All posts tagged: Ms. Independence

Why I Don’t Need You to “Mansplain” It to Me

As I walked to my seat at a gathering last week, a male acquaintance grabbed me by the elbow, spilling my coffee. “Whoa,” I said. “What are you doing?” “That’s what you get for not saying hello to me,” he said. “You spilled my coffee,” I said and kept walking. I could focus on the details here of how I know this person casually and that he has previously told me out of the blue that I’m “intimidating” and that I don’t speak to him as much as he’d like me to. I could get into how I get nervous in groups and how I generally need to locate a safe spot and/or a safe person in the room, and in that process I can skip acknowledging people accidentally. And God knows I probably don’t smile enough at anyone, especially men, based on feedback I’ve gotten whether I’ve asked for it or not. I can note how I was walking to that safe spot the other night with my too-full coffee when he interrupted me …

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In Praise of the Midlife Crisis — on a Motorcycle

We should avoid excess risk as we age. So says conventional wisdom. After all, it takes longer to heal a bone broken learning to ski in our 50s than in our 20s. There won’t be time to regain a financial loss suffered past our early 40s if we become too aggressive with our investments. Going back to school later in life to embark on a new career seems a waste of time and energy. And don’t get me started on those folks who leave long-term marriages for the greener pastures of a new relationship. I believed all these things. Until, at age 48, I fell in love with a matte black, brawny beast of a machine. I took a motorcycle safety class as research for a book I was writing and surprised myself with the depth of feeling that burbled up. My father was dying at the time and I felt entombed in a marriage that, after 25 years, had lost all its verve. I had raised three on-the-cusp-of-adulthood children, served as a professor of …

I Left My New York Apartment For Life on a Boat

Three weeks ago, I sailed away from New York City. I cast off the lines from our 37-foot sloop and left New York harbor for the East River, along with my husband and dog. In that moment, and without much ceremony, we were no longer New Yorkers. The moment we left the dock, we became full-time sailors with no homeport to call us back. This wasn’t a longtime dream. We’re not lifelong boaters. Nor did we come from wealth or retire early on some startup exit. My husband, Jon, and I are simply wanderers. We spent years wanting something else. This is our else. Before moving to New York two years ago, Jon and I met through our love of travel. After a couple of years of dating, we each began working without an office, for a total of about five years, sometimes running a business together, sometimes working separately. This wasn’t gig economy work but rather leadership positions for traditional companies that were trying a new format of working. And it worked. I completely …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: Pop a Wheelie and Ask for Help

I was sweating and cursing under my breath as I wheeled my suitcase through 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Maybe it was early in my post-chemo life to be taking a trip to D.C. I might be jumping out of my pants to be my old go-get-‘em self again, but my body is definitely not so sure. You ain’t ready yet sister, it alternately whispers and shouts to me. Patience, butterfly. Just a month out from the end of cancer treatment, I’m still weathering various side effects — leg clot, infected toe, a fuzzy brain and big-time fatigue. But when a friend invites you to the first United State of Women Summit, a gathering that is essentially FLOTUS’s power-packed swan song, meant to shine the spotlight on the challenges and opportunities women and girls face around the world — violence, education, healthcare, workforce issues, family care, entrepreneurship — you go. Amirite? So I decided to do it. I just needed help getting there and getting around. Help? Help? HALP! Asking for help is hard. But …

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Learning About Bravery from My 10-Year-Old Daughter

I watch my daughter come out of a long, twisting water slide, arms thrown out triumphantly, eyes and mouth wide open, soaring for a moment through space before crashing into the pool with a loud splash. We are on a two-week family road trip and are at a hotel pool. She turned 10 just a few days into the journey. And she is brave. I’m afraid of water slides and afraid of this one. I marvel at how one moment, my daughter can be fearless, climbing to the top of a water slide and jumping into it without a second thought, laughing all the way down and going back up and down again. Then the next moment, she wants to be held, comforted and protected. At one truck stop on the trip, she strides into the convenience store, insisting that she can go to the restroom on her own. My eyes dart vigilantly about as I try not to follow her too closely, try to give her a wide enough berth so she doesn’t feel …

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Margit’s Note: Ms. Independence

Writing about independence is no easy task. I’ve written this little note to you three or four times, scrapping each edition and littering the page with words like “Liberty” “Freedom” and “Inalienable Rights.” It’s like Thomas Jefferson is all up in my grill. Come on Tom, back off. I’m trying to explain to my readers about we women of a certain age and independence, that the word means something particular to us because we’ve cultivated it over the years — and we fight for it every damn day. We can’t take it for granted. The point is, we need to light the sparklers and fist pump to Freedom — the freedom that a woman earns over the course of her life, that guides her decisions and allows her to forge and determine her own crazy, sexy path. As we see this week on TueNight, our path might be on a boat, on a motorcycle, in a van or even in a wheelchair. Yeah, I found independence in a wheelchair for a day. Go figure. I …