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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


When I was a child, I spoke as a childÖthen it came time to put away those childish things. As I packed them away, slowly over many years, I tried to figure out who I was. I became the teenager who thought she was all that; though underneath she really wasnít sure at all. She was followed by the young lady who tried to be all things to all people and never really succeeded at being any one of them.

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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This article has been read 526 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke09/17/09
I really liked her too! Not quite there myself in all aspects but its a beautiful goal!
You turn a lovely phrase and include some great details and express your MC's thoughts very very well. She was completely believable. Good job!
Anita van der Elst09/17/09
I feel like I've found myself here! Thank you for putting "our" certain age into such great words and phrasings.
Charla Diehl 09/21/09
So much I could relate to here. Age is a state of mind and there are certain privileges we grant ourselves because of it. Good job.
c clemons09/22/09
I really like this one, it gets my vote, not only for content but you did a good job writing it too.
Chris Janzen09/24/09
Congrats on your 2nd place win! You really wrote a fun story that speaks directly to women, especially those of us getting to be that certain age. LOVED it!!
Lisa Johnson09/25/09
I'm evolving into the woman you wrote of... but not quite there... i enjoyed your story very much. It was well written, and your second place win well deserved. Congratulations.
Allen Stark09/26/09
Great piece Linda and deserving of a high ranking. You captured some thoughts of this man of a certain age also. One thing I might share with you is that when I get up in the morning and take that first look in the mirror,I'm so glad wrinkles don't hurt.
Lori Robbins09/29/09
I long for the day when I finally "arrive". Beautifully done.
Linda Boulanger09/29/09
Allen, I feel a companion story from a man's perspective might be in order here! Love the observation on wrinkles, although, as I am currently emerging into the category of "the aging woman", I have to tell you, they are a bit painful...to the ego. I was recently told by a former High School teacher of mine that I would soon emerge into "a woman of a certain age" and they would not matter nearly so much.....hence the birth of this story. Thank you to each of you for your positive responses and enjoying the story. I certainly enjoyed writing it.