A change of heart

Anonymous,  Age 70
I am almost 71, but sadly, can’t say the number out loud. My story might seem to be a sad one, having lost my mother to cancer when she was only 45 and I was 16. My parents were divorced and my step mother wouldn’t take me in so I finished high living with a good friends family. Less than a loving real family, but I went on to college two years later. Didn’t graduate but met a lovely guy who wanted to marry me, so of course I said yes! Everything was good for long enough two have two beautiful boys, two years apart. When they were five and three I was diagnosed with MS and my world started unraveling. I was working in Human Resources for four years when I realized my marriage was not giving me enough love and affection so I fell head over heels in love with a younger co-worker. Of course with no family guidance I asked my very stable but unaffectionate husband for a divorce out of left field. With my family fractured I continued to date my young affectionate boyfriend for three fun years while sharing custody with my ex husband.

Fast forward to being married for 31 years to the younger less stable man who has had affairs, lost almost every job, but for some reason I stay with. I never thought I would live to be 70 which I think factored into all my immature decisions. Now my two sons are 43 and 41. They both became lawyers, got married to sweet southern girls and have given two grandchildren. A boy and a girl from each.

This is where my story gets so happy. I love my grandchildren beyond belief. They have brought me the family I never had and a real reason to live as long as possible. Because of my MS I do not exercise like I should and stay with a husband who really doesn’t deserve me. But yet I can honestly say I am a happier than ever, nicer to everyone than ever and wiser than ever. If I could go back 35 years to rewrite my life, I’m not sure I would. So come on 71, 72, and beyond. It’s a wonderful age!

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3 Responses to A change of heart

  1. mary hirsch says:

    Having bumped into this wonderful blog a couple of weeks ago, I immediately became interested in reading the different contributions and comments from other wonderful women. And wonderful, we all are. I submitted my own comments toward the end of April wherein I asked if there might be other sisters in Mass. and certainly Boston. Since then, I’ve agreed to become the “contact” in Boston and have given permission to give out my e-mail. I look forward to hearing from Kindred Spirits.

    An observation I have made in reading a myriad contributions is that women at our age still CONTINUE to contribute to the world (a good thing – to a point!) whether to family, volunteering, grandparenting or…. I have yet to hear about to read about women saying, “Now that I have the time, I am prioritizing and placing MYSELF as #1 by taking superlative care of myself: exercise, healthy food, therapy (ongoing self-development and growth!) my hair, nails, toes, massages, concerts, movies, museums, classes of special interest or WHATEVER floats my boat. It’s time for ME! And then, like the mother on the plane when the oxygen mask drops – others’ needs follow.

    I am talking about MIND SET. I don’t see much change… not really.

    There’s everything right about making up for the time when we had to place our own needs on hold because of family and job responsibilities but from what I read, over and over, the mind set continues. Not for me, thank you; I’m taking really good care of myself more than ever and sucking up oxygen first. Refreshed, renewed and re-energized, I am then able, to consciously and freely give of my time to a cause, person(s) or wherever I can make a meaningful contribution. I have (and so have you) EARNED the right to finally be #1 in my life without guilt or explanations of any sort. It’s amazing how much respect one gets with this wonderful, healthy, self-affirming attitude.

    I learned from the best: Mom, now gone. After raising (she would say “rearing”) six (6!) children she announced she was going to take care of HERSELF first and foremost: travel, dance, go back to school and do whatever she felt like doing. She told us she looked forward to having grandchildren (if that’s what WE wanted) but not to count on her as an automatic babysitter or cookie baker, although she adored her grandkids – after she adored herself first. They got it!

    What a woman: smart, beautiful, POSITIVE, spiritual, upfront, confident, assertive and powerful. She ROCKED her years and lived HER way until the age of 89. She never complained or explained; she just took care of herself FIRST and then lovingly shared her time – on her terms – when she could. She was very much loved by all who knew her but above all, she was respected. That’s a woman for you! I am following in her footsteps and I know she’s very proud of me: no victim here; just a gorgeous me doing my best and rocking my 70’s!

  2. Rita says:

    Loved your reply to anonymous today. Wish you or someone with the same outlook lived in my area (PA). I’m 71, widowed, childless (tho many nieces and nephew whom I adore but have no real relationships with). I work 30 hrs a week and want to retire sooooo badly but wonder what I would do with my time if I do. There is no one I’ve met who shares ANY of my interests. Where does one start? Some of my friends, when they’re not babysitting do line dance and hit the senior exercise classes. I need to get out there and after reading your missive, I am going to start making some plans to follow thru with. Thank you for your input and God bless.

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Rita,

      Check out the 70Candles!Gatherings tab at the top of our blog page.
      Perhaps there are women in your area interested in getting together.
      Just named your location and enter some contact information, and let’s see what happens!

      Jane and Ellen

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