Where did my inspiration for “Varsity” come from? We all know life can be hard. Persevering through life’s ups and downs can be daunting. In fact, I deal with depression many mornings and insomnia some nights. Sometimes I just want to give up, especially when it comes to menopause and aging.
But, I will never give up. I always want to live, despite the challenges I face. Whenever my friend Cordelia and I face unexpected challenges, we always exclaim, “Thank You, God, for this growth opportunity!” I want to live, no matter what.
How do I carry on? What’s my secret? The secret to successful aging is getting out of myself and connecting with other humans. We are not meant to live in isolation. As women, we are not meant to compete with each other. We are meant to connect with each other. I am grateful to have a circle of supportive friends. We support each other by listening to each other’s struggles. We support each other by acknowledging each other’s triumphs—big and small.
One day, years ago, I chatted on the phone with my friend, Cordelia, about my accomplishments for that day. I had finally completed a task that had been on my to-do list for way longer than I had wanted. It had been driving me crazy. I don’t even remember what the thing was on this occasion. It wasn’t anything big like earning a college degree or cleaning out the entire garage. It was more on a par with cleaning out the vegetable drawer in the fridge for the first time in six years. Whatever it was, Cordelia responded in her typical deadpan, mock-serious monotone voice, “That’s Varsity, lady.” I simultaneously felt heard and validated, and we both roared with laughter. It stuck. Ever since that day, whenever either of us deems that the other has accomplished something impressive, no matter how big or small, the other will enthusiastically exclaim, “That’s Varsity!”
Akin to awesome, Varsity is exponentially more powerful. Awesome is a little overused anyway, if you ask me. The Varsity proclamation is a way that we acknowledge each other and build each other up. It’s a way we show support for each other. In lifting others up, I lift myself up as well. Plus, I have to say, I feel pretty good about myself when someone tells me I’m Varsity.
I’ve found that the Varsity message is universally understood and appreciated. Sometimes I strike up a conversation in the grocery store checkout line with a stranger. The person may tell me some random thing s/he has discovered or accomplished. I will validate with a resounding, “That’s Varsity!” It’s easy to see from the sparkle in the person’s eyes and the smile spreading across his/her face that the meaning is understood. The world needs more of that message. Wouldn’t you agree?
To learn how I got the name Dean of Varsity Menopause, click here.
Sally Bartlett, ©2021