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View Diary: Today I'm 50. Here's what I've learned. (187 comments)

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  •  I didn't either (11+ / 0-)

    until I reached my 50s.  And I didn't want to accept it as the thought began to develop.  I was very resistant letting go of the ideological 'how it ought to be' that I had based decisions on in my 20s-30s and, say to say, even into my early forties.

    One thing that begins to happens after age, say, age 45 (plus or minus) is that you begin to do what they call 'life review'.  You find yourself looking back over your life and evaluating how you did, if your choices made sense, where you were right and where you were wrong, if you had to make that decision today, instead of 30 years ago, would your decision be the same?  Were your criteria valid?  Had you learned enough by then to be capable of making a good, sound, informed decision?

    And, of course, as you look back, you find many instances to which your older self  can only say things like: ' What was I thinking?'  or 'Geez, thought I knew so much and I didn't even have a clue!'.  And you come to forgive yourself and can only say 'Well, how could I have known any better.  I was just a pup!'

    I remember thinking that way about my 19-23 year-old self when I was around 35.  Now I look back at that 35-year-old self realized how much I still hadn't learned since then.

    In regard to the particular issue in question, I have not only my own choices/experiences to look back on, but on my memories of many other women -- friends, co-workers and such -- and how we all just talked our experiences to death.  So the body of evidence I'm basing my statement on was provided by quite a tribe of women, over the years.

    And so eventually there came a day, after the thoughts about the ideology/experience conflict had been showing up in my brains & emotions pretty frequently for several months, one day I just stopped and said:  'Stop.  Look at these two ideas.  Only one can be true.  Which is it?"

    I looked at them both for a moment.  I could only accept one of those ideas while remaining true to the body of five decades of experience.  For me, experience will win that kind of conflict every time.  So, with a sigh, I said, 'Well, that's that.'  And let the ideology go in favor of lived reality.

    Then I finished sweeping up and watched a movie that afternoon.

    •  I seem to understand both sides, but tend to (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Greek Goddess, Chi, JerryNA, CroneWit, karmsy

      think that the lack of respect, such as it exists, would be from the kind of guys (misogynists) that I would not want to date anyway, were I not happily paired now. I tend to agree with karmsy on this, and think women should make their own standards and let the guys adjust.

      My ex-husband and I had just seen each other around a couple of times when we ran into each other in a bar, sat and had a chat and went straight home. It was atypical, as I was pretty shy, but there was no lack of respect because he was really crazy about me.

      So, it is more complicated than that. I would say "don't sleep with people who aren't crazy about you unless you just want it to be a one night stand and that's fine with you."  

      Lots of people, males and females, like to know someone well first.  And lots like to date more and see more people and get involved. And lots have no idea what they want. That last group can be dicey.

      Happy birthday Greek Goddess! I'm just a few years behind you, close enough to feel my advice giving days coming on!

      •  Thanks, LT--I look forward to your mountaintop (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lonely Texan, CroneWit

        wisdom when it's your turn! Though you seem to have a pretty good handle on things right now. ;0)

        Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

        by Greek Goddess on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:44:48 PM PDT

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      •  Thanks, LT. (0+ / 0-)

        Though I didn't say so clearly at the time, the crux of my objection to the diarist's remark was that her "wisdom" completely discounted women's wants, which are discounted in society, anyway.

        I love this remark:

        I tend to agree with karmsy on this, and think women should make their own standards and let the guys adjust.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Thu May 16, 2013 at 09:55:15 AM PDT

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    •  OK, I've had a bit of time to reflect (3+ / 0-)

      on remarks I made yesterday.

      I've realized it's actually more personal than I let on.

      I have spent now almost 5 decades being bombarded with misogynist CULTURAL propaganda of "how things ought to be," i.e., women should be young, slim, pretty, light-skinned, do as they're told, and never ask questions. THEN men will want them.

      Hey, wait a minute. What about what WOMEN want? Is that important, at all?

      I have wasted more time being completely out-of-touch my wants, because "what I wanted" didn't matter--per my early experience in my family, the church I attended, and whatever. All that mattered was "what I was good for," and this was reckoned in authoritarian and patriarchal terms.

      It's hurt me. The time I spent completely discounting my personal wants, in decisions about schooling, employment, and intimate relationships, is time I'll never make up. I'll always be behind. So, when the diarist started propounding her wisdom about "what men wanted," as if this should factor so highly in women's lives, I guess I got sore.

      It's drivel we have to listen to all the damn time, anyway.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Thu May 16, 2013 at 09:50:52 AM PDT

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      •  Karmsy, you got guts. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karmsy, radical simplicity

        Thanks so much for all your comments and reflections. I never meant to propound the notion that what men want should set the agenda for how women behave. Rather, I was trying to offer my observation that in American culture, regardless of era, women have their work cut out for them if they are trying to achieve certain relationship goals. If anything, I intended to highlight--bemoan, even--the fact that women continue to struggle against the same obstacles that the feminist movement has worked so hard to overcome.

        I, too, spent years of my life shoving my wants and needs aside to live up to the image that others--parents, husbands (and there have been several), society--had of me. I, too, regret opportunities lost, decisions made and not made, time lost trying to please others. I think many women feel this way. When I embraced the person I am, I felt free, and I also found myself attracting the kind of people (men and women) who appreciate me for who I am.

        Your statement that you will always be behind makes me wish for you the chance to embrace your own "timeline" of life in which you are not behind, but right on schedule--that every day will bring a new opportunity to kick the drivel to the curb and set your own agenda.

        {{{karmsy}}}

        Hugs to you!

        Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead. ~K. Vonnegut

        by Greek Goddess on Thu May 16, 2013 at 01:58:51 PM PDT

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