Do you cringe when it’s your birthday time again? Does it seem as if they’re coming faster and faster? Are the years getting shorter? Last night I was out at a lovely little restaurant celebrating the birthday of one of my friends. She was lamenting being another year older—even though, as the rest of us pointed out, the alternative isn’t particularly enticing. This, quite possibly, could be The Best Time of Your Life!
The Best Time of Your Life?
I kept thinking about our conversation after I got home, and I woke up this morning still thinking about it. I suddenly remembered an entry from several days ago in A.Word.A.Day by Anu Garg. (If you love words, this definitely is something you want to sign up for.) The entry was a Latin phrase, felix culpa, which means “an error or disaster that has fortunate consequences.”
That seemed to describe perfectly our reaction to birthdays or to getting older in general. The message we receive from the time we’re children is that it’s good to be young and it’s bad or at least sad to get old. That’s not so true in some societies, but it certainly is in American society.
Negative Association With Aging
An article in the September 2021, AARP Bulletin titled “Ageism: Alive and Well in Advertising”, states that people age 50 and older are seven times more likely to be portrayed negatively in online advertising than younger adults. Think about this! Every day, starting from the time we are aware of advertising, we are bombarded by messages that graphically depict how awful it is to get older and how pitiful older adults are. No wonder many of us lament having yet another birthday!
And for women this is even worse since we’re considered too old to be appealing much earlier than men are, at least in the eyes of many men. And it’s the “many men” who are representing us in advertising. According to the AARP’s article, 71% of creative directors in advertising are male, and overwhelmingly they are young men.
Never Been Better
So, how can I possibly say to women over 55, as I do in the title of this blog, that this is the best time of your life? Over the past several years I have spoken to many older women. One of the questions I often ask is, “Are you aware of getting older?” Most of the time they say that they are aware of getting older physically, that they have a few more aches and pains and can’t do all the things they used to, at least not in the way they used to do them.
And then they say that, in spite of the aches and pains, they feel better than they’ve ever felt. They feel happier, freer, more of who they were always meant to be with more time to focus on themselves. Of course, this isn’t always true. Some of us get stuck between generations, taking care of children and/or grandchildren and/or aging parents. For many of us, however, it is the first time in our adult lives that we aren’t consumed by other responsibilities. As David Bowie said, “Aging is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.” This is particularly true for women.
Reclaim Your Life Today
How do you make this the best time of your life? You reclaim it as the gift that it is. Many people in the world don’t have the luxury of growing older. You do, and so you celebrate each and every birthday you are privileged to experience. You become very aware of all the negative messages you are bombarded with every day in magazines, on TV, and online. It may be possible that you even call people on the “funny” things they say about older people that are disparaging, and you stop saying those things yourself. A “senior moment” is not reserved for seniors—young people forget things, too. Become your own advocate! Many of us no longer put up with pointedly sexist comments. Begin to do the same for ageist ones, no matter who says them.
Women of a certain age, as the French would say, it is our time. It is our time to stand up for ourselves and be who we were meant to be. Now is the time for you to claim your rightful place in the world and to thrive. It is time—now in the prime of your life—to discover that spark deep inside that will ignite your magnificent future. Now is the time to find that Prime Spark. It is the best time in your life! It is, surprisingly, your felix culpa.
Learn More About Prime Spark
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 is closed for 2021. If you’re interested in joining in 2022, 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 change for 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 charge of their future. Sara is the author of three books. She also has over 40 years’ experience in leadership development, coaching, and building thinking environments. She was director of training and development for a Fortune 100 company and executive director of the Institute for Women and Technology. To learn more about claiming your power as a senior woman, visit Prime Spark today!