Friday, August 01, 2008

We're Still Here

Hey, guys - this post is a woman thing. You wouldn't understand.

It's a wasteland out there for those of us approaching "a certain age." Remember all those fun books that used to greet us girls with every life change? The "you're becoming a woman" books (complete with diagrams - ewwww!), the "how to make your husband do what you want" books, the "how to take care of your babies" books...I could go on and on. No matter what stage of life we were entering, we could rest assured there would be (too much) information on how to navigate it. Everything we did was examined and talked to death: the baby-bearing, the child-raising, the juggling of career and family, the how-to-have-it-all dilemma of the modern woman.

Well, there ain't no books anymore. It's as if, once a woman is in her mid-forties and her kids are starting to leave the nest, she ceases to exist. Oh, yes, there is the occasional tome detailing all the wonderful things that can go wrong with our bodies once menopause hits; and then there is a slew of books telling us how to look/act/appear younger; but as for self-affirming, "what direction is my life taking now, aside from going for a mammogram every 2 years?" type books - it looks pretty bleak out there.

What is the publishing industry telling us? That there's nothing to look forward to? That there is nothing left now but to ward off for as long as possible the inevitable physical deterioration which comes with age? If life expectancy statistics are worth anything, we've got a good 35 - 40 years ahead of us. So what's up with this strange cultural silence?

I'm lucky, in that I'll still have young children hanging around well into my 50's. But even so, I'm feeling the cold wind of societal indifference that strikes even the most self-assured woman (and I'm talking to you, mrs. g) as she enters this all but uncharted territory of perimenopause and beyond. Are Michael's and numerous cats really all that's left to us at this point? Are we doomed to spend the rest of our lives in a strange netherworld invisible to the rest of society?

Thank goodness we have the Women's Colony to look forward to.

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26 comments:

  1. See the angst I miss by simply not paying attention? And may I say that I'm looking forward to hitting a point in life where my every move is not considered in the harsh light of cultural expectations (either for or against)? Which is why, of course, I ignore it all anyway. To thine own self be true, and screw the peanut gallery.

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  2. There is that. Yet, having been in the spotlight for all these years (wanted or not), one does feel somewhat jarred by the change.

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  3. Perhaps you should consider writing such a book? Just a thought.

    For kicks I actually clicked on the link for Women's Colony (I know how you hate an unclicked link). I love that plan, just how old do you have to be to apply?

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  4. Anyone who doesn't click is missing a great Derfwad Manor post, that's for sure! I'm thinking it's not a certain minimum age, but instead a specific state of mind that is required. I don't know - we'll have to check with mrs. g.

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  5. Oh, I found a book: The 10-year Nap, by Meg(?) Wolitzer. It's actually causing me some anxiety and gasping for air attacks, but still, it's a book. About us.

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  6. So, if there were such a book, and I think you're the perfect woman to write it, said book would have to answer this question: If I'm old enough for wrinkles, shouldn't I be too old for chin pimples? I call FOUL.

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  7. Agreed - the title of any such book should be "If I'm Old Enough For Wrinkles, Shouldn't I Be Too Old For Zits?"

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  8. Hey, whas this supposed to make me fell better about aging? Cuz it didn't.

    KEEP BELIEVING

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  9. I've been reading a lot of books lately about women in their 40's going through mid-life changes. They're fiction though, and every single one of them ends up with the woman cheating on her husband????

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  10. As I said, there is a dearth of upbeat messages out there for the middle-aged woman.

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  11. Um, yeah, it's a little comfort to be a mom of "advanced maternal age"... where half of the moms of my kids' contemporaries are technically young enough to be my daughters. There aren't that many books about any of this. Also, not that many societal role models who aren't, you know, artifically younger. I agree that someone needs to write this book. The "What's Next?" book.

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  12. Remember how I'm writing that list of things that I want to do before I die (even though)I'm only 41? Well, it's getting pretty good-though most of the activities need to cost less than $50. Maybe between the list and the colony we can all thrive.

    Cheating on husbands? Who has the time? Plus-gross.

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  13. Yannow, you're right. Aside from the odd Christianne Northrup, what do we have? And tho my body (so far, uncomfortably) is resetting itself, I'm trying not to look at it as a *crisis*. Another reason to join Mrs. G. in the ass-challenge and just try to have as much fun as possible whilst keeping to the lists and looking forward to Women's Colony. 43 in a few days... oy

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  14. Remember that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes when Kathy Bates has her parking space stolen at the mall and is humiliated by the cute young things? She responds by rear-ending their car then smugly announcing, "I'm older and I've got more insurance."

    There are a few advantages to being "a certain age."

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  15. You wanna know when you're really getting old? When Matt Damon looks like a kid, which he does. Ick. I did click over to the G Spot, or Mrs. G, I think it is. I told her that Michael's is passe; Hobby Lobby is "where it's at." You know, whenever somebody in my church pipes up and says, "Ya know, we ought to have a ministry for [wayward squirrels/fill in the blank] the pastor says, "That's a great idea. When are you having your first meeting?" the point being that you brought the subject up, so when is your first chapter going to be completed?

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  16. THIS IS MY FAVORITE:"If I'm Old Enough For Wrinkles, Shouldn't I Be Too Old For Zits?"

    I look like a 13 year old w/ zits on my chin and a blackhead on my back, I have cramps and am craving ice cream...and I'll be 42 in the fall.

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  17. Mrs. G needs to write a book about Mom-o-Pause.

    With a foreword by Suburban Correspondent?

    That photo of Helen Mirren on a beach in a bikini is my beacon of hope. Despite the size of my waist.

    Still, I'm holding on to that image. And I've got a firm grip on my tweezers. (What the hell with the chin hairs?)

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  18. Ummmm.... YOU should write a book. Im just saying.

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  19. You forgot the part where we buy a toddler-sized doll and dress it differently every day and either have it in "time out" or standing creepily by the picture window. Oh--and crocheting afghans--don't forget the afghans!

    Sigh...

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  20. Personally, I am LOVING being almost 50. I feel like I have finally come into my own. This is the age where I was always meant to be. Being a bright and outspoken young woman was a very hard thing to be. Being a bright, outspoken middle aged woman is perfect. I have a measure of respectability that was missing when I was younger. I LOVE being a grand mother. This, just like Goldilocks says, is "just right". Enjoy, it only gets better.

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  21. I love the title, "If I'm Old Enough For Wrinkles, Shouldn't I Be Too Old For Zits?"
    I’m a older mom (58) and I have 8 kids with 5 still at home and yes, a lot of the moms on this site are about the age of my oldest daughter (38). I really enjoy reading the posts and comments; many times it brings back memories of my younger years. And I agree with you, having kids well into your fifties does keep you young. I still have a lot in common with younger moms. Like no sleep—changing diapers (handicapped son)—Scouts—high school and middle school games and activities—teenagers on dates—messy frig—no free time with hubby—no free time for me and some of my kids are younger than my grandkids.
    Yet, I would not trade it for the world. It does keep you young. My daughter and I are still on the same page.
    There is an old saying “When I’m old I will wear a red dress with a purple hat,” which explains what happened to me when I turned 50(though I do not think 50 old). I no longer felt in competition, or judged by other women or the world with, “Am I doing a good job with my kids, husband, hair, house, life,” and every woman became my sister and my friend.
    I’ve really enjoy reading your blog, and check in everyday to see what is happening in your world. It is comforting to know as sisters and moms our lives are not so different. Thanks for sharing. Susie

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  22. Just think, in 20 years or so, we can say whatever we want, without censoring ourselves, with out fear of offending someone. I can be a loud mouthed old lady, instead of a word conscious worker in a stressful environment.

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  23. I had noticed that phenomenon too. They don't need to tell us what to do, just what to expect and great plans to make and celebrate great women who have done the age with class. You and Mrs G need to write a great upbeat and hilarious book about the peri/post menopause/empty nest years. I'm planning on them being the greatest years yet!

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  24. Thank you. Thank you for posting a link to the Women's Colony. I so needed that today!

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  25. mom@3forschoolAugust 04, 2008

    A very nice part to marrying a little later and having children a little later is that my children aren't leaving home yet so that angst is absent. But looking for friends that share my outlook---from being mid-40s with younger (8-12) children is challenging.

    I love your humor!!!

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  26. I'm a 50 yo mom and my only daughter is pre-teen. Reading your posts and watching the morphing going on in my own daughter has made me question the wisdom of having a teen aged daughter and a menopausal mother living in the same house. I'm afraid it may have been poor planning. 'Honey, They Shrunk My Hormones' is a good book for getting a different perspective on life.

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