I wish someone would write one of those “What to Expect when you’re expecting” for turning 50.

I really wish that someone would write a book on what to expect when you are turning 50 because I think I’m doing it wrong. I don’t feel like I’m fifty. I still feel like I’m in my early forties. Anyone else feel that way? I look at all the latest fashions and think I could definitely rock that. Then my 19-year-old daughter gives me the look. You mothers out there, you know the look. It says everything without uttering a word. It says, oh Mom, how can you be so clueless? You look absolutely stupid in that. I acknowledge the look. I realize I have had an error in judgement and hang my head in shame. Turning back to the dressing room I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and I am shocked to see a middle-aged, slightly overweight woman, with a bit of a double chin looking back at me.

Now, I know some people are perfectly fine with being the age that they are. Not me, I going kicking and screaming because I can’t reconcile who I am on the inside with who I am on the outside. I think, well, if I can lose 20 pounds I’ll feel and look better. Yes, and that would be amazing considering my job is to stare at my computer until words appear on the screen. It doesn’t burn many calories.

Let’s talk about the other elephant in the room, I believe I’m also going through menopause. This is the point in a woman’s life when her emotional state goes from depression to rage, to tears, to screaming at the car in front of you because they are going the speed limit. I’m really glad I don’t own a gun.

Another fun fact of menopause is the weight you gain because your body is not getting estrogen from your ovaries and decides to layer on pounds around your mid-section so the extra fat can provide the estrogen your body needs. Look at most women in their fifties. We all tend to have the same body type. It’s just not fair.

Oh, and while were at it, just exactly what is happening to my hands? Why are my hands turning into these wrinkly old lady hands. People tell me I don’t look my age. What does my age look like? Well I guess we could look at celebrities who are over 50. Sandra Bullock will be turning 50 this year. She certainly doesn’t look like what my mothers decade looked like at 50. Demi Moore, Kate Couric, Christie Brinkley, Dorothy Hamill there actually is quiet a list of celebrities over 50 that look fabulous. Now granted these women have the money to have plastic surgery, so there’s that. But is it is possible for the average woman to continue to look great over 50? I certainly hope so. I’m going to try. But it still comes back to the original question. What is a 50-year-old woman supposed to look and act like? If someone writes the “What to Expect when you’re 50” book let me know. Until then I guess I’ll just have to wing it and if my daughter doesn’t like me dancing around in our living room to “Just get lucky” by Daft punk and singing into a spoon, tough!

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Christmas time in New York City

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Our first stop, an indoor flea marker in NoHo on Bleecker street. Of course, I could find a flea market open during the week, most are only open on the weekends and are outdoors. Burr, way to cold for outdoor shopping. I think the day we visited the temperature was in the 20’s. 

This market feature vintage items along with new ones. Artists sold painting and custom made shirts. I bought one of each, naturally. I love the work this artist sold. It was hard to pick just one from her. Her name is P.J. Cobbs. This is the painting I chose. She was so nice and even signed it for me.

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After shopping, we went to Rockefeller Center to see the giant Christmas tree. Then a my daughter boyfriend surprised us with tickets to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall!

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Wow! What a day. The Rockettes Christmas show is fabulous. It is definitely something to put on your bucket list. It was a great day and I am thankful that my daughter and her boyfriend chose to surprise their moms with this special day. I will always remember how much fun I had spending time with them.

 

Love’s Labour’s Lost (Or Why Yoga Pants are Bad for Your Marriage)

Oh sing it sister!

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

vintage-wedding-veil“Oh,” my husband recently sighed.   “The yoga pants.”

Sometimes it takes a cataclysmic event to rock your relationship, to make you sit down and take a good, hard look at your emotional surroundings; a serious illness, an extra-marital affair, a trial or a tribulation that must be faced.  Sometimes those head on collisions, those crashes of reality versus expectation, are the tipping point in whether a marriage survives, or whether it bursts into flames on the way down.  Summits are called, G8 meetings of marital accord.  Contracts are pulled out and scrutinized.  They may be renegotiated, they may be declared sound and worthy, they may be declared null and void.  Statistics are on your side, either way.

But sometimes it is not the seismic jolt of matrimonial earth, but a slight shift of a relationship fault line.  Something seemingly inconsequential.  A subtle shift in attitude, an air of difference…

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Can we, as women, ever be happy just the way we are?

Yesterday, one of the headlining stories on my AOL home page is about a woman called water_anus. Yes, that is the name she chose to use to represent her on the internet.  Anyway, water_anus is stirring it up over there on reddit.com because she posted pictures of herself with and without make-up. This is nothing new, but it made me think about the importance of perception. How we see ourselves and how others see us are nearly always two different things.

Researchers did an exercise with teenage girls about body image. They gave them each a piece of paper long enough to match their height and asked them to draw what they thought was the outline of their body.  Then they asked the girls to lie down inside the image that they had drawn. Each girl’s actual body was then outlined on top of the image the girls had drawn. When they were finished, the girls were amazed to find that the outline they drew of themselves was much bigger, than what the researcher’s actually traced.

Do we want to be accepted for who we really are? Sure we do. But the truth is, for the most part, we aren’t.  Studies have been done on the correlation between appearance and getting a job. Often times, more attractive, but less qualified applicants will get a job over a less attractive applicant who is more qualified. Let’s face it being attractive is a pretty good thing.

Who’s to say what makes someone attractive? Well definitely the media plays a big part in it. That’s pretty much a no brainer. Cameron Russell, a model, who has walked the runways for Victoria Secret and Channel, gave a talk on TED, (Technology, Entertainment, and Design).  She walked out on stage wearing a very tight, short, brown mini dress and 5 inch heels. When she began to speak she looks like she feels out-of-place and insecure. I know, right, this beautiful, leggy, sexy woman, looking awkward.  But she says she feels like she’s making other woman in the audience uncomfortable so she goes about transforming herself from sexy model to geek chic. By taking off her 5 inch heels, slipping on flat shoes, wearing a sweater and maxi length wrap skirt. Her appearance changes from slinky, sexy model to a more comfortable dressed, attractive, “ any” women. I believe it took 10 seconds to transform what everyone thought of her.

They should show this video to girls in school.  I’ve included this link to Cameron’s talk here:

http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model.html

In it, she shows pictures of herself at a young age when she first began to model.  She contrasts the pictures taken of her on the same day. In one,  she looks like an average gawky 16-year-old at a sleep over with her friends.  to the picture of her, taken that same day, that appeared in a magazine. She wants other women and girls to know how many people and how much work it to make her appear the way she did in the magazine.  She refers to herself as “the product” of the way the magazine wants her to look so her image can sell a product.

Moms, Dads, anyone who cares for girls should make them sit down and watch this video. I’m not saying it will change their minds from thinking that they should be thinner, prettier or smarting than they think they are, but maybe somewhere, in the back of their minds, they might be able to understand that they are being programmed by magazines, TV and film to think that they will never be good enough.

I showed the video to my own 16-year-old daughter.  At first I had to stand there with her and make sure she watched it. Then, slowly, it caught her attention. She sat down, on her own, in my chair and watched the video with her full attention.  I asked her if it changed her mind at all about her self-esteem issues.

She said, “There will always but someone, smarter, thinner and prettier than me.”

I hope at some level, she, and all women, will learn to love and accept themselves.  Just like in the song Bruno Mars sings, “Cause you’re amazing, just the way you are.” And she is. I just hope someday, she, and all women can come to realize that.

From the pages of a magazine

From the pages of a magazine

Cameron Russell speaking at TED Talks

Cameron Russell speaking at TED Talks

Interview with Emily Dayton

Suicide is a long-term solution to a short-term problem.

Project Light to Life

Hi all! I want to give a big thank you to Emily Dayton for agreeing to do an interview with me. Emily began a suicide prevention movement, though they are not only a suicide prevention group, with her parents known as You Can NOT Be Replaced. At first, they ordered just 500 wristbands, but at their one year mark, they had over 14,000 wristbands circulating across the country. They run a very inspirational movement, speak at school assemblies, and do so much more. Talk about inspirational! Although September is suicide prevention month, I think that suicide prevention and Emily’s movement are important things to promote at any time of the year because you truly cannot be replaced. Please check out my interview with Emily below:

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1. Can you tell me a little bit about the movement that you and your parents started and why?

The movement that my parents and…

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I believe it is never too late to change your life.

I believe it is never too late to change your life.

I am a 52-year-old housewife. I graduated from college with a degree in Computers. I worked until my children were born and then decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I have two beautiful daughters who make me proud every day. My oldest daughter is 18 and youngest is 16.  Oh, and a dog, a 7-year-old golden doodle and cat.

The problem is during the past 18 years I have given so much of myself I know longer know who I am. I didn’t know during that time, that I had a right, even a necessity, to take time for myself. I don’t regret my choice. I just wish someone had pulled me aside and said, “Honey, you’re setting yourself up for a nervous breakdown”.

Before I got married I traveled. I love new places and meeting new people. I was an ice-skater teacher, an actress, and a writer. But I forgot about that because I was busy taking care of my family. My husbands’ job required him to work long nights and most weekends so I was almost a single parent.

As the years went by, I lost myself. I felt so empty inside. I had nothing left of myself to give my family. I was all used up. I found myself sinking into a deep depression. It got to be so bad that I was almost hospitalized to keep me from committing suicide.

One day while on the computer, I started playing an online multiplayer video game.  I had always liked video games. There, I met a group of people who were a lot like me. I felt included again and welcomed, I started to feel something growing in me again. I realized I had to reclaim my life. I got help from a therapist for my depression. She made me see that I could have my life back again and that I could be good, even great.  I needed to find a way to balance the needs of my family and my own needs.

I decide to take a very bold step, way out of my comfort zone. I would fly, by myself, across the country to San Diego for a convention of pop culture and comic books called Comic Con. I would meet some friends I met on the game there and do something solely for myself. I was nervous and scared and changed my mind many times. But I did it! I had a great time and on the way home I realized I can reclaim my life. I am ready to start my second act.

I have since started to take writing and painting classes. I have learned how to draw boundaries with my husband and children all while still being a good wife and mother. It’s taking my kids a little getting used to the new me. I don’t jump when they say to and I think in the long run we’ll all be better for it.

The Wonder Years

After receiving this assignment, I went through my purse, my desk and junk drawer.  I couldn’t find anything to interesting to write about. When suddenly the “To Do List” my oldest daughter left lying on my desk caught my eye. I’m currently having an ongoing, well let’s see, what should I call it? Disagreement; is probably the best way to describe it, with my 18-year-old daughter. A “To Do List”, she left on my desk, not for herself, but for me! It hit me like a bucket of cold water in the face. What kind of insanity is this? When did I become her secretary? She walks around declaring her independence. I know this is a stage that every teen goes through, but I really don’t remember the part of stage where I become her secretary. Anyone else get “To Do Lists” from their teenage children? Maybe it’s just me.

I’m calling this piece “The Wonder Years” because I’m wondering exactly where I went wrong.  I grew up in a lower middle class home. My father worked in an oil refinery and my mother stayed at home. We struggled to make ends meet. You better make sure you shut the windows and turned the lights out at my house. There was no college fund for me. If I wanted to have a fancy wedding, I would have to pay for it.  Growing up I knew I would have to work hard to get what I wanted out of life.

My family has been fortunate.  Our children grew up in a somewhat affluent atmosphere, and yes, I’ll say it, we spoiled them. We also encouraged and stressed that they could be whatever they wanted. We wanted to raise our children differently than then how we had been raised. Although, I still do find myself yelling about shutting windows and turning off lights. Out of love, we told our children they were special. Everyone gets a ribbon, just for participating, trophies for all the children on the team whether they won or lost. By raising our children this way, I believe we set our children’s expectations too high and ultimately, set them up to be unhappy.

This high self-esteem that we were trying to foster in our children has actually back fired. When your child is not accepted at a fancy “name brand” college and has to shockingly, settle, for a local or dare I say it, community college.  They get a nice, big, bitter taste of reality. The world, it seems, doesn’t care how special they are.  You don’t have to go to a big name school in order to get a good job. Try and tell that to a child who you’ve been telling how wonderful they are all their life. I finally told my daughter, after almost 4 months of listening to her complaining about having to go to a local college,

“Get over it. Move forward from here. This is the real world.” Welcome! It’s tough out there. Wear a helmet.