dreaming of epic failure…

Last night I awakened at 12:45am in a sweat with my heart racing. In my dream, I threw the discus so poorly in the competition that I blanked out my final five throws. I was being consoled by fellow senior athletes and we were laughing our asses off, sharing stories of our epic failures.

So, with my fear of total failure subconsciously out of the way, I now have to prepare myself to do my best. YIKES! Failure, I’m pretty comfortable with (especially as an artist, things fall apart all the time), success and having to put my money where my mouth is, I find far more daunting.

WHAT IS FEAR TO YOU?

Fear isn’t always to be stuffed away and avoided. Try inviting fear in, get curious about what it’s trying to tell you? It may a gift to you so you can see what needs to be confronted in your life.

NOTE: Today, I’m going to the rattlesnake museum. I’m am so afraid of snakes, I thought it might be a great way to prepare to compete tomorrow.

This hasn’t been my favorite year of my life-loss, sorrow, transition, cut-off, illness and so on. However, I’ve learned a lot and I’m proud of my resilience. We have to remind ourselves (often) of all the times we made it through life’s many challenges.

We are so much stronger than we think.

For inspiration, the spirit of my Dad and I are heading out to the track and field complex at UNM to watch the finals in the sprints. The first race is the 90-104-year-old women and the 50-meter race. Damn, if that isn’t inspiring, what is?

the absurdity of midlife…

I love this stage of life…now anyway. At 52, I feel somewhat betwixt & between, not yet old, but clearly no longer young. I have to admit that loving midlife was a slow burn, a process requiring acceptance, laughter, more acceptance, a whole lot of grace and then a nap from the exhaustion of it all.

Midlife seems to have the best analog to middle school for me. Uncertainty. Flop sweats. Mood swings. Junk food cravings. Fear of what others think of me (this is waning substantially now though). Fortunately, at this tender age, I understand that trying something new isn’t so scary, it’s just really exciting.

Actually an epic fail of attempting something new might even have more value than success…at least when viewed through the lens of COMEDY and not EGO.

With that said…

My late, All-American discus throwing Dad/coach and I are heading west to compete in the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m terrified, excited, moderately well-prepared and hoping to NOT make a fool of myself. However, if I do, I will have a funny story to share anyway. I’m sure Dad and I will travel well together. Although he might be surprised how many times I want tacos and how much I appreciate good tequila. Oh well, travel’s meant to be a perspective expanding adventure, right? I’ll eat lots of ice cream in his honor.

Throwing the discus in midlife has connected me to my younger and far more athletic self. My senior year of high school I forgot my discus on my way to the state track meet. I was so damn excited about seeing, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” with my friend, Jon that it slipped my mind. Using a borrowed discus, I threw my best ever distance and ended up with the silver medal. I wish I could locate my 1984 yearbook.

My goal in Albuquerque is to toss one that beats my qualifying throw of 69′ 9″ last June in Vermont. Full disclosure, there were only two of us in our age division.

I inherited this autographed discus from the many sports artifacts decorating my Dad’s office. Alfred Oerter Jr. was the first athlete to win a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Oerter

I throw next Tuesday morning (hopefully, I remember my discus). Wednesday evening is the “Walk of States”. We will do our very best to represent the 802.

Our team has an 84-year-old decathlete, Flo. I can’t wait to watch her compete. Talk about aging with some serious grit. https://www.mysuncoast.com/2019/03/12/year-old-vermont-woman-still-travels-world-pole-vaulting-competitor/

I encourage everyone to seek out competing in your state’s Senior Games. It’s really fun, the stories and the people are so inspiring. Your only qualification is that you have to be fifty-years old by the time of registration. Here’s the link: https://nsga.com/

Wish me luck and try throwing yourself into something new…there’s always added value in having another story squirreled away in your comic arsenal.

homesteading my psyche

At fifty-two, I feel betwixt and between, no longer young and not yet old. Looking back I can see my life as remarkably valuable training and experience. To hell with regrets. I can’t change a damn thing. I know myself much better in midlife and that’s truly a gift. I also know I still have a lot to learn.

Like my prairie ancestors, I have an inherent longing now to settle or “prove up” one hundred and sixty acres. A sort of cognitive Homestead Act of my midlife psyche. A bit of a gamble, rife with elements of uncertainty, the heady buzz of adventure and the resilience to know I can handle whatever comes my way.

Funny to think about cognitive growth using these terms. However, metaphorically, it works pretty well. Claim my section. Select the crop.  Prep the land. Plant the seeds. Irrigate. Fertilize. Monitor growth. Harvest. Review.

These 3 simple questions help me often and perhaps might’ve helped my prairie ancestors as well. The trick is being able to actually answer them.

What’s working?

What’s not?

What’s next?

Homestead Act of 1982 “…and that such an application is made for his or her exclusive use and benefit, and that said entry is made for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, and not either directly or indirectly for the use of any other person or persons whomsoever…he or she shall thereupon be permitted to enter the quantity of land specified.”    

the generous spirit of a fading bouquet.

This bouquet from a friend was so lovely when she dropped it off ten days ago or so.  I have to admit something that perhaps won’t surprise you.  I actually enjoy flowers even more when they start to turn a tiny bit brown, curl on the edges and drop a few pedals.

I know many of you won’t understand this, that’s OK.  I promise I won’t send you a decaying bouquet.  Although one time, while a student at the University of Wyoming a boyfriend in South Dakota sent me a red rose in the mail.  It was almost black, shriveled and curled when it arrived. I still found it oddly beautiful.

When I no longer have to trim the stems of a bouquet, check the water or pinch the drooping leaves, I feel some odd sense of relief.  The flowers, no longer expected to be perfect, are free to naturally fade and droop. And I get to enjoy the inevitable state of fading beauty, often leaving the pedals wherever they fall.    

lisa lillibridge

I’ll give it my best shot, Dad.

Today I throw the discus at the Vermont Senior Games at 10:30 eastern time. I’m hoping to qualify for the Senior Olympics in Albuquerque, June of 2019.   I’ve been practicing.  I’ve watched many videos of remarkable Olympic Women throwing, studying their techniques.  I’ve worked with a coach. Thanks Matt.  I’m prepared to at least give it an honest effort.

Just over a week ago, my Dad sat in the pickup while I practiced throwing at the spot I learned to throw the discus as a seventh grader.  My Dad, my coach gave me some pointers and we laughed about a fifty-one-year-old woman throwing the discus again after 34 years.  Today he’s in the hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, getting world-class care and struggling.

I want to qualify for Dad today.

A standout thrower, Lillibridge placed third as a sophomore, finished second as a junior and won the North Central Conference discus title as a senior. Lillibridge, who placed second in the NCAA Division II national meet in the discus, earned All-American honors. A graduate of the USD School of Business in 1962, he has received the USD School of Business South Dakotan of the Year, the USD Alumni Award and the South Dakota Philanthropist of the Year honor. He has been a major supporter of Coyote Athletics for many years. He held State of South Dakota, Howard Wood Dakota Relays and USD records in the discus. A prep star at Burke, he was first-team all-state in basketball as a junior and senior, scoring a school record 1,631 points. Lillibridge was named to the fourth team of the Sport Magazine High School All-American squad. He also won a state title in the discus in high school.

SOURCE: University of South Dakota Hall of Fame website

USD Hall of Fame John Lillibridge link

It’s hot and humid, good for throwing and keeping middle-aged muscles loose.

I’ll let you all know how things turn out today. 

Wish me luck!

 

 

 

hey folks, don’t hide behind the camera.

Yesterday my friend Andrew and I were in his innovative home studio shooting some photographs for a series he’s working on.  I was wearing a mask for the shoot.  When we were done, it seemed like a waste to not take a few “unmasked” photos when the light and background were all set up.

I was reluctant to post this image today, not because of the quality of the image.  Nice work Andrew.  But why?  I think perhaps the “why” is; the veins/age spots on my hands, the wrinkles around my eyes and my grey roots awaiting a touch up (tomorrow).  However, while looking more closely I don’t only see those things.  I see that I’m wearing my favorite “uniform” of paint splattered khakis, a tank top and a cowboy shirt I’ve had and loved for twenty years.  Around my neck is a pendant my daughter, Willa made for me in her metals class.  I’m really relaxed.  Down the road I wholeheartedly believe I’ll be grateful to have this portrait.  Thanks Andrew.

 

Today I printed it at the #BCA studios on Pine Street in Burlington (thanks Renee).  I plan to write some details on the back so my grandkids or great grandkids will possess some information about me and who I was in March of 2018.

Don’t shy from the camera folks.  You’re going to want photographs of yourself.  Get your favorite ones printed.  Only having digital images is so different than actually holding a print in your hand—get multiples & share them broadly.

 

 

 

One simple question.

what-do-you-need-to-let-go-of

Often I make things way too complicated. Today I’m choosing to simplify.

ASK.  WAIT.  LISTEN.  REPEAT.

how do I stop the blur?

I know it’s only July 27th and there’s a lot of summer to still be lived & enjoyed.  However, this morning I felt like some of my summer 2016 memories are beginning to blur.

blur/verb—to make or become unclear or less distinct (Merriam-Webster)

I want to slow it all down.  I really want to be a good steward of my memories. 

How exactly do I go about doing that?

  1. I journal.  Every night I write down 3-4 things that were great about my day. This will help my great grandchildren try to figure out what the summer of 2016 was like for me…but it doesn’t stop the blur.
  2. I try to breathe, savor, soak it in…all of the stuff “Oprah” tells me to do…it still blurs a lot of the time.  Perhaps I’m trying to hard.

After I layered these photos and saw my daughter jumping into the clouds and a beach sign on a South Dakota gravel road I realized that I have to accept that this is the nature of our memories.  Even if we can’t recall everything with great detail and clarity our memories are always a part of us.  They may surface again one day and they may not.  I guess, just like everything else in life the path of least resistance is: ACCEPTANCE.

Here’s to a bunch of sweet summer memories…all blurred together.

lucy jumping boardwalk lillibridge

jeff guitar cape cod lillibridge

south dakota beach sign lillibridge

jeff and lisa on beach airplane shot of sd

“Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.”

—Steven Wright/comedian

TED Radio Hour, second adolescence & hopefully gaining some wisdom

After visiting my family in Burke, South Dakota (population 670ish) last week I’ve returned home to Vermont and made a few discoveries.  I thought I’d share them and maybe you’ve experienced something similar at some point in your life.  As always, I would love to have you shoot me an e-mail and share your thoughts.

Burke Cape Cod Vermont Lisa Lillibridge

This is a mash-up of where I’ve spent the most time in my life.

South Dakota/23 years  •  Vermont/25 years   • Massachusetts/Lots of summers/holidays

1) As a nearly 49 year old woman (October 12th) I no longer visit my childhood home feeling like a child.  It helps when my husband comes with me.  I feel more in touch with my adult life…and much less so when it’s just me and the kids.

2) My children are rapidly growing up and I’m no longer a parent of “young kids”. GOOD.

3) I don’t feel particularly old except that I need “readers” in every damn room.

4) I basically like who I’ve grown to become AND I know that I’ll spend the rest of my life getting to know myself better.  I’m up for the challenge and hopefully the people I’ve chosen to date are up for it too.

5) Life isn’t easy and sometimes during the hard stuff all we can do is “show up” for our people.  However, the hard stuff makes you grow and the good stuff is just pretty wonderful.  And I’m slowly learning (very slowly) to let the bullshit slide.  It isn’t worth my energy now.

6) At this age I am more deliberate about my time, my people and choices. I think “deliberate” feels awesome in nearly every context.

7) Sometimes this age feels like a second adolescence.  I like it, my twin daughters and I are in it together—which is sometimes adorable and sometimes really NOT…but always interesting.  One day they will find it all very funny, I think.

  ad·o·les·cence

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This photo is our shared sorrow over the end of the “van years”.  I had to fake my sadness, actually. I now drive a VW Passat and I don’t really miss my van…except maybe listening to movies on road trips.  But, now we listen to the TED Radio Hour, This American Life and The Moth on NPR.  We save them up for our trips and they always provide remarkable discussions.

Here are a few links you might enjoy:

A great TED Talk on aging: http://www.npr.org/2015/06/19/414999589/why-should-we-look-forward-to-getting-older

This is an interesting site that was referenced on the TED Radio Hour last week—Stanford Center on Longevity.  http://longevity3.stanford.edu/

Cheers,

Lisa sig

ADVANCED STYLE—burlington edition?

This week my friend and highly fashionable jewelry designer Ina Deane (http://www.eenadee.com/) suggested that I watch the documentary “Advanced Style”. The documentary is about gorgeous, stylish New York City women over the age of 60 and it’s a blast.  (Available on Netflix, Google Chrome and Amazon for streaming). I remember seeing Ari Seth Cohen’s book a few years ago and just loving the spunk & style of these women.  So inspiring! Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read about the most memorable fashion moments of my life.

MY FANTASY PROJECT: I want to do a Burlington, Vermont version of Advanced Style.

kw_zpsb4e0ce47

I would love to put together a gathering and maybe even hire Ari Seth Cohen to come speak in Burlington sometime.  Wouldn’t that be a blast?

If you know of fashion forward men and women in Vermont please get in touch with me.  E-mail is best: lllillibridge@gmail.com

About ARI SETH COHEN from Advanced Style blog

http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com/

Ari-Seth-Cohen

 “My name is Ari Seth Cohen. I roam the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks. Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a

thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.”

karen-walker-x-advanced-style-2

Ari-Seth-Cohen-collage Advanced-Style-Ari-Seth-Cohen-Dogwoof-Documentary-34 Karen-Walker-Eyewear-x-Advanced-Style-5  photos by Ari Seth Cohen

jouercouture.com-bryan-adams-project-iris-apfel-80759_0x440

When I watched Advanced Style this week I was reminded of these two big Advanced Style moments in my own life.

1.  A few years ago while waiting in line to check-in at The Accessories Show at The Javits Center in NYC with Maggie Pace I got to talk briefly with Iris Apfel.  She was wearing the most beautiful pink driving mocs when I spoke to her. Perhaps they were PRADA.  It was one of those moments when I found myself so happy to even get to say hello to her. Iris has been quite an inspiration to a girl from South Dakota.  New York City was like going to the moon when I was growing up on the prairie.  I was twenty-one when I first had the privilege of seeing NYC and I never get to go there enough.

2. In October of 2004 I was in New York City for the wedding of my cousin.  My mother and I were walking up to the Jewish History Museum and we saw a women hail a cab.  This woman had a long, grey ponytail, stright dark jeans, a gorgeous neutral sweater, boots with the perfect heel, a scarf impeccably tied and lots of bracelets.  She looked so NYC cool and confident that the image of her is etched in my mind.

 Iris Apfel

photo

I think my own style as I age will veer toward the aging silent film star.  Halloween 2014.