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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 2

posted by Donna Henes

QMD – When you imagined yourself as a woman in her middle years, how did you imagine your life to be? Is it?

I am 62, so I am past my middle years. When I was a girl or even in college everyone thought I would never marry or have children. I agreed with their assessment. When I was a child, I pictured my middle years with me as a nun in Africa discovering new medicines or administering to the poor. (All of my aunts were nuns.) When I was in college I imagined myself as an academic living alone with my work in New York City. Oddly, after a life of having little to do with men, I met a man, married him and had three children who are now in their 30s, and I have been happily married for 40 years. I never pictured myself with a family. When I went to my high school reunion, the boys in my class were surprised I married. They saw me, as one of them said, “as the first raging feminist.”

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In terms of a career I am now a writer, alone on the third floor of my house writing novels and memoirs. I am thrilled to have such a great career and lifestyle and I believe I have surpassed my childhood expectations. I feel having a chance to create something in a long-extended project is as good as life gets. In many ways I am doing what my mother wanted to do.

CG – Have your expectations changed? In what way?

Love changes everything. When you have no idea what love is, you feel it is overrated. However, once you have had a chance to love your spouse and children you realize that no matter how much fame or how many books you write, none of it will ever give you the warmth of a family. I never expected to want more than external achievements when I was younger.

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QMD – How do you feel about the process of aging?

I am fairly shocked by it and frankly appalled. I don’t have limitless talents. My two meager talents used to be that I had athletic ability and I had a prodigious memory. Both are gone. When I look at the weights I lifted or the boats I rowed and raced, I can’t believe I ever did that much. I could never do it today. In terms of memory, I still remember things from long ago. I cannot believe that I can’t remember the names of characters in a book that I read last week. I don’t know why that should appall me since I now forget my children’s names. I used to have limitless energy and can honestly say I never once in my life was tired until after I was 55. Since I turned 60, I find that I can do much less intellectual or creative work in a day. I also get tired and need to get more sleep.

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On the upside, the humbling of aging has FORCED me to learn a lot. I think I finally have my priorities straight. I have learned to be nicer to myself and to others. You can’t have it all. Oscar Wilde was right when he said “Youth is wasted on the young.”

CG – What invaluable lessons has aging taught you?

Don’t expect too much of yourself. Relax and work on relationships. There will always be some “young thing” hot on your heels who is more energetic, prettier, smarter, more ambitious, more athletic, or funnier. You lose your edge and can’t compete anymore. You need to change gears and work on having fun. You don’t want to work forever and then drop dead. You need to not put off what you want to do. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW SHORT LIFE IS. No one is able to tell you that time accelerates with age. What five years was when you were 20 is far longer than it is at 60.

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QMD – Do you have wise words for women in their midlife transition?

Do not listen to anyone except yourself.  If you want to do something and those around you discourage you, don’t listen. Just do it. Many people told me that I had to stay in psychology in private practice. I “needed the money.” I “would never get published.” etc, etc.  Fortunately, I didn’t listen and I do make enough money — not a lot, but enough, and I did get published. People often speak from THEIR own fears. Their naysaying has nothing to do with you. If you want something enough you will overcome the obstacles.

 

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

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Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 1

posted by Donna Henes

I recently attended a talk by Canadian author Catherine Gildiner and was quite taken with her good humored wisdom. When I read her book, After the Falls, I was hooked. She graciously allowed me to interview her and I would like to share her answers with you. They offer a revealing and inspiring description of a woman coming into her power.

Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 1


QMD – I understand that you did not begin to write until you were in your 50s. Can you please tell me about that? What made you want to chronicle your early life?

I was a psychologist for twenty-five years and then one night at a dinner party I began telling a story of an event that occurred when I worked in my father’s drug store from the age of four. I was delivering drugs with the black delivery car driver and we were snowed in and I had to stay overnight at his house. The woman who had the party worked for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company). She encouraged me to write up the tale. She suggested I enter it into a short story competition. However once I started to write — I wrote a whole memoir! Then I sent it to a publisher and it was immediately published and on the best seller’s list. I decided at that point to begin a full time career in writing. I was already fifty so I decided I didn’t have that much time left.

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I concentrated on my early life because I had such memorable people in my work as a young child, they seemed to be screaming in my head to be written about.


CG – What was your first sense of yourself as a self-identified person, separate from what society expected of you? 

A bully was harassing me and hurting me. He was pulling out my hair in bunches for months. I went to my teacher and parents but their solutions did not stop the bullying. Finally I stabbed the bully in grade four with a compass. He collapsed. And I finally let him have it. I was kicked out of school and was forced to see a psychiatrist. That was a fairly dramatic consequence for a Catholic school in the 1950s. I had a sense that I was not doing what was expected of me but I really didn’t care. I had protected myself. It wasn’t what Catholic school expected from my parents. I however realized I was on my own and I had protected myself. If people thought I was crazy I REALLY didn’t care. It was quite freeing really.

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QMD – When and in what circumstances have you felt yourself to be powerful? 

I have felt powerful several times. I worked on civil rights in the 60’s.  Even when I was a young kid I went out in the night and decided to paint all the black lawn jockeys (lawn ornaments) white. When it was written up in the paper as “vandalism” I still felt powerful for doing it. Any time that I worked for a greater public goal I felt a surge of personal power.

CG – What powers, strengths, visions, are you working on manifesting now? 

I am not working on any powers in the external sense. I feel I have a lot of those. I am working on trying to manage my anger and type A personality so that I can better enjoy my personal relationships. If you want to talk in terms of visions, I want to see myself as someone who accepts others and accepts myself. Hard driving gets you all kinds of external rewards (PhD, money, books published, psychology private practice) but at 62 you find it wears out your motor and replacement parts are hard to come by. I have bought a farm so that I can calm down and appreciate nature and solitude.

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…     Monday, Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 2

 

 

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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Am I Having A Mid-Life Crisis?

posted by Donna Henes

by Carolina Smart

You ever have one of those Ah ha moments? Either one you came to on your own volition, or after a conversation with someone else; that someone being a good friend, family member or a stranger. I had one of those moments tonight.

We all date for different reasons. Looking to find the love of our life, for companionship, boredom or because we can. I have many single female friends and few married ones. I’ve asked many of them why they date, and even continue dating after one disappointment after another. These women range in age from mid thirties to late fifties.   I’ve been looking to them more and more lately, more so as a kid standing outside the store looking in at the toy they can’t have, rather than seeking out advice.

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In my observations I see women, some who are strong and independent and others who are terrified of being alone. I’ve always have put myself in the category of strong and independent, but of late, am wondering if I have been using this mask to cover up my own fears. In less then seven months I will be turning 45. 45 and still single. Is this a bad thing? I guess that depends on whose opinion I am willing to listen to.

I’m not going to lie, I LOVE being single most days. I can come and go as I please, have no one to answer to but the credit card company if I spend $200 on a pair of boots, and don’t have to worry about being looked at as a freak of nature when I walk around my apartment in my under garments, while I have dye in my hair. Most days. But I have a confession, I like waking up with a warm body next to me and it’s only really been lately, that I have started to feel the need to fill the other half of my bed.

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I’ve been battling with the whys of all of this. Am I lonely? Is my libido doing that one final war cry before giving up the ghost? Have I finally gotten to a place in my life that I am happy with who I am and now I can make room for a partner? Am I having a mid life crisis? This is where the Ah ha moment comes in. I think it might be all of the above.

It took standing in my kitchen with one of my dearest friends, listening to her lecture me, telling me that I deserve to have love in my life. That I deserve the world, deserve all the happiness and love that I dish out to others. I dish out generously to the men and women who have come and gone and now it’s their turn to reciprocate. Without soft coating it, she said I needed to stop making excuses and look for what is going to truly make me happy. But what if I don’t know what that is and what if it is no more than a 45-year old woman panicking about being 45 and single?
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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

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The Feast of Life

posted by Donna Henes

by Diane Bader

I am woman, a seeker after truth, knowledge and Wisdom
One who travels secretly, inwardly, on this journey of life,
One who seeks to know the Feminine,
Who seeks to know the Divine.
I hunger and thirst for inner truth
As I read voraciously,
As I feed upon the wisdom and knowledge of others
Always seeking nourishment for guidance along my own
path of discovery.
When I find such words,
I feast hungrily upon them
Until I find another who adds to the feast
And yet another …
I am refreshed by the sweet nectar
As similar thoughts flow together
To resonate with my soul.
As years flow seamlessly into years,

The urgency of living lessens.
It is my time to grow ever more deeply and
Meditate upon the feast spread before me.
I choose the choice bits
And make them my own
No longer “out there” – someone else’s thoughts
They are my soul food.
They belong to me.
Rarely do I find the words to share them,
Rarely do I find an Anam Cara to hear them.
My soul yearns and pines
For the courts of the Divine.
Only then will the feast be complete,
Only then will my soul be satiated.

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Meanwhile, I journey upon Mother Earth
Seeking to nourish her and preserve her
For future generations.
I trod gently, very gently
As I enjoy glimpses of the Divine presence
In her sunsets, her gentle rains,
Her green blades of spring,
Her richness of harvest.

When I see brilliant vermilion and orange
Spread across the evening horizon,
I know they are for someone special
Who has just passed from this temporary dwelling
Into the next
And I am again enriched
By the abundance of such Divine Beauty
* ***
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com

 

Previous Posts

Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 2
QMD - When you imagined yourself as a woman in her middle years, how did you imagine your life to be? Is it? I am 62, so I am past my middle years. When I was a girl or even in college everyone thought I would never marry or have children. I ...

posted 6:00:53am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Interview with a Canadian Queen – Part 1
I recently attended a talk by Canadian author Catherine Gildiner and was quite taken with her good humored wisdom. When I read her book, After the Falls, I was hooked. She graciously allowed me to interview her and I would like to share her ...

posted 2:16:57pm Jul. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Am I Having A Mid-Life Crisis?
by Carolina Smart You ever have one of those Ah ha moments? Either one you came to on your own volition, or after a conversation with someone else; that someone being a good friend, family member or a stranger. I had one of those moments ...

posted 6:00:20am Jul. 22, 2015 | read full post »

The Feast of Life
by Diane Bader I am woman, a seeker after truth, knowledge and Wisdom One who travels secretly, inwardly, on this journey of life, One who seeks to know the Feminine, Who seeks to know the Divine. I hunger and thirst for inner truth As I ...

posted 6:00:30am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Message from Another Queen
  To the citizens of the United States of America From Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we ...

posted 6:00:27am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

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