In the busy, multi-tasking lives of women, there comes a time that causes us to slow down and reflect upon who we are and who we want to be. The Return to You campaign hopes to encourage women to take a deep breath and discover how to get there. I’m honored to be part of this campaign and share my story.
I’m 58 years old. It’s only a number, but it means I’m no longer scaling that hill, I’m over it, and I’d better embrace each coming year.
Sleepless nights, hot flashes and crazy mood swings of menopause are behind me. My husband will never forget the time I asked him to stop teasing the dog. The barking and growling were getting on my nerves, and I knew the dog would try to bite him. When he didn’t stop, I exploded in a fit of anger, stomping and screaming my way upstairs. I slammed the bedroom door shut and flung myself on the bed sobbing, all because he wouldn’t stop teasing the dog!
My children are successful and have given me grandchildren to love and spoil and a few grey hairs.
But being this age puts us in the sandwich generation between our kids and our parents. Being in the middle can feel like being pulled in both directions at the same time, worrying about our kids and our aging parents. Can we do everything for everybody?
My Mom recently passed away from Alzheimer’s disease at age 81.
Mom and me on a hot Summer day in 2010.
In 2005, my stepfather passed away suddenly, and I found myself fully responsible for my mom’s care. It felt like smashing into a wall; life changed drastically. I realized how much of the disease he covered up by doing things for her, and it angered me because I was unprepared.
Before placing her in assisted living, I lived with her for almost a year. I don’t know how I kept up with my own home, family and full time job. Let me tell you: guilt is heavy if it’s on your shoulders every day. Add to that witnessing the slow demise of a parent, and the guilt is coupled with a deep sadness. I felt alone in my cocoon of grief.
Now that she’s gone, the cocoon is slowly opening. It’s time for me to focus on who I am, who I can be, and who I want to be. It’s time for me to figure out what it means to Return to Me.
With an average lifespan of 84 years for women, taking care of my physical health is a top priority. Like a car, we need routine maintenance; don’t skip mammograms and preventive checkups.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in American women. For me that means taking a statin drug everyday to lower cholesterol and trying to eat a heart healthy diet. Losing that stubborn 20 pounds is on my list of things I really need to do, but then there’s mocha frappes and cinnamon buns. That’s just not fair!
Return to Me means to stop being so hard on myself. No one’s beating me up except me. Setting boundaries and grabbing a few minutes for myself isn’t selfish; it recharges me to be the best I can for my family.
Stop worrying and learn to laugh from your gut. So I showed up for an appointment on Tuesday but the actual appointment was Thursday? I have to shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes and let it go! It really doesn’t matter.
Return to Me also means staying connected with friends, becoming more involved in ladies’ activities in my church, discovering new interests, trying new things and finding my passion to improve my emotional health.
Return to You can mean different things to each of us. Was there a time in your life when you realized you needed to put yourself first and Return to You? I’d love to hear your personal story. You can share it here in the comments.
It’s time to rediscover your best self. It’s time to return to you.
And don’t forget to check out Pfizer’s Page on Blogher.com to read other blogger “Return to You” stories.
Return to You means reaching out to other women experiencing the same challenges and letting them know they are not alone.
Let’s all reach out!