Being Grey and Living With It

My hair started going grey when I was about forty. For awhile I pulled out the betraying strands, then I coloured it and then… I gave in to the inevitable. I guess. I just stopped bothering about it. This was easy enough for me. I only see myself the odd time, quick checks in the mirror to make sure nothing is too out of place.

However, it seems to be a bigger issue for my Mother and somewhat my family. They see me more often than I see myself. It’s been a challenge for them to see me with grey hair. Especially as it keeps evolving, taking over.

My grey hair is growing around my face. My Grandmother also had grey, mainly framing her face with the rest of it sticking to the original colour. Fading from the front to the back, with the back pretty untouched by any grey at all.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not exactly liking it. But, I’m living with it. If I were blonde the grey would be less noticeable. I’m brunette so it has more contrast between the grey and brown. I’m living with it.

My family have taken longer to live with it. Interesting when it isn’t on their heads. But, I think it has to do with perception, and how they feel about themselves getting older along with me. I’m the oldest of four siblings. So, I get to be first down this road and they can’t do much but be next in line.

White Noise Pollution

I’m well liked in my family. This I understand. I think I’m easy to like. I don’t see how I have any other secret to being liked. I’m not especially anything. I’m not good socially. I never have been.  Most of the time it’s easy to be part of a fairly large family who really do mean it when they ask how you are. But…

I’m the quiet one in a family of people who love to talk. To me it seems they just never run out of something to say, especially advice. It’s like noise pollution or white noise at times. I just stop listening and let them become part of the background. You know how it is when you put the radio or TV on and forget it’s there? It just becomes part of the atmosphere.

Now and then it drowns me out. So I give in and do as I’m told even when my own ideas, instincts or opinions were different and just as valid. That’s when I feel angry.

True, I feel guilty about it. We shouldn’t just ignore our Mothers, our sisters or our brothers. But, there are times when I just can’t take the constant feedback any more. I’m the oldest. Long before I was an adult they all expected me to be the one in charge, and I was. I managed everything. It’s odd to me that now they think I need all this advice.

Of course, I do understand it is all well meant. It’s no one’s fault but my own that I sometimes feel there is too much advice for a grown woman all of 47 (nearly 48) years. So, even when I do lose patience with all the communication, I do know it comes from the right place. I just endure.

Some of the feedback is good. I may never post this because they would be hurt (over over analyze everything) if they read this. I don’t want to hurt anyone. But, there are times I’d like to feel more like an adult than a child who has to be taken care of and told what to do.

Intolerance is the New Black

Intolerance is black. Not black and white and no room at all for shades of grey. Intolerance is a dictatorship.

To me it seems intolerance has become more important than respect, love or anything else. If you read the intolerance manual you would believe it was my generation and those before us who were intolerant, bigots, and so on. But, that isn’t true. We may have been racist, but we were not intolerant. We had black, white, shades of grey, men, women, old and young.

Now there is just one way everything is allowed to be and everyone must stick to the right rules. I see only black, there can be no exception. Any feelings or thoughts (and certainly any actions!) to the contrary will not be tolerated. Even those you love will choose the rules over you. Don’t get in the way, don’t have any other opinion and don’t complain.

Writing this, this morning, I wonder how people have gotten this way.

I have tolerance. I’m sad, I’m angry and I’m disappointed but I am not throwing rocks at anyone. I am not insisting on having my way or ignoring someone else who does not agree with me. I am tolerating someone who ignored my beliefs, my feelings and everything I am. I am not throwing anyone out, or under a bus. I am not screaming, hurting someone else, or insisting on a boycott. I am not using social media to gather others to my witch hunt.

I am of the generation who believe in human rights, including the human right to be human. Being human means everyone is entitled to be imperfect. Being human I expect people to not have all the same thoughts, feelings, culture or experiences. I like to explore other cultures and experiences. I like knowing there are people who disagree with me but listen to how I think and care enough to tolerate me when I feel or think differently.

You have to be entitled to be so firmly intolerant.

Today people have a feeling of entitlement they say. I have seen this in the younger generation, but not just there. The feeling of entitlement is part of the blackness of intolerance. I think it backs it up, keeps it from letting in any of those other colours. You have to be entitled in order to be so firmly intolerant.

Where did we lose the idea that it is ok to say no and have that respected? Of course, you can say no to the acceptable things: rape, bullying, racism, homophobia and transphobia. To a much smaller extent you can still say no to religious discrimination and a few other, older and less popular in the media discriminations we are still allowed to say no to. Racism is not tolerated, if you are black. If you are any other race, culture or colour, you will need to have tolerance. I’m not sure why. Why are some causes supported so fervently and others almost forgotten and ignored? Why do only some people matter?

We have lost the right to respectfully disagree.

I wish people could remember, or care, or respect the fact that we do not all agree. We do not all have to agree. But, with intolerance there is no right to respectfully disagree. I respectfully disagreed but I was not respectfully tolerated, instead I faced the intolerance and being family, years of love, respect and everything else could not overcome the intolerance which is held up like a solid, black wall, higher and thicker than any human being can ever hope to come across, or around.

I am sad and sad is grey, not black.

Indians in a Snow Storm

I will have to look up more about John Innes and see what else he painted. I like this one. Just happened to notice it for sale on Etsy.

My Grandfather told my Mother about meeting Canadian native people on the Saskatchewan prairies when he was a young man and the family were just off the boat from Austria. It’s too bad she doesn’t remember more about it. He (my Grandfather) thought very well of the native people and dealt with them often.

The art is called Indians in a Snow Storm. I’m not changing it to reflect modern political correctness. It is, as it was. johninnespostcard

This art postcard features the work of Canadian artist John Innes and was published by W G Macfarlane for Linton Brothers of Calgary. It is part of the Troilene Indians series and shows several Indian riders bundled up and making their way through blowing snow. “The blizzard is not a snow storm. The snow frozen by the intense cold to the consistency of sand is picked up by the fierce Northwest hurricanes and travels at terrific speed. Many lives are lost during these blizzards yearly”.
The card has an undivided back although the sender thoughtfully created one. The card is postally used and cancelled in 1906. Good overall condition makes this a wonderful addition to a collection.

via – Canadian Artist John Innes Indians in a Snow by TheOldBarnDoor

Arranged Marriages via Online Dating?

Not so long ago young women of my generation were thinking how awful an arranged marriage would be. Marrying (or even dating) someone chosen for you by someone else. A blind date with the expectations of changing your life for you.

Now we give this power to online dating sites. Match us up with their algorithms and theory of personalities and data of interests… is it really any different than an arranged marriage? Sure you have the choice of a second date but, as things get faster paced do we actually feel more in a rush to meet someone, get married and have a family? Are we using computer dating to put a rush on our lives?

At least when family arranged marriages they actually cared about the outcome. A computer will never think about you at all, not even the first time when it’s arranging your life.

Analog relationships are antiquated, she thinks. She never had a date that wasn’t proposed by CuePID scores.

But, as Grandma tells of her great romance, Jenna wonders what drew them together. After all, none of what attracted her grandparents can be captured in online profiles.

Gradually, Jenna’s feeling of freedom changes—into a sense of manipulation by stupid CuePID

via – NetAppVoice: Online Cupid — Not So OK [100 Words Into The Future] – Forbes.

Tea Chest for Zack

The linen tea chest gift comes filled with our choice of 8 flavors of the wrapped sachets, 4 sachets each.

teachest

Curated from Harney.com

One of the things my nephew, Zack, has especially liked was a tea chest. I forget who gave it to him now. It ended up being something his family used and I think he left it at home when he moved away for university. I wondered if he would like one which he really can keep for himself now. I found this on my first try of looking for a tea chest.

Decorate Cookies for Day of the Dead

dodcookieMy sister would love these. She decorated her whole face as a skull last year for The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos). They actually call it the sugar skull. You have probably seen it somewhere by now.

The Day of the Dead is not about Halloween or zombie movies. It is a real event in Mexico, a long time tradition.

Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday celebrated October 31, November 1st and November 2nd in connection with the Christian days for All Hallows Eve, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

Family gather to remember and pray for deceased friends and family members. Traditions include building private altars to honour the deceased. The altars are decorated with sugar skulls, flowers and the favourite food and drink of the departed family and friends. Gifts and/or possession of the dead are left on graves. The living will spend the day (and possibly the evening) at the grave. They pack food and have a picnic in the cemetery.

Day of the Dead is not a grim holiday. Other cultures may not understand that this is a family holiday, a day of remembering and giving thanks for the people who have been important and valued in our lives. Pagans have a very similar holiday, Samhain, which is also based on remembering the past and celebrating the harvest in the present. In North America we call this Halloween, but it has lost most of the original meaning behind the holiday.

Alone for the Holidays

You can be happy being alone over the holidays, even your own birthday. Avoid being alone if you want. Or enjoy being alone if you want a break from being social.

So many of the big family holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and of course New Year’s Eve) arrive at the end of the year. If you are single, not dating anyone or a single parent with kids to celebrate for and with, it can be a bit lonely – if you let it.

I am single, divorced and don’t have any children. I do look after my sister’s children but it’s not the same. I kind of look forward to being alone. Maybe it’s because I’m not alone very often. I share a house with my Mother for half a year. The other half of the year I have a brother and two sisters who keep in touch. It’s all good. But, I crave alone time sometimes. So, I may not be the prime example of being alone for the holidays – because I’m happy to be alone and do whatever I want to do.

Avoid Being Alone

Accept invitations from family, friends and co-workers.

Find other holiday orphans and get together somewhere. Have a great evening out.

Attend events like the office Christmas party.

Invite people over to visit you too.

Go to church. Even if you don’t attend usually, churches will have people and host their own events during holidays.

Go somewhere you know there will be people, like a shopping mall, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and strike up a conversation. Even a short chat can make you feel connected to the world again.

Host a party or get a group together for a day out.

Make the Best of Being Alone

Create a new holiday tradition of your own. Have Chinese food delivered on Christmas Eve. Enjoy a taco salad on Valentine’s Day. Find your own personal way to celebrate.

Plan an event for each day of the holidays, or those coming up to it. Give yourself something to look forward to every day. You can always visit the museum, art gallery and buy tickets for the theatre.

It may feel pretty self-indulgent but, buy yourself a gift or a card for the holidays. Have a Valentine card you sent yourself. Get yourself something you know you really want for Christmas. Send yourself flowers on your birthday.

Write a holiday journal about your adventures.

Be an artist, even if you can’t draw, take along some paper and pencils/ pens and draw some holiday scenes.

Enjoy some alone time to think.

Whatever the holidays and season you can still decorate the house for the holidays: St. Patrick’s Day, Valentines Day, Halloween, Christmas… all the holidays can be an excuse to indulge in a little excess cheer around the home.

Rediscover a creative talent. Become a baker, or a film maker, or take up crochet discover a new creative outlet.

Eat out somewhere new you have wanted to try.

Eat in – cook yourself a wonderful dinner with new recipes and unusual ingredients or go for all comfort foods, the foods you love, cooked the way you like them.

Buy something from a fancy bakery but get just one slice, one piece, one square you can enjoy all by yourself.

Put together a holiday emergency kit for yourself. Stash it with the things you really want like a few chocolates, coffee beans, pick a great wine, a fresh book, candles, bubble bath, gift cards and coupons for a restaurant.

Have some special plan of your own. When others talk about their holidays you will have something to talk about too.

Redecorate your bedroom, your kitchen, find something new and great for the house and make it fresh, shiny and new.

Pamper yourself with all the little luxuries, like a real soak in the tub. Have a spa day at home.

Use the time to catch up on reading, rent movies you wanted to see and anything else you have let slide while you were too busy with other people or a full schedule.

Work on little home repair projects you just haven’t gotten around to yet.

Indulge yourself. Go to the unfashionable, geekiest, nerdiest movies, events, and places you’d love to go but would never ask anyone to attend with you.

Be of service to others. Be a volunteer for a day. Phone or write to relatives and acquaintances you seldom think about. .

Take a road trip, a bus trip, a train trip. Plan a day trip and be home before midnight or plan an overnight away. Look for great tour packages and travel even farther.

Book a room in a downtown hotel and spend your time indulging in downtown holiday events, tourist places and all the holiday decorations.

If you’re single, try a few dating sites, look into a dating service, something where you might find someone new to meet over coffee.

Revel in Being Alone Don’t be SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) creeps up on people during the winter holidays. I think we can feel the same SAD feelings around our own birthdays too, but that doesn’t seem to have a name yet.

If you are feeling alone and neglected let your family and friends know so they can make sure to include you in their events and get togethers.

Avoid being SAD. Use the time alone rather than letting it drag you down into feeling alone around the holidays.

If you need other people around – get them. Make plans with others but understand that plans around the holidays change a lot and last minute things pop up. Have back up plans if you are planning to meet a friend, that way you still have something to do if the friend can’t be there.

Find yourself a patch of sunshine somewhere and sit in it awhile. A great place to try this is a coffee shop window where you have some sun and people watch while you read a book and enjoy a great coffee too.

Not Everyone Alone for the Holidays Needs Cheering Up

People who don’t want to be alone for the holidays are more likely to be upset or feeling down about the holidays.

Some of us, like myself, LOVE having some alone time. For me being alone during the holidays is great. I spend time with family and I make arrangements to meet up with friends and co-workers. I attend the office/ work parties. But, I really enjoy the days I am alone and I can do just what I want to do.

I feel empowered when I am alone. I soak up the holidays: the good cheer, the lights and decorations and the excuse to be self indulgent. Being alone for the holidays is like having an extra birthday – the day that is especially all about you! Make being alone for the holidays all about you.

A Few Links

Join The Holiday Project – Local chapters visit people confined to nursing homes, hospitals and other institutions and enriching the experience of a holiday for everyone.

Prompt for December 4 | Project Reverb

20/20: Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present.  Is there one moment you wish you could do over?

via Prompt for December 4 | Project Reverb.

No. I don’t want do overs of anything unless it’s a single great moment. Even then, things are always better in the moment than the second time around. You can’t have the same reaction twice, especially when you already know how things are going to end.

Do you read the end of a book while you are still reading it? Life is like that. At times we would like to know how it ends, do we accomplish everything, or anything? How do family and friends do with their own lives? So many questions to ask and yet having the answers leaves us without all those questions.

I think we need those surprises, questions and all those moments of suspense and even fear. If we had a book of our lives to read from how dull that would be. To already know how your every moment will be…. Wouldn’t that be sad to just be waiting around for things to happen instead of wondering what will happen next?