In only a matter of weeks, I’ll be throwing the biggest party I’ve ever had, for the biggest milestone I’ve ever reached. On August 12th, I’ll be hitting big 40! As you do when a big one is coming your way, it’s natural to take stock of what we’ve achieved, how we envisaged we’d be upon getting to that age, and how we’ll go into it feeling about ourselves! In complete hypocrisy of how women like to think we’re there for each other, what is often the truth is that we women often highlight to each other an unrealistic version of what we should be!
I realized that when I was growing up, I didn’t really have any particular role models which I kind of thought at the time, meant that I was my own person, and it was good that I didn’t focus on any particular person to show me how things should or shouldn’t be done! I have now decided, that that may have been my undoing, and that going into my 40th year, I need to be realistic about who I wanted to strive to become, or I may wind up once again feeling lost!
As we get older, especially as women, it’s hard not to get bogged down by how young we no longer look, and all the things that we no longer have on our side – as opposed to those things we now do! Focusing on how many wrinkles we have, or whether our bottoms are still where we left them at 25, is in a word, ‘futile’! Same goes with being 25, having that great behind, but expecting to have a wealth of wisdom, and life experience on board! Realistically the two don’t often go hand in hand! And no disrespect meant to either ‘tick box’ I’d like to add!
So while watching Oprah Winfrey’s special on ‘Inspiring Women’ the other day, I realized how exciting it was to look forward, thanks to women like Maria Shriver, Billie Jean King, and Gloria Steinhem, who were profiled on this particular show! How beautiful they all were, in so many ways that is earnt only over time!
For instance, I had no idea that ex tennis world champ, Billie Jean King, had not only 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, but had also famously accepted a challenge from former Wimbledon men’s champ, Bobby Riggs who at age 55 yrs, had come out In a match that became dubbed the ‘Battle of the Sexes’, King, watched by over 50 million people around the world, defeated Riggs in what she still describes as the most nerve wracking match of her life! Nerve wracking because “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match. It would ruin the women’s [tennis] tour and affect all women’s self-esteem.”
And then looking at the still so beautiful Gloria Stenheim, who was not always so flatteringly dubbed a ‘feminist’ – showed me that age 70 not only can still be stunning to look at, but adds a layer of beauty that cannot be bought over a counter! Her life achievements in bringing society up to speed for women in the areas of equality, that we now take for granted has earnt her the position of ‘inspiring’! Thirty years to achieve an ounce of what she has, certainly seems like a better goal than botoxing myself back to age 30.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting in the next 40 years I am going to defeat any tennis world champs! Nor am I thinking whatever I achieve needs to land me on a talk show! Nor am I holding out hope of ever meeting Elton John, let alone him being inspire to write me a song, but what I do hope we can do as ‘people’ moving into another stage of life, is, to find people that we can look up to, so we don’t get distracted by the hype of the one’s no longer so relevant to where we are!
DO YOU HAVE SOMEONE YOU LOOK UP TO?