By the time women hit their 60s, they have likely thrown away their last menstrual supplies and swapped for lubricants. Some may still have postmenopausal symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, headache, insomnia, irritability, and depression to name a few.
Yet despite the symptoms, we are a remarkable bunch. What women over sixty have is determination, dedication, and resourcefulness, having benefited from post war optimism. And let’s not forget the 60s’ “make love not war” movement.
Even if you survived the era never having burned your bra, you felt the change. Music told these stories in folk songs and popular bands crying out for social justice, freedom, originality. Voices like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and The Beatles. In John Lennon’s song “Imagine,” he sums it up with his hopeful lyrics: “living for today” and “a brotherhood of people living life in peace.” Imagine that?
No doubt he was a dreamer, but maybe he was onto something. Is it not a state of mind to decide, despite our internal and external circumstances, to find beauty for everyday living? Feeling better at sixty is a choice. We get to be dreamers and feel the excitement in a morning walk, a good song, and a soft kiss.
Our adventure of deciding to not give a hoot about someone else’s thoughts on our choice of clothing, if you skip retirement to start a new career, if you want to get that pixie cut already! What about finally silencing that critic inside that undercuts you. The revolution most needed is the shift out of what doesn’t serve you – like that girdle, trash that relic! It’s time to let it all hang out.
In other words, what holds you back may be your own limiting and critical thoughts. Like an outdated girdle, self-criticism will squeeze the real you out and leave you feeling less than that adventurous and the genuine person you were born to be.
You may be tempted to need that constricting device and yet the choice is yours to let it go. The sensuality comes from relaxing into the rolls, wrinkles, batwings, and breathing into your imperfectly sensational self. The shift is the same choice you make when you take off your bra and let the girls free. It just feels good to be you.
Imagine that intimacy and sensuality is more about having the confidence to declare you are the woman you want to be. I’ve always loved Diane Von Furstenberg for her spunk, not to mention her fabulous wrap dress. The Belgian design icon and philanthropist says it beautifully:
“Love is about relationships, yet the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Who else is with you at all times? Who else feels the pain when you are hurt? The shame when you are humiliated? Who can smile at your small satisfactions and laugh at your victories but you? Who understands your moments of fear and loneliness better? Who can console you better than you? You are the one who possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness. You cannot have a good relationship with anyone, unless you first have it with yourself. Once you have that, any other relationship is a plus, and not a must.”
Having an intimate relationship with myself has been an awkward tango of learning to leverage the stuff that made it tough to let myself relinquish the need to be perfect. It came with unrelenting self judgement and a keen lack of insight into my rigid behaviors.
Therapy helped me to take all that “stuff’ and convert it to resilience and growth. I discovered my need to be perfect was code for please don’t see my broken wings. Now I often tell myself I’m perfectly imperfect, and I love the woman that I am.
It took a few tears and an honest desire, to see each day as the “first day of the rest of my life.” Life is too short for me to lose time aggravated that my thighs are on their way to look like the inside of a coffin. More importantly, I have little patience for wasting my time by not being genuine.
I’ve learned it is o.k. to state an opinion, and I won’t turn to dust if someone doesn’t agree. I’m liking the image in the mirror and being daring with my choices. Who cares if someone else doesn’t like my funky shoes if I do?
The women I speak to struggle with still not being comfortable being themselves. The adventurous side within us takes risks and rolls with the uncertainty. She finds the courage to take all she’s learned and experienced and come out all the better for it.
After all, at this age, there isn’t a lot that is certain besides paying taxes and death. The women who are most resilient have learned to be kind to themselves.
Despite all the transitions, they have arrived at kicking the futile sport of arguing with their wrinkles, the bathroom scale and creepy skin. It’s not the diet, or the bottled creams that give women their emotional pep, it’s all in the belief that they rock despite all the changes.
They learn to quiet the obnoxious critical thoughts and leverage their resourcefulness. Yet there’s a silver lining in all that firm skin gone south and the crow’s feet. It’s an opportunity for a mindset shift.
Your aging beauty is your badge of honor. You earned it, wear it with pride. You’ve lived through a ton of difficult, challenging, and amazing experiences. They are yours, celebrate them and choose to love the sixty, sexy, sensational woman you choose to be.
The external evidence of aging doesn’t mean we need to slide into a cozy couch and wait. It’s fuel for us to get our stuff together and make the shift already. Like the Beatles song, “Blackbird”:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
What changes have you made to create your most sexy and sensational self? What has helped you make mindset shifts towards less self-critical thinking? What do you do to feel sexy and sensational?