When a dear friend turned sixty, her slightly older husband jokingly suggested that he should “turn her in” for two thirty-year-olds. This and (to his mind) numerous other hilarious references to men with their younger, arm candy, trophy wives began to erode her self-esteem. Then, one day she “had it up to my flabby armpits with his nonsense.” In full spousal retribution, she let go with a formidable list of her mate’s own ample physical flaws. This exercise in devastatingly descriptive enumeration soon quieted him from making further such remarks.
Yes, we gals have long been taught that men become distinguished as they age and women simply become old. Movies are still paring much older men with far younger women—the dashing and suave hero with his cloyingly doting and nubile heroine. There are constant media messages bombarding us daily that celebrate female youth and beauty and push a myriad of anti-aging products on us boomers. These ads imply that only unlined faces are attractive, that anyone over a size two is hopelessly lost in folds of fat, and that aging is unnatural and undesirable.
Making matters worse, the popular culture has a long history of ignoring the older female. For years, women have claimed to feel they become “invisible” once their half-century birthday rolls around. It seems that, once a woman is no longer youthful, she might as well disappear. How can we not take such messages personally to some degree? Society’s ideas of growing older clearly serve to diminish the “grand” in grandmother.
But, we must never forget who we are and from whence we came. There has never before been a generation of women like us boomers. And, we are getting even better with age! In fact, we ladies are just now reveling in our peak and productive years. The hormonal shifts after menopause make us sassier and more outspoken than ever before. As Margaret Mead described this life stage, we are now enjoying the many wonders of “menopausal zest.”
We post menopausal gals are blessed with abundant energy, freed from many of our earlier responsibilities, and are truly coming into our own in new and exciting ways. In fact, our generation changing the world once again. The signs are already starting to spring up in the popular culture. The media is slowing recognizing our numbers and our wealth. Movies are beginning to show older actresses in romantic roles and marketers are starting to run “pro-aging” advertisements.
And, as far as women being the ones to lose their looks with age, let’s lay that chestnut to rest. Yes, the years can pile up on each of us. But, wrinkles are truly a small price to pay for the many joys and blessings that later life can bring.