Hooray for Us Boomers!
When a close friend turned fifty, her slightly older husband jokingly suggested that he should “turn her in” for two twenty-five 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 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 pairing much older men with twenty and thirty year old women—the dashing, 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 boomer, mid-life lasses. 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.
And then, making matters worse, there’s that whole thing about feeling ignored. For years, women have claimed they become “invisible” once their half-century birthday rolls around. It seems that, when a woman is no longer youthful, she might as well disappear. She certainly does in the popular media. 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 not 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 entering our peak and productive years. The hormonal shifts at menopause make us sassier and more outspoken than ever before. Margaret Mead coined the phrase “menopausal zest” to describe this life stage and she couldn’t have picked a more perfect descriptor.
So, the years past fifty will undoubtedly bring us great satisfaction and numerous rewards. We postmenopausal 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 is about to change the world once again. Marketers are slowly recognizing our numbers and our wealth and the media is beginning to catch on. Movies are starting to show older actresses (Diane Keaton for one) in romantic roles and Dove® is running its “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.
In that spirit, here’s a loving look at three of our early heroes …