I have been fortunate, over the last 30 years, to have a variety of “older women” in my life. Oftentimes they were my roles models – at 20-30 years my senior they demonstrated a variety of strengths I didn’t know (then) I’d ever need. They also offered complete, non-judgemental support of my choices: from the way I raised my children to ending my marriage to giving it all up to move and take care of my dementing mother.
Life has come full circle
As life is wont to do, mine has come full circle. I am back in the city I left 12 years ago, I am back in the ‘hood I lived in for 20+ years, and I find myself back in the lives of many of those women from ‘before’.
Many of those women were part of a seniors’ exercise class I led. As I’m back in town, I am now the back-up leader ‘of the pack’. As I work from home after a career in ElderCare, friends are asking if I can “help out” with aging relatives and friends from time to time.
Thus it is that I find myself, again, in the company of a myriad of women 20-30 years older than myself. As I’m wending my way through my 60s, these women are well into their 80s and 90s.
They haven’t really changed
Thing is, though, they haven’t really changed. They’re slower. Some of them are frailer. Their vision is compromised. They have a few replacement body parts. They’ve lost a few friends and more than a few spouses.
The important bits haven’t changed. They are still optimistic. They are still funny. They are still flirtatious and try every measure imaginable to pry romantic information out of me (I’m such a disappointment!). They still work at volunteer positions. They still travel. Most importantly, they still support each other unfailingly as they each, in their turn, face down life’s transitions.
I don’t think a woman could ask for better role models than I have. While I’ve always valued them as that, now that I have a few achy bits and an unreliable knee, now that I have very few external demands on my day as I wake up, now that almost every decision I make each day is entirely mine to make… I am in awe of their fortitude in each of their days.
(As an aside, I looked “fortitude” up in the thesaurus to see what other words I could use to complement my point, but that one word says it all: courage, determination, endurance, fearlessness, firmness, grit, et al.)
I also find myself gravitating toward stories of much older women who still embrace life – after they read this post, I hope my Facebook group understand why I share so many.
Role models for the next gen
I also wish my daughters a similar family of role models. I know they keep their eye on me – that helps with my stick-with-it-ness – and they have grown up with my role models in their lives. My role models will, however, probably be up to shenanigans in the next place by the time my girls are in their 60s. I hope I’m not in that next place (but certainly still up to shenanigans) as those years unfold.
Your turn now…
It’s your turn now.
Who are your role models?
Are you a role model for someone?
Share a story of a role model who has really impacted you, who is a strong influence on who you are becoming.
Or… send a link of someone amazing you’ve read about – I’ll share it with my Facebook group (which you’re invited to join!)
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