Do you remember the song, “One (Is the Loneliest Number)” by Three Dog Night? Since it’s release in 1969 when I was 6 years old, it has dogged me. The lyrics include “one is the loneliest number you’ll ever do, even worse than two, yeah.” Early in my life, I was told how to act and who I was. These stories disconnected me from myself. This made me feel alone, disposable, for years. Today, I’m in the middle of life, and I feel whole and connected.
Women between the ages of 40 to 65 years’ experience many challenges including menopause, changing family relationships, balancing work/personal life, and stressors such as divorce/breaking ups, health problems, and death of parents.
If these are the only stories we’re told, no wonder we’re depressed. We are more than depressed, we are suicidal. Between 2000 and 2016, suicide rates increased nearly 60% for middle-aged White women. Some reasons for this increase are a cultural fixation on youth, social isolation, financial difficulties, and access to opioids. We can change this trend by disrupting the stories we are fed and tell our own.
HOW TO DISRUPT THE STORY OF AGING
We have an anti-aging campaign against women. In 2021, we spent $14.6 billion dollars on surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures. We spend almost $50 billion a year on cosmetics. Combined that is more than the GDP for the following countries: Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Tanzania. This is not to shame, it’s to incite. I’d been on LinkedIn for five months and loved the community. Except something was missing and that was middle-aged women. So, I asked LI where I could find women of a certain age on the platform. The post received over 1,300 impressions and over 50 comments from middle-aged women saying, “We’re here.” They shared that this time in their lives means more wisdom, being radical and rebellious, finding our voice, and having more self-compassion, and less time for BS.