Based on every anti-aging headline I’ve ever read, I don’t feel too comfortable with getting older. It’s not just the wrinkles and the gray hair. It’s the implication that old age is a time of loss and helplessness at the end of life. But these inspiring senior women insist it’s just the beginning.
I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear this positive message coming from mature, strong women who are willing to put themselves out there. Most of the time, we hear the bad side of old age. Do aching joints, orthopedic shoes and nursing homes ring a bell?
That is not to say we should be blind to an aging population in need of our support and help. There inevitably will come a time when we are all older and facing the end of our lives. But many women argue that aging stereotypes simply are not true: You don’t have to go down without a fight.
Depending on your outlook, there are a few big reasons why growing older can be kind of awesome.
1. It’s the beginning
Image: Claire Peters
What’s not to love about a woman who describes the 75th year of her life as only the beginning? If Claire Peters, designer and consultant of Paparazzi by Claire, lived closer, I would hope we could be multigenerational best friends. Her attitude is infectious.
Peters says, “Badass! That’s exactly what I am! Age is a mindset! While I have no interest in acting like a silly teenager, at the same time, I have much to do in this life, and I have only just begun — at the age of 75! Women over 60 are part of the invisible generation, made so by ‘society.’ And my plan is to empower women over the age of 60 and prove society is wrong! If I assist in empowering just one woman, my life on this earth will serve a purpose.”
2. It’s quality, not quantity, time
Image: Jorj Morgan
As you near the end of your life, there are two paths you can take. As the saying goes, you can become bitter or better. You can be depressed that you are in one of the final chapters, or you can appreciate the fact that you are still living and enjoying each day. Jorj Morgan, an author, blogger and cooking diva in her 60s, calls this maxing out her QTR (quality time remaining).
Morgan explains, “I’m not sure what there is to be depressed about aging. The alternative is pretty bleak! As long as the dear Lord grants me permission to stay, I plan to make it worthwhile for both of us. Greet each day looking for possibilities and anxious for surprise. Hug someone, smile to strangers, touch someone’s life. It’s not about aging, it’s about living!”
3. You feel amazing
Image: Jeaninne Escallier Kato
It’s almost impossible to believe that you can feel better than you did in your 20s at the age of 60. Jeaninne Escallier Kato, author of Manuel’s Murals, says she has never looked or felt better as she prepares to turn 61. “I am badass because I have kept my health in mint condition. I have the same measurements that I had in high school.”
As if Escallier needs any more evidence to support her badass-ery, she continues, “I started many successful educational programs within my teaching career; I am a published author; I learned Spanish in my 40s; I could never have my own children, but I have godchildren and have affected the lives of over 1,000 students in my lifetime. I love being this age because all the hard work I invested to be the person I always wanted to be is right now. I have the means to chase my passions without constraint. I am excited about the future because I expect nothing. Anything that comes my way now is a bonus. I am young enough and energetic enough to travel, write and act as a consultant in many areas. Yep, I have only just begun.”
4. You have more free time
Image: Carol Merchasin
If you’re wondering why the mature woman’s life is filled with quality time, it’s because, yes, time is precious. There’s also a lot more of it. Carol Merchasin, “recovering” lawyer, author and 69-year-old senior who gets better with age, says one of the sweetest parts of mature living is the fact that you don’t have to wake up and answer to a boss each day.
Merchasin explains, “Let’s face it, if you have the luxury of not going to an office every day, you have time to do many of the things that contribute to good health and well-being: walking, meditation and yoga, for example. Nothing better than a serene mind and a supple, strong body. If you have time to take care of yourself, you are not stressing about what other people think, and [if] you have purposeful work, then you are getting better with age.”
5. You have nothing to hide
Image: Lisa Krohn
There comes a point in every woman’s life when that lightbulb goes ding, and it finally hits you — age really ain’t nothing but a number. Fifty-six-year-old Lisa Krohn, leading personal assistant and personal organizer, says that while she has daily professional confrontations about her age, “I have no problem telling prospective clients or employers my age.”
Krohn’s inspiring I-do-what-I-want attitude has got me taking notes. Her “senior confidence” spills over from the professional into the personal. Krohn continues, “I also feel even more strongly about telling my age in my personal life to men and/or just about anyone that asks. I have nothing to hide. I don’t live in shame or fear. Not telling your age speaks volumes about your lack of emotional well-being and stature.”
6. You have nothing to prove
Image: Suzie Kerr Wright
Once you have made it through the insecurities of your 20s and 30s (and let’s be honest, maybe your 40s), a grand prize awaits you: Your “I don’t give a f**k” will kick in, and it will be glorious. Suzie Kerr Wright, a 55-year-old intuitive consultant, says she loves being her age. “I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore. I’ve lived a pretty wild and unusual life, so I now get to choose what I feel like doing and can kind of laugh when I see younger people taking themselves so seriously. I’m serious about my business, which I love, but truth is, I have lived long enough to know that everything changes, and if I let go of stuff, I may get something better in my life.”
As Kerr points out, with age comes a whole boatload of wisdom. She laughs, “I also remember times in my younger days when I just wanted to ‘get even’ with someone who may have crossed me or hurt me. The thing age gives me is the knowledge that those who don’t do right by others, eventually ‘get theirs,’ and I don’t have to do a darn thing about it!”