in our backyard (see, a mother’s duty even abounds to her furry babies too) and the day ended with an impromptu road trip, just me and the boys three hours away to go see our daddy/husband.

My parents raised me to be a strong, independent woman (sometimes I may be a little too independent, or stubborn as my husband likes to remind me) but nonetheless, I am never afraid that I can’t handle anything on my own. I may not physically be able to do it after trying, but I won’t shy away from trying, that’s for sure.

So where I am in my life right now, I feel there are certain things people (not just women) should be able to do or have done, by the time they reach middle age:

1.    Get a passport;

2.    Take a trip by yourself. You need the experience of organizing the trip, packing, getting on the plane, and exploring a new place all on your own;

3.    Be comfortable sitting alone with yourself. I don’t mean for a few minutes in the car while you wait to pick your kids up at school, I mean really be alone with yourself and your thoughts. It can get scary but we should all know ourselves;

4.    Know how to plunge a toilet;

5.    Know how to change a tire;

6.    Know how to balance your checkbook;

7.    Be aware of the fact that the new person in town is way more intimidated to meet you than you are them, extend your hand for a friendly hello and handshake;

8.    Know how to “sharp shoot” a hole in your yard and plant a tree;

9.    Know how to change a diaper (whether or not you have kids of your own);

10.  Live alone at least once in your life (either in college, after college, or just some point in your life). Don’t go from your parents’ house, to college with a roommate, to marriage without having lived totally and completely alone at some point.

11.     Know how to paint a room;

12. Know how to use super glue without getting it all over your fingers and sticking them together (impossible…);

13.     Knowing that a controlling person isn’t a strong person, they are an insecure person;

14.     Understand that you need to stop, really stop every day, look around and clear your thoughts. Stop thinking about the dishwasher, the toys on the floor, the PTO meeting tomorrow night; just stop and take time for mind;

15.  Find a mantra, and stick to it. Mine came later in life … it took me getting my heart broken and my world turned upside down, but by golly I found it … and it is “No matter how bad the situation, or the outcome of a situation, if the pain from that situation takes my smile away, then it won, and I lost. I will never ever lose my ability to smile.” Find your own mantra …

16.  Drink more water and more herbal tea;

17. Know your body, listen to it, and answer when it calls for you;

18.     Unplug. To me this seems odd to write, because growing up, things were so much simpler and slower; but today we have to learn to “unplug;” just like in religion, we all need a day of rest;

19.  Get a massage, try to make it a regular thing, but if not, just get one;

20.     And this is something my family and I live by … get OUTSIDE! We can’t stand to be inside, we are outside the majority of our days, aside from school and work. Our weekends are very rarely spent indoors, and if we are indoors we are probably going crazy.

Life is hard, life is complex; we have more issues than not, but if you break it down and really step back and realize that life is a pretty incredible gift, you just have to know how to make all the tools work then you will realize that life is a pretty cool ride.

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