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LBellatrix
07-14-2011, 01:02 PM
I recently found out about yet another black woman who died in her 40s after having spent her career being everybody else's everything. She was featured in an "In Memoriam" segment in my alma mater's alumni newsletter. The code words are all there: "like a mother," "a den mother," "she loved us," "she made this office a home," etc.

In addition to this, she was active in her church community (interpret that how you will; I know how I'm interpreting it).

Here's what really got me:

1) She had been working on a novel for more than a decade. An excerpt was published by a respected journal...14 years ago. (Her sister said it was her proudest accomplishment.) She was very active in the local arts scene, and had been auditing courses and was very close to getting her BA.

2) Although she was a mother to everyone in her office, there was no mention of whether she had a family of her own, specifically a spouse and/or kids.

3) She died a little more than a week before she was scheduled to RETIRE. :(

I realize I don't know her whole story. For all I know, she was perfectly content in her roles in life. But like I said, this is only the latest of several early deaths I've learned about over the last 3-4 years or so. Two girls I grew up with died during this time period; one of them was the same age as me.

Without going too much into my own situation (I feel some of the vets on here already know my situation), I'll just say that I'm moving forward today with a clearer sense of how I want to build and live the rest of my life.

KnottyAuthor
07-14-2011, 01:34 PM
...And this is what fuels me. It's such a blessing to breath every day.
We weren't born to sit in a cubicle. We were born on PURPOSE.!!!!
Thanks for sharing! She must of completed her purpose. Well done.

Himmy
07-14-2011, 02:02 PM
I agree. This is one of the reasons why I live my life as full as I can. Eat right, live zenfully, exercise, enjoy my kidos, see the beauty in what God has given me and thank him daily.

Blessings....

OHR
07-14-2011, 02:02 PM
I'll just say that I'm moving forward today with a clearer sense of how I want to build and live the rest of my life.
^Indeed. For me, it is the loss of close friends and acquaintances [close to me in age] that have forced me to really pay attention to what I can do to improve my life and the life of those I love. For most of us, IMO, it takes an event like death or a serious illness "that wakes you up". Thanks for the thread, LBell.

MommieDearest
07-14-2011, 04:43 PM
I agree. This is one of the reasons why I live my life as full as I can. Eat right, live zenfully, exercise, enjoy my kidos, see the beauty in what God has given me and thank him daily.

Blessings....

Amen.

Yesterday I let my son play hookey from summer camp and we went to the movies, out to eat, shopping and then swimming. I didn't think too much about it then, but after reading this post it drives home the point that we need to make time to do things we really enjoy. I'm so glad I took the opportunity to make a memory with my son.

kurliehead
07-14-2011, 05:10 PM
My aunt died in her early 50s and to this day I feel like stress from her job and her two daughters sibling drama played a part in her death. She had a great career and won all kinds of accolades in her field. Her staff and coworkers loved her because she treated them like an extended family and made the office feel like a home. She took on their problems the same way she took on her childrens' problems. And IMO that and years of not taking care of herself physically killed her.

I love my job, but I am not my job. I have coworkers and friends who have hundreds and hundreds of vacation and sick hours saved up. I am just now trying to save up my vacation time. After working here for 10 years I only have about 2 1/2 weeks of vacation saved up because I take it as soon as I get it. I will take a "mental health day" in a heartbeat and when I leave this place in the evenings I leave everything here. I don't check my emails or voicemails. When I'm off I'm OFF.

I'm still learning to take the same approach with my family and friends. I'm starting to realize I don't have to be at every function, birthday party, funeral, christianing and get-together. And I'm learning to say "No...because I don't feel like it, that's why..."

Scribetastic
07-14-2011, 05:45 PM
Yeah, I've been saying this for awhile too. The mortality rate for black American women is just dismal when you look at the overall mortality rate. I'm already at a disadvantage because I'm a type 1 diabetic (not the type your aunts and uncles get when they're old). I've spent this last year not taking the best care of myself because I've just been hustling to get my business going in a city where I knew no one.

However, I'm feeling it and it's making me realize that, even when we're focused on no one but ourselves, we've got to put our health first.

I hope more of us, at least, do that. Put some priority on ourselves, our goals, and our dreams. Even if I do drop dead tomorrow, I go knowing that I forged ahead chasing my personal rainbows.

It sounds like the people around her were lucky. For what it's worth, that's wonderful. However, yeah, it would have been nice for her to have finished that book, get that degree, and enjoy her retirement. May she rest in peace.

swingbolder
07-14-2011, 06:04 PM
I pretty much figured out years ago that the whole "strong black woman" thing wasn't for me and I make no apologies for it. In fact I just opted out of the honors program at nursing school because participating in it next year would cut into my ability to:

-get enough sleep
-prepare healthy meals on a daily basis
-spend time with my son and lover (okay we're married but 'lover' sounds nice and illicit)
-go to yoga, pilates class, the pool etc.
-have a day off from studying every once in awhile

I'm not trying to kill myself and at my age (46) getting out of shape, and being stressed out and unhealthy is just not an option for me. . .life always throws you curve balls and you can't control everything but I'm doing everything I can to stay healthy and be happy. Life isn't a rehearsal for some other time when I have more time to "get around to me someday."

KellyVonn
07-14-2011, 06:13 PM
I agree with you ladies. Live with balance, purpose and value. Yes.

LBellatrix
07-15-2011, 01:48 AM
I realize that this:


She must of have completed her work. Well done.

is probably the most transcendent and spiritually elevated way to look at this. There's this belief that everyone has a purpose that only God is aware of, and thus God decides when your purpose is done and it's time to call you home.

But I guess I've got feet of clay because the first thing I was thinking was:



I hope more of us, at least, do that. Put some priority on ourselves, our goals, and our dreams. Even if I do drop dead tomorrow, I go knowing that I forged ahead chasing my personal rainbows.

It sounds like the people around her were lucky. For what it's worth, that's wonderful. However, yeah, it would have been nice for her to have finished that book, get that degree, and enjoy her retirement. May she rest in peace.

Again, I fully admit I do not know this woman's story. I don't know what else she had going on in her life that prevented her from realizing all her dreams. She may have had a kid to support, a parent to care for, etc. I'm not saying she should have shirked her responsibilities if no one else was able to take up the slack. But martyrdom and pack-mule behavior was a little too common when I was growing up and once I entered my 40s I swore I would never be a martyr or a pack mule for anyone EVER.

Where I work, I'm very friendly, but I also have boundaries. This hasn't always made me popular with my co-workers (the vast majority of whom are white) but oh well...

Now that said:



I love my job, but I am not my job. I have coworkers and friends who have hundreds and hundreds of vacation and sick hours saved up. I am just now trying to save up my vacation time. After working here for 10 years I only have about 2 1/2 weeks of vacation saved up because I take it as soon as I get it. I will take a "mental health day" in a heartbeat and when I leave this place in the evenings I leave everything here. I don't check my emails or voicemails. When I'm off I'm OFF.

I was shocked to find out earlier this year that I had close to 8 weeks of vacation time saved up after 3.5 years of working at this job. In my defense: Every other job I've ever had was in the private sector, and when you didn't use up your 2-3 weeks of vacation time by a certain point, you got it back in cash or stock options. At this job the hours just accrue. The limit is about 9.5 weeks and I was bumping up against it.

Needless to say I took 3 weeks off as soon as I could... :)

chachadiva
07-15-2011, 02:18 AM
is probably the most transcendent and spiritually elevated way to look at this. There's this belief that everyone has a purpose that only God is aware of, and thus God decides when your purpose is done and it's time to call you home.

But I guess I've got feet of clay because the first thing I was thinking was:
Interesting. What stream of spiritual thought is this? If someone had a God given purpose, what use is it if only God knew about it? How would it benefit God if it was kept secret?

Not every death is God calling someone home. How would that work in relation to purpose?

This seems to be a melange of pseudo-spiritual perceptions. Is this rooted in any theology or spiritual doctrine?

I don't know the woman and I don't know if she completed anything. It sounds like she spent her life giving herself away and maybe didn't have anything left for herself.

Soul Rebel
07-15-2011, 02:34 AM
I pretty much figured out years ago that the whole "strong black woman" thing wasn't for me and I make no apologies for it...

I'm not trying to kill myself and at my age (46) getting out of shape, and being stressed out and unhealthy is just not an option for me. . .life always throws you curve balls and you can't control everything but I'm doing everything I can to stay healthy and be happy. Life isn't a rehearsal for some other time when I have more time to "get around to me someday."

So much werd! I'm sure a lot of people call me self-centered and selfish because I'm not running around doing this that the other thing that I don't want to do, but I call myself HAPPY.

I hope the woman in the newsletter actually was happy. May she Rest in Peace.

LBellatrix
07-15-2011, 04:04 PM
Chacha, it's a good thing I know how you roll... ;)


Interesting. What stream of spiritual thought is this? If someone had a God given purpose, what use is it if only God knew about it? How would it benefit God if it was kept secret?

Not every death is God calling someone home. How would that work in relation to purpose?

This seems to be a melange of pseudo-spiritual perceptions. Is this rooted in any theology or spiritual doctrine?

I don't know the woman and I don't know if she completed anything. It sounds like she spent her life giving herself away and maybe didn't have anything left for herself.

Some people (sorry, can't name exact religions for you, I don't have my theology Wiki up right now) believe that we are here for a purpose and when that purpose is done, God calls you home. Surely you've heard people use this to rationalize death, particularly the sudden death of someone (relatively) young?

I wrote my original post from a very narrow and, yes, somewhat bitter perspective. KnottyAuthor and others recast it in a bigger, kinder, more gracious picture. Maybe you can ask one of them to clarify it from a religious perspective but in my second post I acknowledged that despite this kind and gracious view (which I totally understand), I still felt like this was a story I'd heard before, so to speak. And I really DON'T know this woman at all so I can't really say how happy or unhappy she was with her life.

BUT.........

I looked up her obituary online and found out:

1) She didn't have a spouse or kids. She left behind sisters, nieces, nephews, and a host of friends.

2) She went to my high school. Not only that, she was a senior when I was a freshman. (She was working at the college where I got my BA when she died.)

What do you think of that?

Himmy
07-15-2011, 04:29 PM
My aunt died in her early 50s and to this day I feel like stress from her job and her two daughters sibling drama played a part in her death. She had a great career and won all kinds of accolades in her field. Her staff and coworkers loved her because she treated them like an extended family and made the office feel like a home. She took on their problems the same way she took on her childrens' problems. And IMO that and years of not taking care of herself physically killed her.

I love my job, but I am not my job. I have coworkers and friends who have hundreds and hundreds of vacation and sick hours saved up. I am just now trying to save up my vacation time. After working here for 10 years I only have about 2 1/2 weeks of vacation saved up because I take it as soon as I get it. I will take a "mental health day" in a heartbeat and when I leave this place in the evenings I leave everything here. I don't check my emails or voicemails. When I'm off I'm OFF.

I'm still learning to take the same approach with my family and friends. I'm starting to realize I don't have to be at every function, birthday party, funeral, christianing and get-together. And I'm learning to say "No...because I don't feel like it, that's why..."

I finally realized that this past year. I use to stress and stress and stress over my job. NOT ANYMORE! I could stress over my job, step outside and die. With all that I went through this past year and few months...I stressed myself to sickness. Unless something major happens in my life (death in family, etc.) I refuse to allow life's happenings to stress me out anymore.

Savvyone
07-15-2011, 06:04 PM
I love the Lord first and foremost and my family, I love school, I love the work that I do, I love exercising at 5am, I love traveling, I love helping others, if I met my end right now I'm sure some folk would say I tried to "do too much" or whatever but EVERYTHING that I do brings me a level of contentment and happiness and I don't want to drop or stop any one of them to make my life more liveable and easier.

And I have 6 weeks vacation every year that never rolls over...;)

Denny
07-15-2011, 08:15 PM
I believe whether folks are employed or selfemployed on their death bed who says I wish I spent more time at the office or I wish I spent more time with my work colleagues. I love the European continental attitude to work and holidays, money is a means to an end hence we have more holidays!

GalaxyGirl2012
07-15-2011, 11:09 PM
Honestly, giving up my own insane expectations as well as other people's insane expectations have really helped me fall into that old lady trap.

life should be about having fun and doing what brings you and other people joy. I think part of the reason my great grand dad lived so long (well over 100) was because he didnt sweat the small stuff, stopped trying to be everything to everyone, stop trying to impose his will on other people.

i'm looking forward to getting older. i already have my 50th bday celebration in mind. I'm going to erase the 0 and make it a 5 year old party complete with balloon animals, pinatas filled with adult snacks, tricycle races, super messy birthday cake and make even some horse rides (i'm too damn big for a pony) if i can swing it :-))

OHR
07-15-2011, 11:16 PM
i'm looking forward to getting older. i already have my 50th bday celebration in mind. I'm going to erase the 0 and make it a 5 year old party complete with balloon animals, pinatas filled with adult snacks, tricycle races, super messy birthday cake and make even some horse rides (i'm too damn big for a pony) if i can swing it :-))
Lulza: You have to invite me!! ;)Sounds like fun!

Soul Rebel
07-16-2011, 12:20 AM
Honestly, giving up my own insane expectations as well as other people's insane expectations have really helped me fall into that old lady trap.

life should be about having fun and doing what brings you and other people joy. I think part of the reason my great grand dad lived so long (well over 100) was because he didnt sweat the small stuff, stopped trying to be everything to everyone, stop trying to impose his will on other people.

i'm looking forward to getting older. i already have my 50th bday celebration in mind. I'm going to erase the 0 and make it a 5 year old party complete with balloon animals, pinatas filled with adult snacks, tricycle races, super messy birthday cake and make even some horse rides (i'm too damn big for a pony) if i can swing it :-))

Werd. :). (1010)

Sent from my iPad using Forum Runner

Denny
07-18-2011, 12:28 PM
^ Great idea, I'm going to take some glamour nude photos when I am 50 lol

Veviticus
03-04-2012, 12:12 AM
My mother and her mother both died at the age of 68. I'm trying not to let this get to me, but it crosses my mind every now and then and wonder....:o
What does this mean for me?

OHR
03-04-2012, 12:31 AM
I finally realized that this past year. I use to stress and stress and stress over my job. NOT ANYMORE! I could stress over my job, step outside and die. With all that I went through this past year and few months...I stressed myself to sickness. Unless something major happens in my life (death in family, etc.) I refuse to allow life's happenings to stress me out anymore.
^THIS in spades. My illness four years ago certainly taught me the importance of taking time for self...and my DH.


So much werd! I'm sure a lot of people call me self-centered and selfish because I'm not running around doing this that the other thing that I don't want to do, but I call myself HAPPY.
^Ya know? It's like I told my now retired principal...bottom line, your name is NOT on this school. We do our best and that's all. You [and I] are NOT our jobs.

Lockolatte
03-06-2012, 12:57 AM
^THIS in spades. My illness four years ago certainly taught me the importance of taking time for self...and my DH.


^Ya know? It's like I told my now retired principal...bottom line, your name is NOT on this school. We do our best and that's all. You [and I] are NOT our jobs.



Balance is key to happiness and sanity.(:-) I work wayyy over time as do most in the profession. I will not be made to feel guilty that I enjoy a life outside of work. >)

Fedyfro
03-12-2012, 10:27 PM
i'm looking forward to getting older. i already have my 50th bday celebration in mind. I'm going to erase the 0 and make it a 5 year old party complete with balloon animals, pinatas filled with adult snacks, tricycle races, super messy birthday cake and make even some horse rides (i'm too damn big for a pony) if i can swing it :-))
This sounds awesome. I'll be celebrating 50 in a couple of years and you have given me something to think about.

OHR
03-12-2012, 11:30 PM
Shoot.....my 58th is in 2 weeks....*rips off GG's balloon animal/tricycle race/adult snack idea*

Ebonique
05-06-2012, 04:38 AM
Honestly, giving up my own insane expectations as well as other people's insane expectations have really helped me fall into that old lady trap.

life should be about having fun and doing what brings you and other people joy. I think part of the reason my great grand dad lived so long (well over 100) was because he didnt sweat the small stuff, stopped trying to be everything to everyone, stop trying to impose his will on other people.

i'm looking forward to getting older. i already have my 50th bday celebration in mind. I'm going to erase the 0 and make it a 5 year old party complete with balloon animals, pinatas filled with adult snacks, tricycle races, super messy birthday cake and make even some horse rides (i'm too damn big for a pony) if i can swing it :-))

I'm there! Name the time, place & send me an invite, lol :-))