Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aging Disgracefully

Photo by Generationbass.
Now that I have crossed over into the territory labeled “mature woman,” what is my strategy for facing the challenges of aging?  Am I aging gracefully by being composed and stately?  

Hell no.

I’m mad, and I’m not going down without a fight. My strategy? I plan on fighting dirty, hiding the body, and dressing for excess.
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This post is part of a Generation Fabulous Blog Hop on Aging Gracefully
which is featured in HuffPost 50. I'm there as slide #23.


Here are a few of the many awe-inspiring posts from my fellow bloggers.
Big Little Wolf's Daily Plate of Crazy. "Why Aging Gracefully Doesn't Suit Me"
Middle Aged Diva's "Aging Gracefully: New Definition"
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Street Fighter against Father Time.  Older women have a harder time keeping the weight off than younger women.  Even men have less trouble with weight gain as they age.  I read the 2010 article from the Journal of the American Medical Association reporting on a 13 year study on middle aged women. Researchers found that older women must exercise vigorously for an hour a day to merely maintain their weight. Reading that, I was livid.  I wanted to punch someone in the face.

I am responding by taking out my aggression at the gym.  With every step I take on the treadmill, I imaging trampling Father Time.  He may get me eventually, but I am not going gently into that good night. He’ll have to take me, kicking and screaming (a good cardio workout) the whole way. 


Buried the Body of the Good Girl.  After spending decades trying to please authority figures by being compliant, I’m done. I have killed the Good Girl and buried her where cadaver dogs will never find her.  I am much more willing to follow my own gut, to advocate for change, to defend the disenfranchised, and in other ways point out, “The Emperor has no clothes on.” 

To avoid earning the moniker “crazy old lady,” I choose my battles. I don't go into full-tilt, angry crone mode daily.  But my days of following the rules are pretty well over. 

Fashion Tip: More Is Better. As an older adult, I have stopped looking for fashion advice from peers, magazines, or department store windows.  I delight in forging my own style, primarily by hunting through the racks of local thrift stores.

And where I dressed primarily in solid pastels in my youth, I am choosing bright colors and patterns now that I've rounded 50.  I may look a bit rococo, but who cares? Like legions of women who choose to wear purple, I'm having fun breaking fashion rules.  I will wear white after Labor Day. I will wear silver, gold and bronze jewelry together.  I might even (gasp) choose to wear socks with sandals one day.  

So don't expect me to glide through a room. I also refuse to sit quietly during a dinner party until I can deliver just the right bon mot. I dare to eat a peach.  I am dressed for battle, Mr. Reaper. I am unkempt, unruly, and a bit unhinged.



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66 comments:

  1. Nice, I won't go down without a fight either! Facing a ripe 62 in June, I resent being categorized as a senior. Sure, it was exciting in high school, but dreaded at this point in my life. I will continue to battle a grey head, and fight to keep a clear head. As I mentioned in my post, 'the old grey mare ain't what she used to be, but she ain't bad at all!'

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    1. Nope, not bad at all. All my best to you, Denise.

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  2. Thanks, Denise, for popping over here and reading. Will you be linking your post in tomorrow's blog hop? I look forward to reading your views on the topic!

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    1. :) Yep have posted...have post will travel...LOL

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  3. Socks are not going to work with my flip flops, but happy to give a lusty battle cry while reaching my zenith in my Uggs, even if I live in FL (you deal with this aircon crazed town) Let it be said, the unhinged goes without saying ...

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    1. I'm loving your image as Floridian in Uggs. Keep putting your own spin on coastal fashion.

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  4. Love it, Karen! That's what is so great about Over 50 Women! We now feel free to do what we want, say what we want and wear what we want. I'm with ya! I used to be kind of quiet and a little shy. Not anymore. I used to keep my opinions to myself. Not anymore. I was always very conscious of what I wore and "dressing up". Now I love going for wild and crazy ensembles! There is a new found freedom in this Over 50 thing. Loved your post!

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    1. Quiet and shy? Who knew? Thanks for reading.

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  5. Love it! Yep, I can relate to all that. Treadmill, yep. Burying the good girl...well, still working on that. Following my own fashion sense, yes. Plain and simple as it may be these days. But I like plain and simple. Great post.

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    1. Hey, plain and simple is a great style. I volunteer at a nursing home, and my very loud outfits are always a big hit there...so that provides a bit of a push for me to go to extremes in my fashion choices. But to each her own. It's more fun to have diversity in each woman's style choices. If we all were loud, it would be exhausting!

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  6. I love it! I'm not going down without a fight, either. I love my age, I love my life, and if my body has a few kinks - I'm gettin' 'em worked on.

    Yes, I dress like a gypsy whenever possible, or a flower child. Bright colors, leopard prints, bring it, baby!

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    1. I'm noticing that the twentysomethings are adopting a hippie chic look these days -- tie die with sequins. So wear the original look with pride.

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    2. I have to say here that in my world I call that "dressing like a clown". But gypsy sounds so much more chic.

      b+

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  7. Right on! I have always been a bit unkept, unruly and unhinged. Love your style!

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    1. Alright, Pat! We can be un-graceful together!

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  8. "Buried the body of the "good girl"..."

    I love that! (And couldn't agree more.)

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    1. Shhh. Don't tell the cops. It will be our little secret.

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  9. Oh, I want to be like you..unkempt, unruly, and a bit unhinged. Honestly, I don't think we could change if we wanted. You're evidently are a strong, outspoken women (aren't we all). Don't every be anything else. As for burying the "good girl"...I don't know...sometimes it just works for me to bring her out. I like to keep my options open.

    b+

    I became a follower and will tweet this up. Thank you.

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    1. Ah, you are stealthy, like a ninja. There's value in that approach. I'm a bit to evident. People can see me coming a mile away. You are the master of the surprise attack. We could tag team.

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  10. The weight gain thing is the worst. I effortlessly gained five pounds this year. Where did they come from? I'm still eating what I ate last year? How did these illegal aliens climb over the fence? Sigh.

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    1. Those five pounds are so pesky. I went to the gym today and worked hard for an hour and then had miso soup with kale for lunch. By 4 pm, I was ready to pass out. Dang my slowing metabolism! We'll figure out this "middle age spread" some how!

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  11. That's right! I'm puttin' up a fight too. Loved this.

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    1. Thanks for zooming over here and reading/commenting.

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  12. Love it. I'm fighting it with ya!

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  13. Love your take on aging gracefully...or not!! I'm right there beside you.

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    1. It's nice to have company on this bumpy road. Thanks.

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  14. Father Time stomping, I love the visual and the action!

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    1. Oh, I am so mad at him, and I'm fleeing as fast as I can from the Grim Reaper. They are going to have to work double time to get me! Run, Forrest, Run.

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  15. Bury the Good Girl! At the risk of being arrested, I'd buy a tee shirt that said that! Great Post....love the way you think....we have so much in common!

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  16. Great post. I buried the good girl quite a while ago. I think that's why I was recently called a steel magnolia. I don't look that tough, and it sometimes surprises people when I respond with a "hell no" attitude. One of the benefits of being our age is picking the fights and then landing a good, surprisingly hard punch when needed.

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    1. Someone from my congregation asked me one week prior to organize a children's Christmas play with costumes and all. I said, "No." He hasn't talked to me since. (I had just finished final exams that day and had finished nothing for my own family's Christmas.) He was shocked that I dared say no since he has gravitas in the congregation. But I wasn't going to put my own family last. Really! Now I guess he's punishing me by not asking me to do things like that again. Waa waa.

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  17. This made be grin and giggle! Thank you for such a spirited read! Loved it!

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    1. Oh, I am so annoyed about aging challenges, it was fun to just "let 'er rip." Thanks for reading/commenting.

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  18. Yep, dressing for excess is my new motto! Thanks! You are far more motivated and determined than I. Going forward, I'll be look to you for how to do it up right. Thank you for this!

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    1. Work it, Girl! Oh, I take great inspiration from the women photographed and interviewed for Advanced Style. Not that I would copy any of their particular ensembles, since their mantra is "create your own style." Ari Seth Cohen is an angel to bring these mature fashionistas to light.

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  20. I agree! Fight! Don't go quietly into that good night. Exercise, eat right, swim against the tide. There will be plenty of time to sleep. When you're dead.

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    1. Yes, sleep when you're dead. I totally agree.

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  21. I LOVE hat you killed the Good Girl. She's a bore, anyway

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  22. I would go thrift shopping with you. My only fashion rule is: Dress Happy.

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  23. OMG love this!! My favorite line -- "I am unkempt, unruly, and a bit unhinged." I can so relate! You go, girl!

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    1. Thanks for reading. I'm an older parent, and my kids (11 and 15) sometimes call me a "crazy old lady." But I hope that I'm modeling courage and individuality for them.

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    1. Happy Birthday. Look what fun you have to look forward to in the decades ahead? Thanks for taking time to read about the road ahead.

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  25. Choosing battles and going in as the angry crone when it's time is great!

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    1. The men at church have been known to do the "duck and cover" when I decide to take on a cause there. But I don't do it every week; I'd never be taken seriously. So I use my powers wisely.

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  26. I love the fire in your post! Actually, this is really the way I felt at 48 when I was on the edge of perimenopause. I prepared for battle because I knew I was in for a ride. I've mellowed a lot since then, but still don't feel like cooperating. Love this line: "But my days of following the rules are pretty well over. " Amen, sister! (Although I'm not sure I ever followed the rules very well!)

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    1. I have always been seen as an energetic person. It takes some wise management of resources to keep things rolling, but I feel a real urgency to get things done before I have any serious problems with mobility, cognition or my senses. So I'm living large while I can! Thanks for reading...and keep breaking those rules, Barbara.

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  27. You go girl!! Love the attitude! I now blog for Goodwill and those are my favorite shopping trips! Your posts portrays a woman who realizes that life is short and you intend to LIVE!!

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    1. Blogging for Goodwill is a great gig. Way to go. That's probably really fun.

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  28. LOVE,love your take on our golden years. Take no prisoners, that's what I say! Speak it, wear it, strut it, buy it, eat it, and do it! A great mantra, if I do say so myself. What a fun post! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I may be burning up while I soar across the sky, but I will not be ignored while I have any energy to expend. Thanks for reading/commenting, Tammy.

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  29. What great writing. But please, please, for the sake of womankind, no socks with sandals. Knee-highs, maybe.

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    1. Bonnie: I haven't done it yet, but I have enough hubris to shake my (arthritic) fist at the fashion gods. We'll see if I ever dare cross that line.

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  30. Ahh, a female after my own heart. I'm not going quietly either. Love this post!

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  31. Loved this, Karen!

    Especially "So don't expect me to glide through a room. I also refuse to sit quietly during a dinner party until I can deliver just the right bon mot. I dare to eat a peach. I am dressed for battle, Mr. Reaper. I am unkempt, unruly, and a bit unhinged."

    So say we all! (Or at least I do!)

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  32. Thanks, Selwyn, for hopping on over and reading. May you enjoy a bit of wildness this week.

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  33. I love the thrill of shopping in thrift shops (today it was Goodwill and I found a simple black "short" shift!) too! Starting to feel just a bit intimidated by some of these blog hop responses...funny and very articulate! You go girl!

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  34. Phoebe: I've been studying for an exam that I just took today, so sorry to be negligent. Thanks for reading. I'm glad to hear you are another thrift shopping expert. I hate to pay full price. And I love the "thrill of the hunt" since you never really know what you're gonna find when thrifting!

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  35. Ha ha love it, Karen! You go girl - don't let 'old age' win! I'm not going quietly either - I'm going to kick up my heels and do and wear whatever I bloody well like!

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    1. Enjoy yourself in every age and stage. I'm trying to do that. Thanks for joining me in the same effort, Kathy.

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