I was reading this story in Jezebel.com yesterday. Suicide rates in the U.S. are going up and leading the rise are middle-aged women.
In past, most suicide prevention programs focused on the young. Now they need to start looking at these numbers. In the Jezebel article they linked to some survey out of the UK where 80% of women polled said they felt their life was over at 44. Wow.
I’m not 44 yet but I’m getting there soon. After living in L.A. for ten years, I do understand why some women would feel this way. Youth rules.
This is the first time there are so many women who are not married and/or don’t have kids. What is our role in a society that devalues women who are not in traditional roles?
Like what's your purpose in America if you aren’t married/have kids? How many movies, TV shows, books, show single childless women over 40 as being miserable, or ball-busting men hating shrews, or just crazy (i.e. Fatal Attraction)
Successful men over 40 are a catch. They have character, experience, etc. etc. What about the women?
I have met quite a few “women of a certain age” who are expats here. Many of them had similar stories. They were about to turn 35/40/45 plus, single, moved to Rome. It’s not all Under a Tuscan Sun, the majority are still single but they are much happier here. Their lives are full.
In the States at this age, and especially in L.A. women (vs. girls), are invisible. I’m not talking about men flirting with you, while it’s nice. I’m talking about being a non person just because you are no longer 25, feeling like you have to get Botox or butcher your face to look 20 years younger because in America’s youth driven culture people are offended by the very thought of aging.
Moving to Rome changed everything. I’m not invisible here. It’s an older culture, which might be frustrating to a 20 something. It takes so long for people to reach certain levels in their careers here, 45 is not old. The priorities and what defines success here are different. My landlady is 80 and a bad ass. La signora is respected and part of a community that values her. She was not shoved off to some retirement home somewhere and forgotten. Same thing where my parents live. People on the islands are not obsessed with this superficial crap.
It’s sad a woman would feel her life was over at 44. With good health she could live another 30-40 years. What is she going to do? Stay in her house with a bunch of cats?
I look at my older friends and they are fierce. I wish my financial situation was better but I’m thankful for my birthdays. I don’t take them for granted. I have too many friends battling cancer or who have lost a parent recently. Life is so bloody short.
Each year on this imperfect earth is a freaking gift and I plan to enjoy my 40s and beyond the as best I can.
So Bloggers over 44 how do you feel about this, is life over? Younger Bloggers how do the older women in your family or friends feel? Any tips? Advice?