A Woman's Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist.

“Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age.”

—Victor Hugo

It is 02/20/2020, perfect “vision” for the first day that I embark on Fifty days to Fifty. On April 10, 2020 I will be fifty years old! Fifty is a very emotional milestone for people to hit.. Outdated images of women with mostly grey hair, sagging skin and wrinkles dressed in unbecoming matronly clothing flash into many people’s minds, whether spoken or not.

“Men-oh-pause” as the joke goes, 50 and 51 is the average age for menopause, when the age of natural childbearing is scoffed at or highly discouraged.

Wow, half a century—to be 50, the first birthday one is allowed to join the AARP club!


“Middle aged”

“Once you turn 50 (as a woman), you become invisible” — I have heard this so many times as a young woman, it’s chilling and dare I say, obsolete now in 2020!

I am undertaking 50 days to 50 as a therapeutic tool for myself to compassionately embrace an age that I have conflicting feelings about, including but not limited to: joy, awe, sadness, amusement, strangeness, denial, acceptance, bewilderment and curiosity; to walk my audience through my experience of entering the milestone age, and to impart wisdom in the process. What you are reading is my writing in real time. 🙂

As I release my 40’s into the proceeding 50 days, I do so while reconciling my regrets (failed trials of trying to settle down and start a family), anger and failed relationships with family, friends and colleagues, and not having launched my private business in full swing (yet)….that is for my upcoming 50s! Most of all, however, I embrace letting go of my 40s with love, which I am determined to dovetail and guide me into the new decade of my years. To turn 50 in 2020 feels like a symbolic honor in itself: newness, hindsight, foresight with a balanced perspective.

Namaste, ’til tomorrow.

02/21/2020, 49 days til 50. Wow. That’s amazing. I don’t have a linear of logical explanation for my awe, but it feels amazing in an odd way. That reminds me, 49 days–I am 49 years old and letting go of my 40’s with love. Despite not having been married, which continues to make “love” and a bond legitimate, I still feel it in a way those who never made the societal standard “cut” like me would perhaps feel more inclined with which to resonate.
Stop babbling Manju.

“Wisdom comes with winters.”
—Oscar Wilde

So my 50-day journey, begins in the doldrums of winter (yesterday and today were quite cold) and I hope the season will indeed attract the wisdom that I seek to always hone. The gyps ruepellii, or Rupell’s griffon vulture, is the African bird species type that can fly at the highest altitude known to humankind to date (37,000 feet above sea level). It depends on its vision to identify prey and when this is done in flight, it will bear down, spread its wings accordingly, extending its neck into its feast, and can eat ravagely. They are so resilient, the Rupell’s griffon can safely consume toxic meat that would kill people and other species quickly. While I do not consider myself to be predatory, I use the adaptive physical nature and sharp, panoramic vision that Rupell’s benefit from integrated with the third eye chakra for intuition, our “sixth sense” into my 50s. Funny enough, Rupell’s are known to live a span of 40-50 years. So I take the Rupell’s bird spirit into my 50th birthday as a mortal sentient human being. 🙂 The bird’s eye in the cosmic third eye.

02/22/2020 48 days to 50

So, not a good day. Still sick on my forth day of azithromycin but still coughing more than I would have otherwise expected. And, one of my favorite things to do…go to the dentist for a cleaning, second year in a row learning that I have a cavity refill that is needed. Yay! More bills to pay.
“You’re PMSing,” my boyfriend told me.
Yes. And no. I’m premenopausing, a constant transition that intensified depending on where my hormones levels reach and interact as my fertility decreases; if it even exists at this point.

Men —oh–pause. I hate to say it, but my boyfriend is right. And I could feel the PMS without him even having to say it. We’ve gone down this road on ground hog’s day many a time, one too many.

My third eye is seized by Rupell’s griffon vulture’s aggressive tendencies to want to seize and devour what it can. Uh-oh. Time to go to bed. Good night.

One good thing—I took care of myself with a massage today. Self-care is not to be sneezed at as I approach 50 on every level.

Enough said. Don’t let the bed bugs bite. 🙂

2/23/02 ( 47 days to 50 years old hooray! Actually it is technically 2/24/02) 12:03 as I start to write this particular loving entry.

I feel like a college student again, writing notes for work, referencing education points on tricky topics for my patients. Luckily, my boyfriend keeps me on track so I don’t let my commitment to 50 days to 50 fall by the wayside. Although it may feel like a pain at times, his honest encouragement is kind. He bought me breakfast and a light dinner due to my not feeling well. That is kind. Yesterday 2/22/02 the bus driver let me in despite my metrocard being almost empty. That was kind.

As the countdown continues with compassion, I realize just how kindness can be taken for granted yet so enriching and contagious for all. On social media I have shared my conviction that “nice is pleasant, but honesty is kind”. Honesty in a compassionate way, that is.

RIght now I am trying to adjust to a difficult work situation that has caused disruption in my life for about 5 months now. I lost a patient with transdiagnostic personality disorders among other mental health issues after he dramatically started yelling about me in the facility lobby in his wheelchair.. There he was creating quite a scene, after considerable weight loss, being called back by administration to hear his continued rant and his claim that there is “no chemistry” between us and saying he wanted me fired. All done in my absence after an interdisciplinary team meeting calling on a consistent pattern of medication nonadherence and related behavior issues. In the heat of anger, I knew he felt uncomfortable with my presence, despite being explained why I was there at the meeting and our positive therapeutic alliance. Why wouldn’t I be there? I am part of the team and was invited by the Medical Director. Women with professional influence intimidate you much despite you benefitting from my help, Sir? So, he acted impulsively and destructively. That was his MO.

But I was kind. My honest contribution about his observing his medication nonadherence firsthand in session at the team meeting was delivered out of compassion. I wanted to help him minimize the risk of a repeated unnecessary decline in physical and mental health that led to a recent hospitalization after a serious, life threatening infection. I took chances with him despite his known volatility to help implement change that would serve him. I could have easily skipped the meeting altogether. I went out of my comfort level as a geropsychologist to do that. All that time, work with and investment in him through kindness in sessions. Thankfully, no one took his rant at the lobby by the receptionist desk during my physical absence. Seriously? Seriously, dear former patient of mine, you’re in your 70s. Surely life after 50 can be better than this with wisdom and experience. It has been said often enough that working with an “older population” is challenging in that “older people” are “set in their ways” and “more treatment resistant.” Hmph. There is something to be said about neuroplasticity and ongoing learning throughout all of one’s life stages.

Always acknowledge and learn from kindness, even when the compassionate honesty makes you feel uncomfortable.

Yes I have mood swings. Menopause years are not easy. I thank my boyfriend and friends who use wise compassion honestly to build and fortify our bonds. It was my boyfriend who told me that I’m moody and can sense when my hormonal and related behavioral shifts are most intense. Twitch. Flinch. Growl. I’m at a place where I can hear that from him because he’s right, and he says it out of compassion so neither one of us combusts and can gain perspective in the moment, not menace or misogyny. He is at a place (mostly) ;-P where I can be compassionately honest with him, too.

It’s not always easy, but it’s kind. And that helps keep me going, it helps keep him and me going together.

My personal quote of the day: “Nice is pleasant, but honesty is kind, even when honesty makes you feel uneasy.”— Dr. Manju

Good night. Good morning. It’s so fun to be pushing 50.. 😉

2/24/20

46 days to 50 years old hooray 12:48pm EST USA: So I’m “hearing” and reading information that in the U.K. 40% of people over age 50 have some sort of hearing loss. Oh Lordie.
To add insult to injury for kicks, in an online research source by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) entitled, “Screening for Hearing Loss in Adults Ages 50 Years and Older: A Review of the Evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [Internet]” the targeted population entails people over 50 in primary care settings.

As a woman who hears the knock of 50 years old loud and clear on my door and with multiple ailments and who has been working in geriatric care for a decade, the prospect of actually becoming resident at a nursing home feels much more real. Yeah. So this is when the need to be happy goes out the window and I embrace the need for equanimity. It brings me back to the memory in my mid thirties when a consultant on aging for women told me she asks women who attend her workshops, “At what age would you want to die before turning 50?” Hmmm. Now that 50 years is entering my doorstep, I would reply…I am not sure, maybe die AT 50? What a perfect, even age to live with equanimity. I have a strange sense of humor, I know. At my age, I feel I have earned it. :p

1:02pm So I word find on facebook pops up by the soul vibe sancturary, forwarded to an Abraham Hicks page with a post that reads, “What is your vibe right now?” The first word I found was “completion”. Yes, I’m attracting completion. Thank you. “I complete me.” “We complete me.” Ha ha ha. I don’t even drink alcohol.

2/25/20

45 days to 50 It’s actually 2/26/20 but I was too busy or tired to type earlier; better late than never? Perhaps a new trend in my tribute to 50 years. Menstruation is a real drainer, downer, depleter. I could barely make it to work but I did! Tea helps. Great patients help. Being able to reconcile with my boyfriend over the need for space helps. So, I read a fantastic article on how space is the sixth love language that is so overlooked. I agree, it’s paradoxical in our Hollywood, fairytale and commercial narratives. But the ability to voice the need for space and grant it reveals such a strong, loving bond that yields without clinging, smothering and window dressing for society. Ok I’m tired. Good night.

Here’s my reference: https://psiloveyou.xyz/the-6th-love-language-89e699d6e66e It’s validating for introverts, too!
❤ BTW: I have INTJ preferences according on the infamous MBTI! More on that at a later date/entry.

2/26/20

44 Days to 50. Wow the days are really shrinking, it’s starting to feel MORE real. Speaking of feeling more real, there’s nothing more unreal than the real feeling of having your period on a day that you wish you could just erase your responsibilities. Everything is so much harder on those kind of days; simply getting ready and going out the door is that much effortful on a physical and mental level. But I did it. And in so doing, I felt old. Lower back ache, digestive issues, bloating, everything in slower and more resistant motion. Blah.

Flash forward to a patient toward the end of the day. At 70 something years old, he’s telling me how funny it is to be in an “old people’s home.” Was is that much more unfathomable to him, with a prosthetic knee, open knee lesion and now requiring a gerichair to leave his room and attend activities for enrichment? I will have to explore this further with him.

An 88 year old woman with a catheter foley is in emergency crisis mode because it had taken a third catheter to finally work on her after not urinating “enough”. Catastrophic thoughts of toxins building up in her body and dying instantly plague her mind, body, spirit and soul. Reframinng what she sees as a clunky, burdensome and awkward catheter to an instrumment that helps her health to keep her alive is a work in progress. Her panic. Her broken record thoughts. Reassurance seeking that going to the ER to have a catheter replacement monthly will sustain her until the end. Fragility. Emotional and physical and mental fragility. Reconciling youthful strength and vigor with wisdom, a new type of strength, agility and resilience… but also an accompanying visible fragility. No. A paradoxical puzzle that never end for all of humanity?

So another patient in her mid 70’s, wheelchair bound with MS and psychosis and confusion secondary to dementia tells her husbannd and me of the challenges in being on the other side of the power differntial. Once a high ranked VP at a bank and now at a long term facility, at what she believes to be in the mercy of others’ hands for her activities of daily living, is an unrelenting experience for her. How anxiety over the physical strength of others whom one depends on can have one project dark beliefs– such as “they” would hurt her if “they thought they could get away with it,” given their intimidating presentation and approach. Vulnerability at 360 degrees. Switch in power differential relationships. Power. Privilege, earned or not within context of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression gender neutrality, social class, ability cisgenderism, what did I miss?. With wisdom and using street smarts, my patient learns to work with her fear for self-protection. Could I do that, given my ailments and fragility that comes out to those I trust or when I’m most distressed? As a South Asian, Nepalese-American heterocis, upper middle class woman, how will I face my inner and the social structural demons to navigate whatever aging throws my way past 50?

Quote of the Day “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.: —RIP Steve Jobs.

Feeling trapped regardless of age is an unappealing existence. Subsistence. Jobs’ quote makes it easier to live in the moment as I approach 50. Maybe I’ll just go naked; wherever you go, there you are, says Jon Kabat-Zinn. 🙂

2/27/20

43 Days to 50.

Vulnerability and aging. It’s really 2/28/20 going into 2/29/20. I”M countinng. 😉

“Today is the oldest youve ever been, and the youngest youll ever be again.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
My 74 year-old patient was seen for paranoia, which I thought was going to lead into a conversation about racism and his perceived forfeited authority as a successful White male and in a short-lived career as a police officer. Trauma from being on-duty came about, to my surprise I did not know he had shot and killed what seemed to be a very paranoid middle-aged Black male, reportedly from Bellevue on the street who asked him, “What are you doing?” Apparently, my patient was doing a mundane task of documenting what he was doing while patrolling, and sadly, patrolling alone, which is typically against the rules. Before my patient could respond, the guy unexpectedly took out a pipe from behind and struck my patient on the head, to which my patient instinctively responded by taking out his gun and shot him i self-defense for his life. So, my patient’s beliefs about “uneducated people,” “justice,” and suvival instincts in a nursing home came about. Towards the end of the session, my patient became teary-eyed, during the emergency hospital visit in which he had to get 14 stitches on his head after the blow by the guy with the pipe, his father told his mother he was “too tired” to go to the hospital. His mother tried to expolain such strange behavior by saying his father “might have not been feeling well” at the time. According to my patient, his father was an alcoholic. Was his mother using code words for drunk? Neither my patient nor I will ever know.

Justice. Aging. How does that fit together in a long term facility? How does that fit even when independent and in reasonable health 50 and beyond? This is where I try to clutch onto my “old age of youth” in my very dwindling days as a” 40 year-old something” to dear life. Oh God. Are my 40’s really slipping away from the tips of my fingers? Yes they are. I have to stay in the moment. I’m going to modify Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote from above: “This moment is the youngest I will ever be for the rest of my dear life as I blend into my 50’s in spacetime.” 😮

Being 50 definitely is going to have its quirks. I’m okay with using my intermittent menopausal resurgence of chagning hormonal levels to use the real “don’t fuck with me attitude” with others. When pissed, I can rightfully pull off the “Honey, I have lived and will be living life, so don’t fuck with me. I can see through your bullshit. Cut the crap and cut it now.” While I’ve always maintained this stance, I can back it up with my years. 🙂

2/28/20
42 days to 50 “Never mess with a men-oh-pause, oh please (eye roll) woman.”—Dr. Manju

Let’s pause: Speaking of power and privilege, a theme on my blog and how it relates to turning 50, pardon the heterocis language. I own my immediate biases and unearned power and privilege as a heterocis woman.

Looking back from my post yesterday (written less than an hour ago got to catch up haha): Being 50 definitely is going to have its quirks. I’m okay with using my intermittent menopausal resurgence of chagning hormonal levels to use the real “don’t fuck with me attitude” with others. When pissed, I can rightfully pull off the “Honey, I have lived and will be living life, so don’t fuck with me. I can see through your bullshit. Cut the crap and cut it now.” While I’ve always maintained this stance, I can back it up with my years. 🙂

Sarcasm, mockery, imitation about the absurdity of one’s behavior, thinking and judgment is exxagerated for me to make a point with more brazennness and confidence, given the years behind me.

2/29/20

41 days to 50
“To live in regret and relief at the same time is a living paradox, just like what defines so many of us complicated types.” —Dr. Manju


So a nice segue into today’s post is about a very irritating, to say the least, experience I had with calling a restaurant about a complaint.. Although they refunded the soup that they could not provide, generously paid for by my boyfriend as a loving gift, they did not get his permission before sending the order. So I called and complained. The guy at the other end accused me of having “White privilege”. That was the most ridiculous statement, given he had no idea what race I was over the phone and that I’m not White. He really shouldn’t have said that. “I’m NOT White!” I exclaimed. He had no idea about the intense racial-cultural processing and personal development in addition to clinical training I had as a psychologist! If only he knew. Then my boyfriend, who IS White and I discussed it. He was not happy with what happened, but admittedly, we do differ in perspective as to whether White privilege is an accusation or simply a fact in America. White America. Eminem. I love him. I love the song White America. Breaking taboo topics by one who owns his White privilege. Kudos to my friend Josephine who posted a pic of Eminem on her facebook page today! Okay enough of the digression related to Eminem.

Admittedly, I have hesitated to bring up and elaborate on such controversial and deep thoughts about race on my blog. But I do not believe in a manufactured polyanna presentation. Race matters. Race and its relationship with aging in America matter. Turning 50 is a real experience, life is not polyanna upon honest expression and dialogue. So, at (almost) 50, I see the transcending taboo topic of race and not seeing Whiteness as a race, dissipating. I appreciate that. I don’t appreciate being told that I have White privillege by a stranger over the phone as a South Asian woman, who has been invalidated by my race since birth in many ways, though. What an odd experience. I told the manager that I wanted to show up at the restaurant and tell the guy who told me that I have White privilege say the same to my face on video. As a manager, he knew that would open up a can of worms he would regret at his restaurant, deesclatated my fury by saying he would take the guy aside and talk to him. Had I had more energy, I would have probably gone there and fulfilled my wish anyway. Perhaps being almost 50 is having me guard my anger and save my resources even more. Wise? Cowardly? I don’t know.

Today a facebook friend, male and Nepalese, married with a child, posted a NY TImes article that read: Unmarried, Happily Ever After..https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/fashion/weddings/unmarried-happily-ever-after.html?fbclid=IwAR2H0O5KcTDKWfWKrRcPJvGgWhksSAoZT4–1mWz1NBvHQ8pvua55JLLV5E

Okay so I am in a stealth relationship, my boyfriend and I choose not to advertise our relationship for many reasons that work for the both of us. So I am not exactly single. But I am definitely unmarried, and we talk about simply being together without marriage, marriage, cohabitating, living separately but in close proximity, many options. It’s nice to have options. I am thinking, I wonder what it would have been like to be naturally more traditional as a woman and done the marriage and kiddie thing? (I specifically identify that I am an INTJ preference based on the MBTI because that is the most rare type for women worldwide.) I wanted a child. Just one. It didn’t happen. And yes, I am still working through that. Not having children is my biggest regret and relief to date. It’s a feeling I can’t explain beyond that.

My 88 year old foley catheter patient told me she dated a nice man but they never married. At 88, able to ambulate with a rollater, catastrophic and intrusive thoughts of being buried alive in a coffin, having to feel she is a bother to others to change her foley bag leaves her wondering whether she should have married and had children? It was hard for her to find a compatible partner, however. Coming from a conventional Catholic family, she often reassures herself and explains to me she was never promiscuous, despite only citing one or two men she has dated. Will I be reassuring myself that I tried to fit the conventional heterocis standard with a modern twist, just as so many of my friends and family members have successfully done? Will I find myself explaining my life choices to a psychologist at a nursing home? I doubt it.

Upon reflection on romantic relationships from the past, the topic of goodbyes without closure comes to mind. Door slam? At times. Circumstantial without intent? Sure, that happened too. But I think goodbyes without closure can be particularly peculiar for those who need it, (J for judgment, as opposed to judgmental on the MBTI preference scale tend to need closure). “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty…all that you know, and all that you need to know on this Earth” says Bono, quoting the poet John Keats as I listen to Bono’s prelude to the song “Bad” in a band performance in Rome. Another tangent tonight. That is all I need to know? Do I find beauty in the uncommunicated words, sentiments and feelings in the clearly marked or undefined goodbyes without closure moments? I am not speaking about the lifelong process of grief through expected loss of a loved one, but an abrupt goodbye that did not feel like they took a natural course, per se. They too, have been major regrets and reliefs of my time. Yes, there is beauty in what was communicated through noncommunication. I love paradoxes, too. I am a living paradox, in fact. And I am more accepting of that as I approach 50 years old. Even if truth, an abstract concept that I personally believe is subjective, dynamic and multiple, not objective alone, my abillity to create meaning out of those goodbyes without closure is Divine. Perhaps more on goodbyes without closure later. I am drawing a blank right now.

Good night.

3/1/20

40 days to 50 years!

“Even if you believe everything is meaningless and a random series of events by chance, your ability to make meaning out of what happens is Divine.”— Dr. Manju

This is so true! I see other people making milestones in their lives at the lifespan trajectory continues, yet here I am…still strategizing about my career and wishing things were better. It “should” (should statements are cognitive distortions), have been better, hell even easier than this.

I see these sci-fi movies making major leaps in the box office. Hmmm. As a newly claimed “child of the cosmos”, my response to anyone who immediately asks, “Where are you from?” without knowing a smidgeon of my humanity. These cosmic, sentient forces that people can relate with…not so far fetched from the different manifestations of Brahma via all the Gods, Goddessess and hybrids of humans and animals. Surely premonitions, intuition, “close calls”, deja vus… all by random chance without explanation, even explanation beyond human reasoning? Well, even if everything is meaninglesss and random, my ability to make meaning out of what happens is amazing. In fact, it is Divine.

And so it is 40 days to 50 years of age for me. That makes me relfect on letting go of my 40’s with love. Bittersweet. A friend of mine and I were talking about heterosexual relationships and she clued me in to the preconceived notion that women in their 40’s are nymphs. Looking back at that conversation, that is (sort of) funny, in a sitcom way. I wonder, what will the 50s be like? Older women 50 and beyond used to tell mme that “When you’re over 50, you’re invisible.” A patient of mine at a group practice told me this as she discussed being layed off from her job. I remember jumping in and saying (as an almost 39-year old), slightly defensively to downplay the advantges of female youth, “Even when you’re 40.” No, my 40s were a gift with a lot of pain. Looking for Mr.Right to start a family. Calling adoption agencies, hoping that the prospects of adopting a child from Nepal would brighten. Perhaps other foreign countries would lessen the requiremments that appeared even more difficult for single wwomen to adopt? Going to fertility clinics and attending Single Women by Choice meetings, considering having a child without a man. Heckk, I even sponsored a child in Nepal only to learn that her biological mother murdered her and her brother due to family strife. This is unheard of among Sherpas, so that was mortifying, not only tragic. For my plethora of health issues, I couldn’t have a child of my own without being partnered. I wonder how I will feel about that after 50, on my deathbed? Flashbacks of one of my patients who had flesh eating syndrome, also had been recovering in subacute physical therapy and with a chronic medical condition I have as well, told me of her miscarriage. She was in her apartment, screaming while witnessing her baby’s umbilical cord come out of her body. That memory burned into my soul.
Another patient who was very cognitively impaired looked at me before our session formally began. I do not disclose my personal life very much with patients, so it is amazing what her higher self picked up without my disclosure while working with her. She said, “You feel bad that you never married and had children.” Thhen she continued compassionately, “There is a lot of problems that happen when you marry and have kids. God knew that was too much for you to handle. So, don’t feel bad about it.” My patient, married twice and bore 4 children, was not even being condescending, pitying or self-righteoous. It seemed as if she were channeling in to a higher force and delivering a message as a medium. She conveyed that my singledom and childlessness was an act of compassion by God.



3/2/20

39 days to fifty years 39 juicy days!

“A wonkey eye is a good symbol of a life that has gone awry.”— Dr. Manju

So here I am creeping ever not so slowly into 50 years old. They weren’t kidding wwhen they said that time goes faster as you get older. Apparently, it has something to do with living more years, so the more time you have behind you, the faster it seems to go since time is so familiar. Meh.

Today I went to Quest Diagnostics for a routine procedure and although it was a warm day for Febraury in New York City, I felt my wonkey, wandering wall right eye giving me grief. It was hard to focus. The swollen feeling in the eyeball, the surrounding muscles not being tame and in sync with the muscles surrounding my left eye. It was discombobulating, annoying, making me wonder how to fix this? God forbid I get a stroke, would my intermittent wandering right eye be permanent? That would make me look wonky forever. Willy Wonka didn’t have a wonkey eye. Why should I?
I could feel my 50s approaching. While reading a number out loud at Quest Diagnostics, I had to verify it a second time, walking slower as I approached the woman who helped me, feeling my ailing eyesight requiring more time and patience, at least on my behalf.

3/3/2020

38 days to 50 years and counting!

“The mind and body connection is so sensitive and funny, more of an enigma no matter what the scientists say; especially you get older” —Dr. Manju

Went to my opthamologist and got my presecription revised. Having exotropia with migraines is very annoying to say the least. So what did I learn? Although not a an expert in extotropia, my opthamologist told me that doing eye exercises with both eyes open lends itself to depth perception. By the way, since I’ve been complaining about a swollen feeling on my right eyebrow, the one with more severe exotropia, and she noticed my “sclera,” how is my thyroid health? Well, a good overdue bloodwork to my doctor’s office is called for. I taste the vulnerability my patients in nursing homes complain about, only I can choose how pungent the flavor is at this juncture in my life. Yes, I knew about my health conditions and potential complications in my late 30s, early 40s but knew I could still take my health for granted, given the “time” I had. Tick, tock, tick tock, tick tock around the clock…will I be the mouse that keeps the cheese despite my chronic disease? Time will tell, how I take care of myself will tell.

My eye muscles don’t synchronize and that poses a strain and some pain when focusing, thinking, existing. Speaking of synchronicity, that is probably proof that God, or a higher force, exists. I researched the average height for men and women in America this morning. It is 5’9′ for men, 5’3″ and some change for women. At Le Pain Quotidien, I overheard a young group in the next table. One guy said, the “average height for a man is 5’9″”. Was God trying to tell me something? Height has never beenn that important to me. As a petite woman that stands 5’2″, I never worried about it. It is might and will. As I move into my maturing feminine Divinity, showing my shades of gray and further darkness with balance of my inner light is less daunting. Rather, I enjoy it. It makes living the range of my humanity in a very dynamic city where you must be prepared for the unexpected at any given time, more in sync with my environment. Synchronicity is Divine.

Speaking of Divine, I have been told that I am akin to Kali, the Hindu Goddess of destroying evil, the most potent force of Shakti, Shiva’s consort, the latter of whom also destroys evil via his third eye. Maturing and entering the “real middle age” in my point of view by entering my 5th decade of life (does that sound younger than half a century ;p??) I use my throat chakra, to speak my truth with more ease, less hesitancy, and more trust in my intuition. I have witnessed that throughout my years, most recently pointing out problems at work appropriately through the right channels, factually and unapologetically.

3/4/2020

37 days to 50 years, how many bottles of beer on the wall?

I very seldom drink; I don’t like its effects, how I feel, the company of other drunks, and what it can do to my speech (slurred). For some reason, along with my wonky wandering right eye (and sometimes my left as well), I have developed a stutter! Hoping that it would pass with my lingering migraine, it seems to resurface at work, speaking with my boyfriend and becoming more frequent. Is it stress related? I had never imagined entering my 50s with a worse wandering eye and a developing stutter. Vulnerbilities of getting older with anticipated health ailments abound. Walking around with an unsteady gait due to mild dizziness and nausea makes me wonder whether I should go into a nursing home!

3/5/2020

36 days to 50 years.

It’s Thursday and I only saw two patients, unethusiastically. I’m almost 50 and so ready for a career change! But how do I even begin? What do I do? As a psychologist, I feel I should be able to snap my fingers and have all the answers. Sadly, humility and mid life crisis creeps up at me, staring at me in the face. Is really reporting a patient’s self-feeding challenging issues to nursing and social services noteworthy, considering all the schooling I’ve been through? Will my report be attended to in a timely manner? Who knows. Who cares? I care. Everyone should be able to eat safely, even if they don’t want to be afforded that opportunity out of protecting their ego. The patient jokingly called me a “squealer” when I had nursing observe him in his room, milk spilled all over his tray, barely able to eat his food.

3/6/2020

35 days to 50 years.

It’s Friday and I did not go to work as I had anticipated. The pain in my eye and migraine is a lot to bear.

3/7/2020

34 days to 50 50 years.

It’s Saturday and time to meet my boyfriend. I’m taking him out for Italian! Haha, we went to a restaurant I picked out in my neighborhood and I had problems finding it! LOL. That’s not age-related, that’s just the way I am. At the restaurant, I refrained from “suppressing” my wandering eye–not only was it physically painful, it was striking without my glasses. My glasses are so old. Something like over 20 years old! Thank goodness I still have them. They offer a respite. And now, realizing that I may have to wear glasses at least 85% of the time of my waking hours to prevent surgery to relieve the pain and exotropia and migraine symptoms is no joke. It’s not fun. But it’s a reality I can grow to accept as my vanity wanes into my 50s.

3/8/2020

33 days to 50 years

Speaking of relinquishing vanity, hearing that I am developing a gobble chin from my boyfriend was amusing and humbling. He didn’t mean to say that—he thought perhaps my “big neck” was a health related thyroid issue. Upon further clarification, however, it turned out that he was referring to my gobble, which I have also noticed in the past few months. I wasn’t sure whether it was due to fat or drooping old age but I think it is drooping. Hahaha. I am getting a gobble double chin. Oh Lordie. And now I have to wear glasses most of the time. And I have a wandering right eye (actuallly, alternating exotropia intermmittent if not suppressed to be exact). I am on a roll as I approach my 50s. My body is telling me something. That this is REAL. Well… I must say….the timing of all these physical manifestations of imperfections and added pain is impeccable.

3/9/20

32 days to 50

3/10/20

31 days to 50 years

3/11/20

30 days to 50 years old

3/12/20

29 days to 50

3/13/20

28 days to 50

3/14/20

27 days to 50

3/15/20

26 days to 50 years and the COVID-19 what’s going on?

So ok I got a bit distracted. Between my migraines, alternate eye exotropia and now of all things to be neurotic about, the COVID-19/20! Some believe two separate strains, the more aggressive “L” that jumped from animals to humans in Wuhan, China in November 2019 annd has killed about 3200 to date and counting, to the “S” strain that has infected many in Europe. (numbers still being talllied). An estimated 6k have been killed by the virus so far. OMG. I am reading about how the death toll has reached up to 5 people today in NYC alone, with about 2 who were in their early and mid 50s with underlying conditions. I am going to be 50 in 26 days and I have underlying health conditions!v What an exasperatinng and sobering cocktail that has brought me to alternate reality. Remeber, I very seldom drink alcohol. Bars and restaurants and cafes will be open only for delivery or take out starting Tuesday the 17th. vPublic schools will be closed starting tomorrow, all by Executive ORder by Mayor De Blasio of NYC. It all makes sense considering the evolving medical, social and political ramifications that are unfolding at a pace even the young and heallthy can barely keep up with (or so I’d like to think), but……WHAT?

3/16/20

Ok so my boyfriend has been getting anxious due to cancellations from his piano teacher, being told to return home when he arrived at work this morning, and cancellations from other he used for support. I am comforted by the wise words of a Shaman: We are learning from paradoxes. Adding to that, yes I agree—and most public venues, facilities and services are being suspended or on limited hours for now to serve us, the public. Paradoxes are my thing. If I told you that I’m a benevolent liar, would you believe me? 😛
I am hoping you are safe, taking care of yourself and those you love during this unprecedented crisis that many of us have not seen in this lifetime. Learning through paradoxes, breathing through resilience. This is one of the most poignant insights I have gained as I approach 50. Namaste.

3/27/2020

14 Days to 50.
Wow. That’s 2 weeks until I am the huuge 50.
A lot has been happening, I’m in the midst of an unpredecented pandemic of my lifetime. Yes, I remember HIV and the scare. But precautions and education on HIV was much more tangible and consistent. So, choose your partners wisely….don’t have unprotected sex unless you know their sexual history and their testing…if you do drugs, don’t share needles. That was it. This thing about being infected from mosquitoes, toilet seats, swimming pools…all debunked by science with relief.

This sars-cov-2 and its related disease, COVID-19, however….not so much. The death toll due to COVID-19 is staggering worldwide. And the numbers are growing, expotentially, particularly in Queens, NY. I have friends who work in healthcare in Elmhurst and I am concerned. Here in New York, NY, I sang the infamous song by Frankie Blue Eyes on my rooftop overlooking the Queensborough Bridge, connecting the Manhattan Island to Queens. Prayers, preperation, solitude, physical distancing with social connection and solidarity.

My patients…my company has been trying to contact and start a telehealth system for psychologists to continue our services with our patients who are not allowed visitors (friends and family), or allowed outdoors except for essential medical appointments. I suspect that they may be in their rooms more often, apart from their neighbors. No therapeutic activity, no gathering oof 5 or more people. I have no contact with them since last Thursday. One of my patients who has been tested positive for COVID coughed in my face, despite my attempts at social distancing. She was about 3 feet away from me and kept approaching closer due to her hearing problems. “I don’t have anything,” she said, with full confidence. And in my naitivity given her 94 years of life and robust presentation, I believed her. Until I read her testing results remotely the next Tuesday. And yesterday, another one of my patients has tested COVID +. Oh my God. I have underlyinng health conditions that put me at greater risk for complications in the event that I get COVID. 😦

My 94 year old patient who is COVID positive has been transferred to a different floor for quarantine and droplet precaution. She has been telling me and her family that although she is not suicidal, existentially she believes she has lived her life purpose fully and is ready to transition. She doesn’t understand why she is still living. I wonder whether her current health condition and situation has lent her more perspective. Currently, her fever has been stabilized and she is afebrile. No hospitalization needed. Is that ironic or a relief for her, I wonder? I am not sure what it would be for me if I were in her shoes. I’m not even 50, although faithfully counting. Am I done karmically? No, not in the least. But I am tired and do wonder whether I could do more in the spirit world fo r the material 3D. Life in this realm is not all that cracked up to be. But I trudge on because I am still committing to making my 50s one of the best years of my life, even without marriage and biological children.

3/28/2020

13 Says to 50 years

As you may have noticed, my enthusiasm and energy levels in this blog have been fluctuating and it’s not entirely related to turning 50 soon. This covid-19 is like unlocking a mystery with morsels on a daily basis, reading the news. That brings me to thoughts about health and wellness as I creep into my 50’s. It’s amazing how a 94 year old woman with covid-19, confirmed, was able to have her fever subside and experience no more symptoms than may be a cough and avoid hospitalization while on droplet precaution at a nursing home. How is it that she avoided the worst that we read about and see on the news and social media? Her immune system must be more robust than the average to live as long as she has and revover from a nasty bout of pneumonia pre covid-19 days in the summer of 2019. So, my immune system—as someone with multiple underlying chronic health conditions—falling in the “middle-aged” category is a rude awakening during the early and panicked stages of the pandemic as I am turning 50. More real. Dr. Fauci, infection disease specialist who has served under 6 presidents to date, characterized “young people” as those in their “30s and 40s” who are increasingly being hospitalized with covid-19. Ha. Hanging onto my “young people” category by a very faint string, dare I say?! 😉

So I blended fresh lemons with organic peeled garlic. Good self-care, will add maybe organic oranges and organic manuka honey with pepper flakes (no paprika in the kitchen) to the mix. Yum. My boyfriend noticed that I have “worry crinkles” around my eyes today. Ha ha ha. In good health.

4/9/2020

1 more day until 50 years!

Whoo hoo! As you can see, there is a lag in my input on my blog. A lot has happened. My migraines vary in pain and wax and wane. My eye is wonky and I’m still awaiting neurolens glasses. And of course, there is the global COVID-19 pandemic, caused by an extremely baffling sars-cov-2 virus without testing for the mass public in the USA. So, I have been homebound, with my anticipation of turning 50 usurped by a vicarious, universal trauma response of insomnia, hypersomnia, overeating, undereating, vigilance, excessive virus overload and political stimulation via the media. So there you have it. We are on lockdown orders here in NY state. And, here I am, in the Upper East Side, a medical district right at the very epicenter of the expected peak period of the pandemic. So what have I learned? I am blessed to have family, friends and a loving boyfriend to share my 50 years of life over the phone, social media and through technology such as zoom and facebook video chat. We are all vibrations of frequency running our karmic course in the 3D, maybe simultaneously in other dimensions, waiting to transition. Some have postulated that COVID-19 is part of the nature’s plan to cleanse the Earth to breathe. Maybe accepting that we are not apart from our cosmic reality but a part of it instead, with our personal, social and if applicable, spiritual responsibility in a nutshell, all in 3D physical illusion. See you at the other end of the turning 50 tunnel!!! With love and gratitude, Dr. Manju

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