Recently, I have been going through a very reflective state of mind..and I had a thought, why is it that we women over 50 feel this new found freedom to be who we want to be and live as we want to live??
Is it merely that we’ve reached this time in our lives when we don’t care what others think, or is it simply a time in our lives when our wisdom brings us further, or is it a time when our true selves suddenly appear???? Maybe..or is it simply because we are older and have less patience for others competing with us or judging us….
Or possibly..is it feeling the accomplishment of our life roles; child, student, wife, professional, mother, grandmother, that opens and clears the path to our soul, allowing our respective smoldering gifts to not only emerge and bloom, but to actually “re-emerge”? Is it the chapter not simply of emergence..but re-emergence which brings to light our next true purpose????
Maybe..just maybe.. it’s simply the proverbial life’s “fork in the road” as we arrive at a pause in our journey now needing to map out what is next to come and what is the right path to choose?
Or..just possibly..it is that now, uninterruptedly, our minds and days somewhat quieted, is what will enable us to again hear our excited heartbeat, or feel the butterflies in our stomach or sense the tightening of our bodies? Can we each finally become aware and ready to take notice of what feels good, or right or wrong for us?
Whatever it is, HEAR YOU, LISTEN TO YOU, FOLLOW YOU. Take a breath and within the quiet of these moments take steps to BE YOU and guide YOURSELF every inch of the way.
In these pandemic times lack of discipline, half-measures and wanting to be liked can kill us. The new PPE for people over 60 is boundaries.
Remember when we were all in this together? In New York City in the early months of the pandemic we were paralyzed and petrified. We all followed the herd into lockdown, happy to be free of choice as the daily death toll hovered around 1,000 people. As mass refrigeration was organized to hold the bodies, our minds were numb with indecision. We chased information like we used to race through the day.
We slowly emerged as virus theories developed, scientific evidence formed, and safety measures were established. The world started winging its way toward freedom. But Covid-19 rubbed the theory of natural selection in the faces of the older generation and grounded us.
If our age has us feeling cAGEd in this pandemic, it’s also what can get us out. We have put in our time in self-knowledge, actualization, and tolerating less bullshit. We have grown a backbone to set limits. If we are to be happy and alive, the simple truth is that we have got to engage with this virus and deal. I’ve realized that since Covid struck I am now firm in what I like to call my Middle Mantra, for most everything. Coming to the middle brings reasonable choices to our values, and beautiful connection to people—albeit messy, and meandering. Unless we are medically-compromised we cannot choose to live in the extreme of being a shut-in. Nor can we avoid reality on the other end with the mask-protesting mob. Assessing our individual risk tolerance and getting boundaried up, beginning from the middle, allows us to connect and survive.
As I’ve been testing my own boundaries I’m learning that even with the potential for dire consequences, the uncomfortable moments, potential disagreements and feeling judged are still absolute. Enforcing boundaries is a weighty practice, but there are big payoffs. Being informed and having a plan lightens the burden.
5 Strategies to Have a Life Right Now if You’re Over 60
1. GOOD EQUIPMENT
Get a good mask for situations that give us a higher chance of infection–like being indoors or in closer proximity to people. N95 masks without valves and surgical masks are still considered to be the most effective. A recent article by AARP gave these tips to determine how effective any mask is:
- Pull it tight and hold it up to the sky, if you can see daylight through the mask it’s not as good.
- Blow really hard through the mask and if it goes through, that’s not super-protective.
This Forbes article with research conducted by a team at Duke University, from August 9, 2020, is an excellent guide to safe masks.
2. LOOK AT STATISTICS
Assess the infection rate p/100,000 where you are and the potential viral load in a situation, before deciding to say yes. This article by an infectious disease researcher, with a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, has been my go to since the start of the Corona Virus. She uses a simple formula:
Successful Infection = Exposure to Virus x Time
3. BOUNDARIES WITH YOURSELF
Disclaimer: I have abandoned my own rules and chickened out in the moment. Practice and persistence, not perfection.
Doing your research and having a few set promises to yourself will make it easier to judge situations as they come up. This also allows you to make plans and have things to look forward to. Deciding limits in a few areas puts the control back in our hands, rather than just surviving in a swirling world of fuzzy, shifting guidelines.
For example, I’ve decided that when museums open up again in New York that that’s something I can participate in. Since it’s indoor, I will only do it once every month or two and I won’t spend more than a couple hours there. This is where I’ll wear my most protective mask.
I’ve been saving up my inside chits for the times that give me the most fulfillment. That means I no longer get manicures, pedicures or go to the hairstylist often—I now do everything myself! Look at how capable I am! I’ve only been to my hairstylist once, and I was able to minimize my time there because I’ve been coloring my roots myself. So I asked her just to cut my hair, without shampooing or blow-dry.
I take liberty on my early morning walk with Finnley to take my mask off if there is no one down the length of the block. I get comfort in those first scents of the day and of this city that I love. Sometimes I smell the beach (NYC is bordered by two rivers), or the aftermath of an overnight rain, the perfume of flowers on a balcony, or just the indescribable, distinct, mingling smell of New York City. If I see someone up ahead, the mask goes back on.
4. BOUNDARIES WITH OTHERS
What are your rules that others need to abide by if you are going to be in contact with them? What do you need from them to provide you with reassurance?
When I saw my sons in Denver a couple months ago, I was in a quandary about how to ensure that they weren’t maybe asymptomatic. Their safety measures aren’t as staunch as mine because Denver had a low infection rate at the time, and they are young. A friend suggested I ask them to get tested close to the date that I was arriving, but enough in advance to get the results beforehand. Then I asked them to be more isolated and protected until I got there. Since we only get to see each other every few months, we all felt that it wasn’t too much to ask.
Ok, so here comes the hardest one of all. If you want to get together with someone who may not be as Corona-Cautious as you, you are going to have to find out what the past two weeks have looked like for them. I know—ugh! Plan out ahead of time what you are going to say to be informed. I was having lunch outside with a friend and since masks are off, I needed to know how careful he had been. When we were making plans I brought up my “past” (two weeks), told him why I thought I was safe and able to go, and then asked, “How about you?”
5. BOUNDARY BOOMERANG
Don’t judge others and you won’t care if they judge you. If you’re letting others have their guidelines, there’s a feeling of entitlement to have your own. Aging well means adapting to our environment, not the opinions of others.
The theory of natural selection discounted a lifetime of earned understanding and strength to boost our survival. Mask-Up. Boundary-Up. Live (some) life.
Sarah Sian is the founder of an online Beauty Community that is pro-age, pro-beauty and pro-women supporting women. Website: https://thebeautyagenteurs.com Instagram: @thebeautyagenteurs
I have 18 years of experience as a writer, editor and brand consultant across beauty, fashion and retail.
I am so lucky to have worked with some amazing brands including Debenhams, L’Oreal, BY TERRY, Perricone and Harrods, to name just a few.
After seeing a rise in ageism, bullying and mental health issues on social media, at work and in relationships, I wanted to create a fun, kind and friendly online space; the goal being to help those affected so that they can start to feel beauty confident again regardless of age, race and gender.
I actually had my own brush with ageism in September 2019 after working as a Beauty Editor for 18 years. The team was getting younger, which I adapted to in a positive way saying “things never stay the same and I accept this” but something wasn’t feeling right. I was excluded from meetings, the team wasn’t talking to me much, etc.etc. It was only a matter of time before they literally shoved me out of the company claiming ‘redundancy’. It was like going through a horrible divorce; having 18 years of amazing times, then a few awful years solely because of my age. I was up and down for weeks, some days I couldn’t get out of bed. Then one day, I decided to turn this awful experience into something positive; so I set up this new and exciting ‘blog-comm’ dedicated to empowering women, especially women who feel they have become invisible after a certain age.
It’s a place that recognizes you…the busy mums on-the-go, entrepreneurs who run successful businesses, nurses who work tirelessly to look after others, visionaries who have fought to keep their ideas alive and single parents who juggle all aspects of life no matter what is thrown at them.
So, instead of feeling invisible after thirtysomething, let’s be visible again with the help of each other. Start wearing glitter eyeshadow, carry off a bold lip and go heavy with the eyeliner…just wear it with confidence. After all, the beauty of beauty is that there are no rules. Beauty is fun; so let’s all be kind and come together through our love of beauty to inspire, encourage and form beautiful new friendships along the way.
We invite you to join the conversation by submitting a comment below.