This post is for all my readers who are forty and older. That’s not to say that those of you who are younger than forty won’t benefit from the post. On the contrary, I hope it gives you something to look forward to!
I have been thinking a lot lately about age. Now that I’m forty-one, people have suggested that I should become a mentor for young women who want it all. It seems that managing a business and three children (with one on the way) is an outstanding feat. There has been one thing standing in the way of that mentor idea, however.
Since becoming pregnant this time around, I’ve started feeling old.
I’ve never really concentrated on my age because no one ever made it an issue for me. However, once I started going for my OB visits and sonograms, I suddenly became very aware that the threshold of being forty seems to be a big deal. Doctors repeatedly mention the risks of being pregnant at my age. My medical file is stamped in big letters “AMA” (Advanced Maternal Age).
How could I have gone from being a vibrant entrepreneur traveling the country and sharing my expertise with other entrepreneurs and advising families in the midst of planning their weddings to being an “old lady?” I couldn’t imagine being a cheerleader for young women as I was struggling with my self-worth after the big 4-0.
This morning, I came across an article that has happily shifted my perspective. You can find the article here. The article is about the book “In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age,” a cultural history of aging by New York Times culture reporter Patricia Cohen.
Many of us, especially women, see middle age as a time when our looks decline, we are less relevant, and we are less desirable. The book takes us through history to explain how this attitude became accepted.
On the flip side, Cohen considers middle age as “a time of extravagant possibilities.” I think this message is HUGE. I meet many men and women during my travels that are in their 40s and 50s who have decided to reinvent themselves. Whether they were let go from their jobs because of the economy or they came to the realization that they wanted to live life on their terms rather than what a large company allowed them to do, they were taking the brave step of leaving the safe path and embarking on a new adventure of entrepreneurship. How brave and exciting!
If you’re in a position where you are toying with the idea of starting something new, I say go for it! It’s never too late to change your life and make it into the one you really want. It may be cliché, but you do only live once…so what are you waiting for?
I just downloaded Cohen’s book on my iPad. (See? You can teach an old dog new tricks!). I can’t wait to read it in its entirety. Oh, and when you click on the link to the article, don’t forget to check out the seven middle age myths slideshow at the bottom of the page. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
I want to hear your stories about embarking on new adventures after forty. Post your thoughts for me here, or email me at susan(at)susansoutherland(dot)com.