owning my age as beautifully as I can

Dear Diary,  I never really believed in menopause until I was forty seven. I bet there are lots of women out there like me.  When my mother was forty seven, I was only four so I never saw any real changes in her. Most of my memories of my mother were of her in her fifties. It seems odd now that I discounted what women experience as they enter their early fifties. I mean women have been talking about it for ever, yet, I thought it was just story, not experience. I am ashamed of that but it is what I thought. I never really believed in menopause until I turned forty seven and then a wave washed over me. You know what I am talking about.

All the little changes that sort of crept up upon you. The persistent hair on my chin, the waking up bright and bushy tailed at 3 am, the sudden heat waves that are generated from some inner sanctum , the forgetfulness.  Well I have always been forgetful and I messed up times and dates all my life but I notice it more now. So now , let me tell, you I am a believer. It was not just a story after all. It is a passage after all. I remember starting to real Gail Sheehy’s Passages in my twenties and putting it down bewildered. Funny thing is , I have always believed in stages. I could see them in myself and in my children, my husband.

My discounting menopause was really just another version of discounting women’s wisdom, just one more version of not taking women’s stories seriously. Domestic Fiction, Chick Flicks, Chick Lit, well yeah there is some of that out there but really women’s stories run deeper than that. Imagine our mothers, our grandmothers and the stories they could tell us about their lives. In my family there would be very little chick  lit . Suddenly I am interested and wondering how it actually was for my mother, that passage from being a young woman to a mature woman. It is undoubtedly a big change. Our relationship with the world around us changes. We see differently, and oh yes we are seen differently, whether we admit it or not. That is not to say we lose our touch, or that we loose our groove. We know it’s not like that. But we also know it’s different.

I have been watching women in their fifties and early sixties for quite a while. I have been on the look out for beauty and I have no trouble finding it. Sometimes I am astounded by it. I even notice strangers. When I was in St Johns I watched this sleek grey haired woman in her fifties go through the check out at Dominion with a leather jacket, tight skirt and legging and I thought…” there, she is proof that you can look great fifty five, by trying to look fifty five.” She could turn heads with out trying to pretend she was ten years younger.  Cause it is pretending, you are the age you are, embrace it.

Beauty is available  to us at every age.  It is sad that we are pressured to try and look younger, to revisit another stage that we already had a shot at when the stage we are actually at is so precious in itself. If we spend our time trying to get back the fountain of youth are we missing the youthfulness of the stage we are at now? Because that will pass too. Looking Lovely is not about looking young. It is about embracing whatever your best assets are at a given time and working with them. For me beauty is about  genuineness and acceptance. What is more beautiful than authenticity?

That is not to say I plan to rush into old age. I plan to groove into it. I plan to comb my hair, buy good mascara, and wear long boots. I plan to look after myself. What I do not want to do is deny the age I am because this seems disingenuous and ungrateful. So many people never get the opportunity to embrace menopause and middle age. So many never got to grow old. We are lucky to get to watch our kids turn into adults and be there to support them. These lines under our eyes are there because we’ve seen things, because we have stories, because we know. They are there , and that is all there is to it.  Still, I do put a little  Aveda cream on them that Lorna bought for me because they deserve to be treated good. Those little lines have been a witness to my life. They deserve a little massage now and then. I have no illusions they will go away.

There is nothing like  personal experience to bring you closer to belief. I now believe in menopause. I apologize to every woman who is older than me.

I also believe in acceptance and aging beautifully. Here are a few examples….

 

 

aging beautifully

aging4 aging5 aging1 aging2 aging8

age1

36 thoughts on “owning my age as beautifully as I can

  1. Deanne; Menopause was a word I never heard in my younger years. It was always referred to as “the change”.I can hear the women at our house whispering about it and not having a clue what it was all about..brings back memories of being sent to Greg Ryans for a box of kotex and he wrapping it under the counter in brown paper and tied with string. Who didn’t know what was in that package !!
    Thank goodness the times have changed……

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  2. Hello Deanne, I am thinking about purchasing a Cheticamp frame, but I have a question.When I am hooking curves and circles I have to reposition my hooking on the gripper frame quite often. If the pattern is sewn on to the Cheticamp frame in one position how do you hook those designs that call for repositioning the pattern? Mayby there is a better way?
    Thankyou
    Leah Horsley
    Ashcroft.B.C.
    Canada

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  3. When I turned 60 in November my daughter gave me a gift of 60 letters from people I have met throughout my life. Truly an amazing gift that every person should receive once in their life. 60 was the first birthday I ever thought of as a milestone and I truly celebrated what I have learned, seen, felt, and become. I have lost dear friends recently who didnt get to see 60. To not celebrate and embrace getting older is to disrespect the blessing that is life.
    Bob Dylan said it right..”I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now”

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  4. So lovely to see and hear from so many beautiful women enjoying life! And thanks to you, Deanne, and all respondents. We do need to celebrate the now, along with any wrinkles – physical, mental, societal – that crop up as we mature. I used to think of that as a “dirty word” but no longer. I love that I have so much patience for our grandkids and can be in and enjoy their world, with their wonderful views and comments. I love having more time to myself, even if part of that is through illness. I don’t have to rush or fight, or deal with difficult workmates; I can just be me. Be well; be happy; be the best “you” you can be!

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  5. Beautiful post – well said. Lots of words of wisdom on this day’s blog.
    I have never been happier than in my 50’s. I revel in life and enjoy each day with no regrets. I would never go back to my 30’s though wouldn’t mind the energy LOL. Do love my little cat naps these days! I think I have come to terms with the process of ageing and that it can be done gracefully and with dignity…

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  6. I am 46 and have started this peri-menopause stuff and it is driving me crazy.
    Acne!! Waking up!! Forgetfulness!!! Word recall!!

    I feel exhausted and stupid.

    Plus I am at a crossroads in my life. i’ve been home with the kids for 11 years – they are 13 and 10 now.
    I dont want to work 40 plus hours a week and have a long commute on top of my husband’s long hours, long commute and his going back to school and working more after dinner out of pressure in today’s economy. I dont want my kids to be at camp for 10 weeks from 8 to 6pm. My field has dramatically changed since I’ve been away and I am now obsolete. Every employer is looking for a different set of things to know and the automated screening program that goes through your resume just tosses you out if that list isnt there. I want a job where I can use my brain and make decent money and work part-time. I’ve been told “why should I pay you for 24 hours when I can get everyone else to work an extra 20 hours a week for free”. I need to use my brain.

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  7. Thank you Ellen and Deanne!

    The following is from one of our famous journalists, Regina Brett, who is 57. I think all of you will enjoy it!

    – Regina Brett’s (Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist) 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on

    To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
    It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written.
    My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

    1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
    2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
    3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
    4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
    5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
    6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
    7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
    8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
    9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
    10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
    11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
    12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
    13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
    14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
    15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
    16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
    17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
    18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
    19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
    20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
    21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
    22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
    23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
    24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
    25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
    26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
    27. Always choose life.
    28. Forgive everyone everything.
    29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
    30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
    31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
    32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
    33. Believe in miracles.
    34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
    35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
    36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
    37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
    38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
    39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
    40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
    41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
    42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
    43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
    44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
    45. The best is yet to come.
    46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
    47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
    48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
    49. Yield.
    50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

    Warmly,
    Marianna

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  8. I know the truth in those words, too. For me it seemed to start the summer of my 52nd year. I actually didn’t fight the waking up in the middle of the night and just got up to enjoy the quiet and the sunrise when it finally came. I was never an early riser so to see that time of day was refreshing like I was seeing something about the world for the first time. I remember even before then thinking that I was glad my husband knew me when I was young, because he knows I’m smarter and more capable than I was seeming during this forgetful part. A close friend 10 years older than me promises me that I’ll be “smart” again, but I wonder. Does it matter? I am so much calmer most of the time and that’s a blessing.

    Happy Birthday!

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  9. ” I Love everyting that’s old ; old friends , old times , old manners , old books , old wines .” Oliver Goldsmith. I have always been drawn to older folks , their wit , wisdom and take on life, I see many stories to hook in my old family pictures . Thanks for the pep talks Deanne

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  10. Oh, your words are so true! My life is more difficult now than when I was younger, but I like myself so much better! Menopause at age 50 was a gift–I suffered so much from PMS for years that I feared menopause would be a bear, BUT, no it was a blessed relief. No more ups and downs and wondering what was wrong with me. I am on an even keel–so much more mellow and content than I was when I was younger!

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  11. You are so right Deanne. The honesty of this blog is why I love to read it, this is a great one. Thanks for sharing.
    Doris’s picture is wonderful, such a nice lady, and so youthful! Happy Birthday to Marianna!!!!
    Now how about a “men-o-pause” rug Deanne?
    Men pause at us and Oh, they too go through this….it is after all named after them, maybe!

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  12. So true Deanne, we wear ourselves out trying to be who we are not and then we miss out on being who we are.

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  13. Dear Deanne,
    I feel that in my 50’s I am finally getting my groove, maybe for the first time in my life. There is so much freedom in this stage of life, no kids to drive to 8 music lessons a week, no one minds if supper is on the table at 8 instead of 5, you care less about what people think and can enjoy wearing funky, fun outfits! There is an ounce of regret at not being needed by my children so much, but mostly there is this wonderful energy and enthusiasm for pursuits such as rug hooking and running and hanging out with other women.
    I feel very grateful to have the privilege to be alive and to go through this transition to middle age!
    Warmly,
    Meryl

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  14. Your words today took roost Deanne…..”the stage we are actually at is so precious in itself” Such an important reminder. I let my hair grow white this year at 60 and sometimes I stop by the mirror and wonder who that woman is….Thank you for reminding me to give her a break…… E.

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  15. Dear Deanne, what a wonderful post today.

    Denying menopause exist, is like denying that we change with age. I appreciate that you took the time to address this real issue. I personally feel that pre-menopause is worst than menopause. That’s when I lost control of my emotions and had feelings of inadequacies and forgetfulness and being nervous and being hurt more easily.

    I’m 66 now and I have lots of beautiful wrinkles in the right right places where people can see that I’m wiser. I feel good about myself and I have twice the amount of courage and assertiveness than I had at 50. It’s time to embrace that I’m a mature woman.

    I always enjoy your words of wisdom.

    Have a beautiful day.
    JB

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