Scorpio Season

It’s that time of year again. Birthday time. And today I’m turning 53. Yes, 53…53!! If I’m going to be perfectly honest, it does seem a little too old to be true. Ever play the game “If I didn’t know how old I was, how old would I think I was?” I play it every year before my birthday and my answer this year is 42 usually and maybe 45 on a bad day. I definitely don’t feel the way I imagine a 53 year old should.

A co-worker stopped by my desk to chat the other day and ending up telling me that I radiate the energy of a 34 year old. He didn’t say that I look like a 34 year old (that would be pushing it) but that I had a very youthful energy. I loved it. It was a huge compliment and I told him that he was now officially my favourite. The reason it was such a lovely compliment to me is that my philosophy hasn’t been to strive for eternal youth but to celebrate my age by doing my best to look and feel pretty kick-ass for a woman in her 50’s (yup, I really want to change the perceptions of our ageist society). And when I see women either lying about or being ashamed of their age, it literally hurts my heart. If we can’t accept and be proud of the stage of life we’re at, how are we ever going to feel our worth and expect the best for ourselves?

So, one more year went by and I still haven’t botoxed, filled or lifted anything and, although never say never, cosmetic rejuvenation is not on my list of immediate future plans. I get my rejuvenation from hiking, yoga, having a good man in my life and occasionally a few too many glasses of wine with my girlfriends (or my dog).

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What I really, really want to happen, however, is for people to think “wow, women in their 50’s can be pretty amazing”. I want all of us to be valued and appreciated and we sink into our skin a bit more, gain more compassion and wisdom and acquire a few more wrinkles. And I guess the way I see myself doing that is by staying fit, creative and continuing to grow as a person for a long, long time. So that, I think, is why this young man’s compliment touched my heart. It seemed uber-sincere and spoke to exactly how I want to age. Happily, gracefully, having a ton of fun and hiking and yoga-ing until the end.

So, I’m going to finish this post with a birthday wish. If I had one wish for womankind this year, it would be that we all learn to accept and love ourselves on a deep, deep level. Instead of being so concerned that we’ve gained 5 pounds, found a new wrinkle or silver hair, focus our energy on whether we’re living the life we want, doing work that inspires us and are surrounded by people who love and “get” us.  I desperately want us all to connect with our true inner beauty and love our outer beauty. And if our outer beauty isn’t what society values, then we have got to find a way to leave the beauty industry’s brainwashing behind us and learn to value ourselves and cherish ourselves and see our own beauty anyway. Women are so awesome. It’s time we fully realize that.

Here’s hoping all of my fab female readers will help make my birthday wish come true!

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It’s a Grind

Love/hate relationships.

They’re powerful, exciting and endlessly dramatic. The proverbial emotional rollercoaster with dizzying highs and crushing lows. Have I mentioned that I happen to have one with the Grouse Grind? It’s been going on for years and seems to only be getting stronger as time goes by.

On the one hand, I love the forest. The scent of the trees and bright green moss growing along the side of the trail create the sweetest, freshest air to breathe into your hard-working lungs as you huff and puff your way up the mountain. Nature’s aromatherapy. The intense beauty of the forest also never ceases to amaze me. Especially on a misty, foggy afternoon when the path looks exactly like the enchanted forest of my favourite childhood fairy tale. Who wouldn’t love an enchanted forest?

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On the other hand, there’s the actual issue of the climb. I haven’t quite experienced anything like it on any other trail (thank goodness). It’s almost straight up the mountain at times and there is no reprieve. No flat stretch to catch your breathe and psych yourself up for the next punishing climb. Nope, none of that. Just full-on, straight up. Switchbacks are non-existent here. And every time I find myself back on the Grind, I question my sanity as I make my way along what seems like a never-ending vertical trail. “What is wrong with me?” my internal voice shrieks. “There are so many more beautiful, more sane hikes in BC. Why do I keep torturing myself with this one? This is it. I mean it this time. Never again!” I repeat a version of this over and over again as I crawl over rocks and roots on my journey through hell, unfortunately knowing on some level that, like a co-dependant lover, no matter what I say, I’ll probably be back for more.

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I finally emerge from the woods, panting, glistening with sweat and smeared with a good bit of dirt. I plop to the ground, gulp the last of my water, catch my breathe, wipe my brow and, finally, take a look around.

And what I see is magnificent. A beautiful Atlantis sparkles below me. The sun is starting to set and it is stunning to see from the top of Grouse. I also have a sweet sense of accomplishment. I did it. I made it to the top! And, in a flash, all of the nasty, hateful thoughts of the past 1 hour and 20 minutes are gone, and all I’m left with is love.

And the cycle begins again.

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The Peak

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There are so many reasons I love hiking on Cypress Mountain and here are the top three:

  1. It’s in my backyard. Well, not literally in my backyard. It’s actually in North Van but so very close.
  2. It has a plethora of hikes, running the gamut from a walk in the woods to scrambling straight up the side of a mountain.
  3. The viewpoints are mouthwatering.

Last Sunday a few friends and I decided to hike Mount Strachan, a quick (two hour), moderate hike on Cypress. We grabbed our gear and snacks and hit the road, destination: mountains.

cypress fall 2015 010To make a long story short, we missed the turn to Mount Strachan, wandered around the woods a bit, climbed partway up another trail and then, because one of the group was struggling with a biking injury, turned around.

Walking back I couldn’t help but describe a hike without going to the peak as making love without having an orgasm. It’s still a really good experience but you can’t help but feel that you’ve missed out on something…

That said, we did end up finding a pretty lookout point to have lunch, feed some birds, take photos and remark on the unbelievable beauty of mother nature. And after our lunch break, we trotted down the mountain happy and rejuvenated.

Maybe you don’t have to reach the peak every single time after all.

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