A couple of generations ago when women reached a certain age (usually in her 40s) they took a back seat. Resigned to adult responsibilities and not being the center of attention, the beginning of middle age was the beginning of the end. With few role models and very little positive representation in the media, a woman over 40 was considered to be done, finito, end of story.
I think of my life right now in my mid 40s and I am faaaaaaar from being done and cast aside. Nope, uh-uh! I’m definitely not ready to call it quits and hang up my high heels. I’ve worked too hard and too long in this job called “life” to take a back seat now. As a matter of fact, now is my time to start enjoying some of the perks. When I look in the mirror, I see a woman with a whole life ahead of her, ample energy, and boundless opportunities.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, all around me I see women who don’t let their years get in the way or let their age define them. As a matter of fact, for many women, including myself, this stage marks the beginning of a new era.
Many of us are out of the baby/toddler/pre-schooler parenting phase and have a bit more independence and time to focus on ourselves. Many women at this stage of life are also in careers they’re thriving in or finding a new calling as entrepreneurs. They’re finding new love, new interests, they’re competing in triathlons, they’re learning new skills or learning from their losses. They are starting over wherever they deem it necessary. There is a strong desire to grow, to stand out, and to make an impact.
It’s like a second adolescence but without the raging hormones, the risky behavior, and the excessive worry and anxiety we felt the first time around. How awesome is that?!
So while we are busy redefining and giving new meaning to what it means to age and live life to the fullest, society at large, including media and advertisers, are still a generation behind (or forward if you will), utterly youth obsessed and perpetuating an anti-aging messaging. Unfortunately, this translates to a societal fear of leaving our young years behind. Sad. Right?
Ironically, men over 40 are depicted as sexy and distinguished, while for women, aging must be stopped, fixed or hidden. Boo that! Us women have enough on our plates without having to worry about living up to media’s expectations of aging and beauty. Right?
See, beauty is not about looks, age, or clothes or hair. True beauty is intelligence, it is confidence, it is laugh lines, it is experience, it is about embracing your inner child, it is the will to pursue new dreams, it is knowing what you want and don’t want. It is about a sincere smile, a genuineness, a desire to help others, and the passion that results from all of this. There is no age limit to this.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if popular culture, media and advertisers reflected this reality as true beauty?
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