For those of you who’ve read all my books you’ll know that Vienna is a recurring theme. Chunks of my novel, Trouble Brewing take place in Vienna. One of the chapters in The Happy Endings Book Club is set there.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Vienna… It’s a city where I’ve faced a lot of my own personal issues, been incredibly happy, and overwhelmingly miserable. It’s a place that has changed shape and form in my eyes so many times. I have hated it. I have loved it. I have certainly been challenged by it.
I just read this fabulous piece by Wendy Harmer. Those of you who have read my book The Happy Endings Book Club will know how I feel about aging, and embracing that process. One of the seven stories in the book is about Tilda, who has “invisibility”, a condition common in women over 45-years. Tilda goes on a journey, both internally and geographically, to beat this insidious disease.
This Madonna commercial triggered Wendy Harmer’s hilarious but oh so spot on piece. Be warned… it has offensive content. It has a fifty something year old women writhing around pretending to be twenty and selling the idea that that is how we all should be. For some reason the clip isn’t inserting… so…
I just turned 45. I’m not overly comfortable with the aging process, but I’m getting there. Getting work done for me means working on embracing ageing, not erasing it. I have been the maiden. I am the mother… I will move into the crone with grace.
Just yesterday I was in my car waiting for a woman to cross the road. This woman has a very severe eating disorder. I’ve seen this woman around a lot, and always feel for the journey she’s on. But in that moment, as I watched her yesterday, I looked down at my own body and felt so much love for it. It was one of those profound moments where you feel connected to everything, yourself especially. Love.
I do love my body. It has been good to me. It had its moment of glory… which of course I didn’t appreciate at the time. (Youth is wasted on the young.) I can see it ageing, losing that youth, but gaining other things in it’s place. I’m more aware of the workings of my body, my mind, my spirit now. I sense issues as they come up. I’m more comfortable. I spend a lot of time naked, wandering the house, hanging out (literally) with my guy. I’m more sexually free and aware than I’ve ever been.
Every time I see a woman like Madonna, I think “You must really hate getting older.” And what a waste of time to feel that way. We spend more of our lives being older than being young, so why deny it? Why not embrace it? It comes with so much knowledge, including the knowledge that you don’t know much at all. There’s freedom in that.
The only issue I have with Wendy Harmer’s blog is the title: “Hey Over 45 Year-Olds: Grow Up!”
I’d prefer to “grow in.” Into my aging skin. Into my aging body. Into my hard earned wisdom. Into me, each and every day.
I’m not sure when I started disappearing. One minute I was clearly visible, with the confidence of a woman who knows that. The next… something had shifted. I felt invisible. More than that… I quickly expected that others wouldn’t see me either.
They didn’t. Heads failed to turn. I was often overlooked in a queue. But it was more than that. Suddenly my quirky collection of vintage clothing seemed ridiculous. I would enter certain restaurants or bars and feel like a dinosaur. Women around me were getting work on their face. For some it is subtle, but others look ridiculous. Surely that isn’t the alternative to my wrinkles?
It was an internal shift as well, not just physical. At a point in my life when I really knew myself, I wasn’t sure what to do with that hard earned wisdom. It wasn’t valued. Youth is celebrated, embraced, feted. Women my age often feel … invisible.
Welcome to womanhood in the forties. Not everyone feels invisible, but many do. I know. I’ve discussed this with countless women: friends, acquaintances, and strangers at parties. It’s something I experienced myself, with mounting dismay, until earlier this year I was handed a gift:
I was told I was going blind.
Fortunately for me, I was misdiagnosed. My eyesight is fine, however it took three months and further tests to confirm this. During these three months something interesting happened to me. For the first time in forever… I looked in the mirror and didn’t criticize myself. I looked at my body and I liked what I saw. The possibility of losing my sight provided me with greater insight.
The idea that I wouldn’t see myself age horrified me. And if that was so … then why would each new wrinkle be anything but a celebration.
If I want to see myself age… then why erase that age? Why try to beat it, deny it or ignore it? Why not fully and utterly embrace it? As I write in my novel, The Happy Endings Book Club, we should welcome ageing. It’s a privilege denied to many.
The way we see ourselves and the world around us is a major theme I explore in The Happy Endings Book Club. All of the seven female characters experience a shift in perception that alters their world. That shift is different for each character.
Paige misses glimpsing the magic in the world. Sadie doesn’t see the beauty inside people. Amanda wonders what she ever saw in her ex husband. Michi can’t bear looking at her family, while Clementine is blind to what’s right in front of her. And Eva looks for romance in all the wrong places.
But it’s Tilda I related to most. She literally can’t see herself. And once you’ve lost sight of yourself, how can you expect others to see you?
I’m visible again. It took the threat of losing my sight for me to see myself clearly. I like what I see now.
I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks. Life has been hectic and any spare time is spent writing my next book. However I’ve just seen this lovely review from Sally From Oz.
This is my have part of it. I always love it when readers enjoy my locations:
Author Jane Tara must have magical powers of her own I swear because her settings are so wonderfully described you can easily imagine yourself there. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when Jane took a character to the Christmas markets in Vienna, in falling snow, ***sigh*** is now firmly on my wish list of places to visit. From London to Australia, Paris to New York the women all eventually turn their lives around, but many it is not as they expected.
The Happy Endings Book Club is the second novel that I’ve read from Jane Tara. This book is completely different from Tara’s novel Trouble Brewing– from writing style to character development. Though I enjoyed both novels, I must say that The Happy Endings Book Club is my favorite. The style of this book suits the author so well.
Happy Endings Book Club follows different members of a book club. Each of them are so different but they relate to each other so well. I found this reading easy to read and follow. Perfect for the Christmas Holidays!
Andrea from Love is said this about my novel, The Happy Endings Book Club:
*ARC courtesy of Momentum Books on Netgalley.*
I LOVED this book! Jane Tara pulled me in right away, with her amazingly different characters. I read it in less then a day, because I couldn’t put it down! I felt like you got to know some better then others, but I still felt connected to them all. Your still pulling for them all to get their happy ending. This book made me laugh out loud, (a few times) & really made me think. Which is something I don’t think you find in many books. I truly enjoyed it & will differently be reading more Jane Tara books in the future!
I’m not sure when I started disappearing. One minute I was clearly visible, with the confidence of a woman who knows that. The next… something had shifted. I felt invisible. More than that… I quickly expected that others wouldn’t see me either. They didn’t. Heads failed to turn. I was often overlooked in a queue. But it was more than that. Suddenly my quirky collection of vintage clothing seemed ridiculous. I would enter certain restaurants or bars and feel like a dinosaur. Women around me were getting work on their face. For some it is subtle, but others look ridiculous. Surely that isn’t the alternative to my wrinkles? It was an internal shift as well, not just physical. At a point in my life when I really knew myself, I wasn’t sure what to do with that hard earned wisdom. It wasn’t valued. Youth is celebrated, embraced, feted. Women my age often feel… invisible. Welcome to womanhood in the forties. Not everyone feels invisible, but many do. I know. I’ve discussed this with countless women: friends, acquaintances, and strangers at parties. It’s something I experienced myself, with mounting dismay, until earlier this year I was handed a gift:
“How do you see the world? Happy endings come not through events but through a shift in perception.”I absolutely loved this book. Jane Tara brings us seven wonderful women, sorting through endings in search of new beginnings – some directly, some indirectly. A few of the characters are finding new beginnings to end happily ever after. This is such a feel good story with a great message of perception. Humorous, touching, just a joy to read. The characters are endearing and each vignette warms your heart. I know there will be at least one character you will be able to relate to, for me each woman in the story I felt a connection with. This book just warmed my heart, I laughed out loud and teared up but one thing is certain I sure felt warm and fuzzy after reading this little gem.
I will be looking for more writings from Jane Tara, great story, very uplifting, happy reading indeed, downright magical. Loved, loved, loved The Happy Endings Book Club.
Momentum Books provided a copy in exchange for an honest review