I read a great piece of advice years ago: If you’re going to challenge Michael Jordan, don’t play basketball. Pick something you’re good at, whether that’s poker or pingpong.
Compete on your own terms.
A recent Wall Street Journal article took that same approach to women’s aging, highlighting books that don’t see aging women as inferior to our youthful, perky, creaseless selves.
Ellen Gamerman got my attention with this lead paragraph in The New Rules of Middle Age, Written by Women:
Darcey Steinke knew she was going to write a book about menopause when she read that two of the only creatures to go through it are human women and killer whales. Instead of disappearing into the murky depths, she learned, the whales become leaders of their pods.
The article rounds up a number of books exploring middle age, including Steinke’s “Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life,” Candace Bushnell’s “Is There Still Sex in the City?” and Karen Rinaldi’s book about learning to surf in her 40s, “(It’s Great to) Suck at Something: The Unexpected Joy of Wiping Out and What It Can Teach Us About Patience, Resilience, and the Stuff That Really Matters.”
The theme I took was that we will not be defined by the skinny, youthful images we’re sold as the feminine ideal. We might learn something new like Rinaldi or keep having sex like Bushnell. We might even find ourselves transformed and ready for a whole lot more, like Sheri Salata:
In her debut memoir out in June, “The Beautiful No: And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence, and Transformation,” former Oprah Winfrey Network co-president Sheri Salata describes aging out of the 25 to 54 bracket, which the TV industry has long called the “sweet spot” for advertisers. “All around us, the message is the same: You’re done,” writes Ms. Salata. At first, it seems almost rude to ask for more.
But the 59-year-old onetime workaholic doesn’t feel done, and instead decides to devote all her energy to following a “happiness compass” that guides her midlife reinvention. “In this day and age, if you start taking care of yourself, it’s not unreasonable to think that the 50s might truly be halfway up the mountain,” she writes. “This may be the middle of your life, not the beginning of the long goodbye.”
Which seems like the perfect segue to some wisdom from one of my favorite Instagram accounts, Silver Disobedience:
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Aging: Who’s Afraid of the Truth? Did you ever wonder who is creating those stereotypical views about age, aging and getting older? Is it advertising agencies? Companies trying to scare us into using their products? Someone? Or something else? ✨ Maybe you’d be surprised to know that research* confirms that it is mostly people under age 40 who worry about aging the most! In fact, when they’re not worrying about aging, they’re worried about dying. ✨ Meanwhile, if you asked most people I know that are #over50 or if you spent a day or two reading the 600,000+ comments that have been posted in response to my #SilverDisobedience daily blogs, you’d know for sure that most of us #50+ are worried about what we’re doing next to LIVE OUR LIVES to the full tilt, maximum capacity of living! ✨ We’re not sitting around looking in the mirror and analyzing our faces all day as we’re far too busy! Yes, we see our wrinkles. Sometimes (like happened to me yesterday when looking at some images for an upcoming ad campaign) they startle us. But you know what? For the most part, we can accept them as a right of passage that some people don’t reach. Many of us are caring for spouses, children or grandchildren. But we haven’t stopped growing, adventuring, exploring, learning, doing, renewing and more. Perceptions of those #50plus are changing into the reality that we’re #50plusandfabulous I see this happening in real time. Advertisers are waking up. Every time I’m cast for a new commercial or advertisement — the clothes, the script, the ideas? They’re getting more real. It’s not happening in an instant. But it is happening…and we, all of us Silver Disobedients™ are ready. Thanks to the beautiful and amazing @Pat.Tracey for grabbing this #behindthescences #onset iphone shot in between her takes! I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience — the author of The Silver Disobedience® Playbook (link in my bio or buy one at amazon!) ✨ I’m a Perception Analyst who shares my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People. Modeling info @Wilhelminamodels —other info in my bio & on my websites. *2018 Research study by @mccann_mw
Check out the full article on WSJ. If only to learn more about this: Those killer whales who go through menopause? They are killing it.
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