For some strange reason the minute you hit your forties, especially if you are a woman, you are deluged with advice – a large portion of which falls into the following six categories and often makes me wonder if Sylvia Plath must have spent time on the Internet before putting her head in the oven.
1. Advice about coping.
You are adrift.
If your children have left home, you must be unhinged and without a sense of purpose. If your children still live with you, you must be unhinged and without a sense of purpose. If you never had children, you must be unhinged and without a sense of purpose.
In any case, you need strategies to get you through your increasingly soul-shattering existence.
See also, advice about reinvention.
2. Advice about reinvention.
This is a new phase of life without the burdens of responsibility that marked your thirties. The possibilities are wide open. Start your own business. Embark on a trip around the world. Finally pursue your inner passion.
But do it in a fiscally responsible manner that allows for a secure retirement because you’re not getting any younger, and since women live longer than men, you are apt to end up old and alone, sending your last dollars not consumed by your failed business venture and trip to Antigua to a young man in Nigeria who just so happens to share your surname.
See also, advice about coping.
3. Advice about body love.
Your body is beautiful at any age. Embrace the aging process. But exercise – a lot.
Just so you can continue to stay healthy and vigorous well into your latter years – and not necessarily to try and keep up with a cultural definition of beauty for women that does not include stretch marks, cellulite or breasts that, when you lay down, slide under your armpits like eggs over easy off a buttered spatula.
4. Advice about fertility.
Menopause is simply the gateway to the next phase of your life. A form of liberation.
5. Advice about lubrication.
Your vagina is now apparently the equivalent of the Sahara desert in a dry spell. Or that vault that Geraldo Rivera opened on live TV seeking riches and instead found dust and shame.
See also, advice about sex.
6. Advice about sex.
Pursue your sexual fantasies. Have an affair. Throw yourself into the dating scene. No time like the present to set aside your safe sexual habits and seek out experiences that may possibly result in a questionable rash and self-loathing. I know myself, that after twenty-odd years in the marital trenches, I am just dying for the opportunity to expose my aging flesh to a stranger.
Conversely, for the more conservative minded, advice states you should embrace your newfound sexual freedom with your long-term partner. Now that you don’t have to worry about birth control, it is time to PARRRTAAYYY. Yes. Again, after twenty-odd years of marriage, NOW is the PERFECT TIME to start leaving the light on and wearing ass-less chaps.
See also, advice about lubrication.
So, if the articles on HuffPost Women are any indication, my life is an ever-widening circle of despair requiring a shit-ton of K-Y jelly and investment capital to successfully navigate through the middle ages.
I’m batting five hundred so far.