Ageing… a swear word?
For most of us women, ageing is a nasty word. It is a curse, the inevitable cost of youth.
In business, youth replaces senior age. People retire earlier; they make way for hungrier, more energetic, fast-paced go-getters.
The world is changing and the younger generation change with it. So, what is then the future of us older women in business? Surely one would think that we bring wisdom and experience that should count for something. More and more women I have spoken to confess a loss of confidence, partially because of an ever changing world. The majority of over 40’s feel that they have a “sell by date”. They feel less valued because they are older. Many suffer from burnout because they are trying so much harder.
The media propagates youth and drive. The world will not see us middle-aged seniors and workers differently. We need to change the way age is perceived. Isn’t there space for both youth and maturity? We need to change the way we perceive ageing. Only when we as mature women, demand our place in the world, will we be valued and recognised.
There is no quick fix for this, Botox and hair-colour won’t help. We need to let go of trying to keep up with different generations and “dance” to our own beat. It may be slower, but has the advantage of wisdom and experience. Only when we value ourselves, stop comparing and stop looking for validation externally, can we claim our rightful place.
This is not easy. The world worships youth. Technology changes constantly. This translates into a need to stretch ourselves, move out of our comfort zones, stop using age as an excuse and learn new skills. We must tap into our history of knowledge. We need to speak up, embrace change, but remember the lessons we have learnt and share it. This means more inner work, letting go of perceived notions that youth is better. Accept our age and act it. You can only earn respect once you remember to respect yourself. It is hard work to be authentic, to stay true to self. Experience is a super-power that younger generations lack.
Why be threatened by change when you can be confident and secure in yourself? Yes, menopause sucks, wrinkles and grey hair are depressing…but we know things younger women don’t, we just sometimes forget we do. Therefore let us see age as the “invisible cloak” of earning your place in the world. We can help make things better for we have stories to tell, experiences to share, and we need to change our age “lens”.
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Enjoy this video by Jane Fonda, as she speaks on the “Life’s Third Act”: https://youtu.be/IHyR7p6_hn0