Sometimes You Just Want to do Something Just for Fun

IMG_0125IMG_0234There might be several of you who read this blog who are retired. So to you this might be an irrelevant title. You have all the time to do things just for fun.

I, Ann, however still work – by choice. I love what I do. That being said, sometimes I just want to / like to do something way beyond my usual box. And, so I did.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a local performance of The Vagina Monologues. Probably everyone knows of this play, written by Eve Ensler. It’s a funny, serious, beautifully done piece of work. There were many women on the stage at the same time, and then one by one they would read a monologue or introduce another monologue. Some were very funny and brought lots of laughter. Others were very serious, nearly tearful in their content.

What you might not know is that all performances, all over the world, donate their money to the cause of stopping violence against women. That’s its purpose.

Just an additional point: We were amateurs. There was only one professional actress in the bunch. We got to step way outside our usual boundaries. Leading up to the performances, there was ticket and raffle sales, rehearsals, etc. For two nights on stage, there were months of preparation. IT ALL PAID OFF.

I loved being part of the play, I loved making a difference by selling some tickets to friends and therefore helping with the commitment of raising money. I loved the camaraderie, the chance to act again (hey, it’s only been about 40 years). But, most of all, I loved the “standing ovation.” What a hoot.

The message here:  Take on something that’s fun, compelling, turns you on. You’ll be happy you did.

 

A New York Minute

Dina here.

Ann took me out for my birthday Friday night. After a lovely dinner, we went to a great concert at The Rubin Art Museum.

On the crowded subway home, two young women got the last two seats, and then got up to give them to us. That sometimes happens, but only on the Harlem line.

As we got settled in, one of the women asked if she could sing a song for us. She said she was a singer, and her song would make us feel good.

Well, you know New Yorkers. Ann asked, “No money, right?’ “No money,” she said, “just song.” I smiled sweetly, suspended at the bounds of my skepticism.

She started singing “Over the Rainbow” in a beautiful, melodic voice, smiling down at us the whole time. I sneaked a few looks around the car, at the other people, and saw them standing statue-still, trying hard not to make eye contact, trying to hold onto their NYC nonchalance.

She was still singing when we pulled into the 96th Street Station, and she held her note for as long as she could. Then suddenly she said, “gotta get off here” and she was gone in a flash. Some people followed her out with applause and we sent her off with our thanks. In no time, the car filled with a new gang who wore their separateness as if nothing had happened in that space at all.

Something had happened.

 

 

How I Used My Power, Yesterday

Dina here.

I’ve been moping for days. Mercury crashed every electronic device I own. My 93-year old parents are injured and sick and my sister and I have been running between our lives and theirs, trying to be helpful. Ann and I decided to renew our lease and its been sitting on the table waiting for us to sign it, which neither of us seems quite willing to do. We’re too busy worrying about our flat incomes. Worry is everywhere.

Have you ever noticed that, no matter how many reasons you have for why you’re in your present predicament, none of them makes you feel any better? All worrying does is keep me feeling bad. How can it do anything else? It locks me in to searching for reasons, proof that I am helpless to change anything.

My friend Andy helped me turn it around yesterday. He said I was holding all the worrying things close around me so I wouldn’t have to do anything. “It’s easier than doing anything about it,” he wisely offered.

“Easier” broke the spell. He was right. I was having a pain-filled mini-vacation of bad feelings, using anything I could grab to keep me from being me: working, thinking, loving, sharing, whatever.

As soon as I heard it, I saw how powerful I am. It has to take a lot of power to keep myself feeling bad when all I talk about is how I only want to feel good again. What is the sense of using my power to do that?

I started to stop, right then and there, to climb myself back out of that hole I had been hiding in. Thankfully, it was a short trip home. We always have options.

 

Words of Wisdom for us All

This is Ann. The morning after a conversation with my son, I received this email from him. It made my day. It’s worth sharing – for us all.

Gabriel is the lead singer of the band Distant Lights in Austin, TX. He is 35, very creative, sensitive and wise.

“Something occurred to me on the way to work. I remembered that everything is cyclical and seasonal, starting with the weather, leading down the chain to trees and plants, and then animals. Sometimes as people we forget that we’re as much a part of that as anything else. Bears hibernate in the winter, and most plant life dies. It’s a time of reflection and inner evaluation. Of absorbing and reckoning everything that happened the prior year, and also storing up energy for the coming year. I think it’s good to remember this during the winter months. If things seem stagnant and hard, and you’re literally spinning your wheels on the ice, that’s ok because you’re supposed to be there. I’m speaking as much for you as I am myself (and everyone else in the world regardless of how it seems they’re doing from the outside).”

Love you :)

Gabe
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Snowy Workdays

Dina here: Outside my window—in the narrow curtain-opening I keep for noting the rest of the world from my writing table that faces it across the room—there is yet another snowstorm that seems determined to beat its predecessors’ records for number-of-inches-per-minute.

It’s quiet in the Flatmates’ house today, perhaps matching the enforced quiet of the scene outside. Occasionally I can hear a car or bus like a great big zipper along the slippery street; mostly, I hear nothing.

Inside, at two opposite ends of the apartment, we are at work, each in our own space. Occasionally, we might bump into each other in the kitchen; otherwise there is silence outside the bedroom-office doors. On snowy days, we don’t even ask each other questions–at least, not in person. We text each other, as if the walk across the common space would be an outrage, an intrusion. As if we had to put on our boots and hats to make the trip.

What is it about snowy days that seems to create a cocoon around me, proving the meaning of “hunkering down” in whatever space it is I spend my workdays? I felt it even as a kid growing up in this City, when the snows used to reach as high as our second-story windows and our little black dog used to disappear into the snowdrifts until we couldn’t even see her and got scared she would freeze to death before she found her way out again.

Maybe that’s why the snow keeps falling so hard and fast this winter. Maybe it is trying to break the record for number-of-inches-fallen. Maybe we could whisper to it that it’s not going to happen, now, in a world of global warming. Maybe we’d be doing it a favor just to admire its persistence. It’s easier on the dogs, anyway.

 

 

Happy New Year Everybody!

Think we’re too late to ring in the new year? We just celebrated with our annual “welcome in the new year” party, lots of great food, wine, music and friendly people. Nobody seemed to notice the new year was already 19 days old.

This is how we did it. Each of us invited from her own address book. Each of us cooked something wonderful to join the stuff we bought together to cover our table and fill our glasses with. We got the house ready, moved the furniture and all but rolled up the rug. And then, we sat back and watched the magic happen.

It happens every year. My friends, your friends, people who’ve never met before started to talk, and laugh, and eat and drink together. In no time at all, new friendships were being made right there in the living room, the conversations growing rich and fine and filling our little house with the happiest new-year energy anyone could ever imagine. Nobody noticed the calendar.

If you haven’t had any new-year magic yet, try a party. And, oh: happy new year from the Flatmates!

A New Phase: Creating From Nothing

Dina here. I’m coming off a Sabbatical during which I wrote my book, “Why Do I Feel This Way?” Now it’s time to start thinking about increasing my income. In other words, I’m entering a new phase of my life, starting over, over 60.

As Ann reminded me at Sunday breakfast, “reinvention,” as she calls it, is challenging for those who have never had a golden parachute (Meaning: there’s no pension along with Social Security–so not much wind beneath our wings. If there’s going to be a strong wind at takeoff, I’m going to have to create it). Ann knows a lot about this, and I respect what she has to say.

I also believe strongly that, whatever there is in my life, I have created, so now I need to get back to my drawing board and create a new vision of how I want the future to look. I’ll need a calm focused determination–no room for getting scared—parachute or no—and this time, I’m counting on Ann’s support, too.

Ann here. It’s interesting that both Dina and I are experiencing the “Creating From Nothing” phase at the same time. We’re both self-employed, on our own. I’ve worked for myself for nearly 30 years…so, NO pension.

I’ve lost some work recently. That always happens, but at this point, I need to fill in more quickly. I’m always having to generate my way, and I suspect I will this time. Meanwhile, I’m working on NOT worrying, keeping my sense of humor intact, and sharing with Dina and those close—as well as praying (sort of) that just the right solutions will appear.

Two different perspectives for two Flatmates in the same boat? We’re going to post our journeys as we work together to “re-invent” the next phase. Let us know how you handle(d) the “Creating From Nothing” phases in your life!

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving – from our Perspective

IMG_0866In my married and child-rearing days, I (Ann) always cooked the turkey, invited lots of people over and made it a celebration. I love this day because it’s not a commercial holiday, but rather one of generosity, sharing of spirit, great food (what’s not to like about that) and gratefulness.

In my earlier years, I experienced illness and tragic losses around the Thanksgiving holiday, so as a result I created the intention that I would spend every year being grateful for what I did have in my life instead of dwelling on what I didn’t.

Dina and I and her sister spent all day yesterday cooking a full turkey meal. This morning we are headed to Queens to provide this meal to their aging parents (92 and 93). To me, this is the true spirit of Thanksgiving … sharing with others.

So, on this cold, windy day in NYC, from Dina and I, we wish you a glorious day … sharing love, friendship and appreciation for all that life has to offer. Oh, and enjoy gorging yourself with wonderful food as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 

 

SF’s on the Radio

It may be cold outside, but things are really warming up for the Flatmates. Monday night we were invited to talk about one of our favorite subjects: how it feels to be two hetero women sharing adventures and space in New York City.

We were live on The Bill Russo Show on the City World Radio Network in NYC, where we were interviewed by Bill and his “mentor,” Anthony LoFaso, who was visiting from his own show on alternate Mondays.

The conversation was fun and flowing like fine wine, as we answered questions about how we split our expenses, spend our time at home, grocery shopping and what to do when certain gentlemen callers come to visit either of us. We were also invited to talk about our books: Dina’s “Why Do I Feel This Way?”  and Ann’s “Sixty, Sexy, Sassy, and Free: A Real Woman’s Story of ReInvention” 

 We will send you to the You Tube channel to see the full interview in our next post.

Meanwhile, if you want to see us, here’s a photo a friendly guy took of the four of us as we were leaving the studio.

Bill Russo show photo

As always, we’d love to hear from you.

News from the Flatmates!!

With all the new things popping up at our blog, you’d think Spring was coming!

As you know, we started Senior Flatmates because we think we’re on to something that’s worth sharing with everyone. And, for the almost one year (!) we’ve been telling you about our experiences and adventures of sharing our living space in New York City, many of you have responded by telling us you’re encouraged to consider this great way of living, too.

Now we’ve heard from Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) that they, too, have been following the Flatmates blog—and they want to help us spread the word! Well, they kept their word. We were featured today in a special section in The New York Post—with photo and all. Here’s the link: http://nypost.com/2013/11/04/boomers-find-peace-of-mind-in-shared-living-arrangements/

And that’s not all. VNSNY also interviewed us for a feature at their Huffington Post Blog. It was a great interview, and we’re all hoping that many people will benefit from hearing our story about how space-sharing works for us. We’ll send you the link as soon as it is published.

In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Are you thinking of sharing your expenses and space—and, of course, your adventures—with another? Have you already taken the plunge?

Post a comment here, or reach us at (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Senior-Flatmates/440950365990366?ref=hl) and we’ll interview you, too. After all, things are poppin’!

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