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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Message from Another Queen

posted by Donna Henes

 

To the citizens of the United States of America
From Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)  Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy). Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.  A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

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  1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (Look up ‘vocabulary’).
  1. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.   There is no such thing as U. S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.   The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’
  1. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
  1. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists.   The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent.   Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.
  1. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler, although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
  1. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect.  At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
  1. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon.   Get used to it.
  1. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps.   Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
  1. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all.   Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager.   Australian beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer.   They are also part of the British Commonwealth — see what it did for them.   American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
  1. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys.   Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters.   Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
  1. You will cease playing American football.   There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer.   Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body amour like a bunch of nannies).
  1. Further, you will stop playing baseball.   It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America.   Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.   You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
  1. You must tell us who killed JFK.   It’s been driving us mad.
  1. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
  1. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

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I received this as a forwarded anonymous email.

 

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

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Field Notes on an Empty Nest

posted by Donna Henes

By Cindy La Ferle (www.laferle.com)

Last week I found an empty bird’s nest on the brick walk leading to our backyard. I’m guessing the nest fell from a nearby silver maple; or maybe a neighbor found it while jogging and left it by the garden gate for us to admire.

Not much larger than a cereal bowl, the nest now perches indoors on a shelf near my desk. Crafted from hundreds of delicate twigs, strands of grass, and patches of moss, it’s truly a work of art — and a timely reminder to prepare for my son’s return to college after the long summer break.

Children of baby boomers are heading off to college in greater numbers than children of previous generations. At the same time, the age-old ritual of “letting go” is the final frontier for those of us who’ve made child rearing a major focus of our adult lives.

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I’ve been discussing this tender rite of passage with other middle-aged parents. And we all agree there has to be a better term to describe our next season of parenting — something that doesn’t sound as final or forlorn as “The Empty Nest.” Our nests, after all, are not completely empty. Not yet. My only child, for example, still has a bedroom here at home in addition to a loft in a crowded dormitory four hours away in South Bend, Indiana.

Whatever you want to call it, this to-and-from college phase is a thorny adjustment for parents and their almost-adult kids. College students are bound to ignore house rules when they return home for summer and holiday breaks. (“Curfew? What curfew?”) Even the most agreeable families discover that this can be a volatile time — a time when teen-aged tempers ignite and middle-aged feelings get scorched. All said and done, we’re all learning how to grow up and move on.

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A lot has changed since my son started college. I’m still adjusting to the hollow echo of his (oddly) clean and empty bedroom, looking for remnants of my old self — my mothering self — in the bits and pieces he left behind. The family calendar in our kitchen has some blank spaces, too, and is no longer buried under neon-color sticky notes announcing band concerts, Quiz Bowl meets, school conferences, and carpool schedules. At first, this was not cause for celebration. I’d become what our high school mothers’ club affectionately refers to as one of the “Alumni Moms.”

While I suddenly found unlimited bolts of time to devote to my marriage and writing career, I mourned what I perceived to be the loss of my role as a hands-on parent. Despite the fact that I had a cleaner, quieter house, I missed all the athletic shoes and flip-flops piled near the back door. I missed the boisterous teenagers gathered around the kitchen counter, or in front of the television downstairs. I missed bumping into other parents at school functions, and wondered if life would ever be the same.

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Life isn’t the same, but I’m OK with that now. I’ve come to realize that a mom is always a mom, even though her parenting role changes over time.

Not long ago, I stayed at my own mother’s place for a few weeks while I recovered from major surgery. When I apologized for disrupting her normal routine, she said, “My home will always be your home, too.” I found comfort in knowing that. Yet at the same time, I missed my own house. And I felt grateful that Mom had encouraged me, years ago, to craft a life — and a home — of my own.

It’s hard to believe my son is packing for another year of college this week. The hall outside his bedroom is now an obstacle course of boxes, crates, and suitcases stuffed with everything he needs for the months ahead. I’m still not very good at saying good-bye when his dad and I leave him at the dorm and steer our emptied SUV back to the expressway. I manage to compose myself until I notice the tearful parents of college freshmen going through this ritual for the first time. But it does get easier each term.

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So, is the nest half-full or half-empty?

Reflecting on the small bird’s nest perched near my desk, I’ve come to believe that every family is a labor of love and a work in progress. It’s a bittersweet adjustment, but I’m at peace with the idea that our household is just one stop on our son’s way to his future. He’ll be flying back and forth over the next couple of years or so. And hopefully, patience and love will be the threads that weave our family together, no matter how far he travels.

* ***
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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Full disclosure: I’ve been suffering from Empty Next Syndrome

posted by Donna Henes

By Wendi Knox

I know this isn’t a condition that’s commonly discussed.
A) Because it’s so uncomfortable.
B) Because I just made it up.
Of course, there’s lots of talk about “empty nests. ”

But you don’t need to be sending a kid off to college to feel that deep, hollow ache of “NOW WHAT?”  echoing  through your soul. You can experience Empty Next Syndrome (ENS) after a birth, a death, a move, a milestone, a breakup, a breakdown, a success. a failure, a change, a challenge or any random act of reality.

I first became aware of this condition in January. I began the New Year full of energy and a to-do list a mile long: Work on blog, edit videos, start book, blah-blah-blah.

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Then, Life Happened. In the most heart-aching, soul-shaking, stress-making way. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s been the stuff of sleepless nights. And nightmare days. For months, I’ve been stuck in the muck of drama and trauma, agonizing and strategizing. Most days, I couldn’t even face the grocery store.

In time, when the drama and trauma subsided a bit, I sat down to start writing. I tried. And I tried. And I tried. But I was totally at a loss for words. (Which is pretty rare for me.)

I panicked. If I couldn’t even write a single blog post, how could I make my bigger visions soar?

Day after day, staring at the blank screen, it finally hit me. We are not machines. When our circuits are blown by a crisis, a challenge or a change in our lives, we can’t just flick a switch and start functioning like nothing happened. And when you’re a do-er, a fixer and an accomplisher, like so many of us are programmed to be, this can be a major shock to our systems.

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I kept trying to “pull myself up by the bootstraps,” “to get back on the saddle” and to “put on a happy face.”

But none of those cliches worked. This did: I gave up.

After dozens of attempts (and tirades about what a loser I am), I stopped trying to come up with clever tips for navigating Empty Next Syndrome. Instead, I lit a candle, planted my feet on the ground and took some deep breaths right into my heart.

Then, I imagined an electrical switch on my brain and turned it to OFF. Next, I envisioned a switch on my heart, and turned to ON.

I asked the universe, “How can I help others who are struggling with Empty Next Syndrome?” Instead of avoiding the void, I went into it. Out of the emptiness, these words emerged:

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You suffer from the belief that the only way to move forward is in a straight line. Instead, try thinking of your life as a spiral. With the goal of going deeper, rather than further, you’ll find much more peace in your heart. This cultural preoccupation with “Next” has you hurrying through life with a grocery cart, trying to stuff it full of everything on your list.

When you choose to trust that everything is happening in its perfect time and that standing still is its own sacred movement, you’ll be free. And discover things far beyond the confines of a list.

What if instead of seeing yourself stuck in the muck of nothingness, you believed you were pregnant with possibilities. What if you viewed the empty times as rests between musical phrases. Or the white space in a vibrant painting. Or the pause of punctuation in the run-on-sentence of your life.

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If you can accept the concept that life here on earth is a classroom, then this so called “Empty Next Syndrome” is a much-needed vacation. Give yourself permission to rest, to restore, to rejuvenate, to recalibrate, to reclaim and to revisit Who You Are. Let go of what has been. Allow the new form to come in.

The presents of presence.

I’m not sure exactly where those words came from. Whether it’s from my Heart, my Soul or my Inner Dragonfly, I do know that this message is meant for you as well as me.

We all have access to deep wisdom and healing if we’re willing to delve into the discomfort of not knowing. Of course, when our lives are broken open,  it’s human nature to look for a cure in the outside world, No matter what you’re going through, instead of looking for a way out of Empty Next Syndrome, I hope you’ll find the fullness within.

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Honoring the space between What Was and What Will Be, allows us to find the gifts of What Is.

If you or someone you love is facing ENS, you are not alone.

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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Midlife Matters

posted by Donna Henes

Uncomfortable talks you should have with your Doctor
By Dr. Karen Hardart

As women move beyond the child-bearing years, their responsibilities and sources of stress can shift and even increase. But the transition from mommy to midlife shouldn’t be a crisis.

Women in their forties and fifties are often called the sandwich generation for a reason. We’re still parenting, yet may find ourselves caring for aging parents. In that squeeze women must remember to put their oxygen mask on first because women who take the time to care for their own physical and emotional wellbeing are better equipped to handle everything else on their plate.

Midlife is the time to tackle those issues our younger selves may have been too busy to address or too embarrassed to talk about.

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What are some of the top uncomfortable conversations to have with your doctor?

  • Intimacy issues: A lot of intimacy issues I see with midlife women stem from loss of libido, or sexual desire. There’s no little blue pill to prescribe, but your doctor can help you get to the heart of the problem, uncovering possible medical reasons for the issue.
  • Bladder control problems: Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is common for women as they age — whether it’s the strong sudden urge to go out of nowhere or the type that come on when you sneeze, laugh or cough. But it is not something you have to live with. There are exercises and diet changes that can help, as well as procedures that can be done.
  • Perimenopause/Menopause: As an OB-GYN, I help many women manage the symptoms of menopause. Things that help include exercise, controlling your weight and, in some cases, hormone replacement therapy. New therapies have emerged, too.
  • Healthy habits: Your doctor can help you make those necessary lifestyle changes you’ve been meaning to do, like quitting smoking, eating healthier, getting enough sleep, and exercising. In some cases, these changes may go hand in hand with helping a medical issue you’ve been having.
  • Abuse: Your conversations with your doctor are confidential, yet crucial if you don’t know what to do about your situation.
  • Stress and depression: Talk to your doctor to better understand the chaos hormones may be inserting into your life, plus to help you navigate your stresses. Stress and/or depression could be tied to some of the other issues above, so taking care of one may help the other.

Your doctor can help you navigate these midlife matters, allowing you to put down the supermom cape and realize you’re not alone on your health journey.

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Dr. Karen Hardart is an OB-GYN at Anne Arundel Medical Center

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

Previous Posts

Message from Another Queen
  To the citizens of the United States of America From Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we ...

posted 6:00:27am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Field Notes on an Empty Nest
By Cindy La Ferle (www.laferle.com) Last week I found an empty bird’s nest on the brick walk leading to our backyard. I’m guessing the nest fell from a nearby silver maple; or maybe a neighbor found it while jogging and left it by the ...

posted 6:00:54am Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Full disclosure: I've been suffering from Empty Next Syndrome
By Wendi Knox I know this isn't a condition that's commonly discussed. A) Because it's so uncomfortable. B) Because I just made it up. Of course, there's lots of talk about "empty nests. " But you don't need to be sending a kid off ...

posted 6:00:16am Jun. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Midlife Matters
Uncomfortable talks you should have with your Doctor By Dr. Karen Hardart As women move beyond the child-bearing years, their responsibilities and sources of stress can shift and even increase. But the transition from mommy to midlife ...

posted 6:00:27am Jun. 26, 2015 | read full post »

How to Be Visible
By Rebecca Perkins Reprinted From The Huffington Post  "I'm not interested in being perfect when I'm older. I'm interested in having a narrative. It's the narrative that's really the most beautiful thing about women." - Jodie ...

posted 6:00:05am Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

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