The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Happiness Increases With Age!

posted by Donna Henes

Despite all of the loss associated with aging: the ability to reproduce, physical strength and agility, pigment in our hair, elasticity in our skin, our children at home, our parents, and on and on, the results of a large Gallup poll recently released has found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older, and researchers are not sure why.

“It could be that there are environmental changes,” said Arthur A. Stone, the lead author of a new study based on the survey, “or it could be psychological changes about the way we view the world, or it could even be biological — for example brain chemistry or endocrine changes.”

The telephone survey, carried out in 2008, covered more than 340,000 people nationwide, ages 18 to 85, asking various questions about age and sex, current events, personal finances, health and other matters. The survey also asked about “global well-being” by having each person rank overall life satisfaction on a 10-point scale.

Finally, there were six yes-or-no questions:

Did you experience enjoyment during a large part of the day yesterday? 
Did you experience happiness during a large part of the day yesterday? 

Did you experience stress during a large part of the day yesterday? 

Did you experience worry during a large part of the day yesterday? 

Did you experience anger during a large part of the day yesterday? 

Did you experience sadness during a large part of the day yesterday? 

The answers, the researchers say, reveal “hedonic well-being,” that is, a person’s immediate experience of those psychological states, unencumbered by revised memories or subjective judgments that the query about general life satisfaction might have evoked.

On the global measure, people start out at age 18 feeling pretty good about themselves, and then, apparently, life begins to throw curve balls. They feel worse and worse until they hit 50. At that point, there is a sharp reversal, and people keep getting happier as they age. By the time they are 85, they are even more satisfied with themselves than they were at 18.

In measuring immediate well-being — yesterday’s emotional state — the researchers found that stress declines from age 22 onward, reaching its lowest point at 85. Worry stays fairly steady until 50, then sharply drops off. Anger decreases steadily from 18 on, and sadness rises to a peak at 50, declines to 73, then rises slightly again to 85. Enjoyment and happiness have similar curves: they both decrease gradually until we hit 50, rise steadily for the next 25 years, and then decline very slightly at the end, but they never again reach the low point of our early 50s.

Andrew J. Oswald, a professor of psychology at Warwick Business School in England, who has published several studies on human happiness, called the findings important and, in some ways, heartening. “It’s a very encouraging fact that we can expect to be happier in our early 80s than we were in our 20s,” he said. “And it’s not being driven predominantly by things that happen in life. It’s something very deep and quite human that seems to be driving this.”

The study was not designed to figure out which factors make people happy, and the poll’s health questions were not specific enough to draw any conclusions about the effect of disease or disability on happiness in old age. But the researchers did look at four possibilities: the sex of the interviewee, whether the person had a partner, whether there were children at home and employment status. “These are four reasonable candidates,” Dr. Stone said, “but they don’t make much difference.”

So, if things seem hard right now, take heart. The good news is we are aging! And really, that is fabulous considering the alternative. I always say, I am not afraid of getting old. I am afraid of not getting old!

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


Queen of Rock and Roll

posted by Donna Henes

This week’s theme is Dancing Queens. And Crones.

Queen of Rock and Roll

I recently saw Tina Turner’s 2008 concert, supposedly the last of her career. She was 68 years old and she took my breath away. She was backed by a bevy of beautiful young women, who, despite their gorgeous faces and figures and great dancing skill, seemed pale and insipid in contrast to the hypnotic power of the triumphant Tina.

The Queen of Rock and Roll, indeed. Her body was panther-muscled and solid. Her face bore witness to her journey, her hard time times and her victories. Her gaze was intense with the accumulated knowledge of her years. Her passion was palpable and electrifying. Here on my television screen was a female force of nature. A fabulous, ferocious, fiery goddess — Pele. Kali, Coatlicue.

Tina Turner, née Anna Mae Bullock was born to a mixed race (Native and African American) share-cropping family in Nutbush, Tennessee in the segregated South on November 26, 1939. Abandoned by their parents, Turner and her sister were raised by their grandmother. In 1956 when Anna was 16, they moved to St. Louis to reunite with their mother

The city opened up a whole new world of R&B clubs to the teenager.   One night during her first year in town, she was called onto the stage to sing with Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm, and the rest is herstory.

Ike recruited her at the last second to replace an A.W.O.L. backup singer for the recording session for “A Fool In Love.” She delivered a spine-tingling performance, which convinced Ike to take her into the band as his protégée with a new name to fit her persona.

Six years later in 1962, they were married in Tijuana, Mexico while Tina was pregnant with their son. She had already had a son from an earlier relationship with a musician.
The Ike and Tina Turner Revue had few commercial recording hits, but they tore up live venues with their high-powered live stage shows and toured with the likes of James Brown and Ray Charles. Tina’s electric charisma became more and more recognized as the star power behind the group’s international success.

Backstage, life wasn’t so great. Ike was a violent, drug-addicted wife-beater who was not above frequently knocking Tina around both publicly and privately. Despite hits such as “Proud Mary” and Tina’s self-penned “Nutbush City Limits”, further mainstream success eluded the group and Ike blamed Tina.

After years of misery and a failed suicide attempt, Tina finally had enough abuse and walked out. In July of 1976, she fled her marriage as well as the Revue with 36 cents and a Mobil gasoline credit card in her purse. Despite owing a huge debt to tour promoters for bailing out, she refused to fight for a monetary settlement from Ike. She would do it on her own, thank you very much.

It was long and sometimes humiliating trek back to the top for Tina, who was now nearing 40. But even though her gigs were far between and obscure. Queen Tina was having a blast being fully in charge of her own life and career. She credited her Buddhist practice with giving her the faith and drive to persevere.

it was in 1984 that she staged what is considered by some the most amazing comeback in rock music history and achieved international super-stardom. Her fifth solo album, Private Dancer was a huge success and established Turner as a credible solo artist. At the 1985 Grammy Awards, her astonishing revival was recognized with nominations in the rock, R&B and pop categories and rewarded with four trophies. Since that time, her success as a singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress has been on a roll. A Rock and Roll.

In 2000 at the age of 60, Queen Tina announced that she would no longer tour or perform live, but of course, she did. She remains one of the world’s most popular and biggest-selling music artists of all time with eight Grammy Awards and record sales in excess of 180 million.

Tina Turner is the undisputed Queen of Rock and Roll, able to thrill audiences like no other woman in music history. But she is much more than that. She is a Queen of Life and Living. A supreme shero of suffering and surviving, of striving and thriving.

Rock on, Queen Tina.
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


Slow Dancing with the Queens

posted by Donna Henes

Here are some stunning Queens of a certain age, dancing from deep within their souls. These sinuous, sensual women move the way water does. Or silk charmeuse. In waves of slow flow like lava. Fiery molasses.

Their ecstatic expressions are luscious. Their mature surety, intoxicating. The young women are dancing. The Queens are communing. Theirs is a sultry spirit dance developed through the dark night of the soul and the long day’s journey into the Self.

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

Dance, Dance, Dance

posted by Donna Henes

This week’s theme is Dancing Queens. And Crones.

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.
- Agnes De Mille

I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words.
- Ruth St. Denis

Dance is the hidden language of the soul.  
- Martha Graham

The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.  
- Mata Hari

Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain.  
- Martha Graham

To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.  
- Hopi Saying

Dance for yourself, if someone understands good. If not then no matter, go right on doing what you love.
- Lois Hurst

Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn.  
- Terri Guillemets

Next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle.
- Martha Graham

Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.  
- Martha Graham

Next time you’re mad, try dancing out your anger.  
- Terri Guillemets

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to be over, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
- Author Unknown

Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health — it rusts your spirit and your hips.  
- Terri Guillemets

Dancing is the world’s favorite metaphor.  
- Kristy Nilsson

Maybe we can use a metaphor for it, out of dance. I think for many years I was aware of the need, in dance and in life, to breathe deeply and to take in more air than we usually take in.
- Sharon Olds

The journey between who you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.
- Barbara De Angelis   

It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. It is the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It is the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give. And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.  
- Bette Midler

If I can not dance, I shall die!
- Anna Pavlova

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.
- Angela Monet

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.  
- Faith Whittlesey

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


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