On the Fabulousness of the Fifty-Something Woman

As I was waiting on a delayed flight at Tampa International and taking a break from computer work I browsed the newsfeed, seeing an article about prize-winning French author, Yann Moix, declaring that he was incapable of loving a woman in her fifties, that they were “invisible” to him. By the way- Yann is fifty. Huh. Really?

Aside from the obvious gut reaction of disgust at the cruel and sophomoric mentality of dismissing a group of woman simply because they’ve passed some sort of arbitrary expiration date, it caused me to reflect on what being a woman well into my fifties means to me.

The Facebook age challenge…here is 2008 vs. 2019.

I’m well past that expiration date of fifty; I have more wrinkles than I care to admit, and my multitudinous gray hair is artfully hidden most of the time. I’ve had a hysterectomy and have put on some weight that I’d like to part ways with, and I have aches and pains that pop up on a more and more regular basis. Mom always said, “Gettin’ old ain’t for sissies.” She wasn’t kidding.From our International Clarinet Association Board meeting this weekend.

However, I’ve come to the realization that I love being in my fifties for a host of reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with my appearance. And for the record, I’m far from ready to be out to pasture, thank you very much.

A very young and insecure me…

I spent my youth thinking I was less than, not good enough. I thought I was too heavy, too shy, too soft spoken, that my needs didn’t matter enough to fight for them. I let other people in my life define who I should be and what I should be. The results? I suffered from anorexia and bulimia through much of my twenties and into my early thirties and I stayed too long in relationships that were not healthy for me that have taken years of work to rebound from.Tampa Bay at sunset…

Something else happened during that time, though; I worked hard at my career. I tried my best to be a good person and grow as a professional. Somewhere along the way I finally fell in love with myself little by little and believed that I deserved more. What a difference it has made.

Home…

Now don’t get me wrong- I still have a slew of insecurities and faults that I’ll be trying my best to grow through until my last breath on this earth. But maybe I finally dared to believe that I was worthy of love, worthy of being successful in my career, worthy of happiness- no matter what the scale said, what others said, or what that little voice of perpetual doubt in my mind said. About damn time.At the Florida Music Educators’ Conference…

Once that happened it was like some sort of proverbial floodgates opened, and I let good things flow into my life. I found my sweet Dan after a year spent on my own learning that I could be happy by myself- that was important for me to know. Wonderful things that I’d never even dared to dream happened at work and in my career. I began to feel empowered, strong- but all in the same genteel ‘wrapping’ in which my mother carried her own strength. We southern women have power in our genes, but we are often afraid to unleash it for fear of seeming unladylike.The Tampa Convention Center…

When Dan and I were talking over the holidays about our gratitude list, I teared up and finally spoke the words I’d been holding back for quite some time concerning the amazing professional year I’ve had: Why me? What did I do to deserve all of this? Dan replied, “Why not you? You have built your career and success brick by brick. You are the kind of person people like to work with of course you deserve all of this- and every other good thing that happens to you, too!”

It was such a beautiful thing for him to say, and still I shook my head in denial and couldn’t just tell him thank you, accepting his praise. Even after a lot of growth, it seems I am still hardwired to shy away from praise- or believing that I am worthy of it- no matter how hard I work to earn that praise. I will keep working on that; it’s one thing to be humble- which I always want to be- and a whole other thing when we women don’t feel worthy. Finding a place to practice during a conference is always a challenge…

However, even with several things to work on, I see the fabulousness of being a woman in my fifties. We have grown past worrying so much what others think about us. We’ve learned that there is far more to beauty than an unlined face. Our trials and tribulations over the years have tempered us, made us strong and given is wisdom and perspective. We’ve learned the importance of true friendship and love and are determined more than ever to surround ourselves with both. What amazing gifts that I can only believe will increase as the years pass. The famous Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City…

And so, Yann Moix, you are missing out on some of the best women in the world; mature women who can hold their own, women who don’t need validation from someone like you. Women with depth and heart. That is a type of beauty that can only be created over time, like a fine wine. A wine that anyone would be fortunate to have. Cheers.


6 thoughts on “On the Fabulousness of the Fifty-Something Woman

  1. I’ve watched this challenge with real interest. I’ve watched my friends share their nearly ten year ago pictures and their today pictures. In my mind, practically every one of them has improved with age. (You too.). It’s not just looks. I know how these people, my friends, have grown as people in that time. Me, I adore my fifty year old wife, and can’t wait for the next ten years.

  2. Brava!! I really came into my own in my 50s. As I march through my 60s I’m happy to be me. I am embracing my whimsical side as well as unleashing my creativity!! Your Dan is absolutely correct in that you have worked hard and deserve all the accolades you have received (I’d use more exclamation points but that might get the grammar police chasing after me – but I don’t have time for those shenanigans!).

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