The following comment was made in response to one of my YouTube videos:
I’m reading No More Little Old Ladies at this time. It’s just the boost I need because so many people view mid-life women in such a negative way. I can’t believe the statements I hear when it comes to a mid life woman. If she is lively, stylish and has a young perspective about herself she is condemned. Other mid-lifers say she just needs to stay inside her house and watch soap operas. Young women accuse her of trying to mimic them and wish she would go away. How sad!
It is sad, and it is a representation of immature teenage “mean girls” behavior. Fortunately, mature women don’t have to put up with it.
The woman who made the comment above doesn’t realize that when you get to age forty (if not sooner), the women you associate with can have a powerful impact on how you think about yourself and how you live your life. If women you hang out with are in decline and trying to drag you down with them, you need to associate with different women.
Here are my rules for older women who want more out of life and more satisfying relationships with other women:
- You are not a robot programmed to follow social mores. Be your own person. Avoid women who are not interested in doing anything more challenging than watching soap operas, gambling at a casino, or congregating at a senior center or local coffee shop to gossip and reminisce about the past. Buddy up with them and you’ll be doing the same in no time. Do this instead: If you drive or use public transportation, hook up with an organization that needs volunteers. Volunteering can do wonders for self-esteem as well as mental and physical health. You will meet wonderful, outgoing, positive women who take pleasure in giving their time, energy and experience for a good cause.
- Participate in activities with age-neutral women. That means, associate with women who don’t care how old you or they are; their lives aren’t controlled by awareness of their chronological age. They are usually growth-oriented women with goals, and fun to be with. You can find them taking a class learning to manage finances, learning yoga, or they may have a job where they can interact with younger people.
- Avoid women who constantly talk about their age – either in a negative or boastful way. Some women mindlessly gripe about how old they are, which accelerates decline, while others brag about how old they are. The number of years lived should be a meaningless number. Women who obsess about chronological age limit their opportunities to have a richer, more fulfilling life.
- Avoid women who have bought into cultural and traditional thinking that directly or even subliminally suggests they are “too old” to participate in a particular activity, or that they should think, act or dress in a prescribed way for women “their age.”
- If possible, avoid living in a senior community. As wonderful as they may be, consider this: Old thinking and behaviors are viral, and in a walled-in community in constant contact with women, many older than you, sooner than later you are bound to become infected with traditional decline oriented thinking and behaviors.
Many women really struggle with getting older. In younger years they didn’t give much thought to the reality that someday they would be “there” and as a result they weren’t prepared when they suddenly realized they were ‘there.” Because they didn’t think ahead, they are vulnerable to being drawn by the culture and tradition into a lifestyle they don’t really want to be part of. They feel and think young and don’t want to live the way many older women live but they don’t have the gutsiness to defy tradition and avoid the decline oriented (but enticing) senior lifestyle.
If you are living an untraditional lifestyle “for your age” and you know women torn between adhering to tradition that is limiting their potential for growth and fulfillment, and the social need to “fit in,” let your down-to-earth example demonstrate that they can be free to have a life that is far more satisfying than what tradition prescribes for women “their age.” Help them if they ask for your help but showing what can be done beats giving advice (even if requested) every time.
Please get a copy of my e-book, I’m Not Goin’ There! It will help you deal with middle-age “mean girls” behavior and a whole lot more!
Barb M says
Thanks for your comment.
Anyone who would accuse you of denying your age is being snarky and snooty. It’s the same as looking down your nose at someone and sniffing, “You are pretending you are not as old as you are.”
Understand this: There is a 180-degree difference between denial and defiance!
Everyday I DEFY the lumps, bumps and accidents that happen with advanced age. If you want to stay healthy and independent in your mature years, it is absolutely essential that you start to DEFY aging (in as many ways as possible) as early in life as possible. When you are “up there” in years, there is nothing worse than being dependent on others, particularly if the dependence is a result of just letting life happen as it chooses to. DENIAL IS PASSIVE AND USELESS. DEFIANCE PRODUCES RESULTS!
As for the charge “you are trying to compete with your daughter” –Let’s face it – many older women DO look as good as their daughters, and can wear their daughters’ stuff and look great, but wise moms use common sense when it comes to wardrobe. I wear my daughter’s discarded clothes all the time, but then, my daughter has good clothing judgment.
The reality is, many older women dress inappropriately, and it has nothing to do with age, they just lack good judgment – they think it’s okay to expose what should not be exposed because “everybody does it.” I don’t need to see an older women in a super short dress bend over and expose her crinkled bottom. But then that’s me. In the end (no pun intended) to each her own. Perhaps some day common sense will resurrect itself in our culture.
Mary Lloyd says
You are so right about the “senior community mindset”, Barbara! They will convince you that you “can’t do” things by example and expectation even if you can and want to do them. I’m lucky because my “adventure” in a 55+ gated community is temporary. Even so, I need to pay attention to what I am telling myself a lot more because I’m living here. And the maddening thing is that these women aren’t horrible old harridans. They are kind and loving and welcoming…and misguided.