Beautiful Muse

For over 30 years, this lovely lady was the window covering in my grandmother’s bathroom. I used to love spending time in that magical space when I was a girl. The entire room was pink – the tile, sink, toilet, tub, and sparkly wallpaper – plus a Fairy Princess lived there! In that ultra-feminine place, experimenting with my grandmother’s cosmetics, I felt privy to all the secrets of womanhood.

When my grandmother died, the Fairy Princess became mine and evolved into a Garden Goddess. I still can’t believe I was so foolish as to place her out in my perennial gardens where anything might have happened. A tree branch could have fallen on her. A baseball could have shattered her to pieces. Luckily, the only thing that happened was her rustic wood frame disintegrated around her from exposure to the elements, and I learned my lesson about being careless with family heirlooms.

Without a safe way to display her, I slid her in the space between my dresser and the wall, where she stayed for years until an opportunity to restore her arose. A neighbor had started making stained glass art, so I asked him if he knew where I might have a frame made for her. Within days, he was carrying her away to his backyard workshop to make a custom frame. The result is what you see in the photo.

Now she’s the window covering in my living room, and her presence has coincided with a creative reawakening in my life. I’m blogging again after a near-year hiatus, and practicing yoga on the floor in front of her several days a week before sunrise, something I haven’t done at home in years. The Garden Goddess has evolved into my Muse.

Inspiration is all around us, in books, music, art, nature. Sometimes it’s tucked away in corners waiting to be rediscovered. So often we look for something or someone new to come along and inspire us, when what we really needed may have been there all along.

My grandmother at age 18, newly engaged to my grandfather.

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A Letter to My Readers

New year, new blog title and tagline, same content – it’s all about midlife.

First, I want to say thank you for reading my blog, especially the handful of you that do so faithfully. I deeply appreciate your time, comments, and likes. And I love checking out what you’re up to each week.

Those of you that have been with me from the beginning know that I started this blog in May 2015 with a frenzy of posts, essentially disappeared from the blogosphere for about four months over summer, and resumed posting again in earnest in December 2015.

When I resumed, I experimented with different themes, changed the title from Middle-Aged Madness to Midlife Madness (more on that later), and have been playing around with different taglines.

Honestly, I consider it a miracle that you have stuck around through this identity crisis.

The truth is, I knew less than zero about blogging when I started this site. I had just completed my master’s degree and for the first time in two years had some time on my hands in the evenings. I also had just turned 46 and I love to write, so thought, “Oh, I’ll start a blog about middle-age. That’ll be fun.”

The title Middle-Aged Madness popped into my head, primarily because I’d just finished binge-watching the entire series Mad Men on Netflix. I thought it was cute and catchy, so I went with it, not bothering to Google the name to see if it already existed.

Mad Men Image via http://consumerist.com

I had no idea that blogging could be so complicated, that people who follow you actually expect you to post meaningful content regularly, not occasional rants about how life can suck. There was this whole blogging world out there and I didn’t know where I belonged in it.

In November 2015, after writing my first post in months, I thought about deleting the blog. I wasn’t sure I had the time or wherewithal to do it properly. I also didn’t think my topic was popular enough to get the readership I hoped to have.

Then I had an epiphany: I’d only been blogging for six months, and for four of them I didn’t blog at all, and I was going to throw in the towel!

I was mad at myself. It’s so typical of me to start something in a flurry of creative energy and then not see it through to the end. Part of it is my personality type (ENFP), but part is a lack of what one of my students once called “stickwithitness” when it comes to my creative life.

I resolved right then that no matter what, even if my current readers dumped me and I had no new ones, I was sticking with this blog until at least December 2016. I would post once per week. I would educate myself on blogging, and learn as much as I could about the blogging community.

sticking-quotes-1

This is exactly what I’ve been doing. As part of this process, I decided to change my title to Midlife Madness. After Googling Middle-Aged Madness and coming up with some weird video game, and also realizing that the term midlife resulted in more relevant Google links than middle-age, I decided to go with it.

The one drawback is that midlife seems narrower in age, about 45-55, whereas middle-age encompasses about 45-65. I’ll worry about that if I’m still blogging in 9 years.

Then there was the matter of the tagline.

Initially, I thought it was warm and inviting, but according to what I was learning about taglines, it probably wasn’t accurately describing what my blogging goals are, which is to inform, entertain, and inspire people to view midlife as an exciting time, filled with possibilities.  I also want to share the humor in and reflect on the everyday ups and downs of life. (It took me getting serious about blogging to even consider what my goals are.)

once-you-find-someone-to-share-your-ups-and-downs-downs-are-almost-as-good-as-ups

But I couldn’t find a tagline that was working, despite writing an extensive list. That’s when it occurred to me that maybe the tagline isn’t working because the title is wrong.

A friend of mine, who lives in London so we only communicate via email, had told me it was all wrong, but he never told me why. I assumed it was because he associated the word madness with mental illness.

Yes, life can be crazy and middle-age can be riddled with mad moments, but was this the message I really wanted to impart? Now that I was no longer burned out from working on my master’s degree and was feeling better about life, did I want to perhaps send a more positive message about the midlife experience?

I decided the answer is yes. So Middle-Aged Madness turned Midlife Madness is now Midlife Awakenings, with a new tagline to go with it. I feel that the new title better reflects my goals for this blog and this stage of my life. Life is still a little mad, but it’s also exciting , filled with new possibilities and new beginnings.

Again, thank you for your readership and your “stickwithitness.” Enjoy the day!