MIDLIFE, as any middle-aged (ugh, I hate that expression) woman will tell you, is a mixed bag. A lot of our time is spent on various doctor visits - among them, gynecological visits - pap smears, mammograms; dental visits, traipsing to the pharmacy for our monthly HRT (hormone replacement therapy); orthopedist visits - (arches start to collapse at middle age); hair coloring appointments; the gym, just to name some of these time-eaters - and, all in the name of keeping up with life.

All this, in addition to bringing home the bacon - and - frying it up in the pan; housecleaning duties; and, of course, Motherhood and Partner-hood. We are so busy just trying to "keep on keeping on" that we have no time for much else, other than our careers, our responsibilities to our family, as well as our responsibility to ourselves to keep healthy. If you are a Mom who has had children a little later in life, then you have that much more on your plate. Not many women make time for play - or even have time for anything else other than "keeping on".

Maybe some of you recognize the name - Erma Bombeck. She used to write a column for a NY newspaper entitled, 'Jelly Side Down'. She wrote thought-provoking articles sprinkled with her usual dry and witty humor - more often than not, a self-depracating humor. In one of her last articles, when she knew she was terminally ill -- she was asked, if she had to live her life over, would she change anything - she, at first, answered no, then she revised that answer, and decided to write the following:

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day;
I would have burnt the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage;
I would have talked less and listened more;
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa was faded;
I would have eaten the popcorn in the living room, and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace;
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth;
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day just because my hair had been teased and sprayed;
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life;
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime;
Instead of wishing away pregnancy, I would have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle;
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said "Later, now go get washed up for dinner";
There would have been more "I love you's" and "I'm sorry's". But, mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute......look at it and really see it... live it....and never give it back;
Stop sweating the small stuff. Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what;
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we do have with those WHO DO LOVE US.
Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with.
And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually;
Life is too short to let it pass you by - we only have one shot at this and then it's gone.

I hope you all have a blessed day.

Erma Bombeck, a woman with such depth and character...a woman I wish I had known.

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