Category Archives: Middle Age

The Sounds Of The Silence Of My Blog

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Hi everybody! I’m still here…just busy, busy, busy! I’ve been helping the boys finish up this last couple of months of school (why do they schedule literally EVERY special activity and project in the last month???), and finishing up my own master’s program. I’m in week five now of ten of my very last college course ever! I’m done. Stick a fork in me, I’m done. I have been a part time or half time college student now since 1998. I’m not sure I know how to be anything else at this point in my life (more on my neurotic jitters of getting back out into the workforce in a later blog). When I started out, I simply wanted to correct what I considered to be one of my biggest mistakes in life–not finishing college right after high school. And now, here I am, well over a decade later, about to finish up my second master’s degree, wondering what I’m going to do after graduation.

Not unlike this guy…

Except, since I’m 46 and female instead of 22 and male, I also have her problems…mostly her tendency to say inappropriate, slightly shocking things to the wrong people…Well, okay, maybe not quite this bad…

However, being an optimistic type, I feel that good things are ahead for me (unlike poor, aimless Benjamin and sexy but borderline Mrs. Robinson)…Stick around to see what’s next! Maybe something in plastic, perhaps? ūüėČ I promise I’ll have some witty take on whatever happens, or doesn’t happen the way I planned and envisioned it.¬†

Coo-Coo-Ca-Choo…Until Next Time…

The Beginning Of The End Of The Cougar Trend?

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Cougar, Before Cougar Was Cool

A couple of years ago, I wrote a member contribution article for MORE Magazine: Multiculturalism And The Cougar¬†Please don’t be impressed–you shouldn’t be. Anyone who signs up with MORE online as a member can write and submit articles for their online site, so trust me, I’m nothing special there. In the article, I offer my own observations and theories about the so called “Cougar” trend, completely invalid scientifically, as always. I was taking a course in multiculturalism at the time and it occurred to me that while there seemed to be an uptick in middle aged women dating young men that was getting a lot of attention, this particular phenomenon always seemed to be characterized by said middle aged romantic partner looking/acting/being anything but what she really was–a 40+ female. This is a reality which is in direct opposition to the concept of multiculturalism, in which differences are embraced, even emphasized, and thought of as equally desirable to the former ideal. I do this a lot actually when I’m taking a class–when immersed in a lot of hard facts and academic research, I whimsically apply what I’ve learned to pop culture, probably to stave off boredom and narcolepsy during class. This was especially puzzling, albeit entertaining to my decidedly left brained Armenian astrophysicist professor when I took Astronomy during my undergrad adventures. Needless to say, I didn’t take a lot of hard science in school–only what I had to have to graduate.¬†

At any rate, I thought I was onto something then, and today, with the tabloid and social media rumor mill working overtime to cover a possible Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher split due to his alleged serial cheating with young college aged women, the buzzers are going off again. Now, first of all, who knows if there is truth to this story or not? Nobody, that’s who. None of us knows what really goes on in relationships outside our own, and that goes double for celebrity gossip that is often spun up by tabloid “journalists” on slow days, or even the stars’ own publicists when increased attention is needed to promote this or that new project. This could certainly be the case here, as both halves of this May/December couple have something new to promote right about now. But, that’s not the point. The point is that, given the nature of the Cougar trend, this is a very plausible outcome…

It’s my opinion that in the vast majority of relationships, the Cougar/Cub (god help me) thing is simply not built to last. Certainly, “women of a certain age” can be very attractive, even to much younger men. Why wouldn’t they be? Women who take care of their appearance can be beautiful at any age. And here I’ll insert a very Kelso-esque exclamation–DUH! But, it’s my feeling that a fleeting (and flattering) sexual attraction does not a lasting relationship make. Those natural, healthy differences between people with 15 or more years difference in their ages will always come back to bite them in that body part that you can bounce a quarter off of–in the case of Ashton’s 23 year old alleged girlfriends, that is. This is particularly true when the younger man, as in Kutcher’s case, doesn’t even act his own age (33), instead his public behaviors resemble that of his former television character, Michael Kelso, a high school student who was none too bright to boot. I’m just a couple of years shy of Demi Moore’s age. She’s 48 and I’m 46, and he strikes me as really immature, perpetually partying, punking people¬†sophomoric-ally….cheating or not, living with him and being his wife would get on my nerves pretty quick.

For the past several years, I’ve seen a lot of media that holds this twosome up as some sort of golden couple…a shining example of how and why the Cougar trend is here to stay, and something that middle aged women should aspire to. But, in reality, what I see is that it doesn’t really work as well as they’d like to believe it does. As I covered in my piece for More.com, the only way it works to begin with is if the older female half of the equation spends an indefinite amount of time and energy on convincing herself, and everyone else, that she’s something she’s not. Can a 40+ year old woman be attractive…”hot” even? That goes without saying. Can a 40+ year old woman be happy in a relationship with a man many years her junior, long term? The answer is maybe, but I rather doubt it. And it’s for those reasons I mentioned in the article–an atmosphere of multiculturalism is not yet present when it comes to middle aged women. Meaning those of us willing to admit that we are 40+ in every way, including all the inevitable changes in our looks, our personalities, child-bearing inclinations and capabilities, our entertainment and lifestyle preferences, etc.


Cartoon by Jeff Berry, http://berrystudio.blogspot.com/

The reality is that people do change as they age. A 23 year old woman isn’t really the same as a 43 year old woman, just like a 43 year old woman isn’t the same as a 63 year old woman. And despite what popular media would have us all believe, it really is a rare romantic relationship with a multi year age difference that will work long term without the older woman exhaustively working to be 40+, but look and behave only 18+. And that’s sad, for all concerned. Over the last couple of years especially, I’ve watched Demi Moore age, yet frantically diet and exercise to the point of being thinner than she ought to be, constantly tweet sexy photos of herself, and in general try to project an image that she naturally exuded as a 23 year old–when she was 23. And what it looks like to me is part of an overall futile, and I believe completely unnecessary campaign to hang on to that infamous Cougar/Cub relationship of hers. Not to say that these two don’t have a deep affection for one another, which they may genuinely share.¬†

This makes me sad because I think Demi Moore is better than this. We all are. I hope that she sees herself as she really is, and lets her middle age flag fly in all its glory. That would serve as a true inspiration to women our age, I think, rather than the phony, fleeting one that has been served up to all of us for the past few years, in order to keep up the Cougar image. What I’d like to see is all of us being who we really are, in that true spirit of multiculturalism I talked about. Then, if intergenerational love happens, it happens…and it’d be real for a change….maybe it would even last, who knows? But, my gut tells me that it would be the beginning of the end of the Cougar Trend…a trend that would probably fade away on its own for the most part, having run its course. With a few exceptions that fall into the “you don’t choose who you love” category, I think we’d see a better trend…one that is characterized by women coming into their own, no matter what age they are, and going out there and getting everything they truly deserve, romantically and otherwise, with men who are their equals and are mature enough to appreciate authenticity.¬†

Trading the Cougar Trend for an Authenticity Trend…hmmm….that’s a trend I could promote!¬†

 

See Ya 45…Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

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Today is my last day being 45. Tomorrow I turn 46, certainly not a milestone by anyone’s standards, but nonetheless pushing closer and closer to that very big milestone–50. I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see this year go…it’s been a real mixed bag. The arguable success of my nonprofit board service versus the shocking and sad death of a wonderful friend is a good example of the good and the bad, all jumbled up.¬†

Unlike most people, I don’t make my New Year’s Resolutions on New Year’s Eve or Day–I make them on my birthday, which is my New Year. This year, I thought about resolving one thing for each year I’ve lived but, let’s face it, I’ve lived way too long for that now…too hard to keep up with and follow through on that many different ones. So, I think I’ll stick with 10 realistic goals…and here they are…

  • Set aside at least one hour every day to read a book–no excuses.¬†
  • Learn all the basic jewelry making techniques…crimping, wrapping, etc.¬†
  • Take up the treadmill again, 3 times a week. That “But now I walk my dog.” excuse is so not cutting it…
  • Read one Robert Frost poem a day from the complete works volume gathering dust on my bookshelf.¬†
  • Teach my son his basic math skills…and actually learn them myself this time. Oops! Did I say that out loud?
  • Finish my final master’s degree…only 3 classes to go!¬†
  • Listen to more music.
  • Learn Robert’s Rules of Order once and for all. I’ve had the book for years but I mean really–who cracks it open unless they have to?¬†
  • Spend less time on Facebook…Damned addictive, that site is!¬†
  • Worry 50% less, Smile 50% more…Yes, I have found that it is true…when you frown a lot, your face eventually does stick that way!¬†

Well now, those ought to keep me suitably busy for the next 365 days…Happy Birthday to Me!¬†

Excuse Me Hot Bag Boy, Did You Just Call Me Ma’am?

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“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. ~ Mark Twain

 

I’m coming up fast on my 46th birthday.¬†Cognitively, I know that that I’m aging…but inside I feel just the same as the day I walked across the stage to take my high school diploma. Realistically, I know that was a long time ago…a very long time ago now. And would I go back? Oh no way! I had no idea who I was that day in June of 1983, let alone my worth or what I could accomplish when I set my mind to it. I like myself today, I truly do. I didn’t back then, I truly didn’t. Now, if I could go back knowing what I know now, as who I am now, would I? Now that is the real question. Maybe, I think. There are advantages to youth…most of them directly related to an 18 year old body and a lifetime ahead of 18 year old possibilities. And that does make me a tiny bit sad, truly it does.¬†

I think we all go through this. It’s what is known as a Midlife Crisis. Some of us handle it better than others…I’m handling it okay. I mean, I’m not about to go around lying about my age, or trying to prove in some overt way that I still got it. I’ve seen people, particularly women, doing that…up close and personal, and trust me folks, it ain’t pretty! Besides, I’d much rather state my true age and have people say, and actually think, “Wow, you look great for 46!” Instead of saying, “Wow, you look great!” But really thinking, “Geez Louise! Have you been recovering from some godawful disease? Because you look like crap for 36!”¬†¬†Granted, I look good for my age, but the physical changes are there too…the mirror tells me so. That’s why, when I saw the group get together on Facebook, looking into the initial phases of planning our 30th reunion (for 2 years from now), I began to wonder…where did that girl go? “She’s still here!”, I shout, as the bag boy asks if I “Would like some help out with that, Ma’am?” “Er, not just no Hot Bag Boy, but hell no! I’m fine thank you!” As I push my cart out of the store, I can’t help but check myself out in the big round security fun mirror and think to myself, “Oh, you bet I’m fine! Damn fine!” And then about halfway out to my Jeep I really wish I’d accepted that offer of help, because my middle aged back really, really hurts….:-(¬†

The lines are blurred for all of us these days–especially women. We live in the age of Cougars and MILFs, and Ashton & Demi, where a woman who spends every waking hour of her life on trying not to look or act her age, can still get a hot young guy to notice her–even marry her, in Demi’s case. And good for her (I guess). And we also live in the age of all sorts of anti-aging creams and fixes, plastic surgeries and “procedures”, to help us look younger than we actually are. And that’s fine too, I guess, but I have to ask…to what end? Aren’t we still 46 (or whatever age we are) when the day is done? Why put that much effort into trying to fool other people, and ourselves, that we are anything other than what–and who–we really are.¬†

I guess I’m here to state, for the record, that there’s nothing wrong with being 46. For me that’ll happen in about a month. And I feel good about it, really I do. It’s just those shifting paradigms that I need to fully adjust to. I’m not 25 anymore. And that bag boy is perfectly right to call me Ma’am. That’s how he sees me, realistically, and I’ve earned that respect–in spades! ūüôā¬†

In order to help me fully adjust, I pulled a dusty book off my shelf today. It’s a volume I bought myself in anticipation of turning 40. Truth be told, I didn’t really need it then–but I am probably beginning to need it now. It’s entitled Not Your Mother’s Midlife; A Ten Step Guide To Fearless Aging by Nancy Alspaugh and Marilyn Kentz. The authors offer these 10 steps to so called “fearless aging”:

1) Accept it.

2) Take a good look at what to expect. 

3) Let go of what’s not working.¬†

4) Shore up spirituality. 

5) Get a new perspective. 

6) Find a new passion. 

7) Don’t just vent–reinvent.¬†

8) Make new goals. 

9) Get a coach. 

10) Awaken to the muse. 

These are great general suggestions. As I read through the chapters, if I find anything specific that is blog worthy, I’ll be sure to write about it.¬†

I’ve already started on a few of these (all on my own), so I guess I’m doing good already. And I’m probably more okay with the aging process than a lot of women out there, truth be told. But, also in truth, my life is quite literally half over. If I’m lucky, that is, and it’s not actually more than half over. And, although I am still that girl in the white satin cap and gown…I am her and she is me…I have to make some adjustments in my perceptions and sense of self to make sure that young girl can get the very most out of this phase of her life.

And she deserves it…you all really have no idea just how much she deserves it!¬†