Posts Tagged ‘getting older’

Taking Your Heart to Heart

When you think of February you probably think about Valentine’s Day, sending thoughts of love to those near and dear to us. February is also Heart Month, a time to focus on our heart, taking care of our heart, loving our heart.

Sure, I know my heart is important, I don’t think anyone would dispute that, but do I do anything about it? I think I’m like most people, taking my heart for granted. I’m young(ish). I exercise, though maybe not as regularly as I should. I try to eat healthy. I drink the occasional glass of wine. But I’m too young to really worry about a stroke. My job isn’t stressful enough to be that concerned about a heart attack. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

But that all changed on Thursday.

The office secretary at my children’s school died suddenly after suffering a heart attack.

I couldn’t believe the news when I heard it. The secretary and I didn’t get along that well (I wrote about our encounter one morning), but my kids liked her; they dealt with her every day and she was pleasant to them, usually. My feelings aside, I would never wish something so terrible to befall her. My older kids were upset about the whole event but it did give me pause to think. It reminded me that life is short; no matter what your age, death comes far too soon. There’s always things we plan on doing ‘someday’. This whole experience reminded me that you have to enjoy what you’re doing now; do what you want to do now. It’s one reason my husband is changing jobs, to live a better quality of life and spend more time with his kids. It was a message we passed on to our kids by making time to enjoy things now, take trips together as a family, telling each other often how much we love each other and appreciate each other.

Taking care of your heart emtionally is important, being happy and sharing love, but physically taking care of your heart is key too.

Eat healthy.
Exercise regularly.
Stop smoking.
Don’t do things in excess.

These are just a few things the Heart and Stroke Foundation suggests as preventative ideas on their site The Heart Truth. This is a great site to find out the warning signs and evaluate your risk. Making changes can be easier said than done but the Heart and Stroke Foundation has a program, Heartbeats, which will set out a whole healthy heart plan for you for the year, delivering an achievable step once a week right to your inbox.

My kids are still young. I want to be around a long time to experience everything with them. That means I need to take care of my heart. Taking care of my heart means my heart will take care of mean. That’s not a bad trade off is it.

Happy Heart Month!

What’s with that hair?

I once made the statement to my hairdresser that women over a certain age shouldn’t have long hair, it just didn’t suit them. I still can’t believe I said that, especially with a son who has gorgeous long hair. I know first hand what it’s like to have someone paint a broad stereotypical brush stroke over you. Of course I was wrong, very wrong. I have met a number of lovely women, some older than me, who have beautiful long hair and it suits them perfectly. A much better statement, instead of my stereotypical version, should have been, I shouldn’t have long hair after I have reached a certain age. And that age, well, I’ve passed it.

When I was younger I had long hair and it suited me. I haven’t been growing my hair as a way to recapture my youth. No, my long hair is a fact of being a mom. As a mom I always seem to put the rest of my families needs before my personal ones. And really, long hair is just so easy to take care of: no product, no fancy brush techniques, just dry and go. And on days when I can’t even get into the shower, tossing my hair into a ponytail is always a quick fix.

So why the talk of hair now? This is why:

This is a photo Racheal McCraig (@RachealMc) captured at a book launch party I attended for Kathy Buckworth. Racheal is a great photographer; all the pictures she’s taken of other people have looked fantastic, the people have looked fantastic. So when I saw this photo I cringed. I know I’m not the most photogenic person around, but that long scraggly hair just had to go.

So the next week I did this:

Okay, I didn’t do that, my hairdresser did. I had made up my mind that I needed a change, not just a trim. I know the shorter hair will mean more work. I have to get use to using the hair dryer and fancy brushes and hair ‘stuff’ again, but I think it will be worth it.

My intension when cutting my hair was just to cut it; to make a change. It was only when my hairdresser mentioned the Locks of Love donation program that I discovered my discarded hair, something I didn’t want anymore, could actually benefit someone else. According to their site, your hair length must be 10 inches in length from cut to tip in order to be accepted. I knew I was cutting off a lot of hair but I didn’t know if it was 10 inches worth. Another program the patron beside me mentioned is Matter of Trust‘s hair donation program to help with the Gulf oil spill. So in case my hair length fell short of the 10 inches, it could still do some good besides lining bird nests. Turns out my cut is about 10 inches, most of it anyway, so I’ll more than likely mail it to Locks of Love.

The new hair, or lack of hair actually, takes some getting use to. I keep feeling as if my hair is still hanging there but when I go to sweep it back there’s nothing. My kids are unsure of the new do to. Ah what we do for change. The one big thing I’m hoping will come out of all of this? Now that my hair is short maybe the nice weather will arrive. I’d cut my hair for that, wouldn’t you.