... a little something extra thrown in

Gabby Abby

Gabby Abby
Florida, USA
December 31
I've had most of the jobs ~ daughter, student, wife, parent, employee, business owner and now once again, job seeker ~ but I'm still looking forward to lottery winner, retiree and regular blogger. Email welcome at gabbyabby.jax@gmail.com


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FEBRUARY 18, 2011 3:09PM

I want a Do Over

Rate: 46 Flag




I know how to be 20 something, luring a man to the bar for drinks and giving him an opportunity to get to know me.  I know how to be 38, secure in myself, with a house, clothes and a job to go with it. 

I know how to throw a dinner party, a cocktail bash, and a 45th birthday party for the singlest stud in the neighborhood.  If you were there, you'd still remember.  I can rock a little black dress like nobody's business, and give speeches with confidence.

I know how to nurture small children into letting me bandage their boo-boos, and how to get a surly 14 year old to confess.  I can get a gerbil out of the air conditioning system, a desirable man into bed, and ski without fear on Black Diamond slopes.

I can best the guy next to me at the gun range and walk away, knowing how bad he wants me (for all the wrong reasons).  I can be humiliated at the country line dancing class and have a great time anyway.  I can time a hint at just the right bedtime moment that assures me he'll be making breakfast in the morning and have tea on the bedside table when I wake up.

Why is it I can't figure out how to be a woman of a certain age?

How is it possible that I can no longer look my body in the mirror, and now actively avoid social invitations? How is it that the prowess of my youth, the lessons and skills I've acquired, and the strengths I have nurtured for so long, have deserted me? 

How did I not learn to grow old with dignity? Where is the grace of my grandmothers, the wisdom of years, and the spirit that has kept me so alive for so long? 

I want to be 25 again, and 30 and 36, and 42, and even 48 - just for a day or two.  I'd like to recapture that confidence, and even the brashness, that I thought was me at my best. I always knew I'd be a great old lady - full of smart sass and wit mixed with wisdom, and just eccentric enough to make me lovable. 

It's this in-between time I never counted on.  Unsure, and finally unemployed. Lacking in confidence and nobility, occasionally infirm, short on funds, and surrounded by uncertainties. Lifeless too soon.  Luckless - too bad.  Where did I go? I have no idea, but if you see me... send me a map, would you?




Photo Image:  Old Woman Cactus, DC Arboretum


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and popping, into the feed... thanks for reading.
every 5 years I do a do over. It keeps me alive.
Abby, it's not just you. Many of us who reach this point of our life look through the front windshield and say, "I don't recognize this road," and then look in the rear view mirror and think, "Did I miss my turn somewhere?" I have the antidepressants in my medicine cabinet to prove it.

Judging by what I've read of you, I think you have a sharp mind and a biting wit that any halfway sensible man would find attractive. (I'll take your word on the little black dress, unless you want to send me a picture!) Sometimes I think I'd like to go back to being 30 again, knowing what I know now, but I really don't. I find women of a certain age to be the most delightful company, because I'm not enjoying them for shallow reasons.
ah... you is still lovable! Just a phaze babeee!!!
I look in the mirror and see someone I don't really know. I know I am old, I know I could die today but there is not much I can do but embrace it.
But seriously how did we get here?
rated with hugs
Although the transitional parts always seem to be the hardest at any stage of life, I have a feeling you will find your way.
fergot to say how cool that picture is old woman... meow!
I love the picture. I think you are still who you are, at least I am. I have just evolved and apparently the next step has not yet made itself known. For me I did find something that I wanted to do and I am doing it, but I am still a very active mother and wife too, so different. I wish I had taken better care of myself, but I wonder if that was me, you know, to be conscious of that even. I was always too busy doing. That was just not part. Every year brings many, many challenges, but some joy too. I focus on that. I think I am still kinda cute and feel young sometimes. That is who I really am, and even when I am 90 I will still probably think I am kinda cute and feel young sometimes, should I live so long!
Oh, Gabby, how I can relate to this. Especially the surly 14 year olds confession. I'm not sure if I'd want to have my 20 or 30s back. Such a blur of sex, drugs and rock n roll, and then babies and too little sleep. I'm leaving my 40's in a few months, though, and I really hate to say goodbye to them. But it's alright, I'm feeling more confident than I ever have, and am finally following my fifth grade dream. I'll take the good with the bad. ;)
You are fabulous! Just a down moment...fab fab fabulous, I tell you! You are accomplished, beautiful, intelligent...you have it all! xox
Based on your description, I love what I see - you sound like a woman with whom I'd love to have two martinis and an afternoon of conversation. Our society doesn't teach us how to age gracefully and certainly not powerfully, with intent. I hope you find some peace with this life phase and that your numerous strengths show up again in force very soon.
- perhaps it is that quiet time before another glorious dawn. You will shine, Abby!
I haven't said this in awhile. Thought maybe I was cured. But I just read all of the comments (a wise trick I've picked up along the way) and I have no choice but to say, with humility, honesty and an earnest wish I'd have said it first: what Cranky said.
I haven't gotten there yet age-wise, but appearance-wise, yes. I know what it's like to struggle with what you see in the mirror. I can't really offer any wisdom except maybe to look long and hard and try to find your good points - they are there, no matter how bad you feel - and be proud of those. If there's anything that's bothering you that you can change, go for it - don't just sit back and feel bad, if you can help it. I love how you write and how you think, and I'm sure you're utterly charming in real life. And charming people are never ugly or plain or old. Good thoughts to you. Now go look lovingly at that girl in the mirror.
You only get a Do Over if you slice into the woods.
i'm older than you and lived through what you're feeling. for me it was hard at 50 because physically a lot changes for a lot of women around that age, and we're so terribly focused on our looks, a lot of us women. you don't want a do-over, you need to find your groove again. and you will, knowing all i know about you, kiddo. it's more work to be beautiful (and by that i mean healthy and beautiful in your own eyes, not someone else's) than it was when we were 20 or 30, but it's a more comfortable beauty. and it's better - believe me.
I like what femme says about finding your groove again. (I like everything she said.) I have a very hard time remembering I am not 25. I haven't figured out how to be "me" at this in-between time either.~r
I know this feeling but without all the other fun stuff you have known/ will know again. You are incredible, embrace that and you will be just fine.
Lord. I was hoping you'd have written a map for ME! I'm nearly where you are now (increasingly uncomfortable with physical changes) and I'm in my early forties. You mean to tell me you don't all of a sudden hit 50 and go all zen and accepting? I was counting on that happening.
I need a mentor. First year nursing is scary, even if it is only home health. Any interest?
Ah, Abby, been there, done that. You will find your path. I was sure I wouldn't, sure that I had lost ME for good. But suddenly, there I was! It's a phase - a terribly hard one, granted, but a phase nonetheless. We've never walked this path before and it's a beaut. Keep walking - you'll get there.
Me too! How do we go about doing this?
You sound like such a fabulous person, with such rich life experiences. I think every phase of our lives brings new challenges and doubts about ourselves that have to be faced. I think when you go back to life's basics - the party you throw for someone else, the advice you share with someone less experienced, the caring you give to someone who has even greater needs than you - you will find the joy and pride within yourself again.
Gabby Abby: I had an experience shopping recently. There was a mirror between clothes racks. I looked up and saw an middle-aged woman staring back at me. I didn't recognize her at first, then I startled -- it was me. I think I might be in this spot you describe but I'm still in denial. Great piece here; it's a road many are walking and you tell it with the right balance of humour and intuition.
I know what you mean.
Best Wishes,
Boy, did you nail this one, young lady. I know exactly what you are talking about. But then, read Cranky's comment again. I believe him. I believe he is not the only one. I know for sure that when I get myself all gussied up on the rare occasions I venture out, I can still turn a head or two. What happens is, when I put on the dress and the makeup, when I actually "do" my hair for partying, I tend to carry myself in a different way. Where did you go? Maybe you are just in the other room in your mind.

I can relate to this so well. But as my "year of 60" is turning into 61, I'm getting comfortable in myself. you sound like one smart lady, so I'm sure you will have it figured out in no time, put on that little black dress again and go on living life.
I bet you fifty dollars that if someone asked you at 20, 30, 36, 42, and 48 how well you were doing those ages, you would say you did not know. In hindsight, you see that you did pretty well. However old you are now, in another decade, you'll recognize that you handled this time admirably. FWIW, I see a woman full of smart sass and wit mixed with wisdom, and just eccentric enough to make you lovable.
In my younger years in my 20's and 30's, I had often wondered and dreamed about how my life would be like. A certain career, married, kids, etc. Then I ended up married, wishing then I wasn't and careers were not going my way. I felt like I failed following my own map and realizing it would have been impossible anyway with my what I was informed of later in life. Anyhow, now I am embracing my current direction in life and hope it will lead me to a healthier way, phyically, emotionally, mentally. Follow your heart Gabby Abbey, and it will lead you to unexpected happiness.
I think if we can enjoy every age for what it is, we won't look back and wish we are at that age again. I lived through happy years and painful years which coincided with certain chronological ages. When I think back, I dwell on the memories rather than the age, and try making the best ones now because I have more control over my life. All that makes age, a state of mind for me. When I was unhappy, I felt older at 30 than I did at 45. It's all relevant as long as you have your health.
looking back I will always feel my twenties were a complete waste of time (I had the energy, the freedom, and all that to do what I wanted and I just spent most of it in angst)

sometimes I believe there is no map, you just make it along the way
Loved your piece! I can relate and yet considering the alternative.....
Gabby~ so much of this I identify with. C'mon, let's put on those LBD's and lipstick and see what's still shakin'. Sometimes you have to "act as if." And yeah, what Cranky said. (I can vouch for his judgment AND good company:)
I know all to well myself of what you write. Thanks for this.
Sorry babe, I wish I knew the answer, besides cocaine. Cuz that fixes everything- makes you thin, interesting, sexy, confident, energetic and delusional all at once- probably what you need a little of to get out and wrangle up some good fun. But... sigh... oh well.
Go and visit with some 70 to 80 year olds. Works for me every time.

You can be all those ages again for a moment, and then come back and revel in the ass-kicker you can be now. I was startled one morning when I looked in the mirror and saw my grandmother looking back at me. And then I rejoiced because she lived her life with as much energy and spirit as a person can. Her joy seemed to radiate and inspired me to enjoy this time and this age. Big hugs to you, Abby!
Abby, this is the most brilliant, brutally honest and endearing piece I have ever read on the subject of ambivalent womanhood. And don't look for the smoke up your knickers because there is none. I am speaking the truth. Beyond any EP, this was outstanding, profound, endearingly candid and gorgeous. You nailed it with the inside slab of the collective heart we all share but are afraid to admit to owning. I just love you to pieces. Your words returnd my soul to level ground and middle-aged glory. You know how to be every woman at any age better than most. Never forget that, sistah!
You are all of those ages still: and more. And you're also that sharp and sassy, wise and witty older lady that's up ahead. You'll get through. You're hot stuff.
Abby, I can really relate to what you're saying. I want a do-over too, for almost the exact same reasons! Hang in there and take care of yourself!
Much Appreciated. I want to be further along, but then I have to admit that a lot of what I have done seemed pretty damned challenging at the time. And lately, it seems like the bad news is just mounting wildly higher. We can't figure out whether the BP Oil Spill killed us or all went away. Certainly the fishermen are missing their old business. Reporting from a dying city--but we're in the top ten for that!
Much Appreciated. I want to be further along, but then I have to admit that a lot of what I have done seemed pretty damned challenging at the time. And lately, it seems like the bad news is just mounting wildly higher. We can't figure out whether the BP Oil Spill killed us or all went away. Certainly the fishermen are missing their old business. Reporting from a dying city--but we're in the top ten for that!
this is brilliant and dead honest. i guess you could consider yourself lucky that this is the first time you've been lost. i seem to get lost about every 5 years or so... but then, i kinda like wandering.
I don't know.

I guess for a man it's different in many ways, but the basics could be interchangeable, I think.
The prowess, the skills, the strengths may be dormant, but I doubt they've deserted you.

They'll wake and work just fine when it all feels safe again. When the guy looking at you is looking at your eyes, and you believe him.
That's when it will work again.
We have these hiatus' for a reason, I'm sure. Certainly not so we can hang out in singles bars - maybe we're just meant to rest, reflect, accept, for awhile.

I mean, prowess and all that - well done, but not half as attractive now as a reflective soul.
Okay, some desperadoes are out there looking for insecure women - you gotta ask why, about those ones.

There's plenty of maps - old ones from the sailing days - they'd always mark "the Doldrums," where the winds were infrequent.
So sailors sat around and told stories, mended sails, getting ready for when the winds would come.
The winds always came - it's how you and I got here, isn't it.

The winds will come.
Yeah these are weighty thoughts and more. I ask myself the same questions and I decide to just keep on keeping on.
Your comments nurture, not only me, but one another - those of us on this wrong-turn-trail... or as Kim said, in the doldrums (and having spent time on the water, that analogy rocks).

Those who admit to regular needs to reset, or to call a do over, also give insight - something to mull on.

Leepin L always adds just the right pinch of humor to keep us on course. FORE!

Those of you who are my bosom buds (yeah, that includes Trig, he felt me up once), you have to know how much I love you showing up to any little post-party I throw here and your wisdom leaves us all in a better place. Thanx for leaving pieces of your own maps.

To the folks I haven't met, ... wow. So glad to do so. Your comments/thoughts are very much appreciated. I'm favoriting you all today, and visiting your blogs to see what you're all about too.

Here in Beach town, USA, today (Sunday) we are balmy at 60-something degrees and the light wind is blowing through the open doors and windows, clearing the winter from the air inside... in more ways than one.

I'm going back now to take a virtual bath in the comments again and am sending good thoughts for a GNS to every reader who passes by. You're so generous to share pieces of your own maps.

Now I just need to find some Scotch tape. ;)
A Do Over?

Duchess Gabby L'Abby . . . you've got the nobility and the minx in your nature to better any scenario to its highest realm. Why, look how you moved minds-spirits-heartdances right here. Find what the 45 yr old who had the hot party thrown for him grew up to be. Another day, another LBD and let it work ya girl.

Meanwhile, I felt your vibes and rambled on over, glad I did, and glad to let you know though you're tinkering with your GPS, your emanation radar works just fine and dandy. Oh - here's the scotch tape you wanted, but can I have the martinis and superlative afternoon with you and Christina D?

~ Absolutely*Kate, happy to see Elijah Rising every 5 years
Sometimes I remind myself that I'm on my way to 70... OhmiGod!
For me there is so much to let go of, especially my lifelong abilities to influence and manipulate. It feels kinda Buddhist.
You're clearly further along the evolutionary path than I am Noah.
Thanks (I think) but I'm not - its just happening that way right now.
Thank you for saying what every woman of a certain age is thinking. :)
I'm far away from home now, geographically... and in many other ways. And this was/is just perfect. I feel so much better now. I lived a whole lifetime while reading this. Began at the beginning, got to the end, and it was/is a good one. A very good life. A thousand thanks for being human and so much larger than life!