The Other F Word: A Show For Those of Us Who “Filled Out All the Forms”

I am famous among my friends for not having binge-watched anything. When we finally got a Netflix-enabled tv in our bedroom, I started Orange is the New Black (and made it through two episodes).

The Other F Word is the exception, though! I watched all of Season 1 (read my blog here) and — today– fit all of Season 2 into one afternoon! Woo hoo!

Before my observations, here’s the trailer so you get a sense of who we are talking about:

What Is The Other F Word?

This is a series that extends beyond young people and caricatures to represent life for people whose age corresponds to “the other ‘F’ word” – forties, fifties, etc.

It’s a little hard to talk in detail about the six episodes without inadvertently giving away spoilers, so I decided to share ten aspects of the series that stood out to me. I hope they encourage you to watch too!

The Music

I loved the music! I especially was besotted quickly by “It’s Just Me” by James Madx. (Listen here.) Here are the lyrics that especially spoke to me:

“Open your heart  …. and let me start to be a part of your story.”

So many of us in mid-life are seeing our stories re-written, either by fate or by choice. This song spoke to that, in my perception.

Being the Mom Who Filled Out All the Forms

It’s not a spoiler to say that one character, Amy, finds herself at a loss after both children have moved out (oh, and her husband chose to manifest his mid-life crisis by spontaneously deciding to quit his job and go to humanitarian work overseas for a year.)

“I filled out so many forms,” she says.

Me too, sister, me too.What to do now that there are less forms to complete and there’s still more life to live?

Dealing With Elderly Parents

One character (Orly) is having to cope with her parent’s obvious decline (long distance). Yep, been there done that (the decline part, not so much the long distance part).

Big big big props to The Other F Word for including the dilemmas we face when our parents age.

*** AND (oh my gosh) …. Holly Cate, who plays Orly, was Janice on As the World Turns, which my mom (and then I) watched for decades. Thanks for mentioning that, IMDb! ***

Dealing with Kids’ Crises

College-age daughter with a crisis? Check! College-age daughter who is over said crisis by the next conversation (after hours of mom futilely texting to see if she’s okay)? Check. Check. Check.

Most parents who have ever raised a college-aged child can relate to the realistic scenarios depicted in this show.

Passion Parties

I have never been to a “Passion Party” but this one looked fun!

The Gynecologist

This is such a micro thing but my goodness, Orly’s gynecologist has amazing delts!

(She also assumes Orly needs a perimenopause box …. you really need to watch all the episodes to see what the doctor can give her that will better suit her situation.)


These are character David’s way to characterize life milestones: “Before Children” and “After Divorce.”

Sounds typical for midlife.

About our intimacy choices:

You know, my life experience is pretty vanilla in some ways about the choices I have made. Still, I loved this line and understood (intellectually at least, LOL), the conundrum:

Since sex got easier, love got harder to find.

You know a show is a little edgy if you have to look at least one thing up in the Urban Dictionary!

Again, maybe this hearkens back to my vanilla life (but remember I had some pretty racy conversations as a counselor on the Florida AIDS Hotline back in the day).

There was one term in the six episodes I had to look up in the Urban Dictionary.

(Find out what term it was by clicking here. Did you already know what this meant? Be honest!).

When is it the wrong time to reinvent yourself?

One of the parents (at least) is a *bit* overbearing (think Tiger Mom). When her daughter starts to waver regarding her desire to keep doing crew (the activity that is ostensibly going to fund her college education), mom nearly goes off the deep end. What does she say?

“It’s way too late to reinvent yourself.”

The hilarity of saying this to a teenager is not lost on me. BUT, I spent my share of time being an overbearing gym mom with visions of college scholarships dancing in my head. I can see saying something so outlandish (or I could see pre-perspective crazed gym mom Paula saying it).

Those of us in our forties and fifties though? I vote for as much reinvention as we see fit!

Is there an “F” word for reinvention?

How about FUNDAMENTAL? Fundamental to this time in our lives, fundamental to our souls, and, occasionally, downright FUN!

Want to find out for yourself?

Click here to watch!!

Midlife Reinvention


Sprinting Toward a Bold 2011

It is odd. The word “bold” keeps insisting upon keeping its grip on me.

I wrote this post about being bold in December 2010. One of my favorite bloggers, Kristi from Live and Love Out Loud wrote her own great post about boldness. I flirted with (and decided to have an ongoing relationship with) this quote, that I read on “Daily Good”:

Leap, and the net will appear (attributed to Julie Cameron). 
It should not have surprised me, then, that when my friend Patrick Detscher and I started corresponding about his recent opportunity to run a 200 meter race at the 168th Street Armory in New York City, a venue on which he had previously run 30 years ago.

Without further ado, and with gratitude to Patrick for a great New Year’s story … 

A New Year is upon us,

The train ride from Westport, Connecticut to Grand Central is less than an hour; the epic blizzard had reduced rail service to a weekend schedule. Renee was seated comfortably next to me for this short and compelling train ride. As young adults, we had made several ventures into this region when we knew one another 35 years ago. For some reason, this trip was different. As you know; just as a person can’t just “show up” for the Gary Droze FSU Interval Sessions, held every Tuesday at 6:30 pm, nether can they just stroll into the 168th Street Armory in New York City and run.

The new track at the Armory amazes me, as does the vintage wooden track which lies just beneath it.

I can’t claim any of the spike marks on the wood floor picture above are from my shoes when I ran on it three decades ago, however, I can tell you that the facility is called Jungle Land for many good reasons.

The track is very fast in that centrifugal force applies here. If you run fast enough, the high banks can be your friend, run slow and the track draws you toward the center, just like one of those yellow funnel devices which steal quarters as the coin spins gracefully toward the center opening. It’s New York City and the same kids, who once upon a time, did everything they could to elbow, trip, shove and spike other runners are now middle aged dudes.

While running the 200 meter race, I received a warm welcome as I rounded the final turn in lane one; an elbow to the ribs was all it took to send me reeling into the inner area of the track. With God’s help, I was able to step over several sets of sprint blocks and cross back over the rim which runs around the center of the track, while still running full tilt for a second place finish.

Sprinting in the urban areas of New York, which my High School Coach Bill Mongovan exposed me to, will always be a unique and physical type of race. Even though I wasn’t disqualified for leaving the track, the dude who threw the elbow is no better for it. You see, even in Jungle Land, mindful competition is achieved without elbows; by making yourself better and running both harder and faster.

This New Year belongs to the BOLD.