Kristin van Ogtrop

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When approached about reviewing Kristin van Ogtrop‘s new book, Did I Say That Out Loud?, about what she terms “middle age, a term BTW she says she really hates, I thought it would make a great read for those in my age bracket. I was also curious because Kristin worked at Vogue and is the former editor-in-chief of Real Simple magazine, where she ran a $65 million business and led a team of 70 people.

Having started my early career in publishing, I am envious of someone like Kristin who had a 25 year run in the industry. With the changing media landscape and print a dying breed, several years ago Kristin made a decision to leave that world and pursue new adventures.

Did I Say That Out Loud?

A new book about “midlife indignities and how to survive them”

A candid discussion about “middle age”

In her essays, Kristin shares a humorous and endearing account of those “middle age” years when you find yourself as described “both satisfied and outraged, confident and confused, and full of appreciation but also occasional disdain for the world—and how she was able to weather them with grace.”

Written like an intimate chat with your best friend, these stories from Kristin’s own life are recognition of that period when you finally grow to accept your whole self and give mild humiliations a pass.

One of my favorite topics is when Kristin rants about her body parts. “I pass women of all shapes and sizes on the street and I wonder whether their mid-sections bother them as much as mine does,” she writes. I wanted to say –  yep, yep, yep, my middle-aged middle is growing larger every day, as are the two parallel lines above the bridge of my nose. What did you call it? Oh yes, you called it “an eleven.”  Kristin comments that “when you have an eleven your resting face is a frown.” (FYI when I had my passport pic taken last week it didn’t pass regulations because they said I was frowning. “Those are the lines on my face, I’m sixty-three years old,” I told the clerk.)

There are more great stories in the book, so I encourage you to pick up a copy or download to your Kindle. Or, enter to win one in the giveaway below. Meantime, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Kristin. She was so nice to answer some of my Qs. Take it away Kristin…

Kristin van Ogtrop

Kristin van Ogtrop

Q: What changed for you when you turned 50 that made you rethink your career?

Kristen: “I was changing, but the industry in which I had thrived was changing too. In terms of the latter, it was becoming increasingly impossible to work for a magazine and feel like you were producing something of quality. And in terms of myself and my identity, I just reached a point where I thought: I’m either going to have to keep slogging away at this for another 15 years, feeling increasingly unhappy, or take a leap into the unknown while I can.  And so that’s what I did.”

Q: You write about feeling like a “clueless older person” when it comes to adapting to social media. What’s been the most difficult for you?

Kristin: “Just the investment of time it takes to learn how to understand a social media platform that probably isn’t going to enhance my quality of life all that much.”

Q: Why do you think it’s so hard for women to accept their aging bodies? I know younger people these days who are getting Botox in their 20s and 30s. What do you think about that?

Kristin: “If someone feels she needs to get Botox in her 20s, I have no idea whether or not that’s a good idea. But Botox is relatively harmless in that the effects wear off, like the wrong haircut.  I can’t speak for other women my age, but in terms of my own aging body, I struggle more with the diminishment of strength and endurance than I do with anything related to appearance. I don’t care if I have wrinkles but I really do hope I am able to open a jar of pickles well into my 80s!”

Q: What was the biggest ‘aha’ moment for you when writing your book about midlife?

Kristin: “That there are many hilarious things about being middle aged, if you have the right perspective.”

Any other insights you would like to share with post 50 women?

Kristin: “Two dogs are better than one; tomatoes should never go in the refrigerator; most of the best things in life happen when you put down your phone.”

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Did I Say That Out Loud?

To win a copy of Did I Say That Out Loud? leave a comment below about what you like or don’t like about “middle age” and/or enter the Rafflecopter below. One lucky winner will be sent a hard copy of Kristin’s new book. (USA residents only.)


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