Growing up as a country mouse meant playing with my little sister because my other playmates lived too far away. Our mother had specific ideas about appropriate play toys for little girls. We weren’t allowed to have Barbie dolls, so we dressed and made up storylines for our collection of trolls. Mom was ahead of her time in thinking that Barbie projected a poor body image for girls to try and mimic. However, I’ve always questioned what made the troll body image more appropriate?

When I was in college the first time, it was quite a few years ago. How long ago, you ask? Let’s just say I used to play the role of the ingenue in theater productions. Back then, when I took stage make-up class, I had a hard time creating old-age makeup on my face. About twenty years later, when I was making up my face for a conference story-telling event, I had no problem making myself up to look old. What changed? I now had wrinkles to follow. Just draw along the lines—piece of cake.

And now I’m back in college. It’s funny, when I filled out the last FAFSA for our older sons I rejoiced that I wouldn’t have to do it again until our youngest was ready. Two years later, I was filling out the FAFSA for myself.

One of our sons said, “Mom cut her hair short , wants to take up kayaking, went back to college, bought a new car — if the car is red, it’s definitely a mid-life crisis.”

I like to think of it as a mid-life inventory. I won’t go looking for a trophy husband, and buying a convertible isn’t really my style. But what is wrong with making changes in our lives? At any age?

By the way, the car wasn’t red, it was gray, but it gets 32 mpg, so I’m happy.

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