As children, we are full of enthusiasm and self-confidence. We want to try new things and explore new places. We want to push the boundaries. We also have an innate appreciation of our individuality and uniqueness. We want to be different.

Curious, quirky and independent, we tend to ask “how?” and “why?” rather than “What?” and “Where?” Weaving silliness and nonsense into our lives is a given, until the very important job of growing up begins. Then we enter the real world.

Sooner or Later We Learn to Fit in and Be “Normal”

Around the age of 5 or 6, we enter an educational system that grades us and compares us to others. We are encouraged to develop “useful” skills and become good at things. We are encouraged, by our teachers and our peers, to choose labels.

 
 

Ultimately, as we reach adulthood, conformity is more valued than eccentricity and we are required to choose a career. The qualities that make us truly unique are hidden, even from ourselves.

What Branded Box Have You Built for Yourself?

The brand we create for ourselves is shaped over many years. We tend to put ourselves in categories like woman, mother, teacher, nurse, musician, married or single.

Inside, we are all beautifully unique. Unfortunately, the subtlety of who we really are is hidden from the world.

As young women, many of us are afraid to share our “weird” goals, dreams and ambitions. We are afraid to express those bohemian or rebellious parts of ourselves that could push us out of our comfy boxes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be You Should Be a Mantra for Older Women

Now, as we reach our 60s, we have a choice. We can continue to live entirely by the boxes that we chose earlier in our lives. Or, we can dig deeper and find the little person who has been quietly waiting for us to remember them.

One of my favorite quotes is by Laurel Bleadon Maffei. She said, “Don’t be afraid to be you. The world needs your unique brand of awesomeness.”

Laurel Bleadon Maffei - Don’t be afraid to be you. The world needs your unique brand of awesomeness.

I love this!

As women in our 60s, 70s and beyond, we don’t have to judge ourselves by the same criteria we used in the past. We are free to offer the world a more complex picture. We are all the things that we said we were – mother, sister, wife, colleague and friend. But, we are so much more!

Our lives have been shaped by love and loss, learning and experience. We have passions waiting to be rediscovered. We have places to explore and people to meet.

Today, no matter where we are in the world, let’s make a commitment to being ourselves. Let’s let go of expectations and past labels. Let’s sing, even when others are watching. Let’s make exotic foods that our partners would never expect. Let’s be bold in the pursuit of our passions. Let’s share our own unique brands of awesomeness with the world.

We have absolutely nothing to prove to others and everything to prove to ourselves!

What passions, interests or perspectives did you leave on the backburner as a younger woman? Are you ready to start them again now? What one thing would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail? Please join the conversation.

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