The Stages

Speech: “All the world’s a stage”

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE(from As You Like It, spoken by Jaques)
                                        All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

The above passage might be my very favorite Shakespeare. I love how he breaks down the stages of life. Pretty accurately I think.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the five stages of womanhood- (I only wrote five because I’ve yet to reach the others) I think that each decade adds new dimensions and layers to our lives, we learn and grow: adapt and change.

I highlighted the words that were most descriptive for Shakespeare as he broke down the ages. I used computer speak naming then 1.0, 2.0 etc.

What do you think the stages of life are?

How would you name them?

Anything Can Happen Friday: Practical

This week I’ve vented and ranted and got out all my emotions. But now it’s time for the practical:

I’ve reached the age where I now have to take medication and supplements.

Fine.

This happens.

But how do you put on your person what things you are taking, or what conditions you have?

Do you put it in your phone with an ICE (in case of emergency) number?

Do you keep it on a piece of paper in your wallet?

Do you take it behind you license?

Do you tape it behind your phone?

How do you let the world know what medicine or supplements you are taking if you were ever to fall ill and not be able to speak?

Where do you keep the phone number of your primary care physician?

I’m adding this after the initial writing because I realized that I wasn’t clear in why I was asking:

Say you pass out somewhere. EMT comes to your aid but you are unable to communicate. How do they know what they can and can’t give you medicine wise? Or treatment wise? Knowing what medicine you’ve taken could help medics help you

Inquiring minds want to know

Nice &%$ Grandma

I went to the gym last week, did my usual hour on the elliptical. As I was watching HGTV, the guy on the elliptical next to me started chatting me up, in a pleasant manner.  He was age appropriate and rather attractive, so I was enjoying the banter.  I admit, though I am totally in love, the positive affirmation from someone I don’t know did make me feel good.

But, here’s the thing. You can never let yourself get too cocky…

A short time later I was running errands (my daughter had pre ordered her Halloween costume and I told her I would pick it up at Party City). As I was walking home, some random person shouted:

“Nice Ass Grandma”

Of course I relayed this story to my friends.  I got the following responses:

  1. OMG- I just told my Husband and he’s hysterical
  2. Well, at least he thought it was nice
  3. GILF
  4. On behalf of all men I apologize
  5. Only in NYC
  6. Tell me more about the attractive guy at the gym

What was my response?

GRANDMA.  He referred to me as a Grandma?

Now, I realize I am old enough to be a Grandma.  I know that there are plenty of women my age who are Grandma’s.  My cousin D, who is six years younger than me, just found out she is going to be a Grandma.  So I get that.  But I just don’t feel like a Grandma.

What does a Grandma feel like? I don’t really know, except to say that I don’t feel like one. When I think Grandma I think cozy cardigan sweaters, and little wire rim glasses- sort of like Mrs. Claus.  And I know that’s not how Grandma’s look nowadays.  I know Grandma’s can be hip and cool and fun.  My Mom, obviously a Grandma, still looks youthful.  But there’s just something about the connotation…

I know I have to come to the understanding that I am getting older.  And getting older is not a bad thing- as we’ve stated before, it’s better than the alternative.  I need to accept the fact that I am still the same person I have always been, but with a few extra lines and dryer skin, and knees that hurt when I take the stairs too quickly. But it’s OK. I know that one day I will be a very cool Grandma….

The Answer to the Question is…

I recently went to the beach with some friends.  We set up our umbrellas and chairs in a little circle about fifteen feet from the waves.  The sky was a greyish blue, the sun peaking in and out of the clouds.  Temperatures were perfect- not too humid, not too hot, not too cold.  Light breeze.  We sipped on water and adult beverages (sssh- don’t tell) and ate grapes from the cooler. Then the conversation opened: “When did you have your last colonoscopy?” Which was followed by various dates and measures and frequency.  So the answer to the question “At what age do people start talking about their health, the amount of pills they take, and other medical related things” is 58.7, the average age of the people around our little circle.

I am now afraid to ask someone “How are you?” because I know I will probably not hear the response “Fine.  And you?” I will probably get shown their portable pill case, which is fine and all, but not necessarily the topic I want to discuss at a cocktail party or beach outing.

Don’t get me wrong.  I seriously care about the health of my friends.  I truly do want to know how they are doing, what issues they are dealing with, and how they are treating them.  But why do Doctor’s appointments have to become the opening line of conversation? Can’t we just go back to discussing the weather? “Wow.  Can you believe all the rain we’ve had?” “I know.  But at least it will stop the humidity.”

I know I’m fast approaching the age where health will become the major concern of my life.  I know it will be the first thing I think about when it takes me 15 minutes to get out of bed. (Fun fact- the name of this blog came about when I realized that at 49 I was able to spring out of bed with the first sound of the morning M101 limited streaming up from the street, and at 50 I had to set the alarm ten minutes early not so I can snooze, but because it took me ten minutes to stretch and unlock all the joints needed to get out of bed) But…can’t we try to not have it be the very first thing we think about/discuss?

There is nothing bad about getting older.  In fact, I’d rather get older than the other option.  But age is a mindset.  While we must learn to take proper care of our older bodies, and be on the lookout for new and interesting maladies, we can’t keep thinking about our health and it’s slow deterioration.  It’s inevitable: our bodies will show signs of wear and tear.  That doesn’t mean we have to be hyper focused on it.

So yes, read about health related issues.  Go to the Doctor.  Talk to your friends about what’s going on. Lead a healthy lifestyle. But on a beautiful day, when you’re sitting at the beach, just look at the ocean and think about how great it is to be alive.  Cause that’s the thing- live while you’re alive.  Find new things to talk about, and challenge yourself in different ways. Don’t think that because you have to watch heartrate or cholesterol level you must constantly focus on health related issues.  that it becomes the main topic of conversation. Remember all the other things that make up who you are. Come up with a better opening line.

And just live life the best you can, no matter what age you are.

 

 

My Secret Obsession

20180709_0934431734729047.jpgI have a tendency to take things to the extreme-I become really passionate about something, and I go all out.  This mainly manifests itself in my organizing habits, but really, it’s a pattern in everything I do.  I become crazed with trying different recipes every night, trying to read a certain amount of books every year, or watching everything nominated for an Oscar.

This is just me- it’s part of my personality- and for good or for bad, it defines who I am.  To know me is to know and appreciate my quirks. I don’t have any obsessions that are particularly harmful, just a little embarrassing.  People often look at me funny when they find out about some of these habits/routines that I have developed.  And while I don’t really care what anyone thinks about me, I do sometimes feel a little odd.

Sometimes I don’t realize something is an obsession until there is a catalyst- a moment of pure clarity.  This happened to me recently.  I read about a product in a beauty article, went to Sephora and plunked down my hard earned cash for it.  I got home, totally excited and greedily read the instructions.  Seriously, buying this thing was the second best thing to happen to me this year.  And in my moment of excitement, the cold hard truth hit me right in the face: I am obsessed with products for my eyes.

While I normally buy drug store brands for cosmetic needs, I realized that my Sephora VIB status was earned mainly by eye products.  I saw that I had all these pretty little jars and tubes, gels and creams.  And I use them all: some are at night, some are for the morning, some are for mid day.  I have an eye product for every occasion.

Now being me, I had to figure out why I was so obsessed. Did you think I wouldn’t overanalyze this?  Why did I own all these products?

Obviously, I think there is something wrong with my eyes. And no, there really isn’t anything “wrong” with my eyes They are just not the same eyes I had when I was younger.  They now came with baggage.

This was a tough realization for me.  My eyes were always a point of pride: they are big,  I have decent lashes and eye brows, and they are a funky hazel that spans all sorts of shades of green. I have very few wrinkles (genetics). My eyes are also extremely expressive- they tell a story for me better than I tell it with words.

And now they have big bags underneath them.

I am not happy about this.

So when I went to Sephora, I purchased a little vibrating wand that I’m supposed to use twice a day.  Supposedly, the vibrations help break up the loose floppy skin.

Seriously.  I spent good money on this product that vibrates my eyes.

Yes. I know.  You’re all thinking, how narcissistic is this woman? And some of you are thinking a whole lot of other things.

This woman is completely narcissistic about her eyes. And a whole lot of other things.

This bothers me.  I never thought of myself as being obsessed with my looks.  I accepted the fact that I was reasonable attractive, but I really didn’t do too much to enhance it.  I exercise and wash and moisturize.  Make up when I feel like it, because I like playing with cosmetics.  But I was never one of those women spending hours and paychecks on being beautiful.  I was happy with who I was.

And now – well, I’m still happy with myself, but….I feel like I need some help.  My eyes, and the areas around it need help. And no matter how many times my intimates tell me I’m beautiful, I still don’t always feel it.  But that’s all on me-

I still go out in public.  I have no intention of going “Phantom of the Opera”. And I will probably continue to spend money on products that will work on my eyes.  If you want to sell me snake oil, make it pink and promise that it will make my eyes beautiful…

FYI- I have not been paid by any of the products that I have pictured.  That’s just a peak in the real products that I use.

 

 

 

 

New World Order

Change.  Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable.  Minutes, hours, days, weeks, years pass before us and like it or not, nothing stays the same.  But some changes are harder to fathom than others.

I consider myself somewhat of a Darwinist: I embrace the thought of “Adapt or Die”.  I feel it change is necessary in order to survive.  I may not love how tech has seemingly taken over the world, but I realize that I must keep up with it of I will go much the way of the dinosaur.  I have to accept that tech is not going anywhere.

But the one change I never saw coming was the role I play in my family.  I am older than my sister by almost seven years, so I had the early upbringing as an only child, yet somewhere in first grade there was an addition.  I’ve always been the quieter, responsible one, a protector of sorts- when it came to her.  But my parents were my parents- they provided and nurtured as best they could.  They were in charge.

My Father turned 80 last month, and my Mom will be celebrating her 60th high school reunion next weekend (I’m not supposed to reveal her age…).  And they are still mobile.  They still have their mental faculties.  I am blessed so far that there health remains pretty good.  But they are getting older- I can’t deny this.

Last month we went to dinner for my Dad’s birthday: my husband and daughter, my sister, brother in law and niece, my Uncle and my Mom.  We went to an iconic New York steakhouse (my Dad’s favorite) which serves its steak dinners family style: big platters of porterhouse and creamed spinach and German fried potatoes in the middle of the table. So when the food is to be shared by the table, you must figure out how much to order. Two steaks for two and two steaks for three?  What temperature?  How many tomato onion salads? Who wants shrimp?

I watched my parents fumble at ordering food.  They were having trouble ordering food at a restaurant we’ve been going to for years.  My Father who ran a successful business, my Mother who inserts herself into any situation, were stumbling.  My Sister was adding to the confusion  by wanting to massively overorder.

I had to take charge.

I had to usurp my parents authority.

This was the first time I envisioned the future of my parents.  This was the first time I realized that things are going to change, and my parents may not be able to make their own decisions anymore.

So I told the table- ie my parents- that I was going to do the ordering.  I knew how much food we needed.  I knew how much steak to get medium vs medium rare. The waiter instantly recognized me as the “go to” person, even though my Father was footing the bill. And though that day was about steak and potatoes, I saw my future in front of me. I was their protector now too.

I never saw that coming. But I need to adapt.  It’s a new world order.

And the dinner went off great.  We had the exact right amount of food.  I made sure my Dad got the pieces of steak he wanted, and I ordered him an extra piece of pecan pie because I knew it wasn’t fair to make him share a piece with all the others.  I wanted him to have a good day, because I realize there aren’t many good days left.  That’s just life. Things change.

 

 

 

 

 

You Matter

Ok.  It’s secret day.  First secret:  I buy the majority of my skin care products from the drug store.  I don’t use big name, expensive brands.  Second secret: I’m a little crazy with skin care.  There is nothing I hate more than dry skin, and the older I get, the dryer my skin gets.  It’s like the ‘be careful what you wish for’ thing- when I was younger my skin was a bit oily and I longed for it to dry out.  Well, I got what I wished for.

I believe I have separate lotions for every part of me.  I don’t go anywhere without hand cream.  My life is a constant battle to not have my skin crack off.  So I use a product on my face known as serum.  It goes on before moisturizer, and adds an extra level of protection.  I’ve been buying No. 7 for a few months now, so I recently went to replace it.  Unfortunately, I did not remember which particular formula I had bought, so I began reading the packaging for the four different serums that they manufacture.  While I was comparing and contrasting, a young (very) salesperson came over to me.  She was asking me what problem I was trying to overcome.  Here’s the third secret:  I don’t like being helped in a store unless I ask.  I am perfectly capable of figuring things out on my own.  So I was a bit ornery when I responded “Well, you tell me.  You see my skin.  Which serum should I be using?  Am I spots, wrinkles, fine lines or industrial strength?”  She looked at my face and then she replied, “Well, actually, your skin looks great.  Seriously, it’s in really good condition.  Which one do you use now?  How long have you been using it?  You could be the commercial as to why you use it, because your skin looks great.”

So what’s the point?  Was this just a big ploy to tell you how great my skin is?  No.  And yes.

Take care of yourself.  This doesn’t mean spending a lot of money.  It doesn’t mean being a slave to advertising.   But it does mean washing yourself properly and using products that will keep your skin healthy.  Just take what you have and be the best you that you can be.

Sorry, you can’t reverse time.  You can’t become younger.  You can’t make wrinkles go away, or reverse damage, or any of the things that skincare claims.  No one is ever going to tell me I look 44 because I use a serum.  But you can do your best to maintain what you do have.

Take care of your mind.  Take care of your body.  Take care of your skin.  These are the things you have.   Work with what you have and treat them kindly.  There is no miracle cure once things go south.  Maintain what you have.  It is not vain to take care of yourself.  You matter.  Treat yourself like you do.

I have received absolutely no compensation for talking about No. 7.  It was just a detail to my post.

Is It an Excuse

Last week I wrote about adapting, how we must keep learning and changing in order to survive.  The comments were amazing, prompting me to continue thinking about the subject.  So here’s some new thoughts on the subject of adapt or die.

We’re going to start with an anecdote.  When my Husband was about 40, he decided he wanted to be promoted to the next level at his job.  After speaking with his boss, he was told that he needed to have an MS in Tax.  Without this piece of paper, there would be no more promotions.  He already had an MBA, so this would be a second advanced degree.   He already worked a lot of hours.  We had a young daughter.  He asked me what I thought.  I told him to go for it- get the degree.  And he did.  Three years of going to school at night, after a 10 hour day…he completed his course of action.  He didn’t love sitting in a classroom again.  He didn’t love studying on weekends when he would rather have done other things.  A few people actually mocked him- asked him why he was bothering, at his age.  At his age, they said, he should be teaching a class, not enrolling in one.  But he adapted to his environment, his reality.  If you want something you do what it takes.

40 is not old, yet people told him he was too old to go to school.

Which brings us to the next point:  is being old, or older a reason not to change?

There were some comments last week about being tolerant of older people who may not like using the internet, that maybe there was no reason why these people should change/adapt.  Here’s my thoughts:

We should be tolerant of everyone, regardless of the situation.  I ask for tolerance every day, because WordPress and I have a love/hate relationship.  I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time.  I learn what I can, and hope that no one notices the obvious gaffes.  I get frustrated and I muddle through.  There are times I’m doing something technical, and I’m on with customer support, and I will say “Talk to me as if I know nothing.  Explain it to me in baby steps.”  I hope that I get help from someone who understands that it takes me five minutes to find the backslash key on my computer, and that I still refer to “hashtag” as “number sign”.  So yes, tolerance to all those who are not as savvy, whatever the situation may be.

But…

Age should never be used as an excuse.

Now I admit, I sometimes use age as an excuse.  This is usually when I’m trying to do something that requires an iota of flexibility.  This is when I feel my knees give out.  Then I blame age.  But honestly, I shouldn’t.  I should be doing things to increase my flexibility.  I should be doing things to ease my achy joints.  I have no right to use age as an excuse.

Age should never be an excuse for not learning something.  If you don’t want to learn something, that’s fine- but don’t use age as an excuse.

See, the problem with using age as an excuse is that it can backfire.  If people use age as an excuse to not learn something new, this could lead to ramifications in the workplace.  Like, why should we hire someone of a certain age, because they’re not going to want to learn something new- they’re not going to want to learn that new program.  Not wanting to learn or change because of age sets a bad precedent.  And what age is the right age to not want to learn something new?  80?  65? 57?  40?

Using anything as an excuse is ridiculous.  My friend had an employee say that they couldn’t do something at work because of menopause issues.  Really?  You couldn’t sit at a desk and use a computer because you had menopause issues?  Does that mean that women can’t do work because of menopause?  Bad precedent.

If you don’t want to do something, learn something new, adapt- that’s fine.  But own it.  Say I don’t want to learn how to use the internet because I think it’s a stupid waste of time.  Don’t say I’m too old.  Because you’re not too old.  You just don’t want to.  And that’s a big difference.

Don’t use age as an excuse.  It’s not fair to the rest of us who  want to  get up and get on.

 

You’re So Vain- Part 2

Last week I talked about vanity.  As it’s still on my mind (which is probably some sort of vanity itself) I felt I needed to talk about it again.

I met up with my writing group yesterday, two women who were in my fiction class with me.  As you may recall, I was vexed by a comment calling one of my characters vain.  My friends totally disagreed with the comment, given it’s place in the book and what it was signifying, so I was glad that others shared my opinion.  But they enlightened me to something else.  We sometimes spend more time on ourselves as we get older.

I freely admit, it takes me longer to get ready now, than it did years ago.  To be fair, I’m not the sort of person who takes an inordinate amount of time- I’m pretty much a wash and wear sort of girl.  But now, I need an hour to get ready if I need to shower, 25 minutes if not.  My Husband doesn’t get this at all, FYI.  After 16 years of marriage he still thinks I can be ready in 5.  It takes me longer than that to put my moisturizer on.

See, that’s the thing.  Make up doesn’t take me a long time.  Hair doesn’t take me a long time.  It’s the other prep work- the moisture part.  As I’ve gotten older, my skin, my hair, my everything has gotten dryer.  I have separate lotions for every part of my body.  I start with an eye cream, then a face serum, then a moisturizer- and that’s just my face.  Heavier cream for my elbows and knees, cream with sunscreen for my hands, foot cream with vitamin E….I even put a few drops of oil in my hair….

This isn’t vanity.  This is just so my skin won’t crack and fall off.  This is now routine maintenance.  Without these creams and potions I would crinkle when I walk.  Seriously- it adds a whole new dimension to the term dust to dust….

But….

I admit I stare at my reflection a little harder now.  My eyelashes are a little more sparse (I think there is a gel you can put on them to make them more luxurious.  the fact that I know this scares me a little).  My skin is a little less taut.  My undereye bags can now be considered a distinct part of my face.  It is hard to look at myself and not see the younger version of me, because in my mind I am still that younger woman.  In my mind I am still the woman who was just attractive because there is an attractiveness in youth.  Alas, none of us realize that when we are young- we’re to busy trying to grow up.  We take for granted the tight skin, the lack of spots and other weird things that eventually creep up on us.

Does this additional self reflection make me vain?

I don’t think so.  Maybe it makes me a bit wistful, makes me think of the past.  Maybe it forces me to think about choices I’ve made, for better or worse.  Sometimes you have to take a long hard look in the mirror, to both remember who you were, to see who you are, and to consider who you will be.

Vanity

According to Miriam-Webster the top definition of VANITY is:

  1. inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance
  2. something that is vain, empty, or valueless

This is the fact portion of the blog.  Now I will proceed to the anecdote

I wrote a chapter for my book that I brought into writing class for dissection.  I wrote a scene where my protagonist is preparing for a date.  She tells the reader her grooming ritual and states that she is not vain.    One piece of feedback I received was “Character  seems vain.”

Character seems vain.

Is using make-up and moisturizing creams vain?  Are these grooming rituals that I go through myself considered vain?  Does the fact that I have a daily grooming ritual make me vain?

I wear make-up most days of the week.  I don’t do it for others:  I do it for myself.  I like eye shadow and liner and blush and mascara.  I enjoy this portion of my morning where I either listen to music of the news and get myself ready. I like when I am going out at night and I do something a little more dramatic.  I admit, I like the way I look with make-up on.  To be fair, I am also happy with myself without make-up.

Does my wanting/liking make up make me vain?

I also have a very elaborate skin care ritual.  I wear moisturizer and serum and eye cream.  I wash my face thoroughly at night.  I like clean, and I like when my skin feels soft.  My products all use some form of the words “anti-aging”.  I don’t buy these things to appear younger- I buy the products that are best for my skin.  I am oldish- I need different things than my teen daughter does.  But does my wanting to take care of my skin in an age appropriate manner make me vain?

What is the line between self care and vanity?

I think vanity means different things to different people.  If my Mother does not have a full face of make-up on, she will wear sunglasses.  Doesn’t matter the time of day, or if he is indoors, she will put on sunglasses because she doesn’t want anyone to see her without make-up.  See, to me, that is vain.  That’s my definition.  My Mother can’t understand how I go out without make-up.  I am 53, and she will still say to me “Lipstick.  Why aren’t you wearing lipstick?” (OK- here’s my thing- I wear lipstick at night, but during the day I wear tinted lip balm.  I don’t care if you can’t see my lips from across the room- I am fine with just a hint of color, but full on protection from chapped lips)

So, for my first real blog of 2018, I ask you all the questions:

What is vanity?

Is being vain bad?

Does caring about yourself reduce your “value”?

This is going to be a multi part blog, as I will look at different aspects of self care in the next few weeks, and look forward to different thoughts on this topic.