Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Lecture of The Cheetahs.


Well here I am on a bit of a sturm and drang. The ennui  of  being childless and goal- less  at almost 50  has fallen upon me.
A crises of being has knocked upon my door and caught me unawares, what's new you may say?  Well the encroaching 50th birthday still a year away but visiting me  every night as I snuggle down before the rapture of sleep, like the  'lecture  of cheetah.' I typed this on the ipad and wrote the  the spectre of Banquo but this is how it changed the phrase, it's my new leitmotif !  All of my life,  I have felt  like a single girl or a gay man  much more than a woman of my age - a gay man in the olden  days that is, now my eyes run flinty and narrow as  I envy them driving their people carriers to the local private school  jam packed with their adorable offspring.


Hubs and I have realised that we never grew up. We never knew responsibility and  both of us are feeling somewhat consumed by what if's? How did we get here? Where are we going?  
We don't know but our beaks are digging sand holes in our navels.
This is not just about children or lack there of but a deeper immaturity that a certain percentage of our generation have.

See you next week, I promise not to flush my self down the toilet.

*Just wanted to add:
First of all, I'm absolutely fine. I was fine too on Thursday when I wrote this,  I'm not depressed or anxious but I am introspective by nature. What has  really interested me and touched me  are your responses. Each of you interpreted this post  so differently and reflected it through the prisms of your own lives and situations. I learned as much about you as you did about me. 

113 comments:

  1. I certainly know what you're talking about - been there myself.

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  2. It's a hard realization. 50 wasn't that bad for me, as I was preoccupied with getting remarried, etc, but 60 has been very tough. A lot of things that I thought I would do, like go to medical school, just aren't going to happen. The idea that most of my life has been lived has haunted me horribly this year, and yes, it hits just as my heads comes into contact with the pillow at night, and jolts me right back up in horror. Moving into the end chapters. But, I do have a daughter, who's now pregnant and that has cheered me up. I know I've harped on this, but dogs add so much to my life, and to David's as well. They're so comforting, but grounding in a way I can't describe. I really wish you and hubs would think about a pair, or even one?
    I have talked to a number of people like this, the ones I considered who really grew up, and they have many of their own regrets, like they grew up to fast, were pushed into careers they never wanted, didn't have enough time for fun, etc. I think it's a universal theme. xoxo

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    1. Kathy, I would love a pooch but it would be on its own too much, it wouldn't be fair, I chased a Dachsund down the street today - is owner thinks I'm crazy.

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  3. I have a secret for you, some of us feel this way even though we did have children.

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    1. Sue - Oh I'm sure that's the case but at least you have gotten it together enough to feed and clothe others!

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  4. Hoping for a return to a sense of peace for you soon!

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  5. This is a really prevalent problem - especially in my group of friends...

    I am nearing 40 and by default so are a majority of my friends - +/- ten years - I have lived in quite a few different cities so have friends all over the place and I swear out of all my pals - 5 of my friends have kids and have a conventional lifestyle.

    It's hard either way Tabitha - grass is greener - so cliche but so true. I have one friend with three kids - idyllic suburban life and says if she could do it again - she would be single or have a stable of partners/lovers and the uber successful 50 something with her own company is saying she just wants to have a vegetable patch and go to pta meetings.

    such is life.

    but the immaturity aspect - i went to a spa/clinic place in the summer to lose weight and everyone thought i was there to prepare for IVF bc i am married with no children and on the other side of 35 - and i was like - no way, i wanna lose weight i dont want to gain a belly! and everyone else was freaked out that i genuinely said i am still undecided about children. they all thought i was being ironic. no need to lie in cyberspace - but i am genuinely undecided and no biological clock is gonna force me to choose.

    i am smart enough to know the stats but i guess my immaturity is telling me that kids would only get in the way of my friends party in November.

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    1. I think the immaturity is my main focus, we have just blundered through the last ten years without a thought for the future and we both act like teenagers, we've just realised how much we need to grow up, our parent's lives were so different, it is indeed a reflection of our times.

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    2. Tabs I was going to say that this could be a reaction to comparing your life with your parents, but they lived in much different times and had to go through the war and other very serious grown-up things that changed their outlook and also the way they seemed to younger generations. I haven't put that very well but I do think that those born after 1950 have had a different kind of life.

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    3. Oh absolutely, our lives have been so very very different and selfish in comparison.

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  6. If I reach 50 with even half of your style and grace, I shall consider all life's goals sufficiently achieved. Everything else will be gravy.

    Ditto Kathy. Three words: doggie day care.

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  7. Tabs - you know, I still feel like I am 14. I mean, I seriously feel like I am 14. As you know, I have had my own midlife crisis, timed, sterotypically enough, to coincide with the big 5-0.

    I like the whole Lecture of the Cheetahs thing. I am convinced that every single person has a moment (or two or three if they are really self-absorbed comme-moi) where they wonder "what if?" Children, or the lack thereof, is a BIG what if, the biggest I guess. For me it was work and the death of my dad and "what if I hadn't married at 22?" Since you and I are close in age, I always feel like I am looking at the more glamorous version of myself if I hadn't gone all motherhood and safe job. I am sure it doesn't feel like that to you!

    "They say" (who the hell are they?) that doing something for others helps with ennui. I am not sure. One thing I do know that helps: warm weather and alcohol. But like I say, I am self-absorbed my times!

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    1. Warm weather and alcohol you say, when do we leave?

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  8. Regret is really a powerful mind bender, I saw it for the first time when my son moved on to Uni, all I could think was that I wanted another chance to do it all again. It breaks my heart that it's over, I'm going to be one of those women who feels terribly sad looking at an empty nest.
    Do you regret the choices you made or just that the time has passed? Or both? For me it's the time that has passed, I wouldn't change anything but I'd like to live it again!
    I hope you feel better soon and yes, no self-flushing. xo

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    1. Dani - it is definitely about the passing of time, I have never given it a moment's though before. But now a door seems to have slammed in my face.

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    2. Me too. I wouldn't change most things, but I would certainly like the chance to live lots of it all over again.

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  9. "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

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  10. In writing this an epiphany has hit - it's death, it was never there before.
    The gift of blogging.

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  11. Oh dear, I don't know what to say other than that I empathize. Being childless distorts one's sense of time, and being involuntarily so (as in my case) adds regret to the temporal confusion. Most days I am still seventeen!

    I'm doubly confused lately as I seem to have stalled in my career after peaking early . . . one of the worst parts about being nearly 50 is that I am no longer the girl wonder!

    I'll join you in trying to keep my hand off the lever.

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    1. Hexicon, hear you about not having the child milestones AND what the second pro act is after Clever Girl.

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    2. Hex icon, you have just nailed it with distorted sense of time. Thank you.

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    3. I think after clever girl is brilliant woman. I keep telling myself that every day. Plus clever girls care. Brilliant women don't give a hoot (or insert own expletive, I am genteel and worried for those nice than I!) what people think!

      On other hand, I really like it now when workmen whistle....

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  12. HANDLE OFF THE LOO! Tabs, no kids and terrified at the fact I have put down roots out of necessity. No words for your frame of mind today either. But this always gives me a wee bit of comfort when the megrims strike:
    "Age is something impressive, it sums up every life: maturity reached slowly and against obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man's age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings

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  13. Get Fresh - and we can all live together in an old boot in the future, that's still an option, right?

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    1. Absolutely, my trunk is already packed. You'll have to school me on gardening tho' - all I can really do is weed.

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    2. Tabitha, I have a close friend who is single and childless at age 55. She has always been focused & goal oriented since we were 15 years old together. She is planning to work 10 more years, then is going to retire back to New Mexico, where she will live in her little house till age 80. At that time she will move into the retirement community, where several of her friends are also planning to live. She has already checked it out, and reported to me that she can get a two-bedroom "casita", and that the facility offers a daily " happy hour". So she has already organized a community of friends, with cocktails, for her old age. I may not live there, as I am the more conventional married-with-children type, but she assures me that I am welcome any time to use her second bedroom.

      I am happy to report that we are planning a Spring Break trip to Rome, with my hubs and teenage girls, plus another couple, long term friends, and their daughter, AND my aforementioned friend. We've rented an apartment in central Rome, and anticipate much sightseeing, wine drinking, and eating of delicious Italian food. It is wonderful to have friends, I wish I had more. Should make that a resolution, Make More Friends!!!!!!

      ---Jill Ann

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    3. Jill Ann, Rome is fabulous, it knocks the socks off Paris in my mind, that is such an excitement to have around the corner, go to my favourite cafe, Cafe della Pace for their sinful hot chocolate.

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    4. Thanks for the tip! My brother also told me Rome was his favorite European city, more fun than London or Paris or anywhere else.

      I am finding that at my age (56), planning a big trip like this, especially with the attendant stresses of air travel, is getting rather daunting. Actually anything that requires me to get up & out early in the morning is daunting. I take this as a clear sign from The Universe that I need to make more of an effort to do these things, get outside my comfort zone, before my personal Universe gets so small that I can't do anything anymore. Use it or lose it, I think is the relevant cliche here.

      ---Jill Ann

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  14. I'm not at 50 yet, but I am middle-aged and have these thoughts, too . . . somehow death seems a lot more real and near than it did even 5 years ago. On the silly end, I mourn the loss of being "cute" (though truly, elegant or powerful is much better). One the serious end, someday few of us who are alive today will be remembered whether we have kids or not (I don't). Years ago someone recommended to me the book "Half Time: Moving From Success to Significance" in my non-profit work, and I plan to read it for ME now.

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    1. Christie - just coming back to this, thank you for your great comment.

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  15. "The Lecture of Cheetahs!" Sounds like it should be the title of a book.
    I wonder at the sorts of metaphysical you and your dear H must get into, next to a fire with a good half bottle of bourbon to go around. If only we all had answers.

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  16. Tabitha, I think this is something many of us go through, kids or not, goals or not. It's the realization the Life Is Short, and what are we going to do with the rest of it? How will we make it count? They're the questions of the ages. I don't know how many of us truly figure it out, but it's in the asking where we find meaning.

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  17. Tabitha, Hugs. That is what I can offer you from across the pond. {{Hugs.}}

    Feel better, and know that I am hoping you find your mojo again soon...

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  18. Hi T, reading this I hope you get through this period soon and wishing you the best. Big hugs and hope you find peace of mind.

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  19. I have lately, at the age of 61, had similar feelings. My children are grown, I have had no career, and i rattle about in an house overlarge for two people. I'm, at the moment, contributing nothing to anyone. But on the positive side, I am as fearless as I have ever been in my life. I have become a crack shot with a pistol in the last six months. I have hunted dinosaur bones and climbed cliffs hunting for paleo-Indian petroglyphs. And I bought a pair of cowboy boots. I've come to accept who I am and even love me a little. I am responsible and irresponsible by turns, and it's quite alright. Spend a little time with self examination (and bourbon) and decide what is is that you value. Then jump in the deep end of the pool. The water is fine. It is never too late.

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    1. Anon - thank you for the very wide smile you have just put on my face.

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  20. Tabitha-I'm going to be 50 in July and can't quite wrap my head around it. I've done a lot for others in the first 20 years and the last 20 years - my 20's were selfish/stupid & awful. I'm glad to be where I am, and I'm grateful for my circumstances. I did not always know I'd have children-I used to feel like my childhood was so warped that a "normal" life wasn't possible. I no longer have a definition of "normal". My goal is "happy".
    Cheers to warm weather and cocktails to slow us down and make us happy. I have not have an issue with a birthday since turning 25 - no longer allowed to be a kid -etc... - but this one is weighing on me. At least we're in it together :-)

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    1. Funny isn't it Julie, I've never had an issue with a birthday before either but I do have that sense of time running out which I have never ever had before.

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  21. Re: lecture of cheetahs - I nice typed Jabberwocky into the iPad to see what auto-correct would do with it. Nit a damn' thing, auto-correct loved it! and that should be once, not nice.

    you shouldn't let others' definitions of meaningful and significant and happy autocorrect your life.

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    1. Fred - that's a very poignant and apt last sentence.

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  22. Like I've said before, self reflection is a bitch. We tend to focus on the negative and forget to celebrate the positive. I am a bit worried about the 50s but thanks to some of the replies now I get to worry about 60s too. Damn it! My advice..do one good deed a day for a week. Consciously select the deed and person the night before. Make it simple. Send mom flowers. Make cookies for the harried mother who lives down the street. If that doesn't work plan a trip someplace grand. Much love.

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  23. What did I miss?
    I don't understand the 'lecture..' thing -- the ipad autocorrected something to that??? Wow. Weird.

    Existential crisis? Menopause did that to me...threw me right into the gutter for a bit. Time passed. Eventually, all went well and got back on track. Then we moved ... and here I am competing for jobs with the really young. ICK. Trust us when we say, it will get better. Just wait...or, as I'm having to re-learn, be patient (grumble grumble). Whereever you go, please take us with you. Your blogs are the most thought-provoking ones and I appreciate it...applause applause!

    One more thing....and I'm not making light of a serious situation, just please don't do a Michelle and cut bangs. You'll just be mad at yourself. Trust us on that, too :)
    xo, Jane

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    1. Oh yes the autocorrect and my bad typing gave birth to 'lecture of the cheetahs" which i am loving now.

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  24. Having a child has not made me feel grown up!

    I love having a child and being a mother and I know I would have been a bit sad turning 40 without him, but I don't think it gifts you with sudden Knowledge or Maturity or anything.

    I'm just the same old me with a baby.

    I love Blue Booby's idea about selfless acts of love. In the last few weeks I did stuff like washing for someone whose home was flooded and feeding someone's pet who was trapped away by a flood and these things made me feel fantastic. I think it's the key.

    I think that people dismissed and pitied me a bit before I had a child and some people find you more acceptable or something once you parent up. But I do not believe parenthood suddenly makes you happier or smarter or wiser- one of the most selfish, coldest women I know has kids.

    And you don't look a day over 30 x

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    1. I think it's probably a good thing I had kids, because people around here think I'm a bit strange as is. The kids normalize me a bit, although I'm amused and slightly alarmed to find that the girls are developing reputations for being off-normal as well. Just like their old mum!

      I am considered slightly odd in my conservative, traditional suburban neighborhood, because I didn't change my name when I married; we didn't have kids until relatively late in life, and after we'd been married for ten years; I am a pretty outspoken feminist, etc, etc. and I don't do too many wifey things. My 18 year old is getting some flak lately for being "too independent"! She is very smart, very pretty, and six feet tall, so she naturally scares all the boys to death. I keep telling her to be patient, because someday she will find a guy secure enough to appreciate her. Why do we have to follow the prescribed rules, even in this day & age?

      ---Jill Ann

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    2. FF: helping others is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

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  25. When I was six I was involved in an accident that nearly killed me and spent months in hospital surrounded by other seriously ill children, some of whom died. I remember feeling terrified, thinking that I just wanted to get out and have fun, before I died too. Then my mother was dreadfully injured in an explosion. She and my father died a few months apart when I was quite young. So from an early age I've always had an acute awareness that we're all on borrowed time. I also had enough grief, pressure and responsibility to last a lifetime so I always felt grown up. It's not all it's cracked up to be, so don't worry about it. I wouldn't say I'm not a worrier, but I always try to concentrate on the Good Stuff and do the things that make me happy. Myself and Mr Sulky behave like total idiots most of the time because it makes us laugh. And our darling little dog brings us untold happiness. I'm grateful for any happiness I have. I just love having things to laugh at. Just think, when you're 80 you'll be wishing you were the age you are now! Enjoy it, and don't let either worry or regrets steal it from you.

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    1. Sulky that's awful, but I love your philosophy now.

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    2. Sulky, you're great. Much respect!

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  26. This Banquo has bothered many a Scot.
    As the Bard says:

    SECOND MURDERER
         I am one, my liege,

    Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world

    Have so incensed that I am reckless what

    I do to spite the world.

    SECOND MURDERER
    My lord, I’ve been so kicked around by the world, and I’m so angry, that I don’t even care what I do.

    FIRST MURDERER
    And I another

    So weary with disasters, tugged with fortune,

    That I would set my life on any chance,

    To mend it or be rid on ’t.

    FIRST MURDERER
    I’m the same. I’m so sick of bad luck and trouble that I’d risk my life on any bet, as long as it would either fix my life or end it once and for all.

    MACBETH
    Both of you

    Know Banquo was your enemy.

    BOTH MURDERERS
    It’s true, my lord.

    MACBETH
    So is he mine

    .....off to re-read a great play, xo, Jane

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  27. Dear Tabitha

    No regrets! Seriously. Looking back there are so many things I'd change if I could, so many things I'd do differently. And opportunities not taken.

    But I'm much older, almost 66, and at this age you really know most of your life is behind you and you don't know how much longer you have. You can be depressed about this. Or you can see each day as a bonus, one to make the most of. It's important to look forward, now, for me, just to each day rather than to great things happening in future years. For me the future is tomorrow or the next few months. My heart's dream is to live long enough to see my lovely grand-daughters grow to be strong, happy, confident women. And yes I'm very lucky to have them I know.

    But I would still feel the same about No Regrets. Of course the regrets are there, locked in a back room and I do open the door sometimes and sit with them, but mostly not. It would make me and my family too sad. So I chose to celebrate the moment and the things I'm blessed to have.

    You're so talented and have such style and humour, so many gifts. Keep enjoying them and don't dwell on past sadnesses or loss or wished for things that didn't happen. Pamela xx

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  28. Here's the solution: volunteer at a daycare for toddlers for a couple of days. All the sqalling, screaming, crying and general chaos will make you instantly extremely happy with the lifechoices you've made!

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  29. Oh, hog wash. Are you two happy? Not causing harm to others? Then go forth and rock on. In fab shoes - don't forget those. . .
    Queen of the Clean Up Parade

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  30. My dear Tabitha. We have much more in common than you realize. Much more. Ps... I always envision your husband as a silver fox with handsome eyes. Am I right?

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  31. https://www.facebook.com/maxmara

    Ooooh, now there's a coat,,yes, the blue one caught my eye!
    Tabs, we're all on the same journey,,,heading in the same direction. We've all lived our lives as well as we knew how and made it this far. Pat yourself on the back for all the good you've done and carry on....
    vita continuat.

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  32. "The meaning of life is enjoying the passage of time"-- James Taylor (our ex-heroin addict troubador).

    That, and meaning something to others. You have a gift for the elderly, it seems. MLane blames his hair loss on our kids. There's lot of ways to do it. But you know that.

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  33. I don't think I focus on the what if's...
    I may feel different when I am 60, but that's a couple of years away.

    I think my plans to retire from my current job this June are fuelled by thoughts that I can pursue some other things if I am blessed with the time to do them...get fitter, spend more time with Mother and maybe get a less serious "fun" part time job.

    There is nothing wrong with feeling young...maturity and responsibility is highly over rated!
    These thoughts are probably fleeting and will go as fast as they came.

    I have a friend who never had children and she and her husband have busy and full lives travelling and volunteering in their community...she is always hosting some delicious dinner party and everyone wants and invite.

    50 is just a number Tabitha...

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  34. Hi Tabitha, I read this and started crying, as I have been feeling like flushing myself down the toilet as well. I can totally relate, and I have children, so it is not as if having children made the 'what if's' go away or it suddenly granted maturity. Rather, in my case, it seems to compound the feeling that I have let the decades slip away without really accomplishing anything worthwhile. And I still feel like a big kid next to other women my own age - I often feel like someone who is just masquerading as a mother and internally, I am flailing around with no idea what I am doing. I don't have any words of wisdom, but I can offer support and hugs. I hope you feel better soon!! {hugs}

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  35. Marianne Malone21 February 2013 03:21

    The irony; you say you are feeling - what? empty? - and yet your little blog fills me with delight.

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  36. Those dank soul-less winters make for a great deal of introspection. Live in a sunnier climate! But seriously, that you and Mr BP are on the same page is a wonderful thing, and should provide you both support and comfort in equal measure. The Five-O milestone passed me five years ago, and I've had a terrific five years. I'm not sure I like getting creakier, but I sure enjoy being wiser! I try and keep the creaks in check by being manic with exercise, but as far as the wisdom, keep it coming, I say!

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    1. C: Anything up to let nearby? You have a point about the darkness.

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  37. I feel stuck sometimes too. Hubs and I feel the external pressure to have kids, we're one of the only couples in our group who don't have kids but we have been married awhile. We would like to have kids but it hasn't happened yet. I struggle with the not-knowing - what if we don't have kids until later in life? What if we can never have kids? And if we can't, should we look into adopting? That weighs on me.

    Then I have to remember that Hubs and I aren't like anyone else and we've never wanted to be like anyone else. I get caught up in the "shoulds" of life, which is ridiculous. Our life together is wonderful. Most couples I know are stressed to the max, never travel together or with their families and they are up to their eyeballs in debt because of the "shoulds" they thought they should have.

    I agree with Sulky - Hubs and I laugh as much as we can and act like dorks almost every day.....we have the same sense of humour. I find us hilarious, even if no one else really gets it! And I don't frickin' care! :)

    I don't mean to bring up death here, but one of Hubs' friends just passed away. He was 80 and wasn't married, didn't have a big family but he had many friends and he was a former teacher and principal. He was involved in many things. I read through the online guestbook of condolences and people had so many nice things to say about Budd, many former students stated that he would always remind them "be the best you can be" and he would invest his time in students and encourage them, help them out, one guy mentioned Budd even offered to help pay for some university courses when he couldn't really afford it. Hubs said Budd always encouraged him to live life and be happy - to find things you enjoy doing, enjoy your friends and family and don't dwell on the shi**y stuff. He was right. I've been thinking about that a lot this week.

    I hope you find peace.

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  38. I think it is great that you and Mr. BP have kept a sense of youth (you say immaturity, I say youth..!). You are right, we are lucky to have been born in a relatively prosperous and peaceful time, and I think as long as we appreciate our good fortune, it's totally fine to enjoy our lives. You brighten the day for many of the people in your life -- especially your dear mother who is so lucky to have a daughter who clearly adores her -- and your very many readers, who you show with every post, how entertaining, interesting, and/or fun life really is -- and in doing so, you make their lives better. Not very many people can say that of themselves.

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    1. I still stand by my original comment, but after thinking about it a bit more (for a whole 5 minutes!), even though I do think you judge yourself too harshly, I also think you are very wise to be thinking about what (if anything) could make your life more fulfilling now, while you are young and healthy and able to make changes. To be proactive without being anxious -- that is where my psychiatrist and my self-help books seem to be telling us to aim...!

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  39. When I turned 50 I suddenly "got it"--as in enlightenment. My fam and friends like me much better. And I developed an uncontrollable urge to pick up every stray dog I saw. Hence, I am a worldly-wise person with lots of dogs. My husband lives in fear of pulling up to our house and seeing 9 dogs lining the fence. Sounds good to me.......xoxo, Allegra on the Oregon Coast

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    1. Allegra, that's so funny, I chase them along the street these days.

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  40. One of the most useful bits of advice I ever received is "Make good memories." It sounds so trite and simplistic, but really is quite profound. Time does pass, but by making good memories, it means that one leads an enjoyable, fulfilling life that can then be looked back on with pleasure. So, maybe something to think about, how can you, you and your husband, make more good memories over the next fifty years?

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  41. I didn't have this happen at fifty because I had a child at forty and was still very busy with parenting . I was the oldest parent at grads but always felt welcomed with the younger Moms. This past November I turned sixty and it was the first time I stopped and wanted it too slow down. Realize I'm on the other side now but yet I feel very young at heart.
    Don't you think Tabs it's the time of year . I know everybody talks about January but I think February is so long. My advice would be a puppy . Friends would babysit and they bring such new energy to the home. Those shoes though would need to be on a upper shelf!

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  42. Dear Tabs, Ms Faux Fuchsia told me to read your blog today. So glad I did. Please don't give up. You are not too old, and would make a wonderful mum. Both of you would make great parents. Writers are the best parents because they have the great gift of the imagination! (Bedtime stories are always fantastic.)

    For the past few weeks I've been helping a complete stranger with travel logistics for our upcoming garden tours to Europe, never expecting it would come back in any kind of karmic way. Then, last night, she emailed me a long email about her 2 adopted children from Korea and gave me lots of invaluable tips and contacts if I wanted to adopt too. She also said 50 wasn't too old (my partner is 50; I'm 44), and that some agencies didn't focus as much on age as the ability to care for a child.

    I have to admit I had a little cry when I saw the photos of her beautiful children...

    IVF and natural conception is also sometimes possible. Google Collette Dinnigan, who one of Australia's most-well known fashion designers. She tried for years and eventually resorted to a special diet, which worked. She's just had her 2nd baby at the age of 48.

    You will make the right decision for you. And don't worry about private schooling either. I went to one and fear the money was wasted, seeing that I'm now a poor author! xx

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  43. I guess we were meant to spend our days working from dawn to dusk just to survive...now we tend to get ourselves in trouble wondering whether we're doing things right or if we missed some very important direction in life. sigh. I think my boyfriend and I have been suffering from pre-life crisis for the last 8 years (yeesh haven't even gotten to the mid part yet, at 38!) Perhaps I read too many Russian novels as an impressionable teen...

    Having an adoring fat cat around helps immeasurably, I must say!

    Hugs. and enjoy yourself with your equally youthful manfriend, cause really that's what it's all about. And entertaining us with your clever nattering!

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  44. if it is any consolation having children does not necessarily mean you are responsible, know where you are going or even where you have been etc etc


    Don't worry its the winter ,

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  46. There is such wonderful advice above my comment. Ditto to Kathy's idea and Sulky's comment. Wondering what's ahead for us is always unnerving. Responsibility is over rated. And let's face it, life just plain sucks sometimes. Having a dog helps. They love you unconditionally and you would just have to coordinate its care so it wasn't alone too much (that's responsibility)! Catch the Dashsund next time :-)
    Jennifer

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  47. Hang in there Tabs...it's a wild time now, so many thoughts of what-ifs and why's. We're the same age, in the same boat, with the same wonders...all I can say is, it might be time for that doxie pup! It'll be like having a baby, with a thanksfully very short infant/toddler stage, but one that's filled with enourmous smile and love benefits.
    A 'cheetah' is someone you never want to play cards with, but a cheetah cub, now that's another story.
    Sending happy thoughts your way, and a few kisses from Ging...
    xo J~

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  48. Personally, I take my hat off to everybody who openly admits that children were never a priority, that they were insecure and undecided with That Choice. Seriously, there is a plethora of dimwits who would have been better off sans children- for the offspring´s sake.
    Children don´t require much- they demand your all! For a long period of your life you give up your own individuality and life and entirely merge with a very small person who is completely dependent upon your care, love and rearing. For the rest of your life your life will be changed, it will never, ever be the same. So if somebody would feel the smallest tingling of uncertainty, I´d say carry on enjoying your holidays, long quiet mornings, mid- day champagne cocktails and endless school activities. It is not a bad choice, you know!
    I have an 8- year old with multiple special needs and when I was 28 weeks pregnant I got a call to come to the hospital ASAP and a Dr. Prenatal told me that I will nonetheless give birth to a disabled child, the depth of his neurological damages could be determined only after birth. Did I want to go through with this? Did I have the strength to take care of a disabled child on my own? If I so chose, she said she would sign permission ( because the pregnancy was that far developed ) for abortion. But I had already chosen to take the path to family and there was no disability that was going to get in the way. I felt so strong that this kid chose me and I could not ever walk away from him. But it´s not been all roses.
    So when ever somebody sais that they just never felt certain... I salute them. You never know what life throws on your path with kids, but I do know that you just have to have certainty. Certainty makes your fearless, and that is needed at times.

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    1. ...writing on a laptop drives me mad. Apparently a portion of text got merrily wiped off. I had continued that the long mornings etc. would be exchanged to asswiping, staying up all nights for years and years and if that´s not enough to lift your spirits, you are blessed with endless array of school meetings.

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    2. Weird Rock Star - I really tip my hat to you, it can't be easy, my sister has a disabled child, and I don't know how she manages, I wouldn't have the patience and as he's getting older, there is also the aggression to deal with. Certainty indeed, I like that.

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  49. Don't you just love the Apple geeks who have no classical education......I had to laugh at the explanation of your blog title.

    I also wanted to say that sometimes an age can be loaded with ideas we've always carried about where we should be in life. I found turning 30 quite depressing - I didn't want to celebrate it. I know it would seem ridiculous now as it is quite young, but at the time I had always carried an idea in my head that I'd be leading a certain type of grown up life, images that did not match up with where my life was at the time. I felt that I hadn't achieved what I was supposed to have at that point.

    Others have written much about children, and I guess you need to make peace with whatever you end up deciding on that topic..... but keep busy and try not to overthink things. Too much navel gazing is no good for anyone. xx

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  50. I feel rather sad reading your post. Children aren't everything. There are good parts but also lots of bad parts. I think that regret is never constructive . We all make our decisions - take a different path and this has to be right for you. Just think of what you have done. All the places you have visited. I do have two children but I am at the stage where one is at university and the other is S3 and they have their own life and no longer really need me.

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  51. Philosoph mateer here...How did we get here? Where are we going? ...le domande che l'uomo si pone da sempre: perchè siamo qui, dove andiamo?...Nihil sub Sole novum...niente di nuovo sotto il Sole...è l'inquietudine esistenziale...è la vita!
    Ciao ciao
    <3

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  52. Tabitha, the title to the post is great, a good euphemism for all of us.

    I have been reading articles lately about "terror management theory." In short, when thoughts of death are distal, i.e. subconscious, we resort to thoughts about our ethics, purpose, and meaning (and religion for some), to help us deal with death. When they're proximal, we use a different set of defense mechanisms.

    It's natural to think about these things, I suppose, particularly as milestones approach. Children are biological markers in a way, so I can see how not having them would loom large as well. From my perspective, as someone who is in the prime set of years for making decisions about children, I see this freedom and so-called immaturity that you describe as one of the benefits to not having children.

    I hope that the Cheetah lectures you kindly at night and that you find a good groove soon. It's nice that you have a partner in this.

    Also, these comments make me want a pet.

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  54. Thanks everyone, it's been really interesting reading all of your comments, it's like watching a a kaleidoscope twist on the set image in my head, that's what other people do , they help by adjusting the focus on a rigid thought.

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  55. Sturm und drang? In one way, so exciting, it means one is thinking and living, and there is a new adventure around the corner.
    Sulky Kitten is right do not let worry and angst steal the joy of living from you, as we are all on borrowed time.

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  56. Well I'll be signing up to the Sulky sect, and follow the teachings of the furry one.
    Bet we'd all be much happier if we did!

    Hell Tabs, we all have these moments of self doubt, and regret the things we didn't do, more than the things we've done.

    Isn't that what men have a mid-life crisis for?





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  57. Having children never made us act like grown-ups! Eventually dealing with elderley parents and a few serious health issues did it. Your effervescent take on life is a joy to all your readers and I am sure to all who know you personally. Maybe it's time for a pet, or a re-evaluation of goals and directions. Sometimes, I find, it is necessary to make a deliberate effort to focus on the joy of life, but then it comes naturally again. All the best to you, and love from downunder. xxx

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  58. Well, I have a son and I didn't grow up. Quite honestly why would anyone want to grow up? Grown ups get old. I've always been more of a Wendy in search of my Peter Pan. I've never been a fan of reality - when I took on the policing issue in my town and stepped boldly into the political arena my husband asked "Have you any idea how much work your parents and I have put into sheltering you from the real world...and now after 40 years you barrel head first into it?"

    Magic happens when we refuse to accept real life.

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  59. Oh Tabitha I know exactly how you feel. I will be 47 this year, single and childless and life sometimes seems completely pointless. Like you I have never felt that I have truly grown up and live life in a very irresponsible, silly way. I wonder if being the children of older parents has contributed to this feeling? I grew up being cherished and cossetted, a hothouse flower to be protected from the cruel winds of fate at all costs, and have never really managed to get rid of the feeling that someone will always bail me out of a jam. But the older you get the more you realise you only have yourself to fall back on in the end and that is a cold and lonely realisation. I don't think our long Scottish winters help either - far too much time for navel gazing in the dark winter nights which only leads to focussing on the bad stuff, not the good stuff. February has seemed never ending.

    I agree with those who have mentioned getting a dog. I'm planning to, and I work full time. It can be done and sometimes you just need a furry friend to give you something else to focus on. Dachshunds are lovely but I am hoping to get a rescue greyhound. Thye have a reputation for being very calm and loving but also quite happy lazing about the house all day (a lot like me in fact!). Friends, neighbours and dog walkers abound if you look for them so doggie day care is a definite possibility.

    Faux Fuschia had a great post a few days ago about how people look differently at you when you are childless which really resonated with me and all the comments did too.

    I know it's a cliche but I do believe that 'what's for you won't go by you' and we are all living the lives we are meant to be living, hard though it seems at times. Maybe the next one will be better with the right karma!

    Hugs, Lesley (e-mail me sometime, would be great to chat!) xx

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    1. LA Rona - I feel exactly like you, your first paragraph says it all, I was the baby by 25 years and spoiled rotten. My chum has a greyhound they are so lazy which is good in my book!

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  60. If childbearing hadn't hit me upside the head and left me unconscious I'd be now (much older than you) childless. When I came to my senses I realized it was never going to happen to me again and it hasn't.

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  61. Strangely enough I loved turning 50. Finally I realised what my Kiwi friend Sue was telling me for years about age: "Jody there is not a damn thing you can do about it." I know totally what you mean though about career (though your blog is a total hit!!! its fabulous and I am always wowed by your photos and your topics and your writing - it's better coming here than to a magazine.)
    Career schameer, that's my achilles heel. I feel as though I am now totally unemployable and will never have another feature idea accepted in my life. At the moment I am working for a few local magazines though I've been told that local does not lead to nationals.
    Agree with SP though - never grow up. Deny reality, much more fun.

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  62. What an amazingly frank and brave post and look how it has touched a nerve, so different from the mindless comments that you read on most blogs!
    Don't all of us have moments where we feel pointless? Even as I write this I am trying to think of ANYTHING really meaningful that I do.
    My next big one is the 50 and I have kids, boys, they won't be around much by then, the eldest just sees me as 'embarrassing mum' and the minute they have girlfriends they will be with them every minute, so no more family Christmases etc. I'm already resigned to that.
    The most important thing is a strong relationship with your partner as it is only them who are (hopefully) there forever.
    It seems that you have that and it is the biggest blessing.
    The comments about dogs might seem a little glib if you haven't ever had a dog, but that love, it is something quite magical you have to experience it. Get two not just one, it is the only way that you can leave the house without feeling guilty! xx

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    1. I do feel a bit of a weirdo leaving it up, but it's who am I. Yes I can see that even with children, they would be up and going by now and I would still be going to be thinking, shouldn't there be more, how do I make time count?

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  63. Hi Tabitha, just wanted to see how you're doing...just wanted to note that it is mercury retrograde so no surprise you are slowing to assess things. Now I am not an astrologer nor do I read my stars every week but one thing I take note is this. Things slow down, break down, need repair, you bump into people you haven't seen in ages etc. so quite natural you are introspective. This mood will pass, hope you have a lovely weekend x

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    1. CS: I'm really fine, this is just the way my head works, I've always been introspective, it's a bit of a curse, bubbly/introspective. thanks for asking.

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  64. Just remember this: "The grass is greener where you water it." I read that somewhere a few weeks ago. How true it is, though. It's only natural to evalulate and speculate, but I'm sure you're right where you're supposed to be. xox

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  65. Tabitha - Don't know how I missed this post when it went up but I did and I'm glad, since it meant finding all these amazing comments here. Your 'How do I make time count' is exactly my question. I've always loved my decade birthdays, thinking 'In my 30s/40s/50s I will be mature/ grown-up/ sophisticated/ organised...whatever. At 56 I'm beginning to wonder if 60 will help anything at all! I reached my aim of being able to leave work. I have to be careful with money, but I can't bring myself to type 'We're not rich' because we are in so many ways and it seems too ungrateful to deny it. I can see where a warm climate and a cocktail or getting a dog would make one feel better, but there is still that question, How to make time count?

    This serious post is a departure from your usual fun, but it's wonderful all the same. If you find any answers - or more excellent questions - please do share. XXX

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  66. Dear Tabitha

    This is the first time I have Ever posted a comment to any Blog or Site yet your entry really struck a chord with me in so many ways.

    I came to your blog a couple of months ago, through delightful "Reggie Darling's" recommendation (?) and enjoyed that link so much, went back to your very first post and worked through to the proverbial present day. I had lots of moments of empathy, respect, regard, accord and plenty of LOL ones, too. But what struck, and appealed to me, was your obviously decent, proper good old-school education; your wonderfully observant brain; and spot-on contemporary syntax and "take" (as Young People call it today!) I found your post on Egalitarianism really superb.

    I am very fortunate to work as a "creative" which I love; turned 50 in November and I am voluntarily child-free (not "childless" which sounds like an unfashionable affliction). The latter, mainly because mixing cocktails and pouring champagne down the gullets of guests and friends is far more fun, helps existing humanity and is cheaper in the long run!

    However, it is those moments or works, often insignificant to others which are creative achievements in my own eyes that are the most important and life-affirming; and make the whole darn kaboodle worth it in the end.

    Therefore, might it be worth considering writing as a more serious/full-time pursuit and doing so in a way that channels (dread word) your own perceptions, experiences and gives voice to that creative searching for that outlet that brings self-validation? I not sure I am not alone in this view. Keep us all informed when the first roman (a clef or otherwise) is up for publication.

    Warm Regards

    Valerie

    PS Condolences over the recent "posh" pics!







    Just scrolling

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    1. Valerie - Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment, in the real world I have three jobs and writing is one of them, but no book, I know a lot of authors and am aware that I lack the dedication and passion that it takes to birth a book. But you are spot on about my need to find something that gives me some sense of self worth.
      And now I'm going to dare you to comment again some day!

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  67. Not to feast on your melancholy but how nice it is to see self reflection, even self revelation, in the pages of a lifestyle blog.

    I had a blog a couple of years back and found myself telling my readers that I'd lost my job, something that I hadn't revealed, because, well, to show that kind of weakness...

    I'll never forget the heartfelt comments I received after putting myself out there like that, I remember one from ADG of Maxminimus in particular. But even more cleansing was the act of telling it; just saying the truth helped me regain my balance somewhat, and that's my hope for you.

    Of course it also signaled the end of my blog, because after that most everying else I had to say seemed trivial by comparison. :-)

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  68. Yes I have been going thru this since I entered my 50's. Totally expected in these years. I do have a child but you realize that you can't live your life thru them because they have moved on with their lives. I had some goals until two years ago when I quit working. So now I am filling those voids. I'm not ready to retire completely. So there is college and travel. I have been helping my sister her husband is very ill. Lots of travel plans and a plan to get another degree in Anthropology. Its the only way to really fill the time. A friend of mine volunteers a lot but thats not me. I have a relative that is retired and all she and her husband do is watch tv, ugggg! But I have to admit I have some down times, what ifs etc. I also realize that those feelings are to be expected and should be used as a motivator. It is difficult tho.

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  69. Hello beautiful one. Like Shelley, I am so glad that I almost missed this but didn't. Was about to dive into your current post but could not disregard "The Lecture of the Cheetahs" on the sidebar. Initially, I balked when I saw that there were 111 comments but of course I read them all, I had to and am so grateful for such honesty that matched your own. Not to mention bravery as Bootcamp noted as well. I think you know how introspective I am but you have really put your inner life out there. Thank you.

    Tabitha, so much of this struck a chord with me and plucked others. I think that I am at peace with not having had children but there are times that I wonder what I am supposed to look forward to now. I really had an amazing "young adulthood" (say until 35)--an incredible life where I did and saw so many things, so many dreams realized, I loved it all. But did I burn bright too soon? I have no idea what lies ahead. Nothing? Everything?

    I focus a lot on "the little things" because--aside from the huge gifts of my decent health and love of/for my companion and family--they are the things that I know that I can count on. That and my dogs of course. So yes, of course I will say yet again how much I would be thrilled for you if you get two--if you can somehow work out the feeding/walking with your work schedule, which I know is hectic. But both my Mom and Sis work crazy hours and have happy dogs. And yes, calm dogs will just sleep all day, mine do. I could be here or not, they would hardly notice. I promise you. But oh, the true joy and reassurance and love they give me.

    My financial situation is so beyond scary that...well, I have to admit in reading some of these comments I couldn't help but feel that it certainly can come into play regarding the questions that you are asking. Not preparing for late adulthood? That is my immaturity. But I too was raised shielded from harm to the point of not being responsible for anything financially and then was having too good of a time to notice. So save room for me in the boot please. At least we will have good stories to tell.

    Gros Bisous,
    H





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    1. PS. Totally thought of you today when I saw this: http://carlacoulson.com/what-makes-you-happy

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