Age is No Bar – To Anything!

How does this sound to you – Age is no bar to anything.

If you’re thinking ” yes it is, I can’t be a ballet dancer now I’m past 45″, well, maybe you can’t be a professional dancer, but you can still dance or still enjoy dance! There are three women over 60 in the current series of Strictly Come Dancing and two of them are excellent! Women are confounding all the hackneyed stereotypes about older women.

I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be an older woman in western society, (unless, allegedly, if you work for the BBC where femageism seems rife)

A Few Facts on Ageing

  • A woman who is 65 today can expect to live, on average, to 85.
  • A man who is 65 today can expect to live, on average, to 82
  • With every decade our life expectancy increases by 2 years.
  • By 2025 half the UK population will be over 50 and there will be fewer people under 18.
  • Currently, there are more people in the UK over 60 than there are children.

We chronically advantaged women are in the ascendancy!

I have a photo of me, aged 6 months, sitting on my grandmother’s knee. I recently realised with a shock, that at the time that photo was taken my grandmother was exactly the same age as me. Yet what a huge difference in our experience of life, even down to how we look. She is wearing a traditional ‘old woman’s’ garb. I wear clothes borrowed from my daughter or given to me by her friends! (Don’t panic, I’m well covered up!)

Still Planning Ahead

At 55 I don’t feel like my life is nearly over; I feel it’s still opening up to me. I am having more fun professionally than I ever have in my life before and learning so many new things. And the more you learn new things, the better the brain adapts. Forget all that rubbish about brain fade, the evidence contradicts it. It really is all in your head!

When I’m coaching women, of whatever age, so often the limits and barriers they see are in their heads, not always in their reality. Thinking that you can’t do something generally means that you can’t. Instead try thinking that you can, which generally means that you can! You may just have to approach getting there by a slightly different route.

Here’s an exercise to try to boost your confidence:

Individually, imagine you are being interviewed by one of the Sunday supplements under a heading, ‘Lessons I have learned in my adult life’. Get as many things down as you can, silly or daft, serious, sad and funny.

For example, I have learned that even though you think your heart is broken it does mend. That if I mix drinking gin with red wine I’ll now get a hangover (although I didn’t at 18!) Or that it’s not worth getting annoyed about some work things because you’ll never change them. And job interviews are a lottery sometimes. And that I love getting older and wiser!

Once you have at least 12 things written down I’d like you now to think more specifically about the skills you have acquired during your working life. Think back to that first job when maybe you were a bit wet behind the ears. Think soft skills as well as things like qualifications. Have you become more patient, or more assertive? Again, get at least 12 down.

Look down your list. Congratulate yourself on the things you have achieved, and make a list of things you’d still like to achieve. And now plan how to achieve them! Setting goals is not just for the young.

The important thing is never to stop dreaming, never stop planning ahead. Don’t let a mere number hold you back. Stay alive and kicking in your head and grab all the opportunities which come your way!

Which older women most inspire you?

Posted on November 24th, 2010 by

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