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“>From the WebMD Archives
Who says women over 50 can’t have joy?
- On the cusp of her 50th bday, Katie Couric became the very first female solo anchor of a national evening news showcase.
- At 57, Diane Keaton produced her seventh movie and played the heartthrob of 39-year-old Hollywood heartthrob Keanu Reeves in Something’s Gotta Give.
- At 61, actress Susan Sarandon is still the American prototype for the sexy older woman, a title she claimed in her 40s.
“A seasoned woman is spicy,” writes Gail Sheehy, the over-50-and-proud author of Passages and founder of the Seasoned Women’s Network online. “She has been marinated in life practice. She is at the peak of her influence and power. She is committed to living fully and passionately in the 2nd half of life, despite failures and false starts.”
What do other women think is the best thing about turning 50? To find out, we asked WebMD readers, as well as a doctor (Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bods, Women’s Wisdom), a clinical psychologist (Nancy O’Reilly, PsyD), and a retirement lifestyle specialist (Cynthia Barnett, EdD). We also checked out what prominent authors Shirley W. Mitchell (Fabulous After 50 and Sensational After 60) and Jane Ganahl (Naked on the Page: The Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife) had to say about women aging, then sprinkled in a few observations from 60 Minutes‘ crusty humorist Andy Rooney.
Women Over 50 Are Freer
1. After turning 50 I felt liberated. I felt like I could say what I dreamed to say, do things I wished to do, and wear things I wished to wear. — WebMD:Suezee52
Two. At 50, if you use condoms it’s for safe lovemaking, not for avoiding pregnancy. What a ease when that’s not a worry anymore! — J. Ganahl
Three. We don’t sweat the little things any more — and we’ve learned that darn near everything is a little thing! WebMD: — Clara38
Four. The woman over 50 makes her relationship with herself No. 1. The kids are grown. She’s learned to let them go and stopped worrying about them. — N. O’Reilly
Five. You say “screw it” to plastic surgery. I read somewhere that more women in their 40s get plastic surgery than in their 50s. I think it’s because once you hit 50, you don’t care. You say, “I am who I am.” — J. Ganahl
6. In their 50s, women realize they don’t have to have a mate. They realize it’s OK not to have a date everywhere you go. — N. O’Reilly
7. You know that the clock is the fine leveler. Those 20-somethings with their flawless figures, looking at yours with pity, will someday have their own cellulite to contend with. — C. Northrup
8. You get fresh hair, fresh clothes, to match who you want to be. You don’t feel old, look old, or act old. — S. Mitchell
9. Nobody’s going to fault her for using Botox, dermabrasion, getting a nip and tuck. She can be who she wants to be. She can be a redhead one week, a blonde the next. You can tell her you like or don’t like it — but that doesn’t mean she’s going to go after your advice. — N. O’Reilly
Women Over 50 Are Powerful
Ten. A world of opportunities opens up when you turn 50. Today, there are entire web sites, companies, and services faithful to the over-50 demographic. Find your niche in that market. — S. Mitchell
11. Women over 50 are a powerful market force in today’s economy. Women buy 80% of consumer goods and services, and among the 80 million baby boomers, that’s power. — N. O’Reilly
12. Women over 50 are president, CEO, and the starlet of their own lives. If you have the attitude that life is precious, that life is grandiose, that you don’t want to waste any time, you will make this quality time. — S. Mitchell
13. The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving in 50-year-old women. She’s following her desires, embarking her own business. She’s forming partnerships with other women’s businesses. She knows that collaboration is a valuable part of being successful. — N. O’Reilly
Women Over 50 Are Self-Assured
14. You know what you like and what you don’t like. If someone is attempting to talk you into wearing pink because it’s fashionable, you don’t let them influence you. There’s wonderful self-trust when you hit 50. — C. Northrup
15. You’ve learned that you can depend on yourself and you are open to fresh opportunities. You can accept switch, tackle life, and stir on. — S. Mitchell
16. There’s no such thing as “dressing 50.” We’re past the point when someone can say you’re dressing too youthfull. Women know themselves, what looks good on them, and dress to complement the assets they have. — N. O’Reilly
Women Over 50 Are Sexy
17. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than her junior counterpart. — A. Rooney
Legitimate. I look better today than when I was in my 30s. I am 87 lbs. lighter and dress to display my figure-8 kinks. — WebMD: Edie90601
Nineteen. Women in their 50s make superb paramours. Going through menopause can be enormously freeing. As she ages, her sexiness becomes more significant, and she is better able to love it. — N. O’Reilly
20. You’ve gotten over the “nice chicks don’t” thing. Hopefully you’ve ultimately gotten over that! You know yourself sexually — and if you don’t, this is the time to find out. — C. Northrup
21. I am working out, shopping, traveling, and loving my friends more and often. I lost weight and my style of dressing has switched. I am now wearing hip-hugging jeans, leather — everything. Even my lovemaking life has improved. — WebMD: Jackson922
22. A woman over 50 looks good wearing bright crimson lipstick. This is not true of junior women or haul queens. — A. Rooney
Women Over 50 Have More Joy
23. You can ultimately get the car you’ve always wished. You can throw the minivan and truly indulge yourself. — J. Ganahl
24. We’ve learned that being older is the flawless excuse to get out of something we didn’t want to do anyway. — WebMD: Clara38
25. You’ve learned to appreciate spontaneous humor, for it gives life a spicy flavor. You laugh a lot, and laugh out noisy. You let the child within you play. You don’t have to be “ideal” because no one’s ideal. — S. Mitchell
26. I am self-employed and having joy. I am taking classes at the local university and remarkably made friends with students of all ages. — WebMD: Edie90601
27. When you’re over 50, you have the freedom to date for the joy of it. It’s more about do we have chemistry and am I hot for him? — J. Ganahl
28. We’ve discovered that we can act like teenagers whenever we feel like it, and people think it’s nifty. — WebMD: Clara 38
29. You’re ultimately kid-free. For some people, that is very sad. But I don’t know a single person who didn’t come around to “look at all my free time. I can totally take art classes, I’m not tied to the carpool.” — J. Ganahl
30. You recognize that talent does not know age. You learn the value of taking risks, pushing your private convenience level, reinventing yourself. — S. Mitchell
31. At this age, almost all guys are junior than you, so might as well date them. People look at you less askance for dating junior fellows. — J. Ganahl
32. A woman over 50 will not lay next to you in bed and ask “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think. — A. Rooney
Women Over 50 Know What They Like
33. You learn to fuel your life from your inward wisdom, from your soul. Your life only works well if it’s fueled from what’s indeed true inwards, not from what’s current in magazines. — C. Northrup
34. You might participate in a current trend, but what’s true must be from what’s in you. — C. Northrup
35. Your sense of private style comes together. After decades of experimenting, you learn what feels comfy, what looks dazzling. — J. Ganahl
36. If a woman over 50 doesn’t want to see the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting. — A. Rooney
37. You truly have learned who you are as a person, what your likes and dislikes are. It makes life ever so much more pleasant and joyful and simpler when you know. The downside is, it makes it hard to find people to date because you’re so much more selective. — J. Ganahl
Women Over 50 Are Wise
38. At 50, you realize that life is big, much thicker than you ever knew. You see that life has this capability to be very healing, that the total implications of events aren’t always evident. What you might think is awful can turn out to be a bliss. — C. Northrup
39. Women get psychic with age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 50. They always know. — A. Rooney
40. It’s a time of self-reflection. You thought the glass ceiling would make you glad and fulfilled. Now you’re looking for your purpose in life, looking for work you love to do. — C. Barnett
41. She knows the value of mentoring. There are junior women out there who want role models. A woman over 50 has wisdom to suggest. — N. O’Reilly
42. You know the wisdom of capitulate. You’re right that your ex-husband wronged you. You can spend the rest of your life striking that drum, but that’s the road to bitterness. There is wisdom in letting go of your grievances. You begin to know what’s significant and what isn’t. You know what hill to die on. — C. Northrup
43. When you turn 50, mortality rears its face. Women embark looking for their mission in life. The entire arena of providing back to society becomes their concentrate. — C. Barnett
44. You have more compassion, more acceptance, for yourself and other people. You are no longer shamed by your own humanity. You learn to see the humor in your own foibles. — C. Northrup
Women Over 50 Are Just Getting Embarked
45. I’m undoubtedly not the same person my mother was at 50! With the skill we have now, the sky’s the limit. I rail horses, scuba dive, zip line! — WebMD: Mustang1956
46. There’s something truly bracing about being 50. You realize how youthfull you are. And you realize how much more to life there is. — C. Northrup
47. At 50, you learn the value of being sultry about something — a paramour, a career, your life. Passion is what makes you leap out of bed every morning, makes you love every moment in the day. — S. Mitchell
48. You look forward to meeting your grandchildren. When that happens, it will be the best thing of my life. — J. Ganahl
49. A woman over 50 knows the value of celebrating life. She’s sizzling, not fizzling. She’s savvy, not sad. — S. Mitchell
50. I am loving life and it’s only going to get better. — WebMD: Jackson922
SOURCES: Gail Sheehy, author, Passages, founder, Seasoned Women’s Network online, seasonedwomansnetwork.com. Christiane Northrup,MD,author,Women’s Figures, Women’s Wisdom. Jane Ganahl, author, Naked on the Page: The Misadventures of My Unmarried Midlife. Shirley W. Mitchell, contributor, 101 Excellent Waysto Improve Your Life, author, Fabulous After Fifty. Nancy O’Reilly, PsyD, psychologist and life coach. Cynthia Barnett, EdD, retirement specialist.
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