Cougar

We have a term for older women who date younger men. But we don’t have a term for older men who date younger women.

Why do we care who dates who? Why does it matter the age difference at all if both people are old enough to decide for themselves? If they both are legally able and mature enough to date each other then what does it matter?

Older men have been dating younger women for years. Older men have divorced their older wives and married younger ones so long it is considered normal. They are called trophy wives. He upgrades to a sports car and a beautiful wife. It is his sign that he is still virile.

I’m totally against this, not because of the age difference but because of the divorce. There is no reason a man should abandon the woman who stood by him and supported him while he was going up the ladder. Once he achieves success, she deserves that glory too. She is part of the reason he is there.

But, back to the point. There is a stigma against older women dating or marrying younger men. And by younger, I mean ten years or more. Yet somehow it is seen as acceptable for older men to date or marry younger women.

I ask, why – to both? If one is OK, then why is the other not? “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”, right? Or if it isn’t OK for one, then perhaps it isn’t OK for both.

It is just something to consider. I don’t have the answer. But I am about asking questions and making people questioning their assumptions and the usual way of thinking. This kind of exercise is very healing. It helps you see walls that you put up that aren’t really there.

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Choice

I recently met a lady at the Y who was complaining of hot flashes. I have found that taking black cohosh helps. I mentioned this to her, and she said that she couldn’t take it because it raised her blood pressure. OK, there are other things to do – stop drinking caffeine and stop eating all spicy foods.

“Oh, no! I can’t do that”, she said. It was as if I suggested that she cut off her hands. She was Hispanic and spicy foods were just part of who she is, she said. I said then it is her choice. Spicy foods and caffeine, or hot flashes. Which is more important to her? She can have one or the other.

She was in a real quandary. People are often like this. They want to have it all. They want the good things and not the bad things. Who doesn’t want that? They want to have their cake and eat it too. Or rather, they want to eat cake and not gain weight.

The thing that amuses me is that she goes to the Y. So she is already doing something to take care of her health. She has already taken that first step. But there are always more. And it is always hard at first. Eventually you get far enough away from the things that you thought you “needed” and find out that you don’t need them at all, and that in fact you don’t even like them anymore.

I thought I needed Mello Yello and chips and chocolate every day when I got home from work. Somehow by the grace of God I managed to transform that need into a need to go to the Y and do water aerobics. I now see eating those things as a negative. The more of that I eat, the more I have to work out to make it up. I now like how I feel in my body. I like having a sense of control over myself and my life.

It is all about choice. If you keep doing something that you know to be unhealthy or unhelpful – whether it is food or behavior, it is your choice. There has to be a payoff. The “bad” thing must have a better payoff than the “good” thing. You are getting something out of it. Root down and figure out what that is. If it is important enough, you can transfer that payoff into something else.

Perhaps you get a charge out of doing something “bad”. Perhaps you enjoy feeling like a rebel. Perhaps that is something you were taught as a child. You got a charge out of it, and that energy keeps you doing it. But if it really isn’t what you want to do, then it is time to change that behavior.

It is all steps. Little bitty baby steps. Step by step, you are walking closer to who you are really meant to be. It is the most important journey you can take.

But first you have to choose. Do you just coast through life, or do you really live it? Do you let things happen to you, or do you plan ahead?

I challenge you, I encourage you, I pray for you to take that step towards the bright, beautiful, glorious You that God created.