Monday, November 16, 2009

A Woman Of A Certain Age

The realization has been slowly coming upon me that I am entering into another phase of my life. Yeah, I guess the midlife crisis thing was a pretty blatant indicator, but that was more psychological and emotional, with a little spiritual thrown in for good measure. This is more physical/spiritual, accompanied by a quiet voice telling me to make some changes.

It began with my hair. The stress sparked by T-Bear’s diagnosis last May inspired a noticeable amount of my hair to begin departing without being replaced. I’m not balding by any stretch, but when your husband says something about “getting thinner on top”, that qualifies as noticeable. So, about a week ago I finally realized it was time for a slight alteration in hairstyle. Nothing drastic (goodness knows, I don’t do drastic hair), just letting it be more itself when it’s down, more sweeping back than propping up on top and framing on the sides; alternated with wearing it “up” like mature women used to do. It places a subtle emphasis on my face, but for the first time in my life I’m comfortable with that. I’m “old enough” now I can let go another layer of vanity and be content with my own comfortably aging face. I don’t have to try to look young and pretty; I can look seasoned and mature. I wouldn’t mind getting permanent false eyelashes, though.

Next came my own physical care. Starting an exercise program (that was a drastic change from my former self), dutifully taking vitamins and calcium each morning and evening, and making all those health-related appointments that I’d been putting off for too long. Today was my first visit to my new chiropractor (she’s absolutely fabulous, by the way) to begin tending to long-ignored “my back sucks” issues. And, per Dr. B’s orders, wearing shoes all day (arrrrgh!) to help with my significant alignment issues. I have always been a barefoot-and-sandals gal, and get incredibly irritable when my feet get too hot (which they invariably do whenever I am wearing closed shoes, even in winter). As I was standing there in front of the X-ray machine, she pointed at my incredibly cute summer sandals and said (with her endearing Jersey attitude), “Those have got to go.” Flat feet need support. I guess it’s time I start investing in and wearing “good” shoes. She wanted me to give up dairy, too. I snorted at her.

The most recent step, also today: trifocals. Yeah, really. I’m going to be wearing trifocals. I have resisted and resented wearing glasses since my first pair in my early twenties. I rejected out of hand the very concept of bifocals at my last visit to Dr. W eighteen months ago, opting for two separate pair of glasses instead, which I only wear when absolutely necessary. Now, I’m not only going for the single-pair-sees-all version, I’ve added another “focal” to the mix. The clincher is, I’ll have to wear them all the time for at least two weeks for my eyes to adjust to them. Nifty. Just in time for the holidays.

But, I guess in reality that wasn’t really the most recent step. It’s two in the morning and I’m wide awake composing a blog entry. Again. Dr. B suggested that my insomnia might be a hormonal issue. I suggested spousal snoring and other environmental impediments might have more to do with it. But, waking up about an hour ago because I was too hot, again, and terribly thirsty, again, reminded me of how often I wake up too hot, throw off the covers, fall asleep, wake up too cold, pull up the covers, fall asleep, wake up too hot….you get the picture. Hormones. Hmmmm. I might have to look into that.

So, here I am. Aging. Trying to do it gracefully. Trying to initiate change to stay one step ahead of the process, or at least not get bowled over by it. Compulsively tugging at that single obnoxious, oversized, very coarse hair that has sprouted out of my chin and which I’ve not been able to pluck because some young whippersnapper “borrowed” my tweezers and failed to return them. Hey, aren’t I supposed to be doing this “maturing woman” thing after the kids are grown and out from under foot? Ah, well. “Mindful” ageing may be a bit of a challenge for me, having a full house and all, but I’ll do my best. Younger Next Year For Women was a huge start (thank you Chris and Harry). I think a refresher of French Women For All Seasons will be up next, and let’s see where that takes me (maybe it’ll take me shopping…heehee). Regardless, I’m actually really okay with all of this. At least for today. And, probably tomorrow, too.

I’ve always felt sort of like the mythical version of Merlin who was born 100 years old and aged “backwards” through mortal time. I’ve always felt spiritually far older than my years, and have carried around this idea that perhaps around middle age my body and my spirit might begin to match up. Maybe the time has come when I’ll begin to start feeling “my age” in a really great way.


  1. I can sympathize with you!
    As for those pesky hairs, get them zapped so they never come back. Tweezing can stimulate them to grow back thicker still. Yikes! I can handle the gray hair coming in, lol, but those unwanted hairs on the face springing up are not welcome at all. LOL.
    I look at my gray hair as character hairs or wisdom hairs. LOL.
    Stress can do unhappy things to our hair on our head, the wanted kind. My hair was falling out in alarming rates after I got out of the hospital a few months later. The medication and stress and all. I take more vitamin D3, more vitamin C and flax seed oil and lots more other supplements and its starting to come in again. It was worrysome but now its coming back and I know I probably should back off of the coffee for a while too.

  2. I really understand what you mean about aging backwards. In some ways (definitely not all) I have felt that way, too. I like the idea that my 'middle ages' can be a time of balance.

  3. Ohhhhhh, I can SO relate!

    I'm 48, but I feel about 22 ... like I'm just waking up, becoming an adult! 'Bout time, say my 8 children (including the one who IS 22!).

    I have hope though, because aging means that my wrinkles may start swallowing and camoflauging my pimples! Ahhhh, adult acne!

    I too want to age gracefully ... to become one of those FABulous, ageless woman, who ooze self-and-other acceptance, who have not only found their voice and cannot shut up, but are actually appreciated for speaking out!

    Methinks that the age of the Powerful Woman is upon us. Never before, not ever in history 'til now, have there been so many pre-menopausal and menopausal women (45 million strong in the US alone!), experiencing our "second-spring" and discovering our intuitive wisdom...!

    The world *needs* us.

    Perhaps men, who have had several millennia to try to figure things out, could step aside for about, oh, 100 years or so, to let us women have a shot at it...? Why not?

    Anyway, while searching the Internet for clues about my OWN alarming hair-loss, I came across this blog ... imagine my delight and amazement to find out that you like MY blog...!

    Egads and gadzooks - what are the odds?!?

    I'm just sitting here, grinning.

    It's all good...!

    (BTW -- have you considered EFT for the hair-loss..?)

    Shalom, Dena

  4. Wow, Dena! What are the odds, indeed? I love your writing, and only wish I had more time to read in depth. Funny you pegged me as being peri/menopausal...when I posted this I hadn't figured it out yet. It just hit me on Monday that the "hormonal imbalance" which my chiropractor suggested may be the cause of my insomnia might just be THAT hormonal imbalance. Three days of nausea can sometimes lead to personal revelation ;) So, I've gone from learning everything there is to learn about Juvenile Diabetes, to learning everything there is to learn about menopause. BTW, what's EFT? I wouldn't mind getting some of my hair back.


    Who will never stop learning about life :)