In February 2010, my book Fifty & Fabulous!: The Best Years of a Woman’s Life launched in the UK. It was a whirlwind of interviews and reviews and a fantastic opportunity for me to spread the word that life after 50+ is Fabulous.
Shockingly one UK paper, The Daily Mail, stands out in its review titled, “Sorry to be a party pooper but I can’t see anything fabulous about turning 50.” (Mail Online Feb.18.) Now let me be clear, I can take criticism and if you want to tell me even in a national paper that you don’t think I can write I am OK with that. What I am not OK with is any paper with millions of readers supporting the view that life is over after 50 years.
In all fairness to the media company which owns the Daily Mail, the article I am referring to was presented as the opinion of the author who with great courage and vulnerability shared that her own recent 50th birthday has been a devastating milestone. However I am perplexed and horrified that a news medium would think it is OK to perpetuate the myth that life ends at 50. Besides the demoralizing affect such a myth can have on its readers it is just not true …as the more than 80 women who commented on the Daily Mail article prove,
“Sixty I am waiting and ready ! ! !”
“What a load of rot… l’m 51, and l’m really happy.”
“Your life is what you make it…. I learned to scuba dive last year, and have my advanced cert with over 40 dives. I dive most weeks with a buddy who is over 60, it’s wonderful… I LOVE being 50.”
“Forget about the number of candles on your birthday cake, and get on with life.”
“I climbed the third highest mountain in the UK when I was 53 and I wasn’t the oldest in the party!”
“FORGET your age. Embrace life.”
It is my opinion that the, “life ends at 50”, myth and the anti aging attitude which results from it is the offspring of our body image obsessed culture and of traditional psychological theory which teaches us that human development peaks at 25.
No wonder we don’t look forward to aging. We look at those years over 50, see the physical decline and assume that also means mental and emotional decline and we run in panic to the Botox clinic because obviously the only solution is to stay young.
Stop right there! Life after 50 is about so much more than your wardrobe obsession. It is finally the time in your life when you will feel comfortable in your own skin…now how many years have you waited for that? It is the time of life when you can live without so many of the boundaries that have restricted your youth…sound intriguing?
To be honest I am very grateful to Ms Hay for her review of Fifty &Fabulous! The Best Years of a Woman’s Life because she stirred up a very vibrant, very not “over the hellish”, response.
Keep up the good work ladies…speak out! In a world where mainstream press will tell you should be ashamed of your age, your body has lost all its value and life has past you by, you need to be prepared to share the truth with a bold and passionate voice. The good news is it will not be tough to do because that is exactly the sort of strength those 50 + years have bred in you.
Speak up ladies and drown out the myth and pray Ms Hay will find her fabulousness soon.
About the Author: Jaki Scarcello is an author and an International Coach Federation (ICF) certified coach. She is a Social Science graduate from the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada and has studied workplace coaching at the Adler School of Psychology in Toronto.
She lives a nomadic life between two fixed bases: Toronto, Canada and Hermosa Beach California. Between spells in either home she travels with her husband an author and lecturer. See more about her book at her website Fifty & Fab.