According to a study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 54 is the specific age at which we struggle to motivate ourselves to try new things. In particular, our mid-50s is when the link between our passion, positive mindset and grit weakens. Really? Tell it to Kamala Harris. She never gave up and at the age of 56, she became the first female vice-president of the US.
In my opinion, in order to keep going at our age and extend our sense of viability and ongoing worth, it’s also important to have mature role models to emulate. Someone who paved the road before us and showed us that at our age we are not over the hill and we can still achieve our goals. Someone who with her example endorse our right to hold our heads up high because learning, achieving, and contributing don’t need to have an expiration date.
In a paper ‘Who Supports Senior Women? The Role of Mentors‘, academic Susan Durbin mentions role models an important source of support for senior women for several reasons:
The most obvious being that they operate in either male-dominated industries and/or senior teams – she writes- In these senior teams, they often become isolated from other women and take on a ‘token’ status amongst their male colleagues. Life for these women is influenced by the proportions in which they find themselves because of their ‘scarcity’, their heightened visibility as women and the greater propensity for them to be stereotyped along with other women. How senior women deal with this and prosper may be helped by them identifying with role models and forming relationships with mentors.
Amongst inspiring leaders, sure we can name Oprah Winfrey, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep, Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel, Maya Angelou, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. However, most of them are not under the spotlight or on the cover of glossy magazine. You’ll find them in academia, in the sciences and in the corporate world or in your family.
I personally want to see active women endorsing a lifestyle we can actually achieve, ladies who accept their age and embrace it. What excite me are those women who are not just merely launch a career but succeed in keeping it going, not just combining family and work but continuing to thrive for a long time, not simply being successful but being able to forge links and create meaning for the community even if that means daring to fail.
Ageing, in the end, is the only alternative to dying. The fact that we’ve made it this far is something worth celebrating. Let’s age playfully.