Twenty years ago, at age fifty-nine, I taught a workshop called The Fifties--Love ’Em and Leave ’Em--at Rancho La Puerta, a spa in Tecate, Mexico. A large number of women in their mid-to-late fifties attended, all concerned about their vanishing youth. My promise was to give the group some tools and strategies to enrich their later years.
The workshop was “wildly successful,” according to Rancho La Puerta, and they asked me to come back and do it again. Why?
I think I helped the women find joy in their current lives. Sure a lot had changed. Their bodies weren’t what they used to be, for example. But we focused on what the women had achieved thus far and what they could look forward to.
I urged them to build a dock so that their “ships” could come in—to make a list of things that they wanted to learn new or learn better. A list of their dream travels. A list of their professional goals, if they were working, and a list of their personal goals.
Their biggest worries were about the losses they were facing—their parents for some, their children leaving home for others, and for some, both.
I wonder what those women would say now about their achievements, their goals and their worries. They will have experienced some losses, and there will be more. But many of their issues remain the same—their bodies, their loved ones, their “work”.
It is interesting now to look at what concerned us then.