Getting older is a blessing and a curse.
Two years ago acclaimed author and women’s advocate Shari Graydon asked me and 40 other women over 50 to find the good, in the bad and droopy.
Dismayed, then inspired, by a 2009 newspaper column cataloguing the “litany of wrinkle-prone, gravity-challenged parts of a woman’s body and the derogatory nicknames” that applied to each,
Graydon, whose organization Informed Opinions, promotes the voices of women in public policy and the media decided to counter the much-feared and talked-about downhill slide with the book I Feel Great About My Hands: And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging.
Shari’s email landed in my inbox somewhere along one Interstate or another. I answered yes from the sleeper of our big truck. But what to say? When I revealed my emotional and physical mid-life crisis, my desire for adventure, for re-invention and where it had taken me, she answered, awesome!
These days it’s scary to be 50-something so this book is well-timed. Recently, one of our favorite TV news magazines, CBS Sunday Morning, reported the havoc the Great Recession has wreaked on Americans over 50 languishing in unemployment. Add the fact that I can no longer absorb an evening of rich food and wine, my sleep is hounded by the hot-and-cold demons, my nest egg is not what Suze Orman recommends and I too, am surprised by my life.
No one prepped me for this part of the journey, there was no defensive driving course, remedial backing up, no maps and no language skills for a time where, regularly, I feel like a new survival strategy is required.
I Feel Great About My Hands, which has a Facebook page, is a multi-voiced complement to Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck. Writers, comedians, actors, documentarians, politicians, academics, poets, journalists and one truck driver tell their stories of facing a new way of being.
Contributors include documentary film maker Bonnie Sherr Klein, also known as the mother of Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein, beloved Canadian funny woman Mary Walsh, politician and environmentalist Elizabeth May and writer Susan Musgrave.
The essays, Zero to Not Quite So Stupid; The Shady Side of Fifty, The Levity of Gravity; No Country for Old Women and How My Drooping Breasts Led to a Truck-Driving Life of Adventure confirm that while 50 is definitely not the new 30 there is good with the bad and the droopy.
The Huffingon Post calls I Feel Great About My Hands “warm, witty and wise.”