I'm sure you're more than familiar with the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." It's an African quote/proverb referring to everyone (including people in other villages) banning together for the welfare of the children to make sure they are safe, fed, nurtured, and taught the lessons they need to survive. It's not just the parents or the household's responsibility. Everyone in the community must play a part for the child to thrive.
I think the same thing holds true, in a way, for adults. Especially women. We thrive when we have a sisterhood. We thrive when we have a tribe or a Girl Gang that has our back. Someone who can say, "Sis, you got lipstick on your teeth." or "Girl, you killed that presentation." or "Or friend, I admire you." Other women who affirm us and who genuinely want us to succeed and be happy.
When you hit your fifties it's more important than ever to know you're not alone navigating this decade. Time out for the competition and cattiness. That's one of the reasons I started the Face of Fifty. To create a place/space where black women in their fifties can be celebrated, encouraged, and empowered. A safe place to go where we are understood and supported. Thank you to all of the magnificent women who have helped this community thrive for the past year! Y'all are amazing!
Photo courtesy Rodrigo do Reis via Unsplash
Since the beginning of time men have been policing women's bodies. Telling us what to do, how to dress, setting standards of beauty, and non-beauty. What the actual hell? I remember watching an episode of Living Single in the 90's and Kim Field's character, Regine asked Queen Latifah's character, Khadija what she thought the world would be like without men. To which Khadija quickly replied, "A bunch of fat, happy women and no crime."
Most of us have been hyper aware of our appearance since we sprouted breasts, wanting to look appealing to boys then later men. Or to fit some random (often impossible) standard of beauty set by MALE magazine and TV executives. But by the time you reach your fifties, you realize your body will never be like to was in your twenties, in some cases not even your thirties or forties. Whether it has undergone physical changes on the outside, or physiological changes on the inside. At the end of the day, we should be thankful that our bodies are still working and functioning properly because that's what matters most.
Your body is an imperfect vessel that has carried you for the last five decades, it deserves to be cherished and loved by YOU. Who cares what anyone else–especially a man–thinks! At this age and stage, it's about low blood pressure, low A1C and low cholesterol. Adopt a healthier lifestyle to add years to your life, not to fit in a swimsuit by summer. Focus on the main thing, and who knows, maybe in the end you'll still be able to rock that new swimsuit!
Every year when February rolls around (how is it February again!?) I think about the significance of Black History Month. Although we can and should celebrate black history aka American history year round, it's gratifying to know the world is focused on US and all we've accomplished and contributed during this month.
I also think how WE as women in our fifties, who have lived five decades of life (with many more ahead of us, prayerfully), we too are black history. Our stories are leaving an indelible mark on those we've encountered over the years. If you are a parent, teacher, co-worker, author, activist, friend, or anyone who has contributed to the lives of others, many years from now long after you cease to be–there will be someone who will tell the tale and stories of remembrance of your life. And in that moment, you will live on forever.
One of the questions I ask when women submit their photos to the Face of Fifty Gallery is "What's the best thing about being in your fifties?" And the vast majority have the same reply phrased in many different ways, "freedom." Freedom to do what I want. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from caring what others think. The fifties are indeed a liberating time. It's a shame that we have to wait so long to gain this insight, wisdom, and release. But I also suppose we had to wait until the time was right. Right for us to be able to handle all that comes along with being free. We know what matters now, and we aren't so easily impressed. We know and truly understand the truest form of freedom is being able to finally be who we were meant to be all along, and that's really the best thing!
(photo credit: Amazon)
3. Health- When you're younger you take your health for granted, but as you get older you realize the saying "health is wealth" is so very true. When you take care of your body, it will take care of you. As we age, it's important that we do whatever we can to stay strong, and healthy so that we can live independently and vibrantly.
What is something that matters most to you?
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Felicio via Unsplash.com)
Blog managed and written by Tracie Momie, Face of Fifty founder.