Saturday, June 3, 2023

Q&A with Liz Kitchens




Liz Kitchens is the author of the new book Be Brave. Lose the Beige: Finding Your Sass After Sixty. She is the founder of the Be Brave, Lose the Beige blog. 


Q: What inspired you to write Be Brave. Lose the Beige!?


A: Two factors really were responsible for the inspiration.


The first intention was to help people find meaning in the second half of their lives. This is the time in our lives to find meaning and purpose. What are we meant to do now that we aren’t just focused on earning a living and raising children?


We often get mired in the second half by worrying about growing old and contending with formerly functioning body parts. We are bound to experience negative things, but most of the damage done is not by the event itself but our reactions to it. The ancient philosophers advised us to “do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”


The second inspiration was my blog, Be Brave. Lose the Beige ( I began writing the blog when I was 56 about issues facing Lady Boomers, women of the Baby Boomer generation. Topics ranged from empty nest syndrome, boomerang kids, caregiving for multiple generations, and increasingly, health and aging issues.


I wanted women to realize they weren’t alone in experiencing these struggles. Creativity and creative thinking is at the heart of the book. I believe creativity and creative thinking are critical for navigating what’s next for Lady Boomers.


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: My book title evolved from my blogsite, Be Brave. Lose the Beige. As the title might suggest, I’m pretty crazy about color (all colors, the more the better). I use color, however, in my book and blog as a metaphor for accessing complicated feelings about aging issues.

I even anthropomorphize color in the book. Beige has been set up in a life contest with Magenta.  Magenta lightly teases, even taunts Beige for its reluctance to break with conventional norms and “rules” related to aging.


It takes bravery to contend with formerly functioning body parts and figure out our financial futures since we may be facing our “Golden Years” without the gold. (I prefer “Magenta years” instead of golden ones. This designation implies we have a measure of control over our attitudes, goals, and priorities as we age.)


Q: How would you define “Lady Boomers,” and how do you see this group as compared with previous or subsequent generations of women?


A: Lady Boomers as I call us (since I most assuredly fit in this age demographic) are members of the Baby Boomer generation. I have dubbed this generation the “Tweener Generation.”  We are the slice of baloney sandwiched between two demanding generations—our mothers and our children.


The two sides of this generational sandwich— actualizing our moms’ deferred and delayed dreams and fulfilling our own motherly roles—laid the groundwork for postponing ourselves and depleted much of our sass and color.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?


A: Lady Boomers suffer from approval addiction, so the question is, did society and our parents subtly and not so subtly encourage us to adopt these roles? Or is it in our DNA to be sensitive and caring? Either way, it is incumbent upon us to get braver and set boundaries to protect ourselves and stop postponing our own lives.


The book is filled with formulas, prescriptions, exercises, and even a BBLB Manual of 35 Maxims for living a rich and meaningful second half of life. I’m hoping readers will be open and try a couple. I think the responses will reward their efforts.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I have been busy lately writing guest articles for online sites and magazines that have expressed interested in my book. By request, I’ve been focusing on the impact of creativity on the aging process. (I’ve also enjoyed responding to written interview questions by reviewers like you.) I conduct Exercise Your Creativity workshops for older women.


I’m also keeping up with my blog posts which I love to write. And I’ve been chewing on the idea for a second book.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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