Guest Essays

Women of a Certain Age

by:  Wiladene N. Keen

What exactly do we mean when we say “Women of a Certain Age?” I’m sure that the answer to that question will be dependent on who’s providing the answer. There can be several approaches to clarification, and just like in any case the perspective differs. Let me tell you what it means to me, and you can decide if you agree or maybe you like your point of view better and would want to share it. As always with any posts, comments and diversity in opinions are certainly welcome!

So, let’s look at this. When women start to tick off the birthdays on the calendar after the milestone age of “50”, for some of us it may start to feel as if it’s all downhill from there. Turning fifty can be a fabulously exciting time for most women, and it should be because it marks the close of one part of our lives, but it also ushers in what should be the best years of our lives! Most of us will have experienced the empty nest syndrome and while that in it can be a little sad, it shouldn’t plaque us with sorrow and cause unnecessary heartbreak. Sure, we all miss the kids once they’ve gone off on their own whether it is to pursue higher learning, going directly into the workplace, get married (yikes!).

Look at it this way. Menopause is a vital factor in this point of our lives, and that by itself can bring so much freedom! No more periods, no more feminine period products, and I personally loved this one…you can wear white all summer without fear of accidental leakage! And speaking of summer; what about being able to wear that skimpy bikini any time you want? Goodbye Mother’s been nice to know you but …see ya!

Okay, let’s discuss the other fantastic advantage of menopause; you are available to your husband 365, 24/7 without constraints. The freedom and the pleasure of being able to get sexy any way you want to minus the unexpected surprise of Mother Nature (sometimes she didn’t knock; she just came on in) is enough to empower us women like crazy. What a grand old time the two of you can have with this liberating change in your lives.

And then there’s the PM’s: PMS, PMD, PMDD. No more of that stuff ruining your life for days (and sometimes weeks) at a time. Periods were expensive and not just having to buy all the feminine sanitary products but there did the high cost time it stole from us have to spend time in bed from painful cramps and headaches and depression. We can’t get those lost days back. Then last, there’s no more need for birth control. Just the thought of a brand new sex life sans birth control can make menopause even more attractive.

But seriously, after years of taking medication for cramps, headaches, pregnancy prevention and the like, we should be singing from the rooftops at having to get a well-deserved farewell to that time of our lives. And I know we’ve heard this over and over before, but here’s my spin on it; NO, NO, NO, going through “the change of life” does not steal your femininity or woman hood from you! Sure it is a change of life…you bet you, but for all the right reasons.

Yes, we fifty-plus women are “of a certain age.” We certainly are the proud, the free, and the fabulous! Getting our lives on every day, taking care of business, and are certainly making a difference everywhere we go!  We are not the ordinary; we are the exception and guess what? We ROCK!!

More from Wiladene N Keen can be accessed at her blog, “The Real Grandmothers of Charlotte

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Anonymous: a Cry for Help, a Final Good Bye, or Just a Secret?

by Molly M.

My whole life, I’ve been told that I’m just one of those people that make you want to talk to them. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been the person to listen. Life stories, work problems, family issues. I’ve heard them all. My brain is so full of secrets that they’re leaking out my ears. While sometimes it gets annoying, I usually don’t mind listening, just in case. You never know when the person telling you this story is going to release something that they’ve needed to tell someone for years, and you’ve just been the person who took the 75lb weight off their shoulders.

Over the years, I’ve learned its less about giving advice, and more about helping the person get to the right answer on their own, or just hearing what they are saying. That being said, I’d like to think that everyone has a Molly (that’s me). The sad truth is that not everyone can find someone who will just shut up and listen. I’ve been thinking a lot about this due to a message we received in a training session that was offered here at my job.

In this session, a manager from the Employee Assistance Program discussed all the free resources offered to employees, including mental health counseling. The attendees were given the chance to submit questions into a box to be answered after the session via an email Q/A session. One question received involved an employee asking for long term counseling, as they had exhausted their free sessions, and were still having suicidal thoughts.

This note was unsigned, with no indication as to who had written it. Of course, we’re faced with the dilemma, what to do next? Of course, we pull together all of our resources, and come up with a list of all available resources. But how do we address it? If we send an email addressing just this, do we run the risk of having that employee feel targeted and push them over the edge? If we wait and address the question with the others, will we be too late?

This brings me to the question, what was their intention? A Cry for Help – they’re just looking for help. They secretly hope you figure out who they are, so you can be their Molly. “Vaguebooking,” which is posting random angry thoughts, emotional quotes, or sad comments as a Facebook status, can have the same effect. You just want someone to ask you about it (sometimes a specific person) so you can tell the story. You just want to talk to someone, in the hopes that someone can help.

A Final GoodBye – You really hope it’s not this one. This is the person who has given up, and wants you to know what you did wrong. Not that it matters for them, they’re so far gone that believe they are beyond help. This person just wants us to know that if we offered more, we could have saved them.

Just A Secret – This is the one you hope for. They have enough strength to know that even though they have these feelings, or any unhappy feelings, they want help, not to actually take their own life. This is the easiest to reach, because they are honestly looking for the answer, just don’t want the attention that asking the question in front of a group can bring. So, what kind of person did we have? We’ll never know.

The question was anonymous. This person had already sought treatment, so I like to think they were in the ‘just a secret’ category. No matter what kind of anonymous note this was, I still think everyone should find a Molly. It doesn’t have to be the same Molly every time, just someone that will listen. You’ll never know if you were the person who simply put a smile on their face that day, or if you were the person who caused them to lock their gun back up and say, not today death, I’ve got more to live for. You should always know that you make a difference by doing something so simple as sitting back and listening.


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One thought on “Guest Essays

  1. I’m reluctantly a “Molly,” in the same way that I’m a popular loner. I can’t believe the # of people, even strangers, that have confided things like what you’re talking about to me. I don’t know if they do that to everyone or if there’s just something about my aura. Probably a little of each.

    With regard to suicidal thoughts, I try to subtly gauge if it’s reached the ideational stage. I have never judged it as such. If I did, I’d call 911, tackling them until help arrived if need be.

    I once made a new friend who had worked as an EMT. He was telling me about some of the violent things, e. g., suicides, he had seen in his line of work. I told him that if I know someone well enough, I tell a friend expressing suicidal thoughts that if they did it, I’d come to their funeral and talk about what a pussy they were and would piss on their grave. I felt bad for my bluntness when he said that he had discovered his dad when he blew his brains out. We’re still friends.

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