Catching Up With Memories
Happy October, Everyone!!
How’s everyone doing? That’s not a rhetorical question! I really want to know!
I’m feeling a little scattered these days. A bit overcommitted—but not overwhelmed. I’ve taken on a bunch of new projects and am excited for them all! Fall is a terrific season to start digging in those heels—and can be a terrifically creative season!
Fall is also a wonderful time to catch up with people. (Every season is actually a wonderful opportunity to catch up with people.) So, spoiler alert, I’m going to do some catching up in this post—and asking you questions—none of them rhetorical!
First thing I wanted to share is that I had COVID in August—as so many others I know did too. I think I caught it traveling to NY for my mother-in-law’s funeral. She was 98—what a wonderful number, right?
I wasn’t sick from COVID. Not exactly. Had no sore throat, no cough, no fever. But I also had no energy—I was completely exhausted—and while my brain/thoughts were functioning, my memory was spotty. That was really scary.
I light candles for the Sabbath every Friday night. There’s a short one-sentence Hebrew prayer that goes along with the ritual. The first Friday of my COVID, I forgot the words—and tune—of the prayer. I just couldn’t access either of them. I turned to YouTube, and after hearing the beginning, it all came back. But that episode, I have to admit, kind of freaked me out. (I had known the prayer since I was a little girl.)
I Preach to Anyone Who Will Listen the Benefits of Feeling the Fear and Doing It Anyway. I Don’t Want to Do That in Any Way.
My mother-in-law’s memory, for quite some time before she died, was spotty too. She often didn’t remember me, and sometimes, it took a while for her to remember her son.
I wonder how my mother-in-law felt when she realized her memory was failing her. There must have been a time when she realized this. I hope it didn’t scare her.
I remember my own mom, who died at 88, before her own memory failed. She’d once been given the anesthetic propofol for a hospital procedure. Mom loved the “Michael Jackson drug,” as she called it. She had a new understanding of how a person could become addicted—how seductive a drug could be. She also included propofol in her final plans.
“That’s how I want to go out, Diane. It was so peaceful,” she told me. “You have to get some and give it to me if I start to lose it.” Losing her cognition, was probably her greatest fear.
It may be my greatest fear too. I preach to anyone who will listen the benefits of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, but I don’t want to do that in any way.
Lots of Questions for YOU!!
I didn’t have to make a decision regarding my mother’s request to secure her a stash of the drug because. She died in a car accident shortly after she’d asked me. She died with her cognitive faculties intact.
But what if my own faculties decline?
I have already begun to lose some of my memory. Names of celebrities, movies, books … I can see them in my mind’s eye but cannot access the words.
This is common. I know. And it is not indication of any future downward spiral. But … And …
Aging and losing some parts of our memory often go together. But an across-the-board loss of cognitive abilities is definitely not a given!
An advanced reading copy of Priscilla Long’s Dancing with the Muse in Old Age came my way recently—just at the right time. Priscilla writes about embracing creativity as we age and she share many inspiring examples of people who came into their creative peaks late in life. I will be interviewing Priscilla for the blog soon. Can’t wait to share some of her discoveries with you all!
Questions for you: Anybody else have any COVID brain scares? Any memory loss?
Anyone feeling new sparks of creativity with the crisper weather?
I’d love to hear about them all!
“Little Old Lady” … MOI???
Here’s another travel story I’d like to share—and it’s much more fun!
I was in line at the gate to get onto a different plane a few months ago when a middle-aged woman pushed her way to the front of the line. A young woman and I caught each other’s eyes. The young woman was angry! I wasn’t but rolled my eyes to offer mutual support.
I usually refrain from bonding with people against another—especially another woman, even one who is pushing her way to the front—but this young woman seemed to need some validation from me.
Maybe I’m projecting. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Anyway, it turns out that the young woman sat behind me on the plane. After we boarded I heard her talking on the phone, speaking excitedly about the woman pushing her way to the front of the line: “It was unreal. Even this little old lady looked at me and rolled her eyes!”
“Little old lady!” Was she talking about MOI???
I smiled. I hadn’t really seen myself as a little old lady, but in some people’s eyes, I guess that’s who I am. And that’s okay. The young woman didn’t have a disparaging tone and, besides, what she said was true (well maybe not the “little” part).
How Do You Feel About the Word “Old”?
I thought about the word “old” and its various connotations. I usually don’t buy into the negative ones. And when I catch my myself swimming in that negativity (which is somewhat inevitable, having been raised and living in our culture), I stop and remind myself of all the personal, intellectual, and creative growth I’ve experienced as I’ve gotten older, none of which I had the time for or had taken the time to develop when I was younger.
“Later.” “Some other time,” I’d tell myself in my 30s and 40s. But now that I am in my glorious 60s, I hear that old clock ticking. There’s a greater sense of urgency–and I embrace it! Now, when I see an opportunity, I jump on it! And I find, when that is my headspace, richer and more plentiful opportunities keep presenting themselves.
Some other questions for you: How do you feel about the word “old”? Have you ever been referred to as “a little old lady?” How do you think you’d react? And … have you noticed new and wonderful opportunities coming your way as you grow older?
On that note, I wanted to give a huge shout out to several WomanPause friends who have very exciting, creative news for this fall:
Janet Rodriguez’s wonderful love-letter of a family memoir Making an American Family: A Recipe in Five Generations was just published—I interviewed Janet for the blog a while back and will be interviewing her for the Antioch University podcast LitCit soon!
Amy Shimshon-Santo’s powerful poetry collection Catastrophic Molting just came out too! A strong mama bear, Amy’s fierce words are always accompanied by her great love and hope. Her message: We must work to better the future because the children of our world need us to!
Promenade of Desire: A Barcelona Memoir, a beautiful and engaging sexual coming of age memoir, by the equally beautiful and engaging Isidra Mencos will be released October 11 (and is available for pre-order now). Watch for my review in Hippocampus Magazine this month!
Deirdre Fagan’s well-anticipated, award-winning memoir Find a Place for Me: Embracing Love and Life in the Face of Death is coming out in November 1. (It will break your heart–and inspire you!) Look for my interview with Deirdre in November’s Hippocampus Magazine.
Melissa Hart has a wonderful middle-grade book Daisy Woodworm Changes The World coming out in November about difference–and making a difference. I wish I had a book like this when I was a kid! Look for my conversation with Melissa on the blog next month!
Sherry Danner has a new offering. Here’s what she had to say about it: Expanding Emotional Intelligence is a NEW self-paced class inside the Nurtured Light Membership where women at midlife and beyond are showing up boldly, setting boundaries with love, and feeling our way to the best half of our lives! Emotions are our guides and gateways to deepening our connections and fueling our dreams. Learn more at nurturedlight.com
AND, don’t miss my dear friend and teacher Alison McGhee’s new fall offerings!! I stated with several of her one-session classes and am now in the second year of a monthly writing group with her and some amazing women! Take anything–and everything–Alison puts out there!!
These women embrace opportunities and make their voices heard in this world! There are so many paths to making your own mark and to making the world a more caring and compassionate place!
What opportunities are you embracing this fall? Let me know and if you’re okay with it, I’d love to give you a shout out too!!!
A New Milestone—FIVE Years of WomanPause!!
And … I want to give a huge shout out to you all!!!
Thanks for supporting WomanPause—we just entered our 5th year! Happy Anniversary to all—looking for many more rich years together!
P.S. In case you’re wondering about all the random pictures in the post, Steven and I just returned from a cruise to Greece and Turkey—and two days in Rome—last week. I’d never been to Europe before. Steven and I went with dear friends. It was a wonderful time!
P.P.S. Also …IMPORTANT!
I’ve recently posted on social media that I’ve started meditation—again—to help with anxiety. As wonderfully inspiring a time as fall can be, it is not unusual to feel increased anxiety. According to The New Times “A panel of medical experts recommended for the first time that doctors screen all adult patients under 65 for anxiety.”
If you are feeling anxiety, you are not alone! Take good care of yourself. There’s a lot of help available out there—you don’t have to suffer!
As Always, I’d Love to Hear from You!!
Please comment or send me an email! I’m excited to hear your answers to any (or all) of my questions in the post—or anything else you’d like to say!
Thank you so much, again, for your continued support— and if you know anyone else who might like to join us in this space, please send them this link!
See you soon!
For one-on-one support in uncovering your voice on the page, please consider working with me! I’d love to join you on your journey!
This is fantastic. What I love about your blogs is the community you build around topics that would typically be so isolation. We never want to admit many of the fears you described, but by doing so in safe spaces like this, we practice good self care. Thank you!
Oh! This makes me so happy Debbie! Building a safe community were we can discuss “topics that would typically be isolating”. I can’t think of a higher compliment! Thank you, and so glad you’re a part of it!
Boy did those last five years go fast! Congratulations on this wonderful newsletter! It is a time for many !!!’s
Yes! The past five years flew!! so glad we met in that mastermind class!!!!!
Happy 5th Anniversary to my beautiful friend, Diane Gottlieb! I am always learning from you and how you effortlessly interview amazing women with amazing stories and wisdom. I was sad to hear about Steve’s mom passing and how Covid finally “got you!” and yet “not.”
Your newsletter is unique, spicy and “woman filled ” if that makes sense. I love it!
Congratulations on all of your accomplishments. “When one woman wins, we all win.”
Much love and respect,
Oh, thank you, Meryl! So grateful for your words and that you’re a part of our WomanPause community! “When one woman wins, we all win.” So true!
Happy 5 Year Anniversary Diane and WomanPause! And thank you for creating such a positive, genuine, happy, serious , informative and inspiring place for so many. It’s funny, just last night , with my husband and children gathered around the table to celebrate my upcoming birthday, 58:), when thanking them, a line from a John Denver song I recently heard, ( corny , right? I know every word of his Greatest Hits album), from “Poems , Prayers and Promises”, he sings “It Turns me on to Think of Growing Old…”. That sentiment really resonated for me….as does referring to your “glorious 60’s”…so I’m running with those…with a keen eye of course on doing all the things we read about for physical and mental health…exercise…eat your berries…do the Wordle…I also Love Jamie Lee Curtis who recently posted that we have to get away from the term “ Anti-Aging”!!! And as I approach my “glorious 60’s”…I think if referred to as “an old lady”, I’d just laugh, as I find at this stage able to do with much more frequency about so many things….so grateful for that, and for WomanPause…but I AM planning on building an addition to our home- a first floor bedroom-for when my old knees give out …Much Love, Marian
Thank you, Marian! Happy Anniversary to you, too, as you are part of our community!! And Happy 58 coming up!! Thank you for reminding me of John Denver–I actually went to one of his concerts! I am a singer and I just loved his rich voice! When we worry too much about getting older, we might do well to think of him and his tragic death and what we all lost when he was gone. We “older” women have so much left to contribute–and yes, to the first floor bedroom! (I had one in my house in Westchester–it was so convenient!) Love back at you!
LOVED this, Diane! Your pictures say it all. You are the embodiment of LIVING and that is what we are here for. The act of waking up is a gift. The idea that your mother was planning for her peaceful end – having no idea when that was – and then died in a car accident shortly thereafter is ALL I NEED to live this day.
How can we frame the time we have here as anything less than a gift?
I feel the same way about the word “old”. Regarding “anti-aging” my friend Jennifer Walsh (Walk With Walsh) is the most elegant nature activist I know. She was the founder of beautybar.com and refuses to participate in interviews where they ask her to discuss anti-aging. She says it goes against the nature of life and living.
Happy Birthday dear Marian! Happy Anniversary dear Diane!
Thank you so very much, dear Jeanne! Yes, to living this day as a gift! And love your friend’s attitude–anti/anti-aging! XOXO
So happy it is our 5th year anniversary . Where did the time go? Your interviews and genuine truth has helped me so much ! I am also so scared about my memory and sometimes repeating myself. I also suffer from anxiety and am on medication . Do what we can to get by. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Happy anniversary to us!! And thanks for mentioning the repeating piece–I think that’s another uncomfortable aspect of the whole memory-loss thing. While those are real, I truly believe we have gained wisdom–and I wouldn’t trade places with my younger self. I hear you on the anxiety, and, yes, to doing whatever it is that helps! XOXO
Thank you for the shout out, Diane! I have the same or worse issues with memory. In fact, I dread it when people asked me what are your favorite books or movies, because half the time I blank out and can’t remember the title, or the author’s name. And I’m constantly forgetting words. Then they come to me after a few seconds. As far as it’s just normal aging memory loss (which it is), I’m okay with it. 🙂
I hear you, Isidra! those words, titles, names, just on the tip of the tongue but somehow not accessible! And your welcome for the shout out! Excited for you and the book!
Five years!!!!! Congratulations!! Looks like your trip was amazing! And yes, I realize that I am using an exclamation point with every sentence! It is Monday and I don’t care!!! I’m still thinking about how I feel about old. I waffle between embracing it, like I’m embracing my gray hair, to I do not feel old, to god, I’m old and my achy body let’s me know that.
DeAnna! You are a woman after my own heart, as I LOVE to (over)use exclamation points!! (Mondays-Sundays)
And I love your waffles–it’s complicated right?!?
Thanks so much for sharing!
I love your newsletters! Brilliant! I’m 45, and I’ve had chemo brain ever since I had breast cancer at 31. It is very scary, and I fear I’m entering early Alzheimer’s all the time. Aging plus chemo brain scares me even more.
Will I have it together? Will I lose it? I don’t want to go that way. I love the idea of having a stash of the Michael Jackson drug. Sounds magnificent! Merciful ends are essential and humane—after all we ARE humans, right?
Love you! Stay strong. Keep writing!
P.S. Beautiful pics of Rome and Greece!
Chemo brain! Oh, that’s another beast! Those questions you pose–so difficult–and yet, we keep charging on, doing the best we can–I know you do! Yes, my mom was pretty forward in her thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. So glad the newsletter resonates. Love you too!!
Congratulations on 5 years!! That is a HUGE accomplishment!! And thank you for the shout out. You are such a champion of and for women and you elevate us all with your generosity. I love so many things about this blog. Your “little old lady” story is classic Diane! You have a way of sharing that draws us all in and makes those potentially devastating milestones of aging a little less awful. We love you! Thanks for feeling the fear and putting your voice out into he world anyway!
Thank you for your lovely comment–it made me laugh and smile with my heart! And thank you, Sherry, for all you do for women! You have helped me tremendously as I am sure you have (and continue to) help so many others!!
Welcome to your 60’s! I like to think of myself as experienced instead of old. I too have had the occasional brain blackout. I have a safe for which I keep my medications. I’ve used it weekly for a few years. The combination of 4 numbers to open it have remained the same. But on occasion, I can’t remember the numbers. It’s frightening and very upsetting. So happy you had a great trip to Europe! I’m heading to Portugal in 10 days!!
Great to hear from you, Denise! I LOVE “experienced instead of old!” And … those brain blackouts! Unsettling! Have a wonderful trip to Portugal!