The Power of Maturity – Bring It Home, Baby

The late Benazir Bhutto

There’s something about turning 50 or being close to it that allows you to benefit from your hard-won experience. This is a time when our life lessons come home.

Jane Fonda

I remember when I was in my 20s and 30s thinking I had everything figured out. But now at almost 60? No comparison. In our younger years, we’re just gathering data. Then at some point our vision clears, and we’re able to assimilate it. Dr. Christiane Northrup would say that it’s because of our changing levels of hormones.

Olympia Snowe

She believes that these hormones were responsible for keeping us complacent and placid during the years that we’re fertile. Otherwise, we might go crazy and do something bad to our babies or our mate. Then at a certain point your reproductive ability diminishes and the fog clears (again, this is according to her hypothesis).

Hillary Clinton

The woman now has new perspective, and along with it, a new impatience. I selected the pictures of these famous women because they have that face – they know what I’m talking about. I’m sure you or your friends have looked around at the world, even if only your little slice of it, and suddenly felt unable to tolerate the same old, same old. Did you know the divorce rate is highest among women around age 50 – and it’s the women who are instigating them? According to one study, a primary reason for breaking up a long time union is a desire to move to a new city, state, or country, but the husband is unwilling to go.

Sonia Sotomayor

At this time of life, women are freer, no longer responsible for dependent children (at least, theoretically.) At this point we have the strength to handle reality. I recently heard of a middle-aged woman finally giving up and accepting that her birth mother still didn’t want her. This heartbreaking truth was probably evident all along, but it took some time for the adoptive daughter to realize and accept it. I suspect she would not have been able to handle it had she been younger and this is why the realization is now hitting her. And life will go on.

Whoopi Goldberg

I’ve mentioned a million times that I live in a 55+ community. I frequently hear people saying “I’m not going to put up with that anymore.” Or, “I’m too old to take that nonsense.” As much as I think there’s a danger that we might use our age as an excuse to disengage, I really think you do reach a point in life where you are able to gather all of the data that you’ve collected, look at it with a mature eye, draw conclusions, and then act.

This is empowerment.

This is the time for cutting loose, and letting go, and standing up for ourselves, regardless of the price we might have to pay. The strength and power of this demographic – of us – has never been measured, but you know I’m right. You feel it, don’t you? The question is, how are you going to use it?

Comments

  1. MJ says

    Maybe this is just something our generation is feeling. I hope we are doing better with today’s girls so that they feel the empowerment much earlier in their lives. However, the experience and feelings you describe in this article completely fit with me, and I am glad to discover I am not the only one going through it. I did not dare talking openly about it. I was afraid (once more) of criticisms. Now I am just 50 so, I will start my new TRUE life!!! Thanks again

  2. says

    Your take on the vision that comes with age is so true! I think, for many women, life truly begins at 50. We finally have the clarity to know what we want, the strength to go after it, and the wisdom to realize that setbacks are the universe’s way of testing our resolve.

  3. Corinne says

    Great post! As someone who is anticipating turning 60 this year, and re-evaluating my career, my choices in life, and how I want to spend however many years I have left in this life, it was great food for thought!! As someone who has been divorced for many years, parents are deceased, children finally getting established on their own, it’s my time….if only I could figure out what that means!

    • says

      Having no limits IS scary! After several false starts I am finally married to a guy who doesn’t limit me, so now the only one holding the gate shut is me, and it can be terrifying. Happy 60th in advance, C.

  4. says

    The older I get (61), the more real I want to be, come what may. I guess if you’ve been around long enough, you finally begin to see what matters and what doesn’t. Whatever the case, I love being this age. It’s the best age yet!

  5. says

    Hmm, lots to think about here, Lynne. Somehow, I can’t imagine women in our parents’ generation spending a lot of time contemplating their empowerment. I think it took the boomers’ generation to try to make sense of things that were status quo for decades. We’re the beneficiaries of that, and we should be grateful. Whether it’s hormones or not is beside the point. There’s something to be said for learning from your own (and others’) mistakes, isn’t there?!

  6. Pennie says

    Most important thing I have learned is that life is too short to fold fitted sheets. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff! Didn’t kow my hormones (or lack of) were responsible for this insight! Thank God!

    • says

      I buy it. It makes total sense to me, even if it’s just Dr. N’s hypothesis. And believing it makes me happy. God knows, we deserve some compensations.

  7. says

    Hi, Lynne
    I’m not so sure about the hormone theory, but there is definitely a confidence and self-assurance that seems to come to many of us as we turn 50 or 60. Part of that is a sense that many of us have that we’re good enough the way we are. We don’t need to dye our hair or “have work done.”

    Unfortunately, this feeling is not universal, and there’s still lots of negativity about women who go around actually Looking Their Age. I recently wrote a blog post about the way Hillary Clinton was criticized because she was wearing a srunchie and looking tired. What was she thinking? To her great credit, she blew it off.

    • says

      Yes, Madeleine, I saw various blogs about that issue and the response was amazing. Voluminous, for one thing. Sharp, for another. Commenters arguing with one another. We’ve all got a dog in the fight, so it’s more heartfelt. I vote for “real” (see Amanda, above).

  8. says

    Lynne, I couldn’t agree more. I think it takes the second half of our lives to appreciate and utilize the first half. So much of our earlier years were defined by our families, our children>spouce>significant other>jobs that it isn’t until we reach our late forties early fifties that we’re able to finially take stock of ourselves and realize that we are an accumulation of all that but so much more. The first fifty years are the ingredients that mold who we are, the next fifty are about how we choose to use it to change the world.

  9. says

    Wow! Well said and so true! I wouldn’t go back to my 20′s for a darn thing! Now is my time and I’m trying to figure out what to do with it! Great post!

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