A New Take For Women On Growing Older
There’s been a lot written lately about a new book called “Women Rowing North; Navigating Life Current’s and Flourishing As We Age”, and naturally it captured my attention. Right on point.
The author, Mary Pipher, is a psychologist who has written books on teenage girls,  and has now tackled the area of the older woman. Mary, who is in her 70’s has had some experience in this realm so can speak from her own experience.
She speaks about the similarities and differences between teenage girls and the aging woman. Both groups are going through a life transition and face cultural biases. For example, teens in trouble were reeling from aberrations in their environment and older women are viewed as invisible and useless.  This is not the case according to Mary and to me!  Teens after the age of 14 improved in areas like anxiety, drug use and depression. Their problems stemmed from the environment and lack of support.
Women who are older begin to realize that they are in control of their own lives and happiness.  The author delves into what are the “survival” skills for women rowing through this time period.
 
Survival Skills Discussed In This Book

  1. Gratitude.  She suggests this is a skill that takes practice and is built as we face uncertain circumstances in life.  I found it interesting that she feels that as more is taken away in our lives we begin to value what is left even more.  I have started an exercise every morning when I wake up.  I mentally think about everything I am grateful for in my life. Sometimes, not always, I also write it down in a journal.  I can’t say what effect it has had on me, but it feels good just to do it.

 
2.   Managing Your Expectations.  
The old saying, ‘you can’t get what you want until you know what you want” is so valuable all through our lives.  Because its so true!  Knowing that every day will be a surprise is a good thing, but also knowing that we will be disappointed some days is a good way of keeping things in check.  The author claims  by doing this we are even more grateful for when a friend calls to see how we are doing.
 
3.    Humor.  This one is SO important.  I remember my father was recuperating from a stroke and had to stay in the only rehab facility available at the time in the city where he lived. My dad’s stroke resulted in a loss of balance and physical strength but he had full capacity of his brain. He really didn’t want me or my husband to visit him there but as his daughter I did anyway.  On one visit when we were leaving it was time for him to go to the dining room for dinner.  I waited at the door of the dining room and looked for my dad who was sitting alone at a table. All of a sudden, another patient uncontrollably moaned quite loudly.  My dad looked at me and said, “The music is great here!”
I haven’t had a chance to read this new book, but it’s on my list!