If you’re an avid reader, you probably have a favorite genre that you gravitate towards. Are you a science fiction fanatic? Or a secret fan of erotica novels read while hiding behind a frumpy nightgown and cozy country quilt? My favorite is self-discovery and usually involves a woman on a quest to escape something only to find it, but in a more meaningful way. Usually supplemented with travel, great food and wine, and maybe a handsome foreigner. Or, two. You read the book and, at the end, walk away knowing what grueling actions or emotions left deep scars on the protagonist. You see healing that isn’t always in the way one would expect. In fact, the healing often comes as a surprise from new experiences.
One of my favorite aspects of these self-discovery stories is when it’s about a woman who is older, middle aged or much later. When society has them pegged to certain schedule, routine, and role. Grandma. Mother. Retired. Caretaker. Bunco on Tuesday, church on Sunday. Women are so easily stereotyped these days, though we claim we don’t do that. Have kids and a career? Recently retire? Expecting your second baby? I bet you can identify a stereotype or judgment for each one of those. I sure can.
I recently watched the movie, Paris Can Wait. Have you seen it? There are many aspects about it that I love. First, the movie is about a woman who unexpectedly has some deep revelations about her life and marriage while she’s in France, stuck with a business acquaintance of her husband’s. But, that’s not what really got my attention. The movie was written, produced, and directed by a woman who was around 80 years old! Let me say that again, 80 years old! Of course, it’s Eleanor Coppola who has a long family line within Hollywood and the story was inspired by a personal experience of hers. But, who cares?! She had the guts and gumption to see herself as a valuable member of society regardless of age, not just take whatever assumptions were made. Could that be more inspiring? Check out the Beige Watch List for additional inspiring movie recommendations.
I am constantly amazed at the number of women I meet who are looking for more meaning these days. If you pay attention, you can pick up the clues. Boredom or depression with a certain part of their life. A subtle mention. A bit of anxiety. That nagging question, “Is this it?” whispering to them softly late at night and in the blush of dawn.
Stories like Eleanor’s are the kind that I love. They give hope and inspire me (and maybe you, too) that I’ll be an active member of society then and not a long-forgotten shut in. A vibrant fall rose and not a wilted vine. What do I plan to be doing at 80? I’m not sure. It seems so far away. But, I’m hoping to be an Eleanor. How about you?