This post is about "women of a certain age". Which poses the first question, because I am told that 60 is the new 30, so what age exactly are we talking about here???
Here we are: 86, (almost) 56 and 17. Three generations. And a very apt photo, for that's me in the middle; sandwiched between the emotional needs of my elderly Mum on the one hand and those of my teenage daughter on the other. So now you know why I am the one looking rather tired...
I will link you to a hilarious song I found on the internet, which sparked off my thoughts on women over 50. We are often invisible, us older women, the ones with the thinning hair and the sagging breast and the rounded bums and tummies. Not to mention the varicose veins.
But, according to Donnalou, we are divine. And I would like to add: indispensable. Why? Let me tell you!
1. Older women have wisdom. And some have a great sense of humour.
Let's face it. We have lived long enough to have learned to think before we speak, and to think after we have spoken as well. This makes a change from the young, who more often than not blurt out their thoughts before they are fully formed.
2. Older women have to juggle the needs of everyone around them.
Sounds familiar, hm? When your kids are small, that logically means that your parents are not quite ancient yet, and are often able to help out. But by the time that you are over 50 yourself, your parents are over 70, or in my case well past 80. And they need help; ranging from physical help, to emotional help to practical help.
I don't know how it is where you live, but in my country the government expects us to care for our elderly more and more (due to a lack of funds).
Due to cutbacks and the financial crisis we are in, there are not enough houses for the young, and grants for studies have been halved. So we often have our over-18 youngsters still living with us. Who lean back and expect Hotel Mama to run as smoothly as ever.
3. Older women struggle with the menopause.
This used to be the Big Unmentionable, right alongside with having your period. Thank Frith I can speak about it, for I see women all around me trying to get through this bewildering stage of their lives without to much collateral damage.
For most of us this period lasts approx. 10 years. Ten Years!!!
And not only do we have to cope with lack of sleep, hot flushes, dry skin (and a dry 'mussel', as one of my friends calls it), mood swings, a short fuse, thinning hair and sagging bodies. If we are in a relationship we also have to cope with the reaction of our partner to all of the above. And let me tell you, I don't see a lot of empathy and sympathy on the whole...
4. Older women are prone to health issues.
Yeah, but so are older men, you may say. Yup. And guess who takes care of these older men? I rest my case!
5. Older women often have to go it alone.
Statistically, we outlive our men by at least 5 years, and often far longer. For the generation of my Mum, this is even harder, as they have relied on their men for all things technical and often financial as well. I fill up the car with petrol for my Mum, she never learnt...and is too old to start learning now. When I tried to teach her, she ended up spraying the forecourt of the petrol station and that was it.
I see them, with their walking frames, alone in the shopping mall, and shudder. Is that the fate of us all?
What we need to do, is recognise that society cannot do without the older women! And we should value our older sisters more. And facilitate them. Empathise. Cherish. Value.
Older women make the world go around. Without us, it would simple stop.