Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: A Woman of a Certain Age
By Linda Boulanger
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I finally settled into the mature woman and was becoming pretty comfortable with her only to find I was moving into yet another phase; the aging woman. I wasnít so sure about her. She didnít look familiar or feel familiar. She tormented me so with her aches and pains and sags and dimples. She developed laugh lines and wrinkles around the eyes. She was no longer confident that her tilted head, crinkled nose, and award-winning smile would get her what she wanted. She bought pretty little bras that could cinch things back into place with just the slightest twinge of pain but only when she breathed, and pants long enough to cover those nasty little spider veins that appeared more prevalent on a daily basis. Yes, I called it fashion; said whatever it took to make myself feel better. But I didnít like her.
And then a wonderful thing happened. I became a woman of a certain age. Oh that was a glorious day because on that day, I finally became the woman I was meant to be. I arrived.
I canít tell you how it happened. It simply did. I awakened one day, my nest was empty, and the only work I had to do was that which I desired. I got out of bed with my head held higher on my wrinkled neck, ran my hands through my graying hair and decided I would not color that day as Iíd planned. I rather liked the fringed look even if the color did knock a few years off. Who was I kidding? The only person who cared about seeing those years disappear was me! My friends had all let theirs go years before and they were all happy, so it seemed. Much more so than I had been!
I turned to spread up the covers and decided not to. Iíd be crawling back into them in a few hours anyway because Iíd already planned a luxurious afternoon nap followed by a late night indulgence of eating popcorn in bed and watching movies Iíd missed over the years. Iíd been told that the fact that I hadnít seen Beaches made me borderline criminal and an affront to womankind. I didnít care about that but I did want to see the movie just the same. I made a list so I could run to the video store later. I hadnít been since my kids were home. I wondered if I still had a membership. Well, they could jolly well set me back up if not!
With a smile, I realized I could do whatever I thought I should do and woe to those who said any different because I was now a woman of a certain age. She was strong, stood for what she believed was so, and no longer did only for others. In fact she didnít ponder so much on what others thought. Oh I really liked her. I felt as if I had grown up at last.
Iíd been told one time that some people are ready for different adventures at different times in their lives. I believed that now and, as a woman of a certain age, I could respect that; enjoy it actually.
I dressed, choosing my gardening bra; used for maximum breathing ability as I crawled among the foliage. It really didnít look all that bad. I wondered what my kids would think of their mother in a pair of bike shorts. The grandchildren would love it. It made me laugh.
I entered the world that day seeing through eyes that were far younger than they had been for many years. I was thankful for this transformation to a woman of a certain age. I would enjoy her for as long as I could. I also realized, as her, I was no longer fearful of the phase yet to come: the old woman. She was the one who would teach me to enjoy where we had been. As her, I would truly cherish my life.
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