GRACE'S MUSINGS: The word index

Celebrating women in their middle years is what my musings are all about. But why is the language around it so difficult? Even after all this time, society still struggles to talk about midlife using words that feel empowering to me.

I look at the terms people use to avoid calling us “old” – which is pretty ridiculous in itself. I’m fairly sure the majority of you, whether you’re 40, 50, 60, 70 or above, don’t feel that way. And what we get instead are words like “seasoned” or “mature”.

We’re not a block of ageing cheddar, for goodness’ sake. Nor are we all the same. Why shove us in a box that’s just about our age bracket? We’re all so different: CEOs, academics, entrepreneurs, scientists, daughters, mothers, sisters, partners … It’s an endless list.

The stigma that comes with ageing can make it challenging for us, particularly as women, to embrace what’s happening to our bodies. But what if we talked about it differently? Used language that wasn’t steeped in negativity? With that in mind, I’ve begun to put together an inspiration index, a list of words that challenge the outdated terms that are currently in play.

What if we looked at it this way?

• Ageing → Wising up

• Middle-aged → Accomplished

• Menopausal → Fierce

• Older → Unstoppable

• Retired → Free

• Post-60 → In our prime

You get the picture. Please let me know which ones resonate with you. And feel free to add to it. While I was thinking about this, I started to compile a list of words I love that describe the community of strong women around me. I thought about how I’d like to be described. And I realised how limited we are in the way we talk about ourselves.

So for all you audacious, ambitious, amazing, authentic (and that’s just the A-words) midlifers reading this, choose the ones that apply to you…

• Brilliant

• Compassionate

• Charismatic

• Confident

• Courageous

• Creative

• Curious

• Determined

• Dynamic

• Engaging

• Fearless

• Graceful

• Glorious

• Honest

• Inquisitive

• Inspirational

• Intelligent

• Mindful

• Motivated

• Perceptive

• Passionate

• Positive

• Purposeful

• Radiant

• Reflective

• Sensitive

• Smart

• Soulful

• Spirited

• Successful

• Valuable

• Visionary

We are a fearless community. We refuse to be ground down. So let’s talk about ourselves using words that reflect our true value.

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