The Law of Change: History repeats itself unless we learn the lessons we need to learn.
How many times have you repeated a past behavior knowing full well that it might end badly? More times than you care to remember, I am sure. There are so many things that I could write about that I have done, that I knew deep down that I should not have. Live and learn and boy did I ever learn my lesson. I am still learning daily from these mistakes and have become a better person because my motto has become, ”one burned, twice smart.” Move on Elizabeth and know that life gets better and better (it has).
However, some people are sometimes just so insensitive today when speaking to the over 55 female demographic. This month I will comment on the ageism that I see in the workplace and in many facets of our society. Formerly called age discrimination, this phenomenon seems to be everywhere. From the comments about women over 45 being “all washed up” to the frequent “maybe you should retire”, we, the over 55 women, live with this every day. Some days I just ignore these kinds of comments but mostly it just pisses me off.
So how does a feisty lady handle these totally inappropriate, ageist, deplorable comments? What can a middle-aged woman do to thwart these comments?
My suggestions are listed below and are based on what we women have learned from our life experiences. We have learned our lessons and are not taking crap from anyone, anymore.
- Pretend that you did not hear the comment. This might work once but when you hear the comments for say, 2 or 3 times, you need to speak up. One friend was repeatedly asked about her retirement plans (which is technically illegal). She replied that she was in the job for the long term, with special plans for work that would last for at least five years. “Then ask me about retirement”, she said. The boss dropped the subject completely when she later did remind him about her employment plans and the law.
- Stay fit and healthy. Regular exercise and healthy eating will help you feel great, no matter whatever your chronological age happens to be. I am just as flexible as the younger set in yoga class, can walk just as fast as the younger set, and can curse just as fluently as the younger set. Who could ask for more?
- Dress stylishly. I have the income to afford great clothing, shoes, and purses that enable me to look my finest. I never ever wear those wild looking leggings, though, which are just too weird for me. And I avoid having anything hanging out that would be best hidden. I look my best everyday and never ever look like I have a hangover.
- Challenge the younger set to a dance contest. No one really dances anymore; they mostly just sort of jump up and down on the dance floor. A friend of mine was out dancing with her gal pals a few weekends ago and met up with some younger gals who were making snide comments about their dancing. Being a former nationally ranked Irish dancer, my friend challenged one of the gals to a “dance off”. Age won the battle and the younger women left the dance floor in shame.
- Take advantage of all of the over 55 discounts that you can get and let the younger set pay full price. I am never without my AARP, AAA, or store cards and coupons and am proud to save a bundle wherever and when ever I can. More money for me and less money for them. Being frugal is always cool.
- Let experience be your guide. You have lots of life experiences that the younger set does not want to hear about so just shut up and say nothing. When they ask you why you did not offer any advice just remind them that they would not have listened anyway. Let them suffer.
- Let your conscience be your guide and just do the right thing. Trust your gut and follow it religiously. Let no one talk you into anything that you might later regret. With age comes wisdom. Be wise and confident in all you do. Nothing unnerves some of these people more than when you are a poised, smart, sassy, feisty woman. Be yourself and rock out.
So my feisty friends, I hope that my strategies give you some great suggestions for surviving and thriving in the ageism of our present times. Know when to respond, know when to smile, and be proud of your age.
Celebrate the over 55 women. We should be running the world very soon.