Aging for women is more than just hormones and menopause, more than just coming to terms with losing physical beauty and ability to be there for her children. Aging also means coming to terms with the loss of control over one’s own faculties – first the ability to make a living, then one’s status and importance in society as being part of the senior citizens not a part of the more dynamic, productive working class, and then one’s control of the muscles, and finally, one’s eventual losing of memory. With aging comes the challenge of facing, handling, and accepting and struggling with deterioration.
True, I cannot stop the aging process, but I can halt it by watching out what I eat, exercising my body and mind, and living my life to the fullest and continuing with building on my dreams and goals. Instead of subscribing to the grim notion of aging, I would rather focus on successful aging by engaging with life in its full vibrancy, maintaining my body to lower the risk of disease and disability, and pursuing my studies, not necessarily in a school setting, to maintain and sharpen my cognitive capacity. I have a reason to live, and to live long.
I have a beautiful daughter whom I live and whom I wish to support in her endeavors, and I have grandchildren to look forward to. I have a promising career, I have just finished my degree in Accountancy, I am offered a promotion, and I know that this is only the beginning for bigger things. I have proven that I can do what I put my mind and heart into. Being a woman, being ethnically Jamaican, growing old… these are not hindrances, not limitations. I did not succeed despite of these. I succeeded because of these.
I believe that having gone through all that I did made me a stronger person and my upbringing as a woman led me to age gracefully, overcoming all the world has to put in my way towards achieving my dreams. In the future, I would like to impart my experiences and the things that I have learned – that I have rights and I can invoke them, that I can stand on my own and be financially independent, that although I can live without a man and can raise my daughter alone it is better to have a partner who can fill in the role of a father figure and someone who can support me and share life with.
I have a daughter, and I want her to know that being a woman is a wonderful thing, that as a woman she has in her a strength that no man can shake. I want all other women who are undergoing problematic relationships, who are being abused, who are being challenged in the workplace, to know also that they have it in them to succeed. And for me, as I grow older and count the years, I want to learn more about myself and my environment, form closer bonds with my relatives and family, and hopefully be more active in society.
I will be one of the old people in the future, and I know that more than just health care and social security, the old need attention and respect. They have worked hard for most of their lives, and it is with respect and importance that we should treat them. Ultimately though, the essential center of the battle that is the aging process is in the mind – in the way that one personally sees the aging process, and not just through theories nor advertisements. Personally speaking, by having a balanced, whole, and realistic view on the signs of my own aging, I can deal effectively with the process.
Through the understanding and acceptance of the fact that each stage of life has its positive attributes, which are an important part of life’s experience – the better I will handle the negative influences, and attitudes of society. Life’s experiences are essential for balanced human growth, and this stage in my life is just another phase and opportunity for learning. I believe that the change that women go through as they mature (not limited to the menopausal stage) and the social factors that make up her life, her status within society, her age, her beauty, and so forth, are all elements that mature as life progresses.
Through a clear understanding of who she is, what she is, and where she wants to go, many women make enormous changes within the mid-life period. The learning experience that happens throughout this time will shape her future, and it is through this event, that lessons are learnt in terms of life experiences. Facing the fact of growing old changes a woman, it can be one filled with anxiety, or one geared towards a more fruitful tomorrow. I am a woman, and I am happy to be one, to be a mother myself, a career woman, a wife.
I may be in a society that deals with aging and old people differently, but I have my own culture and family to depend on, hoping that I will not be a burden but rather gain respect and status with advanced age. There is nothing to fear with the years to come, with the reality that I will soon grow old just like my grandmother, like my mother before me. I have accepted aging’s inevitability. All I have to do now is to age gracefully, and be successful at it.