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Aging Gracefully: Options For Life After 50

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Writing and blogging about life after fifty for women is becoming popular. I concur that we are overrun by marketing designed to make us look needfully at youth and beauty, although I do respectfully disagree with the notion presented in Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s September 7th Huffington Post article, “Life After 50: The End of Aging as We Know It“. Is the implication that by that striving to look and feel younger – whether by 5 years, 10 years or more – we’re like victims of some sort of group hypnosis…a plot enacted by the wily marketing gods upon unwitting midlife ladies in denial, dazed and confused by the spectre of menopause!

Every day I see ridiculous ads on my computer with images of wrinkly old ladies instantly transformed into winsome 30-somethings via some sort of ‘beauty secret’. The grocery store is filled with my peers walking around with ridiculously puffed-up lips and suspiciously perky boobs packaged in tiny teen-age t-shirts. These are outward manifestations of excess, yes, and might be considered disturbing results of a society that reveres youth and beauty in 60-second spots.

The baby boomer demographic is HUGE (for both women AND men…) and the viral marketing gurus are taking full advantage. But I believe that the real change for 50+ women lies not in the fashion choices they make or the fads made so popular by modern society and science, but by their life choices. Their ability to have a full life outside of work and wife. Their expectations for full educations, careers, economic security and healthcare. And fun. Their way, how and when they want it.

I don’t aspire to the idea that when you hit this age it’s all about how much cash you can throw at your appearance. When I think of ‘reversing the clock’, I’m not thinking of my hair length or color (artificial since…oh, never mind.), my midlife figure (it is what it is ) or those lines on my face that make me who I am (a ‘la “Bangs Not Botox!”). For me personally, “fifty is the new forty” is best represented by other things. For instance, the fact that I’m a ‘mature’ woman working in a fast-paced internet environment with people mostly half my age. It means that I love music from all the decades. It means I have no problem trying something new, no matter how ridiculous it may feel at first, or look all the time.

Let’s face it…the menopause crowd are no longer the only ones under the youth microscope. Even the 40’s are in for it now! Ha ha! I have underwear older than some of the models that are mincing up and down the runways now, or posing in magazine ads with those vacant stares. For heaven’s sake…why are we even still debating the social statement that gray hair is somehow supposed to make? Yes, natural gray hair is beautiful on many women, but not all. (If you saw my hair in it’s natural state, you’d beg me to do something about it. Seriously.) Besides, does anyone really believe for one moment that Jane Fonda – as healthy as she was/is, looks spectacularly 45 at 72 without some sort of assistan Of course not! But so what if it makes us, if nothing else…hopeful for life after 50! I’m good with that.

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