A fool for love: Mr. Big in the real world

carrie mr big Technical difficulties (a malfunctioning laptop adapter) forced me off the computer for much of last week. So instead of spending mindless hours on the internet, I spent mindless hours watching movies. Sex and the City was one of them. I’d like to make a confession. I wasn’t one of the thousands of women who loved Sex and the City while it was on TV. I thought it was smart, interesting and funny and I thought the portrayal of women, friendships and relationships was spot on, but it wasn’t must see TV for me. So when the movie came out, I didn’t rush out to see it that first weekend. Or the second. In fact, I just saw it for the first time earlier this year on DVD. And once again, the portrayals were great and the relationships realistic.  That is until Mr. Big and Carrie got married.

I can hear some of you booing me already. And I’m going to make you hate me even more by admitting that I was rooting for Carrie’s and Mr. Big’s relationship to end. Not by him leaving her at the altar, but by her deciding that she’d had enough of waiting for him to come around. One thing forty years, several boyfriends and watching friends with their boyfriends has taught me is that whoever that man is three months into the relationship is who he’ll be three years in. This is a generalization of course, but many male friends have confirmed this for me. Men know what they want and who they want to be with pretty early on in a relationship.  So, if he was non-committal when you met him, he’ll be non-committal 10 years later.  If he’s ghost on the weekend a month into the relationship, don’t be all “OMG” when you can’t find him on a Saturday night five years in.  And finally, if he was with someone else when he met you, he’ll be with someone else while he’s with you.

Sex and the City was just a movie, but the reality is, Continue reading A fool for love: Mr. Big in the real world

A very thankful woman at forty

j0402579 Thanksgiving week is here! Thanksgiving ushers in my favorite time of the year. The sights, smells and sounds of fall and winter bring back fond memories of growing up in the north with the falling autumn leaves turning to freshly fallen snow as the days got colder.  I remember raking mountains of leaves in the back yard with my sisters and diving into the freshly formed piles. Our lives seemed much simpler then.

Now, even in the midst of a world wide economic crisis, national healthcare debates and unspeakable crimes in the news, there’s still something about this season that gives me hope and joy.  The season ushers in a time when we increase our efforts at feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and bringing a smile on the faces of children all over the world. When I see how millions of people, all over the world, reach deep into pockets that are emptier than they were in years past, it reminds me that at our core, we can be divinely human, and I am eternally thankful for that.

I’m also thankful that I live in a country where I’m free to openly express my faith without persecution. I’m grateful that I live in a country where as a woman I, at least on paper, have as many rights as a man. I’m grateful for a seemingly endless supply of books and knowledge that I have at my fingertips via the Internet or my local Barnes and Noble. I’m thankful that my parents made me read newspapers and do reports in the summer when I was a kid, so that I could consume information about the world around me. I’m grateful for nearly forty years of making mistakes, and being smarter and stronger for having made them.

What are you most thankful for this season? Share your thoughts in the comment section, or on our Facebook fan page. You can also catch updates on Twitter @womenatforty.

Moments of fear…

j0443686 The other night as I drifted off to sleep with visions of “The Rock”, El Pollo Loco Chicken and talking dogs in my head, I was snapped back to reality by the thought, “I hope my next 40 years don’t go as quickly as the first.” It was a sobering thought, and just like that, the ‘other’ reality of being forty hit me.

In these days of “fabulous at forty,”  and the Demi Moore’s and Ashton what’s his names, no one likes to talk about it – the reality of aging. Not the superficiality of wrinkles and weight gain, we talk ad nauseum about that. But what we avoid talking about is the reality that as we get older, time seems to move faster, and we lose loved ones, we lose our youth and we come closer to our own mortality.

My own mortality is not a thought I dwell on, but there it is, staring at me at one in the morning, and even if only for a few moments, I stare back, and I’m afraid.  It’s hard to even pinpoint exactly what I fear. I’m not afraid of dying. Really I’m not. I’d rather it not hurt, but aside from that, I know that it comes with the territory. I guess I fear losing my loved ones. I fear reaching another milestone year in my life not having fulfilled these lofty goals I’ve set for myself. I even fear the lofty goals I’ve set for myself. I’m afraid I might never marry. I’m afraid I might. And I’m afraid I’ll live my entire life without figuring out how to get that monkey off my back.

Despite my seemingly long list of fears, they don’t consume my thoughts or my life. But in those moments at one in the morning when I’m drifting off to sleep, they throw me for a loop, and I find myself praying that the next forty years take twice as long to finish as the first.

Do you have your moments of fear? Please share them with other women at forty. I think we might find that we share some of the same fears.

Silence is truly golden

Today, one Woman at Forty candidly and humorously shares her thoughts on, well, sharing her thoughts…

tanya f Before, I felt it was my civic duty to right every wrong and stand up for every underdog there was.  I thought that I needed to voice my opinion and concern on every topic, argument and general discussion that I took part in.  Hell, I even butted into conversations because I KNEW my feelings and opinions were so strong and were so important to the world that everyone needed to hear them!  I was passionate; I needed to right wrongs and injustices. I needed to stand on my soapbox and shout to anyone who would listen about any topic that I was an “expert” on (trust me – there are many).  Maybe that’s why I majored in Political Science in college – to justify my arguing.  For years I gave my opinion, requested or not, positive or negative for everything and anything under the sun.   Needless to say (even though most advice was good, sound advice) I have stepped on A LOT of toes.

This year, the year of my fortieth birthday, I had an epiphany –  even though I think my opinions should be valued, the reality is that I need to shut the HELL up!!!  (Actually, I was thinking the F word).  I looked around one morning and realized that I am the oldest one amongst my friends AND because I live on a military base, most of the mother’s of my 2nd grader’s friends are at least 15 years younger than me.  When listening to them, they seemed opinionated and obnoxious. Also, in the 20 to 25 years that they had been alive, they knew everything there was about everything.  Regardless of the fact that  1) none of them had graduated from college; 2) none had worked in corporate America or the “real” world (outside the safety of the military base); or 3) none had never lived on their own –  they had done it all and then some.  There were so many things that I tried to discuss with them and tried to advise them.  I wanted to tell them and teach them about life, love, hard work, ethics, selflessness and proper planning.  Can you believe they didn’t need or want my advice? Are they crazy?  No, maybe I was the crazy one!  To them I was just the “old lady” that “didn’t understand what they were going thru” because I was so much older and times have changed since I was their age.  That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks – my opinions are and have only been important to ME!  I don’t need to make people see my point of view or change their minds on any subject or even persuade them to share the same views as me.  Wow…all these years and that never occurred to me.  I thought my opinion was the end all, be all and the day that I didn’t have a thought, opinion or suggestion would stop the world from spinning on it’s axis.  Not true.  The earth didn’t stop moving and the sky didn’t fall.  NOTHING HAPPENED!

The old me would have challenged those youngins!  The old me would bragged about all the places I’ve been and the experiences I had and everything that has made me the strong woman I am today.  I wished that someone would have warned me about half the s**t I know now.  But instead, I smiled and said “have it your way but HONEY…I have lived twice the life you will wish for.  Good luck”  Then I shut the F*** up and walked away.

I have officially retired my soapbox.  The only people that are forced to deal with my thoughts, opinions and suggestions are my daughters and my husband and I’m ok with that.  Instantly, my life was simplified because I wasn’t obligated to defend the masses and conquer the world.  Everything is much simplier with silence.

Tanya

Photo: Tanya’s Good luck pose

When did you have the epiphany that the earth won’t stop moving and the sky won’t fall if you keep your opinion to yourself? I have to admit, I’m still working on that one.  Share your epiphany at forty in the comment section or on our Facebook fan page.

Embracing my “new nice”

nice to be nice book A friend recently released a children’s book called Nice to be Nice. She’s also a blogger, so we frequently find ourselves discussing the nice and not so nice behavior of the people around us. Whether it’s the mother allowing her toddler to scream his way through the grocery store, or it’s the man who, tiring of the display, smacks the kid square in the mouth, something’s just a bit off in society today. I think some adults have forgotten, and many kids just don’t know that it really is nice to be nice. That said, as I get older, I find myself embracing a different kind of nice.

In my twenties, being nice meant having conversations with people I knew were lying to me, and not calling them on it. It meant being so concerned about hurting someone else’s feelings that I allowed them to hurt mine. It meant being aware of people’s negative attitudes but pretending to be ok with it anyway. And it meant doing things I didn’t want to do, even when I knew doing them wasn’t right for me. I did all of those things because I wanted to be nice. I didn’t want to rock the boat, and I wanted to avoid having certain conversations with certain people, at all cost.

But I had a light bulb moment almost ten years ago. I wrote about it last week, in the best advice I ever got.  It was during this conversation that my friend asked me why I got so upset when she did and said the things she did and said. The same things she’d been doing and saying for years. She was absolutely right to ask the question. And for years, I’d been too “nice” to tell her that many of the things she’d done had hurt me deeply. To preserve the friendship I let those things slide. As a result, I grew to resent her, and more importantly myself, for not thinking enough of myself to end a friendship that had become toxic. I vowed then, never again to be “so nice” that I lose myself in the process.

For the most part, I’ve kept my promise.  While the 20’s me would ignore my spirit telling me “girl, now you know something is wrong with this picture”  the soon to be 40 me has a BS meter so finely calibrated that I can spot a crock while it’s still being formed in someone’s head and shut it down before it has a chance to do damage. It’s a great skill to have.  Having it means that sometimes I stop BS-ers dead in their tracks. As a result, BS-ers do not think I’m nice. Neither do people who always want something for nothing, people who take others for granted, nor do the married men whom I immediately shut down when they, wedding ring securely on ring finger, “just want to holler at me for a minute.” These people don’t think I’m nice, and I don’t want them to.

Over the years, I’ve lost sight of my “new nice” a few times, but these days it’s much easier to be me, even if it means someone doesn’t like me. I help old people cross the street, offer rides to friends in need and genuinely wish real joy and success for everyone who crosses my path. I celebrate when the underdog wins and I’m frustrated when the greedy seem to prosper on the backs of the weak.  I’m as nice as the next guy – or girl. But I’ve tempered my niceness with a bit of wisdom. My mother would call it discernment. I call it my “new nice.”

Have you redefined your nice? How? Share your definition of nice in the comment section, on our Facebook Fan page or on Twitter @womenatforty.