Attn: Middle Aged Ladies (& Beyond)

I made a discovery today that I wanted to share with those of us gals who are staring down menopause (or looking at it in the rear view mirror.) You know…those of us who have to cover the gray and remove the wrinkles.

Old Lady dancing 2I’ve seen those ads that promise to make us look twenty years younger. Yeah, right.

But, there is something to be said for making us feel twenty years younger, which I believe is way more possible than changing how we look. And if we feel younger, maybe that will translate to how we look on the outside.

Anyway, music has always had an amazing effect on my mood. The right song, at the right time, can cause me to break into a smile or tears. The right song evokes memories of special people, places, and things.


Today, I was introduced to a singing group that evoked some amazing feelings (you may already be a fan.) The kind of feelings that can only be described as passion! Hearing these guys sing took me back to my younger self. Maybe you should give it a try; it’s a great way to get the old blood pumping and it’s more fun than traditional cardio.

Put away the wrinkle cream and the Clairol haircolor and feast your eyes (and your ears) on Il Divo!!

Il Divo

Il Divo – Regresa a Mi (Unbreak My Heart)

Young at Heart

Young At Heart

My thoughts on aging seem to have increased in direct proportion to my advancing age. Now in my fifties it’s pretty much a daily thought. Prior to this, I was too damn busy to notice: growing up, going to school, being a kid, a teenager, a young adult and then later, raising a family, working full-time, etc. It was all I could do to keep up with the proverbial rat race!Old car

The average lifespan for a white female living in the United States is 81. So, if I’m lucky enough to live that long, I’m already 15 years beyond the halfway point. Why didn’t I realize that when I turned 40, and could have begun some “preventative maintenance? 

Apparently, I wasn’t paying attention…yet.

The years teach much which the days never knew. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gone are the days when I never thought about growing older. Now those thoughts happen quite often, thanks to various reminders:

IMG_3212

  • Creaky knees
  • Looking in the mirror
  • Stiff legs upon rising in the morning
  • Increasing “senior moments”
  • Looking in the mirror
  • Gray hair
  • Adult children
  • Wrinkles
  • Menopot
  • Looking in the mirror
  • My peer group in the obituary

 

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? ~ Satchel Paige

Despite all these physical signs of aging, I can honestly say that I don’t feel 50-something. Heck, I don’t feel 3o or 40-something. I’m still somewhere back in my twenties when I first “came of age.” That was when I gained the right to vote and drink, after dropping out of college and taking a full-time job, and before marriage and children. 

Coming of age in the 70s lead me to a more liberal, open mind. I wanted to learn about other people and cultures, minus the prejudices and stereotypes that I grew up with. I believed in education, protecting the environment, the free exchange of ideas, and the collective good. Almost 40 years later I still believe in all these things. Why, I haven’t changed much at all!

I forget my age. I want to join in the social gatherings of my children, but then remind myself that when I was their age, I didn’t want to party with my parents. I feel like a twenty-something, trapped in a fifty-something body….sometimes.

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. ~Samuel Ullman

There are definitely times when I show my age:

Old Plymouth

  • Driving within the speed limit
  • Struggling with technology
  • Making small talk with strangers
  • Saying hello to people I walk past
  • Reminiscing about manual typewriters vs copy & paste
  • Complaining about too many usernames & passwords to remember

I believe the art of staying young is to exercise one’s mind and body, eating healthy and avoiding the vices. Keeping up with world and current events and to never stop learning. Remembering the passion of our youth and doing whatever it takes to keep that alive. Growing in all ways possible, each and everyday. That’s what I’m trying to do. Trying… meaning that I enjoy a few drinks, an occasional greasy cheeseburger, and driving over the speed limit…but only when I’m running late!

 

Decisions

Well here goes nothing. Or something. We’ll see…

Starting a blog is the something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but kept putting off. I had all the right reasons:  I worked full-time, attended college part-time, and was helping with the care of my father, whose dementia was growing worse. Combine that with shopping, cooking, banking, laundry, apartment cleaning, homework, helping my mother with things  she used to depend on my father for, and I stayed pretty darn busy! What precious little time and energy leftover was spent with my adult children and significant other (when they were available), trying to relax and enjoy life.

This past year I graduated and my dad went into a nursing home (both of which provides plenty of material to blog about.) It also freed up time in my evenings and weekends. I promised myself the blog would be on my New Year’s resolutions list for 2015.

So, here I am. A fifty-something Baby Boomer with a newly minted Public Relations degree…and hot flashes. I’m in a transition period and menopause, all at once. Talk about fun! I’ve worked at the same company for 17 years and because there’s no room for advancement, it’s time for a career change. I want to find a job that fulfills me, while utilizing the education I’ll spend the rest of my life paying off.

I’m still trying to accept the recent changes that have occurred: the fact that my dad will never hang curtain rods for me again, among other things. My oldest son and daughter-in-law moved to Florida 18 months ago. They are doing very well, just bought a house, but I miss them a lot. My middle child (another son) is single, lives and works here in our hometown and is super busy. I don’t see enough of him and have concluded that it’s easier to get an audience with the Pope. My youngest, a daughter, is spending the upcoming spring semester in Washington D.C. completing an internship, and will graduate in May. She is a talented writer, a total introvert, and probably the only girl her age who wants to live with her mother forever. She thinks we should move to Florida to be near her brother and sister-in-law, who she feels will be starting a family soon.

“You will be near your grandchildren and we can be like Dorothy and Sophia on the Golden Girls,” she quips, referring to the popular late 80’s TV sitcom, featuring the mother-daughter duo played by Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty.

Decisions

Honestly, though….I’m in a tough place right now with some big decisions looming. What’s my next move?

I despise the western Pennsylvania weather and have wanted to move to a warmer climate for most of my adult life. Stringing Christmas lights in palm trees is my fantasy; living by the ocean my dream. The job market here isn’t promising either. At some point my mom will need assisted living and my brother and sister live out of town. The situation with my SO (significant other) is complicated. He’s a wonderful person and very good to me, but he has a lot of his own issues. Looking ahead I don’t see much outside of a dating relationship. If I had a great job, loved the climate, had more financial and personal security and living space, then I’d be content to stay (or would I?)

But I’m not content and once my daughter graduates in May, I will no longer be location bound. Her graduation has been my deadline for making the decision.

So, how does one decide whether to stay or go? How do you prioritize who and what matters most in a descending list? How can I make the right decision based on what I want when that also means sacrifices?

And what about fear? Yeah, I’m scared of the changes, but fear kept me stuck in a bad marriage for too many years. I don’t want that to happen again. I don’t ever want to forgo a truly meaningful life simply because change is scary.

Any suggestions?