One of the follies of youth is refusing to believe that some day I would be as old as my parents were when I thought I ruled the world. Their memory losses and partial deafness got on everyone’s nerves, including what I deemed to be old-fashioned or conservative opinions. Suddenly, here I am, struggling to accept the new boundaries of my life and limitations of my body, often wondering how the youth of today is ever going to survive the next 30 years and make it to middle age at the rate they are going. It is so easy to forget that we were once that tender age of 20 and made all the mistakes they are making now. The passing decades have taught me that it is only through committing the mistakes that the lessons were learned.

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Opening or Closing? ©MTHerzog

It wasn’t too long ago that my mother’s repetitiveness drove me up the wall on some days, and yet, I have recently caught myself being repetitive and not consciously recalling that I had already said / reminded / nagged on the same topic in the recent past. My father’s conservative ideas infuriated me my entire youth, especially concerning fashion, and here I am cringing at what some of the youth wears now. Am I suddenly an old-fashioned toad? Or did the youth move in a direction that is out of my comfort zone?

The stress of the last two years has taken a toll on my spirit and my body alike, specifically my hearing. Of all the things I was mentally prepared to lose in old age, hearing was not one of them and the last 14 months have triggered a rapid downfall in my hearing that has scared me. Those close to me know what side they should sit if I have to pay attention and be able to follow the conversation, and for a while I disliked admitting my increasing deafness. Unfortunately, I have reached the point where I can no longer hide it and now my pilgrimages to the assorted ENT (in German HNO) doctors has begun, to be followed by the acoustician who will fit me for a hearing aid. I jokingly asked if I could have it as a frog design in green. They said they would work on finding the frog design but they could definitely provide the green! Never joke with designers… one thing is for sure, the support I have received thus far from audibene (no, they have nothing to do with the car manufacturers) is above and beyond anything I have experienced in Germany in the past years. The company’s wholistic concern for the person who is hesitant and scared of the new developments, and not just another anonymous customer to be processed, is touching.

On the other hand, I turned 50 and realized that there is no reason to hold back anymore on so many things in life. Letting go has made all the difference, and the changes are just beginning. After investing so many years into making sure that my daughter found her wings and learned to fly, it is my turn to do the same, by finding my purpose, answering my calling.

A dear friend, fellow literary junky, romantic, and believer in the poetry of flowers wrote me a beautiful email a couple of days ago. She pointed out that throwing myself into my writing and photography has been my way of finally finding my voice, after being the family voice for so many years. It is time to speak up, stand up, and express!

I coined the expression FrogDiva for myself many years ago, both as a joke to my own hidden self and as a goal to achieve. The Frog part was no problem to live by – adaptable, resilient, and willing to swallow flies for the sake of the sustainability of the pond. Now comes the hard part – the Diva. Every woman has a hidden diva hidden away because of other roles we are obliged to play, responsibilities to face, and facades to live by. But there comes a time, a crucial turning point when men reveal their inner prince and women release the diva.