The Joy of Sex/Aging

The other day I read a phrase in a book title: The Joy of Aging.  My response was less than enthusiastic. My mind went back to the book  The Joy of Sex. As a child of the 60’s and 70’s, and the “make love not war”generation, I was impressed that a explicit book about the joy of sex actually got published in 1972. It really is a “classic”now. I have fond memories from my days at the book store and how the book was relocated around the store by furtive giggling teenagers. The manager and I drew the line at the children’s section, but finding the book in History or Travel barely raised our eyebrows.  Of course I read it AND looked at the pictures. Sex is supposed to be fun, but aging?  Not so much. I just remembered a series of books for “dummies”;  Gardening for Dummies, Knitting for Dummies etc…. Funny I never saw Sex for Dummies or Aging for Dummies even though it seems us dummies need a great deal of help in these areas. 

What are the joys of aging? I have to give that question some thought. It is much easier to list the  sorrows of aging! There is no joy in wrinkles, turkey neck and upper arms that flap in the wind. It is humbling to see looks of exasperation on young people’s faces when I desperately need computer help for things they learned in grade school. Going from “miss” to “ma’am” is a giant painful leap for me.  When I add up my years I know I am well past the halfway point unless I live until 132! Sorry to say that even the joys of sex are not included among my joys of aging. I don’t remember a chapter on aging in The Joy of Sex, but when I first read it getting old was not on my radar!  These sorrows are only the tip of the iceberg—but remember the Titanic.

I am a realist and a grateful optimist; so I ask again what are the joys of aging? The standard reply to complaints about aging,  “Consider the alternative.” has merit. I am alive and there are possibilities and joys to experience along.  Life is a mixed bag for sure.  I stopped coloring my hair and it’s a lovely shade of gray; saves time and money.  When I walk past a group of young men I am glad I am invisible, sticking my chest out and sucking my gut in at the same time was never easy!  My “center” is a lot stronger now and I can go with the flow or trust myself and my opinions, if I need to draw a line in the sand.  Believing it doesn’t matter or I don’t care  is very freeing. With age I have learned not everything is worth worrying or agonizing over, in fact very little is. I’m not trying to impress anyone and no longer need to canvas the world before I make a decision. Because I am not obsessing over my value I can see the Downy Woodpecker in the tree or the doves marching like they are is a military parade. My love is deeper and my laugh is deeper. With time, my failures become good stories and I try to say “yes” to life as much as I can. I have lots more joys of aging, but I’ll stop here.

So there’s lots of joys to be had with sex and aging, maybe even at the same time. 


I am laying here in the glow of a night-light, which makes a shadow of a wood heron I have set close to it. The effect is beautiful and very comforting. I can see enough to make my way, but I don’t have the bright light which makes my eyeballs shrivel. The soft light is just right. Light, like so many things, is measured on a continuum—pitch-black to blinding bright, soft light to harsh light, flickering light to solid light, etc.  My moods fall on a continuum too.

There have been times when I have felt discounted by a beautiful, bright sunny day—how dare the light try to brighten the darkness inside of me? I wanted to be in the dark, I deserved to be in the dark. I didn’t want to light a damn candle! My life was lived in semi darkness and I learned to make my way. What was there to see or feel anyway? I learned the sun isn’t worried about ambience or mood lighting— it just shines. Finally one day I saw and felt the sunshine on my face and … I began to trust the sun to shine …always. Whether I could see it or not. 

Digital clock light, cell phone, the iPad I am writing this on, DVD lights, TV and movie screens, car lights, Times Square, and to think our ancient ancestors had only the light from a burning fire or torch. The simplicity of that sounds very restful to me. Our screens can seem like they are our masters, but we can make the decision to “use” them and not allow them to “use”us.

We even use light to heal and have laser therapy and laser knives to do surgery. The invention of the light bulb changed the course of history.  With the flip of a switch God said “There was light.” Must have been on the first day of creation because God needed to see what he/she was doing! Please forgive my loose biblical translation.

The Light House welcomes and is a beacon to safety for ships seeking the shore. Flashlights are as useful as duct tape. Even our cell phones can be used as flashlights. The miners’ helmets with a light on it are necessary to see in the shadows of the mine shaft. The bicyclists in the city use lights to be seen and well as to see in the darkness. Having learned how dark it gets when the electricity goes out I am well supplied with candles and stick matches. I know how to light a candle to dispel the darkness. Light is safety and chases away fear.

Come On Baby, Light My Fire. You Light Up My Life. Let The Midnight Special Shine It’s  Ever-lovin’ Light On Me. Moonlight. We sing about light- from rock and roll, to pop, to folk songs. The romance of moonlight is legendary. All these odes to light testify how central light is to our lives. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.


With a flourish and wave of the hand the great unveiling—-Ta-Da!  It’s kind of like the fist in the air Yes!, but more of a public viewing of your great accomplishments. But what about the frequent admonishment from my Mother “Self-praise stinks.”?  Does it really stink to pat yourself on the back and say “Well done.” I have been unable to completely disregard my Mothers edict, but I have learned that the “stink” of self-praise more often smells like the fresh air after a good rain.

My college boyfriend told me that I was not original, I didn’t create anything. I stayed in the shadow of his great, public talents. What could I do to show I was creative? What did I have to show for being me? I got very good grades and made the Deans List, nobody noticed and I couldn’t sing my own praises.  I lost weight and from out behind the curtain stepped an attractive young woman. I got noticed! finally, but being noticed by preying men was not the attention I needed. I couldn’t see that I was of value for the original I truly was. It was like behind the curtain was the great and powerful  OZ, and there I was front and center, just little old me and I had no power to make wishes come true.

I joke that it was Prozac which un-leashed my creativity. This is the truth— after extensive  therapy and taking Prozac I came out from behind the wall (not that Wall!) of depression. I realized I had been living with my brakes on.  I was in there somewhere and amazed myself with my drive to create. I started with cards, then collage and decoupage. Then I learned how to make jewelry and have made thousands of earrings. Writing came next and crocheting and  playing and making music on the banjo and ….  I had lots of Ta-Da! opportunities. I made this and this, and I continue to create.

Human doing and human being. I learned to love by being human and doing loving things. There are things you can do to show how much you love someone, but often the  love is expressed in non-visible ways: support, kindness, listening etc….   Loving is original and creative. Anger is too. When our gift of love, our creation is rejected, the hurt is very deep. We have revealed our vulnerable selves behind our masks, and we are rejected. In spite of the risks, we are charged with creating ourselves and sharing our gift with the world.

When I get to Heaven, St. Peter, of pearly gates fame, will ask me to show him what is behind my curtain, my final Ta-Da! moment. My hope is that there will be nothing behind the curtain.  I gave it all away.


2018:Get Me Out’a Here

I must say 2018 has not been a stellar year for me, and barring any last minute miracles, the year will end with a whimper. I know I have a wonderful sister who lives, breathes, writes and fosters gratitude, but forgive me if I don’t choose gratitude for 2018. Challenging myself to quickly name three things I associate with the last year, I come up with lies, deadly storms/fires and crying children separated from their mothers. Nothing pretty about any of those things. You could argue that these happenings are macro, meaning of the political or cultural world and not really about me, my micro world. Unfortunately the macro has become the micro. My home was burned to the ground or blown away by hurricane winds, a child alone and crying was my child and my world was polluted with deceit and lies. In order to breathe I wear a mask of denial to filter out a reality that is poison. Is it really this bad? Yes.

The whole is theoretically greater than its parts, but what if the whole is less than its parts?  Together we have become the lowest common denominator of community.  I got turned around and around and my “moral compass” has taken sometime to again calibrate to true North.  The Svengali and Pied Pipers say “Come this way, we are not our brothers keeper, hate and greed are our path. Sell your soul for a small piece of the pie.”  Our values are being watered down every day, and soon will be so diluted we will be unable to remember a “we” exists. America is being led by a petulant bully who is incapable of empathy.  I want to apologize to the world. I am so sorry and ashamed that he is being enabled to deny climate change and dirty our air and water. I am so ashamed that the “us” excludes you if your skin is not white and your faith could be cause for murder. I can’t understand how commitments and partnerships have come to mean so little, but I guess when the “truth isn’t the truth” nothing matters.  Nothing. Matters.

I have voted, called and written my representatives, and held signs and protested. Still the arrogant Bully is in the Oval Office surrounded by spineless sycophants. If I had any talent for drawing cartoons I would quite enjoy depicting this scene. Certain people in the U.S. must have been ripe for picking by racist whitey-tighteys. Reason can’t persuade hate to step aside. It seems that hate is not based on reason, but on fear. I have to believe that Love trumps fear.

In spite of it all I feel a spark of hope for the new year. I am not sure why, but perhaps I have lived long enough to know “That this too shall pass.”  Change will come too slow for me, but it will come.  WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.