A Short Story

shortsAhhh, the unofficial start to summer is unofficially here. In New England, this means packing away most of the cold-weather clothes and breaking out the summer wear.  And for those of us more mature Real Women, that also means once again facing one particularly dreaded wardrobe element: shorts.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny warm day, and my husband and I, along with many other families, attended an outdoor concert performed by our kids at a local family entertainment center. Shortly before leaving for this event, I pawed through the handful of shorts I have that at this point “sort of” fit. After all, this mamma bear put on a few pounds over the winter, so the available selection has diminished. Not thrilled with my options, I opted for a basic pair of navy shorts and a flowy shirt to hide as many flaws as possible.

During this enjoyable afternoon, as so often happens, I had two fascinating real woman coincidences happen. As I chatted with two separate R.W. friends, they each, without provocation, brought up the same topic: shorts.  One friend was wearing jeans. She shared with me that the jeans were her only option that day – she too, like me, had apparently gained a few pounds over the winter, and her available shorts stock was depleted.  She had attempted to go shopping the day before, and after a couple of hours returned home chagrined and empty handed. Every pair she found in the stores was short. I know, ironic to say that, but I mean really short. We both agreed that except for maybe a handful of freaks of nature, no woman over the age of 40 looks good in short shorts. Honestly, after scanning the crowd that afternoon, I’m willing to say very few women of ANY age look good in short shorts. That style is designed for 16-year old girls who weigh perhaps 85 pounds. No one else.

I concurred with my friend’s frustration, as I have only just begun the hunt for new shorts, and I too have seen styles that I would not even dare to try on, let alone purchase. A few minutes later, my other R.W. friend sat down next to me and she too told me the sad tale of going on a search for decent, wearable shorts. There had to be a happy medium somewhere between the pairs with a 1-inch mid-seam, and… well…. “mom shorts”. You know the style I’m talking about, because we all have them hidden in our drawer somewhere. Generally khaki in color, landing just above the knee, plain, no frills, built with the “comfort waist” to accommodate the muffin top. Let’s face it, Mom Shorts are as bad as Mom Jeans.   My friend made her confession that in order to come out of the store with something wearable, she had settled on – she leaned in to whisper to me — “Gloria Vanderbilt’s”.   Has it come to this? Are our days of fun and funky fashion and comfort in the hot sun over forever?

Men, we know you get weary of seeing the woman you love in capri’s. In all honesty, we get weary of wearing them. But there is a reason. Anything shorter is just…. too much of a challenge.

Speaking of men, they are not immune to the great shorts debate. Once they reach a certain age, some styles no longer work well on them either. The big difference is, they just don’t care as much as we do. If they are comfortable, that’s all that matters. Yet my son has begun to get a bit more vocal about his father’s taste in shorts. First of all, my husband has always loved, and will always love, jean shorts. He was shocked when my son and I tried to gently tell him over dinner the other night that he may be the last man in the country who still wears them.

The other morning, my husband had the day off but was up early, so we both roamed outside as my son was heading out to catch the bus for school. I was in my usual pre-work scary mom wardrobe of some form of sweatpants, tshirt and garden clogs. My son has long since given up on my early morning look, hoping that I simply won’t be in view when the bus arrives. His father this particular morning was preparing to do yard work, so had thrown on one of his oldest, ill-fitting tshirts, old paint-spattered shorts, and work boots. Now, for some reason, for teen girls, short shorts and combat boots is an acceptable, even encouraged style. However, translated to my husband, not so much.  As the bus pulled up, my son cast a sleepy, teen-angst glance at his father and quietly said “Dad. Ya gotta get some longer shorts.” His father said “there’s nothing wrong with these shorts.” Then he glanced at me with an “is there??” look on his face. I have to admit I laughed, not necessarily at him, but for him. Because what choices does he really have? If he tried to wear the long basketball shorts the younger boys wear, he’d look ridiculous. So, like me, he’s faced with two choices: inappropriate, or old man.

We have a family vacation coming up in about a month. I have great hope that within that time frame, both my husband and I will find some summer wear that not only fits, but allows us some modicum of non-dorkiness. If we succeed, our son will be less embarrassed to be seen with us. If we don’t succeed, we can at least take comfort in knowing others of our kind will be in the same predicament. Perhaps we’ll start a club.

And of course, I’ll pack my capri’s.

 

 

Sometimes It Isn’t Easy

Atlas-600We all go through challenging phases in life. When bad, sad, or just plain ugly things seem to pile up around us. I know several folks right now who are trying to make their way through some of those piles. A variety of serious issues arise like the death of loved ones, illnesses, accidents, health concerns, you name it – we’ve all experienced them at some point. Add to that the usual daily strains, like job stress, financial issues, diets, child care, family maintenance, caring for elderly parents, home repairs…the list goes on. Then, because we Real Women never do anything just half way, we pile on global concerns and worries. Every time we connect to our news feeds, we hear about natural disasters, horrible transportation accidents, poverty, and the terrifying threat of Isis. It all starts to feel like it will never end….Soon we feel like our pal Atlas, who was condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders; or perhaps we are more like Sisyphus, rolling that blasted heavy bolder up a mountain only to watch it roll back down on us.

We’ve all used some popular phrases when we get into these modes. “Bad things come in 3’s”, “when it rains it pours”, and “if we had no bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.” We start to believe in these loosely prophetic words, and lose our energy. Pretty soon we are contemplating two options: burrow down under a blanket to ignore the world and go into hibernation, or run away. Realistically of course, neither of these are really an option.  So we must trudge on.

I’ve always been a positive, cheerful person. When I was in college, a friend’s mother referred to me as a Pollyanna. I laughed it off, but in all honesty, I was offended and crushed. The last thing I wanted was to come across as being fake or obnoxious. I started to doubt myself – was I not being genuine enough? Was I annoying? Should I tone it down? Then, as I made my way through adulthood, I started to understand life a bit more clearly. Sometimes, it just isn’t easy. Sometimes it is ok to be angry, or sad. It is ok to vent, or cry, or even hide under a blanket and wallow in self-pity. We need to be sensitive to the fact that someone else in our lives, at any moment, could be going through a challenging phase. They could be feeling like the world is on their shoulders, weighing them down; and we need to be sympathetic and supportive.

Long ago I decided that life is too short to spend our time on this earth being miserable. It seems far more pleasant to me to look for the good, to smile more and frown less, to be thankful for all we have. Yet, even me, that humble Pollyanna of the past, has had moments of challenge like everyone else. Those moments where we feel overwhelmed with the bad, and want to yell “enough already!”. Moments where life just isn’t easy.

Still, I believe that if we force ourselves to get up every day and keep plugging along, something is going to break through the crud. A friend will share some good news about her health recovery; a spring day will force us to notice a flower or tree so beautiful it takes our breath away; we will lose five pounds; we will stumble across a favorite movie on tv; someone will make us laugh so hard we snort and pee. Something will give us that light, and that bounce we need. For that minute, we get a break from the yuck. For that instant, we can breathe. We get a brief adjustment in our perspective. And most importantly of all, for that one moment in time, we remember that sometimes, life is easy.

So to all my fellow R.W.’s out there who may be struggling with various challenges, it’s ok to stop and put that world down off your shoulders. Stop pushing that boulder and just lean against it and rest. Find that one little thing in your day that for an instant can make everything else disappear.

Nope, sometimes it’s not easy. But who ever met a Real Woman who wasn’t up for a challenge?

 

 

Proceed with Caution

moose xingOver the past few days, I’ve had the opportunity to travel through some rural areas, for both personal and professional reasons. Truth be told, when time allows, I prefer driving through the country vs. city and highway drives. Certainly, hopping on an interstate is quicker and more efficient, but I find rural vistas much more appealing.

When traveling alone through the countryside however, the usual “pass the time” road trip activities are not as effective. Playing the license plate game proves to be quite boring, as I’m either the only one on the road, or could be following the same vehicle for miles. Catching up with people via phone hands-free is also not a great idea, since cell service can be spotty at best. So, I have three other primary ways to keep myself entertained while enroute: boisterously singing with my favorite music du jour (I DID say I was travelling alone), tracking wildlife sightings (the alive kind, road kill doesn’t count), and reading signs. In rural areas, there are no garish billboards every eighth of a mile. Where country signs may lack in quantity, they make up in variety.   The majority are either yellow caution signs, or local informational marks.   And they often get me thinking about their purpose.

One of my very favorites is the Moose Crossing sign. I’ve only seen a moose in the wild once, when I was a young girl. And I’ve wanted to see more ever since. Whenever I see one of those signs, I start peering into the woods and swamps with excited anticipation that maybe this time I’ll see one of those magnificent yet slightly goofy-looking critters staring back at me. Of course I’d rather not have my next encounter be with one standing in the road as I come around a bend, but rather be able to pull over and watch one wading through a marsh in an ever-so-picturesque way.

I do wonder, though, what qualifications must be met in order for a Moose Crossing sign to be installed? Is it based on number of moose sightings in the past year? If we go by my track record, then that goal number must be pretty low. Oh, look, there’s one! Better get a sign up! Or does it have to do with the number of moose-vehicle collisions? Yikes, I hope not. Or, perhaps, it has more to do with the moose-iness of the surrounding habitat. If that’s the case, what does that checklist look like? Wilderness? Check. Cold Temperatures? Check. Bogs filled with moose-friendly vegetation? Check.   I don’t know. All I do know is I’ll keep looking, as if that black silhouette on a bright yellow board is some kind of promise that I’ll see one.

Interestingly today, just a couple of miles beyond a Moose Crossing sign, I saw a yellow caution sign with one word: Children. I thought this a bit curious, as I was definitely not in a “thickly settled” location. No sidewalks, no playgrounds, no schools, very few homes anywhere near the road. Could they have been using the same guidelines as the moose signs? Was there an old woman living in a shoe up in the hills? Or did Hansel and Gretel have a cottage nearby?   These are the things I ponder as the miles roll on.

One of my other favorites is the long squiggly line with an arrow at the end, indicating a curvy road ahead. Part of me sees that sign and thinks “wheeeeeee!”

And, perhaps best of all, are the local hand-made signs. One I viewed today was simply one word, spray painted in purple on a piece of wood: Logs. With an arrow pointing down a dirt road.   Not firewood, not lumber, not timber. Logs. No price listed, no instructions. Were they offering logs to be made into fences? Were they trying to get rid of large trees recently felled to clear land? Or perhaps was someone wanting logs to be dropped off? Who knows. I would have only found out by taking a detour down that dirt road, and I had not the time nor the need for wood of any kind.

There seems to be a current trend in gift shops for signs with various witty or thought-provoking phrases imprinted on them. I tend to be a sucker for these, and have a few of my own. For example, I have an inspirational list of to-do’s on my home office wall, reminding me to create something every day and to dream big. I have a small plaque hanging in my kitchen which reads “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a normal family.” There are many to choose from in gift shops and tourist centers.

Yet after my travels through the countryside, I am thinking that perhaps we are missing an opportunity for caution signs designed for use by Real Women.   Think how handy a yellow sign with the letters PMS printed on it could be for the men in our lives. They can not see that we are bloated, head-achey, back-achey and exhausted… so without having to go so far as to have us start sobbing uncontrollably, or verbally snap their heads off, they’d see the caution sign upon entering the house and would know to tread carefully.

Similarly, a yellow sign with “Hotflash” emblazoned on it would immediately answer the question as to why all of the kitchen windows are open on a cold winter day, and those entering the room would know to avoid shutting those windows until all was safe.

Without fail, when I start to sweep, mop, or vacuum the floors in the house, members of my family suddenly appear. My husband will choose that moment to walk in the house from outside, and will say “wooops, bad timing”, or my dog will decide he needs to lay down in the middle of the floor. So a Vaccuum Crossing sign would be ever so convenient.

And how about those rare nights when mom needs a night off from cooking? When we need to deem an evening a “fend for yourself” night, we could simply put up the yellow board with a fork, plate and knife symbol with a large slash across it.   This would immediately let inhabitants know that they better get out their cereal bowls or make a sandwich.

We could take a few cues from the rural roads of America, and make good use of simple cautionary insignias and informational signs for our own homes and daily activities. Who knows, maybe we could create some excitement by posting a sign showing the outline of a washing machine and an arrow and hope it spurs some activity.

It could happen – just as soon as I see a moose.

 

 

 

 

Simply Amazing

bleeding heart bushThere are a lot of remarkable things to be amazed by in this world. There are natural wonders like Niagara Falls, modern modes of transport like giant aircraft that take flight and enormous ships that float; rocket ships that reach other planets; and special people like emergency and medical personnel who save lives; soldiers who serve their country, and royalty like Kate who can look perfectly gorgeous in heels a few hours after giving birth to a princess.

It is easy to be astounded by these unusual, unreal, and unique effects. We can be mesmerized by their allure, even fascinated – but we can’t really relate to them. What about the every day, common, and very real situations and people who surround us every day? That is where we can truly be amazed – if we just keep our eyes open and not take everything for granted.

The other day, as I pulled in to the parking lot at my work, I watched one of our tractor-trailer drivers back a truck up with exact precision to a loading dock door. The back of the truck was perfectly aligned, and he did it without any backing and filling. I was amazed. I’m challenged with just parking my car evenly between the white lines in a space.

After the brutal and ugly winter we just got through, I thought for sure some of my garden plants would not survive. And yet, not only did they make it, but they are thriving. One recent morning I was looking at my Bleeding Heart bush, which I swear if I had the time, I could pull up a lawn chair and actually watch it grow. Every day, another arm of those delicate, intricate pink heart-shaped blooms appears as if to say “everything’s all right now.” Amazing.

Without fail, each evening when I get home, my dog appears, acting like seeing me is the best thing that has ever happened to him. His whole body wags, he does circles, snorts at me and gives me that doggie smile. No matter what kind of day I had, his joy and exuberance over my sheer existence makes any yuckiness disappear. When I look at any dog or cat’s face, I’m amazed by their cuteness, character, and bright eyes.

Of course our day to day lives would not be the same without the remarkable humans we encounter. The skills, the personality, the talent, and the caring – are all pretty astonishing when we stop to actually appreciate them. This weekend, we pay homage to the kind of person who pretty much tops the amazing list: mothers.

It starts at the very beginning, when a woman gives up her body to create another human being. She nurtures this alien-like life form for nine months, going through such thrills as morning sickness, swollen feet, heartburn, back ache, and of course, a transformation that makes her look like she swallowed a basketball.   All that to then experience the “joy” of childbirth. Yes, it is miraculous. It is also painful, excruciating, exhausting and sometimes even life-threatening. Yet mothers willingly go through this to bring a new life into the world – and many are willing to repeat the process over and over again. Astonishing.

That is only the beginning. For the rest of her life, that woman now will play an unbelievable number of roles, including teacher, nurturer, disciplinarian, nurse, playmate, confidante, banker, safety inspector, taxi driver, chef, listener, mentor, fashion consultant, coach, caretaker, hugger. And every second of every day, her child or children carry part of her heart with them. She would lay down her life for them and she will never stop worrying about them.

Sure, there are some mothers out there who are perhaps not quite so wonderful. Some struggle with taking on the responsibility, some even give it up. But the incredible side of that story is that their daughters may be lucky enough to have their own chance some day to turn into awesome mothers themselves.

I was blessed to have it both ways. I had an incredible mom, and I have had the chance to become a mom. I remember when I was pregnant with my son, and was feeling some trepidations about childbirth and the years ahead, all I had to do was remember mom, and all the other outstanding mothers I knew. They were able to not only survive the process, but seemed to love it. So I knew I could too. And guess what, I was right.

This weekend, tell a mother she is simply amazing. Even if that mother is you.

 

 

 

A Bit of Bling for Nature

biking bird

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'”   — Robin Williams

Mother Nature has flipped her magic switch and suddenly spring has sprung. In New England, that means that the flowering trees are bursting with beautiful white, pink and purple blooms; forsythia are commanding attention with their bright yellow displays, and tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are proving that yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as spring. Ding-dong, winter is dead.

We are emerging from our homes like moles, blinking in the sunlight, eager to dig in the dirt. It is a time for raking, edging, thatching, cutting back old dead wood, cleaning out the faded and brown and getting ready for the new and green.   Yet here in New England, as I’m sure is also the case in other northern climes, early spring presents some challenges in the gardening world. The great debate begins as to whether or not it is too soon to plant. Those of us who have been around the garden block a few times say “yup, it is. Better wait.”   Nothing is more disheartening than spending money and time in getting a lovely garden planted, then have a cold snap blow through and freeze the poor babies.

So there we stand, in our dirt, tools and energy at the ready. And once things are prepped and tufted….then what?

What happens next is the planting of something else. Yard décor.   Out come the bird baths, the gnomes, the windmills, and the flags. These items can withstand a bit of weather and they give us some character and color while we await full bloom.

Now, come on, admit it, in our minds our backyards all look like, or will soon look like, this:  castle garden

But we are real women with real yards, and in reality they look more like this:

real garden

So bit by bit we add elements of décor that say something about our personal outdoor style, and welcome the new season and feed our illusions of grandeur. Some home ornamentation is stately and serious – with stone lions by the driveway, or the Blessed Virgin Mary gazing upon roses, or columns and statues that make the front lawn look like Little Italy. Other yards turn into fanciful gardens of creatures – elves, frogs, bunnies, turtles, fish and cherubs, all gallivanting around the property.  Sometimes the whole collection has been gathered into one garden area making it look like a carnival of crowded critters.  Or there’s the fountain that looks like a little boy pee’ing on the flowers.  I never quite understood that appeal of that one.

Some homes go for the gusto in over-the top bright colors. There is a home in a neighborhood near me that welcomes spring with a myriad of bold statements – archways of fake flowers, towers and statuary in bright blues, golds and yellows. I imagine it must seem like a fairy tale yard for any child. And, of course, some of us are much more understated, with perhaps a simple bench and a sundial.

I could easily become the Crazy Accessory Lady with my yard. When I stroll through Garden Centers, I’m attracted to all of the fun things that could be added to my property. Stepping stones, critters, whirly-gigs, you name it, I want to find space for them around my home. Luckily, at least in my husband’s eyes, I have limited budget and limited space – so I must be selective. The result is somewhat random items that make me smile. I’ve had a stone mama bunny and baby in my garden for years. As a matter of fact, when I got them out for the spring this year, I had to repaint their noses. We have a birdbath fountain which I am convinced is not only decorative, but serves a purpose as a place for our little feathered friends to pause and cool off. And my new acquisition this spring: a bike-riding Cardinal. I mean, just look at him, how could he NOT come home with me? Every time I look at him, I laugh. So there he is, in my front garden, waiting for some flowers and greenery to pedal through.

The home and garden magazines don’t help quell the desire to create something magical in the backyard. I read one article that suggested painting patio pots with glow-in-the-dark paint, so at night they’ll glimmer. I’m totally trying that this year.

It is funny how our tastes change with time. When gazing balls first started popping up in gardens, my husband and I giggled and mocked them. We had a running joke with my father that some day we’d buy one and sneak it into his garden. And yet… I now find them strangely appealing. When we visited a garden center in March, we saw some that light up at night…and others that are designed with funky swirled colors and mirrored reflections.   Hmm, tempting….

We R.W.’s have done our best to get through a long winter, but have grown weary of being inside the walls… so we eagerly welcome venturing outside. Nature’s beauty is all around us — but we are women — can we help it if we want to do a bit of accessorizing?

Gazing Ball Selfie

Gazing Ball Selfie

 

 

When Convenience Leads to Ridiculousness

microOur microwave oven at work died the other day. Before you get out your miniature violins to play me an appropriately melancholy melody, I will say that we are not completely at a loss. There is a working microwave in the kitchenette one floor below us. So rather than walk the fifteen paces it usually takes me to heat my lunch, I actually have to walk down a hall, a flight of stairs, then another hall, to warm my meal. A distance that takes perhaps 3 minutes of time. And yet, I have viewed this as an inconvenience. Simply because I’m spoiled. I’ve actually considered bringing in more sandwiches and salads for lunch that won’t need heating so I don’t have to travel as far. Keep in mind that almost every day I go for a walk with co-workers at lunch time, and we’ll walk an average of 2 – 4 miles. But walk downstairs? Sheesh, what a pain. I realized I reached an all new level of absurdity today when I actually carried my lunch-in-a-box to the ELEVATOR to reach my destination, because if I took the stairs I would have to use my security card at two doorways. Taking the elevator avoided that troublesome extra effort and actually delivered me directly across from the kitchen.

My own garish display of this First World Problem got me to thinking about other instances in which the sheer convenience and ease we have for accomplishing simple tasks in our day-to-day lives has made us not just potentially lazy, but overindulged and… well, kind of ridiculous.

First, let’s revisit this Microwave situation. We have several stores within a 7-minute drive in which we could purchase a new unit. And yet none of us feels like making a special trip, and have instead talked about whoever is the next person who is already planning to visit a Target or Costo, could pick it up.   Why go “out of our way” for 20 minutes? It is much more productive to talk about how it is broken for several days and watch people switch to drinking iced coffee rather than having to go downstairs to reheat a cuppa joe.

This weekend I used the drive-up ATM at my bank. And grumbled when I had to unlatch my seatbelt and open my door slightly and skootch my butt over a few inches in order to reach the machine. Clearly being able to stay in my vehicle is not easy enough, I want the machine to reach out directly to me.

I get annoyed if I have to stop and move the plug on the vacuum cleaner because the cord isn’t long enough to reach the whole upstairs. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who will do that odd stretching ballet-like move to try to reach that far corner, then decide the missed area can wait until next time. As if I’ll have more patience then. It’s almost as bad as bending over to pick up something the vacuum didn’t catch, dropping it, and trying to slurp it up again rather than throwing it out.

Computers. I could just stop right there. But I think my favorite warped sense of troublesomeness is when we all get that alert that updates are available. I haven’t had to search to find out if any new updates need to be performed, the machine is telling me “it’s time”. And yet I click the “remind me later” option. The updates will likely make my laptop run more efficiently, or fix any issues any of us have been having, and will likely take less than ten minutes to complete. Yet I can’t be bothered at that moment to stop what I’m doing to make it happen. “Ugh, not right now, maybe tomorrow…” Click.

Lastly, that brings us to the modern convenience that has possibly led us down the biggest path of silliness. Texting. My girlfriend and I enjoy watching some of the same TV Shows. Rather than getting together in person to watch them, or even call each other to discuss the plot lines, we text each other to “talk” about various Voice contestants, plot twists on Downton, and to share laughs over Modern Family. The craziest part? She and I live right next door to each other. Somewhere along the way in First World advancements and efficiencies, going tippy-tappy-tap with our fingers replaced all other forms of personal contact.

There are a lot of things that we R.W.’s do the hard way… perhaps when we get the chance to take advantage of doing things the easy way, we go a wee bit too far to the dark side. I suppose as long as we don’t give in to the temptation to complain about it, it is ok to cheat a bit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to search around the house to find the remote because that is much more productive then reaching over and turning the TV on manually.

 

 

Ties That Bind

friendsIn the world of R.W. bonding, the need for women to get together socially starts early in our lives. I remember as a young girl, playing with my girlfriends, we spent hours pretending to be actresses, dancers, or even horses, making up games in the backyard, or doing arts and crafts. As we grew into pre-teens, then highschoolers, our gatherings became more about bike rides to each other’s houses, social outings, sports, going out for ice cream, going to movies, and of course, long discussions about boys. Moving into college and early adulthood, we entered into the phase of parties, concerts, clubbing and shopping. That basic need to connect with other women, our best friends, our sisters, seems to be as vital to us throughout our lives as the air we breathe.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I had the luck and pleasure to spend time away with my Personal Board of Directors, made up of my sister and four of my BFF’s. We try to pull together “Board Meetings” on a fairly regular basis, but this was the first time we’ve succeeded in having all six of us together for a full long weekend. It was likely the most effective and beneficial four-day “meeting” I’ve ever had.

We happily enjoyed our mini-vacation in the Berkshires (for those in other parts of the world, it is beautiful countryside on the border of Massachusetts and New York – most famous for ski centers and Fall foliage). As we talked, shopped, laughed and ate our way through our time together, I started thinking about how these bonding gatherings have changed since our younger years.

  • Rather than feel the need to be in the center of a booming metropolis full of noise and excitement, we were thrilled to be nestled in the country, with an off-season view of a mountain and ski resort.
  • Rather than go clubbing or looking for the bar scene, we chose to BYO, enjoying a glass or two of wine to relax, or cheat the diets with homemade chocolate martinis.
  • Rather than “shopping ‘til we dropped” in designer boutiques and giant malls, we explored quaint shoppes and dug for discount treasure at an Outlet Center, pausing for lunch and beverages and to enjoy the spring sunshine.
  • Rather than venturing out in search of the excitement of extreme sports, or going wild and crazy by getting tattoos or make-overs, we took walks, talked about our anxieties over our children getting tattoos, and changed into loungewear every night by 9pm.
  • Rather than dishing about recent dates and hotties, we shared stories about our husbands (which ones snore, which ones hate meatloaf, which ones want to retire early), and compared our concerns and woes over our children’s dating habits. We also reluctantly agreed how in many movies now, instead of being attracted to the 20-something lead, we find his father’s character to be more appealing and sexy.
  • Rather than compare cosmetic tips and diet plans, we commiserated about the challenges of our mature bodies, shared fashion thoughts for mid-life, and tried to decide if 50 is the new 40, or the new 30. We took group photos, and instead of being overly judgmental about how we looked, we all agreed that “damn, we look GOOD.”

To those in a younger age bracket, this description of the weekend likely sounds deathly dull. On the contrary, it was fabulous. It was relaxed, it was fun, and oh, boy, did we laugh. We laughed about muffin tops, word loss, caring for elderly parents, stories about our histories together, technology, lack of sleep, career challenges and changes, the men in our lives, exercise, travel, inappropriate photos, and eating. Oh, and we spent a few hours playing Cards Against Humanity. Best done only with the closest of friends.

When we gather as R.W.’s during our mid-life years, there is a level of comfort and happiness that has replaced the anxieties, competition and stresses of our youth. Sure, we miss the energy, vitality and beauty of our younger years. But absolutely nothing compares to the appreciation and enjoyment we squeeze out of every moment spent together now.  As young girls, we excitedly band together to look to the future and eagerly anticipate “what’s next”.   As mature BFFs, we are happily fulfilled with what’s “right now.”

When was the last time you got your Personal Board of Directors together?

Tiime to call a meeting. And enjoy.