My ‘Living Joyfully’ Plan Involves Putting Razors in Apples

As a mother and a woman of a certain age, I know all too well the challenges we older gals face on the path to happiness. This is a society that abhors feminine satisfaction in all its forms—professional, maternal, sexual, violent—so much so, that those basic needs within you can start to feel like petty inconveniences instead of life-affirming drives.


When I turned 50 last month, I made a decision I wish I’d made decades sooner. I vowed to not waste another second of my limited time on this earth feeling guilty for engaging in a little self-care. I would not spend another Halloween looking longingly at the apples on my counter and the razors in my razor cabinet, wishing the two were joined, all while handing out perfectly safe store-bought candy to the costumed children who came to my doorstep. No more. This Halloween, I would look my destiny in the face and say, “I’m ready for you. Come home, joy. Come home, satisfaction. Come home, you howling, bloody-mouthed children.”



How did I come to this revelation, you ask? Ha ha. I’ll tell you.


I had just finished reading an article on (a fabulous website) entitled “Feel the Joy: The 20 Best Quotes About Happiness We’ve Heard”. Right there on the very first slide was a Robert Louis Stevenson quote that hit me like a freight train: “…Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all.” I looked around my house and thought, Joy does not reside here. My kids were off to college, my husband had left years ago, even my razor delivery service had been shut down in the wake of Silk Road’s dissolution. The only thing that lived in my house was a miserable woman, a too-large bowl of apples kept stocked at all times, and a suspicious amount of razors. Something had to change.


So, I made my “living joyfully” plan. I called up friends with whom I’d lost touch. I started taking painting classes. I took up jogging. I even tried a few belly dancing classes—that’s right, dancing bare-bellied at my age! However, as the end of October grew ever closer, I didn’t know if I’d have the courage to compulsively hand out dangerous whole fruit to unsuspecting neighborhood tots. I was frozen by one thought: What would people think?


Like it or not, people are much more likely to disapprove of an older woman deliberately and cruelly harming children. Sure, it’s easy to cheer on a young, supple 23-year-old with perky breasts and shiny hair slipping a handful of Feather Hi-Stainless Steel double-edges into a couple of Macouns, but as soon as a woman over 40 wants to secret a few Red Devils into a Granny Smith, everybody’s up in arms. “Disgusting!” “What kind of monster would do something like that?” Hear that? Monster. Being an unapologetic woman past her prime is so unnatural, for some people, it’s not even human. To those people, I would ask this: In what way is society harmed by my happiness? Aside from (hopefully!) decimating the hard palate of a Ninja Turtle, there is no negative impact to my joy living in me and beyond me and through me and into their hemorrhaging little cheeks. Once I worked past my internalized misogyny around razor apples, I was able to move forward. I hit the farmer’s market and the hardware store, with a bounce in my step and a violent, obsessive song in my heart.



They each provided me with a choice—between confection and mischief, sure, but another choice as well. Each time they asked “Trick or Treat!” what I heard them really saying was, Are you gonna let us little shits have all the fun, you old bag? Our baby teeth are so soft, and the worst you can do is give us cavities. You’ll never find the gall to give us razor apples, cuz you’re old and gross and that’s how we like it. To those children I say: Try me.


All in all, the world in which we live desires for older women to shrink ourselves down to our smallest size and deny ourselves the simple joys of each precious day. Well I say, no more. Life is for living, and if that means deriving a rush from handing a dangerous piece of whole fruit to a child dressed like a dinosaur, then so be it.


See you on the 31st!