Midlife Miracle

youarehereAfter sprinting forward out of my teen years, dancing through my twenties and coasting into responsibility in my thirties, I’ve hit the speed bump known as midlife. I’m 40. So, I decided to slow to a stop and take a thoughtful look behind me to see what I’ve done so far.

I’ve been an honor student, competitive figure skater, off-off broadway actress, sign language interpreter, college professor and wellness coach among other things. I’ve had a lot of fun and met some amazing people along my journey. I imagine it’s not so uncommon to have a few thoughts about “life so far” and what is to come when folks hit 40. I’m allowing myself to acknowledge that it’s a big deal simply because it feels that way to me.

When I hit 30, I had no idea who I would marry, how many children I would have or where I would end up living. But at 40, I know the answers to most of my unanswered questions. At times it feels like life is now about managing and maintaining the life I’ve built and the choices I’ve made. But I don’t want this life adventure to feel stagnant. I have so much more to do. Who knows what I will know at 50 that I hadn’t realized at 40?! I have an obligation to this life to keep growing, seeking and creating adventurous change!

During my look back I realized how much I have been able to accomplish so far and I see how much more is possible! The miracle about reaching midlife is that you are armed with plenty of life knowledge and wisdom that you didn’t have when you launched into your independence. And, you still have so much time left to enjoy it.

Midlife means power. Midlife means dynamic capability to take control of choices and live a life that serves us. Many of us take the helm of our families at this stage and become responsible for raising the next generation while at the same time helping our parents transition into the next phase of their existence. Sandwiched between the young and the old we learn how strong we have become and how capable we are. Embrace your strength and let it shine from inside of you. The more people depend on you the more they believe you can handle. Show kindness to yourself and then to those who look to you for courage and fortitude. We are the midlife soldiers, we are the miracles for so many people in our lives. Wear it as a badge of honor and serve those who need us with love and respect. But also learn how to look deep inside and serve yourself with just as much loving devotion.

After my long look behind, I’m ready to turn back around and see what is to come. Instead of a midlife crisis, I am having a midlife miracle. I’m moving forward giving and receiving unbridled, rampant, radical positive energy!

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives” – Alan Sachs

This beautiful life won’t last forever, but that’s what nature intends. We live, we learn, we love. We laugh, grow and play. Your responsibility in this life is to make it count. Life itself is a steady natural awakening. The meaning of life is to live! 

 

photo credit to pippalou on morgue file.com

 

5 Happy Packing Tips for a Happy Family Vacation


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The business of packing for a happy family vacation takes a bit of time and planning and a lot of creativity.  There is a craft to it, make no mistake.  But, when done properly, it can seem effortless and make all the difference.  With 2 young daughters and half of our family living in Australia, we have plenty of long plane rides and complicated travel plans in our future.  I’ve made it a bit of a hobby to collect good travel tips.  I hope for happy memories of wonderful vacations as a family, so in order to make that happen, I feel like the work I put in now will yield better results and better memories.  I want to set the stage for a lifetime of fun, enjoyable adventures!

Here are my top 5 tips plus a bonus traveling activity for kids of all ages…

1.  Let the kids help you pack.  Let each child pack a small carry-on of their own that they are responsible for carrying.  Set limits as this can quickly get out of control.  I allow up to 2 small furry friends and a parent has to do the final check (and usually a bit of negotiating) before the pack is approved for travel.  Include the kids in packing the main suitcases too so they know what to ask for on the journey.  Throw in a few surprises for meltdown moments.  I always buy a new book, toy or movie for each kid and keep it for emergency situations….ok, I buy a few.

2.  Take less stuff!  After you are done packing, take a bunch of stuff out!  Packing less stuff and doing a little laundry on the road will really lighten your load.  Less is more!  You don’t need all those toys!  Going on a trip is like a scavenger hunt!  New places and hotel rooms have plenty of new things to play with like cups and wash cloths that become instant new toys!  A few coloring books and furry friends from home are usually enough to bring along for the ride.

3.  Bring plenty of snacks both familiar and a couple new ones that you think your kids will likely enjoy.  This is definitely the time to allow them to have a few extra goodies.  Things like crackers, pretzels, and maybe just a few sugary snacks will come in handy to occupy your wee ones at the most necessary times.  Bring lollipops for take off and landing if you’re going on an airplane.  They will help keep those little ears from being uncomfortable and hopefully keep your kids (and your fellow passengers) a little happier.  Carry a self-filtering water bottle for each family member so you can fill it up wherever you go.  (Target carries a great one called Bobble)  Keeping hydrated while traveling is always a good idea!

4. Bring your own car seats with you and rent the stroller at your destination!  Check the seats with your baggage (in my experience airlines don’t charge for this) as soon as your kids are ready to sit on their own on the plane.  Getting car seats onto the plane is not a pretty site, but having them when you reach your destination is worth the schlep.  (We use GoGo Babyz Travelmate which snaps on to your car seat and turns them into a stroller to make it easy to push through the airport)  When you arrive, you don’t have to worry about the level of safety or cleanliness of your car seats, you’ve brought your own from home.  I’m always far less concerned with the state of my stroller than my car seats.

5. Don’t over plan!  Taking it easy and going with the flow will let you enjoy the small stuff and hopefully allow you to enjoy your time together more.  Having a tight schedule and over planning will surely lead to disappointment and stress.

And here is a bonus traveling activity for kids of all ages!

* Bring a notebook or journal for each child.  On each trip, I bring a small journal, crayons, stickers (possibly that match the theme of our trip) and anything else related that suits our adventure and hand it out to each child at our first restaurant meal.  Each time we eat out, while we wait for our food we use the time to journal and draw about what we’ve done up to that point.  It helps bide the time since restaurants become a regular scene while on the road and can get to be a tough time for young kids.  For the youngest vacationers, adults at the tables can write down the activities for them and they can illustrate and add stickers.  For the child just learning to write, he or she can write down either words or sentences about the trip as you go.  Each vacation journal will become a treasured souvenir.  You can even add photos to it when you get home.

If you have another good travel tip, please add it in the comment section!

Happy trails to you!

 

myhappypromise

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