“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time” — Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In our youth-oriented society, women are often written-off by age, and if you watch TV or read articles, you would think that after 40 we begin a wild ride up and over the hill. It’s as if we begin a steady course toward invisibility.
Hollywood actresses are vocal about this on the rare occasion that they’re given the mic. They state clearly that good roles are not forthcoming for those who are losing or have lost their youthful movie star looks. Their talent and experience are rendered obsolete with the passage of time.
The 40s and 50s are often lumped together, and God forbid we’ve hit 70 because then we’re not even considered part of a focus group unless we are shopping for long-term care or are in the market for one of the thousands of pills and treatments offered by doctors and pharmaceutical companies.
In the cinema and on television, one would believe that females have a 42-year life span – not to mention on social media, where it looks like an extra decade is shaved off – when in reality, we ladies of the past have done most of the things that young women are striving for and stressing about today.
We're Way Out
We’ve graduated from schools, thrived in careers, loved and lost relationships, mastered marriage, proudly parented, suffered through divorce and/or widowhood, and given back through enormous amounts of volunteer work.
We’ve taken girls to soccer and boys to baseball practice. We’ve cheered, coached, cajoled, pleaded, screamed, taken parenting classes, and all in all, have managed to survive our children’s tumultuous lives still standing.
We have loved, been loved, compromised, argued, and nurtured. According to an insurance company’s pitch on TV, the average age that a woman becomes a widow is 58, so apparently, we have also managed to outlive men.
We’re Not All Somebody’s Mom
Some of us have decided against children and focused on our careers. We’ve traveled for business and pleasure, and some have balanced both children and important careers while managing homes and social obligations.
We have worn a great number and variety of hats. We have dealt with change bravely. We started the Women’s Movement, for Pete’s sake!
We’ve had our failures and our major successes; we have had our share of medical scares and complications, and most of all, we’re still here, strong and still standing.
Look Around, We’re Everywhere
We are a force to be reckoned with and yet, our image is distorted. On TV we are portrayed as the doting grandmothers that a lot of us are not. Even if and when we become grandmothers, we do not all fit comfortably into the role assigned to us by others.
Some make fun of us as the frumpy and meddling “mother-in-law” that our daughter’s husband dreads to speak to on the phone, when the truth is that we get more calls from our children telling us about their challenges than make those calls ourselves.
For our trials and tribulations, we count on our girlfriends, and those of us with good insurance hire a therapist.
You should not let the media’s ageist proclivities blind you when you look at those 60 and over. A lot of us are starting new and exciting phases in our lives. We try new professional and personal activities and many of us are exploring the world.
Most of us are considering our options to see what to do next. Yes, even at this time in our lives. Whether it is a new job, a volunteer role, taking care of grandchildren or pursuing a new hobby, we bring with us passion and commitment and a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with the world.
Here are 9 ways that can help you on your path toward invincibility:
Don’t Be Afraid to Explore
Try new professional and personal activities. Consider your options to see what you want to do next, as opposed to what you need to do next. Sometimes you can even combine the two!
Never stop doing what you like to do. Learn new skills. Play new games. Take a class. Teach a class.
Pay Attention to Your Friends and Family
Nurture your relationships with those you love without the constraints of schedules or other people’s needs.
Your Spirituality Matters
Embrace your spirituality in whichever form you choose to manifest your beliefs.
Take Care of Yourself
Learn new ways to eat better, exercise smarter, and stay well, regardless and in spite of your growing aches and pains.
Embrace Your Looks and Learn to Experiment
Accept your body, your style, your own way of dressing and yet be open to experimenting with a new look, a new hairstyle, fun new makeup.
Nourish Your Cultural Self
Enrich yourself with knowledge and the enjoyment of books, art, music, cinema, and the theater.
Follow New Horizons
When the global pandemic is over, plan a trip to discover a new city, a town near you, or be adventurous and travel further. You can travel with a group, go solo, or convince a friend to travel with you.
Join an organization or group that you support and use your experience and your strong voice to help your community. Run for office!
As you age, do you feel invisible or invincible? What are your plans for embracing invincibility? Please share your thoughts and let’s have a conversation!
This article originally appeared in Sixty and Me.