Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 91: Evolution or Resignation?

It is funny what comes across your feed on Facebook. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a fan of the Ultimate 80's Fan Page. For me, the 80s were a blast (okay, at least the first five years of the 80s were a blast). Besides, how can you take a decade that gave us shoulder pads, big hair, leggings, and songs like "One Night in Bangkok" (with the stellar lyrics: I get my kicks above the waist line sunshine), "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" (George Michael's little shorts should have been a clue, just sayin') and "Hungry Like the Wolf" (WTF is with the lyrics "Smell like I sound") seriously?

So, tonight a song from 1984 popped up on my feed from the 80's fan page and it was actually a song with a bit more meaning. This is Steve Perry's song "Foolish Heart." It was from his solo album (oh sorry, his CD, er from a bunch of his songs on iTunes for you really young people). For those young people, he was the lead singer of the band Journey and his voice is incredible. They have tried to replace him but to no avail. He is irreplaceable, just admit it and move on and call yourselves something else. But once again, I digress.

This song has a lot of meaning for me, but then, the lyrics themselves are heartbreaking (unless you have a heart of stone). But, in 1984, I was 22 years old and in college, and as I was reflecting with one of my FB friends tonight, I seemed to be able to fall in love as soon as I looked at someone. We were pondering that this is part of our evolution and that we have to go through these heartbreaks when we are young to really evolve.

It got me to thinking that if we go through too many of them at such a young age, is it that we evolve, or, is that we just resign ourselves to never really falling in love again because it hurts too much? I like to think that we end up somewhere in the middle between giving it away to anyone who wants it and building (as Sting says) a fortress around our hearts. No matter how we try to protect our hearts, even at 50 years old, they are still open. How else would you explain the ability of a song that is now 28 years old to make me tear up?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 90: Still Walking It Out

As I wrote about in January, I get so much out of walking. I not only get exercise, but something about being in the fresh air, moving, gets me to thinking more clearly than I usually do. As I wrote then, I discover things, I remember things and I recognize things, sometimes painful and sometimes pleasant, but always important.

It's kind of hard to ignore your own voice when you walk alone, which is something I excel at. Usually I surround myself with other people, work, chores, or anything so I don't have to hear it. That's why in the past couple of weeks, I have walked more than I usually do because I really want to clear my head so that I can listen closely to myself, and do something other than beat myself up for the mistakes I have made. And, so that I can move forward and start writing again.

The ironic thing is that sometimes I still hear other people's voices in my head even when they are not there. Okay, before somebody calls to have me committed (this is mostly for you Mr. Literal), I am not literally hearing voices, but I am once again worrying what other people are thinking of me, my actions, and what they think I "should" be doing or what they think my punishment should be for doing or not doing it.

According to my fancy iPhone app. "Map My Walk," I have walked 35.19 miles in March, and there's still 1 more day left. I just wonder how far I will have to keep walking before I really do start to listen to my own voice and stop listening to what I think other people are saying.

Bat House at Wilson Park seen on my walk today

Yet another Bat House at Wilson Park

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 88: In Pursuit of Peace

As I have written here before, just when you need it the most, you see or find the right quote, the right song, or the right person.

This quote was actually in the Daily Fish Wrapper er...Breeze this a.m. It is another sad example of how someone didn't listen to themselves. It was in the paper today because it is the anniversary of Woolf's death, which was a suicide (she drowned herself). Obviously she didn't believe what she was saying, and thought that avoiding life really was the only way to find peace. Talk about saying one thing and doing another, so tragic.

It also shows once again, that, no matter how gifted, creative, talented or intelligent somebody is, everyone has issues and problems, if you avoid dealing with them, they become much bigger than they are, or ever need to be, and can literally destroy you.

I have spent the past 48 1/2 years avoiding, ignoring or hiding from mine. In my 49th year, I am finally starting to figure out that avoiding only postpones the inevitable, it does not prevent it. Even though I am not a psychologist or therapist (and, I don't even play one on TV) I have learned that you cannot compartmentalize or separate one part of your life from the other to avoid dealing with the things that make you unhappy or that are problems for you. If you think you can, you are only fooling yourself and it is only a matter of time before those worlds collide and the collision is not pleasant for you, or those around you.

I only wish I had learned that earlier, or had taken my own advice and listened to my own intuition, but, I didn't (at least now I have plenty of things to blog about :-D). All I can do now is move forward and keep facing things head on. While it is not always easy and it often stings, much like when you rip a bandage off, after the initial pain, a sense of calm and yes, even peace starts to show up.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 86: Does Honesty Always Have To Be Brutal?

"They" say that honesty is the best policy and while I wholeheartedly agree with "them," I also agree with those who sometimes refer to people as being "brutally honest."

I know that people often feel this way when "helpful" people give them unsolicited advice, opinions, or feedback about how they should live their life, who they should love, how they should dress, etc. etc. I have to admit that at one time in my life, I was one of the biggest providers of this "helpfulness." Maybe I am finally maturing (or maybe I am just delusional that I am maturing) but, I have realized that it isn't helpful at all, just invasive, judgmental, and downright rude.

I think this was my mantra for a long time:

But now, instead of being unnecessarily "helpful" to others, I am now being unnecessarily helpful to myself and being even more brutally honest. And, I am learning that it is no less hurtful or brutal when I do it to myself, than when I do it to other people. In fact, if I am too brutal to myself it stops me dead in my tracks.

So, I have been looking at things differently this past week. As long as I feel like being brutally honest, I decided to just let myself wallow (yep, there's that word again) in the fact that I think the worst has happened and if so, to just think about the good that can come from it. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 84: Sisterhood Is Powerful

There is something amazing about sisters. No matter what happens to us in our lives, no matter how crazy we might make each other at times, how long its been since we've seen each other, how old we get, and how different we might be, we are always there for each other.

I am fortunate to have two older sisters, both of whom are two of the nicest women you'd ever have the privilege of meeting. It would be amazing to have either of them as a friend or a sister, but for some reason, I was lucky enough to get both of them. Now that is the perfect "two-fer."

Unlike me, they are also both "shiny" and always seem to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. I suppose I am the half-empty one in the family to kind of balance things out.

And, since they are both older, I will always be the "little" sister, which kind of takes the sting out of turning 50 this year (just sayin').

The other privilege of being the little sister is that no matter what you do, they always look out for you, even when you do something stupid and feel at your lowest, they are always there to lift you up, even when you make it hard for them to even try. I might not always show it or be the best at opening up, but, your love and support never goes unnoticed or unappreciated. I love you both very much and I always will.

Judi, Miriam, and Sue, Halloween circa 1966?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 83: How Do You Really Move On?

I find it ironic that I posted about wallowing just the other day and how I need to stop doing that. And then something happens to make me start wallowing anew. 

So twice in one week, I am learning another hard lesson. I have to walk the walk, I can't just write about something. I have to live it. I can't keep wallowing in my own shit. I created this and somehow I have to find the strength to overcome it.

But, how do I do that when I have been shaken to the core? And, the worst part is that I have done it to myself. I have lost confidence and trust in myself and I alternate between feeling like I have gone crazy, to feeling like I am a hack and a fraud, and that I shouldn't even write anymore.

It's one thing to admit your mistakes, it's another to really get past them and move on. So, I am working hard to try not to wallow in these feelings and to actually keep going and not quit. The real test will be when I sit down and start to write again, and whether I can actually do it.

As always, I am using these cliched quotes to help inspire me. Let's see if they actually help.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 81: Learning Lessons The Hard Way

Those who are actually reading this blog may have noticed I haven't written anything for a few days. And, you may either be grateful for that, or actually miss reading my self-indulgent rants.

Either way, I am writing tonight, so you can hide or you can read on. As I have written here before, this blog has become a kind of journal, only one that I am sharing with the world (technically since it is on the World Wide Web, but realistically, with maybe the 5 people who are actually reading it). And, just as I do in real life, I share almost everything, or, as some people close to me say, I provide TMI (too much information).

Yesterday I had what is fair to say is probably one of the worst days I have had in at least 25 years, maybe longer, and was so upset that uncharacteristically, I did not share. For fear that people think someone is ill, or has died, or something else horrible like that has happened, I want to reassure you that nothing like that happened and everyone I know and love is fine. Maybe I should have said it was the worst professional day I have ever had.

I have also been unsure how much to say, or how to say it. But, I have so publicly written about the book I am working on/coauthoring that I feel I need to say something. So, I will just say that during the process I have made some mistakes, some really big mistakes. Like most mistakes, they were not intentional, nor was I even aware I was making them. But these mistakes mean that things need to be corrected and that will delay the book and even how it is structured. It will not be coming out this year, but hopefully next year.

As someone who seems to think that she can do it all, and expects perfection from herself, making mistakes in my work is hard enough, but when I feel like I am letting other people down, it is even harder. That's why I spent most of the day yesterday curled up in the fetal position, licking my wounds.

After a restless, mostly sleepless night, after thinking about it in the grand scheme of things, and listening to the incredible support I was getting not only from my friends and family, but the wonderful people I am working with, I realized that beating myself up for being human and making mistakes, would be an even bigger mistake. All I can do is accept responsibility for it, not hide from the fact that I did it, and apologize for it and for creating extra time and effort. Now, I just need to move forward.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 78: Anticipating Spring

The first day of spring, or to get fancy, the Vernal Equinox, is now only two days away but it sure doesn't feel like it. I think Mother Nature is trying to remind us that it is still winter because here in L.A., we don't usually know when the seasons change. So, she's having winter go out with a bold statement so we don't forget.

It has been rainy, windy and chilly for us here in the South Bay. The high today was 57 and the low was 43. I know for my friends that live where it often snows (that's you Pablo and Ivanna), I know I sound like a total whiner (note: I am one, see my previous post where I admit to it).

But, whiner or not, I am ready for spring. To state the obvious, I was born in the spring, I love flowers and I love to garden. But more than that, spring is literally the time for new life, for new growth and for change. It provides the perfect metaphor for what this blog with its process of self-discovery is all about.

I know that I will be done soon with the book and will be able to get into my own garden and also visit some of my favorite gardens to see what's new and what's familiar each spring. I cannot wait. I am hoping that some of you will join me not only by reading this blog, but literally when I am ready to get out and play!

But, until then, I will have to satisfy my premature spring fever with some photos of visits past.

My favorite flower and  my favorite color. Iris at the Huntington Library and Botanic Garden, spring 2010.

Bougainvillea at Getty Center, May 14, 2009

Getty Center, May 14, 2009

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 76: Whining or Wallowing

All of this whining about my book deadline, the pressure of it, my turning 50 and getting "o-l-d," etc. etc., has led me to reflect on how much I whine. And, it has made me wonder: just where is the line between whining and wallowing or, is there even one?

Over the past year I have been taking a cold, hard look at myself and not surprisingly, I don't always like what I see. One of the things I dislike the most is the whining, and the fact that I crossed over that line a long time ago.

At almost 50, it is way past time for me to come back over the line to the other side. It sounds simple, but it sure hasn't been. Our habits, our way of being in the world, are some of the hardest things to change. They are even harder to break when you surround yourself with people who have the same habits. That's probably why they are in our lives to begin with. That tired old cliché "misery loves company," points out the truism in that. 

So, I am working on changing this. Part of why it is hard is that there are simply some people who will never change, or don't even know they are doing it, and those are the people that can keep you mired in it if you let them. My job is to not let them, even if that means letting them go.

I find it interesting how things seem to happen in your life just at the right time or just when they are needed. Maybe it is just that we start becoming aware of them because they are similar to what we are going through. As I have written about before, music is one of those things for me. The right song can always help me get through the hard things in my life.

And, right now, I keep hearing the line to my current favorite song playing in my head: "All of your wallowing is unbecoming. All of your wallowing is unbecoming."

It is this song,  "Come Back Down," by Greg Laswell, who is joined by Sara Bareilles. I love them both and they sound great together. It is about a friend who has been having a "pity party" and whose friends are waiting for him/her to "come back down."

This version has the lyrics over the video, which is good and bad since they video is so great and it kind of blocks the scenery. You can also see the video (without the lyrics) on Greg Laswell's web site. Right now, the video pops up as soon as you go to his site.  

"All of your wallowing is unbecoming. All of your wallowing is unbecoming. You've got to take it on your own from here. It's getting pathetic. And I'm almost done. here. You've got to come back down."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 74: Two Months From 50 & Six Weeks From Deadline

Well, the "big day" is now exactly two months away. But, since my book deadline is April 30, I am getting even less excited about the big day and having a hard time writing this blog every day. It is hard to write something new every day about the complete stress I am feeling, or to pretend that I am not feeling it. So, here's my attempt to put a fresh spin on my whining. As always, you are free to step away from the blog at any time.

My inner perfectionist is rearing her ugly head because I am now editing and I am starting to feel like this:

I know that this is counterproductive and I am trying to remember this because when I try for perfect, it doesn't even turn out good, and in fact, it usually never gets done.

I am also getting panicked trying to find images from places or people who won't charge me both reproduction and use rights for each image because there's no way I can afford them.

I know that once I get done, I will feel differently, but right now I am just feeling this constant angst about not having enough images or the right ones. Or, that I didn't do enough research or the "right" research. Or that we are forgetting something or somebody really big.

I know this is just part of the process, I have been through it before and not just when working on a book. I also know that this feeling, the fear and the stress that come with something this big is why some people either never start something or finish it.

I might be a lot of things, a perfectionist, sarcastic, flippant, and yes, stubborn, but I am not a quitter (because I am stubborn). Even when I should quit or give up on something I don't.

So, I will keep using these lovely, illustrated quotes, I will keep walking to clear my head, I will soak in my bubble baths, and more importantly I will keep going even when I don't feel like it because this is an opportunity that I have worked long and hard for and that doesn't come that often.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 72: Grateful for The Things That Make Me, Me

It is funny how your perspective on things changes as you get older. I was born with two different eye colors: my left is brown and my right is blue. And, I was also born with adult sized muscles in my left eye which caused it to cross terribly, and which apparently, if it had been left to do so, would have left me blind in that eye.

So, I had 3 surgeries when I was very young (all before I was 2 years old) to correct the problem. I will always, always be grateful to Dr. Leonard Apt at UCLA Med. Center's Jules Styne Eye Institute for saving my sight and letting me be one of his original guinea pigs. I was one of the first and there are photos of my eyes in one of his first books about the procedure. Ah, but again I digress. Here's info on Dr. Apt from web link I just added "He is the first physician to be board-certified in both pediatrics and ophthalmology and helped create pediatric ophthalmology as a new sub-specialty in medicine.  He is a founding member of UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute and is recognized as the founder of academic pediatric ophthalmology."

I remember when I was about 7 or 8 and really started to notice that I had two different colors. I started thinking that they must have messed up my eyes when they operated and they didn't have the "right" color when they fixed my left eye. I was reassured by both my Mom and my Dad that no, I was born that way, that is how they came out.

I used to fret about how weird it made me, especially as I got to jr. high and high school and at one point thought about getting contact lenses to hide them or to make them look like the same color. But, I have never been a woman who has done much to camouflage herself or to make herself look differently than what I really am even when I was young.

Ironically, keeping/wearing glasses my whole life has made some people think I was and/or am hiding (you know who you are). I have had people tell me, "oh, you'd be so much prettier without them," and my personal favorite "I can't believe you aren't taking them off for your wedding, you aren't even going to at least take them off for the pictures?"

People never cease to amaze me, how they think they are being "helpful" but in fact, are being hurtful even though they don't mean to be. Why would I take them off for pictures? Is it because it would be better if I didn't look like me, or look the way I always look? Do they not realize it sounds like that's their point, that maybe I shouldn't look like me because maybe they think I am not pretty enough the way I am. I know that's not what they meant (although maybe there are some people who think that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all), but people get so caught up on what society thinks a woman should do for beauty they don't realize how it comes across. Again, more digressing.

Here's what it comes down to for me. My glasses are part of me, they are an appendage, just like my arms and my legs are and I have never not had them. My dad always tells me that the first thing I would do in the morning while still in my crib was to reach for them. So, for me it would be hiding to get rid of them and it would be me trying to be something that I am not.

Not sure what is possessing me to do this but I took a photo of my eyes to illustrate just how different they still are from one another. As I have gotten older, I have come to love my eye color, and love that I am one of very few people who were born this way. Many people have different colors, but, those are often a result of injury or accident (as in David Bowie's case). I also love how, in spite of all the other changes my body, face, etc. is going through as I age, they haven't changed. They remind me that I am still the same inside, which to me is more important than anything on the outside will ever be.
One Brown, One Blue, both topped off with brown & gray and underlined with wrinkles

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 70: When Everything Old Sounds Better

I am not quite sure when it happened, but I have really noticed it in the last year. Noticed what you ask? That I sound like a middle-aged person, or more precisely, like my parents did when they would start commenting on how nothing they like or remember is "here anymore." I remember thinking "old people, why would you want old stuff, new is so much better?"

I first noticed it when some of my favorite restaurants started going out of business, even jokingly saying that I cursed them, and that everything I like goes out of business. There are so many now, I can't even name them all (okay, or I can't remember their names, but that's for another post).

Then, I started noticing landmarks that are gone, like Marineland and Busch Gardens and suddenly I started remembering them with such fondness and nostalgia. I even started doing it about stores, The Treasury, White Front, and Old Town Mall. Seriously, Old Town Mall?! Or, I began to wax nostalgic about when Del Amo Mall was only one side, the old "Sears" side and it was open air to begin with and how much better that was (and yeah, they made the "new" part open air again, so maybe everything old really is better).

Oh yeah, suddenly everything "old" was better. "They don't make buildings like that anymore." "Things don't last like they used to," etc., etc. When I first started hearing those words come out of my mouth, I kept looking around for the old person who was saying them, and then it hit me: it was me. 

I get it now, I know why the "old people" always liked "old" things better; because they were "new" when they were young and those things remind them of when they were young. Now that those things are gone, it means they are getting old too. You track your life by the things around you, and if they don't last forever, it reminds you that you don't.

Today, I lost another thing that was part of my youth, part of my present and that actually was better. Today, the Ishibashi Farm had their estate sale. Soon, the farm stand will be coming down, Tom built that stand (it wasn't the City's or the Airport's) and he stipulated in his will that he wanted it torn down so that no other family can come in and take over the Ishibashi name. He knew that nobody was going to carry on the family farm and that it would die with him. So, I am going to try to honor his wish and remember it as it was, not how it was today and I will wax nostalgic about the old farm stand because it really was better.

Strawberry Season at Tom T. Ishibashi Farm

I want to remember Karen like this, wrapping up the berries for people

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 68: Napping It Out

Since I have written at the top of this blog that each day I am going to share something positive or something that I have learned or discovered, I am doing my best not to write about the fact that my head feels like it is going to explode, my nose and ears are stuffed, my eyes are watering, and when I cough I sound like I have consumption. The bottom line is I am actually sick with a cold or who knows what. I usually get a sinus infection around the start of spring, but this is a bit more than that.

I know I sound like a whiner and I suppose I am whining but I know it will pass. I have a cold, not the plague, and it is not serious, just inconvenient. Especially since I was trying to edit the book and I could not keep my eyes open.

That made me discover something today that might be worth sharing. That is that usually I don't give myself permission to stop and do nothing unless I am sick or exhausted. I am once again reminded that this is not a good thing. It is okay to just take some time to recharge and not feel like you need a reason to do that.

Probably one of the reasons I got sick is because I have been staying up until 12 or 1 every morning and not sleeping late enough, and generally not taking care of myself. Ironically, if I had, I would be done editing the chapters I wanted to today.

I also did something I don't do much anymore: I took a nap, one of my favorite things ever. I love it, always have. I remember when I was in college I tried to arrange my schedule so I could have as many naps as possible. Of course, I needed them then since I usually stayed up late and never slept at night. But again, I digress.

I think my whole point with this is to just remember that being overly productive doesn't necessarily make me a better person. That doesn't mean I need to be a lazy slug all the time. However, I will be always be a Banana Slug, since I am a proud UC Santa Cruz grad. and 100% slug! I just need to remember balance, all things in moderation. Something I am not good at.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 66: Overcoming Wistfulness With Wistaria

As both the first day of spring and my book deadline loom ever closer, I find myself getting a bit melancholy over the lack of time I have to do many of the things I like to do when spring comes. I am so close to being done, the chapter drafts are done and now we are editing and getting our images (the thing that stresses me even more than the writing) so there is light at the end of the tunnel. And, working on a book is temporary, it will be over with soon.

Still, I found myself having a little pity party today when I was thinking about the list of things I want to do but can't now. So, when I went for my walk at Wilson Park today (and to shop at the Torrance Certified Farmers' Market) I unexpectedly got today's lesson as I walked by the Wistaria vine (also spelled Wisteria) and found it blooming.

While I may not be able to trek to the Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival to see the incredible vine there, I was reminded that even though there are some things I can't do now because they are too far or take too long, sometimes you can find just what you are looking for in your own backyard. You just have to take the time to appreciate the beauty around you.

The more aware I become, and really stop to notice the things around me, it astonishes me how much beauty there is in the places that I regularly go. I know I live in an incredibly beautiful place, near the ocean and the Peninsula and I know how beautiful they are. But, I am talking about places that you don't normally think will be that way. I must have passed by that vine at least a dozen times in the past couple of weeks but I never stopped to look at it. It makes me wonder how many other things I miss by not taking the time to really look at them. 
Wisteria/Wistaria Vine at Wilson Park

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 63: In Praise of Dangerous Women

It is March (again, I know my calendar skills are impressive) which means that it is Women's History Month. This year's theme is "Women's Education--Women's Empowerment."

While I am now a farm writer, that doesn't mean I forget such occasions, it just means that now I write about women farmers, women gardeners, and women scientists. In fact, my Care2 post on Monday is about ways to inspire the next generation of women to pursue these areas.

However, I have been a bit busy and I haven't been able to make plans to attend some of the events for this month that I wanted to. So, I was very excited to see a special program being offered by the Torrance AAUW. The American Association of University Women is an awesome organization that "advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research and is open to anyone holding an associate or equivalent (RN), baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university."

I am also a bit ashamed to admit that for no real reason, I haven't been a member in a very long time and I am finally getting around to fixing that. However, as usual, I digress. The program today was called "The Women Who Rocked Torrance: 1912-2012" and was a sneak preview of an upcoming book on 30 women who have made a difference in Torrance.

It was very inspiring to hear about women who I have never known but who have made such an impact, and to hear about some that I have known and do know personally. Their stories are fascinating, and all the more so because of the things that they had to overcome to make a difference, especially stereotypes and resistance to them doing things simply because they were/are women.

An example is Susan Rhilinger's story. She's currently a City Council member but she retired from the Torrance Police Department about ten years ago. She was the first female sergeant, lieutenant, and captain in Torrance PD history, the first ever. She and other women actually had to file a lawsuit to get the City to allow them to be full police officers (this was back in 1974) because women were not allowed to be.

I had heard of Susan before I even met her, or even came to work or live back in Torrance. My friend Mike Tracy (the Police Captain I wrote about on Day 45), loved to give me a hard time about pretty much everything. I am a liberal, he was a conservative and a cop. But, he especially loved going after the fact that I minored in Women's Studies in college. Usually, he said things just to get me going and I never failed to disappoint.

We would go back and forth all of the time about politics, feminism, sexism, and even baseball, he could never understand how I could abandon the Dodgers for the Giants, and he would say "even your favorite team is liberal!" (I still hear that from people today).

When I told him I was getting a job at the City of Torrance, he told me, "you need to meet my friend Susan. She's the only woman lieutenant and like you, she doesn't take any crap and never sees any barriers because she's a woman." I said, "gee, it actually sounds like you think that's a good thing, or, are you just jerking my chain like you always do?" He said, "Nah, it is a good thing, and you will go far, just like she is, kid, I know it." Too bad he's not here to see how far I have gone, and more importantly, how far she has.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 62: It's My Life

Today is Day 62, and the year I was born is 1962 (okay, I know no matter what year I was born there would be one day during the year it was the same number). And, Day 62 is also Jon Bon Jovi's 50th birthday. When I was younger, I never was a huge Bon Jovi fan but I did like them and remember some of their earlier songs fondly.

This is a "newer" song (from 2000) and is one of my favorites. I thought it was very fitting for what has been going on in my life during the past year. I am sure part of it is the whole turning 50 thing. It seems that many of us need some kind of marker or significant event to make us look at our lives and ask ourselves "Is this really how I want to live? How can I make my life even better?" Or even ask, "why am I still doing this or why do I think I need to live the way that others think is best for me?"

It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just wanna live while I'm alive
It's my life 

As my older and wiser sister (yes, that's you Missy) once told me, as you start getting into your 40s and 50s, you become more comfortable with who you are. I have found this to be true. I know who I am, and I know what I want and have learned what I don't want. As the song says, "It's now or never," and I may be almost 50, but I am still young enough to make it happen.