My Mid-life Smackdown

Scenes from My Full-Frontal Midlife Smack Down

A letter… to myselves

me. then.

Dear Little Me:

There are so many things I wish I could tell you that would change the course of the heartbreak in your life.  I wish I could share wisdom with you (or even cram it down your throat) to help you avoid the days when the shadows are more prominent than the light.

The problem is you can’t listen to me because you need to do things your way.  I mean this in the most loving way possible.  You really do need to do it your way because you are becoming you. You learn who you are through trial, error, and paying attention (this means you’ll be making some mistakes.)

Most of the heartbreak you suffer will be coming to you at your own hands.  Sure he will hurt you.  Yes she will betray you. They will talk about you.  Others will laugh at you. Many will leave you. Your thighs will be the wrong shape. Your tummy won’t be flat enough. You won’t like how your tush looks.  Your hair will be too something. The real problem is that in those moments you will be harder on yourself than any of them could be.

You will believe you deserved things you didn’t.  You will believe you didn’t deserve things you did.  You may act tough and rash (or weak and wimpy,) but inside there will be a nagging voice that will turn on you.  There is another voice inside you too. It’s the one you don’t listen to often enough, but you will wish you had. The sooner you obey it, the sooner you will find peace.

What can I do to prevent crappy things from happening to you? Nothing.  I can’t stop those event in the first place, but we do have a choice and a voice about how long the crap continues to hit the fan. (When it hits the fan, the sooner you step out of the way the less shit will get on you.)

Here are some secrets you need to know….

  • you are not the only one who feels the way you do – they may not tell you they do, but they do
  • the things you tell yourself you can’t survive – you probably already have many times over
  • you will stop crying – it’s guaranteed
  • your body will never be just the way you want it – it doesn’t have to be the way you want it to be beautiful, have fun, give, and receive love anyway
  • a pair of fat pants is a wardrobe essential
  • if he or she doesn’t like your body – then by all means don’t let him or her have your body
  • have a backup plan for bad hair days
  • change is scary – so fucking what – do it anyway
  • if you aren’t kind to you – then you aren’t a kind person – be a kind person
  • pursue your dreams – learn more ways to say yes
  • if you don’t mean yes – then don’t say it
  • sleep is essential – but you can never own too many types of under-eye concealer
  • if they didn’t teach you the skills you need – go get them somewhere else
  • if you can’t forgive yourself – then you are not a forgiving person – be a forgiving person
it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
~e.e. cummings

You Promised Yourself

Sold Short

stopping you

We all do it.  Where have you sold yourself short lately?  Consider this a friendly nudge from me.  I’m an equal opportunity nudger.  Me?  I’m not practicing my tried and true self-care routines.  Shit happens.  The trick is to pick myself up, dust myself off, and unfuck myself…. ever so gently.

I’ll be reinvesting in me and my self-care routines. Easy does it.  I’ll start simple.   How about you?  Where can you gently and kindly reinvest in you?


You promised yourself

But you haven’t followed through.

What’s stopping you?

Push through it.

You can do it

-gayle luster

She remembered them saying …


She remembered

I remember the day a therapist of mine told me every relationship I was in would end in one way or another… except the one I had with myself.

We are getting left by or leaving absolutely everyone.  It’s dramatic and even traumatic to think about, but the stark truth of the statement emphasizes just how important it is to build the one relationship we are in forever.

A few of the things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Be nicer to me.  If I wouldn’t say it to my best friend, I’m not allowed to say it to myself.
  • Be gentle with me. When I fuck up, remember I’m human. Learn from my mistakes.  Self crucifixion is optional and not useful.
  • No amount of self-hatred will save a relationship or make the world a better place.
  • Don’t try on clothes when I’m having a “fat day.”
  • A great pair of black pants with an elastic waistband and a few fabulous tunics are wardrobe essentials because bloating is forever when your period stops coming.
  • It’s rare that I’ll be first on my list, but it’s essential to be ON my list.
  • And when all else fails, all I have to do is breathe.  Breathing is highly underrated.




She remembered them saying home is where the heart is.  So she picked hers up off the floor, dusted it off, and put it back inside her own chest where it belonged.

She was home again.

  Who is She? 


Happiness after loss?

resilient you are

Yes You Can

I was asked to be a part of a very cool free event and what’s even more amazing is I said yes! I’m pretty picky about what I say “yes” to when it comes to being interviewed for A Beautiful Mess Inside. If I don’t get a clear “hell yes” in my gut when I investigate the organization I bow out. I also abhor things that come with hidden strings or affiliate marketing.

So when Lois McCullough, approached me about being on the panel for The Art of Happiness After Loss Summit, I needed to see if we had the serendipitous connection so necessary of me.  She’s passionate about finding joy again after loss. It’s a personal mission for her. She lost her husband, to cancer, 6 years ago and was left with two young sons to raise. She says about life…

“We’re here for a good time, not a long time. Make that time count!”

We beautiful messes inside have had losses in our lives that left us wondering how we were ever going to experience happiness again. You know life can joyful and fun again, but you have no idea how to find those things for yourself anymore.

Those of you familiar with my story know that my father died suddenly when I was 14 years old. His early death shaped my life and no doubt contributed to my passion about learning to embrace both the beauty and messes in our lives.

The Summit finished up in August.  I’m pleased with how the interview turned out.  I hope you find something meaningful in there for just for you.




The Nastier Side of Nostalgia

Dealing with Messy Nostalgia

What am I doing this weekend? Preparing to announce the dates for the next Journey from Habit to Intention and clearing the clutter of the multitude of old photographs I’ve amassed.

The first task is pretty simple. Maybe a little time consuming, but I know how to launch my eClass.

The second task? The thoughts of clearing photographic clutter causes me to shudder, shake, and sweat. So I’m doing research to help me find the strength I need to make beauty out of the mess I have amassed.

I thought you might appreciate this article. It’s written from the heart and experience… just like I like ’em.


Millburn says:

That’s when I realized that my retention efforts were futile. I could hold on to her memories without her stuff, just as she had always remembered me and my childhood and all our memories without ever accessing those sealed boxes under her bed. She didn’t need papers from twenty-five years ago to remember me, just as I didn’t need a storage locker filled with her stuff to remember her.

I can’t tell you how much “stuff” I’m hanging onto, when in reality the memories are with in my heart and mind.  I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s.  So you might argue “But, Gayle, what if your memory goes?”  The sad truth is if my memory goes the mementos and pictures will become junk.  They only hold meaning in my memory.  No memory – no nostalgia.

I feel sad thinking about all of this, but I also feel freedom lurking on the outskirts. I am pissed off too.  I am NOT a woman of clutter.  It is not been part of my identity.  It was, however,  part of my mother’s identity.  The problem is I am no longer functioning like who I am.  I am surrounded by clutter. The clutter of my own doing is, in part, because I lived to be 56 years old and I’ve loved well.  I’ve amassed a lot of memories.

I was 16 when my mother was 56.  Maybe she didn’t start out as a woman of clutter either.  Maybe her ability to love well caused her to amass stuff in the name of love.  This weekend I’m going to begin stopping in the name of love.  I have a plan.  I have a starting place.  I don’t know how it will end up. But I know how I will begin and that’s all I need to know.  The rest I’ll figure out along the way.

Any tips you can share with me, will be greatly appreciated. Remember what I always say  “In sharing our feelings and experiences for others to see, we find strength and connection.  Freedom comes from knowing we aren’t alone.”

I’ll keep you posted, so to speak.  More soon.




pieces of the past

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