Women over 50

We are living longer. The concept of working all your life at one job and then retiring at 65 is becoming a thing of the past. Knowing that you could live to be 100 changes the landscape of ones career. Wouldn’t you want to take off ten years to raise your kids if you could? Wouldn’t you want the ability to have several different careers if you could? Wouldn’t you want to make sure you see more of the world if you could?

The Washington Post posted an incredible article called Changing Channels. Written by 8 journalists about 8 women who followed their personal quests that had been put on a back-burner after 50. Most women get overlooked and perceived to have less value in the work world at this stage of the game. Reality is this is when these women are worth more than anyone realizes. It is an article worth reading. Just made me smile.

Madonna turned 60 this year. She is the ultimate bad ass who has reinvented herself several times from pop icon to philanthropist to mother. The article in the NYTimes is absolutely worth the read. Once again, at 60, she is putting out music her own way. She was an inspiration from the beginning of her career and still is.

Both of these articles added to the thoughts I am having about what comes next? I have had at least 10 careers. I hope to live to be 100 so I have plenty left in me. I will continue to invest and be involved in the growth of companies but in what way? Is there a new way, is there something else out there that I could do that would be exciting? I don’t have to shift anything but it is something sitting in the back of my head.

I love that Madonna said at the end of the article. She said “Stop thinking, just live your life and don’t be influenced by society trying to make you feel some type of way about your age or what it is you’re supposed to be doing.” “We are a marginalized group, women. And just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you stop fighting against it or defying it or refusing to be pigeonholed or put in a box or labeled or told you can and can’t do things.”

I have led my life living outside of the box. I am not sure I could have done it any other way. It has worked for me. Reading about these 8 women who have stepped outside their comfort box after 50 made my day and makes me believe that women in the generations to come will follow suit. Be true to yourself and based on data if you could live to be 100, the world is seriously your oyster.

Comments (Archived):

  1. LE

    What I think is that you should stop trying to be what you would have wanted to be back when you were younger (before having children). You are not going to be able to unring bells at this point in your life.When I started that sentence I was ready to say ‘and just’ (as in stop trying to be what you would have wanted to be … and just be XYZ) but then realized that I don’t have any profound ‘and just’ to go after my thought.Also what you are talking about applies to both men and women.It may be more of a situation with women (because they have taken time off to raise children) but it exists with men as well. Many of us choose particular paths as a result of whatever the situation was in our lives at a particular point in time because of who we were around or where we were. You don’t think that I think every day about what my life would be like if I had been schlepped to NYC (because I was with someone like you – not who I was with) rather than being where I was and being tied down (as a result of family business obligations) after graduating college? Nothing can be done about that now. I can’t be what I was in my early 20’s. But I also can’t be unhappy because of a missed opportunity no matter the reason. Whether my fault or the circumstances.Wouldn’t you want to take off ten years to raise your kids if you could?I have read stories and have knowledge about women who actually go against this thought about raising children. And I can tell you myself that in no way would I have ever wanted to take off ten years to raise children not even in retrospect. I simply don’t find doing that exciting enough. Zero appeal to me. I don’t have any thoughts either such as ‘can’t wait till I can spend time with my grandchildren’ either. Part of the problem with the media and society is that there is always this push (kind of part of what you are saying) that everyone has to have the same way of thinking about things. As if everyone should just find raising kids exciting and so on. Many of us don’t. Just the way it is.[1] They don’t want to do that and it was discussed as a ‘movement’ in I think a NYT article.

  2. awaldstein

    Doing a blockchain project that will bring me closer (hopefully) to Jane Goodall who is 85 and basically on the road all year thinking of how to work her foundations to leave a lasting vision.She is joining my long list of women heroes that starts btw with Margaret Bourke-White.

  3. Pointsandfigures

    Shouldn’t we be raising retirement ages for Soc Sec and pensions?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes we should

  4. Susan Rubinsky

    I love this post. Thank you for sharing. I have been doing my own thing since I was four refused to attend CCD class after they told me all people are born in sin. We all can choose to do our own thing. There is so much more freedom now than when I was growing up to be and become something that you create.

  5. lisa hickey

    I was just thinking today how it seems as if every 10 years or so, I do something that seems like a wildly unattainable goal—something I’ve never done before and have no idea how to do and takes thousands of hours of time to figure out how to become skilled at it. And yeah, that included raising 4 kids along the way. Not sure I would have wanted to take 10 years off to exclusively raise them, but I certainly would have structured my time differently had I truly understood how much was possible in a lifetime.I hope to have several more decades of reinvention left (this post has inspired me to do it every 5 years instead of ten!)—and still doing so at 90.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It’s totally about time structure!!

  6. Semil Shah

    Agree w/ Susan’s comment. I love the raw energy here. Makes me think you should have your own book that lays this out for the next generations and then go a huge podcast and speaking tour. Lean In meant well but it wasn’t totally genuine IMO — what you’re writing here is raw and needs to be discussed as such in more public squares.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I’m always thinking about this. ?

      1. LE

        You actually have a lesser thought of but big advantage in writing an interesting book over Sandberg.You can be more honest and include much more polarizing contents (which is good for publicity and getting noticed). As Semil says ‘what you’re writing here is raw’.Sandberg works for a well known corporation. Hard to imagine how honest her writing can even be given that fact alone.

        1. Gotham Gal

          True true.

      2. Semil Shah

        Happy to help brainstorm anytime!

        1. Gotham Gal

          I might take you up on that. 🙂

    2. lisa hickey

      I love this idea!

  7. Deborah Smith

    Thank you for sharing your perspective & these great articles! As a woman who came out as a lesbian in her 40s & as a newly minted entrepreneur in her 50s – these women’s stories filled my soul. I’ve been reading your blog over the past year & am grateful for your authenticity, wisdom, and values that resonate so deeply with mine. Best – Deborah

    1. Gotham Gal

      Thanks Deborah. Thrilled to get notes like this