Musette’s Advice (giving and taking)

So.  Advice.  Giving and Taking.  Yeah, like THAT works so well, right?  But… y’know… sometimes maybe it works a bit down the line.  And, this isn’t so much ‘advice’ per se as it is ‘this is some stuff that is working for me – maybe some of it will work for you’.

So.  without further ado, here’s my stuff (whattayawannabet this just turns into Musette’s Musings 2.0?)

  1.  Write your own obit (this, courtesy of my bfffe).  Wait.  whaaaaat?  Okay, here’s the thing: Who matters to you?  Who are the people who have most impacted your life?  I’mo go out on a limb and say it’s probably NOT your 2nd cousin, once-removed, whom you last saw in 1993, at his first (of 4) weddings.  Yet most (99%) of the obits I read will list family right down to the last nanobot – but won’t list your bestie (who knows everything about you, right down to your allergies and your PIN) – as well as which exes should be invited to your service), or your colleagues from work with whom you’ve spent the last 30 years (minimum 40 hrs a week).  Betcha you don’t know the name of your 2nd cousin once-removed’s grandkid (by his 3rd wife’s daughter) – but you know everything about your colleague’s cat!  See?  Speaking of that, if you write your own obit, you can talk about your cat.  And, let’s face it – who knows you (and your cat) better than you!
  2. Know when to STEP BACK!  It’s weeding and final planting time at Jardin de Musette and I have been working like a lima bean, trying to get it all done.  I spent 7 hrs yesterday weeding and planting…. and when it was done, I realized:  I am really not liking the garden right now. I’m tired and it’s become a neverending chore.   Yesh!!!  I Said It!  So.  Gorgeous day today – and guess what?  I’m spending it inside, getting this post written and swapping seasonal clothing.  I figure those weeds will be there all week – but if I step back from the garden for a day or so, I will come back and remember why it is I love gardening.  Right now I ain’t feelin’ it.   So.  Whatever it is that brings you joy – if you’re not liking it right now, step away from it for a mo’.  It’ll come roaring back, joyous AF, in a little bit.
  3. Letters.  Actual writing of letters.  March sent me note cards to augment my already extensive collection of stationery and we laughed at the fact that one of the few things I have trouble letting go of is a thing that is specifically designed to let go of:  stationery.  In my youth (waaay before the Internet and email, let alone text) I loved writing letters (on my Crane’s peach-colored paper with white border – so chic) and would thrill to the sight of a personal letter in my mailbox – and yesterday, I was gifted with just such a thrill again; a friend had responded to an email with a very long, detailed and thoroughly enjoyable letter!  The pleasure of reading someone’s handwritten thoughts, imagining her sitting down and taking the time to actually WRITE!  Now, I realize that isn’t for everyone, nor should it have to be, but if you are a person who enjoys writing, I urge you to revisit this dying art.  There’s something to be said for taking your time to compose a handwritten letter.  I wonder if it will come back?  I hope so.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes.  I don’t know what that means to you – and it’s nunnamybidness.  Just… whatever shoe you put on your feet should feel good.  I know women who wear stilettos as if they were house slippers! But if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it!  Lemmetellya, the older you get, the more you cannot fool with your feet.  I’ve never been happier that street wear has made wearing Big White Sneakers chic! And BlueGreenHot Orange! Oh, mah DAWGS!!!
  5. Do you.  Really.  Marianne Williamson never lied when she wrote ‘your playing small does not serve the world’.  But!  What does that actually mean?  What I think about this quote (and the fear that it addresses and the stress it can cause) is that people often confuse this with Being a Star.  And that’s not it – at least not to me.  It’s about being as true to yourself as you can and surrounding yourself with people who embrace and encourage that in you, whether it’s Being a Supermodel or Being a Dogwalker.  I said ”as you can” because there are some practicals – not everybody is an actor.  Or a designer.  Or a singer. Some of us are in construction.  Or insurance.  And we’re happy as lima beans to do that work – and we know we can’t do it in Kabuki makeup and flowing capes.   And maybe it’s your rent career that pays for you to do the thing you love on your off-time – and maybe you DO NOT HAVE A PASSION!  – you just want a nice, pleasant life.   DEW EEET!  I’ve had waaay too many people tell me ‘you should be doing X’ because of my demeanor (it usually involves something in the theatre or fashion world) – what they don’t realize is I would be in the back of a SWAT van in about 30 minutes, were I to  work in an Industry I love (but really don’t like the people I would have to work with).  Or completely bonkers clients.    Garden Design:  OMG.  GD clients are FIENDS! wanting fruit trees or roses to bear 4 hours after they’re planted (why did you plant that STICK in the ground?  I paid you to plant an ORCHARD!!!).  So, for me?  It works best that I have a rent career that I like okay, that pays well, so I can go have some peace and quiet in my garden.  And no, I am NOT going to go run the Lyric (which has been suggested on more than one occasion).  Those opera divas are MANIACS!  So.  Figure out… not so much who you are (sometimes that is too stressful)….. but what works for you!!  I live in Podunk because, having almost lost my big-ass house in Chicago, etc, I acknowledge that I am (at least currently) very happy to be recovering in this little Podunk town, in a little shotgun shack. If we ever get a handle on this pandemic, I can get on a plane to Paris .  I don’t need to live in Paris – I can be Paris, right here in Podunk. Ymmv – just figure it out. and….AND!…. while other people’s input is valuable (and it is, sweatergawd) – at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to either lie awake, tossing and turning … or sleep like a lima bean.  Which leads us to……….
  6. Last one:  Sleep.  Okay,I’mo say it:  I’m Old AF.  Meno/post-menopausal.  And just crawling out of a very stressful decade.  For that decade, sleep was… iffy.  And like Ms Mitchell says “don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone’…. truer words never written, especially when it comes to sleep.  Get some.  I do a LOT of breath work, pre-snooze and take all the precautions against a restless night (no devices glowing, warm shower (my own perfect solution), empty(ish) stomach,  a bit of yoga for sleep.  I said it 8 years ago – and it still rings true to this day (for me):  Sleep is the New Sex.  Now, if you’re 20, prolly not.  But if you’re 50+, be honest:  Sex (with no good sleep afterwards) or a Fabulous Night’s Sleep.  I know which one I choose.  Sorry, Idris.
  7. OMG!  I actually did it!  I gave y’all advice!  LOL!  Nothing you haven’t heard before (okay – maybe the obit is new ) but I hope it will help you get through your day a bit better.  I’ve been working HORD! on being a bit more mindful, relaxing a bit (knowing that stressing isn’t going to change anything except my heart rate)…… I’m not always successful, but it’s really interesting how much…. easier… my daily life is, now that I follow my own advice!
  8. Any Advice for Musette?  BRING IT!  Would love to know what’s guiding you these days. (a quick tutorial on how to get rid of the last two numbers wouldn’t go amiss, either 😉
  9. Okay, now I’m just messin’ witcha!
  • Ann says:

    #4 and #5 really spoke to me! You inspired me to go the running shoe store for the 1st time in my life. I’m middle aged now, so I bought a pair of Mizuno sneakers. I have high expectations! #5 is everything – need to absorb this fully. Thanks for the inspriation!

  • AnnieA says:

    I have sent a few hand-written letters during The Interim, as I am calling it. Not only do my friends like receiving them, it makes me feel closer to them while I am writing, compared to sending an email.

  • Melanie says:

    Thanks Musette. I love the idea of hand writing letters. I kind of wish pen pals were still a thing. Emails are nice but hand writing is a dying form.

  • Kathleen says:

    The best advice Musette! Agreed, everything.
    My Mom now in her 80s wrote her own obituary years ago, I thought a great idea and followed her lead. I don’t want a funeral! Everyone can see me when alive, no need after I die. I also have firm instructions for whomever is left, to spread my ashes with all of my beloved animals’ which I keep with me during my life.
    Comfortable shoes and sleep are two life luxuries!

  • Ariel says:

    I loved this post…and those sneakers 🙂

    • Musette says:

      INORITE? I would buy those sneakers – but they are kid-sized and I ….. well, I no longer have kid-sized feet. Alas.

  • Erin T / Tigs says:

    I’ve been told I write a good obit by a couple journalists, even, though I wish I didn’t have the practice. But… write my own? Intriguing. I hope to outlive Gary the cat, but the way things are going with her, she may give me a run for it. She has been included on all our birthday cards and postcards over the years and featured in a few remote office work emails lately, so maybe I should have her in my death notice.

    So with you on the shoes and late hot showers. But you knew that. Great post. ??

    • Erin T says:

      That was supposed to be a heart emoji, by the way, and not random question marks. You know I also send you a shark emoji, with my love.

  • Patty says:

    I have NO advice for anything, except to agree that sleep is Queen. I love being awake and enjoying my day, but crawling into bed at night has to be the best part of my day. I think because I’ve had a full day, a good day, and it is time to rest. I worked on my handwriting as a project this year. It became legible, and then I quit practicing, and it is a fright show again.

  • Amber says:

    Great post, especially after a sleeplessness night. Insomnia is the bane of my postmenopausal life. On the upside, I just got a new pair of purple trail shoes that make me ridiculously happy. There are always little things in life to appreciate but you have to make a point to notice them. It doesn’t have to be big and shiny (although that’s nice too) to bring you a moment of joy.

    • Musette says:

      Amber, if you are a Ytuber, go on to PsycheTruth (don’t want to link here because Skynet;-). I use pieces of their Beginners Yoga for Relaxation and Sleep – works wonders!

      and I agree (though I am also alllll about the ‘big and shiny’ as well 😉


  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I have learned that you don’t get do overs in life. If you do, the mistakes are still going to be there. Always make sure that you have mascara and lipstick in your purse, in case you need to put a little bit of makeup on. Always carry 1 or 2 large decants in your purse. If you find yourself without a house for whatever reason, the lipstick, mascara and those decants will make you feel a smidgen better.

    • Musette says:

      LOL! You ain’t NEBBER lied, Eldarwen! I have ‘driveway lipstick’, since it’s been proven that I cannot back out of the driveway unless I have on lipstick!!! And my little decant of Mitsouko got me through a tornado! (true story) xoxoxo

  • rosarita313 says:

    Love this, all of this. Heart emoji

    • Musette says:

      Hearting right back atcha, sweetie! I feel SO much better, now that I’ve given over to Truly Comfortable Shoes! xoxoxo

  • March says:

    BAHAHAHA so basically you already know I’m in 100% agreement, because we talk all the time! I LOVE my big, ugly Hoka One One sneaks, I own 3 pairs, they have saved my feet. My additions — laugh, loudly and often. Even when the big pic is pretty terrible, the smaller details can be funny AF.

  • Cinnamon says:

    Ah, sleep. It is particularly appreciated after a night when you don’t get it. Yes, definitely comfortable shoes — totally with you. In the UK there’s a company called Modshoes which offers some very cool low-heeled going-out shoes.

  • matty1649 says:

    A very entertaining and thought provoking post.

  • Bee says:

    Great advice & very entertaining. Working on my obit is my new daydream task. I agree on doing what you love for a living doesn’t always work out. I had two careers involving my passions: music and books. The first one nearly broke me and made me unable to listen to music for years and the second lost me my house, drove me to depression and bankrupted me. You can easily lose what you love about something when it becomes your job. Now I have music and books for pure pleasure and work is something which makes money and I happen to like it. No passion but also no pain. It’s good enough for me.

    • Musette says:

      Oh, hon. Yeah. That whole ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ doesn’t always work – and omg, I am SO glad you are able to enjoy your passions again. I wonder…why are there so many denigrations about ‘just working’??? xoxoxo

  • Portia says:

    LOVED it Musette.
    I’m no letter writer but I do love to send postcards. Gives me so much pleasure to sit and write a few lines.
    HA! I’m definitely going to write my obit. Such a good idea.
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      I LOVE getting postcards from you, babysnakes and am still heartbroken that you never received the cow postcard I sent you from New Glarus WI. And, yes! If anybody should write their own obit, it should be you! Not even Kath or Jin could do your life justice! xoxoxox

  • filomena813 says:

    Thank you for the light-hearted good read! Just what I needed.

  • Tara C says:

    Well that was entertaining! I mostly agree, although I don’t care at all about an obituary. I hope to depart this life without a trace. I’m dealing with menopause too but have finally started sleeping better after taking up meditation and incorporating some choice pieces of buddhist philosophy, like get rid of negative emotions and appreciate your innate goodness. I’m feeling a whole lot more empowered to lead the life I truly want.

    • Musette says:

      Well, although you may not need an obituary you are unlikely to depart this life without a trace. You have touched a LOT of lives, Tara, and your absence will be noted. xoxoxoxo

  • Pam says:

    Thanks, Musette. As usual, a lovely post. I’m going to wait awhile about writing my obit, since we just finished writing my mother’s a couple of weeks ago. But the rest will be meditated upon.

    • Musette says:

      oh, hon! My condolences. Yeah, maybe give that a pass for right now. But the rest? Get your feet in some comfy shoes! xoxoxo

  • Janet in California says:

    100% agree.

  • Teresa says:

    Great advice! I really enjoyed this!