Monday, July 28, 2008

I Don't Have Enough Balls for my Family Vacation

Sea kayaking with migrating Orca whales. Zip-lining over 300 foot ravines. Climbing a glacier. Camping. In just a few short days, I'm going to be packing up my biodegradable shampoo, bug spray, and bear repellent and heading out to the beauty and wilderness of British Columbia.

This sounds like somebody else's family vacation, not mine. I'm not one for taking physical risks. But I'm on the record as being a proponent of saying "Yes!" to new things, so when my husband, Liam, and our friend, Jim, came up with this adventurous itinerary for our combined family trip, what else could I say?

Now that the departure date looms, I'm feeling a little chicken. Do Orca eat people? I mean, there must be a reason they're called KILLER whales. And how can we be sure the zip line over the jagged ravine will hold? Not to mention my concerns about where I'm gonna plug in my flat iron.

I'm not just worried for myself, you know. I have children to protect. Although they don't seem quite as worried as me. Actually, they don't seem worried at all. I keep telling myself if an 11 year old girl can do it, I can surely do it.

I'll let you know how it all turns out when I get back. If I survive.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feeling Down about Aging Up? Not to Worry

In my first blog entry, “Coolest So Far,” I wrote how the forties are the coolest age of my life to date and wondered if things would keep getting better. Good news - according to the latest research, the best is yet to come. Marti Barletta, author of “PrimeTime Women,” has found that women are happiest between the ages of 50-70, a fact that seems quite surprising in our youth obsessed culture.

Barletta, CEO of TrendSight Group, a consulting think tank that specializes in marketing to women, says women in their 50s and 60s “truly feel at their peak – personally, professionally, financially and psychologically.” PrimeTime women enjoy a new sense of freedom as they move beyond trying to conform to pressures to be, act, or think a certain way.

In our 50s, we finally come into ourselves. How cool is that?

While I love my forties, I must admit, I’ve looked at the big 5-0 with certain amount of trepidation. It’s not just the physical changes I am resisting. I also worry about getting out of touch, losing my drive - basically becoming irrelevant.

But according to Barletta, that's not likely to happen. She’s found that older women are more deeply involved with their family, work, community and society than younger women. They are more politically active, they are more likely to volunteer and they are happier with their careers. In fact, most women aged 50 -70 feel their greatest achievements are still to come.

It’s a relief to know that I have every reason to look forward to those next two decades. So, the next time I see a hot young woman romping in her bikini on the beach, I’m not going to envy her. She’s got the benefit of youth and health, but I’ve got the ace in the hole.

I’m way closer to 50 than she is.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dara Torres Swims Mid-Life in the Fast Lane

"Age is just a number,” says Dara Torres, who at 41 will become the oldest American to ever swim at the Olympics. At last week’s Olympic Trials, this middle-aged mother shattered her own world records in the 50-meter freestyle along with our preconceptions about age and women in competitive sports.

It’s not that Dara hasn’t felt her age over the years. After three Olympic games and four medals, the champion swimmer retired, feeling she was too old to continue the high level of competition. She was 25. Now on her second amazing comeback, this swimmer is faster, fitter and foxier than ever.

Dara is not exactly your average 40-something woman. A gifted athlete, she trains her ass off – she swims, hits the gym, is fanatical about nutrition, and stretches, stretches, stretches. She has a team of coaches, trainers and masseuses. But when Matt Lauer asked her about the key to her success, she mentioned none of those things.

“I believe.” Dara said. “I think that the biggest thing is mentally to believe that you can do it. The water doesn’t know what age you are, so why not?”

We may not be headed for the Olympics, but just because we are over 40 we don’t have to let our age limit us. Like Dara, we can believe in ourselves – whatever we choose to do – and we can all be winners.