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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

A Pep Talk For Older Women

It's one of those days when I need some support. That nasty tendency to see all the flaws of aging has sneaked back around and I so don't want to go there. Instead of focusing on all that I've lost, today is a day to remind myself (and, hopefully, you) of all that I've gained.

  • Okay, so my legs resemble an atlas with all the streams, rivers, even lakes duly recorded.

HOWEVER, these legs carry me wherever I need/want to go. (Well, maybe not up mountains or to the top of the Empire State Building.) I don't limp, need a cane or a supportive arm to balance. I am free and independent.

  • Okay, so I don't look so great in a selfie taken in the harsh sun. It's uncanny, but I've aged exactly like my mother, with lines above my lips and now lines and wrinkles that crisscross my chin like the beginnings of a Jackson Pollack painting.

HOWEVER, this face is open, receptive, and full of experiences to share. Whenever I'm feeling unsteady about this aging stuff, I pick up my worn copy of The Crone and read it all over again.

A Must Read
  • Okay, my body doesn't heal as quickly as in the past. I've been dealing with a compression fracture in my spine for almost a year and can get frustrated, even angry.

HOWEVER, my body is a wondrous machine that, with love and attention, is on the mend. I am grateful for the therapists and teachers who have helped me during my recovery. And, yes, I am damn happy that I have Medicare which has made paying for all of this therapy affordable.

  • Okay, so my memory sure ain't what it used to be. I've forgotten my phone number, where I put something important just moments before, or what the heck I was about to do.

HOWEVER, I've learned a new language. Sure, I forget the same words and phrases over and over, but I can carry on a conversation in Spanish and understand the bulk of what others have to say. (In all candor, I should mention that, in the process of learning Spanish, I have forgotten my French.)

  • Okay, I look at young people in love and am wistful for the days so long ago when I couldn't take my hands off of a lover or wait to see him again.

HOWEVER, I sure don't miss the drama, the disappointment, the heartache. Those raging hormones could set me spinning out of control and ruin a perfectly lovely day. It may sound trite, but the comfort and security and friendship of a lasting relationship over many decades gives us older women time to focus on ourselves and stay on our chosen paths.

My BFF and I were talking the other day. Her back had been giving her trouble, and she vowed once again that it was time to get back to the gym. But, after a pause, she said," I don't wanna'." She knew her partner would be home any second and would expect a dinner a matter of minutes later. She had started cooking while we were on the phone and decided to take a break. "I could have dinner ready, but I don't wanna." "I'm an older woman," she said. "I get to decide whether or not I wanna'."

She's right: We are blessed. We've paid our dues, trumpeted (Man, there it is again) our talents, proved that we are up to the challenge. Now, we have the freedom to say "We don't wanna'."


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