I am struck by the wonder of the variety of women 50+. Those who would market to us often tend to paint us into a limited number of gray aged types but the fact is we are all types. Women across the world,past the celebration of their 50th birthday are: short and tall, skinny and wide, working and retired, re careering and herding grandchildren, divorcing, marrying, and loving in place, saving countries and frisking up villages. In my travels I observe an amazing diversity of women of that "certain age".
Here we are,anywhere from 50 - 105, doing whatever we are moved to do. The mature woman of today has evolved outside the molds of the aged woman which have existed for generations. The fateful stereotypes did await us but we are a mass and we have found freedom outside the previous norm for our age. In so doing we are beginning to truly inhabit this time of life.
We are showing up for life 50+ in a way that many of our grandmothers could not. In fairness to grandma, her life span was not so long and her predecessors, even her peers, did not offer role models for vibrant aging. Given these circumstances it is unlikely that many of our grandmothers were able to imagine an attractive or energizing horizon before them as they turned 70, 80 or 90.
There have always been remarkable women in every age of history, women who took an alternate path, women whose very existence changed the lives of those around them. However today's 50+ generation has been blessed with the gifts of exceptional longevity and remarkable health in our aged years. These are gifts that no generation before us enjoyed to such an extent.
These gifts will change our perspective on aging and how we view the possibilities available in our later years. Unlike our Grannies,today we need only look around to see our peers trying on and conquering the world.
Even on the pages and screens of our media, elegant, vibrant and capable women are beginning to take center stage for the astonishing 50+ lives they are leading. Far from feeling reduced by our years, we have grasped the freedom, and we are living this time as an intriguing new stage of human development, not as an exception but forging a new norm.
I am not oblivious to the physical changes which may happen. I see the lives of some of my friends drastically altered by cancers and diseases of age but I do not see them stop. They bend to the physical changes and alter their step as required and they move on. Bridget Bardot is quoted as saying that the secret to a contented old age is "to walk like it does not hurt". We are learning to accept the new uncomfortable realities along side the more comfortable ones.
The term "Coming of Age" has taken on a whole new meaning as we play in life free of the battered self esteem and co dependent worries of youth. They say as you get older you are more vulnerable, perhaps physically this is true but emotionally and intellectually it seems the opposite is true. When you have lived long enough and seen enough, risk is not such a big word. Dare is not such a scary word. Trying and reaching and doing what our heart moves us to do becomes the way of life.
Are we living now like there is no tomorrow? That sounds a bit too reckless, maybe we are just living like we know today is truly a gift. A good awareness for these years which turn our attention to what is before us today, this day, to do in it whatever our passion may call us to do and to be in it whatever we are comfortable being.
Be well in whatever life offers you today.