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

Day 46 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.

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Nice is pleasant, but honesty is kind, even when honesty makes you feel uneasy.”— Dr. Manju

Day 47 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.. 😉

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 Day 50

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.. 😉

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Wisdom comes with winters.” —Oscar Wilde

Day 49 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.

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.

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

Day 48 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.

Are You Living a Parasympathetic Lifestyle

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) prepares the body for intense physical activity and is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) has almost the exact opposite effect and relaxes the body and inhibits or slows many high energy functions.

Today’s modern lifestyle promotes living a sympathic lifestyle. Sympathetic is not always bad for it prepares the body to handle sudden stress in times of need. However, unlike our ancestors we cannot always use this sudden rise in stress chemicals in its intended manner for life and death struggles. For example if we are our sympathetic system may kick in during a traffic jam. We cannot just use physical activities to decrease the chemicals but instead our stuck sitting in a car.

One way of developing a more PNS in times of stress is focusing on the breath. Focusing on diaphragmatic breathing enables us to down regulate the sympathetic nervous system, which then causes the parasympathetic nervous system to become dominant. Shallow breathingbreath holding and hyper-ventilating triggers the sympathetic nervous system, in a “fight or flight” response.

The vegus nerver is the largest cranial nerve and controls all major bodily functions including the breath, heart rate and digestion. A person’s vagal tone determines how fast they recover from a fight or flight situation. A person with a high vagal tone is more resilient to stress. People with low vagal tone, on the other hand, are more sensitive to stress and disease. They tend to have challenges such as weak digestion, increased heart rate, and difficulty managing emotions. Interestingly, low vagal tone is correlated with health conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain.

The most immediate way to change the balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system actions is with the breath. To counterbalance any over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, vagus nerve yoga focuses on diaphragmatic breathing and extending the length of the exhale.  More to come.

Intuition in Artwork

So many times I have let my intuition guide me in choosing themes for my watercolors. For example in this painting it was the opening to the ocean that drew me. To me when I paint I try to get a sense of what scene is this symbolizing. In many ways I am using my visual intuition to give me a message. What is this painting telling you?

Conversations with a Dragonfly

The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us.” – Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki, Algonquin

As I sat by the shore near that sacred lake today I wondered whether my spirit guide dragonfly would show up. I closed my eyes and centered on my heart. When I opened my eyes there he was on the sand next to me. I greeted him by his Indian name Spotted Wolf. I asked him what lesson he had for me today. I told him I wanted to know how the Indians learned their wisdom.

Spotted Wolf said American Indians sought to be part of beauty and wild around them. They did not try to control these gifts that Mother Earth provided them. He said not changing people and controlling things especially nature would only lead to discord. Our teepees were built upon the earth and our altars were made of earth. The earth is where we all returned. We sat on the earth instead of propping ourselves up so that we would not give up our life giving forces we gained from the earth.

Humankind has not woven the web of life. Nature has woven the web. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things are connected. The way to connect to the web is by opening our hearts. I asked him how do to this and he said he would be back another day.

My Conversations with my Dragonfly Spirit Guide

As previously posted I usually ride a 2 mile wooded trail by Lake Washacum.  This lake was the previous home to the Nashaway Indians.  Two days ago I stopped to take a break and sat down on the shore.  I was approached by a dragonfly who caught my attention.  I have recently been doing more and more meditation.  I decided I would meditate with the dragonfly.

Within a minute I started hearing the dragonfly speaking in my head.  The dragonfly told me his name was Spotted Wolf.  He had lived on the lake back in the early 1700’s and had been reincarnated as a dragonfly and was my spirit guide.    

Spotted Wolf had chosen to come to me in the form of a dragonfly because they represent a transformation. As long as I came to visit him at this spot on the shore of the lake he would give me insight. He told me I should communicate his wisdom through this blog in a series of posts.

Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, Teach me how to trust My heart, My mind, My intuition, My inner knowing, The senses of my body, The blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things So that I may enter my Sacred Space And love beyond my fear, And thus Walk in Balance With the passing of each glorious Sun. – Lakota Prayer

The Native Americans believed the space between the in and out breath is the Sacred Space for there we fall back to our natural state. We transcend fear and find true love when we release the ego and sense of separate self. To walk in balance refers to the harmony between heaven and earth. Spotted Wolf said we must go out in nature and respect the balance seen in nature. That is why he had chosen this sacred ground for it was becoming scarce in the world to find such a place.