WELCOME TO MIDLIFE MEMOS
THE SWAMP GODDESS GUIDE TO MENOPAUSAL MADNESS
AND AGING ANGST
BLOG #3 by Wendy Kyman, Ph.D.
MY FIRST TIME - CAN YOU REMEMBER YOURS?
My first time is seared into my brain.
It happened with four men - age 20ish. I was in my mid 50s. We met
when they were driving by in a convertible - with the top down. I
was on my way to the gym wearing workout clothes, large sunglasses,
listening to my ipod and feeling good.
Here's what actually happened:
The car carrying these young men was careening up 1st Avenue on an
unusually traffic-lite Manhattan afternoon. I was crossing the street at a relative distance and barely noticed them. The young men let me know they noticed me.
They shouted these memorable words:
"Get out of the way - Old Lady."
As I staggered across the street, I was breathless. I felt like all the air had gone out of my body.
- Was it because the car had hit me? No.
- Perhaps I had been punched in the stomach? No
- Maybe I was out of shape and crossing the street was too
strenuous? A big No.
I was so shaken and traumatized because it was my first time - being
called 'old'. Actually more than that, it was the first time my age was
used as a slur, a put down.
Repeatedly, obsessively, embarrassingly, my thoughts were centered
on: how could the young men tell my age?
1. I took inventory:
- they didn't see me up close.
- sunglasses were hiding my eye wrinkles and bags
- a recent dye job was nicely covering my grey hair.
- my workout clothing was stylish, but not desperate or inappropriate.
- blah, blah, blah.
2. I questioned:
- out of all the potential insults, why did these boys focus on my age?
- am I so old that my age is evident even from a speeding car - at a
- am I so old that my age defines me - no other identifiers are needed?
- what reactions can I now expect from up close, face-to-face encounters?
3. I reacted:
- I immediately tried the retaliation approach. I told myself the
boys are jerks, immature kids and then moved on to serious cursing. Frankly,
it didn't work.
- things took a scary turn when I considered going home instead of to the gym.
- a creepy voice popped into my head spouting negative phrases, including:
'you're too old to work out'; 'what's the point'; etc. etc. etc.
All this took place within a couple of minutes. I was faced with a choice. I could give up, go home,
curl up and wither away.
swallow down my feelings with cupcakes (my current love), ice cream
and potato chips - yummy, but not the answer.
my Swamp Goddess persona intervened to remind me I enjoy working out (I know, weird, but true). I like feeling strong and fit. Plus, I always feel great afterward.
More importantly, I would feel awful if I gave up.
Swamp Goddesses do not give up.
We all know
our youth obsessed society sends messages to older folks, such as: 'get
out of the way,' 'your time has passed,' or the recent 'you are so old school.'
say such things when we were young?
How awful were we?
I don't remember. Do you?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A Swamp Goddess holds steadfast and affirms:
- I earned my way to this age.
- I have a right to take up space - so get over it!
But still I ponder - what tell tale signs gave my age away- at such a distance?
What was your first time being called 'old'? (other than by your kids)
Has the word 'old' been used as a slur against you?
How did you react?
How do you wish you had reacted?
Use Midlife Memos to acquire information, pick up suggestions and
unleash your inner wisdom.
You will gain inspiration to live The Swamp Goddess lifestyle.
Details about Swamp Goddess will be discussed in future postings.
NEXT WEEK'S TOPIC
WHEW! AT LEAST I DON'T LOOK AS OLD AS SHE DOES. DO I?
You run into an acquaintance - someone our age. It has
been some time since you last saw each other. The silent
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