Where is divorce most common?

October 5, 2009

Here’s a fascinating article about the latest Census data on divorce. Do you live in the divorce capital of the US?


Cougar Town

October 1, 2009

Am I the only one who thinks the new TV show Cougar Town is silly?

First of all, Courtney Cox is quite a bit too young, thin, and attractive to represent a “cougar,” and we all know she’s happily married. I mean she’s barely even a BABY BOOMER!

Second, one of the hallmarks of aging is supposed to be growing wiser.  Going out with a younger girlfriend and drinking yourself under the table is not my idea of wise or a good example for younger women.  I know, it has to be stupid to be funny.  I just don’t even find it very entertaining!

What’s GOOD about a life crisis?

September 9, 2009

leap_of_faith blog size“Only those who risk going too far, can possibly find out how far one can go.”  -T.S. Eliot

We all know what’s bad about a crisis. We are usually taken by surprise by a major change we didn’t see coming, one that is really tough to adjust to.

I can’t say I didn’t see my divorce coming,  I just wouldn’t accept it. Then one day my husband and I decided together that it was simply what  needed to happen, for each of us to find happiness in the long run.

But when I lost my job, I was taken completely by surprise!  At that time, no one could have convinced me that this was a good thing!   It was one of the worst times in my entire life.  I struggled mightily with myself and my fate.

But today, I see how I needed for these misfortunes to occur, for me to wake up and begin to live my life with more integrity.

So what’s GOOD about a life crisis? It quickly knocks us out of our comfort zone, and then demands more from us. When more is demanded, more is given.

If I hadn’t lost my job, I never would have started my dating service for those 40+.   I never would have had the experience of starting my own business, struggled with those circumstances and I probably wouldn’t have met my lovely new husband. Then I wouldn’t have moved, gotten the money from my old house, and used that to start seeing a career counselor who slowly talked me into doing exactly what I had always wanted to do.

We never know what one small change in our lives might lead to.  Sometimes we just need to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Life crises can force our hand, pushing us into a whole new world of risk and benefit. We may feel forced to take risks we would never have considered before, and in this way, learn much more about ourselves and our full potential.

When it comes to a life crisis, women are far more vulnerable than men

August 20, 2009

According to a recent AARP survey, nearly two-thirds of American women age 40 to 79 have experienced long-term job loss, divorce, death of a spouse or a major illness or disability.

When these things happen, women are much more likely than men to take a huge financial hit.  Add to that the fact that women tend to live longer and carry more of the emotional burden in relationships and in a crisis, and we are talking major life stress!

“No one escapes the financial implications of a life crisis, but they are particularly acute for women,” said Richard “Mac” Hisey, President of AARP Financial Inc.

“The demographic considerations are obvious: women outlive men, so they experience more life crises and deal with the consequences longer. But women also tend to be the caregivers. That means women are frequently dealing with the human and logistical consequences of a life crisis, leaving little time and energy for the financial considerations.”

In this particular survey, 65% of women ages 40 to 79 had experienced a major life crisis that significantly impacted their finances.  Survey data revealed that dealing with emotions during times of life crisis is a particular challenge for women.

Three out of five of the women surveyed said that it was hard to keep their emotions in check during a major life event (vs. 46% of men). More than four in ten women (44%) said they had trouble staying focused.

“Life crises are the perfect storms of personal finance — where the need for consequential and frequently urgent financial decisions meets an emotional hurricane,” Hisey said. “This is a critical issue for women.  The vast majority of women will be solely responsible for their finances one day, frequently assuming that responsibility at a time of tremendous personal duress.”

I think they make a very good point with this survey:  “Let’s face it — it’s hard enough to contemplate some of these scenarios, let alone plan for them,”   Hisey said   “At the same time, the reality is this:   sooner or later, you’re going to experience a life crisis.”

That is exactly the point of this blog!  Accept the fact that anything can happen to anyone of us at any time!   I speak from experience!  I lost most of my income when I divorced in 2001.  Then I lost my job two years later.  Make a disaster plan and be sure to put away some savings for the day you hope never arrives!

See why I call myself the Queen of Crisis?

What are women’s greatest concerns when it comes to aging?

August 11, 2009

While doing research for my upcoming presentation at the Larimer County September Symposium, I found a fascinating study from 2004 on womens’ perceptions of aging.  Here’s a PDF of the full presentation and findings.

The psychologists involved in this study questioned 1,000 healthy, physically fit, active women age 18-86 (average age 41) about various aspects of aging and the fear they felt.

Overall they found that health challenges, money problems and fear of loneliness rated the highest among all of the women questioned. After that, loss of emotional well-being, loss of a mate, and fear of a spiritual void followed in importance, along with fear of death.

The highest overall levels of fear were found among women age 20-29, and the least among those  70 and older.  Women who were separated or never married were found to be most fearful and women in their 40s-60s were found to be most confident.  Women who were self-employed were most confident regardless of  time projections.

Perhaps the most interesting finding was that aging concerns differ greatly by age and marital status.

Can old dogs learn new tricks?

August 7, 2009

TeachingYourDogNewTricksThe short answer is yes, but it takes us longer to accept the fact that we need to, and even longer to decide what’s next!

And then there’s all those irritating new tricks we are forced to learn because of unwelcome changes in our health, our employment status or our marital status.

I don’t know about you, but ever since I hit midlife it’s been change, change, change. I feel like I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into a whole new life, resisting it at every turn in the road.

I was scared to death to get a divorce, but I did it anyway.  Even more afraid of losing my job, but I also survived that somehow.  And you cannot imagine the terror I felt when faced with trying out a whole new career at 50! That turned out to be the most rewarding change of all!

Now I find myself unbelievably HAPPY, even though I didn’t even want to go down this road in the first place.  Explain that one to me!  I guess it’s just another one of those MYSTERIES OF MIDLIFE…

I’m now busy preparing to do a presentation with Katy Piotrowski for our Larimer County September Symposium on September 25th.  Our topic:  How to teach old dogs fabulous new tricks. Our goal is to motivate others to take a chance on changing their lives.

At the last talk I presented, the first question at the end was, do you have to hit bottom before you can really start changing your life?  My only response was, “I did.”  If those fortuitous misfortunes had not happened, I don’t know where I’d be now.  I apparently needed to get desperate enough before I could admit to myself that my life was not working, thus inspiring me to change everything.

At the risk of sounding pathologically optimistic, I now see just about every obstacle that I bump into in my life as an opportunity to learn more about myself and get better at something.

For example, divorce is simply nature’s way of telling you that you don’t quite have this whole marriage thing figured out yet.  But that’s OK!  Do-overs ARE ALLOWED!

Job loss is nature’s way of telling you that it’s time to change something major, and try to get it right this time.  Lucky us, our old job didn’t want us, now we get to go do something we might actually enjoy!

Thank goodness (and my toxic boss) I lost my last library job!  After twenty-five years, I REALLY needed a change!  And just imagine all the great things it did for my brain elasticity.

Growing up with Walter Cronkite

July 19, 2009

walter-cronkite smallI cried yesterday when I heard of the death of Walter Cronkite.

Actually, I sobbed.  He may have been the most trusted man in America, but to me he was more like a father figure.

As far back as I can remember, watching the evening news was a ritual in our family.  My dad would come home, and we’d all gather around the television to find out what happened that day in the world.  Afterwards, we’d sit down to dinner together and discuss world happenings.

After I was out on my own, I would still watch Walter each night as a way to reassure myself that some things are dependable in life.  Some things stay the same.  He was always there for us.  We could believe him.

I’m told the term “anchorman” was created to describe him in 1962, when he took over the CBS news desk.  And that is as it should be.  He was our anchor in a world that was changing so fast it was tough to keep up.  He always treated others with respect and dignity.  That was before television became the multiple-choice mayhem of corrupt and corrosive talking heads it has turned into today.  Who can you trust?

The death of Walter represents the end of an era for me and many other boomers, I’m sure.  It represents the end of a time when we could trust the news and the people behind it, because we knew that they worked with the utmost integrity and respect for their employers, the American people.

“I don’t want to live in a world without Walter Cronkite!”

– George Clooney