Tag: fifty

What is dignity?   And why is it so important?

Dignity is a complex state and something that I truly believe that everyone deserves.  Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect

My blog is all about being fabulous despite the circumstances of your life.  Despite the curveballs that life throws at you.  Your dignity is something that is truly integral to your fabulousness no matter what age, gender or circumstance.

A little about me

Over the past five years (and a bit more perhaps) a lot of things have come across my path. I have been a victim of gaslight bullying in the work place. My health as also been a huge struggle, most especially with my arthritis, which has been stripping me of some of the things that I perhaps took for granted.  It is some of these situations that has made me realise how important dignity is.

If dignity has been stripped from you – for whatever reason, it isn’t the easiest thing to get back. Walking tall and acting confident when you are crippled with pain or humiliation is hard.  The first time I walked out with Stan, my trusty walking stick was hard.  Not simply because I thought people would be looking at me and questioning , but because I felt vulnerable.

Vulnerability is closely linked with dignity.

When I feel vulnerable, be it a situation when I had to return to the office after a humiliating dressing down, or when I had to introduce Stan to my date.  I feel vulnerable when I am faced with a plate of dinner that I know I cannot cope with (there are days when I cannot cut my food because of pain in my hands, and many days when I know I will be decorating my clothes with the food that I might spill).  I feel vulnerable when I need to ask for assistance to carry my tray in a restaurant and even on a very bad day when I cannot pick up a cup of tea.

There are days like this – perhaps more than I would like.  After several attempts, trying to get my essential fix of tea, I realised that lifting the cup was not an option.  I asked for a straw which was delivered with a smile and with an attitude that didn’t make me feel vulnerable.  This kind woman understood dignity.

We are all different

No two people are alike and there are many people living with disabilities both visible and invisible.  This month is autism Awareness month and I am delighted to hear of many supermarkets introducing shopping hours where attention has been paid to decreasing light, sounds and other sensory stimuli.  I will certainly be taking note of these.  As a result of my conditions I am hypersensitive and find shopping overwhelming at the best of times.

Invisible disabilities (very like me on a good day when I don’t have my stick or hand splints)  are exactly that.  They are invisible.  These include depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and MS just as a start.  Anybody going about what seems like daily life with these conditions is fighting an uphill battle and dignity is part of that.

So how can we help people to maintain their dignity?

  • Firstly as mentioned above we don’t know who is struggling.  So why not show everyone respect.  It is old-fashioned I know but if you are sitting on a train or tube and know that you are ok to stand, offer your seat.  I promise there is someone who is struggling to stand and maintain balance.
  • Be aware.  It takes so little to hold a door open, to perhaps notice that someone needs a little help, perhaps with carrying a tray or a cup of coffee.  Perhaps allowing someone to go ahead of you in the queue.  These are all little actions that will allow someone to maintain their dignity and not feel quite so vulnerable.
  • In close relationships, family and friends who know what someone is going through it is both easier and harder.  My advice would be to again be aware, be conscious of what things might be difficult, and simply help silently.  I had visitors over the Easter weekend and every day I realised that little things had happened.  My bin had been cleaned thoroughly, the back garden was tidied, the dishwasher had been packed and unpacked.  I didn’t ask for help, but it was given.  And I am so grateful.
  • Acceptance is key.  If there is a person in your life who is disabled in any way, simply accepting them for who they are is a wonderful gift of dignity.  When I was in a new relationship, I was shy about introducing Stan the Stick.  Eventually we were going on a trip and I knew I would need the support of my stick.  I remember asking my Mom.  If he doesn’t accept Stan he isn’t the man for you.  Wise woman!  I just loved the day when he suggested bringing Stan out with us.

 

My tool kit for coping

It may seem odd, but the little things I do for myself to feel better, and to maintain my dignity are important to me.

I like looking good.  I love my fashion and style.  If I am going out (and even sometimes staying in) choosing great clothes, doing my hair and spending time on my make-up give me that added confidence boost.

I also of course rely on the old favourites of pain relief, mindfulness and rest.  A great day out feeling totally dignified has a lot of planning behind it.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who I share my life with.  My friends who know and the strangers who don’t.  Allowing me my dignity is a gift.

 

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

 

Empty Nest  – a Syndrome or an Opportunity

On Tuesday last week I waved my son off on a journey that will propel him into the real world.  I closed the door and burst into tears.

I could not really explain the tear. They just came and the more I tried to stop them, the more they flowed.  I was a bit taken aback as I thought I had my head around it all.

From birth our role as a parent is as a nurturer.  We feed our children, keep them safe and do everything we can to make them smile.

I am a proud Mom

I am incredibly proud of the young man who is my son.  My son is a hard worker who is passionate about everything he does.  In my opinion he has unusual clarity about his life’s goals and is now on the way to a wonderful future.

He has had a fascination for computer games and programming for since his early teens and has worked steadily away in tandem with finishing school and then completing a degree in Theoretical Physics.  And, now he embarks on his new adventure as a games play programmer working on his dream game.  Yes, I am proud, extremely proud.  But, this job is near Manchester in the United Kingdom. So he is not only starting out in his new career and a whole new chapter of his life, but he has moved to another country.

Of course I will be visiting, and I have already started looking at flights and planning get-aways, but ultimately this week marks the end of my role as a mother to a child and the beginning of true adulthood for my son.

So an empty nest.  What does that mean?

In some ways I feel a fraud talking about my empty nest as he and I have lived apart for a while now between college and other things.  I did have the joy of having him under my roof for a couple of months after college which was a gift which I cherish.

An empty nest for me it marks the end of an era.  My child is now a tax paying adult!  It changes nothing about how I feel about him.  I will continue to worry about if he is eating well and meeting nice people, and that he is happy.  That part of mothering never turns off.  I do know however that as he left the nest, he is ready to fly.

I am sure that he will feel the excitement I once felt when I started out on my own and moved into my first flat with my sister.  The day I was shown my first desk at my first job, and the day I received my first pay cheque.

I have allowed myself a few days to get used to the idea that we no longer life in the same country, never mind the same house or town.  I have had a glass (or two) of Prosecco to celebrate his success and talk endlessly about how I feel, but now it is time to face up to what this empty nest means for me.

An Empty Nest as a launch pad?

I am at a stage in my life when I too can stand on the edge of the nest and decide where to fly.  What changes can I make in my life?  What destinations can I choose to fly too.

I know that many people of my age face the same challenges.  In a way it is an exciting phase for us empty nesters too.  We can play the game of reinvention.  I am putting myself in the way of opportunities.  I am determined to embrace my creative side and work on my art with the long-term aim of holding an exhibition.

You don’t get to 53 without accumulating. I have so many ‘things’ in terms of items that need dusting and tidying. So instead of shopping I am looking to spend my time and money on experiences.  I have booked to go to the National Gallery to see the Vermeer exhibition, signed up for an international craft class, and am playing short away trips.

South Africa is my destination in October and I am planning on spending time creating some wonderful new memories with friends old and new during my trip.  I will also stop off in Dubai for some special family time with my sister.

I have decided to consciously consider myself a Mommy bird who looks at her nest and instead of seeing it as empty sees it as an opportunity to fly.

As I continue to celebrate being fabulous in my fifties I hope you come back to share my journey here.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

Proudly Plus-sized and blogging about it!

For a long time I have been considering blogging about being plus-sized.  There is no reason why your size should stop you being fashionably fabulous.

For Christmas a couple of years ago my mom gave me a gift voucher to a fashion store.  Now, it is not polite to ask someone how much the voucher is worth. When I was in the shopping mall I popped into the store and asked the assistant if she could let me know how much I could spend.

The assistant looked at me, and didn’t even take the voucher.  She simply said “I don’t think we have anything to fit you here.”

I was speechless! Walking away from the store I felt less than fabulous and frankly upset and shocked.

Once I started to think about it I got mad.  This shop stocks fashion, shoes, handbags, fabulous accessories and lingerie.  They are also known for having a plus size department.  It was made apparent that this particular branch didn’t stock the plus size range, but that was no excuse for the rude and frankly hurtful manner in which I was addressed.

I could easily have chosen to spend my voucher money on earrings, and a gorgeous necklace or scarf.  The last time I checked my ears and neck were not plus sized.  A standard handbag also seems to fit me – in fact I like small bags.  I don’t want to sound bitchy, but really!!!

I did complain, and I did receive an apology.  It did get me thinking though of plus-size fashion, and especially the role accessories play in giving an outfit that fabulous touch. It was instances such as this that helped me to make the decision to introduce fashion and style into my blog.

Ireland’s got Curves and so do I

I am delighted to say that I will be attending Ireland’s got Curves a fabulous event which being launched by Miss Curves Ireland, SharonD.  For many of us who struggle with our weight we are made to feel less than fabulous by mainstream shops.

Many of my photographs (by the lovely Natalie Greer) show my head and shoulders (my best bits), but this photo shows almost all of me.  I am not going to shy away from showing my wobbly bits, after all they are part of me.

It is for this reason and my own experience that I have decided that I will embrace fashion blogging, as a plus-sized and over 50 fabulous woman.

Please come and visit my blog again and also follow me on Instagram – DynamicKerry – where I will be showing off my style!

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

 

Dating in your 50s – Part 3 – Joining the Online World

You have made the decision, you are going to dip your toes into online dating.  So, what next?

It is scary. But, what might happen?  Online dating in your 50s might lead to you the man (or woman)  of your dreams, or you might meet a really good friend.

Or, you might meet someone who is nothing like he said!

Honesty and bravery

Be honest.  When putting up your own profile be honest.  After all if you take it a step further any little white lies will be exposed.   Don’t feel that you have to put up every little detail about yourself, but do think of the information you would like to get from reading someone else’s profile.

Also be brave.  Do put up a photo.  When I started online dating I was so unhappy with the way I looked I didn’t put up a photo.  I started chatting to a lovely guy and we really got on well.  We even progressed to a phone call, and still I wouldn’t let him see what I looked like.

Eventually I sent a picture to his phone.  I literally held my breath for the time it took him to get back to me, petrified he would run a mile.

We all have wrinkles and are getting a bit older.  We have bits that are not where they were twenty years ago.  Women lie about their age and men lie about their height.  If you are serious about dating, be honest and be brave.  If he doesn’t like the look of your photo or your description of cuddly, then he is not the man for you.

Tips on the photos you use

Keep your photos simple – a nice headshot with a smile.  Do not put up family photos. I think this is really inappropriate.  Don’t put up photos of your home or your surroundings.  Keep it simple  if you connect there is plenty of time for more detailed photos as you get to know someone.

Conversely I think a profile with a nice clean smiling photo is what I am attracted to.  I really don’t want to see a photo of your ex!

What to write in that first message.

The content of your profile – and the profiles that you are looking at are the key to starting a conversation.

Yes, it is always awkward taking the first step and saying hi.  They way I look at it, it is better to make the approach than simply wait to be approached.  I must be a modern women.  (Although I do have memories of the mantra of going to the disco at 14 and saying that the guy must ask you to dance, and he must ask for your phone number) – I am delighted that times have changed.

I think at this stage we are all a little afraid to make the first move, but I say, just do it.

To send the first email missive across the internet is brave.  But what do you say.

My recommendation is to say something about them.  Read their profile and comment on something they have said.  Ask something more that relates to their interests.

Here are some ideas:

  • What was your childhood favourite book? (they have said they like reading)
  • When was the last time you went on holiday and where to? (they like travel)
  • Mention something that happened recently in your area or internationally, and ask an opinion.  This is a great way of finding out if they have an interest in, and if they have opinions on politics, sport etc.

The most important thing to remember is to ask an open-ended question. Something that cannot be answered with a simply yes or no.  Although anyone who came back to me with a yes or a no would be a no for me!  I like a good conversation.

Also tell a little about yourself, but not too much – you want them to come back and ask their own open-ended question.

You could simply say that you finished a great book this weekend and got in a good walk before the weather turned.  That way they can come back and ask about what you were reading and where you walked.

A word of warning for online dating in your 50s

There are people out there  on dating sites and in pubs and real life who are not what they seem to be.  Simply keep away from them. In most cases I would advise simply blocking them.

Block them if:

  • If they are loads younger than you, and are asking if you are married
  • If they ask about your marital status  it means they probably are married  – despite what the profile says
  • If they make any suggestive comments early on –consider reporting them
  • If they ask for your email address or phone number in the first message
  • If they ask for money or start talking about money

Be brave – give little peaks into your life.  And enjoy getting to know new friends.  You never know where it could go.

If you want to read Guide to Dating in your Fifties Part 1 and Part 2  please follow the links.

If you are looking for love this February – be brave and take the plunge.

I love feedback so please feel free to leave me a message.

Thank you for reading

Kerry x

Celebrating my birthday with Joy

I have always loved celebrating my birthday.  I guess it is really just a great excuse to get together with family and friends and celebrate life.

There is always reason to celebrateAs I get older (and I will be 52 in a few days time), I try and reason with myself.  You are too old, too tired, not well enough, it will be too much work, and then something happens to remind me why we should celebrate our birthdays.

Last week I listened to Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sheryl Sandberg is a fabulous woman in my opinion, and has shown just how strong she is following the death of her husband just over a year ago.  In this speech she is very honest and quite emotional about the shock of dealing with his sudden death and how she has coped.

She talks about finding joy and meaning. “Dave’s death changed me in profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void — or in the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning.”

Choosing joy over sadness can be really hard, but the rewards are immense.

I urge you to listen to the speech which you can do here.  Her honesty about pain and hurt is so real, but so is the message that we can continue on.

Now what has this to do with cake?  During her address Sheryl Sandberg says “I used to celebrate my birthday every five years, and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always.”

We do not know what is ahead of us, but what I do know is that my riches in my life are in people, my friends and family.  A birthday party – why not?  It is a great excuse to celebrate life and to focus on gratitude for what we have experienced this last year.

I have decided that this year I will simply open my home, and spend quality sofa time with wonderful people.  It is an open invitation to if you would like to join in, please message me.

I have chosen to celebrate on 6 June which is a day early, but as it is a bank holiday it will be lovely and relaxing.

I urge you to use any excuse really to celebrate and spread joy.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

Be Brave – take the first step

Be brave, take the first step

Being brave is huge!  It means different things to different people really but it is really a very powerful emotion that can propel us forward in a really good and positive way.

What does brave mean to you?

For some people attending an event or a function is brave. For others it might be attempting something that they never thought they could do.  We all have our comfort zones and when we take a step outside of this lovely comfortable place we are being brave.  For me it is stepping out into the unknown.

I am being really courageous this year.  Due to my health, I have had to start again.  Literally.  Imagine almost 52 and having to find a new career which will fit in with my current life.  It isn’t easy, but I am reading and learning and hopefully will be able to work part time very soon.

I have also had to be extremely brave and face some of my exercise demons.

This time last year I was living in Westport, working as the Head of Marketing for a financial services company and generally living it up.

Now my life has changed and I am living in Galway and trying to get my body as strong as possible in ways I can control.  I think this is really important as I cannot completely control the arthritis or fibromyalgia (never mind the other issues), but I can control my fitness levels.

I was brave in February when I did a 10km walk for charity.  I felt this way again when I did the Darkness into Life walk earlier in May.  I felt terribly brave when I went to my first yoga class.  Granted it was a yoga class for people with joint pain, but it was still hard to walk into a room and realise that you might be the biggest person in the class and more likely the least flexible person.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am lying on my back with my legs up against the wall, and trying various poses.  It is still a long way from the downward facing dog, but I am proud that I am taking these little brave steps.

Every day we have a choice, to be brave and take that step out of the comfort zone or stay cuddled in the warmth of the known.

I do both.  One thing I have learned though is that every time I take a brave step, the reward is there.  It isn’t always immediate, but it does come.

Please feel free to stop by and tell me your stories about being brave.  It honestly doesn’t matter how small the step, it is a step in the right direction.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

When change happens – make it good change

Marilyn monroe quoteChange is inevitable.  Marilyn Monroe is a woman that divides.  I admire her and am often drawn to her quotes.  I think that to an extent she was misunderstood, but behind the blond curly locks and sexy voice was a very wise woman.

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

I was musing on 2015 and realised that so far it has been a year of two halves.  For the first 6 months I was happily living in Westport, working away at my job, with a great social life and a fabulous circle of friends in Mayo.

The second half has been all about change.  I found a new job in Galway – which was the first domino in a series of changes.  I left my beautiful flat,and now know that I would have been given notice anyway as the owners were moving back!  I bade farewell to familiar streets that I walked every day greeting people along the way.

The transition was not easy, but now I am starting to realise that this quote is true.  New things are starting to fall together.  I am writing this sitting in my lovely new home, contemplating putting on a fire with a pot of soup on the stove waiting for my dinner guest.

I have found new ways to exercise and am walking regularly.

I am closer to my family and am rekindling old friendships and making new ones.

I have new challenges in the workplace that are allowing me to exercise my mind.

So, thank you Marilyn for those wise words of inspiration.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my Wednesday quotation.

Kerry x

 

 

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