Rule number 6: Empty Nest Syndrome. Dig deep, it’s gonna be okay: just find your inner Madonna.

Madonna. Madge. Maddie. Mad. Mary, mother of Jesus. Whatever you call her, one thing is for sure, Little Miss Madddiepants has successfully survived decades in the public eye. Love her or hate her: she certainly has got one thing totally right; she reinvents herself. All the time. Even through the menopause.

madonabandw

He’s leaving.

My youngest, aged 18: off to uni. The last time I felt this type of anticipated pain, was when I drove my beloved border collie to the vets to be euthanized. That feeling of utter despair, (even though I knew I was doing the one and only right thing), I am reminded of now, in that I’m snatching every available second, to tidy his hair, stroke his back…get his food…knowing this will be one of my very, very last chances…end of an era….

vacant nest

Perfect timing: menopause right alongside your nest getting thoroughly emptied.

Okay my son is not dying; I’m being over-dramatic. But him leaving is, for me, another painful, albeit inevitable, life-changing occurrence. It IS a rather big corner.

What else would I want, though? He’s been successful enough to get to go to uni: well done me. Good parenting. Wahoo. I didn’t even encourage him to have a gap year. I could have maybe got another year out of ‘what’s for dinner?‘ or ‘can I have some money please?

empty-nest-syndrome-i-prefer-to-think-of-it-as-martin-luther-king-dayfree-at-last-81a7e

But actually its not all about those duties you’re seemingly constantly harangued into doing….its way more than that….In my case..well…how the hell am I gonna cope without him?!

He looks after the (new) dog when I’m working; he helps me work my camera; he’s the sole, in-house (tremendous standard fyi) cake-baker; he even asks how I am. Okay, to be completely truthful, he has practically become my counsellor. I feel physical pain, in my gut, that he’s going.

My fluffy nest feels like its being turned inside out.

Read more about causes of Empty Nest Syndrome Depression

So why is Mary, Mother of Jesus (bet she was an incredibly proud mum) relevant to Empty Nest Syndrome?

Madonna is really interested in herself.

She takes time to work on her entire image. Sure, she has people to do stuff for her, but ultimately, she is the one asking for ideas on clothing, image and hair styles. She wants the best for herself. And why shouldn’t she? So she’s busy. With herself. And that help heaps, if you’re feeling that final severing of that strong, yet intangible, umbilical cord, as that ‘taking-to-uni’ day arrives. You need to pick yourself up and at least try and look good.

So, get your inner Madonna out and focus.

On you.

Its great that you’re not needed anymore. Come on; it is! You will now have a bit/a lot more time to consider some self-reinvention. Cause, if nothing else, it will stop you from wallowing in your own tears, and encourage you to rediscover YOU. Someone other than just his mum.

mary
Mary had a ball

Maybe, like me, you’re realizing that it’s much less how you’re defined by others, but more how you’ve inadvertently defined yourself – “my son”, “my angel”….”my co-dependent”….”my rock” ..”my ‘he-makes-me-feel-needed-and-useful-and-stuff'”…”my I can’t fucking cope without him!”

I can. You can. Once I stopped crying; I drank a bottle of vin rouge while watching shit tv, I then decided that I’d better get to bed and wake up in an altogether more acceptable mood.

Upon awakening, I dragged out my inner Madonna and decided to work from the outside in. So my personal reinvention began with a fabulous fake tan.

JamesreadSLpMask_

It stops you from crying. Cry, and pay with streak marks down the face; therefore, keep it together bitch. This fab faux tan instructs to use at night, but it also works beautifully during the day – especially if you need to make yourself happy/slightly happier/less miserable. And its so easy to use, as long as you’re not balling your eyes out, you can’t go wrong.

Buy Sleep Mask Face Here

But I didn’t stop there. I then immersed myself in the fabulous melting coconut balm

Life's a beach
I took myself to a far off island and lovingly massaged beautiful, dreamy, coconut oil into my tired, dry, menopausal skin…..

James Read products are very user-friendly. I literally LOVE using the coconut melting balm. It is beautiful to massage in – the smell and texture takes you away from it all. This particular tanning brand understands that people are generally complete rubbish at applying their own fake tan, so it compensates in products that do the work for you. They moisturize as well as any luxury skin brand does, while giving you the tan you want – superbly natural.

More about James Read – tanning guru

However, if you do need more help, maybe from the inside out, then read Germaine Greer inspirational book The Change

Although arch feminist, Greer slates sex a bit much in this read; her general stance on how to deal with the change, for me also helps in how to deal with life when you’re facing up to the fact that you’re no longer as needed as you were before…

Come on girls: lets VOGUE

 

 

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Sort Yer Life Out; Becoming 50.

Come on girls, let’s re-brand 50, bugger all those preconceived, old fashioned opinions of what 50 is… 50 can and should be great

Rule number one: Stop moaning.

Hello. I’m 50. And proud. I’m currently entering that phase in life where people say it’s ‘the best years’ of their life. Are they lying? Whats so great about your womb slowly dying, while your waist expands and your wrinkles get deeper and your hair thinner? Whats so good about that? Nothing. But hey, I’m alive. I’ve made it this far. I’ve wished that other people (mainly just my mother) had told me a load of shit when I was 20, but had I then known that golden, beautiful youth is a commodity that can never be revisited, would I have done things differently? I think not. No one can tell you. So I am going to endeavour to help those who in some way or other want to sort their lives out. And I want to begin with those of you that have a problem with turning the dreaded FIVE OHHH.

this is me
no make up, no hair do, just me

Coming out: I’m 50, deal with it.

Back in 1972, I knew what age I’d be in the dreaded 1984. The year 1984, I’d read, was a whole frightening world, borne out of George Orwell’s prophetic novel. As we know he was incredibly insightful, as it wasn’t long before Big Brother did arrive, with all his glorious CCTV. But 1984 was a subtle beginning of the actual truth of what we’re left with now. NOTHING escapes the camera. NOT. ONE. THING. No matter how we might hate it. We can deny it, or accept it: either way we film it. Our looks and the value of our looks has raised considerably, because anyone and everyone can see them, good or bad, all over the world at the press of a button. And that fact alone applies more pressure to us ladies entering the grand old decade of 50. I’d never given ANY thought to what a woman might feel like when she turned 50. Let alone ME. I was never going to do it. I would never EVER do it. After all, this was me – Frankie. I honestly, truly, have NEVER imagined myself as OLD. And doesn’t 50 = OLD?

As a child, I had worked out I’d be 35 when we entered the millennium. That seemed ancient. Thirty-five was grown up. Aside from naively assuming that aged 35, your life was a happy marriage, a nice house and kids; I’d imagined the millennium to be so futuristic; it would be an era when everyone wore metallic everything; silver bras, gold shoes and bronze masscara. I looked at 2000 with both trepidation and awe. It felt so incredibly far away – yet it came and went as fast as they all do. And being 35 didn’t feel half as old as I’d thought. Aged 35, you can still kid yourself to certain degree that you’re actually young. Young: what a lovely round, collagen rich, bouncy hair word.

The year however that I couldn’t even be bothered to try to imagine, let alone accept, which, as a matter of fact, came up pretty damned quick, was the year 2016. Which was the turning 50 year. It’s known to be when a woman officially become stale. She’s used goods. No longer fertile: a barren wench, a dried up hag. Grey hair. Saggy and dry everything. Plus menopausal women are known to hate EVERYONE; often including themselves. You’d think that would be a pretty monumental time in any person’s life…let alone a woman’s….yet no one tells you – at least they didn’t me.

The menopause is the dark secret. It’s embarrassing because it’s coupled with turning 50, aka officially going over the hill. There’s no more telling yourself you’re not yet middle-aged. Middle-aged has been and gone. You’re now entering the osteoarthritis phase. Free bus passes are around that corner. Tinnitus. Funerals/free drinks and a bit of a social every month…you actually know a few people who have died, by the time you’re 50. You’re robbed of pretending you’re young, the minute they all start popping off.

But I say NO. No to all of it. I am re-branding 50. The Golden Years. Why let yourself ‘go’. Go where? Down that hill? Why? Laziness? Conforming to what society has always expected us to do – i.e. get fatter, grumpier and less sexy? No thank you. We live longer. I don’t want to be ‘old’ for possibly as long as 50 years, no thanks. I want to ride my bike, dance and laugh just like I always have done. (although to be honest, I’m not much of a bike rider, never have been, I just enjoy the odd cycle).

So how do we do it girls?

We find that girl; that girl who is deep within us and that has been there forever. We let her out again. We forget what we’re supposed to be, how we are supposed to behave and set free that young and optimistic beautiful thing that we all were once upon a time.

We also stand tall, and I mean stand tall. I know its more effort to stand or sit up straight, now that we are older and more worn down, but make the effort. Good posture takes 10 years off you and will help to keep/get that body toned. No one has great posture the whole time naturally, we have to be self-conscious about it. We have to remind ourselves to suck in that belly, push back those shoulders and stick those tits out.

We move about. We eat healthily and drink plenty of water.

But most importantly we drop the RESENTMENT. Resentment is the worst thing in the world. If you don’t like it then don’t do it. You’re 50. Change it. Don’t walk around mealy-mouthed and angry. You’re not doing yourself any favors. You need to slap yourself in the face and work out what the hell you’re feeling so bitter and twisted about. Don’t hate yourself for whatever has happened in the past. Don’t hate others for whatever they’ve done to you in the past. Look forward. Look at you now. Who are you? Who do you want to be? Don’t be sad or scared of growing older. What are the choices? You can either grow older or you can die. So if you’re choosing to grow older, then do it with a smile on your face and a spring in your stride. Life is just as beautiful as the leaves blowing in the wind and the ducklings in the river. Try something new….I’m trying to write my first blog… tech stuff is daunting, so it may be a bit sketchy….but we gotta try…

I will be posting more tips in life, parenting, fashion, health and beauty. Ask me any question, give me your worries and I will do my best to help you sort yer life out girls.