Learning to Feel Again

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A friend recently suggested that I should “feel” more, noting that I tend to analyze everything to the point of paralysis. I’m a thinker, for sure, but perhaps they were right — I had been neglecting my feelings.

In my efforts to identify my feelings, I often find myself analyzing my thoughts. But that’s not feeling. It seems my feelings have been safely stored away for some time now.

Yesterday, having been a bit under the weather, some fresh air and new scenery seemed like a wonderful idea. I decided to head to a peaceful place near the water’s edge, where I could work on a project that involved some reading. I went to a park with a lake, found a quiet bench, and planted myself for the next couple hours.

Several chapters in, with blurry eyes, I set down the book and notepaper, and settled myself in for a little “feeling” session, in hopes of finding some piece of myself that has been missing.

I began by closing my eyes and feeling with my skin. I noticed how the breeze felt on my body. The temperature was cool, but not cool enough to chill. It felt good. I became aware of what parts were hurting or tense and tried to relax them. I made myself as comfortable as I could on the park bench.

I took my time, slowing down my hurried tendency, letting the experience simply happen on its own.

Next, I considered my taste buds. I was thirsty, but still had the hint of my recent peach smoothie in my mouth. I took a drink of water and felt it refresh.

What could I smell? Nothing, really — maybe a hint of the lake and its residents. I expected that smell to be stronger, but maybe I’d gotten used to it already. Maybe the cool breeze carried away the scents.

I closed my eyes and listened. Off in various directions, I could hear the chatter of clusters of birds sharing their stories with one another, interrupted now and again by quacking. There was road noise, both from the nearby freeway and the rough paved road that circles the park. I listened closely for sounds of children playing — I knew there was a playground not far away. Perhaps the cool breeze carried their laughter away with the scents. There was just an occasional sound from the parking lot right behind me.

Overall, it was surprisingly quiet. I allowed myself extra time here — there was no need to rush — I was just beginning to really grasp what I was trying to do.

I’ve always appreciated the beauty of nature and architecture. Looking around me, I could see both. I noticed the symmetry of the painted-red windows on the crisp white boat house. I searched the sky for blue showing through the gray-white clouds, though I couldn’t find much.

I observed the way the palm trees had been planted, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in clusters, and across the way, a long row of singles. I see how they wave in the breeze. They are always in motion. Sometimes a breeze may push them around, but even without the breeze they constantly sway.

Yet…they don’t sway in unison. Every palm tree has its own rhythm, moving independently from the others as if they dance to their own music. I wonder why I never noticed that before…

And everything I see, I see in double, reflected in the distorted mirror of the water’s surface.

A duck swims by, leaving a V-shaped wake behind him, that widens with time until it meets the edges on either side of the lake. One small duck, going about his humble business, simultaneously impacting opposing shores…unaware.

Several little circles of ripples reveal the whereabouts of those ducks playing under the water’s surface until they pop up and right themselves. Some sit quietly, while others move about the lake.

“How do you feel about that duck?” I ask myself. Not what do I think of the duck, but how I feel about it. I feel…happy about that duck. It makes me smile.

I check in with myself again, “Do you feel lonely right now?” No, in fact, I don’t. I am enjoying the solitude of the afternoon. This is alone, but not lonely.

I ask God to search me. He knows my heart better than I know it myself. “If there is any trace of bitterness, show me,” I ask Him.

I wasn’t surprised that He found a tender spot of that hiding in there. So we dealt with it, together, He and I.

And I cried a little.

Because I felt like it.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter and lover of word-craft. She appreciates comments and feedback and encourages sharing.

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Be Kind To Your Fear

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Mary sat impatiently at the red light. She had a lot to do and too much on her mind. But as the light changed to green, Mary hesitated. Something inside told her to wait. For no apparent reason, she couldn’t accelerate. That’s when the white pickup truck blew through the intersection, right through the red light, and into a minivan, smashing it across the road. If Mary had gone on the green, that would have been her.

Divine intervention? No doubt.

But what about those times that life is calling you forward, and yet you hesitate? You keep your foot on the brake out of fear.

Fear of what? Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success?

Do you let the ‘what-ifs’ get the best of you?

Fear gets a bad rap. Probably because it doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes fear is ridiculously controlling — but keeps you from dying. Many times it keeps you from living.

Motivational speakers and success coaches will tell you to throw out fear. They say fear is something to be overcome, banished, beaten to the ground. I say that’s wrong. Fear is your ally.

Fear has kept you from getting in the car with strangers, wandering down that dark alley, standing too close to the edge of a cliff, and playing with poisonous snakes. Fear has kept you from saying hurtful words to someone, from acting on impulse while angry, and from leaving your baby unattended.

Fear has helped you develop common sense and discernment. Fear advises your instincts. It’s why you’re still alive…and not in jail.

Fear is an important part of you, and as such, deserves the love and respect that you would want for yourself.

Think of fear as a frightened child. You wouldn’t be cruel to a frightened child, would you? You wouldn’t banish her, beat her, destroy her or feel you had to overcome her, would you? Of course not. You would be tender and kind to her.

You just wouldn’t let her be in charge.

When facing life’s challenging moments, fear will speak up. She will tell you to stop, don’t move forward — It’s scary and dangerous. And she may be right. It can be very scary to move forward into the challenges of life.

Challenges such as a job change, starting school, leaving a bad situation, moving, starting over, confrontations, board meetings, presentations, surgery, dental work, or learning a new skill, are all times that fear will show up and tell you that you mustn’t go forward.

Obviously, if we listened to fear all the time we would accomplish nothing in our lives. While she’s excellent at keeping us from going down that dark alley or standing too close to the edge of the cliff, she can potentially keep us from making the changes necessary to move forward in life.

I love the way Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love explains how to handle fear. She teaches, when fear speaks up, you want to treat her like that frightened child. Take her by the hand, give her a hug, then set her in a chair in the corner. Pat her on the head and thank her for caring, but assure her that it’s going to be okay.

You see, fear doesn’t always understand the difference between what’s dangerous and what’s just scary. It can be terrifying to start writing a book. But…it’s just a book, and nobody is going to die.

Starting a new job? Scary? Yes. Will anyone die? Not likely.

Speaking to an audience for the first time? Super scary! But you will be okay. Fear just needs a hug first.

Perhaps if we are tender and kind with our fear, she will be kind in return. What we don’t want is for fear to create hate. We’ve seen what happens when fear becomes the ruler. Fear left unchecked can breed exclusion, racism, cowardice and violence.

When fear is acknowledged we engage our common sense. Then we can put fear in her place, which is probably in a chair in the corner.

Fear is a part of you. She’s an important aspect of who you are. Without fear, you might not be alive today. Fear deserves your love and care, just as all the parts of you.

Love your body, stretch marks and all.

Love your smile, and your weird sense of humor.

Love your mind and the way it figures things out differently than anyone else.

Love your creative bent and the gifts and talents that you have.

Love your beating heart and the way it hurts when it gets full and leaks out through your eyes.

And love your fearful inner child that sometimes just needs reassuring that everything is going to be alright. But don’t let that child be in charge. Fear is not a good ruler.

Love is a far better ruler than fear.

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter and lover of word-craft. Your “Likes” and comments below are much appreciated.  😉 And please share with anyone that might be blessed by the message. Thank you. 

Getting Tech Savvy

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The time came to fulfill my dream of becoming a full-time copywriter. Writing is fun, and pleasurable, and fulfilling. But there are a million pieces of the puzzle that need to come together before you can make any money as a copywriter. 

My journey started with a new computer. A lovely little iMac Pro I could take with me anywhere. Now that’s the writer’s life, right? On the beach, at a coffee shop, poolside, or even in bed. Nothing stopping me now. Except learning Mac. I’m just not tech savvy. 

Need a website. Get a domain. Discover there are hoops to jump through to bring those two together. Two weeks, a thousand tears, and a few handfuls of hair later, and I’m good to go. 

Weeks of website creation came with learning a whole new “techie” language. “What do you mean by ‘who is my host’”?  Ugh. Ok, I got it. SEO, Meta tags? Oh, please… I’m not tech savvy! 

Website up and looking great, LinkedIn page needed a little updating, Twitter account needs a lot of work. Oh, what’s this? You can link that how? Cool, that’ll only take me a couple days to figure out and another three weeks to implement.

Lead magnet written. But what do you mean I can’t use a Gmail account with that? Ok, two new programs downloaded, a $200 upgrade, and I’m rolling right along.  Autoresponders are fun. 

How does everyone else make this stuff look so easy? I wish I were more tech savvy. 

A new level of professionalism with a new Facebook page. Well, of course, a business page is completely different from a personal page. Another tweak to my website and those are linked, complete with cute little social media icons.  

Every day another roadblock, another tool, another set of vocabulary words to learn. It’s a good thing I like learning. Thank God for Google and YouTube. 

Over and over I kept saying, “I’m not tech savvy.”

But here’s the truth. I was becoming tech savvy one baby step at a time. 

Like many of life’s successes, they happen in little indiscernible increments over a period of time. 

So maybe you’re feeling, “Not tech savvy” today.  But if you’re like me, you’re more tech savvy today than you were yesterday. 

I’ll be darned if I’m not becoming quite tech savvy these days.

 

Cindy White is a freelance copywriter. If you want to see just how tech savvy she’s become, check her out at www.wordswellcrafted.com  

Purging the Sadness

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With the return of sunshine comes the urge to purge.

If you aren’t familiar with the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, here’s the very condensed version. She teaches that you can go through all your things, once and for all, and never have to do it again. When you’re done, only the items that bring you joy will have a place in your home.

The system is basically that you gather up all like items from everywhere in your house, and pick them up one at a time, and ask, “Does this spark joy?”  If it doesn’t, it goes.

She then teaches a unique way of folding and storing what you do keep so that you can see and enjoy everything you have.

So I decided to do it. I’m living in a very compact space and running a business out of it too, so having crap spilling out of my closet just isn’t cutting it for me.

I made it easily through the pants in one day. I took my time (because Facebook) but at the end of the day, I’d kept 13 pairs of pants, including shorts and capris. I bagged up 7 pairs of pants for my daughter to go through, and 9 pairs of pants are off to be donated.

It feels great. And I smile when I look at my pants all lined up in a neat little row there on the shelf.

So today I decided to sort my skirts. I don’t wear skirts (because, you know…shoes…) so I wasn’t feeling too emotional about the whole ordeal.

One after the other, I picked them up, asked them if they brought me joy, and tried them on. Two or three were so un-joyful that I didn’t even bother to try them on. Into the donation bag they went.

I picked up a brown skirt, with lovely fabric and a fabulous ruffly thing going on at the bottom. I smiled. I love this skirt. I tried it on and it fit perfectly. The only thing is, this skirt is not a popular length. It’s too long.

But you know what? I love it, and it brings me joy. So I’m keeping it. I now have an excuse to go buy a pair of brown knee-high boots. It’ll be very boho.

Then I came to it. That black skirt with the white polka dots. I tried it on. It fit perfectly. It swished and twirled like a dream. It had always been my favorite, go-to skirt.

And then it happened. The flood of emotions hit me.

This wasn’t joy.

This was the skirt I was wearing that one Mother’s Day, when I was feeling sad and alone, when my marriage was feeling all wrong, and my daughter was trying to cheer me up with a walk in the local gardens and a photo shoot. (See photo above.)

It was a magical day during a lonely time.

I realized, then and there, that this “favorite skirt” was not ever going to bring me joy, but only remind me of another time that I’ve worked so hard to leave behind me.

You see, the most painful thing about divorce is not the betrayal, or the living without him. It’s having your happily ever after stolen from you. At least it was for me, anyway.

I can’t go back to that place every time I look into my closet and see that skirt. So, I thanked it for its service to me, and into the donation bag it went.

I hung 4 skirts back into my closet.

Moving forward feels great.

 

Please feel free to comment and share if you like. Thank you for reading.

Why I Say Happy Holidays

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Every holiday season the debate begins again. “I am a Christian, therefore I will only say Merry Christmas.”  Meanwhile, the Politically Correct camp is saying, “Never say Merry Christmas because you’ll offend the Muslims and Jews and non-believers.”

I say, “Common sense in all things.”  If someone says Merry Christmas to me, I reply with a Merry Christmas. But more often than not, I will wish people Happy Holidays.

I don’t do it to be politically correct. I do it because the holidays are a season. Christmas is a day, but “the holidays” can encompass the time between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Nearly every religion celebrates something during this 6 week period of time. I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about every aspect of every holiday, but I can acknowledge there are holy days to be celebrated.

If you are a Christian, like me, you know what I mean by Happy Holidays.

During this season we decorate with items that are meaningful to us. There are ornaments made by a favorite aunt, and some made by our children in Kindergarten. Commemorative pieces purchased on vacations add a bit of nostalgia as well. We bring out the special candles and put out the embroidered hand towels.

We make and buy gifts for people we love. Lists are written, packages are wrapped with loving care, and cookie baking becomes a labor of love.

Many of us feel a fresh compassion in our hearts for those less fortunate than ourselves and do a little something extra this time of year. Donations soar during the holidays as we embrace a more selfless mindset.

There is a “spirit” to the holidays. Neighborhoods and shopping centers come alive with lights and decorations, beginning at Thanksgiving and staying up into January. Children of all ages delight in the sights and sounds. Families gather and traditions are embraced, while new ones are formed.

Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, neither is a bad word. You don’t have to celebrate a particular holiday yourself to wish another happiness in celebrating it themselves. It makes little sense to force your particular holiday onto someone that doesn’t celebrate the same one. How much nicer is it to tell another to enjoy their holiday? It’s so sweet to hear a Jewish person tell me Merry Christmas. And for those who don’t celebrate any? I still wish for them to enjoy the holiday season.

You see, it’s not anti-Christian to wish others the joy and happiness that can be felt during this time of year. Saying Happy Holidays lets others know you care. The sights and sounds, traditions and fellowship that surround the season bring joy to many. For many others it can be a time of sadness, and your smile and kindness might make a big impact, or an important small impression on their heart.

Happy Holidays!

 

Thank you for reading. If you found value in this article, please use the like button. (It makes the internet elves like me better.) Comments are welcome. ~ Cindy 

How Dare You?

Anyone that really knows me, knows I don’t get easily offended. I understand that people look at everything through different lenses. Life experience, input, influences, priorities, and personality all contribute to our individuality, and though we won’t agree on everything, we can respect each other.

I always say, “I issue much grace because I require much grace.”

This election brought out our differences like nothing ever has. But here’s the thing; I decided my ballot selections in my prayer closet. Every little black line was a heart wrenching decision based on the knowledge I possessed and conviction I felt. Some “friends” felt it was okay to attack me because they disagreed. How dare you?

I’m offended.

It is nobody’s business how I voted. To be grilled on how I voted, and why I voted that way, is a violation of my privacy, my human rights, and an attack on my character and faith. Nobody is required to justify their personal vote. How dare you?

I’m offended.

I’m offended by those who have said, “If you didn’t vote my way I don’t want you in my life.” That’s not only immature, it’s emotional blackmail. So my choice is to either lie or hide my vote selections, or sever all ties to someone I love and care for. Really? Really?? How dare you?

I’m offended.

But by the Grace of God may I find all the forgiveness needed to carry on in His Joy. Offense is the bait of Satan, and though I may have tasted for a moment, I’m not going to bite.

To take that bait will make me sick and drive me down a path away from the Throne of Grace which I so desperately need. Because I have been forgiven much, if the offenders repent who am I to withhold forgiveness?

Whether they repent or not, how dare I?

 

Only Light Can Push Out Darkness

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My heart breaks for the children of the world who live in poverty, deprived of the most basic elements of food and shelter, not to mention love and security. As I lift my prayers this morning for this segment of society, I think how much God’s heart is for the widows, the orphans, and the poor. God commands that we care for the weak and vulnerable among us.

Looking at the world events these days, it’s clear to see anger and hate. I can’t wrap my brain around the kind of un-human that would set out to rape and beat an elderly woman in her own apartment, or beat and rob and old man in a wheelchair, steal a needed device from a handicapped child, torture an animal, or use a small child as if she were a sex toy and not a helpless baby.

We see evil all around. It’s always been here, but it used to stay in the dark. The “bad people” kept to themselves until the darkness of night, when they would sneak in and rob and steal. Killings were motivated by anger in the moment, revenge, or fear of being caught. Now we see murders taking place in broad daylight against innocent, unsuspecting victims. The news is a constant barrage of such events.

The blatancy of criminals today is beyond shocking. Young punks make a game of knocking out strangers on the street with one punch. Maniacs are snatching young children right from their parent’s side or even out of their bedrooms. Gang rapes are occurring more and more, but instead of happening in secret, they’re being video taped and shared publicly. Gunmen shoot innocent people down in cold blood for sport. Thieves are taking what they want, when they want, even if it’s on your front porch. And there’s no remorse.

This prevailing evil is creeping in at an alarming rate. We wonder how to protect ourselves from something so unpredictable and pervasive. Gun sales are rising, for obvious reasons. Perhaps if we arm ourselves we can ward off the danger. And in some cases, that may be the answer. But not every circumstance is going to be helped by the fact that we have a gun in a safe in our closet.

The weapon we, as a society, are using to combat this evil is fear. But fear never drives out evil. It feeds it.

Love combats evil. That’s not to say that you can hug the bad guy and he’ll cry and ask your forgiveness and turn from his evil ways. It’s possible though, that with love, we could keep someone on the edge of darkness from falling in. Many criminals today don’t seem to have a heart or soul. It’s as if there is a demonic possession in place. What could have sent them into that darkness? Could love have stopped it?

God tells us to love our neighbors. But what if we loved our neighbors better? What if we prayed for the widows and orphans, and then helped them? What if young people today stepped out of their self-absorbed bubbles and looked after the elderly couple next door? What if we donated a little money to the foster care agency or mentored a young person? Or how about we bring some food, yes, even kosher food, to the food bank? The opportunities are endless.

Oh, how we love to see acts of kindness and deeds of compassion. Those are the stories that flood social media. We love the light, and it restores our hope. It’s contagious. It drives out fear, giving us courage to love beyond our current comfort zone.

I know I could do a lot better job of caring for the vulnerable and needy, God help me. Lest you think I’m being preachy, know that I’m preaching to myself. If you’re reading this, you are probably someone who already does more than I do for the needy. Keep shining your light, because it helps the rest of us find our own luminescence.

Jesus is the Light of the world, and if He is in us, what can extinguish our light? Light is the one thing that can push back the darkness. If ever there was a time that darkness needed a good shove, this is it.

 

Cindy White ~ Freelance writer @ Words Well-Crafted

Giving Birth To A Dream

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Back in October, I had a very vivid dream that I was pregnant. Counting out nine months, I arrived at late-June/early-July as my “due date.” At that time I didn’t even know what I was giving birth to, but I knew what the dream meant. God had impregnated me with a “new life,” one that would develop and grow in me until the day I “gave birth” to it.

I’ve given birth to five children. Each time there were a lot of people involved. During the development stage, I relied on family, friends, doctors, and nurses for extra care and support. I relied heavily on the food supply chain! I needed products and services I didn’t need at other times in my life. We don’t do much in life without the involvement of others in some way or another.

Up until this point in this “pregnancy,” my part has been one of a nurturer. There’s a lot of internal growing to do in only nine months. I’ve had to learn all I can, take care of myself, and do some preparation. I’ve even had to endure some discomfort.

All these things are part of giving birth. It’s far more than just those few hours in the delivery room. Durning those nine months, amazing things are happening, seen and unseen.

And then one day (or night), it’s time.

This year I began to seriously pursue a new career. And here I am today. These last few days of “giving birth” to this business have been difficult. My significant other wants to help me, but there’s little he can do beyond his role. Yes, he has a part, just as my children’s father did when we had our kids.

  • Make me comfortable
  • Hold my hand
  • Tell me I’m doing great
  • Remind me to breathe
  • Feed me ice chips. (Okay, that one is now just FEED ME)

He’s great at those things, which is wonderful. What he can’t do for me are those things I must do myself.

  • The labor pains
  • The pushing
  • The bleeding
  • The breathing
  • And eventually, the nursing

These aspects of launching a new career are all on me. Only I can experience the labor pains within me. Only I can push — and push I must. I may bleed energy, time, and money in this process. I have to remember to breathe in deep — God’s love and grace — and exhale my fears and doubts away. And I will have to nurse this along, day by day, and sometimes in the wee hours of the night.

I’ve been blessed with awesome support around me during this process. I couldn’t have done it without the others involved, just as I couldn’t have birthed my five beautiful children without help.

I’d almost forgotten about that dream from nine months ago until something stirred my memory recently. At the time of the dream, I knew something awesome would come, but I didn’t know that baby yet. I didn’t have a face or a name for it. Today I have this “baby” in my arms, and it has a name.

                                   WordsWellCrafted

I’m proud to introduce my new career as a professional freelance copywriter.

Cindy White – Freelance Copywriter

So I Voted Anyway…

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First off, I want to start with a disclaimer. I am not in any way imaginable an expert on political issues. Therefore, this is not a political piece. This is an opinion piece. My blog — my feelings, at least today.

I voted today. But I didn’t want to. Never have I felt so apathetic about placing my vote. I remember proudly taking my kids with me so they could witness the wonderful process we have in place in this fine country for making our voice heard. But on this day, I felt no pride, no voice, no point in wasting my time.

Having only recently moved to the area, there were a couple of issues that made today’s vote more pointless than usual. To begin with, I don’t know anything about the local candidates. So other than the guy who’s name is on the sign on my folks’ front lawn, I would leave those blank.

The other issue with being new here, I didn’t get registered to vote when I thought I had. And when I tried, I had the registration form yanked away from me by a very unethical woman that didn’t want to assist me if I wasn’t in her party of choice. (Had I been feeling feisty that day instead of focused on getting my dad and his wheelchair through the crowd, I would have resolved that issue right there on the spot). I did go online to register, but I think I may have been too late. I never received anything in the mail, so I wasn’t well informed.

Let’s add to that, that there was not a presidential candidate on any of the ballots that I was willing to place my pen mark in support of. And here’s where you might think I’m being “political”. I’m not being political, I’m being anti-criminal, anti-narcissist, anti-socialist. I’m simply not okay with any of those boobs (forgive me for insulting actual boobs) becoming POTUS.

So, being fairly certain I wasn’t going to be on the list (which I wasn’t), and being completely disgusted with and/or uninformed about the candidates and ballot measures, you can imagine my disinterest in voting. I would have to research online to locate my poling place as well.

So why did I bother to vote? It’s simple really. Every time I considered NOT voting, images of women being beaten in the streets flashed in my mind. You know the picture — women so determined and courageous, fighting for the right to vote. Women willing to pay an enormous price — their marriages and families, their standing and comfort, even their freedom. It was called “Suffrage” for a reason. Why did they do it? So women would have a voice. So I could vote.

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How could I not vote? To ignore my right and my duty would be to dishonor those brave women. How much courage did it take for me to drive to a retirement center and fill out a little paper and draw a couple of black lines? None. Even if my vote doesn’t get counted, I exercised my right. I owe them that much.

And Then I Came Home…

Placeholder ImageI sit at the kitchen table, enjoying a home-cooked meal with my parents. The same kitchen I ate my childhood dinners in. The sun shines in my dad’s eyes, as it did every night at dinner growing up. It was a sign of how predictable dinner time was in our house.

At fifty-something, I get to enjoy these dinners most evenings, as I find myself living with my folks now. It’s an odd turn of events, having once been married with 5 kids and a house of our own. But sadly, like many my age, I got divorced. I ended up in a dumpy apartment I couldn’t afford, working at a job I didn’t enjoy. I was feeling trapped and unhappy.

My parents had been encouraging me to move in with them.

“It doesn’t make sense for me, at my age, to live with my parents.” I said to my mom, “Unless it would somehow be helpful to you.”

She looked me in the eyes and said, “It. Would. Be. Helpful. To. Us.”

Oh. Game changer.

I threw my stuff into storage and moved 100 miles away from everything I’d known for over a quarter century; my church, my kids, my friends and co-workers, and all my favorite shops and restaurants.

And so I began the transition, from independent adult to interdependent child. It worked out great the first month there, as they were traveling and I got the distinct pleasure of being the substitute crazy cat lady for the two fur-monsters. Allergies aside, we bonded and the house didn’t burn down that month. All good.

Upon their return, it wasn’t long before my dad got sick. He spent nearly two months in the hospital and nursing facility. Thank God I was there. I don’t know how my mom or I would have survived if I hadn’t been there. We needed each other. The cats needed me. It was a long ordeal, and thankfully he’s home now and doing pretty well.

I’m clearly not alone in this living situation. Recently the New York Times ran an article on this subject:

“For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.”

 That’s a big number.

My situation is a positive one. I’m very quiet and somewhat helpful, and we respect each other. But that’s not always the case. As a bank teller, I met several elderly women that had adult children living with them, many times with teenagers. These families created a drama-filled hellish situation for these widows that should have been enjoying their golden years. Instead they were often slaves to demanding, ungrateful home-wreckers. Financially strapped and unable to move, they admitted to me that it was like being a prisoner in their own home.

However for many of us, it’s an absolute honor and privilege to be able to experience that parent/child relationship from a mature adult perspective. I get to show my parents I love them every day. I get to hear him make her laugh, and her marvel at what a handsome man he is, every day. I get to hang out with my dad and watch T.V., or cook up magic with my mom in the kitchen. We make a great team, she and I. She’s my best friend.

My good friend and author, Bryan Koeff shared with me his experience having spent some time living with his parents as an adult.

“Had I not been living there, I would have missed out on hours upon hours of time simply being around them.” Recalling a precious memory of watching his mom sleep out in the sun while he weeded the garden, Bryan says, “Had I been visiting, she would have been too busy waiting on me to be relaxing.”

Our home is a beautiful place to be. Everyone that walks in the door feels “at home”. My folks have been very supportive and accepting of the fact that I’m a grown woman. I can do what I want without visible eye rolling. Maybe they’re biting their tongues, but I don’t sense any condemnation. It’s a temporary situation, but there’s not a time line. I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue my dreams and career goals. I don’t take this opportunity lightly and am putting in my full effort.

If you Google search “living with your parents at 50” There’s a lot there. Unfortunately, most of it’s negative. Often there’s a stigma to living with your parents as an adult. Bryan shared, “I rarely told people that I was living with my folks, because I didn’t want to be judged.” But for me, there’s no shame in it.

Whether it’s a good idea or not, I suppose depends on many factors:

  • Are you able to contribute, such as cooking, errands, chores?
  • Are there circumstances such as a disability that require you to live there?
  • Can you pay your own bills? Or are you a financial burden to your parents?
  • Are the living conditions acceptable? If not, are you helping or adding to the problem?
  • Are you welcome there? That’s the biggest key. Your parents have earned the right to their peace and privacy at this time in their lives.

My situation will change, and I’ll move on. But until then, I’ll know that I’m very blessed. There will come a day that this time with them will be but a precious memory. One I wouldn’t trade for all the world.

As Bryan says, “My parents are both gone now and those memories of living with them in their later years will never leave me. Regardless of the ups and downs, I would do it again in a heartbeat.”