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When it comes to a friend, give me a real woman of a certain age. That number is not fixed, but an age where you have acquired some wisdom and life experience. Some women learn the hard lessons early in life, and others need to spend more time learning, until they can stand on common ground.

A real woman is not afraid to be honest, straight forward and talk openly about the battle scars that she has earned along the way. Each battle has a story and memories behind it. Whether funny or sad, the scars add up, inside and out, and we keep going, adding even more than we ever thought possible.

A certain age is acquired because it takes time to see parents age, or a loved one pass. A certain age is required to remember what going to a library was like and holding real books in your hand. A woman of a certain age can discuss college, adolescent children, divorce, work, and trying to pay the bills. Women of a certain age can recognize songs from the last 40 years, or more, and remember where they were when they first enjoyed them. Women of a certain age are also not afraid to turn the music up, dance in the car and sing loudly to the radio. That is an age of confidence and reckless abandon, not years.

I have self doubts where once I had confidence. With each betrayal, or new anxiety, time has taught me not to trust as openly and fully as I once did, and replaced it with caution. We build our experiences without forgetting the old. We create a history and, if lucky, a life with someone willing to ride alongside.

Real women of a certain age are able to judge people on their own merits without having to Google them or follow their tweets. They have learned how to trust their intuition and assess a situation similar to one they have had in the past. Women of a certain age have a gage of comparison for human behavior in themselves and others. Real women are rarely at a loss for words. They have learned when it is safe to speak, or keep it to themselves, because they know no one is genuinely listening.

Real women are able to discuss things openly and recognize phoniness at ten paces. Their lives have not been perfect, but they buy their own groceries, work to pay the bills, and suffer through adolescence angst at least twice – once as a teenager and many more times as a mother.

The wonderful thing about real women is they can speak freely and have a great conversation. There is more than enough reality to go around, so you share your stories and remark on the common threads of experiences. We don’t want to have to look over your shoulder, or ours, to find an ulterior motive on the horizon or someone keeping score. We no longer have the patience for the espionage or efforts to tear us down. We have been where you are now, and already succeeded, and begun something new. Just because you want me to prove myself to you, does not mean I have to, because inside I know who I am. The body may be moving slower, but the brain projects even faster.

Real women of a certain age have grown up enough to realize that while things have not turned out the way they always wanted, or don’t look the way they used to, they are all they’ve got, and are survivors, in every way.

Real women have not let go; It is not merely a lack of caring. Rather, it is a searing, fresh desire and ability to communicate deeply about things that no one asked if we were ready to let go of, or cared deeply about, and so we form strong opinions. I wanted to let go of the weight, but the hair went instead. No one gave me a choice, but that is how it goes. I had to leave behind best friends, but gained real time with my family. I have worked long hours, traveled to different jobs, and won awards, but now my job is to help support my family’s financial needs. It may not look impressive in person, or on paper, but it is a priority and my motivation. Real women know that while it is not always appreciated, it is our task and goal to raise the children we bring into the world to the best of our ability. We acknowledge that while they may not have always been our finest moments, we have done the very best we could at the time. The hard choices have to be made, and no one else will accept the responsibility, so a real woman steps up.

For those of you who are younger than me, and are dismissive of my technical skills or count me as part of the invisible generation, remember I have already lived through what you are just contemplating or beginning. I was not born with a mouse in my hand. My learning curve has been steeper and steadier because I am of a certain age. I can communicate in cursive, write thank you notes, and lived through TV screens that went from bigger to smaller and back again. I have worked on manual typewriters, electric typewriters, switchboards, large computers that used Basic, to learning Word, Excel and iPhone apps. I have balanced books with manual ledger and written checks in QuickBooks. My waistline may keep expanding, but so does my mind and world of experience.

Real women don’t speak differently when talking to a man; they speak to every human being earnestly regardless of money, power, or gender. Real women don’t minimize who they are to maximize someone else’s ego. Intelligence and loyalty are to be respected and hard-earned in the ups and downs of daily existence. If there is an issue, let’s talk about it. If I have hurt you, or you have hurt me, we need to be honest about our actions, accountability and our apologies. Or, we could save a lot of time, and treat each other kinder and more compassionately from the beginning. We have all got bruises and keep pushing on. Anger and disappointment are real, revenge and back stabbing are not. Look me in the eye when I speak and don’t climb the ladder of acquisition on my back. Emotions and ego take place, but in a relationship with a real woman, of a certain age, you either choose to move forward or leave the toxic behind. You have better things to do and time is more precious. It is better and more meaningful to be true friends with a real woman, than acquaintances with a superficial one.

It is sobering to realize that I am now of a “certain age.” Turning 50, and acknowledging it, is like tearing off a Band-Aid. Whether you do it fast or slow, it is going to hurt! I keep thinking that the more times I say my age out loud, the more I will get used to it. But it is like the changing of the year, I will be writing the wrong numbers for months.

But I love a real woman who is honest, open, and able to laugh out loud. I respect the woman who has advice on raising adolescents and young adults because she has done it herself, yet realizes that her way is not the only way and recognizes the humor and irony in the process. It takes another grandmother to understand the crazy, boundless love you can have for a new member of the family tree. I appreciate the growing list of health issues, and meds to be taken, while still dreaming of a good margarita. Despite understanding that I might look better in Spanx, but would prefer to be barefoot and admiring my pedicure, is a beautiful thing. Acceptance through awareness and experience is what makes a real woman of a certain age a joy to behold ~~ and the best kind of friend to cultivate.

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Thank you for stopping by! It means more than you know.

Disclaimer: Not everything I write is about one person. I really do have a combination of experiences from life, adventures, and work history. Please don’t think it is all about you, good or bad.
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8 Comments

  1. Reading your words, I felt affinity for the passages and phases, the ritualistic processes of determining which parts of ourselves we are willing to share, to give away, to sacrifice or to hold quietly back, hidden in secrets pockets of our hearts as we push forward through love and marriage, children and careers, passions and dreams simmering on back burners while we struggle with the very real, everyday nitty gritty details of entering a certain age. I’d like to put you at ease, to reassure you that 50 is just the beginning, and in a way, I can. My 50’s were the best years status-post those lovely days where small children and all their needs and pleasures set the pace of my heart. Suddenly, even with all the obligations left on my plate, at 50 I found a sleeping self-is within, and released her on the world. 50 is a fast lady; she enters the room like a storm, does her thing and quickly moves on. I can promise you that 51 will come easier than its predecessor, but 60, oh well, 60 is a bitch. I’m 64 now and very, very comfortable with the vigorous pace I’ve set for myself and struggle to keep. It would be less than honest for me to say thinking about 70 isn’t frightening, but that nasty, nasty number and all the surprises it brings isn’t on my worry list today. I really enjoy your work. I relate to the empathy factor, that quirky little gene that insists we carry the weight of world when all we really need to do, is get through another day.

    • Thank you so very much for reading my posts and sharing your special insights! Each decade has had some very impacting changes for me, medical, family, work…This particular year, personally, brings with it emotionally-charged life changing events. While they may be necessary losses and passages, they are not easy ones.
      One thing I enjoy about this online experience is how open, kind, and gracious some individuals are with their comments and personal views. It is wonderful and refreshing to hear from like-minded people who get it and understand what I am trying to say. (the downside: the ones who Google you “in secret” and make snide remarks) Your comments are very appreciated!

      • One of the most precious aspects of aging is the shift in perspectives. I no longer care what others say about me. The world is full of ‘small’ people, as my Mother would say; conversely, it is rich with wonderfully kind souls. If you’re empathetic, you’ve probably developed a strong intuition concerning people. I say, go with it, and let the rest go.

      • Thank you Ittymac for your wise and thoughtful remarks. You obviously have developed your own intuition and made peace with those who are not genuine. I have to remember the immense kindness, and honesty, of the few rather than focus on those who sap my energy.

      • 😊

  2. from one real woman to another…KUDOs, well said

  3. This is so empowering and confirming to me. I appreciate your writing it and everything you said!


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