I received a wonderful response to my post, Crisis? What Crisis? from my friend, Patty Patt.
It wasn’t surprising that Patty had a response. She is a Speak Up! and Take Action! kind of person. In that regard, she is truly inspiring to me. Personally, I have always shied away from conflict and taken an easier path, smiling through gritted teeth, rather than saying exactly what I think. I learned a lot from Patty about voicing my own opinions and challenging the status quo while we served on the board of Friends of Youth Services together.
I love that Patty will come rushing from pottery class wearing a clay-splattered tee shirt to have lunch with girlfriends rather than rescheduling because she hasn’t had time to freshen up. Being glamorous is not the point. Being present is.
Patty also admits that, as a woman in her early fifties, she doesn’t put much stock in a tidy home. Instead, she spends time honing her ceramic skills at Lillstreet Art Center and building a following as a professional artist, selling her work at regional craft fairs and fundraisers under the name of fiftyblue.
I am motivated in my own pursuits by Patty’s care for her community as a social, political, and educational activist, and by the successful completion of her goal of sleeping in all fifty states by the age of fifty. She is a role model for women who strive to nurture their own passions and put their best self forward every day. Please enjoy Patty’s insights and her enthusiastic outlook on life below:
Because 60 is going to make 50 look like 40!
by Patty Marfise-Patt
According to official government census records, I am the last of the baby boomers. When my parents married, I was negative 22 years old. Sociologists will say that birth order and community play a role in defining me. I am the last of six siblings born over a twenty-year span. Mmmm….
So my entire life, while my friends and colleagues were dreading getting to the next milestone, I was just thrilled to be catching up! I grew up in a time and place of the “It Takes a Village” mentality. My role models were all the women in my neighborhood. The army of stay-at-home moms who had survived the 50’s and were now navigating the new freedoms of the 60’s. They unknowingly shaped my ideals and supported me as well as the other girls in the neighborhood. They led by example.
When I see a need in the community, I tend to jump in. When there is an issue of unfairness, I speak up. I’ve never been one to sit on my hands. I’ve actually tried, but it’s just not in my DNA.
I have passed some milestones that others are just hitting. I watched both of my parents suffer through dementia and know the pain that accompanies becoming the parent to your own parent. I have had friends, a brother-in-law, and sister-in-law succumb to the horrors of cancer. What I’ve learned is that life goes on. Wounds heal, pain goes away. Bones are replaced with titanium and pins. People continue with their lives.
So here I am, just past fifty and I’ve never felt better. Having had my children later in life, they are finally self-sufficient (to a degree) and I am getting back to the things that I love. I returned to my passion of creating functional art and reviving old things for new use! I am taking new risks. I relish my role as wife and mother; but I’ve moved out of the place on this journey where that defines me. I have found that I have less tolerance for spoiled brats and I can’t stand to hear adults complain about their parents. I have started to listen to the advice I give my daughters and make an effort to surround myself with positive energy.
I enjoy the work I have taken on–both paid and unpaid! People often ask me how I keep it all together. The answer of course is, I don’t. I jokingly tell them, “It’s not going to say that I kept a neat house on my tombstone.” Clean, yes, but I am giving up on neat for the 50’s. There is just so much more to do!
My generation is projected to live longer than any previous generation. Crisis? No Crisis! Opportunity.
Shop fiftyblue at the Friends of Youth Services Girlfriends Breakfast and Boutique on Friday, November 13, 2015. Contact Patty at email@example.com for more information.
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