Love and Lust

Some writers in this section extol the joy of finding Mr. Absolutely Right, telling about good relationships where contentment and peace are dominant themes. Some speak of the juicer sides of love, where hot grown up sex adds its own sizzle.

There’s a tale of bad marriage choices and the writer’s struggles to create a stable and productive new life. Still another writer suggests that we can’t have a successful relationship with another until we have one with ourselves.

And this section wouldn’t be complete without insight into the surprises — disappointing and jubilant — that await formerly married boomer women who find themselves single again in the age of the Internet and relaxed sexual mores.

Love and lust may strike us when we least expect it. But when the connection comes with the right person, few things are better!

Hellos and Goodbyes

We’d all like to believe that, having lived for at least half a century, we’d have the wisdom and ability to let go. But it’s never easy, whether its letting go of loved ones or letting go of the timetables and expectations we set for our children.

And losing is even more difficult. We can decide — painfully — to let go, but when we lose something, the matter has been taken out of our hands. We can’t change it or make it better, our choices are limited to how we cope and react.

The essayists in this section remind us that this is a time for self empowering. Get rid of outdated concept and unrealistic expectations, they say. Learn to take chances when life offers opportunities.

Our writers provide sobering tales of loss. But they also offer life-affirming essays about discovering, sometimes most unexpectedly, new richness in their lives.

When her very existence was thrown into disarray by her husband’s crippling illness, one writer found angels in human form. They appeared unbidden to take over wherever needed. A writer who prized her independence had to give up her home for life in a retirement community. She feared the worst but found instead vitality, friendship and intellectual stimulation. Other women found in themselves the ability to learn, to take risks, and to develop talents they didn’t know they had.

Looks

For women of a certain age, wrinkles, graying hair and overall physical decline can be as much a part of growing older as are the increasing number of candles on the birthday cake. Should we give in or fight it? Our essayists tackle the question with humor, outrage and acceptance.

Whether it’s our concern over sagging boobs, a roll around the waist, or an overall body expansion, it seems we’re all victims of the beauty mystique. And, sadly, even the most exhausting workouts can’t completely undo what nature has wrought.

Instead of pining over the losses, these essays look on the bright side. We may be invisible to too many men, but many of us have become invincible, empowered by self-knowledge and experience.

So mirror be damned! We boomer women are better than ever.

What We All Should Know

Wisdom distilled!  Here our writers speak from eclectic experiences: some good, some bad, some funny, some poignant.

Whether it’s lessons learned as a child while riding on an LA bus or a crash course in a plane that almost did, these essays grab you and don’t let go. Are you always aware of the subtle forms racial prejudice can take? 

Here you’ll also find reminders about concepts most of us know but sometimes put aside. Concepts like: “Logic has its limits. Sometimes empathy is more helpful.” And “Let the small things go.” Here is great advice for sticky moments, frustrating situations, and dealing with difficult people.

If Only It Were Different

We all have expectations and dreams but, sadly, life doesn’t always allow their fulfillment. For some of us wedding bells don’t herald a bright new future. For others, the children whom we cherish cause devastating unhappiness. These are the stories of smashed hopes and courageous responses.

There’s the heartbreak of losing a beloved daughter-in-law when her mate, your child, leaves her. One writer triumphs over spousal abuse and manages to break free. Another writer loses her parents when they abandon her because she made life choices they won’t accept. And if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to feel your ability to cope slipping through your fingers, one of our writers will tell you about it.

Juggling: Nine to Five and More

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Our generation (boomer and beyond) embraced the dreams and expectations fostered by the woman’s movement. This section of the book addresses the reality. We thought we could have it all, but some of us discovered that success is the result of luck as much as it is of controlling our destiny. And, no matter what changes have taken place, the “suits” are still in charge.

The essays in this section provide encouragement and generous doses of reality. In almost all of them attention is given to the concept of compromise. Boomer women have come to know compromise all too well. Everybody needs our services. Husbands our age have expectations. Children want Mommy to do everything. Bosses or clients aren’t interested in our home life. So how do we keep all the balls in the air.

Our writers document the challenges of trying to raise a family while pursuing a career. They talk about what has to be let go –- the concept of being a perfect mother, of being able to devote to career as many hours as it demands. Some writers had to give up one profession and search for one with more flexibility. One writer had to break out of the mold her culture demanded of her.

These are tales of women in transition, women learning new lessons, starting their second acts. Two essayists, one from India, one from New England, describe their path from traditional housewife to entrepreneur. Both are sharp and smart. They took advantage of every possibility that presented itself, have healthy marriages and have achieved business success.

Other women, also go-getters, carved their career paths within the corporate structure. They too maintained healthy marriages and experienced great success, but, despite their considerable achievements and talents, the system eventually squeezed them out.

Our essayists offer testimony and words of advice. And for those times when you think you just can’t manage, remember what one writer says, “This too shall pass.”