On Being Alone

Alone and Loving ItEarly on in the life of this blog, I wrote several posts about dating after turning 40 and the minefield it can sometimes be. Like when I was asked out by the homeless man I was serving at a homeless shelter or the time I got hit on by a man riding a pink child’s bike.  Not to mention Facebook’s recent mission to set me up with Cowboys and/or Native Americans.

I also wrote a post, about love, fear and everything in between, which received several emotionally raw comments from women who, at 40, had never experienced real love or relationships. I turned one comment, from a woman who was turning 40 and had never been in a relationship, into a post and that post hit a nerve, becoming one of the most commented on posts on the site.

Today a member of the WAF community, Tricia, is presenting an alternative view to the theory that every woman, and certainly every woman in her 40s, wants to be in a relationship. She’s alone and thrives in it. That’s not so unusual, as I have many single female friends in their 40s and older who enjoy their single status. Where I think she’s different is, well, read for yourself…

On Being Alone – by Tricia Amiel

I come from a large family of women.  At some point in my life, around the age of 40, I realized that all of them are alone.  There are no marriages that worked out, no long term relationships.  I don’t know what it is about us as a family, and I wonder what it is about me.

I’ve been alone a long time, after a failed marriage and a long string of short affairs.  It wasn’t a decision I made at first, but I’ve grown into aloneness and am finding comfort in it.  It’s now a solid decision that I’m making every day.  I recognize that I’ve made poor choices in the past, and that this has probably influenced my decision to be alone.  But it’s more than that. I really just don’t need or want to be with anybody.  I feel alone in that too.  It seems to me that everybody wants to find the right person to be with, and I’ve wondered what it is about me that finds me in this place in my life, and what it means.

Maybe this is just a stage in my life that will change, but I can’t even imagine that.  I can imagine doing the rest of my journey through this life without a partner.  In fact, I’m comforted by the thought.  There’s a certain joy in it for me.  It’s not that I never get lonely, because I certainly do.  But not often enough to make a difference in how I feel, and it’s easily resolved by spending time with my friends, my children, even the students I am compelled to connect with a couple of times a week.  I’m filled up by working, by writing, by achieving my goals.  It’s enough for me somehow, and more satisfying than any relationship I’ve ever been in.

Although I’ve been accused of deluding myself, of being bitter,  I like to think that maybe I’ve finally learned to love myself and my life enough, that I’ve come into a state of grace after years of struggling with life and with love.  There’s nothing bitter about this…this is a kind of deep, meaningful peace, something I’ve never found in romantic relationships.  It’s about me, and having the space to come into my own way of living and being.  That way simply doesn’t require the presence of another being.  There’s just enough of me now to give myself the joy, the comfort, the love that I need.

A very important person in my life once told me that the only way I was ever going to feel complete was to be with the right person.  I can honestly say to her that I’ve found that right person, after 42 years of searching, that she is my one and only, hopefully for a lifetime.  That she is me.

What are your thoughts on being single at 40? Are you like this reader who not only enjoys it, but plans on staying that way? Share your thoughts here or on The Women at Forty Facebook page.

Five for Friday: Five Natural Beauty Solutions for Women at 40

Aloe Vera Gel for Age Spots - Women at FortyOn Wednesday I shared my thoughts on celebrating earth day, simplifying our lives, and living more naturally.  I also shared that I’m developing an eBook of natural beauty solutions for women at 40. The eBook, the first in my new 40 for 40 series, is tentatively titled, Radiance: The natural guide to radiant, healthy skin at 40 and beyond. It will include 40 tried and tested simple alternatives (or enhancements) to commercially available beauty products.

I’m not a member of the anti-aging brigade, with its endless wrinkle cream demonstrations and elusive fountains of youth. I find aging, and almost everything that comes along with it, far superior to the alternative. I also don’t buy into society’s narrowly defined standard of beauty or the notion that we can, or should try to, “buy” our way to happiness. If I’d accepted every botox, lipo, and plastic surgery business that wanted to advertise on this site, I’d be writing this post from somewhere in Bali. But I’ve made a conscious decision not to because we deserve better.

So, what’s a woman at 40 to do?

I think it’s good to always want to look and feel our best.  Our best. Untarnished by the expectations and definitions of others, and unsullied by comparing ourselves to others or even to our former selves. It’s quite a balancing act – the desire to push against societal pressure to look 21 all our lives versus the fact that we do want to look our best selves for as long as we can. One of the ways we can do it is by making smart, conscious decisions about the products and ingredients we put on our skin.  We can buy more responsibly, and we can find solutions in our own home.

So whether it’s a remedy for dry skin, age spots, or a good moisturizer you seek, here are 5 simple, natural solutions you can probably find in your pantry…

1. Banana Skin for Adult Acne – You thought your days of acne were over. Not so much? This acne remedy is as easy as it gets. You know that banana peel you’re about to throw away? Don’t. Take the bottom half, cut one segment off and rub the inside of the peel against your acne spots until the inside of the peel browns. Leave the residue on your face for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight and then rinse. Continue daily until the acne subsides.

2. Aloe Vera Gel  for “Age Spots” –  Because we begin noticing these darker pigmented spots on our skin in our 40s, they’ve been dubbed aged spots. But age spots can happen at any age, because they’re (for the most part) caused by sun exposure over many years.  Age spots aren’t dangerous, but if you’d like to lighten them, applying aloe vera gel is said to do the trick.

3. Coffee Grounds Exfoliant  – When you’re done with your morning cup of Joe, don’t dump those coffee grounds, use them to exfoliate. Mix 1/4 cup used coffee grounds and one egg white.  An alternate recipe calls for mixing 1 Tbsp coffee grounds with 1 Tbsp of water or olive oil. Massage onto face, let it dry and then rinse with warm water. When used as a body scrub, caffeinated coffee grounds are also said to help relieve cellulite.

4. Vitamin E Moisturizer – I know several women with flawless skin who swear by this easy, inexpensive facial moisturizer. Simply break open vitamin E capsules and gently massage into your skin. I find that in the winter especially, Vitamin E does a great job at keeping the dryness away.

5. Dry Brush Scrub – Our bodies detoxify in a number of ways, including through our kidneys, lungs and skin. Our skin is responsible for a quarter of our body’s daily detoxification. Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, improving circulation and detoxification. Dry brushing also helps remove dead skin cells, softens skin, and helps reduce cellulite. Always brush skin when it’s dry,  moving from your feet upwards, and before a shower or bath. If you don’t already own a body brush, Fantasea Natural Bristle Body Brushis an affordable and highly rated option.

 Do you have any natural beauty solutions that work wonders for you? Share them here, or on the Women at Forty Facebook page.

Note: If you have allergies, or are sensitive to any of the above ingredients, do not apply them to your skin.

On Earth Day, Living Simply, and Going Natural

Live simply so that others may simply liveMonday, April 22nd was Earth Day. Put simply, recognizing Earth Day increases awareness and interest in all things natural.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a granola-eating tree-hugger to appreciate Earth Day, and this isn’t a preachy stop-doing-that-or-small-furry-creatures-suffer post. It’s a reminder that everything, from the food we eat to the beauty products we purchase, impacts us on a local and global level.

For me, Earth Day reminds me to step back from the constant barrage of media messages telling me to consume more.  It prompts me to make more mindful choices that allow me to live more simply. Choices that allow others in this world to simply live.

From purchasing locally grown food, when available, to making your own beauty and skin care products, living more naturally has its benefits.

On Friday, I’m dusting off my old Five-For-Friday format to share five natural beauty solutions that women at forty (or any age for that matter) can probably find right in their pantry. The solutions are simple, inexpensive, and most importantly, all natural. The post is actually a sneak-peak at an eBook I’m working on about natural beauty solutions for women at 40. The eBook, the first in my new 40 for 40 series, is tentatively titled, Radiance: The natural guide to radiant, healthy skin at 40 and beyond. It will include 40 tried and tested simple alternatives (or enhancements) to commercially available beauty products.

Until then, I encourage you to think about ways you can slow down, simplify, and incorporate natural alternatives in your lives.

If you’ve already incorporated natural solutions into your lifestyle, please share them in the comment section or on the Women at Forty Facebook page.

Life Lessons at 40: Things I Learned From Watching a Frog’s Epic Fail

Not the frog that attacked me in my garden this past weekend (attacked might be a strong word but there was crying).

No, the frog that Andrew Mountcastle captured in this video. This frog (I’ll call him Isaac to distinguish him from the frog named Hannibal that attacked me this weekend) fails epically (and humorously) at doing what he does best, and I learned a few things from watching him fail:

  1. There was a moment there when Isaac knew he’d failed – I imagine it was when he pulled back his tongue and it didn’t taste like dragonfly.  Notice he followed through with the arm-gab move anyway. When you really want something you keep at it until you’ve done everything in your power to get it.
  2. Even when you’re really good at something – maybe even born to do it – there are times you’ll fail.
  3. Some people, sitting comfortably in their chairs at home (doing absolutely nothing else) will watch you fail and get a kick out of it. They’ll even derive pleasure from watching you fail. That’s none of your business.  Do what you’re supposed to do anyway.
  4. Dragonflies are disgusting, why would Isaac work so hard to try and get one? Because Isaac knows what he wants.  You decide what motivates you. You determine what’s worth working hard for.  No one has to love what you want to do/have/be, but  you.
  5. Even if you’ve done something and done it well for 40 years, sometimes you just fail. Cut yourself some slack and try again tomorrow. It happens to the best of us. And Isaac.



Facebook Wants Me to Date Cowboys and Native Americans

The Village PeopleFacebook is on a mission to hook me up. With one of the Village People apparently. Let me explain.

For some time now Facebook has been “suggesting” posts in my news feed. Sometimes the suggestions are food related. Other times they’re of the health and beauty variety. So far so good.

But sometimes Facebook misses the mark.

A few weeks ago, it began “suggesting” I date Cowboys and Native Americans. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – she says in her best Jerry Seinfeld voice.

The fact is, I’m good with dating either Cowboys or Native Americans (or both, caus’ I got it like that), but not if they come by the way of a Facebook suggestion, and definitely not because they’re either one or the other. I’m trying to figure out what it is about my Facebook profile that says I’m ready to saddle up with a caricaturization of a man.

Full disclosure: I have started listening to country music again. I say again because back in the 80s while many of my peers were listening to R&B and Pop, I was twanging and twining with Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and Barbara Mandrell and the Manderell Sisters.  And then there’s that thing I kind of have for Blake Shelton…but how does Facebook know that? Has Facebook determined that I’m an unmarried woman in her 40s so therefore I must be looking for love? Is Facebook mocking me? Facebook is mocking me.

The truth is, I got a kick out of the suggested posts. I even clicked over and checked out the sites.

I shouldn’t have.

But you can go see for yourself. If you’re interested in a “Handsome Cowboy”, click here. “Handsome Native American” more your style? Click here.  If you’re looking for unattractive Cowboys or Native Americans, or anyone else for that matter, according to Facebook, you’re just plum out of luck. 😉