How many times can you reinvent yourself?

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.

THE ISTANBUL CONSPIRACY https://amzn.to/34Hzh0z

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!

“6 months to live.” LOVE The Beat Goes On 

I believe in miracles because I am one!

If you play by the rules, you miss all the fun!

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.

Istanbul 2019

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:

Do you have any thoughts on Loneliness and Aging?

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.

Survival tips:

  1. learn something new every day
  2. Read, voraciously. Choose new genres, expand the mind
  3. Travel, even if it’s to a new neighborhood—take risks, step outside your comfort zone
  4. Take up a new hobby—everyone has a cell phone—take photos, have fun with them, join Instagram, connect with old friends.
  5. 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!)
  6. 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
  7. And try writing. I know you already love reading or you wouldn’t be here.
  8. And most of all, take risks.
  9. The Best Things in life begin with YES!

What was your biggest culture shock going to Turkey?

I LOVE this question! But I can’t answer with only one thing!

I’ve been on a long journey that started the beginning of February 2019 and spanned many countries and cities: Dallas, Tx. Paris, Fr. New Delhi, Agra, & Goa, India, (Istanbul, Turkey for 2 nights) Jerusalem and Tel Avi, Israel, and finally Bangkok, Krabi, Thailand.

But let me go back to last year when I said jokingly: “I could live out a suitcase!” And that’s a big thing to say when you are 72!

I decided to take myself seriously and after decades of working full time, I liquidated my life, put my photos and important papers into one suitcase, grabbed my knapsack with my computer and my iPhone X and took off! Turkey was not on my list when I planned this amazing voyage. But, I planned all this through a company that specialized in long trips (mine was over 4 months) and Chris said, “Lynda, layovers are free. Stop in Istanbul.” He and Istanbul changed my life.

Why do I LOVE Turkey and what shocked and surprised me? First. two days were not enough. So I came back to Istanbul after Thailand loved it so much I recently applied for a long term visa!

YES, I was shocked in an amazing way, with Turkey. Let me share the reasons why:

  1. The #1 Country for the Sexiest Men in the World is Turkey Yes, it’s true. Just walk through Sultanahmet Square where the Blue Mosque is and you will see what I mean!
  2. I LOVE the call to prayer. Do you know that there are over 81K mosques in Turkey? Over 3100 are in Istanbul. I was brought up Catholic and spent a year in the convent. But I don’t truly identify with any organized religion. The call to prayer happens through loudspeakers at every mosque, 5 times a day. I find it soothing and very special.
  3. Islam. Turkey is a Muslim European country. Of the 17 million people of this thoroughly modern and gorgeous city, 96.4% practice Islam. And from what I’ve learned since I arrived here, the religion is not anything like what we learn and hear about in the West.
  4. The people are genuinely kind. I’ve never experienced any violence whatsoever—not that it doesn’t happen, I’m sure—but I walk the streets at night, take the trams, wander endlessly, come home from dining through the city, walking down the hills from Taksim, and never once have I ‘felt’ unsafe. Btw, it helps to have a built-in-danger alarm.
  5. And if all of these things alone didn’t surprise me, I must say the language drives me nuts!! Hah, I walk around with google translate, although most people involved in tourism speak English. I feel so stupid. I can’t wrap my tongue around the words. I can’t relate them to anything—I have some French, Spanish, and of course English. I can even understand some Italian! But Turkish, even though I watch Netflix Turkish cop shows, I still don’t get it!
  6. Food! Don’t get me started! If you haven’t tried Turkish Ice Cream—it’s so creamy—you have not lived!The food is so good and so plentiful. And do try the varieties of baklava, and chocolate, and Turkish Delights!
  7. The night. Istanbul never sleeps. You can find restaurants open at 2 a.m all over the city!

My “shocks” have all been positive—except the damn language!! haha.

Answered in Quora!

Lynda Filler is the author of 15 published books on Amazon. Award-winning Target in the Sun is .99c today.

Don’t you love her wisdom?

We (Cree and Elizabeth Gilbert) are walking through France right now—wandering at our own footpace, following the whims of the day.

I want to tell you a story about Cree. Sixteen years ago, right before I took off for my EAT PRAY LOVE journey, I went to say my goodbyes to Cree. She had seen me through the ugliest days of my divorce. At that time, she was a stay-at-home mom, with two preschool children.

When she hugged me goodbye, she folded me into her arms and said: “Take us with you in spirit—all of us women who made different choices than you, and who are now staying home with our families. Don’t forget about us!” It was such a touching thing to say. I replied: “I’ll do one better than that, Cree. Someday we’ll go traveling together.”

Now here we are, a decade-and-a-half later. Cree’s wonderful kids are in college, and she and I are meandering up the Brittany Coast—two free women, doing just as we wish.

The other day, Cree posted this very photo of us on Instagram, and someone commented: “Flâneurs!” God, that made me happy. Flâneur is a 19th Century term for a “stroller” or a “loafer”—a man who saunters up the boulevard in aimless enjoyment, going wherever he pleases for the sheer delight of it. Traditionally, there is no such thing as a female flâneur—because allegedly the world is not safe for lady wanderers. In fact, I recently read a novel where two characters discuss the fact that the closest thing to a female flâneur is a “shopper”. (Excuse me?)

Well, hell…you wanna see some female flâneurs? HERE WE ARE.

Women, I want to tell you something: Your life will have SEASONS. Your tomorrows will not look like your today. You will not always be so tired. There will be seasons when you are taking care of others (babies, old people, the sick and the dying) but those seasons will pass, and then you can be a flâneur.

The world is safer than you think, and the time of your freedom is sooner than you know. Tag a friend who is feeling stuck or homebound, and make a promise to someday wander and stroll this world together. Remind each other of your wild nature. Make a plan to be free. Where will you go? Who will you bring? Onward❤️ LG

This woman influenced the lives of so many. I hope she does the same for you! I don’t know about you, but this made me cry.

Reasons why Istanbul should be #1 on your Bucket List

How I ended up in this city is pure serendipity. But here I am and I LOVE it.

  • Everyday I learn more and more. 17M people live here, but it feels like any other city in the world, only more historical and beautiful. Let me tell you why I love it.You walk amongst historical sites like it’s part of everyday life. Take a look at this view. The Blue Mosque is in the foreground and the Hagia Sophia in the background. If you make an arrow straight from the left of this photo over the Bosphorus Strait, that’s where I live. It’s a 15 minute tram ride to the Blue Mosque.
The Blue Mosque at night
  • The Old City Walls are intact and can be seen in various forms all around the city. Imagine driving on ultra modern bridges and highways, with a view of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople that saved the city many a time during its wars against the Avars, the Tartars, the Russians, and the Bulgarians.

Photo Bob Phillips thank you! Fine Art America

  • The food is fun, delicious, nutritious, and colorful! And I LOVE the chocolates!!
Fish Sandwiches under the Galata Bridge
  • The mix of old and new is felt in both the architecture, the culture, and the Islam religion. The unique ability for a 96.4% Muslim country to live side by side with all religions and cultures is felt in the welcoming nature of the people. As a secular woman I dress in my comfortable secular attire, and walk side by side with fully robed and casually attired Muslim women. There is no criticism, nor evil eyes, only nods of recognition that we are all one.
  • I LOVE the Call to Prayer, the Muslim tradition of the Quran prayer that reminds the devout five times a day, to stop what he/she is doing and say a prayer. Most of us have a belief in a Higher Power. It’s expressed by a variety of religions and ideologies, but the tenets are the same: We are all one and God is Love.

I was given a second chance at life in 2008 and I am determined to make the most of it! LOVE the Beat Goes On

Thank you for following my blog and I hope I gave you a small taste of life in Istanbul, Turkey.

Photo Blog 2 Istanbul!

She said what? Girls hanging out.
The Boys in Sultanahmet Square. I’d love to take a Turkish coffee with you!
Turkish Delights? But of course!!
Ohhhh, I’m so tempted. Just one more please!

If you would like to know more about my life, and what has inspired me to sell everything and travel the world, please pick up a copy of

LOVE The Beat Goes On on Amazon.

Every single day of my life since 2008 is a gift! #Gratitude

I’m Alive!

 

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It’s that time of year, again! Happy Mother’s Day! I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy in early 2008! After many months at 28% EF, there was no improvement although the shortness of breath and what felt like heart attack seemed under control with meds.

The doctors told me at best I’d need a transplant but basically the last words were “get your affairs in order.” This photo was taken a few days ago in Istanbul Turkey. This year I sold everything and decided to travel and visit all the places I write about in my books! I’m now in my fourth month!! I’ve written my personal story it’s available on Amazon LOVE the Beat Goes On, and has inspired many! But I’m writing this to let you know not to give up hope!!!

I went to work with a shaman in Arizona in 2008. I never had a transplant nor any operations. The last thing I did before I started this trip was to visit my cardiologist in Puerto Vallarta where I lived. He said “you will always have some left bundle blockage but your heart is functioning at 86% normal! And it’s been that way for several years! Live and enjoy your life!”

This is what I wish for all of you!