Exploring the Generation Gap
As I sat in front of the TV, slurping my “Skinny Cow” ice cream, I watched the bevy of male beauties seduce the 20-something glamour girl who giggled her way into their hearts. On occasion, she attempted to say something profound, but who was listening?
“You’re so beautiful” he says. “You are everything I want in a woman.” (Familiar words… and I believed them every time… every single time… back in the day.) Just what she wanted to hear, as she sat there with her bare legs stretched out in front of him, hiding nothing. She tried to act intelligent, but come on… her limited experience was a clear drawback. At least to me it was, and to my 50-something friends. But I suppose not to her suitors. So, there it is… there is the generation gap.
Our physical attractiveness as women is at its peak in our twenties and thirties, but after that, when we finally have something to say, we are overwhelmed with ads telling us how to look younger, defy aging, get rid of the wrinkles. And the change from a “hottie” to “ehhh” seems to happen overnight. One day we were the belles of the ball, with all eyes upon us, and the next we become invisible, a common complaint among mid-aged gals. A beautiful woman walks through life unchallenged. So in our youth, all eyes and ears are on us. After 40, some of us wear the micro-minies to “bare it all,” but soon we learn that we look hideous. It’s really a no-win situation—our age and wrinkles are a huge drawback, but when we try to dress like our 20 or 30-something sisters, we’re told we look ridiculous.
So it’s back to the drawing board… again. I pick up my Crones Don’t Whine book by Jean Shinoda Bolen, who tells me that I have finally found my voice. Ah, so that’s what I’m looking for. My voice! She suggests I find my “outraged self,” the one that says, “Enough is Enough! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
She says I’m like a mother bear who practices tough love when my kids grow up. Yeah, I buy that. The whole “poor baby” culture in which we are immersed is a bummer. “Touchy-feely” does not reflect the fierce compassion of us momma-bears. “Silence is consent,” says Bolen. I had to learn to be silent over the years, because no one was actually listening, until…
I found my voice; I realized a new appreciation for who I am as a boomer. I have wisdom, creativity, an open heart and lots of experience, experience that I share with the younger generation. I’ve learned to pay it forward rather than competing. As I sat in my write-up group with the 20 and 30-somethings, I suddenly became aware that all eyes were upon me, everyone listening with rapt attention. I went home that night with a sense of peace. I make a difference. I had a breakthrough, not an exhilarating one, but one that flowed through me. I looked in the mirror at the newly empowered person I had become and tears filled my eyes. Thank you for this moment. Stay tuned. There’s more to come.