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Slightly Used and Damaged

Tired WomanFor those of us who have reached maturity (I’m still waiting), and have had to start life over (yet again), admitting that we are less than what we once were, is humbling.

Slightly used and damaged can pretty much describe almost everything in my house … including me.

When I entered into a relationship with my now fiancé, I considered myself to be slightly used and somewhat damaged goods. His response to me was “Who isn’t?” Good point.

As I saunter through the third act of my life (please God, let this play run indefinitely), reflection brings me to admit that I’ve made some mistakes in judgment along the way. I have, at times, chosen the wrong person to love, the wrong business to build, the wrong car to buy, and the wrong friendship to lean on. It’s been exhausting.

I never lost hope, figuring that it would all work out in the end. Surely the mistakes I made along the way would undoubtedly make me smarter and stronger. Truth is, I should be a freaking genius by now!

Getting older doesn’t guarantee that we’re getting smarter. But most of us benefit from life’s heavy doses of lessons learned often dished out to us like a sledge hammer. And while I admit that my spring chicken days are over, truth is, what I have now feels way better.

It occurred to me that a lot of my favorite things are old. Princess phones, glass Coke bottles, Silly Putty, Radio Flyer red wagons, lunch boxes with matching thermoses, Archie comic books, Fizzies, Bosco, The Twilight Zone, and the Helms Bakery truck. Oh, man, I’m in heaven just thinking about it all.

If you are of age (whatever the hell that means) it’s likely you will reach your 6th decade slightly tattered and somewhat spent. It’s what happens when your heart makes the rounds, kids come and go, you take risks, fail and succeed, all the while falling down and scraping your ego along the way.

The past 2 months of hiatus has taught me to slow down. Unable to walk, I was actually brought to a halt. My visions of having glorious down time to read the stack of books on my nightstand, watch movies I’ve been dying to see, catch up with old friends on the phone were all for not. Medication clouded my concentration and ability to focus. I was forced to just be. If you knew me at all, you would know that it felt like a death sentence.

I never really got accustomed to doing nothing. I guess it’s just not in my DNA. Relaxing is awesome. Relaxing without a book, a project or a conversation is not something I’m very good at. So I used the time to take stock and plan and plot my coming year.

As it turns out, I’ve managed to find a sweet spot in life. Happiness is mine each and every day. I love the life my Steven and I are building together, and I love my work and my wonderful clients. The future looks bright.

Still, there are changes coming. Big ones.

Changes are good and the way of life. But keeping tabs on those used and tattered things that helped to mold my attitudes are equally important to me. That includes the best friends a girl could ever hope for. If it weren’t for you Susan, Cynthia, Mickey, Lee, life would be so much less the effort.

I will be grateful for those things in my life which are slightly used and damaged. Because they are the best of what was, and the promise of what is still yet to be.

And that includes me!

Happy New Year, my friends. May we all grow slightly used and damaged together!

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Susan Smart - And, happy new year to you, my dearest friend. I have thought about you so much these past few months. You both have had many
trials, but this is a new year, with new beginning’s, and I have
great hope that you both will come out on top ! With a smile
and sweet dreams, we all might find out that there is truly
goodness waiting for each of us. I am not so sure about the
world, but we must never lose faith in that,too. Email and let
me know the latest. Love you bunches.

Tammy - Susan, this WAS a year I was eager to leave behind! Just makes me look forward to what lie ahead with even more vigor. Coming out on top is the plan. Fingers crossed. Also plan on seeing you again…..keep that guest suite warm and tell Cassie I’m coming. Love you ever so much!

Joan Cooper - Humerous as always. You mirror what we all feel. The details may be different but the result about the same.

I keep asking myself – what is it all about ??? Still have no answer.

Keep smiling in your own special way. So happy you and Steven are happy together. It was a long haul for him too.

Suerae Stein - Happy New Year to you, dear Tammy! I hope that you are recovered and ready to start anew. I wish you all the best that 2015 has to offer. You are an inspiration to me!

Tammy - I’m not at all sure there are any answers, Joan. But if I stumble over any, I’ll share them with you. Yes, Steven waited over 40y years for the “right” person. Happy to know it was me all along. Happy New Year, my friend.

Tammy - Suerae, I am a work in progress (understatement of the year). I wish the best for you too, my friend. If deserving good things meant it would come true, life would be fair. Instead, we work, plan, hope and pray. And we share our struggles and triumphs. Kind of awesome when you think about it. And you, are an inspiration to ME. Happy New Year!

mel glenn - Dear Tammy,
What I like best about your column (s) is despite what mistakes were made, no matter how bruised you are, you pop up like a cork with a most POSITIVE attitude, (which is everything), the glass full/empty sort of thing. We are all slightly used, hopefully not damaged too much.

Chloe Jeffreys - You have such a way with words. I feel like I’ve been through the ringer in this part year. Everything I always feared was true about women, but never allowed myself to risk, turned out to be true. Now I’m left wondering if I’ll ever trust again. Trust myself. Trust others. Fuck, I don’t know. What the hell are we supposed to be learning here anyway? I love my unconventional life and yet I am changed in ways I don’t understand. Maybe by 60 I’ll have it worked out. But in the meantime I’m flag you wrote this. I feel just a little less alone.

Tana Bevan - Tammy~Those whom call you friend (and have you call them friend) are very lucky individuals. Once again you’ve shown you are a woman to be admired. And admire you I do. Touche’ Tammy Bleck, Touche.

Tammy - Hi Mel, happy new year to you! My aunt always tells me that I’m like a cat, meaning I have 9 lives. I do always come up for more. More trying, more experimenting, more risking. Just more. My glass isn’t always half full, but it’s no lie that I feel very fortunate most of my days. I think it comes from starting from the bottom and appreciating anything that is better than that. So wonderful to hear from you. Be well and stay warm!

Tammy - Hi Chloe, trust me, there is no magic answer when you hit 60. I’m still waiting. Figuring things out is exhausting. I’m beginning to believe that there are no real answers to hurt, trust, love and pain. It’s all on our shoulders to work it through. Harsh. I know you’ve had a tough year. I’m betting your were just as happy to see 2014 out the door as I was. No. You are not alone. You are in excellent company. Happy to be among it.

Tammy - Hi Tana, gee, seems like ages. Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m not at all sure I am to be admired. Jury is still out, I think. I’m just a girl working it through. Relentless is a hard thing to keep up, but it is required of us if we are to get where we want to go. Still, I found that if you bow out for a while, the sun still rises, the problems are still there and it all waits for you to come back. Hope all is well on your side of the fence. Hopping over to your blog to pay you a long overdue visit!

jamie@southmainmuse - Happy New Year! Sounds like you have wonderful changes in store. And yes. In my opinion, one of the major benefits of aging is learning from things we don’t ever want to do again. Each moment is precious. Whether uncomfortable or not.

Tammy - AMEN to that, Jamie! Thanks for being here. Awesome!

Cathy Chester - If life was only sweet we’d never feel it’s sweetness. Only through adversity do we learn the goodness in our lives. You are doing great, Tammy, and it shows in this post. You have wonderful changes happening, so embrace the moment and revel in it. You deserve it.

Tammy - I am totally embracing all that comes to me this year, Cathy. Last year I did the same but truth be told, right about October I was spent. Completely depleted of the energy I needed to go through the things I needed to endure. But I persevered and have come out the other side of the tunnel. Not going to lie, won’t miss 2015! Happy to have you here. Thanks for that!

Debi @MomOnMars - This reminds me of the Velveteen rabbit. Slightly used and damaged is what makes us alive. It shows that we loved and are loved.

Jeanne Reddick - Nice blog. Nice outlook. Hope your tootsie and your Steven are doing well.

Tammy - Hi Debi, I am one of the very few who have never read the Velveteen Rabbit. That is about to change It IS what reminds us that we lived, dared, loved and were/are loved. I adore that outlook! Thanks so much for being here and sharing!

Tammy - Hi Jeanne! So happy to hear from you and so glad you enjoyed the read. The tootsie is slow in getting up to speed. One day at a time. Steven is recuperating well and all is as it should be. That being said, would like NEVER to do that again! Paris next year?

Sisters From Another Mister - Maybe we should go with gently used 😉
Happy to see a new year roll in … thinking only good things!

Michele - Tammy, I enjoy your blog so much! Your topics are always so timely and this one in particular resonates with my own life. Navigating the waters of change is quite an interesting mixture of fear and excitement. Strange to have those two emotions cohabitating in my brain simultaneously. Thank you for your reassuring words that not only will we survive, we will thrive! Best to you!

Tammy - I LOVE “gently used”, Sisters! Good thoughts from this end too for a happy, peaceful and prosperous year. From my mouth … to Gods ears! Thanks for the read and the comment.

Tammy - Hi Michele, so happy to hear it, thank you! You’ve put it very well; navigating change IS an interesting mix of fear and excitement. It seems that mid life often presents those two emotions hand in hand. Aren’t we the lucky ones?! Very best to YOU, my friend. So very happy to know you are on the other side of my blog. Thank you for that.

T.O. Weller - Tammy, thank you for sharing this story at just the right time. I was just joking with my mechanic yesterday that my 10 year old car and I are both in the same boat: a little used and damaged.

He chuckled. I chuckled. But it’s the truth … and that’s not always a bad thing. Really, if I wasn’t at this point, I’d be asking whether I’d really lived.

Tammy - So pleased to have you here, T.O. I love your outlook! You are right, of course, if we weren’t slightly used and damaged, we surely would have missed out on way too many of life’s adventures. After all, playing is safe never reaped any rewards worth having.

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