When I first started this blog in May 2011, I did so with the intention of giving folks interested in our Trueheart Petite Sirah wine an inside look at life on our vineyard. While I love our two acres of award-winning grapes, and am constantly awed at the beautiful and ancient rhythm of growing and making wine, I simply do not know enough to write about it regularly and passionately.
What can I write about regularly? What am I passionate about? Midlife. Aging. I am fascinated by how other women are or have navigated this road. How my mother, aunts and grandmothers did it, how are my friends younger and older, movie stars, my sister, strangers on the street, women on Instagram, and women in magazines doing it? How do I want to do it – especially given that I can still hardly believe I’m on the road?
As I have been committing myself to blogging about midlife, I have been reaching out to other midlife bloggers to build a community of women. I recently discovered an opportunity to be showcased in the “Between the Lines” series featuring women over 50 writing about blogging at midlife, created by and hosted by Katie of Katherine’s Corner. Katie is typical of many women who are blogging at midlife, she is encouraging, helpful, curious, competant and helpful.
I feel so lucky to be aging at this time. Women my age (I am 57) are allowed to be beautiful, strong, sexy, athletic, smart, successful, creative, playful, fashionable, smart-ass, inventive and wildly adventurous. In other words, we are allowed to be full, vibrant human beings, a luxury denied to in large part to my mother, and wholly to my grandmothers. In addition, I have been blessed with good health.
While I feel lucky to be aging now, many aspects remain difficult. As a young person, I could sleep anywhere, anytime and wake up rested. Now, I sleep with a mouth guard and a C-PAP, and I wake up exhausted. My dermatologist tells me, “there are sinkers and saggers – and you are a sinker” (a thin face with hollowed out cheeks, and temples). Doctors start every sentence with the phrase, “as we age.” Arthritis limits my flexibility and my endurance. I had a frozen shoulder for two years, and now that it’s gone (after a painful procedure and tons of physical therapy), the other shoulder hurts. My sex drive – once strong and healthy – is now, well… neither. I can’t see my food unless I wear readers. I have developed acid reflux, so I take a daily pill, elevate my head when I sleep and watch my diet. No matter how much makeup I wear, the best I can hope for is, “you look so rested.” I cannot remember any names or nouns, I mostly remember verbs – “what’s her name went over to that place, oh, whaddaya call it?” I have yet to find a church I can relate to, develop a spiritual practice, meditate regularly or learn yoga.
My relatives are aging (which is a good thing as my husband would say), and I have already lost friends. My 40th high school reunion is taking place this summer and it seems just impossible that some of my classmates have already died.
I have been reluctant to write about these topics. They are personal and sometimes less than attractive. I am not a former fashion editor, spiritual guru, award-winning author or a gerontologist. I just want to write about what I struggle with, what I’ve found that works, and seek answers for challenges that I, and many other women face.
When I talk with friends, we are all trying to figure this out. We are all doing it differently. We are all a bit shell shocked. It seems we blinked and our youth vanished. We opened our eyes to find ourselves in midlife. Perhaps, in my case, not getting married until I was 42, and not having children made me blind to my own aging. Perhaps I spent years unconsciously denying it, holding on to my youth too long.
I will still write about relationships, share favorite recipes, tell stories about our miniature Bantam chickens, two acres of Petite Sirah grapes, life in Sonoma and the Northern California wine country, being a step-grandparent, aunt, daughter, sister, friend and the deeper questions. But I will be adding occasional posts about midlife. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.