I’m an older woman and have been single for many years. Last year, I met a very hunky and charming younger man at the gym who is many years my junior. We talk often and he told me he is attracted to me and would like to see me outside of the gym.
I was very flattered. I’m a personal fitness trainer and in good shape. He has young children and is not looking for a relationship. I am not looking for a committed relationship. A “friends with benefits” arrangement is okay with me, so I decided to give it a try. He is attentive and skilled in the best way possible. So what’s my problem?
No matter how much I dim the lights, I feel anxious and insecure, wondering what he sees when he looks at me. Does he see the signs of aging that I see when I look in the mirror? How do I get out of my own head and just enjoy this lovely little dalliance so late in my life?
Dear Cougar Courage,
You are living the dream that most older women only fantasize about. Pat yourself on the back, you’re a rare commodity. However, that doesn’t negate that you still have a nagging insecurity about aging that so many people struggle with.
Here you are, putting the work into looking and feeling strong, beautiful and healthy. When someone actually notices and admires you to the point of wanting an intimate relationship, you still can’t completely give yourself over without that shred of doubt creeping into the back of your mind.
Besides the work you put in to looking great, you are smart, determined, ambitious and that’s just what I get from reading your letter. You are so much more than a body, you are the whole package and that’s what he’s attracted to.
So put that nasty mirror away, it’s time to access your wild child. You will not be able to enjoy this moment if you are concerned about stretch marks or cellulite. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and dance like no one is watching. Turn on those lights and go teach your new young beau a thing or two.
I started a new job in January and it’s not exactly what I expected.
The job is morphing into more of a teaching position having to give presentations to rooms full of strangers, sometimes having to answer questions on the spot. I find myself sweating, nervous and I stutter a lot.
I’ve always been a little on the shy side and have never done any kind of teaching, or public speaking. In fact, had I known this was in the job description, I would never have taken this position.
My family is encouraging me to stick this out, that this can be a really big opportunity for me. How am I going to get through this? Does it get easier?
Nerves of Mush
Dear Nerves of Mush,
Public speaking is not easy. For some it comes naturally and others have to make it look like it comes naturally.
The butterflies you feel before you speak are normal. Your biggest fear is that you’ll make a fool of yourself.
That’s not going to happen, especially if you follow a few simple rules. The first, and most important, is you must be prepared.
Know your material and have notes with you. If possible prepare a presentation in advance, maybe using Power Point or a similar program. Rehearse out loud, even if no one is listening. Don’t eat right before your presentation, have something light a couple of hours before. Get a good night’s sleep and be well-rested. Practice deep breathing before your presentation and then just go for it.
You’ll feel great when it’s done. Each time you’re successful you’ll develop more confidence to get you through the next time. It’s healthy and important to push yourself outside your comfort zone. That’s how you grow.