sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Life Is Not a Dress Rehearsal – Don’t Slip Quietly Into Grannydom

By Penelope Jane Whiteley June 16, 2016 Mindset

Why is it that so many women, once they reach a certain age (usually taken to be about 50), allow themselves to sink into grannydom; yet again, living within the expectations of others?

Those expectations include putting on weight, doing strange things to their hair, dressing old, baking, disappearing, baby sitting, knitting… knitting?!?!

Knitting doesn’t work for me on any level, but I know women who are wizards at creating extraordinary knit wear.

The point is this – why is it something that becomes, in some circles, de rigueur for granny-women. Is it a residue left from our mother’s generation? Do some of us still have a picture of granny and try to create the picture in ourselves?

If we do find ourselves thinking we need to look and be like our own granny, is it not time to realise that this isn’t a dress rehearsal; this is our life. Being in theatre for so many years, I now look on life as being an opening night; complete with adrenalin, insecurity, forgetfulness, joy, pain, relief; everything we experience in a life well-lived.

Being disruptive is always a good start to creating change. In business, being disruptive is considered to be innovative and creative (sometimes). I think being disruptive is about making waves (such an old-fashioned expression), creating the right Attitude. You can check out what I wrote on this very topic some time ago.

I believe there are certain questions we need to ask ourselves and certain things we need to stop doing in order to LIVE, and avoid the pitfalls of pleasing all the time:

Understand this Really Is Not a Dress Rehearsal

As far as we know, there will be no coming back once it’s over and whatever we create is the legacy we leave.

What Is Your Legacy?

What would you like to be remembered for, not just by your family, but by future generations?

Stop Pretending and Performing As You Think You Should

The pretense and the performance are your coping mechanisms; when you reach a certain age, it’s time to drop these crutches; you just don’t need them anymore. Be real…

Let Go Of Anger, Hurt and the Past

It has to go! It serves no purpose, other than to cause physical and emotional damage. These are all part of your armour which, certainly at 60, you don’t need any more.

Accept That You Are Loved and Belong

This is such a hard thing to do!

We spend our lives people pleasing to feel worthy of being loved and belonging, when we just need to accept. The armor we needed when we were children often prevents us from growing; becoming a granny-granny doesn’t automatically create the love and sense of belonging you may think it does.

Be Adventurous, Be Daring, Be Different

Make people sit up and take notice. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Stop Feeling Inadequate

Self-esteem… again! Use the stock-taking process and accept (there’s that word again!) that you are perfectly imperfect, as all grannies are.

Be Courageous and Live Your Passion

It can be hard to fly in the face of convention!

There will always be plenty of people to say “You can’t do that”, “What will everyone think?”, “You’re so selfish; think of your husband, brother, sister, daughter, Spot the Cat…”. The people you need are those who say “Yay… go for it!”

Learn the Lesson… “What Other People Think of Me is None of My Business”

Often, in an attempt to be a non-granny granny, we allow other people to dictate our choices; something that happens throughout our lives because we are all so busy worrying about other people. I think it’s true that of all the people we meet in our lives, 50% will love us and 50% will hate us, because the Universe likes balance!

So… if you cannot get past the idea that other people’s opinions are irrelevant, just think of the 50% that love you. Simple!

It all comes down to understanding whether we want to live, or be happy because those around us are happy… surely it’s better to be happy ourselves! If we experience insecurity around this part of the aging process, i.e. becoming a granny, is it just another form of mid-life crisis at a different age?

There are obviously many, many well-adjusted grannies out there and I really wrote this for those who don’t seem to understand this is not a dress rehearsal… this is the actual performance, and it may be the one and only. It’s certainly time to behave as if it is…

James Dean said “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”; this is one of my favourite quotes and it’s so appropriate!

Do you think you’re a granny-granny or are you still smart (as in well-dressed), growing, learning, challenging? What have you done, or what are you doing, if you think you may be a granny-granny and don’t want to be? Please share any illuminating and positive stories of change and challenge; it’s good to hear what you have experienced!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Author

Penelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. A writer, international speaker, clothes designer, stylist and traveller, she helps other women to live their lives on their own terms. Her courses include “Lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes,” “The Reboot,” “Just Write the Damn Book.” Find her on, Twitter, and Facebook.

You Might Also Like