Yes, we've been confused and we may have confusion in our lives now. No where is it written we have to like it. Every time those of us born before 1945 or even 1950 thought we had things more or less figured out, someone raised the bar, extended the playing field or tilted our worlds.
We thought we were supposed to graduate from high school, get some education that we might need to "fall back on" if the fairy tale happy ending stuff we were told to expect didn't work out--some of us fell back all right--in disbelief at the way things actually unfolded. However, we were advised to "settle down" with a Mr. Right and live in the suburbs with 2.5 children.
Through it all, somewhere in the background,
we heard Helen Reddy singing "I Am Woman".
For starters what in the world were we supposed to "settle down" from?? If we had grown up in the fifties we had never done too many crazy things! Certainly we thought about them, wanted to do them but we were brought up striving to be "nice girls" or "ladies." Then along came the sixties and we began to wonder. Looked like young women coming of age then were having a wild and crazy time while we were attending Tupperware parties.
By the time we hit the seventies we figured "all bets were off." We had embraced a life style that could have easily been characterized as "hum drum." Meanwhile, when we turned on the news we often saw a young woman referring to herself as a "flower child" and men and women both calling themselves "hippies." I recollect they were beating drums, marching to different drummers and banging the drum slowly.
Sometimes in the early seventies when our children were napping or off to nursery school, we read female authors who were offering up some very provocative but CONFUSING ideas. Betty Friedan wrote in The Feminine Mystique about, the problem with no name. That "problem" sounded a lot like a description of our lives! Author Marabel Morgan's book, The Total Woman told us our lives would be sunny and bright if we would simply always remember to defer to our husbands and treat them in the regal manner they so deserved. But some of us thought, "I smell a rat, not royalty!" Barbara Gordon wrote, I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can and raised the ugly but realistic specter of madness.
Then The Bell Jar was published AFTER Sylvia Plath put her head in the oven because it was all too much to figure out. We listened to Phyllis Schalfly and Gloria Steinem and read Cosmopolitan and then "MS."
Through it all somewhere in the background, we heard Helen Reddy singing "I Am Woman." Some of us joined consciousness raising groups and for the first time in our lives discovered we enjoyed having conversations with other women about things OTHER than husbands, children, recipes, cleaning products or corning ware.
An even bigger surprise for many of us was that we could discuss many subjects that had previously been considered too intimate or actually taboo. But we were "big time" confused about a lot of things. We didn't know whether to burn our bras or burn our family's dinners.
We didn't know whether to smoke grass or mow it. In a nutshell (and that seems a fitting term because things were making lots of us feel a little wacky), we didn't know if we were "on foot or on horse back."
I had my consciousness raised so much at one point, I thought my family might have to scrape me off the ceiling. So, we thought about getting more education and we pondered the value of trying to find a job other than homemaking (women didn't yet actually HAVE careers). We were still confused about whether or not to do Tupperware parties or transcendental meditation. Should we still worry about wax build up on our floors or wax our eyebrows instead? For some of us a college diploma or additional degrees became passports or "get out of jail" cards. Then we "drifted" into the work place only to discover that a BA could mean, "But Are you a good typist?"
You know what we probably never needed confusion but overcoming middle-age means we just simply don't have to endure it any longer. Now when I'm confused I often say, "Oh, well, short term memory is shot." Any woman who can handle overcoming middle-age can trade confusion for confidence. Confidence can be our "ticket to ride" when we reach "a certain age." Did you ever actually need or like confusion??