Older women can teach us all a lot, especially at a global moment in time when we are re-assessing our value systems.
I keep coming across older women in mainstream media, and every time I hear them chat on a podcast or write a column, I learn something profound.
Has anyone else noticed that getting older is on trend right now? And by older I mean old, old, like over 70.
Ageing is becoming something to celebrate rather than hiding another birthday under the couch hoping no-one will notice the passing of another milestone.
Iris Apfel Marks turned 100 last week. Australians may not know the name, but most will certainly recognise her look and signature style of bright colours, huge glasses and confidence oozing from every pore.
Swedish retailer H&M is so excited at her milestone they have announced a collaboration range with Iris out early next year. Hell yes, this is great news for us all, as it is a public endorsement of a female ageing, and of her life long achievements.
This could mark a paradigm shift, as this kind of collaboration is not based on 5 minutes of fame but on a lifetime of adventures, and challenges.
Old no longer has to mean uncool, and retirement for these women does not exist.
Apfel spent years as an interior designer, but not just any interior designer, she worked with 9 wives of Presidents to make over the White House no less than 9 times. She became a fashion icon when she was invited to put on an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute of her own clothing, and she quickly rose to fame as a fashion identity.
Another older woman garnering headlines is Elon Musk’s mother, Maye Musk. At 72 she is a model, author, nutritionist, and media identity who oozes style, and who is regularly quoted as saying she is in the prime of her life.
According to multiple press reports, she worked 5 jobs to raise three boys as a single mum in South Africa without maintenance, moving to Canada when Elon was 18 to give her children a better life. She has an instagram account full of A Lister events to rival any Hollywood 20 something year old.
There are plenty of other older women to admire and look to for advice for a myriad of reasons including actors Helen Mirren (76) , Meryl Streep (72), Jamie Lee Curtis (62), Madonna (63) and Jane Fonda (83).
So why talk about older women? Well they are a reminder of several things and have some life hacks we can all learn from:
- Life has many phases; When we hit 25, 30, 35 or 40 we can often have a mini mid-life crisis as we haven’t yet reached the goals we think we should have. But when we sit back and realise we still have decades to go, it can put things into perspective.
- Re-invention is a part of life – we don’t have to have just one career or get pigeon holed. Side hustles, re-educating ourselves and pivoting has become a normal and expected rite of passage for women.
- It’s never too late – we are living in a world where new businesses and new lifestyles can be borne at any age of our choosing. There are no rules and no limits.
- The only time line you create is your own – older women speak of enjoying the journey, and of unexpected twists and turns. These can only happen when we are prepared to let go and slow down.
- Don’t be afraid of ageing– the plastic surgery era we are living in can create huge insecurities around the way we look, but older women remind us we will all age, and that is ok. Life is to be lived, not for us to judge others or ourselves.