The following has been co-authored by Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patrician Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe.
We've all heard that "30 things you should know by 30" has gone viral. But we made an interesting discovery about what happy women have learned about themselves by the time they're 50! "LOVE FOR GROWN-UPS" is a relationship guide for women who married (or re-married) happily and successfully at this special time of their lives. As part of our research we interviewed women all across the country and, though their happy lives were different, they had a very important commonality. As mature women they all understood what was essential to make them happy. Here are some things we learned:
Know what is important to you.
Women, who are often caregivers, tend to put others before themselves. Take time to figure out what is important to making your daily life go well for you. It may mean developing relationships with friends you can really rely on or seeing that you are able to sleep late on Sunday mornings.
Know that you can keep an open mind.
The ability to really listen to what other people are saying will help you understand relationships more fully. This is particularly true of your kids who may hesitate asking you about the "personal stuff" i.e. why you and Dad got divorced.
Be flexible -- try saying "yes" before you automatically say "no."
Try something new or try something you've always wanted to do, but may have been putting on the back burner. Trying new things will benefit you. Even if you find some new activity isn't for you, it's always a good learning experience. So try something you've always wanted to do but maybe been afraid to try. What ever it is -- give it a try! And do it just for you!
Sex -- this is your life! Know what makes you happy.
Don't dream about some romantic rendezvous with an earth-shattering sexual experience. If you feel you're missing out on the joys of one of life's most important experiences ask yourself why. If you have an active sex life with your partner and it's not making you happy, there are plenty of places to go for help. i.e. therapists, relationship books, etc. If you're still looking for the "right one", don't despair, start your campaign to meet "Mr. Right." Our book "LOVE FOR GROWN-UPS" gives plenty of suggestions for finding Mr. Right and making it work and our book is one of many that's available to you.
Know that you've got to stop setting yourself up for disappointment.
If you need to lose those 5 lbs., do so. Or forget about it and buy a bigger size. If you want to write "the great American novel," create the time to get it started. Accomplish what you set out to do, or let it go and move on. Too much time is spent worrying about how you "didn't" do something you wanted.
Know that you'd better come to terms with "empty nest" syndrome and all that follows!
It's time to stop worrying about the kids and start looking after you. Lots of the women we talked to went back to school, got their real estate license, took up tennis, did volunteer work for a cause that was important to them.
What do you know about yourself at 50 you didn't know before?
Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe are the authors of "Love for Grown-ups: The Garter Brides' Guide to Marrying for Life When You've Already Got a Life", a relationship guide based on interviews with women who married over the age of 35. The book tells you how to find Mr. Right, marry and find life-long happiness. The Garter Brides are a sisterhood of women who all got married later in life. They offer tried and true advice on how to have the love and life you want.