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4 Things I'm Reading and Thinking About
What's on my mind this week
It feels impossible that we’re already close to Thanksgiving. This year we’ll have a small Thanksgiving at our house, and I should by now be thinking more about what we’ll be preparing, but I’ll save those worries for a few more days. (I’m a notorious last-minute holiday person.)
What am I thinking about instead of the imminent holiday season?
A lot of you are very new to Substack so I thought I’d start giving you a taste of other Substacks that I’ve discovered that might resonate with you fellow midlife women.
I’m thinking about Substack.
A couple weeks ago I sent out this survey and heard many wonderful things and valuable suggestions about Midstory from a lot of you.
Also in the survey? A lot of love for — as well as confusion and some outright hostility for — Substack, this platform. You had a lot of comments and questions about Substack (such as “Honestly I get Medium and Substack mixed up and I don't really understand how either of them works”).
To address so many of the questions and interest in Substack we’ve heard from many of you, we’ll be hosting a discussion about Substack on Friday, December 2nd at 2 p.m. ET. Get your questions (no silly questions!) answered, find out more about what Substack is (and isn’t), and learn a bit about how you can use it as a reader and a writer. If you can’t make the workshop live, you can still sign up and we’ll send out a recording of the discussion.
Sign up here: https://www.theherstoriesproject.com/substack-discuss
I’m thinking about gray hair.
I went to the hair salon on Friday and had a confusing conversation with my stylist about what to do about gray hair. At 49, after years of haphazard attention to my slowly graying hair by haphazard coloring, I’m realizing that I’m too cheap and too lazy to keep up the maintenance required for coloring my increasingly gray hair. So I’ve just decided to stop.
Thus, I’ve been thinking about this fantastic and moving series of illustrations by Aubrey Hirsch in a piece called “Growing in the Hair” in Valerie Monroe’s wonderful Substack.
I’m thinking about my age.
Not my chronological age but the age I feel in my head, because of two pieces I read this week. In— another Substack I’d recommend — Farrah writes,
“I read in an Atlantic article once that adults over 40 perceive themselves, on average, to be 20 per cent younger than they actually are. It’s true. Ask me how I feel in my head and I would probably say 36. That’s why it can be such a shock to see an exterior that no longer matches who you feel yourself to be. It is why you see men in their 50s in sports cars and biker jackets meant for the young. Or older women still buying the same clothes they used to wear when they were in their twenties. It’s easy to mock them. ‘They’re having a mid-life crisis!’ we laugh. But I don’t laugh at them anymore. More recently I’ve come to see these individuals not as figures of fun but as figures of truth. They are simply acting out the quiet struggle that is middle-age.”
After reading her piece, I spent a long time asking myself, “What age do I feel?” I even asked the question as a prompt in our current writing group. I couldn’t come up with an answer for me that felt right.
Syle icon Stacy London answered‘s questionnaire this week:
Is there another age you associate with yourself in your mind? If so, what is it? And why, do you think?
Nope. I am 54 through and through. I don’t want to be any other age.
Stacy goes on to describe how her current age feels “just right,” and to me, her answer felt just right as well.
I’m thinking of Taylor Swift.
I am. I really am. A lot. I’m not even embarrassed by this preoccupation/obsession because I know a lot of my Gen X/midlife peers are there right along with me.
I love this piece inby Wendy Robinson. Wendy writes,
“What must it be like for Taylor to be at the pinnacle of a career she’s worked her whole life for and to find someone who appears entirely unthreatened by it? To be with someone who is no stranger to crowds screaming his name, but who is happy to be the guy waiting in the wings for her or grooving in the audience, munching on a bag of popcorn? Who doesn’t need her fame but isn’t scared by it either?
All of that and he’s tall, cute, sweetly doofy, confident but not arrogant, seemingly beloved by most people who know him, and lacking in toxic masculinity? No wonder she looks so fucking giddy.”
I think this celebrity relationship has a lot of us midlife women thinking about partnerships and what we expect from them and times in our lives when we didn’t expect or get what we deserved.
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