Like right now! I should be working on a newMemoir. But, I’m checking out Quora, eating breakfast, trying to make sense out of World Politics and man’s determination to kill. Sometimes I wonder if as a society we’ve progressed at all.
I retired from a full-time career a year ago. And traveled for months to all parts of the world. So I haven’t quite fallen into a routine workday. I love this newfound freedom and the 10 extra pounds that go with it. And the decision to live in Istanbul for the foreseeable future.
I’ve given myself permission to LOVE my current lack of schedule. However, I have a new release The Istanbul Conspiracy, that came online at Amazon Christmas Day. I purposely gave myself a deadline and the pressure of making sure I was ready.
Now I have fallen into a schedule that looks like this. I have 3 distinct projects every day.
Yoga for 30 minutes the moment I wake up.
Coffee, Breakfast, World news, Q, FB and I limit that fun to 1 hour
Write. I have 2 Code Ravens to publish this year. And another memoir. I’ve already published 16 books on Amazon. I’m doing the memoir first. But if I need a break, I will work on the two plots for the CRaven series books 8 and 9.
I take breaks for WordWars—I admit I’m addicted to the game even with the new site full of advertisements that drive me crazy!
I allow myself the indulgence of Prime Video or Netflix but more than likely this pastime is saved for late evening.
I have a boyfriend who is low maintenance so every couple of days he shows up in my world which is great. I get a break. Plus he loves food and takes me to all his favorite Turkish restaurants.
My body refuses to adjust to Istanbul time or a work schedule like I might have maintained when I lived in Mexico. That means my body believes bedtime is around 2–3 am and wakeup somewhere between 10:45-11:30 am.
It’s not unusual for me to write or do marketing in the evening and I will work sometimes up until midnight. (I’m self-published and marketing is a large part of my job.)
I LOVE my life! I’m living the dream.
My New Years’ resolution is to have more DISCIPLINE! Hah!
I knew I liked to shake up my life, but this year has been amazing!
It’s almost 2020, so I’m taking a moment to look back and do the proverbial: how did Lynda do in 2019? But today I’m going one step further, I’m going ALL the way back. How many times can I re-invent myself?
I was a good girl, a Canadian army brat. We moved every three years. You packed up your things, said goodbye to your friends, and moved on with your life. Didn’t everyone live like that?
In my teens, I thought I’d be a Catholic nun. I entered a convent of missionary sisters straight from high school. I was religious. I wanted to save the world, look after orphans, feed the poor. Instead, I recall days of washing floors and stealing cookies from the kitchen after lights out! Less than a year later, I left the convent, returned to Ottawa, and married my high school sweetheart. A year later, I was divorced.
I look back on my life and see the characteristics and events that define the woman I’ve become. At the time, I couldn’t see it, but as Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “I can see clearly now.”
First, I’m a loner. It turns out that’s a good thing because change is easy, maybe too easy for me. I don’t form the kind of attachments others form. As a result of my upbringing, I don’t have childhood friends. When people ask me where I come from, I never know what to say. I lived in Petawawa, Toronto, Lindsay, Edmonton, Montreal, Whistler—all in Canada. Then Puerto Vallarta Mexico for the last 17 years. What do I say Canada or Mexico? And now I’m in Istanbul, Turkey!
I could live anywhere in the world because “wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
I did the same thing with my various careers and in my own businesses.
I started in sales part-time over the summer in Ottawa when I was 18. Then I taught myself how to type and assisted the GM of a stock brokerage firm. I moved to Toronto and began a short-lived modeling career that led me into fashion. I opened a store and sold ladies’ clothing. I built that into a chain of stores. Unfortunately, husband number 2 was a gambler, and he stole money from the business. And “the rest is history!”
The next stop was Montreal, where I began a career as a women’s clothing buyer for retail businesses, importing, designing, and creating. I woke up one morning and said to myself, “If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.” I opened a manufacturing plant.
Several years later, I now had two young boys. Quebec was in a recession. So I moved from Montreal to western Canada and began a career in resort sales that lasted 25 years! “Why invest money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
Witness the evolution of a woman:
“I can see clearly now.”
“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”
“The rest is history!”
“If you can make money for someone else, why not do it for yourself.”
“Why invest the money for inventory, rent, retail, and wholesale, when you can make just as much money using your sales skills without the financial risk?”
And this brings us to the year 2019. After 54 years of working, 9-5, 8-midnight, and 3, or 4-hour days, I retired! Well, my version of retirement. I sold everything and bought an airline ticket with multiple destinations—precisely the way I’ve lived my life! I celebrated my 72nd birthday in Tel Aviv to the sound of air raid sirens. And from there, I traveled to Europe, India, Thailand. And along the way, I found Istanbul.
The one constant in my life is my love of books. I think my first memory of a book is Little Women. I will reread it someday. In my teens, I started to write poetry and journal. And in my 20’s I wrote my first novel. I never published it and lost the manuscript in one of my moves. But that’s fine with me. It was never meant to be published. I never even tried. But in 2008, I was diagnosed with incurable heart disease and told I had “6 months to live.”
This time I not only had to re-invent myself but re-create myself. “And that has made all the difference.”
Now the promises to self kicked in, and I began to write in earnest. I published three books of poetry and wrote several books of fiction. I waited for years to write and publish my journey to healing because I wanted to be sure that I actually survived what I call my miracle. And now I’m almost on the eve of publishing my 16th book on Amazon, The Istanbul Conspiracy! The 7th in my Code Raven Series.
So far, it’s been and wild and wondrous journey. I’ve managed to stay retired all of 2019 and finally returned to writing to gather my plots for this new release. Yes, I call this retirement even though I am super busy with writing novels, blogs, Quora, FB, IG, Twitter, yoga, traveling, and living my beautiful creative life. I love Istanbul and I think I will stay for a while. It’s been 8 months so far. I’m researching for my books, learning to cook Turkish food, wandering the streets, doing photography, and now I’m back to full-time writing. I finally have time to keep in touch with friends I’ve made along the way in Mexico and in Turkey and all over the world.
So, tell me something. How many times can you reinvent yourself? I say, as many times as it takes!
I LOVE that I am fearless and refuse to live my life the way society dictates. Every morning I find joy in my love of life that has led me to adventures beyond what I ever thought possible.
I woke up this morning and hit the yoga mat. I have immense gratitude that at 72 I am able to move every single part of my body without pain.
I sat down at my desk and finished editing my latest book, The Istanbul Conspiracy. I LOVE that I’ve been blessed with the gift of imagination and the ability to entertain and inspire.
When I take a my medications for heart/blood pressure, I give thanks to a world that has created drugs that have allowed a woman like me to continue living and loving even though I was given “6 months to live” in 2009!
And I take joy from my attitude in life: everything amazes, surprises, and delights me…simple things like the Istanbul cats, Starbucks coffee, caramel waffle cookies, and finding fresh lettuce for my salad at the corner store.
And I find joy — endless joy, in creativity: photography, writing my novels, reading, graphics, fashion, music. And style, like my new hair color. This is what happens when you don’t speak Turkish, your hairdresser doesn’t speak English — but he gets me!
I take joy in knowing I have two amazing sons in my life. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but that’s okay. They are both just like me: strong-willed and on their own paths.
I’ve been through bankruptcies and divorces — make no comment about the plurals, please! But my stubborn determination to succeed means I’ve bounced back from both more times than I can remember and refuse to become hardened or bitter.
And at this moment in time, I have a very loving relationship with a guy who makes me laugh-out-loud and reminds me that I’m beautiful inside and out. He says that age is just a number to be ignored — ”It’s what’s in your heart that counts.”
Finally — although I’m sure I can come up with a lot more — I have a philosophy in life — many, actually, but I will share this one:
I believe that loneliness is a direct relation to self-love and self-worth. Let’s face the fact that aging is a subject that’s on every woman’s mind once she reaches the age of 30. Why is that? Why do we worry so much about getting older and being alone? I think it has to do with self-love. We just don’t love our selves enough.
We can blame it on the society we live in as aging is a first-world-obsession. All we have to do is look at the media to see that once a woman hits 50 she begins to become invisible. But mostly, this same woman is allowing society to create the fiction that there is something wrong with aging.
I know this might be a rambling comment, but it hurts my heart to hear talk of loneliness when I believe that within ourselves we are whole and complete. I’ve always been a loner—I’m a poet, a memoirist—LOVE The Beat Goes On—a novelist, a whole new career that began in the last decade.
I remember a time when I wouldn’t go to a restaurant and dine alone. I didn’t always have the confidence I have today. I had to work at it.
This photo was taken on my 70th birthday. I spent it at a high-end restaurant on the beach in Puerto Vallarta—a sunset dinner ALL BY MYSELF! It was a first. And it was amazing.
It took me until I was 72 to begin an amazing journey to many countries in the world, not on a tour, not with a group—all alone. And it’s been life-changing.
WE create a situation called loneliness. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve always believed that happiness, contentment, love, health, all these things are related to how much we not only like our self but LOVE ourselves.
I love to say I live in my own little world, they know me there. I could also add, they—all the different aspects that make up the person I have become—LOVE me there. I don’t need other people in my life and yet, I meet new people everywhere. I met my current boyfriend at a touristy spot in Istanbul seven months ago. He was studying English and wanted to practice with someone. It was cold and rather rainy so I accepted the offer of Turkish tea. I took a chance and said yes to dinner later that evening. And here I am, living in Istanbul—for now.
Loneliness is a decision and a choice. You can meet people in a coffee shop, at an art gallery, at the museum, standing in line at the grocery store. I met a woman who has become a friend in a restaurant in Istanbul. She was dining alone and asked me to join her. I had a cold and didn’t want the company. But she asked again when her dessert came and you can always bribe me with “this is too much for me, please share my baklava!” She’s from the Philippines, lives in Florida with her sister, and is currently doing some freelance writing in Rome! She fell in love with Turkey at the same time as I did. Now she’s organizing a religious tour around Turkey next year!!
In today’s world, it’s easy to make friends if you want to. But you need to have the strength inside your own heart—self-love and personal happiness—to make it through the ups and downs of navigating the world.
It all comes back to self-love. And it’s never too late to learn to love yourself.
learn something new every day
Read, voraciously. Choose new genres, expand the mind
Travel, even if it’s to a new neighborhood—take risks, step outside your comfort zone
Take up a new hobby—everyone has a cell phone—take photos, have fun with them, join Instagram, connect with old friends.
And if you’re my age, do something crazy, like color your hair—okay, not this bright (I manipulated the brightness for the fun of it!)
And take care of your health, take your meds, do some yoga—you don’t have to leave home to find a great yoga video online
And try writing. I know you already love reading or you wouldn’t be here.
2019 reprinted (with permission) because it’s so awesome!!
Something happens to my brain when I hear the line “tell me about the real you”. That (not so little at times) voice inside me whispers …”yes yes go ahead and tell them”–but then the louder voice (OMG so many voices inside my head) shouts “NO! Don’t you dare!” So the question remains…which voice do I listen to?When I was younger, the idea that someone really wanted to take the time to hear about the “real me” always felt rather flattering. But seriously–it’s such a loaded statement and coming up with a good answer? Well–more than a bit of a challenge. For example–what happens if the “real you” is the body suit you have been wearing all along? Is this person who is asking–implying that I am an impostor in my own skin? Some sort of pretender trying to fool him (and others) with my fake facade? OR–has the assumption been made that–like most of us–I keep many parts of my real personality hidden from public view?What does “real” actually mean? I googled it (of course) and here the results:
actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.
(of a substance or thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine.
As children we are “real” in that we have not yet discovered how to be anything else. We are genuine and spontaneous in our behaviors and reactions to stimuli outside ourselves. We laugh loud when we are amused or happy and we cry (even louder) when we are hurt or in pain. Although the reasons may be a bit cloudy–there is not doubt of what we are feeling…no need to guess at our emotional responses. No child when asked “does it hurt” will say “no” –if indeed it hurts. A joyful child (to me) is akin to the 8th wonder of the world–in that it is a wonder to behold. Where would You-Tube be without all those home videos of children clapping their hands and laughing uproariously (over seemingly) nothing? How infectious that joy can be–we keep replaying those videos over and over again and laughing along…it makes us FEEL so good–because it’s…you guessed it…REAL!
We grow older and we learn to disguise our (sometimes favorable or unfavorable) reactions behind poker faces that cannot be accurately read by those trying to figure us out. Why? Why do we do that? What’s the benefit? Well–somewhere between child and growing up we discovered that letting others know how we REALLY feel–isn’t always a good thing. We figured out that keeping a leash and collar on our emotions and responses–can help us to feel less vulnerable to others. In fact–telling people we feel the opposite of how we actually do–is sometimes a valuable tool called “reverse psychology”–and can get us things we want much faster–than if we told the truth.The danger of bottling up the “real”– inside a body suit of “fake”– is that a time may come when we (ourselves) may no longer know how we actually feel in a given situation. We can lose track of who we really are– when we don’t let our real feelings manifest. We can start to feel misunderstood by those around us (indeed by the world at large) and crawl inside a little black hole that seems to keep getting bigger–each time we swallow a truth and replace it with words that mask and hide what we truly are thinking and feeling.
The “real me” had been held captive for a while now in a suit of armor that is very restricting. True I have little “breathing holes” I call them–where real feelings slipped out occasionally– but for the most part–I kept myself bottled up. The funny part is that lots of people never noticed. I am by nature a caring person and I believe myself to be a kind person as well. But after too much heartbreak– I had learned to zip my mouth and allow my brain the time sift through countless options before I spoke. The “real me” sometimes suffered by my own censorship of what was dying to burst out of me–but kept being told (by a brain that had been put in charge)–”NO! Don’t say it that way–someone might misunderstand and you’ll find yourself in yet another pickle. You’ll just have to extricate your foot from your mouth again and do–way too much damage control and explaining–much better to just “tell them what they want to hear”.
And so I did. I used to tell people what they wanted to hear and they were happy (for that moment)–until they found out (much later on) that I had not expressed my true feelings at all. I had not lied to them–but had certainly been guilty of the “crime” (?) of omission. I omitted telling them what I felt would surely be unpleasant and upsetting to them. But that was then and this is now.
As I write this I am smiling…simply because I have found my own definition of “real”. “Real” feels good…it feels right…it doesn’t make you queasy or uneasy. “Real” is what you feel without “fine-tuning” it to something more “acceptable” or “appropriate”. “Real” is honest and speaks truth. Sometimes “real” isn’t popular in a discussion –especially if others are practicing and engaging in (all too common) “fake” repertoire. Other times “real” can also make or break a relationship–but I’ve learned that any relationship broken by truth and honesty–is not one I want to be in. “Real” is also trust. Trusting what your heart and mind are telling you is right and true.
In this world of ours –where false advertising prides itself on fooling the better part of a population and where people appear almost eager to be duped in ways that are truly unimaginable– I believe knowing when (and who) to trust is nothing less than a God given gift and blessing.I have learned to “trust” me. It took so many years of trusting everyone else–thinking they all knew stuff about me that I could not myself comprehend–before I finally looked in the mirror and smiled at what I saw. I didn’t cringe at the white hair (although that little voice whispered gently–you can put a blonde rinse in it anytime). I didn’t try to stretch the skin around my eyes (or mouth) to make the wrinkles less noticeable–I now accepted them as the laugh lines they truly are (they are–right??). I’ve learned to laugh a myself (and not at my own expense). I see my long nose–patrician nose they call it? Yeah it’s still large–my face never really grew big enough to make my nose look small–but it’s mine and I own it. Hey–a large nose was good enough for Barbra Streisand never to want to tamper with–so why should I regret my own? My eyes stare back at me–the color (sometimes) of a clear blue sky –and other times resembling a stormy ocean–are they placed too close together? Who cares? I can see myself and others clearly with them now–so my vision seems to be improving (not deteriorating).
“So people now you know my story”…don’t judge me harshly as I humbly suggest that life can be filled with so much artificial bullshit! Sometimes the only “real” you will find is when you close your eyes and see with your heart. If thinking is required–sometimes it is better to shut off the louder voices in your brain and listen to the softer sounds of your soul instead. You may only hear a whisper at time–but if it feels real–listen to it and follow what it is telling you. My best decisions have been a direct result of what I saw in my heart and felt in my soul –rather than what my overworked and over-thinking brain sometimes pumped out trying to convince me to accept as “real”.
Tomorrow I will be at Jones Beach on Long Island. It’s one of my favorite places to get in touch with the “real me”! There’s just something about the sound of the waves and the seagulls–the wide open sky and the endless expanse of the ocean that allows me to breathe easier. This setting helps me believe in a reality that is bigger than just me. A reality in which I am but a tiny grain of sand on an enormous beach–or a tiny drop of water in an infinite sea. But just like the sand and water–I too was created by skillful hands and I am very–very “real”. What you see is what you get…my motto to live by. Ask and I will tell you –so be prepared.
I’ve learned to face the unpopularity of truth in certain circles–but it will never keep me from speaking it. I AM that friend who will tell you the there’s a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth–that your zipper is at half mast (guys) or that you are being an “asshole” (if you are) and though you may hate me now–you might actually thank me later (lol). Reality…what a concept! I pray for everyone to just learn to accept themselves as the perfectly imperfect– but totally “real” people they can be. I think we need to stand up (and stand together) against forces trying to convince us that we are not “good enough” just as we are. Indeed, voices that preach of a need to embellish our God given assets to such a degree– that we no longer recognize ourselves when we look in the mirror. Maybe it’s time to accept that “real” face we see staring back at us (without judgement) and to love it–just the way it is?
I reprinted because I LOVE THIS! Doris is a member of Lyndas Raven Army and a FB friend, a fan of my work, and a trusted member of my creative circle for so many years. Follow the link above to enjoy more of her musings.
published this morning: Elizabeth Gilbert on FaceBook
Dear Ones: It’s a beautiful spring day in my corner of the world, life is everywhere bursting forth with a sense of rebirth and renewal, and this seems like as good a moment as any to tell you that I am in love. Please meet my sweetheart, Mr. Simon MacArthur. He’s a photographer from the U.K. — a beautiful man who has been a friend of mine for years. (Even more touchingly, Simon was a beloved friend of Rayya’s for decades. They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings. This, as you can imagine, means the world to me.) Of late, Simon and I have found our way to each other’s arms. And now here we are, and his heart has been such a warm place for me to land. I share this news publicly, despite the fact that our love story is so new and young and tender, for a few reasons. For one thing, I just wanted to say: If you see me walking around with a tall handsome man on my arm, don’t be buggin’. Just know that your girl is happy, and following her heart. But also this: I will always share anything personal about my life, if it could help someone else feel more normal about their life. SO…if you have lost a loved one to death, and you thought you’d never love again, but you are feeling a pull of attraction toward someone new, and you’re not sure if that’s OK? Let me normalize it for you. Let me say: It’s Ok. Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your beautiful loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love. Or…if you are falling in love in middle age and it’s terrifying, because you feel just as dumb and crazy and excited and insecure as you did at 16? Well, let me normalize this for you. It’s OK. You will always feel 16 when you are falling in love. Or…if you once loved a man and then you loved a woman, and then you loved a man, and you’re wondering if that’s ok? Well, darling. Let me normalize that for you. It’s OK. Love who you love. It’s all OK, and it’s all impossible to control, and it’s all an adventure that I will not miss. That’s all I wanted to say. Onward, and I love you all.
Why does everything Elizabeth Gilbert says and does make me cry? She’s truly a woman of our times. Her life has crossed paths with mine in truly memorable ways. Jeanne Proteau I don’t know if you will remember before I left Mexico in 2007 to drive back to Canada, I met and spoke to a young woman from the US who had recently graduated from University. Her first job was working as a publicist for then-unknown author, Elizabeth Gilbert. I remember the conversation vividly because I was about to embark on a life-changing journey that would introduce me to a man with whom I would fall deeply in love. In my memoir, I refer to him as my cowboy.
While driving into the US through the Arizona border, I stopped at a mall for food. In front of me was a huge display of the book Eat Pray Love. I can picture the stand of books in front of me at this very moment. That’s when I bought my first copy of her treasured memoir. This past year a reviewer compared my LOVE The Beat Goes On to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love memoir. I was honored, and reminded that we can be stuck in our lives or take action. It will always be our choice. And today, as many of you know, I have again pulled up roots and embarked on a journey of a lifetime. I created my own EPL journey that started in Dallas, then Paris, New Delhi, Agra–for the amazing Taj Mahal–then Goa India, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and now I’m in Thailand.
I think about how her book had such a tremendous effect on generations of women who felt trapped in their lives and needed permission to break free. It doesn’t surprise me that her best friend and lover Rayya–who died last year– sent Liz an old friend to help heal her broken heart and show her love again.
I’ve often been told I overshare (in not so many words) but I guess it’s a writer thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is a great question I was asked recently on Quora. I thought it would be worthy to share.
I spent most of my life running my own businesses or managing teams of people for other corporations. I can tell one thing about people that challenged me on a daily basis: lack of self-esteem and self love!
I’m assuming this question is coming from a woman—it feels like it; but even that is a sexist remark that shows you how I feel about this subject. People lack self-worth and don’t value their own talents and abilities the way they should.
Maybe my thoughts can help you.
Start a journal and on the first page, write a list of things about yourself that you LOVE. If you have to think about it and can’t come up with 5 things quickly, we have a lot of “making over’ work to do! I’ll give you mine right off the top of my head without any thinking:
I’m funny and make a friend easily. I’m entertaining, charming, and love to tease. I’m sexy—yes, at my age, I got it all going on! I’m an adventurer, in business and in my personal life, a goal setter, a dreamer, a believer in the goodness of mankind, a lover, I lead from the heart. I really like myself.
We are taught, or at least my upbringing taught me to be humble, not to brag, not to flaunt myself or my accomplishments, to be good at things but to not stand out or look for accolades. I say bullshit! If you don’t love yourself, who will? And if you don’t come from a place of love, how can you ever love another?
We come into this world alone, and we go out alone. And sometimes, most of the time, we take this journey called life, by ourselves. You better learn to love who you are, focus on your strengths, and let the other nonsense go. Never, ever put yourself down!
Good luck on this journey we call life. My advice to the hundreds of people I led every day is we only go through this world once. Learn to laugh off the nonsense, and play to your strengths. Learn to love yourself first, and the rest will fall into place.
I’ve finally accepted that I’m addicted to LOVE. I write about it, I’m either in-or-out of it, and I live my life and make choices around it.
I’m still a work-in-progress. At this stage of life, you’d think I’d have it all figured out, but that’s never going to be the case. I’ve chosen to love in unconventional ways and without the restrictions of conditions.
I’ve recently made a decision to change the course of my life. After living in Mexico for many years, I’ve liquidated my life and hopped on a jet plane. I’m currently in Paris and in two days, I’ll be in Frankfurt, then New Delhi, and will continue going to the Middle East, Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Here’s what runs through my mind:
all my bags are packed and i’m ready to go
i’m standin here outside your door, i hate to wake you up to say goodbye, but the dawn is breakin it’s early morn
the taxi’s waitin, he’s blowin his horn
already i’m so lonesome i could die
so kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me, hold me like you’ll never let me go
cause i’m leavin on a jet plane, don’t know if i’ll be back again
Yes, with self-knowledge comes self-acceptance. The choices I’ve made give me tremendous highs, and not-so-lovely lows. But this is who I am. And my life has been significantly improved because I learned to love unconditionally.