Archive for August, 2007
As I was drifting off to sleep the other night, my leg made an involuntary twitch that jolted me back awake. I suddenly had a terrible thought: “Could I be suffering from the earliest signs of Restless Legs Syndrome?” The potential of this dreaded disease set my mind to reeling with all sorts of dark and gloomy thoughts. Nevertheless, despite my agitation, a sense of knowing calm soon began to slowly spread over me. I need not worry! “RLS” was a young person’s disease. In fact, I’d never heard of it until quite recently. Comforted by that thought, I shortly fell back asleep and slept soundly and peacefully throughout the rest of the night.
The very next day I was again reminded why I’m glad that I’m a woman of “a certain age.” While out shopping, I spied a lovely young lady colorfully clad in a sundress with a brightly hued flowered print. As I found myself beginning to envy her youthful energy and the pert bounce to her step, I became aware of what I considered to be a huge and distracting fashion faux pas. She clashed! Now, I don’t mean her outfit or her accessories. I mean her body! One entire forearm was adorned with the figure of a large fire-breathing dragon while her other arm boasted an equally large bouquet of roses surrounded by scarlet hearts. These renderings were, most definitely, not coordinated themes, nor did either provide the appropriately muted backdrop for her wildly colorful dress. The backs of her knees sported figures too, but I wasn’t close enough to discern them. Wow! And I had been worrying about covering up my spider veins, freckles, and age spots!
Without a doubt, we boomer gals have enjoyed a number of generational blessings over the years that have enriched our lives. I, for one, am grateful for the small things:
1) I’ve never had to consider piercing anything on my body beyond my earlobes.
2) For much of my life, when I phoned customer service, I immediately spoke with an actual, flesh and blood person! Plus, (and big bonus here) they were trained to be polite and helpful.
3) When I was young, there were no entertainment centers—no multiple buttons, switches, remotes, wires, and unintelligible manuals. There was a TV with rabbit ears, a dial, and one, elegantly simple, on/off switch.
4) I’ve never had to deal with the heartbreak of a full-blown Internet addiction.
5) I remember when people used real words and not just unpronounceable acronyms.
6) Sixties’ and Seventies’ rock ‘n’ roll was the BEST.
7) We may not be “forever young” but we are undeniably still the “grooviest generation” on the planet.
Okay, so I might be sounding old, judgmental, and crotchety. But, hey, I am! And, I’m proud of it! Yes, life is pretty great on the far side of fifty and nothing beats being a feisty old broad with attitude!
So, what are the ways that you are grateful you have reached your years of wisdom and sass?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
When a close friend turned fifty, her slightly older husband jokingly suggested that he should “turn her in” for two twenty-five year olds. This and (to his mind) numerous other hilarious references to men with their younger, arm candy, trophy wives began to erode her self-esteem. Then, one day she “had it up to my flabby armpits with his nonsense.” In full spousal retribution, she let go with a formidable list of her mate’s own ample physical flaws. This exercise soon quieted him from making further such remarks.
Yes, we gals have long been taught that men become distinguished as they age and women simply become old. Movies are still pairing much older men with twenty and thirty year old women—the dashing, suave hero with his cloyingly doting and nubile heroine. There are constant media messages bombarding us daily that celebrate female youth and beauty and push a myriad of anti-aging products on us boomer, mid-life lasses. These ads imply that only unlined faces are attractive, that anyone over a size two is hopelessly lost in folds of fat, and that aging is unnatural and undesirable.
And then, making matters worse, there’s that whole thing about feeling ignored. For years, women have claimed they become “invisible” once their half-century birthday rolls around. It seems that, when a woman is no longer youthful, she might as well disappear. She certainly does in the popular media. How can we not take such messages personally to some degree? Society’s ideas of growing older clearly serve to diminish the “grand” in grandmother.
But, we must not forget who we are and from whence we came. There has never before been a generation of women like us boomers. And, we are getting even better with age! In fact, we ladies are just entering our peak and productive years. The hormonal shifts at menopause make us sassier and more outspoken than ever before. Margaret Mead coined the phrase “menopausal zest” to describe this life stage and she couldn’t have picked a more perfect descriptor.
So, the years past fifty will undoubtedly bring us great satisfaction and numerous rewards. We postmenopausal gals are blessed with abundant energy, freed from many of our earlier responsibilities, and are truly coming into our own in new and exciting ways. In fact, our generation is about to change the world once again. Marketers are slowly recognizing our numbers and our wealth and the media is beginning to catch on. Movies are starting to show older actresses (Diane Keaton for one) in romantic roles and Dove® is running its “pro-aging” advertisements.
And, as far as women being the ones to lose their looks with age, let’s lay that chestnut to rest. Yes, the years can pile up on each of us. But, wrinkles are truly a small price to pay for the many joys and blessings that later life can bring.
In that spirit, here’s a loving look at three of our early heroes …
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A dear friend emailed this to me and I thought it was worth passing along. Since there was no name attached, I am unable to credit the author. Undoubtedly, she is a wise woman and her thoughts are touching as well as true. I’m sure she would want me to share them:
“A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, and the responsibilities and obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully. Then, she turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.
‘Don’t forget your Sisters,’ she advised, swirling the tealeaves to the bottom of her glass. ‘They’ll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need Sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.
Remember that ‘Sisters’ means ALL the women… your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too. You’ll need other women. Women always do.’
‘What a funny piece of advice!’ the young woman thought. ‘Haven’t I just gotten married? Haven’t I just joined the couple-world? I’m now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!’
But, she listened to her mother. She kept contact with her Sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mom really knew what she was talking about.
As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, Sisters are the mainstays of her life. After more than 50 years of living in this world, here is what I’ve learned:
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men can disappoint.
Hearts can break.
Colleagues forget favors.
BUT… Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley’s rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley’s end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you…or come in and carry you out…”
This reminder of the bonds and joys of friendship really struck a chord with me. I thought of all the Sisters who have been there for me over my life and how grateful I am to each and every one of you. You have cheered me on, walked beside me, and, sometimes, pulled me up and carried me out of the valley. (And, I’m no petite lightweight!)
Our female friendships form the foundation from which we draw the support to face life’s bigger challenges. How fortunate we ladies are to be blessed with the hormonal and emotional make-up that causes us to desire intimacy. How lovely it is to share with others on a deep and profound level. How lucky we are to be able to connect through our words and our experiences, openly express our vulnerabilities and fears, and receive compassion and support. What a blessing to find acceptance and love for our authentic selves, imperfect and flawed as we may be. Female friendships truly are the mainstay of our lives.
Best of all, by the time we’ve reached our half-century birthdays, we have enjoyed a lifetime of such friendships. We ladies have weathered life’s ups and downs, the losses and the triumphs, and are now sharing the challenges and rewards of menopause together. Talk about a cause for celebration! What a gift!
Yes, we hold our female friendships ever dear. They are one more glorious reason to celebrate the rich rewards of life on the far side of fifty.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 9 so far )