Completely inspired by the celebrations of individuals and organizations all over the nation, 40+ and Fabulous has chosen to focus its celebration of Women’s History Month around the ageless potential of a woman. Where women fail to fully understand their potential in later life, there is limited motivation to plan for the future. This month, we will spotlight the achievements of women in later life, and promote the message of expanded opportunities for creativity as we mature.
There’s tagline I love from a commercial that says, “This is the age of knowing how to get things done.” If you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s and you still haven’t written that play, earned that degree, or started that non-profit – it’s not too late. We want to encourage you to keep those dreams alive. Refuse to abandon those lifelong passions. This can be easier said than done when we live in a culture that places extreme emphasis on youth, but you must realize and take ownership of the advantage that age and the accumulation of wisdom, emotion and intelligence gives you in your bringing forth something into existence that is needed and valued.
While we still have a proliferation of negative stereotypes and negative images of aging paired with creative decline, ours is also a rich legacy of some very inspiring women who have gone on before us, to show us what is possible.
Check out a few of my favorites…
Melchora Acquino – a Filipina peasant woman who, at age 84, became a well-known political activist in the Philippine Revolution. She became famous for her contributions in helping the Philippines gain independence from Spain.
Susan Boyle – the 48 year old show stopper on America’s Got Talent who wowed millions of viewers. The amateur singer stole the finale and brought us to our feet. And although it took her close to five decades to do what she was clearly born to do, Susan is proof positive that birthdays don’t matter, you can still make you mark.
Ida Keeling – in February 2011, the petite (4-foot-6, 83 lb.,) 95 year old ran a world record 60 meters in 29.86 seconds. Her daughter, a high school track coach convinced her to take up running at age 67. Since then, Keeling has been setting records and becoming one of the world’s oldest sprinting legends.
Grandma Moses – due to painful arthritis, Anna Mary Robertson Moses was forced to abandon a career in embroidery, but she didn’t let that stop her. Grandma Moses, as she is best known for, began a career as an artist at age 76. She became one of America’s best known folk-artists and continued to paint until her death at age 101.
Irene Wells Pennington – the wife of a wealthy oilman, became a 90 something year old business woman, straightening out her husband’s 600 million dollar enterprise, after his mental health began to decline.
Peg Phillips – began a professional acting career in her late 60’s, and is best known for her role as the storekeeper, Ruth-Anne Miller, on the television series Northern Exposure.
Mary Wesley – wrote her first novel at age 70, and went on to write 10 best sellers before dying at the age of 90.
Laura Ingles Wilder – became a columnist in her 40’s, but it wasn’t until she was 65 that she published her first book, Little House in the Big Woods. This would be the first of her 8-volume Little House series of children’s books.
And if you need other inspiring examples, just go to this link at the Museum of Conceptual Art website. Here, you can actually enter your age to display a list of accomplishments other people have achieved at your age.
I hope by celebrating these heroines you can see that your ability to move into a new direction and change the course of your life, your family, your community, your world is independent of age. But let me ask you something… if not now, when?