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  • midlifelove 4:30 am on March 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ballina, Bass Coast, , Bribie Island, Copper Coast, Echuca, Geraldton, Inverloch, Kadina, Mandurah, Moonta, Murray River, New South Wales, Perth, Phillip Island, Port Macquarie, Queensland, South Australia, St Helens, Tamar Valley, Tasmania, Toowoomba, Torquay, Tweed Valley, Victor Harbor, , Wallaroo, Western Australia, Wonthaggi   

    Best Places To Retire in Australia 

    You’re thinking of escaping from the big city for a more peaceful, less polluted life in a country town or beachside community. You want to avoid the known – and unknown hazards – like man-eating koalas and deranged gunmen. So before you sell up and move, it’s a great idea to do investigate your options. And there’s no better guide on how to avoid disaster than Jill and Owens Weeks’s well-researched retirement advice.

    For more than a decade, they’ve investigated Australia from north to south, east to west, for their best-selling publications.

    Here’s their pick of the best places to retire.

    New South Wales

    The state with “by far the greatest number of ideal retirement locations.  North of Sydney, the entire coastline all the way up to Newcastle is popular, particularly as retirement trends change in favour of semi retirement.”

    Port Macquarie – “vibrant and dynamic area which offers many of the services and culture of a large city.”

    Ballina “good for those who want to get away from capital cities and can live without many of the facilities they offer.”

    Tweed Valley “offers most of the good features of the Gold Coast without many of the downsides . .  and close to Coolangatta international airport just across the border in Queensland.”

    Victoria

    Torquay (near Geelong) “There’s a buzz about the place . . . close to Geelong’s facilities. Fastest growing non-metropolitan area in Victoria and a clear favourite with retirees.”

    Bass Coast (Inverloch, Wonthaggi, Phillip Island) or Echuca (on the Murray River) “Cost of housing reasonable and a compelling list of positive features with few if any down sides.”

    Western Australia

    Mandurah (south of Perth)  – “Special appeal because of the number of services focused on retirees,” or Geraldton.

    Queensland

    Toowoomba “affordable housing, good facilities, relaxed pace, and not over-crowded with tourists in holidays. Not as humid as the coast, and Brisbane is accessible.”

    Bribie Island “preferred destination for those who want to get away from the congestion of the Gold coast.”

    South Australia

    Victor Harbor “Outstanding geography, access to Adelaide, vineyards and fine food. Holiday destination for over 100 years, town is full of well-preserved buildings, museums,” or the Copper Coast Yorke Peninsula  (Kadina, Wallaroo, Moonta.)

    Tasmania

    St Helens “Ideal climate on the Sun Coast, an affordable and relaxed lifestyle that few places in Australia can match,” or the Tamar Valley

    Checklist for Retiring

    Jill and Owen Weeks suggest:

    • Consider renting in the location of your choice. House-sit or even caravan-sit before you buy.
    • Subscribe to the local newspaper for at least 12 months before you move. This provides a good source of jobs, real estate and what’s happening in the community.
    • Research the utilities and services. Does the mobile phone work? Is there internet connection and educational services? This is particularly important if you are running a home-based business. Also check local services such as the nearest mechanic or electrician.
    • Will your new home require major renovations? Is it ‘older body friendly?’ Will you eventually need to move because of stairs? What happens if your mobility is impaired?

    See also Where to Retire in Australia for additional advice.

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  • midlifelove 11:02 pm on March 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 70th birthday, All-Starr summer tour, Barbara Bach, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ringo turns 70, The Beatles, vegetarian, YNot 15th album   

    Ringo: Great Form Facing 70 

    With a new album, an enduring and happy marriage, and a zest for life that’s the envy of many 30-year-olds, Ringo Starr enters his 70th year with high spirits.

    He’s the eldest of the famous Beatles – he will hit his 70-year milestone on July 7  – and he’s got the newest music.

    He’s not missing a beat as he embarks on a three-week promotional tour for his just-released Y Not album, his 15th solo outing on which fellow Beatle Paul McCartney plays bass on the song ‘Peace Dream’.

    And he plans to mark his 70th by flashing a two-fingered peace sign at noon and playing an evening gig at Radio City Music Hall as part of a summer tour with his latest All-Starr band.

    Last year on the Larry King Show, Starr noted: “I work out. I have a trainer. And I watch what I eat. That’s it really. And I’m in love with a beautiful girl, so it keeps me young.”

    Turning 40 was Harder

    And as he told Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times, 70 is “not as big as 40 was. Forty was: ’Oh, God, 40!

    “There’s that damn song, ‘Life Begins at 40.’ No, it’s not so big anymore. I am nearly 70, and I’d love to be nearly 40, but that’s never going to happen.

    “I feel the older I get, the more I’m learning to handle life,”

    Notes Lewis: “His charming Liverpudlian accent is nearly as strong as ever, even though he’s maintained a home in Los Angeles for the last 34 years — the majority of it with actress Barbara Bach, whom he married in 1981 — along with residences in England and Monte Carlo.”

    God Now ‘My Life’

    He’s trim – like McCartney and his late pal Harrison, he’s an avowed vegetarian – looks 15 years younger than his age, and as the years roll by spiritual issues have become more prominent, he says.

    “Being on this quest for a long time, it’s all about finding yourself,” Starr says. “For me, God is in my life. I don’t hide from that. … I think the search has been on since the ’60s. … I stepped off the path there for many years and found my way (back) onto it, thank God.”

    There’s no secret to his successful marriage to Barbara, Starr told USA Today.  “I’m just blessed that she puts up with me. I love the woman. She loves me. There’s less down days than up, and we get on really well. We do spend a lot of time together. That’s the deal.”

    Many Artistic Projects

    Starr says he also needs diverse creative outlets to keep him engaged when he’s not making albums or touring with his All-Starr band. In the 1970s it was acting, now it’s art — a selection of his photos appears inside the album.

    “I am always painting,” he says. “I love photography. It’s easy to take shots. But if you have to choose, it’s music. I love music, I love playing.”

    Ringo was three months older than John Lennon, who would have turned 70 this year. Lennon was 40 when he was shot dead in New York City.

    Paul McCartney will be 68 this year. George Harrison would have been 67.

     
  • midlifelove 10:22 pm on March 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Ask Sam, Father of the year, Gordon Ramsay, Gordongate, infidelity, married man, mistresses, , other woman, Sarah Symonds,   

    Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Ex’: Tips for the ‘Other Woman’ 

    Is it a case of “Mistresses of the World, Unite?”

    Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s newly reformed ex-lover Sarah Symonds has written what she describes as a “taboo-busting book “– and she’s passed it on to Tiger Wood’s mistresses in the hope they’ll “learn something from her mistakes.”

    A bit late for them perhaps, but self-proclaimed “infidelity expert” Sarah is undeterred. She’s also gone on Oprah peddling a non-profit organisation “Mistresses Anonymous” (which includes a 12-step program to recovery).

    Why She Went Public

    Sydney Morning Herald sex and relationships blogger Ask Sam was wondering in print what it was with the abundance of mistresses going public on their affairs, so she asked Sarah why she’d decided to spill the beans on her seven-year-affair with the F-word maestro.

    As the British tabloids were quick to point out, Sarah is the debonair bleached-blonde babe who shouted from atop the pages of every British celebrity tabloid about her affair with Father of the Year Ramsay.

    As Ask Sam notes, “we also quickly learnt that this wasn’t the first time she bonked a married man, with the media dubbing her as “making a career out of sleeping with other people’s husbands”

    Other Woman “Can’t Win”

    “Outing” Ramsay, – she calls it “Gordongate” – had nothing to do with wanting to see her name in lights, she told Ask Sam.

    “I went on record to tell my true story after I heard that Gordon was so hurtfully denying it and me, and lying about our affair,” she told Sam.

    In hindsight (and after much trial and error) Symonds now realises high profile public men like Ramsay and Woods are never going to leave their wives for their mistresses.

    “A married man will 99.9% never leave his wife, and uses a mistress as his crutch to stay in an unhappy marriage,” she says.

    From her recent realisation, she feels her job now is to warn all women against dating a married man and being used in another person’s relationship. So here it is, Sarah’s golden rule for singles.

    Top Five Tips For “Other Women”

    1. Never date a married man! Why be second best?
    2. Do your due diligence when you meet a guy to find out if he is married or not. Some men slip their wedding rings off.
    3. Empower yourself enough to not settle for the crumbs of a married man’s time. Find a SINGLE man.
    4. Wives, act more like mistresses to stop your husbands from cheating on you!
    5. Never believe a word any man tells you. Basically, “if his lips are moving he is lying”.

    Ask Sam (Samantha Brett’s) new book The Chase; Everything you need to know about Men, Dating and Sex is available from February 1 at Booktopia.

     
  • midlifelove 4:24 am on March 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Baby boomers, , Bette Davis, Jill and Owen Weeks, London Marathon, retire, Richard Branson   

    Where To Retire In Australia 

    You might sympathise with Hollywood star Bette Davis when she said “I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my make-up box.”

    Many Baby Boomers see age as “just a number” and like Virgin boss Richard Branson (64) – who’s added training for the 2010 London Marathon to his punishing work schedule  – they’re busy packing more life into their years.

    But even for those to whom “retirement” is a foreign concept, changing lifestyle, moving home, or splitting their year between two places, can be tempting as a mid-life option.

    Looking For A Change

    The children are independent, you don’t need to worry about climbing the corporate ladder any more, and you can take time out to think about what you want to do with the rest of your life.

    If you‘re living in Australia or thinking of moving there, Jill and Owen Weeks have done a heap of research to help with your decisions.

    Their book Where to Retire in Australia is a great resource for anyone in “the Moving Generation” looking for a change of lifestyle.

    • The Weeks’ golden rule is: the most successful moves are usually  less than 200km or no more than two hours from the old location. Why? So people remain in easy reach of old friends, family and social networks.

    Key Issues To Consider

    They’ve identified the key issues to decide on when making a change:

    • Taking care of yourself; Consider closeness to doctors, hospitals and specialist medicine if required; social life – how easy is for family and friends to visit, will you find  your others who share your interests, do you want to spend part of your year in another location?
    • Weather; Check out the climate before you buy. If you’ve only holidayed at the location at certain times of the year rent for 18 months before making a permanent move while you decide if the climate is for you.
    • Keeping the Body Moving; Ensure you can pursue your interest, hobbies and sporting activities.
    • Keeping the Brain Active; Access to the Internet, opportunities for further study, or part time work, libraries.
    • Let’s Go Shopping; Proximity to a reasonably large shopping centre will have impact on your cost of living. Can you use “Loyalty “programmes like FlyBuys and discount cards.
    • Can You Afford to Move; Consider real estate, tax and social security implications, any cost of living changes.
    • Social Compatibility; Moving away from close friends and family may be painful. They may not visit regularly even if they promise they will. Are you good at making new friends and does the place you are moving to welcome new residents.

    Part 2: The Best Places in Australia to Retire.

     
  • midlifelove 1:00 pm on February 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adultery, , Kara Wilson, Paul Burrell, Princess Diana, Shirley Valentine, Tom Conti   

    Adultery ‘No Big Deal’ – Tom Conti 

    There are worse things than being unfaithful, according to movie Lothario Tom Conti in an interview with the Times in which he says sex is nothing more than “an extension of a handshake”.

    The Scottish star of  Shirley Valentine who is rumoured to have had an affair with Diana, Princess of Wales, said he believed that of all the things people could do to one another, sexual infidelity was “probably one of the least terrible”.

    ‘Don’t Upset the Applecart’

    Conti (68) who has been married to Kara Wilson, an actress, for 42 years, says it’s “all about degrees. Of course, if you upset the whole applecart that’s a different story.”

    Conti and his wife are said by actress daughter Nina to have an open marriage in which both have had a string of affairs, and Conti finds some people’s sensitivity to the idea puzzling.

    “The slightest sniff of infidelity and they are reaching for the lawyer,” he said. “I remember a very famous actor with whom I was friendly who, when he was in his seventies, married a girl of 23.

    “He came home unexpectedly one day and she was under the decorator. He phoned me to tell me he was getting divorced. I said ‘the girl is 23. You are 70. You can’t satisfy her every night. Do you want her to live like a nun? Why don’t you just close your eyes to it?’

    “He said he would always worry that she was being unfaithful. I said ‘so worry a little’. But they divorced. It was very stupid. It cost him millions and the woman he is now married to is an absolute bloody nightmare.”

    The Player and the Princess

    In 2003 it was speculated that Conti had had an affair with Diana after Paul Burrell, her former butler, revealed in his memoirs she’d been involved in a relationship with an unnamed actor. The pair were known to have enjoyed a string of lunch dates and Conti attended her funeral in 1997 but has refused to discuss their relationship further.

    “She was delightful, she was lovely,” he said. “It was so sad for the boys because they were such children. A child losing his mother is vulnerable beyond description.”

    He said the secret of his long marriage was “tolerance on both sides” and denied suggestions that his real life mirrored that of the men he has portrayed on screen.

    Is Fidelity Important?

    Do you agree with Conti’s cool assessment of the dangers of adultery? Have you been betrayed and hurt by it? Or do you agree with his “turn a blind eye and tolerate it” approach. Share your views – we’d love to hear what you think.

     
  • midlifelove 2:13 am on February 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Angeline Close, frugal Valentine's, low cost gifts, , saving not spending, Valentine's Day   

    My Frugal Valentine 

    Valentine’s Day is taking a big hit as the third year of recession turns Americans into savers rather than spenders, the NY Times reports.

    Business forecasters say as the financial crisis continues to bite, people are re-evaluating their personal values and making permanent changes to their spending habits.

    The result is Valentine’s Day is returning to its roots, as an intimate card-giving occasion that grew into the second-most marketed holiday after Christmas.

    Cheaper Faster Better!

    For 2010, with apologies to Rodgers and Hart, frugal valentines are likely to supplant funny ones. The mood is epitomized by the cover of the Feb. 17 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. Next to a photograph of a heart-shaped chocolate dessert on a pink plate are these words: “Cheaper, Faster, Better!”

    Long-stemmed roses are being replaced by homemade cards, and personal jewelry by personal poems. Budget restaurants, which have not traditionally been hot spots for lovers, are offering Valentine’s Day specials.

    Creative and Personal

    The Internet abounds with ideas for frugal options, like playlists burned onto CDs and coupons for household chores.

    And even some preparing to propose on Valentine’s are seeking a bargain approach: on Yahoo, searches for “cheap engagement rings” are “off the charts” compared with a year ago.

    Other searches that are up over last year include “cheap lingerie,” “free Valentine’s Day cards” and “homemade Valentine’s Day gifts.”

    Romance and Humour

    Some suggestions for low cost personal ways to celebrate:

    • Do whatever it is that you did on your first date. The idea is to recreate that first meeting, recall falling in love and indulge in a little humorous nostalgia.
    • Imitate the couple who were building a “blanket fort” in their living room and sharing a picnic dinner – or take a picnic in the park for real
    • Cook a nice dinner together and listen to your favourite CD’s.
    • Prepare a special Valentine’s dessert
    • Give each other a massage

    Angeline Close, a business professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says Valentine’s Day may be coming full circle.

    “It started as a very pure romantic holiday, until capitalism and marketing spiked it,” she said. “We are retreating back a little bit to the original meaning behind the day.”

     
  • midlifelove 11:55 pm on February 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AARP magazine, , hot marriage, Jim Jerome, keeping up with young wife, male enhancement, ,   

    Michael Douglas: Keeping Marriage Hot 

    Michael Douglas answers the questions we’d all like to ask – like how does his 65-year-old body keep a smoking-hot marriage going with much younger wife Catherine Zeta-Jones – in a recent interview in AARP magazine.

    And not surprisingly, like many men his age, he relies on a little male enhancement.

    On Catherine: “God bless her that she likes older guys. And some wonderful enhancements have happened in the last few years—Viagra, Cialis—that can make us all feel younger.”

    Pick Up Line That Almost Blew It

    He talks frankly with interviewer Jim Jerome about how he almost blew his first meeting with Catherine, when he opened with a leaden pick-up line.

    “I want to father your children,” he said.

    “I’ve heard a lot about you,” she responded calmly. “It’s nice to know it’s all true. Good night.” And she was gone.

    Smitten, he persevered with roses and romance and the rest as they say is history. His second time round chance at marriage and children is something he never expected.

    Family Most Important

    “My career was the most important thing in my life, followed by marriage and children,” he confesses. “And it’s completely reversed now. I never anticipated starting a family and the joy of raising kids at my age.”

    Early on, the couple came to terms with the 25-year age gap between them: “Catherine is an old soul,” Douglas says.

    Still, there were complications. Douglas’s future in-laws-David, a retired confectioner, and Patricia, both now 62—were three years younger than the groom.

    “I wasn’t quite the son-in-law they’d envisioned. I do like to wind up Catherine’s father and call him Pops.”

    Hands-On Dad

    Just finished filming Wall Street 2, Douglas is playing “house husband” while Zeta-Jones comes home at midnight and sleeps in late with her starring role in the Broadway musical A Little Night Music.

    He is waking before 6:00 to help get the kids off to school. “I love to be the first face they see,” he says. “It’s a selfish pleasure. It’s a very special time, the mornings.”

    Zeta-Jones says that Douglas thrives on his at-home role: “Michael tells me that [new fatherhood] keeps him agile. He’s a terrific, extremely hands-on father.”

    Staying Fit at 60

    Douglas stays fit and energized by hiking, diving, and taking family skiing trips near his Quebec farm. But he admits that age has its limitations, in particular when he goes to the gym. “It used to be you got that 30-minute cardio workout and that great sense of euphoria. Now you finish and go, ‘Phew, I’m glad that’s over.’

    These days, the Douglases’ social life often amounts to hanging out with the kids or catching up with friends at a local restaurant. “You’ve got these few years of unequivocal love when Mom and Dad can do no wrong. So we’re a tight family unit.”

    Different from Dad Kirk

    It’s a different domestic scene from the one Douglas grew up in. His father, Kirk, according to Michael, didn’t handle parenting well. “I was the product of a divorced family,” he recalls. “My dad was always torn; he was working really hard and would want to see us. But then, with all his Kirk Douglas passion, he’d try to be a father for a week, a summer, whatever. It was tough.

    “I think it’s easier for me to be a good father. I’m not so concerned about my career,” Douglas continues. “I like to be home a lot more now.”

    Natural Enhancement

    If like Michael you’d benefit from a boost to your sex life, but prefer herbal to pharmaceutical products, there’s plenty to choose from.  For more information see  http://www.herbaligniteusa.com.

     
  • midlifelove 2:23 am on February 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aggressive women, blonde warrior, blondes, Dolly Parton, Reese Witherspoon, Type A women   

    Blondes More Warlike Than Brunettes 

    Multi-talented blonde Reese Witherspoon became one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses playing a ditzy sophomore who’s really smart in the Legally Blonde movies.

    Dubbed “Little Miss Type A” by her family when barely out of kindergarten, she has carried on the family joke by naming her production company Type A Films.

    Like Dolly Parton before her, she’s a role model for blondes who are warriors rather than wimps – and according to a new study, they’re performing to aggressive type.

    Get More Attention

    The University of California study found blondes are more likely to display a “warlike” streak because they attract more attention than other women and are used to getting their own way — the so-called “princess effect”.

    Even those who dye their hair blonde – like Dolly – quickly take on these attributes, experts found.

    The research, reported on Times Online, was designed to discover whether women who are judged more attractive than others are also more likely to lose their tempers to get what they want.

    Prepared To Fight

    “We expected blondes to feel more entitled than other young women — this is southern California, the natural habitat of the privileged blonde,” said Aaron Sell, who led the study which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. “What we did not expect to find was how much more warlike they are than their peers on campus.”

    The researchers believe this is a useful measure of how far women are prepared to fight for their own interests.

    The study, which examined links between confidence and aggression, involved 156 female undergraduates.

    It showed that blondes were more likely to be treated better than other women and were more willing to “go to war”. However, they were less likely than brunettes or redheads to get into a fight themselves — possibly to ensure they preserved their looks.

    Blonde Bubble

    The research did confirm one theory: when male students were asked to rate the attractiveness of their female counterparts, blondes gained the highest scores.

    Sell suspects that blondes exist in a “bubble” where they have been treated better than other people for so long they do not realise that men, in particular, are more deferential towards them than other women.

    “They may not even realise they are treated like a princess,” Sell said.

     
  • midlifelove 2:31 am on January 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , how to have a great marriage, Ian and Mary Grant, , mens and womens brains different, tips for better marriage, unhappy marriage   

    How to Have a Great Marriage 

    Marriage is a two-storey house – that’s her story and his story, quips Ian Grant*, parenting and relationship guru, who with Mary, his wife of 40 years runs the highly successful Hot Tips on Marriage seminars in New Zealand and Australia.

    Now the couple have combined to write Growing Great Marriages, a book based on the Hot Tips seminars which offers hundreds of practical strategies for giving and getting the love you want in your marriage. Some of their ideas from the book:

    Top Five Tips for A Better Marriage

    1) Watch your language

    Research shows the ratio of praise to blame is like spring rain – praise and your marriage will flourish, blame and it will wither. Couples who say five positive things for one negative should be OK. When the threshold drops to one to two they are in trouble.

    Thousands of trials have shown men are much more affected by arguments than women are:  “flooding” – when brain messages bypass the thinking and judging mechanisms and go straight to the “old reptile brain” – the section of the brain that generates negative emotions and knee jerk reactions – happens at much lower levels of criticism in men than women and they stay in that flooded state for longer.

    2) Commit and invest in the relationship

    A 2002 study by the Institute for American Values in New York showed it was wrong to assume that someone in a troubled marriage has two choices: stay married and be miserable, or get a divorce and be happy. A survey of so-called “unhappily married” couples showed two thirds of the couples who stayed married were actually happier five years later.

    Other research shows if a partner invests into a relationship, he or she is happier. When you invest in something, you bond to it.

    3) Remember men’s and women’s brains work differently:

    Think of the brain like a house: In men brain activity focuses on different sections of the brain and they switch from section to section like someone moving from appliance to appliance in a house, switching them on when needed and then turning them off.

    Women’s brains function more globally – they’ve switched on everything in the house and left it on!

    Bill and Pam Farrel’s best seller Men are Like Waffles Women are Like Spaghetti (Harvest House)  gives a great picture for the way gender affects  the way men and women think.

    Women are good at multi-tasking because like a plate of spaghetti , their brain wiring is made up of lots of different strands, touching and intertwining with each other.  Women process life through interconnections. Every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue.

    Men’ brains are geared to work in a more compartmentalised way – like squares on a waffle. Don’t engage Dad in meaningful conversation while he is cooking the barbecue because he is focused on one thing – getting the meat cooked. Men will work on one square at a time, and then move on to the next one.

     

    4) Operate a love bank

    When difficulties arise, focus on restoring love, not resolving conflicts.

    Only one in four marriages is saved through counselling, which has traditionally focused on conflict resolution. But what most couples want is to maintain the feelings of romantic love, and if they can do that the conflict resolves itself. (Romantic love triggers the endorphins which give the pleasurable feeling of being in love)

    The Love Bank idea was developed by Dr William Harley, author of Fall in Love, Stay in Love. Think about the “love currency” you can deposit for your partner.

    Ask yourself “What can I do that makes him feel the best?” Men thrive when offered recreational companionship, sexual fulfilment and admiration from their wives. Women thrive on affection, openness and honesty. What makes people happiest is receiving attention from the people who matter most to us.

    5) Plan dates

    Ian and Mary Grant have dozens of great ideas of sharing positive time together. Amongst their suggestions:

    A 48 hour retreat; book somewhere special, take candles, special lingerie, etc and create your own haven.

    Work through the alphabet for date nights – some may be elaborate, and others as simples as a DVD you both want to see.

    Stage regular “cloth napkin dinners” with a formal setting, best cutlery and candles.

    On your wedding anniversary each year plan a special dinner and repeat your wedding vows to one another.

    *Ian and Mary Grant are high profile parenting and relationship gurus who founded Parents Inc, an Auckland based centre which runs nationwide seminars and courses on family and relationships.

     
  • midlifelove 12:43 am on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: incurable optimist, , , successful Hollywood marriage, Tracy Pollan   

    Incurable Optimist: Michael J Fox 

    Family Ties and Spin City star Michael J. Fox is the first to acknowledge his diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 29 could have been the undoing of his life in many ways.

    He’d been married to fellow actor Tracy Pollan for just two years. The first of their four children, Sam, was just a baby.

    “It could have left us undone,” the Back to the Future megastar says in his latest book Always Looking Up – The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.

    And if there was ever evidence needed that he is indeed, an optimist, you only need to look at how he has handled the challenge of living with illness.

    He and Tracy went on to have three more children (twins Schulyer and Aquinnah, and six years later, Esme) and build one of the most enduring marriages in Hollywood.

    An Amazing Life

    Michael was faced with a choice, he says. ”I could concentrate on the loss – or I could just get on with my life and see if maybe those holes started filling in themselves.  Over the last ten years they have, in the most amazing ways.

    “For everything the disease has taken something of greater value has been given. It may be one step forward two steps back but I’ve learned what is important is making that one step count.

    “Parkinson’s Disease has taken physical strength, spontaneity, physical balance, manual dexterity, the freedom to do the work I want to do when I want to do it, and the confidence that I can always be there for my family when they need me.”

    Happy Marriage

    In a chapter on family life titled ‘Why I’m still with Tracy and Shaky When I’m Not’ Michael says “Some people ask me the secret of a long and happy marriage, just as they ask me about the key to raising children. My flip answer in the kid department is “love ‘em, feed ‘em and keep ‘em out of traffic.” As for marriage, I often reply with equal brevity “Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty.”

    “Parkinson’s is always putting me in a box, and Tracy has become expert at folding back the flaps, tipping it over and easing me out.

    “She’d tell you probably with a laugh, that the greatest challenge she faces isn’t having a Parkinson’s patient for a husband, it’s having me for a husband. And by the way, I am a Parkinson’s patient.”

    Gains Greater Than Losses

    “The more complicated our marriage has got, the more it seems to bring out the best in us.

    “I was a big believer in my own PR: a happy-go-lucky lottery winner who had it all, a great career, a beautiful wife, a healthy son. I was struggling, though, with figuring out how to keep it all going. I was working more than I needed to, worrying more than I liked to admit, and drinking more than anyone should. I was, to put it mildly, not well positioned to deal with what was coming.

    “The change that Parkinson’s has forced up me and Tracy and the family, pales in comparison with the changes we have brought upon ourselves. We give more to each other than Parkinson’s could ever take away“.

     
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