THE BEST YEARS OF A WOMAN'S LIFE
“In the pursuit of eternal youth, everyone loses: A woman loses the gifts of age, society loses the wisdom of the mature woman, and youth loses the hope of a deeper future.”
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I loved turning 40. I loved turning 50. I’m looking forward to turning 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. I plan to live to be 102; my great grandmother lived to be 101. I love my graying hair which has more highlights than my youthful brown-red color. I’m proud of the crow’s feet and smile lines forming on my face. The “twins” aren’t as perky but still bounce with joy when brisk walking. As the decades roll by there’s more backside, in keeping with my ever abundant mouth.
I’m sadden, hurt, and disillusioned by the rejection for growing older. It’s heartbreaking that aging is not enjoyed naturally, like being young. I’m wounded at being judged useless, unchangeable and slow. I’m let down when my peers peddle Botox and plastic surgery, and that only young people can sell clothes and perfume.
– I’m going to enjoy growing older, in spite of it all.
– I’ll always remember being part of that group who built those FIRST personal computers, “mouses”, touch screens, databases, and video games. And let me speak for all of us “useless, unchangeable, slow” agers, you’re very welcome for those life-simplifying gadgets and programs.
– Speaking of simplifying, I like maintaining my current looks, while washing my face and moisturizing with a cheaper off-brand, because my money is now spent on: 1) flowers, veggies, and herbs for my ever growing garden(s); 2) nut trees for my new career as a farmer; 3) my granddaughter because she’s my world now; 4) all my rescued animals because I have the time and room for them; 5) craft supplies because being creative is my true nature. This list is open for change at any time. *S*
– As for clothes and perfume? Well… my pantyhose and business dress days are long gone! Jeans, flannel shirts, t-shirts, boots and earplugs are my wardrobe of late. Farming and landscaping doesn’t require anything elegant or pleasant smelling.
As for the statement, “In the pursuit of eternal youth, everyone loses: A woman loses the gifts of age, society loses the wisdom of the mature woman, and youth loses the hope of a deeper future.”
It’s only lost when people stop looking for it. I don’t believe that has happen – fully – as of this writing. I’m not the only woman searching for other women who embrace aging while creating a new lifestyle [purpose]. And one that continues to make us unique.
Your life sounds full and rich and grateful. I recommend you focus on all these wonderful pursuits that you enjoy and lead by example for the age nay sayers!
Thank you for sharing with us here at Fifty& Fabulous!
I discovered this shirt for my sister and wish I had one when I turned 50… Love being in 50’s http://teespring.com/1964fabulous
I love it! Anything that celebrates the 50 and 50+ is good by me, thank you for sharing.
The pursuit of eternal youth is not the same to everyone. The pursuit of looking younger is a fetish indulged in by those who can afford it and the plastic surgeons don’t lose at all. “Eternal Youth” to me means being open, willing to learn new things, keeping my body as fit as I can for it’s current ability and looking forward instead of backwards. Having a mind set of youthfulness will keep “stiffness” out of your thinking and your body…my life wisdom is only useful to someone who believes it is, youth has no desire to look too far into the future and the Dalai Lama entreats us to live in the now.
Thank you for this, such a thoughtful and thought provoking response. I agree completely with what you say about a youthful mindset and a focus on the present and given this is how you define youth- then have at it!
I have chosen to reject even the word youth as a goal because I believe as long as we continue to give the positive attributes the name ” youth” we will not embrace or even seek the positive attributes of “age” or “old”. Aged and old are words which describe a stage of life which has its own unique energy and gifts,like any stage of human development. Can we really find that energy and use it and gather those gifts while we continue to see our better self named as young?
It is the pursuit of eternal Peace that keeps me young. I have lost only that which I have not appreciated. Everything else is a big win. My running habit has kept my body as svelt as a tiny 20 year old. My prayers and my “Hears” are the motivation that keeps me cool. Age is not loss. Age is a new Vista in my life.
I am fascinated by your response Lisa. What is a ” hear”
I heard about the idea of a new vista from many of the women I interviewed when researching my book.
It seems life 50+ can be a time of incredible possibility for women and for men. I do believe it is an ever opening space.
I am moved by your comment that you only lost what you did not appreciate. I write about gratitude in the book..
” It gets no better than this.The perspective of gratitude is as close as we get in this life to being godlike,whoever or whatever our god may be.
A perspective of gratitude is the trifocal of aging eyes, expansive, ego- destroying and peaceful.”
Thank you for your comments.
I discovered your website site online and appearance some of your early posts. Maintain the really good operate. I simply additional the Feed to my MSN News Reader. Looking for toward reading more from you at a later time!…
Anya Nakagawa http://ictjobsinfo.blogspot.com/2013/10/c-program-to-find-sum-and-difference-of.html
I am glad you find my site worthwhile. How old are you and what is your experience of aging? Please share more with us here.
I am sorry that you sometimes feel that you are floundering, I know those days do happen when we are beset with lots of change and that is what you are descrbing in your post, a time of change.
When change comes and particularly when we are over 50 it is helpful to do an inventory and rediscover who and what we have become
Ask yourself the following questions:
What do I know now that I did not know 20 years ago?
What do I think and feel now that I did not think and feel 20 years ago?
What do I do now that I would not have dared to do 20 years ago?
The answers to these questions begin your wisdom harvest and what you find in those answers will nourish the next moves you need to make and the next years of your life.
We have accumulated so much wisdom as we have lived , not lived always perfectly but just lived as a human doing some things well and some things not so well but all this experience when you become conscious of it is food to nourish you today and in the future.
Good luck and have fun finding your own personal fabulousness
Well, at the moment I don’t have wisdom to share, more that I am in need of some, so that’s why I am here. I don’t particularly obsess about needing to look like I was 25. Most of the time, I don’t feel old. I am in reasonably good health, although I do have a couple of chronic conditions that I should be taking better care of. In June, I was let go from my job after 20 years, and I am slowly easing out of a toxic relationship (he has finally moved out, at least) but I struggle with the idea of how few years are left, how many years I did not write, how I could have done things differently, how little time is left to do those things now. And even if I CAN do some of them. Instead of pushing through and doing what I can, I find myself procrastinating, immobile, floundering.
No truer a comment! (my point of view of course)
When embracing our age with grace, dignity and joy of a life lived, there is such a sense of liberation that one is no longer held captive by the expectations of society driven by the media, and thus freed up to creativity, play and exploration of ‘what’s next’!
Thank you for your comment Atrayah and play on! I think liberation is a marvelous word and I wished I had used it to title the book. As one of my interviewees said,” Life is a journey from and to freedom”
Brilliantly said and powerful when parsed. The first phrase, the gifts of age, rankles at first but then I am reminded of things like acceptance, more compassion, more passion to do what matters most to me. The second phrase felt right immediately. After all we all want to be appreciated and should be, it benefits all to experience the wisdom of life as it accumulates. Youth, ah youth, not sure if they can see the deep future or much of the future at all, it’s the nature of our existence. That said so many of us were nurtured by grandparents in addition to parents or only by them. We have all had older mentors, aunties, teachers etc. who have taught us valuable lessons. Thank heavens for them. And now, we get to be those people. A huge responsibility and such a joy.
Thank you for your comments Anne. I know what you mean by the rankling caused by the phrase “gifts of age”. I see folks react that way when I talk with them but I forge on trying to make that statement more acceptable to our hearts and minds.
I think we rankle because we are focused on the losses and we find the idea of gifts almost a little too “Pollyanna” like.
I have been gratified by the number of younger women who have found the message in my book valuable. Women as young as 30 are now getting Botox and I believe the fear of aging starts young, perhaps approaching the 40th birthday.
I think you are correct we are now the teachers and mentors and role models so we can impact the development of that fear in our younger sisters by celebrating the gifts of this age in a way that sends a new and important message.
Drop by any time and share your thoughts with us, you are always welcome to share your own fabulous experience
Hi Lynne, I just read your blog and I love it. You are correct we are sisters of the grateful aging movement.
Thank you for your comments.
I am curious why did you scream when you read my book? Laughter and tears I have heard before but scream…what was that about?
I just bought your book and I want to cry and laugh and scream! But more of that later…Here’s a short blog post that I wrote about the very same topic. I hope you enjoy it. We are sisters!
Jaki, I am delighted to have found your site! You have brought a very healthy and positive attitude towards aging. Being in the “Ageless Beauty” Business aka “Anti Aging” Business I have committed my lifes work to helping women be the best they can be in a realisitc and healthy way.
As I approach another birthday and reevaluate the things that are important in my life I find living simply is the key to my happiness. A happy woman is a beautiful woman. The harder one tries to fight the appearance of aging the older she looks. Accepting yourself exactly as you are at this time allows one to see their value and appreciate all the beauty that life has to offer. The beauty of family, friends,and community cannot be appreciated fully if we are not happy in our own skin no matter how young or old our number tells us we are.
[img]http://fiftyfab.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/MWarsh H&Scol.jpg Head shot.jpg[/img]
We are on the same wave length. One of the most exciting findings I came upon in my interviews was the fact that women who embraced aging were comfortable in their own skin…finally comfortable in their own skin.
I agree that we celebrate life much more readily from that place.
Good fortune in your work.
Even though I am not a woman, I can still identify with the concept of aging.I will hit the 50 milestone in two years time which is something I am not at all worried about. I feel much better these days than ever before, more confident in my abilities and I have increased self esteem. I just wish society wouldn’t look at people over 50 as washed -up.
Ps: Thanks for the follow on Twitter!!
Far from washed up we are tuned up!
I am about to start the research for my book about men and grateful aging.
Here is my email if you would like to be interviewed email@example.com…you sound like a great candidate
Here I am at 70 and thinking I am 30. I enjoy my life with my silver hair, (black highlights)a few pounds heavier than I would like, but I am happy with myself. Life is good, and the best things are free. I see a wonderful sun set every night and I am so happy that I have the view. The colors are awesome. We all have color in our life and one should look for it. It shines through us. I travel, quilt, read, garden, walk, and a number of other things. The days are full. I make memories with the grandchildren so they will remember me.
Thank you Joyce for your insights into what 70 looks like.
Contributions such as yours role model an alternative view on aging which we need to promote to reduce the impact of our youth obsessed culture which has bred fear of aging in so many women.
I hear in your words real peace, the peace and contentment and gratitude of what I call in my book “The Women of the Harvest”
Enjoy your colors and your small loves and thank you for sharing your outlook with us and don’t hesitate to come back and tell us more, we need more voices like yours.
Just before my 51st. birthday I bought myself a 26 foot motor boat. I have always been the partner of the guy who owns “the boat” so I no longer wanted to be that and decided to be the captain of my own ship. I call “Kathy’s Island” and it is an oasis of serenity for me. I would never have had the courage to do something like this when I was younger. Age has made me brave.
Fabulous! Congratulations,,,now if someone says you are “sailing into the sunset” , it will have a whole new meaning. Thank you for your inspiring post.
We need to connect! I would love to put your link on my web site – and perhaps you may want to do the same with mine. Please visit my web site and tell me what you think.
And yes ~ that statement reflects everything i have to say in my latest book as well!
[img]http://fiftyfab.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/chloe JPEG File re-sized.gif[/img]
I would love to connect. Those of us who share the positive aging message do need to band together and spread the message as efficiently and effectively as we can.
You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to start my first website, what blog platform do you use and recommend for me ?
You post awsome articles, bookmarked for future referrence !
Very interesting info, i’m waiting for more ! Keep updating your website and you will have a lot o readers
I want to start blogging too, what do you think, which blog cms is good for noob?
For the past 10 years I conduct environmental beach cleanup field trips for school children in Southern California. We not only clean up beaches along the coast, but we change children’s habits in a positive way. I love what I do! [img]http://fiftyfab.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/annunciation cath school 002.jpg[/img]
This statement has liberated me! Until just this moment I’ve been constantly thinking about how to stay looking young – should I have botox? Should I have a facelift, should I do 12 hours a day in the gym? Should I only go out at night? (honestly!!!) These thoughts have consumed me recently – not anymore. I will be who I am and proud of it! Thanks xXx
You are most welcome Melanie and while you are out there,during the day and night,enjoying life…spread the word about aging fearlessly and fabulously
best of luck to you and your fabulousness
And in the pursuit of aging naturally, enjoying each phase of life, honoring it and living it fully, everyone wins!
What a wonderful positive twist on the slogan for my campaign for positive aging, thank you Robbie
This is beautifully articulated and rich with insight. My blog is dedicated to this very topic — we have much in common. James Hillman once said that the main pathology of later years is OUR IDEA of later years. “Our experience of aging is so embedded in numbers of years left to live, as given by longevity tables, that we can hardly believe that for centuries late years were associated not with dying, but with vitality and character. The old were not mainly thought of as limping toward death’s door, but were regarded as stable depositories of customs and legends, guardians of local values, experts in skills and crafts, and valued voices in communal council. What mattered was force of character proven by length of years.”
I am fascinated by the relationship between aging and character, and in our obsession with youth we lose the opportunity to “grow into” being; to enjoy the full force of our character,coming into being at last.
I was fortunate to be exposed to powerful, sexual and wise older women when I was younger, and now, that is all I see. I believe older women have an inherent eroticism and intelligence that a younger woman can only dream of, and I am deeply committed to helping to change how older women are perceived in North America. I hope readers can visit my blog:
Thank you, Jaki, for doing what you are doing, and I hope to make contact with you.
Jesse (SeptemberMay on Twitter)
I could not have put it more eloquently–What’s taken us so long to realize this?
Thank you so much for this wonderful website! The links and blogs and even Events!
Wish I could attend. Sure could use something like this to jump start life again.
I hope to forward this on to another BFF in a similar situation! and then I’ll forward it on to Mom!
Just finished reading some poetry by Kabir- one line being “If a mirror ever makes you sad, you should know that it does not know you.” We(I) have devoted so much time and energy to the concerns of looking better, skinnier, younger.
I have been noticing older woman so much more since reading the book and how beautiful they(we)look. What a relief! Thanks, Jaki.
What a great quote, thank you Heidi. I am so glad that the process has begun for you…you are now hearing and seeing the positive aging message everywhere!
My friend Joan Tollifson (Ashland Oregon – formerly from Chicago) met you recently and sent me your website. I am a documentary maker; recently completed a film titled “I Know a Woman Like That” which Critic Roger Ebert cited as “transformative in the way it regards life from the perspective of age…extraordinary”. when we were at the Chicago Int’l Film Festival.
There is a trailer and ABC coverage of the film on my website
The film is not yet available for sale, but we are doing free screenings in some locations to raise awareness of it; There are two screenings in Chicago area in May and one in Piedmont (Oakland CA).
Look forward to being in touch.
Thank you for this great comment Kerry. This freedom form the standards of others is one of the fabulous fruits of wisdom the women I interviewed for Fifty&Fabulous offered.
I am thrilled that you have found it too…enjoy!
I love being the age I am. I feel more confident, more attractive and more myself than I ever have. Recently a family member tried to hurt my feelings with disparaging remarks about age related physical decline. Once I got over the shock of the outburst I realized to my delight that I really really don’t judge myself by anyone’s standards anymore. I am truly free and so much more productive and happy than I was in my youth.
Everything you have said I’ve been Thinking! But, also thoughts like: “I’ve been ‘young’ my whole life…now I’m supposed to be just ‘old’?” I have more energy today then ever before and I’m supposed to slow down?
I’m supposed to ‘opt out’ and participate less? I am a generation in transition in both mind and body.
What we thought would be, isn’t! What we were taught to think is totally outmoded and irrelevant!
So now, just when I have the most confidence, skill and balance I’m supposed to close up shop and hand it over to whoever has the younger looking skin?
I did not come all this way, through all this grit, gravel and gravity just to whimper out 3/4 of the way through. I am very interested to hear what you are all talking about. I have always had a “place’ in society and all of a sudden there’s this 2nd class citizen look reflecting in the eyes of younger (but only by 15 years) men and women! The much younger are in awe and respect, its the ones in the middle I seem to be in the way of.
Anyway…this si a favorite subject and I applaud you for your research!
Jaki here…Thank you for joining the conversation Divy. You sound like a fabulous example of someone who came to wisdom early in life. Don’t worry about the supposed to
messages that you are starting to hear. As you age they magically start to turn way down in volume until the only messages you are getting are from yourself and you will proceed in life just the way you believe you need to. And this is not selfishness , it is confidence and the a wonderful gift of age that allows you to be your own guide and helps you to let go of the opinion of others. But it sounds you are well on the way to that.
I think the “ones in the middle” as you call them are more wary because they have more fear about their own aging. You and I and all the rest who know that life is fabulous on both sides of 50 need to spread the word and help them out
Hope to see more of your fantastic comments
I am so looking forward to reading the book when it is available in Australia. I am at a wonderful point in my life and have never felt more fortunate and comfortable with myself. Thank you for writing this much needed resource. You will no doubt touch so many women with diverse needs and one common bond.
Thank you Ruthanne,beautifully put.Like you I have never felt more comfortable in this skin and it is my very sincere hope that Fifty & Fabulous can bring other women to this place or even just get a nod of sisterly agreement from those that are already here.
BTW Fifty& Fabulous,The Best Years of a Woman’s Life is available now on amazon.co.uk at
and is expected down there in Australia within 4 weeks.
Believe, you are fabulous!
Hurray for Jaki! I am saddened by any woman who is afraid to say her age. So true all these self-help books remind us to deny our age rather than embrace it. We need more books like this one.Can’t wait to get a copy. Way to go Jaki! Cheers. Adele
@Adele Tanguay (51 tomorrow!), Hello Adele! How wonderful to hear from you.I always knew you would be a Woman of the Harvest. When you get the book and you are reading it remember that strong women like you inspired me to write it.
I have a neighbour who is in her 90s and didn’t slow down since she was 20 probably
She works 6 days a week volunteering in library, hospital, old age home. Is giving scholarships to mining students, organizing parties for new scholars and for those that are finishing studies and for those that already did years ago. Elsi has plans for another 100 years. She is fabulous:) We probably know some like that and some waiting for a god at early age:) A
I have heard some people say there’s nothing good about getting older, and it’s too bad they feel that way. I sure don’t. I don’t think I could have come to the internal place where I am now without my life experiences; there have been so many of them, and they take years to have. I love looking at something which was a major tragedy in my life and thinking: if that hadn’t happened then that wouldn’t have, and then that wouldn’t have, …..on and on, and it is so amusing. I just lost my job, a job I loved and now I have no income, and that’s an issue. People around me don’t understand why I am not more upset. I am not happy about it! But I know, of course, that the next thing will come along, and be it “good” or “bad”…..it is all like the Chinese Farmer Story: it’s hard to say what is good luck and what is bad luck. Nothing knocks me spinning any more.
Surely the message in Jaki’s book is that thriving after fifty should not be the exception but ,rather, it should be the expectation of every woman that her life will be full and interesting as long as she lives. As an Episcopalian priest who was ordained at age 67 after a career in education,working in extended care facilities I see many remarkable women but I am also very much aware of ageism in our society. Older men and women have not regressed to a second childhood but have matured into wisdom. If aging was regarded with more respect it would be less frightening .
Jaki, thank you for getting the word out! Let’s stop perpetuating this false myth and share with one another what a rich time this is. The horizon opens wide to greet our creative expression. Much love to you for writing the book!
– Ellen G, 51-102
I couldn’t agree more – at the age of 44, I have never been happier or more confident in myself and the value I add to my family! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the book!
I couldn’t agree more. My life feels twice as rich and fulfilling as it did in my twenties and thirties. Love your message here!
“Now that am here, over the hill from 49 and in the green meadow of my 6th decade, I cannot imagine why I used to worry about getting older. What I have found is not a steep decline into oblivion on the the other side of the age hill but a marvelous wide open space and the freedom to make of it what i will.
Yes, life today has its challenges but did life not always have its challenges?
The next time I send someone an “Over the Hill” birthday card the inside message is going to be very different!”
– Jaki, 58