Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Margaret Manning, founder of Sixty and Me, a community of 40,000 women over 60, dedicated to inspiring and providing resources for them to live independent, financially secure and healthy lives.
Sixty and Me brings 40,000 women who are over 60 years together
Baby boomers have experienced more change than any previous generation
Women in their 60s are embracing a "pro-age" revolution
Growing up in the 1960s helped them to adapt easily to change, both positive and negative
By the time a woman reaches her 60s, life has given her many gifts. The gift of perspective, resilience and an inner strength shaped by a fusion of realism and vulnerability.
Everything didn’t quite go as we planned. Everything went exactly as it was meant to. We are living proof that determination and tenacity create opportunity, not the other way around. We demonstrate that wisdom forged by loss and experience (good and bad), provides a unique canvas for constant reinvention. In the 1960’s everything seemed possible.
Now as we turn 60, the same amazing sense of possibility is coming into focus again. Except this time around we get it. We have learned the journey is not a straight line, and that we will experience detours and disappointments along the way. We understand that dreams can result in tangible outcomes, choices have consequences, and that having a purpose in life gives us power.
The truth is that we haven’t really changed much in 50 years, although society mistakenly thinks we have. This is one of the reasons I started Sixty and Me, an online community of 40,000 women over 60 years of age looking for a connection of values and validation of their existence.
We are a motley crew. Some are divorced, living apart from family, dealing with bodies beat up a little with past excesses and adventures. Broke financially and often broken emotionally, we are channeling the resourcefulness we learned in the sixties. Articulating a manifesto of shared values, the community gives women over 60 a platform to collaborate and support each other. Just as we did back in sixties, our passion for communal living has been transformed into community solidarity.
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As a hippie I found my voice with music, poetry, bohemian clothes and experimental relationships. I then used that articulate voice to argue politics, protest injustice, wars and social explosions that seemed irrational and unnecessary. The events that happened during this decade played a significant role in shaping our worldview.
I remember sitting nervously on the living room sofa watching a flickering black and white TV dramatically describing the Cuban Missile Crisis and then the death of President Kennedy. I recall living in Detroit in 1967 waiting for the race riots to reach my house. Like so many others, in the sixties I was an idealist. I took risks, trusted strangers, believed in love. I craved transcendence, truth and touch, demanded authenticity, and challenged rules.
Coming of age in a time of change, for a second time
Now, in our 60s, we are facing another “coming of age” moment. Our children have left home. Many of our lives have been changed by tragedy – the death of a spouse, a child or divorce. Many have left careers, either by choice or necessity. But, just like we did in the 1960’s and 1970’s, we are taking control of our destinies.
Responding to a youth focused marketing establishment we are embracing a “pro-age” revolution instead of anti-aging. Our mantra for marketers is simple: Women over 60 want to feel the best they can be, not look the youngest.
Fashion trends in the sixties challenged the status quo – with miniskirts, fringe jackets and handmade beaded bags. Now, in their sixties, women don’t want to stop wearing jeans, throw out high heels and wear comfortable clothes that neutralize our sexuality.
Baby Boomer women are once again challenging “age appropriate” clothes and embracing eclectic fashion that make us feel great. Our styles are as individual as our personalities.
Women over 60 are proactive about their careers
Challenging workplace discrimination, we are becoming entrepreneurs and starting our own businesses. Since the 1960’s, women have fought for equal pay and equal recognition in the workplace. Now, in our 60s we are taking control of our financial destinies and embracing entrepreneurism.
Not content to rely on a limited fixed income pension, women over 60 are once again pursuing financial independence. As reported by Inc.com, 55 to 64 year old entrepreneurs are starting more businesses than ever before. We are seeing the same thing in the Sixty and Me community, where we have writers, translators, personal fitness coaches, business consultants, crafters and many others.
Opinion: Millennial women are leaning in and stepping up
In the 1960s and 1970s, we debated numerous women’s health issues. Now, women over 60 are living longer and better. It’s a good thing too, because, we are on the verge of an anti-aging revolution. Developments in step cell therapeutics, genetic engineering and nanotechnology have the potential to help women over 60 today to live for many decades to come with a higher quality of life.
As a result, Baby Boomer women are increasingly aware of the importance of exercise, not just for the body, but, also for the brain. One of our key missions at Sixty and Me is to help women over 60 to live healthy lives through better nutrition, exercise and by creating friendships and stronger social connections.
Women Over 60 are coming together to share their collective voice
In the 1960s and 1970s women played a key role in debating and protesting the issues of their day. Now, as they reach their 60s, we are once again banding together to discuss the issues that matter to them.
We feel ignored by businesses, underrepresented in films and music, shut out of the workforce and undervalued compared to our contribution to society. Fighting invisibility in society, we are forming communities that unite us and amplify our collective voice. Sixty and Me provides a platform for women over 60 to come together and share their unique lives, dreams, and fears.
Women over 60 today have experienced more change than any previous generation. In some ways, change has defined us – not just in the sense of how much changed in the world around us, but, also in how much we changed the world.
We want to be independent, healthy and financially secure. We want to have a voice. And, most of all, we want to share our wisdom and experience, hopefully to leave the world a better place.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Margaret Manning.