Aging, Menopause

Meaner as We Age?

A poem of sorts (written by me) about safety pins:

Are safety pins safe

because their sharp point

gets tucked inside,

or do safety pins

make for safety

because they’re helpful

in  emergencies?

Let me be a safety pin,

my hateful point tucked in

and my kinder edge ready

to assist those who

need to be secured.

Some say that as we age, men grow more mellow, and women grow more mean.

I like the idea that men mellow out. There’s nothing more charming to a menopausal lady than a mellow man (who’s still up for plenty of fun despite his mellow manner).

But do women really get meaner?

Does meaner actually imply bolder?  Feistier?  More honest?  More open?

Or does meaner  mean MEAN?

Let’s take a Friend for the Ride poll!  Do you feel yourself becoming more mellow or more mean?

A safety pin for your thoughts…

35 thoughts on “Meaner as We Age?”

  1. I think I’ve gotten more assertive. I hope I’m not meaner!! Not only is that not fun for others but it wouldn’t get me very far. I still believe that “honey catches more flies than vinegar”. Assertive honey, of course! ; )


    1. That was so much fun when you read the book on dealing with conflict and then nicely approached the lady complaining that we were hogging the treadmills!


  2. Great poem! Such an interesting way to see our ‘sharpness.’

    I spent most of my life being nice, oftentimes at the expense of my own best interest.

    So, am I getting mean as I get older? I would say I am getting mouthier. I say what I think more now than ever. My dear Hubby gets set back on his heels at times. He might think I’m getting mean sometimes, but it’s just that I’m not very tolerate of crap anymore.

    Mean? Nah. Just done trying so hard to behave and be nice. I told my Hubby one time when he was not too happy with my not-so-sweet reaction to something he said or did that he was just face-to-face with himself at age 20. Yup. He understood, and backed off.

    At the same time I’m getting more verbal, direct, and impatient with the crap people throw my way, I’m also getting more sentimental. One minute I can be all teary eyed over something warm and fuzzy, and the next minute I can decimate someone who is rude to me or someone I love.

    I like the new me. I like standing up for myself and what I believe in. I defend myself and my family If I need to. BUT, I am not mean spirited. I have a soft heart, but I have a sharp tongue when I need it… now that I’m older. Thank heavens.


  3. Ohmygosh…this is very close to my heart. I am the oldest of four girls (we were a total of 5 years apart in age; sister #4 was born when she was 25)…the four of us wore her out, leaving lots of love for her grands, but also lots of badly-suppressed anger…I have always been afraid that I would be like my mother. Now my daughter is expecting her first, a daughter, and I am once again hoping that my mom’s anger doesn’t find its way into me. I want to be the grandma that is remembered fondly.


    1. Yes, I want to be a laid back but fun grandma. We need to make up a mantra. My friends say you can lose your mellow when you have a house packed with the grands and others over the holidays. I saw that with my mom. Once when we got home she said, “It’s no holiday for grandmothers.” Broke my heart and also made me feel uncomfortable.


      1. The solution for me to the holiday stress is to completely turn the kitchen over to my daughter and daughter-in-law who are cooks and foodies. We put my son and husband in charge of spectacular meat on the Big Green Egg (grill) and everyone gets gourmet and I just assist and clean up.


      2. Sandy, Your kids sound like mine. I let them do a lot of the cooking and then I don’t mind doing the clean up. But our grill doesn’t have such a great name. LOVE the Big Green Egg!


  4. I believe that I have gotten more mellow. I fully intend to stay positive. I don’t want to be an old lady who grumbles about everything. I don’t enjoy talking to my sister because she never has anything positive to say and I don’t want people to avoid me.


  5. Hey Barb – I don’t think we get mean – we just stop caring about what anybody thinks. I cared very little when I was younger, but now I REALLY don’t give a rip. Does that make me a bad person? Do I care if it makes me a bad person? Not really. I take responsibility for my own happiness and now that I’m older, I expect all the grown-ups I know to do the same. As for you – you don’t have a mean bone in your body! I’ve never met anybody more obliging than you are!


    1. Ha! Thanks about the mean bone, but I sure didn’t like it when certain faculty advisers announced they hated Peeps.


  6. I think we are more capable of recognizing the bs that gets thrown at us, daily. We can be kind and tender, but assertive as necessary. I don’t want to be the grumpy old lady, either. We have one of those at my church and she can make everyone miserable in a matter of seconds. Makes me wonder how she got that way!

    No, not mean, just determined to not be walked on. Capable of taking a stand, without causing injury.


    1. But grumpy old ladies do add to the character of churches. We had one and boy, even the men were afraid to mess with her!


  7. Love this poem, Barbara! Really fun and, well, “meaningful,” and that would be my comment about me and aging. I’m not more “mean” as in sharp and poking, but my thoughts and feelings and opinions do come faster and clearer than they did in my younger days; that means that when I offer an opinion now, it’s because I know my opinion and I mean what I say:)


  8. I think I’m more mellow in the sense that I am more patient with others and grant them more grace. For example, I am not as quick as I used to be, and understand first hand how the aging process slows us down. Also, I am less quick to judge others because I’ve learned that you never know what they might be dealing with.


  9. I think I am becoming bolder, feistier, assertive, those qualities hidden (yet desired) when I was younger. I hope so. My husband is very out-going, and we both feel that some of that has rubbed off on me. Sometimes I am impatient when dealing with daily stuff at work, but I don’t feel that it is translated into mean, I do not feel mean inside. I am enjoying the experience of my emerging qualities! Passionate, oh yeah.


    1. Neat to think that as our bodies are, by at least some definitions, going downhill a bit, our spirits and character are on the rise!


  10. I think it can appear we are getting ‘meaner’ when what is really happening is that we are finally learning to pay attention to our own needs, take care of ourselves, respect ourselves and express outselves. Maybe sometimes it verges on ‘mean’ when the hormones get involved 😉 And as Lisa W commented above, our BS detector becomes excellent! Thanks for starting a great conversation Barbara


  11. Thanks for all the fun comments. Looks like we aren’t getting meaner after all! Maybe that doesn’t set in until we’re way old. Ha! We can do a meanness check every few years and take a final vote when we’re 100.


  12. i think we get more bold and assertive. perhaps less patient and more outspoken. i think it is all good. maybe the meanness comes from those that feel stifled and cannot express or assert themselves. they then become bitter. i say we all get vocal and have fun without getting mean!!


  13. Not meaner, no. Less likely to put up with bullshit, yes! I try harder to have an “appropriate” demeanor, no matter how the other party is coming across. I deal with some true characters at the workplace. I try to impress upon my children the importance of letting things roll off the back as much as possible. Most things are just not worth getting all excited about.


    1. I should have done so much more rolling over the years. Once I stayed furious at Cliff for an entire day (I mean really furious) because he said our drains were disgusting in the kitchen sink. Now I’d either just dump them more, fling the gunk at him, or suggest he do the dumping.


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