By Tammy Whitehurst
Ranting, Raving, and Ready to Roll! That pretty much describes life over the age of 45 for most women. This season in our lives is filled with life-changing moments. I am going to rant and rave and this might disturb a few of you. I am a Christian woman whose about to get real about life, love, and laughter. Brace yourselves, this might be a rough ride.
Getting REAL about Life
By this age, I realize that even though life didn’t turn out the way I dreamed it would, it has still turned out really well. I made mistakes, battled regrets, and faced fears head on. I know how to grit my teeth and give it all I’ve got. Perseverance will pay off. I have discovered tattoos are not the end of the world even if I do not like them personally. Life, it’s how we look at it. That’s what I call living on the brightside.
I have been blessed to have a group of friends who stick together and share our thoughts and feelings about life. We didn’t get the white picket fence and a marriage proposal from an airplane banner flying through the sky, but we did get the gift of friendship with women who are living life alike. Some of us tried marriage more than once and we truly understand why in most cases it was meant to be only one time. We have loved and raised children we did not give birth to, yet by the grace of God we love them as if they were our own. Our children have let us down at times and we have let down our children. We can love our grandchildren whether they were conceived before or after the marriage. We can even love them if their parents never got married. We have learned to lean on each other, to live life fully alive, to cry our eyes out, and to laugh till our bellies hurt. Being around each other makes us all better wives, mothers, and grandmothers. One thing we all agree on is that life hasn’t been easy but it has been worth it. We realize we get better at life when we work hard at finding the good and not stressing over the bad. We remind each other that we can live a blessed life.
Life 101 with my friends has taught me a few things. These things hit me right between the eyes. Bam!
- I realize that being “right” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
- I also have learned listening is the hot fudge on the sundae and apologizing is the cherry.
- When I say, “I told you so” to someone, it makes me look as ugly as reading beauty magazines makes me feel.
- I realize I have a filter between my mind and my mouth—if I will just use it. The craziest things pass over my vocal cords while bypassing my brain’s filter completely.
- It’s okay to admit we are tired. Sometimes we are dead tired.
And there is a difference from being tired and dead tired. There are days I just want to throw in the towel. I am sick and tired of being so stinkin’ tired. My back hurts, feet hurt, and often my heart hurts. I can hear the beach calling my name. For some reason my toes in the sand and waves of water washing over me has healing effects. At least, then I have brainwashed myself into believing it does.
I am great friends with a lot of busy women. What woman isn’t busy nowadays? We look at our calendars “at a glance” and think to ourselves ... How will I ever do it all and take time to exercise too? I have learned from friends that I am not alone. The thought of exercise after an exhausting day overwhelms me. I sit on the couch with my running shoes laced up and I never stand from my sitting position. I eventually take my shoes off and go to bed, burning maybe two calories down the hallway. I am reminded of the verse in Matt. 11:28, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I am coming Lord—one step at a time—actually dragging myself like a wounded animal to you right now I am so tired.
Getting REAL about Love
I look at my one-a-day vitamins and wonder what would happen if I took 10-a- day. I wonder if it would put a kick in my step and a twinkle in my eye. Often, I can barely muster up the strength to hold my husband’s hand much less ... anyway, moving on. I must remember to stop in the name of love. My kids want supper and I look in the freezer for frozen pizza or perhaps frozen sweet potato fries since those are good for us, right? My dining room table has so much stuff piled on top of it I couldn’t clear it off to have a family dinner unless I rented a bulldozer. I have learned from these God-given friends that it is not unforgivable to be a pitiful housekeeper nor is it a sin to not eat at the dinner table.
In the name of ranting, I think I will keep going just a wee bit longer. The older I get, the more hair becomes an issue. I must be losing leg hair because it does not take near the time to shave that it used to take. I think there comes a time in a woman’s life when she realizes it is pointless to shave above the knees anymore. Who wears shorts anyway? Most of my so–called shorts are nicknamed “Capri”. The thought of putting on a swimsuit for vacation does not paralyze me anymore. I had great intentions of losing weight and looking like a diva in the suit this year, but it just didn’t happen and that is okay. I always have next year, right? I am bombarded with ads for juices, pills, powders, and pitches to lose weight. They all come with such a high price tag. But, I have come to the age that if I cannot afford something, I do not figure out a way to buy it, I do without it and love my life anyway.
In my group of friends, we love people more than we hate their issues. This is how we can have peace with the people we love. We can lose those dearest to us when we sweat the small stuff or we can keep them coming back home for love and an occasional serving of advice when they ask for it. I have been known to heap out servings of advice like it was homemade ice cream. A rare commodity nowadays. I came to realize advice given without being asked for is really masked criticism. I prefer to take off the mask at this point in my life. I want to be a gift of love to people, to my husband, and children especially. I am trying to convince my husband that the best gift of love he can give me will not cost him a dime. Just look me in the eyes and tell me I am beautiful even in the midst of menopause. Beautiful is such a fabulous word. It can heal words that have been said and hearts that have been broken. Again, life does not get easier, but we do get better at it.
Getting REAL about Laughter
This group of enlightened women and I have finally figured out the power behind encouragement. It is about the sound of laughter, not the sound of silence. Now, I am not the fishing type of girl, but I realize I have been fishing on the wrong side of the boat. We all have a limp in life and I was fishing for the perfect catch. Perfect doesn’t exist anywhere but in our minds. I have also realized Super Glue and duct tape can fix just about everything; dirty looks fix nothing.
As I wrap up my ranting and raving, I have one more issue. My body has begun to snap, crackle, and pop so much that I feel like a spokeswoman for Rice Krispies. I can take an Aleve to relieve the pain and boogie ‘til the sun goes down. I have some awesome dance moves (probably not my career path at this age with my skills, though). I have discovered I am at the point in life where a good pedicure, manicure, hair color, convertible, splash of perfume, adjustment by the chiropractor, and red lipstick can get my groove back in no time.
Here we are—it’s time for the annual girlfriend vacation to the beach and I have learned one more thing—and I do not have to lose weight to go to the beach and have a good time! (Insert a big grin here and a loud HOORAH!) Off we go with the wind in our hair, laughter on our lips, and so many snacks for the road trip we might not be able to get into our swimsuits tomorrow. Life goes on! It does indeed have silver linings, rainbows, and beautiful sunrises. Though troubles linger still, the sound of the surf makes everything seem a little smaller and the good things in life a lot bigger. Life—it doesn’t get easier but we get better at it. Pass me a chocolate chunk brownie, please.
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”