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by: Better Not Younger
June 10, 2019
Look at Jennifer Lopez (who, let's just point out, makes gazing so easy to do). Then try Jennifer Aniston. Octavia Spencer. Michelle Obama. Heck, look at Jane Fonda.
These women aren't just influencers in their forties, fifties and beyond—they're proof that for the first time in history, our society is beginning to recognize that women have the unique capacity to improve with age. More and more, we see women sustaining incredibly successful careers, entering new roles in our lives, and taking on influential positions and new adventures in ways that no longer permit society to consider us "past our prime" once we've stepped out of our thirties. Instead—when it comes to everything from our careers to our relationships, our wellness, and even our physiques—middle age is no longer considered "over the hill," but a significant rite of passage into a time when, to reference the old "fine wine" cliché, a woman truly does get better with age.
To contemplate where we are right now is pretty extraordinary. "It's a beautiful time for women," says Ken Page, a New York City-based psychotherapist, author, and podcast host. "For the first time, we're experiencing a cultural context that allows for these qualities of radiance and empowerment to co-exist. For so long, we lived within a horrible, crushing gender binary that said you can't be tender and fierce at the same time. But now, women can be powerful and accomplished, and also live with a full heart."
When many of us think of this period in the lives of our mothers and grandmothers, we might remember this as the stage when they assumed the role of grandmother or even caretaker to an aging or retired spouse. Today, the forties and fifties are an age to explore new interests, pursue our independence, transform ourselves, and even advance our careers. "I'd been battling illness and depression for almost a decade, when earlier this year I finally spoke with a few trusted figures and decided that I was ready to initiate a divorce," says Lee*, a 45-year-old entrepreneur. "I was ready to be healthy, grow my business, take control of my finances, and most importantly, to be the kind of woman I want my kids to become."
Another female colleague, aged 51, is in the process of buying her business partner out of the firm they’ve co-owned for the past 15 years, while another friend turning fifty this year has just seen her two children graduate from college and high school, respectively. "Some people have joked that my husband and I are going to be two bored empty nesters," Paula says, "but I'm actually looking forward to it. We're working on a whole list of places we want to see."
This era is an increasing departure from the twenties and thirties, which are often filled with hustle that's dedicated to raising a family, building a career, or both.
For the first time ever, the forties and beyond are a time when we’ve already demonstrated what we’re capable of to others...but maybe more importantly, to ourselves. It's here we begin to feel a certain mastery over our goals in a way that inspires us to take new risks. The result is that this timeframe invites us to step into it with more grace than hurry; more self-assurance than sheer, strong-armed determination. "It's the difference between feeling like you have to prove your strength versus choosing to lead with your gifts," Page says. "Within those gifts that make you who you are is where true radiance lies. When a woman claims that, she shines."
So welcome to a better age, both in your life and in our world. While our position as women evolves, we have to be kinder to ourselves than ever. Tapping into our power in the world "out there" calls for each individual to support her inner self exquisitely. "The beauty that comes from a radiant heart is the most compelling beauty of all," Page says. "That comes from honoring who you are." It's in the way we treat ourselves that truly determines our power—and while the task might sound big, this level of self-care is actually easy. A few right-now methods you can incorporate into your life:
1. In the morning, pause at the window for just a few breaths to view the sunny sky, the rain hitting the leaves, the flowers, or to listen to the birds outside. A few moments focused on breath can "calm and settle the mind" and establish "the senses as a home base" for the day, says psychologist, author, and meditation teacher Dr. Tara Brach.
2. Take just 60 seconds before you climb into bed at night to move through a head-to-toe gentle stretch routine, stretching the muscles and opening the joints after you've been sitting at the computer or keeping up with errands and the family all day.
3. Take your vitamins! Our Better Not Younger Significant Other hair fortifying vitamins are loaded with biotin, vitamins, and minerals that strengthen your roots to promote healthy hair and unbeatable shine.
4. Work more fruits and vegetables into your diet with this green smoothie from Katie Bressack, a Los Angeles-based holistic health coach specializing in women's hormone health. The ingredients in this smoothie work to balance levels of cortisol, a hormone that impacts our metabolism and moods, and offer nutrients that support the strength and vitality of our bones, joints, tendons, hair, and skin:
5. Begin to intentionally shop for the beauty products that won’t just get you clean, but that will nourish your body from the inside-out. (Remember those sudsy shampoo commercials from the Eighties? The sulfate in the products we used for years damaged hair by stripping away natural oils and drying out the scalp, which results in hair loss and thinning.) Equip yourself to step into the world feeling supported, whole, and ready to manage the day—with the certainty that no matter what you face, you've got your own back.
If you find yourself making space for a few extra moments in the day to focus on your own well being, we'd love to hear how you're making it happen. Shop our products and visit our Instagram to share in the conversation about how we're all becoming Better, Not Younger.
*A fictional name was used to protect this subject's privacy.
By Kristine Gasbarre
Kristine Gasbarre is a New York Times and internationally bestselling writer and contributor to publications for women. Her work has been featured in media outlets such as People, Glamour, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and more.