Every so often, you’ll hear phrases like “50 is the new 40” or “40 is the new 25”. But what would happen if your 40’s and 50’s weren’t the “new” anything, but instead simply opened up into a world without labels – a world with unlimited possibilities? For most women these days, that’s actually a lot closer to the truth.
Unlike what TV producers and advertisers might want you to think, most middle aged women today don’t feel very middle aged at all. But you wouldn’t say that they’re acting younger than they are; rather, they’re redefining what it really means to be a woman in her 40’s and 50s. Polly Kemp of Somerset, for example, is a fit yoga teacher, adores fashion, and loves documenting her world travels on Instagram. This might sound like a description of a millennial, but Polly is 51 and the mother of 3 adult children.
In an interview, Polly shared sentiments that most women can personally relate to: “When I hear the term “middle-aged”, I have to stop and think, “Is this meant to be me?” I don’t polish silver or plan menus, and I’m not interested in housework. I am also spontaneous and I don’t think that’s a quality traditionally associated with middle age.” (1)
The truth is, Polly represents the average experience of adult women these days – they don’t feel young, per se, but they’re also incredibly comfortable in their skin and living life to the full, making them happier people, more loving mothers, and more successful business women!
How Do Women Over 40 Really Feel Today?
A survey conducted Telegraph found that 96% of 40-plus women don’t feel middle-aged at all. A similar study conducted by SuperHuman also found that 80% felt society’s assumptions about middle-aged women do not represent how they live their lives, and more than two-thirds said they were in the prime of their lives (with 59% feeling more vibrant in their 40’s and 50’s than they ever have before, and 84% saying they reject age labels).
So, what is it about this generation of women that’s changing the experience of going through “middle age”? A pool of answers to these two surveys revealed a few trends: (1)
Women are spending time treating their bodies well. They’re eating better than ever and exercising regularly
Women are becoming more confident. This generation is over body-shaming marketing ploys and they’re happy with the way they are at every stage of life.
Women are taking risks and going on adventures. 60% of women who responded said that accepting new challenges was very important to them. 80% said they loved to gain new experiences.
Women are valuing themselves. Whether they’re pressing forward in their careers or going above and beyond as workers in their own homes, women are accomplishing a lot, and they’re not slowing down.
Let’s hope that this generation of confident women can pass on their experiences to the next generation, too!