Life’s Changes

By Alex Cohen

Dear blog readers,

It has been a while since last we connected. These past few months have been an interesting time in my life and I’ve been trying to find the inspiration to write again. In the meantime, my team has done an amazing job filling in for me, I may have them chime in more often as I enjoy reading their stories and perspectives.

The last few months I have been going through “the changes” that a woman goes through at my age. I will spare you the details, but sleep became a thing of the past and I was more annoyed than usual (yes, that is possible). I worked hard with my holistic specialist to find ways to combat the side effects of this nuisance and I think I finally have things under control. I once asked my long-time sonographer, “Why is it that women have to go through so many changes in life, PMS, menstruation, painful childbirth then hot flashes and menopause, what do you men get?” Without skipping a beat, he answered, “We get to live with you during all of it.” I guess that is punishment enough – I know it would be for me.

In April, I underwent surgery for what started out as tennis elbow and turned into a torn ligament – there goes my game – and I lost the ability to use my right arm and hand for a few weeks.

I was so happy to finally get my texting thumb back, but just as I was starting to recover, I injured myself again. I was in Los Angeles on Mother’s Day weekend for both my daughters’ graduation from USC and the day before the ceremony, I missed a step while coming down the stairs and lost my balance. In an effort to protect my healing elbow I used my right leg to break my fall. I heard a pop in my knee – No Bueno! I ended up in the ER and after the MRI I was told that I tore my MCL and my Meniscus. My knee was the size of a football. I’ll be spending the next six weeks in a knee brace and after some physical therapy I should be good as new, or as good as I can be at this age. As Ray Charles once sang, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.” Once I’m completely healed I plan on getting back out on the tennis court and taking up one of the fastest growing sports in America, Pickle Ball. Don’t ask, just look it up… We can play till we are 90 without getting hurt, or so they say.

Other than my injury, my time in LA was great. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond with my 20% Off Entire Purchase coupon to buy all the kitchen, bath and bedroom supplies for both girls’ new apartments. To my surprise, I was told that for $29.99 a year I can get 20% off all my purchases. I was thrilled and signed up immediately… the smallest things make me happy. The weather had been great all week until the day of graduation, which was cold and rainy (so unlike LA). We sat out there for three hours praying for the sun to fight its way through, it never did. Between the crutches, knee brace and the cold, it was hard getting around, but we made it through the nine-hour day. The minute my girls were called up on stage to get their diplomas, I had a flashback to the two of them on the day they were born in their side by side incubators, they were so tiny and so fragile back then and now here they were all grown up, graduating from college. My eyes were filled with tears and my heart with joy, it was a very proud moment for all.

My husband also became the acting President of his firm which, while very nice for him, brings us back to where we were when he opened the company in 1992: two ships passing in the night. He is up at the break of dawn and home late after all his meetings, dinners and events. At first, I was lonely because I was used to having him around more, but I have taken this opportunity to expand my own horizons, spend more time at work and see my friends in the evening. I have the best friends in the world and we never have a bad time together; we are always supportive and make ourselves available for each other. It’s not the same as spending time with my husband but it’s a close second and keeps me happy, entertained and “off the streets and out of trouble.”

Why hasn’t anyone come up with an app, like Tinder, but for people who are looking to make new friends with those their own ages and with similar interests? There are a few that claim to be a friend finder but when you join it’s still more of a hookup app. We need something a little more exclusive and only for friendship, and maybe a separate one for men and one for women. I would love to meet new people and create new friendships at my age. As much as I adore my friends, I think we all need to venture out and learn and experience new things – put ourselves out there for real. Who’s with me? I would create this myself if I knew how, but I can’t even do Instagram stories yet!

The next adventure is my nephew’s wedding who is the first of the seven grandchildren getting married; hopefully, he will give my parents their first great-grandchild. At the rate my children are going they may have some time to wait and I’m okay with that – no need to rush into grand-parenthood.

Our yearly boat trip is also coming up and while I have been stressing about my newfound weight, I have come to the conclusion that there may not be time (or inclination) to stop eating and spend my days in the gym to lose these pesky 6-8 pounds… Not to mention the huge brace on my knee which limits my mobility. As I have grown older I realize how many people around me are obsessed with their weight. I just don’t want to have to buy new clothes; I hate to shop, so I stay within the boundaries of what size I can squeeze into.

Here’s a question, are you a cookie or a carrot? We all know those people who are on a never-ending diet and obsessed with every single thing they put in their mouths. They talk about food, think about food and probably dream about food. They try to convince us all that by eating only healthy food they feel better, look better and will live forever. That’s nice – but who wants to live forever and how happy are they really?

I’m not a carrot, I am definitely a cookie. While I try to eat a balanced diet when I can (or have to) there are days when my body needs a bacon cheeseburger, a side of fries and a piece of seven-layer chocolate cake! I never deny myself anything I want to have, within reason of course. A cupcake may not help your body but it will make your heart and soul skip a beat and remind you that life is wonderful. Now I am sure you healthy folks out there are reading this and saying, “I’m happy and I don’t need to put garbage in my body to see how great life is.” Well, that’s nice for you but for the majority of us, there is nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of mac n’ cheese or a pizza oozing with real cheese and with real flour in the crust.

Now back to the summer, I have 12 books I would like to read (you notice I didn’t say will read) so my plan is to spend more time out East sitting on my porch feeding my brain, waiting for the weekend to roll around and then partying with my incredibly entertaining circle of friends. I really can’t wait.

My Foundation team will also resume The Giving Tour where we will venture out and leave our heart-prints in cities that we have yet to visit. I love sharing this time with them and it’s a great way for us to give back to communities all over the country. I think this year the team will be busy, busy, busy.

Thank you for your patience and I hope it won’t be long before you hear from me again.