Those Birthdays Keep Coming

512px-Schokoladentorte_Buttercreme_Tulpen_dritter_Geburtstag_001

courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

 

For his eightieth birthday, a friend gave my husband a T-shirt. The words emblazoned across the chest read, the older I get, the better I was.

No, no, no. keep going. Reinvent yourself. Deal with the infirmities as they arise.

Remember Betty Friedan? She wrote The Feminine Mystique fifty years ago. (Dell has produced an anniversary edition.) “Shake off the shackles of your vacuum cleaners and get out of the house,” Friedan told women. Now that it has been fifty years, of course some women would just as soon open the front door and head back in. Anyway, Friedan gave the movement a name. F-E-M-I-N-I-S-M.

Several years later, Friedan wrote The Fountain of Age. (Simon and Schuster, 2006) This book celebrates old age as an opportunity for new beginnings. New contributions. Pleased when a group of Harvard physicians invited her to join them in a study or aging, Friedan found Alzheimer’s Disease to be the new beginning they most wanted to study.

Sons, daughters, grandchildren. Don’t write us off. I, for one, write. (Three books—one published this year, two languishing in the storeroom.) Blogs and Facebooks. I’m not the only one. I know of a ninety-two-year-old woman who has recently written a book called, Still Boy Crazy at Ninety.

I adore my grandchildren. Their creativity, their fresh outlooks, and their joy renew me as I watch them explore the world and grow. But sometimes they’d just as soon savor each year a little longer before it passes forever. On his fifth birthday my grandson told me, “I don’t want to grow up. I want to grow down.”

I hope you see fine possibilities ahead even if you don’t have a birthday cake like the one above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Bloggers Write

 

Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons Cmaccauley at English Wikipedia

Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons Cmaccauley at English Wikipedia1947 photo of Cmaccauley with Arthus Koestler and Flannery O’Connor

 

Flannery O’Connor, noted short story writer , is known for her grotesque characters and edgy stories. She raised peacocks, toucans, and emus.

She said:

    “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

 

 

Hair Dye

 Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons

Courtesy Wikimedia Creative Commons

Peripatetic author Malcolm Gladwell covers the subject of Hair Dye in his book, What the Dog Saw… An excerpt from the book on the daily blog, Delancey Place, reminds me of the changes.

The 1950s to 1970s saw a rise in the number of women who colored their hair from seven to forty percent. Clairol came up with a genius ad slogan, “Does she or doesn’t she?” The question gave women permission to get rid of the gray or the drab in their hair. Women generally went blonde. Blonder looked younger. Darker brought out the lines in your face.

I can’t remember when I began with color. Certainly by the time I started full-time work in 1979. The children were in school. The father-in-law I had care for had passed on. Nervous since I’d been out of the work force for years, I decided to cover the gray streaks in my hair.

Grateful to find a data entry job that would enable me to learn to operate a computer, I set to work updating my skills, hoping that I looked younger than I felt. I stuck with lipstick and a little powder to cut the shine. Eye makeup hadn’t caught on during the years I’d been home folding cloth diapers. I’ve worn glasses all my life and worried that I’d get an eye infection.

I soon noticed that many  supervisory women had gray hair. Those that did wore no makeup. If I wanted to rise above data entry, I might be better off ignoring my gray streaks.

You still see mostly blondes—with longer hair. Also purples pinks and greens. I never rose far in the corporate world. Today my hair is white. Now I write books and blog.

None of us are Marilyn, yet sometimes we reinvent ourselves.

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