A few weeks ago I posted “Women over 50 are invisible” on my Facebook page. In it the author claims that ageism and sexism leave women over 50 “virtually powerless” in American society. I got “likes” from a number of women over 50 as well as some insightful comments. My favorite comment came from my dear “old” friend Julie who wrote:

“For the love of God, just live your life and stop worrying about how other people see you! How do YOU see YOU. Why in the world would you let others define your value. Only God defines our value . And he says ‘worthy, beautiful, valuable.”

Attitude–the inner orientation we bring to aging–makes all the difference as to whether we’re invisible or radiant sources of light in a world that needs what we’ve got to offer, even if it doesn’t consciously know that yet!

Jody, Kathy and Cissy - Choosing Gratitude

Look at Maya Angelou who turned 85 this month, Margaret Thatcher who died at 88 last week, or my dear friend Jody who celebrated her 70th  birthday last weekend–taking in the Janis Joplin production at the Pasadena Playhouse. Each of these women exude power, beauty, creativity and intelligence in radically different ways because they’ve chosen their own view of reality rather than accept the “powerless” perspective offered by society.

Today author Scott Berkun speaks to this issue in his beautiful piece “On Getting Old.” He writes: “America has a youth obsessed culture, but I find I’m slowly taking arms against it. The longer I’m alive the further I’ll be on creakier end of the bell curve of age, and I better get used to it. I’ve learned to be comfortable as the oldest person at the table now. I can learn as much from younger people as they can from someone older.”

We need each other. And we need each another to be exactly the age we are, not waste our time trying to alter our physical appearance to fit societal standards because we fear becoming invisible.

Jody and Maya are two of my sheroes. They inspire me to choose my own path, celebrate myself, be grateful to be alive, and freely give out of my abundance to others. I learn from them. Jody has told me that she’s learned a lot from me too.

When we follow our souls, rather than live from limited ego-driven cultural views of reality, we discover age is more about attitude than chronology. Jody may be 19 years older than me chronologically, but we’re peers when it comes to soul life.

The poet Kahil Gibran said that our level of satisfaction in life is determined not so much by what life brings to us as by the attitude we bring to life. May we surround ourselves with peers who focus on gratitude and possibility–that we might be sources of healing, creativity and love to all of our soul mates, whatever their age!