We were one of the first generations of women to have the opportunity to chart our own course from the very beginning of our lives. Yes, many of us faced challenges with discrimination, and even harassment, along the way. But, for the most part, we were given an incredible opportunity to be healthier, better educated and more independent than any other generation.
Nothing can prepare us for the changes that take place in our bodies after menopause. Everything seems to happen overnight -- although, of course, the process is gradual. Our hips, breasts, legs and arms are transformed in ways that no-one told us to expect. Inside, we feel like ageless, vibrant young women, but, on the outside, we are slowly turning into our grandmothers.
I will accept that "grace" sounds like a lovely word. After all, who wouldn't want to be charming and refined? The problem is that it is both inaccurate and restrictive. It is inaccurate because older women want so much more from life, as the rest of this article will show. It is restrictive, because, like the "good girl" syndrome, it tells us how we should behave to be accepted by society. It implies that older women should slow down and gently fade into the sunset.
Why is it that the only women that get praised by the media for looking great in their 60s are a predictable group of about 10 celebrities? Maybe these women are blessed with amazing genes. More likely, their polished looks can be attributed to an army of makeup artists, hair stylists, plastic surgeons and personal trainers.
Women, especially older women, often feel invisible. Like many women, I spoke out in the 1960s. I pushed hard to build a career in a 'man's world' and I started the Sixty and Me community to give women over 60 a voice. But, even though I value my voice and believe that women have every right to be heard, I have to admit, there are times when I love my cloak of invisibility.
Midlife women are doing it again. As we did in our 20s, we are questioning fundamentals, challenging the status quo, being stubbornly bohemian and embracing the unconventional. Boomers are tenaciously breaking down stereotypes about aging and redefining life after 60. However, this raises an important question.