Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm Grateful!

Today's post is about something that I've wanted to talk about for several weeks now.  It is about women aging, getting heavier, going through menopause and accepting these changes.  Now if you are in your 20s and 30s and read my blog and decide it's time for you to tune out...I ask you to hold on a minute.  YOU will be my age before you know it ~ because time really does pass by quickly.  I remember being 25 and thinking I was a quarter of a century old and how OLD that was and being depressed!  Little did I know!  *LOL*  I remember having my children, being a working mother and a wife...living through my 30s and my 40s and I almost can't believe that I will be 52 in 2011.

I don't feel old.  My daughters and younger co-workers don't treat me like I'm old...but I can see that I'm aging just from the pictures that I've shared on this blog.  Each year I get a little heavier or something drops a little lower, my ankles have thickened and the dr. says it's just age & nuthin to do about it unless I lose xx amount of pounds and some days menopause kicks my behind all over the planet.

Now before you start posting how to lose weight tips etc. I am going to tell you upfront that I will delete them.  Because I'm not complaining about getting heavier, growing older or going through menopause ~ I'm celebrating these things.  I will be 52 years old.  I have three awesome daughters who sometimes don't even realize yet how amazing they are going to be.  I am the grandmother to two young men - who could possibly change the world some day.  I have known love and been loved by my family, by men and by my friends.  My legacy is not large and humogenous but there it is.

I want to argue the pros of acceptance and being the best you that you can be...acceptance for who you are now and for who you can become.  I've read several blogs where women my age are struggling with the fact that menopause is thickening our waists or changing our dress sizes or that our skin isn't as supple as it use to be.  I'm experiencing all of those things too - and some days it depresses me.  But I shake it off and remember to be thankful that I can experience this...because isn't life just a series of changes?

You are not the same person you were when you made your entrance into this world.  You are not the same person you were as a 10 year old girl, a 17 year old teenager, a 22 year old college graduate, a first time mother, or 35 or 45 even.  Life is a series of changes and it's how we embrace those changes, that allow us to live our best lives!  (Yes, I stole that one from Oprah!)  Now if you want to rage against the changes with exercise and diet - go for it with your whole heart.  If you want to accept the fact that you can grow old gracefully, I say go for that too!  But be authentic...be the best you possible!

I want to encourage us all to embrace our changes...learn to live with them and accept them.  Realize that the size of your thighs does not define who you are inside.  That menopause is just another stage of life and that there are hopefully more to go through.  That your life is a book with blank pages that only you can write upon, so don't let anyone else define what should be on the pages of your book.  And be grateful to be alive ~ there are so many wonderful sewing women that have left us this year ~ that it's AMAZING that we are still here, going strong, facing the challenges the world throws at us and LIVING this life!  Oh yeah, and lest I forget, creating amazing garments, accessories, home dec articles and children's clothing.

So my prayer for you as this year closes and another one begins is to realize that you are amazing.  That you have a gift and a talent imparted to you.  That you are wonderful and that aging, menopause and thickening ankles are just God's gifts to you to show you that you are living life in the body he's blessed you with!

Yes, my biceps are a little bigger.  Yes, my ankles are a little thicker.  Yes, some days I cry at the drop of a hat and others I rage at the world...never mind that my internal thermometer is seriously on the fritz! *LOL*  But I'm alive...and I get to buy one more piece of fabric...construct one more garment...and encourage one more person to sew.

I am grateful and I hope that you are too!

100 comments:

  1. Carolyn, that is so lovely to read. Thank you so much! We all need to hear it and to love ourselves as we are now, not constantly trying to change ourselves and hating our bodies.

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  2. Totally agree! Thank you for reminding me. You always inspire. Happy New Postive Year!
    Hellenne

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  3. Thanks for sharing such inspirational thoughts. As a person who suffers from chronic pain, I know firsthand what a difference a positive attitude can have. I enjoyed reading your post!

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  4. This is my first ever comment on a blog. First, I must thank you for writing such a compelling post - I'm sure that it will resonate with many of your readers. Secondly, I want to thank you for your blog. Its the first one I look for every day - so entertaining and the garments you create are amazing! Congratulations on living your life with such joy and grace, and inspiring others (including me) to do the same. Best wishes for a truly wonderful New Year. Cheryl

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  5. Great post, Carolyn, and great topic. Age is one of those slippery matters of perspective that never seems to be "right": Many of us lamented that we were too young, couldn't wait to grow up, move out, move on, and all that time, took for granted the bodies and the experiences we have in youth. Always aspiring for better, and not always FOR the better! Comparing our bodies to starlets and models and, naturally, coming up short. How many of us middle-agers would give anything to have those bodies back, when at the time we deemed them not good enough?

    I never dreamed a day would come that I would still debate whether I should use birth control, not because I am too young, too immature or ill-prepared, but because I fear I may be too old at age 44!

    Lindsay T blogged not too long ago about the "PYT's", which I think struck a chord with quite a few of us. And I realized I needed to stop comparing myself to an impossible ideal, no matter my age. The inside, the lessons learned, the experiences gained, THOSE are the things that give us the strength to look beyond the mirror, or better yet, change the perspective of what we see IN the mirror, as beautiful and alive.

    Every day we get on this planet, whether we are wrinkled, heavy, old, young, thin, or whatever in between, sure as heck beats the alternative....Vive la difference, and let's all try to practice a little kindness to ourselves. I know I am going to try harder in 2011!

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  6. Beautiful!! I turned 60 this year remind myself everyday what a great life I have, not perfect, but it is good to be alive.

    I love reading your blog and am constantly amazed at how productive you are. Thank you for being an inspiration.

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  7. Carolyn all I can say is amen to that. So true. Thank you for the encouragement. And have a Happy New Year.

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  8. Not only do I agree, I feel like halfway through 53 I'm just starting to be able to create the kinds of things I've been working to do for so long. I'm happy with my writing and illustrating. I'm happy with my ability to learn knew things like playing piano and singing Italian arias. I'm happy because I'm choosing to go back to a career I put aside (I broke off from 10 years as a software developer and taught because it worked better with having a child at home) and now I have the luxury of time to learn to write apps! No empty nest here!

    I love that when I sit down to sew I think about making things that I will really wear, will suit my life and that I will feel beautiful wearing, not looking at the pattern magazines and sighing wondering how I can look like that model (who by the way is usually wearing something and doing something that has very little to do with my life)

    Hooray for who we are!

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  9. Oh Wow Carolyn - what a wonderful post (you brought tears to my eyes). Acceptance is such an important thing! I'm 42 and I don't really have any problems with getting older, but there are plenty of other things in my life that I need to work on accepting! Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. And Happy New Year!

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  10. Amen!
    68 and loving it.

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  11. You are amazing! Though I am not yet going through these particular set of changes, I am changing so much every day. I needed to hear exactly what you said just the way that you said it. I hope to embrace this really difficult series of changes more gracefully in 2011. And of course sew ;o) Thank you

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  12. Great post, Carolyn. I think about these things too. I will also turn 52 in 2011 and have been experiencing the changes you describe, but I refuse to bemoan them. I'm a believer in accepting and appreciating one's body - it's a pretty dandy vehicle. And I'm pretty sure that sewing in the afterlife isn't nearly so easy or satisfying. :)

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  13. Beautiful post!!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  14. Well said Carolyn. What a great post to start the day.

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  15. I really love your blog, and today was a great reminder of why. I'm not near menopause, but I've had some seriously intense medical issues this year and have been struggling with the mental and physical after effects of everything, and a lot of what you said was right on for me, too. AND I get to wake up tomorrow and make another little dress or quilt. Thank you.

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  16. What a great and POSITIVE post!

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  17. Lovely post. You certainly don't look like you'll be 52 next year! you look amazing! :)
    I'm 19, and I look forward to living a full and rich life, and growing old with my OH.
    Hope you've enjoyed the holidays :)
    Ashley x

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  18. Lovely post. You certainly don't look like you'll be 52 next year! you look amazing! :)
    I'm 19, and I look forward to living a full and rich life, and growing old with my OH.
    Hope you've enjoyed the holidays :)
    Ashley x

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  19. Thank you for this inspirational post! I am exactly the same age as you are and I relate to your every word in this post.
    Happy holidays season!

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  20. Thank you, Carolyn. You are amazing.

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  21. Hello, I follow your blog and read your posts every day, you could not aestas more certain when he speaks of age and the changes it brings.
    Even here in Brazil, where we have a culture so different from her, the women try to delay the biological clock, like an aging process was wrong and terrible. We have much to learn about human naturesa on our bodies, and more on the Beles to accept as is and be happy with it.

    Hugs

    Eilane - Brazil

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  22. Thank you for putting what I am thinking about and dealing with in such perfect words. Happy New Year.

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  23. Great post, beautifully expressed! I totally agree with everything that you say.

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  24. Thank you so much for your comment. I do not struggle with aging but have allowed myself to think that I am incapable of doing my best. I have struggle with depression throughout this year and am disappointed in myself for this. I appreciate your blog and all of the sewing steps you detail, they are a great help to me. Thank you again for your comments.
    God Bless you
    Marie

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  25. Carolyn, I love this post. I was talking with a friend about seeing the differences in our face and hands as we age (we are both 53) and how it's sort of surprising. Yet, like you, we don't find it dismaying. We just observe it. I was commenting to my 27-year-old dance instructor that there was just some fat that isn't going away at this stage of my life and she protested. Funny how she thought I was criticizing myself when I was not. I am grateful to have a realistic and kind approach towards this post-menopausal body. Your post echoes my sentiments exactly. Happy New Year and keep inspiring me with all your beautiful dresses.

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  26. Well said! Have a great new year!

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  27. What a wonderful post! At almost 53, I can identify with everything you say. And my addition is that getter older IS INDEED getting better. Little things that irritated you before don't matter any more. Worries lessen because you know the difference between "maybe" and "will". Best of all, you don't care about strangers anymore. The only opinions that count are friends and family...and mine! Thank you for a wonderful post! Young women scared of aging need to know how liberating it is!

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  28. Thank you from another mid-life woman, with excess pounds, thick ankles and a perpetual internal furnace!

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  29. Oh, Carolyn, what true, wise words. I used to think that acceptance meant defeat or laziness when it really means the deep gratitude and appreciation that show in your post. Acceptance should mean celebration which is exactly what I get from your blog. It's a celebration of our creativity, our opportunities and our relationships near and far. Happy, happy new year!

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  30. Amen, Carolyn! The confidence and acceptance that comes with middle age is wonderful.

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  31. What a great post...I feel the same way - I don't feel old, but there are a few more creaks and groans when I get up. I still have lots of good years left!!! And am older, wiser, and up to taking on more challenges and risks than when I was younger. And girl, I hear you on the internal thermometer...plug me in and I could heat my entire office building.......

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  32. Wow, beautifully and truthfully said, Thanks!

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  33. Thanks for sharing such positive thoughts! I turned 60 this year and I'm grateful for every year. I love reading your blog as it always inspires me to sew and create. Thank you & Happy New Year!

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  34. Thanks for that, Carolyn. One of the best blogposts I've read. EVER.
    God Bless You and Your Family. Peace, Love and Great Sewing in the coming year and beyond.

    Again, great post. Brava!

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  35. I totally agree. I am 60 and I feel better about myself now than I did in my 20's. Accepting age doesn't mean you can't look fabulous, because you can, but you have to be happy in your own skin for it to shine out. I love hearing other women realize that just because all those magazines use 14 year olds to show clothing that we are real and real is good. All those girls are mere fantasy. A happy and healthy new year to you and your lovely family.

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  36. I am already 52 and know how you fell. I love my family and life too. Love how you can articulate life at our age.

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  37. Carolyn - thanks for saying those things. You look wonderful for 52, btw :) I just turned 43 on Christmas Day and looked at myself in the mirror, noticing more lines, gray hair, extra padding and other things. I am starting the menopause symptoms, the swings, changes in cycle, hot temps more pronounced. I have decided I earned them, we have weathered through many things in the last several years and accepted the lines, etc, from miscarriages, disabled child, financial issues. It's just life. I am grateful and realize God is not giving us more than we can handle. I wouldn't trade them, the husband or kids, for the world. You look wonderful for 52, btw :)

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  38. Beautiful, Carolyn. Thank you for this post.

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  39. I've turned 49 this month.
    Thank you your blog brings so much support

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  40. I love this incredibly thoughtful post!

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  41. You are a wise woman, thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us! I will be 56 years old next year, so I can totally relate to everything you've said! However, I'm still gonna get a facelift one of these days!!

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  42. Wonderful post Carolyn! I love being my age (I'll be 53 in 2011) and am happy to be here. I went through menopause early, in my early 40s, and although I wasn't ready then, I am happy to say I wouldn't do it differently now.

    We should all celebrate our age and the wonderful bodies we have, aches, pains, hormones or the lack of them an all.

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  43. I would have NEVER guessed you were in your fifties! I'm just a spring chicklette of 36, and thought you were nearer my age, lol! You look fantastic, and your attitude towards aging is one worth emulating. Happy New Year!

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  44. Hello Carolyn:
    You are an inspiration to me in sewing and in your blog. It took me a while to accept myself and I am trying to teach my teenage daughter to love herself, believe in herself and trust herself. I am grateful to be alive and I thankful to God for everyday that I am. Thank you again and have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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  45. Dear Carolyn,

    I hung on every word and loved each one. Many thanks and happy new year to you!

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  46. Beautiful words, Carolyn. What resonated with me is the point about being authentic. I think that is most important. For me - turning 51 in 2011 - I lost a lot of weight (80 lbs) over the last three years because what I saw in pictures didn't match how I felt on the inside. Now it does. That's what I mean about being authentic - if the insides match the outsides, then it's all right. I feel young - and I look young - but I too see the aging signs. Spots on my hands, wrinkles under my chin, thighs that aren't as firm as I'd like them to be. Whatever. The part of aging that I refuse to accept however is what someone told me a few months ago and that is that at "our age" we can't expect to have [romantic] "passion" like we did when we were younger. To that I say phooey.
    And in 2011, I hope to get back into my sewing more.

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  47. I'm 53 and went through menopause a few years ago. I've never been overweight, but it is harder to maintain a decent weight now. But diabetes and high blood pressure run in my family and it is undisputed that being overweight or obese aggravates those conditions. I also look considerably younger than my peers and family members who have gained a lot of weight.

    I accept that I'm probably never going to be 90 pounds again, but there's a limit to what I'm going to accept about myself.

    I work on a freelance basis at times and it's important for me to
    me to look as presentable as possible, at least through natural or non-invasive means. That's a reality of the workplace.

    I'm posting anonymously because these are very personal details. I'm sharing them because I think they will be of value to some people. There's nothing to "own up to."

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  48. I love your attitude!

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  49. Awesome post! I'm 40 and I'm definitely noticing changes in my body - for one thing, I get night sweats for 2 days before my period - which drives me crazy! Of course, it's just another age and stage and I am so grateful to be going through life in my body, in a conscious fashion, noticing these things as they come.

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  50. I have had thoughts about my own aging and body changes similar to those you so eloquently stated in this post. And like you I concluded, Thank god, I am healthy, alive and can learn the sewing skills to fit my changing body. What bothers me a bit is that as an arrogant young woman. I looked critically at my mom and aunts and thought “ Well, if they would just exercise or eat less they wouldn’t look like that. Thanks goodness I never said anything to them. Because ha, ha, ha, the joke is on me. I have start to resemble my Mom as she looked when she was the age I am now.

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  51. Wonderful post Carolyn! Thank you!

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  52. Amen, and Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  53. You have my vote! We should accept that we age, our bodies change and we get grey hairs. I won't be turning to cosmetic surgery or botox/fillers. I am what I am, I make the most of what I have - I am well groomed, neat and tidy, if my ankles are heavy, god meant them to be that way.
    Great post Carolyn, thank you.

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  54. Happy Blessed and Best New Year! Mature Women are like fine wine, we get better with time. I'm learning that no matter what my size, I'm representing BBW's, so I choose to represent well--so do you. It's not about one of these days--it's about today, living in the present moment. It's not about surviving--it's about thriving!There's something magical about turning 40 or 50 or even 60. Check out what Andy Rooney says about us:http://www.divinecaroline.com/22323/34969-andy-rooney-forty

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  55. I'm a long time reader and first time commenter. I just wanted to say thank you! A beautiful post, especially as I celebrate my 25th birthday today. You truly inspire me to sew all year long. Thank you for your blog. I wish you and your family all the best for the new year!
    -Katie

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  56. Happy New Year, Carolyn!

    (Anonymous 11:39 a.m.)

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  57. Carolyn, very inspiring post! 52? You look more like the number after the transposing the digits. Age is only a number and you showed that true beauty is not defined by age, but by intangible characteristics. Wishing you a wonderful 2011!

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  58. Wonderful words Carolyn! They really hit home I will be entering my fifties this coming year and you will only hear positive words from me, I like the place I'm in ;-)

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  59. LOL-Carolyn, first, let me admit that I have always thought, when you mention your grandson "gosh she must have had her kids really young!" because I assumed you were my age (43) or slightly younger! I would never have thought you were in your early 50's, you really won the lottery on the good genes!

    I'm so nodding along with everything you've written-yes and yes and YES!!! Embrace what you've got TODAY! Because right now, today, right here, is all the guarantee you get. Let everyone you know, know that you love them, today. Embrace the "fine lines" (frankly I think mine make me look pretty damn sexy, they emphasize what I have always felt to be my best feature, my eyes.) A thicker waistline is easily compensated for and worked around, it's not the end of the world, there's so much more to life than that!

    I think this ranks up there as one of your very best posts, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. What a lovely inspiring way to start a new year!

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  60. Well said. Best wishes for the New Year x

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  61. I just turned 55. When I hit 50, a dear friend whose mother and only sister both died of cancer before they turned 50 reminded me of how lucky we are to grow older. So very true. As she often says, "Every day is a gift."

    Rock on, young'un!

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  62. Well said Carolyn! Well said! It's time we make peace with ourselves:)

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  63. Great post! I have past the hot flash stage and feel great. We never know what lies ahead so why not just sew and enjoy the moment.
    Annette

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  64. Thank you for a beautiful post.

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  65. WOW! Carolyn, that was deep and inspirational.

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  66. Hello Carolyn,
    I read your post this morning and was thinking about it the whole day. I am in my end-forties and after stormy years I finally feel a self-confidence although my weight also increases and the wrinkles get more every year. Why? I want to enjoy the years lying ahead. Sewing, beeing creative,making myself a beautiful person (I am worth it!)-that was and still is my therapy! Thanks so much for your inspiring words and the best to you in 2011,
    Claudia

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  67. Great post! I am 52 and have had problems all my life being positive. And what a waste being negative is. I am going to bookmark this post so I can read it when I am feeling down. I think 2011 will be a great sewing year!!

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  68. Thanks so much for this! What a great outlook, and a great reminder. Self-respect is essential, but it isn't the result of what the scale says, what the bank account balance is, or even what others tell you. Thank you for the thoughtful and worthwhile post.

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  69. Well put Carolyn. I have to accept my size etc everytime I adjust a pattern. That's just how life is. I'm now thinking of going gracefully grey, but I'll need to replan my wardrobe :)

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  70. What an uplifting post.
    I am 58 and still getting used to the body changes that age brings.

    But, I am comfortable in my own skin, feel great, make an effort to look great and it' all good.

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  71. Theresa in TucsonDecember 29, 2010 5:08 PM

    Carolyn, you said a mouthful. I'm 56, and while I can accept the thickening waist and ankles, I'm not ready to accept the weight gain, (without putting up a rigorous fight, that is) but I hear where you are speaking from. I strive to change the things I can, (like exercise more) and accept the things I can't. My grandmother left this life at 95, my mother at 80. Of the two, my mother had the better life because she espoused what you are saying. If I'm half of what she was, I will count myself lucky. Thank you for posting.

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  72. I couldn't agree more, we do need to be fine with where we are at the moment. It's just that the moments move so much faster than I do!! My mind still thinks I'm in my 30's, while my body believes it's in it's 80's (i live with chronic pain) yet, my birthday said I was 53! or perhaps 54, I can never remember. I'm thankful for each day that comes my way, I'm thankful for each garment I make and finish, and each new technique I learn and practice. Nobody is promised a 'tomorrow' so I want to make today the best that it can be. Here's to a great 2011, and all the new and wonderful things there are to learn in the world of sewing! Happy New Year! Karen

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  73. Beautiful post. Thank you for writing about menopause. i am 55. I thought you were in your 40s.
    Acceptance is hard. I appreciate your inspirational outlook.
    Kathy

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  74. Great post. On January 19, I will turn 60!! I can hardly believe it. I've been through much of what you write and my thermostat will never ever go back to what use to be "normal". I have finally learned to accept the aging process and love me for being me as I am now. Best wishes to you for a Happy and Healthy New Year. Thank your for words of wisdom and sharing your sewing talent with everyone.

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  75. This post was so beautiful and authentically you. LOL I think we should all just give ourselves a break and live life. Happy New Year to you and your family! :)

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  76. Thank you....you have just reminded me to be grateful, and I am grateful for that also ;-)

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  77. Amen, sister! You've articulated something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I'll be 47 at the end of January, and while I don't think I'm getting old, I do wonder how many years flew by when I wasn't paying attention. The day I turned 20, a friend called and said, "Hey, you're halfway to 40," and it ruined my day. If I'd known how much I would enjoy my forties, I could have let that pass me by.

    As a younger woman, I would have thought of acceptance as something negative, as HAVING to accept something because I couldn't change it. As you age, you realize acceptance is actually a positive - you learn to stop fighting things that don't need to be fought, and to conserve your energies for the things that matter.

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  78. Beautiful post.

    But you cracked me up with the "quarter of a century" remark. Because that is the birthday that hit me the hardest! This last August when I hit 50, I didn't feel nearly as flabbergasted by being "half a century old" as I did that morning half a lifetime ago. ;)

    As I read your post, it echoed many of the things I've been thinking about this week. How I am more at peace with decisions my husband and I have made, how proud I am of the children we've reared, and how I am more accepting of me as I am now.

    Happy New Year friend. Thank you.

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  79. So timely for me. I love everything you said. Thank you for putting it out there.

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  80. I am so right there with you!

    mkhughes

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  81. This is the first time I have read your blog.
    I have to say: I agree whole heartedly! You got your heart and head in the right place! Aging gracefully is an art to be admired, just as beauty and youth and any other grace.

    Keep on going the way you are going! I will be back to read more! :)

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  82. Well said! Loving ourselves no matter what is so important.

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  83. You should become a motivational speaker.

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  84. Thank you so much for writing this. Beautifully put.

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  85. Beautiful. Thank you. I needed this message.

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  86. So much truth in these words! I can remember when I was little (elementary school age?) hearing adults talk about how fast time goes. I thought they were NUTS! I'm getting the paybacks for that now. Age bides its time for the first 45-50 years or so, and then WHAM it pounces on you. Suddenly time seems to speed up along with the changes in our bodies. Ok, not quite so many changes as during the first 20 years, but still, there's a lot going on.

    Do I accept those changes? Up to a point, I do. The weight gain itself, while not nice, didn't really bother me enough to make changes. It was the other risks associated with it - high blood pressure and diabetes that made me dig in and get off my behind and stop eating piles of food bigger than my head. On the other hand, I don't see plastic surgery to lift things back up to their original locations in my future.

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  87. Amen to that!A truly inspirational post.

    I am 45 in 2011 and have never been happier or more blessed. I am more excited about my life and more relaxed about who I am than ever. I wouldn't be 18, 21 or 30 again for a hat full of diamonds.

    Blessings to you and your amazing family and wishing you a joyous New Year.

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  88. Thanks, Carolyn! What an inspiring post. (And I love learning that someone I look up to is the same age as I am!)

    Happy New Year! (raising my scissors)

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  89. Outstanding, Ms. Carolyn. As everyone as said, "This is a wonderful post." I'm right there with you on being grateful for who I am and God's tremendous gifts. We all struggle with the many phases of life. Recently, I decided to stop fighting the normal progression of life's changes. These things are suppose to happen.

    I'm looking forward to a bright, prosperous new year full of love, creative, and happiness.

    God bless you, lovely lady.
    C

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  90. Love this post!

    Yes, I'm only 31, but I actually feel like this last year has been my best yet. Why? Because I finally accepted myself for who I am, faults and all, and it's amazing the amount of stress that disappeared because of it. ;) I'd say this post is applicable to all ages because the sentiments ring true whether you're 21 or 61.

    Happy 2011! Here's to another fabulous year!

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  91. Things have been busy and I have not visited your blog lately but what a nice present to read this I am with you on this at 52 I relate to EVERYTHING you said.

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