Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, a new decade, new experiences - do something new!

Welcome to my second blog! The other one, my creative blog, is here. This one is more of a thinking blog, and, I hope, will be interactive with my blog readers.

My intention is to post weekly on a topic that's relevant to older women. Week One's topic is Getting Out Of Our Rut And Doing Something New.

Look at the world around us - older women tend to be sidelined, overlooked, even invisible.  We're someone's wife, mother or grandmother, and often not thought of as an individual. You don't think you're invisible?  Try walking down the street in a strange town, and see how many people meet your eye, or take any notice of you.  I discovered that I was invisible when I moved to Christchurch 8 years ago.  At first, I was angry.  Clearly, I had reached an age when I was no longer interesting or desirable.  But after a while, I decided it was liberating.  I could do what I liked, wear what I liked and no-one would notice. 

Let's reclaim our place in the world by sharing and enhancing all our years of experience and wisdom, and doing new stuff in this new decade.

Here's 3 things I've come up with that I want to do in 2011 :

1. Start a university degree
2. Learn to rollerblade
3. Travel to Australia

What are YOUR 3 new things?


  1. I found myself bristling at the term "older woman" - you are NOT, I am NOT, oh wait - I AM. The brain still insists I'm 40, and it's hard not to go along with it. But you are right, there is a freedom now. I find myself approaching situations with a nothing to lose attitude more often than not, living in the moment, less influenced by guilt and outside pressure.

    I haven't given much thought to 2011 yet, especially in terms of new things. My main goal is to continue the yoga classes started in September. They were a gift and I never would have taken that step otherwise. Inspite of how positive the experience was, it would have been easy not to sign up for the next session, but I did. I want to continue to build core strength and flexibility - I seriously would not have thought I could do some of the things I've done because of those classes!

    I'll have to think on the new things and get back to you. There's lots I'd like to do, but quite a different thing to whittle down the list and actually commit to making them happen.

  2. I had noticed I was insivible at restaurants, but I assumed it was rather a woman vs man thing than an age-related one. I'll try to pay more attention in the streets.
    I'm entering 2011 with no special projects, except having some maintenance done (and paid for) on my house. Right now I can't even thing of two other things...

  3. I have been invisible in shops and had younger people served before me. On that note though I am now say something when these things happen which seriously embarrasses my husband. I am hoping that 2011 will be a better year for us financially so I can afford to finish some of my quilting projects and travel to more agility shows with my young Border Collie, Shilo.

  4. What a great idea for a blog Shirley, I'm looking forward to being part of it as a woman who will be 53 this year but still feels like the young one when in the company of adults. I haven't made my list of three things, having done quite a lot of my bucket list during my 50th year, including a tandem skydive in Matamata NZ! I definitely want to become more "high maintenance" this year, to make a real effort with hair, makeup and clothes so that I'm not invisible and grey but make the most of myself, shallow maybe but I think it makes a big difference to how I feel and how I act. I've realised I am rapidly becoming my mother (denim skirts and sloppy tops, bless her) and don't want to go down that path, however comfortable it might be! Happy New Year to you, let's sock it to them!

  5. The invisibility thing. Yes, I have noticed it, and it seems a little extra weight renders me more invisible. But I counter that by dressing like an old hippy.

    @ Lis. I don't think it's high maintenace as much as loving oneself. I also turn 53 this year and have just started using moisturiser last week. And lippy sometimes. And along with a new haircut and frames (no not zimmer) and it's quite fun.

    My three things.
    1) Finish my degree. Roll on March - exam and exhibition.
    2) Organise things so that art making becomes a viable income stream.
    3) I'm leaving this one for the universe to fill in.

  6. invisible only if you want to be????
    yes we need to dress brighter and with more flare,don't be afraid of this otherwise you just disappear into a sea of bland muted safe clothes (the invisible people even you don't notice)sit at a cafe and people watch you will soon get an idea of what i mean,and of course your posture says a great deal about how you feel about yourself ,try it at almost 58 i never have a problem in getting served i am also always very polite but i live in europe so maybe there is a better attitude here to older women

  7. Isn't it amazing that this time of the year we reflect on past, present and future. as a 46 year old, I too feel that I am invisible to my family, as a wife, mother and daughter. I deem that to be somehow my fault for not being more outspoken & speaking my mind and for letting things happen as they do for fear of causing an arguement. Well NO MORE! I resolve to be ME, a person in my own right, not just a wife, mother and daughter. I, plan to blossom this year and have just started by blogging, which I have not done before & if you are reading this then I did it!!. Hooray
    My three things:
    1) Learn more about creating and managing websites
    2) Enjoy and learn more about my changed career path, (this changed in November)
    3) As a newly diagnosed early stage Diabetic, I plan to eat healthier, and exercise more for my health.

  8. Yes indeed Shirley I can so relate to this blog. At 40 I wrote in my diary that I was not happy with certain things in my life and I vowed to change them, or me, to deal with them; the biggie was I became a non-smoker.
    At 50 I took up golf and had an amazing time until I injured my ankle, and I travelled overseas.
    At 60 I was almost swamped by the death of my husband and learned the true value of my friends, and now at 70+ I count my blessings every day and am intent on growing old disgracefully!
    I speak out, but respectfully I hope - like telling the teenagers looking after a toddler that it was not a good idea to feed her large marshmallows, so easy to choke.
    I want to de-clutter my house and garden, stones and weed mat are my choice - but I have re-found the delights of home grown potatoes - planted by my granddaughters so nothing is set in stone!
    I want to expand the class I teach, go back to a writing class and get back into golf - nine holes at a time!
    QueenBusyBee64 - you are so right! Another entry in a diary started with - "If I'm being treated like a doormat it must be because I am behaving like one - no more!"

  9. I sure relate to a lot of what you said. And what a great idea for an interactive blog! So my three things this year are:

    1. Give myself permission to go with the flow
    2. Use my sketchbook more
    3. Make more art JUST FOR FUN.

  10. This is brilliant- well done. I hit 50 this last summer, have felt invisible for quite some time and now I decided I want to stop being invisible! I agree with all the above comments too.
    My three things for 2011 are:
    1. talk to strangers if I feel comfortable - did this yesterday - had a chat with a chap walking his dog in the village my daughter has moved to - he was really interesting.
    2. Get a local textile group/class started.
    3. Make more costumes/textiles because I like making them !
    Actually the list could go on for much longer!!
    4. work more in my sketchbook
    5. finish some of my half started works
    etc etc

  11. I can sure relate to being overlooked. I have white hair. No one pays attention to people with white hair. A few years ago I dyed my hair auburn and it made a big difference. Men opened doors for me. People were more curtious towards me. I thought what a terrible thing. I went back to natural hair color. Yes, I can become invisible but my attitude generally gets me what I want.

    This year I want to 1. take a yoga class. I am stiff as a board. 2. travel more. 3. Do more art.

  12. Happy New Year Shirley - Love the new Blog. Learn to skate and join the local Roller Derby. My daughter has an awesome time, teaching and roller derbying. .

    Helen of Auckland

  13. so pleased to find this blog, thank you Shirley!
    1. move,it's 28 months since my husband died and i never wanted to live here,no more making the best of it!
    2 have an exhibition of the assemblages i want to make from my upcycled oil paintings with textile art elements
    3 tread more lightly on the earth

    re invisible try being widowed at 43,people duck when they see you coming and manage to edit you out when you speak in case you remind them of him, of death, of bereavement, when all the time you're still an artist,a woman, ALIVE and determined to still have a creative and positive LIFE...

    good luck to us all!
    pretty thrifty

  14. Great idea Shirley. Look forward to seeing what other topics you come up with. I am 57 and am lucky not to have had this feeling of being invisible.

    Aims for this year:
    1 Finish some of the patchwork projects I have started over the last few months

    2 Travel somewhere different - haven't decided where yet

    3 Take an active part in the book club I have just joined - still to meet the others who belong to this club.

  15. Hello Shirley. Happy New Year. Love this idea for a blog!

    I'm 61. I'm invisible too - especially out shoppin. People just brush me aside as they walk by. I used to step aside, but now I just keep going. Several times I've finished up chest to face with strange men!

    1. My first affirmative action this year is to join the Sketch Book Challenge.

    2. My husband says I should get out more, and I know he is right, so I plan to participate in more outings with the Creative Co-op that I belong to.

    I'm leaving a space for number 3!

  16. First, to pretty thrifty widowed at 43. I salute you for your resolve to move after 28 months. I was widowed at 46 and it took me 4 years to get to that point, and another two to make it happen, even though from the outset, I knew I didn't want to stay where I was. For me, the physical move was the last piece of the puzzle to getting on with my life. As a new widow, I quickly learned when meeting people to keep that from being the first or even second thing they learned about me. I wanted them to get to know ME first, then later learn that side of me. Otherwise as you have noted, people see you as the uncomfortable, poor widow first and treat you much differently than they otherwise would.

    Now then, to Shirley's question of what 3 new things will I do in 2011. I'm still hedging on committing, but that's exactly why I should!

    1. Pursue a relationship. Ten years of widowhood is wearing on me - I'm tired of being the 5th wheel if nothing else! Are women of a certain age too independent and set in their ways to share their lives with a companion again?

    2. Take a class in printmaking techniques.

    3. Use the page feature on my blog to create a gallery of quilts for sale complete with PayPal Buy It links. I've been putting this one off for way too long - hope I can figure out the PayPal thing.