On Turning 79

For me 2010 was a watershed year.Last June, I faced the fact that I was turning 79. No longer could I convince myself that modern times and advanced knowledge had so improved our lifestyles that we no longer had to think of ourselves as old. I could see 80 on the horizon and for me 80 qualified! Somehow, by hook or crook, I had successfully staggered through seven decades of life,and I told myself that I should now be able to call myself old without wincing.                                                                  
So I did the logical thing: I started a blog.And then I started a second blog. And, wonder of wonders, people have told me to keep at it, even including some of my own family! And here it is, straight from the shoulder. On turning 79, this is what I think:
It was the 60's and Betty Friedan, the author of "The Feminine Mystique", was becoming a household name.
She couldn't have found a better customer than myself. It was Betty who made it okay to want more than just being a housewife.Though she recognized  some women were perfectly content with traditional domestic life, she said there were others who would benefit both themselves and their families by working outside the home or going back to school. Betty Friedan  seemed to be writing for me!                                                                              
The suburbs, she said, were largely bedroom communities, deserted by adults who worked elsewhere and led stimulating lives. Sensing a void now that my children were growing older, her words seemed to offer me direction. I deeply loved my family and didn't want to do anything to hurt them. Yet here was encouragement and a view that returning to school would actually be good for my family, and it gave me the social approval I craved ." Maybe", I told myself," I should consider finishing my degree".
And when I went back to school the women in my classes were a new breed. Simple tasteful clothing reflected the new view of women that was sweeping the nation. I could only imagine the opportunities on the horizon that would present themselves. With our new sense of empowerment we would no longer be shackled by the need to spend all that time making ourselves magnetic to the opposite sex. We could now be ourselves: human beings in search of opportunities for self expression and fulfillment.
Well here we are, well into the 21st century, and I'm just wondering a bit. Pop plastic surgery is commonplace, those high heels we discarded have been replaced by platforms and stilettos that challenge our feet and our balance, and revealing clothes are falling off female bodies in practically any setting.
Have we "come a long way, baby"? Just asking.


  1. I just couldn't get the proper spacing of the final paragraphs, no matter what I did!!!!!Have sent in my problem to Blogspot.

  2. Thank you, Blogger. You solved my problem!

  3. It was nice to learn that the author, Betty Freidan, of 'Femine Mystique' gave you encouragment to finish your education and obtain your degree, and also that your family supported you. It is important that women should have the same opportunity as men even though they have children. In all employment situations, I believe that women should have the same opportunity as men and with equal pay, given their ablities, education, etc.

  4. Perhaps the biggest problem with the feminist movement was that it was based on people selfishly seeking self gratification without regards to the consequences for them and their families.

    This often could work for wealthy white women, but it was a DISASTER for minorities and the economically underpriviliged.

    Single parent families are BY FAR those most at risk for poverty and societal dysfuntion, and the culture that led to women believing they didn't need a man to form a family was a big part of the problem.

    Women treated men as a pleasant, but unnecessary, part of the family unit, and this "liberated" men to walk away from their "Baby Mamas" and seek their own "self fulfilment" through as many liasons as they wanted, and avoiding any kind of support for their "Baby Mama" and kids.

    Without a solid family support system, the kids often got involved with drugs and gangs, and often decided themselves to become "parents too soon".

    On the wealthier side of the tracks, how many children have been scarred because their parents abandoned each other to seek "fulfillment" outside the marriage or "better deal" their spouse?

    IMHO, the real "revolution" should have been creating a society where families cared more about each other than their selfish interest.

    If a man loves his wife more than he loves himself, he'll find a way to make her dreams come true, especially those outside the family. If a women loves her husband more than herself, she'll find away for them both to get what they need.

    Maybe the secret is found in the "Gift of the Magi", getting joy from what you GIVE to the family rather than what you expect to TAKE from it.

  5. Don't underestimate the power of attractiveness in pay, professional success, and promotion opportunities for even the most "liberated" person.

    Empowered women (and men) understand that they need to use every tool at their disposal for advantage in this highly competitive professional environment.

    Study after study shows that "attractiveness" is perhaps the last, and also perhaps biggest, discriminator in our society.

    We're all vulnerable to this, despite our best intentions.

    I have to admit that if I walk into a real estate office, I'm more likely to go to the attractive, well dressed, enticing broker wo looks like a young Claudia Cardinale than a dumpy, rumpled old guy.

    Ask anyone in the entertainment and food and bev business and they'll tell you what a big asset attractiveness is in getting clients and return business.

    Handsome waiters and gorgeous waitresses make far more in tips than their "aesthetically challenged" co-workers.

    Sad to say, too often we may actually give more preferential treatment to our better looking family members, even unintentionally.

    I've found that attractive lawyers seem to be treated better by judges and opposing counsel.

    Clearly, those stilleto heals, face lifts and "better living through silicone" enhancements may simply be good investments for empowered feminists.

    Test yourself the next time you shop or are served. Do you look for the best looking sales person? It's pretty insidious, but its a fact of life.