Women Over 60 Are Speaking with a New Voice – Strong, Wise and Respectful
Women over 60 are wonderfully complex. Over 6 decades, our roles, and our perspectives, have shifted. In the 1950s, we were “good girls,” who knew our place.
We read our parent’s rulebook, cover to cover. In the 1960s, we started to develop our own voice. Our political views became as colorful and varied as the bohemian clothing that we wore. We didn’t all believe in the same thing – but, we all believed in something!
As adults, we fought for our rights in the workplace. We challenged stereotypes and lived in our own way. The ride was bumpy, but, this turbulence made us stronger.
Now, in our 60s, we are discovering that we still have a voice. Unlike previous generations, who were expected to “age gracefully,” we have the opportunity to follow our passions and stand up for what we believe in. Most of us feel that we have earned the right to speak our minds – and, after 60+ years on this planet, we have something to say!
Women Over 60 Are Discovering their Voice
I recently asked the 100,000 women in the Sixty and Me community whether they are more or less likely to speak their mind today. If you think that older women are comfortable drifting into the sunset, you’re in for a surprise! The great majority of the women in our community said that they are more likely to speak their minds now, compared to when they were younger.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that we want to be loud for the sake of it. We just care deeply about the world around us. We still believe that we can make a difference.
The way that we use our voice is also changing. Several women mentioned that they had become better at delivering their opinions. These women have something to say, but, they are respectful of others’ opinions as well. After 60 years, most of us are speaking with a voice that is strong, wise and respectful.
Here are a few of the responses that I received:
“I have always had strong opinions. Unfortunately, I also felt stifled and fearful throughout my career. This was because earning a paycheck and supporting my children were my top priorities. I am retired now and, with a smile on my face, I am free to express myself as I choose. It’s wonderful.”
“Our life experiences have taught us when to speak up and when to keep mouths shut. Don’t get me wrong, I will speak up. I am not a timid mouse. I am woman, so, hear me roar… when needed.”
“Oh yes, I’m more likely to speak my mind, especially outside of my workplace, now that I’m retired! As we get older, our perspectives of the world are unique, because we’ve lived through more history. Our older years are a time of reflection – but don’t keep your reflections quiet. Share them with the younger generations.”
“I feel that I have earned the right to voice my opinions.”
“I am more likely to express my opinions, but, I am careful to express them with an open heart and mind. I have learned that some people just aren’t ready for some messages!”
“Since hitting my 6th decade, I’ve become more confident in the way I express my opinions. I’ve probably become more tactful too. I believe that each of us has a unique set of gifts and talents and we need to use them to make our lives count, in our own unique way.
We need to live as if we really mean. Don’t fade into the background. Do something that has meaning for you. Go after deferred dreams. This is a great time to explore your options, experience life more fully and become the women we were born to be.”
“I definitely use my voice more than before. I think this is probably because I don’t care as much about what other people think. I’m not saying that I don’t think about what I say or that I don’t consider other people’s feelings. It’s just that I feel that I have the right to voice my opinions and stand by my ideas.”
I did not wait until I was 60 to speak my mind. I always spoke my mind. I do agree that, because of our experiences, we have a unique perspective to share.”
“I speak my mind far more than in the past. I have something worth saying.”
“I am more likely now than when I was younger to speak my mind. I wouldn’t say boo to a goose back then. I would say that I got more assertive when my daughter left home.”
I speak my mind. But, I have learnt when to be silent as well!”
“I have always have spoken my mind. Now it comes from a deeper place – one with more wisdom.”
“Now that I am retired I do not have to mind my tongue.”
“Yes, I think we do have a very special perspective to share with the world. Most of us keep on trying!”
“I speak my mind in an appropriate manner. I do not waste my time dilly-dallying anymore.”
“I have learnt that I can be assertive without being aggressive and opinionated without being close-minded.”
Or, as Louise says, “Now is the time to be wacko and free!”
I sometimes wish that we lived in a society where the opinions of elders were appreciated. We’re not always right, but, after 6 or 7 decades on this planet, we have something important to offer. To the younger women out there – reach out to the older women in your community. You may be surprised by the humor and wisdom we have to share. We would, I am sure, learn a lot from you as well!
Have you become more or less likely to share your voice, now that you are a little older? Do you think that you are better at delivering your perspective in an effective and respectful way now? Please join the conversation.