I really don’t like to get online and complain. I prefer to complain to the people I know. You know, one of those good old bitch sessions where you know that those you’re bitching to will most likely agree with you.
After all, we all want validation for our feelings, right?
I can remember a time when one didn’t get validation for anything and if you were unhappy with something you could either, A) Suck it up; B) Shut up; C) Take action and be labeled a troublemaker, bitchy, irrational, emotional and one of my all-time favorites, “it’s a woman thing,” or D) Seethe internally and do nothing.
Maybe that’s where all our anger and animosity is coming from, the seething thing. But, as always, the pendulum swings from the absolute and farthest point of nonsense to the other side of nonsense when change is afoot. Eventually, it settles to a nice happy midpoint where, for the love of God, is where we all really want it to be.
Heard, understood, protected and valuable.
I’m seriously getting off-topic here but stay with me because I’m leading up to something. I am a woman and I do have to talk it out, you know?
Life Experience and Education
I really never expected that opportunities would begin to dwindle when I reached my 50s. I thought 50s were the new 30s, (whatever that means) but I am finding that’s just some tagline generated from somewhere. Most likely to sell a magazine, product or thing to that demographic. Put a determined-looking, flawless-skinned, older woman dressed in a power suit and sky-high heels on the cover of a magazine or inside the pages of one with a “Five Things to Increase Your Potential as an Older Woman in Today’s Workforce” article and BAM problem solved. Right?
I mean what intelligent woman couldn’t apply those fluff-written tips to score big? This one, that’s who and I consider myself to be pretty damn smart. Instead I end up feeling lacking, much like I do when I look at some Instagram feeds and think to myself, who are all the wildly successful and gorgeous people and how the heck are they all doing this?
Does life experience and education account for anything anymore and if not, then we all need to reassess things. Because if I knew I was going to run into this, I wouldn’t have wasted all that time, energy and serious money (that took me years to pay off) for a degree.
Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Truth-Telling
In our 20s, our youthful beauty is power. And if you’re a 20-something woman reading this, you ARE beautiful, trust me on this please. Most women in those beauty magazines you may be reading don’t look like that in real life. My instagram, website and Linked In page photo has a filter on it—yep, I did it—and so do most people. It’s just too tempting not to smooth out lines and whiten teeth.
Unfortunately looks matter, especially for women. More so than ever. And yes, I’m sure men face this as well, but I don’t believe they do to the extent women do. I love men, I’m married to one and he’s incredibly sensitive and a particularly awesome human being.
Rent a movie from the 80s or 90s and you’ll see what real people looked like at a certain age. That was attainable. Women had sprayed, stiff hair like the rest of us normal humans and men had chest hair and other hair all over their bodies. Now everyone’s hairless and perfect. What the hell? I don’t think people even know how humans are supposed to look as they age anymore.
The amount of information we are bombarded with is astronomical and it lends itself to shorter attention spans, shortened ways of communicating and enormous consequences on how we treat one another and relate to each other, socially and globally. We are becoming desensitized and everything seems to be fodder for late-night comedy. I don’t give a crap if I sound old-fashioned, but seriously can we please get back to a sense of decency and social decorum?
To Be Old-er or Not to Be Old-er
I hesitated in writing this post. What if I offended someone? What if a potential employer viewed this and interpreted this the wrong way? What if I seemed emotional, too heart-on-my-sleeve sappy sentimental longing for the old days and ways kind of person? And then, I thought well, I guess I do long for some of the “old ways,” but only the ones that empower people and that includes those that for whatever reason, in our society, are deemed unimportant once reaching a preconceived “use by” date. I mean, do I have a “Best if used by 45” bar code on me somewhere??!”
Then I thought would I even want to be around or work for someone who didn’t appreciate me or honor all my wonderfulness and intelligence despite my being a 50-something?
Hell to the no.
It’s not that I can’t still get some fairly decent writing gigs, I do. But I’ve encountered ageism on interviews and yeah, it makes me seethe. That can’t be good for my health.
Maybe this will change during all this upheaval that we’re experiencing. Maybe I’ll start a movement.
Or maybe I’ll just go to some European beach where 50 somethings are appreciated for their mind, body and spirit, shake my fist at a glorious sunset while sipping a nice Sancere and exclaim, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
So, how’s it going for you these days?