Middle aged women, lets talk life in this season.
The conversation about middle-aged women becoming invisible came up in a meeting I was in this week.
It was frankly a dangerous discussion, and one I would have preferred ponder in my own time perhaps.
Opinion here can be contentious so I listened to the words that quickly fell toward me about the lack, perils, and pitfalls of being a middle-aged woman. They were words I have listened to many times before, there is a commitment to this narrative that carries on the weight of experience, however, it does not feel like this story belongs to us all.
2 years ago I posted a question in a unisex marketing group on Facebook asking the group to name advertising campaigns that featured women over the age of 40. There were over 600 responses.
It was shaky ground to start with, the usual ladies sanitary products were named and as they were I felt my spirit lose a little of its sparkle. Next came the global skincare brands that were leaning into the heritage connection of the famous 90's supermodels, however, this didn't feel too bad. After all, they were women over 40 being paid by the biggest skincare and cosmetic companies in the world so my spirits once again lifted.
Then came the first of the unexpected responses. A woman in her late 50's posted her comment which read, "I feature in all my business's brand campaigns so people know who I am and can feel more connected to my brand". That woman changed the conversation. The influx of women who then commented along the same lines filled the scroll. They were here, they showed up and they were darn proud of their age, what they were currently doing, and what they had created at this stage of their lives.
Without a shadow of a doubt, change comes at us in middle age with the ferocity of a summer storm in the tropics. One minute you are on the deck with a cocktail, the next you are counting how far away the lightning strikes are hitting. It comes and when it does, we don't always have time to see the incredible power and beauty in what is happening both around us and to us.
I am hell-bent on living it differently. These are my years. I am not struggling, striving, fighting, or questioning who I am, what I like, what I want, or if I deserve it or not. I am not loud to be seen, argumentative to be heard, I am not counting calories, chasing the latest hair trend nor buying magazines to understand how to make my man more satisfied in bed. Just for all the magazine writers and editors out there, bed is boring!!
Where this season has landed me and now others who are brave enough to put their hand up is in a place of, I want what I want and you don't have to share your opinion nor agree with me, it is who I am.
Take me or leave me but please don't ask me to change to fit into your ideal anymore, I would prefer not to see the confusion on your face when I decline your request. My power has shifted, now firmly held by a steely stronger quieter confidence I can breathe and appreciate the vast enormity of what life has to offer and it is all mine when I am ready to be in it.
I learn faster, I grow quicker, I seek more of what feels like deep comfort, more of the soul nourishment I have craved and because I feel the way I do, I now honor the time I need to achieve the things I set out to do. My inner voice louder and more trusted than ever before. This feels like the best of me, yet I am quieter now than ever before.
It is more peaceful here, I am softer, slower by choice, there is space around me, and I no longer get lost in the whirlpool of fleeting influence that would have in the past ravaged the whispers of my inner voice with doubt.
Middle age is a glorious view of content achievement, a testament to the risks that have been taken, the bravery that was found, the losses that have been survived and yet here in this season, I, like you are offered the next level challenge, to go deeper, to feel more, to live with more courage, to adventure, to explore, to shepherd the next generation and to keep seeking the lessons that life still wants us to learn.
In my heart, I don't believe here in middle age we are invisible.
I believe when we have come this far, we feel invincible.