Ageing Is Optional

10 August, 2017

Blow-drying my hair at the gym this morning, I overheard a menopause conversation between the three thirty-somethings standing at the mirror next to me.

There was the brunette, trim, groomed, designer athleisure wear, lumo shoes – the picture of upper middle class southern suburbs Capetonian, (except for the in-flight cosmetic bag freebee), who declared “I can’t wait for menopause!”

Which made the tall blonde – complete with potted orchid in cellophane with pink ribbon dangling dangerously close to the hot hair iron – squint at her from behind the mascara wand, and say matter-of-factly “You’ll lose that gorgeous skin.”

(It was gorgeous.)

Which prompted the third woman, the tiniest of the three, to murmur her agreement and add “And you’ll dry up.”


“Isn’t that an old wives tale?” said the somewhat horrified, somewhat giggly brunette from behind her hand. “Nope” said the blonde as she replaced the cap on the mascara with a satisfied twist, scooped up her orchid and balanced it on a fertile hip. Your eggs will shrivel up into nothing.”

People actually believe that after your 50th birthday it’s all downhill. Yes, we’re bombarded with the message that menopausal women have outlived their usefulness. They’re no longer young and glamorous. No longer able to bear children. No longer effective in the workplace. The menopausal woman is the victim of unpredictable mood swings, diminished vitality and broken dreams.


That’s one way to look at it.

On the other hand, you could argue that after their 50th birthday women change into a powerful feminine force, suddenly unencumbered by expectations that have kept them small, overly cautious and afraid to upset anybody.

From this point of view, ageing is a choice.

As a woman heads into the next phase of her life she can continue to put other people’s needs ahead of her own, and fuel herself with processed foods, sugar, caffeine and anxiety. Or she can start living courageously, as if she really means it.

The world is full of examples of women over 50 who are slaying it. Take Louise Hay – at 58 she launched the self-help publishing empire Hay House, and at 90, she’s still going strong. What about Ernestine Shepherd – at 80, she’s the world’s oldest title-winning female body builder, and get this, she only started at 56. Cindy Joseph started modeling for Dolce & Gabana at 49, and in her 60s launched her own cosmetic line.

“We’re taught there is a prime of life. I say, throw that out the door. Every moment is your prime. There is no peak. It just gets better.” Cindy Joseph

For you it may mean something much simpler – you finally find the courage to stop dying your hair to hide the gray, or it may mean you finally start dying it because it makes you feel better and you don’t care what anyone thinks of your decision. You get to decide how you want to express yourself. Never mind what anyone else says.

Still not convinced?

Here are 7 more things women over 50 have going for them

  1. The fear of not being able to depend on themselves left with their first husband.
  2. Any significant losses they’ve experienced have shown them just how strong they really are.
  3. They’re at peace with their weaknesses.
  4. They’ve figured out ways to work around their impatience, their introversion, their contempt for cooking or cleaning or whatever it was they were told in their teens would hold them back from being well-liked and accepted and attractive to men.
  5. They’re able to put matters into perspective. Whether it’s a stolen cellphone or their teenager’s rant over screen time, they no longer have to phone a friend to vent or write furiously in their journal. They’re able to shrug their shoulders and say “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.”
  6. They have a finely calibrated BS detector. They know when they’re being emotionally blackmailed.
  7. And my personal favourite, they realise that “No” is a full sentence.

No, woman of 50, when you hit menopause you’re not old. You’re just arriving at the doorway to your full wisdom and power.

Eggs or no eggs.

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.