Turning 40 last year was a turning point in my life. Cliche? Maybe.
However, I think my changing attitude started at around 35 (after having baby number 3, Daisy) and the process culminated in reaching the big 4.0. It’s taken almost 1 year to the day (I’m 6 days away from my 41st birthday at the time of writing this post) for the change to fully take form. It’s a seed of change that has blossomed into a lovely plant ready to bud and blossom. However, my plant has outgrown its original container and needs to be replanted in the open air, in order to mature and develop.
You see, once I became of aware of my approach into the middle years of my life, I’ve also became more aware of the invisibility of women over a certain age. Even worse, important women almost forgotten about. I see a lot of adverts, posts, articles, online ‘gurus’ and coaches, lifestyle bloggers etc giving me advice about how I should live my life. There’s a lot of good advice. There’s a lot of bullshit advice too, repeated over and over and over again, from the same bible of ‘life bollocks’. Yet there’s a distinct lack of voices who have experienced life. I mean REALLY EXPERIENCED LIFE.
Women who have been there, done that. Experienced the highs and lows, the ecstasy of love, the despair of loss. Seen the change in culture, politics, lived through technological advances. And then watched themselves become a very different person to the one they were 20, 30, 40 , 50, 60, 70 years ago. Experiences that only comes with age.
Yet there’s a distinct lack of those voices in our media. In daily life. What is even more of a tragedy is the negativity around ageing. I’m guilty of calling myself an old hag as the grey hairs have appeared and the wrinkles have deepened. Let alone coming to terms with what’s going on with the rest of my body – sagging boobs and grey hairs in most unusual places 😉
I recently put a call out on Twitter looking for blogs aimed at the over 40’s. I asked around a few blogger friends too. As I watched the tumbleweed pass through my screen, the sound of crickets was deafening. The only blogs recommended were fashion bloggers or parenting blogs. Some are great and they have their place but I want more… I looked on the magazine shelves. Those magazines, aimed at the over 40’s, are good for fashion (again) and interiors, the odd receipe, parenting and health advice but it’s so samey and boring. It feels so vacuous – is this only me? Having mentioned this to friends, I don’t think so.
If only Radio 4’s Women’s Hour was a magazine! The diversity of topics is perfect. The women, inspiring. I want to be inspired goddamit! I want to see, really SEE and hear about women and their stories. Their wisdom and experience that can only come with age. Sorry, my younger sisters. Without sounding patronising, you’ll understand when you grow up and experience a bit more.
I’m no writer. I’m no good at articulating my feelings in words. So that’s why I’ve started a new project to address some of the imbalance. The Art of Age – celebrating the wisdom and beauty of age through the eyes of inspiring women.
My plan is simple – draw 100 pairs of eyes of women who inspire me and you. Over 40.
I want to expose their experience. Their wisdom. The eyes cannot lie. Whatever a person is feeling, no matter how hard they try to hide, look at someone in the eye and you’ll see their truth. The years of experience leave their mark around the eyes, each line and wrinkle a badge of honour. Let’s celebrate that.
I’ve been many women in my life. Life has been a series of ecstatic moments, desperate times, difficult emotional upheavals, happy, low and very boring times too. As I get older I can see those moments in and around my eyes.
I mentioned this project to a creative friend the other day and this was their response:
“I was a plain, quiet and shy young woman and got zero attention. Totally invisible to men and women. But as a woman in my 50’s I feel very visible, and have oodles more fun, friends and opportunities than ever before.”
I’ll be calling on you and more women like my friend in the future to be part of The Art of Age project. I’ll be posting #theartofageproject updates here but mainly on The Art of Age Instagram account.
I hope you choose to follow along, be inspired and perhaps even share with a friend who may be questioning herself as she grows older. Let her know she’s beautiful, valued and in great company.
Have an inspired day
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