I used to think Older gets older as you get older was just a saying and maybe a way to justify the aging process. Now that I am in my 50’s I realize it is not just a justification. I have begun to notice the women around me. Not the under 40’s. I see them everyday, the world is designed for under 40. They are more than visible, but the ever increasing and invisible beauty of the other half of life.
It started in my Pilates class where I could almost declare myself as youthful (at almost 54). Daughters of the 1970’s fitness revolution, some now in their 80’s (Thank you Jane Fonda and Cher), surrounded me.
Class sounds like this, instructor: “I am going to show you several ways to do this exercise, if you have osteoporosis …if you need more of a challenge…”
I haven’t enjoyed a class more. We laugh, we smile at each other, and we connect across the room. There is something magical in being with these women who keep it going and show me there continues to be so much more…
So older does get older. There is always a woman I look forward to being like 10 years senior to me. I noticed them at Pilates, and I now see them everywhere. Look and they become visible. They radiate beauty, wisdom and emotional strength that only come’s after living an experienced life.
Suddenly I find it difficult to define the middle in middle age, when so many women are choosing to defy it. Many are reinventing themselves. Choosing and changing careers, finding their calling and trading in their retirement for purposeful work.
Jane Pauley, recently cited in the Huffington Post has traded in her journalism career for a public speaking career specifically helping women over 50 reinvent themselves.
Pauley; “Women… are leaning in after 50. They give me hope that as we get older, that my generation may finally redeem our youthful promise and inspire every generation to see themselves and their future in power and positive new ways.”
I realized many of the women I admire most, went through some kind of transformation or reinvention of their careers later in life. Including my mother. In her late 40’s she completed her MSW, became a well-respected and celebrated social worker and author, and continued her career well into her late 70’s. Hilary Clinton, whose post law career has included 1st lady, senator, secretary of state and possibly President has not hit the pause button.
It seems women’s midlife crises has something to do with kick-starting change that often includes taking career risks, following their passion and making a difference. Not to say they didn’t before the age of 50, but many make a trade in their careers, moving away from something and moving toward something else, recognizing that they desire and need something different out of their lives. I believe recognizing we are on the downslope makes life precious, yet at the same time we are not ready to slow down. We become comfortable trusting our experience and wisdom to guide us down the right path. Our choices are about how we want to live and what we want to accomplish inclusive of career, quality of life, family and overall happiness.