Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who's Got the Funk?

funk 1 |fə ng k| informal noun 1 (also blue funk) [in sing. ] a state of depression : I sat absorbed in my own blue funk

Is it just me? Or does the word blue in that sentence definition seem a tad redundant. I suppose there are some funks that are worse than others. In fact, I think I just came out of one. A long one.

As I've written quite a bit on this blog since it began last January, there has been much to remind me of my age. Such as:

* Assessing what I've been doing, or not doing, for the past 20 years to meld into a resume
* Reading thousands of essays from 17-year-old kids helping little old ladies - like 50 - across the street.
* My oldest son graduating from college and getting engaged
* Middle son beginning his senior year of college
* Discovering arthritis in my feet
* My youngest son embarking on his senior year of high school
* My hot flashes trading places with an occasional period accompanied by a growing gut
* Being labeled an "older voter" - one of those over 50
* Getting serious with exercise and gaining 7 pounds
* 64 days straight of 100+ degree weather
* Trying to figure if going back to school at age 54 makes any sense.

Lest I go on?

Last week I turned 53. Feeling drawn into a deeper mote of mope, I felt the need for a jarring experience. I didn't want to jump out of a plane or ride on my husband's motorcycle. I wanted a controlled leap out the rut. Something to let me know I was alive, but the assurance I'd survive the outcome. Like a ride on the Tilt a Whirl or the Scrambler. Instead, much to my husband and youngest son's surprise, I chose the waterpark, Schlitterbahn.

Best thing I could have chosen.

Even though I was afraid to put this older body into a inner tube and ride through chutes and drops, I did it. My favorite was the free fall slide, just my body on a rolling drop. Even channeled my fear long enough to keep my feet crossed so I wouldn't get a wedgie from the pool at the end of the slide.

At the end of the day, we sat in the swim up hot tub bar, a margarita in hand, and I silently cheered myself. I felt good. Came home with only one bruise on my arm and the knowledge that it wasn't about not being a pussy riding rides or having to do something really stupid to prove something to myself. Instead, taking the opportunity to do something out of the norm. Something beyond the usual.

I still love to lie in my hammock and read for days on end. But I'm not dead yet either.

Suddenly 53 doesn't sound so old.

So, who's got some funk?

funk 2 |fəŋk| |fʌŋk| noun 1 a style of popular dance music of U.S. black origin, based on elements of blues and soul and having a strong rhythm that typically accentuates the first beat in the bar.


Please visit my mom at her new blog site Old? Who? Me?


  1. Hi Julie! Thanks for visiting my little blog so I could find yours! I love this post!! You have put into words the feelings I was having not so long ago. I'm 61, yep 61, and still very much alive!
    I recently found a new hobby - miniatures. It has brought me out of my "funk" and into a whole new world of creativity! I will continue to read your posts.
    Blessings, Kathi

  2. I just read your comment about Pat Conroy's book and I sure hope you end up liking it, if you forked out the money for it, ha! I hardly ever DON'T read a book once I've started it but, mercy, this one...well, enough said. I would love to hear what you have to say about it once you read it! Maybe it's just me?? A menopausal mind blip? I dunno! But I've loved so much of what he's written in the past. As to the funk you've worked your way out of...these midlife years are just one continuous roller coaster ride, aren't they? I used to have a blog called "Menopausal Mamas" a couple of years ago, besides my regular blog, that got a lot of traffic. I posted my own thoughts, cartoons, articles, blah, blah, blah. But once I began doing day care for my grandboys I ran out of time for it. I'd love to resurrect it some day...time will tell.

  3. Happy birthday... I think you had a very nice birthday for yourself.. I also very much like putting 7 pounds with extra exercise. Somehow it always happens to me also :))

  4. And...if you don't go back to school, how old will you be in two or four years? IMO, never deny yourself the room to grow, no matter if going back to school, learning a new skill, teaching yourself from books, DVD's, etc. Improving yourself is always a worthwhile endeavor.
    I'm older than you, go through the same struggles...as we all do...and there are several things that jolt me out of myself...so to speak. One is hard, physical labor like mucking the barn or cleaning the tack room or farm office. Please note: I did NOT say cleaning the house! -smile- Moving around physically always gets the endorphins going and then I feel better. Yoga or aerobics also help. Making something for someone else is a great way for me to jump start the good stuff.
    The water park sounds like it was a Fine Idea; glad you had such a great time.
    Old voter, eh? This year it struck me I'm no longer middle age...I'm now a senior citizen and not even 60! Middle age is around 35 to 40.
    But, living life as best we can and, for me, being a daughter of God, makes every thing just fine.

  5. I so understand your funk. It sounds like you had a wonderful time on your birthday. I love rollercoasters and water parks, even though I have had to give them up. I love all your thoughts on this "funk"...I think there are many of us out here that have similar lists. And no, we are not dead yet...life is just beginning? I think it would be exciting for you to go back to school...I don't think it's too late to do something you want to do. Hope you find your way out of the funk...is it time to do the funky chicken? LOL!

  6. If your still breathing you are never too old to do what you want to do! When our dreams die, so do we!Kudos for doing the water park!

  7. I think we go thru the same emotional and growing changes from 40-65 as from 11-21. My question now is still what am I gonna do with the rest of my life, but also have I done anything so far to make my presense known? I think we talked about this before, in regard to reading obituaries (wasn't that you?). Not looking to see if we're in there, but looking to see what a few paragraphs says to sum up this person's life. I'm not real happy with what mine will say, because at some point I stalled out and have basically vegetated every since. Can't seem to get myself out of that proverbial rut, or if I even want to. But your idea of just doing something like conquering a fear (but coming out alive!), stepping out of a comfort zone and going to the water park, that's a good step! And going back to school at your age - that's also stepping out of that rut, isn't it, in addition to jump starting your brain and adding to your resume. At 61, I'm realizing that there are more years behind me than ahead of me, so if I'm going to step out of that comfort zone, I better get busy! I went thru menopause a long time ago after a hysterectomy, but still had the mental menopause at about the age you are now. And it sucks! Like you said - funk describes it well! But the blue - to me is the sky, and how beautiful it is after the clouds have passed.

    (By the way, are you going to do a post on your car trip with your son?)

  8. You have to work at avoiding funk; if you catch it early, you can forestall it; take charge or it gets worse.

    That said, talk to your doctor. Your hormones have a lot to do with your moods. And only your doctor can look at the total you.

    About your career: volunteer while you are unemployed or underemployed. The situation will improve eventually, and you will be sharp and ready, and armed with a new resume and new and glowing commendations. Schools always need volunteers, as do senior centers. If you want to talk to me about this, email me.

  9. Kathi - Glad you found me. I look forward to catching up with you.

    Miss Kris - I hope I like it, too. Menopausal Mamas - what a great title.

    Turquoise - what is about weight. Drives me crazy.

    Thistle - Graduate School sounds good to me, but I need to get a couple kids through first. PHysical labor? How did you know my gardens are atrocious.

    SMiles - Funky Chicken - not sure I remember how to do it.

    Carol - Thanks. On to dreaming.

    Wander - Yes, it is me who reads the obituaries. Thinking of cancelling our local paper as it has become most "entertaining" rather than news but I would miss the obits.

    I'm going to post on the trip. Just had this one on my mind.

  10. Funk - sometimes it just grabs you from behind when you least expect it! It got me this afternoon quite by surprise, and made me take to bed with a bar of chocolate and good book. Thankfully after a couple of hours it has passed, phew. I think I need a trip to the waterpark too :-)

  11. Age is in your mind! And 53 is definitely not old. Now get out there and live your life! :)

  12. You have found the elixir of middle age: Texas, inner tubes, and margaritas!

    Great post. You are not alone on this journey, my friend. Guess I'll have to venture over to Hurricane Harbor.

    Best to you,


  13. I love this post - the two poles of funk, your great pictures, and the surprise of funky music. At 57, beginning a new career on my own, I can so relate to what you're going through. I appreciate your courage and your honesty, and your great writing.

  14. Age is just a number and 53 is still very young. I feel bad for your poor feet though. THat must be so painful! :(
    Love the pics of you! too cute!

  15. It must be something going around the blogosphere. This is the third blog I've read today about this funk. I am older than you and I still live my life as if I'm still 30. I still water ski, and go dancing, and work out at the gym, 3 days a week. Keeps the lymph flowing. Get out there and have some fun, cher!!! Hugs!

  16. Soon to be 60, I feel a funk coming on...only because my birthday is in September and Sept. to me is the end of summer. Living in Iowa we have learned to fear the winter, especially in small biz.

    Quit my day job 14 years ago and started an antique biz, which did very well until the last 5 years...now I'm doing my old job again part time, just to make ends meet.

    I'm single and want to stay single, I love my freedom and spirit, but it's so hard to make ends meet alone. I work 7 days a week, but in the antique biz, you can't really call it work...you have to shop alot...be still my heart.

    But I do love this crone stage of my life, I have more time to think on the universe and what deals it has conjured for me....and how to lose the stress-pounds!

    Have a great week!

  17. Schliter what???
    Snap out of it Midlife Jobhunter Lady Gal. My mother-in-law told me some guy in his 90s just published his first book. Did yoy know a 73 year-old codger played on a college basketball team.
    Satchel Paige once asked, "How old would you be if you didn't know your age?"

  18. Isn't it amazing how those highly-sensory experiences can strip away so many layers...of years, of feelings, of funk? In a lesser way, I experienced something like this when my first kid hit playground age, and I held her on my lap and went down a slide for the first time in decades. Part of me shouted out, "What have I been doing all these years?"

    I hope the funk continues to fall away, even if it means you have to seek out experiences to defeat it. Happy birthday, Woman I Admire.

  19. Yay! You banished the funk. I seem to have to do that on a regular basis. The economy has us all in a quandry these days. I have come to the conclusion we are semi-retired. That's what I am going to tell people from now on that want to know how we are living - semi-retired. Which also brings up the age factor. We don't feel ready to be retired, we are only in mid-fifties! But I think that is just the way it is.

    As for menopause - I wonder - exactly when do these damn hot flashes stop???

  20. I loved your post. I am going through a funk...the forty-four funk. I am realizing (and my body is letting me know) that I am aging. In the past, no one could ever guess my correct age. I have always looked younger than my age. I can't get away with that any longer. :(
    I am glad that you had a great birthday...you celebrated it in style. And...there is nothing like a Margarita (or two!) to cheer you up!
    I also want to say...I love your blog posts. I wish I could write like you. I enjoy every single one of them, so please, keep them coming. :)
    Your blog, Carol at The Writer's Porch, and Wander By The Wayside are by far my favorite places to visit.

  21. Girl, you got another 40 years to go! You think THIS is old? (Not that I don't totally agree with you!)

  22. Today I was half a funk. I am hoping tomorrow will be a no funk day.

    (kudos to you oh Queen of UnFunking.)

  23. Your ups and downs are so much like mine! Trying to find ourselves, and our purpose, after "only" raising some responsible humans for 20 years, only to be told we're either over qualified (due to long-past job titles and responsibilities) or hopelessly under qualified ("Sorry, you don't have any recent experience.")
    What the funk?

    Yes, funk is one of my favorite words. I'm often in some kind of a funk. I sometimes dance the "funky chicken." And that reminds me, do you remember the song from the 70s, I thing it was by Parliament - "Oh, we've got the funk, gotta have some funk. Ya, we've got the funk . . ." Good dance music, that.
    I hope you're having a funky week. (I mean that in a good way.)

  24. Great music! Thanks for sharing the funkiness we all feel at times!

  25. Loved this post. In my experience the older you get the more challenges life offers. It's GREAT! Shift the funk, look ahead to new prospects. Enjoy!

  26. What a brilliant idea! You nailed it right on the head! Great post. Glad to hear you're feeling funky!

  27. Isnt age a pain in the neck. And knees. And feet. And hands. Funking awful really. But glad you found a way to enjoy your 53 years. You ARE as old as you feel. And most days I feel like a kid. Which is good. I think. ;)

  28. Seems like all the other comments have pretty much covered it. You've got a lot of living yet to do, girl. I'm really getting to love that funk song. Imagine that!

  29. You go, girl!
    My fave thing in the whole world is the water park. I think I'll still be saying that when I'm 85. If I live that long.
    Glad to be back. I missed you. Took a little break...more of a big break, actually.

  30. I'm going to be 52 in a couple of months. I get the funk. I make myself get outside and go for a walk. I need to go boogey boardng more often. That ALWAYS cheers me up. i'm pretty good and a bit fearless for an old bag. So long as the waves are not too big.

    Waterpark is a good choice. I love the tube rides. Wish we lived closer and coudl put together a middle aged bag day at the waterpark.

  31. Like most here, yep, I get the funk too. Or had it for a really long time, a really really long time, so long I thought it would last forever.

    But I got out slowly and am stable and secure again. For me it was about finding something to excite and challenge me, and coming to terms (OK, that will always be in progress) with who I am and - more importantly - who I may never be.

    Reading your posts tells me you're deep in this process, which is good. It means you're working through it and will come out the other side.

  32. Just got back from a trip to Schlitterban a couple of weeks ago...had a blast.
    Just got out of a funk that fortunately didn't last too long. I feel better when I see that I am not alone when I get to visit you in your blog along with visiting others. Thank goodness we are still young at heart!

  33. Seems like our lives have been running on parallel paths. I am in a state of funk/overwhelm this year.
    Much due to dealing with all the hurdles you've listed while trying to survive the economy in Michigan.

    Still have 3 in school(3 have flown the nest), trying to decide to move to Austin this summer for a better land of opportunity and chance not to be stuck in the house 5 months of the year.

    I need a schlitterbaten for sure.


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