As some of you may already know, Be Brave. Lose the Beige is a place for Baby Boomer women, Lady Boomers as I like to call us (as I most definitely fit into this demographic). I write about issues facing our generation. I started writing back when we were struggling with how to fill our empty nests followed by how to cope when it filled back up and emptied for a second and third time. The issues have transitioned in the ensuing years to - (1) navigating retirement retirement options, (2) the advent of grandchildren in our lives, (3) our changing bodies, and (4) caregiving and health care issues. Aging, as the pundits are want to say, "is not for sissies". So true for me as I face a myriad of joint issues, thinning hair, feet issues, and a wrinkly neck (remember Nora Ephron's quote in her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck- Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth...You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn’t if it had a neck.” She was 65 when she wrote that book (not long before her untimely death six years later). At 63, I'm really relating. I find I'm obsessing about the shampoo/conditioning protocols to deal with my dry hair; shoes...I'm totally obsessed with finding shoes that can help me manage a Morton's Neuroma and Plantar Fascitis; even makeup- what can help keep up the lie on my face as Ephron put it. So...periodically I will post tips from experts on these topics. I read with interest a recent article in The New York Times entitled "There Is a Right Way to Wash Your Hair". I actually clicked on it and received good information about:
I'm not much of a girlie girl (if I can even use that reference at my age) but I found this article fascinating. I hope you will too. I'll post tips from other experts soon. (Disclaimer: I researched neck enhancement tips but they all looked incredibly painful.
- The right way to brush your hair.
- Using a vegetable derived oil to moisturize hair as opposed to conditioner which can weigh down your hair.
- The right kind and amount of shampoo depending upon the nature of your hair
- The correct way to rinse your hair
- Even the correct method for towel drying your hair.
Baby Boomer women
In May I posted my People Pleasers Anonymous blog, referencing Faith Salie’s book, “Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much”. I was more than a little delighted to read about her penchant for people pleasing because, like Faith, I too suffer from the same plight. Salie says, “Instead of trying to be a “perfectionist” or “people pleaser”, it’s better to be honest as an approval junkie, someone who is vulnerable and human enough to admit that they care about affirmation from others”. So, after admitting my approval addiction, I embedded a survey link in my post to determine whether I was a lone ranger on this people-pleasing prairie or if there were other like minded pleasers. My husband and I own a market research firm and conduct polls for a living. Thus, I’m sensitive to sample sizes and questionnaire language. The questions used in the survey were tested by psychologists who are experts in this field Nevertheless, I was pretty surprised to receive 207 responses. The target audience for my Be Brave. Lose the Beige blog is women between the ages of 40-80. Half of my survey respondents were between 40-60; the other half between 60-80. Thus, we had a fairly good representation of Lady Boomers.
The following are the questions and the results:I have a hard time asking for or accepting help from others. 60% said this statement described their personality most of the time; an additional 30% said this statement applied to them at least sometimes. I worry about hurting other people's feelings 74% said this statement described their personality most of the time; an additional 24% said this statement applied to them at least sometimes. I tend to avoid conflicts and disagreements. 70% said this statement described their personality most of the time; an additional 24% said this statement applied to them at least sometimes. I find it hard to set and keep healthy boundaries. 37% said this statement described their personality most of the time; an additional 47% said this statement applied to them at least sometimes. I strive to be perfect. 48% said this statement described their personality most of the time; an additional 40% said this statement applied to them at least sometimes. I feel responsible for other people's happiness 37% said this statement described their personality most of the time; an additional 50% said this statement applied to them at least sometimes. I was fairly stunned by the intensity of the responses. The data from this survey clearly indicates I’m not alone in my need to please. Let me be clear, these responses came from women who are (1) single and married, (2) mothers and grandmothers, (3) family breadwinners, (4) community leaders and volunteers, (5) those who are employed and those transitioning into retirement, (6) caregivers for family members, (7) and all of the above. Is this a cultural thing? Did society and our parents subtly and not so subtly encourage us to adopt these roles? Or, is it in our DNA to be sensitive and caring? Are we psychologically prone to this behavior or have we been socialized to be this way? I would wager to say it’s a bit of both. Until I watched Faith Salie’s interview on CBS Sunday Morning, I had not really talked even to my closest friends and family members about my penchant for people pleasing. I tend to believe most in my age cohort have not either. I’d like to start this conversation here. This primal or socialized need of ours is delaying us from focusing on ourselves and our own dreams. We could have another 20 or 30 quality years in our physical arsenal, let’s stop postponing our passions for the sake of others. I’m starting a People Pleasing Platform on my blog site and Facebook page. I really want you to share your stories. Maybe you have come out on the other side. If so, others can benefit from your inspiration. As Faith Salie says, “this is a journey toward realizing that seeking approval from others is more than just getting them to like you- its challenging yourself to achieve, and survive, more than you ever thought you could.
I'm honored to be a featured blogger for Vibrant Nation. Vibrant Nation is a really cool online community for women +50. (Needless to say, as I crest toward 63, I certainly meet their age criteria.)
What Vibrant woman do you most admire?I love and admire Anne Lamott. I love her honesty. She admits her vulnerabilities. She is a wonderfully vivid writer. She says things like, “Laughter is carbonated holiness”; “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” This is an excerpt from my interview. To read more click here.
I spent seven February days in Chicago caring for my newly born granddaughter. Did I mention the February in Chicago part? The -14 degrees part? It was a fabulous week filled with so much love and delight. Such a point of connection for my son and me. My daughter flew in as well. Scrambling eggs one morning, accompanied by David's music playlist, I beheld my daughter cooing with baby Maya as her brother and sister-in-law perused family baby photos of yesteryear. This is why we have kids-- for these moments of utter contentment and completeness. Now, did you hear the "moments" part of the above sentence? Let's be honest, to achieve those moments requires hours of energy expenditure, a/k/a work. Now, much of that work is joyful work. Feeling useful is so satisfying and contributes to one's sense of well-being and happiness. Ok, all the benefits of hard work and self sacrifice aside, the work part is exhausting. I was assigned the early morning baby caring shift. That meant arising at 5:30 and trudging two blocks in the snow and -14 degree weather to fulfill my motherly/grandmotherly duties. Once in the warmth of the apartment, heaven awaited in the form of my baby girl. That intoxicating baby fragrance; the feel of her head tucked beneath my chin; to know I've not lost the ability to soothe a baby back to sleep. Priceless moments. But there was also
- taking the dog out for exercise and elimination;
- climbing basement stairs on wounded knee with mounds of laundry;
- grocery shopping (organic only);
- car pooling;
- Starbuck's drive-throughs;
- even hosting an Oscar night party.