Blogs for women 40+ need more sex, fewer labels

I was trying to expand my blogging community recently so I went looking for blogging sites for women over 40. But I kept running into online communities that were downright depressing.

I came across one blog where the locals were discussing their preference for being addressed by age-defining labels such as “ma’am” while eating in restaurants.

One participant noted that this was the “polite” term for a grown-up female.

I’m just Kathy

If that’s polite, give me rude any day. I’m nobody’s ma’am; I’m just Kathy, always have been, always will be. Even when I’m 90.

Kathy on the ledge 851 x 615

I know, unless a server is writing “Kathy” on my coffee cup at Starbucks, he or she is unlikely to know that.

If anything, I’d rather be called, “hon” by a certain male voice. That pretty much undoes me but being labeled based on some linear, age continuum before I can order my lunch, not so much.

Respect is just — respect

I don’t need a gender-specific, age-defining label to know that my server is treating me with respect.

A polite, “What would you like to order?” with some direct eye contact, will do.

I’d rather talk about sex

The other thing I noticed about some of these blogging sites for women 40+ was that they didn’t talk much about sex and how awesome it can be.

There was lots of information about nasty medical issues related to it but not much about the fun stuff.

Many women over 40 are having the greatest sex of their lives and trust me, they’re good at it. 

I’d rather talk about that — and be called “hon” by someone who could serve me lunch anytime…

c 2016 Kathy Barthel

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Transforming loss into gratitude this Thanksgiving

This is my first Thanksgiving without my mom but as the holiday approaches I feel such gratitude — not only because she was a wonderful mother but because of how I believe she’s doing right now.

As I’ve mentioned here before, my mom’s last couple of years weren’t her best. She would tell me all the time that she just didn’t feel like herself.

As it turned out, some of that may have been because her cancer had returned, even though none of her tests had shown it. But it was more than that; my mom didn’t feel like the person she’d been all her life.

Anxious days, restless nights

Her resilience, humour, even her faith, seemed to have deserted her. In their wake were anxious days and restless nights full of worry and fear.

That is not to say that my mom didn’t experience moments of joy with family or friends, but something in behind that temporary happiness, was missing.

After I returned home from her memorial service, I thought about how upset she’d been and I prayed that she was feeling better.

Then one night as I was doing that, I had a very strong sense of her calm, secure and confident presence. I knew that she was content and happy. The stress of the last few years had evaporated.

Temagami Trail, c. M. Romig Dawson (my mom) pastel, 1997

It seems incorrect to call this my first Thanksgiving without my mom because in some ways it doesn’t seem like she’s gone. It seems like she moved and lives somewhere else, some place I can’t reach by phone.

But I know she’s fine and that’s why I’m grateful. My mom is herself again.

In fact, that is the idea that drives BrattyKathy — to really live is to be fully yourself, no fear, no apologies, no holding back.

Happy Thanksgiving, Mom.

c 2014 Kathy Barthel

The secret to your success is in your childhood

If you want to know what you should be doing for a living, look at your childhood.

Back then you knew what you loved to do and you did it. You didn’t need to take a course, survey your friends or consult a career coach.

Everything was clear.

I was an instigator. In elementary school I got other kids to follow me around the yard at recess, singing songs I had chosen and written out on long sheets of paper.

I came up with new painting techniques or created completely new kinds of paintings — and became very annoyed when other kids copied them. I loved performing and collaborating on plays. I got great marks in English class.

The things you loved to do as a kid reveal your talents and personality and they provide the clues to what you were meant to do in your career.

Think back to elementary school:

What were you always doing every chance you got?

What did you get in trouble for?

What did you excel at?

What did you hate to do?

Doing what you’re good at — or what you love

You were yourself back then, the same self, with everyone you met. You hadn’t learned to suppress some of your personality to please others, to make them feel better about themselves or to fit in.

Back then, you didn’t just do what you were good at, you did what you loved!

I knew the difference between the two when I was 10 but I only discovered it years later. I remember the year and even the restaurant I was in when the ‘revelation’ occurred to me.

The full monty

Being a brat means defying any social convention that tells you it’s too late to reconnect with who you really are.

It is never too late to make a change — if you want to.

Being a brat means giving the world the full monty! No holding back, no excuses.

Don’t compartmentalize yourself, don’t keep those aspects that are most truly you from the rest of the world where they could do so much good.

They are connected to your strongest talents and gifts.

If you’re not doing what you love for a living, what did you love to do as a kid?

The secret to your success is there.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

How Katharine Hepburn changed my life

When I was a kid I lived in the country, far away from the big city.

I knew that if I wanted to go to university — and get away from my current circumstances — I would have to make it happen myself. I would have to organize it and finance it on my own.

But sometimes when you feel you’re on your own, you’re not. Often there is someone whose example gives you the courage to make a major change.

For me that person was outspoken actress and icon, Katharine Hepburn (below, in a 1940 still by Clarence Sinclair Bull, for The Philadelphia Story). She played feisty, independent-minded women in films and was much the same off-camera.

Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story, 1940 by Clarence Sinclair Bull

“That’s all there is to life, being part of it.”

I read those words of Hepburn’s and I never forgot them.

As a teen I desperately wanted to be part of life — a richer, bigger life — which to me meant going off to university and living in a big city. There was energy there, intellectual stimulation and fresh, new ideas and ways of looking at the world!

I had outgrown my circumstances. I needed to stretch and grow and learn, to be challenged. I was hungry for it.

Hepburn’s independent spirit reinforced my resolve. I watched her films and read everything I could about her. Her passion for life and her view that you must take responsibility for your own destiny inspired and empowered me. It made me feel bold and strong.

Where would I be without Hepburn’s inspiration?

How I could have changed the course of my life without her inspiration is something I won’t allow myself to consider. Altering my circumstances was so critical to my well-being and to my future, that I cannot imagine what would have happened had I not done it. I won’t let myself imagine it.

Feeling inspired gives you courage and reinforces the courage you already have. It helps push you to make the changes that will move you forward and into a healthier place.

Katharine Hepburn’s advice for living:

  • “Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.”
  • “Without discipline, there’s no life at all.”
  • “The thing about life is that you must survive. Life is going to be difficult, and dreadful things will happen. What you do is move along, get on with it, and be tough. Not in the sense of being mean to others, but being tough with yourself and making a deadly effort not to be defeated.”
  • “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

But don’t forget your sense of humour. This quote inspires Bratty Kathy every single day:

“If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.”

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

VIDEO: What do you really want to do?

Did you always know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Did you follow that dream?

If you didn’t, it’s never too late to reconnect with what you were meant to do. I’m a big believer in late bloomers!;)

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  — Howard Thurman

I was invited to contribute this video for the Sunday, “Free Spirit” portion of the Moxii Channel.

Moii Channel is part of Moxii Pro, a social and professional organization for women founded by the extraordinary Natalia O. Popovich.

Moxii Pro offers educational panels, professional workshops and networking events that are very well attended by both women and men.

There is also an amazing energy and warmth in the room at a Moxii Pro event. And a spirit of friendliness that is so genuine. I think that is what makes Moxii Pro stand out, as a great business organization and as a truly welcoming community.

Natalia Popovich and Laure Ampilhac

Thanks so much to Natalia Popovich (left) and Laure Ampilhac (right) for this video opportunity and for their kindness and generosity in supporting the dreams of so many women — and men — in Toronto!

c 2013 Kathy Barthel