Monday, October 26, 2009

Midlife Crisis: It’s All in Your Head

By Nadia Koligman

The term “midlife crisis” is often used to refer to a time of discontent, confusion and inner turmoil that many of us experience as we approach or enter middle adulthood.

Commonly thought to happen around the age of 50 or so, midlife crisis very often occurs across a much wider age range. Some people can experience it in their early 30’s while others may not feel it until they are well into their 60’s…or not at all. Mine hit me when I was only in my mid-thirties.

Although age-related biological changes can sometimes contribute to and intensify midlife issues, “midlife crisis” is less about age or biology and more about psychological and spiritual change. 

The “symptoms” of midlife crisis vary from person to person but commonly include one or more of the following:

  • You frequently catch yourself wondering, “Is this all there is?” You experience a gnawing sense that something is missing in your life, but seem unable to pinpoint what that “something” really is.
  • Your life seems constrained, shallow, small, bland or hollow.
  • Your career is no longer as fulfilling as it once was and you yearn for something more meaningful.
  • The wonderful possessions that you worked so hard to acquire no longer mean as much to you as they once did.
  • You find yourself feeling lost, confused, anxious, restless, bored, resentful, frustrated, or angry…often for no apparent reason. 
  • You realize that your life no longer reflects (or worse yet, never reflected) who you really are.
  • Your life feels like it’s moving in the wrong direction or like it has no direction at all.
  • You feel disconnected from yourself and no longer know who you really are.
  • You feel disconnected from your own life. You watch yourself going through the motions of living but don’t really feel “alive.”

With all this inner turmoil going on, it’s no wonder this phase of life has been labeled “midlife crisis.” It certainly feels like a crisis to the unsuspecting person caught in the midst of it!

So why do we feel this way?

Well, for one thing, this is a time when we begin to confront—or at least glimpse—our own mortality. We begin realizing that the clock is ticking on our lives and we want the time we have left to be more fulfilling and meaningful than what we’ve experienced thus far.

We start to question the choices we’ve made in life. We wonder what it is that we really want now. We’re surprised by our inability to answer that question. We begin to realize just how much we’ve lost touch with ourselves and how little we seem to know about that aging person staring back at us from within the mirror.

The old self-image that we’ve come to reply upon no longer seems to work very well, but we’re not yet able to articulate a new self image to replace the failing one. It’s as if we’re stuck in a void between who we were and who we might become. The sand is shifting beneath our feet and we’re not really sure where solid ground is anymore. As a result, we often feel off balance, confused, anxious and frustrated.

Like a reptile needing to shed its skin, we instinctively want to shed our old life for a fresher, deeper and more authentic version. Our internal, authentic Self—call it core essence, soul, spirit, heart, or even “Martha” if you wish—yearns to finally express itself after years of living life on someone else’s terms. Our inner self wants to spread its wings and allow our highest vision of ourselves (and of our life) to take flight.

We may also feel conflicted about moving forward. Although part of us wants “something more”, there is another part of us that wants to maintain the status quo and remain safely inside our comfort zone. We realize that what we crave—the “something more”—lies outside of our comfort zone in uncharted territory…and that feels scary as hell!

The key factor in transforming midlife upheaval into something of positive and lasting value is to truly understand what “midlife crisis” really is. It’s not a crisis at all…it’s a crossroads.

The inner turmoil we feel during our “midlife crisis” (regardless of our actual age) is our soul’s way of getting our attention and telling us that it’s time to take a different path, one which will allow us to live life in a more authentic and meaningful way.

If these issues sneak up on us and we don’t realize what’s actually going on, then what we experience does indeed feel like a crisis. But if we acknowledge what’s really going on and see it as a wonderful opportunity to revamp or redesign our lives, then that same midlife upheaval now has a purpose and it becomes a pathway or bridge to a more authentic, well-integrated and fulfilling life.

Midlife transition is not always an easy process. It requires that you leave your comfort zone and enter uncharted territory. You’ll need to face your fears, doubts and demons. You’ll need to stretch your mind and challenge your limiting beliefs. You’ll need to give yourself permission to be who you are capable of becoming.

However, if you venture out into the crossroads with your eyes open and navigate this amazing terrain with your heart as your compass, you’ll not only be able to create remarkable positive changes in your life, but you’ll also experience profound personal growth.

The good news is midlife crisis can be transformed into a wonderful, life-changing adventure. All it takes is a little attitude adjustment.

Nadia Koligman is a life design strategist, author, blogger, and the Founder and President of Dreamnautics Media.

To learn more about her, please visit her websites: and While there you can sign up to receive a free copy of her Special Report “12 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Life Quality” ( ) and find out more about her home study program “Getting Ready for Change: The Dreamnautics® Guide to Preparing Yourself for a Major Career or Life Transition.”

You can also follow Nadia on Twitter at 

Please feel free to leave a comment below. Just click on the comment link. THANKS!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nope, Not Looking Old Here!

By Candy Dye

Just yesterday, I received another reminder that I am aging – and fast! I don’t feel a bit over 30, but my body is giving out signs all over the place warning “Detour ~ Icy Roads Ahead!” My orthopedist gingerly described the condition of my swollen hand yesterday like this: “When you have “seen a few days”, the veins on the back of your hands are more fragile.” Seen a few days? More fragile veins? I pictured my grandma when she was 97 years old, with bruises all over her arms and hands! No sir, this is not  for me in the prime of my middle aged youth! Ha!

On my first day back working in the hospital after an 18 year “rest”, I was amazed to see many of the nurses I had worked with still there…..looking very, very WRINKLED!! Smugly, I said to myself, “It’s sad that they look so old”, thinking that I must not look a day over thirty! I was shocked back to the reality of the cold, hard truth – I was right there with them! Arriving in the cafeteria, another nurse and I met someone from my past, and the two of them began talking. When I joined in the conversation, she looked at me in utter amazement and said “Candy, I didn’t know it was you until I heard your voice!” Thank you very much! Have aged beyond all physical recognition from anyone in my past? It was time to reinvent myself, starting with my skin! Here are some tidbits from what I have gathered during my “pull yourself together” intervention!

While heredity plays an important part, there is PLENTY we can do to protect and preserve our skin! The first step is to understand what our skin is made up of, and the best way to nourish it for a long and healthy life!

Skin is the largest organ in the body, (YES! It is an organ!) measuring about 12-21 square feet. That’s a lot of skin! It is like an envelope that protects everything inside, working to maintain our body’s temperature, providing resistance to the “germy” world, consisting of skin cells, nerve endings, blood vessels, oil glands, and hair follicles. Collagen and elastin offer support within our skin, giving it flexibility, suppleness and the firmness to hold its shape when we move. Skin holds everything together in a nice, tidy package that makes up our body. Most importantly, our facial skin moves to form the expressions that make up our unique character and communicate emotions to the world around us, forming our identity. Yep, skin is important!!

Now, let’s have some fun picturing the layers of skin that will simplify how it works and the best way to protect it!  Let’s picture the base layer of skin, called the hypodermis, as a cluster of succulent grapes. As the hypodermis matures, and new skins cells form underneath, it rises to form the dermis. Picture the grapes being exposed to the environment over time, losing moisture, and turning into raisins, sitting on top of the grapes. As the cells of the dermis complete their final days of protecting your body, they slowly die, sticking to the dermis until they fall or are rubbed off. Let’s call these dead skin cells of the epidermis, or top layer of skin, our corn flakes. Can you see the “Skin Parfait” that is created with the base layer of young, juicy grapes, covered by the young to middle adult raisins, and the elderly corn flakes as the topping?

There are two ways our skin ages ~ internally (intrinsic aging) and externally (extrinsic aging). Let’s look at how we age from the inside first!

Internal aging is the result of changes in how our skin functions and looks like over time. As nature takes its course over the years, our bodies experience hormone fluctuations, slowing metabolism (I’ve had this since 3rd grade!), and shortened cell life. Collagen production decreases and elastin loses its spring, resulting in less skin fullness, with skin that sags and wrinkles easily. Moisture loss occurs naturally, and our skin becomes thinner, drier and less capable of healing itself. Dead skin cells do not shed as quickly, and the turnover rate of new cells begins to slow.  Dry, flakey skin is a result of changes in levels of hormones that reduce the amount of natural oils produced.

Picture three different rubber bands: one-inch, half-inch and a quarter-inch wide.  When we try to stretch the thickest one, it is difficult to expand and pops right back into shape with a snap! The half-inch rubber band is a bit easier to stretch, being a little less springy when let go. The quarter-inch band is much easier to expand, and goes back to its original shape without much snap. The thickest rubber band resembles our skin when we are younger, springy with lots flexibility! The other two show how our skin responds as we age, losing much of our elasticity.

External aging is responsible for about 90% of the aging that we actually see. This type of aging results from exposure to the sun, pollution, smoking, poor nutrition, stress and gravity. We see it in age spots, blotchy pigmentation, fine and deep wrinkles and a rough, leathery skin appearance.  Heard of oxidative stress?  Oxygen has a deteriorating affect on our skin, similar to what rust does to steel, accelerating the aging process.

Today, we CAN age more gracefully by caring for our skin, inside and out, avoiding all the harmful factors. Protecting and encouraging skin cell growth with specific essential ingredients to prolong the life of every skin cell is of utmost importance. Feeding and nourishing the deepest layers of cells (our grapes!) will promote the long and healthy skin cell life, fighting the existing damage and reducing the visible signs of aging. It is essential that you are protected from the 4 Core Influences of Aging with:

-       ANTIOXIDANTS (reduces the effects of Oxidative Stress)
-       ENDOCRINE SYSTEM MODULATORS (mediate hormone fluctuations)
-       ENERGY ACTIVATORS (help promote Mitochondrial and Metabolic Efficiency - Mitochondria are the power house of the cell – gives energy to all cell functions)
-       LONGEVITY GENE SUPPORTERS (extending the life of healthy cells- living longer, healthier, preventing cell changes into diseases)

Now, my skin looks and feels so much better – well hydrated with more “spring” to it, the rough, dry patches are completely gone, and the wrinkles are diminished!

When you look at my picture, you don’t see the 89 year old woman that I am, do you?

Gotcha! Have a Fabulous Looking Day, now!

For more information about the Process of Skin Aging, and the Apriori Beauty Products, visit Candy Dye’s Apriori Beauty website at

Apriori Beauty is complete with all of these in the Nutrient Reservoir ™  within every single product. No need for skin injections or plastic surgery! Check the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website, and you will see Apriori Beauty has joined as a company that goes all out to give you the safest, non toxic products available! (

For more information on Skin and the Aging Process, browse through some informational “Did You Know” library by clicking on each topic link:

You may contact Candy Dye by email at

BTW ~ When my teenage son encouraged me to open a Twitter account, my response was “I don’t need one more thing to check!” Little did I know I would meet two of the most Fabulous Women in the World!! I remember the first time I saw the Perrie Meno-Pudge® avatar on my Twitter page- Absolutely LOVED how PINK and CUTE she was! It was love at first sight!  Joanne and Barbara are the most amazing “gals” I have ever been acquainted with, and the best part is that we are all sharing this passage in our lives called aging, together, laughing all the way! They make it sooooooooo much fun!
PS I just received my Perrie Meno Coffee Mug!! You need one, too – to go with your chocolate!!

Please feel free to leave a comment below. Just click on the comment link. THANKS!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Empty Nest? How far do you have to move?

By Jacqueline Wales

I’m the mother of five children, all of whom were raised by me in fits and starts.  Technically, the first one wasn’t raised by me at all beyond three months, and the second was raised by his father.

But by the time I was on number three, I was hitting my stride because I went on to have two more in my life, one of whom was my stepchild.  It’s a long story, and one I don’t want to go into here, but suffice to say, at some point or another, they all left home.

As a global nomad, I used to think the empty nest was a crock.  We had been picking up and moving for the last fifteen years, and it seemed every time we moved, a child went off to college.  It was quite funny, really.  The first time,we left Los Angeles for Paris, and my stepchild went to college.

The second time, we moved from Paris to Amsterdam, and the second one went to college.  The third time, we were already ensconced in New York City and when it came time for the youngest to leave for college we were considering moving back to California.  She was not amused.

My youngest always felt I was ready to boot her out the nest years before it was actually time.  She wasn’t far wrong.  She was the most challenging of my children emotionally, and there were times!!!

I think I really hit a home-run though when I told my then 12 and 15 years olds that I no longer wanted to be a Mommy-Mommy anymore. With great dismay, they asked what I meant by that.  I said I was no longer interested in PTA’s, dinner on the table every night at a certain hour, and showing up every time they needed me to do something for them.  I would decide on my own terms what I was willing to do.  At that point, I was writing a book, and that seemed more important to me.  After all, I’d devoted a great deal of my time to raising the girls, and I was ready for a break.

So when it came time to finally say goodbye to my daughter at Hampshire College a few weeks ago, I was overcome with the emotion of saying goodbye to her.  “What is this?” I thought.  I was ready to have an empty apartment, to stay focused on my work, and in a way, nothing would change.

But it did.  She was no longer available to bother me with her “don’t speak to me,” attitudes.  Her “I’ve just woke up,” complaints, and her dirty dishes in the kitchen instead of being in the dishwasher.  My mother used to say to me “What do you think this is, an hotel?” and I felt the same way.  She was hardly ever home except to eat and sleep, and she usually did the last part for at least 10 or 12 hours!

So the empty nest!. What was that?  No more kids?  Well, I took care of that immediately.  I hired a new full time assistant.  He’s 26 years old and he’s working in my daughter’s bedroom next door my office.   He doesn’t argue with me, and he doesn’t leave his mess all over my apartment.  I like this.  Plus, he’s a terrific worker and I’m getting a lot of stuff done that I didn’t have before.

But just in case I get lonely, my daughter seems to be coming home every other weekend.  I keep asking why?

Jacqueline Wales is the author of The Fearless Factor and When The Crow Sings.  She has been motivating women for over 30 years and is currently Founder and CEO of The Fearless Factor motivational programs.  For more information go to or pick up a copy of her book at

 Please feel free to leave a comment below. Just click on the comment link. THANKS!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Five ideas for Grandmothers and Grandkids

By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Have you ever wondered, “What can I do with my grandkids today? Where can I find some great ideas?”

Of course not. You’ve already raised your own kids and you know full well how to entertain kids. I hear you. Just in case you ever get stumped (laughable, I know), I will provide below a few ideas that I love. I have a background in early childhood and was a nanny for over 16 years for children ages birth – 13. I suppose you could say I know a thing or two about entertaining kids :)

Undoubtedly not NEARLY as much as you know, though. Granted.

Over the years, I’ve worked in a few different preschools and I tend to have a very hands-on approach. Here are just a few of the things I learned:

1.      Kids LOVE to paint. You can buy non toxic, washable paint at most craft stores now. Crayola® brand sells a variety and can be found at Joanne Fabrics, Michaels, Walmart, etc. If you offer kids the thick brushes (chunky style) and lay long pieces of paper on the floor, this works to build hand/eye coordination, fine motor skills, creativity and more. The left to right motion of painting also builds reading skills in small children. So…for young children, place the paintbrush and paints to the LEFT of the paper so the child must reach across and pull to the right (this builds reading skills with the left to right motion). 

2.      Girls (usually more than boys) typically love to color. Some girls will sit for hours to do this. Many of them love coloring books (guided coloring) while others want to free hand (this might be the sign of a future artist). You can find a huge assortment of coloring books now at the Dollar Store. They also sell plain paper there. I do not recommend buying generic crayons, though, because they do not last as long and break easily. If you shop at Walmart during the new school season, you can usually find Crayola crayons for 25 cents a box (I stock up). Broken crayons can also be melted down (in cupcake tins) in the oven at 110 degrees and made into ‘chunky crayons’ – kids get a kick out of those and this makes a terrific lesson in being green; reusing, recycling, etc.

3.      Go for walks. ALL kids love to be outdoors and in my experience, the ones who *want* to stay inside are doing so because they have become too accustomed to that (usually due to the parents keeping them indoors where they can watch TV). When given the chance to play outdoors in the fresh air, that is almost always the choice a child will make. Give each child a washed out container (coffee can, etc) that they can use to collect rocks, bugs, sticks, etc. Talk about the container, also – reusing things is a great way to help the environment!

4.      Limit TV and electronics to 2 hours per day (less if they are only with you for a short time). For babies, try using a music video over a movie. Most stores sell videos that feature various images of babies’ faces with music playing in the background. It sounds very simple but it’s highly effective for teaching social skills (especially for single children homes). When babies watch other babies on the screen, it gives them the sense that those children are there in the room. They will laugh, smile, giggle, etc – becoming engaged with the other children, thus building social skills. 

5.      Use photos any time you can to teach concepts and feelings, colors, shapes, animals, etc. We know through research now that real photos are far more effective than clip art. Children relate easily to real images and attach the feelings/emotions quickly and effortlessly. Use a digital camera (if you have one) to take photos of your grandchildren. Get them printed or print them on paper (color ink works best). If you can laminate the photos, even better. Most teacher stores will laminate with thin lamination for about $1 per item. Office Max/Staples will also laminate but they charge anywhere from $3-10 per sheet depending on the thickness. You can also buy contact paper at Walmart for about $8 a roll. You can cover photos in contact paper and turn the images into toys. Kids thrive on home-made toys and these photos can be used at home, in the car, on a plane, etc. Round the corners so they are not sharp. Write a word on the back if you want, in order to teach a concept (write on the photo prior to laminating or covering). For instance, if you want your grandchild to learn colors, take a photo of him/her wearing green. Write “Green” on the back and laminate. You now have a simple, fun and effective toy that he/she will want to look at time and time again. All the while, it will be building literacy and reading skills!

Above all else, remember that every child is different and each of them learns at different rates and paces. If you can tap into their strengths, likes and gifts, you’ll be on your way to helping them foster what (and who) they are meant to be!

To learn more about Shara, please visit her websites: and If she can ever be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to contact her!