WOW: Women's Older Wisdom

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It’s Carpe Diem Time!

Pat TaubPat Taub

Carpe Diem, the Latin phrase that means “seize the moment,” is often bantered around to inspire one to take advantage of the present moment, or not to postpone til tomorrow what you can do today.

For older women, carpe diem is especially relevant. We don’t have a lot of time.  If a new opportunity greets you, why not embrace it rather than deliberating at length on its merits? Simply put, “Go for it, My Dears. Enjoy it while you can.”

Pat Taub of WOWblog, Portland, MaineI started thinking in terms of “carpe diem” for the older woman when a beloved friend phoned asking me what I thought of her starting to date when it’s only been six months since her husband died.

My friend is 77. If she were 40, I might advise her to wait, but what’s the point of waiting at 77? She realizes she’s still in the grieving process, but she’s also very fun-loving. So my advice to her: “Carpe Diem!”

Two other women I know in their ‘80’s are newly in love. They both recognized that love at their age is a treasure, so they didn’t hesitate to take the plunge when their hearts were stirred.

Openness to new experiences and a belief that joy doesn’t leave one because the birthdays are mounting up allows for those carpe diem moments to arrive at our doorstep.

It’s all about attitude and living life with an open heart.

Pat Taub of WOWblog, Portland, Maine

Ruth Reichel in a favorite carpe diem moment, enjoying a great meal

To quote Ruth Reichel, 67, food writer and former Gourmet editor: “At this point in your life you have to have as much fun as you can because you don’t know what’s coming down the road.”

Carpe Diem timing applies to much more than following through on a romantic encounter. Every day experiences are filled with carpe diem opportunities. Often this means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, like when you feel the urge to call a new acquaintance to set a date for lunch or a glass of wine. If you hesitate and don’t follow through because it feels awkward, you’ve let the carpe diem moment escape.

Pat Taub of WOWblog, Portland, Maine

Ladies of another era relishing in the moment

Carpe diem moments are not always about rushing into something. Meditation and time in solitude offer rich opportunities for carpe diem, or being present to the now.

Contemplative time at the beach, walking in the woods, sitting quietly by a fireplace, provide the chance to take in the immediate beauty of the still moment. Learning to savor silence as it moves around you, warms your soul and fuels your capacity to be alone is very carpe diem.

Pat Taub of WOWblog, Portland, Maine

Mary Oliver in the moment on a beach walk

This poem by Mary Oliver’s speaks to embracing carpe diem in one’s life:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

 When it is over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

 I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.


How are you applying carpe diem to your life?


Pat Taub is a family therapist, writer and activist and life-long feminist. She hopes that WOW will start a conversation among other older women who are fed up with the ageism and sexism in our culture and are looking for cohorts to affirm their value as an older woman.