Entry #8: October 5, 2017 – Plastic Surgery or Naturally Aged?
I still feel young and energetic. I love to research and stay current in areas of interest to me. I also have expertise in the field of communication. However I wonder how much of a limitation my age will be to the work I want to do when I retire. I wonder if I need plastic surgery?
My vision for myself after retiring from teaching is to work for myself. I plan to coach, speak, and write for about 20-30 hours a week. Of course I am doing some of this work while I’m still teaching. That way I can gradually transition into my new life. For instance, I try to regularly give presentations beyond the classroom. In the past few months this has included a TEDx presentation on living your best life at any age, a keynote, and a couple of community presentations.
When I give presentations, I’ve realized that my age does impose limits on what I can talk about and who will listen. I’m usually older than most members of my audiences. Sometimes that is to my advantage, especially when I embrace the role of the “wise elder woman.” Yet other times I am aware that it could be more challenging as a public speaker to find audiences and to be heard in the future.
Even though I plan to retire in 15 months, I’m keenly aware that I’m now the elder on campus where I teach. As a woman, I became aware years ago that some men will try to “talk over” me. I learned how to hold my ground and assert myself. But now I am noticing that other female colleagues will talk over me or interrupt me with more frequency.
I’ve considered having some plastic surgery so that I could look more refreshed and consistent with how I actually feel. Some of my women friends near my age have also considered plastic surgery. Last month I wrote an article for Sixty & Me discussing my struggle to either age naturally or age gracefully. Most of the responses to that article were from women who were glad they chose the latter.
I’m still wrestling with my decision concerning how I want to present myself as I age. Aging naturally has its advantages. However it also means my personal “brand” as I start working for myself and doing more speaking will likely be that of the “wise elder woman.”
If I choose to age a bit more gracefully, I would likely be perceived as more relevant by a larger potential audience. Yet if I make this decision, it will only delay a natural process.
If only being a wise elder woman was something we aspired to be in our culture!