I'm trying to be positive. Really I am.
I'm also trying to finish my second book. And I'm finding "positive" is very hard to be today.
The title of my first book was "Time of Your Life -- Why Almost Everything Gets Better After Fifty."
But that won't float any boats today.
So I was looking through some old writings and came upon a column from October 2008. The column announced the formation of a new group for WomanSage called "Re-Invent Yourself."
Now, some of you know WomanSage is a nonprofit I founded that meets in Orange County to educate, inspire and entertain women over age 40.
Six years ago, we expanded the original plan. The new concept was to bring together universities, colleges, corporate leaders, small business owners, mature professional women and government agencies. The result, we hoped, would be a WomanSage philanthropy, a team approach to help mature women build and repair self-esteem, find funds for school or business start-ups, change careers or identify workplace skills.
"A woman wakes up one morning to find out the job she's held for 15 years is gone and she is a casualty of corporate downsizing," said attorney Regina M. Campbell, then a WomanSage board member.
"The firm calls it a 'RIF -- Reduction in Force' but for midlife women it can be an 'RID -- Reduction in Dreams.' "
At the time, we thought "Re-Invent" might be important for three -- maybe four -- years. Who knew the philanthropy would be vital and necessary six years later?
Indeed, who knew the job market could get worse for midlife women, not better.
As I said, it's difficult to be positive. This definitely is not the "Time of Your Life" for older women.
Dan Woog, contributing writer for the Monster.com job-posting website, says, "Older workers are discovering this firsthand. Though workers older than 45 make up 25 percent of the workforce, they represent 35 percent of the long-term unemployed."
In fact, the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., says some older workers are taking 20 percent pay cuts just to find a job.
And work is only part of the challenges that older women face. Some have lost husbands. Some have dumped them. Some have lovers and others are without sex in the city, suburbs or farmlands. There are those with great relationships with children and grandchildren and, of course, those without. And don't forget the 30 percent of boomer women who are childless by choice.
This is more than the Time of Your Life. It's the Challenge of Your Life.
There are still aspects that get better after 50, but most of us would agree the game plan is how midlife women can succeed today.
There are days when I think slowing down might not be such a bad thing after all. We are forced to spend time smelling the flowers, noticing our neighbors, enjoying the antics of children at play.
"This is the way life used to be," insists my friend Lynne. "It's about time we got back to it."
Well, I canned tomatoes and made elderberry jam in the 1970s. I shopped the sales for food and clothing. I became a queen of make-do for eight years as a stay-at-home mom with three kids.
There's a time limit to how far back I want to go.
How about we move forward instead and carve out our own style of retirement?
Share your thoughts.
Jane Glenn Haas writes for The Orange County Register. Contact her at email@example.com.