Hillary, When Do You Stop?

I was going to write something funny today, but with the news about the blood clot in Hillary Clinton’s skull, I think this might be more important.

Many people speculate that Hillary Clinton is planning to run for president.  I don’t think so.

I think the fact that she’s letting her hair grow long is an announcement, conscious or otherwise, that she’s transitioning away from public service. She has plenty of power, plenty of interests. She could have an amazing retirement.

As Secretary of State, Hillary set records for global travel. At any age, that kind of schedule can take a toll on one’s body, not to mention the stress of her job. Now consider the health concerns of running for and perhaps taking on the job of president. Every one has aged visibly in office, disproportionate to the number of years in that role. Why should Hillary throw herself onto that pyre?

As a private citizen, Hillary would have the world at her feet. Reputed to have an IQ of 140, she probably knows she could serve on any board; learn, observe, participate in anything; travel anywhere. Any number of global titans would be happy, I’m sure, to lend her a jet and a vacation home. Wouldn’t you think?

“I am so looking forward to next year,” Hillary told Gail Collins recently. “I just want to sleep and exercise and travel for fun. And relax. It sounds so ordinary, but I haven’t done it for 20 years. I would like to see whether I can get untired. I work out and stuff, but I don’t do it enough and I don’t do it hard enough because I can’t expend that much energy on it.”

If she does return to civilian life, most of us would nod with understanding. Some things are more important than being Leader of the Free World. Like sleeping in, or turning off your phone for a couple days and catching up on the last few years’ worth of movies or books.

Some say that after menopause we’re more like who we were at age eleven. I think we long to return to who we were before all the obligations and transformations were required. Before we started changing ourselves into that nice young lady, that girlfriend, that worker, that wife, that mother, that corporate person. In the case of HRC, that global politician. Wouldn’t it be crazy to explore that path?

We yearn for authenticity. We miss the real us.

I’m reading a book about professional women transitioning into retirement. Many of their essays contain exhaustive lists of the equally high-level, professional accomplishments they expect to achieve in this new phase. It appears they expect to work part-time until they are prevented from doing so by death or disability. I understand remaining active and not turning into a sloth, but at what point will we feel we’ve earned the right to fritter away our time in joyful nothingness?

Perhaps we still feel a need to prove ourselves. Perhaps as older people we’re afraid of being marginalized, so we work hard to earn our keep and deflect criticism.

Yet, getting a blood clot in your skull can force you to reprioritize. You see that it might be okay to simply park your ass in a lawn chair and savor the quiet of mid-day on your own peaceful patio. Sure, it’s good to be productive. But here we are on this good Earth. What are we doing with that privilege?

Hillary is powerful, well-traveled, and accomplished. She’s a warm and loving person with a throw-her-head-back guffaw. I would award her Crone status. I admire the hell out of her, and I wish her the greatest happiness and hopefully, many years of dolce far niente.


  1. says

    I agree with your last comment about feminists and retiring. It’s a delicate balance. We want a strong female, particularly at ‘our’ ages, yet we have to honor the individual decision to take the best course for them. Clinton has proven, as did Madeline Albright, that women are as capable and powerful and often smarter, than their male counterparts. Maybe Clinton’s place is to wrok as a powerbroker as her husband is. That may be more effective in terms of changing the cultural perception of women?

    • says

      And how much more satisfying for her to make her own schedule, do what projects she chooses, circumvent govt. as he is now able to bring together various sectors for the common good. What a wonderful life she could have.

  2. says

    I agree that she’s earned some downtime, but I know so many people who seem driven to keep on achieving. I don’t know whether Hillary is one of them, but I could imagine it either way. Great post!

  3. says

    Hey Lynne – Before the blood clot incident, I was all for Hillary in 2016, but it’s as if her near death experience has reset the priorities for many of us ‘older wiser women’. (I like that better than crone, too) I just want to see her alive and kicking for many years to come.

    After some much needing R&R, I can also see Hillary doing more for women and the country as an outside advocate rather than as president. After all, we had high hopes for Obama (and still do), but are witness to how much (or little) he can accomplish as long as old school conservatives block the path.

    If Hillary decides not to run in 2016, let’s hope she’ll have groomed a fantastic woman to run in her place.

    Great post as always, Lynne ☺

  4. says

    Excellent discussion. I’m thinking that for most of us who aren’t Secretary of State, it doesn’t have to be either or. Risk your health or slip into delicious idleness? Even with long hours, I believe there’s a way to keep working and strike a balance that keeps us healthy, happy, productive and solvent. That’s what I’m trying to do, anyway. We’ll see how I feel in a couple of years!

    • says

      Donna, I read a lot about aging well, and it seems you’re on to something: it’s about the balance. Doing all of one or the other isn’t healthy. But here’s something that’s getting more airtime: the need to “matter,” and I think it was meant in the sense of mattering to people as opposed to an issue, mission or effort. I.e., I matter to my family, but probably not to the blogosphere.

  5. says

    Great post. A therapist friend of mine introduced me to the concept of “being your own mother”. We are so busy taking care of everyone else that we often forget to take care of (mother) ourselves.
    That little nugget of wisdom got me to thinking about how I would prepare for a plane trip when my son was small, so I now pack snacks, “toys” and comfort items for me whenever I travel.

    Hillary has been taking care of the world for so long–let’s hope she devotes equal time and energy to being her own mother.

  6. says

    Yes isn’t ironical that while she has been so busy being on the front page and trouble shooting world problems, she hasn’t had time just to be. To think of her global travel alone makes me tired. Feel like I a decade every cross Atlantic trip. For all its glamor, air travel even in the 21st century takes its toll.

    • says

      Yeah, but her plane has a bedroom and shower in it! Seriously, you are right. I think she needs to back off and smell the roses. I’d like her to be around into her 90s, but at this pace…

  7. says

    Amen, Lynne! In the end, health is everything and a scare like Hillary has faced sets priorities in motion like nothing else can. I admire Hillary and would feel very comfortable with her as President but I do hope whatever she decides to do is what makes her feel most alive. She has made and will continue to have a lasting impact no matter what she decides. When I finally made my retirement decision, my health was the overriding factor in taking the plunge into the “unknown”. I am busier and happier than ever. No regrets!

    • says

      Kathy, you speak with authority on this. And although I would love to have her as Prez, I don’t think I’d have the stomach to see what some would do to prevent her from that. Even her illness was made fun of by some. I hope she “retires” (we do need a new word for this phase of life, don’t we?)

  8. says

    Well said! I hope she takes the time to simply enjoy herself for a while. She has looked just exhausted of a while now. So maybe it will be me time. I hope so.

  9. says

    Hillary’s certainly earned the right to kick back and enjoy life. She’s done a great job in an extremely challenging position. And yet the absurd double standard is still out there in terms of looks. Remember the flap about Hilliary looking tired on one of her trips and using a scrunchy to pull her hair back. Did the media ever comment that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was having a bad-hair day?

    • says

      Ha ha, Madeleine! I once heard that Kissinger’s regular masseuse, after he left Washington (the White House) confessed that he apparently had not one muscle in his body.

    • says

      Yes, Sharon, and we need to invent a better word than Crone, because it should sound like what it is: powerful, yet likable. Wise, peaceful, with a sense of humor and balance. Any ideas?

  10. says

    “Some say that after menopause we’re more like who we were at age eleven. I think we long to return to who we were before all the obligations and transformations were required. Before we started changing ourselves into that nice young lady, that girlfriend, that worker, that wife, that mother, that corporate person.” Keen insight Lynne! I’m ready to embrace my eleven-year-old self. Curious, playful, imaginative, adventurous, friend-seeking, instead of “grown-up” demands like ambition, presentation, networking and achievement. Thanks for this post.

  11. says

    Hillary is one person for whom I would get out and knock on doors. But having a blod clot next to your brain might be the one thing that could make her say, do I really want to do this? Whatever she chooses to do, she is on my list of Most Admired Women.

  12. says

    I love the idea of dolce far niente. I read recently that when Ms Hillary does get a moment for it – she loves to get lost in HGTV. Can you imagine that? I loved the image of her kickin’ back and allowing herself that treat. See? She is indeed intelligent – emotionally too. I wish her the best too – she so deserves it, and being the woman she is – I believe she’ll live it, whatever “it” is to her.

  13. says

    I anticipate my years of nothingness will be my most productive years ever, and I can’t wait to get there. In fact I’m actively working on speeding things up. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you.

  14. says

    I sincerely regret that she will probably not be known as our first female president. She is an incredible woman. I don’t blame her at all for wanting to relax and enjoy travel for travel’s sake. She’ll still be busy, she’ll still be in the news, I suppose. I hope that she finds an abundance of joy in her next phase.

    • says

      Happy New Year, Dog! Since she appears now to have a tendency toward clots, it’s a wonder she did all that traveling without an earlier problem. I believe, like you, that she’ll be an asset whatever she does, and wish her joy.

  15. says

    I have lived more than one life. When I started each one I thought I would do it forever and approached the tasks with much enthusiasm. I played golf more than most mortal souls and I traveled so much that United called me Mr in my forties which even now I consider way ahead of schedule. At 65 I haven’t played golf for ten years or more and I abhor airplane travel.

    • says

      Hi Bob, I think most happy, well-balanced people have a lot of interests. Now as I understand it you’re on the New Hampshire Council on Aging? See, you’ll never stop.

      • says

        Yes, NH Committee on Aging and AARP’s Granite City Volunteer’s and other stuff. All things about aging and especially from the perspective of a chaplain. I am big on listening. My ears are like a kids having been used infrequently pre-fifty

  16. says

    I think it will be interesting to see what she does. Although she has definitely earned the right to sit back in a lawn chair and relax, something tells me she won’t. I would personally love to do that, but the real world just doesn’t allow it for many women my age.


  1. […] thing this morning I read another thought-provoking post on Lynne Spreen’s blog, Any Shiny Thing, about Hillary Clinton’s recent medical challenges. In the article, Spreen speculated she may […]

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