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OK, can we "get down to cases?" By this time in our lives we’ve probably "lugged around" suitcases, cosmetic cases, and/or briefcases. On more than one occasion we’ve suffered through a case of the flu, a case of the jitters and/or a case of cold feet. Some of us have asked a doctor or a lawyer to "take our case." And, who among us has not said at some point, "I’m an absolute basket case!" Now that we’re dealing with computers we give some thought to "upper case" and/or "lower case." Being the "women of a certain age" society of females who were always taught to be prepared for anything--just IN case, we’ve struggled with that notion also.

Let’s make a case for the fact that we don’t need to get bogged down any longer with the "case of the blues" everyone thought should accompany this particular age--especially the outrageous myth that we are now in the "middle" of our lives. Frankly, we can announce for all the world to hear, whether anyone pays attention or not that we are just beginning!

Guess what fellow Earth travelers, we have just given birth to a brand new generation of people--NEAT WOMEN. This train is leaving the station and we’re headed to a destination of our own creation which is not in the middle or remotely approaching the end of anything! Stand clear of the tracks because among other useless trappings of an earlier time in our lives, we’re planning to throw old cases out the windows.

The big, heavy suitcases we thought necessary for trips--gone! We’ve learned to travel light, literally and figuratively. A toothbrush and a garment bag and we’re all set to go.

Cosmetic cases? Forget it. We have discovered that less is more and we can fit it all into a small tote. And, briefcases? We have finally realized that you can always get another job but you can’t replace family and friends. So we don’t have to rush around any longer with a briefcase looking like an extension of our arms filled with work for our "time off." We can walk out of an office knowing that the "business stuff" will still be there when we return but the business of being with people we care about is the "stuff" of which a life is made.

We can get an annual flu shot and take our vitamins daily, and toss out the valium or whatever we used when feeling jittery. We’ve learned to take deeps breaths and clear our minds and lives of the stress that used to make us nervous or insecure. And, when we get cold feet--we can turn on the electric blanket. Better still, we can talk to a supportive friend who will be reassuring and bolster our confidence with laughter as the best medicine and believing in ourselves as the right tonic.

Although, we may at times still need a doctor or a lawyer, we’ve figured out how to be our own "case managers" and find that’s a far better alternative to putting our life into the hands of someone else.

As we approach a new millennium those of us who have achieved that special status of being "women of a certain age" now come equipped with the assurance that we are, indeed, NEAT WOMEN, and have earned some very hard won perks. We can be confident without being labeled egotistical. We can be knowledgeable without someone suggesting we’re a "know it all." We can be strong enough to challenge anyone who would hint that strength is "tough" and unbecoming. We can enjoy success and not pay any attention to the misguided notion that we achieved it through luck!

Just IN case anyone still thinks we’re not serious about all this---lookout---Change Attitudes Starting Everywhere Sisters--how about those CASES?!

Editor’s note: we were going to try to get EVE into a twelve step program for recovering acronymoholics but she threatened to quit writing altogether and until we can find someone else to do the work at the salary we pay her (which is nothing of course), we’ll just have to put up with this woman who never met an acronym she didn’t want to stick into a sentence.