Are you vaccinated yet?
It’s the first question we ask each other now. If the answer is yes, the next question is: What are you doing differently?
What, indeed? It’s not like everybody got vaccinated the same day. At the end of March, about one-fourth of the adults in my state have received at least their first shot (which is pretty typical of numbers across the country). We are nowhere near herd immunity. Nationwide, however, full vaccination of willing adults is expected by the end of July. That is great news, but there are still many countries where no one has been vaccinated—so we cannot expect a quick return to “normal,” because the virus does not respect national boundaries. To end the pandemic, vaccines must be distributed worldwide. Until that happens, we wrestle with a new set of risks and benefits in this partly vaccinated world.
So, again, what are the lucky vaccinated doing differently? In my case, after a year of lockdown I have two cracked fillings and can barely see through my ancient glasses, so of course my first priority after my second jab was—a haircut! This self-avowed feminist remains vain, insecure, or both, at age 67.
Here in North Carolina, Spring is busy springing. Now that I’m immunologically bionic, it will be great to spend more time out of doors: go for some hikes, and maybe, finally, get to the beach. Our connection with nature is especially healing when our connections with humans are interrupted. I hope you are getting outside wherever you are, too.
This month I published the last of the blog series on Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM), including a look at Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and whether it really deserves its bad rap. Over ten thousand papers have been published analyzing the results of the Women’s Health Initiative, and not one of them received the attention given to the first, very negative interpretation of results. Take a look at the blog and consider whether to discuss HRT with your physician. If oral hormones are the right choice, they are way cheaper than the predatory pricing on estradiol cream. Please share this blog series with menopausal friends. The more women are aware of the issues presented, the more open our conversation, the better - with more chance of change happening.
The month of March included International Women’s Day and two grim milestones that remind us how far we have yet to travel to achieve rights for women. The murder of Sarah Everard by an English policeman galvanized protests and calls for restrictions on men—not women—when a killer is on the loose. The killings of eight people in Atlanta—six of them Asian American women—energized protests against racial and gender-based violence. This second blog in March looked at ways to push back on male violence.
Looking ahead to April, I am wrapping up a consulting assignment and excited to find new ways to support the creativity of women after midlife. Here are ideas I’m hatching, and I’d love to hear from you about the ones that appeal to you:
- Our ongoing Elderotica writing group features shared leadership and structured, positive feedback. This group may switch from weeknights to meeting once a month, on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to be as convenient as possible for women on both coasts.
- We could set up a writing group where we write ahead of time, trade stories or chapters via email, and meet to comment and encourage one another. This could work well for women writing erotic or romance novels, or collections of stories.
- I could run a writing group series that meets for a set number of sessions (say once a week for two months). For a series like this I could provide a full set of structured prompts and guidance.
- With writing partners, I could offer one-time, three hour Saturday or Sunday workshops using structured prompts on particular themes. Two examples:
- The wild adventures of writer Amie Fisher’s shapeshifting Angelina character, who begins in a carnival and controls men with her pheromones;
- The ongoing tales of the Palace of Wisdom, an imaginary sensual retreat in Big Sur for women past midlife
Sound fun? Write to me about what grabs you at email@example.com. If you have other ideas for groups or workshops, I’d love to hear those too.
What great motivation while editing my next book (and first novel), Brilliant Charming Bastard. And when I do get bogged down, I play with cover designs (not my thing, I’m a rank amateur, but you know how fun distractions can be).
And finally, we come back to the question: What are we doing once we are vaccinated?
Cultivating hope, nurturing creativity, moving toward justice and safety for women and for all marginalized persons. May we be well, may we be safe, may we have joy, may we be free.