“You’re too young for that.”
“I’ll do that after I graduate.”
“I’ll take care of that after I make partner.”
“Just as soon as the kids are through college, I’ll sign up for one of those.”
“I’m too old to start something like that.”
For all of our lives, it seems like we’re being told—or telling ourselves—that it’s not the right time to try something. I wonder when the right time is?
It’s Always Your Turn
One of my very favorite book titles is What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn) by Seth Godin. What does “and it’s always your turn” mean to you?
For me it means that most circumstances, and particularly the “circumstance” of age, are no excuse. This is certainly true for women over 55. We’ve been taught, both directly and indirectly, that women in their fifties, sixties, and beyond are pretty much done. We’re assumed to have lost our looks, our sexiness, and therefore our desirability. We’re often portrayed as being a bit helpless and more than a little “ditsy.” We’re shown to be rigid, stuck in our ways, opinionated, not up to date. True, older men are portrayed this way as well, but it begins much earlier for women and is more intense.
Many of us women over 55 know that these caricatures are not true. We feel vital, involved, constantly learning new things, and freer to be ourselves than at any other time in our lives. But unless we are surrounded by like-minded older women, holding on to these inner realities can be a struggle, given what we see every day in the media and what we experience out in the world where we’re often treated as being “old.”
What Would You Do Different?
If you knew that no matter your age, it’s always your turn, what would you commit to? What would you begin? What would you continue to do with even more dedication? Our world is crying out for your wisdom, skills, and experience. Where can you make a difference? And if you’re already active and involved, how can you bring another woman along with you, helping her to find her own path so she’s not only contributing but also feeling fulfilled?
You don’t necessarily need to feel you must try to save the world—although if that’s what’s calling you, go for it! How could you make a difference in your local school? What could you do in your immediate circle of friends to bring more awareness to the racial issues that divide us? What could you do to confront the problems of hunger or homelessness or immigration in your community or state? How could you further the growing interest in how ageism is so profoundly affecting our older population? If you knew that it’s your turn right now, what’s one step you could take that would have an impact, no matter how large or small, on something you care about? And if you’re already making an impact, how can you deepen it?
Don’t Put It Off
Women over 55 who are healthy and have even modest resources have many, many productive years ahead of us, and yet not as many years as we did when we were 20 or 30 or 40. This means that we can’t put off getting started. We need to realize that now is our time. It is our turn now.
So, what do you do when it’s your turn? You take the next important steps in whatever is calling to you. You make a commitment to use your full potential to make a positive impact in your neighborhood, your community, the country, the world. Then, you bring other women over 55 along with you so we are all supporting one another as we move forward into the next exciting years of our lives.
Now, in the prime of your life, find or fan that spark deep inside that will light your way. Step up and take your turn.
The Prime Spark Membership Community is designed for women 55 (or close) and older to support one another, learn and grow together, and further the mission of Prime Spark. Membership currently is closed. If you’re interested in joining, please send an email to [email protected] and ask to be placed on the waitlist.
Sara Hart, PhD, is an author, speaker, and coach. She is leading the charge to change how older women are seen and treated in our society. She is the creator of Prime Spark, a movement to transform how women over 55 take responsibility for their futures. Sara is the author of three books. She also has over forty years’ experience in leadership development, coaching, and building thinking environments. She was director of training and development for a Fortune 100 company. Sara was also an executive director of the Institute for Women and Technology. To learn more about claiming your power as a senior woman, visit Prime Spark today!