Or maybe not. This may not be your mother’s version of aging, but I know that my 70’s are not that different from my grandmother’s. My grandmother worked until she was 65. Then she traveled, became active in her synagogue, visited, and in general stayed very busy. Sally, also past 70, splits her time among Manhattan, Maine and Cambodia. She sews and makes jam in Maine, just has fun in New York and volunteers in Cambodia. Phyllis is working on science fiction/fantasy film projects as she reimagines her business model. Carole is thinking about leaving her current job to lead tours. Sharon owns a major company.Betsy left editing for publishing. I could go on and on.
There was a lot of pressure on our mothers to not work, although many of them did. Every women’s magazine portrayed the working woman as selfish – taking a job away from a returning vet. They pushed the merits of homemaking and treated it as a blessing, not a burden. The women’s movement of the sixties and seventies was in many ways about emerging from that cocoon. Even for working women, homemaking was seen as central. We moved into an era that seemed more doing it all than having it all.
Or Reimagining an Old Model
When I started to think about our age cohort, I was reminded of women of earlier eras. Women for whom working in the home also involved being out in the fields, caring for livestock, creating almost everything in the household, raising and often educating children and nursing. These women would never have imagined a retirement that centered around leisure. They found leisure and pleasure in pockets, quiet moments in their day-to-day routines. And they worked their entire lives. And they were active and vibrant.
So, I think we may be more like earlier generations of women who didn’t so much compartmentalized their lives but simply lived them. Women who found purpose in activities both big and small. I came across this wonderful article this morning: http://womensenews.org/2016/04/my-role-models-worry-more-about-losing-their-minds-than-their-looks/. Here’s a peek:
These women are wondering about how to be themselves and grow, rather than how to be their age. They rejoice in a new sense of self that replaces acting out of obligation with choice; in how they spend their time, with whom and why. They celebrate the freedom to make more choices that are truer to what they actually want.
That’s what I’m seeing too – and what I hope to see more of.
Blaze Your Own Trail
More and more, programs are designed to help women over fifty explore new directions and create lives they love. These women are my favorite clients – my passion and my joy. Who could not be delighted to see a woman in her sixties move into a new career? Or cultivate a long-forgotten passion for teaching or dancing or painting?
You will find that many paths have already been at least partially cleared. You will find groups to support you in your quest. Go for it!