The time has come for older women to step up to the plate and be counted as beautiful, valuable members of society rather than sexless frumps with nothing to offer except free nanna services, crocheted blankets and baked goods.
Ageing is a gift, not a curse. Women need to reinvent our negative image by standing up against prejudice and discrimination, and making the last half of our life the best.
As older women, we need to recognise the endless possibilities of maturity and rise to the challenges of maturity.
Older women are survivors. Most of us by now have experienced death of loved ones, buried dreams and loved ones, and lost our innocence along the way. We’ve probably been indescribably happy at many points in our lives. But we’ve also suffered. We’ve been through the dark tunnel of pain, and come out the other side. But we’re still here, stronger than ever before.
We are, I believe, a lot wiser now.
Older women appreciate life, realise it’s friends and family that really matter, and we try to live in the moment by not sweating the small stuff. It’s a whole new world of opportunity and strength.
But for the modern 50-plusser, our path is unchartered territory with few role models and no guideposts because this is a very new world we life now live in. We must reinvent ourselves and become the central characters on the popular cultural stage.
We’re, generally, no longer purple-rinse twin-setters still married to the father of our now grown-up children – we are increasingly single, widowed or remarried — and we must refuse to accept being boxed into the stereotype of boring and conservative grey biddies.
We’re out running successful businesses, swimming, surfing, playing touch footy (well, I am!), dancing and travelling the world. We are filled with light and love and laughter. You can’t ignore us.
This is a world obsessed at the moment with image and style, with youth and physical beauty. As women, we are admired when we are young – as lovers and mothers – but when that job is over and menopause marks us as worthless, we get thrown into the unattractive and undesirable basket, chucked out like a pair of dirty panties. So there is a pressure to look young. While men are supposed to age like a good wine, women are compared to fruit –when in fact we might like to see ourselves as priceless jewels – attractive and precious at any age.
We aren’t just nosey old neighbours. We aren’t interfering mothers-in-law or dippy spinster aunties who smother small children in bad-breathed kisses. I am not deaf, blind, batty or daft. I don’t want to be socially invisible. So perhaps the 50-plusses need to band together and reinvent ourselves positively. We must not allow ourselves to be disempowered, disadvantaged and isolated. We are not unimportant.
Look around. We are free labour — in the op shops, running Meals on Wheels, caring for grandkids and our parents and doing charity and volunteer work. Check us out in the workplace. We are not the ones who need maternity leave (or paternity leave, for that matter). We have the time to focus on work as our kids are mainly finishing off school, at university or big enough not to need us as much. We are priceless community treasures and should be revered! We are everywhere and you can’t ignore us.
I don’t want to waste my important time trying to be young. I no longer want to focus so much on image. I simply want the freedom to live my life unfettered by prejudice and age discrimination.
I invite you all to join me.