Happiness and Age As A Choice

Revisiting a moment from last year’s blog:

Things I’m happy to be too old for:

– Skinny jeans
– The terms “BAE” and “Fleek”
– Breaking up with someone on Facebook
– Men with more expensive earrings than me
– “Teen Mom”
– Smart cars
– Music videos with naked people in them
– Fake eyelashes
– Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber
– Swiping left
– Ridiculously padded undergarments

Things I’m sad to be too old for:

– American Idol auditions
– Noah Syndergaard
– My size 3 black corduroys from 1987
– Making my kids’ Halloween costumes
– Ditto their birthday party favors
– Slam dancing
– A cute little two-piece swim suit
– Spiked heel platforms
– Summer break
– Day camp
– Bowie’s next birthday celebration

Things I’ll never be too old for:

– Harry Potter
– Disney parks
– The swingset in my backyard
– Chocolate anything
– Star Wars toys
– Perfume that smells like lemons
– Tossing my hair
– Eating only the frosting off the cupcake
– Clearasil, apparently
– Pink lip gloss
– Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
– Talking baby talk to the cats
– The Flintstones
– Dr. Seuss

The Scariest Chick on Two Feet

The Scariest Chick on Two Feet

Notice I changed my banner on this blog. I replaced the slanted view of my living room with a pinky-orange fishnet placard that matches my Channillo.com short story series, “A Run in My Tights.” I also wanted to upgrade more from a middle grade to a “new adult” feel. More significantly, I changed the tagline from “Living Ironically” to:

“Chick With An Attitude.”

Time to own-up. At a recent GLVWG writer’s conference, I noticed a pattern.

Hint #1: As I explained my projects to a prominent branding consultant, she said to me, “You’re a handful aren’t you? I could tell from the questions you asked during the session.” Frankly, I felt like Little Miss Closed-Mouth at the session.

Maybe not.

Hint #2: In a panel of literary agents/publishers, one of them said A) Barnes & Noble will likely no longer be around in 10 years, and B) print book sales are on the rise. I asked him, “So how do you reconcile that statement about increases in print sales with the fact that Barnes & Noble is going out of business?”

The crowd laughed. Like I caught him in a lie or something. I felt bad.

Honestly, I just wanted to know whether print books actually were back on the rise.  (Note: He confirmed print sales are rising; Barnes & Noble’s predicted demise is a separate issue relative to its business model. Note:  I apologized to him at lunch the next day.)

Hint #3:  A volunteer from GLVWG read two pages of my waitress novel aloud during a critique session. In the scene, the inexperienced waitress is grilled by a potential employer. The session-reader caught me afterward. “Grrr,” she said, “I wanted to hear more of you in that story. I wanted to her tell that guy off!”

More of me? I don’t remember telling anyone off at this or any other event. However, I’m realizing that even in environments where I feel like Bashful the Dwarf, compared to the rest of the world, I’m a freaking steam roller.

Here’s the biggest tell-tale sign. Before starting the waitress story, I perused a stack of journals from my youth, and I noticed a distinct recurring theme:

.        1981: “Bobby says I have an attitude…”

.        1983: “PJ says I have an attitude.”

.        1987: “Danny thinks I have an attitude…”

.        1988: “Mike says I have an attitude, and I think he’s right.”

One other guy from this time frame—maybe a bit more of an intellectual problem-solver than the others—would calmly turn to me when I got uppity and say:

Yes, Dominatrix.”

These were all formidable guys—the only type even remotely equipped to deal with me, apparently. Bobby was captain of the football team and drove a truck the relative size of Utah. PJ was a good-ole’ frat brother and avid Steelers fan. Danny was an Irish tough-guy from Queens. Mike was a law student who rode a motorcycle.

And the outright kicker?

One of the above guys, who lists counter-terrorism and military intelligence as professional interests on his LinkedIn page, broke up with me because he said I was “intimidating.”

Time to own up. I must be the scariest b-tch on the planet.

I suppose this is how I am able to thrive as a short-statured woman in an industry dominated by men. Large men. ADD/genius, entrepreneurial, C-level men. In the technology space.

Sometimes I wonder if I have any business hanging around with all these nice people in Pennsylvania. I fear that before long, someone will ask me to pack up and go back to New York.

Until that time comes, I’m going to take the advice of the above branding expert during our consultation (thanks SuzyQ). Just as I braced to be chastised for being too in-your-face, she said to me:

“No. I want you to run with this.”

So there you have it. I’ll embrace The Attitude. I’ll forgive myself for the journal episodes where more than one of these guys literally ran from me, sprinting up the cold cement steps of my basement apartment, while early-twenties Suzanne yelled things after them.

If I can’t get away from it, I might as well settle in.

I hope being The Scary Chick turns out to be marketable.

 

#

Aside: Note my flash fiction piece, Ex-smokers, which seems to pick up on this pattern….

If 50 is the New 40, Is 25 the New 15?

Here’s my first blog appearing in the Huffington Post/Post50 Section.  Somebody had to say it!

Anyone who’d like to read it directly online, click here.

logo     headline

Suzanne Grieco Mattaboni Blogger, fiction writer, PR professional and over-sharer on www.copywritelife.com, @suzmattaboni

Posted: 11/30/2015 8:00 am EST Updated: 11/30/2015 8:00 am EST

Years ago, I dreamed of a woman who stood at the end of a road. Low-dropping sun backlit her hair. She waved. She had pretty much knocked out all the hard stuff. When she smiled, a knot in the pit of my stomach dissolved.

She was me, after completing 20 years of life tasks.

At 51, I’ve finally caught up with that woman. Both my children have charged out the door to college, my husband and I still like each other, and my public relations consulting career is at a pinnacle.

Sure, I miss having accurate vision, a near-photographic memory and an unfairly rapid metabolism. I miss not having to dye-out my graylights every month. But more or less, I wonder what everyone has been crying about.

Being over 50 is a blast.

I’m just going to say it: Menopause is a blast.

I dare anyone to look back on their life and not have something — or if you’re myself, 10 somethings — you wish you could have done in an alternate life. Even we Wonder Women of the ’80s and ’90s, who coined the phrase “Have It All,” likely had to prioritize our outrageous ambitions to focus on the things that demanded our greater attention. Now we can do those other things.

And here’s the kicker, ladies: Not only do we get to pursue these secondary goals without our beloved offspring drooling on our shoulders, we can do so without tampons. Or cramps. We can do these things without ridiculous food cravings and handfuls of aspirin and heating pads and birth control pills. Best of all (cue impressive kettle drum-roll, building to a cymbal crash):

We can do them without PMS.

When I turned 21, my body evolved, like a mutant X-person. I thanked my Maker for finally bestowing me with boobs. But I noticed a strange, cyclical phenomenon akin to someone whispering a mantra in my ear all day: Everything is wrong, all the time! Everything!

I’d been lucky enough to live 20 years as a stable and consistent person, I thought, but that was over. And so it proceeded each month for 30 years. Those hormones were in force for decades, for the privilege of popping out two children.

When I turned 50 and the spigot began to toggle off, so to speak, I was sad. I had no further genetic material to offer the world, unless I chose to be cloned.

Then the happiness set in. And stayed.

It hit me: I AM FREE from hormonal bondage.

So here I am: not the skinny, laser-focused nymph I was, by far. But thanks to years of aerobics and substantial servings of vegetables, I’m strong. Thanks to decades of professional diligence, I have more money in my pocket than I imagined for myself. And I am no longer subject to bloating, mood swings, pharmaceutical side effects, or drug store products that I’m embarrassed to hand the cashier.

It’s like being a man.

I’ve thought about launching a platform on the topic. I’d call it Continuation Nation©. If I have to publicly admit I am in this age bracket, I might as well celebrate it and establish a brand.

Except I feel guilty about one thing: We tail-end baby boomers (including men) have better nutrition and moisturizers and work-out regimens, better cancer therapies and prevention programs and replacement joints than any generation before us. We’ve developed technologies that allow us to work from our cushy dens. Meanwhile, the Social Security system is wheezing to a halt, and the tradition of pensions is becoming a dim memory.

So we keep working.

And we wonder why our sons and daughters can’t find employment. We are a big reason why. We are the waning end of the largest population spike in modern history, and we refuse to step down, either in the marketplace or in the greater cultural consciousness. We early-50-somethings consider ourselves far too essential to pass the torch. And financially, we’re not even sure we can afford to, long-term.

Keep in mind: If 50 is the new 40, then 25 becomes the new 15.

This could be why our post-college kids continue to inhabit their childhood bedrooms.

Although I’m confronting middle age with verve, I worry if I’m doing so at the expense of the very peer group we post-primers birthed and raised.

All I can hope is that there will be room for all of us in the professional and culturrear viewal landscape going forward. And that by maintaining vital pursuits, I can transfer my expertise and connections to my children, to help further their own objectives. This is something the secretarial, mid-century generation before us did not have the opportunity to provide, no matter how giving they were otherwise.

There is yin and yang to everything. Even being fabulous at 50.