What does the term aging mean to you? Or how is aging in the 21st century (after 2000) different then how our mothers and grand mothers aged? With turning 50 this year, I have been thinking about this lately. I have been reading and listening to midlife women across the globe discuss their experiences. And here is what I have found about aging in the 21st century.
Have you ever revealed your age and then had someone say ‘wow, you look good..for your age.’ What exactly does that mean? Do you ever say to a 25 year old, you look good for your age? Why do people assume that once we reach a certain age that is associated with how you look. I mean, I don’t feel my age (most days). I just live my life and maybe there are days I am tired and look tired and other days I am bright eyed and bushy tailed and might look refreshed. Either way, I am looking my age.
Lately I have watched and listened to a panels of midlife women discuss the topic of how we as women age and how it is perceived. They mentioned words or phrases of aging gracefully, anti-aging, mature woman . Mature as opposed to immature? Doesn’t anti-aging mean we are against or opposed to aging. Well I guess we can be against it, but we can’t stop it. Like it or not we all age and it can’t be stopped…That is life.
And what exactly does aging gracefully mean..It is not like we try to age ungracefully. I remember one woman say in the panel saying “ROCK IT, DON’T ERASE IT!” I love this saying because it means we can’t just erase the last 50+ years because it have brought us to where we are today. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not closing the door on blotting out a few wrinkles here and there or dying the grey in my hair every few months. But doing those things should not define my aging process or erase it or determine if I am aging gracefully.
Are We Invisible?
There are discussions that once women turn 50, we become invisible. It’s like 50 is this magic number when IT all changes. Companies who are marketing products and services seem to miss out on this midlife demographic. According to the ladies at Grace Creative, we are the demographic that companies seem to be missing out the most on. We are the ones with the more disposal income now that our kids are older and we have become more established. Yet companies still market the fun and exciting things to the ‘millenials’. And we get anti-aging cream, incontinence pads and reading glasses (well, you can get some pretty funky reading glasses). We are at a time in our lives where we now have the time and money and want to enjoy it and companies really should realize that. I sometimes feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Women, when she tries to go shopping but no one in the boutique will help her because of how she looks. And then she goes back after with all her bags of shopping and tells them what a mistake it is…BIG MISTAKE!!
How did our Mothers and Grandmothers age?
To be honest, I don’t know how my mother or grandmother felt as they the aged. I am not sure if they felt strongly about anti-aging or if aging was just part of life for them and they just kept silent. I mean the thought of the finding the fountain of youth has been around forever. So i am sure they were looking for it too. But today, the call to stay youthful is louder. On average women are living longer. Depending on where you live, the average age of life expectancy is 81. Where as the average age in the 1970’s was 70. We can really attribute that to advances in medicine and in gaining knowledge in he benefits of good nutrition and exercise. There are some great role models who led the charge in aging from this generation. Jamie Lee Curtis comes to mind and so does Sophia Loren. But there is a whole list of women in there 70’s with ‘mojo and moxie’. Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, etc, etc……
So as I go forward, this is continues to be such an interesting concept to me. Aging in the 21st century. How do we now define it? I will refer back to the ladies at Grace Creative – #ageisnotjustanumber. It is a mindset and how you, yourself look at it. I definitely do not feel like I am almost 50 and I really don’t want people to judge me because I am 50 or 60 and beyond.
As our tagline suggests, we have gained the wit and wisdom in our established life and continue to do so.
How do you define aging?
More reading for the midlife women: