I Am Turning 50

Life on the Edge

My Reverse Bucket List

Have you seen the movie Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson?  It’s a story of two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.  Many people have bucket lists either in their heads or written on a list somewhere.  So, in my turning-50, list-making process, I decided I wanted to make a bucket list as well, but of things I have done, as well as things I’d still like to do.  We should all celebrate our accomplishments as well as setting goals for new achievements.

Let’s start with this photo.  Skydiving has probably been my biggest fear-conquering, adrenaline-pumping achievement, other than having children and actually giving birth to living beings, but I wouldn’t post a photo of that.

I remember when my friend Kim and I decided to do it, (skydive, not give birth) we were in our early 20’s and thought we were invincible.  i sometimes wish that I still had that sense of invincibility, but that is the tradeoff for having children, I think.  You are never invincible again, they are your eternal vulnerability.

In any case, Kim and I went skydiving together, one of the things that binds us together as friends, forever (that and an Alfa Romeo incident).

I have a few select memories from that day.  I remember sitting in the aircraft and joking that as a flight attendant (at the time),  jumping out of a plane was a very unnatural thing to do.  I remember jumping and then falling and then looking up at my chute and thinking (in s-l-o-w motion) “I’m falling and I’m falling really fast and my chute’s not opening!”  Then, I think I reached up and uncrossed my straps as they had taught us to do, in case they twisted while opening.  Thank God I was paying attention!  I also remember sitting at a bar later that evening thinking,  “Wow, I went skydiving.  If I can do that I can do anything!” I realize now it was an adrenaline hangover but at the time I really believed I could do anything.

I took flying lessons once, I logged 15 hours of flight time and passed the “spiral dive” test which involves the instructor putting the plane into a spiral dive and watching how you react.  I guess I didn’t over-react so I was allowed to continue my flight school until my money ran out.

I went white-water rafting on the Ottawa River with my airline friends.  It was a blast and the instructor was pretty hot and probably took  my  mind off the chilly, cascading waterfalls swirling around me. I actually remember the party at the club afterwards more and I think his name was Lawrence.

Travel has probably been the most consistent thing in my life.  From when I went to a birthday party at the airport when I was  7 years old, I have had an almost insatiable wanderlust.  I say almost insatiable because at this point I think I’m getting close.  I have traveled to 40 countries and will continue to add notches to my travel bedpost.  It was my journalism professor who made me count them up once.  On my resume I had written “I like to travel” or something as equally descriptive.  He suggested I spell it out for prospective employers.  “Traveled to 40 countries and 6 continents (no immediate plans for the 7th).”

Sounds a lot better, right?

I hiked on the Great Wall of China, one of the “new” seven wonders of the world after attending the Beijing Olympics in 2008.  Quite different from the Montreal Olympic experience I had with my parents in 1976.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We flew in a helicopter over a live volcano in Hawaii and saw the red lava flowing into the sea.  Somewhat irresponsible parenting should the volcano have to decided to erupt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I worked for an airline in Saudi Arabia and flew the pilgrims to Mecca for the Haj, their journey of a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I trekked through the jungle on an elephant in Thailand, with my two year old son.  Also, kind of irresponsible now that I have watched Water for Elephants and realize my elephant “driver”” probably had very little control over his mount (and was more interested in my 13-year old daughter and how many elephants he would need to marry her).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drank with a Saudi prince, well, aren’t they all princes in Saudi Arabia?  And I think they’d probably drink with anyone, so I am not sure this is much of a feat.  But I also watched my husband dance with a Japanese princess.  This is much more of an accomplishment, both in the rarity of hanging out with a Japanese princess and the  fact that I let my husband dance with another woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first article was published, borne out of the creative eruption I experienced after the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed a misty morning coffee on deck of an antique junk in Halong Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add in a little Parasailing in St. Martin, climbing Mount Fuji, sailing in the Canary Islands, three immediate family member deaths, two marriages and one divorce, and that pretty much rounds out the first 50 years.  The next 50 remain to be seen.  Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives. (Alan Sachs)

The future will unfold as it should.  But if I can make a few suggestions, this is how I would like it to unfold.

    • Publish One Book
    • Drive Route 66 in a convertible and write about it.
    • Develop an Internet Business
    • Go on an African Safari
    • See the remaining “New” wonders of the world -
    1. Chichen Itza, Mexico – Mayan City
    2. Christ Redeemer, Brazil – Large Statue (include a visit to Rio and Carnival to knock another one off the list)
    3. Machu Picchu, Peru
    4. Petra, Jordan – Ancient City
    5. The Taj Mahal, India
    6. The Great Wall, China – done
    7. The Roman Colosseum, Italy – done

And finally, as my mother (and Bon Jovi) used to say, “I want to live while I’m alive and sleep when I’m dead.”

Green Guck

January.  It’s that time of year.  New Year’s Resolutions abound and some may have already been broken.  I had a big night out on Saturday and am in guilt/recovery mode.  I am also, as you know, turning 50 in about 8 more weeks so it’s time to put my anti-aging program into overdrive.  Although, I’m not sure if that is an oxymoron?  Do you  remember Rene Russo in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair?  Well, you probably remember her but do you remember her always holding a drink of barely potable green guck that she forced down her svelte throat?

“Green drinks” or Guck as I call it, is a generic term for drinks made of dehydrated vegetables, fruits, grains, algae, sprouts and/or grasses. Some green drinks are made only of grasses, e.g., wheat grass, barley grass or lemon grass, while others add probiotics (beneficial bacteria). A few add bee pollen, herbs and a full range of vitamins and minerals. They’re mixed with a liquid, usually water. Besides being an excellent source of nutrients, green drinks also contain a significant amount of fiber. Most importantly, green drinks are rich in chlorophyll.

Green drinks contain many different alkalising ingredients, and the regular consumption of green drinks plays a massive part in creating and maintaining an alkaline environment in our bodies.

Through what has become the typical Western diet largely based around meat, dairy, sugars, alcohol, saturated fats and caffeine, millions of us have created a hostile, acidic environment within our bodies.

The pH level of our internal fluids affects every living cell in our bodies.  The effect that over-acidification can have upon the health of our bodies is immense, with a chronically over acidic pH creating an extremely negative environment which affects all cellular functions, from the beating of the heart to the neural workings of the brain.  

So, in an attempt to clear out my system and balance my alkalinity I have started drinking Guck.  It doesn’t taste as bad as I thought it would.  Kind of Japanese Green tea if you are familiar with that flavour?  And with the excesses of the holidays behind me I figure it is a good time to create some balance. So, cheers to Green!  If you’ve had any experience with Green drinks please feel free to share.

Anti-Aging Idol

Aerosmith Tokyo

Wednesday night was date night.  We don’t have regular “date nights” as I think that makes it a little boring and predictable.  Although the movie Date Night shows it can get pretty wild and crazy with a little maitre d’ mixup.

It’s the night we are supposed to spend “quality” time with our spouse.  So, with this in mind my husband booked a romantic stay at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo…and I invited my girlfriends to join us!  Wednesday night was actually Aerosmith night in Tokyo.  We had tickets to this aging group of rockers because we are, well,  aging rockers.  Fortunately my husband and I have pretty much the same taste.  (except for my affinity for salsa and merengue, we pretty much agree on everything).  Like Led Zeppelin.  Best band ever.  As he pointed out to me, there are no songs like Kashmir written anymore. And of course the Aerosmith classics like Sweet Emotion and the blog-appropriate ‘Livin’ on the Edge’.

But again I digress.  Getting back to Date night and aging rockers.  I don’t think it turned into the romantic night we had planned but it was AWESOME!  We started with champagne with the ladies at the hotel.  My husband joined us after work and we drove to the concert in style.

And then we were entertained by a 63-year-old guy who was the sexiest 63-year-old I have ever seen.  Seriously, Steven Tyler is my idol and not just my American one.  My girlfriend Jen, does not even like rock music but she came for me and she fell in love.  She thought he was amazing.  And he still had it.  At least from what we could see seated at the top of Tokyo Dome.  But he looked great on the big screen and apparently didn’t even write into his contract not to do a SUPER closeup.  He looked great.  A little tired after his two hour set but hot, totally hot!

So, as this is a blog about aging let me get to it.

  1. If 63-year-old men can be sexy so can 63-year-old women.  It’s all in the attitude and he has it, so he IS it.
  2. 60 is the new 40.
  3. Go out with your girlfriends and party it up.
  4. Spend ‘quality’ time with your husband/partner, but be spontaneous, forget you are a mom and a wife, just be who you used to be.
  5. My friend Lee, in the red,  is almost 60.  She wears sky-high Jimmy Choos and has limitless energy.  She is also an inspiration.
  6. Don’t do things because you think you should.  By this age you can do things because you want to.
  7. TAKE A RISK – Steven Tyler could have rested on his gilded laurels and gone off into the sunset with a skinny babe at his side.  But he took on the American Idol challenge and in doing so, reinvented himself and rejuvenated his career for a whole new generation.  Don’t take the easy road, take the one less-traveled by.

  1. Rock on sister!

The Mother of (Re) Invention

If you’ve read my bio you will notice my resume is a bit eclectic. I talk about my former life as a “dilettante/flight attendant/stock broker/business journalist/expat wife.”  Even my husband can’t keep track of it.  “When were you a flight attendant?” he asks for the third time.  For me it has been a circuitous route leading me exactly where I was meant to be.  But I didn’t know that at the time.  I just knew that I liked to re-invent myself every so often.  Re-invention can be hard but also liberating.  It is change and change can be stressful.  Change has never been my problem, perhaps not sticking with something long enough would be more like it.  But since this is a blog about turning 50 (and being happy about it hopefully!)  I want to share some advice on re-inventing yourself.

When I graduated from university, I didn’t know what I wanted to be.  In fact, I don’t think I really knew until I was 40.  I tried various jobs, while feeding my wanderlust with my part-time job as a flight attendant.  But I could never quite find one that I felt passionate about.  Then the economy started to tank (along with my first marriage) and I realized I just wanted (needed) to make lots of money.  So, I decided to take the courses necessary to become a stock broker.  I took the Canadian Securities Course, got my insurance license, options trading license and associate portfolio manager designation.  I got a job at a brokerage firm and worked there for close to ten years.  I thought I would never leave.

Here is where the extreme re-invention comes in.  I met someone, younger, who was doing well in his career and really wanted more children (I already had a daughter).  So, fortunately we had a son and I went on maternity leave at the age of 41.  I was used to a very busy, multi-tasking life and I worried I may be bored during my leave, so I applied to journalism school.  Just as I was accepted into the intensive program starting in the fall, I found out I was pregnant again (that’s another story for another time).  So, I was going to be studying full-time, while pregnant, with a one-year-old.  Yes, looking back now it seems insane.  But I got through it with help from family and babysitters of course.  So, at 43, I had a daughter, two little boys and a degree in journalism.  In a matter of a couple of years I went from a single-mother-working-in-a-brokerage to a married-mother-of-three-kids, looking for a job in journalism.  It was challenging to say the least.  But I loved it and I was lucky to be able to find something I was interested in and passionate about (had it always been writing?)

So, I want to challenge you to re-invent yourself, if you are feeling like you need a change.  I definitely felt out of my comfort zone many times but that sense of discomfort is what helps us grow and realize who we really are.  Sometimes when starting a new job I am nervous and shy and wonder why I keep doing this to myself.  I am sure there are lots of reasons but I think I must actually enjoy the challenge of change.

What have you always dreamed of doing?  What could you spend 12 hours a day doing, if you didn’t have to pay the bills.  And I know about paying the bills, or not being able to.  If you can’t leave your job because of financial reasons, do something in your spare time.  Take salsa dancing lessons.  Take flying lessons.  Jump out of a plane and into a life of change and growth.

And please let me know how you are doing.

The Anti-Aging Elixir

It helps you lose weight by increasing your metabolism.

It cuts your appetite and boosts your energy levels.

It increases your natural immunity.

It helps protect against heart disease and lowers the risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

It can help you look and feel younger and increases your libido.

WHAT is this wonder product?

I am not a doctor so please do your own research but from what I’ve learned about the Acai berry so far, I’m thinking it is indeed a wonder fruit.  Açaí (ah-sigh-ee)  is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world.

Acai has the highest antioxidant value of any fruit or vegetable. Antioxidants help to deactivate free radicals; those pesky molecules in our body that cause cellular damage, inflammation, and accelerate aging.

It’s primarily found in the Brazilian rainforest, and has been used for hundreds of years by tribes for its medicinal properties.

The caveat is that the berry does not travel well and must be fresh or freeze-dried to offer these benefits.  Tokyo-based health guru August Hergesheimer says,  “To get the most benefit from this amazing fruit, use either unsweetened, organic acai frozen puree (this is acai fruit pulp, added water, and a little citric acid as a colour preservative) or 100% pure, organic freeze-dried powder (dried without heat and use of additives or carriers). However, freeze-dried powder oxidizes quickly so use only encapsulated (sealed) vegetable-sourced capsules. Again, these capsules must be sealed to keep the air from entering the capsule and oxidizing the oils naturally present in acai. Oxidized oils are poison.”

Be wary of internet weight-loss scams and choose your Acai product carefully.

In a report for NBC, Matt Lauer discovered that the local populace calls it the Amazon Rainforest Viagara.

That alone is enough to warrant a try, and it doesn’t even taste bad, in  fact it is yummy.  So, if it can accomplish half of what it claims, I would be happy.

As baby boomers age, the search for the fountain of youth grows increasingly intense.  Yes, we can exercise, diet, cut back on our libations, but really what’s the point of living longer when you can’t enjoy life? Here’s one idea on how to live to the fullest while turning back the clock -

Acai Royale

The Anti-Aging Cocktail!
Organic Acai Berry Juice mixed with Champagne!
Fight aging from the inside!

Or start your morning with a shooter or a shake.  Add the recommended amount of Acai juice to some frozen berries, a fresh banana, some rice milk and a handful of granola and you’ve got the recipe for a healthy start.

Morning Acai berry smoothie

And so begins my slide into 50, Acai shooter in one hand, a bottle of Veuve in the other.

To order/request more information, please click link below.

order

The Fountain of Youth

I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately.  Primarily because I am.  Turning the half-century mark in less than six months makes one a little more reflective.  Sometimes I feel like I am closing in on getting my senior’s discount, usually after a night of acting like I got in using my student card.

But with age comes wisdom and an allowance for pontification.  So, I am going to offer my advice for attaining the fountain of youth.  It won’t be the typical, drink eight glasses of water a day, eat fish and exercise, although I am sure that can’t hurt.  Unless you live in Japan and are not convinced about the water or the fish.

Let’s start with the physical.

Number 1 – Buy a new pair of jeans.  I learned this from a friend a long time ago.  Wearing some out of date flares, she suggested I get some new “low-rise” jeans.  I took her advice. For me jeans shopping is right up there with bikini shopping on the self-esteem destruction scale.  I remember when my daughter was going through a “growing” phase and found all the jeans she tried on too tight, I had to explain that the sizing of jeans is about as consistent as the press releases from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. And when you buy them, make sure they are not as tightly-fitted as the anorexic salesgirl’s are.

Betsey Johnson

Number 2 – Let your hair grow a few inches.  I know I am giving away my age again, like I didn’t in the opening line, but I think long hair reminds one of one’s youth.  “Back in the day” as my daughter calls it. Who cares that the generation after Gen X thinks you have “big” 80’s hair.  Now I know there is a contingent that would say “get a new chic short haircut” to look young but I think there’s nothing better than a longish, carefree mane to show vitality.

Number 3 – Don’t pluck your eyebrows (too much).  My good friend was bemoaning the thinness of her eyebrows. saying they looked like 70’s brows, which was when she began to pluck them.  What we don’t realize is that, unlike hair on the rest of your body, they do not grow back thicker!

Number 4 – update your ipod selection.  While mine remains stocked with Led Zeppelin, and Aerosmith, I discovered there was some good “new” music when I accidentally synced my ipod with my daughter’s library (much to her dismay).  My favorite ‘new ‘ song is Low, by Flo Rida which I guess is about four years old now. Virtually a new release for me.

 

Now, let’s move to the mental.

Number 5 – Don’t assume it is your job to be the “designated driver” of your relationship.  Many women lose (suppress) who they really are when they get married and have children.  They occasionally let loose when they go out with the girls but chide their husbands when they are out together.  It’s not your responsibility alone, let him take his share, he wants to be part of the team.  You were both crazy, probably a little inebriated and uninhibited when you met, so stick with it.  This will keep you young at heart and your husband happy.

Number 6 – Sort of goes with number 5, but keep dancing on the bar, wear thigh-leather boots like my friend Mona who looks amazing, and then make a pact with your friends to tell you when it’s time to ‘call it a night’.  I know I don’t want to be dancing on the bar when I need help to get down.  Even now my husband has to hold my glasses and my friend hurt her knee getting off one night.  My worlds started to collide when my daugther began going to the same clubs I did.  We would have to text ahead of time to make sure our paths didn’t cross because, OMG, that would be SO embarrassing.

So, I’m off to dinner with a fun group of friends, I won’t be dancing on the bar tonight because I sprained my ankle, but I will be wearing some boots and partying with my husband because I want, as Thoreau says, to live deliberately, live deep and suck the marrow out of life.

I am turning 50!

2012 is going to be a big year…for me at least and probably for lots of other hip-young-ish baby boomers who remember their parents at 50 and remember how old they seemed!

In 2011 my birthday celebrations were postponed due to the fact that my birthday is March 12 and I live in Japan.  If  I’ve learned anything this year it is to live each day to the fullest, as you never know what tomorrow may bring. And so, in keeping with my belief in going big or going home, I am going to do it BIG. Here’s the invitation I sent to my friends about six months ago.

HOLD THE DATE – MARCH  2012
LOCATION: Mexico
WHAT: FILMING of THE HANGOVER 3
STARRING: MARIA AND HER BFF’S
WHEN: MARCH  2012

I’M GIVING YOU LOTS OF NOTICE SO YOU CAN PLAN, BOOK TIME OFF, ARRANGE BABYSITTING, WORKOUT, SAVE MONEY, PRE-DETOX ETC.

SPOUSES ARE INCLUDED ESPECIALLY WHEN THE BILL ARRIVES.

PLEASE COME AND HELP ME CELEBRATE!
AND IF YOU FOLLOW THE MAYAN CALENDAR YOU MAY WANT TO PARTY IT UP BEFORE DECEMBER!

So far, about 15 friends from far and wide are heeding the call to party (not surprising given my friends and the promise of free tequila)

And since I am an online person and love to share my trials and tribulations publicly, I thought I’d start a blog about it.  The Party.  And the turning 50. And with age comes an allowance for pontification, so there will be some of that.

I have just three months left to the big 5-0.  Of course, I want to lose ten pounds, have wrinkle-free-sunspot-free skin and learn the Kama Sutra (I hope there are no upside-down positions, as I’ve noticed in the mirror at yoga class, gravity is not my friend).  I will start my anti-aging campaign today, with you as my witnesses.  Will it make a difference?  Will it be the physical or the mental adjustments that make the biggest difference?  You be the judge.  And if you feel like joining the program at any time please feel free!

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