Friday, February 26, 2010

Slipping Between Life Phases

I was reading a post by Dorothy Sander on her Aging Abundantly blog titled Midlife Shadows. She talks about Midlife being a time when we become who we are meant to be. I like that. It reminded me of a conversation I'd had with Mr. Tom Murphy, former Drama teacher at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, AK. I did not have the honor of being taught by Mr Murphy, however, we are now FaceBook friends and I do enjoy that greatly.

In one of our first connects I commented to him that I was now entering into the complexities of "the aging woman" and attempting to do whatever it was I needed to do to leave my mark on the world. He informed me that in a few years I would be "a woman of a certain age" and I would find that a good thing. He told me "When you get to be of a certain age, man or woman, you can do whatever you think you should do, and woe to those who say you nay! As "the aging woman" you still have responsibilities that will have vanished when you get to be "of a certain age". I know this because I have been "of a certain age" for years now."

I liked that as much as I did Dorothy's post. In fact, Mr. Murphy's comment led to a story. I'd like to share it with you now.....

A Woman of a Certain Age by Linda Boulanger

When I was a child, I spoke as a child…then 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 wasn’t 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 wasn’t so sure about her. She didn’t 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 didn’t 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 can’t 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 I’d 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. I’d be crawling back into them in a few hours anyway because I’d already planned a luxurious afternoon nap followed by a late night indulgence of eating popcorn in bed and watching movies I’d missed over the years. I’d been told that the fact that I hadn’t seen Beaches made me borderline criminal and an affront to womankind. I didn’t 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 hadn’t 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 didn’t ponder so much on what others thought. Oh I really liked her. I felt as if I had grown up at last.

I’d 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 didn’t 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.

That story makes me smile. It's a great reminder of where we've been and where we have yet to go. It also won a second place in the FaithWriter's Challenge! I was happy...happy enough to include it in my collection of faith-based short stories: Becoming... Thanks Dorothy for a lovely post and thank you, Mr. Murphy for helping to ease the pain of slipping from phase to phase. You always bring about your own special blend of perspective.


  1. Linda, thank you for writing that. Wonderfully written with a great message. Entertaining at the same time.

  2. Your stories are amazing, Linda! And this one really speaks to me. Along the way, and every year that passes, I am a different "me". I think many times women fight the differences that come and what I've learned from life and most definitely from this story is that we need to accept them.:-)

  3. Hi Linda---this IS a great story thanks for leaving the link on my blog. It is true--seems as soon as we start to get comfortable with who we are, the aging factor sets in and an entirely new equation must be solved.

    However, life is what makes us who we are, spider veins and all. And we're GORGEOUS.