You have just released your hilarious new book aimed at women in midlife, Who Left the Cork Out of My Lunch? Middle Age, Modern Marriage & Other Complications? Tell us more about your book and what inspired you to write it…
One day, I looked in the mirror and saw my mother staring back at me. I love my mother, and she’s a beautiful woman, but she’s 79. When we would go shopping together, people would ask us if we were sisters. I realized it had finally happened to me. I was no longer young in a society that worships youth. I was beginning to feel invisible. I went home and really looked at my body. Not “in passing” or when I had on a cute dress and boobs-to-thigh Spanx. But at its worst…Naked.
Yep, the boobs had headed south like migrating geese. My tiny waist wasn’t. My thighs had a strange, inexplicable “bumpy” texture, and the line on my face was a walking advertisement for the evils of a tanning bed.
But my innate irreverent (and often inappropriate, according to my family) sense of humor ultimately overcame my tenuous grasp on reality, and I started to see the funny in midlife. It’s there if you look for it. Middle age is about as goofy as it gets, and Mother Nature has a very quirky sense of humor. I began to write about my thoughts, advice, and most embarrassing moments on my blog, Laugh Lines, about living young when you’re…well…not. It’s been a blast.
What are some of the midlife challenges you tackle head-on in your book, and how can humor help us get through some of those difficult midlife transitions and realizations?
I write about menopause, empty nest syndrome, advice on making marriage work, body changes, sex after 50, and everything else I share with other women over 40. Not much is off-limits. Humor takes us “out of ourselves.” If we can laugh at ourselves, we can overcome almost anything. Life is too short to be taken too seriously. I’m hoping that my silly stories will get women to start giggling, relating to their own lives, and learn how to find the funny there.
How is midlife also a time of opportunity for women? How can women embrace the positives of midlife?
By midlife, we are much more aware of what we want and what we’re willing to do to get it. We have more answers and less questions about ourselves, our passions, our skills, our limitations. This is the time we go after what we want, much more sure about what we have to offer. I think our marriages are stronger, our careers are more selective, we can say “No” when we need to (and the sex is better!)
To embrace midlife, we have to let go of our obsession with youth. We will never be “young” again. Get over it. We need to find a way to redefine our own sense of beauty, and much of that can be found through laughter.
Many of your essays and anecdotes include your husband, “Hubs.” How does the strength and love of a life partner help women as we grow older?
I think marriages, in general, grow stronger as we age. (If not, we’re not so afraid to get out and start over again). The kids are gone, and it’s time to rediscover each other. You can fall in love again with your partner. How cool is that? That long-time love, combined with a newly discovered passion can give us the confidence to do anything.
You also write about the community of women in midlife. How have you experienced the support of girlfriends who “have your back” at this time in your life?
I think girlfriends are as important as partners at this stage of our lives. Girlfriends validate us, encourage us, celebrate us. Girlfriends offer a different kind of support than our husbands. If we need to vent about our kids or careers, a family member that’s driving us nuts, or a husband who dropped Valentine’s day ball and bought us a keychain, girlfriends grab the wine and let us talk. Then they forget everything they’ve just heard and never speak of it again unless you bring it up. You can’t get that anywhere else.
What are some of your favorite resources for women in midlife?
Kim Dalferes and Marcia Kester Doyle come to mind at the moment. Both are midlife humor writers with books out, and very successful blogs. They’re hilarious and can get me laughing out loud like nobody’s business.
Books by Kim Dalferes:
I Was In Love With a Short Man Once And Other Tales From a Crazy Southern Irish Gal
Books by Marcia Kester Doyle:
Contact Vikki Claflin at email@example.com
Blog: Laugh Lines
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Vikki Claflin is an author and inspirational public speaker. She lives in Hood River, Oregon, where she writes the award-winning humor blog Laugh Lines. She believes that laughter, a glass of wine, and an econo-sized box of Milk Duds are the path to true zen. Vikki has been featured on the Michael J. Fox Foundation website, Erma Bombeck’s Writer’s Workshop, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Midlife Boulevard, Better After 50, and Funny Times Magazine. She also received a BlogHer14 “Voices of the Year” Humor award. Vikki’s second book, Who Left the Cork Out of My Lunch? Middle Age, Modern Marriage & Other Complications, was released in February 2016. Vikki’s first book Shake, Rattle & Roll With It: Living and Laughing with Parkinson’s was listed as one of Amazon Editor’s Favorite Books of 2014. You can connect with Vikki and read more of her hilarious writing at laugh-lines.net.