Tag Archives: Dancing

Oh the subtle changes in life!

How do you deal with changes in life? All the little, annoying changes that take place—you know, acquiring back fat when you never imagined such a thing existed. When I see myself in pictures, I am often taken aback. Who is that person? Sometimes I recognize her, but other times I see only my mom. And even though I still feel 30-something inside, I see an older woman staring back at me. Not all of that makes me happy, but I refuse to let it be something that stresses me out.

Maybe now is the time to take a quick inventory: am I accepting, fighting, or ignoring changes in myself? Lately, it’s been a royal mix. I’m okay with the additional grey color in my multi-colored mane. The wrinkles…well, I’ve pretty much had dry skin all my life, so wrinkles have been a part of me. Okay, there are more and they are deeper, but there isn’t much I can to do about that. I’m not pleased with the overall shift in my weight, or to put it more bluntly, the sagging. But (pun intended!), everything else seems to work fine and I have accepted my overall appearance.

Me and one of my amazing mentors

So what do I do with this inventory? How do I move from acceptance to comfortable, and finally to at-home with how I look on the outside and feel on the inside? I lean on my mentors—the women who are older and that much wiser than me. These women have developed a stability and freedom that I yearn for. They are sassy, funny, smart, engaged, and real. My mentors have struggled and learned how to navigate life’s rough waters, emerging with a stronger sense of self after every storm.

If I can learn anything from them, then it is to move gracefully and purposefully ahead. Instead of yearning for the past, I aim to dance into my next stage. I’m sure I can do this…with a little help from my friends. Will you join me?

Big Adventures and Unexpected Challenges

My mother was fixated on the idea of all her children being as Norwegian as possible. She claimed she was 100% Norwegian. She repeatedly told her kids that even though they had some Czech and Swedish from Dad, it was the Norwegian part that counted

She was not always an easy woman to be with, but I realized early on that the way to my mother’s good side was to fall in love with all things Norwegian. I went to St. Olaf College and by the end of my junior year, I was off to study in Norway. From then on, Norwegian was an integral part of my life—
from teaching the language to leading tours to the country. And now I live in Norway. Mom’s got to be dancing in heaven!

After 30 years, I reconnected with my college sweetheart. It didn’t take us long to figure out that we wanted to be together. Trouble was, I had a busy and active life in the States and he lived in Norway. He was a well-established American expat with two grown daughters. He enjoyed his career and wasn’t looking to start anew in the States. For me to take the leap and move to Norway seemed a cinch, a no brainer.

It was also a bit unbalancing. Even though my work has always been mobile, I still have a support system in Minnesota. Skype, email and other social media make it easier to live abroad, but there’s no substitute for hanging out in a kitchen and chatting about this and that with one’s friends.

I needed to find Support (the first letter in my SANE Method™) so I hopped on a bus and joined a  local dance class. I started opening up to Norwegian friends and made time to develop new expat friends. I sought out support. It’s the first step I take whenever I’m embarking on something new or difficult. I can’t do life alone. Even when, by all outward appearances, everything looks divine, I need support.

I chose this big adventure, and I know some of you make a choice to have your mom or dad come live with you so you can be their caregivers. We make choices for all the right reasons, but we also have to give ourselves a break and reach out when we need help. It’s the only way we can tackle big adventures, live and thrive through the unexpected challenges of our lives.

This blog first appeared as an article in my regular column in Southern Minnesota Girlfriends magazine, Spring 2018.