My new ebook, I’m Not Goin’ There! A Gutsy Girlfriend Guide for Boomer Women Who Don’t Want to Spend Their Golden Years Cuddling With Their Cats has been nominated for a Global eBook Award. It’s always nice when you’ve written something that merits recognition.
While I am so pleased with the Global eBook nomination, I am even more pleased that a woman who has read I’m Not Goin’ There ! says it has dramatically changed her attitude about the “age issue” and as a result has changed her life for the better. This is a “reward” that is really important to me — more important than any award. When something you have written has made a difference in the life of another, it validates (a) that you are not crazy for holding your beliefs, and (b) what you have to say has real value.
When “Madam X” first wrote and told me how she had come to understand how her “age awareness” was negatively impacting her life, I thought, “Finally, a woman who REALLY gets it!” The sad reality is that most women do NOT get it and spend their “golden years'” bullied by awareness of how old they are. And worse, they are bullied by social and cultural expectations that accompany and perpetuate age awareness.
Here is part of a recent communication I’ve received from “Madam X”, a professional woman working in China. She writes beautifully — see if you agree with what she has to say:
I am having great success with putting into practice all the gems you’ve imparted, especially thinking about and constantly referring to my age. I’ve had a number of situations recently in my new job where guys (always guys) have been curious about my age and tried to get me to divulge. Previously as it was always at the forefront of MY mind I would have blurted it out all too eagerly or done the dreaded ‘guess my age’ routine, but now as it’s a total non-issue I just smile and move on with the conversation – fortunately they get it and don’t ask again and I think it’s a win-win, they can imagine to themselves however old they think I am and I retain my self-possession and hopefully mystique…far more attractive qualities in a woman as you point out.
I read a quote a few months ago which I now can’t seem to find again, but was supposedly attributed to Coco Chanel, it went something along the lines of “I do not understand the current obsession with women past their youthful years trying desperately to cling on to their youth. In my day a woman embraced her maturity as it allowed her to finally cultivate her mystique and the ability to be fascinating.”
Anyway this is the gist of it and I love it as it’s that quintessentially European attitude that it’s your experience of life and the breadth of your mind that makes you sexy and attractive and fascinating, as this is impossible for a younger woman and only the older woman with her life experience can achieve this, why not embrace this time of ones’s life?
I sometimes think it’s as if we feel we only have two choices, on the one hand are the ‘seniors’ brigade with their retirement enclaves and their endless golf, and on the other are the women who are obsessed with not getting older and have this as their only life interest, to my mind this is as deeply unsexy as letting oneself go. Yes of course as a woman ages she looks after oneself and looks fabulous at all times, but one’s beauty routine and self-maintenance and especially one’s age are private business, never the topic of conversation with complete strangers!
These days I look to fabulous French women like Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Deneuve who look terrific and that wonderful English model Daphne Selfe who is still modelling at 83 and looks amazing as wonderful examples of this, they look after themselves and they’ve no doubt in some cases had some work done which I’m all for of course, but that isn’t who they are, it’s their careers, minds, ideas which are intriguing.
You know this of course and I love that you always emphasise growth, change and keeping your mind active, this is the key to doing it well….and happily!