F. Scott Fitzgerald said,

"There are no second acts in American lives."

Most people think he was crazy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I Went There in the First Place

I decided to hone my Stepford-ness early, mainly because I wanted a husband. And not just any husband! I wanted a husband who was intelligent and well-educated and successful! Yep! I wanted a husband who could buy me things! Mostly shoes!! And cute sundresses!

And by-and-large, those guys love Stepford.

So, at nineteen, I thought, "Okay. This is cool. I can do this. No prob. You want me to pretend to be something I'm not? Hey. It's all good. As long as I've got my shoes, I'm happy."
Except I wasn't really.

For over twenty-five years, I was the soccer mom and the Stepford wife and the Betty Crocker and the Suzy Homemaker, when all I really wanted to be was Katherine Hepburn and Princess Grace and Susan B. Anthony and Pat Benetar with a dash of Sean Connery and Weezie Jefferson thrown in.

But when my baby left the nest (for Philly of all the godforsaken places), I said "To Heck with this!"
(You can well imagine it took people by surprise. People who have known me for years are still scratching their heads and saying 'WTF?')

It was the perfect storm--my daughter (not her real name) leaving, my menopause (which should be called meno-quit, because that's what it did) starting, my school getting a completely new administration, and my job becoming more and more difficult--I was ready for a 'do-over.' And, as I said earlier, that required me to go back to the beginning and figure out, yet again, who I really was.

Call it anything you like--moving forward, feeding one's soul, getting back to basics, re-evaluating one's life--but for me, it's my Second Act. And the curtain is up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I've got a New Attitude

Believe it or not, there is a website dedicated to my former self:


...and whether you are one, want to be one, or---like me---are a recovering one, you have to admit the mindset is difficult to attain. It's also a difficult one to shake, once acquired.

As far as I know, there aren't any 12-step programs for recovering Stepfords. So, in order to move forward in my own life, I had to design my own detox. I found that it didn't take twelve, just three, but that last step was a doozy.

These are the 'steps':
1. Admit that you have a problem. This shouldn't be hard--being submissive should be second nature.
2. Spend time each day doing something that isn't house/husband/kid related. (I got a job. Guess what? Someone actually wanted to pay me for my time and energy!)
3. Quit caring what other people think. (This is incredibly difficult for Stepfords to do. After all, their whole image is based on other folks' perception.)

Remember, the world is your oyster--you just have to shuck it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If it's Tuesday, This Must Be Stepford

I have often said, if you look at my life from outside my circle, it looks perfect.
Yep. Sheer perfection.

Perfect family...perfect house...perfect job...perfect wardrobe...not even a single gray hair!

So what's wrong with this picture?

Nothing, if you want to live in Stepford.

Stepford is fine for some women. They like being part of a life that guarantees a certain level of comfort and consistency without any pesky surprises. For twenty-five years I was willing to go through the motions--important motions, but motions nevertheless. Then, when my youngest left home (for Philly, of all the godforsaken places), I thought "Is that it? Is that all there is?"

I want the answer to be "no."

I want there to be surprises. Even if I have to make them myself.

Monday, January 17, 2011

House of Fifty

In my subscription feed today--which pops up in my Blogger dashboard--I saw a cool title called "House of Fifty." Here's a link, if you're interested:


And I thought to myself: What a great idea! A place for fifty year olds to get together!

So I clicked, and found that while Isabella & Max has a great thing going in the home decor field, it's not a spot for the old broads to hang and knock back a few. Which is kinda what I was looking for.
I don't know if other 50 year old women feel the way I do, but I feel as though once I got to be "of a certain age," I became less audible and less visible. Not to say "unheard" or "invisible," but just less. (I didn't LOOK less--in fact, there was more of me, to a degree.) Rather, less noticeable, less important, less of myself. So many of us have spent the last twenty-plus years being someone's wife, or mom, or both, that we have no idea who we were before all of that. What better way to reconnect with ourselves than by having the support of others who are in the same situation?

Sure, there are websites promoting middle-aged women, and mid-life bloggers abound. But the primary focus is on "Mommy Bloggers" and not the moms who are "post-mommy." My question is: If there are so many of us, and we're all kind of in the same boat, why aren't we connecting?
This blog is on a quest--I hope you want to come along.